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Thanksgiving: What I'm Thankful For – Besides The Turkey And Dressing

Editor's Note: This post originally ran on Thanksgiving Day 2007. It was written by Joe Conn, Americans United's former director of communications. Joe, who retired in July after a remarkable 33 years of service to AU, makes the case for being thankful for the church-state wall. Happy Thanksgiving!

When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner today, do you plan to say grace?

A Hair-Raising Dilemma: Fla. Voucher School Threatens Student With Expulsion Over Her Hair

A private school in Orlando, Fla., is threatening to expel an African-American student – over her natural hair. According to Faith Christian Academy, Vanessa VanDyke’s hair is a “distraction,” and in violation of its student dress code.
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Repair Bill: Mass. Judge Says Taxpayers Can Be Forced To Pay For Church Restoration

Is it ever OK for a church to receive taxpayer money for a restoration project? A Massachusetts judge seems to think so.

Trinity Methodist Church opened in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard in 1879, and it remains an active congregation to this day. As will happen with old buildings, it’s overdue for some repairs. Specifically, the stained glass windows are in need of restoration. Read more

Remembering JFK: An Advocate For Absolute Separation Of Church And State

On Friday the nation marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the days leading up to the anniversary and over the weekend, newspapers, blogs and news sites ran scads of stories about JFK and what might have been. Read more

Justice For All: New Illinois Marriage Law Reminds Everyone That Houses Of Worship Can’t Be Forced To Marry Same-Sex Couples

Whoever named Illinois’ new same-sex marriage law may have tried to remind the Religious Right and Catholic hierarchy that performing any marriage ceremony is optional.

The measure, signed Wednesday by Gov. Pat Quinn, is called the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,” and it specifies that no house of worship can be forced to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony if it doesn’t want to do so. Read more

Curricular Controversy: Hobby Lobby President Proposes Bible Elective in Okla. Public School

An Oklahoma school district is debating a proposal that would create a Bible class for Mustang High School students.

School officials stress that the class would be an elective, but even so, there are clear reasons to be concerned. The proposal is based on curriculum designed by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green, infamous for his ongoing legal battle against the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.  
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Win For The Wall: AU Letter Convinces County Officials In Washington State To Drop Grant For Fundamentalist Christian Group

Americans United has successfully foiled plans by a county council in Washington state to hand over thousands of taxpayer dollars to a Christian fundamentalist group that targets young children for conversion.

Americans United sent a letter Monday to officials on the Pierce County Council warning them that their proposal to give $7,000 to Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) could result in legal action. Read more

Sex Education Or Simplistic Sectarianism?: Religious Right ‘Experts’ Rely on Pseudoscience And Shaming To Promote Theology In Schools

The uproar over Justin Lookadoo’s sexist school presentation in Texas has subsided to a murmur, but the presence of fundamentalist abstinence speakers in public schools remains a serious problem.
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Schools For Scandal: New Government Report Another Blow Against D.C.’s Voucher Plan

Washington, D.C., is home to the nation’s only federally funded private school voucher program. And it’s a mess. Read more

Leaky Boat: Kentucky Officials Labor To Keep Struggling ‘Ark Park’ From Sinking

Kentucky lawmakers seem to be doing all they can to plug holes in the perpetually leaky “Ark Park.”

We haven’t heard a whole lot lately about Ark Encounter, a proposed Christian fundamentalist theme park that’s built around a 510-foot replica of Noah’s Ark. That’s because the project has sailed into a sea of trouble. Read more