In these hard economic times, it seems that our lawmakers would want to make the best of our public funds.
For the Pennsylvania General Assembly, that seems to include spending $13, 700 on a stack of holy books for state legislators. Read more
A story is told about the 17th Century astronomer Galileo. Supposedly, after he was ordered by the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church to recant his theory of the heliocentric universe, Galileo left the room muttering under his breath, "Eppur si muove" – Italian for "Nevertheless, it does move."
The tale is considered apocryphal, which is a shame because it's one of those stories that I wish were true. Read more
Whenever people ask me for a concrete example of how the Religious Right has affected public policy, I point to the spread of "abstinence-only" sex education. Thanks to pressure from Protestant fundamentalist and traditionalist Roman Catholic groups, federal tax money funds only these programs.
This is the case even though polls show most Americans support comprehensive sex education for young people – programs that stress the value of abstinence but also talk frankly and accurately about ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Read more
More evidence has come to light that the Internal Revenue Service is cracking down on religious ministries that violate federal law by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.
The St. Petersburg Times reports today that Bill Keller, who runs a TV and Internet ministry in that city, has been contacted by the IRS and asked to supply information about his political activities. Read more
In the history of church-state separation, certain dates are special: On Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was officially ratified. On Jan. 1, 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptists containing the famous "wall of separation between church and state" metaphor. The U.S. Supreme Court spoke strongly in favor of separation in Everson v. Board of Education, issued on Feb. 10, 1947. Read more
For some reason, when it comes to private school vouchers, state legislators can't seem to give it a rest.
Georgia's Senate Education and Youth Committee held a hearing yesterday to consider SB 90, which would make tuition vouchers available to virtually any student in the state.
The bill, introduced by State Senator Eric Johnson, would provide parents of each Georgia child about $5,000 in taxpayer money to be used to defray the cost of enrollment at religious and other private schools. Read more
"No thanks, New Orleans."
The Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) coined this phrase on its Web site this week, and it could quickly become the new catch phrase for scientists, educators and civil liberties groups across the country.