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A Ruse By Any Other Name: ISU Rechristens Its Proposed Football Chaplain

Iowa State University (ISU) football coach Gene Chizik promised the university's Fellowship of Christian Athletes last April that he would request permission to hire a chaplain for the football team. Chizik suggested he wanted to take the step because of his Christian beliefs and relationship with Christ.

ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard agreed with the plan, saying the school should provide a "spiritual guide" for student athletes. Read more

Diversity On Capitol Hill: Hindu Leader To Offer Opening Prayer In Senate

Americans United does not support taxpayer-funded chaplains reciting prayers before meetings of government bodies – and that includes the U.S. Congress. Washington, D.C., is full of houses of worship where members can go for spiritual guidance. Silent prayer is also an option.

But a poorly reasoned Supreme Court decision from 1983 (Marsh v. Chambers) means we're stuck with legislative prayers and even taxpayer-supported legislative chaplains. If we must have them, a little diversity would do the nation good. Read more

No Foul Here: Obama's Appearance At Church Event Doesn't Violate Federal Tax Law

Some people are questioning why Americans United has not asked the Internal Revenue Service to look into the appearance of Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the United Church of Christ (UCC) gathering in Hartford, Conn., over the weekend. Read more

Mixing Religion And Politics: Presidential Candidates Face Inappropriate Religious Test

The independent radio program "Interfaith Voices" yesterday aired its first in a series of discussions on the role of religion in the 2008 presidential election. We're still six months away from the first state primary, but religion is already becoming a political battle ground for both parties.       Read more

Head Start, Fresh Start: Congress Rejects Religious Bias In Popular Children's Program

Let's say you belong to a mainline religious denomination. You've been working for the local Head Start program provided by a Baptist church for five years. You've been highly rated at your job. The kids like you, and the parents think you're terrific.

But one day you go to work and are told you're being fired. The reason? You aren't a Baptist. You are shown the door – and even though Head Start is a taxpayer-funded program, you have no recourse.

Outrageous, right? Such a thing could never happen in America, right? Think again. It almost did. Read more

Critical Comment: A Response To Some Of AU's Opponents

Recently, two critics attacked Americans United and accused our organization of hypocrisy. This is a serious charge. Both critics deserve an answer.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council issued an e-mail bulletin yesterday accusing me of "cherry-picking" when it comes to the issue of church intervention in partisan politics. Read more

PBS Punts: Ombudsman Admits Church-State Program Is Biased, But Downplays Problem

Recently I wrote about PBS's decision to carry a Religious Right pseudo-documentary attacking the concept of church-state separation.

PBS's ombudsman, Michael Getler, devoted a column to the controversy on June 15.

There is good news and bad news. Getler admits that the show, "The Wall of Separation," is clearly slanted toward opponents of the church-state wall. Read more

Religion On The Campaign Trail: Incident In Iowa Shows Potential For Problems

Some talking heads and political strategists prattle on about how important it is for politicians seeking public office to tout their religious backgrounds and how those backgrounds influence their actions.

Yet, the meshing of religion and politics is not only unnecessary to determining whether one is fit to hold public office, the use of faith on the campaign trail often produces an unseemly picture. Read more

Reconstructing History: Is Jonathan Falwell More Rad Than Dad?

Let's skip the adage, 'Like father, like...,' and just note that Jonathan Falwell is not wasting any time in carrying on his late father's benighted Religious Right legacy.

In a recent "Falwell Confidential" e-mail to supporters, Jonathan, the second son of the late TV preacher and heir to the ministry empire, boasted of his participation in a Christian Reconstructionist gathering in Jamestown, Va., and spouted the usual revisionist clap trap about America's founding. Read more

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