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Obama And Church-State Separation: The Good, The Bad And The Uncertain

I just got back from New York City, where I spoke at an interesting event sponsored by our friends at the Center for Inquiry.

On Tuesday night, a three-person panel discussed the issue "Church and State in the Obama Era" at All Souls Church, a Unitarian-Universalist congregation. I wouldn't call this event a debate; it was more of a discussion of where we stand under Obama – as I put it (taking off from the title of an old Clint Eastwood Western), "The Good, the Bad and the Uncertain." Read more

Creche Clash: Religious Right Launches Another Bogus Persecution Claim

Yesterday was the 350th anniversary of the hanging of two Quakers by the Puritan establishment in Massachusetts Bay Colony.

William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson had come from England in 1656 to escape religious persecution. But on Oct. 27, 1659, they became the first Quakers in America to be executed because of their religious beliefs.

These men paid with their lives for merely wanting to practice their own faith. Now that is religious intolerance and persecution to the extreme. Read more

Common Ground?: Both Left And Right Oppose 'Defamation Of Religion' Laws

Here is an issue that for once we may all agree on.

When it comes to "defamation of religion" policies, civil liberties groups and the Religious Right seem to fall on the same side. And now, the Obama administration has also voiced its opposition. Read more

Conversion Anxiety: Parochial-To-Charter-School Transitions Spark Concern

The creative folks at the Archdiocese of Miami think they have found a new group of donors to bail out their financially strapped parishes and parochial schools: the taxpayers of Florida.

According to Florida Catholic, several Catholic schools in South Florida that closed due to declining enrollment or money problems reopened this fall as publicly funded charter schools. Read more

Harvesting 'Fields Of Faith': Christian Athletes Proselytize Students At Public Schools

Growing up in Ohio, I was pretty oblivious to the fact that students at my high school were anything but Christian. I just assumed that everyone was but me.

That's because students met for Bible studies club, or some of my friends would talk about their church's youth group. The students who weren't Christian never really brought up religion at all.

Looking back, I realize now that I actually went to high school with a slightly more diverse crowd than I knew. I wish I had known that then – I would have felt a little less like an outcast. Read more

Secular Saboteurs, Unite!: You Have Nothing To Lose But Bill Donohue

It is almost Halloween, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised when media monsters lurch into the public square, trick or treating for publicity.

Yesterday, William Donohue appeared as a "Guest Voice" at the "On Faith" section of The Washington Post's Web site. (Really, Post folks, what were you thinking?) Read more

Metamorphosis: How A Baptist Boy Became A Pinko, Heathen Tool Of Satan

Is church-state separation a liberal concept – or a conservative one?

In a recent column in the Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky preacher Paul Prather says such definitions are malleable. They can even morph over time from one extreme to the other.

Prather, now pastor of Bethesda Church near Mt. Sterling, found himself caught in a culture-war crossfire a few years ago. Read more

Upcoming Chapter Events

ILLINOIS

If you live in the windy city be sure and check out the North Shore AU Chapter event: "Church-State Separation in the Classroom -- Teacher Rights & Responsibilities."  The event takes place October 22, at 7:00PM at Northbrook Library,

1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook, IL60062
.  The guest speaker is Hemant Mehta, a math teacher at NeuquaValley, targeted by the Illinois Family Institute because he maintains a personal blog - The Friendly Atheist (www.friendlyatheist.com).  Mehta will talk about his close encounter with the religious right.

KANSAS

Hey, the Greater Kansas City Chapter meets the second Saturday of every month, 5:00PM at the Black Dog Coffee House at 12815 W. 87th St. Pkwy in Lenexa, KS 66215.  Be there or be square!

PENNSYLVANIA

Bucks County Chapter President Ed Joyce is speaking at Temple University's Friday afternoon teach-in to be held November 13 at 3:30 pm in Anderson Hall Room 821 on the Temple University Campus in Philadelphia.  These are well-attended events focusing on the historical background of contemporary issues.  The title of Ed's talk is "The Evolution of a Concept: A Brief History of Church/State Separation."
Read more

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