The Bucks County Chapter of Americans United hosted a wonderful symposium on Saturday. The event featured fourteen speakers from a wide variety of disciplines and viewpoints. Topics included same-sex marriage (discussed by both a minister of a progressive church and a philosophy professor), the role of church and state in Islam, the judicial agenda of the Christian Right, whether politicians’ embrace of religion risks diluting the Christian faith, and issues of constitutional law. The talks were informative and sometimes provocative, and the audience was very engaged.
If you weren't able to attend, the topics and speakers are listed below: Read more
As you may recall, earlier this month, Americans United and allied groups urged Attorney General Eric Holder to revoke a Bush-era rule regarding "faith-based" funding for religious groups.
In 2007, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued a legal memo providing a blanket right for religious organizations to discriminate in hiring staff, even if they receive federal funds. Read more
The U.S. Supreme Court is gearing up to come back into session Oct. 5, and just in time for that, Justice Antonin Scalia has decided to pop off in the media about how much he hates church-state separation – again!
In what is billed as an "Historic Exclusive Interview" in the Brooklyn-based Orthodox Jewish newspaper Hamodia, Scalia attacks one of the core concepts of church-state separation – the idea that government must remain neutral between religion and non-religion. Read more
I endured my second Values Voter Summit over the weekend, and as my colleague Rob Boston shared with you yesterday, it was an interesting time.
Like Rob, I was subjected to some crazy Religious Right rants and raves. But it doesn't upset me that much any more. After all, I've read or heard most of them before, and the majority of the Summit speakers are older and ultra-conservative. I practically expect them to be backward. Read more
I'm back from the Religious Right Bizarro World that is the "Values Voter Summit." As always, it was quite an experience.
I'll have a full report on the event in the October Church & State, but I wanted to share some things I learned at the Summit with you today: Read more
This morning, my cell phone started buzzing about ten minutes before my alarm was set to go off. Groggy-eyed, I reached over and snatched it from my night stand. While usually I'm rather irritated by the idea of waking up even a moment too soon, I couldn't help but smile when I read the text message sent by one of my favorite friends.
Recently, the Fox News Channel rang up the Rev. Barry Lynn, AU's executive director, to discuss what he thinks about reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.
Since they asked, he answered.
"The Pledge of Allegiance creates a constitutional problem," he said. "You have to tell students they can opt out."
For some reason, this statement has generated some controversy – as if it is so reprehensible to want to educate students about their rights! Read more