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Hateful Lies: Religious Right Hysteria Fails to Kill Hate Crimes Bill

The House of Representatives yesterday passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1592). The bill's 237-180 approval marked one of the Religious Right's most spectacular failings in recent memory.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the Religious Right's lobbying blitz to defeat H.R. 1592, a proposal movement leader Rev. Lou Sheldon dubbed the "Pro-Homosexual/Drag Queen 'Hate Crime' Bill." Read more

Valuable Vision: Verplanck's Smack-Down Of Government-Backed Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer (NDP). Elsewhere on Americans United's Web site, you can read a press release that gives our opinion of this day. (We don't think much of it. We have nothing against prayer but believe it's not the business of government to tell people when, how and where to do it.)

In previous years, we've used the NDP to remind Americans of how two stalwarts of religious liberty – Thomas Jefferson and James Madison – opposed official prayer proclamations. Rather than rehash that again, this year we'll offer something a little different. Read more

When 'Equal' Isn't: Bush Administration Seeks Special Rights For 'Faith-Based' Groups

President George W. Bush is imploring Congress to give religious groups special privileges under the Improving Head Start Act of 2007 (H.R. 1429). The president says religious groups need to be treated "equally," by being the only groups allowed to discriminate against Head Start teachers and volunteers.

The House is expected to vote on the bill today. It would reauthorize the popular preschool program for low-income children. Read more

Dead Center: Florida TV Preacher's Right-Wing Political Unit Folds

There was always a certain arrogance about TV preacher D. James Kennedy's right-wing lobbying group called the Center for Reclaiming America.

It's that term "reclaiming" that sticks in the craw. To hear Kennedy tell it, America was once the property of certain types of far-right Christians. The country was taken from them, and they have a duty to "reclaim" it. Read more

Weird Worldview: Religious Right Labors To Blame Virginia Tech Massacre On Muslims

There is nothing the fringe of the Religious Right loves more than a good conspiracy theory – the wilder and more unsubstantiated it is, the more they like it.

Recently, a letter purporting to implicate Muslims in the Virginia Tech massacre has been making the rounds on Religious Right Web sites, most notably on a "news service" promoted by Worldview Weekend. Read more

Return To Sender: Church-Run Post Office Can't Spread Religious Message, Court Rules

"Faith-based" public services began percolating throughout the government after President George Bush declared his support for that agenda in 2001. Since then, we've seen faith-based marriage counseling, faith-based inmate rehabilitation and faith-based sex education in the schools.

What's next, you may ask — faith-based postal services? No way. That's just too far-fetched. Read more

Moyers On God And Elections: Journalist Celebrates Treasure Of Secular Democracy

In a recent interview with The Christian Century, renowned journalist Bill Moyers took up the contentious question of religion and politics.

When asked what role religion should play in public life, Moyers responded with a question of his own. "Whose religion?" he asked. "And who is going to decide?" he pressed, after listing only a few of the many religions represented in the United States.

"The religion of one," Moyers responded, "seems madness to another." Read more

Gingrich On Virginia Tech: Newt's Nasty Take On The Cause Of The Killings

Many Americans are still in shock over the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech. Families who lost loved ones are trying to deal with the unspeakable horror that unfolded last week.

These families need our support. The last thing they need to hear are idiotic ramblings by people like Newt Gingrich and other far-right figures offering their twisted analysis of what "really" caused the killings. Read more

The 'Centrist' Cannot Hold: Scalia's Claim Of Moderation On Church-State Disputes Is Laughable

Life often calls out in vain for some levity, a respite from so much that goes horribly wrong. So one might find it a welcome moment when recently Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia described himself as a "centrist" on church-state controversies.

In light of Scalia's lengthy court record, his description of himself as a centrist initially elicits a moment of light-heartedness, maybe a chuckle or two. But there are truly much more honest forums where one can find some levity, such as a Dan Savage column or an episode of "South Park." Read more