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Kindergarten Kerfuffle: Kids Shouldn't Be Captive Audience For Religion, Says Court

My kindergarten teacher Ms. Valentino had certain non-sectarian pedagogical goals: She wanted us to learn to share, to respect our teachers, to obey our parents and to recognize letters, shapes and sounds. I think she did a fine job, and I look back on her small classroom in the annex of P.S. 42 quite fondly.

I especially loved show and tell. Once I brought in my teddy bear, and the next time my hamsters (a terrible experience it was when Mars got loose and was eaten by Mark Spindler's pet snake!). Read more

No Sense Of Decency: The Moral Bankruptcy Of Randall Terry

Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas abortion provider, was shot to death in church Sunday morning. Is it so hard to say that this was a heinous act that should be condemned by all reasonable people?

Apparently it is for some. Religious Right theocrat Randall Terry reserved space at the National Press Club yesterday to opine that Tiller got what he deserved. Read more

Pomp And Circumvention: Graduating Senior Had No Right To Substitute Sermon For Speech, Says Court

Students break the rules and schools discipline them.

It's not a revolutionary concept, yet the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was forced to issue a ruling Friday that said just that.

The decision stemmed from a controversy over a graduation speech at a Colorado public high school, and the opinion reaffirms that school officials have every right to maintain religious neutrality at commencements. Read more

A Bridge Too Far: Vatican Ambassador Nominee Builds Wrong Edifice

President Barack Obama has named his new ambassador to the Holy See, and nominee Miguel H. Diaz has already announced his understanding of the job.

"If confirmed by the U.S. Senate," said Diaz in a statement. "I will continue the work of my predecessors and build upon 25 years of formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See. I wish to be a bridge between our nation and the Holy See."

A bridge between our nation and the Holy See. Read more

Falwell Falsehoods: Liberty U. Chancellor Lies About Americans United

A propensity toward prevarication seems to run in the Falwell family.

Americans United staffers used to repeatedly note that the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. once preached a sermon in which he said, "I hope to live to see the day, when, as in the early days of our country, there won't be any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" Read more

School For Scandal: Liberty University's Latest Venture Into Partisanship

Many young people these days tend to look at college in a utilitarian light: They ask, "What can I study that will land me a good job and lead to a comfortable life?"

I understand that impulse. But I'd also like to think there are other reasons for going to college – say, to expand your horizons. A good university education should expose you to new ideas and challenge your way of thinking, not just reinforce your pre-existing biases. Read more

Survey Says: Mainline Clergy Like Church-State Separation

An interesting survey was issued recently, indicating that many members of the clergy remain strong supporters of church-state separation.

The 2009 Clergy Voices Survey, issued May 20, sampled mainline clergy on their views regarding the separation of church and state.   The findings were really rather encouraging. Read more

Partisan Politicking Pugilists: Debate Brings Together Opponents And Proponents Of Church Electioneering

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="247" caption="The Rev. Barry W. Lynn"][/caption]

Sometimes, a good, old-fashioned debate is the best way to hash out a contentious public issue.

I attended an event like this yesterday at the National Press Club here in Washington, where Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn participated in spirited (but polite) verbal bout over pulpit politicking. Read more