After only eight days on the job, an Oregon high school biology teacher has been fired for promoting religion as part of the curriculum.
The Sisters School District Board hired Kris Helphinstine to teach evolutionary biology, but he quickly departed from the accepted curriculum. In a supposed attempt to "give accurate information" and get kids thinking, Helphinstine distributed an essay from Answers in Genesis, a fundamentalist Christian ministry that wants "young-Earth creationism" taught in public school science classes. Read more
TV preacher Pat Robertson is worried about a Muslim takeover of the United States.
Such a thing would seem remote, at best. While hard numbers are difficult to come by, most demographers say there are about 3 million Muslims in America. In a country of 300 million, they haven't made a huge dent.
But last year, the first Muslim was elected to Congress, and Muslims have been elected to a few state and local offices as well. Recently, a Muslim group announced plans to register more Muslims to vote and encourage civic activity. All of this has Robertson worried. Read more
Localities nationwide offer people all kinds of places to pray, such as public parks, sidewalks and, of course, plenty of houses of worship.
So why do so many local governmental officials feel compelled to use their public meetings for prayer? Often these prayer setups are simply used to suck up to constituents; in other cases, it's a matter of officials using their public offices to do a little bit of proselytizing for their personal faiths. Read more
The Religious Right crusade to recruit Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other Founders of our nation into the theocratic camp is ludicrous, but it just won't stop.
Jerry Falwell chose today, the occasion of Madison's birthday, to launch the latest salvo. In his "Falwell Confidential" email, the tiresome TV preacher cites – of all things – religious language in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom as some sort of proof that Jefferson and Madison are on the same side with the Religious Right. Read more
A milestone in American politics was reached this week when U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) stated that he has no belief in a supreme being.
Stark is the highest-ranking public official to come out of the closet as a non-believer. His emergence came about after the Secular Coalition for America, a Washington group that lobbies on behalf of non-religious Americans, sponsored a contest to find elected officials who openly hold no belief in God. Read more
Stephen Prothero, chair of the Religion Department at Boston University, thinks classes on the Bible should be mandatory in public high schools. In his new book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – and Doesn't, Prothero outlines his argument. Read more
School voucher supporters are a pushy bunch.
Despite poll after poll showing little support for taxpayer funding of religious and other private schools and loss after loss at the voting booth, voucher advocates relentlessly continue their campaign.
One recent and egregious example of the pro-voucher crowd getting its way with lawmakers emanates from Utah. Read more
Some people have a lot of nerve.
Recently, a group of Religious Right leaders wrote to the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and demanded that a top Washington staff member be fired because they don't like his stand on global climate change.
The signers of the letter, including James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association, insisted that the Rev. Rich Cizik be handed a pink slip. But here's the rub: None of their groups are members of the NAE. Read more