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Of Prayer, Police And Petty Politics: An Arresting Flap Over Chaplains Strikes Virginia

It looks like a new "culture war" is brewing in Virginia.

Six state police chaplains have resigned over new regulations that require them to use non-denominational prayers at public events. Several state legislators are apoplectic. One has already launched a Web site to overturn the ruling, and others are talking about legislative action to nullify it.

Deep breath, everyone, deep breath. Read more

See You At The First Amendment: Voluntary Pole Prayers Are Fine For Students, But Not School Officials

Today, more than three million kids from across the country and world were expected to gather around their public schools' flagpoles to pray as part of the annual "See You at the Pole" (SYATP) event.

This Christian prayer meeting began in 1990 when teenagers got together to pray at their school's flagpole in Burleson, Texas. By 1991, the event went nationwide. Read more

Stunted Stunt: ADF 'Pulpit Freedom Sunday' Already Looks Like A Bust

The Alliance Defense Fund's much-ballyhooed "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" is coming up, and right now it looks like it's fixing to be a dud.

There have been several recent developments – none of them good for the ADF. For starters, the ADF appears to be running scared from allegations that its actions are ethically dubious. Three former Internal Revenue Service officials have sent a letter to the tax agency charging that the ADF's actions run afoul of professional standards for tax attorneys that are outlined in a document called "Circular 230." Read more

'Christian Nation' Nonsense: Americans Need Lessons In History And Civics

Bishop John England of Charleston has always been one of my favorite characters from American religious history.

England, head of the Catholic Diocese of South Carolina from 1820 until 1842, was a staunch advocate of church-state separation. He insisted that the U.S. Constitution gave government no authority whatsoever "to legislate upon religion or morals, directly or indirectly." Read more

Errant Exercise: New Project Gives Evangelical Clergy Bad Advice On Electioneering

The Religious Right just can't seem to give it a rest this election season.

"The Free Exercise Thereof Project," a new front group of Religious Right leaders, has just sent out an email to evangelical pastors urging them to get involved in the election process. (See a letter similar to the e-mail here.) Read more

Brunswick Stew: Creationism Crusade Bubbles Up At N.C. School Board

Members of the Brunswick County, N.C., School Board seem to be having problems telling the difference between science and theology.

All four members of the board are looking for a way to bring creationism into the classroom, reported the Wilmington Star-News. The issue arose after a parent, Joel Fanti, criticized the schools for teaching evolution. Read more

Happy Constitution Day!: America's Governing Document Safeguards Our Freedom

Today is Constitution Day, a day to remember that on Sept. 17, 1787, 39 men signed a document that promised Americans certain rights and freedoms.

One of those freedoms, of course, is the freedom of religion and the founders' promise to keep government separate from religion. When I was reading the news from other parts of the world today, I was reminded just how lucky we are.

In Dubai earlier this week, two people were heavily fined for drinking juice in public. It is illegal to publicly eat or drink in the daytime during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Read more

Values Vacuum: Religious Right Summit Hits Low Points On Rhetoric And Race

On Friday and Saturday, I endured my first "Values Voter Summit," an annual conference where right-wing fundamentalists get to be their poisonous, partisan and propaganda-propagating selves.

That's right, these "compassionate conservatives" or good "evangelical Christian" folk tried to fool themselves and the media into believing their policies are about more than just pure hate and an unconstitutional agenda. And they failed miserably. Read more

Of Pigs, Lipstick And Elections: Candidates Should Be Talking About Serious Constitutional Concerns

For the past few days, both presidential candidates have been up in arms about a "lipstick on the pig" comment made by Barack Obama.

People have been wondering: does Obama's comment mean he's sexist? Is he calling Palin a pig? Or is it just an expression that the McCain camp has blown out of proportion?

Here's my thought: No matter who the pig is and what color lipstick he or she may or may not be wearing, Americans have a big decision to make come November -- and wasting even one day worrying about pigs and lipstick isn't helping this country make that decision. Read more

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