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Enlightening Exchange: AU's Lynn Joins UVA Debate On Religion And Government

Should religion have a place in American politics and government?

That's the question a scholar, two activists and a pastor came together to discuss last night at a debate in Richmond, Va. The event was hosted by the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

One of those well-known activists was Americans United Executive Director, the Rev. Barry Lynn. He was joined by biblical scholar Jacques Berlinerblau of Georgetown University, arguing for a complete separation of religion and government. Read more

Doubting Thomas: Cranky Columnist Cal Slanders America's Public School System

A few years ago, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas began rebuking the Religious Right. In a remarkable turn-around, the former Moral Majority official argued that conservative Christians would do better to persuade people that their theology is correct, not use the power of government to force it.

That was a welcome point of view. But it was apparently a rare bout with common sense for Thomas. He's still cranking out some rather extreme columns. One from this week, for example, is a real doozy. Read more

Land Mine: Southern Baptist Lobbyist's Yiddish Slur Against Jewish Senator Detonates Controversy

Speaking at the Criswell Theological Seminary in Dallas in late January, Southern Baptist Convention lobbyist Richard Land called U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) that "schmuck from New York."

Land was worked into a lather recalling the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice John Roberts, in which Schumer pressed the judicial nominee on important questions about individual rights.

In Yiddish, "schmuck" literally means – how can I put this on a family-friendly site? – "male genitalia." Read more

Hypocrisy Alert!: Religious Right White House Liaison Resigns Over Plagiarism

Religious Right activists are quick to tell us all how we should live our lives. Essentially, they think they are good, decent and righteous, and the rest of us aren't. They want legislation to impose their set of values on everyone, based on their reading of certain Bible passages.

But isn't it funny, though, how often the Religious Right folks want us to do as they say, not as they do? Read more

Prayer Brawl: California Chaplain Sparks Religious Spat In Legislature

California lawmakers may really be pressed with tough issues facing their constituencies, ranging from educational to environmental concerns. But some of them find themselves distracted by a religious brouhaha that has erupted in the Capitol in Sacramento.

This week, quasi-official Chaplain Ralph Drollinger ignited a religious tit-for-tat, when he touted his Bible study and disparaged a more religiously inclusive group of lawmakers as "disgusting to our Lord." Read more

Delaware Disgrace: Family Settles Religion-In-Schools Lawsuit After Despicable Treatment

Every once in a while I run into someone at a social function who seems puzzled about the work I do.

"Separation of church and state?" they say. "That was all taken care of years ago. It's in the Constitution; we don't have to worry about it any more."

I think I'll carry around an article that ran in today's New York Times to hand to the next person who says that. Read more