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Head Start, Fresh Start: Congress Rejects Religious Bias In Popular Children's Program

Let's say you belong to a mainline religious denomination. You've been working for the local Head Start program provided by a Baptist church for five years. You've been highly rated at your job. The kids like you, and the parents think you're terrific.

But one day you go to work and are told you're being fired. The reason? You aren't a Baptist. You are shown the door – and even though Head Start is a taxpayer-funded program, you have no recourse.

Outrageous, right? Such a thing could never happen in America, right? Think again. It almost did. Read more

Critical Comment: A Response To Some Of AU's Opponents

Recently, two critics attacked Americans United and accused our organization of hypocrisy. This is a serious charge. Both critics deserve an answer.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council issued an e-mail bulletin yesterday accusing me of "cherry-picking" when it comes to the issue of church intervention in partisan politics. Read more

PBS Punts: Ombudsman Admits Church-State Program Is Biased, But Downplays Problem

Recently I wrote about PBS's decision to carry a Religious Right pseudo-documentary attacking the concept of church-state separation.

PBS's ombudsman, Michael Getler, devoted a column to the controversy on June 15.

There is good news and bad news. Getler admits that the show, "The Wall of Separation," is clearly slanted toward opponents of the church-state wall. Read more

Religion On The Campaign Trail: Incident In Iowa Shows Potential For Problems

Some talking heads and political strategists prattle on about how important it is for politicians seeking public office to tout their religious backgrounds and how those backgrounds influence their actions.

Yet, the meshing of religion and politics is not only unnecessary to determining whether one is fit to hold public office, the use of faith on the campaign trail often produces an unseemly picture. Read more

Reconstructing History: Is Jonathan Falwell More Rad Than Dad?

Let's skip the adage, 'Like father, like...,' and just note that Jonathan Falwell is not wasting any time in carrying on his late father's benighted Religious Right legacy.

In a recent "Falwell Confidential" e-mail to supporters, Jonathan, the second son of the late TV preacher and heir to the ministry empire, boasted of his participation in a Christian Reconstructionist gathering in Jamestown, Va., and spouted the usual revisionist clap trap about America's founding. Read more

Religious Conversion: Department Of Justice Moves To Religious Right Beat

It's not news that the Bush administration has strived to placate, bolster and embolden its Religious Right constituency. That action is sad, worrisome and damaging to democracy; it's just not surprising.

But what the administration's ideological drive has wrought in more than six years in office is now increasingly coming to public attention, thanks in large measure to some print media and reliable sources in cyberspace, including bloggers. Read more

Avast, Matey!: 'Faith-Based' Pirates Sail Away With Coast Guard Cutters

The "faith-based" initiative is closely tied to the Bush administration, which has been pushing for government-funded social services provided by religious groups since 2001.

But members of Congress have long sought to slip a little taxpayer largess to their favorite religious groups. Consider, for example, the curious case of Canvasback Missions in Benicia, Calif. Read more

Remembering Roy: Maryland Man Who Challenged 'Religious Test' Dies At Age 96

More than 40 years ago, Roy Torcaso was appointed a notary public in Maryland. When it came time for the swearing in, Torcaso refused to take the oath because it contained a reference to God. Torcaso, an atheist, said that would violate his freedom of conscience.

Maryland officials decided to go to the mat. They pointed to a provision in the Maryland Constitution that says public office is open to anyone willing to make a "declaration of belief in the existence of God." Read more