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The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Church Of Mammon?: IRS Says Large Televangelist Group Qualifies As A House Of Worship

If you want to start a church, all you need is your own television show. So says the Internal Revenue Service, anyway.

A recent report by National Public Radio (NPR) told the puzzling story of Daystar, a televangelist network based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The network, which is run by Marcus and Joni Lamb, is “dedicated to spreading the Gospel 24 hours a day, seven days a week” to its potential audience of 2 billion worldwide. Read more

Mississippi Mayhem: Magnolia State Is The Latest To Consider Flawed ‘Religious Freedom’ Legislation

Mississippi is the latest state to send “religious freedom” legislation to the governor’s desk, prompting fresh controversy over what critics believe is a license to discriminate against LGBT people.
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Blinded By The (Religious) Right: Christian Group That Receives Federal Grants Accepts, Then Rejects LGBT Employees

A Christian charity’s decision to hire married LGBT individuals was almost immediately reversed after an outcry from the Religious Right, prompting questions about the federal funding it receives for its work.

World Vision, which uses child sponsorships to deliver aid to developing communities, announced the change to its hiring policies on Monday. Read more

What’s In A Name?: Okla. Judge Who Denied Transgender Name Changes On Biblical Grounds Gets Overruled

An Oklahoma judge who used the Bible as the basis for denying name-change requests by women who had gender-reassignment surgery has been overruled by a higher court. Read more

Belief And Birth Control: Faith Rally Highlighted Opposition To Hobby Lobby’s Anti-Contraception Views

Yesterday morning I had the privilege of speaking at a rally organized by Americans United’s friends at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC). Intended to protest Hobby Lobby’s ongoing suit against the Affordable Care Act’s so-called contraception mandate, the event provided an important counter to the narrative put forward by the craft store chain’s owners and their allies.
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Snapshots From The Supreme Court: Justices Ponder Limits Of Religious Expression In Birth Control Case

Do for-profit corporations exercise religion? What constitutes a religious enterprise? What did Congress intend when it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993?

These and many other questions were batted about this morning as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the pivotal combined case of Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties vs. Sebelius.   

I was fortunate to sit in the press gallery during the argument, and it seemed skepticism abounded on both sides. Read more

Justice For All: The Supreme Court And The Role Of The Justices’ Religious Beliefs

Today’s Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.

The question is especially relevant now with the high court poised to hear oral arguments tomorrow in a pair of cases that could have far-reaching consequences for what religious freedom means. Read more

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