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

Getting Medieval: In Florida, A Catholic Mogul Seeks To Base An Entire Town On His Personal Theology

The small town of Ave Maria, Fla., is home to Ave Maria University, a strictly Catholic institution  – and critics say, an undemocratic form of government dominated by one man’s interpretation of religious doctrine.

The community of about 2,500 souls is a project of eccentric millionaire and Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, who reportedly planned the town as an ultra- conservative Catholic enclave in an isolated stretch of Florida countryside. Read more

Absentee Agency: Is The IRS Ready To Police Pulpit Politicking?

The Internal Revue Service indicated earlier this year that it has the proper mechanism in place to investigate houses of worship that break the law by engaging in partisan politicking. But recent comments by the tax agency’s top official indicate there’s still some confusion about this issue. Read more

Election Reflection: No Matter Who Is Running What, We’ll Keep Defending The Wall

Religious Right groups are crowing about the results of yesterday’s elections, and they have reason to: There’s no doubt that the next Congress is going to be more welcoming to right wingers who are obsessed with social issues.

With so many more far-right conservatives coming into Congress, it’s inevitable that we’ll see a ramping up of the “culture wars.” That’s unfortunate because I doubt that’s what most people were voting for yesterday. Read more

History Hysteria: Md. Dad Flips Out Over Daughter’s High School Study Of Islam

When an extremist dad found out his daughter had received an assignment to learn about the rise of Islam in history, he got more than a little upset. In fact, he went so far as to threaten the school.

The Maryland Independent in Charles County reported last week that Kevin Wood, a former corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, was slapped with a no-trespassing order after he made vague threats over the phone to La Plata High School Vice Principal Shannon Morris. Read more

Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion

A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.

The proposal put forth by the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is pretty wide-ranging and is being pitched as a way to protect “Southern” (read: pro-Confederate) culture. It contains 12 subsections. Read more

Workplace Worship?: New Seminary Course Could Be Master Class In Religious Discrimination

The Supreme Court in June handed down its verdict in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, and, just as we feared, that ruling’s reverberations continue to be felt as the Religious Right adopts the cause of corporate religion. Now, Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago has introduced an initiative that appears directly inspired by the ruling – and motivated by a desire to encourage more business owners to introduce religion into secular workplaces.
Read more

We’ve Got (Hate) Mail!: Right-Wing Pastors React To AU’s Pulpit Politicking Letter

Every other year during election season, Americans United reminds clergy nationwide to stay out of partisan politics.

Most religious leaders have no problem respecting the federal tax code’s prohibition against campaign intervention by houses of worship and other non-profits that are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Read more

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