The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Yesterday Americans United reported six churches to the Internal Revenue Service for violating federal tax law by endorsing candidates from the pulpit. Five of the churches were taking part in the so-called "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund. (The sixth was inspired by it.) Read more
Today Religious Right activists and their politician allies are all worked up about the Capitol Visitor Center, which is scheduled to open in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 2.
They are complaining that the Center, funded by more than $600 million in taxpayer dollars, is too secular and doesn't display America's "Christian heritage." Apparently, they would rather push their own version of American history -- that America is a "Christian nation" -- so citizens who are non-Christian feel second-class when they tour our nation's capitol. Read more
The Rev. Gus Booth is one of a handful of clergy who plan to endorse political candidates from the pulpit this Sunday as part of a Religious Right scheme to turn churches into a right-wing political machine.
Booth, pastor of the Warroad Community Church in Warroad, Minn., says he has every right to tell his parishioners how to vote. Read more
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
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
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
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
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