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

A Global Movement: State Department Report Reveals Religious Right On The Rise

The State Department yesterday released its annual report on the status of religious freedom around the world. And the results are not particularly encouraging: The report concludes that the right to practice religion (or the lack thereof) freely, and without reprisal, is under threat around the globe. Read more

The Other Marriage Debate: Who Gets To Perform The Ceremonies?

As the debate over same-sex marriage moves through the courts, a quieter legal challenge is also under way: Who should have the legal right to perform marriage ceremonies?

In some states, it can be difficult to legally get a wholly secular official to perform your marriage ceremony. Judges are often available, but they may be able to officiate at marriages only during limited hours. For people who want to celebrate with their family and friends on a weekend, a judge may not be an option. Read more

Texas Textbook Troubles: Lone Star State Grapples With Tome Review Process – Again

The news out of Texas is depressingly familiar.

The Lone Star State is in the process of reviewing public school social studies textbooks. Texas, as you might have noticed, is a large state. It has no shortage of first-class public and private universities. These institutions are full of scholars who have expertise in areas like history, civics, economics and so on. Read more

Fringe Furor: Extremists Denounce Executive Order Banning Anti-Gay Discrimination

President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday prohibiting discrimination against LGBT employees by organizations that receive federal funds. Notably, the order contains no religious exemptions for faith-based organizations, despite an earlier request from 14 faith leaders (though one later had her name removed from the request). Read more

Ukraine’s Sorrow: Troubled Country Invaded By U.S. Religious Right

Yesterday I received a press release from something calling itself the “American Pastors Network” discussing the group’s recent activities in Ukraine.

I get releases from this organization a lot. Although it calls itself “the first and largest national network of Bible-believing pastors,” the organization seems to consist mainly of a number of fundamentalist preachers in Pennsylvania. Usually they are fulminating against same-sex marriage and gay rights. They really do not like LGBT people. Read more

Access Denied: The Religious Right Opens Up A New Front On Its War Against Birth Control

Some commentators continue to insist that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was no big deal. It’s a narrow ruling, they insist, and there are other ways to ensure that women can get access to birth control. Read more

Hawkeye Revival: Iowa Governor Formally Asks His State To Pray And Repent

In a move straight out of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s playbook, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad issued an official proclamation instructing citizens to pray and repent and presided over a revival event on the grounds of the state capitol.

In April, Branstad signed the proclamation urging everyone in the state of Iowa to repent and pray daily. He also invited them to join in a day of prayer, fasting and repentance on July 14 on the grounds of the state capitol. Read more

Class Warfare?: Controversial Bible Elective Now Delayed In Oklahoma

Citing “unforeseen delays,” the Green Scholars Initiative has announced that a potentially unconstitutional Bible class will not be introduced in Mustang, Okla., public schools as planned this fall, and will instead delay the class until next January. The Green Scholars Initiative designed the class and is directly funded by the Green family, the owners of Hobby Lobby.
Read more

Good News From Greece: Atheist Invocation Goes Off Without A Hitch

Last night, an atheist offered a secular invocation before a meeting of the Greece, N.Y., Town Board.

The ground did not open up and send the town of Greece hurling into the bowels of hell. No one was struck by lightning. In fact, all that happened is that the members of the town board and those attending the event heard a thoughtful invocation delivered by local resident Dan Courtney. Read more

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