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

Sanctifying The Sabbath?: North Carolina Law Prohibiting Early Voting On Sundays Harms Minorities

Mark Creech, director of the American Family Association’s North Carolina affiliate, normally views government with a wary eye. But the state’s unprecedented roll back of voting rights banned polling on Sundays, and suddenly Creech is singing a new tune.
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Back To Prayer?: California Officials Sponsor Religious Event To Kick Off School Year

As public school students head back to class this week in a number of districts nationwide, the Religious Right and its allies wasted no time stirring up trouble with a back-to-school prayer stunt in California.  

Yesterday in Bakersfield, around 100 people showed up for an event sponsored by state and local politicians to offer prayers for the coming school year, which started today. It was held at the Liberty Bell (a replica of the original), which sits outside the Kern County Building. Read more

A Week Off?: New Religious Right-Inspired Event Promotes Bad History

Kansas schoolchildren will take part in “Celebrate Freedom Week” next month thanks to a recently-passed bill intended, its authors say, to celebrate the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Sounds innocuous enough—who could possibly object to a celebration of the Constitution?  
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Conference Conundrum: Family Research Council VP Abandons Speaking Engagement After Host’s Neo-Confederate Ties Are Revealed

For the average Religious Right leader, getting into bed with Glenn Beck is usually a pretty good career move. After all, Beck’s empire still brings in boatloads of cash despite his expulsion from Fox News. The problem is Beck himself isn’t exactly picky about his partners, and that can lead to serious embarrassment – as Family Research Council Executive Vice President William G. “Jerry” Boykin recently discovered. Read more

Firing Offense: Calif. Catholic School Instructor Axed For Same-Sex Wedding

For the past week or so, I’ve been receiving press releases from a public relations firm representing students and former students at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora, Calif. They are not happy.

It seems that Ken Bencomo, who taught English at the school for 17 years, was recently fired from the Catholic institution. These folks want him to get his job back. Read more

What’s In A Name?: Tenn. Judge Changes Baby’s Moniker Because It Could Offend Christians

We have so much freedom in the United States, that you can name your child almost anything you want (just ask little Adolf Hitler Campbell). But one judge in Tennessee has decided to draw the line for a baby named “Messiah” because it could be offensive to Christians. Read more

Faith And Foreign Policy: New State Department Office Promotes ‘Religious Engagement’

The State Department’s newest office looks to religion for policy solutions.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry formally launched the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives, to be headed by Wesley Theological Seminary’s Dr. Shaun Casey. Read more

Dangerous Wave: School Voucher Tsunami Threatens To Swamp Public Education

The surge of vouchers in states nationwide threatens to become a tidal wave as 13 states either expanded or created voucher or neo-voucher programs in 2013. Read more

Oath Oppression: It Makes No Sense To Coerce People To Swear To A God They Don’t Believe In

Way back in the 1630s, the leaders of Puritan Massachusetts got the bright idea that every adult in the colony should be required to swear a loyalty oath to the governor that ended with the phrase “So help me God.”

The iconoclastic Puritan preacher Roger Williams was not impressed.

“A magistrate ought not to tender an oath to an unregenerate man,” he observed. Doing so, Williams asserted, would cause the oath taker “to take the name of God in vain.” Read more