The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
There are those who think the Constitution’s guarantee of religious liberty means they can do almost anything in the name of their beliefs. Fortunately a federal district court didn’t quite see it that way when it said a preacher doesn’t have the right to proselytize in homeless shelters run by New York City. Read more
President Barack Obama recently announced his selection for U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. It is Ken Hackett, former head of Catholic Relief Services.
Hackett seems well regarded by a lot of people in Catholic circles, but I’m still troubled by the choice. Once again, the president has felt obligated to name not only a Catholic, but one who meets the approval of conservative factions within the Roman Catholic Church. Read more
Fifty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme handed down one of its most important church-state rulings. In School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, the high court ruled 8-1 that state-mandated programs of Bible reading and prayer in public schools are unconstitutional.
Five decades later, the ruling in Schempp (and its companion case, Murray v. Curlett) remains widely misunderstood. Part of this is due to a deliberate campaign of misinformation by Religious Right groups, which have distorted the scope of the decision. Read more
Whenever I hear someone – especially a politician – say that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, I just want to start screaming.
As I’ve pointed out many times on this blog and in other forums, that statement is inane and shows great ignorance of our founding principles. Religious Right figures started using it a few years ago, apparently believing they had stumbled onto something clever. In fact, they are simply spouting puerile nonsense. Read more
Government officials have an obligation to represent all of us, no matter what their personal religious beliefs may be.
Occasionally some officials lose sight of this fact. It happened in Vero Beach, Fla., recently with near-disastrous results for Mayor Craig Fletcher.
During a meeting of the city council, members of the Humanists of the Treasure Coast asked that the council officially recognize Humanist Recognition Week. Such requests are pretty routine and are normally granted without much fanfare. Read more
Sunday was my 30th birthday, and the Religious Right got me a pretty rotten gift – the latest installment of the so-called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.”
As you may recall, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” was created in 2008 by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an Arizona-based Religious Right legal outfit founded by right-wing radio and television preachers. The ADF says it has encouraged pastors to give sermons “that present biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates.” Read more
By the end of the month, the courthouse in Bradford County, Fla., will be home to a large granite bench covered with quotes from famous skeptics and atheists.
How did this happen? Is Bradford County some sort of hotbed of atheism? Read more