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

Thanksgiving, 2007: What I'm Thankful For – Besides The Turkey And Dressing

When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner today, do you plan to say grace?

If so, what religious tradition will the prayer come from? Will it be a blessing from the Jewish, Muslim or Hindu faiths? Will it be Catholic, Mormon or one of the infinite varieties of Protestant denominations?

Maybe you won't offer a prayer at all, instead simply thanking the cook for the bounteous meal set before you rather than a deity of any sort.

The choice – in America – is yours. Read more

Unplug The Christmas Tree?: TV Preacher Robertson Says Familiar Holiday Symbol Isn't Worth The Fuss

Has TV preacher Pat Robertson joined the "War on Christmas"?

Probably not. But last week, Robertson had the temerity to point out that Christmas trees really aren't very Christian and recommended that not a lot of time be spent defending them. Speaking on his "700 Club" show Nov. 15, Robertson pointed out that Christmas trees "come from Teutonic Paganism" and "are not an integral part of Christianity." Read more

The Company They Keep: Coral Ridge Reaches Out To Christian Reconstructionist Fringe

Most public figures don't like being tagged as radical or situated on the fringes of the nation's political landscape. The same stands mostly true for plenty of the nation's Religious Right honchos.

When they are accused of keeping company with far out - I mean, really far out -- theocratic thinkers, they shout bloody murder. They whine and bellyache over those associations and accuse those of us who bring them up of being unfair or duplicitous. They try to change the subject to attacking those who notice the fringe ties in an effort to divert us from observing the obvious. Read more

Quiet Resolve: Judge Casts Wary Eye On Illinois Moment-Of-Silence Law

Silence, the old saying goes, is golden.

Except when it isn't. A federal district court in Illinois ruled yesterday that the state's mandatory moment of silence in public schools must not be enforced until questions about its constitutionality are resolved.

Earlier this year, the legislature overwhelmingly passed the measure. Proponents denied that the bill was intended to advance religion, but it clearly was. Read more

Rain Man: Ga. Governor's Prayer For Precipitation Flouts Founders' Aims

"It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring. Bumped his head as he went to bed and couldn't get up in the morning!"

Oh, how Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue wishes he were the old man in that nursery rhyme, falling asleep to the pitter-patter of raindrops on his window! On Tuesday, Perdue gathered three Protestant ministers, a gospel choir and a crowd of nearly 250 citizens on the steps of the state capitol building to pray for rain. Read more

Intelligent TV: PBS Program Features Dover Creationism Battle

The town of Dover, Pa., gained new and unfortunate recognition when, in late fall of 2004, its school board became the first in the country to introduce "intelligent design" (ID) into the public school biology curriculum. Students were to be read a four-paragraph statement which questioned the validity of evolution and directed students who wanted to learn more about ID to a creationist textbook in the school's library.   Read more