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

Under The Radar: Secret Pastors' Briefings Seem To Have Partisan Purpose

A shadowy collection of Religious Right fat cats appears to be working behind the scenes to encourage churches to promote the presidential candidacy of Mike Huckabee.

For months, Americans United has been receiving reports about state-based groups with names that include words like "renewal" and "restoration." The idea seems to be to bring together fundamentalist pastors for closed-door meetings that, organizers say, discuss social issues. Read more

The Ties That Bind: Louisiana Gov. Jindal And The Religious Right

We know the Religious Right movement is far from politically dead. On the contrary, plenty of proof exists that it continues to thrive in numerous spots across the country.

Take Louisiana, for example. Earlier this week, Bobby Jindal, a 36-year-old Indian-American, took the reins as the state's 55th governor. Jindal, who served two terms in Congress as a representative of a suburban New Orleans district, broke through racial divisiveness in the state by touting his personal faith. Read more

The Constitution And 'God's Standards': What Would Jefferson Do?

Yesterday, at a campaign stop in Michigan, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee expressed his desire that the U.S. Constitution reflect "God's standards"

"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution," he said, "but I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards." Read more

Elastic Euphemism: Aren't We All 'Values Voters'?

Would you rather live next to a "sanitation facility" or a "garbage dump"? The former sounds a lot less unpleasant, although both places may smell the same at the end of the day.

Euphemisms are an important part of any language. They are usually used to mask something that's not so nice. Corporations don't fire people any more; they "downsize." Tax hikes are "revenue enhancement." Even death is often referred to as "passing." Read more

Citizen Cain: TV Preacher Robertson May Buy Local Newspaper – And Kill Its Critical Coverage

If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em out. That seems to be Pat Robertson's policy for press criticism.

After decades of operating a faux-news operation from his "700 Club" perch at the Christian Broadcasting Network, Robertson is now expressing interest in purchasing The Virginian-Pilot, a real news organ that has offered critical coverage of the TV evangelist. Read more

Bible Battle: Court Says Missionaries Don't Belong In Mo. Public School

For as long as anyone can remember, South Iron R-1 School District in rural Missouri gave Gideons International exclusive access to students in fifth-grade classrooms. The missionaries were allowed to come in, give a short presentation and hand out Bibles to the children.

No one really objected until 2005, when a parent saw the Bible her daughter brought home had a signature line under the declaration: "My Decision to Receive Christ as My Saviour." Read more

Jefferson Hijacked!: Religious Right Seeks To Misuse Religious Freedom Day

Jan. 16 is "Religious Freedom Day," an occasion to commemorate the passage of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786.

The Statute is an eloquent indictment of government meddling in religion. Drafted by Jefferson 12 years before the ratification of the First Amendment's religion clauses, it laid the ground work for the separation of church and state we enjoy today. Read more

Appealing Apostate: Prodigal Son Frank Schaeffer Roasts Religious Right

It's always interesting when a high-profile Religious Right activist has a change of heart.

Consider Frank Schaeffer. The name may not be familiar to you, but Schaeffer's father, theologian and Presbyterian pastor Francis Schaeffer, was pivotal in the creation of the Religious Right. As John W. Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute wrote recently, "In fact, without the influence of Francis Schaeffer, who often was prodded into action by Frank, the so-called Christian Right of today would not exist." Read more

Southern Gothic: Georgia Reconstructionist May Get To See Rock City

A longtime Atlanta megachurch leader with ties to the extreme Christian Reconstructionist agenda is under a criminal investigation for possible perjury.

Earl Paulk Jr. was pastor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church (now called the Cathedral at Chapel Hill), at one time one of Atlanta's largest congregations. But in recent years, he has become mired in litigation that is garnering media glare and exposing a web of misdeeds and heartache. Read more