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

Big Bill: S.C. Ordered To Pay $135,000 In Legal Fees After Losing Marriage Equality Case

Now that marriage equality is officially on the books in the United States, the bills racked up by state officials who decided to listen to the Religious Right in defense of a lost cause are coming due. One of those debts is apparently pretty large, as a federal judge just ordered South Carolina to pay $135,000 in fees. Read more

Sex (Mis)Education: ‘Abstinence-Only’ Programs Still Fail Public School Students

John Oliver is a comedian; his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, is satirical. But this week’s episode highlighted a real problem: Flawed sex education in public schools.

“There is no required standard for sex ed in this country,” Oliver pointed out. “In fact, only 22 states mandate that kids receive it, and only 13 require that the information presented be medically accurate.”

It’s a sorry state of affairs – “a weird patchwork system,” to quote Oliver – and it exists largely because of the Religious Right. Read more

Liberty’s Latest Ploy: What’s Up With The Sanders Invite?

The announcement that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will speak at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Sept. 14 has left a lot of people scratching their heads. Has the world been turned upside down?

From Sanders’ perspective, the move makes sense. He’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, and it never really hurts a candidate to go into the lion’s den and stare down the opposition. Many supporters will see that as an act of political courage; you can almost hear them holler, “Give ‘em hell, Bernie!” Read more

Paying The Piper: Texas Attorney General Faces Contempt Charge For Marriage Equality Non-Cooperation

Some Religious Right operatives have said they would rather go to jail than accept marriage equality in the states. Although Texas’ attorney general has not yet made so bold a statement, he may nonetheless spend some time behind bars for his refusal to cooperate with the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decision. Read more

No Persecution Here: IRS Commissioner Says Tax Agency Has No Plans To Punish Christian Colleges That Reject Marriage Equality

The far right makes no secret of its hatred for the Internal Revenue Service, but recent comments by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen should earn the agency a few brownie points with fundamentalists who fear that Christian colleges will be forced to extend benefits to married same-sex couples or risk their tax exemptions. Read more

The Cardinal’s Gasbag: Catholic League Leader Rushes To Defend Dolan From AU Criticism

There is a thing called Godwin’s Law on the internet. It holds that if an online argument goes on long enough, someone will drag in a reference to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. At that point, that person has lost.

Today I’d like to propose a corollary to Godwin’s Law: Anyone who compares a non-racist organization to the Ku Klux Klan has lost as well. Read more

Paying For The Pope?: Pa. Government Seeks Taxpayer Funds For Costs Associated With Papal Visit

Pope Francis will visit the United States in September, with scheduled stops in Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C. But as the date of his arrival draws nearer, it seems some localities are concerned about the costs associated with a papal visit – so they’re looking for a taxpayer bailout. Read more

No More ‘Jesus Pizza:’ Court Tells Colo. Cowboy Church To Hit The Trail

The Cowboy Church of the Crossroads may no longer meet in a public high school, according to the terms of a new settlement. ABC 7 reports that a federal court issued a consent decree that requires Florence, Co.,-based church to find a new home.

The settlement ends a legal battle between the Fremont RE-2 School District and a former teacher over Florence High School’s alleged promotion of the church. Read more

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