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

Sinking Ship?: Creationist Ministry Continues To Over-Promise On Ky. ‘Ark Park’

P.T. Barnum, founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, promoted a number of hoaxes in his day. He probably never said “there’s a sucker born every minute,” but it seems he embraced that idea throughout his career. Now, it appears Barnum has an ideological descendant in Ken Ham, head of a creationist ministry that is trying to build a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark in Kentucky. Read more

Stamp Of Disapproval: AFA Wants To Cancel Postal Honor For Gay-Rights Pioneer

When I was a kid, I enjoyed collecting stamps. Although I didn’t stay with the hobby into adulthood, I still like to buy my stamps online so I can see the whole range of what the U.S. Post Office has to offer.

I keep my eyes open for issues that depict subjects beyond the usual flags and flowers. The recently released Jimi Hendrix stamp was a real find. Read more

Pledging To Respect Everyone’s Rights: N.Y. School Allows Student To Opt Out Of Patriotic Exercise

A spat over a high school student’s decision to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance has been favorably resolved. The administrators of Southside High School in Elmira, N.Y., have agreed to allow a student to sit during the Pledge in response to a letter from the American Humanist Association (AHA).
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Dazed And Dogma’ed: Discredited Scientology-Linked Narconon Remains In Some Calif. Public Schools

It seems an anti-drug program rooted in the Church of Scientology never left California’s public schools even though it was supposedly removed nearly a decade ago.

A recent investigative report by Nanette Asimov of the San Francisco Chronicle detailed the resilience of “Narconon,” a Scientology-founded program that church members claim can help people wrestling with substance abuse. Read more

General Embarrassment: Army Reprimands Former Officer Boykin

Let’s pretend that Americans United hired a former Army general for a top executive position. And let’s pretend that it came to light that this man had written a memoir containing sensitive information that compromised the security goals of the United States – a book he hadn’t bothered to first vet with the Pentagon, by the way.

How do you think the far right would be reacting? What would they be saying about Americans United? Read more

A Biblical Catastrophe: New Details Stoke Concerns Over Okla. Public School Bible Class

Emerging details about Hobby Lobby owner Steve Green’s controversial Bible class appear to confirm concerns about its sectarian intentions. The class, which is currently being challenged by Americans United, the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, is set to enter public schools in Mustang, Okla., next year.
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Name Games: Judge Formerly Affiliated With Liberty University Delays Transgender Woman’s Name-Change Request

Jerry Falwell Jr’s Liberty University has long sought to rule the town of Lynchburg, Va., and while it never quite succeeded in a full-on takeover, fundamentalists associated with the school still wield considerable influence there.

Just ask a transgender woman named Juliana Fialkowski. Read more