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

Presentation Problems: Sectarian Speakers Find Ways To Preach To Public School Students

Public schools are paying religious groups to speak to students, and the presentations aren’t always as secular as they claim, Slate reported today.

According to investigative journalist Katherine Stewart, some groups bent on spreading a sectarian message in public schools have discovered an “effective” way into what should be a secular setting. Read more

Legal Lesson: Texas Lt. Gov. Is Clueless About American History And The First Amendment

It seems Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has a poor understanding of both American history and the First Amendment. So let’s take a few moments to educate him.

In a recent viewpoint piece published by the San Antonio Express-News, Patrick attempted to argue that religious freedom is under attack in the United States, which is contradictory to America’s “Christian nation” roots. Read more

There He Goes Again: Justice Scalia Continues Attacking Religious Neutrality

The government, at least in theory, is supposed to be neutral on matters of theology, neither favoring religion nor irreligion.

In a 1989 case called Texas Monthly v. Bullock, Justice William Brennan wrote, “In proscribing all laws ‘respecting an establishment of religion,’ the Constitution prohibits, at the very least, legislation that constitutes an endorsement of one or another set of religious beliefs or of religion generally.” Read more

Our Top Stories: Ten Prominent Church-State Flaps From 2015

As 2015 winds down, you’ll encounter a lot of lists – best movies of the year, what’s hot and what’s not and so on. Well, here’s our version of that: a list of what we at “The Wall of Separation” consider to be the Top Ten church-state stories of 2015: Read more

Selective Worry: Poll Shows Americans Have Greater Concern For The Rights Of Christians

A new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll reports that Americans overwhelmingly prioritize the religious freedom rights of Christians over other faith groups.

The results, released early this morning, suggest that 82 percent of Americans believe that it’s important for the U.S. government to protect Christians. Seventy percent said the same for Jews. Read more

Sweet Justice?: Bakery Owners Finally Pay Fine For Discriminating Against Lesbian Couple

The former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa have finally paid a state-mandated fine for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple – months after they were ordered to do so.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer in July, but in October, the Kleins announced that they would not comply with the order while it was on appeal. Read more

No Liberal Hero Here: Pope May Have Helped Derail Marriage Equality In Slovenia

Pope Francis’ reputation for being relatively liberal coupled with the fact that marriage equality is the law of the land in the United States has left many Americans hoping that the Roman Catholic Church is prepared to soften its stance on same-sex unions. But if recent events in Slovenia are any indication, the church has yet to change its mind. Read more

Freedom Of Conscience: The Greatest Gift Of All

People sometimes ask me why I got so interested in defending separation of church and state. The answer is simple: As a kid, I was sent to a Catholic school for eight years.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a lot of good teachers there and learned many things. But I found the school’s tendency to micro-manage prayer troubling. Three times a day, like clockwork, a nun, priest or lay teacher would order everyone to stand up and pray. In unison, we would chant one of two prayers – the “Our Father” or the “Hail Mary” – before sitting down for the lesson. Read more

Unmighty Rohrer: Fundamentalist Can’t Understand Why Some Churches Don’t Want To Fight The ‘Culture War’

Every few days I can count on getting a press release from something called the American Pastors Network quoting a guy named Sam Rohrer. Rohrer is one of these far-right, fundamentalist characters who is always displeased about something.

Most often, Rohrer is unhappy because people aren’t doing what he thinks they ought to do. Take America’s pastors, for example. They aren’t beating on the gays enough. Read more

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