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

Valiant Vote: Alaska Assembly Decides Against Government-Sponsored Prayers

A local government in a conservative state recently made a surprising decision – it voted not to open its meetings with an official prayer.

The Ketchikan, Alaska, Gateway Borough Assembly voted this week not to incorporate official invocations into its meeting agenda by a count of 5-2.

Given the controversial nature of this issue, there was quite a bit of debate before the vote. KTOO News, an Alaska radio network, reported that 10 people spoke in favor of official prayer and eight against it. Read more

Atrocious Amendment: Alabama’s Anti-Sharia Ballot Measure Is Unnecessary, Unconstitutional

Next month, Alabama voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on Amendment One, which would add a provision to the state constitution that ostensibly attempts to ban Islamic, or Sharia, law. It’s hardly the first bill of its kind. Last year, state legislatures in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Oklahoma debated similar measures; Missouri’s bill never made it past the governor’s desk. In the other states, the bills were limited to family law. Read more

Ralph Reed’s Rebound?: Fallen Fundamentalist Icon Hopes To Influence Upcoming Elections

As the November elections approach, it seems a second-tier advocacy group run by a disgraced Religious Right icon is gearing up to make a major impact.

Politico reported this week that Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition (FFC) is planning an all-out blitz in states like Colorado, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Louisiana and North Carolina in the hope that Republicans and can take control of the U.S. Senate. Read more

Bad News From The Badger State: More Wisc. Voucher Students Get Taxpayer Dollars For Religious Education

The number of students using vouchers to attend private schools in the Oshkosh, Wisc., area grew rapidly in the past year, showing once again that so-called “school choice” schemes are frequently little more than a taxpayer-funded bailout for religious schools. Read more

The Subpoena Saga: Houston Officials’ Misstep Feeds Religious Right Persecution Complex

Last week, a story began circulating in the media about five conservative churches that were subpoenaed in Houston and ordered to turn over any sermons they had delivered about gay rights (along with a lot of other material).

Religious Right groups went ballistic. It often turns out in cases like this that what’s really going is less horrifying than the far right would have you believe. In this case, it turns out they actually had a point. Read more

Piety Or Prison No More: Atheist Jailed For Refusal To Enter Faith-Based Drug Rehab Program Receives Large Settlement

An atheist who once spent 100 days in prison because he refused to enter a religion-based rehab program has been awarded a sizable settlement for his unjust treatment.

Back in 2007, Californian Barry Hazle was busted for possession of methamphetamine and sentenced to one year in jail. Hazle was paroled, but to stay out of jail he had to enter a treatment program. That’s where Hazle, described in media reports as a lifelong atheist, ran into trouble. Read more

Divine Discrimination?: Religious Refusals Likely To Grow In Marriage Equality’s Wake

North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban is probably history. But the Supreme Court’s decision to let a lower court ruling striking the ban doesn’t sit so well with the Religious Right, and thanks to the efforts of local extremists, a new front in the civil rights battle has emerged: religious refusals. Read more

The Walking Dead?: Despite What Some Claim, The Religious Right Is Alive And Kicking

Just as author and humorist Mark Twain was once pronounced dead prematurely, so too it seems is the case with the Religious Right.

Last week, Politico published a story on “how Republicans lost the culture war.” Author Bill Scher writes that the GOP “stopped being savvy on abortion,” “got weird about birth control” and “bet wrong on gay marriage.” Read more

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