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A Cross – The Great Divide: Justices Seem Split On Calif. Religious Symbol Case

I spent the morning at the Supreme Court attending oral arguments in Salazar v. Buono – a case focusing on a cross on display in the Mojave National Preserve in California.

I'm not going to pretend I understand all of the ins and outs of this complex case because I'm not a lawyer. I rely on AU's legal team to do that. But I did garner a few impressions from the argument. Read more

Land O' Lies: SBC Lobbyist Compares Health-Care Reform Advocates To Nazis

I understand that people have different views on the issue of health-care reform.

My family and I rely on my health-care plan, and I want to make sure it's there for us. At the same time, I can't accept the fact that so many millions of my fellow citizens are without coverage. I don't see those two concerns as irreconcilable. Read more

Critical Mass: Justices Gather In D.C. For Special Religious Service

The U.S. Supreme Court is back in session today, which means Justice Sonia Sotomayor has taken her seat on the bench for the first time.

Yesterday morning was another first for the junior justice. She attended the Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle as a VIP guest. Read more

Friday Follies: A Round-up Of Stories From Here, There And Everywhere

It's Friday, and here's a quick round-up of some stories with church-state overtones that you might have missed:

* Remember the proselytizing cheerleaders in north Georgia? A lot of people are getting worked up over that, and I feel certain that a "fair and balanced" Fox News report isn't far off. Read more

Lodi Letdown: Calif. City Votes To Continue Official Prayers

I wrote earlier this week about the increasing religious diversity of America and the rise of "nones" – people who say they belong to no specific religious group.

As the face of American religion changes, it's bound to have implications for public policy. All units of government will need to find ways to include everyone, regardless of what they believe or don't believe about God. Read more

Tears For Cheers: Georgians Lament School Limit On Cheerleader Preaching

Last night, cheerleaders at Lakeview-Fort Olgethorpe (LFO) High School were more popular than ever.

According the Chattanooga Times Free Press, more than 500 people showed up at a rally outside a Chik-fil-A Restaurant in Fort Olgethorpe, Ga., to support these young women who wanted to display signs with Bible verses at football games. Read more

Too Many 'Nones'?: Religious Right Bothered By 'Do-It-Yourself' Spirituality

A new survey about religion in America has the Religious Right all worked up.

Researchers at Trinity College in Hartford noted a sharp rise in the number of Americans who, when asked to state their religious preference, replied "none." According to some polls, this bloc of Americans now accounts for about 15 percent, and Trinity researchers say it may rise to 20 percent by 2030. Read more

Bucks County Church/State Symposium a Success

The Bucks County Chapter of Americans United hosted a wonderful symposium on Saturday.  The event featured fourteen speakers from a wide variety of disciplines and viewpoints. Topics included same-sex marriage (discussed by both a minister of a progressive church and a philosophy professor), the role of church and state in Islam, the judicial agenda of the Christian Right, whether politicians’ embrace of religion risks diluting the Christian faith, and issues of constitutional law.  The talks were informative and sometimes provocative, and the audience was very engaged.

If you weren't able to attend, the topics and speakers are listed below: Read more

'Faith-Based' Accord: Diverse Voices Are Wary Of Government Religion Subsidies

As you may recall, earlier this month, Americans United and allied groups urged Attorney General Eric Holder to revoke a Bush-era rule regarding "faith-based" funding for religious groups.

In 2007, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued a legal memo providing a blanket right for religious organizations to discriminate in hiring staff, even if they receive federal funds. Read more