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All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

Towey’s Hypocritical Hooey: Bush ‘Faith Czar’ Complains About Politicization Of White House Faith-Based Office

James Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush, had an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal recently carping because President Barack Obama has used his administration’s “faith-based” offices to let Americans know about the new health-care law.

Towey says if he had politicized his office that way, Bush would have fired him.

Oh, now that is rich.

Celebrating Choice: Obama Professes Faith In Christianity – And American Religious Liberty

President Barack Obama got it right on Tuesday.

When he was asked about his Christian faith at an event in Albuquerque, N.M., he said he has his own personal religious beliefs but recognizes that other Americans have theirs.

The question was posed by a woman at a backyard conversation, one of a series of meetings Obama is holding to talk informally with Americans. She asked him, “Why are you a Christian?”

Orange County (CA) Chapter Hosts Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

On Saturday, October 16th, at 2:00 PM Orange County AU will host Dean Erwin Chemerinsky speaking on "The Supreme Court and the Future of Church-State Separation."

One of Dean Chemerinsky's longstanding causes has been the separation of church and state. He represented plaintiffs who sought to remove granite Ten Commandments from the Texas State Capitol.  He supports abortion rights and was on the board of the Southern California American Civil Liberties Union for a decade.

He has also favored removing the words "under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.  Chemerinsky opposed Prop. 8 and said allowing it to pass would be an "incalculable blow to progress."

Pop Quiz: Americans Flunk Test On Religion In Public Schools

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life yesterday released the results of a quiz on religion it gave to about 3,400 Americans. The results are being much discussed on the Web, chiefly because Pew found that atheists and agnostics did better on the 32-question test than evangelicals, Catholics and mainline Protestants.

Texas SBOE Does It Again!

By Nate Hennagin

On Friday, in a slim 7-6 decision, the Texas State Board of Education passed a resolution that purports to correct alleged “pro-Islam/anti-Christian” language in public school textbooks. The inflammatory resolution is another example of the SBOE putting politics before education and only adds more fuel to anti-Islam rhetoric.

Melee In Modesto: California Community Debates Creationism In Science Class

It’s the debate that never ends – thanks to an aggressive minority that insists religious beliefs belong in the science classroom.

California public school teacher Mark Ferrante belongs in that group. According to the Modesto Bee, Ferrante recently announced that he planned to teach the latest variant of creationism, “intelligent design” (ID), alongside evolution at Modesto’s Roosevelt Junior High, sparking quite the community discussion.

Army Maneuvers: Military Officials Should Leave Proselytizing To Civilians

Last week, Americans United urged Army officials to cancel an evangelistic event at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Unfortunately, we found out about this rather late. The complaint came in on Thursday, and “Rock The Fort” was scheduled for Saturday. AU’s Legal Department swung into gear with a strong letter to military officials, but it was not enough; they refused to cancel the event.

North Shore AU - September

Rounding out the month, the North Shore AU chapter will host an event on September 30 to discuss the next strategies in the evolution/creationism wars. Chapter president Matt Lowry recently had an opportunity to go "into the lion's den" and attend a talk by Casey Luskin, Fellow of the Discovery Institute. Matt will share the information he picked up from this event, and from recent research, on what the Discovery Institute's next assault against science and the church-state separation wall might be.

The program takes place Thursday, September 30th, from 7:00-9:00 PM at the Northbrook Public Library in the Pollack Room. The library is located at 1202 Cedar Lane, Northbrook, IL. The talk is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided. If you live in the Chicago area you won't want to miss this!

Flagler County AU - September

Because religion and partisan politics shouldn't mix, the Flagler County AU chapter hosted a discussion on September 21st to review and formulate a response under Project Fair Play to local concerns. In recent years, a small but aggressive band of political and religious leaders has pushed to politicize America’s houses of worship. These activists want to turn churches into cogs in a political machine that will elect candidates of their choice. The drive has reached a fever pitch.

Chapter leaders shared with community members the understanding that federal tax law is not intended to penalize churches and other tax-exempt entities or restrict their free speech rights. The rules are in place simply to distinguish between religious, educational and charitable institutions, which are entitled to tax exemption, and political organizations, which are not.

Area residents were encouraged to share their experiences with house of worship politicking.

Greater Houston AU discussion on religion's influence on public schools

On September 20th the Greater Houston chapter, along with co-sponsors Planned Parenthood and The Houston Federation of Teachers, hosted a discussion on how religion is influencing what public schoolchildren are taught.

The panel includes Meryl Cohen, vice president of education with Planned Parenthood, who talked about sexuality education. Chris Comer, former director of science in the curriculum division of the Texas Education Agency, who spoke about science. And Andrew Dewey, high school history teacher and executive vice president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, who talked about how history is taught in public schools.

To get involved with the Houston chapter contact