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

The Bishop's Political Pastoral: Selective Coercion?

Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs has issued a pastoral letter saying that American Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for candidates who defy church teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and other social issues, according to The New York Times. This proclamation comes on the heels of moves by others in the Catholic hierarchy to deny communion to politicians who stray from church doctrine.

Politicizing the Communion Line

Almost 50 years ago, candidate John F. Kennedy assured a skeptical America that the Catholic Church would not influence his decisions as President. Kennedy believed "in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." An increasingly aggressive Catholic hierarchy is undermining this historic principle by attempting to control the votes of Catholic politicians on important social issues.

Rove, Falwell Back Off On Politicking At Graduation

When TV preacher Jerry Falwell announced that White House political strategist Karl Rove would deliver the commencement address at Liberty University May 8, Americans United quickly swung into action.

AU, noting that Liberty is a tax-exempt education institution, had some advice for Falwell and Rove in a press statement: Don't even think about turning the graduation ceremony into a Bush-for-president rally. (The IRS Code flatly bars churches and other tax-exempt entities from patisan electioneering.)

Blessing Bush: Partisan Day of Prayer?

Is the National Day of Prayer Task Force using its non-profit status to broadcast a partisan message in this heated election season? President Bush hosted a National Day of Prayer event with religious leaders at the White House today, and the event will be broadcast in prime-time tonight on evangelical Christian cable and satellite TV outlets as well as on  the Internet.

Darby, Mont., Voters Get An 'A' In Science

Residents of Darby, Mont., have just put a stop to an attempt to teach religion in science classes.

On Tuesday night, voters in the small town overwhelmingly chose two school board candidates who support teaching evolution. They rejected one board incumbent and another candidate supported by a local minister who proposed teaching "intelligent design." (One of the defeated candidates was Gina Schallenberger, the board chair and a vocal supporter of creationism.)

"Promise Keepers" Find Politics -- Realize They Had It All Along

The mid-'90s evangelical men's group Promise Keepers is attempting to come back from its downward slide by transforming itself from a movement to a mission, according to the April 29 Denver Post. Dr. Tom Fortson, the new PK president, expressed concern about what he sees as "society's decaying moral values," as evidenced by the increasing acceptance of abortion, same-sex relationships and pornography.

Juvenile Injustice: Florida Promotes Day Of Christian-Only Prayer

With Religious Right forces poised to use this week's National Day of Prayer to push their radical agenda, many local communities are swept up in the fervor. In Florida, an enterprising staff member of the state Department of Juvenile Justice decided to post a link about the event to the Department's home page. The link led readers to the home page of the Florida Prayer Network, an organization that uses its site to encourage people to be baptized, to profess their faith in Jesus and to allow the Holy Spirit to control their lives.

IRS Reminds Churches To Avoid Politics

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding churches and other charities to avoid partisan political actions. Because churches and charities are exempt from income tax, they are prohibited from endorsing candidates, donating to campaigns, raising funds or distributing campaign materials. While houses of worship may address political and social issues, federal tax law bars tax-exempt organizations from electioneering.