Supreme Court Issues Stay In Ohio School Voucher Case

Action Is Disappointing, But Has Little Long-Term Significance, Says Americans United

The Supreme Court today issued a stay in a legal battle over tax aid to religious schools, granting a plea from Ohio officials on behalf of a Cleveland voucher program.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State said the action in Simmons-Harris v. Zelman is unfortunate, but of little long-term significance.

"The Supreme Court's action is disappointing," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "But it has little significance in the ongoing battle over voucher aid to religious schools.

AU Statement In Response To The Family Research Council's 'Hang Ten' Campaign

'Fathers Count, But So Does Constitution,' Says AU's Lynn

The Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based Religious Right group, recently announced a new initiative it calls "Hang Ten." FRC's project encourages public school authorities and other government officials to post the Ten Commandments at public buildings. The movement has caught on in several Kentucky counties recently, and FRC is trying to make it a nationwide phenomenon.

House Vote On Football Prayer Is 'Shameless Political Posturing,' Says AU

Stage Set For Biggest School Prayer Case In Recent Memory

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution yesterday in support of organized prayer at public school athletic events.

The nonbinding resolution (H.Con.Res. 199), sponsored by Reps. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), Charles Stenholm (D-Texas) and 28 other representatives, urges the Supreme Court to allow official prayer at public school sports events. The measure passed on a voice vote.

The move drew sharp criticism from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

AU Asks IRS To Investigate Partisan Political Activities Of New Orleans Church

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate The Asia Baptist Church in New Orleans, La., for supporting a candidate for governor.

During the campaign, William Jefferson, then a Democratic candidate for governor, asked hundreds of pastors throughout Louisiana to declare Oct. 17 "William Jefferson for Governor Day" and solicit campaign contributions on his behalf. Federal tax law, however, prohibits houses of worship from endorsing candidates for public office and intervening on behalf of a candidate.

Court Of Appeals Supports Church-State Separation In N.J. Bible Reading Case

High Court's Refusal To Hear Maine Voucher Dispute And Other Church-State Cases Indicates Unwillingness To Make Sweeping Changes In Current Law, Says Americans United

A federal appellate court has ruled that a New Jersey elementary school student does not have a First Amendment right to defy his teacher and read a Bible story aloud to his classmates.

The conflict began in 1996 when Zachary Hood, then a first grader in Medford, N.J., was selected to read a story to his class during a story time. When Hood chose a selection from his "Beginner's Bible," the teacher refused, fearing that the children in the diverse class might perceive it as a teacher endorsement of Hood's religious beliefs.

Ten Commandments Crusade Shows Disrespect For The Constitution And Religious Diversity, Says AU

A national campaign to post the Ten Commandments in public schools, courthouses and other public buildings shows disrespect for American religious diversity, the Constitution and the courts, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Today, the Family Research Council and over three dozen members of Congress endorsed a campaign to display the Ten Commandments in congressional offices, public schools and other public buildings

AU Criticizes Congressional Resolution On Football Prayer

Twenty-two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a resolution today urging the Supreme Court to allow school-sanctioned prayers at football games, a move that drew criticism from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The resolution, which is non-binding, comes in response to a decision issued in March by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals barring school-sanctioned prayer at school athletic events.

Supreme Court Turns Down Church-State Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court today turned down four church-state conflicts, including a pair of cases from Maine dealing with taxpayer-financed vouchers. The actions were praised by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

IRS Should Review Christian Coalition Of America's Tax-Exempt Status, Says AU

Unanimous Court Finds Public School Officials Have Final Say On Classroom Content

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the Internal Revenue Service to review the tax-exempt status of the Christian Coalition, asserting that the organization may be operating in violation of federal tax law.

In a letter to the IRS yesterday, Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn charges that the Christian Coalition is engaging in the same types of partisan political activities that led the IRS to deny tax-exemption to the organization earlier this year.