The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to accept a Louisiana case dealing with tax aid to religious schools sets the stage for a major showdown on church-state law, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The Vermont Supreme Court today ruled unanimously that voucher-style tuition payments to private religious schools violate the state constitution.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, one of the groups that provided legal assistance in the case, applauded the ruling as an important victory for church-state separation.
"The momentum in courts nationwide is increasingly turning against vouchers," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "It's time for voucher proponents to concede that the voucher train has stalled on the track.
The Internal Revenue Service has denied the Christian Coalition status as a tax-exempt organization, a move hailed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"It's about time," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, in response to a copyrighted report in today's St. Petersburg Times. "The Christian Coalition is a hardball political machine that has been masquerading as a tax-exempt group. The IRS has finally pulled off the mask.
TV preacher Pat Robertson's business deal with the Bank of Scotland appears to have fallen through, thanks to protests from a cross-section of the Scottish people.
"The Scottish people said they want nothing to do with religious political extremism," observed Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "They repudiated Robertson's bigotry and intolerance. Americans should take a lesson from the Scots.
"Concluding this deal," continued Lynn, "proved as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster."
Liberian President Charles Taylor is known for many things: accused embezzler, jail escapee, human rights abuser and rebel leader responsible for starting a bloody civil war. Taylor can now add a new title to his resume: Pat Robertson business partner.
The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that voucher-style subsidies for private religious schools are unconstitutional. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, one of the groups that participated in the lawsuit, praised the position of the federal court and heralded the decision as a huge victory for church-state separation.
Vice President Al Gore today expressed strong support for the concept of "charitable choice" aid to churches to conduct social service programs. However, Americans United for Separation of Church and State warned that the concept raises serious constitutional issues.
Said Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, "'Charitable choice' is fatally flawed from a constitutional perspective. Taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for programs that promote religion or allow discrimination in hiring. 'Charitable choice' does just that."
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has criticized the U.S. Senate for passing a measure designed to promote worship and religious symbols in public schools where slayings occur.
The proposal was offered in the form of an amendment to a juvenile justice bill by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) and passed yesterday on an 85-13 vote.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today issued a strong condemnation of the Christian Coalition's plan to air commercials calling for putting "God back in our schools." The ads will be broadcast on 65 Iowa-area stations and 22 New Hampshire-area stations, states with early presidential campaign events.
The private religious school voucher legislation about to be signed into law by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is unconstitutional and certain to face a court challenge, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"This legislation ignores the U.S. Constitution, the state constitution and several court rulings that clearly say that taxpayers cannot be forced to finance private religious education," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "This voucher legislation will be challenged, and I believe, will be struck down.