Veterans Affairs Department Must Accommodate Wiccan Symbol On Memorial Markers At Government Cemeteries, Says Americans United

Americans United Asks Veterans Affairs Department To Respect Religious Diversity, Approve Pentacle For Wiccan Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

The Department of Veterans Affairs must recognize religious diversity by allowing a Wiccan symbol on the memorial marker of a soldier who died in Afghanistan, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In a June 7 letter to R. James Nicholson, secretary of Veterans Affairs, and William F. Tuerk, under secretary for Memorial Affairs, AU requests that the widow of Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart be permitted to place a Wiccan pentacle on his marker and that the department extend that same right to other Wiccan families. Read more

Americans United Hails Senate Derailment Of Federal Marriage Amendment

Floor Vote On Constitutional Change Was Disgraceful Election-Year Stunt, Says AU's Lynn

Today’s Senate derailment of the Federal Marriage Amendment is a good thing, but the floor vote never should have taken place, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The amendment, S.J. Res. 1, failed on a 49-48 procedural vote. Sixty votes were necessary to bring the measure to the floor.

“This vote was election-year politics at its worst,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “I’m glad the amendment was derailed, but it never should have been voted on. This vote was nothing but ammo for attack ads. Read more

'pledge Protection Act' Threatens Rights Of Religious Minorities, Says Americans United

Don't Slam The Federal Courthouse Door In The Face Of Our Citizens, Says Americans United's Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today urged the U.S. House of Representatives to reject a bill that would strip the federal courts of their ability to hear cases involving recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.

Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn asserted that the so-called “Pledge Protection Act” (H.R. 2389), which is scheduled for a mark-up in the House Judiciary Committee June 7, undercuts the separation of powers between the different branches of government and limits the legal options of religious minorities. Read more

Federal Court Strikes Down Tax Funding Of Iowa Prison Program

Ruling Is A Sharp Rebuke To President George W. Bush's 'Faith-Based' Initiative

A federal court today struck down an evangelical Christian program operating in an Iowa state prison, a ruling Americans United hailed as a serious blow to President George W. Bush’s “faith-based” initiative.

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Pratt ordered an end to the InnerChange Freedom Initiative, a sectarian program sponsored by Charles W. Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries. Pratt also ordered that InnerChange reimburse the state of Iowa more than $1.5 million. Read more

Americans United Criticizes White House Event To Boost Federal Marriage Amendment

Bush Should Stop Kowtowing To The Religious Right, Says AU Executive Director Lynn

A White House ceremony scheduled for June 5 to endorse the Federal Marriage Amendment is little more than a desperate attempt to placate the Religious Right in advance of the November elections, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Read more

Americans United Helps Texas 'church Of Freethought' Win Tax-exempt Status

Texas Officials End Crusade To Deny Exemption To Dallas-Area Group

Officials in the Texas Office of the Comptroller have agreed to extend tax-exempt status to a non-theistic church.

In a May 18 letter to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Comptroller’s Office confirmed that it has granted tax-exempt status to the Church of Freethought, a Dallas-area congregation.

“This is a victory for religious freedom,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “Government must never play favorites when it comes to religion.” Read more

Americans United Urges Maryland Attorney General To Block State Funding For Religious Group

Don't Pass Collection Plate To Maryland Taxpayers, Says AU's Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has urged the Maryland attorney general’s office to deny state funding for a religious convention scheduled for this summer in Baltimore.

The Maryland General Assembly, at the behest of Gov. Robert Ehrlich, recently budgeted a $150,000 grant for the June 19-23 annual conference of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education (NBCCE). The appropriation is on hold pending a review by the attorney general, which was requested by the state’s budget department. Read more

Americans United Deplores Senate Committee's Closed-door Vote For Federal Marriage Amendment

Senate Must Not Wed Church And State, Says AU's Lynn

Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee vote for a federal marriage amendment is deplorable, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

S. J. Res. 1, the so-called “Marriage Protection Act,” passed the committee on a party-line vote of 10-8. The action took place behind closed doors in a room off the Senate floor.

“This is an outrage,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “It’s bad enough that the Senate is trying to wed church and state in unholy matrimony, but it’s even worse that they did it behind closed doors.” Read more

Americans United Urges Senate To Reject Marriage Amendment

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Measure Enshrines Religious Doctrines About Marriage In Constitution

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has urged U.S. senators to block a proposed federal marriage amendment to the Constitution.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote May 18 on whether to send S.J. Res. 1 to the full Senate. The so-called “Marriage Protection Amendment” mandates that marriage in America “shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.”

Americans United said the measure would write discrimination into the Constitution and would favor the marriage doctrines and rituals of some religious groups over others. Read more

Tv Preacher Pat Robertson Launches Bizarre Attack On Americans United

AU's Lynn Says Religious Broadcaster Is Increasingly Shrill And Paranoid

TV preacher Pat Robertson’s bizarre attack on Americans United for Separation of Church and State is part of a troubling pattern of extremism, the Washington-based church-state watchdog group says.

On his Christian Broadcasting Network today, Robertson launched into a tirade against Americans United and its executive director, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn. After a “700 Club” segment on AU’s opposition to federal funding for prison ministries, the TV preacher said the American Civil Liberties Union and the Communist Internationale “pulled a secret takeover” of Americans United. Read more

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