AU Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Ascertain Sotomayor's Views on Church-State Separation

Supreme Court Nominee’s Religious Liberty Decisions Are Few, Watchdog Group’s Report Says

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today reiterated its call for the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on issues relating to religious liberty and church-state separation.

The committee is scheduled to begin hearings on Sotomayor on Monday. In advance of that, Americans United has released a report listing Sotomayor’s rulings on church-state issues. Read more

AU Applauds Ninth Circuit Decision Favoring Patients’ Right To Pharmacy Access

District Court Was Wrong When It Blocked A State Regulation Mandating The Sale Of Emergency Contraceptives, Appellate Panel Holds

Americans United today praised a federal appellate court decision that will make it more likely that women in Washington state have access to emergency contraceptives from their local pharmacies.
 
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court was wrong when it blocked a Washington state regulation requiring pharmacies to sell “Plan B” morning-after pills.
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Texas School District Has No Right To Force Native American Boy To Cut Hair

Watchdog Group Says Private Religious Activity In School Is Protected

Officials at a Texas public school have no right to force a Native American elementary school student to cut his hair, which he wears long for religious reasons, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Americans United today filed a friend-of-the-court brief  supporting student Adriel Arocha and his family. The family is challenging a grooming policy at the Needville Independent School District that bans long hair for male students. Read more

AU Urges Attorney General to Act On Unlawful ‘Earmark’ Funding Of Religious Institutions

Church-State Watchdog Group Asks U.S. Department Of Justice To Cut Off

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to terminate or investigate nine federal grants awarded to faith-based groups that proselytize and that discriminate in hiring.

In the 2008 fiscal year, Congress approved earmarks that directed the U.S. Department of Justice to award grants to these religious organizations. The Department of Justice, under the Bush administration, approved the constitutionally dubious funding without conducting anything more than a cursory review.  Read more

AU Applauds Court Decision Striking Down Oklahoma County’s Commandments Display

Ruling Prevents Government From Co-opting Religious Symbols, Church-State Watchdog Group Says

American United for Separation of Church and State today praised a federal appeals court for striking down a government display of the Ten Commandments in Haskell County, Okla.

Reversing a lower court, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously declared unconstitutional the eight-foot-tall religious display, which was erected at the local courthouse in 2004 after a campaign by a local minister and his supporters. Read more

IRS Should Investigate Virginia Church For Partisan Politicking, Says AU

Fifth Street Baptist Church In Richmond May Have Violated Federal Tax Law With Moran Appearance And Endorsement, Watchdog Group Says

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a Richmond church that endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran during June 7 services.

Moran visited and spoke at the Fifth Street Baptist Church, where he was endorsed by its pastor, the Rev. F. Todd Gray. Gray advised his flock that he plans to vote for Moran, reported The Washington Post. Read more

AU Expresses Disappointment Over Court Ruling Allowing Public School Graduations In Wisconsin Church

Decision Is Loss For All Students And The Constitution, Says AU’s Lynn

A federal judge today ruled that a Wisconsin public school district can hold high school graduation ceremonies in a church. 

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which sponsored the litigation to stop this practice of the Elmbrook School District in Brookfield, Wisc., expressed regret over the decision.

“Public school graduations should always be held at locations where all families feel welcome,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “This decision fails to respect all students and the Constitution.” Read more

Americans United Criticizes Falwell Legal Group For Filing Baseless IRS Complaint

Church-State Watchdog Says Falwell Attack Is Designed To Shift Attention From Liberty University Partisanship

Americans United for Separation of Church and State says an Internal Revenue Service complaint filed against it today by Jerry Falwell Jr. is groundless and should go nowhere.

Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University, directed his legal arm, Liberty Counsel, to file the complaint in retaliation after Americans United reported the Lynchburg school to the IRS last week. Read more

AU Deplores Murder Of Kansas Doctor

Killing Of Dr. George Tiller Is ‘Affront To Every Moral System Imaginable,’ Says AU’s Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today deplored the murder of a Kansas doctor nationally known for his work on behalf of women’s reproductive rights.

Dr. George Tiller was shot dead Sunday morning while serving as an usher at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kan. Read more

IRS Should Review Liberty University’s Tax-Exempt Status For Partisan Politicking, Says AU

Watchdog Group Tells Tax Agency Falwell-Founded School Is Showing Preference For Republicans By Curbing Student Democratic Club

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today asked the Internal Revenue Service to review the tax-exempt status of Liberty University in the wake of the school’s decision to yank official recognition of a student-run Democratic club.

Last week, Liberty officials informed the president of the Democratic club that it is no longer eligible for university recognition, including funding through student activity fees. The goals of the Democratic Party, school officials insisted, are contrary to Liberty’s evangelical Christian outlook. Read more

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