Supreme Court Ruling In Utah Religious Symbols Case Unlikely To Be Final Word

Religious Liberty Watchdog Group Says Matter Should Have Been Resolved Under Constitution's Church-State Provisions

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that a Utah community does not have to erect a religious code from a group called Summum in a public park where the Ten Commandments are displayed.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State said the court made the right decision but urged that all permanent religious symbols be removed from government-owned parks. Read more

Supreme Court Should Strike Down Display Of Cross On Federal Land In California

Watchdog Group Says Land Transfer Scheme Does Not Save Religious Symbol

The U.S. Supreme Court should use a new controversy over a cross on park land in California to make it clear that government has no right to display religious symbols, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The court today announced it will hear Salazar v. Buono, a legal battle centering on the display of a cross at the Mojave National Preserve in California. The cross was originally erected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1934 and has since been replaced several times by private citizens. Read more

NYC Must Obey Church-State Rules When Converting Catholic Schools To Charter Schools

Watchdog Group Advises Mayor, Brooklyn Bishop To Keep Religion Out Of Potential New Charter Schools

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today advised New York City officials and Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio to abide by constitutional requirements when converting four Catholic schools in Brooklyn to charter schools.

Fourteen Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens are scheduled to close this year. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials are considering leasing some of the buildings and converting the schools into public charter schools. Read more

AU Lauds Senate Vote Rejecting Taxpayer Funding Of Religious Institutions

Senate Made The Right Call In Rejecting Reckless Religious Right Overture, Says Church-State Watchdog Group

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today hailed a Senate vote rejecting tax funding for religious facilities in the economic recovery package.

“The Senate has voted to reaffirm an important American principle that religious groups should pay their own way and not expect funding from the taxpayer,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. Read more

President Obama's 'Faith-Based' Program Lacks Adequate Constitutional Safeguards

Church-State Watchdog Group Expresses Disappointment That Bush-Era Rules Allowing Religion-Based Hiring Discrimination Remain In Place

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today expressed disappointment that President Barack Obama’s “faith-based” initiative is being rolled out without repeal of Bush-era policies that violate civil rights and civil liberties.

Obama issued an executive order today appointing Joshua DuBois as executive director of the White House faith-based office and setting up an advisory council on faith-based and other issues. Read more

AU Urges Senate To Reject 'Compassion Capital' Funding In Economic Recovery Package

'Faith-Based' Funds Were Misused By Bush Administration, Church-State Watchdog Group Says

The U.S. Senate should not go along with a House plan that provides $100 million in “faith-based” funding as part of the federal economic recovery package, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

HR 1, the measure approved by the House yesterday, includes a $100 million appropriation for the “Compassion Capital” Fund (CCF), a key component of former President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative. Read more

Obama Should Act Swiftly To Fix Constitutional Flaws Of 'Faith-Based' Office

President Should Keep Promise To End Tax-Funded Religious Discrimination In Employment, Says Church-State Watchdog Group

The New York Times reported today that President Barack Obama will name Joshua DuBois, a Pentecostal minister who did religious outreach during the campaign, to head a revamped White House office of “faith-based” initiatives.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called on Obama to act quickly to overturn executive orders and other policies from the Bush administration that undercut civil rights and civil liberties. Read more

Proposed Berkeley Ordinance On 'Cremains' Unfairly Favors Religious Groups, Says AU

Rule Favoring Religion In Storage Of Cremation Ashes Should Be Laid To Rest, Says AU's Lynn

A proposed Berkeley, Calif., ordinance that would only allow religious organizations to inter cremated ashes, while deny the same right to nonreligious organizations, violates the Constitution, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Current Berkeley law prohibits graveyards within city limits due to health and odor concerns. A proposed city ordinance would change zoning laws to allow columbarium construction on property used for religious assemblies. (Columbaria are structures that house the ashes of the deceased.) Read more