Justice Department Rejects Senators' Call For Probe Of Americans United For Separation Of Church And State

Organization Cleared Of Accusations Of 'Intimidating' Christian Voters

The U.S. Justice Department has rejected a demand by six Republican senators to investigate Americans United for Separation of Church and State for alleged intimidation and harassment of voters.

In a letter dated Feb. 4 that arrived at Americans United's Washington office yesterday, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John C. Keeney wrote that the complaint against Americans United was deemed not worthy of a criminal investigation and said the matter has been dropped. Read more

Onslaught Of Ten Commandments Legislation Under Consideration In State Legislatures Nationwide

Americans United Decries 'Appalling' And Unconstitutional Trend

State legislatures nationwide are considering legislation intended to promote the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools or other public buildings -- a dangerous trend criticized by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"This misguided attempt to have government interfere with religion is nothing short of appalling," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "Legislation like this is patently unconstitutional and a cynical effort on the part of some politicians to appear pious in an election year. Read more

Americans United Urges Supreme Court To Reject School-sponsored Prayer At Football Games

Public school football games are no place for school-sponsored prayer, Americans United for Separation of Church and State said in a brief filed today with the United States Supreme Court.

Americans United and allied groups filed a "friend of the court" brief in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, a Texas case dealing with school-sanctioned, student-led pre-game prayers broadcast over a high school's public address system. Read more

Nyc Mayor's Religious Art Censorship Would Violate Church-state Separation, AU Says In Court Brief

New York City's censorship of a controversial religious art exhibit would violate the First Amendment's separation of church and state, according to a national watchdog group.

In September, the Brooklyn Museum of Art opened an exhibit featuring a painting of the Virgin Mary that included an element of elephant dung. The controversial piece was painted by Chris Ofili, a Catholic artist of Nigerian ancestry who has repeatedly denied accusations about being hostile toward religion. Read more

Federal Judge Strikes Down Ohio School Voucher Program

Ruling Continues String Of Defeats For Vouchers In Federal Courts, Says Americans United

A federal judge in Ohio today declared Cleveland's controversial private school voucher program unconstitutional, an action that drew strong support from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr., ruling on a motion for summary judgment, said the plan violates the separation of church and state because it directs taxpayer dollars into the coffers of religious schools. Read more

West Virginia School District Rejects Creationism Resolution

Americans United Warned Kanawha County School Board About Potential Lawsuit

The Board of Education in Kanawha County, W.Va., rejected a resolution intended to allow teaching of creationism in science classes last night on a 4-1 vote. The resolution would have repealed a ban on teaching creationism and allowed teachers to offer "theories for and against the theories of evolution."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State wrote to the board this week, warning members of a potential lawsuit if the resolution was passed and implemented. Read more

Second Family Joins Lawsuit Challenging Religious Practices In Louisiana Public Schools

Action Indicates Justices Are In No Hurry To Tackle Issue, Says Americans United

A second West Monroe, La., family has joined a federal court challenge to officially sanctioned prayer in Louisiana public schools.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed suit in federal district court Dec. 3 challenging school-sanctioned prayer over the public address system in West Monroe High School. (A Louisiana state statute that allows teachers to set aside a moment for prayer was also challenged.) Read more