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Cops For Christ?: New Ala. Program Seeks To Fight Crime With Police-Backed Evangelical Proselytism

A new police program in Montgomery, Ala., is raising serious constitutional concerns.

The Atlantic reports that city police, who are facing what has been described as the worst crime wave in decades, have devised a novel solution to the problem: “Operation Good Shepherd.” It ran all summer and involved training local Christian ministers, preparing them to visit crime scenes right alongside working police officers.
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Alabama House OKs Employer Birth Control Exemption

 

The Alabama House of Representatives has approved a bill that would exempt some religious employers from offering employee health insurance plans that include free birth control.

HB 108, the so-called “Religious Liberties Act of 2013,” passed 67-28. It would exempt “religiously motivated employers,” which are defined as church-affiliated or “any entity that has 10 or less shareholders, members, or partners who have religious beliefs which oppose contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods.” Read more

Outrage In Alabama: PBS Employees Fired After Standing Against Bogus Religious Right History

When you’ve had it with “reality shows” and sitcoms with loud laugh tracks, public television is a welcome refuge. Where else can you see “Sesame Street,” a nature documentary and a wry British comedy all in one day?

Public television, because it is funded in part by the American taxpayer, has always been a target for the Religious Right. Leaders of that theocratic movement vacillate between trying to abolish public television and laboring to take it over. Read more

Released Time For Creationism?: Alabama Bill Has Sectarian Genesis

The Supreme Court has been pretty consistent in saying that public schools may not sponsor prayer, Bible reading and other religious activities.

There is, however, a legal loophole. In a 1952 decision called Zorach v. Clauson, the high court permitted a scheme whereby public schools can allow students to leave school during the day for religious instruction elsewhere. It’s known as “released time.” Read more

Behind Bars Or In The Pews?: Ala. Town Tells Offenders To Find Jesus Or Go To Jail

Last week, I wrote about an unfortunate federal appeals court ruling that had the effect of forcing a drug offender in Idaho to choose between staying in jail or living in a halfway house run by fundamentalist Christians of the Pentecostal variety – a faith the woman did not share. Read more

Dial And The Decalogue: Alabama Senator Pushes Commandments Amendment

Forget what the Constitution and the courts say, Alabama State Sen. Gerald Dial knows best.

On Tuesday, Dial introduced for the seventh time in his 10 years in office a bill that would amend the state constitution to encourage display of the Ten Commandments in public schools and other governmental buildings.

According to Dial, the Commandments don’t favor any particular religious belief; they’re just “rules we ought to live by.” Read more

Out Of Line In Alabama: New Governor Takes On Preaching Role

The Web has been abuzz lately over some comments made by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Speaking at a Jan. 17 church service after his inauguration, Bentley told a crowd at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church, “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.” Read more

Moore’s The Pity: Former Alabama ‘Commandments’ Judge Is Still Angling For Attention

Alabama “Commandments Judge” Roy Moore doesn’t let too much time go by before he cries out for some more attention.

Yesterday, he was quoted in a Birmingham News blog, in which he offered another anti-church-state separation rant. The blog was about a letter Americans United sent to an Alabama school board opposing official prayers before meetings. Read more

Testifying At The Piggly Wiggly: Candidate Professes Faith In 'Every Word' Of The Bible

Some people in Alabama seem to have their priorities mixed up.

There's a Republican gubernatorial primary currently underway in the state, and you would think that citizens would be focused on the candidates' positions on issues such as education, health care and the economy. What has some people reeling, though, is a candidate's views on the Bible!

Back in November, the Mobile Press-Register quoted candidate Bradley Byrne as saying, "I believe there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be literally true and parts that are not." Read more

It's Official!: Alabama House Declares America A 'Christian Nation'

For years, Americans United has battled with Religious Right pseudo-historians about whether the United States was founded to be a "Christian nation." Religious Right activists have cited quotes by Founding Fathers that AU claims are either wrenched from context or fabricated. AU has argued that if our nation was meant to be officially Christian, the Constitution would say that. Read more