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Bayou Boondoggle: La. Lawmakers Consider ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

It seems Louisiana lawmakers didn’t learn from the recent backlash caused by “religious freedom” bills in Indiana and Arkansas, so Pelican State politicians are mulling legislation that could allow for discrimination against LGBT persons under the guise of “religious liberty.” Read more

As 2016 Presidential Campaign Gets Under Way, IRS Should Act To Enforce Non-Profit ‘No-Politicking’ Rule, Says Americans United

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Liberty University May Have Violated Federal Law By Hosting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz

The Internal Revenue Service should make it clear that houses of worship and other tax-exempt, non-profit groups have no right to engage in partisan politicking, Americans United for Separation of Church and State told the tax agency today.

In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn urged the agency to act now, since the 2016 presidential campaign is getting under way.
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Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine

Here’s what the country doesn’t need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.

Yet that’s what the country is getting. Read more

New Congress, New Challenges

Jim Inhofe, a Republican U.S. sen­ator from Oklahoma, believes the making of public policy should be left to a higher power.

“[G]od’s still up there,” Inhofe, a Religious Right ally, opined in 2012. “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”   Read more

New AU Legal Memo Debunks Religious Right Claims On Same-Sex Marriage

People who work for the government have no legal right to refuse services to same-sex couples in states where marriage equality is the law, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says in a recent legal memorandum.

Americans United issued the memo Dec. 1 in response to claims being made by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Religious Right legal group based in Arizona. The ADF has been sending letters to states where marriage equality is legal, insisting that clerks and other government officials who oppose gay marriage don’t have to serve same-sex couples. Read more

Ariz. School Board Censors Abortion Information

The Gilbert, Ariz., School Board has voted 3-2 to censor a high school honors biology textbook to meet the demands of a Religious Right group.

Board members claim they’re making sure the books comply with a state statute requiring them to “present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion,” reported the Arizona Republic.

A spokesman for the Department of Education disagreed with the assertion that the book violates the law as written. Read more

Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind

When an individual doesn’t feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply tell lies. Another, perhaps more common tactic, is to omit certain pieces of information, thus giving the listener an incomplete picture.

The latter tactic was on full display this year during the Religious Right’s “Values Voter Summit” last week, and perhaps no one used it better than a man named Kelly Shackelford. Read more

Prayer Problems: Local Governments Struggle With Invocation Policies In Wake Of Greece Decision

A city councilman in Washington state has a stance on pre-meeting prayers that is too extreme for even some staunch Religious Right allies to accept.

John Trumbo of the Kennewick City Council recently suggested that council meetings ought to open with an invocation “directed in name and reference to the same God addressed in the Founding Fathers’ signatory documents that established this nation,” the Tri-City (Wash.) Herald reported. Read more

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