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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

Taxing Our Patience: Is The IRS Finally Ready To Stop Church Politicking?

Have you heard the latest? The Internal Revenue Service has entered into a secret deal with an atheist group to monitor pastors all over America and squelch their political speech!

That’s the latest paranoid fantasy from the Religious Right. The truth, as is often the case, is much more mundane.

Before we get to the meat of things, some background: A lot of us in the separation of church and state community have been frustrated over the blatant partisan political activity that some churches (on the right and the left) engage in. Read more

Prayer Problems: Does Greece Town Board’s New Invocation Policy Exclude Atheists And Other Religious Minorities?

The Town Board of Greece, N.Y., has issued its formal policy on pre-meeting prayers, leading to a combination of confusion and backlash.  

Almost four months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that while communities are free to open their meetings with predominantly Christian prayers, they may not exclude other points of view. Read more

Access Denied: The Religious Right Opens Up A New Front On Its War Against Birth Control

Some commentators continue to insist that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was no big deal. It’s a narrow ruling, they insist, and there are other ways to ensure that women can get access to birth control. Read more

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