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A Tale Of Two Cities: N.J. And Calif. Towns Take Different Approaches On Prayer

I was up bright and early Saturday morning to appear on Fox News Channel. Our topic was a perennial Fox favorite: prayers before government meetings.

It seems the borough council of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., has been opening its meetings with the Our Father, the Roman Catholic version of the Lord’s Prayer, since the 1990s. A lawsuit was filed, and the council agreed to stop. Read more

Melee In Modesto: California Community Debates Creationism In Science Class

It’s the debate that never ends – thanks to an aggressive minority that insists religious beliefs belong in the science classroom.

California public school teacher Mark Ferrante belongs in that group. According to the Modesto Bee, Ferrante recently announced that he planned to teach the latest variant of creationism, “intelligent design” (ID), alongside evolution at Modesto’s Roosevelt Junior High, sparking quite the community discussion. Read more

Judges And The Ballot Box: Religious Right Intervention In Judicial Election Sparks Controversy

California seems to be the breeding ground for lots of new ideas – some good and some not so good.

Back in the early 1990s, Religious Right activists in the Golden State got it into their heads to promote “stealth candidates.” The idea was that fundamentalist Christians would run for local office stressing themes like low taxation and fiscal responsibility. They kept their extreme views on social issues hidden. Read more

The Mayor’s Mistake: California Official Should Apologize For ‘Christian Community’ Comment

Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, Calif., is laboring under the delusion that his city is an officially “Christian community.” Americans United is trying to set him straight.

Parris sparked controversy a few days ago when, during a state of the city address, he remarked, “We’re growing a Christian community, and don’t let anybody shy away from that.”

Parris went on to insist that ministers should have the right to open meetings of the city council using sectarian references, such as “in Jesus’ name.” Read more

Christmas Cranks: Religious Right Leaders -- And Their Congressional Allies -- Continue Effort To Force Faith

Do you celebrate Christmas? If so, how do you celebrate it – as a religious or a secular holiday? Maybe you do a little bit of both. Perhaps you celebrate the Solstice. Maybe you celebrate another holiday or do nothing at all.

I'm glad we have the choice about what to do at the time of year. But I'm troubled by the fact some people don't want us to have that choice. Read more

Praying For Theocracy?: Across The Country, Groups Seek To Impose 'Religious Law'

The New York Times today reported on a sad and worrisome situation in Vallejo, Calif.

Though the community faces a financial crisis, much like the rest of the country, The Times asserts the town is also struggling because "its political system increasingly reflects the influence of evangelical churches." Read more

No Credence: Carpetbagger Crank Klingenschmitt Shouldn't Get Stuck In Lodi

Lodi, Calif., is a city of about 62,000 residents between Sacramento and Stockton. I've never been there, but Wikipedia tells me the town is known for its wine production – it's the "Zinfandel Capital of the World." The band Creedence Clearwater Revival once penned a tune called "Stuck in Lodi."

But lately Lodi has been in the news for another reason: a nasty spat over prayers before city council meetings. Read more

Ballot Bias: California's Proposition 8 Writes Discrimination Into Law

Last Wednesday morning, I woke up to the disappointment that California's Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, was most likely going to succeed.

Many of my Californian friends were shocked that the usually progressive state they live in actually passed a measure that overturned the California Supreme Court's decision ensuring that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry. Read more

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