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Of Gossip Girl, The Supreme Court And Tajikistan: My Favorite Memories Of AU

As they say, all good things must come to end.

I’m sad to report that today is my last day at Americans United. I’m heading on to a new communications position at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office, where I promise to keep up the good fight.

But before I go, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on my past three-plus years here at AU. It has been a lot of fun. I’ve met great people who I am going to miss, and I have had some very interesting experiences that I’ll always remember.

Here are the top five: Read more

Prisons And Proselytizing: Baptist Program For Texas Inmates Raises Church-State Questions

I am all for prisoners having the right to worship and access to academic training that helps prevent recidivism, but I’m very wary of a new program in Texas. Read more

Confused Critics: Are You ‘An Enemy Of What Is Good About America’?

Did you know that I’m an “enemy of what is good about America”? And if you support Americans United, well, then you must be, too!

Who knew?

But that’s what Mark Ramsey, a blogger at Texas GOP Vote believes.

In a blog post, he asked:

“Why does the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State exist? They are enemies of what is good about America. Why does the ACLU exist? They are enemies of what made this country the envy of the world.” Read more

The Fourth Of July And Freedom: Why Texas Gov. Perry Doesn’t Understand America

I will be celebrating this July 4th with my family in Michigan, where I’m about to head in a few hours.

I’ll be attending a parade on Monday and watching some fireworks with my niece and nephew, who are second-generation Americans. Since my niece was three, she’s boasted that she is an American. Now that she is a bit older (she turned five in June), she may finally start to understand what that really means. Read more

Archbishop Absurdity: Dolan Diatribe Shouldn’t Derail N.Y. Marriage Legislation

If New Yorkers approve same-sex marriage, Archbishop Timothy Dolan says the Empire State is doomed to become just like China or North Korea.

Say what?!

What in the world is Dolan talking about? In those countries, he says, “government presumes daily to ‘redefine’ rights, relationships, values and natural law. There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of ‘family’ and ‘marriage’ means.” Read more

Prisoners’ Plea Proscribed: High Court Limits Inmates’ Religious Liberty Lawsuits

The U.S. Supreme Court has let us down again this week.

The justices ruled 6-2 that prisoners cannot seek money damages from the state when their rights are violated under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The federal statute’s purpose, in part, is to protect prisoners’ rights to practice their religion. Read more

Was America Founded To Be A Christian Nation?: AU’s Oklahoma Chapter Welcomes Debate

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

Americans United has taken these words to heart, as it has many other statements made by Jefferson. AU strongly believes that the best way to bring about positive change and preserve religious freedom is to educate Americans on the importance of church-state separation, particularly at the grassroots level. Read more

Equal Access Except For Atheists?: Schools Must Not Discriminate Against Non-Religious Students

Back in 1984, Religious Right groups lobbied Congress in full force to pass a bill ensuring that Christian student clubs and organizations would be free to meet on public school campuses.

They succeeded in making the Equal Access Act the law of the land. The act states that under most circumstances, public schools must allow a wide range of student-run clubs to meet during “non-instructional” time. This opened the door for public schools to allow student religious clubs, including Bible study groups, to meet freely. Read more

Bully Boys: Arkansas Extremist Has Recanted, But Religious Right Gang Is Still Lurking Behind The School

This weekend, I’ll be joining the large crowds taking over Washington for Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity.”

I don’t really know what to expect of the event, or if it will actually “restore sanity.” But I do know Stewart’s title choice couldn’t be more perfect, especially when I consider the many people in this country who have taken to saying and doing really idiotic things lately. Read more

Land Plan Panned: N.Y. Governor’s Islamic Center ‘Compromise’ Draws Fire

There’s been a new development in the situation over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.”

Yesterday, New York Gov. David Paterson came up with an idea that he felt would be a compromise in the recent uproar over the building of an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan. Read more

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