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Reasonable Settlement

For the past six years, visitors to the city hall of Warren, Mich., have encountered something few municipal buildings have: a large booth marked “Prayer Station.”

Staffed four days a week, the prayer booth offers spiritual counseling and religious literature to those visiting the building. City officials justified it by saying that residents of the economically challenged municipality need a pick-me-up. Read more

Federal Court Approves Settlement Requiring Mich. City To Give Atheists Equal Access To City Hall

In a victory for religious freedom, a federal judge today approved a settlement requiring the city of Warren, Mich., to allow an atheist to set up a “reason station” inside city hall after Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued in response to city officials’ efforts to allow only a “prayer station” to operate inside the public building.  Read more

Frightening Five: Religious Right Legal Group Singles Out ‘Dangerous Enemies’ Of Christianity – And Guess Who Made The List?

On Friday a Religious Right legal group called the Liberty Institute published an article titled “5 Dangerous Enemies Against Your Christian Faith” on the site Charisma News.

Americans United made the top five! There we are, right alongside American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. (Sounds like good company to me –and don’t be sad that we’re number four; the list is alphabetical.) Read more

Legal Challenge To Clergy Housing Exemption Tossed By Appeals Court

A federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit that attempted to have the tax-exempt clergy housing allowance declared unconstitutional.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) had sought to end the exemption, but lost its case on “standing” – or the right to file the lawsuit. Read more

Secular Group Loses Colo. Day Of Prayer Lawsuit

The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled 5-2 that an atheist group lacks the standing to challenge the state’s Day of Prayer proclamations.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice wrote, “Although we do not question the sincerity of Respondents’ feelings, without more, their circuitous exposure to the honorary proclamations and concomitant belief that the proclamations expressed the Governor’s preference for religion is simply too indirect and incidental an injury to confer individual standing.” Read more

Americans United Welcomes Okla. School District’s Decision To Drop Biased Bible Curriculum

Church-State Watchdog Group Had Warned That Planned Elective Class Backed By Hobby Lobby Owner Violates U.S. Constitution

An Oklahoma school district has decided not to implement a Bible curriculum designed by Steve Green, owner of the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores, that critics said was biased in favor of fundamentalist Christianity.

Earlier this year, Americans United warned Mustang Public Schools officials that the curriculum was problematic and its use in schools might spark litigation.

Absentee Agency: Is The IRS Ready To Police Pulpit Politicking?

The Internal Revue Service indicated earlier this year that it has the proper mechanism in place to investigate houses of worship that break the law by engaging in partisan politicking. But recent comments by the tax agency’s top official indicate there’s still some confusion about this issue. Read more

IRS Document Indicates That Tax Agency May Be Ready To Enforce ‘No-Politicking’ Law

A document has come to light giving some indication that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be preparing to enforce the “no-politicking” rule against houses of worship.

A letter from the IRS was made public by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which announced recently that it has withdrawn a lawsuit over the IRS’s failure to investigate churches accused of partisan politicking. The group made that decision after the tax agency convinced the organization that it has resolved a procedural issue that prevented church audits. Read more

An Appeal To Reason

Four days a week in Warren, Mich., volunteers pray with local residents. But the prayers aren’t happening at a church. Instead, they’re taking place in city hall, at a “prayer station” established for exactly this purpose.

Originally created by members of the Tabernacle Church, a local Pentecostal denomination, Warren’s “prayer station” endured with little controversy for years. In 2009, volunteers explained their mission to the Los Angeles Times. Read more

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