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Taking Liberties: A New Book Explains Why The Religious Right’s View Of ‘Religious Freedom’ Is All Wrong

Pardon me for engaging in some blatant self-promotion, but I wanted to let members and friends of Americans United know that my new book, Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You The Right To Tell Other People What To Do, is being released today.

Two issues inspired me to write this book: the controversy over the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act and the spread of legal same-sex marriage in the states.  Read more

Equal Education: N.C. Christian School Rejects Vouchers After Discrimination Fight

A North Carolina private school will refuse voucher money after a public outcry over its anti-gay policies. Myrtle Grove Christian School had been approved to receive funds through the state’s new “Opportunity Scholarship” program, but under its ‘Biblical morality policy,’ it refuses admission to LGBT students and even the straight children of LGBT parents.

Critics called it state-funded discrimination.
Read more

Equal Rights For Bullies: Religious Right Comes To The Defense Of ‘Faith-Based’ Harassment

If you’re the parent of young or teenaged kids, you’re probably concerned about bullying. It’s one of those unpleasant facts of life that just about everyone who has children must eventually confront.

Since children spend much of their time in school, those institutions are the focal point for anti-bullying efforts. Thankfully, the national conversation over this issue has become a lot more serious in recent years, and many schools have adopted anti-bullying policies. Read more

Trouble In Riverdale: Religious Right Groups Blast Gay Friendly ‘Archie’ Comic Books

I was never a big fan of comic books when I was a kid, but on those occasions when I did spend some spare change on them, I treated “Archie” comics like they were radioactive. Who cared about the tame antics of the gang in Riverdale when there were superheroes to follow? Read more

Ward v. Polite

A graduate counseling student at Eastern Michigan University refused, as part of her required practicum, to counsel any University client who might require advice about a homosexual relationship or a relationship involving sexual activity outside of marriage. Although the student stated that her religious beliefs prohibited her from counseling patients on these topics, she was expelled by the University for refusing to fulfill program requirements. Read more

Skipping Breakfast: Why Obama Should Insist On A Different Prayer Circle

President Barack Obama gave his personal testimony yesterday at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Did you see it? What did you think?

I watched the address on a live stream from the White House website. It’s still there if you want to take it in for yourself.

Obama’s message was deeply personal and overtly Christian. I guess he’s been falsely accused of being a Muslim so much that he feels obligated to make that point pretty bluntly one more time. Read more

‘Equal Access’ In Utah: Gay-Straight Alliances At Public Schools Have The Religious Right To Thank

Back in the 1980s, a number of Religious Right groups got a bright idea: Since public schools can’t legally sponsor prayer and other religious activities, perhaps it would be better to foster the creation of student-run clubs in high schools that would meet during non-instructional time to pray, read the Bible and talk about religion. A draft bill was proposed in Congress. Read more

Mayoral Mistake: California Official Should Stay Out Of The Salvation Business

Some years ago, I attended a press conference held by notorious anti-abortion zealot Randall Terry. There weren't many people at the event, and afterward Terry asked me where I was from.

When I told him I worked at Americans United, he replied, "You and Barry Lynn had better watch it – you're going to hell!"

I rolled my eyes and shrugged it off. I expect that sort of thing from a guy like Terry, so it was no big deal. In his view, pretty much everyone is going to hell.

But I wouldn't expect such a comment – and I wouldn't tolerate it – from a government official. Read more

Capital Clerical Control Checkmated: D.C. Pastors Learn There Are Limits To Their Power

Some members of the clergy in Washington, D.C., are angry because the city council will no longer automatically do what they want.

As The Washington Post reports today, clergy in the nation's capital are used to having their calls returned promptly; they expect the council to be responsive to their demands. Read more

Chucking Democracy?: Colson Headlines Paleo-Confederate's Conference In Atlanta

Has Chuck Colson finally gone off the deep end?

Colson, a prominent and revered Religious Right author and theoretician, seems to have been drifting toward the edge of the flat Earth for years.

Colson converted to evangelical Christianity while doing time in prison for his felonious role in the Nixon-era Watergate scandal. After getting out in 1975, he founded Prison Fellowship and focused on helping inmates find God. His emphasis on rehabilitation instead of draconian punishment made him friends among progressives and enemies among the hard right. Read more

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