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EEOC Wrong To Side With Teacher In Bible Distribution Case, Says Americans United

Church-State Watchdog Says School Districts Can Fire Staff For Distributing Religious Material To Students

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) should not have ruled in favor of a New Jersey substitute teacher who was fired for giving a Bible to a student, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.

In a letter submitted to the EEOC’s New York District Office today, Americans United argued that the Phillipsburg School District could legally terminate Walt Tutka’s employment if the school acted for the purposes of avoiding a church-state violation.
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Conversion Controversy: N.J. Court Upholds Ban On Anti-Gay Therapy Aimed At Minors

A federal court in New Jersey upheld the state’s ban on “conversion therapy” for minors yesterday. U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson rejected a claim by two New Jersey parents that the ban violated the Constitution by prohibiting them from choosing the therapy for their child, who, they said, suffers from “unwanted” same-sex attractions. Read more

Prayer Push: Clergy Demand Sectarian Invocations Before Government Meetings Despite Legal Risks

Pastor Tom Douglass of Galloway Township, N.J., is no fan of generic prayers before public meetings. That’s why he’s asking city officials to “muscle up” for future invocations.

Back in February, the council unanimously approved a resolution to allow council members to open meetings with an approved, generic prayer. But some local clergy protested this less sectarian approach, and asked that the council return to its old policy of letting clergy deliver prayers to open meetings, according to the Press of Atlantic City. Read more

Paying For Praying?: N.J. Governor Seeks To Award Taxpayer Millions To Seminaries

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and some of his political allies are attempting to funnel millions in taxpayer dollars to two sectarian institutions that train members of the clergy – and they’d prefer to keep citizens in the dark about the details. Read more

Garden State Victory!: N.J. School Voucher Plan Derailed For This Year

With all of the hubbub over today’s ruling on health care at the Supreme Court, it’s easy for other stories to get overlooked. Here’s one from New Jersey that’s shouldn’t: Gov. Chris Christie has conceded that his school voucher plan is dead for this year.

Christie was asked about the matter during a recent town hall meeting in Mahwah. He said the bill was dead and blamed its derailment on Sheila Oliver, the state Assembly speaker, who Christie said refuses to move the bill. Read more

Two Thumbs Up: New Documentary Explores N.J. Classroom Conflict Over Teacher/Preacher

The summer movies are coming out, and our silver screens are already filling up with Snow White, superheroes and spaceships.

If you're in the mood for something a little different, I'd like to recommend a new documentary about religion in public schools that you can watch for free right at your computer. Read more

Prayer Politicized In Plainfield: N.J. Mayor Uses Faith As A Weapon

I am always amazed at people who believe that coerced religious worship could be of any value.

Why would a seriously devout person take part in such prayer? More to the point, what sort of deity would be pleased by it?

Nevertheless, such prayers prosper across the nation. Even worse, they are often used as a political weapon. Read more

Local Option Error: N.J. Gov. Says School Boards Can Promote Creationism

If it were left up to Gov. Chris Christie, public education in New Jersey would be a free-for-all.

At a town hall in Manalapan, N.J., last week, Christie said he believes public school districts should get to determine whether to teach creationism in science classes because that’s a decision that should be made “at the local level.”

When asked at a press conference yesterday about this issue again, Christie reiterated his stance. Read more

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