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A Long Con: Extremist Encourages Police To Profile Muslims

A self-proclaimed “former terrorist” with strong ties to the Religious Right recently provided a training session to Ocean County, N. J., police academy. According to the Asbury Park Press, Palestinian-American Walid Shoebat openly encouraged his audience to single out Muslims for special scrutiny. He also told aspiring officers to beware of Muslims taking martial arts classes as this was evidence they were preparing for jihad. Read more

N.J. Town Drops Sponsorship Of Papal Mass After AU Complaint

A New Jersey town withdrew its official sponsorship of an event that featured a live online video broadcast of a papal mass after receiving a complaint from Americans United.

Cape May, N.J., had planned to show a live stream of Pope Francis’ Sept. 27 public mass in Philadelphia at a government-owned building, the Cape May Convention Hall. Tickets for the event were also distributed at city hall. Read more

Civil Liberties Groups Tell State Court That New Jersey Was Wrong To Award Taxpayer Money To Religious Ministries

Nearly $11 Million In Grants For Two Sectarian Schools Raises Constitutional Concerns, Say Watchdog Organizations

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have submitted written arguments challenging New Jersey’s decision to award taxpayer funds to two religious ministries.
In a reply brief submitted recently in the case of American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v.

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