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Creationism Booted From Ohio Public Schools

Some good news out of Ohio: One of its public school districts recently announced that creationism and other region-based ideas will not be taught in science classes.

Starting now, by order of Youngstown Schools Chief Executive Officer Crish Mohip, science curricula in Youngstown must follow the 344-page science standards developed by the Ohio Department of Education. Those standards do not include any religious dogma.

Scandalous Sentence: Judge Orders Catholic Man To Attend Protestant Church Instead Of Sending Him To Jail

An Ohio judge who likes “creative sentencing” has ordered a Catholic man to attend Protestant church services rather than sending him to jail.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge William Mallory has a reputation for handing out unusual sentences – and this week he chose one for Jake Strotman that may be unconstitutional.

Kooky Curriculum: Ohio Public School Under Fire For Using Creationist Video Produced By Turkish Televangelist

Apparently some creationists are so eager to advance their agenda that they will use just about any materials they can get their hands on – including a video made by a controversial evangelist in Turkey who collects young woman followers and has been accused of being a Holocaust denier.

Columbus, Ohio, Student Wins Americans United Church-State Separation Essay Contest

Religious Liberty Watchdog Also Recognizes Submissions From Students In Georgia And Wisconsin

A Columbus, Ohio, student has won first place in Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s Student Essay Contest.

McKenzie Hartman, a senior at Metro Early College High School, earned a prize of $500 for her essay on why the separation of church of state is integral to preserving religious freedom in America’s pluralistic society.  

Hartman’s winning essay will be printed in Church & State, Americans United’s membership magazine, in July, and Americans United sent her school $500 to be used for educational supplies.

Ohio Mentoring Program Gives Most Funds To Religious Groups, Says Report

An Ohio program designed to reduce the number of school drop-outs through mentoring is funneling most of the money to religious groups, a newspaper has reported.

The program, called Community Connectors, encourages religious and community groups to partner with public schools to provide services to at-risk students. When Gov. John Kasich announced the plan late in 2014, he stipulated that schools must have “faith-based” partners to qualify for the funding.

Ohio Judge Does Not Have ‘Religious Freedom’ Right To Refuse Service To Same-Sex Couples, Says Americans United

Toledo Officials Must Facilitate Marriages For All Qualified Couples, Church-State Watchdog Says

A Toledo, Ohio, judge who refused to serve a same-sex couple violated that couple’s constitutional rights, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.

In a letter sent today, Americans United explained that government employees responsible for performing duties related to marriage are not permitted to serve opposite-sex couples exclusively.

Unfair Dealer: Cleveland Newspaper Attacks AU Over Christian Opera

Americans United’s Legal Department received a complaint recently about a public high school in the town of Willoughby that planned to perform an opera based on Christian concepts.

The opera, “I Am Martol,” was written by Ben Richard, a choral music teacher at South High School. Its plot concerns a sinner who is approached by a messenger from God and given a final chance to repent by accepting the Lord’s message of salvation. The sinner does so and ascends into heaven. In other words, it was the standard evangelical Christian message set to music.

Muslim Inmate Forced To Attend Christian Services

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, jailers threatened a Muslim woman with solitary confinement if she did not attend Christian services while incarcerated, according to a new lawsuit.

Sakeena Majeed, 24, also alleges that other inmates were forced to attend the services, regardless of their religious affiliation, and that officials mocked inmates who did not wish to participate.

“The government can’t tell people which god to pray to, or whether to pray at all,” Majeed’s attorney, Matthew Besser, told Cleveland.com.

AU warns Ohio Governor Over Church-Sponsored Mentoring Program

Ohio officials may not require public school districts to partner with churches and faith-based organizations as a condition of taking part in a tax-funded mentoring program, Americans United said recently.

In a letter sent Dec. 17 to Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other officials, Americans United explained that the Community Connectors program, which provides $10 million in 3-to-1 matching grants, violates the First Amendment because it gives religious organizations priority over secular groups.

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