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Judge Rules Pa. Muslim May Not Swear On Quran

A Pennsylvania judge forbade a Muslim woman from swearing on the Quran before taking the witness stand in a custody dispute. The ruling upholds a state law that requires witnesses to swear on the Christian Bible or make a non-religious affirmation before offering testimony.

The woman had argued that the state’s law violated her religious liberty rights and exhibited a preference for Christianity over Islam and other religions. Read more

Boot These Bigoted Bans: Movement Seeks To Remove Anti-Atheist Bias From State Constitutions

Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things about God and religion before they can be elected.

These provisions can’t be enforced. They were declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1961 ruling in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins. Yet they linger on, a testament to the bigotry of bygone days. Read more

Backdoor Blasphemy: Pa. County Intends To Pursue Jesus Statue ‘Desecration’ Case

It seems a Pennsylvania county has its heart set on enforcing a backdoor blasphemy law thanks to a persistent and misguided district attorney.

Earlier this month, a story made the rounds on social media concerning a 14-year-old boy in Everett, Pa., who posted on Facebook a photo of himself simulating a sex act with a statue of Jesus. Read more

Suspicious Statute: Pa. Teen Faces Confinement Under Law Banning ‘Desecration’

A story has been making the rounds on social media concerning a 14-year-old boy in Everett, Pa., who posted on Facebook a photo of himself simulating a sex act with a statue of Jesus.

The teen, whose name has not been publicly released, stands accused of “desecration of a venerated object.” He is facing criminal charges and the possibility of two years in a juvenile facility. Read more

Voucher Advocates Get Schooled: Private School Teacher Slams ‘School Choice Week’

“National School Choice Week,” a propaganda initiative created by the forces that want you to pay taxes to support someone else’s religious school, is still two months away. But some educators are already pushing back against an onslaught of misinformation.

In an open letter published by the Huffington Post, Steve Nelson of Manhattan’s prestigious Calhoun School told voucher backers they’d have to campaign without him. Read more

Motto Mania: Pa. Lawmaker Proposes Religious Statement For Public Schools

A Pennsylvania state legislator is pushing a bill that would require public schools in the state to post “In God We Trust” signs – but he insists religion has nothing to do with it.

Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny/Washington) says he merely wants to honor the anniversary of the first appearance of “In God We Trust” on coins, which occurred 150 years ago. Read more

A Bad Idea By Design: Pa. Lawmakers Revive Creationism Push

Creationism is stealing headlines again in Pennsylvania.

Eight years after Americans United successfully challenged the Dover School District’s attempt to push creationism in public schools, lawmakers are at it again. State Representative Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) is now seeking co-sponsors for a bill that would allow students to question evolutionary theory.
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Fifty Years Of Freedom: Celebrating The Supreme Court’s Decision Against Coercive Religion In Public Schools

Fifty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme handed down one of its most important church-state rulings. In School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, the high court ruled 8-1 that state-mandated programs of Bible reading and prayer in public schools are unconstitutional.

Five decades later, the ruling in Schempp (and its companion case, Murray v. Curlett) remains widely misunderstood. Part of this is due to a deliberate campaign of misinformation by Religious Right groups, which have distorted the scope of the decision. Read more

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