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Damon’s Contribution: Louisiana Graduate Stands Up For Constitution – And Gets Grief For It

Working for Americans United, I sometimes hear about public school officials who have a very poor understanding of the Constitution.

But no matter how many times I hear these stories, it still always shocks me that there are educators out there who refuse to respect the rights of all students, not just the majority.

That’s what’s happening in Bastrop, La., right now. A graduating senior who is an atheist has asked his school to discontinue prayers at commencement. Read more

What Philadelphia Shouldn’t Forget: The City Of Brotherly Love Rioted Over Religion In Public Schools

Philadelphia is home to the National Constitution Center, and it’s clear that members of the Philadelphia City Council ought to hop on down there and give our nation’s governing document a close read. Read more

Inappropriate Test Prep: Baltimore Principal Leads Students In Prayer

“As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in school.”

That’s an aphorism I’ve seen often on bumper stickers and t-shirts, but I never thought public school officials would adopt it as a matter of official policy.

The Baltimore Sun reported yesterday that Principal Jael Yon of Northeast Baltimore's Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School scheduled a special prayer service in preparation for state-mandated tests. Read more

The Bold And The Brave: Saluting Those Who Stand Up For The Church-State Wall

On Tuesday I flew to New England to speak to a humanist group in Worcester, Mass. It was a great event, and I pleased to see so many people venture out on a cold night to hear what I had to say.

As I surveyed the crowd from the podium, I spotted an old friend in the third row: Ellery Schempp. Read more

Awful Amendments: Virginia House Undercuts Legacy Of Religious Liberty

If Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were around today, they would be extremely disappointed in their home state of Virginia.

The Virginia House of Delegates voted yesterday to approve two constitutional amendments that threaten church-state separation: one that promotes prayer in public places, including public schools, and another that permits taxpayer money to fund the religious training and theological education of certain students. Read more

Sorry, Soddy-Daisy!: Public Schools Should Not Promote One Faith Over Others

A Tennessee public school has done the right thing and agreed to stop broadcasting Christian prayers over the loudspeaker at football games and graduation ceremonies.

After students complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the group sent a letter to school officials asking them to discontinue the unconstitutional practice.

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent issued an order to halt the prayers, and yesterday Soddy-Daisy High School Principal John Maynard promised that he would. Read more

When Silence Speaks Volumes: Illinois Law Promotes Prayer, And The Court Knows It

When the “moment of silence” bill first came up for vote in the Illinois legislature years ago, some House members sang a song on the floor to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence.” It went:

Hello, school prayer, our old friend

It’s time to vote on you again

In our school house without warning

You seek a moment in the morning.

The words made very clear these legislators’ intent in proposing the measure: to bring government-sponsored prayer back into the public schools. Read more

Religion + Public School = Trouble: Prayer-Pushing Mississippi Math Teacher Resigns

For the most part, our public school teachers respect and appreciate the U.S. Constitution. They understand that parents should choose what to teach their children about religion, not school employees.

But every once in a while, a teacher comes along who insists he or she knows better. For example, Meadville, Miss., math instructor Alice Hawley believes she should lead her students in prayer during class. Read more

Bits And Pieces: A Roundup Of News You Might Have Missed

Another Friday is here, and it’s time for our semi-regular feature of news about church-state separation and the Religious Right that you might have missed. Be warned, some of the stories this week are about sex!

  • Opposition to gays serving in the military continues to crumble as Congress moves to overturn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the Clinton years. The Religious Right is in quite a lather over this.

Florida Flim-Flam: ‘Inspirational Message’ Bill Is Attack On Church-State Separation

Ten years ago, the Santa Fe (Texas) Independent School District was just another American town that loved its high school football team. On Friday evenings, students congregated in metal bleachers to cheer for their friends, parents attended with camcorders and warm coffee in gloved hands, and full recaps of exciting games were printed in the local papers. Read more

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