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Banner Battle, Final Chapter: R.I. School Erects Secular Principles

The town of Cranston, R.I., recently showed just how effectually a church/state issue can be resolved. The local high school’s controversial and religiously-themed banner was replaced by a new, secular and inspirational banner. Read more

Marriage Malarkey: R.I. Man Loses ‘Faith-Based’ Lawsuit Against Same-Sex Unions

Starting tomorrow, same-sex couples in Rhode Island will be able to legally marry – despite the best efforts of a local Religious Right activist to stop them.

The Rhode Island legislature approved marriage equality earlier this year, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the measure into law. At the time, Chafee invoked the spirit of the state’s founder, iconic religious liberty pioneer Roger Williams. Read more

Banner Banished: Court Strikes Down R.I. School Prayer Display

In October, I wrote about a young high school student named Jessica Ahlquist who filed suit to have a school prayer banner removed from Cranston High School West in Cranston, R.I.

At the time, the federal judge hearing the case, Ronald R. Lagueux, visited the school to examine the banner. Some observers believed he would rule within a few days. Read more

Christmas Cranks: Rhode Island Governor Under Fire For ‘Holiday Tree’

My family and I are planning to get a Christmas tree this weekend. We usually opt for a Fraser fir. They’re attractive trees with sharp needles that discourage our two cats from getting too close.

I have no problem calling it a Christmas tree because we celebrate Christmas. But if someone called it a “holiday tree” or even “a seasonal evergreen display,” I wouldn’t much care. The holiday will come either way, and we’ll still experience all of our traditions. Read more

Rhode Island Banner Battle: Student Jessica Ahlquist Stands Up For The Constitution

In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a famous decision in a school prayer case called Abington School District v. Schempp. The justices, with only one dissenter, ruled school-sponsored and coercive programs of prayer and Bible reading in public schools unconstitutional.

That same year for some reason, students at a high school in Cranston, R.I., decided to create an 8-foot-tall banner containing an official school prayer and hang it in the school auditorium. Read more

Chafee Chafes Cleric: New Rhode Island Governor Opts Out Of Government-Sponsored Prayer

Lincoln D. Chafee may be new to the Rhode Island governor’s office, but he certainly isn’t new to the Constitution.

According to a report in the Providence Journal, Chafee did not follow in his predecessors’ footsteps by intermingling religion and government in his inaugural activities. Instead, the new governor chose not to hold an inaugural public prayer service on the morning of his swearing-in. Read more