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Disturbing Documents: Milwaukee Materials Underscore Extent Of Church Privilege

We often hear from the Religious Right and the Catholic bishops that religious freedom is under attack in the United States. Sometimes even the word “oppression” is tossed about. Read more

Bad Actor: Presumptuous Prelate Hopes His Partisan Ploy Plays In Peoria – And Elsewhere

For the past few days, my inbox has been overflowing with emails about Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky.

The Roman Catholic prelate last week wrote a letter that he ordered all priests in his Peoria, Ill., diocese to read during services over the weekend. The missive purports to offer guidance about tomorrow’s election. Read more

Standing Up For Birth Control: Religious Voices Speak Out In Contraceptive Debate

Every morning, it seems, I pick up The Washington Post and read another article or column about President Barack Obama’s decision to require employers to provide free coverage of birth control in their health insurance plans.

The move, announced on Jan. 20 by the Department of Health and Human Services, has sparked some controversy because, while it exempts houses of worship, it doesn’t exempt church-related institutions. Thus, church-owned hospitals, colleges and other entities will have to buy insurance plans for their employees that include contraceptive coverage. Read more

Medical Emergency: Catholic-Public Hospital Mergers Can Mean Loss Of Services

There has been a lot of talk about medical care lately, especially in light of the House of Representatives’ recent vote to repeal the health care plan. Americans United doesn’t take a stand on that law, but there are aspects of this discussion that are of interest to our organization. Read more

Battling Bias: Interpreter Can’t Get Tax-Funded Job Because He’s The ‘Wrong’ Religion

For several years now, Americans United and other groups have spoken out against religious hiring bias in taxpayer-funded “faith-based” programs.

The issue to many people might seem like a legal abstraction. That’s why it’s helpful to occasionally have a human face put on the controversy.

Consider the case of Saad Mohammad Ali, a Washington state resident who volunteered for the evangelical Christian agency World Relief for six months. Read more

Bishops' Bluff: D.C. Officials Should Reject Church Threat Over Tax Funding

When I picked up my Washington Post at the breakfast table this morning, the first thing I saw was a blaring headline reading, "Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum." All I could think was, "This ought to be good." Read more

Unhealthy Trend: House Action On Abortion Showcases Power Of Bishops' Lobby

When political pundits talk about the power of religious groups to affect public policy in Washington, most tend to focus on the Religious Right.

Indeed, during the presidency of George W. Bush, Religious Right groups flexed a lot of political muscle and won numerous victories on Capitol Hill.

But the Religious Right has an Achilles' heel: Its leaders and activists are so closely identified with the Republican Party that when Democrats are in charge, these groups have a much more difficult time advancing their agenda. Read more

Diplomatic Demands: Vatican Vetoes U.S. Ambassador Candidates Who Fail Religious Test

One of my heroes in the church-state world is a feisty Southern Baptist minister named James Dunn.

James ran the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty here in Washington for many years. He is firmly grounded in the historic Baptist view that separation of church and state is good for both institutions. Woe to anyone who suggested that James was operating out of hostility toward religion. A man of deep faith, James would quickly set you straight on that. Read more