As years pass, historical figures start to get a little fuzzy around the edges. This is especially true of those men and women who loom large over public consciousness. Activist groups, eager to co-opt these important historical personages, start subtly rewriting history. Read more
A high school student has filed suit against the Everett, Wash., school district, claiming that the administrators of Everett High School unfairly suspended for proselytizing to his classmates. Michael Leal has retained the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a Religious Right legal outfit, to defend his case.
A recent Christianity Today column provides an evangelical argument for keeping public schools secular.
Author Caryn Rivadeneira, who identifies herself as a devout Christian, objects to the idea that public schools are devoid of prayer, and of God Himself. She argues that for believers, God is present everywhere. Read more
Ever hungry for a headline, Fox News contributor Todd Starnes has drummed up yet another controversy over religion in public schools. He recently took to his column to tell the tale of a Florida girl, 5-year-old Gabriella Perez, who had allegedly been told by her teacher that she could not pray over her lunch.
The role of prayer in public schools has vexed the American people for a long time. Much misinformation circulates about what students can and can’t do when it comes to religion in schools.
Occasionally, Americans United Executive Director Barry Lynn or I are asked to discuss this issue on talk radio. Inevitably, someone will phone in and ask, “What’s the harm in a little prayer?” Read more
Note: Today is the federal observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. This blog post is a re-publication on an item that originally appeared on Jan. 13, 2006.
Today marks the federal observance of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday. Since his tragic assassination on April 4, 1968, King's memory has been pressed into service in highly unusual ways that King himself would not have supported.
Members of the school board in Liberal, Kan., missed official prayer at high school football games, so they recently voted unanimously to allow student-led prayers using the school’s loudspeakers.
But there’s a slight hitch in the school board’s plan: The Supreme Court actually banned the practice in 2000.
Yesterday was “See You at the Pole,” an annual event where public school students meet outside the building for a voluntary prayer session (often near a flagpole, hence the name – see this example) usually before the school day begins.
The Religious Right expects Americans United to get all worked up about this. We really don’t – as long as the event is voluntary and student-run and school officials aren’t sponsoring or promoting it. Read more
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