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Liberty And Justice For Some?: Mosque Controversies Reveal Limited Definitions of Religious Freedom

Opponents of an Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., are trying to take their fight to the Supreme Court – even though their losing battle has so far cost them $343, 276. It’s the latest twist in a costly legal saga that has trickled through the courts for nearly four years.
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Choice Challenge: ‘National School Choice Week’ Is Ending, But the Fight Against Vouchers Isn’t Over

“National School Choice Week” may be winding down, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that your tax dollars aren’t used to fund religious schools through voucher schemes.

You’ve heard a lot from Americans United this week about the truth behind “school choice.” So by now you may be aware that this whole “School Choice Week” publicity stunt is really about vouchers, and vouchers aren’t really about improving educational choices for anyone. Read more

States Of Prayer: Legislators In Three States Push Bills To Promote Religion In Public Schools

The Supreme Court made it clear decades ago that our public schools aren’t meant to be places for spreading religion. But for legislators in three states, court rulings are no deterrent to their dogmatic agendas.

Lawmakers in South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee are debating bills that are designed, supporters say, to “put prayer back in schools.” The tactics vary, but in each case the desired outcome is the same: a potentially unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state. And the legislators behind the bills aren’t shy about their motivations.
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Poor Partnership: Federal Court Derails Tenn. County’s Relationship With Christian Academy

It’s a sad fact of life that some youngsters get into trouble in school. They might cut class, get involved with alcohol or drugs, start fights and so on. Sometimes public school officials find students like this too disruptive to keep in the classroom.

What should be done with such kids? If your response is, “Send them to a Christian academy at taxpayer expense,” that’s the wrong answer. Read more

Bench Press: Atheist Group Wins Right To Display Monument In North Florida County

By the end of the month, the courthouse in Bradford County, Fla., will be home to a large granite bench covered with quotes from famous skeptics and atheists.

How did this happen? Is Bradford County some sort of hotbed of atheism? Read more

Profiting The Prophet?: Tenn. Legislators Fear Voucher Bill Will Subsidize Islamic Schools

Yesterday Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam abruptly pulled a private school voucher bill after some legislators refused to give him assurances that they would not try to alter the bill in ways Haslam does not support.

This is a good thing. Vouchers are a bad idea that distract from meaningful education reform.

But other voucher proposals are still pending in the legislature, so the issue is not dead in Tennessee. Read more

Petition Interdiction: Tenn. Legislator Seeks To Make It A Crime To Protest Church-State Violations

Whenever I hear someone talking about the alleged shift in American politics that is supposedly turning the country away from far-right politics, I have to pause, collect myself and say politely, “We’re not quite there yet.”

If you don’t believe me, take a look at what’s going in some of the states.

It’s estimated that 24 state legislatures have been strongly influenced by an unholy partnership of Religious Right groups and Tea Party activists. Some awfully strange legislation is surfacing in those states. Read more

Paying For Prejudice: Georgia Tax-Credit Program Subsidizes Anti-Gay Bias

Vouchers and tuition tax credits, we’re told by those who favor them, will promote “school choice.”

This is true, in a sense. But here’s the harsh reality: It’s the private school that gets the choice, not the parents. Read more

Voucher Vortex: Tenn. Officials Being Sucked Into Controversy Over Private School Aid

Some Tennessee legislators are big on vouchers, and they prodded Gov. Bill Haslam to establish a nine-member task force to study tax subsidies for religious and other private schools. Unfortunately, its members have promptly blundered into a minefield.

Details can be messy things. The task force wrangled over questions such as accountability, how to ensure that students in voucher schools are getting a good education and how much vouchers should be worth. Read more

Fearmongers Rebuked: McCain Upbraids House Members’ Islamic Conspiracy Charges

Bust out the burqa! Stash your safety razor! Islamic law is just around the corner.

So says the latest far-right conspiracy theory that’s making the rounds. Word is that a band of Islamic zealots has somehow infiltrated the upper echelons of the federal government – no doubt aided and abetted by the secret Muslim in the White House – and will be imposing shariah law just about any day now. Read more

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