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Grant’s Grand Vision: Public Schools That Welcome All

Today is Presidents’ Day. On this day, we often recommend that you spend some time reading some of the great statements on church-state separation uttered by chief executives like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, or John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on religious liberty. Read more

Religious Freedom Day 2014: Resolve To Defend The Church-State Wall

I still use a large desk calendar, one made out of paper. (Yep, I admit I’m a dinosaur.)

This calendar thoughtfully fills me in on holidays major and minor. On March 17, I can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Benito Juarez’s Birthday. I wouldn’t want to miss Administrative Professionals Day on April 23, and Victoria Day (May 19) is a big deal in Canada. For you internationalists, Oct. 24 is United Nations Day.

But one holiday that does not appear is Religious Freedom Day, which is today, Jan. 16. Read more

Parade Of Religious Right Extremists: Va. Town’s Religious Freedom Celebration Dishonors Vision Of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson wanted only three of his many accomplishments noted on his grave’s headstone, and one of them was his authorship of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Read more

Sarah Saves Christmas!: Former Alaska Gov. Says Thomas Jefferson Would Oppose Atheist-Led ‘War On Christmas’

Sarah Palin is still on the defensive as part of her phony “War on Christmas,” and now she seems to have recruited a new ally for her fight: Thomas Jefferson. Read more

Freedom From Foolishness?: Texas Gov. Misconstrues Religious Liberty

Whenever I hear someone – especially a politician – say that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, I just want to start screaming.

As I’ve pointed out many times on this blog and in other forums, that statement is inane and shows great ignorance of our founding principles. Religious Right figures started using it a few years ago, apparently believing they had stumbled onto something clever. In fact, they are simply spouting puerile nonsense. Read more

Passing The Bill: Mass. Taxpayers To Subsidize Church Improvements

Generally speaking, members of the Unitarian Universalist denomination have been strong supporters of the separation of church and state. In my travels for Americans United, I often encounter UUs among AU’s membership, and I’ve spoken in some UU pulpits.

I was rather surprised, then, to read an editorial in the Gloucester, Mass., Times defending a Unitarian church that accepted $30,000 in local tax funds to pay for some work on its building. Read more

Legacy Of Liberty: Celebrating Religious Freedom Day, 2013

Your calendar might not note this, but today is Religious Freedom Day, an event that celebrates passage of Thomas Jefferson’s pioneering Statute for Religious Freedom in Virginia.

Some quick background: In 1784, Patrick Henry introduced a bill in the Virginia legislature that would have required all residents to pay a tax “for the support of the Christian religion, or of some Christian church, denomination or communion of Christians, or for some form of Christian worship.” Read more

The Presidential Debate: What I’d Ask The Candidates About Church-State Separation

If you’re at all interested in politics, there’s one thing uppermost in your mind today: the presidential candidates’ debate tonight at the University of Denver in Colorado.

Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will field questions from PBS “NewsHour” host Jim Lehrer. The focus of the debate is domestic policy. 

I’m sure a lot of the questions will turn on the economy – the unemployment rate, the budget deficit, taxation, health-care reform, funding for Medicare and Social Security, etc. Read more

Moon Shadow: Unification Church Founder Mesmerized Religious Right, Members Of Congress

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, self-proclaimed messiah, founder of the Unification Church and funder of various Religious Right political causes, died on Monday.

Moon, who was 92, was familiar to many Americans because of the rather esoteric beliefs of his church – the mass weddings, the flower sellers on the streets and the allegations that the church was really a “cult.” Read more

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