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Seize The Day!: Upcoming Religious Freedom Event Provides An Opportunity For Separation Advocates

Two weeks from today, the nation will celebrate Religious Freedom Day.

Don’t feel bad if you were not aware of that. Most people aren’t. Religious Freedom Day, which is celebrated every Jan. 16, tends to be somewhat obscure. My desk calendar, which includes Groundhog Day, Armed Forces Day and Benito Juarez’s Birthday, does not list Religious Freedom Day. Read more

Fall From Grace: What The Religious Right Should Learn From The McDonnell Scandal

Leaders of Religious Right groups are fond of telling us that if we elect more fundamentalist Christians to office, we’ll have less corruption. Biblical literalists must be more ethical, right? Read more

Equality On The March: Same-Sex Marriage Moves Forward But Still Faces Legal Challenges

A federal judge struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban last night, calling it an unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. US District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen began her decision with a lengthy quote from Mildred Loving, the plaintiff in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia, which struck down the state’s Jim Crow-era anti-miscegenation laws.  
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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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A Little List: The Top Ten Church-State Stories Of 2013

It’s that time of year when people are compiling lists. So let’s look at the Top Ten Church-State Stories of 2013.

1. Greece, N.Y., prayer case argued before U.S. Supreme Court: An Americans United-sponsored lawsuit challenging legislative prayer in the city of Greece, N.Y., reached the Supreme Court. Read more

Wick-ed: Va. Principal Attacks Public Schools – While Happily Accepting A Paycheck From Them

There are educators in my family, so I know a few things about how challenging that profession can be. The hours are long, the pay is often mediocre and the working conditions are sometimes not great.

But at the same time, I’ve been taught by teachers and have encountered some at the public schools my daughter and son have attended who were born to the profession. They’re just naturals. They have a gift, and it’s hard to imagine them doing anything else.

Unfortunately, there are also people working in public schools who probably ought to be doing something else. Read more

Adopting Bias: New Va. Rules Seek To Safeguard ‘Faith-Based’ Bigotry

Legislators and media pundits in Washington, D.C., continue to obsess over the birth control mandate in the new health care law and whether church-related institutions like hospitals and colleges must provide contraceptive coverage.

While that’s going, a quieter tussle in Virginia has captured fewer national headlines. That’s a shame because a debate over adoption by same-sex couples in that state is perhaps a better indicator of where the Religious Right wants to take this country. Read more

Doe v. Government-Sponsored Religion: Why Plaintiffs Sometimes Need To Be Anonymous

Let’s say you lived in Giles County, Va., a rural enclave of about 17,000 people in the southwestern portion of the state. Let’s say you were a high school student and you were opposed to the school board’s decision to post the Ten Commandments in your school.

Would you be eager to be public about it?

Some people might be willing to stick their necks out and take a public stand. Others might want to remain a little reticent but still look for ways to right this wrong – and they might seek to do so anonymously. Read more

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