Archive for January, 2007

Religion in Public Life

Are we in the middle of a race for the White House or The Inquisition?

According to the Associated Press, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been campaigning for the Republican nomination in South Carolina. This week, Romney, a Mormon, attended the House Republican caucus there. The AP says that caucus sessions always begin with a Bible verse and a […] Read More

Religion in Public Schools

Ninety percent of American youngsters attend public schools. Billions of dollars are spent annually to educate our young people.

It’s an awesome responsibility – and one that the administration of President George W. Bush has never taken very seriously.

Rather than focus on the vast majority in public schools, the U.S. Department of Education continues to obsess over finding new […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, This Day in History

The Rev. Robert F. Drinan entered Congress in 1971 as the first elected Roman Catholic priest and a staunch opponent of America’s increasing military involvement in Vietnam.

Drinan, who died Jan. 28, served five more terms, during which he built a reputation as a leading proponent of human rights, civil liberties and the First Amendment principle of church-state separation.

Drinan’s […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, Faith-Based Initiatives

An evangelical group that seeks to convince troubled juveniles to turn their lives around by embracing its version of Christianity has lost another round in a long court battle over a decision by Michigan officials to stop funding it.

Since 1996, Teen Ranch has been one of 35 “faith-based” groups contracting with Michigan’s Family Independence Agency (FIA). The Agency is […] Read More

On the Hill, Religious School Vouchers

School vouchers have again made it onto the national stage. In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President George W. Bush reintroduced a plan to create a federal voucher program that subsidizes tuition at religious and other private schools. He mentioned the plan in passing while urging Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) this year.

Republicans […] Read More

On the Hill

Recently, Senate offices on Capitol Hill received what at first glance appears to be a routine invitation from a religious leader offering prayers on their behalf.

“On January 30th and 31st, Robert Gray will be in Washington, D.C., to introduce Pastor Benny Hinn to several senators for [a] five-minute prayer session,” reads the message, which goes on to request a […] Read More

Religious Right Research

When your friends come back from vacation, they always want to show you pictures and videos of the things they’ve seen along the way. To be honest, most of these exhibitions are mind-numbingly dull. When Alexandra Pelosi does the same thing, the result is anything but….

Pelosi, an Emmy-winning filmmaker, just came back from a cross-country pilgrimage, and […] Read More

Church Politicking, Court Stripping, On the Hill, Religion in Public Schools

If you thought that changes in Congress would mean a near cessation of attempts to weaken the principle of church-state separation, you should think again.

Since the new Congress convened earlier this month, bills have been introduced that would mandate public school prayer, allow houses of worship to endorse political candidates and stifle the federal courts’ ability to resolve disputes […] Read More

Religion in Public Schools

Australian students will soon be able to seek religious guidance without leaving the schoolhouse. The Department of Education, Science and Training recently appropriated $90 million (US $71 million) for public, private and parochial schools to hire in-house chaplains. The chaplains, whose religious affiliation will be chosen by the locals, will supplement secular counseling services by providing “spiritual and religious […] Read More

This Day in History

Today is an important date in the history of church-state separation in America.

On Jan. 16, 1786, Thomas Jefferson’s “Act for Establishing Religious Freedom” became law in Virginia. The nation marks that historic event today, Religious Freedom Day.

The importance of this piece of legislation cannot be overstated. Prior to its passage, Virginia had an officially established church – Anglicanism. […] Read More