Archive for February, 2008

Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Life

California lawmakers may really be pressed with tough issues facing their constituencies, ranging from educational to environmental concerns. But some of them find themselves distracted by a religious brouhaha that has erupted in the Capitol in Sacramento.

This week, quasi-official Chaplain Ralph Drollinger ignited a religious tit-for-tat, when he touted his Bible study and disparaged a more religiously inclusive group […] Read More

Freedom of Religion, Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Schools

Every once in a while I run into someone at a social function who seems puzzled about the work I do.

“Separation of church and state?” they say. “That was all taken care of years ago. It’s in the Constitution; we don’t have to worry about it any more.”

I think I’ll carry around an article that […] Read More

Religious School Vouchers

A new study of the Milwaukee school voucher program shows that children receiving publicly financed tuition at religious and other private schools perform no better academically than their peers in public schools.

The results are surely disappointing for voucher supporters. Their premise rests on the assumption that children removed from “failing” public schools will fulfill their academic […] Read More

Freedom of Religion, Religion in Public Life

I grew up in a large Irish Catholic family with eight brothers and sisters. Some of my siblings remain in the Catholic Church, but over the years, others have gone elsewhere. My oldest sister is a Mormon, and my youngest attends Unitarian services. One brother is a Lutheran; another has no affiliation at all.

I used to think my family […] Read More

Faith-Based Initiatives, Government-Sponsored Religion

There are constitutionally sound ways to ensure that prisoners have the ability to nurture their religious sides. But turning over an entire wing of a state correctional facility to a religious group bent on converting prisoners is never the way to go.

It took a lawsuit and years of costly litigation, but state officials in Iowa have finally severed close […] Read More

Freedom of Religion, Government-Sponsored Religion

The end of an era could be upon us. After 500 years of Anglican establishment, a recent Economist editorial is calling for the immediate separation of church and state in Britain.  

The piece is in response to comments made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, earlier this month. Williams, head of the […] Read More

Religion in Public Life, Religion in Public Schools

Religious Right activists and their political allies are adept at conjuring up ghosts, especially when they need to scare up lots of voters on Election Day.

With a presidential election and lots of other important races on the ballot this year,   Religious Right tacticians are looking for ways to propel their kind to the polls in November.

In Missouri, […] Read More

Evolution & Creationism

Evolution finally got the respect it deserves in Florida yesterday. The State Board of Education voted to approve new science standards that explicitly mention the word “evolution” (gasp!) and make clear that it is the “fundamental concept underlying all of biology” (gasp again!)

Revisions to the standards commenced after a 2005 report by the Thomas B. Fordham […] Read More

Church Politicking, Religious Right Research

For various reasons, I’ve been in and out of the AU office recently, so I’ve been enjoying the latest developments in the Wiley Drake saga from afar via my home computer.

I always seem to miss Drake’s diabolical assaults on AU. I was on vacation when Drake issued his first fatwa back in August. While staff members were […] Read More

Freedom of Religion, Religious Right Research

In honor of Presidents’ Day, let’s talk presidents.
Religious Right activists devote large amounts of their time and resources to revising history. Certain facts about the nation’s founding have been terribly inconvenient for that movement for decades.

These historical revisionists loathe the church-state separation principle. They’ve knocked it as un-American, linked it to communism and derided it […] Read More