Archive for March, 2008

Church Politicking

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his allies don’t give up easily.

In 1999, Bush pushed a school voucher program into law in the Sunshine State that generously subsidized religious and other private schools. Fortunately, the state courts found the scheme unconstitutional.

Now Bush’s voucher brigades are at work again. His allies on the Taxation and […] Read More

Religious School Vouchers

Milwaukee‘s school voucher program has been in the news a lot lately. A recent study by the University of Arkansas showed voucher students fare no better academically than their peers in the city’s “failing” public schools. (Voucher students in Catholic schools, in particular, perform dismally in mathematics.)            

The Milwaukee […] Read More

Government-Sponsored Religion, Religious Symbols on Public Property

A federal court ruled yesterday that a Ten Commandments monument on public property in Everett, Wash., does not violate the Constitution and may stay where it is. The court’s reasoning is some of the strangest I’ve ever seen.

Americans United brought this case on behalf of a local resident a few years ago. We thought it […] Read More

Freedom of Religion, Marriage & Sexuality, Religion in Public Life

The Associated Press reports that a Wisconsin state court of appeals yesterday upheld professional sanctions against a pharmacist who refused on religious grounds to fill a prescription for oral contraception.

Niel Noesen, 34, was working as a substitute pharmacist at a Menomonie, Wisc., K-Mart in the summer of 2002. A devout Roman Catholic, he objected to filling […] Read More

Evolution & Creationism, Religion in Public Schools, Religious Right Research

Part of my job involves reading Religious Right fund-raising mail and newsletters. It’s like stepping into some Bizarro World where up is down, black is white, and truth is determined not by factual evidence but by whatever the Maximum Leader says.

The Family Research Council’s Washington Watch is a good example of this. It’s always entertaining.

“How FRC Is Fighting […] Read More

Inside AU

Do you have your free tickets to the national simulcast of “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Separation of Church and State…but Were Afraid to Ask!” yet?

If not, you better hurry! The event is just two days away and tickets are going fast. Thirty-seven theaters (up from the original 25) nationwide will run the simulcast […] Read More

Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Life

It’s a fairly tired truism that when government gets involved in the business of prayer, bad things are bound to happen.

Yet government meddling in religion never seems to be a thing of the past. Over and over again, we witness legislatures interfering in what ought to be private matters about prayer. At some point in time, sooner, rather than […] Read More

Church-State Milestones, Freedom of Religion, Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Life

Last year Americans United sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Senate, asking the leadership to revise that body’s prayer policy. Like a lot of government bodies, the state Senate opens with a prayer, often one delivered by a guest minister.

AU had received complaints from Keystone State residents who noticed that the prayers were almost always Christian. We asked the […] Read More

Religion in Public Life, Religious Right Research

The other day, Americans United received an e-mail complaining that “in California schools classrooms, 7th graders are being told by their teachers/school board/etc. to emulate Islam for a week….They’re told to dress like Muslims… pray like Muslims… memorize parts of the Koran… and perform a jihad like them…. etc.” (sic)

That’s odd, I thought. I knew […] Read More

Faith-Based Initiatives, Freedom of Religion, Government-Sponsored Religion

In 2001, a young man in Michigan named Joseph R. Hanas was arrested for possession of marijuana. He pleaded guilty and was told he could avoid prison by entering a drug rehabilitation program.

The program Hanas ended up in is called Inner City Christian Outreach. It is sponsored by a Pentecostal church. Hanas is Catholic, and upon his arrival at […] Read More