Archive for May, 2008

Religion in Public Schools

Should Transcendental Meditation (TM) be taught in America‘s public schools?

That’s a question that Newsweek has dived into. The magazine reports that there is a “small but growing movement” to bring TM into U.S. classrooms.

For the uninitiated, Newsweek notes that TM is the trademarked name of a meditation technique created by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1958. […] Read More

Freedom of Religion

Are American military personnel misusing their presence in Iraq to proselytize on behalf of Christianity? That’s the troubling accusation reported today by McClatchy Newspapers.

According to reporters Jamal Naji and Leila Fadel, residents of the Iraqi city of Fallujah say Marines are distributing coins that urge conversion to Christianity.

On one side, the coin asks, “Where will […] Read More

Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Life, Religious Symbols on Public Property

On the whole, Canadians seem pretty well behaved. So during a vacation visit to Montreal last weekend, I was surprised to find the province of Quebec in the middle of a church-state brouhaha.

According to the Montreal Gazette, a special commission assigned to look into issues of religious liberty, minority rights and immigration had come out with a startling recommendation. […] Read More

Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Life, Religious Symbols on Public Property

I frequently see people driving around in cars, trucks, SUVs, etc. who want me to know about their strong Christian faith. Their bumper stickers proclaim it, as do their little Christian fish symbols. I even saw a guy this weekend who felt compelled to make a giant fish symbol out of reflective tape for his door.

It’s fine with me. […] Read More

Evolution & Creationism, Religion in Public Schools

Yesterday my colleague Joe Conn noted that some people in Louisiana are having problems with the teaching of evolution in public schools. Ben Nevers, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives there, is pushing legislation to allow the use of “supplemental materials” that question evolution in the classroom.

This is just another crusade to bring “intelligent design” and other […] Read More

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

Is the Louisiana legislature about to make a tremendous mistake?

It sure looks like it. Despite frantic objections from public school teachers, the scientific community and advocates of church-state separation, the House education committee yesterday approved unanimously a Religious Right bill designed to undercut the teaching of evolution.

As the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported today, Senate Bill 733 would allow […] Read More

Church Politicking

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it is closing its investigation of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, Calif., a congregation that Americans United believed stepped over the line into partisan politics.

Americans United in August asked the IRS to investigate the church after its pastor, the Rev. Wiley Drake issued an e-mail press release on church […] Read More

Religious School Vouchers

The U.S. Supreme Court isn’t as diligent as it used to be on protecting taxpayers from being compelled to support religious schools and other ministries. In 2002, the high court upheld Ohio’s school voucher plan, even though most of the money goes to sectarian schools.

That’s why state constitutions are so important. They have become the new front-line defense in […] Read More

Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Life, Religious Right Research, Religious Symbols on Public Property

Is trust in God a religious concept? Most fair-minded Americans would say yes.

Yet the Lancaster, Calif., City Council doesn’t seem to think so. Members of that governmental body recently approved unanimously a resolution ordering the display of “In God We Trust” on the back wall of the council chambers.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, council members […] Read More

Marriage & Sexuality

The California Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage has opened an important discussion about the relationship between religion and government. The justices in the court majority made it clear that they were ruling in favor of civil-marriage equality and not religion. Religious communities will remain free to perform same-sex marriages or not, as their theology dictates. […] Read More