Ilana Stern / All Posts

Ilana Stern is a Communications Assistant for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Faith-Based Initiatives, Government-Sponsored Religion

“If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion,” explained then presidential-hopeful Barack Obama while discussing his proposed changes to the controversial “faith-based” initiative on the campaign trail in Ohio […] Read More

Church Politicking

Samuel Beckett, one of my favorite writers, had a lot to say about human nature and the inevitable repetition of inane life experiences. In Waiting for Godot, Krapp’s Last Tape and Endgame, the protagonists in Beckett’s most famous pieces are static creatures of habit; each repeats the same stale cycle of events, expecting a variation in circumstance. But invariably, each […] Read More

Religion and politics

Ten years ago, the Santa Fe (Texas) Independent School District was just another American town that loved its high school football team. On Friday evenings, students congregated in metal bleachers to cheer for their friends, parents attended with camcorders and warm coffee in gloved hands, and full recaps of exciting games were printed in the local papers.

But not all […] Read More

Religion in Public Schools, The U.S. Supreme Court, This Day in History

Sixty-two years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that “released time,” a program whereby public schools set aside class time for on-campus religious instruction, violated the constitutional separation between church and state.

The 1948 decision, McCollum v. Board of Education, was a landmark in application of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause to church-state violations occurring in the public schools. […] Read More

Religion and politics, Religion in Public Life

I love the Winter Olympics—the ski jumping, the hockey games, the figure skating rivalries and even the curling have kept me glued to my TV for the Vancouver games. I find the athleticism and precision required of these winter sports fascinating, but many of my friends consider the time trials and individual events too redundant to watch.

“It’s just the […] Read More

Faith-Based Initiatives, Government-Sponsored Religion

It may strike you as out-of-season that media outlets have been reporting on the Salvation Army this week. After all, the month of February is drawing to a close, D.C.’s 40-plus inches of snow is beginning to melt and winter is waning.

We should have at least 10 months to hold onto our pocket change before next
December rolls […] Read More

Elections, James Dobson

As the new year turns, most Americans make pretty conventional resolutions: I will lose enough weight to fit back into my skinny jeans, I’m going to finally assemble the IKEA bookshelf that’s been collecting dust in my basement, this season I’m going to play kickball — and I’m going to be good.

Our resolutions […] Read More

Church Politicking

A team of international surveyors grab their clipboards and decide to travel around the world to study the state of religious freedom.

They arrive in Saudi Arabia and are told that they must comply with the strictest interpretation of Islamic law, so they continue to Bangladesh where they are threatened with physical violence when some of them declare a personal […] Read More

Government-Sponsored Religion, In the Courts, Religion and politics, Religion in Public Life

Part of my job here at Americans United is to correspond with the general public. Frequently I find myself engaged in answering the most basic of questions. I’m often explaining the significance of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists wherein he coined the phrase “wall of separation between church and state.”

I also remind inquiring citizens that the […] Read More

Health Care Reform

“We could do today what we couldn’t do yesterday,” stated George Daley, a researcher at Children’s Hospital in Boston, in response to yesterday’s clearance from the Obama administration for scientists to begin using new lines of human embryonic stem cells in federally funded experiments.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has approved approximately $21 million for […] Read More

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