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Orange County (CA) AU hosts Dr. Phil Zuckerman, February 20

The Orange County Chapter of Americans United will host Dr. Phil Zuckerman, author of the 2008 book “Society without God” on Saturday, February 20th at 2:00 PM.  

Dr. Zuckerman will lead a discussion about what we can learn from countries less religious than our own.  He will focus on issues of religion, justice and contentment. The meeting will be held at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Avenue, Irvine.  There is no charge for this event and reservations are not required.

Presidential Proclamations: The Chief Executives On Religious Liberty

It’s Presidents' Day. In honor of the holiday, I thought it would be interesting to pull together some quotes by our chief executives on church-state separation and religious freedom.

Most people know that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were great champions of church-state separation. But did you know that James K. Polk had some interesting things to say, as did U.S. Grant?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it provides some interesting food for thought. Enjoy!

Beastie Boys: Virginia House Passes Bill To Ward Off Antichrist

You can’t make this stuff up.

The Virginia House of Delegates has just passed a bill that supporters hope will keep the Antichrist at bay.

You hear a loud whirring noise, you say? That would be Thomas Jefferson and James Madison spinning like tops in their Virginia graves.

Yes, it’s true. Yesterday House members approved a measure that would prohibit employers and insurance companies from requiring people to implant microchips in their bodies.

Proper Prayer Practices: S.C. School Ends In-School Proselytism

Americans United has pointed out many times that public schools need not be “religion-free” zones. There are ways students can meet for prayer or to read religious texts – but it has to be their choice.

In Georgetown, S.C., a local resident, Violet Infinger, had been coming onto school grounds for 10 years to pray with students and pass out religious literature.

Voucher Volley: D.C. Newspaper Continues To Push Failed School-Aid Plan

The Washington Post yesterday added to its long list of editorials and columns in support of Washington, D.C.’s controversial school voucher plan.

The newspaper seems to have an obsession with keeping the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program alive, despite knowing that the program has shown no improvement in student performance, lacks accountability, hurts public schools and subsidizes religious education with taxpayer funds.

Stone Simple: Texas Pastor Can’t Grasp The Basics Of Religious Liberty

Two months ago, I wrote a post about religious tolerance being on the upswing at the Air Force Academy. The Associated Press had reported that when Pagan cadets sought a place to worship, Academy officials worked with them to create an outdoor stone circle.

Some people are having a difficult time dealing with that.

More Faith-Based Follies: One Year Later, Initiative Remains Plagued With Problems

The one-year anniversary today of the unveiling of President Barack Obama’s version of the “faith-based” initiative has pushed the issue back into the spotlight. Unfortunately, the news is not good.

Speaking at yesterday’s National Prayer Breakfast, Obama boasted that he had “turned the faith-based initiative around.”

I was surprised to read that statement, because everything I see indicates that we’re still fighting the same old battles over faith-based funding that erupted during the Bush years.

Wallbuilders’ Narrow Notion: Religious Liberty For Me, But Not For Thee

Recently, Americans United weighed in on a case that challenged discriminatory hiring practices at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

We sided with a Wiccan clergyman, Patrick McCollum, who was a qualified candidate for a paid chaplain position but could not be considered because of his religious beliefs. At the prison, those positions are only available to those who are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or Native American.

The Mayor’s Mistake: California Official Should Apologize For ‘Christian Community’ Comment

Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, Calif., is laboring under the delusion that his city is an officially “Christian community.” Americans United is trying to set him straight.

Parris sparked controversy a few days ago when, during a state of the city address, he remarked, “We’re growing a Christian community, and don’t let anybody shy away from that.”

Parris went on to insist that ministers should have the right to open meetings of the city council using sectarian references, such as “in Jesus’ name.”