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The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Mending Wall: A Reflection On Good Barriers And Bad Ones

In his poem "Mending Wall," poet Robert Frost wrote, "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out."

Today, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, that's a point worth pondering. There are good walls and bad ones.

Equal Access: How The Religious Right Helped Launch Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs In Public High Schools

Last night during dinner, my daughter Claire mentioned that some of her friends who attend another high school are preparing for a gang of protesters to descend on their school. Members of Westboro Baptist Church are coming to town!

You've probably heard of this crew. Westboro Baptist and its pastor, Fred Phelps, are best known for picketing at the funerals of fallen military personnel. Their theology is somewhat incoherent, but the Westboro-ites seem to believe that the war in Iraq is God's punishment on the nation for tolerating gay people.

O Come, All Ye Fanatics: California Teacher Wants To Require Christmas Carols In School

When I was six, the Christmas pageant organizer at our neighborhood church offered me a Little Golden Book for every carol I sang. I loved to read and considered that quite a deal. Unfortunately, my repertoire at the time wasn't very large, but I still managed to score three books!

I still like Christmas carols myself, but I know that not everyone does. This is an incredibly diverse nation, and a lot of people don't observe Christmas.

That why a new ballot proposal being pushed in California is so crazy.

Falwell Power Play: Jerry's Kids Grease Partisan Political Machine In Lynchburg

Jerry Falwell Jr. seems well on his way toward setting up his own little fundamentalist theocracy in Lynchburg, Va.

Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University, has been working for months to forge students at his school into a voting bloc that will control local elections. According to the Lynchburg News & Advance, as many as 1,700 LU students registered to vote in the city this fall.

Dobson And Destiny: Will Religious Right Leader Turn His Focus To Electioneering?

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family (FOF), is not a happy camper these days.

"What is happening in Washington right now is my greatest nightmare," Dobson said during a recent radio broadcast. He opined that everything he has worked on for 25 years is "coming apart.... It's unbelievable what's taking place."

In separate remarks while accepting an award from the secretive right-wing Council for National Policy, Dobson blamed his discontent on President Barack Obama.

Robo-Call Ruse: Brooklyn Bishop Rings Up Voters In Backdoor Election Scheme

Tomorrow, Election Day will be here again! And in Brooklyn, voters will decide between Maritza Davila and incumbent Diana Reyna for New York City council member in District 34 -- just another example of our democracy hard at work.

That is, if you discount what seems to be quite the sneaky political scheme by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

Halloween In The Public Schools: It's Not So Scary

What should public schools do about Halloween?

Americans United has never taken a formal position on this question, but since I have two children attending public schools, I've given it some thought. It has been on my mind even more so lately since I've been working on a costume for my 11-year-old son that involves a lot of duct tape. He'll be wearing it in a school parade today and for trick-or-treating on Saturday.

Obama And Church-State Separation: The Good, The Bad And The Uncertain

I just got back from New York City, where I spoke at an interesting event sponsored by our friends at the Center for Inquiry.

On Tuesday night, a three-person panel discussed the issue "Church and State in the Obama Era" at All Souls Church, a Unitarian-Universalist congregation. I wouldn't call this event a debate; it was more of a discussion of where we stand under Obama – as I put it (taking off from the title of an old Clint Eastwood Western), "The Good, the Bad and the Uncertain."

Creche Clash: Religious Right Launches Another Bogus Persecution Claim

Yesterday was the 350th anniversary of the hanging of two Quakers by the Puritan establishment in Massachusetts Bay Colony.

William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson had come from England in 1656 to escape religious persecution. But on Oct. 27, 1659, they became the first Quakers in America to be executed because of their religious beliefs.

These men paid with their lives for merely wanting to practice their own faith. Now that is religious intolerance and persecution to the extreme.

Common Ground?: Both Left And Right Oppose 'Defamation Of Religion' Laws

Here is an issue that for once we may all agree on.

When it comes to "defamation of religion" policies, civil liberties groups and the Religious Right seem to fall on the same side. And now, the Obama administration has also voiced its opposition.

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