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

'Faith-Based' Stumbling Block

Although the White House scheme to dole out tax dollars to religious ministries never passed Congress, the executive branch nonetheless has been cutting checks to advance President George W. Bush's "faith-based" initiative. A new federal court ruling published this week dealt this backdoor scheme a significant blow.

Senate Confirms Holmes For Federal Bench

Despite strong reservations among civil liberties activists, the Senate yesterday voted 51-46 to confirm the Bush administration's nomination of James Leon Holmes to a federal court in Arkansas, reports The New York Times. The extreme positions taken by Holmes in a number of strongly worded articles raised red flags for defenders of church-state separation about his willingness to uphold the Constitution.

Memo To Jerry Falwell: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

On CNBC's "Capital Report" July 2, Americans United's Barry Lynn and Religious Right warhorse Jerry Falwell had a lively conversation about the role of religion in the presidential campaign. Lynn expressed grave concern about a Bush-Cheney campaign memo that urged church volunteers to enlist their congregations in electioneering activity. He noted that churches could get into trouble with the Internal Revenue Service if they violate the federal tax law ban on partisan activities.

Who Got The Room For Moon?: The Plot Thickens

It has become the story that will not die: Why was the Rev. Sun Myung Moon given a robe and crown in a U.S. Senate office building March 23, and why did several members of Congress attend? This morning, a Moon front group, the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, held a press conference in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club to explain what the coronation was all about.

Kansas Preacher Gets Political

The Rev. Jerry Johnston of Oakland Park, Kan., recently organized a group of local clergy to argue that churches must get more involved in politics. Upset about the Kansas legislature's defeat of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Johnston began distributing a pamphlet containing background information on incumbent state legislators from the area. If they supported the amendment against gay marriage, the word YES appears by their picture.

Ralph Reed: Ramblin, 'Gamblin' Man?

An upcoming issue of The Nation (July 12) will carry a terrific piece about former Christian Coalition Executive Director Ralph Reed's recent work on behalf of legalized gambling.

When Reed ran the hyper-moralistic Coalition in the 1990s, he denounced state-sponsored gambling as anti-family. As Jack Newfield points out in The Nation, Reed once called the spread of gambling "a cancer on the American body politic" that was "stealing food from the mouths of children."

Moon Over Congress: About That 'King Thing'...

Fallout continues from revelations that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon was crowned "king of America" at a ceremony held in the Senate Dirksen Office Building in March.

Yesterday, The New York Times ran a story about the controversy, noting, with some understatement, that the royal congressional recognition of the controversial Korean evangelist (and self-proclaimed messiah) is "causing a bit of a stir" in the nation's capital.