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In the Crosshairs: Fla. City Debates Future of Sectarian Symbol In Public Park

A cross displayed in a public park in Pensacola, Fla., isn’t a problem because it’s “simply there” and it’s like a tree.

I know. It doesn’t make sense. Yet those arguments were made recently by the Pensacola News-Journal after the American Humanist Association (AHA) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit to remove a Latin cross from Bayview Park. The suit, which the groups filed on behalf of four residents, argues that the display of a sectarian symbol on public land violates the First Amendment.

(Un)Fantastic Five: AU’s Protect Thy Neighbor Project Announces New Tool To Track Faux ‘Religious Freedom’ Bills

As state legislatures gather across the country to start their 2016 legislative sessions, Americans United’s Protect Thy Neighbor (PTN) project is gearing up to monitor and fight legislation that would allow individuals, businesses and government employees to harm others in the name of religion.

Rob Boston In Naples, FL -- “Are We a Christian Nation?”

Mark your calendars! Rob Boston, AU’s director of communications, will be speaking at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Naples, Florida! The topic will be “Are We a Christian Nation?”

DATE: Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 
ADDRESS: 6340 Napa Woods Way, Naples, FL

A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. start of the main program. A Q&A will follow. 

Fla. Gospel Concert Organizers Reject Public Funding

Organizers of a Brownsville, Fla., gospel concert rejected a taxpayer-funded tourism grant after Americans United raised concerns about its legality.

The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners had originally voted to give $30,000 to the “It’s Personal” venue for hosting the Aug. 7 concert; the venue is affiliated with Friendship Baptist Church, and concert organizers said the event was to be held in collaboration with the house of worship. The brother of Friendship Baptist’s pastor, the Rev. LuTimothy May, also sits on the board of county commissioners.

No Hinduism Here!: Ark. Officials Post Ten Commandments But Reject Symbols Of Other Faiths

Legislators in Arkansas voted earlier this year to erect the Ten Commandments at the state capitol in Little Rock. This would seem to be a clear example of government showing favoritism to a religious code. But for now, other faiths shouldn’t assume they’ll get the same treatment.

Marginalizing Morality?: Fla. Pastor Claims Church-State Separation Prevents Children From Learning Not To Steal

A Florida pastor thinks he has the solution to reducing theft in the United States, and it has nothing to do with law enforcement.

As far as the Rev. Garry Wiggins of Evangel Temple Assembly of God in Jacksonville is concerned, school-age children are being prevented from learning basic morals – including that theft is wrong – because of the pesky constitutional principle of church-state separation.

‘Catholic Warrior’ Who Vandalized Religious Display In Fla. Gets Off Scot-Free

Susan Hemeryck, the self-described “Catholic warrior” who vandalized a display by the Satanic Temple in the state capitol rotunda in Tallahassee, Fla., will not be prosecuted even though she confessed to the crime.

In March, Florida prosecutors announced that all charges against Hemeryck were being dropped, despite the fact that she admitted to police officers that she attacked the display because she considered it offensive, and she was captured on surveillance video attempting to carry it off.

Americans United Says Suit Against Florida Private School Tax-Credit Program Should Proceed

Taxpayers Have The Right To Challenge Plan That Violates State Constitution, Church-State Watchdog Asserts

A coalition of religious leaders and public school administrators should be permitted to challenge a Florida program that violates the state constitution by offering tax credits to patrons of private, mostly sectarian schools, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.