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Faith, Freedom And Frankfurters: An Independence Day Reflection

Last week, I gave a talk about church-state history at my wife’s church. I called my speech “The ‘Christian Nation’ Myth.”

Although I’m not an attorney, I laid out the case against the idea that the United States is some sort of officially Christian nation as one would in a courtroom, by marshaling the evidence.  I put forth the following points:

Superb Statute: Celebrate Religious Liberty January 16

Jan. 16 is National Religious Freedom Day.

The day was created by Congress in 1993, and every year the president issues a proclamation. (The 2011 proclamation hasn’t been released yet, but you can read the 2010 one here.) The day is designed to commemorate the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on Jan. 16, 1786.

Virginia Reels: Religious Right Gov. Dances To Pat Robertson’s Tune

More than 200 years ago, Virginia was the most powerful state in the fledgling United States of America, spawning visionary leaders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

How times have changed in the Old Dominion.

Instead of leaders such as Jefferson and Madison, who fought state-established religion and labored to bring full religious liberty to all, Virginia’s government today is saddled with a collection of ideologues who kowtow to the Religious Right and constantly seek to fan the flames of the “culture war.”

Prayer Day Decision: The Religious Right (Predictably) Gets It Wrong

Last night, Americans United celebrated a decision by a U.S. district court judge who ruled the congressionally mandated National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, AU’s executive director, hailed the decision as a “tremendous victory for religious liberty. Congress has no business telling Americans when or how to pray.”

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!

Religious Freedom Day: For A Real Celebration, Go To The Source

Jan. 16 is Religious Freedom Day. As American holidays go, this one tends to be overlooked. It's not even listed on my desk calendar.

That's a shame, because Religious Freedom Day commemorates an important event: passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. This landmark legislation, drafted by Thomas Jefferson and maneuvered through the Virginia legislature by James Madison, became law on Jan. 16, 1786. Scholars consider it a precursor to the First Amendment and a vital step along the way to securing the separation of church and state.

Sally Kern, Unpatriot: Why Does Oklahoma's Looney Lawmaker Hate America?

Everyone's favorite raging theocrat, Oklahoma House member Sally Kern, is at it again.

Numerous reports indicate that Kern and her supporters plan to publicly sign a document dubbed the "Oklahoma Citizen's Proclamation for Morality" declaring the United States a Christian nation tomorrow at the state capitol.

I've read Kern's resolution, and it's a whole lot of crazy crammed into one document. Dissecting the whole thing would take all day – and who has that much time?

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