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Paying For Prejudice: Georgia Tax-Credit Program Subsidizes Anti-Gay Bias

Vouchers and tuition tax credits, we’re told by those who favor them, will promote “school choice.”

This is true, in a sense. But here’s the harsh reality: It’s the private school that gets the choice, not the parents.

Voucher Vortex: Tenn. Officials Being Sucked Into Controversy Over Private School Aid

Some Tennessee legislators are big on vouchers, and they prodded Gov. Bill Haslam to establish a nine-member task force to study tax subsidies for religious and other private schools. Unfortunately, its members have promptly blundered into a minefield.

Details can be messy things. The task force wrangled over questions such as accountability, how to ensure that students in voucher schools are getting a good education and how much vouchers should be worth.

Fearmongers Rebuked: McCain Upbraids House Members’ Islamic Conspiracy Charges

Bust out the burqa! Stash your safety razor! Islamic law is just around the corner.

So says the latest far-right conspiracy theory that’s making the rounds. Word is that a band of Islamic zealots has somehow infiltrated the upper echelons of the federal government – no doubt aided and abetted by the secret Muslim in the White House – and will be imposing shariah law just about any day now.

Monkeying Around: Tenn. Governor Refuses To Confront Unconstitutional Creationism Bill

Recently a bill reached the desk of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam that would encourage public school teachers to discuss the alleged “controversy” over evolution and offer them legal protection if they teach creationist concepts.

Haslam indicated that he opposed the so-called “monkey bill,” but he refused to veto it. Instead, he allowed it to become law without his signature.

Memphis Blues: Church’s Intervention In Politics Should Spark IRS Action

The city of Memphis, Tenn., is in the middle of a municipal election, and a large Baptist church has decided to let everyone know who the true “pro-family” candidates are. Isn’t that special?

Actually, it’s illegal.

The leadership of Bellevue Baptist in Cordova, Tenn., may think they’re being clever. The church doesn’t come right out and post its favored candidates on its website. Instead, the church links to another website that lists three candidates deemed worthy of support.

Tennessee Intolerance: Legislators Propose Jailing Followers Of Islamic Law

In November, voters in Oklahoma approved a misguided state constitutional amendment designed to ban Islamic law – known as Shariah – in the state,

The fact that there was no effort to impose Shariah law in Oklahoma and that even if there were the First Amendment would prevent it did not sway Sooner State voters; 70 percent of them were apparently concerned about a coming wave of mandatory burqa wearing and backed the measure at the polls.

Kern Spurned: Oklahoma Legislator’s Backdoor Creationism Bill Bounced

Oklahoma is one of the most religiously conservative states in the country. Fundamentalists have a strong political presence there, and “culture war” battles are common. This is the state, you’ll recall, that recently tried to ban Sharia law – even though no Muslims are attempting to impose it there.

It’s always a pleasant surprise, then, when Oklahoma legislators resist Religious Right pressure and do the right thing. And yesterday they did.

Sorry, Soddy-Daisy!: Public Schools Should Not Promote One Faith Over Others

A Tennessee public school has done the right thing and agreed to stop broadcasting Christian prayers over the loudspeaker at football games and graduation ceremonies.

After students complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the group sent a letter to school officials asking them to discontinue the unconstitutional practice.

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent issued an order to halt the prayers, and yesterday Soddy-Daisy High School Principal John Maynard promised that he would.

Holier Than Thou: Tennessee Candidates Tout Their Religiosity

As I cruised some news headlines online this morning, I came across an interesting tidbit: Bronislaw Komorowski, the newly elected president of Poland, campaigned in part on a promise to increase the separation of church and state.

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