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Freedom From Foolishness?: Texas Gov. Misconstrues Religious Liberty

Whenever I hear someone – especially a politician – say that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, I just want to start screaming.

As I’ve pointed out many times on this blog and in other forums, that statement is inane and shows great ignorance of our founding principles. Religious Right figures started using it a few years ago, apparently believing they had stumbled onto something clever. In fact, they are simply spouting puerile nonsense.

Passing The Bill: Mass. Taxpayers To Subsidize Church Improvements

Generally speaking, members of the Unitarian Universalist denomination have been strong supporters of the separation of church and state. In my travels for Americans United, I often encounter UUs among AU’s membership, and I’ve spoken in some UU pulpits.

I was rather surprised, then, to read an editorial in the Gloucester, Mass., Times defending a Unitarian church that accepted $30,000 in local tax funds to pay for some work on its building.

Legacy Of Liberty: Celebrating Religious Freedom Day, 2013

Your calendar might not note this, but today is Religious Freedom Day, an event that celebrates passage of Thomas Jefferson’s pioneering Statute for Religious Freedom in Virginia.

Some quick background: In 1784, Patrick Henry introduced a bill in the Virginia legislature that would have required all residents to pay a tax “for the support of the Christian religion, or of some Christian church, denomination or communion of Christians, or for some form of Christian worship.”

The Presidential Debate: What I’d Ask The Candidates About Church-State Separation

If you’re at all interested in politics, there’s one thing uppermost in your mind today: the presidential candidates’ debate tonight at the University of Denver in Colorado.

Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will field questions from PBS “NewsHour” host Jim Lehrer. The focus of the debate is domestic policy. 

I’m sure a lot of the questions will turn on the economy – the unemployment rate, the budget deficit, taxation, health-care reform, funding for Medicare and Social Security, etc.

Moon Shadow: Unification Church Founder Mesmerized Religious Right, Members Of Congress

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, self-proclaimed messiah, founder of the Unification Church and funder of various Religious Right political causes, died on Monday.

Moon, who was 92, was familiar to many Americans because of the rather esoteric beliefs of his church – the mass weddings, the flower sellers on the streets and the allegations that the church was really a “cult.”

Barton Broadside: Religious Right Pseudo-Historian Replies (Weakly) To Critics

“Christian nation” pseudo-historian David Barton is on the defensive. It’s a place I’ve wanted to see him for a long time.

If you’re just joining us, Barton is a Texas Religious Right activist who makes his living peddling a revisionist history of America designed to prove that the country was founded to be a Christian nation.

The Barton Lies: New Book Exposes ‘Christian Nation’ Advocate’s Long List Of Distortions

Last month I wrote about Religious Right pseudo-historian David Barton’s new book The Jefferson Lies, which attempts to prove that Thomas Jefferson was an orthodox Christian and not really a strong advocate of church-state separation.

Presidential Proclamations: Some Chief Executive Thoughts For The Holiday

Today is Presidents’ Day. Celebrate by reading some great presidential classics of religious liberty!

Start with George Washington’s letter to Touro Synagogue, one of the most succinct statements ever issued about religious liberty.

Of course, Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, which contains the famous “wall of separation between church and state” metaphor, is always worth your time.

Doubting Thomas: Prayer Breakfast Theocrats Try To Baptize Jefferson

The 60th annual National Prayer Breakfast will take place Feb. 2 here in Washington, D.C.

This event is privately sponsored by a shadowy fundamentalist Christian group called “The Family” (also known as the Fellowship Foundation). You might remember them from a few years ago, when a nasty sex scandal erupted over their infamous “C Street House” and the rowdy escapades of some of its residents.

Plate Problem: Texas DMV Approves ‘One State Under God’ License Plate

The governing board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has just approved a new license plate with three crosses and the words “One State Under God.”

This is the same governing board that had previously approved tags with “God Bless Texas,” “God Bless America” and “One Nation Under God.”

Supporters of the latest religion-themed plate celebrated the board’s decision as a victory for freedom of religion and speech.

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