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All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

Religious Liberty Cherished, Not Understood

Although a clear majority of Americans cherish their religious liberties, too many of them don't recognize the importance of keeping government and religion separate, according to a new poll from a Virginia-based nonprofit.

The survey, released today by the Council for America's First Freedom (CAFF), finds that 52 percent of respondents ranked religious freedom above other fundamental rights, such as freedom of the press and the right to assemble.

IRS Reminds Churches Not To Break The Law

In this heated election year, Jerry Falwell and his allies on the far right are working to confuse America's pastors about tax law. In late July,  the Lynchburg, Va.-based televangelist   wrote to churches telling them not to worry about federal tax law.

Under the headline, "NO CHURCH HAS EVER LOST ITS TAX-EXEMPT STATUS," Falwell wrote, "Every American pastor, as a tax-paying citizen, is free to express his views and opinions."

Falwell also claimed that the IRS rarely enforces the "no politicking" rule, implying that churches should not worry about it.

Dobson Demagoguery: On The Road In Carolina

Religious Right leader James C. Dobson is on the warpath. Under the aegis of his new political outfit, Focus on the Family Action, the religious broadcaster is holding a series of rallies around the country this fall.

The ostensible purpose is to rally support for a federal marriage amendment. But many people think the tour is intended to increase the turn-out of religious conservatives in November and elect Dobson allies to public office. If the kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 6 is any indication, the wall of separation between church and state is in for some serious bashing.

A Far-Right Powerhouse You Haven't Heard Of

We all know about the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. Thanks to David Kirkpatrick at The New York Times, we now know a little more about the Council for National Policy(CNP), a secretive group of the country's most powerful Religious Right leaders and their allies. (The organization met in New York City last week.)

Appeals Court Strikes Coercive Prayer At Public Schools

The federal courts continue to issue rulings against officially sponsored prayers in the public schools.

Earlier this week, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction covers the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas, concluded that prayers held at mandatory public school staff meetings violate the First Amendment principle of church-state separation.

'Faith-Based' Programs Proliferate in Prisons

A new front has opened in the move toward "faith-based" prisons.

The "faith-based" initiative has attracted the attention and support of corrections officials in a number of states, including Florida, Texas, Kansas and Iowa. Now Georgia is joining the list.

Georgia newspapers reported yesterday that faith-based dormitories have been set up in six state prisons with plans to add the special units to all of the state's prisons.