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

Religion In Public Schools: Choice, Not Coercion, Is The Way To Go

Students in the Brownsville, Texas, Independent School District have been told by school officials that they should tuck religious symbols, such as rosaries and crosses, inside their clothing.

An “unlikely” ally, however, has come to the defense of the students: the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

Motto Mania: Calif. Woman Promotes Government-Endorsed ‘In God We Trust’ Signs

Posting “In God We Trust” signs in city and county government buildings has become all the rage in California.

The drive is spearheaded by a Bakersfield woman named Jacquie Sullivan who persuaded officials in her town to adopt the motto and then took the crusade to other cities. The most recent town to approve the motto is Port Hueneme in Ventura County. The vote was 4-1.

Christmas Truce: What If They Gave A War And No One Came?

Thanksgiving is tomorrow followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday with a weekend of leftovers in between, so this looks like a good time for an update on the “War on Christmas.”

It’s over. We won.

To be more accurate, I should point out that it’s not possible to win a war that was never really waged. And there never was a war on Christmas. The “war” was a figment of the Religious Right’s imagination all along, or, more accurately, a cynical creation designed to help theocratic groups raise funds, win new support and get their names in the media.

Crossed Off: Texas University Removes Religious Symbol From Tower After AU Protest

Thanks in part to a demand letter from Americans United, four crosses have been removed from a tower on the new Texas A&M University-San Antonio campus.

On Nov. 17, AU sent a letter to San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and City Manager Sheryl Scully, as well as Texas A&M University-San Antonio President Maria Hernandez Ferrier, explaining that even though the Christian symbols were on private land, the project was funded by the public. The letter also pointed out that the developer planned to one day gift the tower to the city.

Alternative Universe: Iowa Presidential Forum Exposes Religious Right Disconnect From Reality

I spent two hours Saturday evening in front of my computer watching the Religious Right’s “Thanksgiving Family Forum.” The event, which took place at First Federated Church, a large fundamentalist congregation in Des Moines, featured six of the leading Republican presidential candidates – U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, former U.S senator Rick Santorum, Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Fundamentalist Forum: Religious Right To Grill Candidates On ‘Questions Of The Soul’

Tomorrow afternoon, most of the Republican presidential candidates will come together in Iowa for the latest in a seemingly endless series of debates as they try to prove to the electorate that they are qualified to be the leader of the United States.

Unlike previous debates, which have been sponsored primarily by news organizations, this one is a “forum” sponsored by an Iowa Religious Right group called The FAMiLY Leader, CitizenLink (an affiliate of the James Dobson-founded Focus on the Family) and the National Organization for Marriage.

Bully For Michigan!: Religion Exemption For School Harassment May Fail

Good news from Michigan! The state legislature is moving toward anti-bullying legislation that does not include an exemption for religiously motivated harassment.

As we reported to you earlier, the state Senate passed a measure to deal with bullying in public schools. But, remarkably, senators included an exemption for those who act out of “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

Meet And Greet: Obama Has Private Session With Archbishop Dolan, But White House Ignores Progressive Coalition

The New York Times reported yesterday that President Barack Obama met privately with Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan at the White House last week in order to discuss, at least in part, religious liberty in America. This was their second meeting.

Contracting Controversy: The Catholic Bishops Want To Get Paid – Even Though They Won’t Do The Job

Some of my friends in Washington are employed by firms that handle contracts for various federal agencies. It works like this: The department in question (Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, etc.) issues a document listing in detail what needs to be done, and companies compete to get the contract by explaining how they’ll do it and what they’ll charge.

If a company doesn’t come up with a convincing plan or ignores the department’s wants, it won’t win the contract. It’s that simple.

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