Some of you might recall a bit of a fuss that erupted in the town of King, N.C., last year over the flying of a Christian flag in a public park that serves as a veterans’ memorial.
When Americans United protested on behalf of a local veteran, city officials at first agreed (reluctantly) that to remove the Christian symbol. AU and the vet argued that a sectarian symbol like the cross does not represent all war dead.
Since Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s first day in office, he has made it clear that he no problems blurring the church-state line.
In January, he all but turned his swearing-in ceremony into a religious revival, and he noted his intention to use religion as a way to help the state face its economic and social problems. It now seems those plans are well on their way.
By Nate Hennagin
Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives once again defeated an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (H.R. 1540), which would have created a $10 million private school voucher program for military dependent children with special needs.
I have to say I like the way Louisiana is headed these days. Last night, a stealth-creationism bill died in the state legislature that would have opened the public school door to religious concepts in science classes.
Across the country, cash-strapped public schools are scrambling to keep it together. In many districts, teacher salaries are stagnant, and class sizes are growing.
This would not seem to be a good time for any public school to risk losing scarce funds by going on a Ten Commandments crusade.
Yet that’s exactly what’s going on in Giles County, Va. The school board there voted 3-2 earlier this week to bring a display of the Commandments and nine other “historic documents” to the district’s schools.
What’s the best way to solve a city’s piling debt? According to Harrisburg, Pa., Mayor Linda Thompson, it’s organizing a prayer and fasting campaign.
“Things that are above and beyond my control; I need God,” Thompson told WHTM TV, the region’s ABC affiliate. “I depend on Him for guidance. Spiritual guidance. That’s why it’s really no struggle for me to join this fast and prayer.”
There are no theocracies in America, right? After all, we have constitutionally mandated separation of religion and government.
Perhaps not. A village in New York called Kiryas Joel appears to be going right up to the line – and perhaps lurching over it. An interesting case just filed in federal court will test the ability of a religious group to actually run an entire town.
When I was a kid, I recited the Pledge of Allegiance in school. By rote, obediently. Elementary school days of hand-over-heart and guileless allegiance.
Then middle school rolled around. It became less cool, sure, but still unchallenged. It was patriotic at least, during a post-9/11 time when car flags flew in unison.
But in response to the intercom’s summons most high school mornings, I stayed quiet. When I lacked the resolve, I admit I moved my lips. Muscle memory, maybe. Or was it social? Either way, it was my silent protest.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has been a thorn in Americans United’s side for the past few years. A staunch ally of the Religious Right, Cuccinelli seems to have no problem using government to promote right-wing theology.
His 2010 memo on government-sponsored holiday displays was less than helpful. Americans United had to issue a statement warning that towns that took his advice without additional legal counsel might get sued.