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The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

‘School Choice’ Charade: Evidence Against Vouchers Continues To Mount

It seems American’s taxpayers are on their way to spending $1 billion annually on vouchers and other so-called “school choice” programs. And just what, exactly, are those taxpayers getting for their money? Certainly not a better education for their children.

Americans United recently compiled an extensive report on all the problems with vouchers and offered a mountain of evidence to show that they just don’t work (you can read that report here). Read more

Critical Mass: D.C. Archdiocese Sponsors Special Religious Service For Judges And Government Officials

Yesterday was the Red Mass, an annual event for members of the legal profession sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and the John Carroll Society. The archdiocese and the Society always hold the event on the Sunday before the first Monday in October, which is when the Supreme Court goes back in session. Read more

Liberal-ly Confused: Kansas School Board Votes For School Prayer Despite Supreme Court Rulings

Members of the school board in Liberal, Kan., missed official prayer at high school football games, so they recently voted unanimously to allow student-led prayers using the school’s loudspeakers.

But there’s a slight hitch in the school board’s plan: The Supreme Court actually banned the practice in 2000.
Read more

Course Conniption: Ala. Residents Throw Fit Over Arabic Language Classes In Local High School

One Alabama high school decided this year to offer an Arabic language class in place of a French course, and that has a number of local residents crying: “Sacre bleu!”

Is Alabama home to a large Francophile community? Not likely. Here’s what happened: Read more

Cops For Christ?: New Ala. Program Seeks To Fight Crime With Police-Backed Evangelical Proselytism

A new police program in Montgomery, Ala., is raising serious constitutional concerns.

The Atlantic reports that city police, who are facing what has been described as the worst crime wave in decades, have devised a novel solution to the problem: “Operation Good Shepherd.” It ran all summer and involved training local Christian ministers, preparing them to visit crime scenes right alongside working police officers.
Read more

Lobbyists For A Day: Dawkins And Pinker Stand Up For Science, Secular Government And Separation In Washington, D.C.

Yesterday before the government shut down, famous scientists Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins made a foray to Capitol Hill and spoke to House and Senate staff.

The events, sponsored by the Secular Coalition for America, covered a range of topics. Not all of them were relevant to Americans United’s work, but some, such as the teaching of evolution in public schools and the threat to science posed by the Religious Right, were dead on. Read more

Misusing Madison: FRC Promotes Upcoming ‘Summit’ With Fake Quote From The Father Of The Constitution

In about two weeks, the Family Research Council will hold its “Values Voter Summit,” an annual event that has become the largest gathering of the Religious Right in the country. Read more

Evolution Questioned: Creationist Group Challenges Kansas Science Curriculum

Americans United has reported frequently on the slew of Religious Right groups trying to test and redefine the bounds of “religious liberty.” Now it seems yet another organization has joined the fray, claiming that teaching evolution in public schools forces atheism on students and violates the “religious liberty” of some parents. Read more

What’s OK And What’s Not OK: A School Prayer Primer

Yesterday was “See You at the Pole,” an annual event where public school students meet outside the building for a voluntary prayer session (often near a flagpole, hence the name – see this example) usually before the school day begins.

The Religious Right expects Americans United to get all worked up about this. We really don’t – as long as the event is voluntary and student-run and school officials aren’t sponsoring or promoting it. Read more

Reason To The Rescue: Members of Congress, Scholars and Faith Leaders Voice Opposition To Coercive Sectarian Prayer Before Local Board Meetings

Last week we told you about our disappointment that the Obama administration plans to side with the Religious Right in Americans United’s upcoming U.S. Read more

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