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

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.
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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

Banner Battle, Final Chapter: R.I. School Erects Secular Principles

The town of Cranston, R.I., recently showed just how effectually a church/state issue can be resolved. The local high school’s controversial and religiously-themed banner was replaced by a new, secular and inspirational banner. Read more

Challenging Censorship: Banned Books Week Is A Time To Stand Up For The Right To Read

Yesterday marked the start of Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Booksellers Association and other groups. Read more

Friday Night Liturgy: Many High School Football Coaches Push Prayer On Players

It’s no secret that faith is a big part of football in certain regions of the United States, but a Tennessee newspaper has just shed some light on the extent to which prayer is intertwined with many public school football programs.

In a poll conducted by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, all 32 coaches at public schools in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia who responded to the survey identify as Christian and said they support team prayer in some form. Read more

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