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

Doe v. Government-Sponsored Religion: Why Plaintiffs Sometimes Need To Be Anonymous

Let’s say you lived in Giles County, Va., a rural enclave of about 17,000 people in the southwestern portion of the state. Let’s say you were a high school student and you were opposed to the school board’s decision to post the Ten Commandments in your school.

Would you be eager to be public about it?

Some people might be willing to stick their necks out and take a public stand. Others might want to remain a little reticent but still look for ways to right this wrong – and they might seek to do so anonymously.

Happy Constitution Day, Sheila!: Enjoy Your Religious Freedom – But Defend It

Back in the 1980s, sociologist Robert Bellah noted a trend among religious believers. Many were observing some of the tenets of their chosen faiths but rejecting doctrines and practices they didn’t agree with or didn’t find useful.

In his book, Habits of the Heart, he showcases a woman named Sheila.

Bully Pulpit?: ‘Christian Nation’ Advocate David Barton Sues Critics

Pseudo-historian David Barton is on the attack again – this time in court.

Barton, a prominent advocate of the discredited view that the United States was founded to be an officially “Christian nation,” is suing three people in Texas whom he says have defamed him.

Pulpits Aflame With Politics?: Religious Right Prepares For 2012 Elections

I’m often asked what the Religious Right is up to these days. Some people, noting the death of the Rev. Jerry Falwell in 2007 and the aging of leaders like Pat Robertson and Donald Wildmon, assume the movement is slowing down.

Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

Religious Right groups and their allies in the Tea Party are giddy from their electoral successes in 2010. They’re gearing up for another round in 2012. Much of what is happening is occurring below the radar and doesn’t necessarily capture headlines. But it’s very real.

Ten Years After The Attacks: We Honor The Victims By Honoring Our Constitution

As everyone knows, yesterday was the 10-year anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Like most adults, I can remember exactly where I was that morning: I was driving to my doctor’s office for a physical exam, and I had the radio on. The first reports were confused; an airplane had hit the World Trade Center, and some thought perhaps it was an accident.

At the doctor’s office, we heard that the Pentagon had also been hit. We now knew that this was no accident. Our nation was under attack.

Of Gossip Girl, The Supreme Court And Tajikistan: My Favorite Memories Of AU

As they say, all good things must come to end.

I’m sad to report that today is my last day at Americans United. I’m heading on to a new communications position at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office, where I promise to keep up the good fight.

But before I go, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on my past three-plus years here at AU. It has been a lot of fun. I’ve met great people who I am going to miss, and I have had some very interesting experiences that I’ll always remember.

Here are the top five:

Memo To The Religious Right: On Sept. 11, 2011, Americans Can Pray – Even Without Government Direction

The 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is fast approaching, giving the Religious Right just a few more days to rant and rave about the lack of official prayers at the commemoration sponsored by New York City.

Whoa There, Cowboy!: N.C. School Promises To Rein In Graduation Sermonizing

Good news from Macon County, N.C.!

A public school system there has agreed that it made a mistake in allowing a controversial preacher to speak at Nantahala School’s graduation ceremony in June.

At the commencement, the Rev. Daniel “Cowboy” Stewart, pastor of a small Baptist church in Robbinsville, delivered a sermon to the nine graduating seniors. He brought a volunteer on stage, bound the person with a rope and then placed a bag over the volunteer’s head. The demonstration served to warn students about the machinations of Satan and included references to the Bible.

Back To Basics: AU Trustee Reminds Coloradans That School Vouchers Violate Religious Liberty

The situation involving school vouchers in Douglas County, Colo., is a real disgrace.

The county school board was hijacked by a bloc of right-wing activists. They immediately began looking for ways to privatize public services. Someone got the bright idea that public schools would be a good place to start, and the board was off to the races.

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