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

Pope Benedict XVI: Ominous Rumblings From Rome?

The elevation of German Cardinal Josef Ratzinger to the papacy is bound to disappoint American Catholics hoping for a more moderate tone in the church.

Ratzinger for many years oversaw the church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a post responsible for upholding orthodoxy. In that role, Ratzinger worked to stifle dissent in the church, cracking down on progressive clergy and reasserting long-standing, if widely ignored, hierarchical views on issues like birth control and human sexuality.

Tea Parley: Supreme Court To Rule On Religious Liberty Case

Is the free exercise of religion broad enough to allow a small New Mexico church the ritual use of a tea containing a hallucinogenic drug the federal government has outlawed?

The U.S. Supreme Court may provide us some answers. Yesterday the high court announced it would review a case from New Mexico involving the O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal. An American branch of the Brazilian-based church is fighting a federal drug law and an international treaty banning a chemical, DMT, found in hoasca tea.

Judicial Inquisition?: Senate Panel Turns To Extremists For More Court-Bashing

Just how extreme are social conservatives now residing -- and contemplating constitutional shenanigans -- in the U.S. Senate?

One day, we have Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) taking to the floor to rail wildly against federal judges, and on Wednesday we'll be treated to a Senate committee hearing on the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) that features a right-wing law professor who once wrote that, "The Myth of the Inquisition is just that: phony, made up, bogus."

Mis-Guided Tour: Senate Majority Leader Frist Promotes 'Christian Nation' Propagandist

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's (R-Tenn.) promotion of a fringe Religious Right activist's "tour" of the U.S. Capitol has sparked controversy in Washington, D.C.

On March 31, Frist sent out letters inviting his colleagues to a "private tour of the U.S. Capitol building with WallBuilders President David Barton." Frist asked senators and their families to come enjoy a "Fresh Perspective on Our Nation's Religious Heritage with a Special Tour of the U.S. Capitol." Barton was described as "a historian noted for his detailed research into the religious heritage of our nation."

No Mixing Religion And Politics, Please, We're British

In a discussion over the role of religion in British politics, both religious and political leaders seem to agree: they don't want to be like America.

The dialogue in the United Kingdom was sparked by a Catholic prelate's comments. In the midst of a heated election season, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor praised the opposition Conservative Party's proposal to limit abortion to 20 weeks from the current 24, according to the BBC.

Extreme Response: DeLay And Dobson Go Off The Deep End

In response to the news of Mrs. Terri Schiavo's death, some religious and political leaders showed their true colors by issuing disturbing statements. For weeks, U.S. Rep. Tom Delay and Focus on the Family's James Dobson have trumpeted their opposition to removing Mrs. Shiavo's feeding tube. But the rhetoric they used in responding to the Florida woman's passing was over the top.

Sadly these quotations are not an April Fool's Day joke; they are all too real.