With Religious Right forces poised to use this week's National Day of Prayer to push their radical agenda, many local communities are swept up in the fervor. In Florida, an enterprising staff member of the state Department of Juvenile Justice decided to post a link about the event to the Department's home page. The link led readers to the home page of the Florida Prayer Network, an organization that uses its site to encourage people to be baptized, to profess their faith in Jesus and to allow the Holy Spirit to control their lives.
The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The Internal Revenue Service is reminding churches and other charities to avoid partisan political actions. Because churches and charities are exempt from income tax, they are prohibited from endorsing candidates, donating to campaigns, raising funds or distributing campaign materials. While houses of worship may address political and social issues, federal tax law bars tax-exempt organizations from electioneering.
Roy Moore isn't Moses, and Capitol Hill sure isn't Mt. Sinai. But the theocracy-minded former Alabama chief justice wandered in from the political wilderness yesterday to lobby Congress for his Ten Commandments bill. Ever since being ordered by federal courts to move his two-and-half-ton Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building, Moore has found it easy to keep his Religious Right crusade alive.
In a recent Christian Science Monitor op-ed, Frederick Clarkson holds the Religious Right accountable for its distortions of American history. Clarkson points out the ways in which theocracy-minded activists build on the myth that America was founded as a Christian nation.
Belvidere, N.J., is the latest battleground in the fight over state-sponsored prayer. The town council voted last week in favor of separation of church and state by declining to publicly support the National Day of Prayer. James Dobson's right-wing Focus on the Family sponsors prayer events at municipal buildings every year on the first Thursday in May.
Is Archbishop Charles Chaput giving a back-door endorsement to a Republican Senate candidate in Colorado? Denver Post columnist Diane Carman thinks so. She noted in her column today that Chaput's recent message in the Denver Catholic Register sure seemed to steer Catholic voters toward candidate Peter Coors.
Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.) has waged a long-time crusade to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings. He seems to want everyone to read the Decalogue and obey it. Apparently, however, he's not too keen on obeying U.S. law. Hostettler was detained at Louisville's International Airport April 20 after security screeners found a loaded handgun in his briefcase.
President George W. Bush touts his "faith-based" initiative as a better path to providing social services. In his fanciful worldview, religiously based social services are always better and more efficient than their public and private secular alternatives. News of misused funds at one of South Florida's largest "faith-based" charities should give him pause.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State is one of more than 1,000 organizations co-sponsoring the March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, April 25. We encourage all AU activists to join us in marching behind our church-state separation banner. AU Executive Director Barry Lynn will be one of the featured speakers at the rally.
Here are some highlights of AU's participation in this historic event:
Religion and politics can be a combustible mixture. In Kentucky, a battle for control of the local Republican party ended in fisticuffs last weekend when two delegates argued over religion. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, John Lawlor and Peter Hayes became embroiled in a heated exchange over who would attend the upcoming Republican National Convention. The gentlemen had "words" after the convention.