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All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

See You At The Church-State Wall: Flagpole Prayer Organizers Must Play By The Rules

Tomorrow is “See You At The Pole 2011,” an annual prayer observance at public schools. Students gather around the flagpoles at their schools before classes to engage in Christian devotions.

Because most of these SYATP events are voluntary and student-initiated, they generally do not violate the constitutional separation of church and state. Each year, however, Americans United gets complaints about schools where teachers and administrators participate inappropriately.

Memphis Blues: Church’s Intervention In Politics Should Spark IRS Action

The city of Memphis, Tenn., is in the middle of a municipal election, and a large Baptist church has decided to let everyone know who the true “pro-family” candidates are. Isn’t that special?

Actually, it’s illegal.

The leadership of Bellevue Baptist in Cordova, Tenn., may think they’re being clever. The church doesn’t come right out and post its favored candidates on its website. Instead, the church links to another website that lists three candidates deemed worthy of support.

Dominion Denial: Methinks Chuck Colson Doth Protest Too Much

Do Religious Right zealots want to take “dominion” in America and govern according to their version of biblical law?

Of course they do. But all of a sudden, leaders of the movement say they don’t. Stung by a series of articles exposing the dominionist agenda, they are desperately trying to rebrand themselves as moderates.

Take Chuck Colson, for example.

In a Sept. 7 column, Colson heatedly denied that he and his camp want a fundamentalist Christian theocracy.

Improper Pressure: Idaho Inmate Had To Accept Jail Or Jesus

I’ve never served time behind bars, but I know that it must be no bowl of cherries.

Most people just want to get out. And when you’re locked up for a drug offense and offered the opportunity for early release if you’ll go to a treatment program, the deal must look pretty sweet.

But what if the “treatment” program is a fundamentalist Christian indoctrination session? And what if successful completion of the program hinges on your willingness to embrace that faith?

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.

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