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

Texas Punch: Religious Right Project Hopes To Quench Gov. Rick Perry's Thirst For Reelection

Religious Right leaders are bound and determined to get Texas Gov. Rick Perry reelected, and they don't mind drawing tax-exempt houses of worship onto the governor's bandwagon.

Earlier this week, The Austin American-Statesman reported on the work of the Texas Restoration Project, which is an organized effort by Religious Right activists to use Texas churches to register and mobilize the so-called "values voters" on Perry's behalf.

The Strong-Willed Theocrat: A Profile Of James Dobson

James Dobson is the undisputed king of the Religious Right. TV preacher Pat Robertson may take in more money annually and Jerry Falwell certainly has greater name recognition, but nobody outranks Dobson when it comes to sheer political power. When the Colorado Springs religious broadcaster comes to Washington, D.C., to issue one of his periodic jeremiads, many politicians quake in their boots.

Prison Palaver: Chuck Colson Distorts InnerChange Ruling

In early June, a federal court struck down a taxpayer-supported prison program in Iowa run by Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship. U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt ruled that the InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) was rife with fundamentalist Christianity and thus could not be funded by the state. The legal challenge was sponsored by Americans United.

Colson and Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship, are very angry over that ruling – so much so that they are trying to re-litigate the case through the media.

Band Canned: Court Upholds School Decision Against Religious Music At School Assembly

Public high school officials in Ohio exercised sound judgment when they prohibited a Christian band from headlining a school-organized assembly.

Not surprisingly, a Religious Right legal outfit attacked that judgment as being hostile to religion. The Rutherford Institute represented the student musical band, called Pawn, in a federal lawsuit against the Rossford Exempted Village School District. Rutherford attorneys argued that school officials had violated the band's constitutional rights and discriminated against it because of its religious beliefs.

Bridgeport Battle: West Virginia School Board Keeps Fight Over Jesus Display Alive

A school board in West Virginia seems determined to wage a costly legal battle to keep a portrait of Jesus Christ on display in one of its high schools.

Last night, the Harrison County Board of Education for the second time voted to continue its support of a print of Jesus that hangs outside the principal's office at Bridgeport High School. The 1941 Warner Sallman rendering is the nation's most recognizable devotional artwork of Christianity's central figure.

Kansas KO: Voters Knock Out Creationist School Board Members

Kansas voters went to the polls yesterday to have their say in a decades-old debate about religion and science. The election, of course, did not settle questions about evolution and creationism, but it did set the stage for deciding what Kansas school children will learn. And it looks like Sunflower State students will again be learning standard science, including evolution.

Evangelical Evolution?: Christians Seek To Counter Religious Right Politicking

Evangelical Christians increasingly are speaking out in support of decoupling Christianity from conservative politics.

The New York Times recently profiled an evangelical pastor in Minnesota who has decided to expel partisan politics from his pulpit. The Rev. Gregory A. Boyd of Woodland Hills Church, a Baptist congregation in Maplewood, grew tired of some members expecting him to reflexively adopt far-right political positions.

Delaware Divide: Public Schools Remain Fertile Ground For Disputes Over Religion

Decades after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that officially sanctioned prayer and other religious activities in the public schools violate the First Amendment, some communities are still struggling over interfaith tensions in the classroom, The New York Times reported over the weekend,

Take, for example, the tragic situation reported on by The Times involving a Jewish family's battle to tamp down blatant proselytizing at a Delaware school district.

The Dog Ate My Homework: Margaret Spellings Explains School Report Cover-Up

I guess an apology is in order. In a blog entry earlier this week, we jumped to the conclusion that the Bush administration tried to bury a new report on public school performance. Cynics that we sometimes are, we thought that the Education Department did not want Americans to know that public schools sometimes do better than private schools in educating children from similar backgrounds.