HARRISBURG, PA-The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and attorneys with Pepper Hamilton LLP filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of 11 parents who say that presenting "intelligent design" in public school science classrooms violates their religious liberty by promoting particular religious beliefs to their children under the guise of science education. Read more
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today filed a lawsuit in federal court to block taxpayer funding of mission churches in California.
The Americans United lawsuit targets a recently enacted piece of legislation, the California Missions Preservation Act, which provides $10 million in federal funds to "restore and repair" 21 mission churches, 19 of which are owned by the Roman Catholic Church and have active congregations. Read more
Teachers taking part in the taxpayer-funded AmeriCorps program should not be permitted to engage in religious instruction at sectarian schools, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has advised a federal appeals court.
The AmeriCorps program, run by the Corporation for National and Community Service, provides stipends called “national service education awards” to individuals for work at certain locations around the country. Read more
A bill providing public funds to refurbish California's mission churches violates the First Amendment and is certain to provoke a lawsuit, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Today the House of Representatives passed the California Missions Preservation Act (H.R. 1446), which provides $10 million to "restore and repair" 21 mission churches, 19 of which are owned by the Roman Catholic Church and have active congregations.
Americans United said the bill goes against basic constitutional principles. Read more
A state appeals court has struck down Florida's voucher program, holding that it clearly violates a provision of the Florida Constitution by funneling tax money to religious schools.
The 1st District Court of Appeal, sitting as a full panel en banc, ruled Nov. 12 that Gov. Jeb Bush's Florida Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) fails to pass constitutional muster. Read more
The Rev. Jerry Falwell has announced plans to launch a group he calls a "21st century resurrection of the Moral Majority," but Americans United for Separation of Church and State says the new organization is likely to be just another fund-raising gimmick for the intolerant TV preacher.
"Falwell keeps threatening to reanimate the Moral Majority," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "Has he never seen an old horror movie? Every time they bring Frankenstein's monster back, it just gets worse." Read more
The re-election of President George W. Bush yesterday will spark more attempts to erode the wall of separation between church and state and will almost certainly increase the influence of the Religious Right, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Read more
Claims by the Religious Right that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a letter warning churches that praying for President George W. Bush's re-election is illegal are bogus and utterly without foundation, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
A group called the Christian Defense Coalition claimed yesterday that the IRS had issued a letter warning churches not to pray for Bush's re-election. Such prayers, the IRS supposedly said, would be a violation of federal tax law. Read more
As the campaign season winds down, some houses of worship continue to intervene in partisan politics in inappropriate and possibly illegal ways, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Americans United today asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate events that appeared to be efforts to boost the candidacy of Sen. John F. Kerry at two churches in "swing states" on Oct. 24.
In Pennsylvania, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy spoke on Kerry's behalf at the Mount Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia. Read more
A federal appeals court has rejected arguments that a Maine education law must be expanded to include funding for private religious schools.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State had filed a friend-of-the-court-brief with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, urging it to reject arguments that the U.S. Constitution requires Maine to fund private religious schools in the same manner it funds secular schools. Read more