Florida Appeals Court Rules Against School Voucher Law

Americans United Says Court Decision Is Victory For Public Schools, Taxpayers

A Florida school voucher program provides tax aid to religion in violation of the state constitution, a state appeals court has ruled.

In an Aug. 16 ruling in a case brought by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and its allies, the 1st District Court of Appeals found that the Florida Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) violates Article I, Section 3 of the state Constitution, which mandates that "[n]o revenue of the state ... shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid ... of any sectarian institution."

Clergy Should Skip Falwell's Tax Law Class

TV Preacher Lost Tax Exemption, Paid $50,000 In Back Taxes For Illegal Politicking

Clergy would be wise to skip TV preacher Jerry Falwell's upcoming conference on tax law dealing with political activity by churches, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Falwell yesterday announced a "special summit" on "politics and the pulpit" Sept. 26-29 at Liberty University.

Falwell Misleading Religious Leaders About Tax Law, Americans United Tells Irs

Church-State Watchdog Group Urges Tax Agency To Crack Down On Virginia TV Preacher's Disinformation Campaign

The Rev. Jerry Falwell is misleading religious leaders about the rules governing churches and partisan politics, and the Internal Revenue Service should take immediate steps to clarify the situation, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"Falwell is misleading America's religious leaders about federal tax law," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "His distortions could have serious consequences for any pastor foolish enough to take his advice. The IRS should step in now."

Appeals Court Bars Christian Prayers Before S.c. Town Council Meetings

Ruling Respects Religious Liberty, Diversity, Says Americans United

A federal appeals court ruling against Christian prayers at city council meetings upholds religious liberty and respects diversity, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 22 that the Great Falls, S.C., Town Council violated the constitutional separation of church and state by opening its meetings with Christian prayers. The unanimous three-judge panel held that use of invocations from one religious tradition "clearly 'advanced' one faith, Christianity, in preference to others."

Americans United Deplores House Vote For 'court-stripping' Bill

'Marriage Protection' Scheme Undercuts Independence Of Courts, Says AU's Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today condemned a House vote in favor of a "court-stripping" bill that undercuts the constitutional role of the federal courts.

The House voted 233-194 today to approve the "Marriage Protection Act" (H.R.3313). The proposal, introduced by Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.), would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over challenges to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law passed in 1996 that defines marriage as the union of a man and woman.

House Should Defeat 'court-stripping' Bill, Says Americans United

'Marriage Protection' Vote May Open Door To Other Attacks On Courts' Constitutional Authority, AU's Lynn Says

Members of Congress should reject a "court-stripping" bill intended to shield a federal marriage law from constitutional challenges, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up the "Marriage Protection Act" (H.R.3313) on Thursday. The proposal, introduced by Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.), would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over challenges to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law passed in 1996 that defines marriage as the union of a man and woman.

Arkansas Church's Partisan Politicking Needs Irs Investigation, Says Au

Baptist Pastor Promotes Bush In Nationally Televised Sunday Sermon

An Arkansas church that intervened in partisan politics on behalf of President George W. Bush should be investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Americans United says the July 4 sermon by Pastor Ronnie Floyd at the First Baptist Church of Springdale, Ark., crossed the line into inappropriate partisan politicking.

IRS Should Investigate Partisan Political Activity By Jerry Falwell Ministries, Says AU

Use Of Ministry Resources To Endorse Bush, Raise Funds For Conservative PAC, Violates Tax Law, Watchdog Group Charges

TV preacher Jerry Falwell has used his Jerry Falwell Ministries to endorse President George W. Bush's re-election in apparent violation of federal tax law, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has told the Internal Revenue Service.

In a complaint to the federal tax agency, Americans United told the IRS that Falwell endorsed Bush in a July 1 e-mail to supporters and also urged followers to send money to a political action committee that supports Republican candidates. Falwell also posted the partisan election-year appeal on his ministry website.

Senate Scuttles Marriage Amendment

Religious Right's Constitutional Scheme Falls Far Short Of Votes Needed To Advance To Senate Floor

In a major defeat for the Religious Right, the Senate decided today not to bring up the Federal Marriage Amendment for a floor vote.

Only 48 senators voted to bring S.J. Res.40 to the floor, far short of the 60 votes needed. Fifty senators voted against cloture.

Opponents of the amendment were jubilant. Speaking at a news conference on Capitol Hill, the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the Senate did the right thing.

House Committee Should Reject Effort To Weaken Federal Courts, Says Americans United

Measure Would Undermine A Fair And Independent Judiciary, AU's Lynn Says

Congress should reject efforts to strip the federal courts of their ability to hear cases dealing with the definition of marriage, Americans United for Separation Church and State said today in a letter to a House committee.

The House Judiciary Committee is considering a proposal called the "Marriage Protection Act" (H.R.3313). The bill would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law passed in 1996 that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.

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