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Federal Court Ruling Supports Religious Freedom, Strikes Down Florida County’s Prayer Practice

Over the weekend, a federal court struck down a Florida county’s practice of denying atheists, humanists and other non-theists the opportunity to offer invocations at the start of the county commission’s meetings.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled the policy of Brevard County’s Board of County Commissioners to allow only monotheistic, overwhelmingly Christian invocations violated both the U.S. and Florida Constitutions – namely by the government showing favoritism for certain faiths.

Federal Court Says Fla. County Board Cannot Discriminate Against Non-Theists

Brevard County’s Exclusionary Prayer Practice Found Unconstitutional

A federal court last night struck down the Brevard County, Fla., Board of County Commissioners’ policy of excluding non-theists from giving opening invocations, a ruling that is being hailed by the groups that sponsored the litigation.

In its ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida said a local governing body cannot limit its invocation speakers to those from monotheistic religions.  

Even In The Wake Of Hurricanes, The Constitution Remains In Force

Those living in areas ravaged by Hurricane Harvey are just beginning to rebuild their lives and clean up, and those in the path of Hurricane Irma are just trying to comprehend its devastation. We at Americans United continue to be concerned about everyone recovering from or in the midst of these historic storms and have reached out to many of our members and supporters in these areas to let them know we are thinking of them.  

AU Chapters Are Fighting For Religious Freedom: Grassroots Trainings Are Under Way

The assaults on religious freedom and church-state separation by the Trump/Pence administration have fired up a base of already passionate Americans United supporters, and they are ready to fight back. This past weekend, I joined AU’s Field team, chapter leaders and supporters from North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee for a two-day training on grassroots organizing.

Fla. May Revise Constitution

This year, Florida’s 37-member Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), which meets every 20 years, is convening to review and offer amendments to the state’s constitution.

Some reports indicate that the CRC may repeal two constitutional provisions that provide protections for religious freedom and public education. As a result, Americans United encouraged Florida members, activists and supporters to fight back.

Trump And DeVos Are About To Propose Federal Funding For School Vouchers

Today marks 100 days since Michigan billionaire and school voucher proponent Betsy DeVos took over the reins as President Donald J. Trump’s Secretary of Education. If there’s one thing she’s accomplished in that time, she’s demonstrated her perseverance in pushing for vouchers.

Fla. Lawmakers Introduce School Prayer Bill

A Florida bill that claims to protect public-school students’ right to religious expression violates the separation of church and state by opening the door to certain coercive religious activities that are prohibited, Americans United says. 

The Florida Senate passed SB 436 by a party-line vote of 23-13 on March 23, and an amended version of the bill, HB 303, passed in the state House on April 7. The amended bill now heads back to the Senate, where legislators will decide which version of the bill, if any, passes.

A Broad Ruling In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer Could Pave The Way For Private School Voucher Programs

Nearly 20 years ago, Betsy DeVos and her husband were the primary funders of an effort to strip the Michigan Constitution’s no-aid clause – the provision that ensures the government doesn’t funnel taxpayer dollars to religious institutions, including private religious schools. Their goal: remove the constitutional barrier to implementation of a private school voucher program.

Fla. Legislators Push To Turn Public Schools Into Mission Fields

Another year, another attempt to encourage proselytizing in public-school classrooms.

Last Thursday, the Florida Senate passed SB 436 by a vote of 23-13, almost entirely along party lines. A revised version in the House – HB 303 – will likely receive a floor vote in the House this week. Then the two chambers will duel it out over the two versions, or better yet, pass neither.

Trump Should Drop School Voucher Crusade, Says Americans United

Church-State Watchdog Group Says ‘School Choice’ Programs Don’t Work And Undermine Public School Funding

President Donald J. Trump today visited a private Catholic school that benefits from Florida’s tuition tax credit program – a voucher scheme that diverts taxpayer dollars away from public schools.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State opposes voucher programs, including tuition tax credits, because they funnel desperately needed funding away from public schools and into private, mostly religious schools that lack accountability and often perform no better – and sometimes worse – than their public counterparts.

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