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Misguided Message: Fla. Legislators Want Public Schools To Sponsor Prayers

The law regarding prayer in public schools is settled: Public schools can’t promote prayer or religious worship. It is simply not their job. The Supreme Court first made this clear nearly 50 years ago in 1962’s Engel v. Vitale ruling. Read more

Schools For Scandal: Fla. Voucher Program Proves A Boon To Con Artists

It’s an article of faith among school voucher proponents that if we move toward a privatized system of education, competition will spur the creation of excellent schools.

That’s the theory. How does it work out in real life?

Not so well. In Florida, which has been using students with physical and learning disabilities as subjects in a privatization experiment, parents are learning the hard way that many private schools don’t really care about educating children. Their owners are just interested in making a fast buck. Read more

Florida Folly: Constitutional Change Would Harm Religious Liberty, Clergy Say

Americans United often points out the church-state separation is not only good for government, it’s also good for religion.

Yesterday, three members of the clergy – a Baptist minister, a Presbyterian minister and a rabbi – made that clear in a letter to Florida legislators. They wrote to oppose SJR 1218, a measure that tears down the church-state wall erected by the state constitution. Read more

Saving Souls Though School Supplies?: Fla. Church-School ‘Partnership’ Becomes Opportunity For Evangelism

Public school principal Steve Comparato in Polk County, Fla., said his prayers were answered when a local church agreed to “adopt” his school and pay for $5,000 worth of supplies.

“If they want to come in and help, who am I to say no?” he told the Wall Street Journal, which today details a new trend in public schools that could become a serious church-state concern. Read more

Florida Flim-Flam: ‘Inspirational Message’ Bill Is Attack On Church-State Separation

Ten years ago, the Santa Fe (Texas) Independent School District was just another American town that loved its high school football team. On Friday evenings, students congregated in metal bleachers to cheer for their friends, parents attended with camcorders and warm coffee in gloved hands, and full recaps of exciting games were printed in the local papers. Read more

Faith-Based Victory: Florida Court Greenlights Case Challenging Religion Subsidies

A Florida appellate court ruled yesterday that public funding of a "faith-based" prison program may violate the state's constitution.

The decision, Council for Secular Humanism, Inc. v. McNeil, serves as an important win for taxpayers who don't want to be forced to support religion. Read more

Harvesting 'Fields Of Faith': Christian Athletes Proselytize Students At Public Schools

Growing up in Ohio, I was pretty oblivious to the fact that students at my high school were anything but Christian. I just assumed that everyone was but me.

That's because students met for Bible studies club, or some of my friends would talk about their church's youth group. The students who weren't Christian never really brought up religion at all.

Looking back, I realize now that I actually went to high school with a slightly more diverse crowd than I knew. I wish I had known that then – I would have felt a little less like an outcast. Read more

Bogus Billboards: Florida Council Peddles Religious Right Propaganda

Lies, lies and more lies.

That's what Floridians will see as they drive through Pinellas and Hillsborough counties near Tampa Bay, Fla., during the next six months.

A local fundamentalist group has decided to wage war on church-state separation by posting ten billboard advertisements that send the message that "America's government was made only for people who are moral and religious." Read more

Forever Catholic?: State Law Lets Monaghan Control Florida Town's Fate

Is there a theocracy flourishing in South Florida?

According to reports from The Naples News, there just may be. The newspaper is in the midst of a three-part series on the town of Ave Maria, which came to be after Tom Monaghan, an ultra-conservative Catholic from Michigan, bought 100,000 acres of land just west of Naples.

Many have flocked to Ave Maria, which is home to a Catholic university, a Catholic law school and a huge Catholic Church. But few probably knew quite what they were getting into. Read more

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