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Wild About Harry: Schwartzbart Preaches The Gospel Of Church-State Separation

Harry Schwartzbart is a man with a mission.

"I am determined," he says, "to keep the United States from becoming a theocracy."

To achieve that goal, the 84-year-old San Fernando Valley, Calif., activist has devoted countless hours to educating people in his community about the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment and promoting Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

San Diego Showdown: Battle Over Cross In California Park Continues

A 17-year battle to keep a towering Christian cross atop a hillside overlooking San Diego, Calif., has become yet another front in our nation's so-called culture wars.

Philip Paulson, a Vietnam veteran and San Diego resident, sued the city seeking removal of the 43-foot religious symbol from Mount Soledad Natural Park. His lawsuit argued that the icon violates the separation of church and state. Religious symbols, the case contended, are properly displayed on private property, such as a church lawn, but not in a public, tax-supported park.

AU's Rob Boston On 'This American Life'

Listen this weekend for Rob Boston's insightful discussion with "This American Life" host Ira Glass. The one-hour PRI program, titled "Godless America" will explore the parameters of church-state relations at a time when House Majority Leader Tom Delay says he governs with a "Biblical worldview."

Senator Santorum: Candidly Contemptuous of Church-State Separation

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has big plans for the wall of separation between church and state - mainly, to demolish it.

In a recent New York Times Magazine profile, Santorum was frank in outlining his wall-bashing scheme for writer Michael Sokolove. As one of the Senate's leading proponents of President George W. Bush's "faith-based" initiative, Santorum plays a key role in the effort to win Congressional approval for bills that would funnel tax dollars to religious groups that offer social services.

The Envelope Please: Church & State Wins Kudos From Utne

Church & State has just received notification that it has won a major award from the magazine Utne (formerly Utne Reader ).

The editors of Utne awarded Church & State a "General Excellence Award" for best newsletter in its 2004 Independent Press Awards competition.

The awards are an annual event celebrating independent publishing. Speaking of its 2004 winners, Utne noted, "All are brimming with the creative energy and freedom of thought that make them this year's best of the independent press."

Welcome to the Weblog

Almost every day it seems that the Religious Right finds a new way to chip away at the wall of separation between church and state. But Americans United is fighting back on many fronts. In the last month alone, I have testified before Congress, debated Religious Right leaders on television and sat in on arguments at the Supreme Court in the Pledge of Allegiance case. We are pressing lawsuits against "faith-based" funding and voucher aid to religious schools. And we are monitoring and challenging the use – and abuse - of religion in Campaign 2004.