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Fifty Years Of Freedom: Celebrating The Supreme Court’s Decision Against Coercive Religion In Public Schools

Fifty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme handed down one of its most important church-state rulings. In School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, the high court ruled 8-1 that state-mandated programs of Bible reading and prayer in public schools are unconstitutional.

Five decades later, the ruling in Schempp (and its companion case, Murray v. Curlett) remains widely misunderstood. Part of this is due to a deliberate campaign of misinformation by Religious Right groups, which have distorted the scope of the decision. Read more

Representatives And Religion: Slowly But Surely, Congress Is Becoming More Diverse

It wasn’t that long ago that the religious make-up of the U.S. Congress consisted of just three groups: Protestants, Catholics and a small number of Jews.

Every now and then, a member would list his or her religion as “other,” or would decline to answer the question. Generally speaking, though, Congress was a bastion of the nation’s majority faiths. Read more

Ballots And Belief: Is There Room For God In The Voting Booth?

I graduated not so long ago from an all-male private high school, properly considered parochial, I’d say, for more than just its Catholic affiliation. And so, some of my freshest memories there date from the 2008 election. Read more

Pop Quiz: Americans Flunk Test On Religion In Public Schools

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life yesterday released the results of a quiz on religion it gave to about 3,400 Americans. The results are being much discussed on the Web, chiefly because Pew found that atheists and agnostics did better on the 32-question test than evangelicals, Catholics and mainline Protestants. Read more

A Pox On Pulpit Politics: Americans Again Say No To Politicized Houses Of Worship

A recent survey by the Pew Forum indicated that the number of Americans who falsely believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim has actually increased since his election. That astounding and dismaying finding has understandably captured a lot of headlines. Read more

Persecution Planet: Ensuring Freedom Of Conscience Is A World-Sized Problem

A team of international surveyors grab their clipboards and decide to travel around the world to study the state of religious freedom.

They arrive in Saudi Arabia and are told that they must comply with the strictest interpretation of Islamic law, so they continue to Bangladesh where they are threatened with physical violence when some of them declare a personal belief in Jesus Christ. When they get to sub-Saharan Africa, they find it less religiously restrictive than Europe…. Read more

Fix The 'Faith-Based' Initiative: Americans Oppose Hiring Bias In Publicly Funded Programs

It's only a week away from Thanksgiving; the trees have all turned from green to vibrant shades of reds, yellows and browns and a crisp chill in the air puts me on pins and needles as I wait for the season's first snow. As we reach mid November, the end of the calendar year always sneaks up on me -- Christmas is right around the corner and that means it'll be New Year's Eve before we know it.

Read more

'Faith-Based' Bungle: WSJ Op-Ed Writer Gets It Wrong

The Wall Street Journal's editorial page takes a potshot at Americans United and Barry Lynn today.

That's not surprising. The Journal's news department is staffed by lots of skilled and professional reporters who have done some crackerjack reporting on the Religious Right over the years. Fortunately, there's a wall of separation between those folks and the editorial page staff.

The latter is, as the saying goes, to the right of Attila the Hun. Read more

Religion And Congress: Scholars Say Congress Is Becoming More Pluralistic

Andre Carson is a Muslim. Jared Polis is Jewish. Dina Titus is Greek Orthodox.

Does it matter? Maybe. Maybe not.

Carson, Polis and Titus are three members of the 111th Congress. On Jan. 6, they and their 532 colleagues will be sworn into office. They will hold hearings, draft legislation and enact laws that affect all of us. Their religious affiliations are important only to them, as long as they respect the constitutional separation of church and state. Read more

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