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Read All About It!: State Legislators Propose Awarding The Bible Special Status

A legislator in Tennessee has proposed naming the Bible the state’s official book.

State Rep. Jerry Sexton says the proposal would simply acknowledge the Bible’s “historically important role.” Read more

Tenn. Clergy Ramp Up To Spearhead Big Push For Vouchers

Christian clergy in Tennessee are pushing for the state to create a new voucher program that would benefit private schools.

Members of the group, which consists primarily of black churches, have been going door-to-door to collect signatures in support of creating a voucher program that they say would benefit low-income students. Critics assert that the primary beneficiaries would be sectarian schools. Read more

Boot These Bigoted Bans: Movement Seeks To Remove Anti-Atheist Bias From State Constitutions

Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things about God and religion before they can be elected.

These provisions can’t be enforced. They were declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1961 ruling in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins. Yet they linger on, a testament to the bigotry of bygone days. Read more

‘You’re Fired!’: At Religious Schools, Employee Rights Are Severely Limited

Let’s say you work as a teacher in a Catholic school in Cincinnati and your old friend, who is gay, invites you to New York to attend his same-sex wedding. You attend and snap some photos of this happy event, which you post on Facebook.

The school can fire you for that.

Let’s say you have another friend who, along with her husband, has struggled to conceive. The couple uses in vitro fertilization and gets good news: They’re going to have a baby. You use Twitter to send a message of congratulations to your friend.

The school can fire you for that. Read more

Choice Challenge: ‘National School Choice Week’ Is Ending, But the Fight Against Vouchers Isn’t Over

“National School Choice Week” may be winding down, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that your tax dollars aren’t used to fund religious schools through voucher schemes.

You’ve heard a lot from Americans United this week about the truth behind “school choice.” So by now you may be aware that this whole “School Choice Week” publicity stunt is really about vouchers, and vouchers aren’t really about improving educational choices for anyone. Read more

States Of Prayer: Legislators In Three States Push Bills To Promote Religion In Public Schools

The Supreme Court made it clear decades ago that our public schools aren’t meant to be places for spreading religion. But for legislators in three states, court rulings are no deterrent to their dogmatic agendas.

Lawmakers in South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee are debating bills that are designed, supporters say, to “put prayer back in schools.” The tactics vary, but in each case the desired outcome is the same: a potentially unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state. And the legislators behind the bills aren’t shy about their motivations.
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Poor Partnership: Federal Court Derails Tenn. County’s Relationship With Christian Academy

It’s a sad fact of life that some youngsters get into trouble in school. They might cut class, get involved with alcohol or drugs, start fights and so on. Sometimes public school officials find students like this too disruptive to keep in the classroom.

What should be done with such kids? If your response is, “Send them to a Christian academy at taxpayer expense,” that’s the wrong answer. Read more

Profiting The Prophet?: Tenn. Legislators Fear Voucher Bill Will Subsidize Islamic Schools

Yesterday Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam abruptly pulled a private school voucher bill after some legislators refused to give him assurances that they would not try to alter the bill in ways Haslam does not support.

This is a good thing. Vouchers are a bad idea that distract from meaningful education reform.

But other voucher proposals are still pending in the legislature, so the issue is not dead in Tennessee. Read more

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