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Doe v. Government-Sponsored Religion: Why Plaintiffs Sometimes Need To Be Anonymous

Let’s say you lived in Giles County, Va., a rural enclave of about 17,000 people in the southwestern portion of the state. Let’s say you were a high school student and you were opposed to the school board’s decision to post the Ten Commandments in your school.

Would you be eager to be public about it?

Some people might be willing to stick their necks out and take a public stand. Others might want to remain a little reticent but still look for ways to right this wrong – and they might seek to do so anonymously. Read more

Polluting The Pulpit?: Virginia Attorney General Urges (Right-Wing) Churches To Be Political

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has been a thorn in Americans United’s side for the past few years. A staunch ally of the Religious Right, Cuccinelli seems to have no problem using government to promote right-wing theology.

His 2010 memo on government-sponsored holiday displays was less than helpful. Americans United had to issue a statement warning that towns that took his advice without additional legal counsel might get sued. Read more

Commandments Clash: Va. County Has One Last Chance To Avoid A Lawsuit – And Should Take It

Public education officials in Giles County, Va., can’t say they weren’t warned.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote to school officials recently telling them to remove Ten Commandments displays from the schools. The officials were also advised by their own attorney to take down the religious posters.

At first, they did. But when members of the community complained, the school board voted to put the Ten Commandments back into the schools. Read more

Awful Amendments: Virginia House Undercuts Legacy Of Religious Liberty

If Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were around today, they would be extremely disappointed in their home state of Virginia.

The Virginia House of Delegates voted yesterday to approve two constitutional amendments that threaten church-state separation: one that promotes prayer in public places, including public schools, and another that permits taxpayer money to fund the religious training and theological education of certain students. Read more

Virginia Reels: Religious Right Gov. Dances To Pat Robertson’s Tune

More than 200 years ago, Virginia was the most powerful state in the fledgling United States of America, spawning visionary leaders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

How times have changed in the Old Dominion.

Instead of leaders such as Jefferson and Madison, who fought state-established religion and labored to bring full religious liberty to all, Virginia’s government today is saddled with a collection of ideologues who kowtow to the Religious Right and constantly seek to fan the flames of the “culture war.” Read more

‘Awakening’ To Extremism: Va. Attorney General Shares Liberty U. Stage With Exorcist, Et Al

As I’ve watched the Religious Right go into conniptions over health-care reform, I’ve been tempted to ask, “So what do you want instead?”

Our current patchwork system hardly seems sustainable. It leaves 35 million people uninsured and puts everyone else at the mercy of insurance companies that deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, often look for ways not to cover illnesses and continually jack up premiums. Read more

Happy Birthday, Pat!: Virginia Legislature Lauds Extremist TV Preacher Robertson

TV evangelist Pat Robertson’s 80th birthday is on Monday, and to mark that momentous occasion, the Virginia legislature decided to pass a resolution lauding him a great American, visionary leader and all-around swell fellow.

The resolution is full of the “whereases” and flowery language that are common in this type of thing. It lauds Robertson’s creation of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Regent University, the American Center for Law and Justice and the Christian Coalition. Read more

Beastie Boys: Virginia House Passes Bill To Ward Off Antichrist

You can’t make this stuff up.

The Virginia House of Delegates has just passed a bill that supporters hope will keep the Antichrist at bay.

You hear a loud whirring noise, you say? That would be Thomas Jefferson and James Madison spinning like tops in their Virginia graves.

Yes, it’s true. Yesterday House members approved a measure that would prohibit employers and insurance companies from requiring people to implant microchips in their bodies. Read more

Chaplain Controversy: Virginia Legislators Endorse Christian Police Prayer

The Virginia House of Delegates passed legislation yesterday that would allow state police chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus Christ at public events, despite federal appeals court decisions that have banned such prayers.

The legislation stems from some delegates' outrage over what they saw as "forced" resignations by six police chaplains in September. The chaplains stepped down after Virginia State Police Col. Steven Flaherty issued a directive requiring police chaplains to avoid denominational prayers at public events, such as trooper graduations. Read more

Of Prayer, Police And Petty Politics: An Arresting Flap Over Chaplains Strikes Virginia

It looks like a new "culture war" is brewing in Virginia.

Six state police chaplains have resigned over new regulations that require them to use non-denominational prayers at public events. Several state legislators are apoplectic. One has already launched a Web site to overturn the ruling, and others are talking about legislative action to nullify it.

Deep breath, everyone, deep breath. Read more

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