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The Bishops’ Lament: Losing Tax Money And Losing Public Support

The U.S. Catholic bishops met in New Orleans last week. I read an account of this meeting in the National Catholic Reporter last week, and two things struck me.

One, the bishops are really worried that they might lose the lucrative contracts they get from the federal government because of their increasingly out-of-step views on issues like LGBT rights and access to birth control.

Equality On The March: Same-Sex Marriage Moves Forward But Still Faces Legal Challenges

A federal judge struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban last night, calling it an unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. US District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen began her decision with a lengthy quote from Mildred Loving, the plaintiff in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia, which struck down the state’s Jim Crow-era anti-miscegenation laws.  

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.

Religious Freedom Day 2014: Resolve To Defend The Church-State Wall

I still use a large desk calendar, one made out of paper. (Yep, I admit I’m a dinosaur.)

This calendar thoughtfully fills me in on holidays major and minor. On March 17, I can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Benito Juarez’s Birthday. I wouldn’t want to miss Administrative Professionals Day on April 23, and Victoria Day (May 19) is a big deal in Canada. For you internationalists, Oct. 24 is United Nations Day.

But one holiday that does not appear is Religious Freedom Day, which is today, Jan. 16.

Parade Of Religious Right Extremists: Va. Town’s Religious Freedom Celebration Dishonors Vision Of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson wanted only three of his many accomplishments noted on his grave’s headstone, and one of them was his authorship of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

A Little List: The Top Ten Church-State Stories Of 2013

It’s that time of year when people are compiling lists. So let’s look at the Top Ten Church-State Stories of 2013.

1. Greece, N.Y., prayer case argued before U.S. Supreme Court: An Americans United-sponsored lawsuit challenging legislative prayer in the city of Greece, N.Y., reached the Supreme Court.

Freedom From Foolishness?: Texas Gov. Misconstrues Religious Liberty

Whenever I hear someone – especially a politician – say that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, I just want to start screaming.

As I’ve pointed out many times on this blog and in other forums, that statement is inane and shows great ignorance of our founding principles. Religious Right figures started using it a few years ago, apparently believing they had stumbled onto something clever. In fact, they are simply spouting puerile nonsense.

Passing The Bill: Mass. Taxpayers To Subsidize Church Improvements

Generally speaking, members of the Unitarian Universalist denomination have been strong supporters of the separation of church and state. In my travels for Americans United, I often encounter UUs among AU’s membership, and I’ve spoken in some UU pulpits.

I was rather surprised, then, to read an editorial in the Gloucester, Mass., Times defending a Unitarian church that accepted $30,000 in local tax funds to pay for some work on its building.

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