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is the Director of Communications of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He regularly contributes to AU's Wall of Separation blog. Joe appears courtesy of Americans United.

Deja Vu All Over Again: After Over Three Decades, The Battle Against The Religious Right Goes On

Joseph L. Conn

When I recently received a fund-raising letter in the mail from Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition, I thought to myself: here we go again!

In his “confidential strategy memo,” Reed, a long-time Religious Right operative, has vowed to raise $25 million to mobilize America’s “conservative Christians” on behalf of favored candidates in the 2014 elections. Read more

Joseph L. Conn

Hysteria: (noun) – An uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter, weeping, etc.

That’s how Dictionary.com defines the state in which Religious Right leaders try to keep fundamentalist Christians. Unless members of the flock are constantly told their freedoms are in danger, they might stop donating to the Religious Right’s coffers. Read more

churches and gay marriage, Alliance Defending Freedom
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Joseph L. ConnWall of SeparationIt looks like the battle over taxpayer aid to religion is about to heat up in Congress again. Read moreFederal Emergency Management Agency, Hurricane Sandy

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Joseph L. ConnWall of SeparationIreland is having a major church-state showdown over reproductive justice. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is pushing through the national parliament a bill that would legalize abortion for women who face life-threatenin…

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Joseph L. Conn

President Barack Obama recently announced his selection for U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. It is Ken Hackett, former head of Catholic Relief Services.

Hackett seems well regarded by a lot of people in Catholic circles, but I’m still troubled by the choice. Once again, the president has felt obligated to name not only a Catholic, but one who meets the approval of conservative factions within the Roman Catholic Church.   Read more

U.S.-Vatican diplomacy, Vatican Embassy, Holy See, Ken Hackett
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Divisive Devotions: Louisiana Legislators Push Prayer In Public Schools

Joseph L. ConnWall of SeparationThe Louisiana legislature has let us down again.On Saturday, the state Senate passed a bill intended to promote prayer in the public schools. HB 724 was adopted unanimously there, just as it was in the House of Represent…

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A Message From AU: N.J. Lawmakers Should Block Grants For Religious Schools

Joseph L. Conn

Government grants to religious schools are unconstitutional, force taxpayers to subsidize discrimination and undermine the independence and integrity of religious institutions.

That’s the message Americans United is sending to the New Jersey legislature.

In a letter yesterday to State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and General Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, AU’s Delaware Valley Chapter urged lawmakers to reject proposed grants to two religious schools in the state. Read more

Gov. Chris Christie, Princeton Seminary, Beth Medrash Govoha
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Creationism Camouflage: Ohio School Board Mulls Policy To Counter ‘Controversial’ Evolution

Joseph L. ConnWall of SeparationThe Springboro Board of Education is asking for trouble.Board members are considering a policy that would require faculty to teach creationism in science class. Read morecreationism

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Victory In South Carolina!: Senate Votes Down Religious School Subsidy Scheme

Joseph L. ConnWall of SeparationGreat news from South Carolina! The State Senate there has voted down a scheme intended to funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to religious and other private schools. Read moreHoward Rich, Freedom Works

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Bad Deal: Ga. Governor Says Return Bibles To State Park Rooms – And Other Scriptures Too!

Joseph L. Conn

Should Georgia state government promote religion? Of course not. That’s not the government’s job.

But some state officials seem to be taking on the task anyway. Gov. Nathan Deal this week ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to return Bibles to cabins and lodge rooms at state parks. Read more

Gideon Bible, Gov. Nathan Deal, Ed Buckner
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