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is senior policy analyst at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Rob, who has worked at Americans United since 1987, contributes to AU's Wall of Separation blog, serves as assistant editor of AU's "Church & State" magazine, and has authored three books on religion and politics. Rob appears courtesy of Americans United.

Ukraine’s Sorrow: Troubled Country Invaded By U.S. Religious Right

Rob Boston

Yesterday I received a press release from something calling itself the “American Pastors Network” discussing the group’s recent activities in Ukraine.

I get releases from this organization a lot. Although it calls itself “the first and largest national network of Bible-believing pastors,” the organization seems to consist mainly of a number of fundamentalist preachers in Pennsylvania. Usually they are fulminating against same-sex marriage and gay rights. They really do not like LGBT people. Read more



Rob Boston

Some commentators continue to insist that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was no big deal. It’s a narrow ruling, they insist, and there are other ways to ensure that women can get access to birth control. Read more

Alliance Defending Freedom, Robin Marty, Sara Hellwege, Tampa Family Health Centers, birth control, Hobby Lobby


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Rob Boston

Last night, an atheist offered a secular invocation before a meeting of the Greece, N.Y., Town Board.

The ground did not open up and send the town of Greece hurling into the bowels of hell. No one was struck by lightning. In fact, all that happened is that the members of the town board and those attending the event heard a thoughtful invocation delivered by local resident Dan Courtney. Read more

Greece, Dan Courtney, Center for Inquiry, American Humanist Association, Ronald Lindsay, Jennifer LeClaire, Charisma News


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Rob Boston

The Supreme Court’s recent (and horrendous) ruling in the Hobby Lobby case dealing with workers’ access to contraceptives has turned the spotlight on the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the group that sponsored many of the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. Read more

Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Kevin Hasson, William Mumma, thomas jefferson, James Madison, Everson v. Board of Education


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Rob Boston

Editor’s Note: “The Wall of Separation” today is re-posting an item that originally appeared on July 4, 2011. Happy Independence Day!

Last week, I gave a talk about church-state history at my wife’s church. I called my speech “The ‘Christian Nation’ Myth.”

Although I’m not an attorney, I laid out the case against the idea that the United States is some sort of officially Christian nation as one would in a courtroom, by marshaling the evidence.  I put forth the following points: Read more

Independence Day, Fourth of July, Christian nation myth, thomas jefferson, James Madison


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Rob Boston

American writer Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 novel An American Tragedy deals with the story of a socially ambitious young man who, dismayed because he has impregnated his working-class girlfriend, engineers her death.

The book was banned in some cities – but not because of its depiction of murder. Rather, conservative religious leaders feared that a plot hinging on an unwanted pregnancy would spur young people to get curious about birth control. Read more

birth control, Hobby Lobby, Supreme Court, Theodore Dreiser, Estelle Griswold, Lee Buxton, Connecticut, Affordable Care Act


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Barry Lynn

For nearly two years, Americans United has detailed the truth behind Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, a case brought by a chain of craft stores that claims it has a religious freedom right to deny important preventative health care to its employees. Read more

Hobby Lobby, Steve Green, birth control, Cathy Lynn Grossman, Mr. Burns, China


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Rob Boston

Voters in Mississippi are headed to the polls tomorrow for an important run-off election. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is locked in a tight battle against a state senator, Chris McDaniel, in a Republican primary.

Cochran has served in the Senate since 1978, but he’s running scared against McDaniel, an aggressive Tea Party challenger. The incumbent senator hopes to pull out a win based on an unusual weapon: black churches. Read more

Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi, Chris McDaniel, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Ronnie C. Crudup, New Horizon Church International, All Citizens for Mississippi


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Rob Boston

Voters in Mississippi are headed to the polls tomorrow for an important run-off election. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is locked in a tight battle against a state senator, Chris McDaniel, in a Republican primary.

Cochran has served in the Senate since 1978, but he’s running scared against McDaniel, an aggressive Tea Party challenger. The incumbent senator hopes to pull out a win based on an unusual weapon: black churches. Read more

Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi, Chris McDaniel, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Ronnie C. Crudup, New Horizon Church International, All Citizens for Mississippi


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Sarah Jones

Yesterday I had the dubious pleasure of attending a rally on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, where about 2,000 people gathered to proclaim their support for what they believe is “traditional” marriage: a legal union of one man and one woman. Read more

National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, Sun Myung Moon, same-sex marriage, Bill Owens, Salvatore Cordileone, March for Marriage


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