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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.

Bayou Bible Blues: Louisiana Doesn’t Need An Official State Scripture

Rob Boston

Louisiana is not exactly the poster child for the separation of church and state.

There have been persistent problems in the state, stretching back several decades. Louisiana, you will recall, passed the “balanced treatment” act mandating that public school teach creationism alongside evolution. It was invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. Read more



Rob Boston

There are days when fundamentalist zealots do something so off the wall that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I do a little bit of both.

Today is one of those days. This emotional roller-coaster comes courtesy of a band of extremists who have fine-tuned creationism and have concluded – wait for it – that Copernicus and Galileo were wrong: The Earth really is the center of the universe. Read more

creationism, geocentricity, Robert Sungenis, Kate Mulgew, Patrick Stewart, star trek, Galileo, Giordano Bruno


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Rob Boston

I’m not a lawyer, but let me give you a little free legal advice anyway: It’s never a good idea to defy a federal judge’s ruling. Read more

Carroll County, Maryland, Robin Frazier, John Fea, George Washington, American Humanist Association, William D. Quarles Jr.


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Rob Boston

Today’s Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.

The question is especially relevant now with the high court poised to hear oral arguments tomorrow in a pair of cases that could have far-reaching consequences for what religious freedom means. Read more

Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, William Brennan, Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood, birth control


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Rob Boston

The role of prayer in public schools has vexed the American people for a long time. Much misinformation circulates about what students can and can’t do when it comes to religion in schools.

Occasionally, Americans United Executive Director Barry Lynn or I are asked to discuss this issue on talk radio. Inevitably, someone will phone in and ask, “What’s the harm in a little prayer?” Read more

Philadelphia, Philadelphia Bible riots, Kensington, School Prayer, nativists, St. Patrick’s Day


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Rob Boston

And now a quick visit to the “what-could-they-possibly-have-been-thinking?” department.

Police officers in Summit County, Ohio, are in hot water after they agreed to participate in a publicity stunt designed to drum up interest in a play about how difficult it is for pastors to publicly defend the Christian faith. Read more

Ohio, Summit County, Steve Barry, Akron Civic Theater, Defending the Faith


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Rob Boston

Pardon me for engaging in some blatant self-promotion, but I wanted to let members and friends of Americans United know that my new book, Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You The Right To Tell Other People What To Do, is being released today.

Two issues inspired me to write this book: the controversy over the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act and the spread of legal same-sex marriage in the states.  Read more

Taking Liberties, religious freedom, Gay Rights, same-sex marriage


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Rob Boston

If you have any contact with a public high school, you probably know that students can form an array of clubs that meet during non-instructional time.

My son, who is in 10th grade, reports a dizzying list of student-run clubs at his school, covering every possible interest. Along with some friends, my son joined the anime club and was for a time involved in a “duct tape club.” (Don’t ask.)

There are also many religious clubs at the school. Jewish students have a club, as do Muslim students. There are several Christian clubs.

How can this be? It’s a public school. Read more

Pisgah High School, north carolina, Mark Sandlin, Kalei Wilson, Secular Student Alliance, Freedom From Religion Foundation, ACLU, Equal Access Act


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Rob Boston

A story from the Wilmington, Del., News Journal caught my eye this morning: Some private school parents in the state are angry because legislators are considering axing a small subsidy they get to offset the cost of transporting their children to private schools.

The sums involved are not large, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this type of private school bus aid way back in 1947. It’s not so much a constitutional issue these days. Read more

Delaware, Michael Charney, Diane Ravitch, public education


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Rob Boston

You might have read over the weekend about a law passed by the Arizona legislature that would allow the owners of stores and secular businesses to refuse to serve certain customers if they deem that doing so would offend their religious beliefs.

The measure, SB 1062, is getting quite a lot of attention. All eyes are on Gov. Jan Brewer, who hasn’t yet said if she’ll sign the bill into law. Brewer has indicated that she’ll act this week. Read more

Jan Brewer, Arizona, George Takei, star trek, Maggie Garrett, Cathi Herrod, CNN, Center for Arizona Policy, Focus On The Family


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