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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.

Thanksgiving: What I’m Thankful For – Besides The Turkey And Dressing

Editor’s Note: This post originally ran on Thanksgiving Day 2007. It was written by Joe Conn, Americans United’s former director of communications. Joe, who retired in July of 2013 after a remarkable 33 years of service to AU, makes the case for being thankful for the church-state wall. Happy Thanksgiving!

When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner today, do you plan to say grace? Read more



Rob Boston

A New York community provides a frightening example of what can happen when sectarian interests that don’t really care about public education gain control of taxpayer-funded schools that are meant to serve all.

The controversy centers on the East Ramapo Central School District in Rockland County. The area is home to a large concentration of Orthodox Jews, and they dominate the local school board. Seven of the board’s nine members are Orthodox men. Read more

East Ramapo Central School District, New York, Hank Greenberg


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Rob Boston

When you work at a place like Americans United, you have to be prepared for people who feel compelled to write in and tell you why you’re all wrong. Some do it politely, but many more don’t.

Sometimes the reactions we get are funny. I’ll never forget the man who emailed us a few years ago after I appeared on the Fox News Channel. He not only disagreed with what I said, he made fun of me for wearing a hairpiece! (I hate to break it to you, pal, but my mop is 100 percent real.) Read more

Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Bonnie Weinstein, Fox News Channel, anti-Semitism, mikey weinstein


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Sarah Jones

The small town of Ave Maria, Fla., is home to Ave Maria University, a strictly Catholic institution  – and critics say, an undemocratic form of government dominated by one man’s interpretation of religious doctrine.

The community of about 2,500 souls is a project of eccentric millionaire and Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, who reportedly planned the town as an ultra- conservative Catholic enclave in an isolated stretch of Florida countryside. Read more

Ave Maria, Tom Monaghan, Dominos Pizza, Howard Simon, Jeb Bush, birth control


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Rob Boston

The Huntsville, Ala., City Council invited a Wiccan to deliver its opening invocation last week. And guess what? The city is still standing.

That’s right – no tornadoes, earthquakes, meteors or plagues of locusts have descended upon the community. Everybody got through it. Read more

Blake Kirk, Wicca, Huntsville, Operation Inclusion, Town of Greece v. Galloway


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Rob Boston

Religious Right groups are crowing about the results of yesterday’s elections, and they have reason to: There’s no doubt that the next Congress is going to be more welcoming to right wingers who are obsessed with social issues.

With so many more far-right conservatives coming into Congress, it’s inevitable that we’ll see a ramping up of the “culture wars.” That’s unfortunate because I doubt that’s what most people were voting for yesterday. Read more

Jody Hice, Michael Petrouka, Gordon James Klingenschmitt, Tom Corbett


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Rob Boston

A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.

The proposal put forth by the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is pretty wide-ranging and is being pitched as a way to protect “Southern” (read: pro-Confederate) culture. It contains 12 subsections. Read more

Magnolia State Heritage Campaign, Mississippi, Delbert Hosemann, Julie Hawkins, Susan Akin, Mark Duvall, Abraham Lincoln, President Barack Obama


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Rob Boston

A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.

The proposal put forth by the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is pretty wide-ranging and is being pitched as a way to protect “Southern” (read: pro-Confederate) culture. It contains 12 subsections. Read more

Magnolia State Heritage Campaign, Mississippi, Delbert Hosemann, Julie Hawkins, Susan Akin, Mark Duvall, Abraham Lincoln, President Barack Obama


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Rob Boston

In a few weeks, Religious Right groups, aided and abetted by their allies at the Fox News Channel, will start their annual carping about the “war on Christmas.” But before that starts, we have to get through Halloween. Read more

Halloween, Pat Robertson, new jersey, Jehovah’s Witnesses


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Rob Boston

Mat Staver, a Religious Right attorney and dean of Liberty University’s law school, isn’t very happy with the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the same-sex marriage cases.

As I’m sure you’ll recall, the high court’s Oct. 6 decision not to wade into this matter had the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage in a bunch of states, several of them in the Bible Belt. (Here are some shots of same-sex couples getting married in Oklahoma – Oklahoma! Pretty darned amazing.) Read more

Oklahoma, Mat Staver, Right Wing Watch, LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, Supreme Court, Western Civilization


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