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is the Communications Associate for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and appears courtesy of AU.

We’ve Got (Hate) Mail!: Right-Wing Pastors React To AU’s Pulpit Politicking Letter

Simon Brown

Every other year during election season, Americans United reminds clergy nationwide to stay out of partisan politics.

Most religious leaders have no problem respecting the federal tax code’s prohibition against campaign intervention by houses of worship and other non-profits that are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Read more



Simon Brown

A local government in a conservative state recently made a surprising decision – it voted not to open its meetings with an official prayer.

The Ketchikan, Alaska, Gateway Borough Assembly voted this week not to incorporate official invocations into its meeting agenda by a count of 5-2.

Given the controversial nature of this issue, there was quite a bit of debate before the vote. KTOO News, an Alaska radio network, reported that 10 people spoke in favor of official prayer and eight against it. Read more

Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly


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Simon Brown

As the November elections approach, it seems a second-tier advocacy group run by a disgraced Religious Right icon is gearing up to make a major impact.

Politico reported this week that Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition (FFC) is planning an all-out blitz in states like Colorado, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Louisiana and North Carolina in the hope that Republicans and can take control of the U.S. Senate. Read more

ralph reed, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Christian Coalition


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Simon Brown

The number of students using vouchers to attend private schools in the Oshkosh, Wisc., area grew rapidly in the past year, showing once again that so-called “school choice” schemes are frequently little more than a taxpayer-funded bailout for religious schools. Read more

Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, Valley Christian School, Lourdes Academy


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Rob Boston

Last week, a story began circulating in the media about five conservative churches that were subpoenaed in Houston and ordered to turn over any sermons they had delivered about gay rights (along with a lot of other material).

Religious Right groups went ballistic. It often turns out in cases like this that what’s really going is less horrifying than the far right would have you believe. In this case, it turns out they actually had a point. Read more

Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, Mayor Annise Parker, U.S. Pastors Council, subpoenae


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Simon Brown

An atheist who once spent 100 days in prison because he refused to enter a religion-based rehab program has been awarded a sizable settlement for his unjust treatment.

Back in 2007, Californian Barry Hazle was busted for possession of methamphetamine and sentenced to one year in jail. Hazle was paroled, but to stay out of jail he had to enter a treatment program. That’s where Hazle, described in media reports as a lifelong atheist, ran into trouble. Read more

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Barry Hazle, WestCare


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Simon Brown

Just as author and humorist Mark Twain was once pronounced dead prematurely, so too it seems is the case with the Religious Right.

Last week, Politico published a story on “how Republicans lost the culture war.” Author Bill Scher writes that the GOP “stopped being savvy on abortion,” “got weird about birth control” and “bet wrong on gay marriage.” Read more

Reince Priebus, Anthony Kennedy, same-sex marriage, Barack Obama, GOP, culture wars, Religious Right, Hobby Lobby


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Simon Brown

Thanks to a complaint from Americans United, a proposed theme park run by a fundamentalist Christian ministry is in danger of losing tax incentives preliminarily approved by misguided Kentucky officials. Now, with so much at stake, that ministry is going on the offensive – claiming it has a “religious liberty” right to taxpayer subsidies! Read more

Answers in Genesis, Ark Encounter, Mike Zovath, Ark Park


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Simon Brown

After years of complaints by Americans United about Kentucky’s ongoing taxpayer assistance for a Christian fundamentalist theme park, it seems state officials may finally be having second thoughts about their involvement with the project. Read more

Answers in Genesis, Ark Encounter, Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority, Steve Beshear


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Simon Brown

When it comes to religion and government, the constitutional choice is all or nothing: either every viewpoint is welcome or none at all. Of course, including every perspective can get a little unwieldy – as officials in Grand Haven, Mich., may soon discover. Read more

Grand Haven, Dewey Hill Cross, City Manager Pat McGinnis, Worship on the Waterfront, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation


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