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

The Subpoena Saga: Houston Officials’ Misstep Feeds Religious Right Persecution Complex

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



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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Simon Brown

The Religious Right’s annual “Values Voter Summit” (VVS) took place over the weekend in Washington, D.C. As usual, it was a mix of homophobia, Islamophobia, religious revivalism and bashing of President Barack Obama disguised as a policy conference.   Read more

Values Voter Summit, Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel, American Family Association, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, sarah palin, Mat Staver


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Simon Brown

It seems a Pennsylvania county has its heart set on enforcing a backdoor blasphemy law thanks to a persistent and misguided district attorney.

Earlier this month, a story made the rounds on social media concerning a 14-year-old boy in Everett, Pa., who posted on Facebook a photo of himself simulating a sex act with a statue of Jesus. Read more

Everett, Pennsylvania, Jesus statue, desecration, Love in the Name of Christ, William Higgins


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Simon Brown

Ken Ham, president of the fundamentalist ministry Answers in Genesis, has sold Kentucky lawmakers on the idea that a religious theme park featuring a 510-foot replica of Noah’s Ark deserves taxpayer dollars because it will create jobs. Read more

Ken Ham, ‘Ark Park’, Answers in Genesis, Insitute on the Constitution, David Whitney, Michael Peroutka, Ark Encounter


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Rob Boston

If there were a prize for unmitigated gall, it would be awarded today to Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Moore, speaking during a recent panel discussion at the Evangelical Leadership Summit, an event sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., told the crowd that they need to “reclaim” the phrase separation of church and state, a term he admitted that “we long ago tossed overboard.” Read more

Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention, James Madison, thomas jefferson, Constitution Day


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