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Washingtonian Magazine Features Edwina Rogers

In the September 2013 issue of Washingtonian Magazine [print edition], “True Nonbeliever Can Republican lobbyist Edwina Rogers help a group of left-leaning atheists reach across the aisle?”

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Most Americans, religious or not, agree on the importance of religious freedom as enshrined in the First Amendment, though they disagree about specifics. Should the government promote religion? Give special tax breaks to religion? Favor one religion ov…

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Fundamentalists target churches for 2014 elections

We’re just a few months removed from the 2012 elections, and the Religious Right is already hard at work trying to lure churches into partisan politics for the 2014 elections.

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J. Brent Walker, Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty, has outlined and debunked the top myths about separation of church and state in the United States.

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Petition Interdiction: Tenn. legislator seeks to make it a crime to protest church-state violations

Whenever I hear someone talking about the alleged shift in American politics that is supposedly turning the country away from far-right politics, I have to pause, collect myself and say politely, “We’re not quite there yet.” If you don’t believe me, take a look at what’s going in some of the states.

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Evangelical leader joins Religious Institute in supporting family planning, opposing proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood

A former VP of Government Affairs for the National Evangelical Association has joined with a network of more than 5,200 religious leaders to denounce the proposed Federal cuts to family planning and basic healthcare services — in particular, Planned Parenthood.

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TruNews host Rick Wiles thinks so.

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Weekly state legislation highlights

Several church-state separation issues are coming up in the states. Here are a few highlighted bills that AU is working on.

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Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum on Friday warned that the Obama administration has estimated that the average family will pay a minimum of $20,000 for health insurance once the health care reform law goes fully into effect.

The only problem with Schlafly’s claim is that the government never issued such an estimate.

The IRS simply used the $20,000 figure as an example for calculating the “shared responsibility payment,” or penalty, for a nonexempt family that does not acquire health insurance.

As the Annenberg Center’s FactCheck.org notes:

The IRS used $20,000 in a hypothetical example to illustrate how it will calculate the tax penalty for a family that fails to obtain health coverage as required by law. Treasury says the figure “is not an estimate of premiums.”

[T]he regulations weren’t a “cost analysis” at all. A spokesperson for the Treasury Department confirmed to FactCheck.org in an email that the IRS wasn’t making any declarations or projections about what prices will be.

“[Twenty thousand dollars] is a round number used by IRS for a hypothetical example,” the official wrote. “It is not an estimate of premiums for a bronze plan for a family of five in 2016.”

Schlafly wasn’t the only conservative leader to fall for the false story, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel also wrote an article arguing that a government “cost analysis based on ObamaCare regulations show[s] that the cheapest healthcare plan in 2016 will cost average American families of four or five members $20,000 per year for the so-called ‘bronze plan.’”

The Obama Administration is now estimating that by 2016 the minimum annual cost of health insurance for an average American family under ObamaCare will be $20,000. And there is no guarantee that the health insurance will actually cover all the medical treatments that the family wants and needs. $20,000 is merely the minimum annual cost; many families could face even higher premiums. Millions of Americans will be faced with the choice of buying this expensive health insurance, or paying hefty penalties to the IRS. Those who choose not to buy health insurance will be slapped by the IRS with thousands of dollars in additional taxes. Is this what Americans really want? Certainly not. $20,000 is many times more expensive than what most Americans pay for health insurance today.

It’s not only families who will be hit by these enormous price increases under ObamaCare. One study predicts that a 27-year-old non-smoking male in Texas will go from paying $54 a month in health insurance premiums to a whopping $153 per month as soon as ObamaCare goes into full effect. That will be on top of the massive student debt that so many young people are already struggling to pay off. The real result may be that many Americans will choose to drop their health insurance simply because they cannot afford it. But that is the opposite of what ObamaCare was supposed to achieve.

None of this is a surprise to those who have criticized ObamaCare for years. Not a single Republican voted for this costly injection of federal bureaucracy into the American health care system, which has been the finest the world has ever known. Many businesses are decreasing the number of hours that their employees can work in order to fall below the threshold requiring employers to buy this costly insurance for their employees.

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AU Legislation state news roundup

Church-state related legislation is popping up all around the country, and AU is on the case. Here are some things that happened in the states last week.

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