Tag Archives: Americans United for Separation of Church and State

President Obama Takes First Positive Steps In Reforming Faith-Based Initiatives

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Official Seal for the Executive Office of the President of the United StatesThis week, the Obama administration took the first positive steps to reform faith-based initiatives within the government. These initial reforms go a long way to protecting the wall of separation between church and state and protecting the religious freedoms of the faith-based groups and the beneficiaries who use the services. I am hoping more reform is coming.
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Cleveland Plain Dealer Attacks Separation Of Church And State

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Cleveland Plain Dealer logoIt’s not very often when news media inserts itself in a contentious local issue, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer decided that the separation of church and state was a bridge too far. It took a side in a resolved issue over a public school musical performance of an opera with religious concepts.
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Obama Administration Says Prayers Before Town Council Meetings Are Okay

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photo of people praying before a meeting
Praying before a meeting

Town of Greece v. Galloway is a US Supreme Court case to heard in the fall that might set the boundaries for prayers before town council meetings so they aren’t a violation of the separation of church and state. One interesting thing to come out of the pre-hearing filings is that the Obama administration is supporting the prayers. I really never knew why it was so important for an elected body to pray before working since prayers don’t make elected officials do a better job nor do the prayers improve living in a certain town or county. As one church state group put it, a town council meeting ‘isn’t a church service and it shouldn’t seem like one.’
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New Director Of White House Faith-Based Office Could Be Trouble For Religious Right

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image of Melissa Rogers
Melissa Rogers: New director of Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

The White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships was started by President Bush in 2001 in order give taxpayer money to religious groups to provide social services. Even though the office spits at the spirit of the separation of church and state, President Obama kept the office and expanded it. Recently it was announced that the President would be appointing Melissa Rogers as the office’s new director. The general consensus of the various free thought groups is the appointment of Rogers is a good move and you know what means – trouble for the religious right. Hopefully.
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Split On Kentucky Court Cases – One Win One Loss

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image of a map version of state of KentuckyLast week, two church & state cases from Kentucky were resolved. One concerning a state law that said “security was unattainable without reliance on ‘Almighty God'” lost in the US Supreme Court. Another case involving religious coercion at state-funded baptist children’s home was settled out of court as a victory for support of separation of church and state. We can’t always win these court cases but we need to fight as much as possible to protect the wall between church & state.
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In Further Compromise, Religious Groups Get Expanded Contraception Coverage Exemption

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image of a month's supply of Birth Control pillsOn Friday (02/01), President Obama’s administration announced a further watering down of the new health care rule that would require birth control coverage to be offered through an employee health plan. Previously churches were exempt but now religiously owned and operated non-profit groups and organizations will be able to gain an exemption if they request it. All exemptions would then shift the cost and provision of coverage to the insurance company. Of course the more vocal religious right groups say it’s not enough saying even private companies owned and operated by people who might have religious objections must be allowed to be exempt. They need to worry more about the people they serve rather than being so selfish.
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