Category: Myths

March 23, 2014 / Myths
image of a street sign showing Church and State streets crossing

Those of us who are concerned about and study separation of church and state issues, here in the US, know that complaints by Christians about religious persecution are, for the most part, fits of fantasy by people on the right. Claims of persecution seem to increase when there are large cultural shifts like we see in acceptance of same-sex marriage. It’s always good to have a list of points showing that religious persecution of Christians is in fact a fantasy.

Rob Boston, Director of Communications at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, wrote “Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do” where he points out how much the religious believer is favored in the US and are not persecuted:

August 31, 2013 / Entanglement
created clipart showing Church welfare courtesy of US Taxpayers

We hear all the time from Christian conservatives, in the US, that they are being persecuted in some way like the fake ‘war on Christmas’ or the new rules requiring businesses to cover contraceptives for their employees. We seculars have always known that such claims of persecution were false and now a report from the Council for Secular Humanism and University of Tampa offers proof that most religious groups aren’t doing charitable work and taxpayers are in fact propping up some of them with tax subsidies.

March 14, 2013 / Courts
created image showing Seperation of Church and State

Most of the posts on this blog talk about agents of the government NOT doing enough to support or ignoring the principle of the separation of church and state. Some religionists, in an effort to refute the principle, bring up examples of the overzealous application of the principle. Their intention is clear. They think that if the government goes too far in separation that it hurts the rights of believers but such overreaches are few and far between and don’t refute the principle that separation of church and state is needed.

You may have heard this or similar stories making the rounds on chain e-mails or posted to Facebook by religious friends:

September 24, 2012 / Courts
clip art showing Preaching from the Pulpit

On Sunday October 7th, Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative evangelical Christian group, will be promoting ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’. It’s an event where the ADF says it has 1,000 pastors pledged to violate Federal tax laws by preaching about the election, endorsing a candidate, and sending a video of their sermon to the IRS. Their stated point is that the tax law prohibiting endorsing specific candidates violates the pastor’s freedom of speech. Once again the religious right is wrong.

September 10, 2012 / Media
January 10, 2012 / Definitions
image of the logo for Religious Freedom Day

January 16th is National Religious Freedom Day. The day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. The Virginia Statute was the basis of the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution and also can be used to support Jefferson’s idea of the separation of church and state. The Religious Right have of course co-opted the day by mass marketing misleading information about what real religious freedom means in this country. Luckily, Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) has some help available to tell the truth.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was passed at a time when state support and protection of churches was the norm in what would become the United States. Thomas Jefferson offered the statute as a way to protect the church and the state. It is obvious from reading the text that separating church and state was the goal.