Is school prayer ever permissible? Can a teacher teach about religion in history class? Does creationism belong in a science course? Do students have to learn about things that are against their religion? Questions about the proper role of religion in public education continue to reverberate across the nation. With our country becoming increasingly diverse, it’s important that educators, principals, superintendents, school board members, parents and students understand what public schools can and cannot do when it comes to religion.
AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn explains why we must maintain the church-state wall.
AU's Rob Boston provides an overview of church-state history and major Supreme Court rulings.
In recent years, elected officials have increasingly advocated giving public funds to religious institutions to provide social services. During his tenure in the White House, President George W. Bush made the “faith-based” initiative a top priority of his domestic policy. Today, President Barack Obama advocates continuing the initiative with certain revisions. Fundamentalist Christian groups are pushing for broad public funding without adequate controls on how the money is used. The rights of every American are at stake. Here’s why.
Who should make the decision about how much money you contribute to religious groups — you or the government? Most Americans would have no trouble answering that question. All of us want the right to freely make our own choices about religion. Yet an increasingly influential coalition of religious and political leaders is working to undercut that right by requiring taxpayer support for religious schools. The fate of church-state separation hangs in the balance.
A well-organized and well-funded campaign is under way to undermine the separation of church and state in America’s public schools. Aggressive religious pressure groups are pushing school boards nationwide to change the curriculum to conform to their doctrines. Battles have erupted all over the nation, and your community may be next.
Every weekend, millions of Americans attend houses of worship to hear sermons, study scripture and participate in other religious activities. If some politicians and Religious Right activists have their way, however, people in the pews might soon be doing other things during services – listening to partisan political speeches, being solicited for campaign contributions and getting instructions about whom to vote for on Election Day.
Who should decide when and how you pray? Who should decide how much money you donate to religion? Who should decide how often you attend worship services?
Is the United States a "Christian nation"? Some Americans think so. Religious Right activists and right-wing television preachers often claim that the United States was founded to be a Christian nation. Even some politicians agree. If the people who make this assertion are merely saying that most Americans are Christians, they might have a point. But those who argue that America is a Christian nation usually mean something more, insisting that the country should be officially Christian. The very character of our country is at stake in the outcome of this debate.
A central tenet of the American way of life is individual freedom. All of us should be able to make our own decisions about our private affairs without interference from far-right religious organizations that seek to impose a narrow interpretation of the Bible on everyone. Religious Right pressure groups do not support personal choice. Instead, they oppose church-state separation and seek political power to mandate their doctrines. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people would be especially hard hit if the Religious Right succeeds. Here’s why.
Few issues in American public life engender more controversy than religion and public education. Unfortunately, this topic is all too often shrouded in confusion and misinformation. When discussing this matter, it's important to keep in mind some basic facts.
A lively, informative and entertaining celebration of individual freedom and some of the citizens who have boldly taken public stands to protect the separation of church and state.