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Mosque Mess: U.S. Government Sues Minn. Town Over Islamic Center Rejection

A Minnesota town is being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for denying a zoning permit to a mosque.

Members of the Abu Huraira Islamic Center claim they were unconstitutionally denied the permit by the city of St. Anthony in 2012. On Wednesday, the DOJ agreed.

Speaking at a press conference about the suit, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lugar didn’t mince words.  Read more

Marriage Law And Religion: Sectarian Lobbies Seek To Wed Church And State

Voters in four states will cast ballots on marriage equality next month, among them my adopted home of Maryland. Polls show that the Maryland measure, which allows same-sex couples to wed, just might pass.

Religious Right groups, of course, are doing all they can to ensure that doesn’t happen. They’re mustering all of the arguments we’ve heard before: Same-sex marriage will somehow harm families, it’s condemned by the Bible, it will lead to people marrying bicycles, etc. Read more

Minnesota Miscreants: Pompous Preachers Say They Will Violate Federal Law Against Church Electioneering

The Religious Right’s relentless campaign to politicize America’s pulpits may take another step forward this weekend.

According to the Minnesota Independent, two of the state’s pastors say they will endorse political candidates from the pulpit this Sunday, directly defying the federal tax law that prohibits churches and other non-profits from becoming involved with elections. Read more

Clinical Trial: Taxpayer Funds Supported Bachmann’s ‘Christ-Centered’ Counseling Effort

Prominent critic of church-state separation and Religious Right darling U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is back in the news.

According to the Minnesota Independent, Bachmann and her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, have used $30,000 in state funds since 2007 to run a counseling center that “uses counseling methods steeped in fundamentalist Christianity.” Read more

Bypassing Booth: Minn. Pastor Dodges IRS Investigation – For Now

A couple months ago, I blogged about a lively debate I attended about politics and the pulpit.

It was an afternoon bringing together people from the entire political spectrum. Participants on a panel, including AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, discussed a provision in federal tax law that prohibits tax-exempt, non-profit organizations – including religious institutions – from endorsing or opposing candidates. Read more