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Short-Sighted Sentence: Okla. Judge’s Church-Attendance Mandate Is Wrong

On Dec. 4, 2011, Tyler Alred, an Oklahoma teenager who had been drinking, ran a truck into a tree. His passenger and friend, 16-year-old John Dum, was killed.

That’s tragic. I doubt anyone would argue that Alred doesn’t deserve to be punished. But an Oklahoma judge’s response to the matter has been curious, to say the least: District Judge Mike Norman has sentenced Alred to attend church weekly for the next 10 years. Read more

Invocation Intemperance: State-Sponsored Prayer Rankles In Hawaii And Oklahoma

Official, state-sponsored prayers before government bodies are often problematic, but many legislators simply refuse to give them up.

The state of Hawaii has just learned the hard way that it’s best not to overreact when citizens protest government-endorsed religion. Read more

Constitutional Assaults: The Right’s Attack On State Constitutions

Heads up, residents of Oklahoma: There’s a move afoot to strip your state constitution of its strong language protecting separation of church and state.

Rep. Jason Nelson, an Oklahoma City Republican, has proposed a ballot initiative that would ask voters to remove Article 2, Section 5, of the state constitution. This just happens to be the part of the constitution that separates religion and government. Read more

Super Superintendent: An Educator In Rural Oklahoma Comes To The Defense Of Public Schools

Oklahoma has a private-school voucher plan aimed at children with special needs, and one of its toughest critics is a career educator in the tiny community of Mounds, population 1,200.

Donna Campo, superintendent of the Liberty Public Schools, hasn’t been shy about speaking out against any plan to divert taxpayer funds to private schools. A recent profile of Campo in the Tulsa World found her in feisty form. Read more

Hypocrisy Alert: Ex-Christian Coalition Staffer Now Opposes Religious Control Of Courts – At Least For Muslims

When it comes to the Religious Right, the hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

Yesterday, on the eve of the Muslim observance of Ramadan, The New York Times published a story detailing the leaders and groups behind the recent push for anti-Shariah laws in state legislatures, and – shocker! – one is former Christian Coalition Field Director Guy Rodgers. Read more

Was America Founded To Be A Christian Nation?: AU’s Oklahoma Chapter Welcomes Debate

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

Americans United has taken these words to heart, as it has many other statements made by Jefferson. AU strongly believes that the best way to bring about positive change and preserve religious freedom is to educate Americans on the importance of church-state separation, particularly at the grassroots level. Read more

Kern Spurned: Oklahoma Legislator’s Backdoor Creationism Bill Bounced

Oklahoma is one of the most religiously conservative states in the country. Fundamentalists have a strong political presence there, and “culture war” battles are common. This is the state, you’ll recall, that recently tried to ban Sharia law – even though no Muslims are attempting to impose it there.

It’s always a pleasant surprise, then, when Oklahoma legislators resist Religious Right pressure and do the right thing. And yesterday they did. Read more

‘Science Guy’ Speaks Out: Bill Nye Says Nay To Anti-Evolution Crusade, As Bills Pop Up In The States

With Darwin Day (Feb. 12) just around the corner, scientists, educators and citizens across the world are gearing up to celebrate the birth of Charles Darwin and his contributions to science.

As Bill Nye “The Science Guy” recently put it, teachers’ reluctance to teach Darwin’s theory of evolution is “horrible.” Scientific advances that benefit everyone could be at risk if students don’t learn sound science. Read more

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