Friday, October 23, 2009

AU Issues Update On Proposed Congressional Land Transfer To Michigan Religious School

Michigan Representative Says Coast Guard Property Will Be Sold At Fair Market Value, Not Given To Religious School
October 21, 2009

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today expressed appreciation to a Michigan member of Congress for taking steps to ensure that Coast Guard property in Cheboygan will be sold at fair market value, rather than freely granted to a religious school.

On Oct. 14, Americans United wrote to U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) with concerns about a proposal (H.R. 1291) that would give seven acres of public land to a religious school that has been renting the property.

Americans United subsequently learned that Rep. Stupak will actively pursue an alternative approach to H.R. 1291, contained in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3619), which is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives later this week. Crafted by Stupak, the alternative proposal will ensure that the land will be sold at fair market value, rather than given to Cornerstone Christian School without compensation to the government.

In an Oct. 20 letter to Rep. Stupak, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, said Americans United is “very pleased to learn from your letter and e-mail from your staff of the same date that you are not seeking to move H.R. 1291 forward because of the constitutional problems with the bill’s proposed land transfer.” Americans United also restated that “the constitutional problems are not fully addressed by the provision in H.R. 3619 because it grants the right of first refusal to the School.”

complete at:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Americans United Opposes Proposed Congressional Land Grant To Religious School In Michigan

Giving Seven Acres Of Land To Religious School Would Be Unconstitutional, Asserts Church-State Watchdog Group

October 16, 2009

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has urged U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D–Mich.) to withdraw legislation that would grant seven acres of Coast Guard land to Cornerstone Christian School in Cheboygan, Mich.

The school has rented the property from the Coast Guard since 1986. Stupak’s measure, H.R. 1291, would allow the government to convey the land to the school for free.

In a letter to Stupak, Americans United explained that the land transfer would run afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s church-state separation provisions and circumvent federal law governing the disposal of public property.

complete at:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Prayer Effort Seeks 'Right Thinking' From Liberals

Prayer Effort Seeks 'Right Thinking' From Liberals
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty


October 4, 2009
You can see why Christian conservatives might be in a funk. Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. They see a liberal drift in the country's leadership and worry about social issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, stem cell research, health care and immigration.

Now Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit legal, education and policy group associated with the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, is pulling out the heavy artillery: prayer.

"We believe in the power of God. We are commanded to pray for our leaders, even those we disagree with," says Mat Staver, who, as head of Liberty Counsel, spends most of his time fighting for Christian causes in court. "And so we are asking people to pray so that our leaders are restored to right thinking."

So far, 11 leaders are on the "Adopt a Liberal" roster: President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Republicans Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made the list for their support of same-sex marriage. Then there's Democrat Barney Frank, Massachusetts' openly gay congressman who, Staver says, is "100-percent committed to the homosexual agenda."

Watchdog Group Leader Says Liberty Counsel’s ‘Adopt a Liberal’ Program Beats Prayers For His Death


October 1, 2009
Watchdog Group Leader Says Liberty Counsel’s ‘Adopt a Liberal’ Program Beats Prayers For His Death
Americans United for Separation of Church and State Executive Director Barry W. Lynn today said he’s thankful for the prayers being said on his behalf by supporters of a Religious Right group.

Liberty Counsel, a far-right legal organization affiliated with the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, has unveiled a program called “Adopt a Liberal.” Supporters are exhorted to pray for one of 11 liberals on a list. (See more here.)

Lynn is the only person to appear on the list who is not an elected leader or government official.

“This is quite an honor,” Lynn said. “I’m pleased that Liberty Counsel considers me such a threat that I rank alongside President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.”

Liberty Counsel hopes the prayers of its supporters will lead Lynn and the others to change their political views.

“Please pray daily for the liberal(s) of your choice, so each can become a good influence on our Nation’s culture,” says the group. “Prayer is powerful! It allows God to change the minds of those for whom we are praying. In fact, we fully expect that many of our adoptees will ‘graduate’ from this prayer program with vivid testimonies of God having changed their lives and worldviews!”

Recently, two Religious Right activists, Gordon James Klingenschmitt of Colorado and the Rev. Wiley Drake of California, have announced that they are praying for Lynn’s death. Lynn said he much prefers the approach of the Liberty Counsel.

“As a Christian minister, I obviously believe in the power of prayer,” Lynn said. “I’m also thankful to live in a country where, thanks to the separation of church and state, people have the right to pray whenever, however and for whatever they like.”

But Lynn added that Liberty Counsel shouldn’t expect him to change his views. He also noted that any Liberty Counsel supporter who chooses to adopt him had better be prepared.

“I like to stay up late, and I’m not doing any chores around the house,” Lynn quipped.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.