Friday, August 28, 2009

Judge: Ky. can't legislate dependence on God

Judge: Ky. can't legislate dependence on God
By Janet Cappiello Blake, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo! News
August 27, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It is one thing to trust in God, but quite another to be ordered to rely on protection from above during national emergencies, a judge has ruled.

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate said in Wednesday's decision that references to a dependence on "Almighty God" in the law that created the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security is akin to establishing a religion, which the government is prohibited from doing in the U.S. and Kentucky constitutions. Ten Kentucky residents and a national atheist group sued to have the reference stricken.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kennedy Was Champion Of Church-State Separation

Americans United Church-State Watchdog Group Mourns Passing Of Massachusetts Senator
August 26, 2009

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, today issued the following statement on the death of U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.):

“Sen. Ted Kennedy was a great champion of church-state separation. It’s not just that he consistently voted to support that principle he really got it. He deeply understood that only a high and firm wall of separation between church and state could protect our liberties. He knew the reasons why our Founders established church-state separation and why we need to preserve it. He got how church-state separation protects the rights of both religious and non-religious people.

“One of the things that made Sen. Kennedy so effective was his powerful presence. I first met him in the 1970s during a meeting designed to address issues of concern to residents of Washington, D.C. There were probably 40 people in the room, all squabbling about how to proceed. When Sen. Kennedy walked in, all talking stopped. He outlined a plan of action, and we divided up the work.

complete at:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

AU Praises Appeals Court Decision Upholding Separation Of Church And Post Office

Decision Says Connecticut Church Cannot Display Proselytizing Materials In Contract Postal Unit
August 21, 2009

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today commended a federal appeals court decision requiring a church to separate its religious outreach from the activities at a church-run postal unit.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church must separate its preaching and proselytizing from the work it does on a contract basis for the U.S. Postal Service.

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “Americans look to houses of worship if they need religious counsel, not post offices. We expect Uncle Sam, and those he contracts with, to deliver the mail, not preach or pass the plate.”

Read the full press release at

Read the federal appeals court decision

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Army officer speaks out against religious persecution

August 20, 2009

“U.S. Army Officer, Combat Vet, West Point Grad Speaks Out Against Religious Persecution”

August 19, 2009

I am a United States Army Captain. On a spring day at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York several years ago, I took a solemn oath to support and defend the United States Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic as an officer in the United States Army. I took a legally altered oath which omitted the words “So Help Me G-d.” When I submitted my first signed copy, with those words neatly crossed out and initialed, I was informed that it was not valid. When threatened with the prospect of not graduating and being refused a Commission, I stood by my refusal to sign the Oath as it read. I could not in good conscience do so because I was deeply disturbed by fusion of religion and military service. I could not reconcile the suspicion that the Oath itself was establishing religion in a way which contradicted the spirit of the Constitution with the intensity of my commitment to defend same. I believed, and still believe, that my personal metaphysical experience of the universe must be separate from my role as a military professional. In the passing years, I have come to the unsettling conclusion that the sentiment in the Oath which so disturbed me is a practical reality in my United States Army.

Based on my alteration of The Oath, you may be tempted to label me “non-religious.” I find this odd, because religion has broadly influenced my life and values. I was born into a mixed Jewish and Catholic family. The family I belong to now is mixed Buddhist and Agnostic. I attended Catholic high school where I excelled in my religious studies. I was one of a literal fistful of non-Christian students voluntarily attending a religious institution, and I never once felt pressure to conform. In our mandatory religious classes we studied Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Quaker, Mormon, Jewish, Protestant, Wiccan, and other religions and we were taught that mere “tolerance” was abhorrent and basic “acceptance” was the absolute minimum standard. I learned during my second semester as a Plebe (freshman) at West Point that even lowly tolerance is a privilege not to be bestowed on all Soldiers in the United States Army.

complete at:

Get Local

A special message from Barry Lynn

AU Executive Director Barry Lynn reminds us that August Recess is an excellent time to talk with your Senators and Representatives about why separation of church and state is so important. We've heard a lot about heath care reform at town hall meetings, and we understand its importance to many of you. But while your officials are home during this break it's equally important to let them know how much you care about preserving core constitutional principles. August Recess is for letting your Senators and Representatives hear from you on ALL the issues of importance to you.
Please take a moment to watch this message. With your help we can make a difference!

Watch the video

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Didn't We Invade Afghanistan and Iraq to Secure Freedom?

Anything But Straight
August 18, 2009


Didn't We Invade Afghanistan and Iraq to Secure Freedom?

In the not too distant past, most Americans couldn't tell a Pashtun from a cartoon, a Sunni from a Moonie or a Kurd from bean curd. Then came 9-11 and we learned our very survival depended on securing freedom for people we barely knew existed. Exorcising the region's demons through democracy was so important, we were told, that America would pay for the effort in blood and bankruptcy.

Despite the bumbling and fumbling of the war effort, the bitter divisions in our country and the wheelbarrows of dough dumped in the desert, there was always the faint hope that a better Middle East might just emerge from the mess. And, whatever one thinks of the two wars, Saddam Hussein and the Taliban were real villains who were vanquished.

The idea, of course, was that once these monsters were slain, they'd be replaced with the sane. But, the monsters have multiplied and Sasquatch has morphed into a bevy of Big Foots (or is it Big Feet?). It appears that for all of our sacrifice - and that of the secular Iraqi and Afghanistani people - the crazies are back in control. Or, at least fanatics have instilled enough fear that "mainstream" Iraqi and Afghanistani politicians are tripping over themselves to please and appease.


complete at

Christian magazine publishes expose on C Street

Christian magazine “World” published an expose on the C Street house and the secretive group who runs it called The Family. Rachel Maddow talks to Harper’s Bazaar contributing editor Jeff Sharlet about what they found out.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Federal Court To Hear Arguments In Case Challenging City-Sponsored Prayer In Greece, N.Y.

Church-State Watchdog Group Urges New York Town To Respect Constitution And Religious Diversity

August 12, 2009

A federal court will hear oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit challenging the use of sectarian invocations before meetings of the Greece, N.Y., Town Board.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed suit on behalf of two town residents last year. The residents say the near-unanimous use of sectarian prayers sends a message of exclusion to non-Christians.

“This case is a good reminder of why government needs to stay out of the prayer business,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Inevitably, some people are made to feel like second-class citizens.”
The Greece Town Board has a longstanding practice of inviting clergy to open the Board’s monthly meetings with a prayer. The Town Board does not require that the prayers be inclusive and non-sectarian. As a result, over the past decade, the vast majority of the prayers have been Christian.

Read the full press release

Friday, August 14, 2009

Haskell County Has to Fork it Over $$$$

County to pay ACLU legal fees
Tulsa World - Tulsa,OK,USA
Haskell County commissioners must pay the legal fees of the ACLU of Oklahoma in its lawsuit against a Ten Commandments monument in Stigler.


Two Roads to Religion and Civil Law

Moderator's note: Below is posted the remarks of Jim Huff, executive secretary of the Oklahoma City chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State ( He and I attended the July Reclaim event in Edmond, and Mr. Huff attended the New Baptist Norman event. Decide for yourself which venue had a better representation of what it means to be religious, as well as supportive and understanding, of the necessity of maintaining a viable and meaningful separation of religion and civil law in the United States.

You can read my own summary of the Reclaim event at my own blog--

FYI: Those of faith convictions and those of secular convictions.

I attended the JULY 24-25 "Reclaiming Oklahoma For Christ" conference at the
Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond and the AUGUST 7-8 "New Baptist
Covenant" in Norman Embassy Suites Hotel. Oklahoma is NECK DEEP IN THE
CULTURE WAR. The DIFFERENCES in Christian responses to the social,
healthcare, political and economic issues of today WERE STARK AND SERIOUS.

Rep. Sally Kern and (Independent Baptist)Pastor Paul Blair ARE PUSHING HARD
POLTICAL-ECONOMIC POLICIES. "R.O.C" sees President Obama as the anti-Christ,
poverty as laziness, the congressional healthcare reforms as socialism, the
Bible as the answer to ALL of the economic needs of today. Their list of
important issues are: stop the "gay agenda", promote Fundamentalist
"creationism" in science classes, promote militarism in the name of
Christian values, oppose socialism, reduce taxes and use tax dollars for
religious ministries.

Those were not the multiple topics at the conference on "The New Baptist
Covenant." The sermons and speeches(J.C. Watts, Documentary Film-"Beneath
the Skin: Baptists and Racism", Wilford Brown (Native American, Pastor),
Ellis Orosco (Texas Pastor), Brad Henry, Jimmy Carter, Major Jemison (OKC
African American, Pastor), Wade Burleson (Oklahoma Pastor), were all focused
on: opposing racism, dealing with the health and daily needs of those
trapped in poverty, emphasis on the Biblical principles of "loving your
neighbor as yourself", emphasis on the Biblical responsibility to be
involved (there's work to do)in resolving the realities of cultural
injustices, defending the rights of all citizens BECAUSE IT IS BOTH
BIBILICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL. Religious tolerance is more than accepting
persons because you can't change them. Jesus' teachings and Christian
ethics involves respect for those having different views and values (both
faith related and secular related), and going the extra mile to protect all
persons from bigotry and violence.

The two different gatherings of professing believers in Jesus as the Messiah
by far the largest and the most ethnic and racially diverse. The gathering
in Edmond was the loudest and most flamboyant.

The booths at Norman were educational, informational, pro-persons. The
emphasis was personal religious or social convictions being put into action
outside of government. Learning how to live together with those who have
differing religious (Islam) or social views (the homosexual communities and
the abortion choice advocates). NO, not everyone there has reached the
place of religious and social tolerance. That was the point of the meeting.
Participants were not required to give up their personal convictions. The
attendees were encouraged to rethink the application of their convictions.
The separation of church and state was held up as a positive and valuable
socio-constitutional, Biblical value.

The speakers at "R.O.C." were focused on political electioneering
involvement(Janet Porter, Peter LaBarbera, Ret. Gen. Jerry Boykin and Dr.
John Morris). If you want more information on the issues of the speakers,
Google their names. The booths in Edmond were issue oriented, angry at large
segments of the social structure (public education, government at all
levels, Democratic Party political leaders, non-conservative political
leaders, government taxes at all levels.) The "R.O.C" agenda was angry at
being in the minority (kept referring to themselves as a remnant of the true
GOALS. The concept of the separation of church and state was demeaned. The
participants were warned that they were not being faithful to their God if
they were not involved actively in the 2010 elections. And, that is why
candidates, Fallin, Brogdon, Calvey, Wesselhoft and others were introduced
as being supporters of the R.O.C. viewpoints.

At some point in the future, I'll set up meetings or conferences for the
general public to see and discuss the various "N.B.C." sermons, testimonies
and speeches. Being in a Republican Party dominated state is not the issue.
The issue is candidates that USE "CHRISTIAN" THEOLOGY AND BIBLICAL
public needs to see and discuss those Christian theological and Biblical
principles of a large segment of Oklahoma's citizens THAT DIFFER from Rep.
Kern and Pastor Blair.

The differences must be examined and candidates and elected officials

Jim Huff

Monday, August 10, 2009

Exposed: ‘C Street’ and The Military

Exposed: ‘C Street’ and The Military
By Chris Rodda
The Public Record
Aug 10th, 2009


Making the connections between the Family and the military is “a new front” — a front that is leading to new revelations about some old discoveries. For example, the participants in the Campus Crusade for Christ Christian Embassy Video — a video that led the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to demand an investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General in which seven officers were found guilty of ethics violations — also included, in addition to the military officers, many other government officials and politicians.

One of the regular features in the monthly newsletter of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is a section containing a “Violation on Video,” in which we show a video clip of a military regulation being violated by a service member or at a military event, and “Captured on Camera,” a photo of a violation being committed. The video and photo that we planned to feature in our August newsletter are typical — a video of a Marine officer appearing on a Christian television show in uniform, and a photo of an Army officer giving a briefing while standing in front of a Christian flag. What’s not typical about this month’s video and photo is how I happened to come across them. So, rather than just presenting this video and photo in our newsletter in the usual format, I decided to write about the bigger story that led me to find them.

Read complete story

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Americans United Urges Supreme Court To Reject Scheme Designed To Keep Cross On Public Land

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Government-Sponsored Religious Symbols Are Bad For Adherents And Nonadherents Alike
August 4, 2009

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has urged the Supreme Court to overturn a congressional scheme to maintain a cross on public land in California, insisting that government should refrain from displaying sectarian symbols.
Americans United made the argument in a friend-of-the-court brief filed yesterday in Salazar v. Buono, a legal battle centering on the display of a cross at the Mojave National Preserve in California.

The case will come before the high court Oct. 7.
The cross at issue in the dispute was originally erected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1934 and has since been replaced several times by private citizens.

“The cross is a powerful symbol of the Christian faith,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “It does not represent all Americans. Arguing that the cross is ‘non-sectarian’ or that it is a generic symbol for all war dead is offensive to non-Christians and many Christians as well.”

Read the full press release at