Separation of Church and State

A Student of Uncommon Courage: Matthew LaClair

When Matthew LaClair heard his popular high-school history teacher tell students that only Christians will go to heaven, and that evolution has no basis in science, he knew something was wrong. Unlike most 16-year-olds, he knew it was his duty to do something about it.

Religious Protection Laws in the United States

An historical timeline of state constitutional amendments intended to preserve church-separation, and an overview of recent attempts to revise or delete these protections.

McCain Uses NAACP Conference to Push Anti-Public Education Voucher Ploy

During his speech today at the NAACP’s annual convention, John McCain reiterated his support of taxpayer funded vouchers to send children to religious and other private schools. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, "John McCain is trying to score points with his right wing base, and he’s doing it at the expense of children. It’s bad enough that these voucher schemes are designed to undermine the separation of church and state."

People For the American Way Encouraged by Obama Commitment to Apply Constitutional Principles to Partnerships with Faith-Based Groups

People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, Senator Obama’s speech on government partnerships with faith-based and grassroots social service groups included a clear commitment to constitutional principles, something that has been sorely lacking during the Bush administration. Sen. Obama stated clearly that his administration would not allow federal funds to support discrimination in providing services – or in hiring. In so doing, the Obama campaign is embracing civil rights protections that the Bush administration actively tried to undermine.

Dobson Uses Bible as Political Weapon

James Dobson accused Senator Barack Obama of distorting the Bible and of pushing a "fruitcake interpretation" of the Constitution.

People For the American Way Foundation Sues to Protect Church-State Separation

People For the American Way Foundation, along with a group of allies, today filed suit on behalf of six Florida voters to prevent two proposed state constitutional amendments from appearing on the November ballot. The proposed amendments would pave the way for sending public monies to religious and other private schools.

People For Delivers 11,000 Petitions To Cal State Chancellor

People For the American Way Foundation delivered more than 11,000 petitions to California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed. The petitions call for the university system to adopt a policy that accommodates employees who have religious or other objections to the state's "loyalty oath" by allowing them to sign the oath and attach an explanatory statement, the very same policy of the University of California.

Arizona Court of Appeals Rejects Voucher Schemes

The Arizona Court of Appeals today rejected publicly funded voucher schemes that send taxpayer money to religious and other private schools. People For the American Way, along with a group of allies, sued the state in 2006, pointing to clear language in the Arizona Constitution that forbids appropriating public money in aid of "private or sectarian schools."

David Barton: Propaganda Masquerading as History

In 1987, God reportedly told David Barton, a one-time science teacher at a fundamentalist Christian school that grew out of a church started by his own parents, that he was “to search the library and find the date that prayer had been prohibited in public schools [and] obtain a record of national SAT scores … spanning several decades.” Predictably, the result of Barton’s unscientific study was to find a “correlation” between the alleged banning of prayer and a decrease in SAT scores, as well as increases in everything from alcohol consumption to crimes rates across the nation.

The Patriot Pastors Electoral War Against the 'Hordes of Hell'

A new generation of Religious Right leaders is turning conservative churches into political machines for far-right Republican candidates with rhetoric that might make Pat Robertson blush. The new report by People For the American Way Foundation, NAACP, and the African American Ministers Leadership Council documents how high-level Republican officials in Ohio and elsewhere are embracing the self-proclaimed "Christocrats" and counting on a new wave of aggressive politics-from-the-pulpit to win elections.

Evolution and Creationism in Public Education

An In-depth Reading Of Public Opinion

Results of a comprehensive, national survey on the teaching of creationism in public schools.

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools

The Good Book Taught Wrong: Bible History Classes in Florida Public Schools

This report details widespread, significant constitutional violations uncovered by People For the American Way Foundation in its year-long investigation into the teaching of “Bible History” classes in Florida’s public high schools. An examination of the written instructional materials provided by the school districts themselves found that the courses were taught from a Christian, generally Fundamentalist Protestant, perspective. Typically, the courses presented the Bible as a history textbook, assumed that students were Christian, and used the Bible to promote Christian faith formation.

Illinois County School Officials Urged to Steer Clear of 'Bible as History' Course

School officials in Massac County, Ill., have been warned that a new "Bible as History" course for its high schools runs afoul of the Constitution and could open the school district up to a costly court fight.

Martin Sheen on Church/State Separation

Martin Sheen narrates this video, produced by People For the American Way, about the history of separation of church & state and efforts by the Religious Right to undermine it.

1980 Norman Lear TV ad opposing the Religious Right

The 1980 Norman Lear TV ad opposing the Religious Right that started it all.
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