Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wall of Separation: Americans United for Separation of Church and State

While many people think of ACLU when identifying organizations that deal with religious freedoms, there's an organization entirely devoted to the separation of church and state.

Here's a peek at some of the issues they work on. We'll hear from members of the organization on January 31.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wall of Separation: Library of Congress exhibit

The Library of Congress website has some great online exhibits on a wide variety of subjects.

Here's a link to the exhibit on Religion and the Founding of the American Republic. It provides a glimpse at the original documents written by Franklin, Madison and Washington, among others.

Click here for a look at it!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wall of Separation: Netroots Nation Discusses the Concept of the Wall

This one could take you a while to get through. It's a panel discussion by a wide diversity of discussants

Bruce Ledewitz, Professor of Law at Duquesne University School of Law, led a panel debating a proposal concerning the future of the separation of church and state in America. The proposal was entitled, A New Progressive Vision for Church and State: How I Learned to Accept "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and Stop Losing Elections. The substance of the proposal was set forth as follows:

"The old liberal vision of a total separation of religion from politics has been discredited. Despite growing secularization, a secular progressive majority is still impossible, and a new two-part approach is needed--one that first admits that there is no political wall of separation. Voters must be allowed, without criticism, to propose policies based on religious belief. But, when government speaks and acts, messages must be universal. The burden is on religious believers, therefore, to explain public references like 'under God' in universal terms. For example, the word 'God' can refer to the ceaseless creativity of the universe and the objective validity of human rights. Promoting and accepting religious images as universal will help heal culture-war divisions and promote the formation of a broad-based progressive coalition."

There's a link to an article and a one hour and 22 minute video clip at

Netroots Nation Discusses the Concept of Separation of Church and State

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wall of Separation: Thomas Jefferson and Texas

Graphic from

Poor Thomas Jefferson. Texas has decided he isn't worthy to be on a list of Enlightenment thinkers in their new syllabus. And they have some things to say about the separation of church and state, too.

Check out the report here:

Texas Schools To Get Controversial Syllabus

Here are a few commentaries about the story:

Texas School Syllabus is Political Indoctrination?

Religious RightWatch

Here's a forum discussion of the situation:

Thomas Jefferson to be Removed from School Textbooks in Texas

What do you think? Comment!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wall of Separation: History Lesson

Click this link (lavender title bar) for an interesting essay by Christine Leigh
Heyrman of the Department of History, University of Delaware as part of a series
by the National Humanities Center:

The Separation of Church and State from the American Revolution to the Early Republic

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wall of Separation: ACLU on Religion Issues

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is one of the organizations that comes to mind immediately when one is talking about First Amendment issues.

Here's a link to their Washington state chapter webpage on Religious Issues:

Take a minute to browse it and share your thoughts in the comments here. Do you think the work of the organization serves a useful purpose? Why/why not?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wall of Separation: Freedom From Religion Foundation

I've discovered a number of different organizations who are active in separation of church and state issues.

One such organization is FFRF, Freedom From Religion Foundation. I learned about them from this post at The Colorado Independent:

Just try it — ‘Imagine No Religion’

That led me to google "imagine no religion billboard." The search yielded over 69,500 hits. The group has purchased numerous billboard ads over the years throughout the country.

What is your reaction to the billboard?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wall of Separation: The Case of the "Righteous" California DMV Clerk

Plenty of people complain about their experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles, but here's a tale of a clerk who went out of his way to make it extra hellish for one citizen.

Read the article here:

and then comment below if you'd like. Personally, I am sort of speechless.

Here's one blogger's comments on the situation:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lecture One Clips: Varying Viewpoints on Separation of Church and State


What does separation of church and state mean to you?

Why did you take this course?

Let’s hear from some others, and discuss what they have to say:


Palin and Biden

President Obama

Hillary Clinton

Colorado US Sen. Candidate Ken Buck

Delaware's US Sen. Candidate Christine O’Donnell (showed up to 1:12 of 2:37 clip)

Rush Limbaugh defends O’Donnell 1:44

Bill Maher on O’Donnell and church/state (showed up to 2:20)

Chuck Norris on getting Bible taught in public schools

Separation of Church and Politics:

West Wing – Alan Alda and Martin Sheen – campaigning & churchgoing

Huckabee on Amending Constitution to God's Standards

– art imitates life –

Using Religious Grounds and/or Bible references to justify Positions on Issues/Policies:

West Wing Martin Sheen

O'Reilly on Washington state Christmas displays

Colbert Displaying Ten Commandments 5:37

Viewer Comment: Haha, anyone notice the point at the very end? Colbert goes, "Thank you for taking time away from keeping the Sabbath holy to talk to me." Priceless!

The Wall of Separation: First Amendment Says What?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abriding the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."