Posts tagged ‘separation of church and state’

Jewish Groups Rethinking Vouchers, Tax Credits to Religious Schools

(Source: JTA)

When the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized school vouchers in 2002, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs called it “a devastating blow to one of the foundations of our democracy”: the separation of church and state. Four years earlier, JCPA had conducted a yearlong study that affirmed its opposition to vouchers.

But at JCPA’s annual conference next month, the organization will reconsider vouchers, tax credits and other public funding for Jewish day schools. Ethan Felson, vice president and general counsel for JCPA, said the reexamination stems from a meeting with Jewish leaders from around the country.

“There was keen interest among a very broad range of leadership to take a fresh look at the issue,” Felson told JTA. (more…)

How Conservatives Silence Critics of Religion

(Source: AlterNet)

The GOP candidates’ struggle to outdo each other in appealing to Christian fundamentalists continues. Rick Santorum, the current favorite of this constituency, topped his previous plays with his remark that John F. Kennedy’s famed 1960 speech on the importance of a separation between religion and government “makes me throw up.”

The separation of church and state is not some abstract notion, nor is it a means of oppressing people. It very reasonably keeps people from imposing their religious beliefs on other people. These are not beliefs that can be objectively measured or empirically tested—like, say, the hypothesis that public spending can affect employment levels. Religious beliefs may be comforting or helpful to some people, but no matter how deeply felt, they can have no place in a rational, shared system of managing outcomes for all Americans.

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Romney backs Rubio-Blunt bill giving employers “moral” right to deny birth control coverage to women

(Source: Attack Watch)

Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s “Respect For Rights of Conscience” amendment. The far-reaching bill would allow any insurer or employer to deny coverage for birth control or any other medical services if they decide it conflicts with their “beliefs or moral convictions.” The measure is intended as a response to President Obama’s determination that women should have access to free preventive health care, like contraception, no matter where they work.

Mitt Romney, however, called the President’s rule “liberty—and conscience—stifling” as well as a “serious assault” on the Constitution. And after he briefly flirted with opposition to the Rubio-Blunt bill, Romney flipped within the hour to forcefully declaring, “Of course I support that amendment, I clearly want to have religious exemption from Obamacare.”

Teen Atheist Wins Big: School District Won’t Appeal Ruling to Take Down Prayer Banner

(Source: The Blaze)

On Thursday [Feb. 16] night, a massive crowd gathered at Cranston High School West in Cranston, Rhode Island, to discuss the future of a controversial prayer mural that has captured headlines for months. While many came to protest a court ruling that found the banner to be unconstitutional, others praised the teen atheist who fought its presence. Last night’s meeting, which CBS News likened, at least at its start, to “a rabid shout fest,” ended with the Cranston School Committee voting 5-2 not an appeal the judge’s mandate that the mural be taken down.

As the Blaze has extensively reported, the case was brought against the school district by 16-year-old Jessica Ahlquist, an atheist who claimed she found the sign offensive. In January, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lagueux agreed with the young woman, which has sparked outrage, protests and frustration in the local community.

(more…)

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