The Future of Church/State Separation

After spending a quarter-century as an activist and heading up Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Rev. Barry Lynn may be one of the country’s foremost experts on religious liberty issues. He knows all the ways the leaders of the Religious Right have tried to push their beliefs on society through legislation and lies.

In his new book, God and Government: Twenty-Five Years of Fighting for Equality, Secularism, and Freedom Of Conscience (Prometheus Books, 2015), Lynn compiles much of his writing on these issues over the years while including his current perspective on the subjects.

In the excerpt below from the book’s epilogue (obviously written before the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality), Lynn offers his take on what the future of church/state separation looks like:

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Ten Years Later, Poe’s Law Lives On

On August 10, 2005, on the Christian Forums website, a Creationist wondered how apes could possibly come into existence if they only ever mated with their own species. Evolution was clearly wrong because this was a logical impossibility!

A lot of commenters attempted to explain why this was a complete misunderstanding of how evolution works. While some of them were serious, others just mocked the Creationist, in some cases, by imitating her irrational thinking. After one commenter included a 😉 emoticon, someone else responded with: “Good thing you included the winky. Otherwise people might think you are serious.”

And then Nathan Poe jumped in:

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Even Catholic Universities Should Say Yes to Campus Atheist Groups

Should private Catholic schools allow atheist clubs on campus?

What if they weren’t called atheist clubs, but something less combative, like “freethought” or “secular” groups?

The administrators don’t have to allow them, but you could easily make the argument that students who attend these schools may be questioning their faith, and any place of higher education ought to embrace that discussion… or stop calling themselves a “place of higher education.”

Turns out some big Catholic colleges understand this. Loyola University, Depaul University, Georgetown University — they all have Secular Student Alliance affiliates.

But an article published on the online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society argues that these groups have no business on Catholic campuses:

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Dr. Ben Carson, Who Slammed Planned Parenthood for Donating Fetal Tissue, Used It in His Old Research

Wow. Ben Carson the Presidential candidate must be furious with Ben Carson the neurosurgeon.

Despite slamming Planned Parenthood for those videos and saying “there’s nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue,” turns out Carson actually used that tissue in his own research published in 1992:

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Two Men Arrested in Connection with Bangladeshi Atheist Blogger’s Murder

Last week, 40-year-old Niloy Neel (below), an organizer of Science and Rationalists’ Association of India, was brutally murdered by assailants in Bangladesh — they decapitated him in his home and cut his hands off. He’s the fourth atheist blogger to be killed in the country this year.

Late last night, Bangladeshi police arrested two men in connection with the crime:

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