Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Biologist and Blogger PZ MYers, is smiling now, but not for long.

Which is funny, because he might have just Godwined his own tax return.

Americans United is calling for an IRS investigation of the Peoria Catholic Diocese after Biship Jenky gave a homily in mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in which he said:

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Pharyngula's PZ Myers, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peioria, is smiling because he just finished doing his taxes and did not violate any IRS laws.

PZ Myers, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peioria, is smiling because he just finished doing his taxes and did not violate any IRS laws.

Well, it’s nice to know a) Hitler and Stalin had better moments (I did not know that) and b) American United attends churches looking out for this sort of violation.

The AU complaint states:

“Bishop Jenky compared Obama to Hitler and Stalin and accused him of pursuing policies that will close Catholic institutions. Moments later, he exhorted members of his flock not to vote for candidates who fail to uphold Catholic values. It is impossible to interpret this as anything but a command to vote against Obama.”

The full press release from American United is here.

Yeah, more or less:

Carroll County commissioners have asked county employees to attend a seminar on the Maryland Constitution led by a conservative Christian minister, sparking accusations that local officials are overstepping the boundary between church and state.

The minister in question is David Whitney, who is one of those guys who thinks he can reconcile American Law with the Bible, by making American Law like the Bible.

“We will be looking at the language of our founding fathers who wrote they were ‘grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberties’ front and center on this document. The Bible is the source of the authority that they looked to.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United are annoyed with the $800 of government money funding the operation. Rob Boston, of Americans United asks, “Do these commissioners realize what a mess they have stepped into? This is a toxic stew, and employees should not be forced to dine there.”


The constitution of Oklahoma, like many states, has a part about church-state separation. In Oklahoma, Republicans are tying to remove that provision. Representative Jason Nelson has put forth a ballot initiative that would allow voters to vote out Article 2 Section 5 of the constitution.

No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.

would become

No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.

There is a summary at Americans United

Americans United for Separation of Church and State just announced the settlement of a suit over school sponsored religious activities inthe Medina Valley Independent School District, Castroville, Texas.

District officials, administrators, teachers, staff and other employees are no longer allowed to initiate or solicit prayers or join in with students during such activities, or to encourage others to engage in such religious activities.

“This settlement brings an end to several practices we believed were unconstitutional and that violated students’ rights,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “I’m glad we were able to resolve this matter out of court.”

Also under the settlement:

* School district personnel will not display crosses, religious images, religious quotations, Bibles or religious texts, or other religious icons or artifacts on the walls, hallways, and other areas at the school.

* The district will not invite speakers, including government officials or community leaders, whom it has reason to believe will proselytize or promote religion during their remarks.

* The Medina Valley High School student handbook will contain a section on students’ rights to religious freedom, including the importance of respect for and tolerance of students from all backgrounds and the specific procedures for registering a complaint with district personnel about violations.

* The district will provide annual training to all district personnel who interact with students or parents or who supervise those who interact with students or parents. The training will cover a variety of topics related to students’ rights and church-state separation.

AU Senior Litigation Counsel Gregory M. Lipper, who served as lead plaintiffs’ counsel, praised the Schultz family for coming forward and challenging the school district’s promotion of religion.

“The Schultz family displayed great courage in standing up for religious liberty and church-state separation in the face of intense community opposition,” Lipper said. “The significant changes in the Medina Valley School District could not and would not have happened without their courageous efforts.”

From the AU

There were several arrests in New York City, including one councilmember and several pastors, in connection with protest against the eviction of religious groups from public school buildings.

Seven demonstrators, including Councilman Fernando Cabrera, were charged with trespass Thursday. Police say they refused to move from the entrance to the city’s Law Department in Manhattan.

The city has told about 60 churches they must stop holding worship services in public schools after Feb. 12. It argues separation of church and state and cites a court decision.

The New York Housing Authority, which is a federally funded agency administered by the city, is also renewing it’s church-in-the-public-buildings policy.


This time, at the lawn in front of the Leesburg County Court House in Virginia:

Beside a Christmas tree and creche sits a large banner with a nativity scene in which baby Jesus has been replaced by a plate of spaghetti with googly eyes. A crowd that includes pirates and gnomes surrounds Jesus. At the bottom its message reads “Touched by an Angelhair.” The scene is the work of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monsters.

Near the courthouse fence is another display whose sign reads ”Greetings From Your Friendly Local Atheists.” It’s message is about celebrating the Constitution and honoring the separation of church and state.

Elsewhere on the lawn, a skeleton in a Santa suit hangs on a cross.


They killed Santa? Continue reading

I had earlier mentioned that Americans United sof Separation of Chruch and State had expressed concern over the singing of the song “Silent Night” in a school Christmas program; Well, the event carried out and the song was sung, and AU has no immediate plans.

Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director for Separation of Church and State, said Monday afternoon the group planned no action against the play, at least not this year.

“Nobody’s planning it at this time,” Luchenitser said. “We had a short time frame to address this, so we only had time to send a letter that we hoped would educate school officials about separation of church and state. We hope in the future they don’t do this again.”

Luchenitser said his group received a local complaint about the song. He said they have a policy against disclosing details about the complaint or revealing the identity of the complainant. Continue reading

This is why I don’t want to hear you belly-aching about Obama and telling us all about how you can’t vote for him because he didn’t do some thing you for some quite possibly invalid reason you thought he would do despite having only two years without a Republican congress and almost no time without a Fillibuster.

Any single one of these stooges running for the republicans, including and maybe especially, New Gingrich, could be the next president of the United States if a) enough liberal stay home and b) enough liberals and progressives vote for a third party or do some other stupid thing, ensuring that Obama is not re-elected.

Gingrich has stated that he would use the Federal Marshall Service to arrest judges who make decisions that he does not agree with. Consider the following interview:

SCHIEFFER: One of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, that Congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before Congress and hold a Congressional hearing… how would you enforce that? Would you send the Capitol Police down to arrest him?

GINGRICH: Sure. If you had to. Or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send a U.S. Marshal.

From Think Progress.

So, get all passive aggressive at Obama, maybe you get Gingrich.

I didn’t know we had one of these. It will close …

… if Congress does not approve $4 million in annual funding for the independent bipartisan commission, as well as re-authorize its mission, which is to advocate for persecuted religious minorities around the world and advise the U.S. government on related policy positions.

sourse: Fox

The Republicans are complaining because the Democrats want to use this money to create 1,100 jobs somewhere in the US.

Or perhaps he’s just gonna go to jail for contempt of himself.

Remember the Ellwood City Municipal Building nativity display, and the dustup over that?

After complaints last year from groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Mayor Anthony Court opened the door to displays from non-Christian groups as well. He even invited FFRF to submit their own display. The property currently hosts a crèche, a Santa scene, a snowman, Kwanzaa posters, and a Hanukkah menorah.

But when the FFRF provided a nice, tasteful display about being rational and stuff, the mayor rejected it.

The Friendly Atheist has all the details here.

From the CFI in Washington DC:

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new guidelines that require health insurance providers and organizations providing health care plans to cover preventive health services, such as contraception, without charging a co-payment. The Center for Inquiry (CFI) considers this an important step forward for reproductive rights and health care.

However, these new guidelines have faced fierce public opposition from organized religion. Most notably, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is lobbying the HHS to either eliminate the new guidelines or widely expand the current exemption clause – which now covers employers whose main purpose is to promote religious doctrine – to also include religious hospitals, charities, and universities.

This means that hundreds of thousands of women would be left without preventative health coverage simply because of their employer’s religiously motivated objections.

In response, CFI and several organizations have sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, pushing her to maintain her ground on the new guidelines. Yet recent news reports suggest that President Barack Obama is now considering religious arguments to expand the exemption clause.

This is where you come in. Join CFI in telling the Obama administration to stand for science and reason, and keep religious belief out of our health care laws.


Military officials at Camp Pendleton are investigating a cross that was erected by a group of former Marines to honor their fallen colleagues, after an atheist group objected to the monument.

“Camp Pendleton legal authorities are researching and reviewing the issue in order to make a judicious decision,” Lt. Ryan Finnegan said in a statement to Fox News & Commentary. “As Marines, we are proud to honor our fallen brothers, and are also proud of our extended Marine Corps family. However, it is important to follow procedure and use appropriate processes for doing this in a correct manner to protect the sentiment from question as well as be good stewards of our taxpayer dollars.”

That report at Pat Dollard dot com is accurate, but what is not, or should I say, what is offenisve, is the title for the piece: “Due To Atheist Objections, Marine Corps May Remove Camp Pendleton Memorial Cross”

No, it was not due to “Atheist objections.” It was due to the fact that the cross violates the Constitution of the United States of America, which, by the way Marines swear to protect and defend, as I’m sure the Marines who originally erected the cross would understand if it was just pointed out to them.

An attorney representing a Wisconsin foundation has requested that the Manatee County Commission halt prayers before its meetings, contending they violate the nation’s constitutional principle of separation of church and state.

“Removing official prayers from government meetings is the only way to respect the rights of conscience of all citizens, and ensure that the board is in compliance with the Constitution,” wrote Patrick Elliott …

Detail and more here

There is a comment section. Go and add your two cents!

Americans United for Separation of Church and State earlier challenged the Johnson County, Tennessee Commission’s decision to allow the display of the Ten Commandments and other Christian rhetoric including literature in the county courthouse lobby, while at the same time refusing to allow Ralph Stewart’s posters about separation of church and state through US history.

The case has been settled. The County has agreed to put up Ralph’s posters and the County will make other changes in it’s rules.

Here’s the full press release:

Continue reading

I remember when I was a kid, someone in my family had a farm near a small town with one tiny grocery store (at which you could get gas), one tiny liquor store (at which you could get gassed) and one tiny church (at which you could … well, whatever). One day I was at the grocery store with my brother in law, and as he was checking out he said to the guy at the cash register “I’d love to get a couple of bottles of scotch.” The store’s owner, who was also the head of the local John Birch Society (but that’s another story) said, “Sure, I’ll meet you up the street.”

Continue reading

A group that advocates for the separation of church and state wants Arkansas officials to investigate whether a preschool owned by a state legislator is using taxpayer dollars to promote religion.

A spokesman for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said today the Washington-based organization sent a letter Tuesday to the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Arkansas Department of Education asking for an investigation of Growing God’s Kingdom in West Fork, which is owned by state Rep. Justin Harris, R-West Fork.
Spokespeople for the Human Services and Education departments said today that officials at those agencies had not seen the letter.

That’s from here.

So now I have to tell you a story….
Continue reading


The fight over a dozen white crosses memorializing fallen Utah State Troopers along Utah roadsides isn’t over.

State Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, vowed as much Thursday at a press conference with Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council, a national conservative Christian group.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not review the case of the Utah Highway Patrol Association vs. American Atheists. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in the contentious case that the 12-foot-high white crosses must be removed from public land and cannot bear the UHP insignia. In doing so, the court cited the First Amendment’s establishment clause and the separation between religion and government.

Details, more

A school prayer bill is back before state lawmakers for the third year, and the sponsor thinks this time it will pass the Legislature.

Sen. Gary Siplin thinks students should be able to choose a so-called inspirational message for extracurricular school events, such as football games or commencement ceremonies.

His bill would allow school boards to decide whether students should have that ability. It prohibits teachers and other school leaders from participating in the selection of a message or prayer.

“We pray in the Florida Senate and a variety of different people’s prayers. So if we can pray in the Florida Senate, we are part of government, and our constitution is ‘In God We Trust,’ so why can’t we teach our young folks how to deal with different concepts, different invocations and benedictions.”


The bill passed a State Senate committee by one vote.

In God We Trust

This could be engraved on your local public school.

Have a look at the title of this post. Would you like to see this phrase engraved on the walls of public schools, other government buildings, and other such places? The US House is about to vote on a bill that would make that happen.

It is not much of a bill. It’s more like an unfunded mandate. But it’s not even much of a mandate. Really, it’s just a resolution, the sort of generally meaningless tings Congress passes all the time when has nothing important to do (which seems to be the case now, for some reason) and it says:

Continue reading

The very controversial bible classes offered in Georgia Schools are threatened with extinction because a) Georgia has thrown education under the bus and now a public school class requires a higher number of students than ever to be considered affordable and b) they ain’t got the students signing up for them there bible classes.
Continue reading

Texas is considering tossing the Constitution of the United States of America under the bus by issuing license plates depicting three crosses on a hill and reading “One State Under God”

The plan is, it will make some money, so it doesn’t really matter that the Constitution of the United States of America will be trampled on. “Think about this: It is a revenue stream that’s a discretionary purpose, how do you argue with it?” said Kim Drummond, spokeswoman for the company that would make the plates.

Well, I guess it’s OK then.

Details here.