38 results for tag: separation of church and state


Citizens Project educates, empowers local churches to protect their tax-exempt status.

Every year, there is an effort to undermine IRS regulations regarding electioneering by tax-exempt organizations, called "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." In response, this month Citizens Project sent letters to over 350 local churches to make them aware of conflicts that could potentially arise this election season and how to protect their IRS 501(c)3 status. We are committed to being a resource to faith communities as they endeavor to engage in dialogue with church members about policy issues related to their faith while not jeopardizing their tax-exempt status. The letter highlighted guidelines of activities that faith communities must avoid and also ...


Legal Precedent, Religious Freedom, and the Hobby Lobby Court Decision

By Anya Arndt Religious freedom in the United States will never look the same again; while the majority of Supreme Court justices believe that their ruling on the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case will not be taken to extremes, history tells us otherwise. In fact, it was unexpected consequences of the ruling on the Citizens United case that partially allowed the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling to turn out as it did. When Citizens United is boiled down to its fundamental principle that corporations have the same rights as individuals, it translates into the Supreme Court’s ruling on the side of Hobby Lobby as a corporation with religious beliefs. As I ...

Madison and Jefferson v. Scalia and Thomas on Church-State Separation

by Ken Burrows The May 5th Supreme Court decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway concluded that the practice by the Greece, NY, town board of opening its meetings with predominantly Christian prayer does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. This despite the fact the practice causes a certain religious imposition on those citizens attending the town board meetings who see themselves as excluded or at least marginalized by being subjected to official governmental prayer, sectarian in nature, that effectively endorses a faith they do not themselves subscribe to. Justice Anthony Kennedy in writing the Greece opinion insisted it ...


Happy End of the Gregorian Calendar Year!

By Anya Arndt ***Disclaimer: It’s “War on Christmas”-time again, and I’m sick of it. So if you think the “War on Christmas” is a real thing, you should probably stop reading here, because I’m about to take on “Happy Holidays” as well, and explain to you why that too should be removed from casual conversation with strangers. It’s the “Holiday Season,” and as we grow accustomed to the inundation of society with red and green, it’s sometimes easy to forget how uninclusive even a wish of “Happy Holidays” can be. The “Christmas Spirit” permeates society, and in the back corner at Target, we see a small Hanukkah ...

Book Review: The “Secular State” – picking words and picking battles

by Ken Burrows Reflections on How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom by Jacques Berlinerblau “Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance. Religion and government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together.” --- James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, 1822 “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.” --- John F. Kennedy, speech in Houston, 1960 “The ‘wall of separation between church and state’ is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide ...

2013 CRFI a Success

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Citizens Project proudly presented the fourth annual Citizens’ Religious Freedom Institute, a one day seminar on how the First Amendment to the US Constitution protects religious freedom in public schools. More than 40 teachers, students, parents, administrators, staff, and school board members joined us for a day of learning. Photos courtesy of Glenn:  (more…)

The church vs. contraception: A matter of conscience . . . or control?

by Ken Burrows For many months now, in the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for employers’ insurance policies to cover contraceptive drugs and services, the Catholic Church has taken vehement exception to this requirement. Churches themselves are exempt from the mandate, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) insists the requirement forces certain Catholic-affiliated entities (e.g., hospitals, universities, social service agencies) to violate their conscience, apparently on the assumption such entities share (or should share) the same religious objection as the church to contraception. A February 2012 pastoral ...