Tag Archives: Church State Separation
Magna Carta signing

Magna Carta: A Great Legacy?

June 15, 1215 is one of the most well-known days in Western history. 800 years ago today, in Runnymede, England, King John signed Magna Carta (the Great Charter), a nascent constitution/bill of rights for English nobility. Magna Carta maintains an almost legendary role in history, although only three of its many provisions are currently in use in English law today, and it has been changed and reissued numerous times since 1215. Read more…

Ms. Elauf, petitioner before the Supreme Court

Supreme Court Affirms Religious Freedom Protections

On Monday, the first of the closely-watched June decision days, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch, Inc. This case asked whether the religious non-discrimination provisions related to employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibit discrimination only if an applicant has let the employer know of the need for an accommodation. Read more…

church street and state street signs pointing in different directions

Sermons, Politics and the Constitution

On Wednesday, the Washington Post wrote about the topics most clergy members discuss from the pulpit as a way to illustrate that the issues most associated with communities of faith — reproductive rights and LGBT rights/same-sex marriage, due much in part to  the Religious Right — is not what is actually happening on the ground. Read more…

House Hearing on Vouchers

No Lost Irony

On Thursday morning, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a “field” hearing on the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), or the D.C. school vouchers program at Archbishop Carroll High School, where a large percentage of the students receive these vouchers.

The Reform Movement has a long history of opposing voucher programs, not only because we believe in the importance of supporting and maintaining a robust, high-quality and high-performing public school system, but also because a large portion of voucher dollars got to parochial schools, compromising church-state separation.The irony of having the hearing at this location was not lost on those of us in attendance who work on this issue from a church-state separation perspective. Read more…

Marriage Equality and the RAC

Indiana and Arkansas Highlight the Need for Federal Comprehensive LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections

Last week, Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) released a statement on the need for comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination protections. This statement came on the heels of the controversy related to Indiana’s and Arkansas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) and their subsequent amendments, and serves as a reminder that LGBT people in America are not afforded the same rights and protections under broad state and federal laws as many other minorities.

Read more…

Bill de Blasio posing with a sign that says "I love #EidinNYC"

NYC Mayor Adds Muslim Holidays to School Closings

After much anticipation, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all public schools in the five boroughs will now be closed for two Muslim holidays: Eid al-Adha, which marks the end of the Festival of the Sacrifice, and Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan at the end of the summer (this closing will happen during summer school).

Although the City Council had approved a resolution to add these holidays to the school calendars in 2009, Mayor de Blasio (who has been in office a little over a year) has finally implemented this change. Read more…

Jewish Disability Awareness Month Logo February 2015

Protecting the Rights of Students with Disabilities in Schools

Throughout February, we are commemorating Jewish Disability Awareness Month, a unique opportunity to highlight the ways that we as a community can be more inclusive and supportive of people with disabilities. It is important that we keep in mind all the many facets of how so many of the issues we work on at the RAC uniquely affect people with disabilities. For example, you might not know about the connection between the rights of students with disabilities and private school vouchers, but there are serious concerns regarding how the preponderance of “school choice” programs will affect these students. Read more…

Obama speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast

The Fight for Religious Freedom Continues On: Wise Words from the National Prayer Breakfast

Yesterday, President Obama spoke at the 63rd annual National Prayer Breakfast. The breakfast was attended by legislators, officials and clergy, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and our new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Rabbi David Saperstein. The President spoke of the power of faith as an inspiration and unifying force, as well as the way faith can be used as a wedge or a weapon to divide us.  Read more…