Sunday, January 11, 2009

Americans United religious liberty list for Barack Obama

While the following items are focused mainly on issues related to "religious liberty," they reach far beyond that to touch on a number of other constitutional freedoms.

American United for Separation of Church and State, a watchdog for religious freedom, founded in 1947, has compiled "a list of 9 religious liberty issues that merit special attention from the White House. Called '9 in '09,' this campaign seeks to repair the damage that occurred to the wall of separation between church and state during the Bush administration."

1. Restrict Faith-Based Funding: The Bush administration's dangerous executive orders promoting the "faith-based" initiative should be overridden. Religious organizations should not be singled out for special government treatment and generous tax subsidies.

2. Ban Faith-Based Job Bias: An executive order should be issued barring religiously-based job bias in all publicly-funded programs. Not one dime in tax funds should go to "faith-based" organizations that discriminate in hiring.

[Of course, if Number 1 above were implemented, Number 2 would be moot.]

3. Select Good Judges: Give America judges who support the Bill of Rights, including its church-state separation provision. Our country deserves federal judges who will respect, not eviscerate, the First Amendment.

4. Reform Justice Department: America must have a Justice Department that understands its duty to uphold constitutional rights, not one that parrots the views of extreme Religious Right legal groups.

5. Stop School Vouchers: Cease all federal funding for misguided school voucher "experiments" in Washington, D.D., (or anywhere else) that subsidize religious and other private schools.

6. Protect Military Personnel: Sever the tie between fundamentalist groups and the military. The United States must have a military that doesn't take a stand on theological issues and that does pressure its service personnel to adopt religious beliefs.

[See my post today on how Christianity is forced on our soldiers, here.]

7. Defend Sound Science: Base public policy on science, not theology. Public policy on issues such as stem-cell research and education about human origins must be based on science, not religious dogma.

[Pharyngula posted an interesting article today on teaching creationism in Brunswick, North Carolina, here.]

8. Resist Church Politicking: Oppose attempts to overturn the federal ban on church politicking. No tax-exempt house of worship should be permitted to engage in partisan politicking by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.

9. Oppose Sectarian Symbolism: Use the presidential bully pulpit to oppose sectarian resolutions in Congress. We must see an end to polarizing resolutions in Congress that promote one faith over others, thus sending the messasge that some Americans are second-class citizens.

Americans United here.

h/t to gods4suckers

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