Katherine Stewart

How School Voucher Extremists Made Useful Idiots of the Charter Movement

At the Heritage Academy, a publicly funded charter school network in Arizona, according to a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, high school students are required to learn that the Anglo-Saxon population of the United States is descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel. They are asked to memorize a list of 28 “Principles” of “sound government,” among which are that “to protect man’s rights, God has revealed certain Principles of divine law” (the ninth Principle) and that “the husband and wife each have their specific rights appropriate to their role in life” (the 26th Principle). To complete the course, students are further required to teach these principles to at least five individuals outside of school and family.

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The Religious Right Is Using Hurricane Tragedies to Leverage More Public Funds for Churches

In between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Trump took the time to plant a tweet bomb under the First Amendment. “Churches in Texas should be entitled to reimbursement from FEMA Relief Funds for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey (just like others),” he twittered.

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How Evangelists Are Using 'Church Planting' to Retake Secular Boston

The business of evangelism is old, but its methods are constantly changing. In recent years, evangelism in America has undergone a little-noticed but profound change in its organization, tactics, and culture. There is no better illustration of the new way of doing business than the appearance of evangelical activists in Boston, of all places. 

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By Allowing Churches to Use Public School Facilities, NYC Creates Its Own 'Religious Liberty' Problem

Many of the more than 60 evangelical churches that were once holding regular worship services in New York City’s public schools share views that make them unacceptable to a lot of New Yorkers. A number of them are part of religious networks closely affiliated with anti-gay ministries. The Village Church, for instance, which was planted inside PS 3 in the West Village, had an ongoing ministry called GAME, or “Gender Affirming Ministry Endeavor,” which was a member of the “ex-gay” organization Exodus International. Some of the churches subscribe to a hierarchical view of gender arrangements referred to as “Male Headship.” The pastor of the church that was planted in my children’s old public elementary school, PS 6 on the East Side, instructed the congregation to pray that all aspects of government and society would be taken over by fundamentalist Christians.

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What Seeking an Abortion Was Like Before Roe v. Wade

The four years since 2010 have brought us a resurgence of antiabortion legislation, with hundreds of restrictions enacted at the state level. The guiding theory of this renewed anti-abortion activism is that abortion is the source of social ills, and that the way to end abortion is to make it illegal. Yet we know from long experience that criminalizing abortion neither ends the practice nor alleviates social ills. That, at any rate, is the timely and provocative lesson to be drawn from Nancy Howell Lee’s 1969 book, The Search for an Abortionist: The Classic Study of How American Women Coped With Unwanted Pregnancy, which was originally published by University of Chicago Press and was recently reissued by Forbidden Bookshelf, a division of Open Road Media.

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Christians Protest Yoga in Schools -- But Welcome Bible Study

The following is reprinted with permission from Religion Dispatches. You can sign up for their free daily newsletter here.

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How the Religious Right Is Fueling Climate Change Denial

Now that Sandy has exacted a steep toll in lives and property, the question is unavoidable: why do so many people in America refuse to take climate science seriously?

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How Christian Fundamentalism Feeds the Toxic Partisanship of US Politics

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is one of those programs that just seems like a nice thing to do.

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The Littlest Missionaries: A New Christian Plot to Invade Public Schools

When he was 15, Jim ran drugs for a cult group. When I first heard his story, I was shocked – not just that the group was running drugs, but that they had directed one of their youngest recruits to do the dirty work for them. Then I learned why it made sense in a technical sort of way: the cult leaders reasoned that the older members, if caught, would face serious sentences and lifetime records, whereas the kids could get away with an unpleasant but not life-altering juvenile detention. It was a matter of using kids to do what the grown-ups didn't want to risk doing themselves.

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How Corrupt Catholics and Evangelicals Abuse Religious Freedom

It is a terrible thing when a once-noble phrase gets beaten to a meaningless pulp. The time has now come to rescue the phrase "religious freedom" from its abusers. In the writings and speeches of Catholic bishops and evangelical leaders in recent months, "religious freedom" has come to mean something close to its opposite. It now stands for "religious privilege". It is a coded way for them to state their demand that religious institutions should be allowed special powers that exempt them from the laws of the land.

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Are Christian Fundamentalists Teaching Genocide in Our Schools?

The Bible has thousands of passages that may serve as the basis for instruction and inspiration. Not all of them are appropriate in all circumstances.

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Is Texas Waging War on History?

Don McLeroy, chairman of the Texas State Board of Education from 2007 to 2009, is a “young earth” creationist. He believes the earth is 6,000 years old, that human beings walked with dinosaurs, and that Noah’s Ark had a unique, multi-level construction that allowed it to house every species of animal, including the dinosaurs.

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How You End up Paying for Religious Schools Without Knowing It

"Choice" is such a nice word that everybody wants to have it on their side.

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The New Legal Theory That Enables Homophobic Evangelizing in Public Schools

Last month, 8,000 public high school students in Montgomery County, Maryland, went home with fliers informing them that no one is “born gay” and offering therapy if they experienced “unwanted same-sex attraction.”

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The Right-Wing Plot to Undermine Science in Public Schools

Last week, climate science watchers confirmed what they already knew about the climate science “skepticism” of the Heartland Institute – a “free-market” think-tank previously known for taking money from tobacco companies to question the health risks of second-hand smoke. 

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