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The US Supreme Court has authorized explicitly Christian prayers at public meetings — even if it offends non-Christians who feel excluded. What's happened to the First Amendment separation of Church and State? Is it a victory for the religious freedom movement in the United States? Also, insurgents bomb and army outpost in Aleppo, Syria, and Vermont today becomes the first state to require labeling of genetically modified food.

Banner image: Harley Pebley

Insurgents Bomb Army Outpost in Aleppo, Syria 7 MIN, 50 SEC

In the Syrian city of Aleppo today, Islamic militants have claimed credit for tunneling under the Carlton Hotel and planting explosives, which destroyed that building and others nearby. They claim 50 soldiers were killed. A video shows an enormous explosion followed by clouds of smoke that blot out the skyline. Aryn Baker is Middle East Bureau Chief for Time magazine.  She joins us from Beirut, Lebanon.


Aryn Baker, Time (@arynebaker)

Is America 'One Nation… under Jesus Christ?' 34 MIN, 45 SEC

In the small town of Greece, New York, citizens must participate in town meetings to interact with their elected officials. In 1999, Greece began offering prayers at each town meeting, led by the "chaplain of the month." All the chaplains were Christians who mostly invoked Jesus Christ specifically. In 2008, two women went to court, complaining that they were not just excluded, but coerced into religious observances contrary to their own beliefs. This week, the US Supreme Court ruled against them, giving its blessing to sectarian prayer at public meetings. Specifically Christian invocations are okay. What if you're Jewish, Muslim, atheist or agnostic? What's happened to "the separation of church and state?" What should local officials do now?  We address an issue that's even older than the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the founding of the United States.

Dahlia Lithwick, Slate (@dahlialithwick)
Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention (@drmoore)
Lisa Soronen, State and Local Legal Center (@SLLCSCOTUS)
Stephen Marini, Wellesley College (@wellesley)

Lithwick on religions and the dominant culture
Lithwick on the Supreme Court giving its blessing for prayer at town meetings
Moore on pluralism and the Supreme Court decision

Vermont Governor Signs GMO Labeling Bill into Law 8 MIN, 39 SEC

Genetically modified organisms have been in America's food supply for 20 years. Today, Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill making Vermont the first to require labeling of GMO products. The new law will include $1.5 million to fight off the inevitable lawsuits by the food and grocery industries. The FDA, World Health Organization, organized doctors and scientists all have found that foods and beverages containing GMO are no different from products produced conventionally. But consumers want to know. Dr. Marion Nestle is Professor in New York University's Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health. Her books include Food Politics and Eat Drink Vote.

Marion Nestle, New York University (@marionnestle)

Eat Drink Vote

Marion Nestle

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