I just learned that a friend’s partner is being denied communion at Catholic Church because my friend has a “Vote Yes on 2” sign on their lawn.  (For you non-Missourians, the sign is in support of stem-cell research.)  The Catholic Church down the street from the Ethical Society has a “Vote No on 2” sign in their yard.  Legally, a religious institution can take a position on a ballot initiative or amendment.  And I suppose that according to Catholic tradition, a priest can deny communion and therefore possibly doom a person’s soul to eternal hell because of his or her partner’s political decisions.  So far, the only argument against stem-cell research that I’ve heard–that it is murder because life begins at conception–is not a political argument but a religious belief.  I’ve also seen signs trying to convince people that supporting embryonic stem-cell research means supporting abortion (huh?), while not pointing out that those who would ban embryonic stem-cell research would logically ban in-vitro fertilization next.  It reminds me of those bumper decals that have the big fish of “Truth” swallowing the Darwin fish.  Bill wants to make one that has a bigger fish of “Facts” swallowing the Truth fish in turn, but I know that facts hardly ever win against belief.  Faith-based science, however, is an oxymoron and a clear violation of church-state separation.  And since I believe that separation of church and state is one of the last, best defenses for democracy in this country, I’ll pour you a cup of coffee on Sunday, without asking how you or your partner voted.