Archive for June, 2007

On the Hill

The Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) shift to the far right is a familiar and disconcerting story. One of its most prominent voices, Richard Land, the SBC’s top lobbyist in Washington, is widely seen as an influential player into today’s Religious Right movement and a strident opponent of church-state separation.

But the SBC does not speak for all Baptists. Baptist bodies […] Read More

Religion in Public Life, Religious Right Research

Americans United has been critical of a program being offered to PBS stations called “Wall of Separation.”

We became suspicious about the production because the film’s director and writer, Brian Godawa, is a militant theocrat with close ties to Christian Reconstructionism, the most extreme faction of the Religious Right. He and his allies believe that Christians of his stripe should […] Read More

Religion in Public Schools

Iowa State University (ISU) football coach Gene Chizik promised the university’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes last April that he would request permission to hire a chaplain for the football team. Chizik suggested he wanted to take the step because of his Christian beliefs and relationship with Christ.

ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard agreed with the plan, saying the […] Read More

Religion in Public Life, Religious Right Research

Americans United does not support taxpayer-funded chaplains reciting prayers before meetings of government bodies – and that includes the U.S. Congress. Washington, D.C., is full of houses of worship where members can go for spiritual guidance. Silent prayer is also an option.

But a poorly reasoned Supreme Court decision from 1983 (Marsh v. Chambers) means we’re stuck with legislative prayers […] Read More

Church Politicking

Some people are questioning why Americans United has not asked the Internal Revenue Service to look into the appearance of Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the United Church of Christ (UCC) gathering in Hartford, Conn., over the weekend.

As I noted in a previous post, Americans United does not operate in knee-jerk fashion. Complaints to the IRS […] Read More

Religion in Public Life

The independent radio program “Interfaith Voices” yesterday aired its first in a series of discussions on the role of religion in the 2008 presidential election. We’re still six months away from the first state primary, but religion is already becoming a political battle ground for both parties.      

Host Maureen Fiedler spoke with Kevin […] Read More

Faith-Based Initiatives

Let’s say you belong to a mainline religious denomination. You’ve been working for the local Head Start program provided by a Baptist church for five years. You’ve been highly rated at your job. The kids like you, and the parents think you’re terrific.

But one day you go to work and are told you’re being fired. The reason? You aren’t […] Read More

Inside AU

Recently, two critics attacked Americans United and accused our organization of hypocrisy. This is a serious charge. Both critics deserve an answer.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council issued an e-mail bulletin yesterday accusing me of “cherry-picking” when it comes to the issue of church intervention in partisan politics.

Perkins was upset because Americans United recently reported the Roman […] Read More

Christian Reconstructionists, Religious Right Research

Recently I wrote about PBS’s decision to carry a Religious Right pseudo-documentary attacking the concept of church-state separation.

PBS’s ombudsman, Michael Getler, devoted a column to the controversy on June 15.

There is good news and bad news. Getler admits that the show, “The Wall of Separation,” is clearly slanted toward opponents of the church-state wall.

The bad […] Read More

Religion in Public Life

Some talking heads and political strategists prattle on about how important it is for politicians seeking public office to tout their religious backgrounds and how those backgrounds influence their actions.

Yet, the meshing of religion and politics is not only unnecessary to determining whether one is fit to hold public office, the use of faith on the campaign trail often […] Read More