Archive for September, 2008

Church Politicking

Yesterday Americans United reported six churches to the Internal Revenue Service for violating federal tax law by endorsing candidates from the pulpit. Five of the churches were taking part in the so-called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund. (The sixth was inspired by it.)

Thirty-three churches participated in this reckless stunt. Americans United relied on media […] Read More

Religious Right Research

Today Religious Right activists and their politician allies are all worked up about the Capitol Visitor Center, which is scheduled to open in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 2.

They are complaining that the Center, funded by more than $600 million in taxpayer dollars, is too secular and doesn’t display America’s “Christian heritage.” Apparently, they would rather push their own […] Read More

Church Politicking, Election '08

The Rev. Gus Booth is one of a handful of clergy who plan to endorse political candidates from the pulpit this Sunday as part of a Religious Right scheme to turn churches into a right-wing political machine.

Booth, pastor of the Warroad Community Church in Warroad, Minn., says he has every right to tell his parishioners how to vote.

“If […] Read More

Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Life

It looks like a new “culture war” is brewing in Virginia.

Six state police chaplains have resigned over new regulations that require them to use non-denominational prayers at public events. Several state legislators are apoplectic. One has already launched a Web site to overturn the ruling, and others are talking about legislative action to nullify it.

Deep breath, everyone, deep […] Read More

Religion in Public Schools

Today, more than three million kids from across the country and world were expected to gather around their public schools’ flagpoles to pray as part of the annual “See You at the Pole” (SYATP) event.

This Christian prayer meeting began in 1990 when teenagers got together to pray at their school’s flagpole in Burleson, Texas. By 1991, the event went […] Read More

Church Politicking

The Alliance Defense Fund’s much-ballyhooed “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” is coming up, and right now it looks like it’s fixing to be a dud.

There have been several recent developments – none of them good for the ADF. For starters, the ADF appears to be running scared from allegations that its actions are ethically dubious. Three former Internal Revenue Service officials […] Read More

Freedom of Religion, Government-Sponsored Religion

Bishop John England of Charleston has always been one of my favorite characters from American religious history.

England, head of the Catholic Diocese of South Carolina from 1820 until 1842, was a staunch advocate of church-state separation. He insisted that the U.S. Constitution gave government no authority whatsoever “to legislate upon religion or morals, directly or indirectly.”

Argued England, […] Read More

Church Politicking, Election '08

The Religious Right just can’t seem to give it a rest this election season.

“The Free Exercise Thereof Project,” a new front group of Religious Right leaders, has just sent out an email to evangelical pastors urging them to get involved in the election process. (See a letter similar to the e-mail here.)

“This election is one of the […] Read More

Evolution & Creationism, Religion in Public Schools

Members of the Brunswick County, N.C., School Board seem to be having problems telling the difference between science and theology.

All four members of the board are looking for a way to bring creationism into the classroom, reported the Wilmington Star-News. The issue arose after a parent, Joel Fanti, criticized the schools for teaching evolution.

“It’s really a disgrace for […] Read More

This Day in History

Today is Constitution Day, a day to remember that on Sept. 17, 1787, 39 men signed a document that promised Americans certain rights and freedoms.

One of those freedoms, of course, is the freedom of religion and the founders’ promise to keep government separate from religion. When I was reading the news from other parts of the world today, I […] Read More

Connect