Every few years, a political pundit comes along and proclaims that the Religious Right is dead or on the verge of dying. I started working here in 1987 and have heard it proclaimed many times over nearly three decades.
The latest theory goes like this: Donald Trump is such a divisive figure that he has split the Religious Right. The movement won’t recover from his candidacy.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has suspended his campaign for president, making Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee. Cruz made the announcement yesterday evening after Trump shellacked him in the Indiana primary.
Legislators in Indiana have proposed a fix to their controversial “religious freedom” bill (RFRA), and it’s certainly a step forward for LGBT rights. The amendment, which still awaits approval from Governor Mike Pence, would prevent small businesses from using the RFRA to discriminate in many ways.
If there were a prize for unmitigated gall, it would be awarded today to Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
Moore, speaking during a recent panel discussion at the Evangelical Leadership Summit, an event sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., told the crowd that they need to “reclaim” the phrase separation of church and state, a term he admitted that “we long ago tossed overboard.”
Over the weekend, you might have seen a news story with a headline like, “Court Strikes Down Utah Polygamy Law.”
If all you read was the headline, you might assume that polygamy was once again legal in Utah. It’s not. Instead, the state has been told not to interfere in religious ceremonies that, while they may have meaning for the people who take part in them, bestow no government recognition.
When the Religious Right started to become a prominent force in American politics in the late 1970s, its advocates had a major impact on the country’s largest Protestant denomination: the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
Younger readers may be surprised to read that the SBC, which claims 16 million members, used to be fairly moderate on social issues. It strongly supported the separation of church and state, citing historical Baptist leaders like John Leland and Isaac Backus.