I spent two hours Saturday evening in front of my computer watching the Religious Right’s “Thanksgiving Family Forum.” The event, which took place at First Federated Church, a large fundamentalist congregation in Des Moines, featured six of the leading Republican presidential candidates – U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, former U.S senator Rick Santorum, Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Tomorrow afternoon, most of the Republican presidential candidates will come together in Iowa for the latest in a seemingly endless series of debates as they try to prove to the electorate that they are qualified to be the leader of the United States.
Unlike previous debates, which have been sponsored primarily by news organizations, this one is a “forum” sponsored by an Iowa Religious Right group called The FAMiLY Leader, CitizenLink (an affiliate of the James Dobson-founded Focus on the Family) and the National Organization for Marriage.
One of the problems with “faith-based” initiatives is that some religious groups are happy to take taxpayer money but don’t want to provide a full range of services to everyone.
Good news from Michigan! The state legislature is moving toward anti-bullying legislation that does not include an exemption for religiously motivated harassment.
As we reported to you earlier, the state Senate passed a measure to deal with bullying in public schools. But, remarkably, senators included an exemption for those who act out of “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”
The New York Times reported yesterday that President Barack Obama met privately with Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan at the White House last week in order to discuss, at least in part, religious liberty in America. This was their second meeting.
Some of my friends in Washington are employed by firms that handle contracts for various federal agencies. It works like this: The department in question (Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, etc.) issues a document listing in detail what needs to be done, and companies compete to get the contract by explaining how they’ll do it and what they’ll charge.
If a company doesn’t come up with a convincing plan or ignores the department’s wants, it won’t win the contract. It’s that simple.
Religious Right zealots are nothing if not inventive when it comes to cooking up bogus culture-war skirmishes and exploiting them for political gain.
Their latest scheme, however, is particularly appalling.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) has introduced H.R. 2070, a bill ordering the Secretary of the Interior to add a Franklin Delano Roosevelt prayer to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Roosevelt offered that prayer on D-Day as the United States began the military operation that liberated Europe.
Some religious schools teach intolerance. This is an unpleasant fact, but it must be acknowledged.
There are fundamentalist Christian academies that bash gay people with impunity, mock other religions and promote inaccurate and exclusionary “Christian nation” views of American history. Some ultra-orthodox Catholic schools tell students that anyone outside the true faith is hell bound.
On Nov. 8, Mississippi voters overwhelmingly said “no” to a constitutional amendment that would have codified that life begins at the moment of conception and a fertilized egg has full legal rights as a person. Initiative 26 failed with 55 percent of the voters against and 45 percent in favor.
Many public schools are finally taking an overdue look at the problem of bullying. A number of state legislatures have even weighed in to address the issue.
That’s good news. After all, it’s impossible for a young person to do well in school if he or she is being bullied or is worried about being bullied.