Religious Right activists often insist that America is a Christian nation. Although most Americans are indeed Christians, the TV preachers who talk about America as a "Christian Nation" mean something more -- that America should be officially Christian.
President George W. Bush has apparently asked top Vatican officials to push American bishops to become more politically active. In a talk with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the president reportedly declared that 'Not all the American bishops are with me' on the cultural issues, according to stories by the National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times. Some observers saw his remarks as an appeal for hierarchical help in the upcoming elections.
During the infamous "Scopes Monkey Trial" 79 years ago, fundamentalist Christians went on the offensive in Rhea County, Tenn. Opposed to the teaching of evolution in public schools, they stretched a banner across the courthouse that exhorted, "Read your Bible." All these years later, some citizens of Rhea County still haven't learned their lesson.
Debate over the issue of religion in politics reached a fever pitch this week when the George W. Bush re-election campaign's effort to build a political machine in churches came to light. News media reports say the Bush plan to enlist 1,600 "friendly" houses of worship in Pennsylvania may endanger congregations' tax-exempt status. Americans United notes that IRS rules forbid churches from endorsing candidates or engaging in partisan politics. Read all about it in the press clips below:
Over two dozen major denominations and other religious groups signed a joint letter to Congress this week, urging the defeat of the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA). Most coverage of this issue would lead people to believe the religious community strongly supports the amendment, but this letter presents a different picture.
A few Roman Catholic clerics around the country are working hard to influence Catholic voters in the 2004 elections. A recent poll, however, finds that Catholics in the pews are not welcoming those efforts.
Lt. General William Boykin is again making headlines, but this time not only for his offensive remarks. Boykin, the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, sparked controversy and investigation last year when he said Muslims worship idols and cast the war on terrorism as a religious conflict. Boykin declared that the real enemy of America -- which he describes as a "Christian nation" -- isn't Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden.
Unitarian Universalists have participated in American religious life for over 200 years. The denomination has produced U.S. presidents and many prominent religious, social and literary figures. But now they no longer officially count as a religion for tax purposes in the state of Texas.
Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs has issued a pastoral letter saying that American Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for candidates who defy church teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and other social issues, according to The New York Times. This proclamation comes on the heels of moves by others in the Catholic hierarchy to deny communion to politicians who stray from church doctrine.
Southern Baptists will be asked to pull their children out of public schools if prominent leaders of the denomination have their way. Thomas C.