Bits And Pieces: A Roundup Of News You Might Have Missed

Here’s some news about church-state separation and the Religious Right that you might have missed

Another Friday is here, and it’s time for our semi-regular feature of news about church-state separation and the Religious Right that you might have missed. Be warned, some of the stories this week are about sex!

  • Opposition to gays serving in the military continues to crumble as Congress moves to overturn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the Clinton years. The Religious Right is in quite a lather over this.

    Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council recently opined that allowing gay men to serve in the military will increase sexual assaults, because they will be likely to perform oral sex on unsuspecting comrades while they sleep. (Just a reminder, folks, I don’t make this stuff up.)

  • Like other states, North Dakota allows motorists to buy vanity license plates. Many of the plates issued by the Department of Transportation refer to God in a positive way – “TRIGOD” and “ILUVGOD” are two examples. But when Fargo resident Brian Magee applied for a plate reading “ISNOGOD” he was denied.

    I told the Bismarck Tribune that the department was on the wrong road. If pro-God messages are permitted, anti-God messages must be as well, I said, and I recommended that the department give Magee the plate. I’m pleased to say officials agreed. Magee has been told he will get his plate.

  • Right-wing actor Stephen Baldwin frequently appears at the Family Research Council’s annual Values Voter Summit, where he rants and raves about how we’re all doomed: Jesus is mad because American pop culture is too sexually explicit. Curiously, this did not stop Baldwin from posing nude for the U.K. version of Cosmopolitan. What a hypocrite!
  • If you want to serve on the city council, you ought to have a good grasp of municipal finances, ideas for improving your community and a desire to serve the public. Does where you go to church and how (or if) you worship matter? Not so much. Yet at a recent church-sponsored “faith and values” forum for city council candidates in Cleveland, attendees were grilled on their personal theological beliefs.

    Mansfield Frazier of The Cleveland Leader was not impressed. His criticism of the forum is spirited and provocative. I’m not saying I agree with everything in it, but Frazier has a lot of interesting things to say – and isn’t afraid to say them.

  • High school graduation season is upon us, and that means flaps over prayers during the ceremony. Some public schools (like this one) continue to allow students to vote on having prayers – which is totally unconstitutional.

    Linda P. Campbell, a columnist and editorial writer at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has written a thoughtful piece about this issue. Take a look.

That’s all for now. The Wall of Separation will be on hiatus on Monday. Enjoy the holiday weekend!