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Southern Baptist Ambition: Making The Will Of Christ Supreme In Public Affairs?

Are Southern Baptist leaders ratcheting up their political operation?

It sure looks like it. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the nation's largest Protestant denomination, and its fundamentalist leadership is struggling to gain greater political clout.

According to a feature story in The Christian Index, Georgia's state Baptist newspaper, the SBC mans a lobbying outpost in Washington, D.C., just four blocks from the Capitol. Read more

Hoosier Loser: Indiana Social Services Agency Drops State-Paid Chaplaincy – For Now

The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy reports that Indiana has nixed a "novel chaplaincy program" that supplied religious leaders to counsel employees of the state's Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).

FSSA spokesman Marcus Barlow said the state agency discontinued the pilot program, which cost taxpayers $100,000, because it failed to install chaplains in each of the state's 92 counties. Read more

Pathetic Push Poll: Utah Voucher Backers Resort To Dirty Tricks In Upcoming Vote

Utah residents will vote this November on whether to keep a private-school voucher law passed by the legislature earlier this year.

How are voucher advocates reacting? They're out there making reasoned arguments and trying to win people over with persuasion, right? Nope. They have commissioned a telephone "push poll" designed to link opposition to vouchers with advocacy of same-sex marriage. Read more

'God's Warriors': CNN Examines Worldwide Role Of Religion In Politics

Tonight CNN starts delving into the volatile mix of religion and politics.

At 9 p.m. EDT, "Larry King Live" will preview a three-part series called "God's Warriors," which is scheduled to start tomorrow evening on CNN. The series' chief reporter, Christiane Amanpour, and a panel of guests, including Americans United's Barry W. Lynn, will join Larry to discuss the impact religious fundamentalists are having on politics worldwide. Read more

Drake Denounced: Huckabee Campaign Slams California Pastor's 'Evil Comments'

The Rev. Wiley S. Drake's prayers for tragedy to befall Americans United for Separation of Church and State and its staffers continue to draw controversy.

After Americans United urged the Internal Revenue Service to investigate Drake's use of his church's resources to endorse Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, the pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, Calif., asked supporters to join him every day in praying for the deaths of officials of the religious liberty watchdog group. Read more

Drake's Bad Companions: Is California Pastor An Ally Of The 'Army Of God?'

Thanks to our friends in the blogosphere, we are learning more and more about the Rev. Wiley S. Drake, and it's far from pretty. The Buena Park, Calif., pastor, who is urging supporters to pray for the demise of Americans United and its staff, is a radical character with alleged ties to some of our nation's most extreme Religious Right operatives. Read more

Moore Bad Advice: Ousted Alabama Judge Continues Crusade For 'The Law Of God'

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is a driven advocate for an American jurisprudence based on his strain of Christianity.    

Moore lost the top spot on the Alabama Supreme Court four years ago for refusing to follow a federal court order to remove an attention-grabbing Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. Now he seemingly spends most of his hours trying to convince as many people as possible that fundamentalist Christianity is the root of all things American, especially the U.S. Constitution. Read more

Flunking History: Idaho Congressman Misunderstands America's Heritage Of Religious Pluralism

When Hindu chaplain Rajan Zed gave a 90-second prayer to open the U.S. Senate July 12, little did he know that he was sparking a rancorous national debate about religious diversity in America. Yet that debate is still percolating a month later.

Last week, an Idaho congressman blasted Zed's invocation and, to make matter worse, criticized Minnesotans for electing a Muslim as a member of the U.S. House. Read more