Jerry Falwell Jr., the chancellor of Liberty University who along with his father spent years trying to infuse their narrow interpretation of the Bible into U.S. law, is now trying to argue that Jesus never intended to instruct politicians.
Really? Then what was that Moral Majority business all about?
The Iowa caucuses are today, and, despite what you may have heard, Jesus Christ is not appearing on the ballot.
Several of his close friends are, though. As voting approaches, Republican candidates have been working hard to win endorsements from prominent conservative evangelicals by explaining just how much they plan to mix up religion and government if elected.
Here’s a round-up of recent activities of note:
I sometimes help out with logistics when Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn is traveling for a speech or a debate. I’m used to people asking me what hotel chains Barry prefers or what he likes to eat, but in September when Barry was debating Religious Right attorney Mat Staver at Liberty University, I got a question I hadn’t heard before: The folks at Liberty wanted to know if Barry or anyone traveling with him would be armed. The school had no objection to Barry or a member of his party carrying a concealed weapon, they just wanted to know beforehand.
The announcement that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will speak at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Sept. 14 has left a lot of people scratching their heads. Has the world been turned upside down?
From Sanders’ perspective, the move makes sense. He’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, and it never really hurts a candidate to go into the lion’s den and stare down the opposition. Many supporters will see that as an act of political courage; you can almost hear them holler, “Give ‘em hell, Bernie!”
Last week, Americans United wrote to John Koskinen, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and told him that it’s high time he began enforcing the law prohibiting partisan politicking by houses of worship and other tax-exempt entities.
I’m not really a fan of professional or college sports and don’t normally look at the Sports page of the newspaper. But a recent New York Times piece about Liberty University’s football program did catch my eye.
As election season heats up, we’re sure to see an increase in the number of houses of worship intervening in partisan politics by endorsing or opposing candidates.
Churches are tax-exempt nonprofits, and most pastors know this is illegal and inappropriate. But a small percentage – often prodded and provoked by Religious Right legal groups – is determined to violate federal tax law and drag partisanship into the pulpit.
Here’s a question for Mat Staver, head of Liberty Counsel – what do you and your organization have to hide?
Liberty Counsel is a Religious Right legal group operating from Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Liberty University. It does things like argue that the Ten Commandments should be displayed in public buildings, that all abortions should be illegal and that marriage equality should be denied to gay couples.