Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump addressed a gathering of conservative evangelical pastors yesterday in Florida and once again vowed to allow houses of worship to jump into partisan politics if he is elected.
When most people consider the qualities they want in a president, things like the ability to manage the economy, forge political compromises and tend to foreign policy come to mind.
But U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has an additional qualification: He believes it’s absolutely essential that the president be a believer who prays regularly.
Fifty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme handed down one of its most important church-state rulings. In School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, the high court ruled 8-1 that state-mandated programs of Bible reading and prayer in public schools are unconstitutional.
Five decades later, the ruling in Schempp (and its companion case, Murray v. Curlett) remains widely misunderstood. Part of this is due to a deliberate campaign of misinformation by Religious Right groups, which have distorted the scope of the decision.
It wasn’t that long ago that the religious make-up of the U.S. Congress consisted of just three groups: Protestants, Catholics and a small number of Jews.
Every now and then, a member would list his or her religion as “other,” or would decline to answer the question. Generally speaking, though, Congress was a bastion of the nation’s majority faiths.
I graduated not so long ago from an all-male private high school, properly considered parochial, I’d say, for more than just its Catholic affiliation. And so, some of my freshest memories there date from the 2008 election.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life yesterday released the results of a quiz on religion it gave to about 3,400 Americans. The results are being much discussed on the Web, chiefly because Pew found that atheists and agnostics did better on the 32-question test than evangelicals, Catholics and mainline Protestants.
A recent survey by the Pew Forum indicated that the number of Americans who falsely believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim has actually increased since his election. That astounding and dismaying finding has understandably captured a lot of headlines.
A team of international surveyors grab their clipboards and decide to travel around the world to study the state of religious freedom.
They arrive in Saudi Arabia and are told that they must comply with the strictest interpretation of Islamic law, so they continue to Bangladesh where they are threatened with physical violence when some of them declare a personal belief in Jesus Christ. When they get to sub-Saharan Africa, they find it less religiously restrictive than Europe….
Sometimes when I'm attending a meeting of a Religious Right group and feeling all of the anger in the room, I think to myself, "There are some seriously unhappy people here. What is it about America that has these folks so riled up?"
It's only a week away from Thanksgiving; the trees have all turned from green to vibrant shades of reds, yellows and browns and a crisp chill in the air puts me on pins and needles as I wait for the season's first snow. As we reach mid November, the end of the calendar year always sneaks up on me -- Christmas is right around the corner and that means it'll be New Year's Eve before we know it.