Lodi, Calif., is a city of about 62,000 residents between Sacramento and Stockton. I've never been there, but Wikipedia tells me the town is known for its wine production – it's the "Zinfandel Capital of the World." The band Creedence Clearwater Revival once penned a tune called "Stuck in Lodi."
But lately Lodi has been in the news for another reason: a nasty spat over prayers before city council meetings.
This weekend, for the first time since I have lived here, I found myself at a Washington-area Hindu temple.
That's because my parents were in town, and when my mom visits, it's on the top of her to-do list. So to satisfy my mother, and my religious quota for a while, I spent 10 to 15 minutes at a local temple.
I may not spend much time praying, but I still consider myself a Hindu and a follower of the faith. I don't need to listen to prayer all the time or have images of my faith displayed all around to know that.
When I was a kid, our church decided it would be nice to have a social hall.
It was a pretty ambitious goal. We were a medium-sized congregation serving mostly blue-collar families in an economically depressed area. But the people sitting in the pews believed in the project and gave extra to support it. Kids like me even chipped in nickels and dimes.
A couple months ago, I blogged about a lively debate I attended about politics and the pulpit.
It was an afternoon bringing together people from the entire political spectrum. Participants on a panel, including AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, discussed a provision in federal tax law that prohibits tax-exempt, non-profit organizations – including religious institutions – from endorsing or opposing candidates.
Today, we sent a letter to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which will hold a hearing tomorrow on the nomination of Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) to the post of Secretary of the Army.
I've been online today scanning news sites to see if Cobb County, Ga., has been struck by an earthquake, a hurricane or perhaps a plague of frogs. Apparently, this has not happened.
I'm surprised. Last night, a guy named Ed Buckner gave a secular invocation at a meeting of the Cobb County Commission. To hear some followers of the Religious Right tell it, if you dare to give any invocation that fails to mention Jesus Christ, look out! Your community will feel divine wrath.
I doubt Ed's invocation mentioned Jesus. He is, after all, the president of American Atheists.
Yesterday's newspapers were reminiscent of those heady days of fall 2008 – a time when the media and public obsessed over a little-known Alaska politician named Sarah Palin.
Palin stepped down from her position as governor of Alaska on Sunday. As I read news accounts of her resignation speech, it seemed her reasons for leaving the position were vague – but what's even more unclear are her plans for the future.
My wife went to grad school in North Carolina. She wasn't much of a drinker (at least that's what she tells me now), but she and her roommate did enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner every so often.
On Monday through Saturday, they could buy a bottle of vino any time the grocery store was open. On Sunday, they had to wait until noon. My wife remembers being forced once to wait 15 minutes before she could check out a large grocery order because her shopping cart included a bottle of wine.
Welcome to the wacky world of blue laws!
My roommate is a freshly minted high school teacher. Sometimes, while sitting together watching reruns of "Doogie Howser, MD.," I help her plan civics lessons for her students. If it weren't the middle of the summer, I would insist that she craft a Venn Diagram with her kids to teach about the separation of church and state.