I endured my second Values Voter Summit over the weekend, and as my colleague Rob Boston shared with you yesterday, it was an interesting time.
Like Rob, I was subjected to some crazy Religious Right rants and raves. But it doesn't upset me that much any more. After all, I've read or heard most of them before, and the majority of the Summit speakers are older and ultra-conservative. I practically expect them to be backward.
I'm back from the Religious Right Bizarro World that is the "Values Voter Summit." As always, it was quite an experience.
I'll have a full report on the event in the October Church & State, but I wanted to share some things I learned at the Summit with you today:
It has been an interesting week for me here at Americans United.
This morning, my cell phone started buzzing about ten minutes before my alarm was set to go off. Groggy-eyed, I reached over and snatched it from my night stand. While usually I'm rather irritated by the idea of waking up even a moment too soon, I couldn't help but smile when I read the text message sent by one of my favorite friends.
Plain and simple it read: Happy Constitution Day!!
Recently, the Fox News Channel rang up the Rev. Barry Lynn, AU's executive director, to discuss what he thinks about reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.
Since they asked, he answered.
"The Pledge of Allegiance creates a constitutional problem," he said. "You have to tell students they can opt out."
For some reason, this statement has generated some controversy – as if it is so reprehensible to want to educate students about their rights!
I've always been skeptical of psychics, palm-readers and other prognosticators who claim to see the future, but today I'm going to gaze into my crystal ball and deliver a message to officials in Baker, La.: You are going to be sued very soon.
Furthermore, you are going to lose.
When I was growing up, "melting pot" was one of the terms we learned in our social studies class.
My textbook told me that America was the perfect example of a "melting pot," which is defined as "a place where a variety of races, cultures, or individuals assimilate into a cohesive whole."
The book explained that in the United States, we are all welcome to practice our own faiths and retain our own cultural beliefs. Diversity is what makes America a better, more interesting place.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial page takes a potshot at Americans United and Barry Lynn today.
That's not surprising. The Journal's news department is staffed by lots of skilled and professional reporters who have done some crackerjack reporting on the Religious Right over the years. Fortunately, there's a wall of separation between those folks and the editorial page staff.
The latter is, as the saying goes, to the right of Attila the Hun.
Just about six months ago, my colleague Sandhya Bathija posted about one man's trek from Mountain City, Tenn., to the nation's capital. Walking through the rain and snow with the hopes of convincing national lawmakers to "keep the Ten Commandments in our public buildings," Scott Teague arrived in Washington, D.C., on March 4.