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.
It is hardly a secret that the Religious Right helped elect President George W. Bush and exercised extraordinary influence with his administration. But if we need more evidence, it's just been put on the table.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (CREW) has just released a report tallying visits to the Bush White House by major Religious Right players. CREW filed a request for visitor records that coughed up the information.
Every September, we brace ourselves here at Americans United because we know the new school year will spark a fresh round of squabbles about the proper role of religion in public education.
Indeed, we're seeing some already. Two recent stories – one from Kentucky and one from Iowa – showcase two very different ways of dealing with this contentious topic.
In Breckinridge County, Ky., parent Michelle Ammons is angry because a football coach took 20 players to a revival meeting where a number of them were baptized, without parental permission. Ammons' son was among them.
A few months ago, it seemed Focus on the Family may have been coming around to – dare I say it? – a refreshingly moderate outlook.
Jim Daly recently took over president and chief executive responsibilities from James Dobson, the founder of the Religious Right outfit.
Back in June, while visiting Washington to participate in President Barack Obama's White House initiative on fatherhood, Daly praised Obama for his family values.
By now, many of you have heard about the preacher in Tempe, Ariz., who is praying for the death of President Barack Obama.
Thanks to You Tube, Pastor Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church has become kind of famous. Anderson's recent "Why I Hate Barack Obama" sermon has attracted wide attention.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) recently appeared at a forum in Texas where he talked about how his personal faith interacts with politics.
Gohmert got off on the wrong track right away.
"This country," he insisted, "is founded on Christian principles by our founding fathers. It's the same principles that have taught all of us tolerance in the political process."
Bobby Jindal continues to "jet set" across Louisiana.
By jet, I of course mean helicopter – one funded entirely by taxpayers.
As the Wall of Separation noted last fall, the Louisiana governor spent $180,000 in taxpayer funds during his first eight months in office to travel by a State Police helicopter to many of the same churches he visited while on his campaign trail.
On Wednesday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled unconstitutional a 2006 state law that required the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security to stress "dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the commonwealth."
U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy certainly led an interesting life. Known as a champion of the poor and downtrodden, he was also a powerful advocate for religious liberty and church-state separation who was adept at forging unlikely alliances with conservative Republicans.
One of the more unusual episodes in Kennedy's life occurred on Oct. 3, 1983, when the senator spoke at what was then known as Liberty Baptist College in Lynchburg, Va. -- now Liberty University.
That's right – Kennedy once gave a major address at the Rev. Jerry Falwell's school!