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Tax Fix: ADF 'Pulpit Initiative' Sparks Ethics And Tax Exemption Complaints

If I were a lawyer working for the Alliance Defense Fund, saying my week was off to a bad start would be the biggest understatement of my career.

The prominent Religious Right legal group seems to have landed itself in some deep trouble after spending the last few weeks encouraging churches across the country to violate federal tax law on Sept. 28 by endorsing candidates from the pulpit. Read more

Sermons For Separation: Ohio Pastor Counters Religious Right Church-Electioneering Scheme

A Columbus, Ohio, minister has come up with a great idea to counter Religious Right propaganda about churches and partisan politics.

On Sept. 21, the Rev. Eric Williams, senior pastor of North Congregational United Church of Christ, is calling on pastors throughout the country to preach sermons on the importance of church-state separation. The action comes exactly one week ahead of "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," an Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) scheme to draw churches into illegal electioneering. Read more

Are You 'Right With God'?: Alaska Official's Religious Rhetoric Leaves Me Cold

Yesterday I received a call from an Associated Press reporter in Anchorage who wanted to talk about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's use of religious rhetoric.

A video surfaced recently of Palin, now the Republican vice presidential nominee, giving a speech to a group of ministry students at her former church, the Wasilla Assembly of God. During the talk, Palin said the war in Iraq reflects God's will – but she didn't stop there. Apparently, God's will also includes the building of a natural gas pipeline in the state. Read more

Caught In The Web: Partisan Pulpit Politicking Surfaces Online For The World -- And The IRS -- To See

At the end of this week, the Republican National Convention will come to a close and move the 2008 election season into its final months.

With the new VP picks on the tickets and the buzz surrounding the conventions, it wouldn't be surprising if more religious leaders have the urge to spout off on their picks for the president (and vice president) from the pulpit. Read more

Pregnant Pause: The Real Issue Worth Talking About Behind The Palin Story

The announcement by Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant has drawn an interesting response from the Religious Right: It's no big deal.

James Dobson of Focus on the Family issued a statement lauding the Palins and asserting, "Being a Christian does not mean you're perfect. Nor does it mean your children are perfect. But it does mean there is forgiveness and restoration when we confess our imperfections to the Lord." Read more

Render Unto Chaput?: Colorado Archbishop Wants Catholic Officials To Enforce Church Law On Abortion

Denver's Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles J. Chaput says he is "tired of people telling religious folks to be quiet in the public square because of constitutional questions of separation of church and state."

And it looks as though the Democratic Party might be tired of hearing from Chaput. Despite being the leader of Colorado's largest religious denomination, Chaput will not be among the religious leaders praying or speaking this week at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Read more

Democrats, Religion And Politics: Religious Right Unimpressed With Party's Religious Outreach

The Democratic National Convention kicked off yesterday, and I couldn't help but notice the opening invocation. Polly Baca, a former Colorado state senator, led off with a prayer that mentioned Jesus Christ and ended with her crossing herself "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

That's how Roman Catholics pray. Others do things differently – and, of course, some people don't pray at all. It surprised me to see such a sectarian invocation before what was surely a very diverse audience. Read more

You Gotta Have Faith!: Louisiana Governor Opens Door To State-Subsidized Hiring Bias

Last week, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal opened the door for state agencies and state contractors to engage in "faith-based" discrimination in hiring.

Jindal's predecessor, former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, issued an executive order that banned discrimination in all the areas covered by anti-discrimination laws, including race, religion, gender, national origin, political affiliation and disabilities. Her order added "sexual orientation" as a protected area. Read more