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How Do You Get Policy Change In Washington?: Persistence, Persistence, Persistence

When President George W. Bush took office, his administration set about to change the rules for how the federal government funds faith-based organizations to perform social services, like running soup kitchens, job training programs and homeless shelters. He established the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which worked with agencies across the federal government to weaken the longstanding church-state protections that had applied to these programs. Read more

Banned In Boston (And Elsewhere): The American Tragedy Of Censorship

When I was kid, the phrase “Banned in Boston” confused me. I thought of Boston as a liberal, cosmopolitan city. Surely they didn’t censor things there.

They don’t anymore, but they sure used to. About 100 years ago, Boston was in the grip of dour “vice” crusaders who used their religious beliefs to decide what books and magazines people could read and what performances they could see on stage. And it wasn’t alone. Read more

Warped Weekend: Extreme Comments From The Values Voter Summit

The “Values Voter Summit” (VVS), an annual Religious Right gathering in Washington, D.C., took place over the weekend. The rhetoric at the confab, which is now in its 10th year, is pretty consistent: speakers preach Christian “persecution,” Islamophobia, homophobia, dissatisfaction with the federal government and religious revivalism to whip about 3,000 attendees into a frenzy. Read more

A Decade Of Disgrace: Marking Ten Years Of The ‘Values Voter Summit’

The annual Values Voter Summit (VVS), the nation’s largest gathering of the Religious Right, begins today. The event, sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC), the American Family Association (AFA) and other far-right groups, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. In light of that, I thought it might be interesting to look back at some of the highlights (or lowlights, if you will) of this event.

Here we go: Read more

Pope Problems: Papal Visit Incurs Significant Taxpayer Expense

Pope Francis has landed and American taxpayers are footing the bill.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the World Meeting of Families agreed on Friday to shoulder Philadelphia’s costs for hosting the pope. The Meeting is sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family and is held every three years in a different world city. This year, it’s located in Philadelphia. Read more