I love Thomas Jefferson's New Year's Day greeting to the Danbury Baptists in part because it drives the Religious Right into such paroxysms of paranoia, ignorance and intemperance.
As I'm sure most of you know, President Jefferson sent a friendly missive to his Baptist admirers in Connecticut on Jan. 1, 1802. He thanked them for their support of him and of religious liberty. He also celebrated the First Amendment's religious liberty provisions and expressed sympathy for the Baptists' plight in a state where religious minorities still faced government hostility. Read more
Christmas may be over, but before we head into a new year, I think it's important to point out one last tussle over the holiday that had a happy ending.
The mayor of Avon, Ohio, posted the message "Remember Christ is in Christmas" on a marquee outside city hall on Dec. 15.
To Mayor Karl Zuber, it seemed like a harmless sign, just a "good Christmas message."
Sure, for a sign outside a church. But for a sign outside city hall, there is need to be more considerate – not to mention a requirement to follow the Constitution. Read more
Before American service personnel head off for training, they must make a final stop a Military Entrance Processing Station to have a final physical exam, take the oath of office for joining the armed forces and get their own copy of the Bible.
That's right. Some of these stations have allowed Gideons International, the group well-known for providing Bibles in hotel rooms around the world, special access to our troops. Read more
Is church-state separation a threat to Christianity? Religious Right forces want you to think so.
During the past few months, Religious Right leaders have railed against the alleged secularization of Christmas and agitated in favor of government recognition of the Christian aspects of the holiday. In a Tuesday column in The Christian Post, for example, Mark Earley groused that "city leaders are going all out to yank the Christ child out of any and all Christmas events." Read more
Note: This blog post is a re-publication of an item that originally appeared on Christmas Day, 2007. Happy Holidays to all!
It's Christmas. Some Americans are observing this day by attending religious services, others are celebrating in a mostly secular fashion while still others aren't making note of it at all.
What could be better than to have the right to choose for yourself? Read more
Note: This opinion column by Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, ran in the Vacaville (Calif.) Reporter on Dec. 12, under the title "Let's End This War on Christmas."
Christmas is supposed to be a season of peace, love and goodwill. I have to wonder, then, why some conservative religious groups persist in using this time of year to divide Americans and stir up interfaith tensions. Read more
The controversy over Barack Obama's decision to ask Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration refuses to die down. Discontent over the matter continues to simmer around the Web, and now the pundits are weighing in.
This morning, two Washington Post columnists commented – coming to radically different conclusions. Read more
Andre Carson is a Muslim. Jared Polis is Jewish. Dina Titus is Greek Orthodox.
Does it matter? Maybe. Maybe not.
Carson, Polis and Titus are three members of the 111th Congress. On Jan. 6, they and their 532 colleagues will be sworn into office. They will hold hearings, draft legislation and enact laws that affect all of us. Their religious affiliations are important only to them, as long as they respect the constitutional separation of church and state. Read more
Most political analysts agree that the November election was a repudiation of President George W. Bush and his policies. To be sure, many voters were impressed by Barack Obama's vision and rhetorical skills, but they also saw the need for a sharp break with the failed policies of the Bush regime.
Bush either does not understand this or simply chooses not to acknowledge it. He continues to push through 11th-hour regulatory changes that might please his Religious Right base but are likely to annoy just about everyone else. Read more