Imagine this: You've been having a really rough day at work, finding it hard to focus on anything other than your impending doctor's appointment. When 5:00 rolls around, you take a deep breath, hop in your car and start towards his office while futzing with your iPod looking for your favorite Springsteen song. Sweaty palms, you can't stop thinking about how apprehensive you are -- you've never been one for needles.
The job of a public school teacher is to instruct young people in certain subjects – perhaps math, science, history or English. The job of a religious leader is to offer information about theology and how to interact with God. There should be no overlap.
Yet, occasionally, a teacher will get it into his or head to start preaching in the classroom. Whenever this happens, controversy quickly follows. Read more
Let's play a game — it's called Preacher or Politician?
Here are the rules: Read the two paragraphs below and decide for yourself whether they are quotes from a preacher or quotes from a politician. Scroll slowly and don't cheat!
"Reignite in people an understanding that the heart of your life is subordination to God! The heart of your life is seeking God's will, and that all of us are weak and vulnerable, all of us make mistakes, but that all are welcomed by a loving God. Read more
I'm always surprised when people in the heartland of America – conservative folks who claim to love their country and its institutions – display contempt for the rule of law.
Consider the case of Haskell County, Okla. A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that an eight-foot-high Ten Commandments monument erected in front of the courthouse in 2004 must come down. The monument, the court declared, violates the separation of church and state. Read more
The Rev. Wiley Drake is on the warpath again -- and this time, he has really gone too far.
As you may recall, Drake is the pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif. He urged supporters to offer "imprecatory prayers" (curses) against Americans United and specific staff members in August 2007. Read more
Has Chuck Colson finally gone off the deep end?
Colson, a prominent and revered Religious Right author and theoretician, seems to have been drifting toward the edge of the flat Earth for years.
Colson converted to evangelical Christianity while doing time in prison for his felonious role in the Nixon-era Watergate scandal. After getting out in 1975, he founded Prison Fellowship and focused on helping inmates find God. His emphasis on rehabilitation instead of draconian punishment made him friends among progressives and enemies among the hard right. Read more
We're sure in the coming days we're going to hear a lot of grunting from Religious Right groups over President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo this morning.
After all, his address, intended to improve relations between Islam and the West, celebrated religious diversity, reached out to Muslims and discussed how important it is to tolerate the beliefs of others. Not exactly what the Religious Right would want to hear. Read more
My kindergarten teacher Ms. Valentino had certain non-sectarian pedagogical goals: She wanted us to learn to share, to respect our teachers, to obey our parents and to recognize letters, shapes and sounds. I think she did a fine job, and I look back on her small classroom in the annex of P.S. 42 quite fondly.
I especially loved show and tell. Once I brought in my teddy bear, and the next time my hamsters (a terrible experience it was when Mars got loose and was eaten by Mark Spindler's pet snake!). Read more
Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas abortion provider, was shot to death in church Sunday morning. Is it so hard to say that this was a heinous act that should be condemned by all reasonable people?
Apparently it is for some. Religious Right theocrat Randall Terry reserved space at the National Press Club yesterday to opine that Tiller got what he deserved. Read more
Students break the rules and schools discipline them.
It's not a revolutionary concept, yet the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was forced to issue a ruling Friday that said just that.
The decision stemmed from a controversy over a graduation speech at a Colorado public high school, and the opinion reaffirms that school officials have every right to maintain religious neutrality at commencements. Read more