The Wall of Separation Blog https://www.au.org/ en Florida County’s Secular Invocation Respects Diversity https://www.au.org/blogs/brevard-county-invocation <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Florida County’s Secular Invocation Respects Diversity</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Jan 27, 2021 - 08:39</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/brevard%20will%202.png?h=578f604f&amp;itok=03Nco2Cw" width="1700" height="525" alt="Brevard" title="Brevard County invocation " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>As Americans United<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/David-Williamson-Invocation-Brevard-Florida"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/David-Williamson-Invocation-Brevard-Florida">noted yesterday</a>, something historic has happened in Brevard County, Fla.: David Williamson, a director and co-founder of the Central Florida Freethought Community, offered what is believed to be the first-ever secular invocation to open a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.</p> <p>There’s an interesting backstory here: Brevard County had been opening its meeting with invocations – always featuring speakers from large, monotheistic religions – for years. Yet when county residents offered to give secular invocations, they were denied.</p> <p>In 2015, Americans United, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Florida joined forces and filed litigation over this issue, representing eight nontheist individuals and groups. All we sought was equal time: If religious invocations were given, why not have a secular one on occasion?</p> <p>In July 2019, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/federal-appeals-court-brevard-county-fla-commissioners-invocation-policy"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/federal-appeals-court-brevard-county-fla-commissioners-invocation-policy">issued a ruling</a> making it clear that county officials had no right to engage in religious discrimination when selecting people to deliver invocations. A few months after that,<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/brevard-county-fla-commissioners-agree-to-end-religious-discrimination-in"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/brevard-county-fla-commissioners-agree-to-end-religious-discrimination-in">the case was settled</a>. As part of the settlement, the county agreed not to resume its past practice of discriminating against people who don’t belong to mainstream, monotheistic religions when selecting invocation speakers. This opened the door for a secular invocation.</p> <p>Williamson offered the invocation yesterday. You can read<a href="https://www.cflfreethought.org/brevard-fl-2021-jan-26"> </a><a href="https://www.cflfreethought.org/brevard-fl-2021-jan-26">all of it here</a> or <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cflfreethought/videos/244397610460342">watch it here</a>. This passage is worth highlighting: “Knowing that our words, our decisions, and our actions directly impact so many others, we strive to make compassion the foundation for our important work here today and that we serve with integrity and kindness towards one another and to all those you serve as our representatives in local government. … May we strive for balance between listening and reflecting; between speaking and acting.”</p> <p>It’s a good sentiment, one that both religious and non-religious people can support.</p> <p>In some parts of Florida, misguided political leaders have<a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/angered-by-atheists-fla-city-commissioners-walk-out-during-secular"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/angered-by-atheists-fla-city-commissioners-walk-out-during-secular">walked out</a> of secular invocations and<a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/lake-wales-flap"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/lake-wales-flap">refused to listen</a> to them. Brevard County has chosen a better course, one that recognizes that a county with more than 600,000 residents will include a variety of religious and non-religious views, all of which deserve to be represented by their government.</p> <p>Americans United is pleased that we and our allies were able to bring this case to a successful conclusion, one that embraces and respects the diversity of Brevard County, the state of Florida and indeed our entire nation. <a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">Join us</a> to help make more legal victories like this possible.</p> <p><em>Photo: David Williamson offers an invocation before a meeting of the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners. Screenshot from Central Florida Freethought Community’s Facebook page. </em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/official-prayer" hreflang="en">Official Prayer</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/ceremonial-deism" hreflang="en">Ceremonial Deism</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/brevard-county" hreflang="en">Brevard County</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/florida" hreflang="en">Florida</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/secular" hreflang="en">Secular</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 27 Jan 2021 13:39:06 +0000 boston 16597 at https://www.au.org Progressive Christians Want To Tell Graham, ‘You’re Fired!’ https://www.au.org/blogs/franklin-graham-petition <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Progressive Christians Want To Tell Graham, ‘You’re Fired!’</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Jan 26, 2021 - 09:57</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/graham%20at%20rnc%20.png?h=9bc40fc6&amp;itok=2nIYcMHH" width="1700" height="525" alt="graham" title="Franklin Graham" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Former President Donald Trump had a number of conservative evangelical leaders at his beck and call. Among them was Franklin Graham, the son of famous evangelist Billy Graham.</p> <p>No matter what Trump did, no matter how low he sunk, the younger Graham remained a loyal sycophant. Even as a Trump-inspired mob stormed the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, killing a police officer, vandalizing the building and stealing property, Graham refused to accept what Trump had wrought. The rioters, he falsely asserted, were members of antifa. (Graham had earlier spread the false claim that Trump really won the Nov. 3 election, but it was stolen from him.)</p> <p>After the House of Representatives impeached Trump for inciting the riot, Graham issued a Facebook post blasting the 10 Republicans who voted for it. Graham went so far as to compare the 10 to Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for a payoff.</p> <p>“The House Democrats impeached him because they hate him and want to do as much damage as they can,” Graham said in the post. “And these ten, from his own party, joined in the feeding frenzy. It makes you wonder what the thirty pieces of silver were that Speaker Pelosi promised for this betrayal.”</p> <p>With Trump now out of office, a Christian group has launched an effort to hold Graham accountable. The <em>Charlotte Observer</em> <a href="https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article248606900.html">reported</a> that <a href="https://faithfulamerica.org/">Faithful America</a>, an organization that opposes Christian nationalism from an explicit progressive Christian standpoint, has started an online petition calling on the board of directors of two Graham organizations, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, to fire Graham.</p> <p>The petition reads, “As long as Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association stand by Franklin Graham, it must be said that these once-vaunted organizations have forgotten their original Christian missions, abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and are complicit in the spread of dishonest, discredited election conspiracy theories and the deadly, unpatriotic, white-nationalist terrorism at the U.S. Capitol incited by those lies. Our faith in Jesus Christ demands that we do better than this. Your fellow Christians from across the country call on you to fire Franklin Graham, or to resign from the Board in individual protest.”</p> <p>Nearly 27,000 people have signed the petition. While it is unlikely that the effort will result in Graham’s dismissal – an official with the Graham organizations said they stand by Graham and don’t plan to fire him – it could become an important educational tool. Many Christians donate to Graham’s groups because they want to help those in need or boost evangelism. These Christians need to know that there are better ways, and better organizations, to support. </p> <p>Trump left office in disgrace. Whether he chooses to accept it or not, Graham, who spent four years enabling Trump’s lies, bears that shame as well.</p> <p><em>Photo: Franklin Graham leads a prayer during the 2020 Republican National Convention. Screenshot from C-SPAN. </em></p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/franklin-graham" hreflang="en">Franklin Graham</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/billy-graham" hreflang="en">Billy Graham</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 26 Jan 2021 14:57:36 +0000 boston 16596 at https://www.au.org Two New Americans United Lawsuits Target Offensive Last-Minute Trump Regulations https://www.au.org/blogs/new-lawsuits-filed <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Two New Americans United Lawsuits Target Offensive Last-Minute Trump Regulations</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon Jan 25, 2021 - 08:45</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/sad%20teen%20girl.jpg?h=68f53859&amp;itok=lWD4dvOG" width="1700" height="525" alt="sad teen" title="sad teen " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>With all that has been going on lately, you might have overlooked two important lawsuits that Americans United and its allies filed on former president Donald Trump’s last full day in office. Both challenge eleventh-hour regulatory changes put in place by the Trump administration that threaten religious freedom.</p> <p>The first case,<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Lawsuit-Trump-Social-Services"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Lawsuit-Trump-Social-Services"><em>Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services</em></a>, targets a set of regulations that the Trump administration put into effect Jan. 19. The new regulations scrap provisions that had been put in place to protect people who need social services.</p> <p>Specifically, the new regulations do away with requirements that taxpayer-funded, religiously affiliated social service providers inform the people they serve that they have the right to be free from religious discrimination and that they do not have to attend religious programming as a condition of getting help. The new regulations also eliminate a requirement that religiously affiliated providers give service recipients a referral to an alternative provider upon request and include this referral right in the rights notice.</p> <p>There’s no sound reason for lifting these requirements; undoing them only serves to threaten the rights of an already vulnerable population. The move was another sop to Trump’s conservative evangelical base, and AU and its allies intend to restore the pre-Trump regulations. (You can read more about this litigation<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Lawsuit-Trump-Social-Services"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Lawsuit-Trump-Social-Services">here</a>.)</p> <p>The second lawsuit,<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Lawsuit-Education-Department-Student-Clubs"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Lawsuit-Education-Department-Student-Clubs"><em>Secular Student Alliance v. U.S. Department of Education</em></a><em>,</em> was filed on behalf of the Secular Student Alliance and Declan A. Galli, a Cal Poly student, and challenges a recently published Trump administration regulation that forces universities to financially support religious student groups that discriminate.</p> <p>Many public colleges and universities have policies mandating that student-run clubs that are supported by student fees have nondiscrimination policies. Beyond creating an inclusive learning environment, these policies ensure that students aren’t forced to support clubs that would reject them as members on the basis of things like religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Under a rule issued by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, public colleges would be required to give religious student clubs an opt-out from these nondiscrimination provisions.</p> <p>Agencies like the Department of Education have only the authority that Congress gives them. The lawsuit argues that the department has no authority to enforce the First Amendment however it sees fit, and it certainly doesn’t have authority to enforce DeVos’ incorrect interpretation of it.</p> <p>You might wonder why these lawsuits were filed as the Trump administration was on the way out the door. Won’t the Biden administration fix these problems? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Overturning rules like these generally requires a time-consuming and complicated process. Successful litigation might give us a speedier result.</p> <p>Americans United is hopeful that the Biden-Harris administration will restore and protect religious freedom – in fact, we prepared <a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/Agenda%20to%20Restore%20%26%20Protect%20Religious%20Freedom%20-%20Overview_0.pdf">an agenda for Biden</a> to do just that. But lawsuits like the two we’ve just filed are a reminder that cleaning up the mess left behind by the Trump administration will take a lot of work – and some of it could most quickly be done through the courts. <a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">Join us</a> to support the efforts to right Trump’s wrongs.</p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/faith-based-regulations" hreflang="en">Faith-Based Regulations</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/colleges-universities" hreflang="en">Colleges &amp; Universities</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/betsy-devos" hreflang="en">Betsy DeVos</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/trump-administration" hreflang="en">Trump Administration</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 25 Jan 2021 13:45:05 +0000 boston 16592 at https://www.au.org A President’s Language Should Be As Inclusive As Possible https://www.au.org/blogs/religion-at-inauguration <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">A President’s Language Should Be As Inclusive As Possible</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri Jan 22, 2021 - 11:42</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/biden%20prayer%20service.png?h=4e2404a1&amp;itok=TGf06G89" width="1700" height="525" alt="President and Dr. Biden watching prayer service" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States has given defenders of church-state separation hope. Biden is<a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/biden-executive-orders"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/biden-executive-orders">already at work</a> getting rid of some of the dangerous policies promulgated by the Trump administration that conflated religion and government. We expect that to continue.</p> <p>Having said that, there is one area where Biden might want to consider a modification of his approach: He could be more inclusive in his rhetoric when it comes to Americans’ faith – and lack thereof. Specifically, he should not assume that everyone has a faith.<a href="https://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/"> </a><a href="https://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/">Data shows</a> that nonreligious and unaffiliated Americans are growing in numbers. </p> <p>Biden’s inauguration featured a lot of religious language, by some accounts more of it than any inaugural since President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s in 1953. Some of this is to be expected. Biden is an authentically religious man, and he wanted the event to reflect that. No one can fault Biden for attending private religious services as part of the inaugural or for taking the Oath of Office on a family Bible – even though the Constitution<a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/january-2021-church-state-magazine/featured/swear-to-god-or-not-presidents-have-a"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/january-2021-church-state-magazine/featured/swear-to-god-or-not-presidents-have-a">does not mandate that</a>.</p> <p>But the inauguration is also meant to include all of America, and Biden should remember that not every American is a person of faith. When he called for silent prayer, for example, it would have been nice to hear him add the words “or reflection” to the end. Near the conclusion of his speech, when Biden spoke about Americans being “sustained by faith,” it would have been better if he had noted that <em>many</em> Americans feel that way, not all, and that Americans find emotional sustenance in many things.</p> <p>Biden could take a cue from his old boss, President Barack Obama, who often used<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/obama-touches-the-untouch_b_159538"> </a><a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/obama-touches-the-untouch_b_159538">more inclusive language</a> and noted that nonbelievers are part of the American mosaic too and that they possess equal rights.  Going forward, we would also like to see participants in public events, for invocations and the like, who represent the broad range of religious thought in America as well as those who represent many Americans with secular and/or humanist practices.</p> <p>Sometimes that message is there. Biden’s executive order revoking the Muslim Ban, written before the Inauguration, contains this passage: “Nevertheless, the previous administration enacted a number of Executive Orders and Presidential Proclamations that prevented certain individuals from entering the United States – first from primarily Muslim countries, and later, from largely African countries. Those actions are a stain on our national conscience and are inconsistent with our long history of welcoming people of all faiths and <em>no faith at all.” </em>(Emphasis ours.)</p> <p>That’s a rhetorical shift worth noting from the Trump administration, which never lost an opportunity to pander to a narrow slice of the American people. Let’s hope our new president keeps using a more inclusive tone. And let’s also remember that while language is important, actions, as the old adage goes, speak with even greater power. And so far, Biden is taking actions that are good for all Americans, believers and nonbelievers alike.</p> <p>P.S. The Constitution says nothing about religious content during inaugural ceremonies. Whether to include it is up to the man or woman being sworn in. For more on this, see this <a href="https://www.brut.media/us/news/america-s-complicated-history-with-religion-and-politics-ee59e214-c6b9-492b-9c8f-4af748e83213">great new video</a> featuring Sarah Gillooly, AU’s vice president for state outreach and engagement.</p> <p><em>Photo: The Bidens watch an interfaith religious service hosted by Washington National Cathedral</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/history-and-origins-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">History and Origins of Church-State Separation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/ceremonial-deism" hreflang="en">Ceremonial Deism</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/muslim-ban" hreflang="en">Muslim Ban</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 22 Jan 2021 16:42:25 +0000 boston 16591 at https://www.au.org President Joe Biden Is Off To A Great Start – Let’s Keep The Momentum Going https://www.au.org/blogs/biden-executive-orders <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">President Joe Biden Is Off To A Great Start – Let’s Keep The Momentum Going</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Jan 21, 2021 - 09:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/biden%20inaug%203.png?h=81455c16&amp;itok=_9XAsDqx" width="1700" height="525" alt="President and Dr. Biden in Capitol" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>President Joe Biden got right to work after his inauguration yesterday. Biden <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/us/politics/biden-executive-action.html">signed a stack of executive orders</a> undoing misguided policies put in place by the Trump administration. Some of these new orders will buttress church-state separation.</p> <p>First and foremost, Biden revoked Trump’s appalling and discriminatory Muslim Ban. For four years, this cruel policy has been a stain on our nation. As Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/President-Biden-Ends-Muslim-Ban">noted yesterday</a>, “President Biden’s swift action to end the Muslim and African Ban, which was driven by clear hostility toward Muslims and their faith, rights a terrible wrong. It is a crucial first step toward reuniting families and demonstrating President Biden's commitment to protecting the rights of religious minorities. We look forward to a government that will protect everyone’s religious freedom and our nation’s unfulfilled vision of equality and inclusion for all.” </p> <p>Biden also signed two orders that boost LGBTQ rights. One order reverses a Trump administration policy and ensures that the federal government does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Another nullifies a Trump policy that was designed to prevent federal agencies from sponsoring diversity and inclusion training.</p> <p>And here’s more good news: Biden also signed an order doing away with the 1776 Commission, an attempt by Trump and his allies to rewrite American history with a Christian nationalist slant. <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/trump-history-commission">As we noted two days ago</a>, the commission’s report, which downplayed the effect of slavery on American society and attacked secular government, had been criticized by mainstream historians.</p> <p>Biden is off to a great start, but there’s plenty more work for him – and for you. <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/DvvRyjiYGUS_8R9K7TPEpg2">Please help Americans United</a> get word to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris that protecting religious freedom should be a top priority for their administration. You can read more AU’s plans in our “<a href="https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/Agenda%20to%20Restore%20%26%20Protect%20Religious%20Freedom%20-%20Overview_0.pdf">Agenda to Restore &amp; Protect Religious Freedom</a>.”</p> <p><em>Photo: President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, walk through the U.S. Capitol. Screenshot from CNBC.</em></p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/history-and-origins-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">History and Origins of Church-State Separation</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/muslim-ban" hreflang="en">Muslim Ban</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 21 Jan 2021 14:43:54 +0000 boston 16589 at https://www.au.org It’s A New Day For The Nation -- And For Church-State Separation https://www.au.org/blogs/new-day-America <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">It’s A New Day For The Nation -- And For Church-State Separation</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Jan 20, 2021 - 08:11</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/biden%20harris%20greet%20screenshot.png?h=cdf959ad&amp;itok=oY9NycVs" width="1700" height="525" alt="Biden and Harris" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>When the country changes presidential administrations, you can usually count on hearing political pundits wax poetic about the peaceful transition of power in the world’s greatest democracy.</p> <p>Not this time. Even before any ballots were cast, President Donald Trump refused to say that he would commit to a peaceful transition if he lost. Trump did lose and spent more than two months fomenting hysteria by feeding his diehard supporters lies about how the election had been stolen from him. Despite having zero evidence of voter fraud and suffering a string of losses in court, Trump kept up the drumbeat, culminating in a horrific Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob he’d whipped into a frenzy.</p> <p>As a result, <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/biden-transition-updates/2021/01/18/957802213/bidens-inauguration-is-going-to-look-very-different-heres-what-to-know">today’s inauguration</a> of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take place under heavy military and police presence. It’s unfortunate that Washington, D.C., had to become an armed camp on this day, but it was crucial to protect the nation’s new leaders. It’s also unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our country, requiring a more subdued celebration that doesn’t allow for large crowds of Biden’s supporters. </p> <p>The good news is, we’re likely to see positive change right away. Biden may get rid of Trump’s noxious Muslim Ban as early as today. Biden’s policies on reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights will be a vast improvement. He’ll take leadership of the <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/protecting-religious-freedom-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic">coronavirus pandemic</a> and institute policies that protect our rights, including religious freedom, while implementing commonsense steps promoted by medical experts to keep everyone as healthy as possible. He supports public education. He actually seems to care about people other than himself.</p> <p>And most refreshingly, Biden will restore decency, decorum and professionalism to the White House. When hate-filled neo-Nazis march in our streets, you can bet Biden won’t claim that they are “good people.” When conspiracy theorists spew their nonsense, Biden will pay them no mind. When Christian nationalists demand repression, Biden will turn them aside.</p> <p>Won’t it be nice to wake up in the morning no longer worrying about what embarrassing things the president tweeted overnight? Won’t it be great to watch a White House press conference and not cringe? Won’t it be wonderful to go about your daily business secure in the knowledge that the government is back in the hands of grown-ups?</p> <p>But that’s not all. Remember, Americans United has prepared an <a href="https://www.au.org/BidenAgenda">Agenda to Restore &amp; Protect Religious Freedom</a>. We hope the Biden administration will embrace it.</p> <p>There is much work to be done to fix the damage of the past four years. Americans United is plunging in, eager and happy to work in the light of a new day that looks so much brighter than even last week. Come along; there’s always <a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">room for you</a>.</p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/reproductive-rights" hreflang="en">Reproductive Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/kamala-harris" hreflang="en">Kamala Harris</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/muslim-ban" hreflang="en">Muslim Ban</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/protecting-religious-freedom-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic" hreflang="en">Protecting Religious Freedom During the Coronavirus Pandemic</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 20 Jan 2021 13:11:05 +0000 boston 16587 at https://www.au.org On His Way Out The Door, Trump Attempts To Rewrite American History https://www.au.org/blogs/trump-history-commission <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">On His Way Out The Door, Trump Attempts To Rewrite American History</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Jan 19, 2021 - 11:36</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/us%20constitution.jpg?h=51a72048&amp;itok=4ZlsiuD0" width="1700" height="525" alt="constitution" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>As yet another parting gift to the nation, the Trump administration has released a document called <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/The-Presidents-Advisory-1776-Commission-Final-Report.pdf">“The 1776 Report”</a> that attempts to rewrite American history by recycling a number of discredited “Christian nation” myths.</p> <p>In September, Trump announced the formation of a commission to “teach our children about the miracle of American history.” Dubbed the 1776 Commission, its members were announced about a week before Christmas. Now, roughly a month later, the commission has produced its report.</p> <p>The 41-page document is notable for what it doesn’t contain: It has no footnotes and cites no references. In fact, it reads more like an extended op-ed than a serious piece of research.</p> <p>The report has many problems, chief among them its refusal to seriously engage the issue of slavery in America. It is also studded with laughable right-wing talking points. For example, it lists the reforms proposed during the Progressive Era, an early 20th century movement that sought to tackle issues like political corruption, immigration, poverty and women’s rights, as a threat to the Constitution alongside communism and fascism.</p> <p>And in the document’s Appendix 2, titled “Faith and America’s Principles,” it really goes off the rails.</p> <p>Anyone who attempts to argue that the government of the United States has a religious basis, as this report does incessantly, quickly runs into a problem: Our Constitution doesn’t say that. In fact, its First Amendment says the opposite.</p> <p>One way Christian nationalists to get around this is by making constant references to the Declaration of Independence, which contains four deistic references to God, and insisting that there is some sort of unbroken line between these two documents. Indeed, the 1776 Report does this repeatedly.</p> <p>But the Declaration and the Constitution are two very different documents that aimed to achieve different things. It’s helpful to think of the Declaration as an announcement to the world that our nation was determined to be free from Great Britain. It lists our grievances and solicits the support of other countries.</p> <p>The Declaration, written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, says nothing about the structure of our new government; that is not its purpose. The Constitution, on the other hand, is a true governance document. Drafted years after the Revolution (primarily by James Madison), it’s much longer and deliberative and goes into great detail about the structure of the new U.S. government. It replaced the Articles of Confederation, an interim document that proved to be ineffective.</p> <p>In one of its most offensive and ahistorical statements, the commission asserts that the founders sought “neither to weaken the importance of faith nor to set up a secular state, but to open up the public space of society to a common American morality.”</p> <p>This attack on secular government is deliberate; it is a calculated move designed to undermine a key feature of our Constitution.</p> <p>What’s so cynical about this strategy is that it takes the story of the development of religious freedom in America – which is powerful and inspiring – and replaces it with pious platitudes about “one nation under God” that derive not from the founding period but from the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s.</p> <p>Unlike the 1776 Commission, which promotes the absurd idea that there has been a common American creed that always promotes equality and fairness (a notion impossible to reconcile in a nation that for so long fostered slavery), the real story of religious freedom in America is messy. There were plenty of bumps along the way, plenty of rights were not respected and plenty of mistakes had to be corrected.</p> <p>Yet the story has lots of highlights: It’s the tale of a nation influenced by a small band of theocratically minded Puritan refugees that became a place where people are free to profess multiple varieties of Christianity alongside Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., or profess no faith at all.</p> <p>That would not have been possible without separation of church and state and its key partner, secular government. We ought to be proud of those features. Instead, the 1776 Commission tosses them aside and in favor of a tale anchored in myths and wishful thinking.</p> <p>I have no idea how President-elect Joe Biden will deal with this report, coming as it does just days before Trump leaves office, but I have a suggestion: toss it in the nearest trashcan.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/history-and-origins-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">History and Origins of Church-State Separation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/constitution" hreflang="en">Constitution</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/christian-nationalism" hreflang="en">Christian nationalism</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/thomas-jefferson" hreflang="en">thomas jefferson</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/james-madison" hreflang="en">James Madison</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 19 Jan 2021 16:36:00 +0000 boston 16583 at https://www.au.org Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, An Advocate Of Church-State Separation https://www.au.org/blogs/remembering-Dr-King <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, An Advocate Of Church-State Separation</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon Jan 18, 2021 - 08:46</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/MLK.jpg?h=8ca9d0f4&amp;itok=cIY_Jmvr" width="1700" height="525" alt="MLK" title="Dr. King " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Today marks the federal observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. As the nation pauses to remember King and his achievements, it’s a good time to take a look at what this towering American leader thought about church-state issues.</p> <p>First off, King was no advocate of partisan politicking in the pulpit. While King, a Baptist minister, spoke powerfully about issues of racial justice and equality from pulpits, he didn’t see the need to hand out candidate endorsements in church. The late U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who worked with King in the 1960s, pointed out several times that King did not electioneer in church.</p> <p>“Ministers who led the civil rights movement did not select political candidates and operate our churches like political action committees," Lewis <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/november-2002-church-state/featured/protecting-the-pulpit">said</a> during an Oct. 1, 2002, debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. "Although their churches and leaders faced violence and hatred for their efforts to protect human rights and human dignity, they were free and even protected by the Constitution to speak out on these issues. At no time did we envision or even contemplate the need for our houses of worship to become partisan pulpits."</p> <p>King also did not support the Religious Right’s attack on reproductive rights. He was an advocate of family planning. For his work on this issue, King in 1966 was given Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award, which the organization presents annually to leaders who support reproductive justice.</p> <p>Accepting the award on his behalf, King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, <a href="https://archive.thinkprogress.org/abortion-opponents-claim-martin-luther-king-jr-would-be-fighting-against-planned-parenthood-today-fc82b18e0771/">read a statement from King</a>, during which he remarked, “Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her.”</p> <p>King supported the Supreme Court’s decisions striking down government-sponsored prayer in public schools. King was asked about this issue during a January 1965 <a href="https://scrapsfromtheloft.com/2018/01/01/martin-luther-king-jr-playboy-interview-1965/">interview</a> with <em>Playboy</em> magazine written by Alex Haley. King not only backed the high court’s rulings, but he also noted that his frequent nemesis, Gov. George Wallace of Alabama, stood on the other side.</p> <p>“I endorse it. I think it was correct,” King said. “Contrary to what many have said, it sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God. In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right. I am strongly opposed to the efforts that have been made to nullify the decision. They have been motivated, I think, by little more than the wish to embarrass the Supreme Court. When I saw Brother Wallace going up to Washington to testify against the decision at the Congressional hearings, it only strengthened my conviction that the decision was right.”</p> <p>King would have been highly skeptical of the Religious Right’s crusade for teaching creationism and “intelligent design” in public schools. King saw no need for religion and science to fight. <em>Strength to Love</em>, a collection of King’s sermons, contains this <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/michael-halpern/science-religion-and-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-222">King observation</a>: “Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary. Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism.”</p> <p>In one of his most famous passages, which comes from a sermon that was also printed in <em>Strength to Love</em>, King reminded Americans that the church "must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state." He called on the church to be critical of the government when necessary but never to become "its tool." </p> <p>Christian nationalists sometimes try to claim King, but he was no friend of their views. Take a moment today and celebrate his true legacy of freedom.</p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/martin-luther-king-jr" hreflang="en">Martin Luther King Jr.</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/george-wallace" hreflang="en">George Wallace</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/reproductive-freedom" hreflang="en">Reproductive Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/planned-parenthood" hreflang="en">Planned Parenthood</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/official-prayer-public-school" hreflang="en">official prayer in public school</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/pulpit-politicking" hreflang="en">Pulpit Politicking</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 18 Jan 2021 13:46:15 +0000 boston 16582 at https://www.au.org White Evangelical Christians Sticking With Trump Until The Bitter End https://www.au.org/blogs/white-evangelicals-trump <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">White Evangelical Christians Sticking With Trump Until The Bitter End</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Jan 14, 2021 - 09:34</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/VVS%20crowd_0.jpg?h=20513853&amp;itok=eSSPAJTx" width="1700" height="525" alt="VVS crowd" title="Values Voter Summit" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>President Donald Trump yesterday managed the dubious achievement of becoming the only U.S. president to be <a href="https://apnews.com/article/trump-impeachment-vote-capitol-siege-0a6f2a348a6e43f27d5e1dc486027860">impeached twice</a>.</p> <p>While <a href="https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-impeachment-removal-polls/">polls show</a> a majority of Americans favor impeachment, Trump’s most dogged supporters are furious. Who are these people? In the wake of last week’s insurrection, reporters have been analyzing the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol. They’re finding a strange mishmash of conspiracy theorists, racists, xenophobes, militia cranks and right-wing populists.</p> <p>But there’s another element of Trump’s diehard coalition that we shouldn’t overlook: white evangelical Christians. <a href="https://religionnews.com/2021/01/12/the-faith-of-the-insurrectionists/">We know they were there</a> on Jan. 6; photos show them hoisting signs bearing crosses and references to Jesus.</p> <p>This isn’t surprising. White evangelicals have been among Trump’s strongest supporters. About 80% of them voted for Trump in 2016, a figure that more or less held steady in 2020.</p> <p>Scholar Ryan P. Burge at Eastern Illinois University <a href="https://religioninpublic.blog/2021/01/13/who-are-trumps-most-ardent-supporters/">analyzed data</a> from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which surveyed 18,000 Americans in November of 2019. As Burge put it, “They asked a number of questions that can help us start to generate a picture of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters and may help us understand what factors led to the violent and despicable acts that were perpetrated on the American public [Jan. 6.]”</p> <p>When Burge examined the people who consider themselves “very conservative” and who said they “strongly approved” of Trump, he found something interesting about their religious beliefs: They don’t align with the rest of America. Nearly half of these people identified as evangelicals, while in the general population, that figure is much lower at about 22%.  </p> <p>Burge also found that Trump’s most ardent supporters are more likely to attend religious services than the rest of the population. He observed, “Clearly, Trump’s support is deeply intertwined with religious concerns and devotion to religion and to the 45th president are correlated.”</p> <p>I’ve observed this phenomenon firsthand. During the 2016 campaign and after Trump’s election, I sat in on meetings of Christian nationalist groups and observed members swoon as Trump spewed invective and bile. Over the past four years, I’ve read their websites and publications as they time and again found excuses for his crass behavior. Most recently I watched, disgusted, as they <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/blame-the-progressives">attempted to absolve him</a> for inciting a violent attack on the very symbol of American democracy.</p> <p>What can possibly explain this behavior? In his conclusion, Burge gets right to the heart of it, pointing out that right-wing evangelicals saw their support of Trump as a <em>quid pro quo</em> arrangement.</p> <p>“Donald Trump, first and foremost, is a showman who loves to reward his supporters who have shown unshakable devotion to him over the last four years,” wrote Burge. “His gift to these people is that he gave them what they wanted – a policy agenda that continued to shift to the right as each year passed of his administration. And in return, the most loyal portion of Trump’s constituency returned the favor by doing exactly what he asked them to do: storm the United States Capitol building to delay the counting of the electoral college votes. …”</p> <p>But at what cost? In just six days, Trump will no longer be president. It will take a long time to remove the stain of his rule from our national psyche. As for the right-wing evangelicals who enabled him, they’ll carry the shame forever.</p> <p><em>Photo: Trump supporters at the Christian nationalists’ Values Voter Summit meeting</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/values-voter-summit" hreflang="en">Values Voter Summit</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/evangelical-christianity" hreflang="en">Evangelical Christianity</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/polls" hreflang="en">polls</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 14 Jan 2021 14:34:49 +0000 boston 16581 at https://www.au.org Top Southern Baptist Official Says Trump Must Go https://www.au.org/blogs/Moore-says-impeach <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Top Southern Baptist Official Says Trump Must Go</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Jan 13, 2021 - 09:20</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/trump%20crowd%202%20.png?h=072c3fbd&amp;itok=8b3pDsBb" width="1700" height="525" alt="crowd" title="Trump crowd" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>This blog has been <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/blame-the-progressives">highly critical</a> of evangelical Christian leaders who have continued to support President Donald Trump even in the face of his incitement of last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.</p> <p>In fairness, we should note that there is at least one prominent figure from this community who has taken a different approach, a man who has condemned Trump and unequivocally called for him to resign or be impeached: Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy unit of the Southern Baptist Convention.</p> <p>Moore and Americans United don’t see eye to eye on many issues, but there’s no denying that in this case, he’s taking a principled stand – one that might even cost him his job.</p> <p><a href="https://www.russellmoore.com/2021/01/11/the-roman-road-from-insurrection/">In a recent essay</a>, Moore doesn’t hesitate to call the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol what it was: “an insurrection of domestic terrorists, incited and fomented by the President of the United States.”</p> <p>Observed Moore, “The President invited mobs to Washington – promising a ‘wild’ time – and told them to march to the Capitol. Despite the fact that there was not one thing that Vice President Pence could have lawfully done, the President called him a coward, and whipped up crowds against him who, many of them, then chanted ‘Hang Mike Pence!’ while constructing gallows on the Capitol grounds. An American flag was thrown down and replaced with a Trump flag, while another insurrectionist paraded a Confederate flag through the Capitol. Police officers were attacked. Congressional leaders hid while the doors buckled from mobs seeking to attack them. People are dead. The Capitol is ransacked. Administration officials are resigning in protest.”</p> <p>Added Moore, “If you read nothing else, read this: If you can defend this, you can defend <em>anything</em>. If you can wave this away with ‘well, what about…’ or by changing the subject to a private platform removing an account inciting violence as ‘Orwellian,’ then where, at long last, is your limit?”</p> <p>Moore goes on to debunk several Christian nationalist talking points. He noted that President-elect Joe Biden won fair and square and that the mob that assaulted the Capitol was not composed of antifa infiltrators.</p> <p>Moore doesn’t hesitate to call out right-wing evangelical hypocrisy, writing, “If President Obama tried to overturn an election, and incited his supporters to storm the Capitol, to desecrate the flag, to kill innocent people and to terrorize many others with pipe bombs and hand-ties and weapons, every evangelical Christian would be, rightly, denouncing such with the strongest possible terms (and many would be suggesting that we were in the reign of the Antichrist), and every one of us knows that is true.”</p> <p>Finally, Moore states without hesitation that Trump must go.</p> <p>“If I were the President, I would resign,” he writes. “If I were the Vice President, I would assemble the cabinet in accordance with the 25th Amendment. If I were a Member of Congress, I would vote to impeach. And if I were a United States senator, I would vote to convict. And I would be willing, if necessary, to lose my seat to do so. As a matter of fact, I am willing, if necessary, to lose this seat.”</p> <p>Moore’s essay is written in the context of Christian ethics and cites specific scripture references. This isn’t surprising, given Moore’s audience. In fact, it’s necessary. But no matter what you may believe or not believe about faith, Moore’s important statement is well worth some of your time.</p> <p><em>Photo: A mob attacks the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Screenshot from Washington Post video. </em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/russell-moore" hreflang="en">Russell Moore</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/southern-baptist-convention" hreflang="en">Southern Baptist Convention</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/us-capitol" hreflang="en">U.S. Capitol</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/barack-obama" hreflang="en">Barack Obama</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 13 Jan 2021 14:20:46 +0000 boston 16580 at https://www.au.org