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Religious Test: How Important Is A Candidate's (Family) Faith?

Religious affiliation conveys information about a person – but only so much. It is, at best, a shaky guide for judging political candidates.

Nevertheless, the media and some segments of the electorate seem to obsess over the religious views of candidates. Two recent examples come to mind. Read more

Tale Of The Tape: N.J. Preacher-Teacher Defends His Actions

And now for a quick pop quiz. Read the following comments and determine if they constitute preaching:

"If you reject [Jesus'] gift of salvation, then you know where you belong."

"[Jesus] did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he's saying, 'Please, accept me, believe.' If you reject that, you belong in hell." Read more

Sorry, Jim Wallis: Rumors Of The Religious Right's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Periodically, a self-appointed political pundit comes along and announces the death of the Religious Right. You can count on it happening every two or three years.

This time, moderate evangelical minister Jim Wallis is presiding at the Religious Right's alleged funeral. Wallis, author of the popular book God's Politics, asserted recently in Time magazine that America has entered a post-Religious Right era. He insisted that other religious voices will now dominate. Read more

Washington's Birthday: Time To Celebrate The First President's Commitment To Religious Freedom

Although President's Day was marked, celebrated or shrugged off by Americans on Feb. 19, today marks the 275th birthday of the nation's first president, George Washington.

On Feb. 22, 1732, Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Va. He was hugely successful in forging a young nation, partly because of his staunch commitment to religious liberty for all. Read more

Unholy Orders: The Army Maneuvers Its Way Around Religious Liberty

The U.S. military continues to have problems understanding the concept of religious liberty.

About two years ago, Americans United exposed examples of preference toward evangelical Christianity at the U.S. Air Force Academy. More recently, AU attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Wiccans who want their symbol recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Now The Washington Post has reported that a former Army officer who left a Christian denomination to become a Wiccan has been stripped of his status as a chaplain. Read more

Driven To Distraction: Focus On The Family Agonizes Over Optional Bus Board Oath

It's amazing the things that get the Religious Right all worked up.

In Denver recently, a member of the Regional Transportation District asked about the possibility of altering an oath of office to remove a reference to God. Dave Ruchman said he was acting on behalf of a former member who felt uncomfortable taking a religious oath. Read more

Kansas Evolves – Again: State School Board Approves New Science Standards

Kansas school children have been caught in a virulent volley over the meaning of science, and how (or whether) they'll be taught about evolution, since 1999. For the fourth time in eight years, the Kansas State Board of Education has again revised its science standards. Read more

'Gum Game' Spat: Ministry's Sex Ed. Class Raises Church-State Questions In Maryland Public School

Rockville Crisis Pregnancy Center (RCPC), the non-profit group responsible for sex education in several Montgomery County, Md., public schools, recently came under fire for asking students to participate in a rather unsanitary exercise. To show how quickly and easily sexually transmitted diseases supposedly spread, 15 students were asked to take turns chewing one stick of gum for five seconds each. Read more

Land Of Hypocrisy: Partisan SBC Official Chides Carter For Religious Politicking

Recently President Jimmy Carter announced a new initiative to pull together moderate Baptist bodies under an informal umbrella group. President Bill Clinton endorsed the effort. Both men are Southern Baptists who are unhappy with the right-wing tilt of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Read more

Panning Paine: Arkansas Lawmakers Block Resolution Celebrating American Hero

Thomas Paine, the 18th-century writer and philosopher who played a significant role in the American Revolution, has been honored by nine states for his invaluable contributions to our nation's independence. But Arkansas will not be joining the list any time soon. Read more