A Washington state pastor known for his strident anti-gay rhetoric is claiming he was appointed a "Special Envoy for Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief" by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives – an assertion the White House now denies. Read more
With the film "300" riding a wave of popularity, ancient warfare is now all the rage. But the Battle of Thermopylae is not the only historical conflict that we ought to know about.
In 279 BC, King Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated the Romans at Asculum. Pyrrhus' victory was bittersweet, however, because of the devastating loss of so many men. Having fewer troops to throw into combat than his opponents, he mourned that his win was effectively a loss. Read more
After only eight days on the job, an Oregon high school biology teacher has been fired for promoting religion as part of the curriculum.
The Sisters School District Board hired Kris Helphinstine to teach evolutionary biology, but he quickly departed from the accepted curriculum. In a supposed attempt to "give accurate information" and get kids thinking, Helphinstine distributed an essay from Answers in Genesis, a fundamentalist Christian ministry that wants "young-Earth creationism" taught in public school science classes. Read more
TV preacher Pat Robertson is worried about a Muslim takeover of the United States.
Such a thing would seem remote, at best. While hard numbers are difficult to come by, most demographers say there are about 3 million Muslims in America. In a country of 300 million, they haven't made a huge dent.
But last year, the first Muslim was elected to Congress, and Muslims have been elected to a few state and local offices as well. Recently, a Muslim group announced plans to register more Muslims to vote and encourage civic activity. All of this has Robertson worried. Read more
Localities nationwide offer people all kinds of places to pray, such as public parks, sidewalks and, of course, plenty of houses of worship.
So why do so many local governmental officials feel compelled to use their public meetings for prayer? Often these prayer setups are simply used to suck up to constituents; in other cases, it's a matter of officials using their public offices to do a little bit of proselytizing for their personal faiths. Read more
The Religious Right crusade to recruit Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other Founders of our nation into the theocratic camp is ludicrous, but it just won't stop.
Jerry Falwell chose today, the occasion of Madison's birthday, to launch the latest salvo. In his "Falwell Confidential" email, the tiresome TV preacher cites – of all things – religious language in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom as some sort of proof that Jefferson and Madison are on the same side with the Religious Right. Read more
A milestone in American politics was reached this week when U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) stated that he has no belief in a supreme being.
Stark is the highest-ranking public official to come out of the closet as a non-believer. His emergence came about after the Secular Coalition for America, a Washington group that lobbies on behalf of non-religious Americans, sponsored a contest to find elected officials who openly hold no belief in God. Read more
Stephen Prothero, chair of the Religion Department at Boston University, thinks classes on the Bible should be mandatory in public high schools. In his new book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – and Doesn't, Prothero outlines his argument. Read more