There was a time when the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) supported religious liberty for everyone, undergirded by the separation of church and state. We tend to forget that many Baptists stood alongside Enlightenment-era thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to build the church-state wall. Read more
The interminable debate over religion in public schools flared recently when an elementary school in San Diego, Calif., built a short prayer break into the school day. The school believed it was accommodating Muslim students, whose faith requires them to pray five times a day. Critics argued the break amounted to unconstitutional school-sanctioned prayer. Read more
A San Diego public school that found itself under fire for setting aside a special time and space for Muslim students to pray is changing course.
Officials at Carver Elementary School, which has a large Muslim population, had been criticized after reports surfaced that a special prayer room was being created for Muslim students and that a special recess had been added that coincided with one of the times faithful Muslims must pray during the day. Read more
Fervent believers in numerous religions have spent decades trying to figure out how to expand their numbers. The nation's public schools are an especially enticing target.
Indeed, top Religious Right guru James Dobson said many years ago, "Children are the prize to the winners in the second great civil war. Those who control what young people are taught and what they experience – what they see, hear, think, and believe – will determine the future course for the nation." Read more
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the ballot language for "Utah's Parent Choice in Education Act" has been finalized. Utah voters this November will determine the Act's future, which makes available vouchers of $500 - $3,000 for children in parochial and other private schools. All public school students, regardless of income, will be eligible. Read more
A Tony Perkins column in the July issue of the Family Research Council's "Washington Watch" newsletter is a textbook example of how the Religious Right distorts the facts to keep its supporters in a constant state of frenzy.
Perkins tells two stories in the essay. One deals with a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in Tangipahoa Parish, La., against the school board's practice of openings its meetings with sectarian prayer. Read more
Americans oppose secular government and want to see more religion in politics and public life, right?
That's the line parroted by Religious Right activists for the past 25 years. To hear them tell it, the Supreme Court, working in cahoots with advocates of church-state separation, has imposed a relentless secularism on the country that the people do not support and do not want.
That's what the Religious Right claims. Here is the reality: Most Americans don't want to live in a country where political leaders rely on religious texts as the basis of public policy. Read more
Dr. James Dobson never lets me down. When controversy erupts, I always count on Focus on the Family's grand inquisitor to come down on the wrong side.
You can imagine my shock, then, when I read in Wednesday's Washington Post that Dr. D. had praised the Harry Potter books. I almost fell off my chair. Read more
Medieval theologians reportedly spent a lot of time debating whether Adam had a navel. The question was never firmly settled, but one thing's for sure: The rest of him was probably intact.
You would never know that by consulting the latest edition of The Bible and Its Influence, a glossy tome produced by the Bible Literacy Project (BLP) for use in public school Bible classes. Read more
A recent op-ed in the USA Today distorts Thomas Jefferson's vision, and the Supreme Court's interpretation, of church-state separation. The piece is by Stephen Mansfield, author of Ten Tortured Words: How the Founding Fathers Tried to Protect Religion in America and What's Happened Since.
Mansfield's evidence that the Supreme Court has strayed from the Founders' vision of church-state separation is weak, if not flat-out false. Read more