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The Bishop And Obama: Robinson's Personal Endorsement Doesn't Violate IRS Rules

Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson endorsed U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president yesterday. So the New Hampshire bishop has violated the Internal Revenue Service's rules on partisan political intervention, and his diocese must lose its tax-exempt status, right?

Wrong. As reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, Robinson took pains to point out that he was issuing the endorsement as an individual, which he may legally do. The newspaper reported, "He [Robinson] stressed that his endorsement was as an individual, not as bishop." Read more

Pat's Pique: TV Preacher Robertson Is Rankled Over Obama Remarks To CBN

Last weekend, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) gave a little sermon on church-state relations at an unusual church – TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

In an email Q & A with CBN senior correspondent David Brody, Obama addressed the role of faith in politics and the relationship between religion and government. The Democratic presidential candidate challenged progressives to recognize the potential of faith in addressing social problems, and he challenged evangelicals to respect American religious diversity. Read more

Pushing Pulpit Politics: Southern Baptist Official Twists AU Stance On Churches And Politics

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

Islam And Public Schools: Accommodate, But Don't Promote Religion, Says Muslim Activist

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

Religious Reversal: San Diego School Drops Special Treatment For Muslims

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

TM In The Public Schools?: Educators Should Be 'Mindful' Of The U.S. Constitution

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

Utah's Test: Voters Have Opportunity To Back Public Schools And Church-State Separation

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

Perkins' Prevarications: FRC Head Spreads Wild Claims Of Criminalization Of Christianity

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

Of Presidents & Piety: Americans Oppose Bible-Based Governmental Policies

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