The Democratic National Convention kicked off yesterday, and I couldn't help but notice the opening invocation. Polly Baca, a former Colorado state senator, led off with a prayer that mentioned Jesus Christ and ended with her crossing herself "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
That's how Roman Catholics pray. Others do things differently – and, of course, some people don't pray at all. It surprised me to see such a sectarian invocation before what was surely a very diverse audience. Read more
Last week, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal opened the door for state agencies and state contractors to engage in "faith-based" discrimination in hiring.
Jindal's predecessor, former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, issued an executive order that banned discrimination in all the areas covered by anti-discrimination laws, including race, religion, gender, national origin, political affiliation and disabilities. Her order added "sexual orientation" as a protected area. Read more
More and more Americans are expressing discomfort with the idea of mixing religion and politics. A recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds 52 percent agreeing that houses of worship should keep out of politics, an eight point increase since 2004.
"This marks the first time since the Pew Research Center began asking the question in 1996 that those who say churches should keep out of politics outnumber those who say churches should express their political views," reports Pew. Read more
I can't say I agree with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops all that often. The hierarchy's stands for tax aid to religious schools and against reproductive rights, civil rights for gay people, stem-cell research and other issues are often wrong from my perspective.
That's why I was surprised to see a recent Religion News Service essay on religion and politics from a USCCB representative that was pretty much on target. Read more
Right-wing Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity got all cranky on the air the other night about Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn's complaints regarding the recent presidential forum at Saddleback Church.
"Who cares what Barry Lynn says?" he blustered, after cohost Alan Colmes, in an exchange with Pastor Rick Warren, cited Lynn's take. Read more
I headed up to New York City this weekend to visit with some friends from college, but before I arrived, I made sure to let them know that on Saturday night, from 6 to 8 p.m., I had to watch the interviews the Rev. Rick Warren was holding with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain at his evangelical mega-church.
To that, of course, my 27-year-old friends said, "What?! Why are they doing that at a church?" Followed by, "I will not be watching that. You're on your own." Read more
Most political observers will be watching the Rev. Rick Warren's Saddleback Church tomorrow evening, where Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama are scheduled to take part in a presidential forum on faith and values.
The Saddleback event is not a debate, and McCain and Obama won't appear on stage at the same time. But both men are expected to answer a number of questions about how their personal religious views might affect their time in office. Read more
The University of California won a major victory last week when a federal court upheld the university's decision to deny credit for several Christian high school courses because they were too narrow and not rigorous enough to meet entrance requirements.