Tennessee State Rep. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) recently wrote his state's Attorney General seeking an opinion on the constitutionality of several earmarks for churches and religious youth groups in the 2007 budget. Read more
It's not news that the Bush administration has strived to placate, bolster and embolden its Religious Right constituency. That action is sad, worrisome and damaging to democracy; it's just not surprising.
But what the administration's ideological drive has wrought in more than six years in office is now increasingly coming to public attention, thanks in large measure to some print media and reliable sources in cyberspace, including bloggers. Read more
The "faith-based" initiative is closely tied to the Bush administration, which has been pushing for government-funded social services provided by religious groups since 2001.
But members of Congress have long sought to slip a little taxpayer largess to their favorite religious groups. Consider, for example, the curious case of Canvasback Missions in Benicia, Calif. Read more
More than 40 years ago, Roy Torcaso was appointed a notary public in Maryland. When it came time for the swearing in, Torcaso refused to take the oath because it contained a reference to God. Torcaso, an atheist, said that would violate his freedom of conscience.
Maryland officials decided to go to the mat. They pointed to a provision in the Maryland Constitution that says public office is open to anyone willing to make a "declaration of belief in the existence of God." Read more
Let's not even entertain the notion that lawmakers could one day in the far-off future stop dishing out pork to win over voters. It's just too much to hope for.
But blocking the shoveling of tax dollars to churches is a cause worth fighting. That's because the First Amendment and many, if not all, state constitutions prohibit public funding of religion. And until the theocrats take over, we have church-state separation in this country. Read more
I like PBS. I really do. So I'm deeply troubled about a church-state program being rolled out on the network this month.
"The Wall of Separation" is a production of Boulevard Pictures, a California outfit that describes itself as "a motion picture production company committed to bringing moviegoers high-quality stories from the world's most innovative filmmakers—films that bring hope, inspire us to the good, and that show us what the human spirit can attain." Read more
Presidential hopefuls are in a frenzy this year to win support from "people of faith." Political strategists tell them that support from "values voters" is crucial, and candidates are willing, it seems, to beg, steal and borrow to get that backing. Read more
Is there too much talk about religion in this year's presidential race?
On Tuesday, three Democratic candidates appeared at an event sponsored by Jim Wallis' Sojourners. Billed as a forum on "Faith, Values and Poverty" and televised on CNN, the discussion featured questions about a few political issues but also religious inquiries of a rather personal nature. Read more
Yesterday "The Wall of Separation" noted that the Internal Revenue Service has issued a new report on questionable political activity by non-profit groups and a new revenue ruling giving guidance in this area.
The IRS is once again reminding non-profits that they may not legal intervene in partisan campaigns by endorsing or opposing candidates. Over the past few years, the IRS has repeatedly issued reports and warnings like this. Read more