The First Amendment Center on Monday released a superb collection of essays analyzing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's treatment of First Amendment law. The essays by leading constitutional law scholars and attorneys delve into Thomas's interpretation of the Amendment in general and of free speech and church-state separation in particular. Read more
Televangelist Oral Roberts has certainly led a colorful life. He claims he once trembled before a 900-foot Jesus and has raised people from the dead. In 1987, Roberts announced that God "would call me home" unless supporters sent him $8 million in donations.
Mostly retired these days, Roberts has been living quietly in Newport Beach, Calif. Now one of the cornerstones of the evangelistic empire he created – Oral Roberts University (ORU) – is engulfed in scandal. Read more
The Religious Right threat to back a third party in 2008 is looking more and more like the old "good cop/bad cop" routine.
Viewers of police dramas know how this works: Good cop tells the suspect that he really wants to be his friend, hoping to win a confession by simple conversation. Bad cop, meanwhile, is always threatening to get physical. The two play mind games with the suspect in a type of psychological warfare that can make for entertaining viewing on cop shows. Read more
Clayton County recently became the first locality to take Gov. Sonny Perdue and the Georgia legislature up on their offer to post the Ten Commandments in government buildings.
The Christian Index reports that a nine-document display presented by the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro was installed at the county courthouse on Sept. 20. A new state law authorizes displays of that sort. Read more
If you just heard the name of the show, "Secret Keeper Girl – The Bod Squad Tour," you might get the wrong idea. It sounds like one of those trashy reality programs on television or maybe a pop concert by some Britney Spears knockoff.
But, in fact, this show was just the opposite. It's an evangelical Christian outreach aimed at schoolgirls in grades three through six. Sponsored by a group called Pure Freedom, the program aims to get youngsters to dress modestly and to remain sexually pure in keeping with "the will of God." Read more
Don't you wish you had the opportunity to personally lobby the members of the U.S. Supreme Court on issues that concern you?
It's rare that anyone gets that chance. The nine members of the court are supposed to be somewhat aloof and to isolate themselves from the pressure groups and high-powered lobbyists who regularly cruise the halls of Congress, seeking to button-hole members of the House of Representatives or Senate. Read more
That great political philosopher Mick Jagger famously sang, "You can't always get what you want...." Don't even tell leaders of the nation's Religious Right that, however. Many of them probably despise the Rolling Stones anyway, and their mindset for a long time has been that if they can't get what they want, they'll make as big a stink about it as possible. Read more
Over the years, TV preacher Pat Robertson has said some pretty mean things about the wall of separation between church and state.
During a 2002 meeting of the Christian Coalition, for example, Robertson told the crowd, "We have had a distortion imposed on us over the past few years by left-wingers who have fastened themselves into the court system. And we have had a lie foisted on us that there is something embedded in the Constitution called separation of church and state." Read more
The Bush administration's hostility towards church-state separation and indifference to religious diversity was on full display at a recent White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference on Hispanic Youth in Washington, D.C.
Religion saturated the agenda at the Sept. 24 event: Two invocations were given by Christian clergy, one before a videotaped welcome by President George W. Bush and the other preceding Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings' keynote address. Read more