September 2005 Church & State | People & Events

The U.S. Constitution contains no references to God, Jesus Christ or Christianity, and its First Amendment bars any law “respecting an establishment of religion” – yet according to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the document is not secular.

“You can’t find a single line in the Constitution on secularism,” Gingrich said during a recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

Added Gingrich, “There’s no place in the Constitution that says you should not allow religion to make people feel uncomfortable.” He charged that the court system is “utterly, incomprehensibly out of touch with America.”

Gingrich, who is widely believed to be testing the waters for a 2008 presidential run, blasted the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on Ten Commandments displays, calling them “hysterically schizophrenic and utterly indefensible.”

In other news about the Religious Right:

• Robert Knight of Concerned Women for America’s Culture and Family Institute has unveiled the Religious Right’s legislative priorities for this fall. Knight says the number one priority is to pass a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. Fol¬lowing this is a ban on embryonic stem-cell research and lastly passing a measure to lift the tax-law ban on church-based electioneering.

The marriage amendment will get a big push if the Rev. Rod Parsley of the Center for Moral Clarity has his way. Parsley says conservative Christian leaders have been meeting in Washington to devise new ways to push the amendment forward.

• Ousted Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore continues to work the Religious Right speaking circuit. In June, he surfaced at a Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in Nashville where, for the umpteenth time since his removal from the court, he blasted “judicial tyranny.” Moore also warned darkly, “There are consequences to what is happening in America today.”

In mid July, a coalition of far-right leaders held a press conference to urge President George W. Bush to name Moore as Sandra Day O’Connor’s replacement on the Supreme Court. The speakers, led by Howard Phillips of the Constitution Party, admitted that they had not asked Moore if he would be willing to take the job.

• A TV preacher who dabbles in politics has been indicted on charges that he filed false income tax returns.

Morris Cerullo of Morris Cerullo World Evangelism is accused of misstating his income from 1998 to 2000 by more than $550,000, reported Religion News Service. If convicted, he could receive fines of up to $100,000 and three years in prison.

Cerullo’s attorney, Gregory Vega, said Cerullo is innocent and will fight the charges in court.