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Slander From Santorum: Former Senator Once Again Proves That He’s No Jack Kennedy

We’ve criticized former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum on this blog before for his poor understanding of church-state separation.

Santorum believes President John F. Kennedy was wrong when, in a famous 1960 speech, Kennedy vowed to be the president of all people and make his policy decisions not on the basis of what his Roman Catholic faith demanded but on the grounds of what was good for the country. Read more

The Bold And The Brave: Saluting Those Who Stand Up For The Church-State Wall

On Tuesday I flew to New England to speak to a humanist group in Worcester, Mass. It was a great event, and I pleased to see so many people venture out on a cold night to hear what I had to say.

As I surveyed the crowd from the podium, I spotted an old friend in the third row: Ellery Schempp. Read more

Superb Statute: Celebrate Religious Liberty January 16

Jan. 16 is National Religious Freedom Day.

The day was created by Congress in 1993, and every year the president issues a proclamation. (The 2011 proclamation hasn’t been released yet, but you can read the 2010 one here.) The day is designed to commemorate the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on Jan. 16, 1786. Read more

Founded On Freedom: Treaty With Tripoli Reminds U.S. Of Our Origins

A new year is just getting started and Religious Right activists are already agitating for a government based on their fundamentalist Christian beliefs.

Blogger Shane Vander Hart discusses a new book by Dr. Wayne Grudem, professor of systematic theology at Phoenix Seminary, called Politics According to the Bible. In Grudem’s tome, he claims that anyone who thinks the government should exclude religion is plain wrong. Read more

Dear Friends Of Religious Freedom: A Timely Letter From Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson and the Baptists didn’t have much in common when it came to theology.

Jefferson, a deist, thought the moral teachings of Jesus were sublime, but he didn’t believe in the virgin birth, the divinity of Jesus or the inerrancy of the Bible. He thought the miracles reported in the New Testament were myths, and he considered the Christian doctrine of the Trinity incomprehensible.

Needless to say, his founding-era Baptist compatriots disagreed – to put it mildly. Read more

Baptist Bulwark: Virginia ‘Messengers’ Reaffirm Church-State Separation

When I read about some of things the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has done over the years – calling for boycotts of Disney parks and products, passing resolutions telling wives to be submissive to husbands, bashing gay people, etc. – I must remind myself that there are still plenty of good people who bear the Baptist name.

Some of them work with at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty here in Washington. A host of others are across the Potomac River in Virginia. Read more

Trash Talk: Opponents Of Church-State Separation Bash JFK’s Famous Speech

On Sunday I gave a talk here in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech in Houston endorsing church-state separation.

Kennedy used his Sept. 12, 1960, address to dispel fears that as president, he would elevate Roman Catholic dogma over the national interest. In eloquent language, he told an audience of Protestant clergy that he supported religious liberty and endorsed “absolute” separation of church and state. Read more

Presidential Proclamations: The Chief Executives On Religious Liberty

It’s Presidents' Day. In honor of the holiday, I thought it would be interesting to pull together some quotes by our chief executives on church-state separation and religious freedom.

Most people know that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were great champions of church-state separation. But did you know that James K. Polk had some interesting things to say, as did U.S. Grant?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it provides some interesting food for thought. Enjoy! Read more

Thanksgiving 2009: Let's Be Thankful For Religious Liberty!

Note: This post is a re-publication of one that originally appeared on Thanksgiving Day 2007. Enjoy the holiday!

When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner today, do you plan to say grace?

If so, what religious tradition will the prayer come from? Will it be a blessing from the Jewish, Muslim or Hindu faiths? Will it be Catholic, Mormon or one of the infinite varieties of Protestant denominations?

Maybe you won't offer a prayer at all, instead simply thanking the cook for the bounteous meal set before you rather than a deity of any sort. Read more

Mending Wall: A Reflection On Good Barriers And Bad Ones

In his poem "Mending Wall," poet Robert Frost wrote, "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out."

Today, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, that's a point worth pondering. There are good walls and bad ones. Read more

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