With politics and religion intermingling quite a bit this campaign season, the Pew Research Center for Religion & Public Life decided to investigate how often pastors discuss politics and social issues from their pulpits. The results were pretty encouraging for those who believe churches should respect the law and stay away from activities designed to endorse or oppose candidates – but they also show there’s still a lot of work to be done.
It has been amusing – and occasionally depressing – to watch the Religious Right’s leadership twist themselves into knots as they explain why it’s perfectly acceptable to vote for Donald Trump, a coarse, thrice-married reality TV star who has no history of being a pious churchgoer.
As the Democratic National Convention gets underway this week in Philadelphia, the Democratic National Committee is reeling from an email hacking scandal that exposed an insider discussion to possibly attack U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over his religious beliefs.
The cover story of this issue of Church & State is about the Internal Revenue Service and its inability or unwillingness to aggressively crack down on partisan politicking by houses of worship.
This issue is important to me. I came to Americans United in the summer of 1992 when the country was in the middle of a spirited presidential election. A young governor named Bill Clinton who, just a few months before was more or less unknown, was taking on the incumbent, President George H.W. Bush.
Political news of late has been dominated by three people – Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They’ve certainly provided good copy, but there are some other things going on politically that you might not have heard about.
Let’s consider Kentucky, for example. The commonwealth has been the site of mostly bad news lately. Ken Ham’s “Ark Park” is getting taxpayer incentives, and the state’s Republican governor, Matt Bevin, is thrilled.
Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, some political analysts are wondering whether Religious Right groups that bashed the thrice-married real estate magnate and reality TV star during the primary season will now rally to his cause in the general election.
So far it looks like plenty of them will.
For political junkies, the Super Tuesday results offered a sumptuous repast.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) continue to duel for the Democratic nomination, although Clinton appears to be pulling away. On the Republican side, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) remained alive with victories in Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) looks to be on life support after winning only in Minnesota. Ohio Gov. John Kasich failed to carry a single state but has not dropped out. Ben Carson is an afterthought.
Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who is currently seeking the Republican nomination for president, apparently believes Americans should not elect a Muslim to the presidency because, he says, Islam is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution.
“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Carson said during a “Meet the Press” interview on Sunday. “I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Real estate magnate Donald Trump says lots of outrageous stuff, but none of it seems to slow him down. His latest gaffe, however, ought to give some pause to his fans in the Religious Right.
Trump was asked by a reporter with Bloomberg News about his favorite book, which is allegedly the Bible. Asked to name his favorite verse from that tome, Trump stammered, “Well, I wouldn’t want to get into it because to me that’s very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal.”