I spent two hours Saturday evening in front of my computer watching the Religious Right’s “Thanksgiving Family Forum.” The event, which took place at First Federated Church, a large fundamentalist congregation in Des Moines, featured six of the leading Republican presidential candidates – U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, former U.S senator Rick Santorum, Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Read more
I’m often asked what the Religious Right is up to these days. Some people, noting the death of the Rev. Jerry Falwell in 2007 and the aging of leaders like Pat Robertson and Donald Wildmon, assume the movement is slowing down.
Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
Religious Right groups and their allies in the Tea Party are giddy from their electoral successes in 2010. They’re gearing up for another round in 2012. Much of what is happening is occurring below the radar and doesn’t necessarily capture headlines. But it’s very real. Read more
Politicizing churches is a bad idea for lots of reasons. Not only it is illegal for non-profit organizations to endorse or oppose candidates, it also can divide congregations and lead to other types of problems.
Exhibit A is Cornerstone World Outreach, a church in Sioux City, Iowa. Last year, Cornerstone Pastor Cary K. Gordon decided to use his house of worship to launch an effort to recall three Iowa Supreme Court justices. Gordon was angry that the three, who faced retention elections, had voted to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Read more
Some political analysts are speculating that the Religious Right is dead and that the Tea Party is movement to watch.
Well, it looks like Religious Right leaders and activists haven’t gotten that memo.
Recent evidence of the non-death of the Religious Right comes from Iowa, where former Christian Coalition Executive Director Ralph Reed last night held a forum on “moral” issues featuring a line-up of Republican presidential possibilities. Read more
Religiously tinged oaths are a pretty common feature of American life. Anyone who has watched a courtroom drama on television has probably seen witnesses being sworn in on a Bible, vowing to tell the truth "so help me, God." Read more
A situation in Des Moines, Iowa, this week has painted a perfect picture of what could happen if Religious Right forces succeed in their push for overly broad "religious accommodation" laws for the workplace.
Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) currently displays ads on all of its buses. Most recently, the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers have purchased space on many DART buses for this message: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." Read more
With the Iowa caucuses just a week a way, two Hawkeye State leaders have tackled the increasingly problematic mixing of religion and politics in the presidential race.
Writing in the Des Moines Register, former Democratic lieutenant governor Sally Pederson and former Republican lieutenant governor Joy Corning challenged the misuse of faith by political candidates.
"We both are political people," Pederson and Corning wrote. "And, we both are religious people. Read more