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Retreating Or Repositioning?: Southern Baptists And The ‘Culture War’

When the Religious Right started to become a prominent force in American politics in the late 1970s, its advocates had a major impact on the country’s largest Protestant denomination: the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

Younger readers may be surprised to read that the SBC, which claims 16 million members, used to be fairly moderate on social issues. It strongly supported the separation of church and state, citing historical Baptist leaders like John Leland and Isaac Backus. Read more

Persecution Complex: Catholic Hierarchy, Religious Right Continue Heated Attack On Birth Control Mandate

A claim that someone is being persecuted by a government is not something to be taken lightly, but that accusation rings hollow when it comes to the Roman Catholic hierarchy and Religious Right’s fight for exemption from the Obama administration’s birth control mandate. Read more

Berry Good: Kentucky Poet Tackles Church, State And Marriage Equality

Wendell Berry is a Kentucky farmer, poet and essayist best known for his advocacy of responsible stewardship of the environment. He has offered compelling critiques of strip mining and other excesses of our over-industrialized, war-mad planet.

Some folks consider Berry a modern-day Henry David Thoreau, but last week he sounded more like an Old Testament prophet railing against injustice. Addressing a Baptist pastors’ conference at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., he took on the issue of marriage equality for gay couples. Read more

Noble Advice: Keep The Church Out Of Partisan Politics

The Religious Right makes it seem like nearly every pastor in America would endorse political candidates from the pulpit if only the pesky tax code didn’t prohibit it, but a new survey shows that couldn’t be further from the truth. Read more

Land’s End (Sort Of): Beleaguered Southern Baptist Lobbyist Heads For Retirement

Notorious Southern Baptist lobbyist Richard Land has announced his retirement. I’d break out the champagne, but I fear that this is a mere change of personnel, not policy.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was once a staunch supporter of church-state separation. But in 1979, fundamentalists orchestrated a takeover that moved the nation’s largest Protestant denomination in exactly the opposite direction. Read more

Amen Averse: Record Number Of Americans Want Less Religion In Politics

It seems that Americans have heard just about enough about religion in political campaigns.  

A new survey released by the Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life found that 38 percent of Americans said politicians have spent too much time expressing their religious faith and praying. That’s up from 2010, when 29 percent of Americans said there was too much religious expression by political leaders. Read more

Candidates And Religion: Voters Want Policy Plans, Not A Profession Of Faith

During this election cycle, a lot of candidates have been pandering incessantly to the Religious Right under the assumption that wearing one’s religion on one’s sleeve will mean more votes.

Turns out they’re wrong.

A survey conducted by LifeWay Research, which is the research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, found that just 16 percent of Americans are more likely to vote for a candidate who speaks regularly about his or her religious beliefs. Read more

Dominion Denial: Methinks Chuck Colson Doth Protest Too Much

Do Religious Right zealots want to take “dominion” in America and govern according to their version of biblical law?

Of course they do. But all of a sudden, leaders of the movement say they don’t. Stung by a series of articles exposing the dominionist agenda, they are desperately trying to rebrand themselves as moderates.

Take Chuck Colson, for example.

In a Sept. 7 column, Colson heatedly denied that he and his camp want a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. Read more

Prostituting The Pulpit: Religious Right Wants Churches To Get Partisan, But Most Americans Don’t

Poor Erik Stanley.

The Alliance Defense Fund attorney keeps pleading with evangelical clergy to step forward and become political bosses, but the clergy – and the American people – keep saying no.

Stanley and his Religious Right cronies salivate at the prospect of an evangelical Christian voting bloc marching in lockstep under the dictates of rigid right-wing pulpiteers and electing candidates who will tear down the wall of separation between church and state. Read more

Land Of (No) Liberty: Southern Baptist Official Drops Out Of Religious Freedom Group

Religious liberty is a fairly easy concept to grasp: All faiths have the right to exist, meet for worship, spread their ideas and build facilities. All must abide by certain laws, and the government must treat them equally. Read more

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