Archive for: September, 2009

Why America should not be declared a "Christian Nation"

Why America should not be declared a "Christian Nation"

History tells us that it would not be a debate between Christians and atheists. If Christianity won predominance over every other religious system in the nation, it would be a debate between Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, Seventh-day Adventists, Pentacostals, and any other denomination you could name. Then it would be between the liberals and conservatives, and ultimately between conservatives or between liberals, the powerful – not the faithful – would control.

 
 

Faith in Context: President Obama & Faith-based Initiatives

As he said he would during the campaign last year, President Obama has retained the "faith-based initiatives" emphasis at the White House, but restructured the organization that he inherited from President Bush. The new unit consists of two parts, where Bush's White House had only one: An Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and a President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The council is make its final recommendations in February next year (2010), so it appears that further changes may yet surface. At the same time it is clear that Obama is committed to some kind of working relationship with the nonprofit sector, including the large part of it that is related to religious constituencies.

 
 

Chris Seiple: Religious Freedom: The Ultimate Counterterrorism Weapon?

While the U.S. can summon hard power with relative ease, employing soft power is more difficult. Indeed, smart power suggests that hard and soft power are two sides of the same coin, that our interests are protected when our values are promoted. If Americans want to engage the world with efficient and enduring effect, we must better understand the essence of American power and the foundation of the global public square: religious freedom.

 
 

Pope Benedict XVI on Religious Freedom (CNA)

A short Catholic News Agency overview of international religious persecution and the importance of preserving religious freedom.

 
 

Jehovah's Witnesses Undergo Persecution in the former Soviet Union

Since their formation in the late 19th century, Jehovah's Witnesses have suffered relentless persecution worldwide for their controversial religious beliefs. Archibald Cox, Jr., famous for his role as the Watergate prosecutor that helped force the resignation of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, once noted that Jehovah's Witnesses were "the principal victims of religious persecution … in the twentieth century.” Persecution against Witnesses was especially strong during WWII when their political neutrality, conscientious objection to war, and refusal to salute any nation's flag made them the target of governments and citizen mob groups alike. Except for the Jews, they were proportionally the most persecuted group in Nazi Germany; they were banned during the war in countries like Russia and Spain, and sometimes beaten and jailed in places like Britain, Canada, Cuba, and the United States. The ACLU reported that by 1940 in the United States alone, "more than 1,500 Witnesses . . . had been victimized in 335 separate attacks.”

 
 

3 states still ban religious clothing for teachers (Associated Press)

EXCERPT: PORTLAND, Ore. – A law backed by the Ku Klux Klan nearly a century ago to keep Catholics out of public schools is still on the books in Oregon, one of the last states in the nation to prohibit teachers from wearing religious clothing in classrooms. Both Pennsylvania and Nebraska have similar laws, which try to balance the constitutional […]

 
 

Civil Rights Pioneer E.E. Cleveland talks about meeting Martin Luther King, Jr.

On August 30, 2009, renowned evangelist Edward Earl Cleveland died at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama. He was 88.  Cleveland worked for more than 60 years as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, evangelist, church leader, teacher, and civil rights leader. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended one of Cleveland's tent meetings in 1954 in Montgomery and the two created a lasting […]

 
 

Religion in Public Schools: Academic, Not Devotional (J. Brent Walker – Washington Post)

EXCERPT: The Texas Board of Education, the nation's second largest purchaser of public school textbooks, is revising its K-12 social studies curriculum and deciding how to characterize religion's influence on American history. Three consultants have recommended emphasizing the roles of the Bible, Christianity and civic virtue of religion. As America's children go back to school, how would you advise the […]