North Carolina Republicans introduce bill to outlaw Baptist churches and establish N.C. Staatskirche

This will be the official Southern Baptist baptistry, for baptizing all infants born into the official Southern Baptist Church of North Carolina.

“A resolution filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.” [Read more...]

President Obama’s Easter statement


This is President Obama’s fifth Easter statement. It’s a routine pronouncement of the sort that presidents make on various religious holidays. But during the Obama administration there’s been a pattern of religious right groups pretending that this president never makes such statements — or that he only makes them in recognition of non-Christian holidays. These religious-right groups, in other words, lie. [Read more...]

Praise for Melissa Rogers as choice to head White House faith-based office

Melissa Rogers is Baptist in the Roger Williams sense of the word, and I agree with the Baptist Joint Committee, the ACLU, the Interfaith Alliance, Americans United, the American Humanist Association, the Anti-Defamation League, Mark Silk, John Fea, Hemant Mehta, Joel Hunter and David Saperstein that Rogers is an excellent choice to direct the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. [Read more...]

Don’t treat people as symbols for a tribal loyalty quiz


Worse than that, though, is what these tribal trustees are doing when it comes to LGBT people. They’re not treated as people at all — just as short-hand symbols who provide a convenient test. For the tribal gatekeepers, LGBT people do not matter as people. They do not even exist as people, but only as a useful gauge of any given defendant’s beliefs about the “authority of the Bible.” [Read more...]

Culture-war diaries


Rob Bell and Hillary Clinton take sides; reinventing Promise Keepers; biblical special effects; a new Salem witch hunt; someone really said “This is a government institution, not a secular institution;” Lindsey Graham mistakes “Birth of a Nation” for CNN; and CPAC activists want to see more Republican outreach to white people. [Read more...]

When talk of ‘civil disobedience’ is just masturbation

Richard Land likes to pretend he's Rosa Parks because that's so much nicer than admitting that he's James F. Blake.

Marriage equality does not affect Southern Baptists at all. It does not require them to start doing something they have not been doing or to stop doing anything they have been doing. It does not compel or prohibit them in any way. It does not require their obedience and thus it is not subject to their disobedience — civil or otherwise. [Read more...]

Muslim students, lofty neutrality toward the Other, and the Miley Rule

Whether it’s a Christian majority struggling to come to terms with their Muslim neighbors or a cisgendered majority advising a “position” of no position toward those unlike them, valuable wisdom can be found in the words of Miley Cyrus: Just put yourself in that person’s shoes. [Read more...]

Church and state and erecting convenient boundaries


Out in the Hamptons, explicit discrimination poses as a defense of religious liberty as the privileged majority says permitting Orthodox Jews to travel to their Sabbath services would violate the First Amendment. Hmmm, imposing limits on the freedom of minorities in the name of “religious liberty” — where have we heard that before? [Read more...]