Church & state and ‘beliefs’ that believers don’t care about


Hospitals really aren’t looking to hire medical professionals who don’t believe in professional medicine. Hiring a nurse who doesn’t “believe in” flu shots is a bit like hiring an auto mechanic who doesn’t believe in internal combustion. [Read more...]

Knocking on the White House door 150 years ago for a fireside chat on the eve of emancipation


“You come to me as God’s ministers, and you are positive that you know exactly what God’s will is. You tell me that slavery is a sin; but other’s of God’s ministers say the opposite – which am I to believe? You assume that you only have the knowledge of God’s will.”
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When is a religion not a religion?


Bill O’Reilly and Mat Staver are both trying to justify Christian privilege. They want the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to apply to Christianity, and exclusively to Christianity (and maybe Jews, too, if they behave). And they want the no establishment clause of the First Amendment to apply to every religion except for Christianity. [Read more...]

The religious liberty right to believe that algebra is an abortifacient


The student’s beliefs are factually wrong — demonstrably so. Her beliefs are based on poor exegesis, scientific ignorance, a haughty disdain for others, and a preference for fearful lies over objective truth. Yet they remain her beliefs. And thus, Rutherford says, she has a legal right to be foolishly, fearfully wrong. [Read more...]

With friends like Caesar, the church doesn’t need enemies


Two red-state stories about the dismal state of church and state, both of which feature pious government officials “helping” the church by treating it as servant and subsidiary the state. [Read more...]

Hitting the ground like bags of wet cement


Happy Thanksgiving from WKRP; Art Simon on gratitude; Goblinbooks on the pilgrims — “enemies of liiberty, opponents of everything America can be;” Squanto and Doctor Who; and why I’m grateful that Providence beat Plymouth and Williams beat Winthrop. [Read more...]

Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and let your ‘no’ be ‘no’

From left: Nenita Bouchard, from Philippines, Gustavo Calix Luque, from Honduras, Michael Cumming, from Canada, Emmanual Dima, from Cameroon, and Mujo Durakovic, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, take the Oath of Allegiance for new United States citizens in June in Syracuse, N.Y. That oath, by law, includes the phrase "so help me God." It shouldn't. (Photo by Dick Blume of The (Syracuse) Post Standard.)

When Rep. Ellison affirms the solemnity of his oath by placing his hand on the Koran, or when soon-to-be Rep. Gabbard affirms the solemnity of her oath by placing her hand on the Bhagavad Gita, or if President Obama should affirm the solemnity of his oath by adding, “so help me God,” I think it best to respect those choices and to appreciate that what matters on such occasions is the seriousness and sincerity of the official and not the sectarian particulars used to signify it. [Read more...]

The oldest image of Jesus Christ is a crude, mocking caricature


We can have laws against blasphemy or we can have religious freedom. We can never have both. We have every right to take offense and every right to give offense. But we should not seek to take offense. And we should not seek to give offense. [Read more...]