Soulful voice on a Capitol Hill sidewalk

The atmosphere on Capitol Hill's brick sidewalks stays frosty year round as the power-walking professionals rush along in suits of wool-blend armor, their earphones in place, smartphones loaded and eyes focused dead ahead.But things changed at the corner of Second Street and Massachusetts Avenue NE. That's where streams of pedestrians converge near Union Station, the U.S. Senate office buildings, the Federal Judiciary Center, the Heritage Foundation and other buildings packed with prestige and … [Read more...]

That changing God lobby in DC

Believe it or not, politicians used to be able to assume that when the U.S. Catholic bishops spoke on an issue, that meant that the nation's Catholics had spoken.That was so mid-20th century.Before long, Catholic liberals -- backed by Playboy's Hugh Hefner and others -- would dare to create a pro-abortion-rights group called Catholics for Free Choice.Before long, American Catholics would become so divided that traditionalists felt the need to form a group called Priests for … [Read more...]

Alveda King’s old dream

Fox News star Glenn Beck staged the show at the Lincoln Memorial, and then fired up his flock by claiming, "Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God."Mama Grizzly Sarah Palin almost stole the show with a political shot at President Barack Obama, telling her fans, "You too know that we must not fundamentally transform America as some would want. We must restore America and restore her honor!"But there was only one African-American preacher present … [Read more...]

Breakfast prayer wars

The way President Barack Obama sees things, Americans should be able to find unity in prayer -- even if they disagree on the details of faith and politics.That's true in the current debates about health care, poverty and even gay marriage, he said, at the recent National Prayer Breakfast."Surely we can agree to find common ground when possible, parting ways when necessary," said Obama. "But in doing so, let us be guided by our faith and by prayer. For while prayer can buck us up when we are … [Read more...]

Prayers in a minefield (civil religion II)

Phyllis Tickle tried to pay close attention to the prayers at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, which isn't surprising since she has written a whole shelf of books on rites of public and private prayer. The problem was that she didn't hear much in the way of traditional prayer, in terms of clergy offering words of praise and petition to God. Instead, the prayers sounded like lectures or mini-sermons aimed at the masses on the National Mall."Did I think the official prayers were … [Read more...]

Our political high holy day, part I

EDITOR'S NOTE: First of two columns on President Barack Obama's inauguration.As Aretha Franklin finished singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," the queen of soul did what she has done for decades -- she improvised.The result was a soaring bridge between the inauguration of President Barack Obama and a sermon 45 years ago at the Lincoln Memorial."Our fathers' God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, with freedom's holy light, protect us by thy might," sang … [Read more...]

Faith and Tony Snow’s grace

Few things in life cause more shame than encounters with con artists, those old-fashioned predators who know how to massage egos while selling snake oil by the barrel.But painful experiences can lead to big questions and critical insights into the state of one's soul, said White House spokesman Tony Snow, giving the commencement address at the Catholic University of America in 2007. The key is to take a long look in the mirror, to stop making excuses and then to move forward with wide-open … [Read more...]

Faith & politics? Nothing new

When it comes to religion and politics, it's hard to talk about the contests without naming the players and their teams.Consider Hillary Rodham Clinton, who insists that her political convictions are rooted in her United Methodist faith. Then there is Barack Obama and the Rev. Jeremy Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ. Enough said.What about John "Faith of My Fathers" McCain, an Episcopalian who worships with the Southern Baptists? Soon he will pick a running mate. Do you prefer Mitt … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X