A Letter to Religion’s Cultured Admirers

When I left college I was at a religious crossroads. I had grown up as a moderate Episcopalian. That was now comfort food that I didn't want to eat every Sunday. My college had been extremely liberal, and the religion there had been wispy and uninteresting. I was in the Bible Belt, and the evangelicals around me had too many pat answers and not enough intellectual underpinnings.I found my middle way in John Shelby Spong's autobiography Here I Stand. Spong insisted that I could keep my … [Read more...]

The Highest Paid State Employees

From Deadspin: "You may have heard that the highest-paid employee in each state is usually the football coach at the largest state school. This is actually a gross mischaracterization: Sometimes it is the basketball coach."(click to get to the original post, where they explain their methodology.)How do we explain this? Part of it is - speaking very broadly - religion.For a very long time, American universities were supposed to educate their students in the virtues that made them … [Read more...]

Established Religion in North Carolina

Tired of ACLU suits against prayer in schools and before government meetings, a number of Republican Senators in North Carolina have put forth a bill that cuts to the chase. From the @NCCapitol blog:A bill 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.The bill grew out of a federal … [Read more...]

New Director of Faith Based Office

Hemant is reporting that Melissa Rogers has been appointed as the new director for the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This is apparently popular among secularist groups since Rogers has a history of being pro-separation.I also see that she's an academic director at Wake Forest, so I went looking for papers that might and give us a hint of what to expect. The first thing I came across was in the journal for the Canadian International Council from 2004. As it happens, … [Read more...]

Quote of the Moment: Semi-establishing all religions

John Holbo has a great article up about the debate between Andrew Sullivan and Douglas Wilson. The article is hard to abstract, but this section about how we treat the interaction of religion and politics jumped out at me:The moral of the story is this: there is some confusion about what ‘respect’ for religious liberty properly entails. Legally and morally, people are inclined to treat religious convictions as more than mere ‘private preference’. (If this weren’t the case, there wouldn’t be … [Read more...]