Opinion: Will Tax Bill Open Church Doors Wider Still for Politics?

A place of worship has never been completely clear of politics in America. But that physical and spiritual space for contemplation and reflection may grow smaller still, and moments without intrusion from the bitterness and division in the world could grow shorter.

Tucked into the House version of the tax plan that Republicans dearly crave as “a win” is a provision that would remove a check on places of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — and some nonprofits. The in-danger Johnson Amendment of 1954, one with more intent than teeth, supposedly prohibits pastors and other faith leaders from endorsing or opposing political candidates from their perches of religious authority or risk losing their tax-exempt status.

The GOP and White Evangelicals: A Forever Match?

Will a health care proposal that could toss “the least of these” off its rolls cause divisions between evangelicals uncomfortable with a close relationship with the Republican Party and those who feel just fine with the political association?

A shared anti-abortion stance, with the promise to appoint like-minded judges, has so far helped to keep the link between evangelicals and the GOP strong. But strains — along policy, generational, and racial lines — are showing within conservative faith groups, despite agreement on core beliefs.

 

Obama and Trump: Two Presidents, Same God

If Franklin Graham did not actually endorse Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, he stepped right up to the line — the one separating church and state. Graham was absolutely giddy post-election, when he gave credit to a force greater than the electorate. The evangelist and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse credited the “God factor” for Trump’s poll-defying win.

You might be seeing a lot of Graham, starting at Friday’s inauguration where he is one of the faith leaders invited to offer a prayer for America’s new president. It marks a resurgence of a familiar name when it comes to mingling politics and religion, and a continuation of a tradition in a country that doesn’t have an official faith but celebrates a National Day of Prayer and seems most comfortable with leaders who praise a higher power.

 

Christ Is Risen, But Campaign Discourse About Faith Has Fallen

Fewer Americans are flocking to religion, but you wouldn’t know that from the current presidential election cycle.

The politics of Washington are on pause for Easter break, but the campaign trail does not relent. And despite our separation of church and state, religion has been front-and-center this election season, often in ways that emphasize division rather than reconciliation.

 

Why Sarah Palin is here to stay

CHARLOTTE – Merry Christmas spoken here.

That could have been the slogan at Sarah Palin’s book-signing on Friday at the Billy Graham Library. As she greeted admirers, surrounded by the lights, trees and decorations, her message came across loud and clear.

“She’s gorgeous,” someone said, after she appeared to loud applause from the crowd. And she was, dressed in black pants and a black patterned lace top – glasses on, hair up and pen ready.

Many of those waiting in line wore a pin that read “It’s OK to Wish Me a Merry Christmas,” carrying through the theme of Palin’s book “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,” which sees the freedom to express the Christian values of the season under siege.

A state religion? What’s next, North Carolina, secession?

As a North Carolina resident also proud to be a United States citizen, I’m starting to worry.

Since Republicans swept the North Carolina state government, from the statehouse to the House and Senate, the tilt right has been unmistakable. But the latest move out of Raleigh has even a lot of die-hard conservatives shaking their heads. Two representatives from Rowan County have filed legislation that would give North Carolina, its counties and towns  the right to establish an official religion.

You know you’ve stepped over religious and constitutional boundaries when evangelist Franklin Graham thinks you’ve gone too far.

Myrlie Evers-Williams — Making Her Own History

In the glow of Inauguration Day spectacle, anyone reading reports might think the news flash of the day – after the second inauguration of America’s first African American president, of course – was Beyonce’s lip-synch-gate. Did the beautiful performer have some help in her rendition of the national anthem? And, by the way, did you notice First Lady Michelle Obama’s bangs?

It did surprise me that more was not made of another figure sharing the stage and holding her own with the president, someone’s whose history is also entwined in the red, white and blue flags fluttering throughout the crowd on the mall on that clear Washington day. You could say that without the efforts of a Myrlie Evers-Williams and all she represents, a President Barack Obama would not have been possible in 2008 and beyond.