Religion

12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics – A People For the American Way Foundation Report with a Foreword by Bill Moyers

Washington, DC – The proper role of religion in American politics has been the subject of vigorous – and sometimes toxic – debate for over two centuries. Today, in the midst of campaign-season claims about America’s founding as a “Christian nation” and hyperbolic rhetoric about religious persecution, People For the American Way Foundation calls for a more constructive conversation with a new report, 12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics, authored by PFAW Foundation senior fellow Peter Montgomery with a foreword by journalist Bill Moyers.

"12 Rules" takes on a number of current debates, including those over required contraception insurance coverage, marriage equality, and the role of religion in the 2012 presidential campaign. This edition builds on earlier releases of "12 Rules" in 1984 and 1994.

The full report can be found online here. 

“Religious liberty is at the heart of what it means to be an American, but it is also at the center of some of our fiercest debates,” said Peter Montgomery. “How do we balance the constitutional principles of free exercise of religion and the separation of church and state when they come into tension with each other? And how can people of faith bring their religious values into the public arena without turning religion into a political club? As our religious landscape becomes increasingly diverse, it is important that we grapple with these issues in ways that are more constructive than divisive. We hope these Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics will launch many constructive conversations around these topics.”

“Our political climate is being poisoned by inflammatory charges of anti-religious and anti-Christian persecution,” said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way Foundation. “We can look around the world to see what religious persecution looks like, and we think it’s wrong to cry wolf over political and policy disputes. We are strong advocates for First Amendment freedoms. But something can be legal without being wise. The principles in this report should be embraced by people of all religious and political beliefswho long for a more respectful and responsible debate in the public arena.”

This new edition of "12 Rules" will be launched at an event in Washington, DC featuring a discussion with Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim American elected to Congress.

Read the full report, 12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics, here.  

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PFAW Statement on Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin was on his best behavior at this morning’s Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. That’s not surprising given the heightened media scrutiny and promises by Mayor Rick Meehan that Boykin would not say anything inflammatory. However, that does not excuse Ocean City officials – Mayor Meehan in particular – for providing a platform to a man who travels the country spreading bigotry and divisiveness

CADC's Ten "Irrefutable Proofs" that Obama is not a Christian

Back in 2008, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission released a series of videos attacking then-candidate Barack Obama's faith.  The entire operation was entitled "Seven Reasons Barack Obama is not a Christian" and consisted of various videos asserting that Obama "was not a Christian by any Biblical or historic measure."

Things such as his ties to Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his appreciation of some elements of Islam were held up as proof that Obama could not be considered a Christian, as was that fact that he was "an unabashed supporter of special privileges for homosexuals":

Now that the 2012 presidential election is beginning to heat up, the CADC has announced that it intends to resurrect the series - this time featuring ten reasons - and release a new video every month leading up to the election. 

Here are the CADC's "Ten New Irrefutable Proofs that Barack Obama is NOT a Christian!":

1.) Economics: Obama advocates for failed Marxist/socialist economic schemes that are based on envy and class warfare that divides the country and uses the government to steal from one group to give it to another.

2.) Marriage: Obama abdicated his sworn presidential duty to defend the laws of the United States by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and even actively worked to undermine the law.

3.) Religious Liberty: Obama signed "Hate Crimes" legislation that can result in prosecution for speaking against homosexuality. Even pastors who preach the biblical view of sexuality could face prosecution in certain situations.

4.) Abortion: Obama's policies have caused taxpayer funded abortions in other nations and fund of embryonic stem cell research that kills human embryos. He gave $50 million to UN population agency for promoting abortion and working with China's murderous "one child" policy. He eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education and overturned the ban on funding abortions within Washington, D.C. During the 2011 budget debates, Obama refused to end funding for Planned Parenthood, almost causing the government to shut down.

5.) Homosexuality: Obama signed a bill repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which opened the door to open homosexuality in the military. Now military chaplains will be pressured to perform homosexual unions. Obama had militant homosexuals as part of his inaugural events and even hosted a reception in the White House celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the homosexual rights movement.

6.) Liberal / Marxist Liberation Theology: Obama sat under a radical, Marxist minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for 20 years and has adopted all of his Marxist ideology. Obama denies Christ's atonement and mocks the Bible and rarely attends church, yet we are supposed to believe he's Christian. Many believe he's really a Muslim, and for some good reasons.

7.) National Christian Heritage: In a speech given in Turkey, Obama said, "we do NOT consider ourselves a Christian nation." Obama intentionally misquotes the Declaration of Independence omitting "our Creator" as the source of our unalienable rights.

8.) Supreme Court Appointments: Justice Elena Kagan is a hardcore liberal on abortion, gun rights and homosexual marriage and is suspected to be a lesbian. Kagan wrote a brief supporting Clinton's veto of a ban on partial birth abortion. While a Dean at Harvard, Kagan banned military recruiters from the campus. Kagan also opposed the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a liberal and activist judge who believes courts should make policy not just interpret the constitution. Sotomayor argued for unlimited abortions for any reason throughout pregnancy and for taxpayer funding of abortions.

9.) Obama-care: Your tax dollars will pay for abortions and the older you get your life will be considered a liability and expendable. Some bureaucrat on a "DEATH PANEL" will ultimately decide if YOUR life is worth saving or not.

10.) Radical Czars: Kevin Jennings, Obama's Safe School "czar," is a militant, homosexual activist from Massachusetts. Radical pro-abortion advocate Kathleen Sebelius is Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services. She took a quarter of a million dollars from George Tiller, the notorious late term abortionist. Chai Feldblum, a lesbian law professor was appointed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Feldblum said in any conflict that might arise between religious liberty and homosexual "rights," she would have a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.

Just keep this in mind the next time you hear anyone from the Religious Right complaining that the media and/or liberals are bigotedly attacking the faith of the Republican presidential candidates.

Fischer: First Amendment Does Not Apply To Mormons

As mentioned in our earlier post, we are once again asking Republican leaders who will be attending the upcoming Values Voter Summit to denounce Bryan Fischer's long history of unmitigated bigotry. This time we are focusing on Mitt Romney because, according to the conference schedule, he will be speaking immediately before Fischer on Saturday morning.

Our efforts in the past to get anyone within the GOP or Religious Right to condemn Fischer's relentless bigotry have not amounted to much, mainly because nobody within the movement seems to be particularly bothered by it, which is why GOP leaders continue to appear on his radio program and on stage with him at Religious Right events. 

But we wonder if Mitt Romney might finally raise some objections to sharing the stage with someone who openly declared just earlier this week that the First Amendment does not apply to Mormons and asserts that the LDS church still supports polygamy:

My argument all along has been that the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion.

One evidence that [the Founding Fathers] were not dealing ... they weren't even intending to deal with non-Christian religions is what they did with Mormonism in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Mormonism - they call themselves by the name of Christ, but it is not an orthodox Christian network of churches, it just is not. Mormonism is not an orthodox Christian faith. It just is not. They have a different Gospel, they have a completely different definition of who Christ is and so forth, I mean, the list could be multiplied endlessly.

And it was very clear that the Founding Fathers did not intend to preserve automatically religious liberty for non-Christian faiths, so when Mormonism came along, they practiced polygamy, they believed in polygamy, just like Muslims do today. It was a part of their revealed religion. God had commanded Joseph Smith to have multiple wives and commanded Joseph Smith to go tell your wife Emma, look you gotta room, I want my son Joseph to be able to have as many wives as he wants so you're just going to have to accept it. So God is telling Emma through Joseph Smith, look you're just going to have to live with this deal. So multiple wives in the Mormon Church until 1890 when the Mormon Church told their folks to obey the law.

The Mormon Church, by the way, has never denounced the practice of polygamy. It has not. What it did in 1890, if you go back to the Doctrines and Covenants, what the Mormon Church did is they advised - it wasn't even an order - they advised the members of the LDS Church to obey the law which said one man, one woman, period. So my guess is that if those that are trying to legalize polygamy, and they are working on it right now ... [Fischer cites court case pushing for recognition of polygamy and says it the same as using courts to push for gay marriage] ... If there is some activist court that says you have to recognize polygamous marriages in your state, you're going to start seeing the LDS church, I believe go back to the exercise of polygamy. If it's legal, because all they told their folks is obey the law, if the law says you can have multiple wives, I believe the LDS Church will be out in the front of the pack.

I mean, not everybody in the LDS Church is going to do it any more than all the members of the LDS Church ever did it. It was a minority even in Joseph Smith's day - I mean, Brigham Young set some kind of world record for number of wives, I mean he was up there in Muhammad territory frankly. But most Mormons didn't do it, it was just a small percentage that had the resources to be able to do it. But I think it will come back, it will come back pretty vigorously in the Mormon Church, again, because all the church fathers said in 1890, just obey the law. Well, if the law says you can have multiple wives, they'll be back.

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