Let Religion Have a Voice

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on March 5, 2007. A shorter version will air on KQED FM’s Perspectives series soon. Stay tuned.

Last month, Walter Cronkite came to San José to speak on behalf of “First Freedom First,” a national campaign seeking to reinvigorate the American commitment to separating Church and State by preserving our government’s secular inclinations in matters such as public education and health care policy.

By temperament and proclivity, I have a hard time disagreeing with Cronkite and his fellow activists. I don’t want my children to be taught creationism instead of biology; I don’t believe external religious mores should come between a patient and her doctor; I don’t think the mandates of one person’s sacred text should keep another person from marrying the man of his choice.

But I’m not entirely sold on the “First Freedom First” agenda because part of what is being promoted is a call to silence houses of worship by keeping them from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Continue reading

Katherine Harris on God and Politics

This piece was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on September 4, 2006. It also headlined the religion section of UPI’s homepage.

Thanks to Judy Brooks for alerting me to Katherine Harris’ views on the separation of church and state.

On August 24th The Florida Baptist Witness published an interview with Katherine Harris, the former Florida Secretary of State (she of the butterfly ballot and dangling chad). Now, she is a member of the United States House of Representatives, and is a candidate in this week’s primary election for the Senate.

The interview is worth reading for its presentation of Ms. Harris as a startlingly inarticulate religious fanatic. Contained in Rep. Harris’ musings, as recorded by the Witness are dozens of ideological and rhetorical blunders that are tempting fodder for a religiously progressive pontificator, but none is so inviting as her suggestion that the separation of church and state is a lie. Continue reading