Q & A: Melissa Rogers on religious liberty

Melissa RogersMelissa Rogers, a veteran religious-liberty attorney and nationally recognized expert in church-state law, is director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. In an e-mail interview, she reflects on some of the major developments in her field over the last decade and where things might go in the decade that just began.


Church-state scholar objects to 'Christian Right' designation

Observers of religion in public life have been scratching their heads about inclusion of a Baptist scholar known for advocating the separation of church and state in a recent Newsweek magazine article titled "Faces of the Christian Right."


Ousted Rep. Chet Edwards recounts religious-liberty fight

Early on in his House tenure, someone lit a religious-liberty fire under Rep. Chet Edwards -- and, despite Edwards’ position in the most Republican House district in the country to be represented by a Democrat, that fire never burned him.

Calif. court strikes down Wiley Drake's 'birther' case

A state appellate court in California has dismissed a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs including a former Southern Baptist Convention officer claiming that Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and therefore is not eligible to occupy the White House.

New polls show rising support for gay marriage, little change on abortion

Gay MarriageAbortion and gay rights appear to be decoupling as important dividing lines among Americans when it comes to social issues, according to recent surveys on values, faith and public life.


Supreme Court torn on free speech rights, private funeral rites

The last rites of a slain Marine clashed with a small church’s right to preach its anti-gay gospel in oral arguments heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Critics still waiting for action from faith-based office

Six months after advisers turned in 164 pages of recommendations to the White House’s faith-based office, thorny church-state questions remain unanswered and some critics say the office has been used to push the president’s health care reform.

Group urges IRS to probe church; calls for end to National Day of Prayer

A church-state watchdog group says the Internal Revenue Service should investigate whether a New York church violated federal tax law by endorsing a Democrat running for governor.

Most Americans OK student religious speech, poll reveals

A majority of Americans—including those who do not practice any particular faith—think students should be able to express their religion in public schools, according to a new poll by the First Amendment Center.

Jimmy Carter discharged from hospital

Former President Jimmy Carter was discharged Sept. 30 after two nights in a Cleveland hospital for what doctors say was a stomach virus.

BPFNA urges support for Muslims; N.Y. project director decries discourse

As the leader of an effort to build an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan expressed his dismay Sept. 13 at the rising tide of anti-Islam rhetoric across the country, the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America called on Baptists to build bridges of understanding with their Muslim neighbors.

Baptist leaders meet with Holder, denounce Baptists trashing Islam

As the national debate over Islam continues to ratchet up in advance of the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Baptists joined a group of religious leaders Sept. 7 in denouncing Islamophobia, urged the nation’s top law-enforcement official to crack down on anti-Muslim bigotry and chastened their fellow Baptists for contributing to the problem.

Two prominent Baptist thinkers criticize Beck’s 'Restoring Honor' rally

Beck rallyWhen popular conservative radio and TV personality Glenn Beck called for “revival” on the National Mall Aug. 28, he was making a hash of both patriotism and faith, according to published comments by a pair of prominent Baptist leaders. 

Religious groups push action on prison rape

Religious leaders and civil rights advocates have signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, pressing the Department of Justice to implement national standards to help prevent an estimated 60,000 cases of prison rape each year.

Poll: More confused about Obama’s faith, oppose church politicking

A new poll released by the Pew Research Center Aug. 19 shows a sharp uptick in the percentage of Americans who are confused about President Obama’s faith. It also shows that a slight majority of Americans don’t want churches involved in politics.
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