Author Archives: charlesrichter

What Does it Mean to Make America “Christian?”

In light of the Public Polling Institute survey indicating that 57% of Republicans would like to see Christianity established as the national religion of the United States, Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig asks what particular kind of Christianity might be selected as the national religion if that 57% had its way–which denomination, which doctrines? Or, she continues, […]

“This is a Government Institution, Not a Secular Institution”

South Dakota has produced a perfect storm of redefined terms to maintain Christian privilege in government.  As Hemant Mehta reports, the city council of Rapid City has been dismissive of requests that they cease the practice of praying before meetings. When Council Member Bill Clayton laughed off an appeal by a college student, he employed […]

Sledgehammer secularism?

I spent much of today at the “Secularism on the Edge” conference at Georgetown, organized by Jacques Berlinerblau, Sarah Fainberg, and Aurora Nou.  Aside from the opportunity to meet face-to-face with people I have only known online previously, this first day was an exciting and multifaceted look at how secularism works in different nations.  The […]

New Ideas, e.g., Chaucer, Milton, and the KJV

Somehow, I got on the mailing list for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a conservative non-profit dedicated to countering what they believe to be liberal bias in higher education. In the latest issue of their magazine, Intercollegiate Review, there is an article by John Zmirak mocking the courses that some universities offer to satisfy general education […]

Judge John Hodgman Rules on the Separation of Church and Mate

In “Away With the Manger,” last week’s episode of the excellent “Judge John Hodgman” podcast, the case before the court of fake law dealt with a family divided over whether or not to display a nativity scene for Christmas.  Marisa identifies herself as a “spiritual” person who was raised Catholic, and her husband Jay is […]

No Solemnity Without Religion; or, Why Can’t Atheists Perform Weddings?

The Center for Inquiry recently lost a case in a federal court in Indiana, in which it challenged a state law limiting the performance of weddings to religious celebrants only.  According to the law, The only people who can be authorized by Indiana to perform weddings are particular government officials and representatives of religions, typically […]

Why Does it Have to be “Without?”

The American Humanist Association just unveiled a new website and ad campaign for “the millions of young people around the world who have embraced science, rejected superstition, and are dedicated to being Good Without A God.”  They have set up a difficult task for themselves; by directing their efforts toward children, they are fulfilling the greatest fears […]

Theodicy and Real-World Justifications

Two recent articles have raised the question of politicians and divine authority. At the Daily Beast, Andrew Sullivan asks why Mitt Romney has never challenged the authority of his church’s institutional racism. Meanwhile, Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches takes the occasion of the latest regressive statement on rape by a Republican candidate to challenge the […]

The Beginnings of the Red Mass of Washington

Prompted by Marie Griffith’s post over at Religion and Politics, and spurred on by the happenstance of reading a related document while doing unrelated research the night before, I thought I’d take a look today at the history of the beginnings of the “Red Mass” in Washington, DC.  This mass, dedicated to the legal profession, […]

Jim Garlow and a 16th Century Russian Monk

What does Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, have in common with Filofei, a Russian Orthodox monk who corresponded with Vasilii III, Grand Prince of Moscow, in 1515? I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with the apocalypse. On “Today’s Issues” with Tony Perkins and Tim Wildmon, Garlow announced […]