by Rev. Philipp Kessler
December 10, 2012

In the United States, we just wrapped up a long and often tedious election season. President Barack Obama won a second term in the Oval Office and many lawmakers, local, state and national, have begun a new phase in their political careers. With November’s election over we no longer have to watch campaign ads on television, receive junk mail in our inboxes and snail mail or be bombarded with the memes over Facebook and other social media. That doesn’t mean …

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Call for Writers Continues

A quick post this week.

We’ve been sort of on-vacation since the election and now American Thanksgiving is upon us.  We’ll get back to more regularly scheduled posts following that holiday.  Or, we will at least until the Winter holidays interrupt the progress of our normal routines.

Remember:  our call for writers continues!  We’ve gotten a few responses and we’re chatting with people about what they might bring to the project.  If you’re interested in working with us, click the link above and let us know!

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U.S. Air Force Academy hosts first Hindu service

The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, you may remember, created an outdoor circle for Pagans in 2010.  The academy continues to include religious minorities, hosting their first Hindu service in September.  I read about it this past weekend while learning more about the holiday of Navratri but didn’t want this lost at the bottom of last week’s Faith Forum.

It was officiated by members of the Sri Venkateswara Temple of Colorado for the holiday of Sri Ganesha Chaturthi, the observance of the birth of the god …

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Religious liberty links, Oct 20: DC 40 returns; current election is “apocalyptic,” and more

Yes, the people behind DC 40 are at it again. They are coming to DC near Samhain to take a turn leading worship at David’s Tent, a group that is conducting continuous worship on the Ellipse near the White House until Election Day. It looks like the DC 40 team is taking four shifts from October 24th to the 27th, including a “drum circle” on the 27th.

The previous email update from DC 40 organizer James Nesbit directed followers to pray for the purpose of “Dismantling …

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Link Roundup: corporations and conscience, preaching for Mitt, and more

As challenges to the new contraceptive coverage mandate wend their way through the court system, a judge has ruled that requiring a for-profit company to provide insurance coverage of contraceptives does not substantially burden the company’s owner’s ability to practice his religion.

And as predicted, hundreds of pastors took to the pulpit to defy the IRS by endorsing political candidates. AU continues to urge the IRS to respond.

Away from the pulpit, conservative pastors who claim to be “nonpartisan” continue to insist that Christians have to vote …

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Pulpit Freedom Sunday encourages pastors to defy IRS

Tax law makes it illegal for pastors and other representatives of tax-exempt religious organizations to endorse political candidates, right? The Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund), a conservative Christian legal organization, says otherwise – and they’re pushing pastors to break the law.

Tomorrow is “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” and the ADF is recruiting Christian ministers to spread partisan political messages during their church services and sermons, in defiance of tax law. The ADF is associated with extremely conservative Christian groups and works on causes such …

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Link roundup: conservative Christian prayer efforts ramp up

As Election Day approaches, conservative Christian groups are mounting a wide array of prayer initiatives. Several of them started last week and intend to pray for 40 days (depending on how they count the days) until the election.

Most of these initiatives are presenting their message primarily in religious terms, not partisan ones. There’s also a lot less direct language of spiritual warfare than we saw in the DC 40 campaign. The favorite language here is about “solemn assemblies” and “crying out to God.”

While there’s some …

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Army chaplain leads sectarian prayer during suicide prevention event

Reports from Fort Sam Houston indicate soldiers attending a mandatory training session intended to address the problem of military suicides were led in an explicitly Christian prayer by a chaplain without an opportunity to opt out. One of the soldiers attending, staff sergeant Victoria Gettman, is an atheist who recognized this as an egregious violation and contacted Sgt Justin Griffith, the Military Director of American Atheists, who broke the story on his blog. Sgt Griffith spoke with PNC about this issue. He does not speak …

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The Values Voters Summit 2012: Islamophobia for all

As Hail Columbia gets into the groove of regularly summarizing news on interfaith issues and religious liberty, here’s a roundup that covers some of the important issues in arguments over religious liberty, including some stories going back a few weeks:

The weekend of September 14-16 was the annual gathering where conservative Christians flex their political muscles to push the Republican party in their chosen direction: the Values Voters Summit.

You might remember the flap there last year as the wide field of potential Republican candidates courted conservative …

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Missouri Amendment 2: A Trojan Horse for (Christian) Government & School Prayer

On Tuesday, Missourians will have an amendment to their state constitution on the ballot. The official summary reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure:

That the right of Missouri citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed;
That school children have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools; and
That all public schools shall display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

Sounds pretty unobjectionable, right? Wrong: this measure is just the latest in a long line of Trojan horse …

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