Bookmark and Share
Printer Friendly
May 13, 2005

When Church and State Are Joined

Listed in: Separation of Church and State, NJDC News

A pastor tells congregants they must resign if they don't vote for George Bush.

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets and staff are pressured to attend church services, and Jews and members of other minority faiths are subjected to derision.

More than 1,000 Ohio pastors are asked to register 400,000 new "values voters" in Ohio in an event this week with Republican politicians.

What do these recent news reports (excerpts below) all have in common? They powerfully demonstrate a basic truth: religious liberty in America is threatened when the separation between church and state is willfully ignored.

Whether it's faith-based offices in the White House and major federal agencies; or open talk of the "myth of separation of church and state" by top conservatives; or religiously-exclusivist statements by top Republican leaders.... Policy decisions by GOP leaders -- and political statements by top party leaders -- have consequences.

As NJDC member and Air Force Academy graduate David Englin wrote in the Denver Post in December (click here for more), the Academy once was "an institution that could teach the rest of America a thing or two about religious tolerance." Now the Associated Press reports (click for more) an Academy chaplain said yesterday that "she was fired for speaking up about anti-Semitism and other reports of religious intolerance among cadets and staff, including allegations that evangelical Christians wield too much influence."

The bottom line is that statements and actions of today's GOP leaders only serve to tear down the wall separating church and state -- threatening every American's religious liberty. And this only adds to today's climate of religious intolerance. This week's headlines show the direct result of years of irresponsible statements and actions.

Below please find excerpts from these articles and links to the original articles on the Internet, where available.


Pastor Accused of Running Out Dems Quits
The Associated Press

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Waynesville, N.C. -- A Baptist preacher accused of running out nine congregants who disagreed with his Republican politics resigned Tuesday, two days after calling the issue "a great misunderstanding."

... But some congregants of the 100-member church in western North Carolina have said Chandler endorsed President Bush from the pulpit during last year's presidential campaign and said that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry needed to "repent or resign." The church members said he continued to preach about politics after Bush won re-election, culminating with a church gathering last week in which the nine members said they were voted out. Frank Lowe, one of the nine asked to leave, said Tuesday: "I think his duty was to preach God's word and let the people sort out what they want to do." ...

Please click here to read the entire article.


The New York Jewish Week
May 13, 2005

Intolerance Seen At Air Force Academy

Throughout his four years at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Casey Weinstein said those around him tried to convert him to Christianity and he found it difficult to attend Sabbath services "because Saturday was training day."

A sign placed on every plate in the cadet dining hall and in posters throughout the academy announced a Christian-themed program pertaining to Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ" and stating it was an "officially sponsored USAFA event."

An Air Force Academy chaplain, Maj. Warren "Chappy" Watties, led a Protestant worship service, then directed the cadets in attendance to proselytize those who did not attend. The penalty for those who failed to accept the proselytizing was to "burn in the fires of hell."

These were some of the situations outlined in an April 28 report by Americans United for Separation of Church and State following a two-month investigation into charges of religious intolerance at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo....

Please click here to read the entire article.


Ohio pastors putting their faith in politics
Thousand clergy members flock to Canal Winchester

The Columbus Dispatch
Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Merging the pulpit with politics, 1,070 Ohio pastors were asked yesterday to register 400,000 new "values voters" and urge their flocks to press a moral agenda at the Statehouse. The Rev. Rod Parsley told the prospective "Patriot Pastors," gathered with a sprinkling of Republican politicians, that evangelical Christians must halt Americas moral decline, saying, "We are the largest special-interest group in Ohio and America today, and I for one say enough is enough."

The event, the third in a growing political movement in Ohio to infuse government with a Bible-based agenda, was sponsored by the Center for Moral Clarity, founded by Parsley, on the sprawling campus of his World Harvest Church in Canal, Winchester.

...Also speaking was Roy Moore, the former chief justice of Alabama who was removed last year for refusing a federal court order to remove a 5,280-pound Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the state courthouse. Moore encouraged the pastors to stand up for their beliefs in the political arena, saying, "It's difficult to be removed from the Supreme Court, but it's not so difficult when you know it's Gods will. It's not so difficult when you know you're standing for the truth."

To read the entire article, visit the Columbus Dispatch site by clicking here (registration required).