The foundation laid by 17th century English philosopher John Locke helped establish an America that values diversity and provides a separation between church and state. The result is the freedom to believe what we will.
The presidential election season is in full force, and clergy across the country have a unique challenge to identify moral issues of the day and teach how their faith traditions respond to those issues. Yet, there are legal boundaries that require clergy hold back certain kinds of opinions.
I was standing amid forty-four thousand people at Baltimore’s Camden Yards last weekend, about to sing the National Anthem, when the announcer asked for a moment of silence for the loss of life in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas. He called for national unity and asked that we stand still for about 20 seconds before the Star Spangled Banner began.
President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Hiroshima provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon not only the historic significance of this eventbut also to consider the atomic bomb as a sober warning toward the future of humankind.
I have written this same column for the children of Newtown, Conn., for the worshipers at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, and now, regrettably, I must again memorialize the innocent young adults killed early Sunday in Orlando Fla.
I liken the struggle to change state constitutions to adapt to the moral and legal imperatives that come out of the First Amendment to a professional rugby match where both teams are locked in one huge group of men in what the sport calls a scrum.
I am sitting in the Arab quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem having a cup of mint tea. It is about 5:30 p.m. and suddenly I hear a blasting sound of the Muslim clergy chanting prayers through a microphone piercing the old city calling the faithful to pray. It is not a distant sound but one piercing my ears. I was sitting around the corner from the old city mosque.
Hospitality is one of the hallmarks of Thanksgiving. Clearly this question of American hospitality consumes the attention of our political system regarding refugees from the war-torn Middle East. I am, however, more concerned about how this immigration issue plays out in the pulpit and in the pews.
The decision of Pope Francis to meet privately with Kim Davis, the now world famous county clerk from Kentucky who refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples and who was jailed for a time, demonstrates that we in America still must weigh what it means to have religious freedom and at whose expense we may protect those rights.