January 2, 2002
The anti-prayer fanatics such as the Council for Secular Humanism all are wearing their shorts too tight. Or, as the Brits say, they have their knickers in a twist. If they are nonbelievers (I count myself as one), what have they to fear from a bunch of superstitious peasants? Let them pray. Let them speak in tongues and handle snakes. Religion tends to have a calming effect on the great unwashed. It is also true that religion, Christian or Muslim, has had a great civilizing effect in general, but when it comes to the invention of God, it boils down to whether you buy the premise.
March 17, 2007
A new Pew Research Center for the People & Press poll finds that nearly four in 10 people say they would be more likely to vote in a candidate for president if he/she is Christian. Should a candidate's religion or faith play a role in voters' choice of candidate for the presidency? As for a candidate's personal faith, should it matter? I want to say no, and in a perfect world I would say no. But we don't live in a perfect world, so I guess I'm forced to say yes. At the same time, just because someone is a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or an atheist, the public has no way of knowing how that person of faith or non-faith is going to vote on any particular issue.
November 29, 2006
As I try to do every year, I look for something that has happened throughout the last 12 months that has taught me something and has expanded my abilities to see things in a different way. The act of forgiveness by the Amish stands above every other example in my search this year. After five of their children were killed by a mentally unstable man who walked into a quiet rural school house, the Amish immediately put out the message of peace. Without hesitation they sent the word against vengeance.
September 6, 2008
Ministers are being urged to stop faith schools in England selecting pupils and staff on the basis of their religion. Accord, a new coalition of secular and religious figures, wants the government to stop state-funded schools engaging in what they say is ?discrimination.? Does segregating students on religious grounds harm community cohesion, or do faith schools boost standards in deprived areas? ? Faith-based English schools represent a broad spectrum of the larger religions; they are supported by parental demand, and they often outperform ?
October 2, 2009
This is probably the hardest piece I’ve had to write for any newspaper. I’ve had my share of difficult stories to write, but this one takes the cake. Weeks ago, when I was asked by my editors to write a column for this space every week, I accepted it humbly and graciously, with the thought that I did not deserve to have a column yet in this stage of my career, and that instead it should go to one of my esteemed veteran colleagues. What’s funny is, when I finally figured out what I was going to write about, I panicked over how I was going to write about it. So I’ve mulled for days now how I am going approach this column, and several hours to go until deadline, I still don’t know.
August 15, 2007
Singing carols not like being made to convert This letter is in response to Chris Jacobovitz’s take on the separation of church and state at John Burroughs High School (“Public school stage not the place for God,” Mailbag, Saturday). Jacobovitz writes that the use of overtly Christian music during a John Burroughs winter concert a few years ago appalled him. He is entitled to his opinion, of course, but as a Jewish student who was a member of the John Burroughs High School Choir a few years ago, I would have to disagree with him. The Christian music we sang was beautiful.
May 9, 2001
This letter is regarding the current controversy about council oral communications and 1st Amendment rights. For those unfamiliar with the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, here's what it says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and...