Religion

Constitution's Bar on Religious Tests Withstands New Campaign in San Diego

blind justiceA group of conservative attorneys declared that they were on a mission from God to unseat four California judges in the election on June 8. "We believe our country is under assault and needs Christian values," said Craig Candelore, a family law attorney who was one of the group's candidates. "Unfortunately, God has called upon us to do this only with the judiciary." The challenge is unheard of, especially in California, which is one of 33 states to directly elect judges. Vowing to be God's ambassadors on the bench, the four San Diego Superior Court candidates won the backing of pastors, gun enthusiasts, and opponents of abortion and same-sex marriage. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's school of law, special interest groups, including those representing opposition to gay marriage, have recently increased donations for judicial races. Adam Skaggs, counsel for the Brennan Center said: "An effective way in driving policy is to try to influence who is on the courts in a state, particularly the highest court, the supreme court." For example, in Iowa's June 8 primary, two Republican gubernatorial candidates announced they favored ousting Supreme Court judges whose unanimous decision last year legalized same-sex marriage.

CREW Asks Obama to Avoid Scandal-Plagued Group's "National Prayer Breakfast"

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is asking President Obama not to attend this year's National Prayer Breakfast, the signature annual event of a secretive, Washington, D.C.-based, conservative Christian organization known as "

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Trijicon to Stop Putting Biblical References on Gun Sights

Trijicon, which manufactures gun sights used by the U.S. Military, responded to international outcry and Pentagon concerns by saying it will immediately stop engraving biblical references on gun sights it sells to the military, and will provide the military with 100 free kits to remove existing biblical codes from guns it has already purchased. Guns in the military that currently carry the religious inscriptions may number in the tens of thousands.

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Secret Jesus Codes on U.S. Military Weapons

ABC News revealed that Trijicon, the company that provides high-powered rifle sights to the U.S. military, inscribes the sights with coded references to biblical texts about Jesus Christ. The company inscribes the codes immediately after the model number, in the same font and type size.

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Mormon Homophobia: Up Close and Personal

I posted a brief item here recently about the PR nightmare facing the Mormon Church as a result of the prominent role it played this year promoting Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California. At the urging of church leaders, Mormons spent about $20 million on the effort, which probably provided the margin that enabled the proposition to pass.

There is some irony in the fact that Mormon pollster Gary Lawrence, who led the Proposition 8 grassroots campaign for the church in California, has a gay son, Matthew, who publicly resigned from the church to protest its anti-gay campaign. Matthew says that after his father's participation in "two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it's impossible not to feel attacked."

Adding further to the irony, Gary Lawrence has a new book out, titled How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image. His advice to Mormons who want to be better liked is, "Simply be yourself" -- advice that drew a sharp response from one blogger, who pointed out that being yourself "is a poor prescription for winning friends when 'who you are' is someone willing to lead a campaign to strip your own child of his civil rights."

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