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Fighting over religion: what to watch for in 2005


This article from the First Amendment Center talks about the church-vs.-state battles ahead for 2005:

Is it just me, or did public fights about religion escalate dramatically in 2004? The uproar last month over “bringing back Christmas” was just the latest (somewhat silly) example of a yearlong debate about the role of religion in America’s public square.

Consider the presidential campaign, surely the most religion-saturated contest in modern times. One candidate was attacked for being too religious — and the other for not being religious enough. Religious groups of all stripes entered the political arena with unprecedented zeal, motivated by religious convictions about everything from gay marriage to the war in Iraq.

The election, of course, didn’t create the religious divide in America — it only served to highlight how deep and abiding our religious and moral differences have become. Here’s the bad news: The culture-war battles of 2004 are a harbinger of even wider conflicts in 2005 and beyond.

First up may be yet another bruising fight in Congress over President Bush’s faith-based initiatives. Strengthening the capacity of community and faith groups to deliver social services to those in need has strong bipartisan support. But disputes over discrimination in hiring and use of tax money for religious purposes have stalled legislation designed to expand cooperation between government and faith-based programs.

More at the site.

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