Dec 27 2006
With the death of President Gerald Ford,
One memory of President Ford stands out above all others. I told him that I was collecting the favorite words of high profile people around the world for a book. The former president knew immediately the words that he wanted to share with me. President Ford took out his wallet and showed my wife Judy and me a piece of paper that he carried with him at all times—a definition of the word “pardon.” He explained that the receipt of a pardon indicated that the person pardoned had accepted responsibility for the act pardoned. That definition was extremely important to Gerald Ford because he felt accepting responsibility was imperative for every person in a democracy. A few days later, President Ford sent to me what he considered the most important words in his public life: “Our long national nightmare is over.”
Our nation will miss Gerald Ford as will I. On this I think all of us can agree that we are better people for having had him among us. So, we give thanks for his life.
Jan 03 2007
Pat Robertson’s latest statements offend me as an American and as a member of the clergy. It is one thing to prognosticate and be bad at it; there are many people who do that on cable everyday. But, to do it while citing God as your source is beyond the pale.
The real religion story of 2007 is the increasing use of religion for partisan political purposes. If the unholy alliance between religion and politics continues unabated, religion’s vital voice in our nation will be even further weakened.
Jan 05 2007
The aspect of his job the public gets to see is his opening prayer in the Senate everyday. Chaplain Black said he tries “to be sensitive to the heterogeneity of the audience that is listening to me.” However, he admits, “Some times I will end my prayers ‘in the name of Jesus.’”
The interview provides great insight into one of the most interesting examples of the intersection of religion and politics. Black states that his position is comparable to being a pastor at a Church with 7,000 members, counting Senators and their staffs and families. When non-Christian senators and staff members are in need of chaplaincy, Black brings in other clergy. He says “It’s an opportunity of facilitate their religious needs without actually participating.”
In addition to the edited version on the show, an unedited copy of the interview is available at StateOfBelief.com on Monday.
Also on the show: Dr. Bruce Prescott, author of the blog Mainstreet Baptist; and Albert Menedez, director of research with Americans for Religious Liberty.
Jan 12 2007
Rev. Gaddy asks Senator Leahy whether the change in control of Congress will affect the makeup of the federal judiciary. “I don't want the federal judiciary to be an arm of either the Democratic or the Republican Party,” Leahy replies. “If we start allowing it to become politicized, to say nominees have to fit a certain ideology, we will destroy that independence.”
Senator Leahy talks about plans for an oversight hearing with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales next week. The focus of the hearing will be on privacy issues, especially in relation to the NSA wiretapping program. If Gonzales refuses to answer key questions about the program, Senator Leahy says he is prepared to issue subpoenas as a last resort. “Americans are giving up the thing we've always prized - our privacy - and I don't think this is making us safer,” says Leahy.