Steven Waldman

In America, the debate over the breakdown of “the family” has become a codeword for gay rights issues. I’m struck, then, then, that the Pope spoke at length about the problems of the family without once mentioning homosexuality (despite the Church’s opposition). Instead, he mentions divorce, infidelity and cohabitation: In this regard, a matter of…

Pope Benedict XI, it is said, admires America’s religious freedom and history. I do too, especially where we have ended up. But as we focus this week on the role of Catholics in America, it’s worth remembering just how loathed Catholics were at the founding of this nation. Indeed, to an extent rarely acknowledged anti-Catholicism…

If spoken by a contemporary politician, many of John Adams’ comments about Catholics would render him or her unelectable. In 1765, he wrote that the “whore of Babylon” had falsely grabbed the “keys to heaven”; blasphemously claimed to convert wine into the blood of the Lord; and survived by keeping subjects in “sordid ignorance and…

Reader Mark comments, “You make no mention of colonial Maryland – which pretty much destroys your disjointed and quarrelsome argument. It was founded in 1632 by royal charter issued to the second Baron Baltimore who was a staunch Catholic and has had a continuous Catholic present up to this day.” Here’s what actually hapepened. Maryland…

Pope Benedict has praised the American tradition of religious freedom and separation of church and state. But what is often forgotten is that Catholics were not originally part of this arrangement in America. I’m always amused when I hear about the Judeo-Christian heritage of America because not only were the Judeos not equal partners, neither…

Ok, David, you can keep your job. That was an awfully nice plug for my book. I particularly liked the focus that David placed on my provocative notion that 18th century evangelicals might accuse 21st century evangelicals of lacking confidence in their own faith. This leads me to a broader point that ought to delight…

With battles already raging in Florida and Texas over whether to teach intelligent design in school, the topic will soon gain even more attention thanks to the April release of a new film by conservative actor Ben Stein. The traditional battle lines are drawn, with religious conservatives fighting for the teaching of intelligent design, and…

I laughed when I heard the line in this new Obama ad about how he “organized with Christian churches” to help unemployed workers. Normally, just saying “churches” pretty much implies “Christian.” But with a chunk of Americans still thinking he’s Muslim, I guess Obama felt he ought to be more explicit about the Christianness of…

As we mull Jeremiah Wright’s “God Damn America” theory, it’s worth remembering that in an earlier era, politicians routinely talked in these terms. During the revolutionary era, there was an assumption that God was paying attention and, thanks to the nobility of our cause, intervening on the side of the Americans. But when things were…

Yesterday I wrote that it was the best instance of a black politician articulating the anxieties and racial resentments of whites. It’s worth reflecting for a moment on the (obvious) fact that we still refer to Obama as a black politician rather than a half-black-half-white politician. Someone with an Irish mom and an Italian dad…

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about

Steve Waldman

Steven Waldman is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Beliefnet. He's also the author of the Founding Faith: Politics, Providence, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America, which has been published by Random House. Before co-founding Beliefnet in 1999, Waldman was a political journalist, serving as National Editor of U.S. News & World Report and National Correspondent for Newsweek. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Review, The Atlantic, Slate, and many others.

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