Steven Waldman

I feel winded listening to that speech. I’m sitting in my chair but feeling like I have to catch my breath. It was remarkable and will take some time to process. But here is my quick, gut reaction. His distancing from Jeremiah Wright’s statements was effective because he not only said he disagreed but why…

“Either believes this , has some affinity for what his pastor is saying or he just joined the largest church for political reasons, for opportunistic reasons.” –Bill Kristol, Fox News Sunday I’m not defending Obama on this but it does strike me there’s a third choice: that he disagreed with some things the pastor says…

I’ve long loved the public radio show, Speaking of Faith, with Krista Tippett. It was such an honor to have her apply her special talents to Founding Faith. What an amazing job she did. And don’t I sound a good deal more erudite when classical music is spliced between my paragraphs?

“Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life. In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he’s been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the…

Should a candidate be held responsible for the views of his or her pastor? If we were all held accountable for the views of our clergymen/women, then no one would ever go to church/synagogue etc. Obama shouldn’t be held responsible for all the words of Jeremiah Wright. It is, however, totally fair to ask Obama…

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation October 3, 1789 We may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions… Several things strike me about this proclamation (read the full text here). First, those who feel that George…

———————– Benjamin Franklin to Richard Price, October 9, 1780 “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself, and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil powers, ’tis a sign, I apprehend,…

The most moving quote I came across during my research did not actually relate directly to religious freedom. It was the letter Thomas Jefferson wrote John Adams upon hearing of Abigail Adams’s death. Recall that the two men had been comrades in the revolutionary years, then bitter enemies and then friends again as old men,…

By the way, John Hagee has been controversial in the Jewish community, for reasons you might not expect. Though he’s been anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim, Hagee has been a defender of Jews and foe of anti-Semiticism. His group Christians United For Israel has raised money and lobbied for Israel, to the point that Hagee is now…

It’s sort of fun watching John McCain try to suck up to the religious right – because he’s just so bad at it. Take John Hagee. McCain was no doubt told that Hagee is a popular and influential Christian leader. He figured this is exactly the kind of person he needs to appeal to “evangelical…

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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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