Boy... there is so much to write about. President Bush once again shows he is an idiot... declaring that federally funded stem cell research would be doing something that had never been done in the history of our country - using federal money to fund the killing of children... I guess he doesn't watch the news to see what is going on In Iraq. We won't even talk about the logical end of declaring that destroying an embryo is murder.
The Southern Baptists have shown their idiocy again too... they approved a resolution on the environment at their June meeting saying they would not "support solutions based on 'questionable science' that could hurt the economy," i.e. they don't believe in global warming in spite of virtually unanimous agreement about it by atmospheric scientists.
Nope... I'm going to write about separation of church and state. Trinity United Methodist church is a congregation that I know well. It is located on a busy street in downtown Albany, NY, crowded with bars, restaurants, and lots of people. Together with the other FOCUS churches, they have a long history of involvement in social justice issues and outreach to those on the edges of society.
Trinity has begun a program to give teenagers someplace to go and something to do. They have started a concert series with rock/punk/ska/ etc. bands and it evidently is attracting a lot of kids. The city of Albany has cited them for running an illegal nightclub! The city is trying to define what their ministry can be and even what constitutes church music. The police chief, James Tuffey said "An organ recital is a church event. This is not a church event."
This is precisely the kind of issue that the early proponents of separation of church and state foresaw. Those early proponents were people of faith - Baptists, Quakers, and Unitarians mostly - who believed that faith had to be free to be real and that no government had any right to constrain it in any way. The doctrine was articulated not to keep faith out of government, but to keep government out of faith. The city of Albany has no right to define Trinity's ministry or to constrain it from following what it believes to be the leading of the Spirit. If the city prevails in court today, it bodes badly for all of us who are seeking to do the ministry to which we have been called. At any time, a city government could step in and say, "can't do that."
article in the Albany paper.