- - Friday, September 9, 2016

1| Trump Pushes to Repeal Little-Used Ban on Church Endorsements

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, a thrice-married former casino magnate, is making an unusual promise to bridge the gap with evangelical voters.

He is calling for the repeal of a decades-old section of the federal tax code known as the Johnson Amendment, named after former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who as a U.S. senator spearheaded the ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt organizations such as churches.

Mr. Trump is the first GOP nominee to make the law a major campaign issue, religious leaders say, and he’s expected to raise the issue when he addresses hundreds of “values voters” at a convention Friday in Washington, D.C., organized by the Family Research Council.

“You’ve been totally silenced, silenced like a child,” Mr. Trump told a gathering of pastors in Orlando last month.

Also: Skip endorsements in church, say most Americans |Baptist Press

Since the 1950s, the IRS has banned preachers from endorsing candidates during church services. According to a new study, most Americans seem to like it that way.

Eight in 10 (79 percent) say it is inappropriate for pastors to endorse a candidate in church.

Three-quarters say churches should steer clear of endorsements. Yet fewer than half want churches to be punished if they do endorse candidates. Those are among the findings in a new report on religion and politics from LifeWay Research.

…Most Americans also want churches to steer clear of any involvement with political campaigns. Eighty-one percent disagreed with the statement, “I believe it is appropriate for churches to use their resources to campaign for candidates for public office.” Seventeen percent agreed. Two percent were not sure.

2| The Surprising Secret to Phyllis Schlafly’s Success |TIME

***Author’s answer: Schlafly’s parents.

Having spent my career writing biographies, I’ve learned that nothing is more important in the creation of the adults I write about than their childhoods and their relationships with parents. Of the many people I’ve profiled, none came close to having a childhood as healthy, happy and encouraging as the anti-Equal Rights Amendment crusader Phyllis Schlafly, who died Monday at age 92. Those who battled Schlafly and lost, repeatedly, could only have wished for a far different upbringing.

3| Veteran religion reporter looks for the Bible in public life in new book | Deseret News

Kenneth A. Briggs has been on the “Godbeat” for years, as a religion reporter for Newsday, as religion editor at The New York Times and now as a contributor to the National Catholic Reporter.

In that time, the lifelong Methodist has seen the Bible “become a museum exhibit, hallowed as a treasure but enigmatic and untouched,” he writes in his book “The Invisible Bestseller: Searching for the Bible in America.”

And so Briggs set out on a two-year, cross-country journey to investigate the Bible’s disappearance from public life and see where he could find it still. He’s documented that journey in “The Invisible Bestseller,” released this month by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Along the way, he met a homiletics professor who encouraged her students to explore the text by exchanging roles with the characters in biblical accounts, and he came across professors at evangelical colleges surprised by how little their incoming students knew about the Bible. He attended a meeting of Bible promoters in Orlando, Fla., worried nobody was reading their tomes; the academic Society of Biblical Literature convention in Chicago; and a traditional Presbyterian church in Pennsylvania. He was deeply moved by his visit to a federal prison in upstate New York, where, he said, the inmates knew the Bible better than he did.


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