Our first meeting of 2018 took place on Saturday, January 6, at the Old Quarry branch library at 7051 Village Center Dr.
The meeting took the form of a panel discussion on something deeply embedded in American democracy: separation of church and state. In recent months religion has entered the political spotlight in several ways, such as the calls for repealing the 1954 Johnson amendment, which prohibits religious organizations from endorsing or opposing candidates for office, on pain of losing their tax-exempt status.
What is the importance of the Johnson amendment today, and what would be the consequences of its repeal? Should church donations be tax-deductible at all? When religious beliefs clash with partisan loyalties, how do we resolve the conflict?
These and other issues were discussed by the panel, whose members were (left to right):
- Rev. Mary Wilson, Church of the Savior
- Rabbi Neil Blumofe, Congregation Agudas Achim
- Sheikh Yassir Fazaga, Islamic Center of Brushy Creek
- Rev. Brian Ferguson, Wildflower Unitarian Universalist Church
The discussion was moderated by Mike Ignatowski.