News to help you
fill in the missing
Radical Religious Right
is a coalition of religious and political groups
seeking by various means to weaken or remove the separation of church
and establish their version of Christianity as the national religion.
they ignore you, then they ridicule you,
then they fight you, then you win.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
Press releases have white
writers are responsible for the content; ideas presented are not
necessarily those of the Pagan Institute, CUUPS-TwinCities, the UUA, or the Goddess.
Supremes to rule on Establishment Clause
in Hein v Freedom from Religion Foundation
Just How Many Secret Clubs does the Radical
Religious-Right G.O.P. Activists
Try to Marginalize National Association of Evangelicals (NAE)
Religious Right News Briefs
Fundamentalism as an Addiction; 12 Steps
for Recovery from Fundamentalism
Pharisee Watch: How
Reverends Enable Church Bombers
Evangelicals Offer Course for
Media Professionals/Green View
Commentary by Lowell McFarland
Christian Reconstructionists Explained
Evangelicals See Themselves as Part of Mainstream, Still Beleaguered
Bush: "Send Us Your Church Directories"
Are YOU seeing a pattern here?
Americans United's Case against the
Radical Religious Right
News on Religion and Public Life from PEW Institute
Do something about
letter = 10 long ones = 50 phone calls = 1000 emails.
Supremes to rule on Establishment Clause
in Hein v Freedom from Religion Foundation
If the federal government gives
money directly to a religious school or organization in a manner
that clearly violates the Establishment Clause of the First
Amendment, can anyone sue to stop it? The answer should be
obvious: any taxpayer should be able to sue to prevent his or her
tax dollars from being used in a manner that is an
unconstitutional establishment of religion.
Unfortunately, President Bush and the religious right disagree.
On Wednesday, February 28, the Supreme Court heard arguments in
Hein v Freedom from Religion Foundation, a case that threatens to
make the federal government completely immune from challenges when
it spends money to support religion.
In a 1968 court case, Flast v Cohen, the Supreme Court recognized
an exception to the usual rule that a person cannot sue as a
taxpayer to stop the spending of money that violates the
Constitution. In that case, the Court said that the Establishment
Clause of the First Amendment was meant to be a limit on
Congress's taxing and spending power and that therefore taxpayers
do have standing to enforce its commands.
Hein v Freedom from Religion Foundation is a challenge to the Bush
administration's unprecedented attempt to funnel money to
religious entities providing social services. In his first days as
President, George W. Bush created an Office of Faith Based and
Community Initiatives for the purpose of giving money to religious
institutions. The question is whether a taxpayer can bring a
challenge to this as violating the Establishment Clause.
It is to be hoped that the Supreme Court will reaffirm Flast v
Cohen and allow taxpayers to challenge this effort to support
religion with federal tax dollars. But there is a real possibility
that the Court could narrow or even overrule Flast.
If that happens, then there would be no way to sue to stop the
federal government from giving any form of assistance to churches,
synagogues, mosques, or other religious entities. The
Establishment Clause could be ignored by the federal government
and no one could stop it.
This possibility reaffirms the importance of our nation's
commitment to the separation of church and state and our fight
against the religious right's war on this American principle.
DefCon advisory board member
Alston & Bird Professor of Law and Political Science, Duke
P.S. Stay tuned to the DefCon Blog for updates on this case and
the Court's final decision.
© 2007 DefCon: Campaign to Defend the Constitution
[Thanks to http://www.defconamerica.org for use of this item. cl]
Harry Jackson claims that in the past, Evangelicals “voted their values” based on
“gay marriage and pro-life concerns” (They
haven't according to a Center for American Values
poll.) Now climate change and torture have begun a “political makeover” in some Evangelical circles,
much to the dismay of Neo-cons and Republican party faithful.
James Dobson (Focu$ on the Family) argues that reconsidering the
Christian content of the Neo-con party line is the result of a
liberal conspiracy to distract from "the core mission of
Christians," by which Bishop Jackson means "protection of
(unborn) life and guarding the traditional family.”
During this transformation from
caterpillar to butterfly, a host of enemies are attempting to
prevent an evangelical resurrection. A sophisticated, pincer
strategy is being waged against them by two groups--–liberal
Christians and the liberal press. Both groups fear that the
sleeping giant will awaken with an attitude.
that “values voters”
might question the inerrancy of the Republican Party platform,
from the War on Terror to tax cuts and Social Security to a fear of “socialized
medicine.” In the '80s
the Institute on Religion and Democracy,
squelched criticism Reagan's Central America by the National
Council of Churches; now -- in the name of “renewal” of mainline
protestant churches -- they are attacking not only the National
Council of Churches (NCC) but ALSO the National Association of
Evangelicals (NAE) as Communist sympathizers.
Read "GOP-Aligned Religious-Right
Activists Seek to Marginalize NAE"
Source: People for the American
Way. Used with permission.
Neo-cons and RRRs in the GOP’s right-wing base
are unsatisfied with any GOP presidential
frontrunners. As the New York Times reported in February 2007:
A group of influential Christian conservatives and their
allies emerged from a private meeting at a Florida resort this
month dissatisfied with the Republican presidential field and
uncertain where to turn.
The event was a meeting of the Council for National Policy, a
secretive club whose few hundred members include Dr. James C.
Dobson of Focus on the Family, the Rev. Jerry Falwell of Liberty
University and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.
Although little known outside the conservative movement, the
council has become a pivotal stop for Republican presidential
primary hopefuls, including George W. Bush on the eve of his
1999 primary campaign.
But in a stark shift from the group’s influence under
President Bush, the group risks relegation to the margins. Many
of the conservatives who attended the event, held at the
beginning of the month at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island,
Fla., said they were dismayed at the absence of a champion to
carry their banner in the next election.
Now, the Boston
Globe reports that the secretive far right-wing
"Arlington Group," is interviewing potential GOD presidential candidates:
Leaders of a secretive coalition that includes some of the
most influential social conservatives in the nation are
interviewing presidential candidates in hopes of flexing
political muscle and reframing the Republican primaries in 2008.
Over the past few months, members of the executive committee
of the so-called Arlington Group have questioned several
declared and potential White House hopefuls with the intention
of settling on a single candidate, according to Arlington Group
members and Republican operatives familiar with the discussions.
Leaders of the group have interviewed Huckabee, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, US Representative Duncan Hunter of
California, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who hasn't
entered the race but may later this year. It's not clear which
other candidates have been or will be interviewed. The group has
not yet questioned Romney, Senator John McCain of Arizona, or
former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, according to those
While the Arlington Group cannot endorse candidates itself, its
high-profile and influential members certainly can:
Continue reading "Just How Many “Secretive Clubs” Does The Right
Subjects: Politics, Religious Right, Right Wing,
Groups: Arlington Group, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council,
People: James Dobson, Tony Perkins
Right News Briefs from www.rightwingwatch.org
March 26, 2006 - Plain Dealer
Bush's Comments Further Focus Religious Debate
A question posed to President Bush about whether apocalyptic
religious beliefs color his decision-making on Iraq has reignited
debate over the religious right's role in his administration.
March 25, 2006 - Associated Press
Governor Candidates Reach Out Via Religion
Particularly in the South and swing states, candidates are trying
to attract voters by visiting churches, quoting from the Bible and
talking about their faith.
March 25, 2006 - Los Angeles Times
Right Is Might for GOP's Aspirants
The GOP's Christian conservative wing, crucial to President Bush's
reelection in 2004, is maneuvering to have a big say in who wins
the party's nomination in 2008.
March 22, 2006 - The Washington Post
Grants Flow to Bush Allies on Social Issues
Through its religion-based initiatives and other federal programs,
the administration has funneled at least $157 million in grants to
organizations run by political and ideological allies.
| "Even a fundamental reading of text is STILL a personal
----- K.C. McGuire
- - In recent article, I promised readers that
I would address the mindset of the religious right as an addiction. In order
to do so with accuracy and clarity, it is first necessary to define addiction and clarify the terms, Christian fundamentalism and Dominionism.
to www.dictionary.com, an addiction is “being
abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or
physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs) [syn: dependence, dependency, habituation] 2: an abnormally strong craving 3: (Roman law) under Roman law addiction was the
justification for slavery"
seventy years, Twelve-Step programs have addressed issues of addiction not
only to substances such as alcohol, drugs, and food, but to behaviors such
as compulsive gambling, shopping, and even working. After a number of
responses to my last article from former fundamentalist Christians, I began
investigating Twelve-Step groups which address issues of religious
compulsion and spiritual abuse. One group I discovered was Fundamentalists
Anonymous (F.A.) and its Twelve Steps. (http://www.geocities.com/church_of_hank/fundamentalists_anonymous.html)
before I examine those steps, I would like to further define the terrorist
and tyrannical aspects of Christian fundamentalism.
readers drew to my attention in response to my last article, Christian
fundamentalism and Dominionism are not necessarily synonymous. According to
Merriam-Webster, Christian fundamentalism is: “a movement in 20th century
Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to
Christian life and teaching b : the beliefs of this movement c : adherence
to such beliefs. 2 : a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal
adherence to a set of basic principles.”
defines Dominionism as “the conversion of America to a theocracy by taking
over the American Judiciary.” I would add that the conquest might begin with
the judiciary, but the Dominionist agenda has targeted all aspects of
government and society for the establishment of a theocracy.
purposes, the distinction between fundamentalist Christianity and
Dominionism is incidental because what is most important to understand is
that any religion, philosophy, or belief system can be addictive,
fear-based, and terrorizing, and if it is used to justify changing the
Constitution of the United States and creating a society in which the laws
of that system are also fear-based and terrorizing, then regardless of the
label, fundamentalist or Dominionist, that system is both terrorist and
tyrannical. Whether one wishes to debate the differences between
fundamentalist Christianity and Dominionism or not, both systems are
about domination, power, control, right/wrong; win/lose. Moreover, as in my
last article, I am reiterating that terrorism and tyranny,
like the word addiction, have much broader definitions than crashing
planes into buildings, establishing a superior race, or forcing women to
cover their faces.
here is on fundamentalist Christianity and Dominionism as religious systems
which complement and support tyrannical political systems, specifically,
fascism. I am well aware that not all fundamentalist Christians, and
certainly not all folks who call themselves evangelicals, are of the
Dominionist variety. Many are hard-working individuals who pay their bills
and follow the rules and attempt to live the teachings of Jesus. I respect
those individuals and consider them a mitigating force amid the onslaughts
of the religious right.
in-depth analysis of religious right corruption and tyranny, I highly
recommend the recent article “The Christian Mafia” (http://www.insider-magazine.com/ChristianMafia.htm)
by investigative journalist, Wayne Madsen.
Additionally, my intention in this article is to explore the addictive
features of these systems which ultimately result not in spiritual well
being but spiritual abuse.
abuse is the manipulation, exploitation, and mistreatment-- mentally,
emotionally, or physically of another individual or masses of individuals,
in the name of promoting spiritual principles or values. As we have seen
from the rampant sexual abuse of children in the Roman Catholic Church,
spiritual abuse can open the door to every other kind of abuse. And just as
a plethora of Catholic priests for two thousand years have used their
position of authority and piety to abuse children, countless children in
fundamentalist Christian homes have been beaten, raped, molested, shamed,
and emotionally devastated in the name of “children obey your parents in the
Lord for this is right.” I suspect that in the not-too-distant future, we
may see revelations of child abuse in fundamentalist Christian homes and
churches break into the light of day that could pale by comparison the abuse
scandal of the Roman Catholic Church. For the fundamentalist Christian,
children too, born into “original sin”, are to be dominated and made into
subservient born-again believers as soon as possible.
before turning to the Twelve Steps of Fundamentalists Anonymous., I want to
emphasize that religious intoxication is an ancient theme in human history.
In fact, Carl Jung would have called it an archetype—a universal theme
imbedded in the human psyche that is found in all eras and cultures.
According to Jung, such an archetype is not necessarily toxic or
pathological but points to an inherent human craving for meaningful
spiritual experiences. Whether found in the spell for the revival of Osiris,
the orgiastic rites of the cult of Dionysius in Ancient Greece, or the
Native American sun dance, the need for sacred ritual and celebration of the
divine is as old as human history. However, need and desire are not the same
as physical, emotional, or mental dependence.
makes a belief system, a ritual, or one’s relationship with other adherents
addictive is the dependence one has on them. Is one able to think for
oneself? Is one able to function without incessant participation in the
rituals, and without obsessive contact with and validation from fellow
devotees? Is one able to trust one’s intellect and emotions and not
subordinate them to those who claim to have more spiritual authority, deeper
spiritual understanding, or more extensive training in interpreting the
Bible or other sacred writings?
exploring this topic, a caveat is in order for all who are atheist,
agnostic, or offended by the mention of “God” in the Twelve Steps. After
many years of working with the Steps and atheists and agnostics who utilize
them, I have discovered that there are many ways to interpret and apply the
concept of a Higher Power, so I would ask the atheist or agnostic reader to
consider this and continue reading.
Why do I
think that Christian fundamentalism and/or Domininonism is an addiction? My
answer to that question comes first of all from my own experience, as well
as my observation of these individuals over the years. I recall my own
dependency on what “the Bible says”—my own inability to trust my thoughts
and feelings. I remember the need for the “fix” of the church service, the
revival meeting, the prayer meeting, the Bible study, or listening to a
fiery sermon on tape. I knew how to think on my own, but I was afraid to do
so. Who knew what I might discover? But no “fix” was more deliciously
validating than “winning souls for Christ”—that dramatic moment when I had
manipulated someone else into a born-again experience. For this, the
fundamentalist Christian addict lives and breathes. And this is precisely
why the religious right is intractably hell-bent on converting the entire
society and system of government in America to its fundamentalist theocracy.
What could produce a greater “high”? And if this project should get
interrupted by the Rapture, the resulting euphoria would be so
well-earned—doing God’s work and getting the planet ready for Jesus’ return.
The adrenaline-drenched grandiosity in such a scenario is palpably
tantalizing. More addictive than heroin perhaps?
axiomatic in Christian fundamentalism that without the born-again
experience, one cannot think clearly. Being born into the human condition,
and therefore, being inherently sinful, one’s mind is deluded, clouded, and
always potential putty in the hands of Satan. Once one has been born again,
the mind is magically transformed, and one is now guided by the Holy Spirit
who Jesus said would lead his followers into all truth. The more the
born-again believer reads and studies the Bible, the more clearly and
correctly he/she thinks. Therefore, the new convert to fundamentalist
Christianity must depend on his/her minister, Bible teacher,
evangelist, or other spiritual leader to interpret the Bible and guide
him/her in living the Christian life. Eventually, with years of seasoning in
the faith, one needs less guidance, but one always requires regular contact
with the church, prayer group, or Bible study circle because even after
decades of devotion, there is always the possibility that one could be
deceived by the devil. Therefore, thinking for oneself is out of the
question, and as a result, profound dependence on others is created for
producing the “answers” one cannot discern by thinking for oneself.
In one of
the responses to my last article, one actively fundamentalist reader, whom I
am paraphrasing, stated that he does look to the Bible for answers and asked
to whom or what else he should look—Darwin, Camus, or other great minds? I
found the question itself very telling because inherent in it is the
assumption that one cannot or should not trust oneself. This assumption
constitutes the major underpinning of the addiction to Christian
fundamentalism, hence Step One of Fundamentalists Anonymous:
I realize that I had turned control of my mind over to another person or
group, who had assumed power over my thinking.
The convert to
fundamentalist Christianity must be convinced that his/her thinking is
irreparably in error. The underlying message is: “You don’t believe the
Bible is the inerrant Word of God because your mind has been occupied by
Satan. This has happened principally because you are a human being, but also
because you have made the enormous mistake of trying to think for yourself.
Of course you think there are contradictions in the Bible because Satan
controls your mind. If you surrender your mind to Jesus (actually to
me/us/the enlightened flock of believers), you will understand that there
are no contradictions in the Bible and that your life should be guided only
by the Bible and nothing else. What you cannot now understand, you must take
on faith, and more will be revealed to you later. It may not be revealed on
this earth, but by accepting Christ as your personal savior and having
faith, you will be guaranteed eternity in heaven where everything you never
understood will be completely revealed to you.”
stated in the definition of addiction above, under ancient Roman law,
addiction was grounds for slavery. I found this detail particularly
significant because obviously, addicted people are “enslaved” people
person reading the Bible will discover dozens, if not hundreds, of
contradictions. Moreover, any Bible student who also studies history will
discover massive discrepancies regarding which books were chosen to be in
the Bible and why. Studying that history reveals that the decision to
incorporate certain books and exclude others was primarily a fourth-century
political decision intended to strengthen the appeal of Christianity and
prevent its demise in the face of Rome’s attempts to extinguish the
analysis of this controversy has been done by religious historian, Elaine
Pagels in her book Beyond Belief. She explores the discoveries of the
Nag Hammadi Library in Upper Egypt in 1945, which unearthed the existence of
numerous gospels eliminated from the final canon of the New Testament. Both
Pagels and another Biblical scholar, Marvin Meyer, have analyzed the Nag
Hammadi writings and hypothesized the reasons for their exclusion. I
particularly enjoyed reading Pagels’ Beyond Belief, because not only
does she analyze the controversy surrounding the exclusion of these Gnostic
Gospels, but she openly shares her own intellectual process of discovering
the significance of their exclusion and its impact on her own spirituality.
Very UN-fundamentalist indeed.
research of Pagels and others makes clear the reality that the Bible is not
and cannot be the inerrant, impeccably-written, divinely dictated Word of
God that fundamentalist Christians claim it to be. Thus Step Two of
Fundamentalists Anonymous states:
2. That person or group persuaded me of
the inerrancy of the Bible, in spite of its many internal contradictions.
One of the most
significant aspects of my abandonment of Christian fundamentalism was the
awareness that born-again Christians worship the Bible and not God. They
argue that the only way to know God is through the Bible. They are forced to
believe this because if they concede that God might speak through an inner
voice, through a tree, or through a particular life experience, their entire
belief system is toast. When I realized that contrary to their much-touted
Ten Commandments, Bible worship is nothing less than “having other gods
before me”, I finally realized the depth of the hypocrisy of their system.
Part of my, and anyone’s recovery from fundamentalism is a commitment to
develop a relationship with a Higher Power—whatever that may be—and not with
a book. Step Three therefore states:
3. I became addicted to the Bible as the
supreme focus of my faith, in spite of the commandment that God should come
spiritual inventory of Alcoholics Anonymous and other Twelve-Step programs,
Step Four asks the recovering fundamentalist to look at the damage one has
done to oneself as a result of turning control of one’s mind over to another
person or group. Not a pretty picture in most cases, but certainly a huge
relief when the whole truth is finally faced and spoken.
4. I admit to God, to myself and to
another person the shortcomings of my belief in the unbelievable.
Christianity is filled with false claims about the Bible. It has to be in
order to keep its system intact and use the Bible to manipulate, control,
and above all, gain converts. So as part of recovering from addiction to
fundamentalism, one must examine the various false claims one has made about
the Bible. Step Five states:
5. I have made an inventory of my false
claims about the Bible.
Ouch! This could
be very painful—and it could go on for years as one recalls all the times
one may have used “the Bible says” to beat up oneself or someone else. But
again, there can be profound liberation with truth-telling.
Could it get
more painful than Steps Four and Five? Yes. How many minds have I whacked
beside my own? Who have I manipulated, controlled, cajoled, or conned by
using false claims—things I could never absolutely know or prove about the
6. I have made a list of those whom I led
into confusion about the Bible.
All Twelve Step
programs require “searching and fearless” inventories of oneself and one’s
actions while practicing one’s addiction. Moreover, they demand
accountability to one’s Higher Power, oneself, and the persons harmed.
This could be
excruciating! Admitting to someone that I may have led them astray with the
Bible? As experienced Twelve-Steppers know, it may not be possible to make
the amends in person or even by letter. Someone may be so hurt, so angry, so
alienated that making contact with him/her is not feasible. Most important,
however, is the admission to oneself. Hence Step Seven:
7. I am willing to make amends to all those
whom I may have led astray.
And now comes
the payoff: sanity. Sanity is not a mental health term but rather a state of
acceptance and release often attended by a sense of relief. After one has
admitted turning one’s mind over to another person or group and has faced
the devastation the addiction has caused, and if possible, made amends to
those harmed, it becomes possible to experience sanity.
Step Eight, in
offering the hope of sanity refers to searching Scripture for the truth.
Notice the Step says “search Scripture.” It doesn’t say, “search the Scripture.” One now has the freedom to search for one’s own truth—wherever,
whenever, however. Step Eight:
8. I realize that I have the inner power to restore
sanity to my life and to search Scripture for the truth.
the first eight Steps, the recovering fundamentalist can begin authentic
relationships with others regarding spirituality. No longer does one need to
“be right”, convert, admonish, exhort, or teach. The first eight Steps make
it possible to share on a truly level playing field without right/wrong,
either/or dichotomies. Step Nine:
9. I will reach out to friends who can
help me clarify my thinking about the Bible, God and Jesus.
Reaching out to
friends is not the same as dependence. It means information-gathering,
exploring, dialoging, but most importantly, thinking for oneself.
brilliantly, Step Ten hastens to add that I do not need to figure it out all
on my own; I can ask for help from a Higher Power. It humbly implies that I
don’t have all the answers. I have help, but it is with my own mind that I
grasp the truth, not with someone else’s.
10. I confess that only with God's help
can my mind grasp
How do I get
help from a Higher Power? I practice Step Eleven which deals with conscious
contact with that power. This may have nothing to do with reading the Bible
or going to church. It may have nothing to do with meditating in a lotus
posture or praying in the traditional sense. It may mean journaling,
spending time in nature, painting, composing music or poetry.
11. I will seek through prayer and
meditation to improve my conscious contact with God, praying for knowledge
of God's will for me and the power to carry that out.
One of the most
profound aspects of recovering from any addiction is the compassion one
experiences for others who are still ensnared in the addiction. One
naturally wants to share the liberation, peace, and sense of well being that
one has found with others who are suffering. What might be particularly
challenging for the recovering fundamentalist, however, is to share the
Twelve Steps of Fundamentalists Anonymous without falling back into one’s
addiction to proselytize and “being right.” So Step Twelve must be practiced
sensitively and compassionately.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as
the result of these twelve steps, I will offer these steps to other former
Some may argue
that I am being judgmental and lacking compassion in this article and my
former article on Christian fundamentalism. However, I do not apologize for
being uncompromising in my analysis. As with all addictions, compassion for
the addict does not mean condoning addictive behavior. It means speaking the
truth about the addiction to the addict him/herself, to the family and loved
ones involved with the addict, or anyone else affected by his/her behavior.
This is referred to in recovery circles as an intervention. Is it not
appropriate for critically thinking individuals who desire to live in a
diverse and open society to conduct “interventions” when those drunk on
Dominionism and fundamentalist Christianity flagrantly attempt to construct
a theocracy which requires everyone to be a born-again Christian in order to
thrive in that society? Do we not have a moral obligation to confront
destructive religious intoxication that tears apart families, communities,
and nations? Hopefully, this article is an example of such an intervention.
media does not seem to comprehend the inherent danger of the religious right
let alone report it accurately. All of us need to challenge the addictive
tyranny of Christian fundamentalism at every turn—for the sake of our sanity
and for the sake of our civil liberties. We don’t allow street junkies into
the halls of Congress, the Supreme Court, or the pulpits of America to
admonish us how we should live and why we should demolish our Constitution.
In fact, we confront the insanity and criminality of such individuals.
Similarly, it’s time to confront the domination drug for what it is—a grave
and perverse spiritual and moral illness.
is recovering fundamentalist Christian and an adjunct professor of history
and lives in Southern New Mexico. She can be contacted at: email@example.com
Copyright © Carolyn Baker. All rights reserved. You may republish under the following conditions: An
active link to the original publication must be provided. http://liberty.hypermart.net/voices/2005/print/The_Religious_Right_Pushing_A_Deadly_Addiction.htm You must not alter, edit or remove any text within the article,
including this copyright notice.
Press Release from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
EVANGELICALS OFFER COURSE
FOR MEDIA PROFESSIONALS
CONTACT: ANNE DOLL, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
AT 978.646.4141 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or
MICHAEL COLANERI, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
OF COMMUNICATIONS AT 978.646.4064
GORDON-CONWELL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the National Association
Evangelicals in cooperation with Christianity Today are offering
seminars in February and March 2005 on evangelicalism.
The Gordon-Conwell event, "What Is an Evangelical? A Short
Course for Media Professionals," will identify the evangelical
subculture in the U.S., provide a concise overview of the
theological and biblical foundations that evangelicals have in
common, and show how these beliefs shape the worldviews
and actions of evangelicals.
The conference will also feature a special video presentation by
John Stott, D.D., Rector Emeritus of All Souls Church, Langham
Place, London, England.
This seminar, designed for editors, producers, political and
reporters, and editorial writers and commentators, will take place
Friday,February 4, 2005, on the seminary's South Hamilton,
Conference presenters include:
Cynthia Fantasia, Doctoral Candidate, Gordon-Conwell, and Pastor
of Women, Grace Chapel, Lexington, Massachusetts
Robert Wenz, D.Min., Vice President of National Ministries,
Association of Evangelicals, Washington, D.C.
Gordon-Conwell faculty who will serve as presenters include:
Rodney L. Cooper, Ph.D., Kenneth and Jean Hansen Professor of
Discipleship and Leadership Development,
John Jefferson Davis, Ph.D., Professor of Systematic Theology and
Todd M. Johnson, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Global Christianity and
Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary,
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Ph.D., President and Colman M. Mockler
Distinguished Professor of Old Testament,
Timothy C. Tennent, Ph.D., Associate Professor of World Missions,
Director of Missions Programs and Chair of the J. Christy Wilson,
Jr. Center for World Missions at Gordon-Conwell,
Eldin Villafa, Ph.D., Professor of Social Ethics and Founder of
Gordon-Conwell's Boston Urban Ministry Campus, the Center for
Urban Ministerial Education,
David F. Wells, Ph.D., Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of
Historical and Systematic Theology,
Registration and additional conference information can be obtained
from Gordon-Conwell's website at http://www.gordonconwell.edu/pr/mediaseminar.php or by calling Anne Doll, Director of Communications, at
978-646-4141, or Michael Colaneri, Assistant Director of
Communications, at 978-646-4064.
The second seminar will be offered March 9, 2005, at the
Washington Press Club in Washington, DC. This course will be an
abbreviated version of the Boston course designed to fit into an
afternoon. Registration and additional information can be
obtained from the National Association of Evangelicals'
website at http://www.nae.net or by calling Dr. Bob Wenz, Vice
President of National Ministries for the NAE, at 202-789-1011 or
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is a multi-denominational
evangelical Protestant graduate school serving more than 2,000
students on campuses in South Hamilton and Boston, Massachusetts,
and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Students on the three campuses represent 107 denominations and 38
foreign countries. The seminary ranks 5th largest in size among
all seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological
Schools of the United States and Canada. Gordon-Conwell offers 19
degrees at the master's and doctoral levels and has gained an
international reputation for leading faculty in the areas of
Biblical Studies, Ministry and Theology.
The National Association of Evangelicals is the largest network of
evangelical churches and ministries in the United States,
representing 51 denominations and networks of churches, along with
hundreds of independent churches and para-church ministries. The
NAE has a constituency of between 24 and 30 million evangelicals.
Founded in 1942, the NAE has entered the new millennium under the
leadership of Ted Haggard, Pastor of New Life Church in Colorado
Springs, Colorado, a congregation of 10,000 evangelical believers.
Christianity Today magazine has served as a forum for evangelical
discussion and reported religious news since 1956. Founded by
Billy Graham and first edited by Dr. Carl F. H. Henry, CT
celebrates its fiftieth anniversary next year under the leadership
of editor David Neff.
The course at both locations will feature presenters from Gordon-Conwell
and the National Association of Evangelicals. A resource kit with
helpful information about the evangelical movement, its core
beliefs and a bibliography of resources will be provided to each
person taking the course.
A list of media contacts who can serve as informed and articulate
spokespersons for evangelicals will be included.
Commentary by Lowell McFarland
"Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the National Association
of Evangelicals in cooperation with Christianity Today are
offering two seminars in February and March 2005 on
The Gordon-Conwell event, "What Is an
Evangelical? A Short Course for Media Professionals," will
identify the evangelical subculture in the U.S., provide a concise
overview of the theological and biblical foundations that
evangelicals have in common, and show how these beliefs shape the
worldviews and actions of evangelicals."
"This seminar, designed for editors, producers, political and
religion reporters, and editorial writers and commentators, will
take place Friday, February 4, 2005, on the seminaryâ€™s South
Hamilton, Massachusetts, campus."
While much has been made of evangelical claims that they captured
the White House, there is an apparent grassroots efforts by
evangelicals at all levels to more influence text books,
politicians, reporters, news,
and perhaps even the viewpoints of non-Christians.
This Gordon-Conwell event seems to be part of that evangelical
outreach. Much of this appears to not only explain evangelistic
positions but to lay claim to Biblical based roots of morality,
positive culture and
our current life.
European Christians failed in their attempt to lay similar claim
to Christianity being the roots of Europe in the European Union
Whether evangelical captured the White House or not, this
should give evangelicals more success in their overriding quests.
Immediately after our presidential election, most all religions
conducted high level congresses and established new plans for the
coming four years - all except Pagans.
Of course, Pagans should be doing the outreach that other
religions are doing and more because we are so far back.
But, while most all religions have acted, and evangelicals are
enacting aggressive stepped up plans, Pagans
seem to be still lolling at the starting gate, debating just who
is a leader, the word Pagan itself, as well as every other minor
"Tuan MacCarrill/MacParthalon, Forever the Celtic story!"
Lowell McFarland <email@example.com>
Continue Culture/Religion Wars
By Lowell McFarland
Sept. 1, 2004
"The Family, Faith and Freedom Rally" was a private affair
held during the Republican convention -- invitations only and news media were BARRED. According to an invitation, it was organized by the
Bush-Cheney campaign "to celebrate America
George W. Bush, a conservative leader who shares our values, who
takes a strong stand for his faith." The Bush
communications director castigated the New York Times reporter for
covering an event that "was closed to the press"
professional or appropriate." The reporter was invited to the
event by participants who accompanied him.
"Truth flies on swift wings." -- Ancient Egyptian
At the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, a hand-picked crowd of several
hundred Christian conservative GOP delegates were advised of a broad
social conservative agenda notably different from the televised
presentations at the Republican convention. This agenda included adopting requirements that pregnant women considering
abortions be offered anesthetics for their fetuses, amending
the Constitution to forbid gay marriage and perhaps also civil
unions, and creating a new Supreme Court which would
weaken the separation of church and state.
Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas preached, "We must win this
culture war," reprising the 1992 Republican convention speech by
Patrick J. Buchanan -- a position that many political experts say
alienated moderate voters in that election. Ralph Reed, a senior
Bush campaign adviser and liaison to conservative Christians, also
addressed the crowd.
The public and televised Republican convention was a made for TV
PR piece at which no real business was done; it's function was
to project a welcoming, pluralistic face, and talk of national
unity and cultural inclusiveness, in hopes of lulling moderate or
undecided voters. Hence, Bush pointedly avoided deprecating
gay men and lesbians or engaging in talk of a "culture war."
the first night of the convention, two Muslim speakers
invoked Allah on the stage and Sen. John McCain praised Islam as
honorable religion. In that context, the borrowings from
evangelical Sunday services that were used were more tolerable to
The real convention business took place in private meetings for
the various special interest groups which make up the Republican
This rally was part of the campaign to motivate the socially
conservative evangelical Christians among its base.
Brownback, loved by party conservatives, assured them of their
righteousness at the private meeting.
"We are accused of having a radical agenda for saying that
marriage is between a man and a woman and it is the best way for
children to be raised. It is not about being hateful. It is about
being truthful." He tried to reduce opposition to Bush to purely
religious reasons, perhaps in a deliberate appeal to their martyr M.que.
One speaker opined, "The notion that our leaders should have
God in their life has suddenly become threatening," a narrator
"Tuan MacCarrill/MacParthalon, forever the Celtic story!"
Lowell McFarland firstname.lastname@example.org
Feature in August:
How Reverends Enable Church Bombers
By Charles E.
Some benefit from bombing churches and they are the best
suspects. One group is positively
implicated in the acts. By its own words it convicts itself,
regardless of who set the explosives
or who made the plan. Its proponents call themselves
“Christian-Zionists” or “Judeo-Christians.”
You will find these accomplices behind the pulpits of many
American churches on Sunday.
on 'Thugs' and Taxes
August 6, 2004 - The Washington Post
The Christian right leader said he is tired of being attacked by
"thugs"; That's what he calls civil
liberties groups who have accused him of abusing his ministry's
tax-exempt status. He's fighting
back with a seminar to train social conservative church leaders
just how far they can go without
quite violating the law.
Get the Post's story at http://pewforum.org/news/display.php?NewsID=3794
Bush-Cheney Campaign Makes Wrong Move
In Recruiting Church Directories
August 9, 2004
“Little did we churchgoers know that high-powered political
operatives would one day take a keen
interest in those dog-eared church directories in our kitchen
drawers. As has been widely reported, the
campaign to re-elect President Bush and Vice President Dick
Cheney has produced materials informing
"coalition coordinators" that one of their "duties" is: "Send
your Church Directory to your State
Bush-Cheney 04 Headquarters or give to a BC04 Field Rep."…There
are some legitimate ways for
political campaigns to try to reach religious people. Soliciting
directories isn't one of them. Churches
and other organizations that are tax-exempt under Section
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are
prohibited from participating in any political campaign on
behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate
for elective public office…. As a purely ethical matter,
organizational members step over a line when they use group lists for purposes other than the organizational purpose
without the group's prior
approval. This notion has special resonance in the case at
(Star-Telegram, “When Faith and Politics Meet,” 08-09-04)
READ FULL ARTICLE:
“The Big Brother Church Watch” Keeps Eye On Local Churches
“A conservative religious organization is keeping an eye on local
churches, threatening to report any
that endorse or disparage political candidates in violation of
their nonprofit status.
The Big Brother Church Watch, a group sponsored by the Religious
Freedom Action Coalition, is sending
volunteers throughout Virginia to sit in church pews and take
notes. If there is any indication of an
endorsement of, or objection to, a specific political candidate,
the group has said it will report that
church to the Internal Revenue Service, which could revoke their
tax-exempt status. The group is
targeting so-called "liberal churches" such as the Metropolitan
Community churches, Unitarian
Universalist fellowships and African Methodist Episcopal
(The Free Lance-Star, “Group to watch liberal churches,” 08-16-04)
READ FULL ARTICLE
opens Fundie law school to take away your rights
Aug 17, 2004
Falwell Integrates Faith
Into Law School
According to Associated Press Writer, Chris Kahn, the Rev. Jerry
Falwell just opened a law school at
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., to train a new generation of
attorneys for conservative causes.
"We'll be as far to the right as Harvard is to the left."
The first year class has 61 law students. Graduates of the law
school will tackle issues like abortion
rights and gay marriage, Falwell said. "I'd love to fight Roe v.
Wade," said incoming law student Heidi
Thompson, 33, a Liberty graduate who has worked as a high school
counselor in Orlando, Fla.
Have a nice
Press Release from American Tract Society
AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY TAKES PREACHING AND POLITICS TO TASK
WITH VOTER PACKS PUSHING REGISTRATION AND SALVATION
Partners with Redeem the Vote - Voter Registration Campaign
Contact: MARCIA DAVIS, 972-824-8626, email@example.com
MARK BROWN, 972-276-9408,
Ext. 118, firstname.lastname@example.org
GRASSROOTS, America (July 15, 2004) -- As Presidential Election,
2004, approaches -- the American Tract Society (ATS) has kicked
open the gate
between preaching and politics with a God Bless America Voters
The voter packs mark the first time the 179-year-old gospel
publisher, based in Garland, Tex., has incorporated voter
registration with gospel tract evangelism. The tract text
states that refusing to make a choice in voting or in trusting
Christ becomes its own choice.
"It's not about partisanship, it's about the importance of
making a choice to exercise the right to vote and claim the
precious freedom for which so many have sacrificed and are
sacrificing to give us," according to ATS President Dan
Southern. "Literature in these packs also extends the
significant opportunity to make an eternal choice, that of
choosing Christ as a personal savior, and the eternal freedom
that choice brings."
"We are asking folks across the country to participate in one of
the most important activities available to them this year --
voting; and make one of the most important choices they can make
in a lifetime -- trusting Christ. I think we have created a
unique evangelism opportunity for Christians to share their
faith and serve their country," Southern said.
The tract society has partnered with another
nonprofit-nonpartisan organization, Redeem the Vote (www.redeemthevote.com),
to promote voter registration for the fall presidential
election. ATS voter tracts will be distributed by "Redeem the
Vote" in a series of festival and concert events through the
summer. Randy Brinson, the Southern Baptist founder of "Redeem
the Vote" has engaged top Christian music artists to endorse the
vote effort, including Stephen Curtis Chapman, Rebecca St.
James, Jaci Velasquez, Chris Tomlin, and Toby mac.
Brinson said his organization was targeting evangelicals with
irregular voting records, and America's young people of faith
who are missing from the voter registration dockets.
The ATS voters pack includes a small American Flag imprinted
with the words "God Bless America," a "The Choice Is Yours"
gospel tract, a "God Bless America" door hanger, a voter
registration instruction guide and a voter registration form.
Since voter registration forms differ for each state, the packs
can be ordered by state designation (www.atstracts.org).
| Your Bark is my Dinner Bell
item which illuminates the big push for government-funded
"faith-based initiatives" and the
significance of some *VERY well organized* Evangelical Christian
groups putting together programs to
educate ministries in their circles on how to successfully apply
for this funding.
Co-Managing the Earth:
The Foundational Work of the Christian Marketplace Ministry
"We are now standing at the foundation-laying stage of one of
the most significant Christian movements
of church history, the advocacy of a Christian values-based
economy. How we work with God's Spirit in
helping to lay that foundation will have potentially enormous
effects on the global future of the church
in the 21st century. It will also signal the emergence of an
alternative to the world system's left-right,
capitalism-socialism single paradigm of economic possibility
currently available to the nations of the
world. The economics of God's Kingdom is about to appear upon
the world's stage."
people are truly scarey...
May 25, 2004
The Covert Kingdom: Thy Will be Done, On Earth as It is in Texas
By JOE BAGEANT
Not long ago I pulled my car up alongside a tiny wooden church
in the woods, a stark white frame
box my family built in 1840.
And as always, an honest-to-god chill went through me, for the
ancestral ghosts presumably hovering over the graves there. From
the wide open front door the
Pentecostal preacher's message
echoed from within the plain wooden walls:
you Gawd for giving us strawng leaders like President Bush during this crieeesis. Praise you Lord and guide him
in this battle with Satan's Muslim
I had chosen to go back down the road a mile or so to the
sprawling new Bible Baptist church ---
complete with school
facilities, professional sound system and in-house television
could have heard approximately the same
exhortation. Usually offered at the end of a prayer for
daughters of members in the congregation serving in Iraq, it can
be heard in any of the
thousands upon thousands of praise
temples across our republic.
After a lifetime of identity conflict, I have come to accept
that, blood-wise, if not politically or
spiritually, these are
my people. And as a leftist it is very clear to me these days
why urban liberals
not only fail to understand these people, but
do not even know they exist, other than as some
general lump of
ignorant, intolerant voters called "the religious
right," or the "Christian Right," or
until progressives come to understand what these people read,
told and deeply believe, we cannot understand American
politics, much less be effective.
fundamentalist Christianity's inherent cultural isolation,
it is nearly impossible for most enlightened
imagine, in honest human terms, what fundamentalist Americans
believe, let alone
understand why we should all care.
For liberals to examine the current fundamentalist phenomenon in
America is accept some hard
truths. For starters, we libs are
even more embattled than most of us choose to believe. Any
significant liberal and progressive support is limited to a few
urban pockets on each coast and
along the upper edge of the
Midwestern tier states. Most of the rest of the nation, the much
vaunted heartland, is the dominion of the conservative and
Turf-wise, it's pretty much their country, which is to say it
presently belongs to George W. Bush for
some valid reasons.
Remember: He did not have to steal the entire election, just a
little piece of it
in Florida. Evangelical born-again Christians
of one stripe or another were then, and are now, 40%
electorate, and they support Bush 3-1. And as long as their
clergy and their worst instincts
tell them to, they will keep on
voting for him, or someone like him, regardless of what we view
his arrogant folly and sub-intelligence.
about changing their minds. These Christians do not read the
same books we do, they do not
get their information from
anything remotely resembling reasonably balanced sources, and
consider even CBS and NBC super-liberal networks of
porn and the Devil's lies. Given how
fundamentalists see the
modern world, they may as well be living in Iraq or Syria, with
share approximately the same Bronze Age religious
tenets. They believe in God, Rumsfeld's Holy
War and their
absolute duty as God's chosen nation to kick Muslim ass up one
side and down the
other. In other words, just because
millions of Christians appear to be dangerously nuts does not
mean they are marginal.
Having been born into a Southern Pentecostal/Baptist family of
many generations, and living in this
landscape means that I gaze into the maw of neocon Christianity
sometimes hourly. My brother is a fundamentalist
preacher, as are a couple of my nephews, as were
many of my
ancestors going back to god-knows-when. My entire family is
born-again; their lives are
completely focused inside their own
religious community, and on the time when Jesus returns to
earth---Armageddon and The Rapture.
Only another liberal born into a fundamentalist clan can
understand what a strange, sometimes
downright hellish family
circumstance it is---how such a family can love you deeply, yet
everything you believe in, see you as a humanist
instrument of Satan, and still be right there for you
back goes out or a divorce shatters your life. As a socialist
and a half-assed lefty
obviously I do not find much conversational fat to
chew around the Thanksgiving table. Politically
we may be said to be dire enemies. Love and loathing coexist
side by side. There is
talk, but no communication. In fact,
there are times when it all has science fiction overtones, times
when it seems we are speaking to one another through an
unearthly veil, wherein each party knows
it is speaking to an
alien. There is a sort of high eerie mental whine in the air.
This is the sound of
mutually incomprehensible worlds hurtling
toward destiny, passing with great psychological friction,
obvious to all, yet acknowledged by none.
Between such times, I wait rather anxiously and strive for
change, for relief from what feels like an
increased stifling of
personal liberty, beauty, art, and self-realization in America.
They wait in spooky
calmness for Jesus. They
believe that, until Jesus does arrive, our "satanic
state and federal legal systems" should be
replaced with pure "Biblical Law." This
called Christian Reconstructionism.
Though it has always been around in some form,
expanding rapidly about 1973, with the publication of R. J.
Rushdoony's, Institutes of
Biblical Law (Vallecito, CA: Ross
House Books, 1982).
Time out please.
In a nod toward fairness and tolerance---begging the question of
whether liberals are required to
tolerate the intolerant---I
will say this: Fundamentalists
are "good people." In daily life, they are
warm-hearted and generous to a fault.
They live with feet on the ground (albeit with eyes cast
heavenward) and with genuine love and concern for their
neighbors. After spending 30 years in
progressive western cities
such as Boulder, Colorado and Eugene, Oregon, I would have to
conservative Christians actually do what liberals
usually only talk about. They visit the sick and the
give generously of their time and money to help those in need,
and put unimaginable
amounts of love and energy into their
families, even as Pat Robertson and Rush
Limbaugh blare in
the background. Their good works extend
internationally-were it not for American Christians, there
be little health care on the African continent and other similar
OK, that's the best I can do in showing due respect for the
extreme Christian Right. Now to get back
to the Christian
Establishing a Savage Eden
Christian Reconstruction is blunt stuff, hard and unforgiving as
a gravestone. Capital punishment,
central to the
Reconstructionist ideal, calls for the death penalty in a wide
range of crimes, including
abandonment of the faith, blasphemy,
heresy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, sodomy,
striking a parent, and ''unchastity before marriage'' (but for
women only.) Biblically
correct methods of execution include
stoning, the sword, hanging, and burning. Stoning is preferred,
according to Gary North, the self-styled Reconstructionist
economist, because stones are plentiful
Biblical Law would also eliminate labor unions, civil rights
laws, and public schools. Leading
David Chilton declares, "The Christian goal for the world
is the universal
development of Biblical Law would also eliminate labor unions, civil rights
laws, and public schools.
Leading Reconstruction theologian
David Chilton declares, "The Christian goal for the world
universal development of Biblical
Incidentally, said Republic of Jesus would not
only be a legal hell, but an ecological one as well---Reconstructionist
doctrine calls for the scrapping
of environmental protection of
all kinds, because there will be no need for this planet earth
Rapture occurs. You may not have heard of Rushdoony or
Chilton or North, but taken either
separately or together, they
have directly and indirectly influenced far more contemporary
minds than Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal and Howard Zinn
A moreover covert movement, although slightly more public of
Dominionism have for decades exerted one
hell of an influence through its scores of books,
publications and classes taught in
colleges and universities. Over the past 30 years their doctrine
permeated not only the religious right, but mainstream
churches as well, via the charismatic
movement. The radical
Christian right's impact on politics and religion in this
nation has been massive, with many
mainstream churches pushed rightward by its pervasiveness
without even knowing it. Clearly the Methodist church down the street from my house does
not understand what it has become.
Other mainstream churches
with more progressive leadership, simply flinch and bow to the
radicals at every turn. They have to, if they want to retain
members these days.
Further complicating matters is that leading Recoconstruction
thinkers, along with their fellow
travelers, the Dominionists,
are all but invisible to non-fundamentalist America. (I will
spare you the
agony of the endless doctrinal hair-splitting that
comes with making fundamentalist distinctions of any
would not do that to a dog. But if you are disposed toward
self-punishment, you can take it upon yourself to learn the
differences between Dominionism, Pretribulationism, Midtribulationism, and
Premillennialism, Millennialism I recommend the writings of the
British author and scholar George Monbiot, who has put the
entire maddening scheme of it all together---corporate
implications, governmental and psychological meaning---in a
couple of excellent books.)
Fundamentalists such as my family have no idea how thoroughly
they have been orchestrated by
agenda-driven Christian media and
other innovations of the past few decades. They probably would
not care now, even if they knew.
Like most of their tribe (dare we say class, in a nation that so
vehemently denies it has a class system?) they
want to embrace some simple foundational truth that will
rationalize all the conflict and confusion
of a postmodern
world. Some handbook that will neatly explain everything, make
all their difficult decisions for them. And among these classic American citizens, prone toward
religious zealotry since the Great Awakening of the 18th
Century, what rock could appear more dependable upon which to
than the infallible Holy Bible?
there it was a short step for Christian Dominionist leaders to
conclude that such magnificent
infallibility should be enforced
upon all other people, in the same spirit as the Catholic
Conquistadors or the Arab Muslim Moors before them. It's an old, old story, a
brutal one mankind
cannot seem to shake.
Christian Reconstruction and Dominionist strategists make clear
in their writings that homeschooling
and Christian academies have been and continue to create the
Rightist Christian cadres of the future, enabling them to place ever-increasing numbers of believers in
positions of governmental influence. The training of Christian
cadres is far more sophisticated than the average liberal
There now stretches a network of dozens of campuses across the
nation, each with its strange cultish atmosphere of smiling
Christian pod people, most of them clones of Jerry Fallwell's
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. But how many
outsiders know the depth and specificity of political
in these schools?
For example, Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, a
college exclusively for Christian
For example, Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, a
college exclusively for Christian
programs in strategic government intelligence, legal training
and foreign policy,
all with a strict, Bible-based
Patrick Henry is so heavily funded by the Christian right it can
offer classes below cost. In the Bush administration, seven
percent of all internships are handed out to Patrick Henry
students, along with many others distributed among similar
rightist colleges. The
Bush administration also recruits from the faculties of these
i.e. the appointments of right-wing Christian activist Kay Coles
James, former dean of the Pat Robertson School of government, as
director of the U.S. office of personnel. What better position
than the personnel office from which to recruit more
fundamentalists? Scratch any of these supposed academics
will find a Christian zealot. I know because I have made the
mistake of inviting a few of these folks to cocktail parties.
One university department head told me he is moving to rural
he can better recreate the lifestyle of the
antebellum South, and its "Confederate Christian
values." It gets real strange real quick.
Lest the these Christians be underestimated, remember that it
was their strategists whose "stealth
the takeover of the Republican Party in the early 1990s. That
takeover now looks
mild in light of today's neocon Christian
implantations in the White House, the Pentagon and the
Court and other federal entities.
The fellow on NPR was a perfect example of the need for liberal
pundits to get their heads out of their
asses, get outside the
city, quit cruising the Internet and meet some Americans who do
not mirror their own humanist educations and backgrounds. If
they did, they would grasp the importance The Rapture has taken
on in American national and international politics. Despite the
media's shallow interpretation of The Rapture's significance, it
is a hell of a lot more than just a couple hundred million Left
sold. The most significant thing about the Left Behind series is that,
although they are classified as "fiction," most
fundamentalist readers I know accept the series as an absolute
reality soon coming to a godless planet near you. It
helps to understand that everything is literal in the
I'll Fly Away, Oh Lordy (But you won't.)
Yes, when The Rapture comes Christians with the right
credentials will fly away. But you and I, dear
probably be among those who suffer a thousand-year plague of
boils. So stock up on
antibiotics, because according to the "Rapture
Index" it is damned near here. See for yourself at
http://www.raptureready.com. Part gimmick, part fanatical obsession, the index is a
such things as floods, interest rates, oil
prices, global turmoil As I write this the index stands at 144,
just one point below critical mass, when people like us will be
smitten under a sky filled with deliriously
happy naked flying
But to blow The Rapture off as amusing-if-scary fantasy is not
being honest on my part. Cheap glibness
has always been my vice,
so I must say this: Personally, I've lived with The Rapture as
psychologically imprinted backdrop of my entire life. In
fact, my own father believed in it until the day he died, and
the last time I saw him alive we talked about The Rapture. And
when he asked me, "Will you be saved?" Will you be
there with me on Canaan's shore after The Rapture?" I was
forced to feign belief in it to give a dying man inner solace.
But that was the spiritual stuff of families, and living and dying, religion in its rightful place, the way it is supposed to
be, personal and intimate---not political. Thus, until the
advent of the of the new radical Christian influence, I'd
certainly never heard The Rapture spoken about in the context of
a Texan being selected by God to prepare its way.
Now however, this apocalyptic belief, yearning really, drives an
American Christian polity in the service
of a grave and
unnerving agenda. The psuedo-scriptural has become an
apocalyptic game plan for earthly political action: To wit, the
messiah can only return to earth after an apocalypse in Israel
called Armageddon, which the fundamentalists are promoting with
all their power so that The Rapture can take place. The
first requirement was establishment of the state of Israel.
Done. The next is Israel's occupation of the Middle East as a
return of its "Biblical lands,"
which in the radical
Christian scheme of things, means more wars. These Christian
conservatives believe peace cannot ever lead to The Rapture, and
indeed impedes the 1,000 year Reign of Christ. So
anyone promoting peace is an enemy, a tool of Satan,
hence the fundamentalist support for any and
all wars Middle
Eastern, in which their own kids die a death often viewed by
Christian parents as a holy martyrdom of its own kind. "He
(or she) died protecting this country's Christian values."
One hears it over and over from parents of those killed.
The final scenario of the Rapture has the "saved"
Christians settling onto a cloud after the long float
from whence they watch a Rambo Jesus wipe out the remnants of
the human race. Then in a
mop-up operation by God, the Jews are
also annihilated, excepting a few who convert to Christianity. The Messiah returns to earth. End of story. Incidentally, the
Muslim version, I was surprised to learn recently, is almost
exactly the same, but with Muslims doing the cloud-sitting.
If we are lucky as a nation, this period in American history
will be remembered as just another very
dark time we managed to
get through. Otherwise, one shudders to think of the logical
wonder the left is depressed.
Meanwhile, our best thinkers on the left ask us to consider our
perpetual U.S. imperial war as a fascist, military/corporate
war, and indeed it is that too. But tens of millions of
hardworking, earnest American Christians see it as far more than
that. They see
a war against all that is un-Biblical, the goal of which is
complete world conquest, or put in Christian terminology,
"dominion." They will have no less than the "inevitable victory God has promised his new chosen
people," according to the Recon masters of the covert kingdom. Screw the
Jews, they blew their chance. If perpetual war is what it will
take, then let it be perpetual. After all, perpetual war is
exactly what the Bible promised.
Like it or not, this is the reality (or prevailing unreality)
with which we are faced. The 2004 elections,
outcome, will not change that. Nor will it necessarily bring
ever-tolerant liberals to openly
acknowledge what is truly
happening in this country, the thing that has been building for
a long, long time---a
holy war, a covert Christian jihad for control of America and
the entire world. Millions of Americans are under the spell of an extraordinarily
dangerous mass psychosis.
Pardon me, but religious tolerance be damned. Somebody had to
Joe Bageant is a senior editor at the Primedia History Group and
writes from Winchester, Virginia. He
may be contacted at
Evangelicals See Themselves as Part of Mainstream,
by Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service
April 14, 2004. A new survey finds the vast majority of
U.S. evangelicals view themselves as part
of mainstream American
society while at the same time believing they have to fight to
be heard by
The results of the survey, conducted for the PBS television
program "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly"
News & World Report, were released at a Tuesday (April 13)
The wide-ranging survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research of
Washington, D.C., looked at
political, religious and racial
diversity among evangelicals as well as their beliefs, values
behavior. Findings reveal a division among evangelicals
about the leaders who are often depicted
representatives as well as whether someone must be "born
again" to enter heaven.
But a significant percentage of evangelicals relate a tension
between having arrived on the
American scene and being a
community of Rodney Dangerfields within the larger society.
Three-quarters of all evangelical Christians believe they fit
into mainstream American society and
exactly the same percentage
-- 75 percent -- say they have to fight to get heard by
"These are folks that perceive themselves to be very much
in the modern world -- and they are, in
fact, very much in the
modern world -- but they do not see themselves as being of the
John Green, a political science professor at
the University of Akron who acted as an adviser to the
The national poll of 1,610 respondents was conducted
between March 16 and April 4 and had an
overall margin of error
of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
Researchers found distinctions among evangelicals about leaders
such as Pat Robertson and Jerry
Falwell who are often viewed as
their representatives. Just 44 percent of all evangelicals
favorable view of Falwell while 54 percent viewed
"They're discerning about their own leadership," said
Anna Greenberg, vice president of the
research firm that
conducted the survey. The world's most prominent Catholic ranked
some evangelical brethren. Pope John Paul II earned
a favorable rating from 59 percent of
There also are distinctions on key theological viewpoints.
While 48 percent of all evangelicals surveyed think only
born-again Christians will go to heaven,
45 percent said
they do not believe that. Half of white evangelicals believe
that to be the case and
fewer black evangelicals -- 42 percent
-- think born-again Christians are the only ones who will
"I think it does tend to undermine the notion that
evangelicals are dogmatic and intolerant about
matters," Green told Religion News Service. "The fact
that they see salvation as something
that's available to people
other than themselves ... it does go against the
Researchers found that while evangelicals were generally opposed
to gay marriage -- 83 percent --
that view did not equate with a
universal call for a constitutional amendment banning such
Forty-one percent of evangelicals said an amendment is needed
percent said it was sufficient to prohibit gay marriage by law
without changing the Constitution.
Moreover, evangelicals were almost evenly divided over whether
gay marriage would provide a
litmus test for their vote in an
Forty-six percent said they would not vote for a candidate who
disagrees with them about gay
marriage but agrees with them on
other issues, while 42 percent said they would vote for such a
Overall, 63 percent of evangelicals said they would support
President Bush in the presidential
election while 31 percent
favored Democratic candidate John Kerry. Sixty-nine percent of
evangelicals consider themselves to be Republicans or lean
Republican while 84 percent of African
call themselves Democrats or lean Democrat.
White evangelicals ranked moral values as their top domestic
concern but shared general concerns
about the economy with other
That same group of evangelicals was divided about the direction
the country is headed, with 44
percent saying it's going in the
right direction and 45 percent saying it's on the wrong track.
But when asked if the country's moral values are headed in the
right direction or are "pretty
seriously off on the wrong
track," 76 percent of white evangelicals and 94 percent of
American evangelicals said they were on the wrong track.
On foreign policy, white evangelicals ranked a strong
military, controlling weapons of mass
destruction and fighting
terrorism far higher than relief efforts and aiding religious
Greenberg said that demonstrated a disconnect
between elite and grass-roots evangelicals.
Twenty percent of African-American evangelicals said helping to
improve the standard of living in
less developed countries is
extremely important, compared to 8 percent of white
Michael Cromartie, director of the Evangelical Studies Project
of the Ethics & Public Policy Center,
said the overall
survey confirms the state of evangelicalism, but he questioned
if some of the
findings related to theological views are
actually those of evangelicals.
"There is a certain point where you are no longer
evangelical," he said. "Part of the definition of
an evangelical is its exclusivity of the gospel, and that
the way of salvation is through Christ, and
when you start
saying ... ‘I believe everybody goes to heaven,' what are you,
a liberal Protestant
now? What are you?"
The survey results will be included in a four-part series on
"American Evangelicals" that will air on
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly from April 16
through May 7 and a story in the May 3 edition of U.S.
World Report magazine.
Campaign Asks Religious Volunteers:
“Send Us Your
“The Bush-Cheney campaign has laid out a brisk schedule for
legions of Christian
supporters to help enlist
"conservative churches" and their members, including
church directories to the campaign, according to a Bush
campaign document. The
document, which was reported yesterday in
The Washington Post and given to The New
York Times by Americans
Coming Together, a left-leaning group, underscores how heavily
Mr. Bush is relying on conservative Christians. The campaign is
churches and churchgoers to do everything
they can to turn their churches into bases of
violating campaign finance laws or jeopardizing their tax-exempt
…. In a statement, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy,
president of the Interfaith Alliance, a
liberal religious group
in Washington, said, "As the pastor of a local
congregation, if I
found out that my church membership directory
was shared with a campaign or political
party, I would begin
immediate legal action against the campaign or political
-----NY Times, “Party Appeal to Churches for Help
07-02-04) READ FULL ARTICLE -- TIA PRESS RELEASE
Commandments Monument, He Finds a Pagan Plot
March 16, 2004
A week ago Sunday, somebody drove a white Jeep Cherokee over the
curb in front of the Eagles
Lodge in Anderson.
The Jeep then pushed over the 6-by-4-foot limestone marker
bearing the Ten Commandments --
shattering it into about 12
Deja vu, anyone?
In Indiana, destroying or vandalizing the Ten Commandments has
become almost as much a state
pastime as downing Ding Dongs or
attending tractor pulls.
If history is an indicator, the usual suspect in this caper
would be Stephen M. Schroeder, 42,
Indianapolis. Indeed, he did
damage this particular marker five times when it was on the
Statehouse lawn, refusing to pay a $2,500 fine on principle and
serving 90 days in jail. But when
contacted Monday about the
Anderson attack, he pointed out he goes after offending markers
public grounds only. He was genuinely surprised, he said, to
hear the news.
"I didn't even know they'd put it back up," said
Schroeder, who describes himself as Christian,
anti-Catholic and anti-Mason. He's also an articulate,
mission? To expose Indiana's role as the supreme "capital
of pagan worship."
And you thought we were the Bible belt, right? Hah, scoffs
Schroeder, adding, "That was supposed
to have been my
monument. I paid for it. I did time for it."
Sorry, Steve, but the Eagles got it back after you toppled it in
1991. Split in two, it was hauled to a
state garage until
somebody called the Eagles and asked if they'd like their Ten
That seems fair, since it was the lodge that gave it to Indiana
in 1958, with the intention of
displaying it outside the
Statehouse, where it was for years with no fuss. Then the
brouhaha erupted, and the monument became the
target of lawsuits and vandals. Except that
Indiana had its own
particular version of events, thanks to Schroeder's elaborate
take on this.
Schroeder did not hate the marker because
he hates God. He doesn't. He hates
pagans, and he maintains this
marker was a sneaky pagan plot.
It did not include the commandment
cautioning against graven images. That means
it was Catholic,
and therefore, he says, bad.
Also, it bore a hideous graven image, he
says. "Right above the proclamation 'The Lord my God is
God' was a breasted sun god, a triangle with a crescent moon on
top, an all-seeing eye with
breasts. It was the same graven
image on altars in Carthage." In other words, it was pagan
Schroeder contends the image was a Masonic
symbol. Free Masonry, he says, is the biggest pagan
there is. That's what offended him so about the marker.
Frank Morrison, 73, a retired firefighter and president of the
Anderson Eagles, seemed a little
offended himself. He says
flatly that Eagles are not Masons, and Masons are not pagans. He
not recall the symbol Schroeder describes, although if
there was one, "It may have been covered by
re-dedication plaque," he says, after the marker was
repaired in 1998.
Anderson police say Schroeder is not a suspect. The Jeep was
filled with young white males, says Lt.
Michael Reed. Schroeder
drives a silver Camry.
Still, what went down in Anderson provides an opening for
Schroeder to continue his longtime expose
of Indy's pagan
symbolism. Did you know, he asks, that the entire Downtown is
teeming with diabolic
images on public buildings? He will
present his views at 1 p.m. March 27 at the House Cafe in
His seminar's title is "In Diana Pan Opolis."
Translation? Only in Indiana.
Holladay's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. You can
reach her at
Accessed March 17, 2004 at: http://www.indystar.com/articles/0/129814-4070-009.html
Used with permission.
Note: In the course of getting permission to run this article,
we learned that the event was
cancelled on the grounds that it
might attack the Roman Catholic Church. cl, ed.]
liberal Christian challenges the Radical Right
An allegorical, spiritual, mythical approach gives Bible
new credibility and power, book says
By Tom Harpur
have the great responsibility of sharing the "story"
that follows with as wide an audience as
possible, because what
I describe and document is one of the most far-reaching
tragedies in history.
It is the premise of this entire account that very early on, in
the 3rd and 4th centuries C.E., the
Christian Church made a
fatal and fateful error. Either deliberately, in a competitive
bid to win over
the greatest numbers of the largely unlettered
masses, or through wilflul ignorance of the true,
inner sense of
the profound spiritual wisdom it had inherited from so many
ancient sources, the
Church took a literalist, popularized,
historical approach to sublime truth. What was preserved in
amber of allegory, it misrepresented as plodding fact. The
transcendent meaning of glorious
myths and symbols was reduced
to a farrago of miraculous or irrelevant, or quite unbelievable,
events. The great truth that the Christ was to come in man, that
the Christ principle was potentially
in every one of us, was
changed to the exclusivist teaching that the Christ had come as
a man. No
other could match him, or even come close. The Dark
Ages — and so much more — were the
While most of what is laid out will possibly surprise and stir
both faithful and outsider alike, that is
not my primary
intention. This is not about seeking controversy or headlines;
it is a sincere and
earnest search for spiritual truth.
Certainly it is in no way meant as an attack upon Christianity
or any other religion, for that matter. Quite the opposite,
in fact. In the end, it is about the
realization of a richer,
more spiritual faith than I ever knew before.
I want to affirm with the utmost emphasis and sincerity from the
very outset that the evidence
investigated here, the discoveries
I have made, and the inner struggles and deep insights that
flowed from them have made a joyous and life-changing imprint
upon me. When I first began
my investigation, I thought to
myself, Can any of this be true? Several months later, I found
asking instead, What if it is true? The implications were
enormous. It meant, you see, that much of
the thinking of much
of the civilized West has been based upon a "history"
that never occurred,
and that the Christian Church has been
founded on a set of miracles that were never performed
literally. Finally, though, I said to myself, because of the
sheer weight of the evidence before me,
Yes, of course it's
true. And that has made all the difference, a huge and immensely
difference for my understanding of my faith and my own
spiritual life. Simultaneously, it has
transformed my view of
the future of Christianity into one of hope.
Here's why I can say that with conviction. You will find that
the allegorical, spiritual, mythical
approach to the Bible and
to Christian faith — that is, the true, spiritual
Christianity, before official
Christianism took over — solves
the enigmas of Scripture and the Christos story as nothing else
can do. Bible stories come alive with amazing new freshness,
believability, and power. Our own
potential for Christhood, and
for experiencing the indwelling spirit of God here and now,
forth in a clear and relevant message for everyone. Hope
for a truly cosmic faith is kindled and
fanned into full flame.
There is a theological grounding given for our own instinctual
yearning for a
faith that resonates with our own
"matter," the natural world. Our fresh (yet
universal) understanding of the Jesus theme opens
up doors to other faiths that orthodox
Christianity as it is now
can never hope to pass through. And that's not all. Seen in
their new light,
the rituals of Easter and Christmas, along with
Christian symbols such as the cross and the
Eucharist, glow with
renewed significance and depth.
In all honesty, however, this has not been a simple or easy
journey for me. Having come from a
and commitment and dedicated my life to making known spiritual
I had never before encountered in depth the kind of
challenges to my own faith I explore here.
Certainly very little
of what follows was ever presented to me by the institutional
Church during my
10 years of university training for the
Anglican priesthood long ago. Nor was it ever once seriously
discussed by any of my colleagues during the roughly 10 years I
spent as a professor of the New
Testament and Greek at a
prominent Canadian theological college. It was assumed by all
throughout that traditional Christianity had always been more or
less what it is today. Its superiority
over other religions was
seldom, if ever, seriously challenged. . . .
The Church of the 3rd and 4th centuries, when challenged by
its Pagan critics as to the real sources of
its gospels, dogmas,
and rites, reacted with fierce hostility, systematically hunting
eliminating all traces of its Pagan past. It
hounded anyone, whether Christian or not, who bore
the old truths. It closed down the traditional,
"Pagan" philosophical schools, persecuted
involved in the various popular Greco-Roman Mystery Religions,
burned hundreds of thousands
of books, and hurled the charge of
heresy — with its penalty of excommunication — at any who
threatened to question the orthodox party line. Many were put to
death. The Pagan inheritance was
everywhere hotly denied. This
was the beginning of a violent process that was to recur over
centuries and eventuate in a Christianity that Frye once
bluntly described as "a ghost with the chains
of a foul
historical record of cruelty clanking behind it." Studying
this attempt to squelch the truth in
detail for the first time
was a profound shock for me.
Today there is no longer any excuse for any hierarchy to
ignore the truth of what has actually
transpired. The record
is now plain for all to see. Not only did the early Christians
take over almost
completely the myths and teachings of their
Egyptian masters, mediated in many cases by the
Religions and by Judaism in its many forms, but they did
everything in their power, through
forgery and other fraud, book
burning, character assassination, and murder itself, to destroy
crucial evidence of what had happened.
In the process, the Christian story itself, which most likely
began as a kind of spiritual drama,
together with a
"sayings" source-based upon the Egyptian material, was
turned into a form of history
in which the Christ of the
myth became a flesh-and-blood person identified with Jesus (Yeshua
Joshua) of Nazareth. The power of the millennia-old Christ
mythos to transform the whole of humanity
was all but destroyed
in the literalist adulation of "a presumptive Galilean
paragon." Centuries of darkness were to follow . . .
Keep in mind throughout that however negative — even shocking
— the evidence may seem at times, a vast hope shines through
it all. The overwhelmingly positive conclusions finally reached
point toward an exhilarating new approach to faith and to a
sorely needed, truly spiritual Christianity in this still very
new millennium. My goal is not to summarily dismiss the deep
beliefs held by many millions in North America, Europe, and
increasingly now in the Southern Hemisphere, where the vast
majority of today's Christians live. But I do want these people
to think deeply about their faith anew.
Once the "surgery" is over, you will see, with me, how
the Bible is wonderfully illumined afresh, how a rational,
cosmic faith not only is possible but indeed is the only thing
that makes sense in our fast
changing, pluralistic world. You
will learn how any future faith must and can be fully grounded
nature and its cycles. The Jesus story will come alive
and strike your heart and intellect as never
rituals such as Holy Communion, baptism, and the Church's key
Christmas and Easter will have new power once we
understand their true meaning in the light of the
wisdom. The near-universal belief in a glorious destiny beyond
the grave will be grounded
once and for all in something more
solid than a merely pious or emotion-based faith. Belief in the
Christ within will be established as the key to personal and
Our journey begins.
Star July 7, 2004
Used with permission.
Can Discriminate on Religion -- even against Volunteers!
following Pew Foundation publications are provided in PDF format.
Acrobat Reader is required.
Funding Backed, But Church-State Doubts Abound
A survey jointly developed by the Pew Forum and the Pew Research
Center for the People and the
Places, Civic Purposes
Should Government Help Faith-Based
E.J. Dionne Jr. and Ming Hsu Chen, eds., The Brookings Institution
A Dialogue on Funding Faith-Based Social
December 25, 2003
Inmates, 26 Religions in 'Faith-Based' Fla. Prison
Gov. Bush encourages Florida prison that encourages inmates'
(The Washington Post)
Faith-Based Initiative Two Years Later: Examining its Potential,
Progress and Problems
March 5, 2003
Can an Office Change a Country? The White House Office of
Faith-Based and Community
A Year in Review
February 20, 2002
1 short letter = 10 long
ones = 50 phone calls = 1000 emails.
News on Religion
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
Last Updated May 8, 2007