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The Bible and Suicide

Religious Right: VAT
Values Action Team

Sometimes people wonder how the American Congress could pass obviously unconstitutional laws. One answer might be a largely unknown legislative group called the "Values Action Team," made up of religious-right zealots and operating out of the office of Majority Whip Tom DeLay. Formed in May of 1998, the purpose appears to be to adopt the policy "suggestions" of religious-right groups like the Christian Coalition or Focus on the Family and then working to get them introduced and hopefully passed into law. Some of their efforts have included supporting the Religious Freedom Amendment and attempting to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts.

But where did VAT come from, and why did it form? According to organizations like Christianity Net, VAT was created as a direct response to harsh criticisms from James Dobson that Republican legislators had not done enough to promote his "family values" agenda. In a 1997 speech to the semi-secret Council for National Policy, Dobson compared himself to John the Baptist and then proceeded to castigate the Republican Party for not sticking to his agenda. Other leaders of the religious right began to echo his statements, and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention declared "No more engagement. We want a wedding ring, we want a ceremony, we want a consummation of marriage."

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