Religious Right (Christian Right): News, Information, Commentary
Texas Gov. Rick Perry: Non-Christians Going Straight to Hell
Well, Rick Perry won his re-election bid for governor of Texas and that's probably not good news for non-Christians in Texas. Why? Because apparently Rick Perry thinks that all non-Christians are going straight to hell. You can't think someone is going to hell and, at the same time, have a lot of respect for their positions, their beliefs, or even their character.
Evangelical Teens Leaving the Faith in Droves?
Newsflash! Conservative evangelical leaders have made a startling and earth-shaking discovery: evangelical teens have a tendency to become less religious over time! Even more amazing is the fact that exposure to lots of non-evangelical teens in public schools increases the chances that a person will adopt new and non-evangelical beliefs!
Michele Bachmann, Fool for Christ: God Told Me to Run for Congress
God must be pretty busy since there seems to be no shortage of Republicans with whom God is discussing politics, even going so far as to tell them to run for elected office. Do Republicans have some sort of special calling plan with heaven, giving them a bulk discount?
Jessica Alba Left Born-Again Christian Church
Currently a very popular actress, there was a time in her teenage years when Jessica Alba was active in a born-again evangelical Christian church. Why did she eventually stop? The answer is a simple as it is disturbing: they started to treat her badly because of her developing physical beauty and accused her of tempting the men. How shortsighted and narrow minded can people be?
GOP Losing Some White Evangelicals?
The contemporary Republican Party has been transformed into a Conservative Christian Party. Their electoral success is heavily dependent upon the votes of conservative white evangelical Christians. Republicans tend to win when they receive most of the votes from these Christians; if they lose those votes, they are far less likely to win elections. What will happen in the 2006 elections?
White House: Evangelical Leaders are Nuts, Goofy, Out of Control
David Kuo is a conservative Christian who has worked closely with major evangelical leaders for years. He also served as the number-two man in the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives for a while, thus giving him insight into both the operations of evangelical organizations and the ways in which the White House has worked with them. What he found led him to quit the White House in disgust.
Answers in Genesis: Fear Mongering?
Although many Christians would deny it, there are some ways in which Christianity is a religion based on fear. A fundamental teaching of Christianity is that if you accept its beliefs you will be rewarded with eternity in heaven; if you don't, then you will be punished with an eternity of torment in hell.
Stephen Baldwin: Kick A** in the Name of the Kingdom
Not exactly known for stellar acting and hit movies, Stephen Baldwin seems to be trying out a new career: Christian evangelism. He's written a new book about his "calling" to the new "hardcore movement of faith" and hopes to reach others with a "hip" religious message. An interview with him recently appeared on the Radar Online site, but I don't know if it's genuine or not.
Falwell: Hillary Worse than Lucifer
According to Jerry Falwell, not even Lucifer himself as a candidate for president would do more to energize the activism and commitment of evangelical Christian voters than Hillary Clinton. In effect, then, Jerry Falwell seems to think that Hillary Clinton is even worse than Lucifer - at least in the eyes of evangelical Christians. This doesn't say much about conservative evangelicals, does it?
American Evangelicals Trying to Save Godless Canadians
The Great White North has become the Great Godless North, at least in the eyes of some conservative evangelical Christians in America. There are continuing efforts by some American churches to evangelize Canadians because people in Canada, including Christians, just aren't "Christian enough" for these evangelicals. Canadians: Beware.
Christian Coalition Losing State Chapters
In yet a further sign of just how far the Christian Coalition has fallen, three different state chapters have broken off al formal ties with the national group in 2006. The most recent is Alabama, an undeniably conservative state, and they claim that the national Christian Coalition hasn't been doing enough to focus on the most important issues facing Christians in modern America.
Randall Terry's Family Values: Putting Image Over Reality
Christian Nationalists use the phrase 'family values' at every turn. They claim to be defending and promoting family values, but quite often their efforts are more a matter of image and ideals rather than reality - that is to say, their efforts ignore the reality of families and values in America in favor of an ideal image that makes for good sound bites.
Christian Racism in the South: Church Turns Away Biracial Boy
It wasn't that long ago that Christians in the South kept their churches segregated on an official basis: white churches simply prevented non-whites from attending. Today churches tend to be segregated out of choice and tradition rather than due to official rules. Some Christians may prefer the "good old days" and want their churches to be officially segregated.
Republican Party of Texas: Firmly Controlled by Christian Right
According to the Texas Freedom Network (TFN), the Christian Right has developed a strangle-hold on the Texas Republican Party. It should not be ignored that the national Republican Party is firmly in control by Texas Republicans and that Texas Republicans themselves have had a strangle-hold on conservative politics in America.
Minnesota Christian Coalition Founder on the Run from Cops
The Christian Coalition isn't what it used to be. Not long ago it was regarded as one of the most powerful political organizations in America. It far outstripped the Moral Majority when it came to pushing for more Christianity in political life. Today the national organization is in tatters; state-level organizations are even worse off. The founder of Minnesota's group is on the run from police.
Catholics Leading the Fight to Break Up American Protestant Churches?
I have written many times about the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), an organization apparently dedicated to either transforming mainstream Protestant churches into conservative evangelical churches like the Southern Baptist Convention or breaking them up and thereby eliminating their influence. What I didn't know, however, is the extent to which the IRD is led by Catholics.
Focus on the Family Fighting for Religious Flag-Folding Ceremony
Not too long ago, the flag-folding ceremony at Air Force funerals included aspects that explicitly endorsed Christianity. The government recently eliminated a number of religious aspects to the ceremony without anyone noticing. Well, they just started to notice and they are gearing up to raise a big ruckus. Is their outrage justified? Not really, no.
Did Ralph Reed Manipulate the Christian Right for Personal Power?
At one time, Ralph Reed was one of the most powerful members of the Christian Right. After he left the Christian Coalition (in the nick of time - coincidence?), he was less visible but remained very powerful in Christian and conservative circles. Today his influence is almost gone, destroyed in scandals over bribes and gambling. It's possible that he never believed the religious dogma he spouted.
Republican Associates Homophobic Phelps with Peace Activists
Religious conservatives are outraged at the actions of Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, picketing military funerals because he thinks the deaths in Iraq are God's punishment for tolerating homosexuality. The problem is, he's just taking their own ideology a little bit further than they do so they can't attack him head-on. So what do they do? Misrepresent what he's doing, naturally.
Conservative Evangelical Disowns Conservative Evangelical Politics
Rev. Gregory A. Boyd is a conservative evangelical. He opposes abortion and homosexuality. He preaches a very traditionalist, conservative brand of Christianity. He is also fed up with conservative evangelical Christians injecting their religion and their churches into the political sphere - and he's not afraid to lose a few congregation members on account of taking a stand for his beliefs.
Southern Baptist Leaders Caught Fleecing the Flocks
William Pierre Crotts and Thomas Dale Grabinski, ex-president and ex-chief legal counsel for the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, have been convicted for cheating thousands of Southern Baptist investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars over several decades. The investors were recruited in Southern Baptist churches and told that their money would help Southern Baptist causes. Yeah, right.
CNN Promoting the Apocalypse, May Sign Antichrist to Host Show?
There was a time when CNN was considered a fairly respected and respectable news organization. Today, their ability to demand respect is greatly diminished and they seem determined to eliminate what little is left. The most recent tactic has been to play up alleged signs of the coming Apocalypse. Are they merely pandering to superstitious Christian viewers, or do they really believe this tripe?
Christian Right: Equal Rights For Me, But Not for Thee
There is a federal law, the Equal Access Act, which forbids schools from discriminating against student groups on the basis of religious, political, philosophical, or other content of their meetings and ideology. Christians uses this to ensure that religious groups are not denied equal access; some of these same Christians get upset when the same law is used to defend the rights of gay students.
Ambassadors for Christian Dominion in Uniform
Efforts by some Christians to establish greater control over American society and government has been making great strides in the military - especially the Air Force. They have a group dedicated to the idea of transforming the military into an agency of "ambassadors for Christ" and empowered by the "Holy Spirit," not people dedicated to defending the nation.
Conservative Evangelicals Supporting American Torture?
One might imagine that Christians today should be staunch supporters of the idea that human dignity is inviolable and that torture should be absolutely prohibited. If that's the case, though, then why has the American government - made up mostly of Christians - been doing so much to find ways to justify and allow torture? Are conservative Christians today on the side of torture? Perhaps.
Arkansas Governor Huckabee: Too Many Are 'Spiritually Disconnected'
Leaders of the Christian Right and their political minions are convinced that more religion is necessary for the future of society - and while they like to talk in public in general terms, they only really mean their religion. This make their agenda a theocratic one, an agenda designed to impose the rule of priests, ministers, and self-proclaimed religious spokesman over all Americans
America as a Muslim Nation vs. America as a Christian Nation
Since Islam is as much of a political and evangelical religion as Christianity, is it any surprise that there are Muslims who would like to see America become a Muslim Nation? Christians should see this as expected and natural, given their own attitudes towards America, but some don't. Attitudes they ignore on the part of Christians are treated as a sign of extremism among Muslims.
Andrew Richardson (Gribbit), Christian Privilege, and Violence
Many - far too many - conservative Christians believe that their religion should be favored over all others in America. This position is not only antithetical to the Constitution, but also to basic decency and morality. It is interesting, though, to witness how they defend this: how they defend their pretensions of superiority, their assertions of legal privilege, and worse.
Networks Too Afraid to Run UCC Ad
The United Church of Christ is in the news again for creating advertisements touting the openness of their congregations - and, by implication, criticizing the fact that other churches aren't as open. Fox, NBC, CBS, and ABC refuse to run the new ad because they are afraid of criticism from members or those churches. Who put up the "do not disturb the bigots" sign?
Ann Coulter: Where are the Skinheads When You Need Them?
The confluence of old-style, thuggish fascism with new-style American conservatism seems to continue without much interruption. In a recent column, Ann Coulter wondered why thugs hadn't yet attacked a Yale student who had once been a member of the Taliban - and indicated that Skinheads would be welcome if they took on the task.
Christian College Against Academic, Intellectual Freedom?
You may not have heard of Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County, Virginia, but it's worth keeping an eye on. It's a college designed primarily for conservative evangelical Christians, mostly those who have been home schooled, and aims to place graduates in the highest levels of government. They succeed, too, despite apparently not respecting basic academic or intellectual freedom.
Christian Anchor: Working for Competition is Religious Right
Frank Turner is a news anchor WXYZ-TV, a Detroit-based ABC affiliate station. He is also a born-again Christian who regularly preaches and makes no effort to hide his evangelical bias. He asked to host a Christian radio show on a station owned by a different company and his bosses said no. Now, he's suing, claiming that his religious rights have been violated.
Christian Coalition Completely Falling Apart
It really wasn't that long ago that the Christian Coalition was the primary representative of conservative, evangelical Christianity in American politics. The Christian Coalition was a powerful organization which could mobilize massive member support either for or against particular legislation and policies. Today, the Christian Coalition is in the dumpster - barely surviving and barely relevant.
Gay and Evangelical Christians
Some of the fiercest critics of homosexuality in America are evangelical Christians. They argue that homosexuality is a sin, that the homosexual lifestyle is both a consequence and a continuing cause of the decline of American values, and that the only way for people to be righteous with God is to be heterosexual. So how is it possible for a person to be gay and an evangelical Christian?
God's Senator: Sam Brownback Seeks Christian Fascism, Theocracy
Sam Brownback is a Republican Senator from Kansas who would probably like to be President. The far Christian Right also seems to want him to be the next president because he agrees with all their most extreme views. Sam Brownback wants to be elected president, but it really doesn't appear that he believes in democracy as much as he believes in a fascist Christian theocracy.
Thank God for Slavery! New Republican Slogan...
Most people today have trouble understanding how Christians in the past could have supported slavery and even owned slaves themselves. Such beliefs and behavior are just too foreign to today's Christians - well, to most of them, at least. There are still some who exhibit the attitudes and ideas which demonstrate clearly how slavery and bigotry get a foothold in religions like Christianity.
Christians Criticize 'Left Behind' Theology
Many people may believe that the theology which forms the basis for the bestselling Left Behind series of books is somehow standard to Christianity - but it's not. As a matter of fact, the theology is unique to Evangelical Dispensationalism, a theological position which has little regard for Christian tradition or the connections between the Old and New Testaments.
Evangelical Forces Reshaping Liberal Mainline Christianity
Mainline Protestant churches have long been an important force for theological liberalism in Christianity - but for how much longer? This status may not last because conservative evangelicals are hard at work within these churches to turn them around and make them more orthodox, more evangelical, and perhaps even more fundamentalist.
Christians Criticize Christian Zionists
Some Christians in America oppose any "peace plan" in the Middle East that might entail Israel giving up control over "biblical" lands and allowing for the creation of an independent, Palestinian state. These are generally known as "Christian Zionists" and they seek a future where Israel controls all land that is believed to have been once controlled by the Jews.
Where are the Religious Moderates?
In America, the most vocal Christians also tend to be the most conservative and right-wing. We don't hear much religious talk from moderate and liberal Christians. In some ways, that's fine - not every public conversation should be infused with religion. In other ways it's not fine because it leaves the most conservative voices with a monopoly on public religion.
Olasky: Journalists Should Report Through the Lens of the Bible
Real objectivity in journalism is difficult if not impossible. Everyone has biases and assumptions which can't be completely eliminated when reporting on an issue. We can try to set them aside and admit to those we can't let go of, and that usually is enough. Some evangelicals, however, insist that since objectivity is impossible, explicit Christian bias should be adopted.
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dominionists?
Dominion Theology is growing in influence among American Christians. More and more of the Christian Right's agenda is founded upon the arguments and principles espoused by Christian Reconstructionism. Is it, however, mere alarmism to keep arguing that the Christian Right is becoming too fascist and too dominionist?
American Evangelicals: Ignorant and Uneducated?
Are conservative evangelicals in America ignorant and uneducated? There is a popular stereotype of them being so and as with most stereotypes there are bits of truth and falsehood. It's false that there's no respect for learning among conservative evangelicals; it's true, however, in that the type of learning which is respected is very narrow.
Christian Lawmakers Confusing Own Religion for Public Policy
All over the nation, a number of conservative Christian lawmakers share one fundamental principle in common: they all believe that their personal religious beliefs should be the standard for evaluating public laws and policies which have authority over all citizens. There is little to distinguish such Christians from theocrats.
Church Expels Woman over Friendship with Divorced Man
As private organizations, it's obvious that churches have broad rights to determine their own membership rules. They can discriminate against and exclude people for practically any reason. Sometimes, though, whom they exclude and how says a lot about them - for example, the Knoxville, Tennessee church that kicked a woman out for being friends with a divorced man.
Evangelical Christians Buying Off Progressive Christians?
Normally we might expect to see liberal, progressive Christians opposing efforts by the Religious Right to force American culture to conform to their religious norms. That, however, might be changing: some progressive Christians and Christian organizations are growing closer to Religious Right groups, and the factor that is bringing them together may be money.
Colorado: Teacher Dumped for Playing 10 Minutes of Opera
What sorts of material should students in public schools be exposed to? There is quite a lot of debate about this issue and legitimate room for reasonable disagreement. Unfortunately, there are too many Christians who insist on being unreasonable - like those in Colorado who helped get a teacher dumped for showing students 10 minutes of the opera Faust.
Tolerance Excludes Christianity
Dan Secrist is the Senior pastor at Faith Assembly of Lacey, Washington, and for over 35 years, participated as a chaplain in the Washington State Legislature. Secrist's problem is that state officials complained about the prayers he has delivered at the legislature while there has been public criticism of legislators who walked out while a Muslim delivered a prayer.
Homophobic Teachers Refuse to Declare Classes Safe for Gay Students
Trying to overcome a history of noxious anti-gay bigotry, the San Leandro high school in California authorized the creation and display in every class room of posters which showed a rainbow flag and the words 'This is a safe place to be who you are.' Some teachers objected to the message and symbols, citing their personal religious beliefs that homosexuality is evil, and refused to hang them.
American Fundamentalism, Satanic Cults, and False Memories
For a number of years, American law and religion were heavily involved with reports about satanic cults kidnapping and ritually abusing children, memories of which were repressed and only later recovered by researchers using special methods of interrogation. The truth is that none of this happened and it was all a fraud, but belief hasn't quite died off.
Moral Majority was a Regrettable Aberration
Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority was, for a time, the most powerful and influential Christian Right organization in America. It's actual number of supporters was never a majority and probably never as many as they themselves reported, but they set the pattern for future Christian Right activism in subsequent decades. It was also, some argue, a serious mistake.
Stephen Baldwin: Poor Actor, Christian Crank
There are several Baldwins involved with acting in movies; one of the most forgettable is Stephen Baldwin. Is it possible that this is a reason why he has started photographing employees and customers of an adult entertainment store? The store is legal and the products it sells are legal, but Baldwin wants the place shut down and is not above intimidating people in order to do it.
Evangelicals in Muslims Lands: Targeting Christians?
Usually when we hear about evangelical Christians proselytizing in Muslim lands, we think of them going around trying to convert Muslims to Christianity - and certainly some of that goes on. However, it turns out that the reality may not be quite so simple as that. According to many Christian leaders in Arab nations, these evangelicals actually target Christian communities first and foremost
Fundamentalists Against Theocracy
Opposition to the separation of church and state, and encouragement of theocratic beliefs, are typically associated fundamentalism. Not all fundamentalists are threats to democracy and secularism, however. Their religious beliefs may be more extreme than most, but this doesn't necessarily lead to more extreme political beliefs.
Martin Luther King, Jr. vs. Christian Right
On Sunday, January 8, the Christian Right held its third 'Justice Sunday' program promoting a reformed judiciary where their Christian values take precedence over the law. What's curious about this Justice Sunday was how long-time opponents of racial equality attempted to assume the mantle and tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ministers Anoint Alito's Chair With Holy Oil
One of the more bizarre aspects of the confirmation hearings for Samuel Alito, and one which you probably won't hear about in most media outlets, is how a group of Christian minister claims to have snuck into the chambers to anoint people's chairs. They definitely anointed the doorway. For them, this is all a religious ceremony, not a civil, secular event.
Hal Lindsey Dropped from TBN for Arab Bashing
His writing and reporting has been a staple of the Christian Right for decades, but today Hal Lindsey appears to be in the dog house. Trinity Broadcasting Network has cancelled his weekly show "International Intelligence Briefing." At first they denied that it had anything to do with his attacks on Islam; later they admitted that this was precisely the reason. Why did they lie the first time?
American Politicians and Abuse of God
Too many politicians try to justify awful political positions by pretending that God wills what they find preferable. Throughout history, things like slavery, racism, and the oppression of women have been justified by reference to tradition and scripture. Sadly, few politicians have seemed to learn from the errors of the past.
Southern Baptist Leader Arrested
Lonnie Latham, senior pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church and one of the leaders of the powerful Southern Baptist Convention, has been arrested and charged with "offering to engage in an act of lewdness." What he did was proposition a plainclothes policeman to go to a hotel room for some oral sex.
Christian Zionism: Arab Evangelicals vs. American Evangelicals
Popular with the Christian Right in America, Christian Zionism is an ideology which promotes the support of Israel in just about everything while dismissing the concerns and interests of Palestinians in just about everything. This affects not just Muslims, however, but also many Christians. Why are evangelicals putting the interests of Jews ahead of those of Christians?
Mattel Caves in to Christian Right Extremists, Turns Back on Girls
The American Girls doll line is very popular, but Christian Right groups started reporting that the manufacturer, American Girl, donated money to Girls Inc, a group that supports abortion rights. This has been too much for conservatives to take and so a boycott of not just the dolls, but everyone associated with them, was launched.
Did Terri Schiavo Help Derail Christian Right Agenda?
Who can forget the Terri Schiavo debates? Republican leaders would like to, it seems. They took a strong stand in defense of religious extremism and, as a consequence, lost significant support from everyone but religious extremists. They haven't been able to do much to push their social and religious agenda since then.
Stupid Tom DeLay Quotes
Tom DeLay, Republican Congressman from Texas, has said and done some amazingly awful things in his political career. It's an open question whether his actions are motivated from spite and a base desire for power, or whether he's really believes in the things he does and thinks that he's working for some misguided idea about the higher good.
Fox News Embraces White Supremacy
When it comes to issues like evolution, the media are always quick to present 'both sides' of the issue. When it comes to White Supremacy, Fox Carolina saw no need. They broadcast a positive piece on Stormfront, for many years a primary source of White Hate on the internet, in which no criticism was included.
Christian Persecution Complex
I've written many times about the phenomenon of Christians seeking to restore the existence of Christian Privilege in America. Closely associated with this is the existence of a 'persecution complex' where Christians whine about how they aren't allowed to do whatever they wish and, therefore, are being persecuted because of their religion.
Secular Progressives Have Secret Plan to Diminish Christian Philosophy
Bill O'Reilly has revealed to the nation that secular progressives have a 'very secret plan' to 'diminish Christian philosophy in the U.S.A.' It's clear that he isn't clever enough to have connected the dots and figured this out on his own, so someone must have talked. We have a traitor in our midst who must be found and dealt with immediately!
Gingrich: ACLU is a Destructive Organization
In the past, conservatives attacked Jews, communists, and blacks as being responsible for America's problems. Today, the ACLU has become a primary target by those who are opposed to others' liberty and can't stand the fact that the liberties of minorities are increasing at the expense of unjustified privileges traditionally accorded to the majority.
AFA's Disingenuous Attacks on Progressive Insurance
Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance, has donated USD $8.5 million to the ACLU because he believes in the work they do defending Americans' liberty. The American Family Association, not being big supporters of others' liberties, is incensed and calling for a boycott of Progressive. In the process, they misrepresent the ACLU.
Evangelical Christianity & Capitalism: A Coming Conflict?
Religion is becoming big business in America: more and more large corporations are sponsoring religious events even as more media companies are working hard to sell religious books, movies, and games. This sounds like it should be beneficial to religion and it certainly appears to be - but will the capitalist fervor ultimately do more harm than good?
Traditional Values: Christians Opposed to Gambling Take Gambling Money
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, leader of the Traditional Values Coalition, is a vocal and influential voice in the Christian Right. He claims to be opposed to gambling, which makes sense given his religious beliefs, but apparently his business beliefs took control when he accepted money from the gambling industry and then helped undermine an anti-gambling measure.
Doctor Gives Wiccan a Religious Lectures Instead of Birth Control Pill
In Niles, Michigan, Amanda Blake visited a doctor in order to get a prescription for birth control pill. What the 18-year-old Wiccan received was not a medical examination nor even a prescription; instead, she received a lecture from the doctor on values, morality, and religion. Did she take a wrong turn and visit a church by mistake? No, just a bad doctor.
More on Bush and God
I've written a couple of times on reports that George W. Bush has admitted to receiving and acting on orders from God - including when it came to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The White House has denied this, but it's not inconsistent with other reports of his behavior.
Samuel Alito: Defender of Racism and White, Male Privilege?
As a nominee to the Supreme Court, Samuel A. Alito has come under intense scrutiny. Much of what people have found is unsurprising except, perhaps, for his involvement in Concerned Alumni of Princeton. This group was created to oppose the admission of women and ended up defending preferences for the children of alumni, but not for minorities.
Christian Coalition in Tatters
There was a time when the Christian Coalition was one of the most important and influential political organizations in America. Today, though, little is left of this once-mighty juggernaut - not even Pat Robertson wants to be associated with it anymore. I wonder what he thinks about his Christian Coalition now?
Bill O'Reilly: Religious Equality is Crazy
Always good for a quote expressing something completely absurd, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News recent declared that it's crazy and nuts for public schools to treat all religions equally when it comes to holidays. For him, the only acceptable situation appears to be to treat Christianity as something special and thereby make Christians feel better about themselves and their religion.
Saving Lives vs. Preventing Drug Abuse
Which matters more, saving people's lives or making sure that they don't violate the moral code of some religious believers? Some on America's Christian Right appear to prefer the latter. HIV cases have been dropping, especially among African-Americans, because of needle exchange programs, but not everyone is happy about the situation.
When Evangelists Divide Christians
Christian evangelists speaking on college campuses are a frequent sight. Their ostensible goal is to reach out to non-Christian students, but how well are they doing? In some cases, at least, they may be doing more to divide Christians by focusing on differences rather than on unified, positive messages.
Pat Robertson's Insane Statements
Given how many books he has written and how much time he spends in front of the camera on the 700 Club, it's no wonder that people have found all kinds of crazy things said by Pat Roberson. Despite this, though, he manages to continue to surprise with what he says and apparently believes.
Bill O'Reilly Encourages Terrorism in San Francisco?
Many conservatives regard liberals as weak on matters involving national security and terrorism. They have argued before the American people that the nation would be less safe with liberals and Democrats in charge - some have even argued that liberals aid and support terrorism, committing treason against America. How many have encouraged terrorist acts against America, though?
Falwell Critic Gets to Keep Domain Name
Christopher Lamparello, a critic of Jerry Falwell, maintains a web site under the domain name www.fallwell.com, a slight misspelling of Falwell's name. Jerry Falwell argued that he should get the name because people might confuse the critical site for Falwell's own site. The courts have not agreed.
Pastor Supported Faith-Based Plans, Investigated for Outrageous Salary
Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of the New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, Georgia, has been an ardent supporter of President Bush's Faith-Based Funding initiatives. He also appears to have been a big beneficiary as well and he's under investigation for just how much he has been getting.
Jay Sekulow: America's Christian Right Lawyer
The most important legal figure in the Christian Right is probably Jay Sekulow, chief counsel fro the American Center for Law and Justice (a group created by Pat Robertson). A consummate lawyer and political pundit, he has been a leading voice in defense of Christian privilege, Christian exceptionalism, and Christian power in America... and it's making him rich.
The Importance of James Dobson for the Christian Right
First there was Jerry Falwell. Then there was Pat Robertson. Each were important, influential leaders of America's Christian Right who are today mere shadows of their former selves. The current leader of the Christian Right is indisputably James Dobson, founder of the American Family Association
The Christian Right and Religious Coercion in the Military
The recent scandals about how religious minorities were treated at the Air Force Acadamy caused a great deal of concern in just about everyone except for one group: the Christian Right. It was on behalf of conservative, evangelical Christianity that the coercion and proselytization was done, so perhaps they saw nothing wrong with it all.
College Football Coaches Pushing Prayer, Religion
In some places, football is a type of religion; in many places, religion and football are combined into a single activity. All over the nation, football coaches combine religion and football to an unprecedented extent. It's arguable that playing football isn't always the secular activity that it once was.
Christian Right Seeking Ban on Halloween
As part of their battles against all things secular and all things pagan, Christian Right activists have been working to eliminate Halloween celebrations in public schools. They don't like the idea that Halloween appears to be promoting witchcraft and think that they have a church/state separation case to make.
The Truth About Ann Coulter?
Ann Coulter appears to be one of the most popular conservative commentators in America, but this doesn't mean that every conservative likes her. A group called Citizens for Principled Conservatism is creating a documentary which ostensibly reveals her hypocrisy and the truth behind her views.
Religious Group Didn't Distribute Water from Beer Company
After a major disaster, getting clean water is one of the most critical tasks for disaster relief. Often, water is donated by companies with large canning or bottling facilities - and this includes beer companies. In Florida, a Southern Baptist Convention group refused to distribute clean water to hurricane victims because it came from Anheuser-Busch.
Dissolving Christianity in America
Many fear the possibility of powerful religious interests taking control of the government in America and using the coercive power of the state to enact a repressive agenda. There are certainly religious groups that would like to do this, but just how realistic are the chances of anything like this occurring?
Sex and Abstinence in America: Red States vs. Blue States
The Christian Right likes to complain about sex in society and proclaim itself as the defenders of righteous sexual morality. For some strange reason, though, those areas of the country where the Christian Right is strongest are also those areas where teens are more likely to become mothers. Coincidence?
Christians May Seek to Ban Qur'an
Remember Christian Voice, the British group that bullied theaters into not showing 'Jerry Springer - The Opera,' bullied a cancer charity into not accepting proceeds from this production, and was kicked out of its Co-op Bank because of their anti-gay ideology? Now they are threatening to seek a ban on the Qur'an as hate literature.
Kinder, Gentler Contempt of Jews
American Christians today have rejected the overt, bigoted anti-Semitism that characterized Christianity of the past. They no longer conspire to keep Jews out of housing, jobs, universities, and other places in society. This bigotry has not been entirely replaced by acceptance, though - it has been replaced in many ways by a quieter contempt.
Financial Trouble at Focus on the Family?
I've written before about the financial troubles over at the Christian Coalition, but could a similar future be in store for Focus on the Family? Focus is currently the dominant Christian Right group, a position once held by the Christian Coalition, and there is no sign of an impending collapse - but there are signs of problems.
Christian Coalition Leader: Child Molester?
Louis Beres has for a long time served as chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon. He is also, according to recent reports, a child molester who molested three members of his own family when they were still pre-teen girls. Police are investigating, of course, but this appears to be one more blow to the credibility of the failing Christian Coalition
Whom Would Jesus Waterboard?
The American Senate has voted to ban torturing and abusing detainees, but not unanimously: nine Senators voted against the bill, thus essentially authorizing the American government to torture prisoners. Does this sound like the 'Christian' thing to do? They might think so: they all received high marks from the Christian Coalition in recent years.
Intelligent Design: Foundation for the Whole Culture War
Too few people realize that the push for Intelligent Design by religious conservatives is part of a larger effort to undermine modern, scientific culture in favor of a regressive, theocratic state. Indeed, it appears that the philosophy of Intelligent Design is a fundamental component of the agenda: without it, the entire program falls apart.
More on God's Orders for Bush
I wrote a while ago about how Bush was quoted in Haaretz about telling Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas that God instructed him to strike Afghanistan and Iraq. With only one source for the quote, it was always a little dubious - but now we have two further sources for Bush believing exactly this.
God Hates America?
Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, like to complain that liberals are anti-American. Often they claim that liberals like or want to see Americans lose when it comes to things like the war in like Iraq. At the same time, religious conservatives who exhibit glee when God "punishes" America for the sins of a few are not labeled anti-American. Why?
Indiana: Banning Unauthorized Reproduction for Unmarried Women
It has long been a basic principle of conservatism, and especially religious conservatism, that sex should only occur in the context of marriage and reproduction (and reproduction should only occur in the context of marriage). Scientific advances and shifting social norms have undermined all this, but some are doing what they can to reverse course.
Puritan Theology and Evangelical Christians
For modern Christians, Jesus is the focus of everything they believe and do. What many don't realize, though, is that Jesus wasn't always the focus of American Christians. In the past, God was the focus - even to the point of Jesus being shoved out of the picture.
The Christian Right Likes John Roberts
One of the concerns many have had about John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court was the absence of evidence about what he thought on key legal issues. That's probably one reason why he was picked, too, which means that his views have been expressed in private conversation rather than public documents. What do the recipients of these private conversations think?
Penguins Adopted by Religious Conservatives
The movie 'March of the Penguins' has been very popular in America - and especially popular among conservatives, who seem to think that the film demonstrates the natural origins of their own social and political values. They don't seem to know very much about penguins generally, but ignorance has never halted good propaganda.
Christian Right Reactions to Frist & Stem-Cell Research
The Christian Right is so accustomed to take-no-prisoners attack politics that even when one of their own says something the least bit controversial, they turn on him like a pack of ravenous wolves. That's what Bill Frist learned when he expressed support for stem cell research.
Christian Coalition Sued by Own Lawyers
The Christian Coalition, once a powerful religious lobbying group, has fallen on hard times recently. They can't seem to pay their bills because, according to recent reports, they are being sued by Federal Express, Pitney Bowes, and others - including their own lawyers.
Anglican Bishops Criticize American Evangelicals
The Christian Right in America acts like it is the sole authority over what constitutes genuine Christianity. They don't allow that more liberal and moderate Christians in America are "true" Christians at all. They seem completely unaware of just how different Christian views in other nations can be.
Texas Pastor: America is Not a Christian Nation
Bishop T.D. Jakes is a very important African-American pastor who leads a massive non-denominational church in Dallas, Texas. His views on social morality are very close to that of President Bush and the Christian Right, but one thing he doesn't share is their preoccupation with the notion of America as a 'Christian Nation.'
Anti-Gay Radicals Promote Split in Baptist Church
The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) has successfully initiated what may become a schism in the American Baptist Church. The Pacific Southwest Region has voted to split from the denomination for not declaring that homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian Scripture."
Mitt Romney, Evangelicals, and the Mormon Church
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be interested in running for president. He runs a liberal state, but has been moving to the right on some issues in an apparent attempt to solidify right-wing support. The fact that he is a Mormon, though, may mean that his chances are dead before he even tries.
Flag Desecration Amendment: It's Just The Beginning
Regularly, almost like clockwork, conservatives attempt to enact a constitutional amendment that would permit them to ban flag burning and various forms of flag "desecration." They still don't accept the fact that such activity is protected free speech, so they want to single out this sort of speech for special political regulation. If successful, it will just be the beginning.
Republican Witch-Hunts Against Climate Change Scientists?
Apparently, Republican leaders have been singling out climate-change experts for special scrutiny and intimidation if they express views on global warming which are contrary to the administration's official line. This isn't the least bit surprising because Bush has demonstrated a repeated preference for ideology over science.
Pastors Make Jokes About Katrina Victims
Pastsors.com is an online resource that is apparently run by Rick Warren ("The Purpose Diven Life") and his family. How have the people there reacted to the hurricane Katrina? According to one report, by making jokes and thinly-veiled racist comments.
Evangelicals Oppressed Because People Disagree With Them
A common refrain heard from the Christian Right these days is that Christians (which only means them, because liberals can't be 'real' Christians) are persecuted in America. These Christians possess a great deal of political power and influence, so how can they be 'persecuted'? For them, persecution means disagreeing with them.
Religion Being Pushed Out of Public Life?
A popular argument among conservative Christians is that unless government officials are allowed to promote Christianity, then religion doesn't have a "real" place in public life. The widespread presence of prayer and religion outside the government doesn't seem to matter - for some reason, only government-sponsored religion matters to them.
Who Are the Originalists Here?
Originalism is a popular theory of constitutional interpretation among conservatives. According to this position, the Constitution should be understood according to the "original intent" of its authors. Curiously, people can be very selective in which "intent" they rely upon.
Pro-Life Fanatics Continue to Get Worse
In Wisconsin, the family of Marine Staff Sgt. Chad Simon decided recently to have his feeding tubes removed. Simon had been injured by a bomb in Iraq back in November but never recovered. His living will stipulated that he not be kept artificially alive and his family followed his wishes - Pro-Life Wisconsin called the act "murder."
Telling the Truth About Rehnquist
People will be lauding William Rehnquist and his tenure as Associate Justice then Chief Justice on the Supreme Court. Not many will want to hear the truth about how he behaved, what he believed, and how some of his decisions have harmed American society. Someone has to tell the truth, though.
Hate the Sin, Hate the Sinner (Book Notes: Civil Wars)
It's common for Christians to claim that they "hate the sin, but lover the sinner." Do their actions match their rhetoric, though? That's a difficult proposition to defend. It's surely true with some, but the most vocal and active members of the Christian Right don't really act like they believe what they are saying.
Christian Right Responds to Osama Pat Robertson's Threats
Most people condemned Pat Robertson's threats towards Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Most decent, moral, people, that is. What about leaders of the Christian Right? How have they reacted?
Virtue, Vice, and Freedom
Many in America argue that their religious tradition - one held in common by Christians, Jews (and Muslims, depending on who is speaking) - is a prerequisite for political liberty. It's arguable, though, that these religions' obsession with vice and virtue is actually inimical to political or social liberty.
UN Criticizes Bush on AIDS and Abstinence
For moral and religious rather than scientific reasons, the Bush administration has been pushing abstinence as the solution for fighting AIDS - even to the point of under-emphasizing condom usage. This has led to increasing criticism around the world.
Conservative Republicans Seek to Interfere with the Free Market
The Republican Party likes to portray itself as defenders of business and the free market. They oppose regulations that would restrict harmful business practices (like pollution), preferring instead to seek market-based solutions. Why, then, do they propose to interfere with the market of media and entertainment?
Gays to Blame for Hurricane Katrina?
There are a lot of theological reactions to the disaster which Hurricane Katrina inflicted on the New Orleans region. Just as their ancestors did thousands of years ago, many Christians see the disaster as divine retribution for some collective guilt.
Pat Robertson's Age-Defying, Non-Profit Shake
What many people don't realize is that Pat Robertson is as much a businessman as he is a preacher - perhaps more so, in fact. One of his many business ventures is an "age-defying" diet shake which he has hawked on his show for years. Now it appears that he is taking advantage of his non-profit status to promote it even more widely.
Pat Robertson: Arab Muslims are Born Violent?
Although he has apologized for saying that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should be assassinated, Pat Robertson continues to say outrageous things. Most recently, he has suggested that Arab Muslims are born violent because they are all descended from Ishmael.
McCain Sells Souls to Anti-Science
I guess it's true: you can't expect to succeed as a Republican today without publicly espousing anti-science rhetoric and support the brigades of anti-science religious conservatives. Yes, John McCain supports teaching religion alongside science in science classes.
Christian Opposition to Divorce
The Christian Right opposition to abortion, gay marriage, and civil rights for gays do not exist in isolation. People need to understand that activism in these areas are part of a larger political, social, and theological agenda that includes opposition to things like birth control and divorce. Most don't publicly acknowledge this, but a few do.
Is Pat Robertson a Terrorist?
Pat Robertson has apologized for his statements about assassinating Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (after lying about what he really said, and we should expect him to revert to his original position before too long). It's arguable, though, that his original comments technically qualify as a form of terrorism.
Republicans: Anti-Baby, Anti-Mother?
America is one of very few industrialized nations that doesn't provide paid maternity leave for new mothers. Religious conservatives talk loudly about family values and defending the family, but when it comes to measures that would actually help families, they don't care the least bit.
Is Your Boy Gay? How To Tell...
Religious conservatives must spend a lot of time worrying about whether their boys will grow up to be gay. I guess a gay son can't be counted upon to ensure the preservation of masculinity and masculine control of society in the future.
Falwell: Vote Christian
Jerry Falwell has told supporters in a fund-raising letter that they should strive to "vote Christian" in the next elections. Apparently, Falwell believes that non-Christians are unfit for public office and, therefore, should not be voted for by good Christian citizens.
Gay Rights, Special Rights, and Right-Wing Hypocrisy
One of the most common complaints that the Christian Right makes about granting basic civil rights to gays is to say that they are really "special" rights unavailable to anyone else. This is patently untrue, but it's a rhetorically powerful argument which sounds convincing to many people. It is also very hypocritical.
Church to Picket Own Camp (Infested with Witches)
The Presbytery of Yellowstone in Bozeman operates several camps in Montana which they rent out to various groups. One of the renters of the Westminster Spires Camp has turned out to be pagans, the Mountain Moon Circle, and these Christians aren't happy about it - but there's also nothing they can do about it.
Utah: Teacher Fired for Being a Witch
Erin Jensen is suing the Sevier School District in Utah because their firing of her appears to have been motivated by the belief (false, as it turns out) that she was a witch. Nasty rumors were flying around town for no other reason than that she was different from most people. So, she and another non-Mormon teacher were replaced by Mormons.
Eminent Domain: Corporate Republicans vs. Religious Republicans
The political alliance between religious conservatives and business conservatives has always been a bit uneasy. The two do have some common goals, but they also have a number of competing interests; the latter is starting to come out in the wake of the Supreme Court decision giving government wider latitude in seizing private property.
Myth of Bork's Martyrdom
In the coming battle over the next Supreme Court justice, you can expect a lot of talk about the "martyrdom" of Robert Bork, a one-time conservative nominee who was "unjustly" attacked and eliminated by "extremist" liberals. Is there any truth to these charges?
Battle over the Supreme Court in America
There will probably be a significant cultural and political battle over Bush's nomination to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Religious conservatives want nothing less than someone who mirrors their views perfectly. Should they get it? Will they get it?
Gay Marriage and Republican Presidents
Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is a conservative politician in a liberal state. He survives in large part because he has developed a reputation as a pragmatist rather than an ideologue, but that reputation is being put to the test because he also has hopes of becoming president - a goal he can't achieve without moving far, far to the right.
Christian Right Plans to Split the Ninth Circuit Court
Some conservatives would like to split up the Ninth Circuit Court, the largest of America's circuit courts. There are good reasons for doing this from the perspective of efficiency, but that isn't the actual motive. The Christian Right is upset at the court's decisions and want to dilute its influence.
Christian Right Burns Church?
In Virginia, a United Church of Christ structure was set on fire. Why? Graffiti found in the church indicates that it was because of the recent UCC vote to support gay marriages. It would appear, then, that religious bigots in the South are starting to use violence against other Christians who adopt more liberal stances on homosexuality.
Fundamentalism Causing AIDS?
Fundamentalists and other religious conservatives often oppose many of the policies designed to halt the spread of AIDs - condom distribution, for example. For them, nothing short of abstinence is acceptable; as a consequence, AIDS may spread farther and faster.
Toyota: Workers in Southeast Too Dumb to Employ?
A car manufacturing plant will open in Ontario rather than a state in the southeastern US. Why? Because people in Canada have a better education, are easier to train, and have lower health care costs due to Canada's universal health insurance. Education matters.
Christian Right Reactions to the Air Force Academy Scandal
Many people have reacted with shock over the revelations that non-Christian students have been treated so shabbily at the Air Force Academy. The Christian Right, predictably enough, has reacted with equal shock over the fact that people are upset.
Christian Right Takeover in Ohio
Republicans in Ohio are nervous - the reasonable and sane ones are, at any rate. Christian Right radicals in the state are looking to take over because they believe that even conservative Republicans there are too liberal to continue serving. They are brining more churches and pastors on board to push an overtly religious agenda.
Coming Catholic Cold War with Evangelicals?
There was a time when American evangelicals were strongly opposed to all things Catholic, fearing a "papist" take-over of America. More recently, American evangelicals have made common cause with the Vatican in the fight against things like abortion. Is another shift in their relations looming on the horizon?
Falwell Seeks To Make Quick Buck From Recent Illness
Back in March, televangelist and fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell was ill enough to be admitted to the hospital. He even had to be resuscitated from respiratory arrest. Now he is trying to use that incident in order to pull in larger donations from the sheep of his flock.
Bill O'Reilly: Neutrality on Religion is 'Fascism'?
What do you think about the idea that the government should be neutral on matters of religion, not preferring or endorsing any one religion over others? Many people think that's a good idea, but it appears that Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly considers it a form of fascism, at least when it occurs in the context of the government not promoting religious symbols on government property.
Power of the Christian Right in America
Many people have wondered about how and why the Christian Right was able to become so powerful in such a relatively short period of time. What is the source of their popularity, power, and influence?
Southern Baptists Drop Support Of Church Electioneering Bill
For years, now, North Carolina Republican Walter Jones has been pushing a bill that would allow churches to endorse political candidates without losing their tax exempt status. This wouldn't extend to all non-profit charities, just churches. Now, though, key allies in the Southern Baptist Convention have dropped their support.
Co-op Bank Bans Christian Group
Christian Voice, an extremist group in Britain that used bullying tactics to stop a nationwide tour of "Jerry Springer - The Opera" and to stop a cancer charity from accepting a donation from that same production, has been kicked out of their bank for their extreme anti-gay views.
America: No Rule of Men
The American Constitution may start out with "We the People of the United States," but according to Christian Right leaders this shouldn't lead you to think that the American government should be ruled by people. On the contrary, America should be ruled by God.
Nationalism, Tribalism, One World Government
One thing that doesn't get debated very often is whether it would be good to create a single world government. A few people support it, but much more often we hear condemnations of the idea and arguments that no threats to national sovereignty should be permitted.
Forgiveness & Sin in Christianity (Book Notes: Crossing Over)
Two of the central features of Christianity are that all humans sin and that Christianity provides the means by which you can be forgiven for your sins. Some denominations of Christianity put a lot more emphasis on the "sin" than they do the "forgiveness" - even to the point where the latter seems to fade away.
White-Out Problem at the White House?
The Bush administration has consistently interfered with science whenever scientific findings have contradicted ideology and policy positions. The Bush administration does not belong to the "reality based community" where beliefs and positions are dependent upon evidence or logic.
The Christian Right's Blacklist
The Christian Right has been engaging in an increasing number of efforts to stifle speech and ideas that they find offensive - which means the expression of ideas they disagree with. In particular they have been targeting advertisers who, in turn, are pulling ads from shows and media which offends the Christian Right.
Conservatives, American Courts, and Foreign Laws
American conservatives, especially religious conservatives, have long complained about signs of American courts integrating foreign laws or foreign court decisions into American law and court decisions. This attitude has always been a part of America's perception of itself, but just how justified are the complaints?
Homophobia & Anti-Semitism as Fear of Modernity
The Christian Right vilifies homosexuality to an exceptional degree. It's not imply that Christians disagree with certain aspects of gay rights or regard homosexuality as a sin - that wouldn't explain why the invest homosexuality and gay rights with the responsibility for all that is wrong with America.
Neoconservatism & Christianity in America
In contemporary America, there has been a political union between neoconservatives and traditionalist Christians. Both have sought to reinforce the other in their political agenda. Are their ideologies really compatible, though?
Run, Roy, Run
Roy Moore is a darling of the Christian Right. He believes all the right things and can really whip up support. His problem is that he really does believe what he says and actually says what he believes. That's why he gets so much support from the people, but it has Republican leaders very nervous because he may run for governor in Alabama.
Christians and Gay Activists in Conversation
Conservative evangelicals and gays typically exchanged very heated words - when they exchange words at all. A conservative Baptist church in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, seems to want to change that. They believe that homosexuality is a sin, yet they set up a booth at a gay pride event - not to preach, but just to hand our free water.
Gays Should Wear Warning Labels?
Rev. Bill Banuchi, executive director of the New York Christian Coalition, has suggested that gays should have to wear "warning labels," raising disturbing parallels with how the Nazis forced "undesirables" like communists, Jews, and homosexuals, to wear colored badges in concentration camps. Banuchi denies that this is what he meant.
The Right's War on Nipples
Women's nipples have become the latest target of the Christian Right's war on sexuality - not just the sight of actual nipples, but even just the hint of nipples beneath women's clothing. Apparently, we're supposed to believe that women don't actually have nipples until the moment they disrobe.
A Nation Divided Against its Courts...
Religious conservatives have, in recent years, launched vicious attacks on the American judiciary. Some label every decision they disagree with as "activist" and, in the process, they are helping undermine public support for the very principle of an independent judiciary. That's a dangerous move.
Smash Gay Marriage, Like the Fist of God!
There are several companies that provide long-distance telephone service and, at the same time, give some of what they charge customers to non-profit activities. One, "Faith, Family and Freedom," is a "Christian-based telephone carrier" run by United American Technologies in Oklahoma.
David Limbaugh Whines About Christian Persecution
Conservative evangelical Christians in America suffer from a persecution complex - or perhaps everyone else suffers from these Christians' persecution complex. I say that others suffer because the Christians whine about being persecuted even as they demonize and vilify others. The former may make the latter easier - and mask it.
Bush Supports Religious Discrimination in Adoption?
Religious conservatives are touting a program that has people "adopting" unused frozen embryos. The idea is that if these embryos can be "adopted," then they shouldn't be used for stem cell research. Even President Bush has supported the program - but does he know that it discriminates against all but conservative Christians?
Dennis Prager is an Idiot?
I've commented many times on the writings of Dennis Prager. The poor quality of this arguments, the ahistorical nature of his ideas, and the outright bigotry of his positions has often merited critique. I'm not the only to feel this way, it seems.
America: Religious and Secular
There are a number of social issues which appear to pit religionists against secularists, and these debates are among the most rancorous in America. Why has this been the case? Why do Americans have so many religion-centered debates?
American 'Family' Association Objects to Condom Ads
As part of their effort to "defend" American families, the American Family Association has been attacking the airing of ads for condoms during television shows at night. The ads apparently say that abstinence is the only way to prevent STDs, but if one is going to have sex then they should be responsible and use condoms. Evidently, it's bad to tell people this.
Nixon Administration Criminals Condemn Ethics of 'Deep Throat'
People who went to jail because of the crimes they committed during the Nixon administration are now complaining about the ethics of Mark Felt, the anonymous informant known as "Deep Throat." Felt helped reporters learn some of the truth of these people's crimes and they consider that unethical.
Evangelicals Divided over Evolution
Some evangelical Christians see evolution as the means by which God operates in nature. The most vocal evangelicals see evolution as a secular philosophy perpetuated by a conspiracy among scientists and designed to promote atheism, communism, and worse. Who is right?
The 'Logic' of Opposition to Stem-Cell Research
If it is reasonable to oppose federal funding of stem-cell research because it means killing human life, then why shouldn't scientists who participate in stem-cell research with private funding be charged with murder? I don't think that any stem-cell research opponents have addressed this question.
Evangelicals in the Academy
The growing power and influence of evangelicals is obvious today. The cause isn't some grand conspiracy; instead, it's a by-product of the growing wealth and class status of evangelicals. At one time evangelicals were among the poorest Americans. Today, they are a growing percentage of the middle and upper classes.
Conservative Boycott of George Lucas
Some conservatives are seeing a critique of George W. Bush in George Lucas' final Star Wars film and, as a result, are calling for a boycott. I'm not sure whether it's more amusing or depressing - should such people be laughed at or should we just mourn the death of their ability to reason coherently?
AFA Ends Disney Boycott
Well, the American Family Association has announced the end of the boycott of Disney. What, you say that you didn't know that they still had a boycott going on? You had forgotten all about it? You aren't the only one - and that may be one reason why the boycott has officially ended, without achieving much of anything.
Bibles for Iraqis
Conservative evangelicals seem to understand no boundaries when it comes to promoting their religion. Pushing Christianity in Iraq can only serve to undermine what the American government is doing there, a mission that conservative evangelicals claim to support, but they are doing it anyway.
Faith-Based Media and the Death of Fairness
One recent development that hasn't been discussed too much is the growing influence of conservative evangelical media - particularly "news" media - in the bast few years. They appear to have played a major role in the 2004 election, even without endorsing any particular candidates.
Christian Right: Liberals Have No Family, Church Responsibilities
The Christian Right has a long-standing habit of attacking liberal and moderate Christians in a way that denies that they are actually Christian to begin with. Sometimes they get so extreme with it that one has to wonder if they even listening to themselves.
Whitewash in Works at Air Force Academy
There has been extensive reporting on the religious bias and discrimination that occurred at the Air Force Academy. Despite an on-going investigation, the Air Force has announced that it wants to promote one of the top commanders who may be partially responsible for what went on.
Indiana: Judge Forbids Parents Teaching Son Wicca
Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis, has forbidden a divorced mother and father from exposing their son to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals" - which essentially means their Wiccan beliefs. Why? Apparently because the judge doesn't approve.
Evangelicals Protest Bush
President George W. Bush gave a commencement speech at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was founded by members of the Christian Reformed Church and professors there took out an ad to protest the speech.
Alan Keyes: Going Downhill & Picking Up Speed
Alan Keyes is known for spouting a lot of incredible nonsense - the views he holds are almost 100% incompatible with a liberal democracy like what America currently has. It seems implausible that his ideology could lead to anything short of a theocracy. Strangely enough, he actually seems to be getting worse.
You've probably seen all of the religious "fish" that people can buy. Well, now there is a special "Bush Fish" available. It's a fish shape with the words "One Nation..." and "...Under God" along the outside and the name "BUSH" on the inside. The fact that it's in place of the common "Jesus" should tell us something.
North Carolina Church Sign: Koran Should Be Flushed
Rev. Creighton Lovelace, minister of the Danieltown Baptist Church in Forest City, North Carolina, put up a sign at his church that states "The Koran needs to be flushed." I wonder if any of the people who criticized Newsweek for making America look bad will have anything to say about Lovelace? Or will they only attack those who report about Lovelace?
Christian Right's War Against Condoms
The Christian Right has long waged a war against access to abortion; now they are targeting contraception. The Christian Right is a driving force behind the growth of abstinence-only education programs that are designed to mislead students about condoms and, as a consequence, they increase the chances of risky sexual behavior.
Rude Student = Hitler Youth
Some conservatives are, quite frankly, starting to lose their grip on reality. Conservatives have long prided themselves on the belief that their political philosophy was better tied to reality than liberals' philosophy, but when prominent conservative columnists start comparing rude college students to the Hitler Youth, something is amiss in the conservative movement.
Christian Student Dictionary
Do Christian students need their own special dictionaries? Perhaps, if parents are going to protect them from the real world and all of the inconvenient facts they might learn out there.
Christian Right: Condoms Cause Cancer
In Bozeman, Montana, the high school invited someone to speak about sex. What they got was Tina Marie Holewinski and the tales she told the students were so outrageous that one parent is suing. It's incredible that someone with her profound ignorance on simple matters can go around making speeches at schools.
Challenging People of Faith
More and more people are using the term "people of faith." It's a creation of the Christian Right to help divide Americans even more and depict themselves as the only true defenders of religion in America. Will it work?
In Defense of Colonialism
Colonialism is a relic of the past, right? Not necessarily. Americans have traditionally abhorred colonialism and, even when America has engaged in ostensibly colonial actions, the government has worked hard to deny it. Today that may no longer be true.
Definition of Marriage in 1886
Opponents of same-sex marriage like to argue that a marriage between two members of the same sex is a contradiction in terms because it does not fulfill the traditional requirements of marriage. This argument is a-historical because it ignores the ways in which the "essentials" of marriage have changed along with culture over the years - and in recent history.
Dobson: Killing Filibuster is the Whole Point
What exactly is the point of threatening to end the ability of Senators to filibuster judicial nominees (the "nuclear option," as Republican leaders have named it)? It's not about getting votes on these nominees, according to James Dobson - it's about eliminating the ability of the minority party to have a say in what goes on in the Senate.
People like Pat Robertson really don't like gays - but they are (in their own eyes at least) very good at spotting gays. During a commercial break in a Larry King Live episode, Robertson was caught saying that the first three questioners were all "homos." How did he know?
Southern Baptists Eyeing Homosexuality in Public Schools
The man who tried to get the last Southern Baptist Convention meeting to recommend pulling kids out of public schools has a new cause: getting the next SBC meeting to recommend that parents investigate "homosexual advocacy" at their public schools. Baptists' obsession with homosexuality is very interesting.
Conservatives vs. Lunatic Fringe
What's the difference between regular political conservatives and the extreme lunatic fringe of conservatism? Because politics is a continuum, finding clear lines of division can be difficult but in this case there is one test. Find the most extreme politicians on the right that have any legitimacy; if someone says that they aren't conservative enough, they're part of the lunatic fringe.
Christian Right: Pro-War, but not Pro-Enlistment?
Most Christian groups in other nations have spoken against America's invasion of Iraq. Many liberal or moderate Christians groups in America did so as well. Conservative evangelicals, however, have supported the war. For some reason, though, they haven't been promoting enlistment so that the war can be fought.
North Carolina: Punishing Cohabitation
In North Carolina, an 1805 law prohibits unmarried couples from living together. It isn't enforced much, but it was the cause for a sheriff's dispatcher having to leave her job. She and the ACLU are now suing in the hopes of having the law overturned.
Moral Relativism of American Conservatives
American conservatives have a habit of complaining about moral relativism, arguing that American culture has abandoned the moral standards necessary for a good, safe community. Unfortunately, many conservatives seem to have adopted a form of moral relativism themselves.
Baptists: Not Enough Hate in Modern Psychology
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary evidently pioneered the integration of Christian theology and psychology, but today under the direction of the Christian Right they are pioneering a new separation. It is claimed that modern psychology doesn't condemn un-Biblical behavior enough.
Virginia: Schools Ignoring Civil War?
One of the most enduring myths of Christians in the South is the idea that their ancestors' war on behalf of slavery was good, just, and noble. They haven't come to grips with the fact that the war was launched to defend evil or that Christianity was an integral part of rationalizing that evil.
Dr. Hager's Family Values & the Christian Right's War on Women
W. David Hager is a Kentucky obstetrician, member of the advisory committee of the FDA, evangelical Christian, and outspoken opponent of abortion, stem-cell research, and contraceptives. Good Housekeeping named him "among the best doctors for women in the nation." Reports from his ex-wife suggest that he raped her repeatedly over the years.
Who Are 'People of Faith'?
More and more the Christian Right has been using the phrase "people of faith" to describe themselves. It's been used with particular effectiveness in their fight to end filibusters of judicial nominees and the media has complacently gone along with the phrase.
Is America Democratic?
America is regarded, at least by Americans, as a beacon and symbol for democracy for the entire world. America's democratic system has certainly been working on democracy longer than any other. Is America, though, really democratic?
North Carolina: Church Kicks Out Democrats
The pastor of the East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina has told everyone who voted Democrat and doesn't repent that they have to leave the church. Rev. Chan Chandler has stated that the expulsions were not "politically motivated."
Homophobic Spokane Mayor is Gay?
Jim West, mayor of Spokane, Washington, has long been a reliable foot soldier in the Republican war on gay rights. What the Christian Right homophobes didn't know, though, is that West has been sleeping with the enemy - working both sides of the street, so to speak. A reliable soldier in the war on gays, he has also been a reliable visitor to gay chat rooms.
Christian Critiques of Wal-Mart
Conservative Christians have, traditionally, been strong supporters of Wal-Mart. The retailer has long catered to these Christians' moral standards when it comes to movies and music, but now some Christians are questioning whether Wal-Mart has been violating other moral principles.
Christian Right Control of PBS
Is PBS taking a sharp swing to the right under the guise of creating more "balance"? It seems that way - insiders are reporting that the change is occurring in order to please its Republican-dominated governing board.
Devotion to religion is not like devotion to other ideologies or philosophies. Religion can make absolute demands on people that other belief systems don't. Religion allows people to believe that they are acting on behalf of God and that God is on their side - with that, there is no more reason to even consider compromise with others who disagree.
iPods at Nuremberg Rallies
Conservative religious critiques of modern culture have often focused on things like consumerism and materialism. This is understandable and there are even secular critiques of those things, but what's the purpose behind comparing consumerism with Nazism?
The Christian Right & Racial Values
Republican leaders have been making a concerted effort to attract black voters. Republicans, have, for example, been referring to Abraham Lincoln a lot despite the fact that he used to be reviled by conservatives. Why are they doing this? Aside from voting numbers, there is the question of morality.
Alabama: Banning Gay Books, Plays
In Alabama, Republican lawmaker Gerald Allen says that homosexuality is so awful that the state should refuse even indirect funding for any book or play that depicts homosexuality in a positive light. This affects libraries, schools, colleges, and a host of other venues.
Paying Protection to the Christian Fedayeen
Have you noticed how the media, even the so-called "liberal media," has been giving more fawning attention to the Christian Right lately? There's a reason: the government has been threatening crackdowns on "decency" in the media which, some hope, might be averted if "news" organizations can placate the Christian extremists.
Heritage Foundation Sells Out to anti-Semites
The Heritage Foundation is one of the most prominent and influential Christian Right organizations in America. It has also apparently sold out to the anti-Semitic regime of Malaysia. They used to criticize the anti-Semitism of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad; now that they are getting money from him, they've stopped.
Kerry Blasts GOP 'Holier Than Thou' Attitude
John Kerry recently attacked Republican efforts to portray themselves as the only political party that represents the interests of religious people. Why would the GOP try to identify itself as a "religious" party in the first place, though?
Christian Right's Kulturkampf: Where It's Going
First they came for the gays, but I wasn't gay and so did nothing. Then they came for the people in a persistent vegetative state, but I wasn't in a persistent vegetative state so I did nothing. Then they came for the liberal and moderate Christians, but I'm not even a Christian so I did nothing. How long before they come for me, next?
Why Does the Christian Right Complain about the Judiciary?
It seems strange to some that the Christian Right would make such a big deal about the judiciary. The current court system is more in line with them than every before. The Rehnquist court has tightened restrictions on federal power. Republican appointees outnumber Democrats on the circuit courts of appeals - 94 of 162 active judges.
Christian Right's War on Judges
The Christian Right has been steadily stepping up its rhetoric against judges â€” not just "liberal" judges, but also conservative judges who don't rule the "right" way. The Christian Right doesn't believe in the rule of law, it only believes in having enough power to force through its agenda. If the courts stand in the way, they will be changed, moved, or even eliminated.
Christians Attack Christian Judges
Christian extremists who have been attacking America's judges attempt to portray the judiciary as atheistic, but the truth is that the people they are attacking are mostly Christian. In America, Christianity is under assault: from the extremist Christian Right that wants to control society and deny others the ability to use the "Christian" label.
Life in Our Anti-Christian America
There is a document called "Life in Our Anti-Christian America" that is a parody of how America has become anti-Christian. It lists all of the awful things that have happened to Christians and Christianity in recent years; the truth is that all of these things happen to others at the hands of Christians. Sometimes, though, truth is stranger than parody.
Confusing Christianity with the Christian Right
One of the tactics used by the Christian Right to defend their extremist position is to accuse critics of not simply attacking them, but also of attacking Christianity, God, Jesus, religion, and faith generally. They act as though they have a lock on all those things - that a person can't be a Christian or religious without also agreeing with them.
Intellectual Honesty on the Filibuster Question
One interesting facet of the Republican efforts to eliminate filibusters against judicial nominees is just how narrow their goal is. They aren't looking to end the filibuster against legislation or other types of nominees, for example. Why? If the filibuster is such a bad idea in the context of judges, what makes it OK in other contexts?
Justice Janice Rogers Brown on 'Atheistic Humanism'
Janice Rogers Brown is a justice on the California Supreme Court and one of the 10 candidates to the federal judiciary which the Democrats have filibustered because of her extremism. Speaking at a Red Mass, she reinforced why she should be considered an extremist by launching into a tired against atheism and secular humanism.
Religious Freedom in Canada
The legalization of same-sex marriage means that gay couples will have to be treated the same as straight couples. People who provide wedding services (florists, caterers, halls) won't be able to turn away clients merely because they are gay. Some are arguing that this represents an infringement upon religious liberty - but are they correct?
Unactivist Judges Strike Back
The Christian Right today complains loudly and often about "activist" judges, a label which has become obvious as nothing more than an epithet aimed at any judge who doesn't rule in a manner they like. Judges themselves certainly don't appreciate it.
Cultural Irrelevance of Fundamentalism & Dispensationalism
Religious fundamentalists express a great deal of outrage over the fact that the rest of American society doesn't follow them and their religious doctrines. They wield a tremendous amount of political power, but relatively little cultural power. American culture generally ignores them and certainly doesn't reflect their beliefs. Why?
Religious Faith & Judicial Nominations
Republicans have accused Democrats of blocking certain judicial nominations because the judges are "people of faith" and the Democrats are religious bigots. There is no merit to this accusation, though, because the real objections are to the policies and philosophies of the nominees - regardless of their religion.
Will the Media Lie About Frist?
The term "nuclear option," used to describe the elimination of the Senate filibuster when it comes to judicial nominations, was coined by Republicans. It must not be polling very well because they are trying to claim that Democrats coined it. Why is the media debating whether to tell the truth about this?
Dobson's Jihad Against the Judiciary
Why is the Christian Right fighting so hard against the ability of Senators to filibuster judicial nominees? Republicans have used the filibuster in this way more than once and the have blocked judicial nominees in other ways as well. Imagine how the Christian Right would react if an ACLU lawyer were nominated and had the votes to be approved.
Harmony, Democracy, and the Bush Administration
A common complaint made about the Bush administration is that it often acts way sdesigned to exclude from the political process anyone who doesn't toe the line and agree with them. Democrats are kicked out of publicly funded speeches. Scientists are silenced. Now, even technical experts are experiencing the consequences.
Christians Under Attack... By Christians
In the "Justice Sunday" program, a major theme that the Christian Right emphasizes is that Christians are under being attacked in America. They are correct - but what they aren't saying is that it is other Christians who are being attacked and the Christian Right is doing the attacking.
Assault on Judicial Independence, Then & Now
Efforts to eliminate judicial independence have a long and sordid history. It's unfortunate that so few people are familiar with that history, but perhaps a few choice quotes will help jog some memories...
Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline
In Kansas, Attorney General Phill Kline is pushing a radical religious agenda against gays, against abortion, and against secularism. He literally preaches from pulpits to promote his religious agenda and expects Kansas to lead the rest of the nation in these matters.
Church Leaders Criticize Frist's Religious Politics
The increasingly blatant efforts of Republicans to politicize religion and use religion for their political agenda is beginning to annoy religious leaders - at least, religious leaders who aren't part of the theocratic Christian Right. Whether those religious leaders will be able to do any good remains to be seen.
Protest Signs for the Religious Right
Religious conservatives may control or at least influence most of the levers of power in society, but they still find plenty of things to protest because society refuses to conform to the Christian Right's vision of society. Perhaps they need to find some more persuasive protest slogans?
Fundamentalism Betrays the Bible?
Fundamentalists proclaim themselves to be the True Defenders of True Christianity. They are adamant that they and only they have a correct understanding of what Christianity is. Some argue, though, that the fundamentalist conception of Christianity is actually dangerous to Christianity.
Dominionists Seeking to Reclaim America
Too few people in America are familiar with Christian Dominionism. The Dominionists believe that America should exist not for all citizens and not to promote values like liberty and justice. Christian Dominionists believe that America should become a theocratic state where their brand of Christianity is promoted, enforced, and is the basis for all state action.
Hollywood Jews are Ruining the Nation?
We can read regular complaints from the Christian Right about "cultural elites," but how many of those complaints are actually directed at Jews? We don't usually hear such complaints about forms of entertainment where Jews are less in evidence.
Questioning the Christian Right
Atheists and secularists have long regarded the Christian Right with a great deal of suspicion. We've read their writings and recognized that the America they want is not one compatible with American traditions of liberty and diversity. Because of the Terri Schiavo case, however, more people are starting to see this as well.
Psychological Analysis of Conservatism
The Bush administration has a history of suppressing research that reaches conclusions inconsistent with the GOP's political agenda or religious ideology. A recent example of this is particularly ironic: psychologists determined that conservatism can be explained as deriving from "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity."
Morality, Religion, and the Courts
We hear a lot of complaints from religious conservatives when courts don't rule the way they like. They argue that the courts are being "activists" and "making law," regardless of the actual behavior of the judges. These conservatives are without principle in their complaints and, therefore, in their positions.
Judicial Inquisition: Trying to End Secular Laws
The Christian Right is making a major push against an independent judiciary in America. They object to how judges refuse to rule contrary to the Constitution and in favor of theocratic principles. The Christian Right has significant control or influence over most aspects of American culture and politics, but that hasn't translated into enough victories in the courts for their taste.
Today NBC is launching a mini-series about the End of Days - Armageddon, the Antichrist, and the events supposedly told in the biblical book of Revelation. Is this just the crass commercialization of religion or is it part of a growing trend of religious extremism?
Evangelical Christians Beating Gays in the Name of God
In 2004 three men in Seattle vicious beat Micah Painter, a gay man. Why? Because their evangelical Christian background taught them that gays are evil and must be fought - an idea that they took to its logical extreme.
Using Religion to Control Others
It has been argued that one of the reasons for the existence of religion is that it's an effective means for society's powerful to control everyone else. Whether that's a reason why religion exists is debatable, but it's certainly true that control is one of the uses of religion - and that seems to be increasing.
Scattered in the fallout of the Terri Schiavo case are a growing number of very radioactive statements by conservatives arguing that when people make decisions about medical care or end-of-life treatment which violates conservative Christian standards, then those decisions should be ignored. Why is "conservatism" today being blended with "authoritarian theocracy"?
Sanctity of Marriage, Indeed
During the heated debates over what should happen to Terri Schiavo, it was remarkable to see all of those who typically revere the "sanctity" of the institution of marriage step forward to insist that Michael Schiavo should not be allowed to make decisions about his wife's care. How could they do this?
Re-Forging a Moral Order
Extremists from the Christian Right have made a lot of progress in getting their ideas into the mainstream culture - ideas which, just a couple of decades ago, would have been flatly rejected. Unless something is done, they are likely to continue with their success... to the detriment of just about everyone.
The Right's attacks on academia are, of course, producing responses from academics. Right-wing pundits don't see a problem with drawing colleges into their sphere of influence, but the damage that would be done to higher education is plain to those who understand what education is all about.
Republican Fascism, Assault on End-of-Life Decisions
As they say, bad cases make for bad law and the Terri Schiavo issue represented a monumentally bad case. It has inspired America's Christian Right to reach even higher and father for new laws that will allow them to further restrict individual liberty.
The GOP Needs Religious Extremists
The Terri Schiavo case has revealed some of the deep divisions within America's conservative movement and the Republican Party. Some observers, including some conservatives, have speculated that these divisions might widen, leading to a loss of unity in the GOP and perhaps even a loss of political power. Such hopeful speculation may be premature.
Democracy & Extremism
Democracy and extremism don't mix - extremism tends to undermine democratic institutions, but those institutions have trouble containing extremists in advance. People in the Terri Schiavo case already need bodyguards and there have already been murders. Politicians violate their oaths to the Constitution in order to please extremists. What's next?
Fox News Blocker Leads to Death Threats
Sam Kimery invented a tiny device that, when attached to the back of your TV, blocks FOX News broadcasts. He doesn't use it, but he thinks it is an effective way to protest how they have turned news into opinion and commentary. In response, he's received death threats.
Loudmouth Christian Leaders
One of the most prominent features of the Terri Schiavo controversy has been the constant presence of loud, aggressive Christians outside Terri's hospice. They have been adept at whipping up passion among other Christians and making their case to the media. Are they helping or harming their cause, though?
Being Fired for your Beliefs
Playgirl recently fired its editor-in-chief, Michele Zipp, because she admitted that she was a Republican. Conservatives are naturally and justifiably upset about this. What's strange is that they can't manage the same outrage when atheists, gays, and others experience similar treatment.
Christian Right Pushing for End to Living Wills?
One of the problems for religious conservatives who want Terri Shiavo's gastric tube reinserted is that the case hinges on the fact that the courts have determined that this is what Terri would have wanted. Therefore, they must argue that patient wishes shouldnâ€™t be followed in these cases. That may sound paternalistic and authoritarian, but that's exactly what they are discussing.
British Theaters Succumb to Christian Extremists
Christians extremists who object to "Jerry Springer - The Opera" have managed to bully theaters into not showing it. This means that the production company won't be able to hold it's nationwide tour in Britain.
RIP: Sam Francis, Racist Hatemonger
Sam Francis was a racist who spread his hate via a column syndicated by Creators Syndicate. He complained, for example, about advertising that depicted intimacy between a "Nordic" white actress and a black football player, labeling this "moral subversion." Well, Francis' hate will live on, but he won't.
Randall Terry's Family Values & Terri Schiavo's Family
One of the most prominent activists helping the Schindlers get a feeding tube reinserted into their daughter, Terri Schiavo, is Randall Terry. He's well known for his activism in the anti-abortion movement. He's less well known for how horribly he's messed up his own family.
Convenient Christianity & Exploiting God
There are a number of religious conservatives who seem adept at exploiting religion and Christianity when it suits them. Consider, for example, the way they hyped the awful experiences of Ashley Smith who was taken hostage by Brian Nichols after his shooting rampage in an Atlanta courtroom.
Facts and Lies About Terri Schiavo (2 updates)
Terri Schaivo's sad case keeps appearing in the news, but more often than not we hear lies, myths, and distortions - consistently from religious conservatives (and especially conservative Catholics) determined to say or do anything in the name of their cause. If only they paid closer attention to medical facts and logic...
Godless Communists in Iraq
Did you know that "godless communists" are in charge of the government in Iraq? That's what some people apparently think. That's a bit extreme and I wonder where they are getting their news - even Fox "News" doesn't go that far, do they?
Empire vs. Liberation Christianity
The Christianity promoted by George W. Bush and the rest of the Christian Right in America is radically different from that promoted by others in the world, particularly those closely involved with the poor. One is concerned with domination and control; the other is concerned with service and liberation.
Texas Taliban Becoming a Role Model?
Perhaps the saddest aspect of Texas-style Christian extremism is the way in which it is becoming a role model for others. This doesn't just include those who already agree with their outrageous agenda - it also includes those who have to compromise their real beliefs in order to have a chance in the political arena.
WWJD? Joke About Nuking Syria
Sam Johnson is a Republican from Texas who, as a member of the "values-based" Christian Right, recently joked about dropping nuclear bombs on Syria. This is what it means to be a "Christian" for the "Christian Right" I guess.
O'Reilly: ACLU is a Terrorist Group
Bill O'Reilly of Fox News has become know for outrageous and outlandish remarks about people he disagrees with. It would be almost amusing if it weren't for the fact that he apparently believes the things he says.
Leftist Subversion of America?
We are seeing increasing rhetoric about how liberals and leftists have "subverted" American by undermining it's religious heritage. I expect conspiracy theories like this to grow in importance for the American Right - with potentially disastrous consequences.
Fixing or Destroying Christianity?
There's a lot of debate among American Christians about the nature and future of their religion. The divide is generally liberal vs. conservative: liberals push for more radical interpretations of biblical texts while conservatives argue for more traditional interpretations.
Christian Law Students & Discrimination
Are conservative law students being persecuted at law schools? Some think so, in particular because they are being expected to adhere to the same rules and standards as everyone else. What a shame.
Science Fiction Radio Show Beats Drudge, Gets Booted
Here's a very strange story: An Arizona radio station has gotten rid of their most popular radio program. Why? It's a science fiction program that can't sell as much advertising time as the #2 program, Matt Drudge.
Using Churches to Recruit for the Military
A conservative Christian recently attended a military rally at his local church. A military rally at a church? Yes, that's what it was and it disturbed him greatly. "What is the difference between Muslims trying to defend their homeland by recruiting from mosques and Christians trying to defend their homeland by recruiting from churches?"
What is the legal legacy of Chief Justice William Rehnquist? Most would assume it to be a hard right turn on the Supreme Court to benefit conservatism, but that might be a bit simplistic. It can be argued that rather than conservatism, Rehnquist's time has been more driven by a push to enhance the power of the Court.
Christians Threaten Movie Chain Over Same-Sex Marriage Ads
Famous Players, Canada's largest movie chain, had been running a paid advertisement supporting the legalization of gay marriage. It had to be dropped, however, because of opposition from Christian groups - opposition that included threats.
Capitalism, Markets, and Tradition
More and more recently people have observed that the alliance between religious conservatives and business interests in the Republican Party involves an inherent tension: capitalism necessarily undermines the sorts of traditions which the Christian Right seeks to protect. An interesting example of how capitalism and tradition conflict can be found in debates over the status of French wine.
Neoconservatives & Intellectuals
Traditionally, one of the roles of the "intellectual" in society has been to question, challenge, and dissent from common norms. The point has arguably been to shake people out of their comfortable assumptions and encourage new avenues of thinking. This is not, however, how neoconservatives appear to envision the role of intellectuals.
Goals of Abstinence-Only Education?
What does the Christian Right really hope to achieve with abstinence-only education? If their goal is to reduce teen pregnancies, sexually-transmitted diseases, and sexual activity, then they will give up on the programs if they prove ineffective. Right?
Abstinence-Only Education Coolness
Can abstinence-only education be cool? Some would argue that it is. Both boys and girls can benefit from a healthier, more godly attitude towards sex - an attitude that teaches that sex is icky and only to be used for procreation.
Powerline: Benighted Morons?
If you aren't familiar with the Powerline site, you aren't missing anything â€” and should probably count yourself fortunate. Time's award for "blog of the year" didn't have anything to do with the quality of their writing, their reasoning, or their arguments. I think it might have been related to the level of their influence over the nether-regions of the internet.
ACLU, Abortion, and Evolution
It's interesting how often conservative critics link complaints about abortion and evolution. There is no inherent connection, but there seems to be in the critics' minds. This helps demonstrate, I think, that their complaints are based primarily on religious dogma rather than reason, logic, or common sense.
Christians Bully Cancer Charity Into Rejecting Donation
In Britain, Christians have bullied a cancer charity into turning down a Â£3,000 donation. Why? Because the donation would have been from a performance of "Jerry Springer - The Opera." Some Christians consider the piece blasphemous and would have created a "PR disaster" for the charity. People suffering from cancer will just learn to deal with it.
Alabama: Sex Toy Ban Upheld
The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of an Alabama court decision upholding a ban on sex toys. Therefore, the ban will remain in place until the people of Alabama elect some intelligent politicians. How long do you suppose that might take?
Wake Up, Smell the Devil
What happens when insulated, religious conservatives are confronted with religious pluralism and conflicting ideas? Many simply lash out and attack, unable to handle the existence of diversity and dissent.
Oregon: Rainbow Flag Attracts Christian Hate
A family in Corvalis, Oregon, hung a rainbow-colored flag on their house to express their support for peace. It even had the Italian word "pace" (peace) on it. Local Christians misinterpreted it as an expression of support for gay rights, though, and threatened them with violence.
America: A Godless Nation?
Is America a godless or god-fearing nation? That depends upon your perspective. Many Christians consider America to be god-fearing, but people of other religions - Muslims in the Arab world, in particular - regard America a godless. How can the two perspectives be reconciled?
Bush Wants to Increase Abstinence-Only Funding
President Bush's recent budget proposal has been portrayed by Republicans as cutting away some of the fat from government expenditures. Bush promises to cut programs that are "ineffective" or "duplicative." This raises the question of why he wants to increase funding to abstinence-only sex education programs.
Disraeli & Conservatism
There is a wide variety of ideas and attitudes that fall under the label "conservatism," despite the attempts by some in America to sharply limit it. This means that defining conservatism and what it means to be conservative can be very difficult, even under the best of circumstances.
Roman Catholicism is experiencing a resurgence in the American South. There the numbers of Catholics is growing, but so is the number of ordained priests. At the same time, the Catholicism being practiced is far more orthodox and traditionalist than the Catholicism seen elsewhere in America, possibly portending a dramatic shift in religious and political attitudes.
Funding the Culture Wars
The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy issued a report that reveals some disturbing connections between conservative foundations and evangelical political movements. Strategic grants are being made by the foundations to help evangelical Christians promote messages about family values, traditional marriage, school prayer, the Ten Commandments, and more.
Ann Coulter & Vietnam
Sometimes it seems as though one of the primary tactics of the Right is to rely on the ignorance of the masses - tell lies and falsehoods and assume that they won't be exposed or, if they are, few will learn about it. Ann Coulter is a good example of someone who sounds off utter nonsense on a regular basis without being called on it. At least, she was...
Great Secular Assault on Children
The Christian Right complains about how the capitalist system of mass-media companies have been assaulting children with their secular, pro-homosexual agenda. The truth, however, is that the media simply fails to reflect their anti-gay, extremist attitude - and they can't stand that.
War on Christianity?
If you are a conservative evangelical, you probably think that there is a "war" being waged on biblical Christianity in America. Christians aren't being rounded up and put in jail, Christians don't risk arrest for practicing their faith in public, and Christianity doesn't have a second-class legal status. Nonetheless, the "war" label is employed often and deliberately.
Texas: Futility of Abstinence-Only Education
The Christian Right has become the driving force behind the use of abstinence-only sex education programs in America's public schools. They don't just want abstinence to be taught or stressed, they want all other messages and information excluded. But does it work? I don't think that they care. When was the last time they allowed science to displace religious dogma?
Southern Comfort of Politically Incorrect History
A few days ago, I wrote about the popular The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History written by Thomas E. Woods and published by Regnery. It purports to present a more conservative view of history, but Woods' conservatism is not the sort that most conservatives would want to admit to or participate in.
Atheist Doctrine of Democracy
Iraqi opponents of the U.S. occupation have attacked the recent election as an "atheist" doctrine of democracy. Why atheist? Because it allows human beings to decide their own fates instead of handing themselves over to the will of God.
Natural Law Conservatism
Conservatism (like liberalism) is more a tendency than a coherent political philosophy. Because of this, it encompasses a lot of different philosophies, ideas, and principles that share some things in common but can also conflict at times. Some want to change that and restructure all of conservatism along very specific lines.
Fundamentalists of the World, Unite!
Conservative evangelical Christians in America have made out the war on terrorism to be something of a holy war against Islamic extremists. Those Muslims, though, are waging a war against modernity - the same aspects of modernity that the Christians themselves fight against. They have more in common than many realize.
Fritz Stern on Nazis and Religion
Last month I wrote about Fritz Stern, a refugee from Nazi Germany who has seen some disturbing parallels between the Germany of his youth and America today. The context was a speech he gave when receiving the Leo Baeck Medal and I've been sent a link to the full text.
Tim LaHaye is not a happy camper. Despite having made millions and millions of dollars from his Left Behind book series, he's very upset that his publisher Tyndale House is publishing The Last Disciple by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer. Why? Because it presents an interpretation of Revelations that differs from LaHaye's.
Porn Shop Turned to Christian Bookstore - For Sale
In 2002 Mike Braithwaite had a religious conversion. Until that point he had owned a store selling sexual material and objects; afterwards, he converted the store to a Christian bookstore. Unfortunately for him the wages of sin are greater than the wages of Christianity and he can't earn enough to keep the store open.
Wiccans and Muslims in the Military
Wiccans are becoming more established and "normal" in the military. At one time their presence was opposed by the Christian Right and some actually tried to organize a boycott over the fact that Wiccans were allowed to meet for religious services. Now the Christian Right has bigger fish to fry: Muslims in the military.
1978: George W. Bush on Social Security
Apparently, George W. Bush has been pushing the idea of a Social Security "crisis" for quite some time. Unfortunately for him, his words have been preserved - he predicted that the system would crash quite a few years ago. Now that he is doing it again, why should anyone believe him?
Help! Help! We're Being Oppressed!
Conservatives control the executive and legislative branches of the national government. Conservatives may not control, but they are a powerful force in, the judicial branch of government. Conservatives are common in most businesses and industries. Yet, for some reason, conservatives are also an oppressed minority. How did this happen?
Politically Incorrect or Historically Wrong?
There is a new book out, The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (published by Regnery), that has become very popular among conservatives. Unfortunately, that popularity may end up leading to atrocious ignorance as the views presented in the book appear to be less a matter of "politically incorrect" and more a matter of just being "historically wrong."
Christian Right to Bush: We Bought You, Now Deliver
It seems that some members on the Christian Right are starting to figure out that they are being used. It's dawning on them that the traditional corporate, conservative forces of the GOP are more interested in harnessing the power of religious populism to bring in votes than they are in delivering on any of their promises made in exchange for those votes.
In case you hadn't heard, demagogues of the Christian Right have been beating the war drums against Spongebob Squarepants. It appears that this cartoon character has appeared in a music video created by a group with a radical pro-gay agenda and this outrages the far right. Well, maybe not - as usual, the Christian Right's rhetoric and the truth don't quite agree.
Church-Going Americans Less Tolerant
Christians in America, especially conservative evangelical Christians, like to pretend that their religion is the foundation of true morality. But since when has that ever been true in practice? A recent survey shows that church-going Americans are less tolerant and more likely to push their beliefs on others - hardly examples of moral behavior.
American Evangelicals and Militarism
Conservative evangelicals in America are big supporters of the war in Iraq. They are also big supporters of the use of the American military to push democracy elsewhere. Conservative evangelicals in places like Europe are generally opposed to this - despite agreeing with their American brethren on issues like abortion and gays. Why the difference?
Religious Aid Workers Exploiting Victims
Some religious aid workers who are supposed to be helping the victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia are taking advantage of the opportunity to proselytize, conditioning aid on religion. This problem is being caused by both Christians and Muslims.
Supremacist Court of Alabama?
I really don't understand Alabama. First they elect Roy Moore Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and he has to be removed for ethics violations. Now they have elected Tom Parker in his place and he's no better - he seems to have ties to White Supremacist groups.
Will Evangelicals' Political Success Continue?
Evangelical Christians have been enjoying a great deal of political success in recent years, but political fortunes can change relatively quickly. Conservative evangelicals have invested themselves so heavily in the Republican Party that their political futures can be rapidly altered.
Christian Fascism & Anti-Fascism
Fascist movements differ from country to country, basing their mass appeal upon a nation's deepest and most popular traditions in order to gain power. If any sort of fascism is to make headway in America, it will likely incorporate aspects of American Christianity into it. The question is, what will Christians do about it?
Self-Government: For Christians Only?
We are all aware of bigots on the Christian Right who think that Christians deserve special privileges and extra powers in society. It's unusual, however, to find one so bigoted as to claim that perhaps self-government is only possible among Christians.
Falwell on Homosexuals and Minorities
Jerry Falwell isn't the most compassionate or tolerant religious leader, that is true, but it is amazing just how awful some of his beliefs are. When asked about his intolerance towards gays, he manages to turn things around and expound upon feelings about blacks, Hispanics, and women.
Class Conflict in the GOP?
Democrats are sometimes accused of promoting class conflicts, but there seems to be a bit of class conflict going on within the Republican Party: Sam's Club Republicans vs. Country Club Republicans. The GOP is traditionally the party of capital and large corporate interests, but they also need to rely on the votes of conservatives who have meager means.
Are Falwell and Robertson Really Frauds?
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson say a lot of ridiculous things. Unfortunately, there are many people in America who believe them completely. There are also others who may not believe them, but at least give them the benefit of the doubt as being sincere in their positions. But maybe they aren't? Maybe they know what they are doing?
Islamist Insurgency Against Modern World
Newt Gingrich believes that America is dealing with an insurgency of radical Muslims against the modern world. It's not so much the West vs. Islam as it is modernity vs. radical Muslims - and many Muslims stand on the side of modernity. He's right, but he doesn't seem to realize that many Christians stand against modernity, too.
Religious Right & Civil Liberties
The Christian Right talks often about religious liberty - for Christians - but not very much about civil liberties in general. Why the silence? Why no effort to promote religious liberty as part of an overall package of civil liberties that are in line with American political traditions?
Georgia: Advocating Theocracy
Not every conservative Christian would favor a theocracy, but far too many of them do. These people don't usually use the word "theocracy," but that's the best label for a system of government that is organized along specific religious principles and is conceived for the purpose of promoting a particular religious agenda.
Warnings of Democracy's Collapse
There are many who fear that Christianity is being manipulated in ways that encourage unhealthy nationalism and extremism in America. This is no idle fear because when Christianity has been used in this way in the past, it has led to incredible suffering and destruction.
Has the Right Hijacked Christianity?
An argument from religious liberals is that conservative evangelicals have "hijacked" Christianity and are using it for nefarious purposes. This is an inappropriate argument because it assumes that there is a "true" Christianity that the liberals understand but conservatives don't; in truth, both groups are focusing on specific aspects of Christian tradition and each is as justified as the other.
Fox News? No Such Thing
Many conservatives appreciate the political slant they find on Fox News, but it can be argued that Fox doesn't really provide news at all. Rather than investigative journalism and reporters, they have extended commentary on the news being reported by other media outlets. That's not really news, so why do many conservatives prefer it? Do they not care?
Virginia: Proposal to Require Women Report All Miscarriages
In what many will perceive as a sign of the growing lunacy of the Christian Right, Delegate John Cosgrove has introduced a bill in Virginia that would require all women to report a miscarriage within 12 hours or risk 12 months in jail and a USD $2,500 fine. Lunacy? No, it's quite consistent and expected within the Christian Right's war on abortion.
When Conservatives Oppose Market Capitalism
Usually, political conservatives in America portray themselves as staunch defenders of capitalism and "the Free Market." That's not always the case, however, especially when the "Market" produces results that are considered offensive. Conservatives are thus forced to choose between various principles and it isn't always easy.
A lot of religious conservatives are pushing for governments to acknowledge the existence of "covenant" marriages. The idea is to create an official marriage contract that is harder to get out of than a standard marriage. Religious conservatives upset over the increase in divorce think that discouraging divorce would help - but they are very wrong.
Radical Right Christians 'Persecuted' in Philadelphia
Have you heard about the Philadelphia 4? You should have, if you read conservative press much. They are celebrities for conservative evangelicals, arrested merely because they were expressing their Christians beliefs in the vicinity of a gay festival. Repression! Persecution! Discrimination! Bigotry! Or maybe not?
Tom DeLay: Evil or Stupid?
Tom DeLay recently read at the Congressional Prayer Lunch. The biblical passage he chose was especially interesting in light of the six-figure death toll from the tsunami in Asia. Did he deliberately choose this passage as an attack upon them, or was he just too dumb to make the connection that others would quickly note?
Robertson Chats with God, Gets Updates on Supreme Court
Pat Robertson appears to remain one of God's favorites, receiving insider tips on what God has planned for America in the coming year. That, or Robertson is a charlatan who claims to speak to God in order to give his own opinions and desires a patina of respectability. I wonder which is really the case?
What is Conservatism?
As I've noted more than once on this site, many people seem to get confused about what the terms "conservative" and "liberal" mean. People have a habit of defining them according to the current policies of the Republican and Democratic parties, instead of looking to see if those parties uphold prior-existing conservative and liberal principles. They get the order reversed, basically.
Mullah Bork on American Culture
Robert H. Bork, once a federal judge who was injudiciously nominated to the Supreme Court, has more in common with Islamic radicals than he does with either liberal or conservative Americans. Why? Because Bork thinks that American culture is sick and needs to be changed before it infects the rest of the world.
Deaths of Christians More Tragic than Others'?
The number of deaths from the tsunami in Asia were massive, but are some lives more important than others? Certain media reports make it appear as thought the deaths of white Westerners were more important. Once Christian report makes it look like the deaths of Christians were more important.
Republicans, Morality, and the Christian Right
The Christian Right regards the GOP as the political party of "morality" - a label the GOP is happy to accept. Some fundamentalists, though, are starting to question whether the GOP's loyalty really is to their conception of Christian ethics or instead to the principles of power, money, and status.
Social Security & Saddam Hussein
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush made a big deal of how much of a threat Saddam Hussein was - and a threat in the very near future, too. Some have noticed a very similar tactic being used to hype his plan to privatize Social Security.
Evangelical Speaks at Mormon Tabernacle, Evangelicals Object
Ravi Zacharias is an important author among evangelical Christians. He also spoke at the "flagship Mormon temple" in Salt Lake City, something that has upset many evangelicals because they regard Mormonism as a heretical religious movement. How has he defended his actions to the faithful?
Holiday Wishes from the Christian Right
Religious conservatives have complained about how the "true meaning" of Christmas has been subverted by godless liberals. It would be valid, then, to wonder just how these same conservatives have tried to exemplify or live up to Christmas' message and meaning
Interesting Stats from Barna
The Barna Group is an evangelical Christian organization that does surveys and research to better understand what Christians believe and how they behave. Many times their results run counter to popular Christians beliefs and their end-of-the-year report is no different.
Backward Christian Soldiers
What do the "soldiers" of the Christian Right really want? If you listen to their most vocal public relations agents, all they want is religious liberty. If you listen a bit more closely, however, to their most vocal leaders, you will find something else: a desire to dominate American law, culture, and society in a manner that looks more like a theocracy than a free republic.
Anti-Abortion Supporter Gets Treatment - From Aborted Fetuses
Van Golden is a Christian anti-abortion activist from Texas. He is also an anti-abortion voter who has sold his home and moved to China so he can be treated for spine damage suffered from an auto accident. The treatment: cells from aborted fetuses.
Agitating for a Fascist Takeover?
One of the features of a fascist state is that power tends to be concentrated in a few centralized hands. In America, power is spread out among three branches of government. Some, it seems, would like to see that change and begin cutting the judiciary out of the equation.
Texas: Muslim School Get Hostile Letter from 'Christian' Group
Dar-Ul-Arqam is a private Muslim school in Texas that wanted to join the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools. This would allow it to compete with other private schools in athletic and academic competitions. The letter they received in response to their request was astonishing, to say the least.
High School Conservatives
Conservative political movements have been growing in numbers and influence in high schools across the country. There may be a time in the near future when conservative political clubs are nearly as common chess or language clubs. But what do conservative high school students believe?
Wing Nut Daily and Dragons
Many critics tend to refer to conservative internet publication "World Net Daily" as "Wing Nut Daily." I have resisted the trend, even though I almost always disagree with them, because I wanted to try to treat them with a little respect. I can't do that any longer. Why?
Faith-Based Law Schools
Can a religious law school turn out better and more moral lawyers? Some think so, that's why Jerry Falwell has opened Liberty University Law School. Not everyone agrees, though, and lawyers are debating whether religion has an important role to play in all this.
Fundamentalist Opposes Christian Right
We normally think of the Christian Right as enjoying strong support among evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. While that may normally be the case, it isn't true for everyone. Some conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians have come to disagree with and even oppose the Right's policies lately.
What Would Jesus Do? Evict Homeless Pregnant Woman
In North Carolina, the Rev. Oliver S. Robinson, director of the Tabernacle of Faith Church Outreach Center is putting into practice the principle of following what Jesus would do: he's evicting a pregnant homeless woman and her three kids from his homeless shelter.
Sex-Ed in Texas
A recent report shows that Texas' limitations on teens' right to confidentiality when obtaining things like birth control has significant costs - around $44 million a year, due mostly to unwanted pregnancies. In other words, reducing unwanted pregnancies requires ensuring the teens can get contraceptives.
Evangelical Filtering and Censorship
How do conservative evangelicals deal with "worldly" books, movies, and other forms of entertainment that don't reflect (or even contradict) their religious values? Evidently, they are taught to avoid such things so that they are not influenced by them.
Imitation of Culture; Culture of Imitation
Is American politics following American culture by creating images and ideas that have no basis in reality? Postmodernist critiques of American culture as creating "imitation reality" that determines "real reality" may start being applicable to American politics as well.
Blogsnark: Democrats vs. God
There is a common conceit among religious Republicans that because liberals and Democrats disagree with them over certain religious doctrines and what role the state should have in religious matters, therefore Democrats are anti-Christian and anti-God. It's the "if you're not with us, you're against us" syndrome that afflicts those who reason poorly.
Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?
For over a hundred years Christmas has been transforming from a religious to a secular holiday. Pagan elements always abounded but they have gained new importance alongside many secular aspects. Finally, evangelical Christians are taking notice - and they aren't at all happy. But what do they think they are going to do?
Racism Not All That Reprehensible?
You may have heard about the recent flap over Sam Francis' column where he railed against the immorality of interracial relationships. Francis' columns are carried by Creators Syndicate and, apparently, his level of racism isn't considered especially reprehensible by them.
Christian School Uses Slavery Apologetics
The Cary Christian School in North Carolina has been teaching students from a booklet that portrays slavery as "a life of plenty, of simple pleasures." The booklet was created by an organization that wants to provide a "Southern" perspective on slavery and the Civil War.
Theo-Cons in Europe
Religious conservatives in Europe are beginning to take lessons form religious conservatives in America. Europe is becoming increasingly secular but there are a lot of religious believers who find this intolerable. They really don't like the idea of Christianity no longer dominating the culture and politics.
Culture Wars Continue
Religious conservatives continue to be incensed that liberals have the gall to criticize their religious dogmas, not to mention their attempts to use those dogmas as the basis for American law. Liberals are "arrogant" for such criticisms; religious conservatives are merely being true to their religion for similar criticisms.
Assessing Justice Clarence Thomas
Senator Reid's criticisms of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas have received a lot of negative press, especially from conservatives. The question is, were his criticisms justified? Did he have a good point to make, even if the words he used were extreme? It is, in fact, easy to argue that Thomas is an embarrassment.
There are complaints about how some Muslims proclaim Islam as a "religion of peace" even as so many other Muslims advocate war and violence. But what about Christianity? Jesus was supposed to be the "Prince of Peace," but there are many Christians openly and unashamedly advocating war and violence.
Kierkegaard, God, and Atheism
Conservative evangelical Christians seem to be generally unfamiliar with the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. This is unfortunate because he pioneered many of the themes important to them: the central importance of faith, developing a personal relationship with God, etc. Some evangelicals even seem to regard Kierkegaard as an enemy.
Loss of Freedom in America?
Many conservative evangelicals lament the loss of the "freedom" in modern America. Those "freedoms" were, though, actually privileges that were unjustifiably bestowed upon them by the state. It's rather like watching whites lament the loss of their "freedom" in the wake of desegregation.
Southern Baptists Shunning Public Schools
Recent calls for the Southern Baptist Convention to have all Southern Baptists start pulling their kids out of public schools didn't succeed. The movement hasn't died, however, and individuals appear to be following the advice in larger numbers.
Many feel that any suggestion that America is or is moving towards a type of fascism is overblown rhetoric. Most, however, don't really understand what fascism is. They think that it is limited to people like Hitler or Mussolini. In reality those are just types of fascist leaders - the concept of fascism is much broader and must be taken seriously.
Social Conservatism vs. Economic Conservatism
One thing that many conservatives seem unaware of is the presence of a very serious tension between social and economic conservatism. Social conservatism involves opposing radical social changes that alter the structures of power and relationships. Economic conservatism involves defending market capitalism. The latter, however, undermines the former.
Faith of Unbelievers?
As Christmas becomes more and more secularized, conservative evangelicals grow more and more defensive. After all, Christmas is supposed to be "their" holiday and every time they see a secular expression of it, they are reminded of how much they have lost. Thus, they lash out at others in an attempt to salvage some self-esteem.
Real True Christians?
Can a "real" Christian support religious tolerance and diversity? If you listened to the Christians most often heard in the media, one might think "no." There are, however, Christians who are staunch supporters of tolerance and diversity - even if it includes atheism.
One of the more interesting trends in conservative Christianity in America today is the attempt by some to construct a more "macho" and "manly" version of Jesus. It seems that the gentle, forgiving Jesus is too feminine and conservative Christian men need a role model that is more like what they would rather be.
O'Reilly to Jews: If You're Offended, Go To Israel
In the past, Protestant domination of American culture tended to make religious minorities feel like outsiders. For example, the presence of overt Christianity in public schools (organized prayers, Bible readings) offended Jews and played a role in their prosecution. Even today some see nothing wrong with that sort of situation.
Republicans Shouldn't Employ Gays?
The Christian Right's war on gays continues as the call goes out for Republican politicians to stop hiring or employing gays. Apparently being gay is so contrary to Republican principles that it isn't even acceptable to have a gay person on staff, regardless of that person's political views. Gays, you just aren't welcome.
Single Group Dominates FCC Complaints
People may be aware of the FCC getting complaints about "indecency" on television or radio, but what most probably aren't aware of is the fact that nearly all of these complaints come through a single group: Parents Television Council. Should broadcast media be limited to what doesn't offend them?
Robertson: Gays & Lesbians are Self-Absorbed Hedonists
The Christian Right really doesn't like gays. It's difficult to attack people who simply want the right to love and develop relationships with people they love, so one of the tactics of the Christian Right uses is to deny that gay relationships are about "love" in the same way that straight relationships are. Instead, they are denied legitimacy by labeling them forms of "hedonism."
Black Pentecostals Oppose the GOP
American Pentecostals are a generally conservative group, especially when it comes to social issues, but black Pentecostals are not staunch supporters of the GOP. On the contrary, they have become active in Democratic causes because they are placing greater importance on racial and social justice than things like homosexuality.
New Jersey: Christians Outraged that Muslims Used School
The federal government's "equal access" policy requires public schools that open their doors to any community group to also open their doors to religious groups. If a book club can meet in a school, so can a church. Conservative Christians complain when they think this policy isn't being followed - unless Muslims are being accommodated, that is.
Evangelicals on Social Structures vs. Individual Change
One of the criticisms being leveled against conservative evangelicals today is that they are more concerned with private actions (like sodomy) than public problems (like injustice, poverty). This is contrasted with earlier religious revivals that focused on social justice, but in fact this is consistent with how conservative evangelicalism has always been.
Christians Feel Slighted Over Lack of Christ in School Pageant
There was a time when Christian conservatives complained if their religion didn't dominate public discourse. Now they are starting to complain because their religion isn't even being taken into consideration at all - and that includes in the context of public school Christmas events.
Falwell: Gay Conservatives Should Leave GOP
Conservative panjandrum Jerry Falwell recently said "Well the fact that he's a gay Republican means he should join the Democratic party." Falwell also recently said that conservative evangelicals had taken over the GOP, and I guess this is an example of what that means: people who insist on living in a manner that doesn't comport with evangelicals' religious values should get out.
Wishing People To Hell
Although it has a long pedigree, hell is one of the doctrines that religious believers don't tend to want to talk about a great deal. The idea of eternal torment and punishment makes people feel a bit uncomfortable, which may be why so many believers these days are moving away from it completely. Others, though, insist that it is necessary.
Mystery of Marriage?
I recently attended a marriage ceremony in a Presbyterian church and, while I was certainly happy for the couple, I must say that I could have done without that service. I've been to a number of marriages of the years (more often Catholic than Protestant) and I can say that I've never been subjected to a bigger load of garbage.
Christians Resisting Seduction of Gay Alexander
Was Alexander the Great bisexual? Most historians seem to think that he likely was - it's not absolute and definite, but there is enough evidence to think it likely. It's not as though this would have been a major scandal for a married man to have some homosexual interest on the side. It is, however, a scandal for this to be referenced today.
Religion, Science, and Porn Prohibition
There is, unfortunately, very little in the way of hard data regarding the use and misuse of pornography. We know it's popular, obviously, but what sorts of effects does it have on people? There are lots of assumptions and plenty of claims made by religious conservatives, but hardly any real scientific data. Why is that?
Progressives Winning the Culture War?
It has been said that George W. Bush's victory in his presidential reelection campaign signals that America is moving to the right and that the era of liberal, progressive reform is at an end. What, though, does the data on population attitudes towards liberal positions really say?
Alabama: Banning Books with Gay Characters
Republican Representative Gerald Allen in Alabama has introduced a bill that would ban public funding for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." Must be nice to be represented by someone like him, huh?
Family Therapy with Rush Limbaugh
How do conservatives and liberals get along during family holidays like Thanksgiving? Well, if you are an adherent of Rush Limbaugh's school of family values, you ridicule your liberal relatives rather than try to convince them that all of their ideals are all wrong.
Advertisement for Inclusive Churches Inappropriate for 'Liberal' Media
The United Church of Cross wants to launch a nationwide ad campaign to encourage more people to try their church services, but the "liberal" media leaders at CBS and NBC turned them down. Why? Because the ads suggested that the UCC is more inclusive and tolerant than some other denominations.
Whatever Happened to Conservatives?
Many observers of modern politics have noted the curious manner in which liberals and conservatives have tended to switch positions depending upon what is most convenient at the time. Some think that this betrays a lack of principles; I would say that it should teach people that what they think of as "liberal" or "conservative" should change.
Hatred of Kinsey Grows
A film about the life of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey is coming out and it has conservatives up in arms - despite the fact that they haven't seen it. Why? Kinsey's research, despite its genuine flaws, revealed that people's sexual behavior was far more diverse than tradition insisted was permissible. He validated and justified divergence from the desired norm.
Conservative Value of Filibusters
Conservatives in the Senate would like to eliminate the ability of Democrats to filibuster judicial nominees. The fact that Republicans have filibustered judicial nominees doesn't matter. The fact that other avenues of minority restraint have been deliberately eliminated doesn't matter. Even the fact that the filibuster is an important part of the process doesn't matter.
Jesus, Serial Killer
We hear a lot about how Christianity is a "religion of peace" and how Christians, especially conservative evangelicals, really desire only peace and love in the world. Why, then, is the most popular work of fiction among conservative evangelicals one that depicts their savior, Jesus Christ, as a bloodthirsty killer of countless people?
NOW: National Organization of Witches?
The Christian Right is, in some ways, a product of the battle against modern feminism. The organizational structure for it was originally created by those who successfully mounted the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. These anti-feminist roots have not been forgotten and continue to constitute an important basis of the Christian Right's anti-modern agenda.
Problems in Liberal Theology
One of the interesting conundrums facing liberal Christian theology is that so little of it seems to really be "Christian." More and more of the historical, orthodox doctrines are abandoned in favor of "metaphorical" beliefs that are compatible with modernity. Where does such a process ultimately lead?
Unholy Rebellion of the Childless
There are growing numbers of couples in America who are voluntarily childless. They could have children, presumably, but choose not to â€šÃ„Ã® whether because of financial reasons, lifestyle desires, or a lack of interest in kids. For religious conservatives, this isn't merely a bad choice but is, instead, a rebellion against God. So what do they want to do about it?
Onward Christian Lawyers
Jerry Falwell's Liberty School of Law has finally opened and only time will tell whether the "lawyers" it produces will know enough about law to qualify as decent members of the bar. It isn't even certain whether the school will be accredited by the time the first group graduates.
Red State Values & Smut
A great deal has been made of religious "values voters" who are more concerned about public morality and religious values than they are about their own economic circumstances. The problem is that the apparent behavior of these "values voters" doesn't really match their rhetoric.
Senate Republicans To Punish GOP Moderates
There has been some concern that Congressional Republicans would continue to refuse to work with Democrats during Bush's second presidential term. It appears, though, that they may not even be willing to work with Republican moderates. Senate Republicans have passed a rule that could punish dissenting moderates and reward those who adhere to the leadership's decisions.
The Tempting of Conservative Judges
The standard narrative used by conservative judges is that they see their job as "interpreting" the Constitution in light of the text and original understanding; liberal judges, by contrast, are "activists" when they usurp the power of the legislature to make law. The truth is quite a bit different because the liberals and conservatives aren't so different...
Abstinence: Cool in God's Eyes?
The state government in Louisiana agreed not to use federal funds in order to promote religion while encouraging sexual abstinence. Unfortunately, it looks like they are violating that agreement. I can't say that I'm really surprised, to be quite honest.
Pharisees Gathering Stones
One of the interesting features of the current efforts by the Christian Right to attack gay marriage is that their rhetoric about saving families doesn't match their actions. Why not, for example, invest similar attention to something like divorce or spousal abuse? These affect far more people and marriages than gay marriage ever could.
Iowa: Pastor Harasses Elderly Kerry Voters
Not only has the 2004 presidential election divided the nation, it's also apparently dividing churches. A pastor in Iowa has been accused of harassing two elderly women from his congregation because they voted for John Kerry. When they dared complain to the police, they were kicked out of the church. That's Christian love for you..
GOP Pushing Out Moderates
One of the concerns that many had before the election was that a win for Bush would be perceived as validating the views of Republicans who are on the extremes and, as a consequence, lead to the further marginalization of Republican moderates. There are some signs that exactly this is occurring.
House GOP: Power over Principle
It may be that no abuse of power is too outrageous for the current GOP leadership. Back in 1993, Republicans enacted a rule that prohibited any member indicted by a state grand jury from having a leadership post. It was aimed at House Democrat Dan Rostenkowski who was eventually convicted of mail fraud. Now they have gotten rid of the rule because it might apply to one of their own, Tom DeLay.
Red State Confusion of Moral Values
There has been a lot of talk about "values" voters and their influence in the 2004 presidential election. Truth be told, they aren't as much of an influence as many thing - not even within the Republican Party. Why? The GOP is financed by corporations that make money from selling cultural products that "values" voters hate. The GOP won't act against those corporate interests.
Focus on Which Families?
The so-called "values" voters who make up the conservative evangelical base of the Republican Party spend a lot of time worrying about other people's sexual morality and other people's families. Perhaps they should spend a bit more time worrying about and maintaining their own families.
Jerry Falwell Misleads Audience... Again
What is it with Jerry Falwell and his own history? Time and time again he is challenged about embarrassing things in his past record and instead of either standing by that record or apologizing for it, he just.... denies it. He seems to think that there aren't any recording devices or isn't any internet where people can find the truth. Whom does he think he is fooling?
Little Green Footballs or Little German Fascists?
One of the most popular conservative web sites is Little Green Footballs. Unfortunately, it seems to be especially popular for those who want to kill Arabs. As a matter of fact, the rhetoric used by many there mirrors that used by Nazis when talking about the Jews. This is a very interesting parallel that deserves some attention.
Understanding Conservative Christianity in America
Are conservative evangelical Christians just ignorant hicks who don't know what is best for them? That's what some liberals seem to think, based upon their reactions to the outcome of the 2004 presidential election. This is incorrect (at least in most cases - there must be a few where it's true). Unfortunately, the reality is actually worse.
Jesus Speaks Through Republicans
According to many conservative evangelicals, the reelection of George W. Bush was the will of God. By causing Bush to remain in office, God has "blessed" America rather than "curse" it with a Kerry presidency and Democratic leadership. These are the sorts of people Democrats are supposed to "reach out" to - people who think that Democrats are a "curse" from God.
Satanic Christians of America
One of the interesting things about the overwhelming support American evangelicals have shown for the Iraq War is the fact that evangelicals elsewhere have been just as overwhelming in their opposition to it. Christians around the world have condemned the war and are wondering how so many "Christians" in America can support it.
Falwell: Blow Them Away In The Name of the Lord
Jerry Falwell is one of those preachers who seems to promote a more "muscular" or "masculine" vision of Christianity - one that is less concerned with the meek of the earth and more interested in using force to advance its agenda. This is especially true when it comes to the War on Terrorism.
Southern Baptists Consider Pulling Out of Public Schools
Early in 2004 Southern Baptists started talking about pulling kids from godless public schools, something that led to widespread criticism. The proposal was not formally considered at the June national convention, but some state-level Southern Baptist conventions are taking another look.
Religion and Social Justice in America
Many people believe that in America today we are witnessing a religious resurgence, much like those America has experienced before. There is, however, an important and disturbing difference: whereas past religious revivals have led to Christian action in areas of social justice (abolition, for example), today it leads to a focus on private sexual morality to the exclusion of all else.
Evangelical Mind Today
Evangelicals in America are often thought of as representing traditional Christian beliefs and morality; the truth, however, is that they tend to be very anti-traditional in that they privilege their own immediate interpretations over centuries of traditions and nuance. This, in turn, is linked with a strong trend of anti-intellectualism that favors immediate action over careful thought.
Chuck Colson: Resist Feelings and Fairness
Christians today cannot avoid a secular culture where values contrary to theirs are common and publicized. This is, in fact, one of the reasons why they want to transform society into their own image - they can't take the competition. They fear that their children will hear the message of others and find it preferable.
Proctor and Gamble Boycott Proceeding
Right-wing religious groups Focus on the Family and the American Family Association have formally launched their boycott of Procter & Gamble, a company that has supported the cause of gay rights in Cincinnati.
Falwell and Moon, Sitting in a Tree...
Jerry Falwell is a leading figure in American fundamentalism and evangelical Christianity. Sun Myung Moon founded the Unification Church which is centered around his claim that Jesus failed and Moon is the new messiah. Naturally, most American Christians don't regard Moon and his church to be Christian. So why has Falwell worked so closely with Moon?
Can secularists really stand up to the will of God? Evidently they can. There is an attitude among many on the Christian Right that secularists are "bullies" for forcing God into "hiding." How an omnipotent God can be forced to do anything by mere humans is beyond me, but then again many of the religious beliefs of such people are irrational anyway. Why should this be any different?
Republicans Building Bridges
A number of people have been suggesting that Bush should reach out to Democrats and work to unite the country in order to move forward. How likely is that? As far as some conservatives are concerned, it's a pointless goal. They don't want unity, they want dominance, control, and power.
This Is the American Culture War
Republicans like to talk about how there is a "culture war" in America and now that George W. Bush has won reelection, there is also a lot of talk about how they will be able to advance their agenda in that war. What is the nature of this "war" exactly?
From a Christian perspective, if something is immoral should it also be illegal? Most conservative evangelical Christians seem to think so and this perspective drives much of their political or social activity. Liberal Christians tend to disagree with this, but there are also a few conservatives willing to make a Christian case against legislating their moral beliefs.
Family Values: Massachusetts Has Lower Divorce Rates than Texas
Conservative politicians seem to get some special kick out of criticizing someone merely for being a "northeastern liberal" and especially if they are a "Massachusetts liberal." George W. Bush leveled such criticisms against John Kerry. But which state has the strongest families: Massachusetts or Texas?
Katherine Harris: Christian Reconstructionist?
Most people might remember Katherine Harris as the Florida Republican who helped George W. Bush get appointed to the presidency. She later parlayed that notoriety into a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. What many may be unaware of are her ties to Christian Reconstructionism.
Georgia: Christian Bigot's Gay Daughter Speaks Out
Sadie Fields, president of the Christian Coalition of Georgia, has written a nasty column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution supporting an amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Georgia. Her daughter, Tess Fields, is a gay woman working for Planned Parenthood who has responded to her mother's vile bigotry.
No Middle Ground: Theocracy vs. Secularism
One of the more fundamental issues in American politics is the relationship between religious institutions and civil government. Many believe that the government should be secular, which is to say neutral and without authority in religious matters. Others argue that the government's job is to promote their religion. Can there be any compromise?
Christianity vs. Liberalism: Opposed Philosophies?
There are many conservative Christians who sincerely believe that a person cannot both be a liberal and a Christian at the same time. For them, political and social conservatism are necessary outgrowths of the Christian religion. Is it possible for anyone to make a coherent and credible case for this position?
IRS: Churches Can't Pray for Bush Victory
Churches aren't allowed to campaign for, endorse, or oppose any specific candidates during an election. But can they pray for a candidate to be reelected? The IRS has decided that official church services designed for prayers for a candidate's reelection are too much like campaigning for that candidate and, hence, a violation of a church's tax-exempt status.
Jesse Helms' Gay Granddaughter Uses Him for Election Advantage
Jesse Helms was one of the nastiest and most vocal anti-gay bigots in the Senate. His granddaughter is campaigning to become a district judge in North Carolina. Helms doesn't know she is gay and state Republican leaders who engage in regular gay-baiting in their own campaign literature fail to mention Jennifer Knox's long-time lesbian partner. Hypocrites? You bet.
Christian Torturers in the American Inquisition
One of the tactics used by the Christian Right in recent years has been to set up parallel institutions which, over time, can attack and supplant more liberal or secular institutions they wish to take over. They achieved success with the Southern Baptist Convention and are actively working on this in education, science, and other fields. Could they be doing the same with the military?
Evangelicals Conflicted Over Bush
Not only aren't all evangelical Christians the same, not all conservative evangelical Christians the same. They aren't a completely monolithic group. Currently, there are cracks in what most consider to be George W. Bush's "base" of political support. Many agree with some of his religious values, but they disagree with many of his other actions. Will they vote for him?
Conservative Religious Caricature of Liberalism
It can be simultaneously amusing and depressing to read certain conservative descriptions of liberalism. The descriptions are so far divorced from reality that it's inexplicable - have these people never sat down and talked with religious liberals? Of course, I'm part of the "reality-based community," so what would I know?
Christian Warrior Boykin Reprimanded?
Lt. Gen. William Boykin, the officer who played an important role in managing the interrogation techniques in Iraq and who described the war in Iraq as a religious crusade, has finally been disciplined. How? The military won't say - they will only comment that the action taken is "significant."
God: Democrat or Republican?
Quite a few religious people in America act as though their political choices are somehow consistent with the Will of God - as if they can't make their own choices about what is best for the country. This attitude is most prevalent among conservatives but liberals are certainly not immune. Unfortunately, it's an attitude inconsistent with historical Christianity.
Where is "Real" America
If Democratic politicians insulted the South generally or specific southern states, it's unlikely that conservatives and Republicans would let that pass without comment. George W. Bush can, however, insult specific northeastern states with impunity. Why? Because the Republicans have convinced so many that the northeast isn't "really" American.
The Republican Party is sharply divided between the Christian Right and moderates who can be categorized as libertarians, fiscal conservatives, or just moderate conservatives. Does the Christian Right have too much power in the GOP? Well, they argue that they are the GOP and that the rest, who are just along for the ride, should shut up or get out.
David Limbaugh: Christians Must Fight Secular Values
There are many conservative Christians in America who believe that the American government should be responsible for promoting their religious beliefs. Apparently the churches they support can't do the job and the Free Market they usually support introduces far too much competition. So they want the "market" rigged in favor of their religion.
George W. Bush regards himself as a Messianic figure chosen by God to lead the United States. He eschews reading, critical thinking, skepticism, investigative analysis, listening to dissenters, or any of the things we normally regard as important. Instead, he operates on instinct and acts just for the sake of acting.
Christians Complain About Sunday Halloween
In 2004 Halloween falls on a Sunday and, in certain highly religious communities this is causing a problem. Some Christians consider it an insult to celebrate the day on their sabbath and think that because their religion is more important that everything else, Halloween celebrations should be changed.
Why Evangelicals Should Vote Against Bush
Conventional wisdom holds that Bush's presidency rests largely upon the support of evangelical Christians. This may be true, but it doesn't mean that it is necessarily appropriate for evangelicals to support Bush. It is possible to argue that, in fact, voting for Bush would be contrary to important evangelical values and goals.
Opposing Dred Scott
By now most people have probably read something about George W. Bush's comments on the Dred Scott decision during his second debate with John Kerry. Why did a Supreme Court decision on slavery enter a presidential debate today? Because it's coded language for anti-abortion activists. It also doesn't mean what they or Bush think it means.
Christian Coalition Voter Guides: Still Partisan
The Christian Coalition is well known for adopting very conservative stances on religious and political matters, but they are at least as well known for distributing partisan voter guides designed to favor Republican over Democratic candidates, despite weak protests that the guides are fair. Well, they are still at it.
Conservative Evangelicals: In Charge or Underdogs?
Are conservative evangelicals in America a major power to be contended with or underdogs who suffer from continual persecution? Both, and at the same time, if we are to believe evangelicals themselves. Jerry Falwell has stated the evangelicals control the Republican Party, but evangelicals see themselves as persecuted.
Lynne Cheney Gets History Guide Destroyed
A guide designed for parents who want to help their children from preschool through fifth grade learn about history was pulled and destroyed shortly after the office of Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, objected. Since when did the wife of the Vice President have such power?
Pat Robertson to Bush: Don't Touch Jerusalem!
Conservative evangelicals' obsession with Israel is well known. They don't believe that the End Times prophecies can be fulfilled unless certain conditions are met, like that Israel exists, and they are convinced that God can't ensure that those conditions exist without the help of evangelicals (and America). Thus, Pat Robertson threatens a third political party if Bush fails to do as told.
ACLU: Most Obnoxious Group in America?
When people complain about the ACLU, it's important to pay close attention to what is and is not said. Often you'll find a lot of harsh and nasty rhetoric but not a lot of verifiable facts or cases. This is because the actual legal records don't usually support the critics' complaints - but they aren't honest enough to admit that.
Ed McAteer, Christian Right Pioneer, Dies
Most people probably aren't familiar with Ed McAteer, but they should be - he was one of the principle architects of the Christian Right in America. He died on October 6 at the age of 78 after a long fight against cancer.
Australia: Lesbians are Witches
The "Family First Party" in Australia appears to be a far-right political organization based around the idea that nothing is more important than the "defense" of families - and nothing is more important in the defense of families than attacks on gays.
Real Risk of Abortion Ban?
If the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion were overturned, abortion would become illegal in at least 30 sates, some immediately and some a bit later on. In most of America, then, a safe and legal abortion would become unavailable because of the dominance of religious conservatives.
Dissecting Christian Television
One might think that Christian television and Christian televangelists would be all about Christianitiy; in reality a great deal of what they do is more about politics. Is their Christianity merely a facade for a far-right political agenda?
Christian Right's War on Women's Choices
Not content to criminalize abortion, conservative Christians in America are also seeking to eliminate women's access to birth control pills. Their tactic is to get doctors to refuse to prescribe them pharmacists to refuse to fill the prescriptions and they are gaining some success in this.
Alan Keyes: Morals More Important than Jobs
According to Senate candidate Alan Keyes, issues like job creation and health care must take a back seat to moral issues like abortion and stem cell research. Apparently, in Alan Keyes' world, there are no moral issues at stake when considering whether people can get decent paying jobs and affordable health care.
Falwell: Evangelicals Control Republican Party
Many observers have long felt that conservative evangelical Christians had acquired a strangle-hold on the Republican Party, but now a prominent evangelical has admitted it outright. According to Jerry Falwell, conservative Christians now control the Republican Party and have made it their own.
Anything Goes Politics
In recent years the political activities of Republicans have grown increasingly mean-spirited and nasty. The phrase "slash and burn" politics is not inappropriate, considering how vicious the language and behavior can be. Is there any connection with the attitudes and behavior of the Christian Right?
Walter Jones: Anti-Theocrats are "Evil"
U.S. Rep. Walter Jones is pushing for a law that would allow clergy to endorse political candidates from the pulpit and use tax-free charitable donations for political activism. Many have responded in opposition to this and, according to Jones, such people are "evil" for trying to stand between him and his theocratic vision.
Marriage Rights for Sadists???
Members of the Christian Right are outraged at the idea that gays might have a right to marry, arguing that only unions that match the desires of God are appropriate. Taken to its logical conclusion, this would entail opposing many marriages, something that easily leads to parody... except that some actually do seem to believe this.
Conservatives Urge Boycott of P&G
They say that no good deed goes unpunished and that certainly seems to be the case with Proctor & Gamble. The company is opposing an anti-gay rights statute in its hometown of Cincinnati; as a consequence, conservative religious groups are calling for a boycott of P&G products.
Jimmy Swaggart Threatens Gay Men
Jimmy Swaggart definitely doesn't like gay people or gay marriage. On a recent program broadcast in the U.S. and Canada, he threatened not only to kill any gay person who looked at him wrong but also said that he would lie to God about how it happened. Cain, meet Abel...
Have Faith? Give Cash!
Ministers fleecing their flocks and enriching themselves at parishioners' expense is probably as old as religion itself, though it gained new traction and publicity with the growth of televangelists in the 1980s. Televangelists aren't as popular as they once were, but those who remain don't seem to have changed much.
Minnesota: Liberals are Anti-God
In Minnesota, as in other areas of the country, Republicans are telling voters that Democrats and the Democratic party are so anti-God that if God could vote, God would definitely and always vote Republican. Maybe that's a good reason to vote Democrat?
West Virginia: Liberals to Ban Bibles
I don't know how they did it, but Republicans in West Virginia have found out about the super-secret Democratic plan to put atheists in charge and ban all the Bibles. Even worse, they have revealed our plans to the public in order to thwart us. But we will not be deterred! Our mind-control devices will make people forget this ever happened.
Morality vs. Sexual Morality
Both the Christian Right and the Republican Party talk a lot about morality: restoring morality to America, improving people's morality, etc. If you think about it, though, they aren't really talking about "morality" in general. They're talking about sex.
Iraqi Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts in Iraq are re-organizing now that Saddam Hussein is gone. Even better, they aren't allowing any namby-pamby atheists and gays join them, which just thrills Christian Right fascists to no end.
Sacred Mountain Off-Limits to Women
Mt. Omine in Japan is sacred to followers of the Shugendo religion and has a Buddhist temple at the summit. It's also barred to all women, despite an 1872 law eliminating gender-based bans on Japanese mountains. That's why people are upset that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has declared it a World Heritage site, effectively endorsing this ban.
Televangelist Crouch Dodging Gay Sex Allegations
Paul Crouch is the founder of the world's largest Christian broadcaster, Trinity Broadcasting Network, and is one of the most influential televangelists in the business. He is also fighting allegations that he had a sexual encounter with a male employee several years ago.
Alabama: Christian Coalition Paid to Oppose Gambling
I wrote a little while ago about the revelations of Ralph Reed receiving massive donations from gambling interests, even as he lobbied against competing gambling interests on a platform of "morality." Now the story is sticking to the Christian Coalition itself and raising serious questions about their ethics.
Many liberal and moderate Christians are concerned over the way conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists have appropriated religious language, making it appear as though "real" Christians must support particular political programs, patriotic agendas, and religious dogmas. Have they hijacked Christianity?
Bush in Hands of Religious Right
One of the problems for conservatives who aren't also members of the Christian Right (this includes many social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, philosophical conservatives, etc.) is the fact that President George W. Bush is a member of the Christian Right - and the Christian Right basically controls the Republican Party.
Keyes: Christ Would Not Vote for Obama
Well, we've heard from the Christian Right already that God endorses George W. Bush for president (which means, I guess, that voting for Kerry means voting against God and is therefore a ticket straight to Hell). Now we're hearing that Jesus Christ has endorsed Alan Keyes over Barack Obama. No word yet on who Buddha and Mohammad are voting for.
Republicans Censored God at Convention?
Usually Republicans complain that Democrats try to censor God and keep God-talk out of public life. As it turns out, though, that's just what Republicans appeared to be doing at their own convention. Why is that?
Christian War on Women & Choice
Christian politicians have used their stranglehold on federal power to put irresponsible fundamentalists into positions of great authority. This, in turn, has had a negative effect on the lives and liberties of all Americas - which seems to be the "compassionate conservative" agenda for George W. Bush.
Gay Republicans Feel Betrayed by Bush
There are around one million gay Republicans in America and they haven't been too happy lately. Although conservative in disposition, they haven't felt too welcome in America's ostensibly conservative party. What I wonder is, though, what ever made them think that they would be welcome there?
Where's the Christian Right?
There is some indication that the Republican Party is trying to downplay its deep connections to the Christian Right. For example, no prominent Christian Right leaders have been invited to speak at the Republican National Convention - something even they have noticed and complained about.
America: Christian Nation?
Many Christian conservatives like to claim that America is a Christian Nation. But to what degree is that really true? Does America exemplify any particular "Christian" values in a manner recognizable to outsiders?
Anti-Gay Republican Outed as Gay, Resigns
U.S. Rep. Edward L. Schrock of Virginia is a staunch Republican who has received a score of 92% from the Christian Coalition and who has been a strong backer of the effort to ban gay marriages in the Constitution. He is also gay who has been outed because of his efforts to pick up men via a gay phone dating service.
Massachusetts: Bombing at Stem-Cell Lab
Domestic terrorism doesn't get a lot of press coverage when it can't be connected to Muslims. Actual bombings are less interesting than alleged plots involving mosques - that's the only conclusion I can draw from the general lack of attention to a pipe bomb explosion at a stem-cell lab near Boston.
Abortion Protestors Terrorize Wrong Family
An increasingly common tactic of anti-abortion activists is to picket and hold demonstrations at the homes of those associated with abortions - abortion doctors, nurses, and people who work with Planned Parenthood. Their targets object to the intimidation and harassment - especially when the protesters target the wrong people.
Alan Keyes vs. Atheists & Truth
Alan Keyes acts as though he has been graced by God to be victorious in his Senate race, even though it really does look as though he will lose badly. Why does he believe this and what does he have against those who don't share his narrow-minded religious beliefs?
Swift Boat Book Publisher Linked to White Supremacists
Regnery Publishing is the company that has put out Unfit for Command, the book from the Swift Boat Veterans criticizing John Kerry. Regnery Publishing was founded by the Regnery family, a family intimately connected to White Supremacism.
Republicans Hiding Religious Agenda?
The Christian Right is a major force in the Republican Party. So important are they that if they reject something, it almost certainly won't happen. So why does the Republican Party try to pretend that they aren't beholden to people with an extremist religious vision of America?
Radical Backlash on College Campuses
Conservative student movements are growing in power and popularity on college campuses - at least, they call themselves "conservative." In reality they are more radical than conservative because they pursue a radical agenda, not unlike that of leftist radicals during the 1960s.
Virginia: Falwell Opening Law School
Tired of seeing the success of so many liberal lawyers, Jerry Falwell is starting a new law school with an explicitly conservative and religious mission. Will they accomplish anything? There's a good chance of that.
Brits Try to Figure Out Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter is something of a unique figure in American politics - and for that, I think that everyone is thankful. This includes the British who recently had a chance to sit down and talk to Ann, marveling at the nonsense which comes out of her mouth.
Scout's Honor? Trashing the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence has no legal status in American law, but it does have a lot of rhetorical and psychological influence. Some people try to exploit this influence by misrepresenting it and trying to get people to believe that it says things that it doesn't
Putting God Above All Else
A lot of devout believers insist that their god is so important that it must be placed above all other things in life - and that everyone should do this. They aren't content to simply do this themselves; instead, they want the whole nation to do it. They even want the laws to be written to enforce that.
Evils of Liberalism
Conservatives don't agree with liberalism - that's obvious, otherwise they would be liberals themselves. The problem is that some conservatives are so extremely anti-liberal that one is forced to wonder if they are quite literally insane. Their obsession is so extreme that their conception of reality is twisted beyond recognition.
Pat Robertson Slams Americans United
Pat Robertson doesn't like the group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. In fact, he doesn't like anyone who fights for church/state separation and against the agenda of the Religious Right. Still, if he is going to criticized them, shouldn't he at least make the attempt to do so honestly and fairly?
Religious Right vs. Religious Left
Usually when we think of religion getting involved with politics, the Christian Right usually comes to mind first. But what about liberal Christians? They aren't apolitical, but is there any fundamental difference between how they deal with politics and how conservatives do it?
Illinois: Lukewarm Reception for Keyes
Republicans in Illinois and on the national level has picked Alan Keyes to run for the Illinois Senate seat this year, but many in the state are less than enthusiastic about his candidacy. Could it be that they recognize him as an extremist who doesn't represent anyone except the far-right?
Conservatives Rehabilitating Japanese Internment Camps?
Ann Coulter made a big splash in trying to rehabilitate McCarthy and the communist witch hunts and I suppose that made Michelle Malkin feel inferior. So, she's gone ahead with her own book to try to rehabilitate the rounding up of Japenese Americans into concentration camps during World War II. She wants to argue that it was justified and just
Moon Helps North Koreans Get Nuclear Missile Subs
Apparently, North Korea has the ability to launch nuclear missiles from submarines and strike the United States. The missiles are North Korea's project, but the ballistic missile submarines are from Russian and, it seems, were purchased for them by Rev. Sun Myung Moon - owner of the right-wing rag The Washington Times.
The Lawless Republican Congress
There are a couple of attempts going on to prevent the federal courts from being able to review any laws dealing with particular issues. Tired of the courts striking down violations of the Constitution, some Republicans don't want the courts to have any say at all anymore. These aren't conservative Republicans, these are radical Republicans advocating lawlessness.
Free Republic: Outrage over
In German branches of the Subway Restaurant chain, a trayliner has an ad for the movie "Supersized," an image of a fat Statue of Liberty, and asks why Americans are so fat. It's an obvious attempt to encourage people to eat healthier Subway offerings than regular fast food as well as to promote a movie dealing with a related topic. It's also sparked outrage and calls for a boycott.
Christians Cannot Vote for Kerry?
It's always both a little amusing and a little sad to read conservative Christians assume that their Christianity is the only kind that can legitimately exist. You can see it very prominently in political writings whenever they insist that "real" Christians would never vote for John Kerry because Bush is the only "real" Christian candidate
Keyes Gets the Fascist Endorsement
As noted before, Alan Keyes is running for the Illinois Senate. Will he do well? He is, at the very least, getting the support of American fascists - something that should make him happy.
Alan Keyes in Illinois
Well, Alan Keyes has agreed to run for the Senate in Illinois against Barack Obama, despite attacking Hillary Clinton for doing much the same thing in 2000. Republicans seem to think that Alan Keyes is a decent choice - but why?
More on "Christianizing"? America
I wrote recently about a survey indicating that millions of Americans would support a constitutional amendment making Christianity the nation's official religion. Well, that survey was done by Barna and at the same time they got some interesting results on lots of other questions as well.
Dirty Secrets of Christian Evangelism
Both Catholics and Protestants spend a lot of money on missionary programs in the "Unreached Bloc," a largely non-Christian region stretching from Africa to East Asia, with India being a primary target. The tactics are generally unethical and the results very poor. So why do people go through with it? For Christ, they say.
Alan Keyes: A Man of Principle?
According to news reports, Alan Keyes is seriously considering an invitation to move to Illinois to run as a Republican against Barack Obama for the Senate. This is interesting because he viciously attacked Hillary Clinton when she did just that in New York.
Contraception in Texas
If the Christian Right has its way in Texas, Republicans will ensure that nothing at all about contraception will appear in public school text books designed for high schools.
Tennessee: Republican Supports Eugenics, Segregation
Republican candidates across the country consistently support positions like the teaching of creationism, outlawing abortion, state-sponsored school prayers, and so on. It's rare, however, to find one so extremist as to support eugenics and describe non-whites as inferior.
GOP Wooing Keyes To Take On Obama
The Republican Party would like to find someone, anyone, to run against Barack Obama for the Illinois Senate seat. They are so desperate that they are, apparently, even thinking about asking Alan Keyes to enter the race. I think that's a great idea.
Stars and Stripes... and Crosses?
General Counsel Raquel Rodriguez, the top lawyer for Florida Governor Jeb Bush, has a card posted in her reception area that depicts an American flag with a cross superimposed over the field of stars. This, apparently, is not considered a problem - in Florida, it's considered OK for the state's chief legal officer to promote Christianity in the office.
Tolerance vs. Intolerance, Secularism vs. Theocracy
There's been a lot of discussion on the internet about an article written by Robert Reich in which he argues that while terrorism is dangerous, it's ultimately just a tactic utilized by the real danger: those who adhere to ideologies that teach humans to reject modernity in favor of a divinely mandated social order. For some reason, conservative Christians have been bothered by this.
Christian Coalition Sued Over Unpaid Bill
There was a time when the Christian Coalition was the largest, most powerful, and surely the most feared of all organizations on the Christian Right. Today, though, it has become little more than a shadow of its former self - not very large, not very powerful, and not very feared. They can't even seem to pay their bills on time anymore.
That "Vision Thing"
The Christian Right is a driven, committed block of voters who know what they want and will work very hard to get it. Why? They have a "vision" - they believe that their current, short-term political beliefs are part of a much larger plan for America, the world, and indeed the entire universe. A similar motivation seems to be lacking among liberals.
Religious Group Protests Godless WWII Memorial
Washington's recent World War II memorial has been controversial for a number of reasons and for a number of aspects of its design. A new controversy has erupted, though, over the fact that it doesn't mention God and doesn't thank God for helping America win.
Conservatives vs. Religious Right
In America the "Religious Right" or "Christian Right" is aligned with the more general conservative political movement. As a consequence, people tend to refer to them as "conservatives" - but is this a mistake? Are they perhaps something quite different?
Blackwashing: What Black Conservative Movement?
There are a growing number of black conservative organizations getting attention in the news and in politics - but just how representative are they of blacks in America? That might sound like a strange question to ask until you consider that a significant number of the most visible ones are run and financed mostly by whites. So whose organizations are the, really?
Was the Civil War About Slavery?
There is a common myth that circulates in some places that the American Civil War wasn't really about slavery - instead, it was about Northern aggression, taxes, tariffs, that sort of thing. Is there any truth to this? Well, it's true that there were a number of other issues involved by denying that slavery was the root issue requires denying reality.
Millions Would Declare Christianity America's Official Faith
Most Americans favor religious pluralism, but it's disturbing just how many would support making Christianity the one official religion of the United States. It's more than you might think and it's dangerous.
Godless Disney World?
Members of the Christian Right have frequently criticized the Disney corporation for failing to adhere to a conservative evangelical set of moral standards. Now they may have a new point for criticism: the movies made by Disney are insufficient religious and theistic.
Against the Christian, Fundamentalist Theocrats
The Christian Right worries a lot of people in America, religious and non-religious. They are perceived as representing a very real threat to liberties and pluralism because of their almost single-minded drive to restructure American law and society along their own theological beliefs.
Right-Wing Attacks on the Kerrys
Self-righteous conservatives have been up in arms about Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" statement to a reporter from Pittsburgh's notorious Tribune-Review. I say "self-righteous" because they were eager to excuse worse comments from President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. Why, though, is the rest of the media focusing only on Kerry and not the paper itself?
Spinning Obama's Speech
A lot of people have been talking about how great Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention was and how he is a "rising star" in the Democratic Party. That's all well and good, but it isn't especially interesting. What I really find interesting are the ways in which his speech is being misrepresented by the Right.
Operation Rescue's Tax-Exempt Status Challenged
Operation Rescue has long played a dominant role in debates about abortion in America. They are a tax-exempt non-profit organization, but Catholics for a Free Choice is challenging this. They allege that Operation Rescue has endorsed George W. Bush for president and attacked John Kerry. If true, their tax exemption is indeed in jeopardy.
GOP Anti-Gay Leader Outed
Jay Timmons is the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and has been heavily involved in fighting for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage. He is also, apparently, gay himself - something that has been revealed through the efforts of gay activists trying to "out" gay conservatives working to harm other gays in society.
Everyone knows that despite regular claims to the contrary, there is nothing whatsoever 'fair and balanced'€? about Fox 'News,'? right? Probably - but it's nice to have direct confirmation of that. Large numbers of internal documents have been released that reveal just how they deliberately and consciously frame the news for political purposes.
Saving Christmas Through Religious Bigotry
Quite a few conservative Christians are upset over the way that Christmas has become less and less a Christian holiday. Today, it is far more a general cultural holiday that still retains some religious overtones but which has become largely secularized and adapted to other religions and traditions. These Christians even want to pressure retailers to make Christmas more Christian again.
Minnesota: Judge Openly Advocates Theocracy
Tim Tingelstad is a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court. He is running on a platform that is against abortion, quotes the Bible, and argues that public schools would improve if school districts used state money to create religiously based schools.
Florida: GOP Involved in Shading Voter Registrations
Federal election officials are investigating the Florida GOP for a very unethical practice: trying to register new citizens to vote by using forms where all of the political choices are already marked "Republican." Thus, everyone they register is automatically registered as Republican and isn't given the choice to register as anything else.
O'Reilly: Scolds Guest for Out Gays, Labels Judge a "Lesbian"
For Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, the operative principle seems to be "do as I say, not as I do." Usually that principle is shortened to just "hypocrisy." O'Reilly had the nerve to castigate a guest over outing the staff of Republican lawmakers working against gay marriage, then accuse a Massachusetts judge of being a lesbian.
"Wisdom"? of Dr. Laura
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, famous for berating people who call her advice show and for insisting that irreligious nontheists have something wrong with them, has decided to go visiting - to Britain, specifically. Some people in Britain must be welcoming her and enjoying her visit, but not those who actually have a clue.
Recovering Hijacked Religions
Conservative and fundamentalist religious groups have been among the most prominent religious voices in the world recently. They are not, however, voices that speak for everyone and those who find themselves left out are hoping to take back the names of their religions - or at least broaden their meanings a bit.
Republican Definitions of 'Real Religion'
One of the more interesting issues this election year involves "religion" - specifically, the manner in which Republicans and Republican apologists are working hard to convince people that Democrats aren't "really" religious because they don't adhere to the extreme, fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity favored by conservative Republicans.
GOP's Christian Nation
Many readers may be aware of the platform of the Texas GOP - a platform that is about as extreme as can be. Granted, it's only a state party but it is a prominent and important state; moreover, it's interesting that national Republican leaders haven't raised a single objection to this platform or what it says. Does that mean that they agree with it?
Republicans on Church/State Separation
Conservative Republicans don't think very highly of the separation of church and state - indeed, they often insist that it doesn't exist and is merely a liberal plot to undermine Christianity and American culture.
Christians Can't Be Democrats
There is an attitude among conservative Christians that it simply isn't possible for a person to really be a Christian yet still hold liberal enough views on political and social issues to vote for the Democratic party. Sometimes this attitude is so extreme that they will even say that God/Jesus supports the Republican party.
GOP Bothered by Ron Reagan's Speech
The Republican Party naturally wants to position itself as the inheritor of Ronald Reagan's legacy, so of course it bothers many that the only truly tangible sign of that legacy will be appearing at the Democratic Convention: his son, Ron Reagan, Jr. Some are dismissive of him, but they can't entirely dismiss him.
Christian Terrorist Let Off Lightly
Stephen John Jordi has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for plotting to fire bomb abortion clinics, churches he disagree with and gay bars. The government recommended more time, but the judge decided that Jordi didn't qualify as a terrorist. Had he been a Muslim plotting to blow up synagogues and other buildings, you know the decision would have been different.
Christian Teens: There's Hope Yet
Evangelical Christianity is something of a growth industry among teenagers, a fact that has led to some concern that the next generation would be even stronger supporters of the Christian Right agenda than the current one. There is, however, hope to be had: Christian teens don't adhere to the doctrinal orthodoxy demanded by their elders.
A Queer Boy Scout Watches Civilization Fall
It's often amusing to read Hans Zeiger's columns. I can almost picture him hyperventilating over the prospect of other people living their lives according to the dictates of their own conscience instead of the dictates of his own demands. Frankly, though, I fear that if he keeps up his pace he'll burst a blood vessel before the Christian takeover of America.
Morality Doesn't Evolve?
Many Christians seem to need to believe in a moral order that is safe, secure, and definitely doesn't change over time. It's as if the very prospect of shifting moral standards is a serious threat to their existence.
Ex-Gay Group Seeking Influence in Schools
Desperate to turn the tide against public school programs that teach tolerance for gays, the Christian Right seems to be adopting a new strategy. Instead of simply opposing such programs, they are seeking to have ex-gay material about gays who have been "cured"? included as well. Educators don't seem very interested.
California Missionary Unapologetic
A Christian "missionary" who said that female lawmakers who are single mothers are also sinners and that both Catholics and Muslims follow "false religionsâ€œ is completely unapologetic. Indeed, he stands by what he said and California lawmakers continue to flock to his study sessions.
Abortion Clinic Managers Quit After Harassment
Because efforts to criminalize abortion have proven unsuccessful, one of the tactics adopted by the anti-abortion movement has been to make life so unpleasant for abortion workers that they will want to leave entirely. Terrorism against clinics and doctors has had a big impact here, but harassment against managers and others is working as well.
Linking Christianity with Politics
Certain conservative religious leaders are growing concerned about the increasing links between the Republican Party and evangelical churches. There is a sense that the moral authority of churches will be compromised if they are seen as little more than Republican shills. But hasn't that already happened?
Contraception: Access Denied
Although most people aren't aware of it yet, the fight against abortion also includes a fight against all forms of contraception, including The Pill. This connection is being made increasingly evident by the numbers of doctors and pharmacists who refuse to prescribe or distribute contraceptives.
Limbaugh Denounces Bush as Communist
Has Rush Limbaugh really denounced President George W. Bush as a communist? Well, not quite. Actually he's tried to denounce John Kerry as a communist, but the means by which he has done so would entail that Bush is just as much of a communist or a communist sympathizer.
Bush Judicial Appointee: Wives Should Be Subservient
Arkansas lawyer J. Leon Holmes has been confirmed by the Senate and, hence, appointed to the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas. President Bush pushed hard for this appointment, but many objected strongly to him why?
CAIR Tied to Terrorism?
The other day I wrote about a recent Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) poll showing strong support for John Kerry over George W. Bush among Muslims in America. Now, a conservative "think"? tank is alleging that CAIR has ties to terrorists.
If you pay close attention, you'll find that Muslim fundamentalists hate the same things about modern American culture that Christian fundamentalists do: feminism, sexual liberation, individuals freedoms that contradict traditional religious mores. These are, in fact, the complaints of fundamentalists everywhere and says something very important about religious fundamentalism.
Southern Baptists Angry at Bush Tactics
I wrote recently about President Bush and his reelection campaign asking volunteers to turn over church directories to make it easier to contact people. Well, it seems that this and other recent acts by the administration have angered even the Southern Baptist Convention.
Fundamentalists Protest Tower Dedication
It seems like you can always count on Fred Phelp's Westboro Baptist Church to do something silly or obnoxious in public - apparently, it's all about the propaganda value of being in the public eye and not about actually accomplishing anything substantive (after all, they only ever do the former and never the latter).
Ralph Reed's Gamble
Ralph Reed has long been an important figure for the Christian Right, a driving force in their moralizing drive to remake America in their own Christian image. Apparently, though, he was playing both sides against the middle: while preaching against sins like gambling, he was quietly making a bundle of money on the side from the purveyors of sin. Ironic, isnâ€™t it?
God no Democrat, Jesus Prefers Bush
It seems to be a regular occurrence to find someone claiming, explicitly or implicitly, that God and/or Jesus is a support of President George W. Bush and that the godly/Christian thing to do is to follow the Will of God by voting for Bush in November. Is this hubris? Foolish?
Plugged In, But Not Tuned In
More and more it is possible to find 'Christian'? reviews of movies, music, and other media. Supposedly these reviews offer a Christians perspective on the media, allowing Christian families to make better decisions about what they and their children should see or hear. In truth, though, they also provide a window on the Christian Right's agenda and values.
Scalia vs. Thomas on Fascism
Supreme Court justices Scalia and Thomas commonly vote together on various issues, but the recent decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld reveals a stark difference between the two: Scalia comes out strongly against government power being taken too far while Thomas defends the expansion of government power to the point that would allow fascism.
Honeymoon is Over: Conservatives Go After Arnold
When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for the governor of California, conservatives around the nation rejoiced. They practically swooned over the idea of his achieving political office as a Republican. Now, however, they are having second thoughts. The wolves are being let loose and Schwarzenegger is their target.
National Review and White Power
In many ways the National Review is considered an important reference point for modern American conservatism. It was recently announced that William F. Buckley, the man who started the magazine in 1955, would be stepping down and so there have been a number of retrospectives about him and his magazine.
United to Smite Homosexuality
Obviously there are many churches which are opposed to homosexuality, but there are few that make that their exclusive focus. One is the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, North Carolina. Members attend many meetings and events to make their opinions known - but in a rude and obnoxious way, according to reports.
Moderate vs. Extremist Conservatives
There is a growing tendency in American politics to use heated rhetoric that polarizes the discussion and demonizes opponents. We can see it on both the left and the right, but it seems to be becoming more prevalent on the right with people like O'Reilly, Coulter, Savage, Limbaugh, and so forth. What happens to reasonable conservatives caught in the middle?
Divided by Marriage
Opponents of gay marriage like to style themselves as defenders of the institution of marriage and the sanctity of the family. Too often, though, their idea of "family" can be a bit warped because they don't want to be closely associated with gay relatives, much less actually be involved in their lives.
More and more women are being ordained into various Christian churches in America, but their success stalls because being ordained doesn't lead to the credibility, respect, or positions of authority typically seen by their male counterparts. Religious leadership is still a man's world in America.
Christianity & Corporal Punishment
European law is turning against the use of corporal punishment against children. It is argued by many that the use of any physical violence against children is linked to physical abuse and that is one of many reasons offered for why its use should be halted. Conservative Christians would oppose anything like this occurring in America - but would they be justified?
What Would James Dobson Do?
James Dobson, founder and leader of Focus on the Family, is a moralistic and self-righteous evangelical Christian who likes to complain about how the rest of American society is far less moral than he is. He recently set an example of how moral he is by publicly posting Michael Moore's home address as part of his criticism of Moore's recent film Fahrenheit 9-11.
Alan Keyes: American Republic is Ending
I've written once or twice about Alan Keyes. A one-time Reagan administration official, Keyes has an extreme view regarding religion, politics, and the separation of church and state. He honestly believes that individual states should be able to set up their own little theocracies.
O'Reilly: Female Co-Host is Mere Eye-Candy
Bill O'Reilly has a co-host named Lis Wiehl. She's a law professor, author, and works as a legal analyst for FOX news. As far as O'Reilly is concerned, though, she's just eye candy for him - a pretty face to look at while he talks.
Evangelical Paper Makes Political Shift
Evangelical Christians in America tend to have a very conservative image. There is a strong perception that they are more concerned with things like homosexuality and abortion than social justice and poverty. That, however, may be about to change. A draft paper that will probably be accepted emphasizes the importance of both types of issues.
Contraception Ruins Marriage
I noted a few days ago that Rush Limbaugh is getting divorced. This is posing a bit of a problem for some social and religious conservatives because Rush is "one of them,"? but divorce is also contrary to the moral principles they typically promote. Some are blaming his divorce on the assumption that he used contraception.
Is Secularism a Religion?
One common tactic of Christian apologists (the poor ones, at any rate) is to counter atheists' critiques of religion by arguing that atheism itself is a religion. Thus, atheism is said to suffer from the same flaws and problems. Now, for the first time, I see someone trying the same with secularism.
Religious Bigotry in Indiana
It's pretty easy to spot the religious bigots: they are the ones who consistently and reliably distort the truth in order to attack those who disagree with their authoritarian religious views. Not even obviously false statements are considered too much in the question to smear others.
John Ashcroft: Worst Attorney General Ever?
Attorney General has been under fierce criticism ever since he was first nominated. His extreme position on so many issues have always bothered a lot of people and it should be remembered that in his home state he lost his last election to a man who was dead. Is he, however, really the worse attorney general in American history?
Crusade Against Islam?
Many Muslims in the Middle East regard the American occupation of Iraq to be part of a long-standing Crusade of the West against Islam. Western politicians have been careful to insist that the battle is against totalitarianism and Islamic extremism, not Islam itself, but there are those who still sometimes let their true feelings show through.
'Saved'? Movie Upsets Christian Teens
The recently released movie 'Saved!'? presents a critical and even satirical look at a high school for evangelical teens. Real evangelical teens are not very amused and are criticizing the film for its portrayal of them.
George Will Can't Be Trusted
George Will is one of the most popular political commentators in America today. He doesn't hide the fact that he favors conservative politicians and causes, but what you won't hear him talking about is his role in helping Ronald Reagan get elected. That might be because he role was, shall we say, not entirely ethical? Indeed, one might wonder if Will's actions were entirely legal.
Limbaugh on Divorce
As you may have heard, Rush Limbaugh is getting a divorce. This is interesting because Rush Limbaugh continually moralizes on the radio about the decline of American values - with divorce rates being one of his regular targets. Curious, isn't it?
U.S. Must Repent
Many evangelical Christians are, quite simply, paranoid. They believe they can see the handywork of Satan everywhere they turn and they are convinced that the forces of evil are on a mission to destroy Christianity, America, and themselves.
Moon Over Washington
On March 23rd, a group of both Republican and Democratic Congressmen attended a coronation. Of Sun Myung Moon. As the Messiah. In the Dirksen Senate office building. Crazy? You bet - but it's also reality in Washington, D.C., where Moon holds a great deal of power.
Threats Against Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11
A lot of conservatives don't like Michael Moore and they really don't like the idea of his new movie, Fahrenheit 9-11, becoming popular. Some have even started a movement to convince movie theaters not to show it.
What Would Jesus Do? Vote Republican!
Apparently, Jesus is a registered and card-carrying conservative Republican. At least, that's what many religious conservatives would like the rest of America to believe because they keep acting as though it weren't possible to be a Christian and a liberal or a Democrat at the same time. This appropriation of religion for political purposes does, however, tend to annoy others.
Messiah's Editor Criticizes Soros
Tony Blankley, editorial page editor for the Washington Times, has been very critical of the work of George Soros and has called him a left-wing crank, a pirate capitalist, and a reckless man. That's all very interesting when you consider that Blankley's boss, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, thinks of himself as the Messiah.
Shrek Threatens Family Values
The computer-animated feature film Shrek 2 has become quite popular - but not among a certain segment of far-right Christians who see threats to their religious beliefs under every bed and around every corner. According to them, the new Shrek movie is guilty of promoting a 'transgender agenda.'?
Ronald Reagan, circa 1966
Most people think of Ronald Reagan as president and/or as ex-president - that's the only context they know him in, outside of perhaps a couple of his old movies. He did, however, have a political career before that as California governor.
Christians More Likely to Buy Lottery Tickets
Theoretically speaking, Christians are supposed to be opposed to gambling. If that is the case, though, why are Christians more likely to buy lottery tickets than atheists? That's the data coming from a survey done by the Barna research group.
Dismissing Black Voters
It's not that unusual to read or hear someone point out that the Democratic Party would be in a lot of trouble if it weren't for the support of black voters. This is true... but so what?
Pro-Choice Republicans Given Pass By Bishops
Many conservatives and Catholic leaders have assailed Catholic Democrats who oppose the criminalization of abortion. It is interesting, though, that Republicans who are pro-choice don't receive the same treatment. If this were simply about Catholic doctrine, bishops and others wouldn't have a double standard.
Loving God to Love Country
There are a number of unfortunate and illogical people who believe that America should be a theocracy. According to them, the people can't be trusted to make their own decisions and liberty and be entrusted to their care. Instead, we must rely solely on some god.
Deconstructing Randall Terry
There are quite a few theocrats in America - theocrats who wish to change the nature of American law so that it adheres to their conception of biblical principles. Some openly admit this. Others, like Randall Terry, tend to conceal it because they know that most Americans are repulsed by such a
Ann Coulter or David Duke?
I've written more than once about the antics of Ann "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" Coulter. What I didn't realize, though, is just how closely her writings can be compared to those of other extremists.
Questioning Liberal Indoctrination in Colleges
A common complaint from conservatives is that colleges and universities in America are overwhelmingly liberal in their orientation. Most liberals and moderates agree with this perspective. Even grating that professors tend to be liberal, however, does this really have the consequences that conservatives complain about?
Authoritarian Robert Bork
American conservatives continue to be outraged that Robert Bork was denied a seat on the Supreme Court. They consider his failed nomination to be a landmark event in the so-called culture wars and, at times it seems, a personal insult. It is arguable though that America is far better off that he isn't involved in legal decisions anymore.
Women Are Too Vicious?
The team of Pentagon lawyers which crafted the document explaining how the president could avoid war crimes prosecution for himself and his subordinates even while authorizing widespread torture was led by a woman, U.S. Air Force General Counsel Mary L. Walker. She's also a devout evangelical Christian - she co-founded a San Diego offshoot of Campus Crusade for Christ.
Shapiro's Book on Brainwashing "Misconstrues Facts"
Ben Shapiro/s recently published book about the liberal bias in American colleges and universities is sure to be a bestseller. It/s worth wondering, however, just how accurate it really is. According to some who went to college with him, his book is rife with errors.
Demonizing Public Schools
I wrote before that the Southern Baptist Convention is considering a resolution that would call upon all members of that denomination to pull out of public schools and turn to homeschooling. Others have been writing about it as well, adding their criticisms.
Pastor: Single Mother Lawmakers are 'Sinners'
It's a basic facet of the social and political agenda of the Christian Right the there are certain god-given â€œrolesâ€? for men and women in society. Men are supposed to have careers while women are supposed to bear and raise children. The fact that modern society no longer reinforces such roles is one of the reasons why it is going downhill.
Remembering Ronald Reagan
We'll be hearing a lot of praise of Ronald Reagan over the coming days, but that praise should be balanced with some thoughtful critique as well. Contrary to what some would like to believe, Reagan's presidency was not an unmitigated success.
God and Politics
There are a great many conservatives in America who try to identify their political positions with the will of their God. Essentially, their opinion is that a person can't be a devout Christian without also being a political conservative and vote for the Republican Party. Is there any justification to this?
Taoism & Christianity
Conservative evangelical Christians often donâ€™t seem to know a great deal about other religions. They may be familiar with some superficial aspects, but they donâ€™t know much about the history, doctrines, and traditions. They already possess the One True Religion, so being accurate about False Religions probably isnâ€™t a priority.
Christians Can't Be Democrats
There is an increasingly common attitude among religious conservatives to deny the possibility of someone honestly being religious and being a devout Christian while also holding liberal or progressive political or social views. Why do you suppose that is?
Liberty Counsel's Aggressive Tactics
The Christian Right is not simply a bunch of people sitting around in their living rooms planning the next public protest - they are also lawyers fighting in the courts in order to promote their narrow agenda via the law. One of the most prominent and vociferous legal groups is the Liberty Counsel, based in Florida.
Brainwashing on Campus
Are students on American campuses being brainwashed by liberal professors? Many conservatives seem to think so, which is interesting because if true this doesn't seem to be decreasing the number of conservatives in America. Evidently, those liberal professors aren' doing a very good job.
Apocalyptic Prophets in America
What's the connection between the politics of President Bush and the apocalyptic beliefs of conservative, evangelical Christians? In truth, the connection is older and deeper than many people may realize.
Dissent in the Christian Theocracy of South Carolina
A few days ago I wrote about Christians who want to move to South Carolina, take over, and secede from the United States. Some may have wondered about how much liberty and freedom people might have in such a Christian theocracy. Probably not much.
Goldbergs: All in the Family
You may have hear or read about National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg, a prominent conservative figure who appears regularly in a wide variety media to present a conservative perspective on the issues. What you may not be aware of is the extent of his family's background.
America's Pop Prophets
If you aren't familiar with the Left Behind series of books, you probably should be. They are incredibly popular with the Christian Right (though not anyone else) and serve illustrate the sorts of things they believe - not only in terms of their content, but also the reactions to that content.
Mothers Should Not Work?
One of the most fundamental principles upon which the modern Christian Right bases its agenda is the role of women in the family and society. For conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, women belong in the home raising families rather than in the workforce competing with men for jobs and careers. This is the task assigned to women by nature and by God.
Democratic Critics are Turncoats?
President George W. Bush has, more than once, claimed that one of the reasons why America has been under attack from Islamic extremists is that they 'hate'? America's freedoms. Presumably, freedom of speech would be one of those freedoms - but how 'free'? are people to speak when their criticisms of the government are regularly attacked as signs of treason?
Rush Limbaugh on Secularism
Rush Limbaugh usually comes across as more of a 'populist'? conservative rather than an adherent of the Christian Right. His conservative arguments are not typically religious in nature. Sometimes, though, he does act like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell - if not worse.
ACLU: Most Dangerous Organization
Michael Savage threw another on-air tantrum the other day, labeling the ACLU "the most dangerous organization in the history of America" - apparently because no representatives were interested in appearing on his show with him. Well, who in their right mind would want to?
Wacky Conspiracy Theories
Conspiracy theories are popular in a certain segment of the population. Buffeted by forces they don't understand and can't control, there is something comforting in imagining that dark forces are in control - and, of course, that they are part of a unique group who know what is really going on and are combatting the evil. Why, though, do so many conspiracy theories involve Hillary Clinton?
Anti-Muslim General Involved in Iraqi Abuse?
Remember Lt. Gen. William Boykin? He was the army general, former commander of the special forces and evangelical Christian, who made a speech claiming that the war on terrorism was a religious war and that his god was bigger than the Muslims' god. Well, it turns out that he might be connected to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib by American soldiers.
Christians Seek to Secede from U.S.
Christians who are fed up with the fact that they arenâ€™t being allowed to dictate policy to everyone and impose their religion on others are talking about the possibility of seceding from the United States and starting their own country. Didnâ€™t they try that once before?
Hal Lindsey on Abu Ghriab
Yesterday I commented on the lack of comments from prominent conservative evangelical Christians on the ethical implication about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. These people live their lives according to the teachings of Jesus, or so they claim, so why not apply those teachings to Iraqi prisoners? Well, I have located some comments from Hal Lindsey.
WSJ: Democrats' Loyalty Questionable or Not?
Some conservatives have expressed dismay at the idea that any Republican would question the loyalty or patriotism of a Democrat who disagreed with or criticized the job performance of President George W. Bush. If itâ€™s really so implausible, why does it keep happening?
Michael Savage: Racism is Ancient History
Michael Savage's "foot in mouth"? disease (at least I hope that's what it is) continues apace, impairing his ability to comment intelligently on a wide variety of topics. Recently he was found muttering incoherently about Brown v. Board of Education, claiming that racism is not a real problem in America anymore.
Better Red than Democrat
One of the most curious facets of American politics is that the people have tendency to vote for Republican candidates based upon cultural issues. The result is that those who are most harmed by Republican economic policies keep going back to Republican candidates because of things like gay marriage, school prayer, the Ten Commandments, and abortion. Why is that?
All Media is Liberal - Even Talk Radio
It's not hard to find someone claiming that the media in the United States leans heavily towards the left - but while such a claim may be true in some cases, there are times when the claims made are ridiculous in how extreme they are. Sean Hannity, for example, has claimed that all American media is liberal - even Talk Radio.
Conservatives Should Surrender on Gay Marriage
A few social and religious conservatives are starting to figure out that the battle over gay marriage is basically lost. They might delay the acceptance of same-sex marriages for a time in some places, but they won't be able to halt it entirely. How long will it be before the rest figure it out?
GOP: Gay Republicans Not Wanted
There are a fair number of gay Republicans. Why? I don't know. I can certainly understand a person being gay and favoring fiscal or social conservatism, but the fact of the matter is that the GOP today is beholden to the Christian Right and, as a consequence, gays simply aren't welcome ore wanted. What will it take for them to recognize that?
Rush Limbaugh and Homoerotic Pornography
There have been a number of attempts to downplay the significance of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners by laying the blame for the abuse anywhere they can: liberals, women in the military, the Iraqis, Islam, you name it. One favorite target seems to be permissive attitudes towards sexuality in America.
Cutbacks in Moon's Empire
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, has a massive media empire designed to serve his messianic vision as well as his conservative politics. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of money to be made in those areas - The Washington Times alone apparently loses around USD $100 million each year. Maybe that's why several Moon publications are being shut down.
Administration Consults with ‘Rapture Christians‘? Over Israel
Many people will think that I must be joking, and I wish I were - but if the evidence is true, the Bush administration has been consulting with ‘Rapture Christians‘? about foreign policy. Specifically, administration officials have met with the ‘Apostolic Congress‘ about upcoming moves regarding Israel and the Palestinians.
Constitution Party Candidate: Put God Back in Schools
If the Republican Party seems a bit too conservative under the influence of the Christian Right, you might want to check out the platform of the Constitution Party - they make the GOP seem positively leftist in orientation. They have a much stronger interest in having Christianity enforced by law in America.
Biblical Advice for Domestic Harmony
What is the "role" of women in society and in a family? For generations the role was a subservient one: women submitted to men and were limited largely to the roles of wive and mother. That's change in America, but hard-right Christians who dream of the day that women knew their place and didn't get uppity about it.
Brown v. Board of Education: An Infamous Ruling
When I wrote my recent review of a book on the Brown v. Board of Education decision, I wrote that "Almost no one actually makes a case for the idea that racial segregation is acceptable under the Constitution even though people made such arguments when Brown was handed down." Perhaps I was mistaken.
FreeRepublic Smears Nick Berg & Family
After Nick Berg was beheaded by Islamic militants in Iraq, his father criticized the Bush administration's handling of just about everything in Iraq. In retaliation, members of Free Republic are lashing about at Berg's family and, sometimes, Nick Berg himself.
Adam Yoshida: Too Extreme for Free Republic
Free Republic is about as extreme as a right-wing conservative web site can get - but there are right-wingers who are too extreme even for Free Repulic. One is Adam Yoshida, a Canadian-born, wannabe-American who leans towards fascism in a remarkable way.
Was God on America's Side at Abu Ghraib?
There are many conservtives who insist that God is on America's side - always, and certainly in times of war. But was God on America's side when American soldiers were abusing and torturing prisoners in Iraq? Or was God on the side of those who were being abused - the powerless, the humilated, and the desperate?
Virginia Baptist Professor Attacked for Liberal Views
If you are a Baptist in Virginia, it would be unwise to speak out against conservative, evangelical religoius position. John Laughlin, religion professor at the historically Baptist Averett University, is learning thar first hand: he wrote a letter to a newspaper condemning biblical inerrancy and approving of the ordination of gays in the Episcopal Church.
Senator Inhofe Defends Abuses
Rush Limbaugh is not the only prominent conservative to have reacted shamefully by trying to excuse the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has declared himself "more outraged by the outrage" over the images than by what the images depict. According to him, the prisoners only got what they deserved.
Whose God Does Bush Serve?
President George W. Bush claims to "serve" God and obey God's will - but which God? Those who believe in a harsh and vengeful god are likely to be harsh and vengeful themselves - a position that sounds like a rather accurate description of where fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are.
Debunking the Rapture
A very common and popular belief among many conservative evangelicals involves the "Rapture." According to believers, true Christians will all be whisked away to heaven just before the time of tribulation when everything is just going to go to pot and Satan takes over - at least, until Christ comes again and kicks his butt. Is there any justification for this doctrine?
Ralph Reed Promotes Inaccurate News Sources
What are the best places to get your news and information? It's no secret that people who count themselves as part of the Christian Right are far more likely to use sources like FOX news and conservative radio hosts. But is that really a good idea?
Ann Coulter Praises Ethnic Discrimination
If there is one person who can be counted upon to consistently and reliably make bigoted, ridiculous statements when writing about Islam or the war on terrorism, it would probably be Ann Coulter. I can't think of any other major pundit who would write about how wonderful it is for airlines to discriminate based upon ethnicity.
Southern Baptists Consider Pulling Kids from Public Schools
America's Christian Right have long been angry that they haven't been able to use the public schools in order to advance their religious agenda. Because the schools are secular and reflect a diversity of values and interests, they sometimes include ideas which run counter to conservative religious values and perspectives - and this had them upset enough to consider abandoning public education.
John Kerry: Communist Apologist?
Communism used to be the boogey-man of the right in America. Any time you wanted to tar someone and smear their reputation, all you had to do was accuse them of being a communist. One would think that that doesn't work any more, but some still try when it comes to John Kerry.
Moral Double Standards?
A number of prominent conservatives have argued that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers hasn't been so bad - it was more like "frat hazing" or what you would see at Britney Spears concert" and, besides, the soldiers were just "blowing off steam." Forcing men to simulate homosexual acts is, it appears, not so bad - they save their real indignation for individual acts of real sex.
Conservative Methodists Call for Split
Earlier this week the Methodist General Conference agreed on language that would more effectively exclude gays from the ministry - but that apparently wasn't good enough for evangelical members. Because more liberal Methodists didn't promptly renounce all of their views and become evangelicals themselves, the conservatives have proposed splitting up the church completely.
National Day of Prayer... or Politics?
Is the "National Day of Prayer" an exercise in religious devotion or an exercise in political pandering? Supporters would like you to think the former, but the evidence indicates that the latter is mostly true: people are using religion in order to score political points.
Rush Limbaugh: Abusing Prisoners to 'Blow off Steam'
The other day I noted how Rush Limbaugh tried to dismiss the importance of the images of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison by describing the scenes as something Madonna would do on stage. Now's he's saying that the American soldiers were "having a good time," and that their actions were as an "emotional release."
Religious Bigotry and the National Day of Prayer
An excellent example of how the so-called "National Day of Prayer" is really just a partisan political event designed to promote the idea that the only "correct" form of Christianity is the conservative brand favored by the Christian Right can be found in the fact that even Mormons, themselves conservative on religious and social issues, have been shut out by the event's organizers.
Republicans Furious at being Criticized by Catholic Group
I've written before about the curious fact that Catholic politicians in American are being expected by some to unwaveringly hold to Roman Catholic teaching on abortion in order to be considered "good Catholics," but not when it comes to any other facet of Catholic teaching. That double standard has been mostly unstated, but now some Missouri Republicans are openly proclaiming.
Roy Moore's Christian America
Although his fifteen minutes of fame were technically over a long time ago, Roy Moore refuses to cede the stage to others - he is still traveling around, giving speeches about how America has turned away from God and how both law and society should be transformed into some sort of religious platform.
Christian Right Killing GOP Moderates
Where are the moderates of the Republican Party? Where are the Republicans who are generally conservative, but who aren't also extremist - people who reach out to the center instead of trying to polarize the political debate? There used to be a lot of Republican moderates, but the Christian Right seems to have driven most of them away.
Fundamentalists Seeking World War?
There are a number of Christians in America who believe not only that the Christ's Second Coming will be connected to violent events in the Middle East, but also that it is reasonable for them to have a hand in sparking such violence in order to help bring about Armageddon. Crazy? Of course...
Apology, Townhall Style
When James Yee, Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, was arrested on charges of espionage, conservatives lept to attack. Some even suggested that no Muslims should be admitted as military translators - arguing that morality and integrity would only be found in evangelical Christians. Now that all the charges against Yee have been dropped, how are these people reacting?
City Votes to Allow Muslims' Calls to Prayer
I reported a few days ago about how Hamtramck, Michigan was going to consider allowing mosques to begin broadcasting calls to prayer in Arabic. Local Christians came out in droves, and several Christians are up for "irony of the year award" for their arguments about how they had a right to "freedom from religion" when that religion isn't their own.
Christian Right Spreading Ignorance
Sometimes I think that if adherents of the Christian Right didn't have anything incorrect, irrational, or just plain ignorant to say about things like the separation or church and state or atheism, then they wouldn't ever have the chance to say anything at all. Then I realize that that would be a good thing and stop dreaming lest I forget what the real world is like
Does The Washington Times Lie?
The Washington Times is owned by Rev. Moon's Unification Church and commonly shills for the Far Right - but just how far will they go to prop up conservatives and attack liberals? Would they deceive their readers? There is evidence that exactly that may be the case.
No True Evangelical
What is a "real" evangelical Christian? The term "evangelical" is a bit vague and loose - it can apply to a broad range of Christians who don't all share exactly the same political or even theological views. They regard themselves as "born again" and tend to take a conservative approach to scriptures, but beyond that one can't say very much.
Evangelicals Threaten to "Ruin" Church of England
Almost one year ago, Canon Jeffrey John was appointed to be Bishop of Reading. Because he is an openly gay man, this created quite a furor and he decided to turn down the appointment rather than make matters worse. That self-sacrifice didn't stop the debate however, and now it's heating up again because John has been appointed Dean of St Albans Cathedral.
Acceptance vs. Orthodoxy
Christians have long been caught between two principles which often conflict: loving acceptance of everyone, even those who have done wrong, and stern condemnation of sinful acts. Which of the two principles should take precedence? When should they condemn and when not?
Fact Checking at The National Review
The National Review is a popular publications among conservatives. This is probably unfortunate, given for example their inexplicable flirtations with dubious ideas such as Intelligent Design. That, however, may not be a random occurrance - it seems as though they don't really make much effort to check the facts in articles they publish. To call that irresponsible would be an understatement.
Christian Bigotry over Muslims' Call to Prayers
Hamtramck, Michigan is a small town that is becoming increasingly diverse - and that means an increasing Muslim population. Now a mosque has requested that they be allowed to broadcast calls to prayer in Arabic. It is expected that the resolution approving it will pass easily - but the suggestion has brought out local Christian bigots in droves.
Anti-Catholicism in "Left Behind" Series
The "Left Behind" series of books, created by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins in 1995, have been hugely popular. They also represent a view of Christian theology which is not universally held by all Christians - and, according to some, it encourages an anti-Catholic attitude that has been an undercurrent in Protestantism for a long time.
Conservative evangelicals are caught in a dilemma: their religion is based upon faith and religious experiences, but they live in a culture that (ostensibly, at least) values rationality, science, and reason. What can be done? Generally speaking, they seek to rationalize their beliefs by framing their faith in "reasonable" language. They fail.
What is Marriage? Don't Ask Conservatives
The conservative case against gay marriage is often based in large part on the idea that there is and has always been only a single valid form of marriage: that between a single man and a single woman who live together and raise children together. Guess what? The conservative opponents of gay marriage are wrong. Indeed, they couldn't be more wrong...
Poor, Persecuted Evangelicals
Evangelical Christians consider themselves a persecuted minority - according to a recent survey, 77% of white evangelicals, 59% of black evangelicals and 50% of Hispanic evangelicals say that they must fight "to be heard by the American mainstream." At the same time, though, they are 90 million strong - 32% of the population. Some minority!
Bible College Leads to the White House
You may not have heard of Patrick Henry College in Virginia, but you should familiarize yourself with it. Of the nearly 100 interns in the White House, seven are from Patrick Henry. Influencing the halls of power is the very point of Patrick Henry College - they are on a mission to transform the world to conform to their fundamentalist vision.
Tom DeLay Booed by Teachers
Texas Representative Tom DeLay has a reputation of being very mean and vindictive - apparently, it's a well-deserved reputation, too. He recently made a visit to the Rosenberg Civic Center to explain his position on teacher retirement funds to a group of teachers. There, he was booed and laughed at for some of the ridiculous things he said.
New Southern Baptist Bible Coming
Apparently tired of "liberal" Bible translations that don't do enough to reinforce conservative and evangelical dogmas, the Southern Baptist Convention will soon publish their own translation of the Bible - one which they think is more "true" to what Christianity is all about. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to include being entirely honest about what they are doing.
Women Organize to Fight Fundamentalism
Women are frequently the first targets of religious fundamentalism - by controlling women, fundamentalists are in a better position to control families and society in general. Women also tend to suffer the most in fundamentalist systems, losing more of their rights than just about anyone else.
Jimmy Carter on Religion and Politics
Former president Carter is at it again, demonstrating that religion and religious values aren't dependent upon a conservative evangelical form of Christianity. How dare he! He's got conservative evangelicals all up in arms for daring to criticize them and President Bush along religious lines - as if he actually had any right to use religion in the way conservatives do. The nerve!
Christian Coalition: Anti-Marriage?
Like other Christian Right organizations, the Christian Coalition of America has long portrayed itself as a defender of traditional family values against encroachments of godless secularism. Such claims don't seem to have made much of a difference when personal connections and money were on the line: the president of the CCA is helping in what appears to be nasty tricks...
Heed Not the Fanatics
Fanaticism exists in all religious systems. In some religions it may be more popular or prominent, but it can still be found in all. What's curious is that people who are part of a religious system often aren't able to detect the fanaticism around them, even when they themselves aren't fanatics.
Alan Keyes: Separation is a Lie
Many people may be familiar with the name Alan Keyes, but not familiar with what the man does or what he stands for. To put it simply, he is a fanatic and an extremist who would favor allowing each individual state to impose their own brand of theocracy on the people living there - and if anyone doesn't like it, they should just move. It is people like him who put freedom and liberty in jeopardy.
Bill Frist: Liar?
After Richard Clarke delivered his testimony to Sept. 11 commission chaired by former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, he was condemned by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) who stated on the Senate floor "Mr. Clarke has told two entirely different stories under oath." Did Frist lie?
Easter Snakebite Kills Pastor
Most people either don't realize or simply forget that there are Christian in America who believe that handling deadly snakes is important as a sign of their religion. Usually they get away with it, but this past Easter a pastor at a rural church in Virginia died due to a snake bite.
Christian Martyrdom in America
Oh, the pain of being a conservative Christian in modern America. Misunderstood at best, abuse and oppression is thrust upon them at every turn - especially when they have the gall to stand up for their principles, like that gay couples aren't worthy of being categorized as marriages for civil purposes. That, at least, is the what many conservative and evangelical Christians say.
Journalism Student Calls for Theocracy
The threat and danger of theocracy is most obvious with those who are explicit and open about their desire to overthrow liberal democracy - but they aren't the only or even necessarily the biggest threat. There are plenty of other religious people who aren't explicit in their demands but who instead spread what appear to be mild religious platitudes
The Jesus of the past is a wuss - a weak, effeminate, wimpy image of a man(god) incapable of taking the action necessary to wipe the earth clean of unbelievers and the minions of Satan. At least, that appears to be the general consensus among some evangelicals and conservative Christians in America.
Will Christianity Solve Our Problems?
A common refrain heard from conservative religious leaders (and their followers) is that whatever problems society may face, the ultimate cause can be found in people's failure to adhere to True Religion. Therefore, the solution must lie in getting people to return to True Religion - usually conservative, evangelical Christianity
Phyllis Schlafly vs. Reality
Phyllis Schlafly is an important figure in America's Christian Right. Sometimes she has something insightful and intelligent to offer on the news, but usually what she writes is so bizarre and false one has to wonder whether she actually lives in the same reality as everyone else. This problem seems to be getting worse and I wonder if she is mentally stable.
Jahiliyya and the Christian Right
Muslim extremists rely heavily upon the concept of jahiliyya, a state of ignorance or barbarism that is contrasted against the order and civilization of Islam. Who knew that America's Christian Right could make use of it as well?
Organized Atheists Bother the Christian Right
You may be aware of the Godless Americans Political Action Committee (GAMPAC). The Christian Right is taking notice, even as they try to dismiss it. They don't seem to like the idea of godless Americans organizing and getting active politically. True, the chances of success for GAMPAC may not be as great as it was for Christian groups, but the concern of the Christian Right is instructive.
Questioning Market-Driven Evangelical Churches
More and more churches today are "marketing" themselves - adopting the language and tactics of regular businesses in an effort to attract "customers" to the pulpits. Even some evangelical churches are doing this and they are receiving some criticism because of it.
Craig Winn: Muhammad was a Terrorist & Like Hitler
Conservative evangelical Christians don't like Islam - and I mean, they really don't like Islam. The Christian Broadcasting Network has recently featured Craig Winn, a businessman who claims to have gotten "intelligence briefings" from Mossaad and the FBI as part of this studies of Islam. I guess going to college and focusing on scholarly resources would have been too obvious.
Whipping the Easter Bunny
Easter today has both secular and religious aspects - but the existence of secular and other non-Christian features upsets many Christian who seem to want to retain Easter as a Christianity-only day. I don't think that they want to lose it the way they have lost Christmas; I'm not sure that whipping the Easter Bunny in church is quite the way to go about it, though.
School Teaches Women How to be Perfect Wives
What does it take for a woman to be a perfect wife? Perhaps intelligence, independence, and emotional maturity? Wrong! At least, that's wrong according to the Tota Topete School, a Mexican institution that provides weekly classes to teach girls how to become perfect wives.
County Worker Preaches, Creates Hostile Atmosphere
It's common for evangelical Christians to, well, evangelize. They try to convert others to their religion. Unfortunately, such conversion efforts can be accompanied with a lack of respect for other's beliefs, thus leading to aggressive proselytizing and even harassment.
Jews for Jesus Passover
The evangelical group "Jews for Jesus" pretends to be Jewish but on a practical level is more evangelical Christian - and around this time of year, the seem to like to play-act Passover rituals in evangelical Christian churches as way to get names, raise money, and attract converts.
Is God On Our Side?
I hate to keep picking on the same person too often here - I don't want to come across as bullying the weak. Sometimes, though, someone writes something that is so monumentally ridiculous that it just cries for a response. It's almost as if the words themselves are in pain for being misused so atrociously.
Anti-Abortion Extremist Guilty of Molestation
John Burt, an anti-abortion extremist with a long record of connections to violence against clinics, was found guilty of molesting a 15-year-old girl who lived at Burt's Our Father's House, a home for "unwed mothers," in Santa Rosa County, Florida. I don't know if they were troubled before they got there, but they certainly became troubled afterwards.
Conservative Student: Republicans Too Liberal!
I've posted before about Tim Bueler, the conservative high school student in Sonoma, California, who has attacked his teachers (for being traitors) and his fellow students (for there being too many immigrants, it appears). Now he has attacked the Republicans as well - for being too liberal for his tastes.
Allah or Jesus?
There's an email going around which contains a story from Rick Mathes, executive director of Mission Gate Prison Ministry in Chesterfield, Missouri, in which he claims to discuss the nature of Islam with an imam. In the discussion, Mathes reveals how horrible Islam is and how wonderful Christianity is. But is the email credible?
Pickering: Conservative and Judicial Activist
President George W. Bush and other conservatives complain about "activist judges" whose rulings on things like gay marriage are contrary to conservative principles. So when given a chance to appoint a judge without getting the Senate's approval, whom does Bush go to? Charles W. Pickering - staunch conservative and unabashed judicial activist.
Bill O'Reilly: Racist?
Bill O'Reilly is a popular conservative commentator (at least he was until he acknowledged that he was skeptical of the Bush administration because of the failure to find Weapons of Mass Destruction - this has caused him to fall in respect among True Believers). Unfortunately, it appears that he may have a very strong anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic disposition.
Hans Zeiger: Boy Scout for Religious Fascism?
Some of those who defend the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance do so by saying that it is devoid of any real religious content. Others, however, are more open and honest about the fact that it creates an essential connection between real patriotism and a particular sort of religious belief.
Political Hate Crime on Anti-Bush Blogger
A group of violent right-wingers drove all the way from Kansas to Atlanta to beat a man, rape him with a sawed-off broomstick, and hold a knife up to his scrotum to threaten to cut it off. Why? Apparently, it was because he was a gay artist who used a LiveJournal post to depict George W. Bush as a Grand Dragon at a Klan rally.
Utah: Too Intolerant for Some Businesses?
Would you be happy if your company moved to Utah? Would you be as likely to take a job with a company located in Utah as you would in other states, like New York or Washington? Many wouldn't - and the reason for that seems to be Utah's strong image as a very conservative, very religious state - an image that Utah Republicans are quite happy to reinforce.