You’ve sometimes got to do a lot of looking around to find the best the blogosphere has to report on the religious right and what to do about it. But fortunately, a little searching always yeilds some gems — in addition to the great stuff from the usual suspects, who we can count on to come through with good stuff for us just about every week.
Blog from the Capital:
Here’s a fun cautionary tale about the beauracracy of trying to create constitutional Ten Commandments displays in courthouses. Just another reason why this kind of thing may be a bad idea. In Louisiana, a House committee charged with developing a proper monument have had to confront the issue that the Ten are not the same for every religious tradition. And, oh yeah, they weren’t written in English. The headline says it all: “Panel Edits Ten Commandments”
Dispatches from the Culture Wars:
Ed Brayton has a detailed take down of the Discovery Institute’s relentless attacks on the Federal Judge who ruled that “intelligent design” was simply religious creationism, poorly disguised as science.
Matthew Thompson at reports that the Anglican Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria, the darling of rightwing, IRD-supported schismatic Episcopalians in the U.S., is the driving force behind an antigay marriage bill in Nigeria. At stake is more than same sex marriage, the bill
would also deny the most basic of civil rights to gay and lesbian Nigerians. They would be banned from speaking out on their own behalf, as well as banned from organizing meetings or processions of any kind. Violators would be subject to 5 years’ imprisonment.
Wall of Separation:
Robert Boston discusses the strangely defensive attack by New York Times collumnist David Brooks on Kevin Phillips’ new book American Theocracy. Brooks denounces as “paranoid” Phillips’ well-documented discussion of the relationship between Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church and the Bush family. (I made my own contributions to the literature on this ten years ago.)
Talk to Action:
Chip Berlet explains the role of Calvinist dominionism in American economic and foreign policy.
To this brand of conservatism, it doesn’t matter if it is the child, the family, the community, the nation, or the entire world: to avoid chaos and immorality, there needs to be a strong authority figure willing to apply punishment, shame, and discipline–verbally if possible–through physical force and violence if need be.
The Bush administration, with the backing of millions of Christian conservatives, seeks to reform the global village by spanking its perceived miscreants–and they have the military arsenal to back up this neo-Calvinist authoritarian worldview.
Moiv details plans of militant antiabortion groups plan to lay seige to the last abortion clinic in Mississippi this summer.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, Operation Save America warmed up for its upcoming assault on the last abortion clinic in Mississippi this July by descending en masse on Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh is the home of Susan Hill, whose National Women’s Health Organization has kept its Jackson clinic open in the face of relentless opposition from legislators and activists alike. Recently I wrote of the storm clouds rising in Jackson, where OSA will be joined by the New York-based Oh Saratoga! and other groups to “storm the gates of hell” and close the Jackson clinic for all time.
Guest front pager, Rev. Carlton Veazey, head of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice exposes how the rightist Institute for Religion and Democracy is behind efforts to undermine the prochoice positions and lobbying efforts of mainstream Christian and other religious organizations.
Another guest front pager, sociologist Arlene Stein, shows how the Christian Right often uses faux science to advance its religious and public policy goals.
Today, a wide-ranging network of Christian conservative “experts” are busily testifying against abortion, same-sex marriage, condom distribution in developing nations, and stem cell research, at the behest of federal, state and local officials. They’re using graphs, pie charts, and the language of scientific objectivity to make their case for creationism, abstinence-only sex education, and prohibitions against homosexuality–even if that means making up their science along the way.
Frank Cocozelli posted part four of his series on the Catholic Right — this time zeroing in on William Donohue and the Catholic League for Civil Rights.
The Catholic League, led since 1993 by its often bombastic president, William A. Donohue presents itself as the voice of all of the Vatican’s flock. Donohue often appears on cable television shows railing against those whom he believes to be disobedient to Rome or non-Catholics who dare to challenge the Vatican on non-economic matters of orthodoxy….. Donohue complained that non-Catholics were interfering in internal Church affairs. “It’s one thing for them to be voyeurs,” he asserted, “–peering into the Catholic Church the way kids peer into candy stores–quite another when they become meddlers.” He then proceeded to warn Catholics For A Free Choice president Francis Kissling, the CBS Evening News, and Tikkun editor Rabbi Michael Lerner, among others, that the internal affairs of the Vatican are not their business before closing on a note about how “bringing back the Inquisition may not be such a bad idea.”
Jonathan Hutson’s four part expose of the new LaHayist video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, begins here. For those who have not yet heard about this, the game is a real time stragegy game in which Christian militias are pitted against the forces of the AntiChrist on the streets of New York — and characters must convert or die.
warriors shout “Praise the Lord!” as they blow infidels away, and players can switch to the side of the AntiChrist to kill Christians
Joan Bokaer reports that the Texas GOP has once again declared that the U.S. is a Christian Nation, and attacks “the myth of separation of church and state.”
Tanya Erzen has an excellent summary of what’s up with the rise of the religious right in Ohio–and has an idea of what needs to be done.
The success of the Christian Right is due to years of institution building on the local and state level. Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and the American Family Association, among others have local and state councils that promote their agenda and tie them to a national policy center. A new message is crucial, but so are the networks and sites of affiliation for people to get involved in issues, and to feel they have a means to combat the theocratic message of someone like Rod Parsley. Churches, especially, continue to play a key role in galvanizing their constituencies around political issues. Secular and religious progressives have slowly realized they have been left behind, and it is imperative that we catch up.