Religion wars

Evangelical Political Operative Reveals Plan to Fundamentally Transform America — and It Involves 1,000 Pastors by Billy Hallowell, theblaze.com, Jan. 27, 2015  …The faith leaders assembled for the Issachar Training Event, which was organized by the American Renewal Project, an organization that is working toward bringing 1,000 preachers into the public square next election cycle…[American Renewal Project founder David Lane] launched the American Renewal Project after he began to think about the societal transformation that could happen if he was able to recruit 1,000 pastors to run in 2016 — a prospect that he said “would change America.”…“Somebody’s values are going to reign supreme. Our values or somebody else’s values,” Lane told Brody. “It’s our goal to bring spiritual men and women into the civil government arena.”…[Louisiana Gov. Bobby] Jindal wrote. “There is a great need for the kind of leaders we read about in the Old Testament, ‘The Men of Issachar’ (1 Chronicles 12:32). We need such men and women of wisdom today who will accept the challenge to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage in America.”… “These engaged evangelicals would be voting for their biblically-based conservative values.”

The Real Origins of the Religious Right By RANDALL BALMER, politico.com, May 27, 2014 They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation……. One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. …But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism.

Mike Huckabee’s Christian Sharia Law by Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, February 1, 2015 …Mike Huckabee is known as a former governor, an author, a onetime Fox News host, and as a possible contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nominationWhen he last ran for president in 2008, he argued that we “should amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards.”…What would be the reaction if a Muslim candidate for president…argued that we should amend our Constitution to agree with the Quran? The right wing in this country would explode… many of those same right-wing people who fabricate the claim that Muslims in America want to impose Islamic law have no problem when a Christian politician tells us point blank he wants to impose what is, in essence, Christian Sharia law. The good news: Our First Amendment prohibits the establishment of any religion in our country, be it Christianity or Islam or anything else…in the United States at least, our laws must be based on public policy considerations and the Constitution, not passages of religious text.

Why the Christian Right Believes It Has Once-in-a-Decade Chance to Impose Its Radical Worldview on America By CJ Werleman, Alternet.org, November 26, 2013

The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government by Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com, posted on CommonDreams.org, October 7, 2013…This ideology calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical.”… The intellectual and moral hollowness of the ideology, its flagrant distortion and misuse of the Bible, the contradictions that abound within it… are impervious to reason and fact. And that is why the movement is dangerous.

The “Libertarian Moment” Wouldn’t Exist Without Religion By Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches, August 13, 2014 …right wing religious extremist] principles emerge from the idea that the secular state is the enemy of a proper Christian ordering of markets, social norms, and family and religious life…

Six challenges for organizing a progressive religious movement By Robert P. Jones, Updated: August 2, 2013

How Patriarchal, Christian Backlash Politics Have Only Become More Vicious Salon.com By Arthur Goldwag, Posted on AlterNet.org, October 28, 2012

How religion played in the midterm elections By Mark Silk,  Nov 5, 2014  Simply put, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. According to yesterday’s exit polls, the religious layout of the electorate looks almost identical to the last midterm election in 2010, and not much different from the 2012 presidential election…The one group that appears to have shifted significantly compared to the last midterm were members of “other religions” — Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc. In 2010, three out of four voted Democratic, while this time around it was two out of three. And given that their proportion of the vote increased from 8 percent to 11 percent, that was not a trivial number of votes…the Nones, despite evidence of their rise, continue to punch below their demographic weight, remaining at 12 percent. (The latest numbers show them at 20 percent of the adult American population.)

How the Christian Right Plays Victim While Imposing Its Ideology on America By Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet, December 5, 2013

How the Unholy Alliance Between the Christian Right and Wall Street Is ‘Crucifying America’ By CJ Werleman, Dangerous Little Books, published by Alternet.org, November 8, 2013 

…[Karl] Rove’s “real skill lay in finding how to use religion as a political tool,” making the executive branch “more openly and avowedly religious than it had ever been.” Ironically, he notes, Rove has “no discernible religious beliefs himself.”… In Head and Heart: A History of Christianity in America, historian Garry Wills

Why Progressives Can’t Ignore Religion by Mike Lux, AlterNet, February 27, 2012  Wall or no wall, politics and religion have always been inextricably intertwined, and we won’t win until we recognize and deal with that fact.

Why the Mainstream Media Are Clueless About the Religious Right By Adele M Stan, AlterNet August 18, 2011

With Millions in Assets And Hundreds of Attorneys, Christian Right Is Waging War on the Church-State Wall, By Rob Boston, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, posted on Alternet.org, March 5, 2013 

Why the Christian Right Believes It Has Once-in-a-Decade Chance to Impose Its Radical Worldview on America By CJ Werleman, AlterNet, November 26, 2013  

How Propagandists for the 1% Are Manipulating Christian Teachings to Rob the Middle Class By Michael Meurer, Truthout, posted on Alternet.org, October 17, 2012 

The political influence of no-religion voters, USA Today, Feb 28, 2014   …Democrats and Republicans planning their political campaigns for 2014 and 2016…should turn their focus on another rising group: the “nones”…a term used to describe religiously unaffiliated people…One-fifth of the U.S. public is religiously unaffiliatedThe key unifying element between religious and secular outreach is the word valuesnones would play a big role in the election; however, there wasn’t really an infrastructure set up to respond to that… voters want to bring values into politics, religious or not…

Why We Must Reclaim The Bible From Fundamentalists by John Shelby Spong, Retired American Bishop of the Episcopal Church, HuffingtonPost.com, 10/13/2011    The contrast between the way the Bible is understood in the academic world and the way it is viewed in our churches is striking…issues and insights, commonplace among the scholars, are viewed as highly controversial and even as “heresy” in the churches. The result has been that the majority of people who have remained in the church have become more and more rigid and fundamentalist, while those who have left have become more and more dismissive of everything, good or bad, about Christianity… there are other ways to view Christianity. In the world of Christian scholarship, for example, to read the Bible literally is regarded as absurd. To call the words of the Bible “the Word of God” is more than naïve…There are some biblical facts that cannot and should not be ignored, if Christians really value truthChristianity is, I believe, about expanded life, heightened consciousness and achieving a new humanity. It is not about closed minds, supernatural interventions, a fallen creation, guilt, original sin or divine rescue. I am tired of seeing the Bible being used, as it has been throughout history, to legitimize slavery and segregation, to subdue women, to punish homosexuals, to justify war and to oppose family planning and birth control. That is a travesty which must be challenged and changed…

The Spiritual and Political Warfare of the New Religious Right by Bill Berkowitz for Buzzflash at Truthout, July 9, 2013 — As many of the pre-Reagan era Religious Right leaders retire and/or die off, beware of the new breed. Lou Engle is one of the new breed…the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the charismatic evangelical political and religious movement that he has come to personify, has made such a splash that it threatens to drown out the more traditional voices of the Christian Right.…Rachel Tabachnick wrote in a long essay titled “The Christian Right, Reborn: The New Apostolic Reformation Goes to War,” in the Spring 2013 issue of Political Research Associates’ The Public Eye… “Engle has staged more than 20 similar rallies, and each has attracted tens of thousands of participants to stadiums across the United States. He and his organization have also become deeply involved in U.S. politics, especially in anti choice and antigay organizing,” …What the movement is really after is “to unify evangelical and all Protestant Christianity into a postdenominational structure, bringing about a reformation in the way that churches relate to one other, and in individual churches’ internal governance.” Engle calls for massive “spiritual warfare” that will result in a complete worldwide “political and social transformation”: “The revolution begins, they believe, with the casting out of demons, Tabachnick states…Demonic activity has caused the downfall of society, both at home and abroad. “The sources of demonic activity can include homosexuality, abortion, non-Christian religions, and even sins from the past.” …To achieve its goals, the NAR aims to have its apostles seize control over every important aspect of society, including, the government, military, entertainment industry and education.” If the NAR falls short of world denomination, it intends, as a minimum, to “turn America back to God.”

Dwindling Christian Right Turns Into Cornered Animal, Lashes Out at Civil Rights and Democracy By CJ Werleman, AlterNet, February 26, 2014   Like a cornered animal, which turns instinctively to confront pursuing predators, the Christian Right, knowing it represents the views of an ever shrinking number of Americans, is engaged in an existential fight to the deathto transform America’s secular democracy into a tyrannical theocracy…The Christian Right’s ideology drives virtually all social policy debate within the Republican Party…It’s a threat fueled by a seemingly unlimited supply of campaign finance, and a rabid base that believes it’s fighting for its place in a 21st-century world…

Indoctrinating Religious Warriors By CHARLES M. BLOW, NewYork Times, January 3, 2014 – In 2009, the gap between the share of Republicans and Democrats who believed in evolution was just 10 percentage points, 54 percent and 64 percent, respectively. Last year, that gap widened to a whopping 24 points because as the percentage of Democrats who believed in evolution inched up to 67 percent, the percentage of Republicans believing so plummeted to 43 percent…news comes via a survey released this week by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project…I don’t personally have a problem with religious faith, even in the extreme, as long as it doesn’t supersede science and it’s not used to impose outdated mores on others. But some people see our extreme religiosity itself as a form of dysfunction.  In a 2009 paper in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, Gregory Paul, an independent researcher, put it this way: “The level of relative and absolute societal pathology in the United States is often so severe that it is repeatedly an outlier that strongly reinforces the correlation between high levels of poor societal conditions and popular religiosity.” But I believe that something else is also at play here, something more cynical. I believe this is a natural result of a long-running ploy by Republican party leaders to play on the most base convictions of conservative voters in order to solidify their support. Convince people that they’re fighting a religious war for religious freedom, a war in which passion and devotion are one’s weapons against doubt and confusion, and you make loyal soldiersThere has been anti-science propagandizing running unchecked on the right for years, from anti-gay-equality misinformation to climate change denials...Pew found that most staunch conservatives were regular viewers of Fox News, preferring the network to any other news source. Fox has helped to ingrain the idea that Republicanism and religiosity are embattled and oppressed, fighting for survival against the forces of secular extremists…The Christians-on-the-defensive stance was front and center in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries…Newt Gingrich…citing “secular bigotry”…This is a tactic to keep the Republican rank-and-file riled up, to divert their attention from areas of common sense and the common good. After all, infidels are deserving of your enmity, not your empathy.• /indoctrinating-religious-warriors/

The Tragic Story of Christianity: How a Pacifist Religion Was Hijacked by Rabid Warmongering Elites By Gary G. Kohls, Consortium News, posted on Alternet.org, January 30, 2012 — From time to time, I read about condemnations of religion coming from non-religious groups, especially concerning the all-too-common violence perpetrated in the name of religious gods. Indeed there is plenty to condemn…Obvious examples include those portions of the three major war-justifying religions of the world: fundamentalist Islam, fundamentalist Judaism and fundamentalist Christianity. I use the term fundamentalist in the sense that the religious person, who ascribes to a fundamentalist point of view, believes, among other dogmatic belief, that their scriptures are inerrant and thus they can find passages in their holy books that justify homicidal violence against their perceived or fingered enemies, while simultaneously ignoring the numerous contradictory passages that forbid violence and homicide and instead prescribe love, hospitality, mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation. Behind the scenes, of course, there are hidden elites — amoral, politically and financially motivated operatives who are embedded in these religious organizations — who, through the strength of their political power, can easily manipulate the followers into clamoring for war, not against their enemies, but rather against the enemies of the ruling elites: the politicians, the financiers and the other exploiters of natural resources… critics of Christianity should start challenging the churches to go back to their roots where evil was not allowed to run rampant, but rather was aggressively and courageously resisted using the nonviolent methods of Jesus and his inspired disciples like Tolstoy, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, A. J. Muste, Martin Luther King, the Berrigan brothers, John Dear, Kathy Kelly and a multitude of other courageous prophetic voices…Jesus was definitely NOT a punitive, pro-death penalty, pro-militarism conservative. His power came not from the sword but from the power of love…That brand of Christianity definitely deserves condemnation… Church leaders need to repent of their support for (or their silence about) their nation’s state-sponsored terrorism and start acting ethically, as if the Sermon on the Mount mattered…

The New Religious Right in America By Dennis E. Owen and Samuel S. Hill 1982 Abingdon ISBN 0-687-27867-8 ‘The reader will see we’ve reached the conclusion that its impact on our common life will be limited. A movement to be taken seriously, yes. A movement that is likely to alter the basic course of American life, probably not…”

Holy Terror: The Fundamentalist War on America’s Freedoms in Religion, Politics, and Our Private Lives by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman 1982 StillPoint Press, Dell Publishing 0-385-29286-4  http://holyterror.stillpointpress.net/

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