Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Feb 15, 2017 at 08:39:13 PM EST
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic Mirror.  Douthat's screed attempts to disparage the reform-minded Pope Francis by painting the Pontiff as a Catholic version of Donald Trump.
(1 comment, 473 words in story)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Feb 15, 2017 at 11:32:36 AM EST

Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to offer all of us some pearls of wisdom.

His latest is an old standby: If you don't like a court ruling, find a way to shut down the court.

Buchanan got on this tear because President Donald J. Trump, you might have noticed, is having a little trouble with his ill-conceived executive order that attempted to impose a "Muslim ban" on immigrants and refugees. A federal court in Washington state put it on hold, a ruling that was later upheld by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A separate federal court in Virginia also struck down application of the ban in that state, explicitly citing its church-state faults. (Americans United has been involved in all of these cases.)

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Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Feb 12, 2017 at 09:04:59 PM EST
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek common ground can sometimes be just that. Other times, as we have seen too many times, it is a tactical deception. It is always good to be both open and wary. - FC

Focus on the Family says they now want to work with abortion rights organizations to reduce the number of abortions. Taken by itself, it would appear to be a remarkable change of approach by the fiercely antiabortion house that Dobson built -- but a few minutes on the Focus on the Family web site suggests that Focus on the Family is acting in bad faith.

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Vouchers/Tax Credits Funding Creationism, Revisionist History, Hostility Toward Other Religions
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jan 30, 2017 at 05:34:35 PM EST
Are your state's tax dollars funding the teaching of religious supremacism and bigotry?  What about Creationism?  The answer is undoubtedly yes, if you live in a state with a voucher or corporate tax credit program funding "school choice."
 
Religious schools across the nation are receiving public funds through voucher and corporate tax credit programs. Many hundreds, if not thousands, of these schools use Protestant fundamentalist textbooks that teach not only Creationism, but also a religious supremacist worldview, with a shocking spin on politics, history, and human rights.
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The Legacy of George Wallace
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jan 23, 2017 at 12:20:51 PM EST
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning fears, racial or otherwise.  And though many of those concerns once had been arrogantly or ignorantly dismissed as mere racial `code words,'  every president from Nixon to Clinton based his successful campaign on some key elements from the Wallace political cannon."  Author Stephen Lesher, George Wallace Biographer.
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Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Jan 22, 2017 at 01:46:41 PM EST
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If you haven't I strongly urge you to read her work, here, here, and here. DeVos, President Trump's choice for Secretary of the Department of Education, is not there to strengthen that governmental agency but essentially, to destroy it. Indeed, her motives have been clear for a long time. DeVos's family related philanthropies are longtime funders of Christian Right projects, particularly in the area of school privatization. Politico reports that DeVos has said her work in education is intended to "advance God's kingdom."  
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Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jan 09, 2017 at 10:41:20 PM EST
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC

Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy DeVos, Building Mercenary Army in UAE

The Prince and DeVos families are at the intersection of radical free market privatization and the Religious Right, and have made an enormous impact on the current political atmosphere.  Erik Prince played a significant role in privatizing military functions while his older sister Betsy is at the helm of a movement to privatize public schools. The billionaire brother/sister duo are also vice presidents of their parents' foundation which is one of the major funders of Focus on Family and Family Research Council and an array of missionary organizations and right-wing think tanks.

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Religious Freedom is Not Just for Christian Conservatives
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Jan 03, 2017 at 09:11:18 PM EST
Religious freedom is one of the central issues of our time. Arguably, it a central issue in any time, and every time, at least in the United States.  The country was founded with a very deliberate approach to promoting a permanent culture and constitutional protection for religious pluralism and separation of church and state, partly in order to preserve this historic advance in democracy and human liberation.

Somewhere along the way in the 20th century, what we now call the Christian Right gathered in sufficient ideological coherence and political capacity to create a theocratic movement that most of us thought could never happen here. Nevertheless, here we are, as the Christian Right has made religious freedom the centerpiece of its contemporary politics.

The theocrats of the 18th century  enjoyed benefits of a unified church and state, such as existed in colonial Virginia.  One of the reasons for and results of the American Revolution was to dismantle that power structure in the name of religious freedom.

Sometimes my fellow progressives forget that the anti-colonial war of liberation that was fought primarily along the Eastern Seaboard in the 1700s, was supported by persecuted religious dissidents such as Baptists and Presbyterians.  I have published an essay in The Public Eye that seeks to address some of this, titled Religious Freedom is a Progressive Value.  

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Dallas and its Historic Connection to the Religious Right
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Dec 30, 2016 at 03:02:35 PM EST
There has been a recent rash of demonstrations outside of the famous First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.  The current pastor appears to be the brunt of the vocal sign -wielding mobs gathering outside the building that houses the congregation.  Pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress is accused of being responsible for the election of Donald Trump as President.  Vocal activists have given credit to Jeffress for changing the course of the Nation.  Few appear to be aware of historic relevant connections to the church and city to the foundation of the modern Religious Right.  Author Bill Minutaglio has written a book seeking to make the connection between the Dallas of the sixties and the hard right.  Minutaglio has authored a book named Dallas 1963, in which he unveils peculiar and little unknown facts about the city and the fascinating peoples that staffed the movement that appears to have come of age and blossomed into a national phenomena.  A movement  that led to recent political results.  Jeffress and his rival in North Dallas, Jack Graham, can boast of accomplishments started by foundations laid in Dallas over fifty years ago.
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Fr. Frank Pavone Claims the 2016 Coughie Award!
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Dec 29, 2016 at 04:23:34 PM EST
 photo franksgraphic_zpsbe286320.jpg Yes, folks it's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As always, the competition was fierce. But this year, the gold goes to militant anti-choice priest Fr. Frank Pavone.
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Christmas Broadcasting Traditions
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 21, 2016 at 06:20:02 AM EST
It is time to once again note the preposterous-but-malevolent claims that there is a War on Christmas. The annual revival of this repulsive anti-Semitic tradition begun by Henry Ford is carried forward today primarily by the Christian Right and the dour propagandists at Fox News.

But fortunately, even these provocateurs cannot not drown out authentic and beautiful celebrations of those who seek to honor and enjoy Christmas in all of its dimensions.

(5 comments, 791 words in story)
Steve Bannon: Alt-Right Anti-Catholic or Political Opportunist?
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Dec 18, 2016 at 01:37:26 PM EST
In March 2016 Trump campaign strategist and CEO Steve Bannon made a comment that could be construed as being blatantly anti-Catholic. He accused the Catholic Church of supporting immigrant rights in order to pad the number of their American following. And as expected several Catholic spokesmen seized on the remarks, attacking Bannon as a bigot.

And while this criticism may well be warranted, it overlooks a more ominous dimension of Bannon's character. He will say anything in the blind pursuit of political power.  

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Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Dec 15, 2016 at 05:16:19 PM EST
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's why I revise and update this post from time-to-time

From the earliest days of Talk to Action, we have written about how unfair labels and terms of demonization are not only inaccurate and opposed to basic standards of scholarship and journalism -- but conflict with the basic values of all people of good will. (They tend to be politically counterproductive as well.) The purpose of this post is not to go over all that again, but simply to highlight some useful resources on basic definitions and usage for those who are interested in trying to get it right.

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How The Election of Trump Made My Life Easier
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Dec 01, 2016 at 03:30:29 AM EST
I might be one of a select few who didn't vote for Donald but would have to say Trump's election made my life easier...I might even stretch it and use the word "better."   I gleaned this idea from a local leader of the Democratic Party.  He is well versed on politics and media, having been in the industry.  He is now a  retail owner and dared not place a Hillary sign in front of his place of business.  He knew it would cost him customers.
(10 comments, 1357 words in story)
The Bakke Plot To "Infiltrate" Secular Institutions
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Nov 30, 2016 at 11:38:00 AM EST
Back in 2012-2014 I did a lot of writing and research on The Gathering, the yearly meeting of elite evangelical right philanthropists who collectively distribute upwards of $1 billion dollars a year in grants and function as the funding wing of The Fellowship, which hosts the National Prayer Breakfast.

My research was based, at least initially, on an audio archive of talks at The Gathering which went back to 1996. That archive, along with a trove of The Gathering newsletters back to '96, used to be publicly available at the official website of The Gathering. Around 2013 or so, most of that archival material vanished. Fortunately, I had harvested it and have since made it available to select researchers.

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