Gay Marriage Still Under Attack by Religious Right Zealots
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Apr 16, 2015 at 08:00:04 AM EST
Dr. James Dobson is talking about a second "Civil War." Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action is calling it "a Bonhoeffer moment," a reference to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran pastor who resisted the Nazis. Other Christian leaders are complaining that gay activists are duping the masses.

As America awaits two and a half hours of oral argument at the Supreme Court set for the morning of Tuesday, April 28th, followed by its decision - likely in late June -- on the power of the states to ban same-sex marriages and to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in another state, the Christian right's doom and gloom squad is coming out of the closet in droves. And they're bringing the type of unrestrained rhetoric not heard since, well, those heady days last month when Indiana and Arkansas were forced to temper their strict anti-gay "religious freedom" laws.

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Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 03:41:01 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 from time-to-time I revise and update this post.

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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President Obama Can Help Stop Religious Discrimination
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Apr 11, 2015 at 10:33:29 PM EST
Barry Lynn, the longtime executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, recently posted an important essay at Huffington Post. In it, he cheered the Obama administration's recognition of the recent anti-LGBTQ legislative bigotry in Indiana. But Lynn's main purpose was to highlight the practice, which has existed since the Bush administration, of allowing federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion.  The practice, he says, is justified by a flawed 2007 analysis from the Office of Legal Counsel of the Justice Department under president George W. Bush.  Lynn's organization and some seven dozen organizations have asked the president to rescind the Bush era memo as a basis for policy.

The letter's other signatories include the American Association of University Women, the ACLU, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFL-CIO), the American Jewish Committee, Hindu American Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, Muslim Advocates, Interfaith Alliance, the Council for Secular Humanism, Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP in and many more civil liberties watchdogs, women's rights groups and progressive religious organizations.

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Marriage Matters: Thoughts On The Recent Unpleasantness In Indiana
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Apr 06, 2015 at 01:39:19 PM EST

Last week I taped an interview with Sister Maureen Fielder, host of "Interfaith Voices," a popular radio program exploring religious issues that is carried by many NPR stations.

The topic of the show was Indiana's new "religious freedom" law, and appearing with me was Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, a libertarian journal. We had a spirited but thoughtful discussion.

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The Campaign Against Pro-LGBTQ Denominations
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Apr 04, 2015 at 01:15:03 PM EST
The recent endorsement of marriage equality by the Presbyterian Church (USA) seemed like a good moment to discuss the campaign to divide and conquer the mainline Protestant churches, at LGBTQ Nation -- FC

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently been in the news for its historic approval of marriage equality. But in these news stories, you may have noticed that Christian Right organizations that are unhappy with the outcome are promoting the idea that people are leaving this and other churches because of their support for equal rights, and for rejecting the Right's corrupt and redefined version of religious freedom.

As is often the case, the Christian Right's claims don't hold much water.

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Upcoming Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 08:28:03 PM EST
The 29th annual conference From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom will be held from April 10-12 at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.  The event typically draws over 1,000 activists from around the country and the world. It is always remarkable, diverse, interesting and inspiring. It is also accessible and inexpensive. Student registration is free.  

I have had the honor of speaking at a number of these events over the years. This year, I will be speaking on a panel about knowing and resisting the Right.  (Anyone who happens to come, please say hello!)

Events like this are rare. And a national conference that takes the time to feature a discussion of the role of the religious and political right in order to develop sound understandings of the right in order to better advance social justice, is unfortunately, even more rare.

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Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Mar 28, 2015 at 04:08:26 PM EST
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to determine if he should be forced to step down. The lead investigator has apparently concluded it is time for Finn to go.

While this is a step in the right direction, so many Catholics are wondering - even members of the Pope's own committee to weed out sexual abuse in the church -- what is taking so long?

(2 comments, 748 words in story)
Thus It Was Prophesied in 2012: Ted Cruz Will Be VP, Or a Supreme Court Justice
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 25, 2015 at 08:30:53 AM EST
This is a transcript, of pastor Larry Huch and Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from an appearance Rafael Cruz made at the Irving, Texas New Beginnings megachurch on August 26, 2012.

First, Huch and Cruz discuss Ted Cruz as one of the "anointed" who will bring about a "great wealth transfer" from the "wicked" to the "righteous" (see transcript). Towards the end of the ceremony, Huch prophesies to Rafael Cruz that Ted Cruz, who had just won his senate seat, was destined for greater things. One day, Huch prophesied, Ted Cruz would be Vice President or a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

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Crusin with Cruz
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Mar 24, 2015 at 10:19:19 AM EST
Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, announcing his bid for President in the worship center at Jerry Falwell's University last night.  Mother Jones magazine just recently published a story claiming Cruz argued the case for defending the state of Texas' right to execute an obviously mentally retarded man.  Scott Panetti, the convicted murderer, fit just about anybody's definition of insane.  Scott had frequent verbal contact with John Kennedy and Jesus.
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Ted Cruz: Born From The Heart of the Dominionist Christian Right
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 01:37:50 PM EST
[welcome, Thom Hartmann Show fans, here is a short introduction to my past coverage on Ted Cruz and the dominionist Christian right]

Did you known that Ted Cruz and his father helped establish the presidencies, respectively, of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan ? Today, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz' announcement of his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination renews the relevance of reporting I did on Cruz in mid-2013. Senator Cruz' announcement has triggered an eruption, from the America left, of mockery and attacks on Cruz, for a wide array of reasons.

But there are more important stories to be told - on Cruz' longstanding ties to the elite leadership of the religious right and Christian right that has included a friendship, tracing back to the 1990s, with one of the movement's top architects who helped launch America's culture wars, and concerning the role of Ted Cruz and his father Rafael Cruz, in giving America George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

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Coming Soon to Utah: An International Festival of Bigotry
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 07:45:03 PM EST
An international network of some of the world's most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in October 2015. The World Congress of Families' (WCF) conferences tend to attract thousands of participants and prominent religious and political leaders from all over the world.  

If past conferences are any indication, many Americans may be shocked, but not entirely surprised, by the proceedings.

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Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 19, 2015 at 10:19:10 AM EST

Here's what the country doesn't need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.

Yet that's what the country is getting.

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Team Jeb Bush's Liaison to Religious Right Is Hardcore Culture Warrior
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 12, 2015 at 10:32:44 AM EST
In 2008, Senator John McCain's campaign recognized that he needed to shore up his credentials with the Religious Right, which was skeptical about his views on critical social issues, his team went all out courting mega-church Pastor John Hagee. And when Hagee agreed to support McCain, it was a major coup. It didn't take long, however, for that coup to blow up in the Senator's face, as video surfaced of Hagee claiming that God had sent Adolph Hitler to hunt the Jews, chase them from Europe, and drive them to Palestine. McCain was forced to dump Hagee. Is Jeb Bush making the same type of McCain-like deal by taking on the unbridled conservatism of Jordan Sekulow?

Unless you're Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum and you don't need a liaison to the Religious Right because you are your own liaison, Republican Party presidential candidates need someone to hook them up. George H.W. Bush had Doug Wead, George W. Bush had Tim Goeglein, and now Jeb Bush's Right to RISE PAC has landed Jordan Sekulow, as a senior adviser. Say goodbye to compassionate conservatism and hello to a hardcore anti-gay, anti-abortion culture warrior.

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American ISIS: Christian Reconstructionists And `Biblical Law' In America
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Mar 09, 2015 at 12:17:24 PM EST

Every now and then, while scanning the day's news, I come across a headline that's hard to believe.

Like this one: "California lawyer proposes ballot measure to execute gays."

Someone's idea of a joke, perhaps? Well, it's not funny.

(3 comments, 649 words in story)
Will our Prisons Overflow with Christians this Summer?
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Mar 07, 2015 at 10:21:52 PM EST
Many leaders of the Christian Right, from megachurch pastors like Rick Warren to the top prelates in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have repeatedly threatened civil disobedience (and worse) over marriage equality.  If they follow through on their claims, a summer of "martyrdom" may be at hand if the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage this term.

The prison industrial complex ought to be thrilled by the prospect of the mass incarceration of Christian Right leaders willing to be martyred for their faith. Prison construction will be booming when the tyrannical Obama regime throws all those opponents of same-sex marriage in the hoosegow.

This is, of course, parody.  But it is also the logical conclusion of the rhetoric and the beliefs of many on the Christian Right.

It is easy to mock those who talk big but don't deliver. But it is harder to accept the idea that archaic notions of "Christendom" animate the thinking of present day religious and political leaders. But just because it is harder to accept does not make it any less true.

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