Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 04:50:14 PM EST
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing the problem of child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Finn who was convicted by a Missouri court for failing to report suspected child abuse by a parish priest under his charge, has so far resisted calls for his resignation.  

It now appears that Pope Francis wants to remove that symbol.

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"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Sep 26, 2014 at 12:47:54 PM EST
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily Beast, on what Michaelson has chosen to call The $1-Billion-a-Year Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of.
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(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Sep 26, 2014 at 10:48:26 AM EST

The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there. (Barry Lynn usually pops in too, in case anyone wants to take a selfie with him.)

If you are a religious person, please pray for us. If you're not religious, please forward some recommendations for stress-relief strategies - favorite liquors, ice-cream brands, yoga positions, etc. - as I suspect we'll all need some way to unwind when this thing is over.

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The Christian Right's Voter Mobilization Strategy for 2014
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 10:41:29 PM EST
My latest post at Political Research Associates is about how this weekend's Values Voter Summit fits into the Christian Right's wider electoral strategy for 2014.

It is also about a new app to make it easy for pastors to run their church membership lists against voter registration lists -- and to encourage them to register and vote.  

The annual event typically draws several thousand Christian Right activists and features speeches by top GOP pols -- especially those with presidential aspirations.  This year is no different. Headliners include Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR).

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Dr. Willie Parker: Christian, Abortion Provider, and A Most Courageous Man
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 05:24:57 PM EST
Meet Dr. Willie Parker. Chances are you've never met anyone like him.

He grew up dirt poor in Birmingham, Alabama; as a teenager he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and was a "boy preacher in Baptist churches"; he was "the first black student body president of a mostly white high school"; he went to Harvard, became a college professor, and successful obstetrician "who delivered thousands of babies and refused to do abortions."

Dr. Willie Parker had what some might call a second "come to Jesus" moment, deciding "to give up his fancy career to become an abortion provider" -- for the poorest of the poor and the most needy -- at the only surviving abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. These days, he travels a "circuit roughly similar ... to the one traveled by Dr. David Gunn before an anti-abortion fanatic assassinated him in 1993."

Dr. Parker's "name and home address have been published by an antiabortion Web site with the unmistakable intent of terrorizing doctors like him. ...[and] he receives threats that say, 'You've been warned.'"

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NYT's David Brooks to Speak at Antigay Luncheon of Billionaires Who Fund Racist Preacher
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 07:48:37 AM EST
Recently, government-encouraged outbreaks of mob violence against LGBT persons in countries from Uganda to Russia, and draconian new anti-gay legislation in those countries too, have gained growing media notice - some of which has focused on the role American evangelicals have played in inciting such hatred.

But the American culprits are not being funded from the margins. Tens of millions (possibly evens hundreds of millions) of dollars for that project is coming from the foundations whose representatives assemble yearly at an event known as The Gathering, where multimillionaire and billionaire evangelical funders of the culture wars from the families DeVos, Coors, Prince, Maclellan, Friess, Ahmanson, and others, and heads of the mammoth National Christian Foundation -  gather, dine, and strategize.

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D'Souza's Downfall: Religious Right Favorite Sentenced For Campaign Donation Violations
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Sep 24, 2014 at 10:34:56 AM EST

Yesterday conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza was sentenced to five years of probation and a term of community service for violating federal campaign laws. He must also pay a fine of $30,000.

For many years, D'Souza was a garden-variety conservative who preached the standard libertarian line of small government and low taxes. At some point, he decided to climb aboard the Religious Right gravy train. In 2007 he penned a book titled What's So Great About Christianity. He spoke at the Values Voter Summit in 2012 and has appeared at other Religious Right gatherings - often collecting hefty speaking fees.

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Short Takes -- Taking Action Edition
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Sep 20, 2014 at 11:46:23 PM EST
Banned Books Week is being celebrated this year from Sept. 21-27.  Yes its time for the annual celebration of the Freedom to Read, sponsored by the American Library Association and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression as well as American Booksellers Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.  Click here to learn about ways to participate.

National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, September 23. It is being organized by more than 1,900 groups in a coordinated field, technology and media effort to increase voter registration. Participants include the AFL-CIO, NAACP, National Organization for Women, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Rock the Vote and the YWCA.  See this report on Daily Kos for details and a useful list of ways to participate. For even more info, see this report from Best of the Left.

Archbishop Schnurr Throws Cold Water on the Ice Bucket Challenge
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Sep 20, 2014 at 03:31:28 PM EST
The Ice Bucket Challenge has been an outstanding success in raising both awareness and research money needed to find a cure for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) . As of September 10, 2014 the ALS Association has raised $111.6 million in Ice Bucket Challenge donations. The wildly popular charity stunt captured the hearts of millions of people last summer bringing together former presidents, movie stars and ordinary citizens in an effort to create a greater awareness necessary to cure a hideous muscle disease. They did it by pouring ice water over themselves and then challenging friends and neighbors to do the same.
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The Secret Antigay U.S. Money Behind The WCF and the Global Evangelical War on LGBT Rights
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Sep 19, 2014 at 12:10:14 PM EST
[note to readers: this is an excerpt from my first installment in a Against Religious Extremism series that will examine extensive ties - both financial, organizational, and ideological - between the community of philanthropists, evangelical leaders, and Christian organizations that revolve around the event known as The Gathering and evangelical promotion of anti-gay hatred and anti-LGBT rights activism on a global scale, from Uganda to Russia. For's extensive coverage of the World Congress of Families, see here]
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Christian-Themed Movies Are More Popular Than Ever. Will The Trend Last?
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 01:08:59 PM EST
Christian-themed movies appear to be attracting large audiences these days. While none of the latest crop of religious-themed movies will come close to the box office numbers garnered by Mel Gibson's 2004 film, "The Passion of the Christ" - over $600 million combined domestically and worldwide -- nevertheless, these films are taking church goers out of the pews, and transporting them to local cineplexes across the country. A post-film-watching goal of the producers is to have patrons go home and click on the movie's website and order up a batch of merchandise.
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Race as Religion
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 02:06:16 PM EST
Reading Edith Beer's book, The Nazi Officer's Wife, I ran across an interesting account of her fake marriage license.  She married a Nazi officer during World War II in Germany.  She was hiding out in what she called the "U-Boat" scene.  That is, hiding out amidst the enemy and no one knew they were there.  She goes for the license and the Nazi official asks the author several questions about her heritage.  She was asked if any of her parents were Jews.  Next the clerk wanted to know if any grandparents were Jews.  The focus of the authorization of marriage became the background check to see if there was any Jewish blood in the family.
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Dark Discussions on the Christian Right
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 10:46:16 PM EST
The Neo-Confederate movement has been trying to jump start itself of late.  It has been an especially heady few months for the League of the South, a theocratic, White nationalist group based in Killen, Alabama

Some of its leading members have been running for office in Maryland.  And League president Michael Hill has gone so far as to call for the formation of paramilitary death squads. He now claims that he wasn't doing any such thing, but that if he were, we would just have to find out for ourselves. (We, being liberal "bedwetters.")

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Oath Oaf: Religious Right Columnist Calls For Religious Tests In Military
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Sep 11, 2014 at 12:23:59 PM EST

Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the American Family Association (AFA) is like a demented, right-wing geyser: You can count on him to pop off regularly.

Fischer's latest eruption is quite a doozy. In a Sept. 10 column provocatively titled, "No atheist should be permitted to serve in the U.S. military," Fischer argues that, well, no atheist should be permitted to serve in the U.S. military.

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Meet the Frackers: Right-Wing Billionaire Brothers' Biblical Ambitions
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 10:54:52 AM EST
A few years back, Forbes magazine called them "undercover billionaires." Meet Farris and Dan Wilks, who, after selling their fracking business and becoming generous donors to right-wing causes, politicians, and the Republican Party, are no longer "undercover." While claiming that Christians are under attack, the Wilks brothers' are "using the riches that the Lord has blessed" them with and are dedicating themselves to getting the Bible back in schools.

The brothers began by working in their father's masonry business, operating mostly in Oklahoma and Texas. In 1995, the brothers founded their own company called Wilks Masonry. However, they "really hit the big time when they got in on the ground floor with fracking, the controversial natural gas drilling technique that has boomed over the past decade," People for the American Way's Peter Montgomery recently pointed out in a report titled "The Wilks Brothers: Fracking Sugar Daddies For The Far Right."

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WWW Talk To Action

Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
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America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

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