Neo-Confederate Democrats: Oxymorons?
jhutson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:30:00 PM EST
“Many of you may be thinking that I have lost my mind,” Republican Del. Don Dwyer wrote in a March 2013 email and Facebook post to his GOP colleagues in the Maryland General Assembly. Dwyer's mind-losing idea was to switch parties in order to drag the Democratic Party to the right (indeed, the Neo-Confederate, theocratic right) in the 2014 primaries.

“If the gun community alone follows me in this strategic plan, we will have a devastating effect on the next statewide election,” he surmised. He posted a comment on a Maryland gun owners’ forum, stating, “Friends, I am considering taking ‘Operation DINO’ statewide. DINO stands for Democrat In Name Only.” He then spearheaded a Free State DINOS website, which urges Republicans to reregister as Democrats, and sells mugs and T-shirts of dinosaurs emblazoned with the Maryland flag.

(2 comments, 1379 words in story)
The End Times for Fred Phelps?
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:48:38 AM EST
Reports out of Topeka, Kansas, has it that the Rev. Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., is in hospice care near death in a Kansas hospital. I first encountered the Rev. Phelps when I was visiting friends in Kansas in the early 1990s and found out that an old friend, who had died of AIDS in California, was being brought home to Kansas for burial. The family was so concerned that the Phelps Family would find out about her death and picket the funeral that they decided not to publicize details about where and when she would be buried. At the time, Phelps, relatively unknown nationally, was clearly having a huge impact locally.
(3 comments, 783 words in story)
The Catholic Right Star & the Porn Star -- UPDATED
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:39:29 PM EST
A Duke University freshman best known by her stage name Belle Knox has been much in the news. She was even interviewed by Piers Morgan on CNN.  She has said that she decided that working as a porn star was a better way to cover college costs than working as a waitress. She dreams of becoming a civil and human rights lawyer and an advocate for the rights of sex workers.  Her story became fodder for celebrity gossip, opinion journalists -- and a few thoughtful commentators -- after she was outed by a fellow student.  Since the outing changed her life, Belle Knox has been aggressively harassed online and in person and threatened with violence, and even death. She is now in her second semester at Duke.

But facts often fall before the compelling evidence of faith in one's own knee-jerk opinions. Conservative columnist Charlotte Allen, for example, thinks Belle Knox may not be "a troubled young woman" so much as an opportunist -- and that the first term freshman's women's studies major may be to blame. Catholic Right leader Austin Ruse also blamed women's studies and told a national radio audience that "the hard left, human-hating people that run modern universities" should "all be taken out and shot."

And that is where our story begins.

(5 comments, 759 words in story)
Baptists and Bullets in Texas Politics
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:02:01 PM EST
One thing regional Baptist GOP candidates share in common is a deep affection for gun rights.  The endorsements of pro-gun positions takes precedence over the promotion of public education, economic concerns and even social issues.  Second Amendment concerns trumps First Amendment issues.  The irony of such is that Baptist have a rich heritage in support of the First Amendment, even as a doctrinal statement of faith.
(1 comment, 1128 words in story)
The Battling Noahs & The Titanic Film Comeback of Noah & His Ark
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:01:29 PM EST
Who would have imagined that in 2014, Noah, yes the Noah of the Biblical story of Noah and his Ark, would be garnering so many headlines. A plan to build a Noah's Ark theme park in the hills of Kentucky is once again under serious consideration. Conservative Christian lawmakers in Texas have apparently fallen for a Ponzi-like scheme launched by a fellow who claimed to have discovered remnants of Noah's Ark near Mount Ararat in Turkey. And, hold on to your life rafts kids; in the coming weeks, two new films based on the story of Noah will be released.
(1 comment, 1084 words in story)
The Continuing Spectacle of Bishop Robert Finn
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:47:51 AM EST
Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has so far survived  calls for his resignation or removal by Pope Francis. Finn is a convict who not only failed to report suspected child abuse by a parish priest under his charge:  He has become the symbol of ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing the problem of child sex abuse in the Church.

Many Catholics in Finn's diocese -- including priests and nuns -- have had more than enough of him. As the National Catholic Reporter recently reported they have formally appealed to the Vatican "to conduct a canonical review of Bishop Robert Finn say the church's lack of response to his misdemeanor conviction has caused further spiritual harm to the diocese."

(1 comment, 809 words in story)
Neo-Confederate Tweets 'Kill the Jews' After Exposure of League of the South Political Candidates
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 10:34:36 PM EST
Michael Peroutka's introduction at the 2012 League of the South conference was given a hearty cheer by the audience. The loudest applause came when he was described as "honored" by his inclusion as a "hater" in the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch, along with his pastor, League of the South Chaplain David Whitney. (Video after jump.) Peroutka and Whitney are running for office in Anne Arundel County Maryland, one as a Republican and one as a Democrat, as revealed by Frederick Clarkson in articles at Political Research Associates and at Talk2action. Talk2action contributor Jonathan Hutson tweeted links to the articles and a reference to SPLC's mapping of 15 hate groups in Maryland, including the League of the South.  In response he received tweets, also directed to the SPLC, from a member of the Ohio Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV).  One read "Kill the Jews" and another called for the SPLC to "return to their Israeli homes."
(4 comments, 774 words in story)
Rapture Vortex: The Faith, The Fury, The Book of Revelation-Based Disaster Movie
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 12:42:59 PM EST
As of March 3, the Rapture Index ("The prophetic speedometer of end-time activity") stood at 188, tying the record high recorded on February 18, 2013. According to, when the Index hits above 160, it's time to "Fasten your seat belts."

"Wherever we Americans look, the threat of apocalypse stares back at us," Ira Chernus, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of Apocalypse Management: Eisenhower and the Discourse of National Insecurity, recently wrote at "Nuclear extermination and environmental extinction" are grave threats, but they are "crowded out ... by a host of new perils also labeled `apocalyptic': mounting federal debt, the government's plan to take away our guns, corporate control of the Internet, the Comcast-Time Warner mergerocalypse, Beijing's pollution airpocalypse, the American snowpocalypse, not to speak of earthquakes and plagues."

While off the charts apocalyptic scenarios abound and may smell of gloom and doom, they are a Godsend for Christian filmmaker Timothy Chey, making it the perfect time to publicize his recent film, "Final: The Rapture."

(791 words in story)
A Theocrat in Democrat's Clothing
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:07:22 AM EST
I recently published a story about a neo-Confederate theocrat in Democrat's clothing running for office in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He is also running in the June 24th primary for the county Democratic Party Central Committee.  In my story, I detailed how Pastor David Whitney is a dyed in the wool theocrat who has a history with the theocratic Constitution Party and with its 2004 presidential candidate, Michael Peroutka. Peroutka and Whitney are running as an odd couple ticket for the District 5 seat on the County Council. Whitney is running for the Democratic nomination, and Peroutka is running for the GOP nomination. (Peroutka is also running for the GOP County Central Committee.)

But in a blog post based on his sermon at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church, in Pasadena, MD on Sunday he denounced, but didn't deny my story. Let's examine what he said.

(2 comments, 1385 words in story)
Taking Liberties: New Book Explains Why Religious Right's View Of `Religious Freedom' Is Wrong
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:12:50 AM EST

Pardon me for engaging in some blatant self-promotion, but I wanted to let members and friends of Americans United know that my new book, Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You The Right To Tell Other People What To Do, is being released today.

Two issues inspired me to write this book: the controversy over the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act and the spread of legal same-sex marriage in the states. 

(1 comment, 541 words in story)
Two Neo-Confederate Leaders Join Republican & Democratic Parties to Run For Office
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 01:35:02 PM EST
This is crossposted from the Eyes Right blog at Political Research Associates.  Readers will also want to see the article by Adele Stan at RH Reality Check which highlighted the views of Pastor David Whitney regarding the "justifiable homicide" of abortion providers. -- FC

There was a quietly dramatic moment on February 24th in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Two former leaders of the theocratic Constitution Party (CP) declared their intention to run in the June 24th primary election--as a Democrat and a Republican. The pair are running, respectively, for seats on the Democratic and Republican Party county central committees, as well as for the Anne Arundel County Council. (The county is part of the greater Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan area.)

While changing political parties is not an uncommon thing in today's political world, what makes the actions of these men extraordinary and of national significance is who they are, their obvious coordination, and their personal histories and political vision.

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Raising Cain In Arizona: State Might Discriminate Under The Guise Of `Religious Liberty'
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:43:56 AM EST

You might have read over the weekend about a law passed by the Arizona legislature that would allow the owners of stores and secular businesses to refuse to serve certain customers if they deem that doing so would offend their religious beliefs.

The measure, SB 1062, is getting quite a lot of attention. All eyes are on Gov. Jan Brewer, who hasn't yet said if she'll sign the bill into law. Brewer has indicated that she'll act this week.

(2 comments, 781 words in story)
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing: "Son of God" Coming to a Theater Near You
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:40:58 AM EST
"I've seen most of the films about Jesus produced in the past 50 years, and "Son of God" is the best. -- Pastor Rick Warren

Ten years ago, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" brought in $600 million at the box office. This week, "Son of God," another Christ-centered film, is coming to a Cineplex near you.

It may not garner the massive box office receipts of Gibson's "The Passion," but several high profile evangelical pastors and Catholic Church officials are doing their darnedest to see that "Son of God" becomes the next super-successful Christian flick.

Finely tuned advance work is key to drumming up buzz, both for a film's premiere and its opening weekend, as that first weekend often determines a film's box-office success or failure.

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Tony Perkins Explains
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:28:03 PM EST
When pundit Kirsten Powers published an op-ed in USA Today arguing that the recent effort in Kansas to allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people, is an update of Jim Crow -- the Christian Right Twitterverse went wild.

While each such episode commands a lot of attention, it is part of a larger story of a deep and probably lasting social and political change in the U.S. -- one that one way or another will shape the public lives of everyone reading these words. This may seem like a bold thing to say -- something that has not been validated by the punditocracy -- but give it time.

(7 comments, 1038 words in story)
Mudsill By Any Other Name
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 12:05:04 PM EST
Over the past year, Rachel Tabachnick and I have written a great deal about the Neo-Confederate elements of the Religious Right. I have focused upon Catholic Neo-Confederates Thomas DiLorenzo and especially Thomas E. Woods, Jr. They claim that without an individual state's right to secede or at least nullify locally unpopular federal laws and judicial rulings, tyranny reigns.  History not withstanding, they say that secession and nullification are necessary for the expansion of freedom.

I have argued that if Woods' ideas were to prevail, the only freedom that would be expanded would be the freedom to oppress. That freedom to oppress has inglorious roots and those roots have a name that has faded into the fog of history. Its name is Mudsill.

(3 comments, 1413 words in story)

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