Celebrating Banned Books Week
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Sep 24, 2016 at 10:22:09 PM EST
Banned Books Week is the venerable annual celebration of the right to read and the highlighting of efforts by cultural vigilantes of various sorts (but usually the Christian Right) to restrict or eliminate access to targeted works in public libraries and beyond.  Although challenged books have, over the years run from Catcher in the Rye to Fifty Shades of Grey to the Bible, more typically, challenged books are by or about racial, sexual or religious minorities.  And this year is no exception. Oh, except that the Bible made the list of the Ten Most Challenged Books of 2015.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the
American Library Association and the American Booksellers Foundation, and many other publishing and free speech organizations, which host thousands of cool and inspiring events in person and online including a week's worth of events at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

This year Banned Books Week runs from September 25-October 1.

(2 comments, 681 words in story)
Birthers, Birchers and Lee Harvey Oswald
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Sep 19, 2016 at 12:01:12 PM EST
"It would be more accurate to say that Oswald was his own agent, that he was moved to act by dint of his own inclination.  That inclination was born of a fragmented and peripatetic youth, adolescence, and early adulthood, but ultimately Oswald was self-propelled.  The mysterious and fictional heart of darkness residing somewhere in America did not murder the mythical hero-president.  Oswald did." Peter Savodnik
(5 comments, 686 words in story)
Are Civil Rights and Religious Liberty Mutually Exclusive?
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Sep 18, 2016 at 05:10:40 PM EST
The question posed in the title might seem merely rhetorical:  but its not.  All sides, not to mention the media, often frame contemporary controversies over calls for religious exemption from various laws in ways that cast these two foundational ideas of our society as starkly at odds.

While recognizing the current tensions, the United States Commission on Civil Rights does not think civil rights and religious liberty are mutually exclusive. But their new report on the subject seeks ways forward to allow for them to "peacefully coexist."  The majority report sensibly recommends limiting the exemptions sought by the Christian Right from contemporary laws and regulations. They also recognize that when exemptions are are sought, any that are granted should be both clearly necessary and narrowly tailored to the matter at hand. In order to limit the current expansionism, the Commission' recommends, for example, that Congress and state legislatures amend state and federal Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) to ensure that they do not undermine civil liberties and civil rights protections.

The Commission's report Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties (PDF) is an important resource for anyone seeking to understand and to keep up with the state of these issues as they relate to everything from labor laws to marriage equality.  It is only 27 pages long, but it is supported by more than 300 pages of related documentation.  And its free.

(945 words in story)
The Final Repudiation Of Phyllis Schlafly
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Sep 07, 2016 at 08:12:08 AM EST

Monday night around 9:40 I received an email with a curious subject line. "The Greatest American Woman, R.I.P.," it read.

"Who could that be?" I wondered as I opened the message. Came the answer: Phyllis Schlafly.

(2 comments, 964 words in story)
Is This the Dawning of the Age of Vulgar Demagoguery?
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Sep 05, 2016 at 10:19:43 AM EST
Before the end of GOP primaries, I wrote about how Catholic neo-conservatives couldn't bring themselves to support Donald Trump. Even now that he is the Republican nominee, he even seems to be a bridge too far for their tastes.

But Catholic neo-cons are not unanimous about Trump.  Former U. S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is one of Trump's most prominent supporters.

(5 comments, 1263 words in story)
Dominionism Hiding in Plain Sight
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Aug 23, 2016 at 11:48:33 PM EST
Dominionism has been an evolving movement for a half century. Fed by two main streams, it has becoming a roaring current, tearing through American public life.  It has advanced far more rapidly and on a scale far greater than its early proponents imagined.  This has been facilitated by far too many of us who clung to an attitude that `it can't happen here' and the consequent denialism that dominionism is much of a threat or even exists.  Thus we have been handicapped in our efforts to cobble together much of an agreed upon common body of knowledge and terms to go with it, reducing our capacity to have much in the way of coherent strategic conversations. Plus the subject is so emotionally fraught.

That's why I spent the past few months crafting a revised, refreshed and updated retelling of the story of dominionism that seeks to incorporate what we have learned over the years, so that we can better understand what it is and is not about -- the denial and pooh poohery not withstanding.    The result is a just published story in The Public Eye magazine, which specializes in taking the long view of the Right in long form.  The magazine has been covering dominionism since 1992, followed by major stories in 1994, 2005, 2007, 2013, and 2015.  I'm glad to have been able to contribute Dominionism Rising: A Theocratic Movement Hiding in Plain Sight to this body of work.

(10 comments, 905 words in story)
Chancy Combo: Why The Founders Were Not Fans Of Preacher-Politicians
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Aug 16, 2016 at 02:44:13 PM EST

Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has vowed to repeal a federal law that bars houses of worship (and other tax-exempt non-profits) from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.

In light of this, there has been a lot of talk lately about the proper role of religion in politics. Yesterday, evangelical scholar John Fea published an opinion column with Religion News Service that adds some overlooked - but important - history to the mix.

(2 comments, 770 words in story)
Beware The Gender Unicorn: Franklin Graham Takes Aim At The Transgender Community
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 10, 2016 at 11:17:35 AM EST

Part of my job involves monitoring the activities of Religious Right groups, which means every day my email box receives messages from groups like the Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom and American Family Association (AFA).

The AFA has lately been going around the bend about something called the "gender unicorn." This unicorn, which has apparently surfaced (metaphorically speaking) in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, has Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, in quite a tizzy.

(1 comment, 656 words in story)
The Politics of Fear
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Aug 02, 2016 at 11:46:30 AM EST
Joseph Ellsworth McWilliams was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.  He moved to New York City and became a Communist.  Later on he became a leader in the American Far Right. He was friends with many Jews but used anti-Semitic speeches to move audiences.  He quickly learned that the fear of Jews in his city touched a sensitive nerve.  He held little basis for such beliefs, but yielded to the temptation to use fear mongering about Jews to make political points during the thirties in America.  Fearmongering has long been a basic diet fed from the airwaves from Religious Right publications.
(3 comments, 670 words in story)
Tim LaHaye, Religious Right Founder, and Best-Selling Author of Apocalyptic Novels, Dead at 90
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jul 29, 2016 at 09:49:01 AM EST
On July 25, despite their being no signs of The Rapture, the Rev. Tim LaHaye slipped off this mortal coil, just days after suffering a stroke. Long before LaHaye, and his writing partner, Jerry Jenkins, teamed up to write the Left Behind series of mega-best-selling apocalyptic novels - which took The Rapture and apocalypticism to the mainstream -- LaHaye was a major figure in the founding and nurturing of the Religious Right.

In 1989, the Unification Church-owned Washington Times newspaper described him as "one of the lightning-rod clergy of the Religious Right." In 2005, Time magazine declared LaHaye as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America. At the same time, Time named LaHaye and his wife Beverly -- who founded the conservative Christian Concerned Women for America in 1979 - "The Christian Power Couple."

(2 comments, 788 words in story)
Persecution-Free Park: Religious Freedom Still Not Under Attack In America
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jul 28, 2016 at 11:53:02 AM EST

I just got back from a week-long vacation with my wife and son. We were in Acadia National Park in Maine.

On our second day in the park, I noticed something unusual outside of the Hulls Cove Visitor Center: Three Jehovah's Witnesses were standing outside the center on a patch of grass offering people religious literature. Among them was a magazine explaining the Witnesses' creationist view of how the world came into being.

(490 words in story)
Mike Pence and The Roots of the Right-Wing "Political Correctness" Conspiracy Theory
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jul 21, 2016 at 12:43:56 AM EST
The term "Political Correctness" was hijacked by right-wing ideologues in the late 1980s to trivialize and disparage concern for basic human rights for people whose race, gender, ability, size, or other attributes were inconsistent with the norms established by straight, White, Christian men.

Before then the term was seldom used other than among Leftist to discuss political ideology.

The idea of claiming there was a Culture War by liberals and leftists against America was formulated over several years by right-wing ideologues Patrick Buchanan, William Lind, and Paul Weyrich.

(4 comments, 641 words in story)
Mike Pence in 2006 spearheaded a mean-spirited plan to deport all undocumented immigrants
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jul 20, 2016 at 05:39:23 PM EST
Many of us know Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a nasty homophobe with a carefully-crafted respectable demeanor. But did you know that In 2006, then Indiana Congressman Mike Pence tried to rally the Christian Right behind a punitive and nasty immigration "reform" program that would have forced all undocumented persons in the United States to leave the country. They would then would have to apply for a return "guest worker" visa from a for-profit private-sector system dubbed (with no apparent sense of irony) "Ellis Island Centers." They could return to the United States after a health screening--and a promise to learn English.

At the 2006 Washington Briefing of the Values Voters Summit, Pence was introduced by Tony Perkins of the Christian Right Family Research Council (FRC) as a "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican--in that order. "  The Values Voters Summit is the primary national political action training and mobilization convention of Christian Right Republic Party election activists on the state level.

(5 comments, 780 words in story)
Religious Right Hopping Aboard Trumpgelical Train
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Jul 19, 2016 at 10:46:59 AM EST
Despite months of hand wringing, public and private condemnations, expressing support for, and endorsing, other candidates, and a close inspection of his miniscule theological underpinnings, many conservative Christian evangelicals are finding their way back to Donald Trump, as nearly four-fifths of evangelicals are now saying they will vote for Trump. According to the Pew Research Center's recent survey, "Evangelical voters are rallying strongly in favor of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump."

Examining the results of the Pew survey, The Christian Examiner's Gregory Tomlin wrote: "Evangelicals aren't just warming to Trump; they're on fire for the candidate." Not everyone has the same view of the survey. In her report, Christianity Today's Sarah Eekhoff Zyistra maintained that evangelicals will vote for Trump, "But they aren't happy about it."

(2 comments, 738 words in story)
Picking Pence: Trump Veep Choice Has Cozy Relationship With The Religious Right
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jul 18, 2016 at 10:09:07 AM EST

Donald Trump has announced that he plans to put Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on his ticket. This selection signals that Trump, a controversial real estate mogul and reality TV star, is continuing his aggressive courting of the Religious Right, in the hopes of achieving victory this fall.

Whether it will work remains to be seen. In the meantime, here are some things to keep in mind about Pence:

(2 comments, 766 words in story)


WWW Talk To Action


"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (0 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (0 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (1 comment)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (11 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.