Privilege, Not Persecution: It's Time For Fundamentalist Christians To Stop Whining
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Apr 04, 2016 at 10:55:52 AM EST

Over the weekend, a movie called "God's Not Dead 2" opened in theaters around the nation. I haven't seen the film and don't intend to -- I'm not going to give them my money, and if I'm going to watch a cheesy movie, I prefer one featuring rubber monsters battling for supremacy in Tokyo -- but I've been reading about it online.

Despite the "2" in its title, the film isn't really a sequel. It's a follow-up to an earlier movie. Both releases feature has-been and never-been actors and represent a fairly new genre in Christian filmmaking - call it the cinema of persecution.

(2 comments, 949 words in story)
Fifty Catholic Right Leaders Endorse Ted Cruz
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Apr 01, 2016 at 06:48:04 AM EST
The National Catholic Reporter recently reported  that a group of fifty conservative Catholics led by Catholic neocon Robert P. George and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli have endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for president, as the Republican alternative to Donald Trump.

While it may seem laudable that this group is rallying Catholics away from a far-right demagogue, it might be a less laudable choice than meets the eye for some, considering that their alternative may have a religious desire to establish an Evangelical theocracy.

(4 comments, 989 words in story)
Say You (Don't) Want A Revolution?: Perkins Proves To Be No Prophet
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Mar 28, 2016 at 12:37:13 PM EST

Almost exactly three years ago, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins appeared on a far-right radio program and predicted that the country was on the verge of revolution.

If the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality, Perkins opined, the United States might split in two.

(2 comments, 626 words in story)
A Sign Speaks: The Message Behind `The PILL KILLS'
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 25, 2016 at 12:00:00 PM EST

I spent several hours Wednesday morning hanging around outside the Supreme Court. It was a very lively scene.

The justices were hearing oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, a case challenging aspects of the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Some religious non-profits, such as colleges and nursing homes, don't want to tolerate the presence of birth control in student and employee health-care plans, even though they don't have to pay for it. The government has given them an opt-out, but they object to it because it requires them to fill out a short form or write a letter to the government.

(3 comments, 723 words in story)
Viva (Crime-Free) Las Vegas!: More Hooey From David Barton
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Mar 21, 2016 at 10:28:40 AM EST

Ersatz historian and "Christian nation" booster David Barton is at it again. This time he's claiming that the city of Las Vegas cut violent crime by 75 percent after the police department adopted "biblical principles" and began working with conservative churches.

There are a couple of problems with Barton's claim. First off, any assertion that a violent crime rate anywhere dropped so dramatically should be met with great skepticism. Crime rates fluctuate depending on several factors (the state of the economy being a big one), but a 75 percent plunge over a short period of time would be pretty remarkable. It's not impossible, but some evidence would be nice.

(1 comment, 623 words in story)
Pride Goeth: The Arrogance Of The Public School Proselytizers
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Mar 14, 2016 at 11:41:39 AM EST

If you have children, there's a good chance you've worked hard to instill in them the values you hold, whether those values are religious or secular.

If you're a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, a Pagan, a humanist, etc. you probably raised your children in that faith or philosophy. If it was important to you, you likely wanted it to be important to them.

(3 comments, 584 words in story)
Fight Back to Defend Democracy
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Mar 13, 2016 at 08:38:56 AM EST
Be strong. Have each other's backs. Defend every target of demonizing right-wing rhetoric threatening our allies and those facing oppression or repression. Leave no one behind: build a society where no one is thrown under the bus or out of the lifeboat. Take time for yourself and those close to you. Let the next generation grow into leaders. Pass it forward so that the circle remains unbroken.
Concern About Cult-Like Tendencies
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 10, 2016 at 10:08:08 AM EST
During the seventies I was a seminary student and national attention turned to the growing menace of cult groups.  It was a cultural trend that wealthy adolescent debutantes were joining cult groups.  The most noted was the Unification Church led by notorious Rev. Moon.  Baptists in the South organized research studies and the word "deprogrammer" became part of the modern culture.  Walter Martin was a noted expert on cults and produced many videos identifying the groups and came up with common links that identified cult groups.  One item used to designate cult groups was the fact they did not receive any information that did not come from the official version of reality that came from the group's founder or his selected understudies.
(4 comments, 847 words in story)
Innocence Abused: A Lethal Combination Of Church And State Fails Pennsylvania's Children
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Mar 07, 2016 at 04:10:09 PM EST

Last week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane released a damning grand jury report about the rampant sexual abuse of minors by priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese - and the failure of anyone in authority to stop it.

News of the report hit me hard. I was born and raised in Altoona. For 16 years I attended a Catholic church in that diocese. I spent eight years in a Catholic school appended to one of its churches.

(4 comments, 699 words in story)
Trump's Muscular Rhetoric Soothes Evangelicals
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 04, 2016 at 12:06:58 PM EST
To say that numerous top-tier Christian conservative evangelical leaders are having a difficult time facing the more-likely-by-the-primary reality that Donald Trump will head the GOP ticket in the fall is like saying the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry has a pretty good 3-point shot. In other words, it is an understatement of historic proportions. From just about every conceivable angle, with just about every conceivable argument, conservative evangelicals are trying to slow down the Trump train. A recent editorial in The Christian Post was headlined "Donald Trump Is a Scam. Evangelical Voters Should Back Away."
(5 comments, 893 words in story)
Holy Hypocrites: The Religious Right And The Rise Of Trump
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Mar 02, 2016 at 10:34:09 AM EST

For political junkies, the Super Tuesday results offered a sumptuous repast.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) continue to duel for the Democratic nomination, although Clinton appears to be pulling away. On the Republican side, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) remained alive with victories in Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) looks to be on life support after winning only in Minnesota. Ohio Gov. John Kasich failed to carry a single state but has not dropped out. Ben Carson is an afterthought.

(4 comments, 776 words in story)
Cut Ties to Girl Scouts, St. Louis Archbishop Urges
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Feb 27, 2016 at 12:01:25 PM EST
Thanks to the attack on the Girl Scouts by  St. Louis' Archbishop Carlson, inquisitive area Catholics want to know: `Can we still buy the cookies?'

Not everyone would elevate it to a matter for serious concern, but St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson's latest broadside takes the cake, and maybe even the cookies. According to numerous reports, including a piece by Jen Hayden, in late-February Carlson issued a letter to area "Priests, Scout Leaders and Faithful of the Archdiocese," warning them against falling prey to ... wait for it ... the Girl Scouts USA, and the parent organization of GSUSA, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).


(3 comments, 819 words in story)
Antonin Scalia; An Alternate Assessment
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Feb 22, 2016 at 01:51:59 PM EST
Praise and tribune is being given to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Among the most common accolades accorded him are the following: "an extraordinary jurist, "consistent" as well as, "a devout Catholic."

While I express sadness at the death of Justice Scalia - as I would any fellow human being, I have a different assessment of his legacy. And it is one I offer as an American, as a Catholic, and an attorney.

(3 comments, 1490 words in story)
Media and Rightist Distortions about Dominionism: Take the Refresher Quiz!
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Feb 21, 2016 at 04:21:33 PM EST
In light of recent discussions about dominionism and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, it seems like a good moment to refresh our memories about the denial campaign of 2011. -- FC

In recent weeks, a variety of mainstream journalists and conservative writers have treated us to a remarkable display of ignorance, incompetence, and outright sleaze -- and various combinations thereof -- regarding dominionism.  I have collected a sampler of quotes from such writing, not to slam all journalists, but to point out that dominionism is, in fact, central to our current political situation,  not fringe as some would have it,and that the tropes promoted by journalists and op-ed columnists, are not much different than those of hack political operatives.  The attacks on Michelle Goldberg and others of us are unfair, unjustified and frankly unconscionable. And we will continue to respond.

It all began with the massive prayer rally that served as Rick Perry's de facto campaign launch a few weeks ago, and the critical magazine coverage that discussed the role of the New Apostolic Reformation and the dominionist movement powering the Perry and Michelle Bachmann presidential campaigns.

Below are ten quotes from ten different writers or television commentators addressing the matter of dominionism. See if you can identify who was responsible for each quote. Ten points for each correct answer.  Answers for each question at the links.

(18 comments, 1084 words in story)
Lester Roloff and Separation of Church and State
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Feb 20, 2016 at 01:52:34 PM EST
     One of the most famous quotes in Texas history comes from a state Attorney General.  His quote is regarding complaints from parents about beatings at a girls home in Texas.  Baptist minister Lester Roloff was accused of the offenses at his unlicensed home.  He replied the state would be not be hurt with a few wayward girls having some pink bottoms.  The state prosecuting attorney replied it was not pink, but black and blue as well as bleeding bottoms he saw.  At the time Phil Sticklin was the state Baptist lobbyist working for the Baptist Building.  Phil told me he listened to Roloff radio broadcasts harshly attacking him because Phil favored the idea of receiving a license from the state to have a home for residents.
(1 comment, 684 words in story)

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