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.

(8 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.

(4 comments, 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.
(6 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."

(5 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.

(2 comments, 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.

(7 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.

(6 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."

(5 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:

(8 comments, 766 words in story)
What's Past is Prologue: Dominionism is Still Rising
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Jul 16, 2016 at 09:00:48 PM EST
For a half century, a theocratic political movement has been rising in the U.S.  Like any large, successful movement in history, it has a variety of sources and tendencies.  A number of scholars and journalists (including me) have called this movement dominionism. We see it as the driving ideology of the wider Christian Right in the U.S.  But like any movement, it changes over time;  organizations and leaders come and go; and even its ideology evolves.

This year, the political poster boy for dominionism was Ted Cruz.  He lost in the GOP primaries for president to celebrity billionaire Donald Trump -- but he did pretty darn well for a freshman Senator  We have certainly not heard the last from Cruz, and dominionism will continue to be a force in public life regardless of the fortunes of any one pol.

(6 comments, 569 words in story)
For readers - On Donald Trump and William S. Lind
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Jul 16, 2016 at 04:28:37 PM EST
For readers clicking on the first link in Paul Rosenberg's interview with Bruce Wilson, here is a link to my recent report (first published here at Talk To Action on June 23rd) concerning Donald Trump's recent meeting with William S. Lind. Below is an image from my report, which shows Trump with Lind and highlights some of the especially disturbing aspects. In the body of this short introduction are the first several paragraphs of my extended report, titled "Trump Meets Man Who Inspired 2011 Terror Attack Deadlier Than Orlando Shooting".

For relevant, detailed academic writing concerning William S. Lind and his theory of Fourth Generation Warfare, see this 95-page monograph by Sociologist and retired U.S. Army intelligence analyst Dr. James Scaminaci, whose extensive writing on this and related matters can be accessed at

(5 comments, 533 words in story)
Education For Everyone: In Defense Of `Government Schools'
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jul 11, 2016 at 10:22:14 AM EST

Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a story about a trend among far-right conservatives in Kansas who call public schools "government schools."

The idea is that a shift in terminology will change opinions. After all, to many people, "public" equals good, while "government" equals bad.

(8 comments, 708 words in story)
Southern Churches and July 4th Celebrations
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Jul 09, 2016 at 11:11:47 PM EST
I have noticed a growing trend that is spreading like a prairie wild fire regarding July 4th.  Churches are  celebrating the holiday as never before with renewed fervor and participation.  The larger the congregation, the more elaborate the spectacle.  Military men in full combat gear jump with ropes from church balconies while patriotic songs are presented after scores of hours in preparation.  Larger churches shut down all activities outside of a special service to honor the nation.   Many of these congregations will listen to the words of a new song that repeats its refrain, "One nation under God, there is no separation."  Neil Diamond's "Coming to America", will be sung.  Many are wondering out loud what this has to do with Christian worship.
(12 comments, 753 words in story)
Catholic High School Courageously Supports Transgender Teacher
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jun 29, 2016 at 11:02:41 AM EST
With the nation embroiled in another hot-button culture war issue -- this time over transgender rights -- a Catholic high school in Burlingame, a small city located south of San Francisco, California, is dead set on doing the right thing. Mercy High, a four-year college preparatory school for girls, which is owned and operated by an order of Sisters of Mercy, has fully accepted a transgender English teacher.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Jill Tucker, "The announcement of support ... offers a rare policy position on transgender rights from within an internationally respected Catholic order."

(3 comments, 1533 words in story)
Bitten By A Tiger: Huckabee Must Pay For Unauthorized Use Of Song
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jun 29, 2016 at 09:03:44 AM EST

Former Arkansas governor and Religious Right favorite Mike Huckabee has not been having a good year.

Huckabee won the Iowa GOP caucus in 2008 and hoped to repeat that magic in 2016. But he ended up struggling for attention in a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates.

(23 comments, 541 words in story)

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