Trumpgelicals Unite Behind Bloviating Strutting Trickster
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Jun 28, 2016 at 10:57:28 AM EST
Is it the end of the Christian Right as we know it, or is it the beginning of a beautiful relationship? Michael Farris, chancellor of Patrick Henry College, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, and a longtime conservative evangelical leader, claimed in an op-ed piece for The Christian Post that the meeting of 1,000 conservative Christian leaders with Donald Trump "marks the end of the Christian Right." Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, believes that "it was admirable and honorable for Trump to meet with Christian leaders. [because] [h]e is not our enemy."
(3 comments, 923 words in story)
Trump Meets Man Who Inspired 2011 Terror Attack Deadlier Than Orlando Shooting
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jun 23, 2016 at 02:18:49 PM EST
"It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the internet" -- President Barack Obama, June 13, 2016, referring to America's biggest mass shooting in history, in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016.
A photo, attached to an opinion column dated April 16, 2016 that was published on a political website, shows Donald Trump standing with an even taller, neatly dressed, unsmiling man with a strangely intense gaze. Trump is smiling, and, according to the author, he holds the man's 2009 book. The book contains a conspiracy theory -- about an alleged Marxist plot behind "political correctness" -- which provoked a 2011 terrorist attack that killed and wounded almost 400 people.

In early Spring 2016, Donald Trump appears to have met a man whose 2009 book anticipated most of Donald Trump's key campaign positions. That man has disseminated over the Internet "extremist information" that inspired an even deadlier massacre than the 2016 Orlando, Florida mass shooting -- a meticulously planned 2011 neo-Nazi terrorist attack which killed 77, wounded 319, and shook Europe, an attack intended as a "marketing method" to promote that man's conspiracy theory concerning an alleged plot behind "political correctness", said to have been launched nearly a century ago by Jewish Marxists, to destroy America and Western Christian civilization.

That man has suggested his ideas on non-traditional "Fourth Generation" warfare (4GW) may have inspired the strategy behind al-Qaeda's 2001 terrorist attacks on America.

He has also provided, according to sociologist and authority on the Tea Party and the American militia movement Dr. James Scaminaci, the "blueprint for the development of the patriot militia movement" which hopes to one day overthrow federal authority; and in a key 1989 article that may have inspired al-Qaeda, he forecast that "The next real war we fight is likely to be on American soil." In 2014, he published a novel depicting such a war, that starts in 2020, in which white Christian militias overthrow the federal government and carry out the ethnic cleansing of American cities.

(4 comments, 8491 words in story)
Terrorism as a "Marketing Method"
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jun 23, 2016 at 02:16:47 PM EST
On the same day in 2011 during which he single-handedly blew up and shot to death 77 Norwegian citizens (mostly teenagers) and injured an additional 319 people -- with a truck bomb and automatic weapons firing hollow point bullets designed to inflict maximum tissue damage -- neo-Nazi terrorist Anders Behring Breivik electronically distributed a 1518 page manifesto titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence that called for the deportation of Muslims from Europe and identified - as the arch-enemies of Western and Christian civilization - two forces: "cultural Marxism" and Islam.
(1 comment, 689 words in story)
Let's Can the Name Calling about Islam
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jun 15, 2016 at 09:41:29 AM EST
President Obama rose to the occasion in the wake of the horror in Orlando. The president made clear in a speech on June 14th that insulting adherents of one of the world's great religions (which is being advocated by Donald Trump and too many Republicans and the Religious Right) is not only wrong, its bad politics.
(4 comments, 462 words in story)
50 Shades of Patriarchal Grey
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Jun 14, 2016 at 09:30:27 AM EST
In what must be one of the worst public relations disasters in university history, wealthy donors to Baylor University recently took out a full page ad in the Austin Statesman newspaper.  The sponsors of the ad praised the recently ousted president for "exceptional care of students."  The man the news print praised was just released from his job for sitting back silent while Baylor athletes sexually assaulted female students.
(3 comments, 610 words in story)
Pious Proclamation Panned: Iowa's Governor Goes Around The Bend With Bible-Touting Document
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jun 10, 2016 at 10:30:24 AM EST

Some elected officials have a bad habit of releasing official proclamations lauding the Bible, Christianity or religion generally.

We at Americans United find these proclamations to be extremely annoying, but judges have not been very sympathetic to efforts to try to block them in court. They usually say that these proclamations are just suggestions that don't require anyone to do anything and therefore they pass constitutional muster.

(1 comment, 453 words in story)
Unreasonable Argument: Sometimes What Everyone Knows Just Isn't So
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jun 06, 2016 at 10:21:09 AM EST

Over the weekend, a group of atheists, humanists, agnostics and others held a "Reason Rally" in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Thousands of people attended the event, which was designed in part to express support for secular government and separation of church and state. This is an audience we want to reach, so Americans United had an informational table at the rally.

(4 comments, 587 words in story)
Above The Law?: Ala. Chief Jurist Demands No Accountability
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue May 31, 2016 at 10:46:27 AM EST

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is in legal hot water again and has no one to blame but himself - but, as usual, he doesn't want to accept responsibility for his actions.

As we reported previously, Moore has been temporarily suspended from the Alabama Supreme Court in the wake of charges that were filed against him by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission. The commission, acting on complaints filed by state residents, sent the matter to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, which will investigate. If Moore is found guilty, he could be removed from the court.

(9 comments, 651 words in story)
Thomas More Was No Patron Of Religious Freedom
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon May 30, 2016 at 03:52:00 PM EST
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is preparing to kick off its annual Fortnight for Freedom. This year the two weeks of events will feature a touring exhibit of relics of English martyrs Thomas More and John Fisher. The idea is to promote their idea of religious freedom; something I as an American Catholic find questionable, if not ironic.
(4 comments, 944 words in story)
Falling Starr
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue May 24, 2016 at 10:56:11 PM EST
Reports from around the nation are reporting Ken Starr, President of Baylor University, has been fired as head of the Baptist school.  Other stories report the trustees are not commenting and refuse to respond to rumors.  Supposedly by early June the full report of the board meetings will be revealed.
(6 comments, 788 words in story)
Bluegrass Bonanza: Ky. Theocrat Loses Grip On Statehouse Seat
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon May 23, 2016 at 12:18:23 PM EST

Political news of late has been dominated by three people - Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They've certainly provided good copy, but there are some other things going on politically that you might not have heard about.

Let's consider Kentucky, for example. The commonwealth has been the site of mostly bad news lately. Ken Ham's "Ark Park" is getting taxpayer incentives, and the state's Republican governor, Matt Bevin, is thrilled.

(3 comments, 597 words in story)
Christian Right's Distress Over Transgender Youth Hits Fever Pitch
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed May 18, 2016 at 11:26:30 AM EST
Never ones to allow grass grow under their feet when confronted by social and cultural changes, the Christian Right has responded with a thunderous "No Way Obama," to the joint directive from Department of Justice and the Department of Education to public schools across the country advising them that they need to permit transgender students access to bathrooms consistent with the gender with which they identify, and deals with such issues as housing, locker rooms, pronouns and gender references on identity documents.

The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins called the directive a "missive ... courtesy of the lawless bullies at the Departments of Justice and Education." Other Christian Right leaders are calling it "radical social engineering," and a "leftist coup of local schools." One longtime conservative activist is calling on Christians to remove their children from public schools.

(2 comments, 1062 words in story)
Political Piety Panned: We Don't Need A 'God's Party'
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue May 17, 2016 at 12:28:24 PM EST

Every few years, a political pundit comes along and proclaims that the Religious Right is dead or on the verge of dying. I started working at Americans United in 1987 and have heard it proclaimed many times over nearly three decades.

The latest theory goes like this: Donald Trump is such a divisive figure that he has split the Religious Right. The movement won't recover from his candidacy.

(7 comments, 788 words in story)
Trump Campaign Tied To 2nd White Nationalist Party Leader
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon May 16, 2016 at 11:50:19 AM EST
Even as Donald Trump seeks to tack to the center, and leave behind his earlier, wildly controversial statements on Hispanics and Muslims, mounting evidence concerning the Trump campaign's ties to racist white nationalists threatens to undermine Trump's re-branding effort.

Media has recently showcased a Trump campaign link to a director of the American Freedom Party (AFP), William D. Johnson, whom the Trump effort had picked as a delegate in the upcoming California primary. Johnson's AFP has run racist pro-Trump robocalls in at least six primary and caucus states.

But the Trump for president effort has more direct, high-level contact with another AFP director, James Edwards - whom the Trump campaign vetted for VIP press credentials in late February. Edwards then broadcast his Political Cesspool radio show live from a Trump rally in Memphis. On March 1, 2016, Edwards co-hosted a radio show featuring a 20-minute appearance by Donald Trump Jr.

On the show, Edwards suggested that the Trump, Jr. radio show appearance could light up his white nationalist movement "like Napalm on a grassroots blaze".

(4 comments, 2504 words in story)
Religious Rightism in the Democratic Party has Consequences
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat May 14, 2016 at 08:58:01 PM EST
Those of us who write about the Religious Right and related matters often find ourselves wishing that we were wrong. Back in 2011 we faced one of those times. As journalist Jodi Jacobson put it, "The president has presided over the greatest erosion to women's reproductive health and rights in the past 30 years, and a continuing degradation of our rights at the state level." The neglect to women's reproductive freedom and access to reproductive health services will be a lasting legacy of this president. There are many reasons for this of course, but it is helpful to see how we got here, and what lessons we have learned and which one's we haven't. That is a project for another day, but this post from five years ago is a good place to begin to consider what happened and why. -- FC

One of the consequences of the creeping Religious Rightism in the Democratic Party has been the steady erosion of reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care for women, especially abortion care.  

Two items in the news underscore the situation. A special issue of Conscience  magazine questions whether the Obama administration's policies can be considered prochoice.  And an article in the Los Angeles Times, outlining the current "torrent" of draconian antiabortion legislation being proposed, and sometimes enacted in the states.  The latter is, of course, but an indicator of the still-cresting wave of state level anti-abortion public policy work in the generation since the Casey decision of the Supreme Court, which allowed considerable, medically unnecessary, state regulation of access to abortion care.

Journalist Jodie Jacobson, writing in Conscience, reviews the highlights of Obama's prochoice 2008 campaign stances and his record so far as president and concludes,

"The president has presided over the greatest erosion to women's reproductive health and rights in the past 30 years, and a continuing degradation of our rights at the state level."
(9 comments, 1695 words in story)

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