It's Time For The Religious Right To Embrace The `Mind-Your-Own-Business' Option
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Mar 28, 2017 at 11:56:36 AM EST

Every few years, someone in the far-right fundamentalist Christian community puts forth the argument that modern American culture has become so nasty and hostile to "traditional" Christians that it's time to withdraw.

They don't plan to go to a forgotten island somewhere. Rather, they would create a kind of community in internal exile. As much as possible, they'd form parallel structures, such as fundamentalist-oriented educational institutions and media channels, and tend to their own gardens.

(49 comments, 687 words in story)
Justice Alito And The Dangers Of Redefining `Religious Freedom'
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Mar 20, 2017 at 01:45:04 PM EST

Last week, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito gave a speech to a group of Catholic lawyers that didn't get as much attention as it should have.


Alito addressed Advocati Christi, a group of Catholic lawyers and judges affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Paterson, N.J.  The Associated Press reported that the organization works to "provide an opportunity for lawyers learn about the Catholic faith and Catholic social teaching and to help them integrate these into their life and practice."

(115 comments, 734 words in story)
Sam Rodriguez: How Do You Like Your Anti-Immigrant President Now?
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Mar 18, 2017 at 01:25:59 PM EST
Since President Donald Trump's immigration policy gave law enforcement officials unprecedented power to aggressively target immigrants in the country illegally, the nation's immigrant communities have been living in fear, from the threat of arrest, detention and deportation.

Department of Homeland Security documents "revealed the broad scope of the president's ambitions: to publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations," The New York Times' Michael D. Shear and Ron Nixon reported late last month.

"The message is: The immigration law is back in business," said a gleeful Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports restricted immigration. "That violating immigration law is no longer a secondary offense."

(71 comments, 951 words in story)
Election 2016 is a win/win for the Christian Right
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Nov 08, 2016 at 11:08:53 PM EST
I was interviewed by the Free Speech Radio Network on Tuesday, election day.

Here is the transcript:

    After more than a year and a half of presidential campaigning, Election Day has finally arrived in the U.S.  With the popular vote looking much closer than projections for the electoral college spread, the divisiveness and acrimony has highlighted deep social and political rifts in the country. Some say the outcome will benefit the Christian Right -- irrespective of who wins the White House.  FSRN's Shannon Young spoke with Frederick Clarkson, Senior Fellow at Political Research Associates a progressive, social justice think tank in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Download Audio

    Shannon Young: Frederick Clarkson, you've said that the 2016 election will be a win/win for the Christian Right. Explain what you mean by that.

    Frederick Clarkson: If the Trump-Pence ticket wins, they will be viewed as kingmakers because polling has shown that conservative evangelicals have been his most loyal base of support, much to many people's surprise. And, of course, Mike Pence is by far the most conservative Christian leader we've had as part of a national ticket, ever.

    But if they lose, they go into resistance mode, which is where they are very strong. They can really rally against Hillary Clinton and build their movement - engaging in fundraising - in much they way that they did during the previous Clinton's administration. And I think that we'll probably see a strong rise in armed militia movements and other extreme expressions, as well. So, for a social movement on the scale and virulence of the Christian Right, it's a win-win day.

(11 comments, 1286 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)
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."

(4 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)
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."

(1533 words in story)
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."
(5 comments, 923 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.

(44 comments, 1062 words in story)
AFA's Boycott of Target Falling on Deaf Ears
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat May 14, 2016 at 11:31:40 AM EST
The American Family Association's boycott of Target stores, over its transgender-friendly bathroom policy, has reached its second or maybe third stage. On Wednesday, May 11, Tim Wildmon, the president of the AFA, made a pilgrimage to Target headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and delivered what he claimed were more than one million signatures pledged to boycott Target. Company officials politely, but firmly, rebuffed Wildmon.

According to the Huffington Post, Target CEO Brian Cornell told CNBC's Squawk Box that, "We took a stance, and were going to continue to embrace our belief of diversity and inclusion and just how important that is to our company."

Cornell also stated that "the vast majority of our stores have a family restroom" (1,400 of 1,800 nationwide) and that the company plans on implementing family restrooms in the rest of its stores over the next few months."

(2 comments, 915 words in story)
Awesome Awardee: W. Va. Student Who Stood Up For Separation Wins Prestigious Scholarship
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Apr 25, 2016 at 10:45:24 AM EST

Blogs like this are often the bearer of bad news - we may report about a public school district trying to teach creationism, an attack on LGBT rights by a Religious Right group, an effort by a large and powerful church to secure tax funding for its private school system, etc.

But today's story is good news. It may, in fact, even warm your heart a little.

(6 comments, 613 words in story)
Dominionism, Christian Nationalism and Ted Cruz
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Apr 12, 2016 at 01:22:54 PM EST
While Donald Trump's theological underpinnings are as madcap and unstable as the man himself, Ted Cruz believes that not only is America God's chosen country, but that he has been chosen to guide the country back to its Christian moorings. Ted Cruz is a seven-mountain guy and those mountains have nothing to do with Everest, Kilimanjaro, Whitney or any of the world's renowned peaks. Cruz's seven mountains have to do with reclaiming, rebuilding, and reestablishing America as a Christian country, which means Christians taking dominion over seven aspects of culture: family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.

The movement is called Seven Mountains Dominionism and its origin comes from Isaiah 2:2: "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains."

And, if you thought the culture wars was a relic of the past, Ted Cruz will fight all of the already-settled culture war battles all over again ... and then some. As John Fea recently pointed out in Christianity Today, "Unlike any other candidate in the 2016 presidential race, Cruz has mastered the rhetoric first introduced by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others on the Religious Right."

(4 comments, 825 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.

(4 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.

(4 comments, 723 words in story)


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