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."

(13 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.

(5 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)
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."
(6 comments, 893 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).


(4 comments, 819 words in story)
Ted Cruz Embraces Armageddon Pastor Who Denounces Gays and Jews
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Feb 17, 2016 at 12:00:57 PM EST
In 2008, Senator John McCain, the Republican Party's presidential nominee, was forced to renounce his much sought after endorsement from Pastor John Hagee after video was discovered in which Hagee claimed God sent Hitler to hunt the Jews in order to get them to Israel.

Flash forward almost eight years, and on January 21, Pastor Mike Bickle, another evangelical preacher who has used the same Hitler hunting the Jews meme, endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz's bid for the White House. This time, however, instead of distancing himself from Bickle, Cruz embraced the controversial head of the International House of Prayer, a Kansa City-based ministry that partners "with Messianic Jews for the salvation of the Jewish people."

(1 comment, 971 words in story)
Republican Frontrunners Fighting Tooth and Nail for Religious Right Endorsements
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jan 29, 2016 at 03:52:45 PM EST
With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucus, evangelical Christian leaders are facing a huge dilemma. Should they endorse the candidate they feel has faith at the center of their lives, or should they go with someone they think can defeat either Hillary Clinton or Senator Bernie Sanders. The two leading Republican Party presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, have been duking it out for endorsements by Religious Right leaders for the past few months. One week after speaking at Liberty University on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump received the endorsement of Liberty's president Jerry Falwell Jr., who has stated that Trump "reminds me so much of my father." At just about the same time, Tony Perkins, president of the highly influential Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council, has personally endorsed Cruz.

Although Florida Senator Marco Rubio appears to be a non-factor in Iowa, oddly enough, while some of the bigger names in evangelical Christian politics are endorsing Trump or Cruz, Rubio has, according to a report in The Christian Post, "the support of more than 70 percent of evangelical leaders and influencers, and remains their top presidential pick for the seventh month in a row, according to WORLD magazine's monthly surveys."

(1 comment, 990 words in story)
Bill Gothard, Prominent Evangelical Christian Leader, Accused of Sexual Abuse and Harassment
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jan 14, 2016 at 10:15:52 AM EST
There's a sexual harassment case involving a fellow named Bill that's rocking the headlines, and it has nothing to do with Bill Cosby. Welcome to the world of Bill Gothard, where at least ten women have thus far filed lawsuits accusing the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) of sexual abuse and harassment, according to numerous reports.
(9 comments, 844 words in story)
There He Goes Again: Justice Scalia Continues Attacking Religious Neutrality
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jan 04, 2016 at 10:30:05 AM EST

The government, at least in theory, is supposed to be neutral on matters of theology, neither favoring religion nor irreligion.

In a 1989 case called Texas Monthly v. Bullock, Justice William Brennan wrote, "In proscribing all laws `respecting an establishment of religion,' the Constitution prohibits, at the very least, legislation that constitutes an endorsement of one or another set of religious beliefs or of religion generally."

(741 words in story)
War Drumbs
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Dec 15, 2015 at 09:26:14 AM EST
At Donald Trump's December 14 political speech in Los Vegas, he ended his message by bashing recently acquitted Sergeant Berdcahl as a traitor deserving of the death penalty.  This was the punch line to the final epic point of the evening as Trump laid out his Trump card to the audience.  The bashing of Berdcahl reminded me of familiar messages from these crowds regarding American patriotism.
(5 comments, 852 words in story)
GOP and Right-Wing Evangelicals Face Off Against Jesus over Syrian Refugees
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Nov 25, 2015 at 11:22:12 AM EST
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed more than 120 people and wounded hundreds of others, a number of major conservative Christian evangelical groups have joined 27-+ governors, and Republican Party presidential hopefuls, in demanding that President Obama shut the borders to refugees from Syria, the majority of which are women and children. While Donald Trump's anti-immigrant sound bites are feeding the frenzy against the refugees, and Senator Ted Cruz and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have called for allowing only Christian refugees into the country, conservative evangelical Christians are finding themselves doing battle with some mainstream Christian organizations supporting the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
(4 comments, 1297 words in story)
A Papal Trifecta: Part 3 -- Kim Davis, Mat Staver & The Pope
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Oct 02, 2015 at 11:53:06 AM EST
Corruption of the Concept of Religious Freedom: Pope's Support of Kim Davis

After learning about Pope Francis' secret visit last week with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples, defied a court order, served a few days in jail, and has now become the poster girl of "religious freedom" for the Christian Right, and her husband, two questions came to mind: Why did the pope meet with Davis? Why the secrecy?

I was searching for something succinct that might describe the pope's trip and his meeting with Davis. Clint Eastwood's "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" struck a chord. As did Winston Churchill's October 1939 statement commenting on the actions of Russia: The meet up with Davis "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key."

And the key may be the bastardization of the concept of "religious freedom," which conservative Christians have glommed onto, and are using it to shake as many dollars out of the right-wing money tree as possible.

(4 comments, 1170 words in story)

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