E-Conferencing the Religious Right
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 11:56:17 AM EST
Yesterday,Talk to Action became the first national blog site to focus on the religious right -- and what to do about it. Next week, Talk to Action is partnering with Mother Jones magazine to break further new ground.  We will be hosting the first -- but certainly not the last -- national e-conference on the religious right. The occasion is the publication of a special issue of the magazine which "examines the contentious debate over the role of religion in government. "It's been more than 200 years since the founders established the separation of church and state," observe the editors in introducing the package. "The assault on that principle now under way promises to alter not only our form of government but our concept of religion as well."  
Three contributors to the special issue, Susan Jacoby, John Sugg and me, will join, Mother Jones' Senior Editor Monika Bauerlein, and Communications Director Richard Reynolds, on the front page of Talk to Action on Tuesday, November 29th. We will discuss why Mother Jones thought that the question of the role of religion in government was an essential subject to tackle, the themes and details of the articles, as described below.  But we also want to discuss what to do with this extraordinary resource, so jam packed with important information and analysis?  So often books, articles, videos, and in this case, special issues of magazines never reach the audience they deserve. Too often, resources that could prove pivotal to understanding and better contending the central struggles of our time are underutilized or recognized at all.  Is the December issue of Mother Jones such a vital resource?  The magazine is available on newsstands, and the articles are now online.  If you haven't already, sign-up for Talk to Action, get comfortable on the site, and get ready to join us for a day of thoughtful reflections on, and vigorous discussion of the role of religion and government -- as intended by the framers of the constitution, and the situation we face today.

Here are the three pieces as described in the Mother Jones press release:

"Original Intent," by Susan Jacoby

Jacoby, the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, leads the package off by detailing the conscious and radical decision by the framers of the Constitution to create the first secular government in the world. Jacoby spotlights Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion in the recent
Supreme Court decision on courthouse displays of the Ten Commandments. She dubs Scalia's opinion "a revealing portrait of the historical revisionism at the heart of the Christian conservative campaign to convince Americans that the separation of church and state is nothing more than a lie of the secularist left."

"A Nation Under God," by John Sugg  

Sugg describes the Christian Reconstruction movement as "the spark plug behind much of the battle over religion in politics today."
Reconstructionists believe that Christian crusaders must conquer and convert the world, by sword if necessary, before Jesus will return. In this worldview, says Sugg, Christians are asked not just to live right or help their neighbors, but to take over the institutions of government.

"Expanding Universe: The religious right's orbits of influence," by Frederick Clarkson

A two-page graphic spread details the intersecting galaxies of the religious right, from the Christian Coalition of America to the Moral Majority Coalition, Focus on the Family, and the Foundation for Moral Law.

Get ready for the E-Conference!

-- Read and think about the articles.
-- E-mail the online articles to friends -- there is a button at the bottom of each article.
-- E-mail the link for this announcement to friends.
-- Register at Talk to Action in advance. (There is no special registration for the E-conference, and there is no cost.)
-- Think about the role of hard copy and online magazine journalism, and the role of blogs sites as sources of information and analysis,and discussion to inform the movement to save democracy from the theocrats.

There needs to be a serious brainstorming session with new ideas how to reach the mainstream American audience.

I'm going to start by taking some copies of the articles with me to Thanksgiving dinner, and sharing with like-minded and unlike-minded relatives both.

In my family, I have a lot of conservative Catholics who are nonetheless not born again types. They are the perfect people to ween away from the Religious Right.

My MA blog: LeftinLowell.com

by lynne on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 01:19:18 PM EST

One of my enterprising readers on Live Journal has posted the links to these articles there. In seeding such things around the blog and journal-sphere, we're starting the dialogue that might be the thing needed to change the course of our country.

I refuse to let this good country slide into a theocracy.

by Lorie Johnson on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 01:44:31 PM EST

Its good to hear about these goings on too.  A lot of what happens in the blogosphere happens in obscurity, even if some sectors are teeming with activity.  It's important to get a sense of movement and activity.

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 01:51:02 PM EST

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