Anti-Defamation League Denounces Efforts to "Christianize America"
"Groups like the Evangelical Association of Reformed, Christian and Congregational Churches and the Biblical Witness Fellowship are increasingly being exposed even as they are increasingly aggressive," Thomas said. "Their relationship to the right-wing Institute for Religion and Democracy and its long-term agenda of silencing a progressive religious voice while enlisting the church in an unholy alliance with right-wing politics is now longer deniable. United Church of Christ folk like to be 'nice,' to be hospitable. But, to play with a verse of scripture just a bit, we doves innocently entertain these serpents in our midst at our own peril."
Then, up stepped Dr. Hunter Rawlings interim president of Cornell University, who used his state of the university address to rally the univeristy to come to terms with the problem of the "intelligent design" movement, which he described as "a subjective concept.... a religious belief masquerading as a secular idea. It is neither clearly identified as a proposition of faith nor supported by other rationally based arguments."
Rawlings' went on to quote from a letter written by university founder Ezra Cornell in which he warned "that the principal danger, and I say almost the only danger I see in the future to be encountered by the friends of education, and by all lovers of true liberty is that which may arise from sectarian strife. From these halls, sectarianism must be forever excluded, all students must be left free to worship God, as their conscience shall dictate, and all persons of any creed or all creeds must find free and easy access, and a hearty and equal welcome, to the educational facilities possessed by the Cornell University.....".
This week, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, addressing an ADL conference, spoke out against efforts to "Christianize America."
The Isreali newspaper Ha'aretz, reported that the ADL "has in the past spearheaded campaigns against religious preachers and Christian elements deemed unusually extreme. But this is the first all-out media assault by an ADL head on the U.S. Christian establishment."
"Today we face a better financed, more sophisticated, coordinated, unified, energized and organized coalition of groups in opposition to our policy positions on church-state separation than ever before," Foxman said. "Their goal is to implement their Christian worldview. To Christianize America. To save us!" he said.
The ADL continued the "media assault" with a press release today stating that the curriculum for teaching the Bible in the public schools being promoted by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, is unacceptable, because it "advocates the acceptance of one faith tradition's interpretation of the Bible over another."
"This wholly inappropriate curriculum blatantly crosses the line by teaching fundamental Protestant doctrine," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The text relies solely upon the King James Version of the Bible and hews to a fundamentalist reading, especially of New Testament passages. This is the primary flaw in the curriculum – that it advocates the acceptance of one faith tradition's interpretation of the Bible over another."
According to ADL, the King James Version is the least faithful one to the original Biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek.
(For its part, Focus on the Family, one of the leading Christian right organizations, thinks the curriculum "should be in all public schools," although it promotes creationism, Christian nationalism, and has generated national controvery.)
It is encouraging that more and more important leaders in American public life are rising to meet the urgent challenge of our times: an antidemocratic movement, bent on religious supremacy and creeping theocracy at all levels of government, and in all areas of life. Let's encourage more leaders to follow the lead of Foxman, Rawlings and Thomas.
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