The Fight for The Soul of The GOP Is On!
Joan Bokaer printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 06:39:07 AM EST
U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KA) is forming an exploratory committee to run in the 2008 GOP presidential primary. "Brownback seeks something far more radical [than George Bush]: not faith-based politics but faith in place of politics,"  claims journalist Jeff Sharlet :

In his dream America, the one he believes both the Bible and the constitution promise, the state will simply wither away. In its place will be a country so suffused with God and the free market that the social fabric of the last hundred years -- schools, Social Security, welfare -- will be privatized or simply done away with. There will be no abortions; sex will be confined to heterosexual marriage. Men will lead families, mothers will tend children, and big business and the church will take care of all.

Brownback rode in on a wave created by the Christian Coalition in 1994, the year that Pat Robertson's organization took working control of the Republican Party.

"Back in 1994, when Brownback came to Congress as a freshman," writes Sharlet,

he was so contemptuous of federal authority that he refused at first to sign the Contract With America, Newt Gingrich's right-wing manifesto -- not because it was too radical but because it was too tame. Republicans shouldn't just reform big government, Brownback insisted -- they should eliminate it. He immediately proposed abolishing the departments of education, energy and commerce.  

Robertson saw the potential of organizing through supportive evangelical churches. He hired Ralph Reed to build a massive political machine inside those churches that not only gave the GOP control of both houses of the U.S. Congress in1994, but also chose George W. Bush as their candidate for President in 2000. When Reed and then Robertson left the Christian Coalition, its influence began to wane. But it has been surpassed by Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and a new breed of openly theocratic Patriot Pastors who campaigned vigorously in their megachurches.

The theocratic right was dangerously close to controlling all three branches of the U.S. government -- they were almost in a position to impose their narrow reading of scripture on the rest of the country when ...

came the midterm election of November 7, 2006. Given the passion of the soldiers for Christ, the sheer size of some of their churches, the gerrymandering of congressional districts, and the vulnerability of voting machines without verifiable paper trails, November 7 was nothing short of a miracle. It marks the day that democracy reasserted itself. Many members of Congress who rode in on the theocratic wave in 1994 were sent packing.

And now -- perhaps the final? -- battle for the soul of the GOP is on. Karl Rove and associates still believe they have a winning formula - keep the Christian Conservative base of the GOP happy. Rove thinks the last election was a fluke and he is sticking to his strategy. But many traditional Republicans, independents, libertarians, mainstream Christians, and, yes, evangelicals left the party. Some notables such as Jim Webb (newly elected Senator from VA) was a Republican and the former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan. He unseated a darling of the religious right, Senator George Allen (R-VA).

So the drama is on. Who will win the Republican primary for U.S. President in 2008? No thriller is this exciting -- the forces of theocracy against the hordes of democracy.




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From his seat on the Senate Judiciary committee, Brownback has been very influential. His colleague John McCain credits Brownback with leading the charge to remove Harriet Myers as Bush's nomination for the Supreme Court and replace her nomination with Samuel Alito.

More recently, he has held up the nomination of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff to a seat on a U.S. District Court because she attended a wedding ceremony of a friend in Boston who was marrying another woman. A minister presided over the ceremony and Neff just attended as a friend, but that was enough for Brownback to hold up her nomination.


by Joan Bokaer on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 06:42:29 AM EST


Brownback also has a PAC called Restore America PAC.  Take a gander and who gives and gets.  The PAC has ten times the cash that it had in 2004, according to Open Secrets.  

One beneficiary this year was the anti-abortion campaign in South Dakota -- Restore America PAC is apparently trying to restore back alley abortions in America.  Brownback (via PAC) sent $5,000 to his out-of-state pals.

 
I guess he got the urgent solicitation letter from Jerry Falwell.


by cyncooper on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 12:31:55 AM EST


Of all the extreme religious-right whackos left in Congress,  Sam Brownback may be the worst. He is - or was - powerful, rigid, and unscrupulous. Only in Kansas or certain parts of Texas could this guy have been elected to any office higher than Pet Control without a mass revolt from the citizenry, but in the New Republican party, he is - still - a force to be reckoned with.

Having said that, and agreeing with much of what you wrote, it isn't true that Robertson's CC "took working control of the Republican Party." They'd like you to believe they did - they'd like to believe it themselves - but they didn't. They came as close as it was humanly possible to come without gaining effective control, however - they had enormous influence with the people who did have such control. Close but no cigar.

The real controllers of the Publican party are the neocon cowboys from PNAC, HF, AEI, and the rest of the extreme right-wing establishment, most of whom are still in the government, and the corporate outriders who represent Big Business. There are crossovers, certainly, but in fact (as I intended at one point to detail) the theocratic wing has had to spend much of the last 6 years with its hat in its hand and its head bent in supplication or else thundering and threatening to get what it wanted and has been bitterly disappointed.

The corporatocracy uses the Publican party to get and maintain power over the government, and the Publicans used the religious right to get votes. Xtian fundies in particular feel betrayed by the Bush Admin precisely because so little of their agenda was enacted - "crumbs" was the way one leader put it. Assuming that they would have nowhere else to go, Rove pretty much took them for granted until only a few weeks from the election when his numbers told him they were likely to stay home and he tossed them a bone or two. It wasn't enough and they did, it would appear, refrain from putting much energy into the election.

Yes, there will be a fight for control of the GOP but it isn't even clear that the religious right will be anything other than bystanders, possibly of their own choice. A split has developed in the last year or two between those who believe, like Brownback, that the dominionist camp should be in complete control of the Pubs and ought to work toward using their leverage and true control at the local level to hijack the Federal govt, and those who are now questioning whether they ever should have gotten involved in the political process to begin with.

The outcome of that split is unclear as is the question of whether or not what's left of the "new" GOP after Bush's meltdown even wants the religious right on their side - polls have been showing for years that a majority of the country isn't interested in overturning Roe v Wade or passing a Constitutional amendment "protecting marriage" or forcing ID into science classrooms, and it is dawning on the PTB that in the long run the fundies may be more of a drag than a help.

The danger, of course, is that with so much of the New GOP having tied itself with chains and padlocks to the star of George W and that star plummeting from the sky like a dead satellite, there is going to be an enormous vacuum at the top. Like its leader, the organization of the New GOP is in freefall, and that represents a terrific opportunity for the dominionists to move in for real. Can they take advantage of it?

Unlikely. They seem to be headed for a round of infighting so vicious that they won't be able to unite in time to exploit the opening. I'm not even sure they see it.

I'm not trying to minimize the threat - these people will, thwarted one way, simply find another, even sneakier way in - but I am suggesting that what looked like a monolith was only a temporary alliance which is now breaking down into its natural components, many of which are enemies of each other, and the threat is not now looking anywhere near as dangerous as it was.

- mick -


by mick arran on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 04:30:10 AM EST
They have been a powerful faction and they have, infact, gotten a great deal out of this administration and the Congress. (A certqain amount of public whining not withstanding. How about the Atty Generalship of John Ashcroft?  How about the federal judges and Supreme Court judges?  How about hundreds of millions of dollars diverted from federal programs in spoils to churches and favored, politically connected Christian charities, in the U.S. and via foriegn aid?

How about the defunding of legitimate family planning programs here and abroad?

I could go on. I think you vastly underestitmate the ongoing power and influence of the religious right, which has recieved, and will continue to receive, far more than "crumbs."  They will also remain a powerful player in national and especially regional politics.


by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 10:05:17 AM EST
Parent

...I don't think much of the impact has trickled down yet.  In the down-thread essays there is a nugget about people missing 'slow moving phenomena' - the boiled frog concept - but I think it's more the case that the impacts weren't evident to non-political America.  By evident, I mean: directly affected my daily life and personal business.  The South Dakota abortion ban debacle gave me hope that once the rubber really met the road, most Americands will reject the theocratic agenda.  

In that same vein, I do hope Brownback runs because he will expose himself and his backers to in-depth public scrutiny - in a way W wasn't - and I believe that will make him unelectable.  

I tend to agree with the commenter who suggests that the 'real power' is with the elite money interests - corporate america and the neo-cons - who have very small numbers and therefore need 'astro-turf'.  Dobson, et al, get a lot of money - the whole reason for the faith-based initiative is to provide a revenue stream for the long-term care and feeding of this political machine - but I don' t believe they organically generate enough to overcome their 20-30% representation in the general population.  I think the disproportionate influence they've exercised of late is largely the result of being heavily leveraged by the non-proportionate nature of the Senate and EC, and by their usefulness to the Corporatists.

Maybe that's a lot of wishful thinking too.

by montpellier on Sat Dec 09, 2006 at 11:27:03 AM EST
Parent

to think of the religious right as mere tools of corporatists and monied elites. It is fair to say that there is a working coalition in the GOP.

But I think it is wrong to assume that the religous right is not smart enough or ideologically motivated enough to have their own agenda and be powerfully manipulative in their own right.

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Dec 09, 2006 at 12:41:23 PM EST
Parent

I think they are an exceedingly smart and manipulative lobby - they leverage their minority numbers remarkably well - but they also seem to keep bumping up against significant limits.

But no, I agree: it would be wrong to assume they're not all that dangerous.  That's why I'm so glad you wrote the book and run the site! :-)

by montpellier on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 08:01:30 AM EST
Parent





Mick - this is, obviously, a draft for an essay rather than a comment. It's one I've been intending to write ( or re-write ) for a while now.

Your analysis has much in common with the general take presented in "What's The Matter With Kansas", by Thomas Frank, and also with the portrait recently sketched by David Kuo, in his book "Tempting Faith" and in numerous interviews around the time Kuo's book was released, of how the "Faith Based" initiative is insubstantial, barely funded, and has been used to manipulate American evangelicals who, claimed Kuo, the Bush Administration held in contempt. Central to the two narratives by Frank and Kuo are dual claims that the Christian right has no real leadership but mainly amounts to a voter base of religious conservatives that are manipulated by scheming, secular politicians, and that those religious conservatives get little for their votes, mostly empty symbolic gestures and "crumbs".

Both of those claims are demonstrably wrong, and they show the extent to which - despite huge amounts of talk - little serious attention gets paid to the Christian right. One of the chief reasons for that lies in the fact that the movement mostly advances its agenda incrementally. Of course there are flash points and examples of overreach where the movement tries to make major changes and its ideological opponents rally to push those efforts back, but those cases amount, really, to epiphenomena compared to the quiet, indirect methods that do the really significant work of advancing Christian nationalism.

Humans don't tend to notice slow moving phenomenon, and in that light the historic lack of US public concern over Global Warming and about the advance of the religious right agenda share much in common. The Christian Nationalist goal of demolishing church state separation in the US has been advancing slowly, but now we are at a point where religious organizations that receive hundreds of millions of dollars ( at least ) a year to provide social services can force employees to sign religious loyalty oaths and also practice religious discrimination in hiring, dispense fraudulent, deceptive, and ideologically charged information masquerading as sex ed, and get a preferential regulatory regime that applies to "faith based" but not to secular social service providers.

The structure, taxonomy, and methods of the Christian right are fantastically complex, and it no wonder that many see the movement as - essentially - scripted and controlled by wealthy business interests, for it is in part indeed funded by those. But, there are important points of divergence between the Christian right and business interests which - on a number of points - tends to be ideologically neutral. The impacts of Global Warming, for example, will not be good for business generally. So why the top level ideological opposition to action on Global Warming from leaders on the Christian right ?

One could - of course - blame it on funding from Exxon-Mobil, and there's much to that argument but it misses the actual dynamic of what's going on : what's actually occurred, in the funding of the Christian right as a movement, is not so much that its leaders adopted positions scripted by business but, rather, that business has funded individuals and groups on the Christian right whose beliefs support the interests of business. There's a big difference, and it is a distinction that gets to the heart of the matter - although the GOP and to some extent the leadership of the Christian right is rank with hypocrisy nonetheless the Christian right is powered by real beliefs and not by beliefs handed down from on high by the corporate executives of Exxon-Mobil. Dictated beliefs do not work especially well to motivate volunteers, and the Christian right is powered as much as, and maybe even more than, by volunteerism as by funded activists. An additional and rather significant, point is that many of the wealthy patrons of the Christian right are true believers - such as Richard DeVos and Tom Monaghan - whose funding advances cherished theocratic visions.

As a general historical observation, in the late 1980's the Christian right as a movement was pronounced, by a range of pundits and media voices, as dead following a spate of scandals that toppled several prominent televangelists. But less than a decade later, in 1994, Christian conservatives - powered by the "Christian Coalition" and other activist political groups, swept in to take control of the US Congress. Mainstream US concern over the movement then gradually receded until the presidency of George W. Bush.

"Religious conservatives have become part of the fabric of American political life over the past 25 years. While the movement's early energy focused on national politics, their primary locus of effort and impact has been in state level politics." - Kimberly H. Conger

The Christian and religious right, and Christian nationalism, do not advance merely through national politics but - rather - more through state level politics and through the construction of a growing welter of parallel institutions - Christian broadcasting networks, schools, colleges, universities, professional associations, movie production companies, the Christian music industry, ideological products such as books on creationism and US historical revisionism..... the list is seemingly endless and always growing. In short, American Christian conservatives have, for the last several decades, been constructing an entire parallel America that's increasingly ubiquitous and easy to miss for urbanites on the coasts but which serves to reinforce the movement and also to keep up the pressure that gradually moves American culture and ideology towards a theocratic set point.  

There are many fronts in the "culture wars".

The Christian right agenda of curtailing access to reproductive rights including access to contraception is well underway but mainly, for the moment, effects poor Americans. It is true, yes, that some pharmacists now refuse to dispense birth control (for religious reasons) and that this does effect some in the middle class but generally the reproductive rights wars are easy to ignore for those whose access to birth control, abortion, or pap smear tests for cervical cancer, has not been curtailed.  Defunding family planning has been at the forefront of the Christian right agenda and is well underway already in Texas, and during the Bush Administration, hundreds of millions of federal dollars have subsidized a growing national network of "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" - that look superficially similar to Planned Parenthood and family planning clinics but provide little or no actual medical services and work chiefly to dissuade women from abortions and also to evangelize - and also a network of "Abstinence Only" educators ( if one could rightly call the that ) who discuss the failure rates of condoms in public schools and dispense ideologically charged misinformation.

The rise of federal funding for "abstinence-only" education ( currently slated to rise to over $200 million dollars per year ) has been a major recent advance for the Christian right (but only one of many) and has been augmented by other ancillary federal funding programs - for "character education" and "family strengthening" - which tend to interlock at the state level to support mid-sized organizations dedicated to the Christian right agenda. Little attention has been paid to the way such funding programs actually work.

The effect of federal money given to states for "Abstinence-Only" is amplified by the fact that some of this money is Title V granting that requires that states provide matching funds to federal grants at a 4:3 ratio. Further, many governors dedicate state funds to "Abstinence Ed" beyond those matching fund requirements so that - for example - by my estimates Texas has, since 1997, spent about $140 million dollars to promote "Abstinence Only" - to dubious results.

The pot of federal grant money available to religious organizations that can discriminate on the basis of religion in their hiring practices is now up to about $100 billion dollars a year - that is not grant money given out, it is the pool of federal grant money religious organizations can now apply for. The actual amount of money going out under George W. Bush's "Faith Based Initiative" is actually very hard to determine (and that is probably by design) but it is probably larger than the sum provided by the Bush Administration - over 2 billion dollars a year. Not all that money goes to organizations I would designate as being on the Christian right, but as a very rough estimate I would say that 1/2 or more does. What does this mean ? Well, it means that 1 billion dollars a year or more of federal funding is now going to organizations that are dedicated partisans for the Christian right agenda. That money will go a long way to keeping the activists of the Christian right employed and working to advance their ideological agenda, and it augments already existing funding streams, from large right wing philanthropies, that power the Christian right movement.

The "Faith Based Initiative" has been advanced in ways that are less than obvious - for example, religious organizations providing social services are no longer subject to the same sorts of regulations that apply to secular organizations and businesses providing the very same services such as , for example, child care.

One of the most important means by which the Christian right has advanced its agenda over the last few decades has been through the quiet establishment of precedent - via legislative and executive fiat or through the creation of small, seemingly innocuous programs that seem quite sensible, in terms of how they are framed in any case, but which overturn established precedent on Church-State separation. In 1996, then US Senator John Ashcroft attached an amendment to the Welfare Reform package that fundamentally restructured welfare - Ashcroft's amendment stated that religious organizations could receive federal money without altering their basic character ; what the amendment actually meant was that religious organizations receiving federal funding to provide social services would no longer need to maintain seperate, secular nonprofit entities to receive that moeny and dispense the designated services, and that they could impose ideological and religious conformity on their ( federally funded) employees. One result of Ashcroft's amendment was that, several years later under the Bush Administration, the Salvation Army fired its employees who would not sign a Christian religious loyalty oath. A Salvation Army employee of close to two decades, a Jewish woman named Anne Lown, was fired for refusing to sign the oath and filed a lawsuit in response. The case made it all the way up the US Supreme Court on an appeal. Now, one would have supposed that the federal funding of religious discrimination constituted a violation of various Constitutional principles, but the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and that raises another point I won't go into here but which is quite significant : another way the Bush Administration has advanced a Christian nationalist agenda is by packing federal courts with judges sympathetic to the Christian right agenda, and the US Supreme Court is no exception. Another rather significant upcoming legal precedent that will serve to undermine church-state separation in a rather exaggeratedly blatant way is the planned launch, in the summer of 2007, of the "Fugitive Safe Surrender" program, under the US Marshal's Service, that will - quite literally - install courts within churches eight cities around the US : only "temporarily" according to the program, which ostensibly provides a "safe" mechanism by which fugitives from the law can turn themselves in to authorities. Another enormous realm - in terms of the growing role of religious organizations in the judicial system - has been the recent rise of "Faith Based Prisons". Federal funding for Charles Colson's Indiana "Faith Based Prison" program was cut off per a recent court decision, but there are a welter of  similar state supported programs and also many voluntary programs, some of which actually play a quasi judicial role.

One of the hallmarks of the Bush Administration has been to appoint dedicated partisans of the Christian right to head federal agencies, and the recent appointment of Eric Keroack to Health and Human Services, to head the Office Of Family Planning, will have in all likelihood an enormous impact on family planning clinics in the US given that Keroack - who will supervise 283 million dollars a year in federal grants, is ideologically opposed to contraception.  The Christian right assault on science based sex education will continue as will the advance of "Abstinence Only" sex ed until the Democratic Party chooses to challenge such abuses of government, but so far - given the rise of Democratic organizations aligned with aspects of the Christian right agenda such as "Democrats For Life Of America", the prospect of a Democratic Party pushback on reproductive rights seems fair to slim.

At the international level things large amounts of US government money are being shifted towards the promotion of an ideological agenda favored by the Christian right  - CARE has recently been defunded, with $200 million in USAID money shifted to Christian charities : not all of those are ideologically aligned with the hard Christian right but a good percentage are, and the Bush Administration, further, has weakened rules against those organizations proselytizing while distributing  that USAID money and fulfilling the missions they've been funded to do.

The really big money, though, is in US funding against AIDS - the PEPFAR program. As with the promotion of "Abstinence Only" education in the US, US international aid money now goes, in part, to promoting an ideological agenda favored by the Christian right.

It's actually quite hard to ascertain where money in the $15 billion dollar initiative is going, according to one reporter who has studied the program who was interviewed by Democracy Now:

AMY GOODMAN: How difficult was it to get information, Marina? You filed lawsuits?

MARINA WALKER GUEVARA: Yes, we filed three lawsuits against the State Department, Human Services and the US Agency for International Development. It was very difficult to get information. We filed more than two dozen Freedom of Information Act requests during the year that the investigation lasted, and in the end we got some information, because of the lawsuits, basically, which is scary because this is information that is public, that should be available. It's information that has nothing to do with national security or with any other topic that may concern the government. And basically, if you don't have the money to file a lawsuit, you don't get information. And we didn't get the funding information that we were expecting. The government released some sort of database that contained errors, and they acknowledged that they still don't have a good database, that they are improving, that they are trying. So this also raised concerns about the accountability of the project, of the PEPFAR program.

Democracy Now interviewed the reporter Marina Walker Guevara following the release of a Center For Public Integrity study of how PEPFAR was being implemented in Africa. Here's the Democracy Now introduction of that interview:

A new report released by the Center for Public Integrity is the first of its kind to examine the policies, politics and goals of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief known as PEPFAR. The report finds that PEPFAR's faith-based ideology - including promotion of abstinence - often trumps science. The report states that PEPFAR is, "failing to help lead the world to stop this deadly disease. Instead of empowering people we are restricting them." [includes rush transcript] A new report released by the Center for Public Integrity finds that President Bush's $15 billion dollar initiative to combat HIV abroad has failed countries struggling with the pandemic.

The report, titled "Divine Intervention," was released as countries across the globe observed World AIDS day on Friday. It is the result of a year-long investigation and is the first of its kind to examine the policies, politics and goals of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief known as PEPFAR. The center worked with reporters in eight countries who found that PEPFAR's faith-based ideology - including promotion of abstinence - often trumps science. The report states, "PEPFAR is failing to stop the global spread of AIDS and failing to help lead the world to stop this deadly disease. Instead of empowering people we are restricting them. We have a flawed framework with flawed policies."

There is a lot more to say on this front - for example many observers are under the impression that the US Christian right is merely a domestic US movement when, in fact, the movement is now international in scope and is pursuing a highly ambitious agenda. For example Christian religious broadcasting has come to China, and a program run by American Christian fundamentalists has set out to  train 1 million lay pastors in Asia ( by 2010 if my memory serves ). So far, that effort has achieved a significant fraction of its goal. Those are only two examples out of many that - in aggregate - present a rather grim portrait of the extent to which secular ideologies are being outflanked worldwide. One expression of that is the emergence, reports Jennifer Butler, head of Faith In Public Life, of "strange alliances" between Christian and Islamic fundamentalists to oppose reproductive rights at the international level, such as in the UN.

In terms of the real influence of the Christian right within the GOP, if you are interested in an academic study about that Kimberly Conger, assistant professor of political science at Indiana State, did a study in 2002 that analyzed the influence of the Christian right and also shifting patterns in that influence. Conger updated her research, to assess more recent changes, in 2005. Here is a PDF file of the research paper Conger presented at an academic conference last May 2006, in Lubbock TX.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 12:43:02 PM EST
Parent


That's why I use the term "working" control. For the past decade, almost the entire Republican leadership in Congress received scorecards of 100% from the Christian Coalition. One notable exception was Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, who barely kept her seat this last election. In my tally from 2004, Pryce, Republican Conference Chair, received a 58% CC scorecard. Seven of the ten highest ranking leaders in the House received scorecards of 100% that year, two received 92% and then there was Pryce at 58%. The entire Republican Senate leadership received CC scorecards of 100%.

CC appears to be less influential now, but I was interested in their scorecards back then because they covered a range of issues reflecting the broader dominionist agenda -- guns, taxes, etc.

by Joan Bokaer on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 03:57:35 PM EST
Parent



My reply was meant to go under Mick's statement. I was responding to his point that they didn't "control" the Republican Party. I always use the term "working" control because they didn't get everything they wanted -- but as Bruce so adeptly documents, they got an awful lot.

by Joan Bokaer on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 04:05:56 PM EST

 The GOP may be headed for a third party split.

robwire.com
by rob on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 01:52:44 AM EST


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I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (167 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (131 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (69 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (184 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (73 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (103 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (98 comments)

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