Responding to Cranks
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Oct 10, 2007 at 08:55:03 PM EST
There are a number of tiny crank blog sites that sometimes write about Talk to Action and some of our individual writers.  Mostly we ignore them, but once in awhile it is worth posting a reality check and a reasoned corrective.

This is one of those whiles.

I have written about MassResistance from time to time over the years -- especially in its previous incarnations as the Article 8 Alliance and the Parents Rights Coalition. They distinguish themselves as among the most vulgar and stridently antigay and anti-sexuality education groups in public life in Massachussetts.

In response to my post about the new National Organization for Marriage's smear job on MA State Rep. Angelo Puppolo (in the form of a billboard comparing him to Benedict Arnold and Judas),  MassResistance blogger AMANN wrote:

A radical leftist blog run by Frederick Clarkson that focuses on the dangerous "Christian right" has now taken up Puppolo's cause in response to the billboard, and is urging its readers to contribute to Puppolo's campaign fund!

Well now.

Talk to Action makes very clear during the registration process that we are generally progressive and make no apologies for that. But we have a quite a range of views within that broad category. As for being "radical leftist," if advocating for equality for all, regardless of religious or sexual orientation, and urging people to participate in electoral politics in order to preserve and advance constitutional democracy are "radical leftist" ideas -- that may be the most radical redefinition of "radical leftist" I have heard in a long time. But then again, cheap name calling and fear mongering is what MassResistance is all about.

But credit where credit is due: MassResistance is spot-on that I encouraged people contribute to State Rep. Angelo Puppolo's campaign fund in response to the National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) smear campaign.  

And the more Puppolo is attacked by the likes of MassResistance and NOM -- the more I will encourage people to contribute. As a matter of fact -- for information on how to contribute, click here.  

Secondly, although MassResistance focuses on me, Bruce Wilson is the co-owner of this blog. But he gets more than his share of attention in the form of a particularly histrionic post at the blog Evangelical Perspective.  This writer is quite obsessed with Talk to Action, writing ever-more shrill and twisted characterizations of our posts. His latest truly takes the prize.

Responding to Bruce's recent post about disturbing trends among evangelical groups in the military, Evangelical Perspective writes:

...they call themselves "pluralists." There's nothing "plural" about this position. Now, they're not ready to burn down our churches and burn our Bibles. But they are ready to remove liberty. As Bruce Wilson makes so clear -- evangelicals are unaccepable! (sic)

As a matter of fact, neither Bruce nor I nor anyone at Talk to Action holds such a view. Indeed, from the beginning, evangelical Christians write at Talk to Action alongside everyone else.

Bruce does not advocate removal of anyone's liberty; nor does anyone I know -- outside of the paranoid visions of Evangelical Perspective -- have the slightest inclination to burn anyone's churches or Bibles. It's a vicious slur to even suggest that we might.

Evangelicals have every right to believe as they will and we have always supported that absolute right. Bruce has never made any generalized criticism of evangelicals. What he does do in this post is outline the long term efforts of several groups to abuse public employees and to work to hijack their public role as members of the armed forces to accomplish their private sectarian ends. Public employees certainly have broad rights of conscience and worship. But there are also reasonable and indeed, Constitutionally necessary limits on what public employees may do on public time and on the public dime. And the military is no exception.

Readers can check out Bruce's post for themselves, but I think most reasonable people would agree that the stated objective of one group to turn our soldiers into "government paid missionaries" is certainly problematic.  Beyond this, Bruce and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are raising fair concerns about the  behavior of some (but far from all) evangelical groups in the military. They are raising issues related to separation of church and state and the religious rights of all; They object to coercive behavior by officers trying to impose their religious views on underlings. They also raise fair concerns about the apocalyptic views of some.

No one is advocating curbing the religious liberty of evangelicals. Indeed, it seems to me that what is being advocated is religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all -- ideas that are part of the great American evangelical tradition going back to among others, Roger Williams, John Leland, and Isaac Backus; ideas that are in fact, integral to the perspective and goals of this site.

because they sure are lashing out.  Last week, I noticed someone trying to smear Bruce and Talk2Action in the comments of his diary about MRFF shortly after it hit the rec list at Daily Kos.  Of course, recognizing trolling is easier than tracing the trolls back to the source of their disinformation.

by Rusty Pipes on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 02:43:54 PM EST
We do seem to sometimes exposing those nerves -- the ones that go to the core of the theocratic mission. Many theocratic projects have gone unchallenged -- or underchallenged -- for too long. As a result, heads do sometimes explode and leave a colorful rhetorical mess.

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 07:30:54 PM EST

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