It's Monica Goodling Freakout Time !
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 03:21:54 PM EST
My GOD ! There are about 150 graduates of Pat Robertson's Regent University within the Bush Administration, almost like a huge Al Qaeda sleeper cell !.... Well, not really ;  for one thing, Al Qaeda terrorists don't, as far I'm aware, publish their affiliations on public websites, and a "sleeper cell" that can be outed by a few minutes of Googling isn't much of a sleeper cell, is it ?
Actually, I doubt Monica Goodling or her other Regent University cohorts worried about secrecy much. It actually wasn't, up to now, at all necessary because nobody was paying attention.

The extent to which that's true can be gaged by the willingness of most people on the left to swallow hook  line and sinker David Kuo's claim, put out last October to tremendous fanfare, that the Bush Administration secretly loathed Evangelicals. The claim was more than dubious when it was made, and it was gobbled up with gusto by those who wanted the Christian right to magically vanish.

To be perfectly frank, I didn't bother writing about Monica Goodling because I assumed that it was common knowledge that Bush Administration was stuffed with ideologues from the Christian right . I guess I was wrong, but I'm perplexed by how wrong I seem to have been. [NOTE: Max Blumenthal did cover the story, providing background on Goodling's background at Regent University in a March 30, 2007 blog post at Talk To Action and on his personal blog ]

I suppose I was under the misconception that many people are aware of the pervasive penetration of the US government and even the US military by partisans of the Christian right and the work of shadow organizations such as Christian Embassy that targets high level officials within the Pentagon or FORCE Ministries that specializes in recruiting, unsurprisingly, members of the US Special Forces.

Then, there's the National Prayer Breakfast run by the "Fellowship" recently described by Jeff Sharlet.....

The list of organizations and groups on the Christian right that seek to both control and supplant government is very, very long. Sometimes it's all in the family too : While Amway/Quixtar heir Dick DeVos guns for public education, his brother in law Erik Prince founded Blackwater USA

Pat Robertson's outfit isn't the only Christian right organization with trained partisans in the US government. Sometimes it seems hard to swing a journalistic story line on US government malfeasance without it toppling someone like Wade Horn, Eric Keroack, or Monica Goodling.  

Fact is, the Bush Administration has been stuffed with far right Christian ideologues, visions of sugarplum theocracy dancing in their heads, from day one, and if someone had come up to me, eyes big as dinner plates, to warn me there are 150 graduates of Regent University working under Bush I might have thought to myself  "yes, and there are cows in fields too" while I scoped out the nearest emergency exit. And that wouldn't be fair, but by the same token the near oblivion of much of mainstream media to the Bush Administration's hiring of partisan religious ideologues for slots in the federal bureaucracy seems a bit silly.

That the US government has become saturated with culture warriors from the Chrisian right hasn't been especially publicized but neither has it been hidden.

Now, big mainstream  media outlets such as the New York Times have picked up on Monica Goodling's links to Pat Robertson and Regent University via blogs, observes Max Blumenthal, and now Robertson's strategic game, long occluded from most media vision by his penchant for idiotic sounding, absurd, or bloodthirsty gaffes is finally out in the open. But will media, blogs, and the US non-theocratic mainstream and left begin to get the bigger picture ?  As Max Blumenthal lays it out:

The Christian right is far more than a pantheon of charismatic backlashers with automatonic followers of "old men and women." It is also a sophicated political operation with a coherent long-term strategy. Goodling may be out of a job, but thousands of capable Christian right cadres remain, waging the culture war from inside the White House, federal agencies and Republican congressional offices. Together they will continue to inflame conflicts that were previously unimaginable.

Anyone insisting in spite of continuously mounting evidence that the Christian right is going to simply shrink into oblivion because the Democrats control Congress, or because evangelical leaders are prone to scandal, should learn from Goodling's example and take the fifth.

Writing on Hullaballoo, Tristero puts the hullaballoo over Monica Goodling and the Regent University brigade in perspective:

I am also not claiming that a full blown theocratic dystopia a la The Handmaid's Tale is likely in America's future. However, the theocrats have managed to undermine the separation of church and state in numerous different ways. Many of the goals of the theocrats, which were considered utterly crackpot, are now considered fit for mainstream discussion. Some examples include the establishment of an office of "faith-based initiatives," the utterly substance-less "intelligent design" creationism, the advocacy of a minimalist federal government, the opposition to the U.N. and multi-lateralism, the establishment of a false dichotomy between a dominant "secularism" and a persecuted Christianity, the attempt to undermine and eliminate Social Security, and the placement within the American government, at all levels, of political operatives fully committed to destroying American liberalism.

By "American liberalism" I am not referring specifically to those of us who call ourselves "liberals" but something far broader. The goal of the theocrats is to replace the Englightenment liberal idea of a nation of laws and the consensus of the governed with a government of self-described superior beings who claim they derive their power directly from God.
Such claims immunize rulers from criticism or accountability from the people. Such claims are made, in many different ways, by the Bush administration. Only Bush, of all presidents, at least in recent history, has explicitly claimed that the reason he took the country to war was because God told him to. Furthermore, Bush has never discouraged his far right base from claiming he is God's avatar on earth

But to focus exclusively on Christian theocratic influence within US government is to miss another process, ideological creep.

As I wrote in Science & Cargo Cults, Global Warming, The Devil, and Democracy:

Americans in the 1950's probably had far greater respect for, and empathy with, scientists and the scientific venture. But over the course of the latter 20th Century many seem to have drifted away from or trust in science. Where do beliefs such as belief in Geocentrism or the notion that Global Warming is an elaborate conspiracy to advance a 'satanic', secular humanist "one world order" come from ?

One answer to that question is that in the intervening decades since the 1950's, Christian fundamentalists who felt threatened by secularism and the Enlightenment itself turned methods of modern PR towards the problem of undermining the ethos of the Enlightenment that, some historians would assert, underlay the foundation of America as a nation. The project has been a startling success too : ideas that once circulated on the fringe of the American far right have now moved into the mainstream such that prominent US senators such as John McCain now court the political endorsement of rising Christian right leaders, such as John Hagee, who posit vast, shadowy, satanic conspiracies of "Illuminati" and "international banking groups" to foist a "one world government" on America through the United Nations.

Indeed, the House GOP Minority Speaker considers it OK to court an advocate for worldwide nuclear war. We've come a long way indeed.




Display:
I agree that those of us who cherish the separation of church and state have perhaps had a bit of euphoria over the November elections, perhaps prematurely hoping for the decline of the Religious Right.  The article above makes a great case for the need to be constantly watchful, for like migraines, the Religious Right just keeps coming back.  After all, they believe, like the Blues Brothers, that they are "On a Mission from God" and that as such, cannot rest until what they deem the forces of evil have been overcome.  I also expect to hear more talk of conspiracy theories, too, especially of the Illuminati and Council on Foreign Relations sort.  This sort of fear mongering has been going on for years, particularly within the end-time prophecy believers camp.  Several years ago I wrote a book entitled "Selling Fear" in which I explored the phenomenon of belief in conspiracy theory and end-times belief.  At the time of publication (1997), such a combination of prophecy and extreme right-wing conspiracy theory was very common, what with the coming of the year 2000 and the Y2K scare.  However, as liberal-minded people begin to resist the Religious Right take-over of the Republican party, such beliefs have again come back.  People like John Hagee, D. James Kennedy, Tim LaHaye, and others hold to that those of us who oppose them are not just in disagreement with them, but indeed part of a satanic, Illuminati conspiracy to create a one-world government.  Since fear is their major tactic, I predict that conspiratorial thinking will only increase amongst these folks and we will hear more of it in days to come.

by Gregory Camp on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:01:13 PM EST

Today's NYT (behind paywall) has a column about the inadequacies and threats posed by the Dominionist employees.

You would think that someone in MSM would have picked up on this a long time ago, say, 6.5 years ago....Kay Cole James (or is it the other way around, I never remember three-first-names folks right) as Chief of political appointee recruiting and vetting.

by NancyP on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 12:37:37 PM EST

I wrote about Claude Allen last year.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 02:42:23 PM EST
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