Short Takes
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Sep 11, 2007 at 04:22:55 PM EST
What it's like to be employed by a place that has just been firebombed by domestic terrorists; what it's like to attend Focus on the Family's ex-gay seminar; what's the deal with anti-gay researcher Paul Cameron?; what the neocons and the religious right have in common; why John Eidsmoe thinks an American empire is a good thing; and what the Assemblies of God have planned for the public schools.
Hot Flash Report opens a window on the experiences of victims of domestic terror:

1982 was a frightening year for The Hope Clinic for Women, where I continue to work. Saturday, January 23rd, the day after the 9th anniversary of legal abortion everywhere in the U.S., I got a late night phone call from our then director asking me to alert our staff the clinic was on fire.

Box Turtle Bulletin discusses the anti-gay sector of the religous right with thoughtfulness and rigor. This year they issued a detailed report on the discredited but all-too-often-cited antigay researcher, Paul Cameron.  The Bulletin's Jim Burroway also writes about doing the kind of thing more of us should go out of our way to do: pay attention to what the other side is actually doing and listen to what they are actually saying.

Focus on the Family and Exodus' traveling roadshow, "Love Won Out" came to Phoenix last Saturday (Feb 10). According to the Love Won Out website, the purpose of the conference is to "promote the truth that change is possible for those who experience same-sex attractions." These all-day conferences are held about six times a year in different cities across America. They are aimed mainly to friends and family members, pastors, youth ministers, and ordinary citizens....

...on Saturday, while everyone else was voicing their opposition to LWO through public demonstrations, I did something I never thought I would do.

I walked up to the registration desk, gave them my name, got a blue wristband, and I sat right down to see what it was all about.

The ideology of the religious right/neocon alliance is on vivid display in a joint statement of religious right leaders organized by Gary Bauer -- that beats the 'let's keep-the-war-going' drum.  It was signed onto by 43 others including Pat Robertson, Paul Weyrich, Don Wildmon, Rick Scarborough, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, and John Hagee.  They claimed that many on their list of  social conservatives "rarely speak out on the war on terror." When I was done laughing, I noticed how their press release is an excellent example of how indisinguishable the neocon and the religious right view has become.  There is no armaggedonist vision or rhetoric here -- only a vision of long-term global militarism.

Don Feder, a member of the steering committee of the Forgotten American Coalition observed: "By signing this declaration, religious conservatives are saying: 'Yes, we care about marriage, the family and the unborn. But we also care about national security, the morale of our servicemen and women and the war on terrorism.' The left, which thinks neo-cons are the only ones on the right opposing an Iraq withdrawal, had better think again."

Quoting from the Declaration: "The Iraq war must be seen in the broader context of Islamo-fascism's war on America and Western Civilization... . If we pull out now, or announce a timetable for withdrawal, the region will be destabilized and Israel further endangered. Iran and Syria, two legs of the axis of evil, will become far more powerful..."

But then again, conservative Christianity, while sometimes long on the rhetoric of conserative nationalism and isolationism, has a certain imperial tradition as well:

Islam is a threat to Christianity, according to conference speaker John Eidsmoe. Eidsmoe, a retired Montgomery, Ala., law professor, spoke while dressed in a medieval crusader get-up, including chain mail and a sword. He lauded the Crusades as effectively ensuring that not all Europe would today be Muslim.

"Had the Crusades not taken place," Eidsmoe claimed, "within a short time, I think it is fair to say that Europe would have been entirely under Muslim control. The Crusades held them off, and the Crusades bought time in which Christianity could revive and in which the European powers could reassert themselves."

Transitioning, somewhat jarringly, from the Crusades to modern times, Eidsmoe, a professor emeritus at the Jones School of Law at Faulkner University, bemoaned America as losing its way and morphing from a republic into an "empire." He added that, regardless of America's alleged failings, it should be recognized that "God can use the empire" for worthy causes, primarily wars.

"In the 20th century, I believe God used the American empire to defeat Nazism and then to defeat Communism," Eidsmoe claimed. "And in the 21st century, maybe He will use the American empire to defeat Islam."

The Pentecostal Assemblies of God has launched a campaign to get kids to evangelize in  public secondary schools.

Jay Sekulow's 30-minute radio program was devoted to reasons why the US must stay in Iraq. The host was Sekulow's son Jordan, who is being groomed to take over the show, I think.

by nogodsnomasters on Tue Sep 11, 2007 at 06:09:50 PM EST

links to the evangelicals and the defense industry, should we be surprised?

by strayroots on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 01:30:12 AM EST

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