Theocratic Pol Indicted on Terrorism Related Charges
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jan 16, 2008 at 07:54:20 PM EST
Back in the 1980's then-Rep. Mark Siljander (R-MI) was one of America's leading theocratic politicians. He was a high profile member of the Christian Right, and a close political ally of Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Today he is the posterboy for how the Framers of the Constitution and the ratifying states got it right when they proscribed religious oaths and tests for public office; protected the rights of individual conscience; discouraged religious supremacism and resolutely separated church and state.

Diarist Addison, over at Daily Kos writes:

In a story that unites the terrorism, theocrats, and lobbyists, former Reagan-appointed UN delegate and Michigan Congressman Mark D. Siljander (R) has been indicted on charges of involvement in a terrorist fundraising ring that raised and sent $130,000 to an al-Qaida affiliated group that aimed to kill American troops in Afghanistan. Siljander, who served from 1981-87, had been hired as a lobbyist for the group in their attempt to get off the United States' list of registered terrorist groups.

At any given moment, one person's fundamentalism is another person's heresy. (The most orthodox of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Mormons, Muslims and so on, for example, agree on little other than male supremacy; oppose gay rights and reproductive, rights not to mention more enlightened approaches to sexuality and separation of church and state.) While disagreements are eternal, so must be the recognition that no one's religious fundamentals are necessarily a good prescription for public policy, let alone as constitutional principles.

The Kansas City Star reports:

A Kansas City grand jury has charged a defunct charity in Columbia with sending money to an Afghan terrorist with ties to al Qaida and the Taliban.

The indictment, returned early this afternoon, also accuses a former U.S. congressman of money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

The new charges also accuse Mark Deli Siljander ... of receiving $50,000 from the charity in 2004. Siljander, who operates a Washington D.C. public relations firm, was hired to lobby Congress to remove the charity from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of non-profit organizations suspected of being involved in supporting international terrorism.

The Detroit Free Press added that

The 42-count indictment also names as defendants five men connected to the Islamic American Relief Agency in Columbia, Mo. The agency closed in October 2004, the statement said.

The indictment charges IARA with sending approximately $130,000 to help Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the United States has designated as a global terrorist. The money, sent to bank accounts in Peshawar, Pakistan in 2003 and 2004, was masked as donations to an orphanage located in buildings that Hekmatyar owned.

Authorities described Hekmatyar as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who has participated in and supported terrorist acts by al-Qaida and the Taliban. The Justice Department said Hekmatyar "has vowed to engage in a holy war against the United States and international troops in Afghanistan."

The charges "paints a troubling picture of an American charity organization that engaged in transactions for the benefit of terrorists and conspired with a former United States congressman to convert stolen federal funds into payments for his advocacy," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein.

Siljander's lobbying group is Global Strategies, Inc. Its list of "References" includes former president George H.W. Bush, and sitting members of Congress from both parties.  No doubt, the tale of Siljander will be told in some circles as a cautionary tale about the temptations of Beltway Insiderism. For others, it will epitomize the problem of the Culture of Corruption in which public officials use and abuse public office to gain experience and contacts that become highly saleable commodities after they leave office.

The framers of the Constitution understood well, when they put forward Article 6, that just because a politician swore an oath to uphold Christianity or any of its factions, that did not inherently mean that that man was honest, competent, or even true to his own faith.  Swearing to uphold the Constitution has become the standard: for all of the right reasons.

The right to believe as we will, as epressed in the First Amendment and in Article 6 also extends to our elected officials. Not only are they not required to believe anything specific, or to say that they do, but a deeper understanding of the nature of beliefs is at work here. Not only do many people not live up to their stated beliefs or moral standards, but perhaps more importantly, the views of most people change over time. That was certainly the experience of most of the framers of the Constitution, efforts by various religious and non-religious factions to put them in little boxes not withstanding. Thus the men who wrote the Constitution understood that the imposition of cookie cutter declarations of orthodoxy were rediculous on their face. Religious oaths were as preposterous and tyrannical as state churches to a society of free minds. Today, the Christian nationalists, and other theocratic factions, and those who enable them, make their careers demagoguing theocratic politics. Some are more serious about it than others.

Mark Siljander is a fine poster boy for how wrong we can be if we base our support for a candidate, a political faction or even a political party, primarily on supposed fealty to religious orthodoxy. It ought to give even the most religiously orthodox and politically conservative of the Religious Right, pause: A man once thought to hold firmly to true conservative Christian principles in national office would one-day, apparently trade on that office to become a lobbyist for alleged Islamic terrorists.




Display:
is a cautionary tale not only for theocratic pols, but for the professional panders in Washington (and elsewhere) who seek to sell us not only candidates, but on the idea that faith is or should be, a political commodity.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 12:52:09 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Road To Nowhere?: Ky. Officials Ramp Up Support For `Ark Park'
Officials in Kentucky have apparently decided that they're willing to endure a large amount of embarrassment if it will bring some mediocre jobs to......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Cruz Super-PAC Head Promotes "Biblical" Slavery For Non-Christians
Since 2013 (and with growing interest, especially since Ted Cruz mounted his bid for the presidency), various authors have sought to address Cruz' ties......
By Bruce Wilson (3 comments)
One Simple Question for Ted Cruz
As the 2016 presidential primary season moves into the media savvy states of New York (April 19) and California (June 7) a question is......
By Frank Cocozzelli (6 comments)
"Dominionism" - Correction Please
Correction Sent to Christianity Today, April 11, 2016 Regarding the article: "Stop Calling Ted Cruz a Dominionist: The Christian candidate's faith influences his platform,......
By Chip Berlet (5 comments)
South Carolina School Continues to Dominate Church-State Decisions
Bob Jones University has a rich history.  It was a launching pad for GOP Presidential candidates until George W. Bush apologized for the visit.......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
Privilege, Not Persecution: It's Time For Fundamentalist Christians To Stop Whining
Over the weekend, a movie called "God's Not Dead 2" opened in theaters around the nation. I haven't seen the film and don't intend......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Fifty Catholic Right Leaders Endorse Ted Cruz
The National Catholic Reporter recently reported  that a group of fifty conservative Catholics led by Catholic neocon Robert P. George and former Virginia Attorney......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Viva (Crime-Free) Las Vegas!: More Hooey From David Barton
Ersatz historian and "Christian nation" booster David Barton is at it again. This time he's claiming that the city of Las Vegas cut violent......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Pride Goeth: The Arrogance Of The Public School Proselytizers
If you have children, there's a good chance you've worked hard to instill in them the values you hold, whether those values are religious......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Fight Back to Defend Democracy
Be strong. Have each other's backs. Defend every target of demonizing right-wing rhetoric threatening our allies and those facing oppression or repression. Leave no......
By Chip Berlet (2 comments)
Concern About Cult-Like Tendencies
During the seventies I was a seminary student and national attention turned to the growing menace of cult groups.  It was a cultural trend......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Innocence Abused: A Lethal Combination Of Church And State Fails Pennsylvania's Children
Last week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane released a damning grand jury report about the rampant sexual abuse of minors by priests in the......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
Holy Hypocrites: The Religious Right And The Rise Of Trump
For political junkies, the Super Tuesday results offered a sumptuous repast.Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) continue to......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
Antonin Scalia; An Alternate Assessment
Praise and tribune is being given to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Among the most common accolades accorded him are the following: "an extraordinary......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Media and Rightist Distortions about Dominionism: Take the Refresher Quiz!
In light of recent discussions about dominionism and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, it seems like a good moment to refresh our memories about......
By Frederick Clarkson (18 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 (0 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 (3 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 (1 comment)
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 (0 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 (3 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (6 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (1 comment)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (5 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (3 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.