The Religious Right's Fear of Obama's Economics
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:55:48 AM EST
Introduction:  Frank Schaeffer, the son of religious right patriarch Francis Schaeffer, has written a kiss- and-tell book about his father and the movement. Frank despises what the movement became claiming his father would have also. One point Frank makes in the work is about Rich DeVos who is called a far-right financier of the movement. DeVos started Amway. I recall church members, neighbors and denominational workers seeking to enroll me in the program. There were grand stories of surgeons and lawyers who left their practices to sell Amway products because they were making so much money. You were supposed to be able to retire in a few years if you found the right faithful laborers to be below you in your corporate empire. The truth of Amway is that it was mostly a pyramid scam. DeVos and family amassed numerous wealth and funded religious right empires and governor races in places like Michigan. The folks down the line in the pyramid mostly got nothing for their efforts. Religious right pastor Charles Stanley was famous one time for telling people he often offered Amway kits to needy families who came by seeking benevolent help. The prospect of wealthy Stanley selling poor people Amway kits in his office was a picture many found offensive and Stanley never mentioned it again, even though he often spoke at Amway rallies. In Chris Hedges' recent book on the religious right, he mentions that James Kennedy, the Florida mega pastor who bordered on theocracy extremes, was partially funded by Devos.
Devos' own grand scheme of economic systems helps to lay a foundation for the movement among the crowd. Speaking with Bruce Prescott of Mainstream Baptists, Bruce commented on the Freemarket Voter Guide. He noted that people like Kelly Schackelford, a leader in the Freemarket organization, advocates no restraints on the economy. Freemarkets to these folk means no regulations. Richard Land, head of the Ethics Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has stated that the Biblical view of economics is laissez-faire. That is a system with no checks or balances. Years ago, I learned from the economics professor at my college in Oklahoma that laissez-faire economics did not work and proved a failure in the nation. DeVos, Land, et al., are not buying this. This is why Social Security, regulating waste products and welfare programs are so offensive to these types. They still believe FDR got it wrong and the government is the problem. Rick Warren hinted at such when he officiated at the first presidential debate suggesting that government programs failed to help people.

Sarah Posner in her book, God's Profits, claims that one of the driving forces of the religious right is laissez-faire. She claims that modern prosperity gospel preachers fit into this system by suggesting government handouts are sinful. To solve economic problems, one needs only to rely on faith which implies sending money directly to the mega pastor. Posner calls the Word of Faith gospel, "the ultimate in laissez-faire capitalism, regulated only by God." (p. xii).  Pastor John Hagee is quoted in the book saying that government welfare is a distortion and a deception from Satan. (p. 7). Earlier this week, I heard Hagee claim that you can make more on welfare than laboring for fifty thousand a year in New York City.  He stated we needed to abolish the program and several in the congregation stood and applauded. On the other hand, Bishop Long, himself a prosperity gospel preacher, received a million dollar grant from the Bush administration to use in his children's ministry at the church. (p. 33).  It appears to be an economic system that blesses the top of the pyramid - and those at the bottom gotta just believe.

The Georgia Baptist Index wrote in an editorial in 1900 that the majority of the poor were poor because they were immoral. Later on, Southern Protestants blamed laissez-faire capitalism for the depression.1 They appeared to have made the connection. The religious right never did.

When Obama talks about reversing the tax breaks given to the higher income portion of the society granted so by the Bush administration, his critics see this as redistribution of wealth - and the "s" word is used (socialism). More emotional critics use the "c" word (Communism).

If you need economic help in your journey, the DeVos and Freemarket crowd have some advice for you:  Work harder or have more faith. The hatred of Obama by these types reaches extremes. One of the factors is that they view him as a product of the system that used the government to attend schools and move up the economic ladder. I have heard snide remarks about the fact that the government assisted in his education. In the system suggested by the religious right, government aid to the needy is only supposed to cripple, as J.C. Watts used to say. Aid to bail out those at the top of the pyramid is just as embarrassing, but not as evil. As the Amway folks would explain it - that's just the way it works.

1  Kenneth Bailey, Southern White Protestantism, Harper & Rowe, NY, 1964, pgs. 17, 115.




Display:
TTA posted some DeVos articles in 2006, when he ran for governor of Michigan. He is expected to run in 2010 for the same.

The DeVos network includes many foundations and are tied by marriage to the Prince family
( Blackwater mercenaries, James Dobson, etc. ) with their own network of foundations.

Several books by exAmway have exposed the cynical use of faith commitment as part of the cement that bonds people to Amway even when Amway's promises miserably fail to materialize.

The DeVos and Prince families are also big in the Council for National Policy.

 

by Russ Bellant on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 07:28:06 PM EST

Here is the link to Russ Bellant's series profiling Dick Devos  

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/10/20/171916/58

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 07:39:34 PM EST
Parent



What is the title of Schaeffer Jr's new book?

by Russ Bellant on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 07:29:27 PM EST
His book is "Crazy for God." I highly recommend it, especially for his choice observations of some Christian Right leaders. Interestingly enough, Frank Schaeffer left his father's Calvinist Protestantism for the Greek Orthodox faith.

by khughes1963 on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:15:56 PM EST
Parent


From what I've heard, the big money in the distributorships isn't so much in sales of Amway product. Rather, the directors of the sales organizations make their biggest money selling motivational tapes and workbooks to lower level participants in their sales organizations. It also isn't uncommon for lower level participants to go heavily into debt trying to pretend they are making it financially, otherwise known as "fake it till you make it."

by khughes1963 on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:19:53 PM EST

Thanks for the comments to all here.  I personally enjoyed Russ Bellant's notes.  I had wanted to meet him since I read THE COORS CONNECTION and THE OLD NAZIS AND THE GOP.

by wilkyjr on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 09:03:34 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


No, Mr. Beck, Our Constitution is Not Based on the Book of Deuteronomy
Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch reports that "On today's radio broadcast, Glenn Beck went full David Barton, claiming that one-third of the Constitution......
By Chris Rodda (4 comments)
A Talk to Action Anthology on Neo-Confederacy, Nullification and Secession (Updated)
Over the past year, a number of posts have addressed the growing Neo-Confederate movement, the advocacy of nullification of federal laws, and even the......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Two Years Ago Today, the 'Least Credible History Book in Print' was Published
This post is an updated version of my post from this same date last year, which, not surprisingly, was titled "One Year Ago Today,......
By Chris Rodda (1 comment)
Geocentrist Creationists Seek To Become The Center Of Attention
There are days when fundamentalist zealots do something so off the wall that I don't know whether to laugh or cry, so I do......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
A Full Quiver of Bad Advice
Mike Huckabee mailed out an open invitation to all Texas pastors inviting them to attend the Texas Renewal Project.  The first 1,000 to respond......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)
Opus Dei Priest's Secessionist Roadmap to Theocracy
Fr. C.J. ("John") McCloskey is in many ways the  American face of the secretive Catholic organization, Opus Dei.  He is a former Wall Streeter,......
By Frank Cocozzelli (10 comments)
Don't Be April Fooled by Far-Right Activists Dressed Up as Democratic Candidates
This is cross-posted from The Huffington Post. It expands and updates previous posts about the Neo-Confederate theocrats Michael Peroutka and Pastor David Whitney. Maryland......
By jhutson (0 comments)
Dangerous Defiance: Md. Official Ignores Court Ruling On Sectarian Prayer
I'm not a lawyer, but let me give you a little free legal advice anyway: It's never a good idea to defy a federal......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors'
Austin Ruse doesn't understand why people were so upset when he said on a national radio program that university leaders "should all be taken......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Justice For All: The Supreme Court And The Role Of The Justices' Religious Beliefs
Today's Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.The question......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
RINO Says His Dino Proves Noah's Flood -- Wha Wha What?
Michael Peroutka, the presidential candidate of the Constitution Party in 2004 and co-founder of the theocratic Institute on the Constitution, made news recently when......
By jhutson (0 comments)
Franklin Graham Slams Obama and Supports Putin in Battle Over Gay Rights
With a column vigorously supporting Vladimir Putin's anti-gay crusade in Russia, Evangelist Franklin Graham finds himself edging closer to inheriting the mantle of Fred......
By Bill Berkowitz (3 comments)
Neo-Confederate Democrats: Oxymorons?
“Many of you may be thinking that I have lost my mind,” Republican Del. Don Dwyer wrote in a March 2013 email and Facebook......
By jhutson (2 comments)
The Catholic Right Star & the Porn Star -- UPDATED
A Duke University freshman best known by her stage name Belle Knox has been much in the news. She was even interviewed by Piers......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Baptists and Bullets in Texas Politics
One thing regional Baptist GOP candidates share in common is a deep affection for gun rights.  The endorsements of pro-gun positions takes precedence over......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)

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 (1 comment)
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 (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (0 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
A Wiccan Witch In Salem
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or......
irishwitch (0 comments)
Jerry Falwell's Fundamentalist Liberty University Still Getting Hundreds of Millions in Federal Aid
In 2010, Liberty University got more federal funding than the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In a 2011 Talk To Action story, contributor Bill Berkowitz covered the new trend in which right-wing evangelical colleges and......
Bruce Wilson (2 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.