The Religious Right: Dead/Not/Dead/Not (and so on)
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 07:05:51 PM EST
There is quite a debate going on about the alleged death, decline or irrelvance of the religious right. It is a perennial discussion stretching back decades, and led mostly by waves of pundits and self promoters surfing the currents generated by Inside the Beltway PR shops. (I debunk these bogus rounds of sloganeering from from time-to-time.) Part of this is tied to efforts to marginalize public discussion of reproductive rights, marriage equality and matters related to separation of church and state.  

Fortunately, Barry Lynn and Welton Gaddy not only know that the Religious Right is not dead -- but they have coauthored a book about it with ideas about what to do. Related to this, thier respective organizations, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Interfaith Alliance Foundation have been promoting ten questions citizens should ask of candidates at all levels this election season.  All this has the editorial writers at the hometown paper of James Dobson's Focus on the Family gobsmacked! Outraged! And apparently out to prove Lynn and Gaddy correct.

According to a press release about the book:

Is the 'Religious Right' Dead? New Book Says 'Rumors of its Death Are Greatly Exaggerated'

WASHINGTON, DC - Despite rumors to the contrary, the Religious Right's influence over the government and the 2008 campaign remains alarmingly strong, say two nationally known ministers and interfaith leaders campaigning for protection of individual religious liberties in America.

Religious liberty -- the right of an individual to worship or not -- was established in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the resulting church-state divide is a defining American value. But in today's political climate, where the Religious Right wields undue influence and the 2008 presidential candidates publicly proclaim their religious credentials, this "first freedom" is at risk.

In a new book released this week, the leaders of the Interfaith Alliance Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State provide a citizens' guide to understanding and navigating the intersection between faith and politics.

First Freedom First: A Citizens' Guide To Protecting Religious Liberty And The Separation Of Church And State, co-authored by the President of the Interfaith Alliance Foundation, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, and the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, illustrates the threats facing religious liberty in this country. Their book offers simple ways individuals can preserve our nation's fundamental freedoms and First Amendment rights.

Rev. Gaddy provides a religious-political perspective that takes readers on the campaign trail and into the halls of Congress. Rev. Lynn provides a legal perspective on religious freedom that takes readers from the creation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment to contemporary issues of religious freedom moving through the U.S. legal system, including those dealing with end-of-life care, academic integrity, evolution and creationism in public schools, and religious discrimination.

"This year's presidential election has often seemed to be more of a race for pastor-in-chief, than commander-in-chief," said Gaddy. "We seem to have become obsessed with the candidates' religion to the point of distraction. It is one thing for a candidate to talk about their faith; it is quite another to imply that you should vote for them because of it. Faith can play a positive role in public life, but not as a political tool."

Said Lynn, "The forces that would merge religion and government are alive and well in this country.  We need to make sure the Religious Right does not dominate the public square in this election year. The American people want to know where the candidates stand on the critical issues of the day, not what their favorite Bible verse is."

But here is some of what the ed board at the Colorado Springs Gazette had to say. The knees of these writers jerked so hard that I can only imagine they must have severely damaged themselves against the underside of the conference table.

Warning: The scary and dangerous religious right isn't dead yet, and it's threatening the First Amendment.

That's the ridiculous and inflammatory theme of a new book co-authored by two far left activists with histories of trying to silence Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family and its founder, James Dobson....

A press release for the book states: "Despite rumors to the contrary, the Religious Right's influence over the government and the 2008 campaign remains alarmingly strong."

Unfortunately for conservatives, the statement couldn't be sillier. In November, the president-elect will be Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John McCain. Obama and Hillary are boldly pro-choice on abortion and fetal stem cell research, two issues the religious right vehemently opposes. McCain, a morality moderate who divorced his first wife to pursue a woman 18 years his junior, gives Christian conservatives the willies. Yet they're all too religious for Gaddy and Lynn.

They're serious. They believe the First Amendment may be doomed because some candidates have revealed Christian beliefs. Rather than wonder about a candidate's religious beliefs, declares Lynn in the press release, "the American people want to know where the candidates stand on the critical issues of the day."

That's deep, except for those who understand that "critical issues of the day" involve morality and religion. Abortion, cloning, fetal stem cell research, capital punishment, homosexual marriage, drugs, taxation, and human rights come to mind as issues one can't divorce from atheism, secularism, humanism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, or any other belief system protected by the First Amendment.

The press release quotes Walter Cronkite fabricating the Constitution. Cronkite says: The book "informs and challenges, as well as inspires and guides us on issues of vital importance to all of us - our founding fathers' vision for religious liberty and their constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state."

Constitutional guarantee? The phrase "separation of church and state" doesn't appear in the Constitution. Gaddy, Lynn and Cronkite wish it were so, because they desire to disenfranchise conservative Christians. They believe it's illegal to support laws against abortion, or homosexual marriage, or fetal stem cell research. They want a law against bringing religious views into public office, even though federal court rulings view atheism and secularism as religion, or mere beliefs. Christians "believe" in one omnipotent God; atheists "believe" no god exists. Secularists "believe" it doesn't matter.




Display:
I'd be shocked, shocked to learn that either
  1. FOTF advertises in that paper
  2. The owner's or editor's wife works at FOTF, or their families are otherwise connected to FOTF
  3. Major advertisers rely on FOTF as one of their best customers (eg, car dealers, restaurants/caterers, florists, etc.)
  4. Relatives of owners of major advertisers work at FOTF
...you get the picture.

(really, I'd be shocked if the local paper wasn't kissing Dobson's ... not ring, the other end!)

by NancyP on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 12:23:42 PM EST


to see that the separation of Church and State is under direct threat.

We have AT LEAST three bills in the legislature- two that would solicit funds THROUGH STATE AGENCIES for Focus on the Family (as I've mentioned here), and there is a big move on to amend the constitution to allow state moneys to go to religious organizations (such as Focus on the Family).

Plus, Rhonda Storms is trying to force religion into the schools through their "teach the controversy" type nonsense (the only controversy over evolution is in THEIR HEADS), and I'm sure that there are other things that I can't think of right now.

I wouldn't even be surprised that the present move to eliminate the Women's Studies and African Studies departments at my school are part of this move- both expose their brainwashing for what it is- nonsense (both departments have had false propaganda put out about them in the effort to eliminate them).

The rest of the social sciences are having to tighten belts because of the funding cuts (done to give tax breaks to "guess who"- none of the poor and working class see any difference!)  It wouldn't surprise me if this was also partially because we don't use their "biblical perspective".

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 09:40:46 PM EST



WWW Talk To Action


Race as Religion
Reading Edith Beer's book, The Nazi Officer's Wife, I ran across an interesting account of her fake marriage license.  She married a Nazi officer......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Dark Discussions on the Christian Right
The Neo-Confederate movement has been trying to jump start itself of late.  It has been an especially heady few months for the League of......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Oath Oaf: Religious Right Columnist Calls For Religious Tests In Military
Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the American Family Association (AFA) is like a demented, right-wing geyser: You can count on him......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Deeper Background on Dominionism -- Revisisted
In the Fall of 2011, there was an extraordinary -- and extraordinarily scurrilous -- wave of criticism aimed at those of us who had......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Fall From Grace: What The Religious Right Should Learn From The McDonnell Scandal
Leaders of Religious Right groups are fond of telling us that if we elect more fundamentalist Christians to office, we'll have less corruption. Biblical......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
A Visit To The Reality Community: Americans Have Sex. Americans Use Birth Control. Let's Move On.
Over the weekend, Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Greg Lipper took part in a panel discussion about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision at......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Thomas DiLorenzo's Rebel Yelling
I have written a great deal in the past few years about the odd phenomenon of Catholic Neo-Confederatism.  Let's add one more name to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Censorship Challenge: Texas Pastor Seeks Restrictions On `Dangerous' Library Books
Back in the 1990s, some Religious Right activists in Virginia got the bright idea to begin attacking America's public libraries. The idea was to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Suspended St. Louis County Officer Dan Page Made Rounds on Rightwing Radio Shows
St. Louis Police Officer Dan Page drew national attention when he shoved CNN's Don Lemon during a broadcast of the protests in Ferguson, and......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Cop Who Shoved CNN Host Don Lemon Lassoed in Another Conspiracy Rodeo
Rachel Tabachnick broke an important story this evening showing that the rant by Officer Dan Page that got him suspended from the St.Louis County......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Exile Excitement: Some Fundamentalists Seek Escape From Decadent Society
OK, now we've done it. Those of us who advocate things like separation of church and state, secular government, LGBT rights and self-determination when......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Controversy Over White Nationalist GOP Candidate Still White Hot
The 2004 Constitution Party candidate for president Michael Peroutka's current race for County Council in Maryland -- as a Republican -- it is still......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Race, Republicans and the Religious Right
The Republicans have a race problem, and by this I don't just mean that racial minorities don't much vote for them, particularly in the......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Rev. William Barber on Religious/Political Inclusiveness
A few weeks ago, I posted about the extraordinary oration of Rev. William Barber at Netroots Nation. (A transcript of the speech is now......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Short Takes
Salon.com  Columnist Thomas Frank considers how snark can cut more than one way. What does it mean when being "on the left" is defined......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)

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 (0 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 (2 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 (3 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 (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 (2 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 (1 comment)
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 (0 comments)
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)

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.