Short Takes
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 01:49:17 PM EST
The New York Times: Anti-evolution activists are trying a different tack in Texas.

Church & State:  Jeb Bush's plan to blow holes in the wall between separation of church and state in Florida.

Harpers: Jeff Sharlet says that one of the hard parts about writing about the shadowy-but-elite religious right network, The Family, was figuring out how fair it was to talk about the group's admiration for Hitler and fascism. (As it turns out, more than a little fair.)

The Public Eye: Sarah Posner offers a prescient exerpt from her recent book, titled: "Pastor Hagee and Christians United for Israel Push for Armageddon."  

Z Magazine:  Bill Berkowitz explores the question, "Is the Religious Right Wounded or in Transition?"

Creationism isn't antievolution, it's antiscience. If we continue to allow the creationists to pretend that the debate is between God and evolution, we could very well lose this battle, even with all the facts on our side. For whatever reason, many Americans have a strongly negative emotional response to evolution. Fortunately, they have not similarly stigmatized other scientific disciplines. Therefore, we should be stressing that the claims of creationism are  not only refuted by evolution, but also by science generally; geology, astronomy, chemistry etc. You can actually get widespread support for an antievolution movement in this country. However, I don't think you'd get much support for a movement that's broadly antiscience. But that's precisely what creationism is, and we have so far done a relatively poor job of making people aware of that.

by Dave on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 04:09:26 PM EST
But frankly, I think it will take a lot more than phrasing to get very far in all this.

If phrasing were the key, the "pro-choice" view, for example, would have prevailed a long time ago.

I do think that smart phrasing is part of any good political strategy. But it is not the only part.

The religious right has succeeded as far as they have in large part because it developed a significant political capacity to carry out its integrated agenda in all of its dimensions.

And yet we rarely hear anyone on our general side get much beyond phrasing and slogans (now called "messaging") as if PR were a political panacea.

I wonder why that is?

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 04:19:50 PM EST

Pro choice is OK, but pro life is better. After all, what's the point of arguing about liberty if you don't first have life. Besides, I'm not talking just about phrasing, I'm talking about awareness. There is an erroneous though widely-held idea that if you could debunk evolution, creation "science" would be accepted. This is simply not the case. Creationism, (particularly young-Earth creationism, which represents most of it), is fully contradicted by science, even if the theory of evolution didn't exist. I think people would be much more uncomfortable with teaching creationism if they realized how large a challenge it presents to science across the board, not just to evolution. And obviously, I don't intend for this to be the whole strategy, just one aspect of it.

by Dave on Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 04:07:59 PM EST
We rely on what you actually write, not what may or may not be in your head when you write it.

As for your broader view about "awareness" actually we are still strictly in the zone of messaging, not of a broader political sensibility.

I suggest, and have often pointed out, that such parochialism around single issues, even large single issues, and radical reduction of political strategy to issue-focused messages, is not a good solution.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 04:31:02 PM EST

It is not too difficult to understand The Family's admiration of Hitler and Facism.

When one reads R. J. Rusdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law and Hitler's Mein Kamph it is easy to see R. J. saying the same thing as Hitler, sometimes word for word.

One of the roots of Christian Reconstructionism is Facism!

by JerrySloan on Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 02:15:13 AM EST

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