Biblical Capitalism - The Sacralizing of Political and Economic Issues
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 10:36:56 PM EST
Welcome to readers from PA Progress 2010!  Keystone Progress held their first conference in Harrisburg Pennsylvania on January 29 and 30. I was honored and excited to be able to participate in this successful event which drew over 500 progressive activists from across Pennsylvania.  My presentation was titled "The Sacralizing of Political and Economic Issues" and included a PowerPoint presentation in which I tracked the history and activism related to "biblical capitalism."  The presentation is not anti-religious, anti-bible, nor anti-capitalist, but addresses the ideology that unregulated capitalism is dictated by biblical law.  In other words, biblical capitalism is the belief that government intervention in the marketplace is against God's will.

As progressives, we are well aware of the role of the Religious Right in issues such as gay rights and women's rights. However, the Religious Right's war on progressive economic policy, regulation, progressive tax structures, and labor unions is often overlooked. Radical free market ideology is being taught to students and adults as a biblical mandate and those in opposition are being literally demonized.  Revisionist textbooks rewriting science and social sciences to align with literal biblical interpretations, are widely used in homeschooling, some private schools, and also by "family values" organizations and adult seminars.

Numerous sources were used for historical material, quotes, and graphics.  A picture is worth a thousand words and my presentation included over 100 graphics, but perhaps less words than the following summary!  Hopefully the following bibliographies and online sources will be useful for those who would like to do additional reading on this topic.

Introduction:

"The Public Eye" is a publication of Political Research Associates, an organization which has tracked the money trail of funding for right wing think tanks supporting radical free market and anti-union policy.  The introduction of the presentation included "The Public Eye's" tracking of 170 million dollars of funding.


Link here to a large selection of articles at "The Public Eye" on economic justice and anti-union history and activism.

The chart tracking the money to anti-union think tanks can be downloaded here.

Following the money trail alone does not answer the question of how economic policy becomes "sacralized."  

Throughout the presentation quotes were included from various textbooks which include the following  concepts.


-A dualistic worldview is taught in which there is only one correct or God-mandated paradigm through which to view science, social sciences, and economics, with all other views being presented as evil.

- Poverty and social problems of populations are claimed to be the result of wrong religious belief, while wealth is portrayed as a product of correct religious belief.

-Societies with "correct belief" are presented as able to find natural resources while the unholy are not able to find adequate resources.

-Sweden and Canada are presented as failed states.
-The Confederate States of America are glorified as a model of religious fervor.

-The earth is described as only a few thousand years old with natural resources such as energy supplies rapidly renewing.

-Labor unions and regulatory policy, including child labor laws are described as having only negative results on American economy and workers.  Historic improvements in working conditions and safety are described as being solely due to proper functioning of the capitalistic system such as improved technology.

-The U.S. is claimed as being in decline because of apostasy and must undergo a "reformation."

-These "biblical" worldviews are taught as being held by the nation's founding fathers and later abandoned during the New Deal and the societal changes of the 1960s.

Federal government statistics show homeschooling increasing rapidly with an estimate of 1.5 million students home schooled in 2007.   Homeschooling organizations and the Alliance for Separation of School and State claim that number is growing rapidly.  The latter is an organization which aims to eradicate public education in America.  This agenda to privatize all schooling is supported by numerous religious leaders, and includes Rep. Ron Paul, syndicated columnist John Rosemond, and former Secretary of the Interior Don Hodel.

History:

A short history of the emergence of "biblical capitalism" was included in the presentation beginning with the struggle to counter the "social gospel" in the early 1900s.  "The Fundamentals," a series of pamphlets funded by Lyman Stewart, were distributed to ministers across the nation beginning in 1910.  William Bell Riley was one of the founders of the World Christian Fundamentals Association and a prominent leader of the fundamentalist movement which declared war on modernism, liberalism, progressivism and evolution.   The creation-evolution controversy erupted in the Scopes trial in 1925.

The combined business/fundamentalist war on the legislation of the New Deal is the topic of a book released last month by Kim Phillips-Fein, titled Invisible Hands, the Businessmen's Crusade against the New Deal.  This book serves as a good compliment to the bestseller,  The Family by Jeff Sharlet,  which details a religious/ political fraternity begun in the 1930s which continues today and includes sponsorship of the National Prayer Breakfast.  Phillips-Fein tracks the war on New Deal legislation including J. Howard Pew's "Spiritual Mobilization" which distributed Frederich Hayek's Road to Serfdom to churches and ministers.  

Phillips-Fein continues with the "anti-communist" preachers of the 1950s and the Christian Businessmen Committees as the Cold War "divided the world into the God-fearing and the godless."  Anti-communist preachers such as Billy James Hargis targeted civil rights and sex education as communist plots.  Carl McIntire claimed that churches in the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches had been infiltrated with communist cells.

This battle was continued by Billy Graham who was handpicked by William Bell Riley to lead his fundamentalist empire after Riley's death.  

"In the 1920's a loosely united band of militant conservatives launched a crusade to capture control of the major Protestant denominations," in the words of historian William Vance Trollinger, Jr.  These fundamentalists were viewed after the Scopes trial  as "uneducated, intolerant rustics."

Graham rehabilitated and modernized fundamentalism, making it more inclusive.  However, he retained much of fundamentalist doctrine as well as the fundamentalist determination to combat progressive and liberal churches.   Recently released Nixon tapes include conversations in which Graham discussed his plans to developing an alternative to the  World Council of Churches, which Nixon and Graham described as friendly to communists. In relating his plans for the Lausanne Conference on World Evangelization (LCWE), Graham states "just as you have changed the political picture, we hope to change the religious picture."  The LCWE convened in 1974 and Graham, who remained remarkably nonpartisan, was dramatically successful in "changing the religious picture."  You can hear the tape and read the transcript here and here.  This is the same segment of tape in which Graham refers to Doug Coe, head of "The Family" and describes some Jews as the "synagogue of satan."

The Institute on Religion and Democracy has been dedicated to continuing the task left undone by Riley and the fundamentalist in the 1920s, of taking over or dismantling churches they view as progressive.  The IRD has served as the umbrellas organization for the "renewal" groups whose hot button issue is the participation of homosexuals and gay leadership.  However, the funding for the organization has come from Richard Mellon Scaife and some of the same foundations that support laissez-faire and anti-union economic policies, seen in the introduction of the presentation.

Ayn Rand, author of The Fountainhead,, and Atlas Shrugged  popularized the "free market gospel," the idea that unregulated capitalism was the ideal economic system.  However, Rand was fiercely anti-religious, believing that capitalism worked because of self-interest.  As Phillips-Fein explains, Rand believed that a moral code which taught that "everybody was responsible for everybody else's welfare"  was the real danger to capitalism.  Rand described herself as a "radical for capitalism" and her books have sold over 25 million copies but, due to her disdain for religion, Rand's views did not appeal to religious fundamentalists.

The person who brought together all the components for biblical capitalism is not a household name but one of the most important thinkers behind today's Religious Right - the late Rousas John Rushdoony, founder of Christian Reconstructionism.

It was only with the publications written by R.. J. Rushdoony, beginning in the early 1960's that any theologian began to make a serious, systematic, exegetical attempt to link the Bible to the principles of limited civil government and free market economics.
- Gary North

Rushdoony laid the foundation for "biblical capitalism" by claiming that unregulated markets  are pure because they are dictated by biblical law.  In his vision the federal government was to be largely dismantled including all economic regulatory systems.  Law and order would be maintained through strict enforcement of biblical law including execution for offenses like homosexuality, abortion, adultery, and heresy.   Rushdoony believed that generations of children would need to be trained outside of public school systems to serve as the holy warriors to "reconstruct" America along biblical lines and he is considered the "father" of modern homeschooling.  He is also credited with helping creationists, such as Henry Morris, revive the war on evolution and science.  

Perhaps even more significantly, Rushdoony provided the foundation in which millions of those who now describe themselves as the "Religious Right" could become activists working with the political Right.  Rushdoony taught that fundamentalists should not retreat, or separate from, but take "dominion" over society.  Rushdoony's inner circle included both Howard Phillips, founder of the Conservative Caucus and Howard Ahmanson, who funded Rushdoony's Chalcedon Foundation and poured millions into political/Religious Right activism. Rushdoony's message has now been heeded across a broad range of the American religious spectrum.

Sources:

Kim Phillips-Fein,  Invisible Hands, The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009).

Jeff Sharlet, The Family,(New York, NY:  Harper Collins, 2008).

Rousas J. Rushdoony's books include:
The Messianic Character of American Education, (Vallecito, CA, Ross House Books, 1963, 1995)
This Independent Republic (Vallecito, CA Ross House Books, 1964, 2001)
The Nature of the American System (Vallecito, CA, Ross House Books 1965, 2001)
The Biblical Philosophy of History (Vallecito, CA, Ross House Books, 1969, 1997 and 2000)
The Institutes of Biblical Law, (USA: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1973)
This 800+ page book with appendices by Gary North provides the biblical law foundation which is being used by the Religious Right to justify biblical economics.

Current Filters for Sacralizing Economic Policy:

The "filters" are activists who take economic issues and "sacralize" them as  biblical mandates.  Rushdoony's son-in-law Gary North and David Barton, head of Wallbuilders are two prominent examples of leaders in this process.

Gary North's archived writing can be viewed at this link.  Several of the "Biblical Economics Today" newsletters (select from left column) were featured in the presentation including Pat Robertson's 1979 article titled "A Christian Action Plan for the 1980s" and North's articles on labor unions.  North also writes for column of Lew Rockwell, head of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and has served as a research assistant for Rep. Ron Paul. North was speaking at a Christian History Conference in the north Atlanta suburbs on January 30.

"We must use the doctrine of religious liberty ... until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government.

Then they will get busy constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God."
-Gary North

David Barton, founder of Wallbuilders, has built a reputation across the nation for his Christian Nationalist interpretation of American history.  He served as the Vice Chair of the Texas Republican Party and is currently serving on the Texas schoolbook commission which is in process of removing Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall from history texts and is pushing to make Joseph McCarthy a hero.  See the Texas Freedom Network newsletter.

Growth in the sophistication of revisionist Christian nationalist media can be demonstrated with a sequence of three books by David Barton and Wallbuilders - The Myth of Separation of Church and State (1992), Original Intent (1999) and Under God (2004).

The "biblical capitalist" message is disseminated to churches by Barton's Wallbuilders and through organizations like Family Research Council.  A 2007 interview with FRC leaders by Abby Sher, previously with The Public Eye, indicates the ongoing efforts to convince churches to embrace Gary North's brand of radical free market ideology.

Also see:

History Is Powerful: Why the Christian Right Distorts History and Why it Matters
by Frederick Clarkson, co-founder of Talk2action writing for "The Public Eye."

Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History, Volume I,
by Chris Rodda.  This book debunks David Barton's "faux" history, quote by quote.

Reports at People for the American Way

Other references included:

Chalcedon Foundation founded by Rousas J. Rushdoony

Wallbuilders - David Barton's website

Gary North's links to his books and writings

List of Creation Science Museums.

Photos taken at the Creation Museum south of Cincinnati can be seen at this link.

Following are some of the texts used in the presentation.

Russell Kirk,Economics, Work and Prosperity In Christian Perspective, (Pensacola, FL: A Beka Books, 1999)  The author is listed as Russell Kirk although Kirk died in 1994 before the editions of this text were developed and published.

David Noebel, Understanding the Times, (Manitou, Colorado: Summit Press, 1991)
This is the text with the chart dividing all areas of education into Biblical Christian, Marxist/Leninist and Secular Humanist Worldviews with later editions adding Cosmic/Humanism as a worldview.

Richard J. Maybury, What Would Thomas Jefferson Think About This? (Placerville, CA:  Bluestocking Press, 1994)  This is one of the "Uncle Eric" series.  

Mark A. Beliles and Stephen K. McDowell, America's Providential History, (Charlottesville, VA: The Providence Foundation, 1st edition,1989)

Walt Brown, In the Beginning, Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, 7th edition (Phoenix, AZ : Center or Scientific Creation, 2001)

Right Wing Populism and the Dangers of Conspiracy Theories:

In times of economic downturn, scapegoating and conspiracy theories are often used to divert attention away from serious evaluation of policy and to provide simplistic answers and narrow targets for public anger.  

An example given was my personal experience in Georgia in May 2009.  Georgia has had more bank failures in the last two years than any other state and the real estate market is devastated in many locations.  However,  I was told by several Georgians that the failure in the housing market was due to a secret deal made by the government to provide reparations to African Americans.  This is an alternate narrative which obscures the real issues behind Georgia's economic failures and diverts the blame.

Conspiracy theories similar to those promoted by fundamentalists in the 1920s and 1930s which combine secular conspiracy with the anti-Christ narrative of the end times, have been given new life by Pat Robertson, John Hagee, and groups like the "The Prophecy Club" have utilized conspiracy-minded former military leaders.

These conspiracy theories are then "re-secularized" by rightwing pundits like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who drop some of the overt religious language but maintain the literal demonization of liberals found in these end times narratives.

For instance, Prophecy Club  speakers such as Ret. Col. Jim Ammerman and  Al Cuppett, who advertises himself as a retired US Army & Action Officer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are a widely referenced source of claims that the U.S. is losing its sovereignty and will imminently be attacked by millions of foreign troops waiting at U.S. military bases and national forests.  Cuppett is a source of the claim that Christian patriots are on "red and blue lists" and will be taken by boxcars to FEMA concentration camps to be executed.  These conspiracy theories, widely broadcast during the Clinton administration and making a media comeback, stoke fears that the president and other politicians are "Manchurian candidates" working for outside forces as part of a satanic plot against the U.S.

The sources of conspiracy theories are not always white supremacist groups. Ret.Col. Jim Ammerman currently heads the endorsing agency that approves and oversees independent charismatic chaplains in the United States military.  He is on the board of an accreditation agency for evangelical schools, TACI and is Vice President of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Schools where he serves on the board with Chuck Norris.

Ammerman's colleague, Religious Right leader John Hagee, has spent years priming his international broadcast audience to believe that the Federal Reserve is part of a Rothschild/Illuminati/New World Order cabal which is intentionally destroying the American economy.  Despite his anti-Semitic rants, Hagee is defended by many Jewish leaders including Joe Lieberman.  This support by some Jewish leaders for regressive Religious Right leaders has created a rift in the American Jewish community and in Israel, much like the rifts that the Religious Right has helped to create inside Christian denominations.

These fears of conspiracies are manipulated by right wing radio and television personalities as well as politicians.

The cover of Senator Jim DeMint's book, Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide into Socialism, features an American flag behind rows of barbed wire, playing on the fears induced by conspiracy theories and popular revisionist history.  DeMint attacks "labor union power," separation of church and state, FDR's New Deal, and "taking prayer out of schools" as putting America where "Germany was before World War II."  

DeMint claims that there is evidence that the Depression was not caused by a failure of capitalism but by the "mismanagement of currency by the newly formed Federal Reserve." Texts such as A Beka's United States History in Christian Perspective shown in the presentation, claim that the extent of the Depression was exaggerated by journalist and photographers, in order to create the opportunity for socialism to take root and that socialist propaganda included "rumors of mortgage foreclosures, mass evictions, and hunger riots and exaggerated statistics representing the unemployed and homeless."  

Also see:

The Public Eye's articles on right wing populism

Toxic to Democracy, a report on the danger of conspiracy theories by Chip Berlet

Challenges in 2010 and Beyond:

Despite the bigotry and racism that has drawn attention since the election of President Obama, the Religious Right is increasingly multi-racial and international.  Many of the Religious Right organizations and activities common to the U.S. are being exported to nations around the globe.

The fundamentalist movement of a century ago reemerged as a political force by updating its image and making its message more palatable to modern society.  The Religious Right movement continues to evolve including aggressive efforts to engage African Americans and Hispanics in regressive economic and social policies.  Extensive outreach and propaganda materials, including revisions of American history, are being used to appeal to groups that would not normally be considered as likely targets for indoctrination into "biblical capitalism."

Examples include outreach to African Americans with histories that imply that the Civil Rights movement was the product of religious conservatives, while evil " secular humanist liberals" plotted to eradicate the Black population through abortion. These narratives, including many by David Barton and Wallbuilders, are now well developed and emerging in mainstream media. Download PFAW's report on Barton.

This ideology is reflected in a series of billboards sponsored by the National Black Republican Association including one I recently saw in South Carolina which praises Rush Limbaugh as "Saving the Soul of America."   This and other billboards sponsored by the NBRA can be seen at this link.

The international face of the Religious Right can be seen in the worldwide networks of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), a charismatic movement which is becoming increasingly visible in political activism.  For example Apostle Lou Engle has led internationally televised events which have included Newt Gingrich and  Mike Huckabee, and led the recent "Prayercast" against health care reform along with Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council.  Other participants included Sen. Sam Brownback, Sen. Jim Demint, and Rep. Michelle Bachmann. Engle also holds events around the globe including Brazil, Israel, and Kenya.

The apostles and prophets of the NAR have adopted Rushdoony's biblical capitalism but in a form that is less legalistic and more appealing to young people.  They disseminate David Barton's revisionist histories through their "spiritual warfare" networks and have modernized an approach for theocratic control or "dominion" which utilizes progressive language and extensive charitable outreach in order to gain influence with local, state, and national level governments. The New Apostolic agenda is being promoted through a series of movies called "The Transformations" and a motivational campaign called Reclaiming the Seven Mountains which is run by "Market Apostles."  A star of the first Transformations movie, Thomas Muthee, anointed Sarah Palin in a ceremony at Wasilla Assembly of God before she ran for governor.

The Apostles and Prophets of the NAR are a challenge to progressives because they use the lingo of progressivism and appear to represent a return to "social gospel."  However, there approach to combating AIDS, poverty, corruption, and even environmental degradation is not progressive.  They believe societal issues will be miraculously cured when their brand of Christianity gains "dominion" over all government and social entities.  This "dominion" involves the expulsion of "demons" and those they claim are working with demonic forces.  The literal demonization of liberals is becoming more overt and militant.  At some youth events, there have been calls for martyrs.

Although the biblical capitalism agenda is still fully intact in this growing charismatic movement, it is camouflaged in an inclusive package which flaunts its "reconciliation" of racial and ethnic groups including elaborate reconciliation programs and ceremonies.  

The New Apostolics organizing efforts around the globe parallel the activities of political leaders in organizations such as "The Family" and the efforts of the IRD and "renewal" groups that have worked to dismantle progressive religion.  One example is the nation of Uganda which has been viewed for a century as the "Gate of Central Africa."  Uganda's recent draconian anti-gay legislation has been shown to be a product of leadership with ties to The Family, the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation, and also "renewal" groups which have broken away from Mainline Protestant denominations.  These multi-pronged attacks originating in the U.S., promote "biblical capitalism" combined with regressive social policy, and can be found in nations around the globe.

[Authors note: Yesterday's Washington Post had an excellent op-ed by Harold Meyerson on the current plight of labor. Meyerson stated, "No nation has ever been home to a middle-class majority absent a sizable labor movement." Link here.]




Display:
Excellent presentation, well researched and somewhat disturbing in its implications. Perhaps Reagan could also be mentioned as the president who really started the 'slide' by denigrating government and attacking unions, thereby opening the door for anti-government biblical capitalists.
Some experts feel that Jimmy Carter was the last president who believed in the separation of church and state, and even though he was a Southern Baptist, he is widely reviled by that denomination.
Again, thanks for all the hard work.

by COinMS on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 07:10:44 AM EST
...into one presentation.  Much more could be added - certainly Reagan's contributions to this process.  I was trying to pack in many of the major figures contributing to "biblical capitalism" who might be unfamiliar to the participants.

Also, I find it much easier to relate ideas through presentations that include graphics and photos.  The material is more compelling when you can actually see the full pages from these texts.  For instance I showed the audience a text claiming to bust the "statist myth" that child labor laws are good and necessary.  I followed this with a photo of child coal miners from 1900.  

Whenever I speak, regardless of the topic, I also try to haul along a couple of boxes of books. It appears that it is much more shocking to actually see for oneself what is in these books, than to be told about them.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 08:54:18 AM EST
Parent

Do you see any merit in the idea of creating an online version of the presentation, or perhaps parts of it? You mentioned a powerpoint presentation. This might be a compelling way of presenting some of these points to a broader web audience. I think the images you mentioned would be fascinating to see...and you've gone there to the sources so we don't have to...

by marktypos on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 04:33:07 PM EST
Parent
...but need to determine how to package it with voice over or text, and how to make it accessible.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 05:39:25 PM EST
Parent
A YouTube video presentation using your slides?

by wyldraven on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 06:42:34 PM EST
Parent




Jimmy Carter was born and raised a Southern Baptist, but he and his wife Rosalynn dropped their affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) a few years ago after the SBC's call for wifely submission. The Carters are still Baptists, but are no longer members of the SBC.

Carter adheres to traditional Baptist beliefs regarding the separation of church and state and congregational autonomy, beliefs which the SBC has largely abandoned in its efforts to gain religious and secular power.

by khughes1963 on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 09:43:17 PM EST
Parent



Good work in connecting the dots. You would be interested in the fact that Richard Land has said that laissez-faire is the official Biblical view of economics.  Rushdoony's magazine once had an article on Biblical taxation. It quoted a text from Exodus claiming the divine idea was that each owner paid the exact same tax whether you lived under a bridge or in a castle.  You can understand why some wealthy folks are willing to send Chalcedon money.  I have on file the magazine dedicated to endorsing the Ole South Confederacy from Rushdoony's disciples.  It is a real gem!  They might send you one if they still have any in stock.  This spring Land is working with Focus on the Family hosting David Barton and the ADL in D.C.

by wilkyjr on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 09:37:50 AM EST
In the presentation I pointed out that Rushdoony's work was immediately understood and embraced by many who romanticize the Confederacy, and I showed some examples.  Those of us who were raised in the South understand the combination of very conservative social values combined with anti-Federal government sentiment.  This combination provided fertile ground for Rushdoony's ideology to take root.  

What is shocking to me is the extent to which Barton's history revisionism is spreading.  The New Apostolic network and many charismatic renewal groups are using both Barton's materials and Reconstructionist media. Chris Rodda has documented hundreds of examples of the use of "faux history" in the U.S. Congress and Senate.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 12:34:22 PM EST
Parent

Its hard to argue with math, which is an exact science.  At the AU Texas meeting I attended there were 2 ministers.  At the Barton/Huckabee event there were 1,000 ministers and wives.  Do the math. (Myself and a church member were the 2 ministers.)

by wilkyjr on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 02:58:54 PM EST
Parent



Thank you, and keep going on this theme. This is far more important than the smokescreen issues which polarize people. Even more important than the simple "free market" is the war economy which drives this effort. This group benifits from war -- dosen't matter who wins or suffers defeat, they arm both sides, and use it to pad the coffers of the elite while placing the burden on the poor. The side benifit of this is the desperation which drives the busting of unions, the lose of health care, and the profiets of the drug war and its prison industrial complex.

by chaplain on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 09:57:17 AM EST

This is an excellent discussion of how the Christian Right has adopted the view that there is only one correct form of government, economics and politics. One thing that Rushdoony and his acolytes seem to overlook is the concept of Jubilee as expressed in the Torah. I think it extremely telling that they fail to mention this concept in their zeal to "prove" that the wealthy somehow "deserve" what they have and that the poor are "undeserving."

by khughes1963 on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 01:13:07 PM EST
Yes, the whole 'proclaim liberty for the captives and return each person their inheritance' seems to escape the Theocratic Right. However, if they are trying to re-establish Old Testament Law, then they have to obey it all -- most of all the Jubilee.
Of course, if they would just follow the Golden Rule, everything would be much nicer.
Excellent observation!

by COinMS on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 04:24:27 PM EST
Parent


There was sooooo much information in this article, which made it very difficult to take a short excerpt from to pass on...and this is a good thing.

I am envious of your ability and knowledge, and these people scare the hell out of me.

I am constantly trying to warn everyone (radio hosts, Facebook and "Real-life" friends, etc).

So thank you, again, for writing such an informative and easily read article.

I place you on the level of other Authors I have come across like Thom Hartmann, Chris Rodda and Glenn Greenwald.

:)

Corey Mondello
Boston, MA


by corey on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 07:10:20 PM EST


Thank you Rachel for so much information in one place.
I have to say I'm particularly irritated by the accusation that the Great Depression was exaggerated by journalists and photographers.
My mother was born in 1928. I grew up on stories about life during the depression. My grandparents lived on a farm in rural New Jersey, and all the 'city' relatives moved in. There were no jobs to be had and food in the city was in short supply and outrageously expensive. On the farms, extended families joined in the chores, worked together, and survived by living off the land. Four households living under one roof. Our family photo album clearly shows a life of poverty, and yet my mom says that they had it good compared to others.

by GenieO on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 08:05:19 PM EST

Over at the Huffington Post, Rev. Jim Wallis made the following statement in his concluding paragraph about the need for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency: "In the name of a fairer economy, of family values, of moral values, and of sound biblical theology, the faith community must now make itself heard on the urgent issue of financial regulatory reform." I call your attention to the phrase "sound biblical theology." I am a liberal and, for a lack of better term, more attuned to secular arguments on public policy. On church-state relations, I'm with James Madison and Thomas Jefferson--there should be a high wall. Even if Wallis is more benign (his policy on the CFPA is beneficial to American families) and on a much smaller scale in terms of institutional and media power, is not the Left starting to have the same theocratic language or conceptualization of what is sound economic policy as the biblical capitalists? Wallis supports the faith-based initiative which on economic grounds is an unaccountable, non-transparent slush fund. It certainly is a breach of the Establishment Clause. He favors the Common Ground approach with hard-right leaders of the Rainbow Right in which the frames of reference are conceded to the Right. Are all public policy discussions in America going to become one "sound biblical theology" versus another "sound biblical theology"? I do not know who else to ask about this. Great article. I am glad someone wrote a book that complements Sharlet's great book. You are drawing together the pieces showing a religious movement that is a danger to American democracy. All of the works on this site have been illuminating and thought provoking. As a former military intelligence analyst, I can say you have certainly put together an impressive network analysis. I have cited many T2A articles (including yours) in my work. I realize my comment may seem off-center and not related to your excellent presentation. But, with Rev. Wallis participating in that Rainbow Right-Common Ground dialogue, you might offer some words of clarification (comfort?) about how political dialogue in this country is so religious. At the HP Rev. Wallis keeps injecting biblical principles or biblical theology into every public policy issue he writes about and to my knowledge, no one has engaged the Reverend in a public discussion or an exchange of written views. I am just a confused liberal. Don't ban me.

by JAMESCAMINACIIII on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 01:35:43 AM EST
... and this is closely related to something I want to point out in Part Two.  I am going to be posting an article that includes my suggestions on how to fight back against "biblical capitalism" and the Religious Right's war on reality-based science and social sciences.

 I fully support the activism and participation of progressive religious leaders and there are many doing great work.  However, I fear the approach being taken by Jim Wallis and some others who have the progressive label is rapidly leading us to a situation where one side of the Congress will quote one set of bible verses and the other side of Congress will respond with another set of bible verses.  This would be disastrous for democracy and the end of religious pluralism.  We must maintain the wall of separation, and theology and biblical interpretation, conservative or progressive, should not be the basis for legislation.  I believe we can already see the damage being done through abuses in faith-based programming!

Another concern is the faux "reconciliation" agendas.  I also need to write more about the outreach by groups like the New Apostolic Reformation which is based purely on making more converts to their worldview.  My article Killing Mother Teresa With Their Prayers provides an example of the deception that is taking place.  The reconciliation article will be a continuation of Generational Curses, Deliverance Centers, and the Kingdom Health Care System.


by Rachel Tabachnick on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 06:27:24 PM EST
Parent



Subsequent to reading this article I delved more deeply into the subject of fundamentalist Christian history revisionism. One of the sites that caught my attention was the otherwise-innocuous and generally informative about.com, which has a subsection on homeschooling.

At the top level of this section you will find articles on topics like "getting started", "is homeschooling for you", and "issues." In none of these articles did I see a particular slant in favor of fundamentalist Christianity or any other religious preference, as if homeschooling had nothing to do with Christianity whatsoever. Indeed, the site administrators would seem to want to have you believe that it is the furthest thing from most homeschoolers' minds.

Even the site guide's bio barely reflects her involvement with Christian-slanted teaching, except to say that she used the aBeka curriculum. The unfamiliar and unsuspecting would never know it was a Christian curriculum until looking further into it. In fact, it is the first and most-prominently mentioned curriculum mentioned on the site. If you read the guide's summation of her experiences as a homeschooler, you would never get the idea that her children had been indoctrinated in fundamentalist Christianity in any way.

When you get deeper into the site, however, reality bares its teeth, especially when you look at recommended history curricula. Bottom line: it's obvious is that those who homeschool want others--naive people--to think it's merely an educational option, a way of spending more time with one's children and enriching their educational experience, when it's clearly intended for religious indoctrination of innocents.

The premise:
http://homeschooling.about.com/library/weekly/aa010401a.htm

The reality:
http://homeschooling.about.com/

by Panglos on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 12:50:03 AM EST

I have noticed this also and have some homeschooling catalogs that downplay the nature of the texts.  

Stealth evangelism is being taught as part of dominionist ventures like the Seven Mountains campaign.  The idea is to market the worldview before doing the hard core proselytizing.  This has been going on for a long time in training like Character First  which gained entrance to public schools, police stations,  and businesses despite the fact that it is the secular version of Bill Gothard's Institute in Biblical Life Principles.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 02:48:07 PM EST
Parent



Historical revisionism doesn't pertain only to events in the distant past. A current news item can be twisted, exaggerated, denied, or even made up wholecloth.

Here is the contents of an email I received last week. Apparently it's been making the rounds since December 2009.

====================== ====================== =====================

If this is true and knowing the sender I believe it is, this is very scarey.  It does sound like a trial run to me.  Thank God for those men who stood up for themselves and the other passengers.

----- Original Message -----
From:
To:
Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 5:23 PM
Subject: FW: Flt#279 -- ATLANTA TO HOUSTON

I am printing this out and handing it to all of my acquaintances with a strong recommendation as another reason to vote for Irwin Cain, a strong conservative Christian, to go to Austin to replace of that gutless wonder Homer.  A part of the message is that he will fight for laws that protect and prevent this sort of travesty from happening.
Chuck

Very scary. Appears to be a trial run as someone has suggested below. I will send a follow up message after this one that contains research by  someone in Canada. The research was done in Canada because the US media refuses to get involved  and expose the dangers around US sitizens because of " politically correct"  BS !!!

This story is hard to believe and didn't make the news, that should tell you something about the media. Since I don't like to spread false stories, I called this guy, since he published his info, and his voice mail said he's been getting calls from all over the world and he'll try to return the calls but this story is true. If this gets sent around to enough folks, the media can't ignore it!

I, Gene Hackemack, received this email from my good friend Tedd Petruna, a diver at the NBL facility [Neutral Buoyancy Lab], at NASA Houston, whom I used to work with.  Tedd happened to be on this same Flt. 297, Atlanta to Houston .

In my opinion, the muslims are all getting very brave now, since they have a Muslim sympathizer in the white house......read Tedd's story below.

Gene Hackemack  

PS...can you imagine, our own news media now are so politically correct that they are afraid to report that these were all muslims...unbelievable. Thank God for people like Tedd Petruna.  

A. Gene Hackemack
979-251-2310 cell & home
buttonbox01@gmail.com
8725 Hwy 290 W
Brenham TX   77833

Subject: Long story short....

One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father.  On Tuesday, November the 17th, I returned home.  If you read the papers the 18th you may have seen a blurb where a AirTran flight was cancelled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone before takeoff.  It was on Fox.

I was in 1st class coming home.  11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire.  2 sat in 1st class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back.  As the plane taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with.  At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively.  This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time.  He ignored her as if she was not there.

The 2nd man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the 2nd stewardess.  In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back aisle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it.  Now..they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad.  If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her.  (don't ask me..I don't make the rules, but I've studied)  The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time.  To which one of the men said "shut up infidel dog!"  She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic.  At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk the cabin.  This is where I had had enough!  I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say "I got your back."  I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said "you WILL go sit down or you Will be thrown from this plane!"  As I "led" him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed out with him.  I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, "You WILL do the same!"  He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go.  As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered.  Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control.  I was happy to oblige actually.  There was some commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane.  They then unloaded their luggage.

We talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happen, when suddenly, the door open again and on walked all 11!!  Stone faced, eyes front and robotic (the only way I can describe it).  The stewardess from the back had been in tears and when she saw this, she was having NONE of it!  Being that I was up front, I heard and saw the whole ordeal.  She told the TSA agent there was NO WAY she was staying on the plane with these men.  The agent told her they had searched them and were going to go through their luggage with a fine tooth comb and that they were allowed to proceed to Houston .  The captain and co-captain came out and told the agent "we and our crew will not fly this plane!"  After a word or two, the entire crew, luggage in tow, left the plane.  5 minutes later, the cabin door opened again and a whole new crew walked on.

Again...this is where I had had enough!!!  I got up and asked "What the hell is going on!?!?"  I was told to take my seat.  They were sorry for the delay and I would be home shortly.  I said "I'm getting off this plane".  The stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me to get off.  (now I'm mad!)  I said "I am a grown man who bought this ticket, whose time is mine with a family at home and I am going through that door, or I'm going through that door with you under my arm!!  But I am going through that door!!"  And I heard a voice behind me say "so am I".  Then everyone behind us started to get up and say the same.  Within 2 minutes, I was walking off that plane where I was met with more agents who asked me to write a statement.  I had 5 hours to kill at this point so why the hell not.  Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it was cancelled.  I was supposed to be in Houston at 6pm.  I got here at 12:30am.

Look up the date.  Flight #297 Atlanta to Houston .

If this wasn't a dry run, I don't know what one is.  The terrorists wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would handle it, and how the passengers would handle it.

I'm telling this to you because I want you to know..
The threat is real.  I saw it with my own eyes..

Tedd Petruna

A. Gene Hackemack
979-251-2310 cell & home
buttonbox01@gmail.com
8725 Hwy 290 W
Brenham TX   77833

====================== ====================== =====================

By definition fundamentalists are the type who won't check facts to verify: after all, they accept that the Bible is literally written by God because it says so in the Bible. So it isn't surprising to find them getting caught up in email scams that say "I checked it in Scopes, and it's legit!" without checking Snopes to see if the claim about the writer having checked with Snopes is legit. Or, in this case, to see them forwarding an email that says "knowing the sender" without knowing who is claiming to know whom. (A check of Snopes under "AirTran 297" reveals that this incident did occur, but not as described. The actual problem involved a non-English speaking person who wouldn't respond to requests to turn off his cell phone, and an "incident reporter" who wasn't actually on flight 297 as he claimed.)

http://www.insideairtran.com/?p=2200

And that boast about Fox running a news story on it? Like the rest of the story, some truth but mostly an exaggeration:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,575558,00.html

The problem is the same as it is with literal Bible belief: the spell of motivation the believers are under precludes their doing any real, hard research into the matter, and instead promotes a proclivity for belief.

by Panglos on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 01:25:02 AM EST


I don't have a copy of the Bible at hand, so I could be mistaken, but my understanding is that a number of issues related to buying and selling as well as lending and repayment are in fact regulated under OT law.

Somebody more familiar with this please correct me if I'm wrong.

If I'm correct, then I don't know how the Fundamentalists can both claim to be literal Bible believers, and also claim the Bible mandates free enterprise.

Any thoughts?

=Steve


by scrocker1946 on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 03:04:12 AM EST



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