Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lou Engle, Race, and Slavery

Right Wing Watch recently reported on several conference calls posted at Transformation Michigan, a New Apostolic Reformation group that is promoting intercessory prayer for the state. (See newsite[dot]transformmi[dot]com/) Amidst conference calls with Jerry Boykin, Cindy Jacobs, and other New Apostolic Reformation leaders was a May 17th conference call recording with Lou Engle.

The May 17th call focused heavily on race in America. Engle has discussed race at other recent events as well, including OneThing 2010 and Firestorm 2011, particularly in the context of anti-abortion activism or religious revival.

After discussing TheCall Detroit event (scheduled for November 11th) and the role of the black church in the prayer movement, Engle described a dream involving a dying black man with one eye. At the 16:05 mark, Engle interpreted the dream as such.

"I believe that there has been a whole black American old guard that actually in some measure left its calling when they only embraced civil rights and did not embrace the call to prayer, holiness, the ending of abortion, righteousness, and because of it, our eyes are gone. We lost our sight. But there is a young generation who are secretly getting the message from God. I believe it's the sign ... There is coming a movement of prayer. It's the urban thunder."
Engle recounted the story of Jeremiah 34, in which the residents of Jerusalem freed their slaves, only to enslave them again, causing God to deliver them into the hands of the conquering Babylonians as punishment. At the 20:11 mark, Engle compared Jeremiah 34 to race relations between blacks and whites, urging whites to repent for past racism and blacks to forgive whites.
"I believe in Detroit, I believe we're to free our slaves. Whites must repent from any racism. Number two, blacks must forgive. The black leaders must forgive and empty out the bitterness at the black and the white baggage that we have given to them, or they will not be given the mantle to lead us into a new movement of justice. That has got to happen. You've got to set us free. If you don't forgive the white people, you are actually holding us as slaves."
No, Lou. Holding a grudge is NOTHING like keeping other human beings enslaved and oppressed. In my opinion, the slavery comment was out of line.

To listen to the full conference call recording, visit transformmi[dot]com/archives/768

Commentary Tidbits

Right Wing Watch: Perkins: Separation Of Church And State Is Provoking God's Judgment On America

Right Wing Watch: Life In Bryan Fischer's America

CNN: Why people stick by scandal-plagued pastors

Texas Freedom Network Insider: 'Of Course It's a War on Birth Control'

Politicus USA: Dominionist Decoder: What Sarah Palin Really Means by Fire in Her Belly

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Religious Right Keeps Lying About Texas School Case 

Media Matters: Pam Geller, The Face Of Park 51 Opposition, Now Downplaying Serbian War Crimes

News Tidbits

The Guardian: Conversion therapy: she tried to make me 'pray away the gay'

Minnesota Independent: Bachmann, Pawlenty to speak at RightOnline in Minneapolis

Q Salt Lake: Prominent Mormon Has Ties to Uganda's "Kill the Gays" Pastor

The Independent: Right-wing author: Sesame Street's pinko puppets brainwash our kids

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pro and Anti-Gay Demonstrators at St. Peter's Church in Chicago

On Friday, May 27th, anti-gay advocates held a rally at St. Peter's Church in Chicago, IL, drawing supporters and detractors from around the region. Organized by anti-abortion group Americans for Life, the rally not only protested an Illinois civil unions measure, but brought attention to the Illinois Defense of Marriage Initiative, which calls for marriage to be legally defined as the union of one man and one woman. Indeed, according to the Windy City Times, Bob Schwartz of the Gay Liberation Network believed that the anti-gay rally was primarily about organizing people around an anti-gay marriage amendment.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fundamentalism and Genocide

After the capture of former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic for alleged war crimes, I've been reflecting on atrocities as of late. Mladic is accused of overseeing the slaughter of 7,500 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995, during the ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Such atrocities should shake us to our core, reminding us of the human capacity for evil, as well as our moral duty to our fellow human beings.

Something in most people cries out against the very idea of genocide, horrified at bloodshed on such a grand scale, at attempts to wipe entire communities from the world. We instinctively label genocide as wrong, stunned that anyone could carry out such atrocities.

News Tidbits

Wisconsin State Journal: Marshfield man charged with coming to Madison to kill abortion provider

American Independent: Minnesota Family Council removes claims gays engage in pedophilia, bestiality from website

CNN: Bishop Eddie Long settles with accusers

Michigan Messenger: Pastor wins First Amendment suit against Dearborn

Roanoke Times: Ten Commandments Debate Returns to Giles County School Board

Washington Post: Dutch blasphemy law likely to stay as Christian fundamentalist takes Senate balance of power

Pink News: US Sheriff’s department ‘paid evangelicals to turn lesbian straight’

Pink News: Christian ‘gay cure’ therapist guilty of malpractice

Pink News: Illinois Catholic groups stop foster care services over gay parents

Commentary Tidbits

The Wonk Room: Pro-Bullying Lobby: Perkins Says School Teaching Gender Acceptance Is ‘Indoctrinating Children’ Into Homosexuality

A Feather Adrift: In the Name of God

Equality Matters: Right-Wing Group Fuels Homophobia At The UN

The Wall of Separation: Bastrop Bullies: Damon’s Classmates Show No Class At High School Graduation

SFist: Transgender Clownfish Raises a Stink at Oakland Elementary School

The Malta Independent Online: Queer no more 

Forbes: Sizing Up The Rapture Industrial Complex

SPLC Hatewatch: Latest Bryan Fischer Tirade: Gay Activists Commit Most Hate Crimes

RH Reality Check: Right-wing Focus on the Family's Chilling New Agenda on "Marriage Defense"

Talking Points Memo: Anti-Gay Preacher: Please Give Me Money to Hire a Publicist

Right Wing Watch: Liberty Counsel Warns Obama Is "Cursing America" By Not Supporting Israel

2011 CHAP Convention -- Final Thoughts

To read a prior post about Ken Ham's workshops at the 2011 CHAP convention, click here. To read about Doug Phillip's workshops at CHAP, click here and here.

Now that I've summarized some of the 2011 CHAP workshops I attended, I'd like to wrap things up with some general observations about the conference. First, as I waded through the thousands of people in attendance, I took notice of the convention's demographics. The overwhelming majority of attendees I saw were white and (by appearances) middle class. This is neither positive nor negative, but simply an observation. I also noticed a considerable number of Mennonites in attendance, immediately recognizable by their simple clothing and the distinctive head coverings worn by the women. Whether this is because Pennsylvania is home to a sizable Mennonite population, or because Mennonites are disproportionately represented among homeschoolers, I don't know.

In retrospect, I was struck by several common threads that ran through the workshops I attended.

1) Suspicion of mainstream society and non-Christians. Several workshops I attended displayed antipathy toward non-Christians and secular society, heavily laden with us-versus-them thinking. Indeed, some fundamentalist homeschool proponents encourage homeschooling as a means by which Christian parents can "protect" children from these outside influences. For instance, in the workshop "Already Gone", Ken Ham lamented America was becoming more pluralistic, complaining that America has become a nation that trusts many gods. He accused public schools of being against God because they weren't for God, and lambasted textbooks that explain the world through natural processes, which he equated with atheism.

2011 CHAP Convention -- More Zaniness from Doug Phillips

To read a prior post about Ken Ham's workshops at the 2011 CHAP convention, click here. To read a prior post about Doug Phillips' other CHAP workshops, click here. To read concluding thoughts about the CHAP convention, click here.

Have you ever encountered something so alien to your sensibilities that you simply had to share it with others? That's how I felt upon exposure to one of Doug Phillips' workshops at the 2011 CHAP Convention, entitled, "Toxic: Seven Poisons that Threaten the Health of the Homeschool Movement." Overflowing with patriarchal messages, the workshop offered a heavy dose of Christian Patriarchy Movement ideology.

Phillips began the workshop by observing that the Christian homeschool movement has gone through changes over years, celebrating the "pioneers" that God raised up in the early days of the movement who were willing to endure "persecution." Twenty-five years ago, he said, parents were fighting for their right to homeschool children when states weren't clear on their own laws, and some pastors were even "persecuting" homeschoolers.

Phillips listed common denominators among Christian homeschoolers, including the "reformation" of the family, transformation of individuals in the likeness of Jesus, and glorification of the kingdom of God. Another theme of the movement is freedom, he said, with early homeschool advocates arguing that the state had no lawful oversight under the Constitution and the law of God to oversee homeschooling. Homeschooling was also about raising a generation of young men "confident in holy masculinity" and young ladies "confident in holy femininity," which drew applause from the audience.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Commentary Tidbits

The Sun News: Franklin Graham: The next Jerry Falwell?

The Public Eye: Lively's Lies: A Profile of Scott Lively 

Voice from the Desert: ’Arrogant clericalism’ never assessed in John Jay report

Good As You: Minnesota's chief anti-equality lobby: 'Accepting homosexuals as normal victimizes homosexuals themselves'

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters: An anti-bullying initiative NO ONE needs 

RH Reality Check: Anti-Choice Groups Oppose Anti-Terrorism Legislation

Media Matters: Media Matters Revisits Right-Wing Media Prophesies That Obama Is The Antichrist

News Tidbits

Human Rights Campaign: Christians Support LGBT Equality

The Age: We are not trying to convert kids: Australian bishop

Charlotte Observer: Book Sees Quiverfull from a Different Side

Colorado Independent: Bipartisan condemnation begins following Minnesota GOP’s invite of anti-gay preacher for House prayer

The Advocate: Focus on the Family Leader Sees Likely Loss on Marriage

The Advocate: Lisa Lampanelli Turns Westboro Hate Into AIDS Cash Cow

2011 CHAP Convention -- Doug Phillips

To read a previous post on Ken Ham at the 2011 CHAP Convention, click here. To read about another Doug Phillips workshop at CHAP, click here. To read concluding thoughts on the convention, click here.

While attending the 2011 convention for the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP), I was particularly interested in the workshops of prominent Religious Right voices, including Ken Ham and Doug Phillips. Phillips, president of the Vision Forum (a Christian ministry devoted to the "Biblical family") is remembered for criticizing Sarah Palin's political career on the premise that she violated Biblical gender roles. Angie the Anti-Theist and Julie Ingersoll at Religion Dispatches have posted some amusing commentary on the Vision Forum, which will provide background on Phillips' worldview.

In a Friday morning workshop entitled "Developing a Biblical Worldview of Film and Media", Phillips argued that Christians need to approach film with Biblical principles in mind, while being wary of un-Christian messages in modern film culture. Because the Vision Forum hosts the San Antonio Christian Film Festival, it does not surprise me that Phillips would devote a workshop to modern film.

Monday, May 23, 2011

News Tidbits

Florida Independent: Radical anti-abortion rights groups tout ‘historic’ work that lead to the 2009 murder of Kansas abortion provider

American Independent: Operation Rescue seeks to expose the ‘abuses of the abortion-cartel’

American Independent: Preacher who calls for jailing gays gets invite from Minnesota GOP to give House prayer

Minnesota Independent: GOP’s Zellers on Bradlee Dean: ‘That type of person will never ever be allowed on this House floor again’

Iowa Independent: Gingrich mixes economics, religious populism at Minneapolis appearance

New York Post: Ex-African aid worker suing Franklin Graham's relief group over "harrowing" captivity in South Darfur

WFMZ 69 News: Gay Rights Controversy Debated In Bethlehem, PA

Cincinnati.com: Noah's Ark theme park gets go-ahead

Boston.com: Providence bishop opposes civil unions in Rhode Island

The Tennessean: White County Schools ends Gideon Bible handout after ACLU complaint

ABC News: Gingriches Get Glittered by Protestor in Minneapolis

Commentary Tidbits

Christian Science Monitor: What if public schools were mandated to teach Islamic creation in science class?

Texas Freedom Network: Creationists Appointed to Science Review Panels

Life as a Reader: Abstinence and Abortion

Americans United for Separation of Church and State: The Billionaire Boys Club

Salon: The pro-Israel crowd's "1967" hissyfit

Huffington Post: The Anointed Leaders of the Religious Right 

Media Matters: Beck Suggests His Israel Rally Will Open The "Very Gates Of Heaven"

Truth Wins Out: TWO Appalled by Kimberly Daniels’ Narrow Victory In Jacksonville, Florida City Council Race

Mother Jones: Bachmann's Anti-Gay Ally Addresses Minnesota House, Chaos Ensues

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 21st Has Come and Gone

. . . and we're still here!

The media and blogosphere has devoted considerable attention to Harold Camping of Family Radio Worldwide, who predicted that the Rapture would occur at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21st. With outreach campaigns such as Project Jonah, Family Radio Worldwide has promoted its May 21st Rapture prediction far and wide. Fearing that the end was near, several distraught people committed acts of violence, including a mother who sliced her daughters' throats and a Nairobi man who committed suicide.

While most coverage of Camping has focused on his Rapture prediction, some outlets have also taken note of his considerable homophobia. The video below captures Camping's attitudes toward gays, lesbians, and the city of San Fransisco, which he calls a "wicked area".

(Hat tip to Truth Wins Out. Click here if you're having trouble viewing the video.)

At the 2:26 mark of the video, Camping describes homosexuality as something akin to addiction that can be cured through faith.

MAN: Have you ever gotten a phone call on Open Forum from someone who was maybe struggling with--

CAMPING: Of course we get calls like that, and I always encourage them if they become a child of God, then there will be a big change in their character. They won't want to be that anymore. That's just the nature of salvation. That's why, for example, an alcoholic--alcohol for them has become their god. They find that if they take that drink, they can face life. The person who's a homosexual is slave to sex. He can't give it up. It just possesses him. Anything that we are a slave to, that becomes a god. The only way they can get real victory over it is if they have their heart changed, and only God can do that.
The Family Radio Worldwide website features a document entitled Gay Pride: Planned by God as a Sign of the End, available for download at www[dot]familyradio[dot]com/PDFS/gay_pride.pdf. In Gay Pride, Camping claims that the success of the LGBT movement is a sign from the divine that judgment day is near. He cites the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, in which the men of Sodom demanded that Lot hand over his angelic guests for abuse, only to be blinded and later destroyed by God. Camping likens the destruction of Sodom to the destruction of Judgment Day, with homosexuality as a common variable in both eras. Other current events, such as the founding of Israel in 1948, the rise of the Charismatic movement, and the supposed "spiritual decay" in many churches, also herald the approach of Judgment Day.

Lambasting homosexuality as sinful, the document laments that homosexuality has been accepted across the globe as an "alternative lifestyle" instead of being hidden. Before the present day, it claims, homosexuality was only present to a small degree as part of idol worship. God has allegedly given up people to homosexuality as a sign that the end times are approaching.

Camping's condemnation of homosexuality has much in common with other Religious Right diatribes against the LGBT community: homosexuality as a sexual and spiritual pathology that can allegedly be cured, homosexuality as incompatible with Christianity, the Sodom and Gomorrah story interpreted as a condemnation of LGBT people, etc. As with other fundamentalists, the LGBT community was singled out as a menacing scapegoat in Camping's end times eschatology.

To learn more about Family Radio Worldwide and their Rapture prediction, visit www[dot]familyradio[dot]com. For additional news and commentary, visit the following links:

CBS News: How Harold Camping Marketed the Rapture

New York Magazine: A Conversation with Harold Camping, Prophesier of Judgment Day

Religion Dispatches: 5 Lessons Learned from the Apocalypse Fail, Or, It’s Not the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel So-So

Talk to Action: Harold Camping's Days Are Numbered: A Quick and Dirty Guide to the Rapture

Infidel753: It was just an ordinary day, dumbasses

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

News Tidbits

Pink Paper: Ugandan politician and US pastor up for Homophobia Hall of Fame

NineMSN: Australia: Gays, Christians clash at Adelaide rally

Edge Boston: Conservative Canadian Pol: Sexuality is a ’Choice’

Huffington Post: Glenn Beck Announces 'Restoring Courage' Rally in Jerusalem

American Independent: Focus on the Family trumpets anti-gay marriage push in New York

Commentary Tidbits

Religion Dispatches: Exclusive: Liberty Law Exam Question on Notorious Kidnapping Case Pressured Students to Choose “God’s Law” over “Man’s”

Noodleepoodlee: Onward Christian Soldiers: The Dominionists' Crusade

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: What Real Historians Think of David Barton

Cognitive Dissenter: Why Mitt Romney's Mormonism Matters

Ms. Magazine: Treatment Denied

Right Wing Watch: Porter: Tornadoes Due To Legal Abortion, Israel Policy

Media Matters: Discussing His Future Plans, Beck Says He's "Seen The Finger Of God. ... You Will See The Entire Arm Of God"

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News: Episcopalian priest: Time to clean up anti-gay toxins Anglicans dispensed via evangelism

Talk to Action: Tim LaHaye: The King of the Apocalyp$e Returns

Mother Jones: Gingrich, Bachmann to Address Wannabe Hate Group

Alternet: 10 Great Things About America That Drive Conservatives and the Religious Right Insane
(Hat tip to Politics Plus)

Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 CHAP Convention -- Ken Ham

Smoked ham, not Ken Ham
On May 13th and 14th, I attended the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP) annual convention in Harrisburg, PA. Held in the sprawling Harrisburg Farm Show Complex, the CHAP Convention attracts thousands of Christian homeschooler families from across Pennsylvania, as well as prominent Religious Right organizations and speakers. This year's line-up of speakers included Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis, Doug Phillips from Vision Forum, Phillip Telfer from Media Talk 101, and many more.

A homeschooling convention offers a unique opportunity to learn about fundamentalist Christian thought, given that it focuses on presenting distilled, basic ideas about fundamentalism to the next generation. Let's start with some of Ken Ham's workshops, which addressed everything from creationism to deconversion among youth. Ham, founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, briefly appeared in Bill Maher's 2008 film Religulous.

In a Friday morning workshop entitled "Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do to Stop It," Ham addressed widespread deconversion among formerly Christian youth (a topic addressed in his 2009 book Already Gone.)

Commentary Tidbits

Atheist Oasis: The Christian Agenda: Eradicate the Gays!

The Atlantic: American Scripture: How David Barton Won the Christian Right

Washington Monthly: Targeting the Very Existence of Public Schools 

Georgia Politico: Georgia Republican Compares Tornado Victims to Idolaters Praying to FEMA

Edge Boston: NOM Resorts to False Facts in NY Marriage Fight, Says HRC

The DV8: A Parable Updated

Truthout: Evangelical Homophobia-Planting in Uganda: A Tough Seed With Poisonous Fruit

The Daily Beast: The Uganda Anti-Gay Bill's U.S. Roots

Talk to Action: Atlanta Pastor Solicits $ For Co-Author of Uganda's "Kill The Gays" Bill

Religion Dispatches: Trump to Meet with Controversial Televangelist Today 

RH Reality Check: Minnesota State Rep. Wants to Ban Abortions for the "Ladies" Sake

Joe. My. God: New York: Anti-Gay Group Launches "Mayday for Marriage" Statewide Tour

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News: The quiet genocide – a call for religious conscience and action 

Mother Jones: One Man's Crusade Against Fundamentalist Claptrap

Mother Jones: The Tea Party Wants to Teach Your Kids About the Constitution

Truthdig: Your Taxes Fund Anti-Muslim Hatred
(Hat tip to Whatever Works)

News Tidbits

Los Angeles Times: Newt Gingrich launches presidential run with a newfound focus

Wall Street Journal: Gingrich's Secret Weapon: Newt Inc.

The Advocate: Future of Uganda Anti-Gay Bill Unclear

BBC News: Uganda gay death penalty rejected by Pastor Ssempa

ABC 30: Gay and lesbian community protests Chick-fil-A in Fresno

New York Times: Faith Groups Campaign to Block Gay Marriage

Jerusalem Post: Glenn Beck of Fox News to Meet with Netanyahu, Danon

American Independent: Christian Family Coalition calls Florida’s legislative session a ‘victory’ for social conservatives

American Independent: Despite failure to override veto, conservative Aggies vie to create family values organization

Florida Independent: If passed, ‘Religious Freedom’ amendment would help state outsource services to faith groups

Sunday, May 15, 2011


A few weeks ago, I attended a public viewing of a "parental rights" film entitled The Child: America's Battle for the Next Generation. Released by Watchman Cinema in 2010, The Child alleges that government intervention is supposedly threatening parents' freedom to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their children. With commentary from right-wing figures such as Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation, and Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, The Child offered a glimpse into the beliefs of the parental rights movement.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

News Tidbits

MSNBC: Feds suing more anti-abortion activists

Chicago Tribune: Wheaton College group offers support for LGBTs

Times Record Online: School Ends Teacher’s Prayer Practice

The Advocate: Minnesota Lawmaker: How Many Gays Must God Create?

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News: GLAAD calls on FOX Houston to apologize for broadcasting extremist views in response to “Glee” anti-bullying episode

Beliefnet: After Court Gives OK, Christians Mark National Day of Prayer

Stamford Advocate: State Baptist Convention Gathers in Stamford

SFGate: Catholic lawsuit rejected by Supreme Court

Iowa Independent: Groups advocating anti-gay and anti-abortion policies plan increased spending through 2012

American Independent: Florida tea party leader compares her group to Jesus, says God’s on their side

Commentary Tidbits

Religion Dispatches: Teach Your Children Well: Challenging Religion-Based Sexism

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News: Which America Do You Want to Live In?

Truth Wins Out: Will Fundies Procreate the Earth to Death?

Media Matters: Beck Celebrates Courage Of Israel Activism By Pastor Who Called Katrina "God's Judgment" Of New Orleans Gay Pride Parade

Saturday, May 7, 2011

David Barton in the Media Spotlight

As mentioned in my previous post, right-wing historian and Wallbuilders founder David Barton has been in the media spotlight this week, thanks to a front-page article in the New York Times and an interview with Jon Stewart on the May 4th edition of The Daily Show. (Parts I and II of the extended interview are available at The Daily Show website as well.)

Barton, author of Separation of Church and State: What the Founders Meant, has been celebrated by figures on the right such as Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee, while being accused of promoting revisionist history by critics on the left. Interestingly enough, Barton accuses other historical sources of being revisionist in a 2005 post at Wallbuilders. (See www[dot]wallbuilders[dot]com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=112)

The New York Times article highlighted the advisory role Barton plays for several prominent right-wing political figures, including Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachmann. It also discussed his right-leaning political views, noting that Barton maintains a network of approximately seven-hundred anti-abortion legislators. Most importantly, the article did not flinch from the controversies surrounding Barton's historical work, which several commentators have branded as distorted history. Nor did it neglect some of Barton's more controversial conclusions, such as his belief that the Founding Fathers did not intend to have a high wall of separation between church and state, as well as his 1988 study correlating out-of-wedlock births, violent crime, and declining SAT scores with bans on prayer in public school.

During his appearance on the May 4th edition of The Daily Show, Barton described his work with original American historical documents as "historical reclamation." When Jon Stewart pressed him about his work on school textbooks and curriculum, Barton insisted that his curricula added more details about minorities and women in early American history. When Stewart confronted him about his stance on church-state separation, Barton argued that the Founding Fathers intended for separation of institutions, not separation of influence.

While the article and the interview with Jon Stewart helped make more people aware of Barton, they really only scratched the surface of the controversies surrounding his work. People for the American Way have released two hard-hitting articles on Barton's work, as well as his controversial positions on LGBT rights, environmental issues, religious minorities, and church-state separation.

People for the American Way: Barton’s Bunk: Religious Right ‘Historian’ Hits the Big Time in Tea Party America

People for the American Way: David Barton: Propaganda Masquerading as History

Friday, May 6, 2011

Commentary Tidbits: David Barton Edition

Between a recent front-page article in the New York Times and an appearance on the May 4th edition of The Daily Show, right-wing historian David Barton has been in the media spotlight this week. The progressive blogosphere has been abuzz about Barton's media coverage, so for your reading pleasure, I have included several commentary pieces on Barton below.

Mother Jones: GOP's Favorite Fake Historian Spins the New York Times

Talking Points Memo: Jon Stewart Spars With Social Conservative David Barton Over Church And State 

Politicus USA: Jon Stewart Skewers David Barton’s Historical Pretensions

Religion Dispatches: Why Won't David Barton Submit to Peer Review?

Chris Rodda at the Huffington Post: Do Well By Doing Good

Talk to Action: David Barton and Jon Stewart: Mainstreaming the American Dolchsto├člegende

SPLC Hatewatch: David Barton: Extremist "Historian" for the Christian Right

Right Wing Watch: David Barton Lies to Jon Stewart on Sharia Law Views

Right Wing Watch: Fact Checking Barton, Parts I, II, III, IV, and V

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

News Tidbits

Beliefnet: Jews, Evangelicals Search for Ways to Discuss Israel

365 Gay: Rhode Island diocese urges civil unions rejection

New York Times: Atheists Seek Chaplain Role in the Military

My San Antonio: Students eye gay resource centers' funds

Pink Paper: Head of Australian Christian Lobby apologizes for gay Twitter slur

Florida Independent: Pat Robertson’s law firm defends Texas bus driver who refused to take woman to Planned Parenthood

American Independent: Santorum: Two-parent households are economically better unless they are gay

American Independent: Palin tells pregnant women in crises to ‘hang in there’ at Heroic Media fundraiser

Commentary Tidbits

Alternet: The 12 Worst (and Most Powerful) Christian Right Groups

Jews on First: Deconstructing the Bush Administration's Faith-based Initiatives

Politico: Family Research Council Expands H.R. 3 Push

RH Reality Check: Why the Right Is Turning Extreme on Contraception

Talk to Action: Bin Laden's Dead. But Look Who's Targeting American Cities Now

Gullible’s Travels: Black and White: There Are Colors In-Between!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Religious Right Reactions to Osama bin Laden's Death

Last evening, the world learned that Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader who claimed responsibility for the September 11th attacks, had been killed in a raid in Pakistan by U.S. special forces. After DNA tests confirmed that the man shot was indeed bin Laden, he was buried at sea after an Islamic funeral on board an aircraft carrier, according to media reports.

This is a momentous moment for the U.S., and commentators from across the political spectrum have been weighing in. Since this blog focuses on the Religious Right, I wanted to share what several Religious Right figures have said about bin Laden's demise. Some voices commended the military personnel who carried out the operation, others were passionate and jubilant, while others still wove political commentary into bin Laden's death.

- At its Washington Update blog, the Family Research Council praised U.S. military personnel for laying their lives on the line during the operation that killed bin Laden. FRC reminded readers that terrorist networks still pose a threat, as a new chapter in the war on terror awaits.

(See www[dot]frc[dot]org/get.cfm?i=WU11E01&f=PG07J01)

- At the Heritage Foundation's Foundry blog, Heritage Foundation president Edwin J. Feulner warned President Obama and Congress not to use bin Laden's death as an "excuse" to repeal "counterterrorism tools" such as the USA PATRIOT Act.

(See blog[dot]heritage[dot]org/2011/05/02/morning-bell-bin-laden-dead/)

- Also at the Foundry, Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Cully Stimpson insisted that "strategic interrogations" of detainees at Guantanamo Bay provided vital information leading to the location of Osama bin Laden. I'm curious as to how Stimpson feels about allegations of detainee mistreatment at Guantanamo.

(See blog[dot]heritage[dot]org/2011/05/02/detainee-interrogations-key-to-killing-osama-bin-laden/#more-58444)

- Former governor Mike Huckabee was jubilant about bin Laden's death in a statement at the Huck PAC website. Condemning bin Laden as a "madman, murderer and terrorist", Huckabee hoped that bin Laden's death would serve as a message to Islamic extremists that the U.S. will tenaciously pursue those who terrorize its people.

(Hat tip to Right Wing Watch. See www[dot]huckpac[dot]com/?Fuseaction=Blogs.View&Blog_id=3457)

- At the CBN Brody File blog, CBN chief political correspondent David Brody admonished President Obama for showing insufficient joy after bin Laden's death, calling him "Mr. Non-Emotion." Brody speculated that the president was using a measured tone to avoid inflaming the Arab world. Later, however, Brody apologized, noting that President Obama lived by the principle of Proverbs 24:17 ("Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice.") whereas he did not.

(Hat tip to Right Wing Watch. See blogs[dot]cbn[dot]com/thebrodyfile/archive/2011/05/02/obamas-bin-laden-speech-misses-mark.aspx)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Newt Gingrich at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

The National Catholic Prayer Breakfast took place on April 26th and 27th in Washington D.C., sporting its 2011 theme of "Celebrating the Beatification of John Paul the Great". Beginning on April 26th with mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the Crypt, the event concluded with a breakfast program at the Marriott Wardman Park on the morning of April 27th. Several well-known right-wing figures spoke at this year's breakfast, including Lila Rose of LiveAction, Bishop William E. Lori of the Bridgeport Diocese, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, and former speaker of the House New Gingrich. (See www[dot]catholicprayerbreakfast[dot]com for more information.)

In a transcript of Newt Gingrich's prayer breakfast speech posted on Facebook, Gingrich spoke of the late Pope John Paul II and his 1979 visit to Poland. He mused on the political impact of Pope John Paul II's visit on communism and Gingrich's own documentary on the subject, Nine Days that Changed the World. (See www[dot]facebook[dot]com/notes/newt-gingrich/text-of-my-speech-to-the-national-catholic-prayer-breakfast-this-morning/170642579658012)

Gingrich's speech also contained commentary on religion and society. The online transcript of the speech denounces U.S. "elites" who, in their supposed yearning to mimic "European elites", allegedly inject anti-religious values into academia, media, and the judiciary. Journalist Sofia Resnick reported on the event for the American Independent and Iowa Independent, devoting special attention to Gingrich's comments on "coercive secularism." The articles highlight Gingrich's examples of this alleged "coercive secularism," including a 1962 Supreme Court decision declaring school prayer unconstitutional, the recent removal of a cross from a veterans' memorial in the Mojave National Preserve, and the trend of replacing A.D. (anno Domini) with C.E. (common era). A CNN article also noted Gingrich's claim that a growing "government-favored pagan culture" meant to replace Christianity has allegedly emerged in Europe.

Frankly, I'm growing tired of Religious Right rhetoric that construes church-state separation measures as somehow anti-religious. Such measures ensure that American citizens do not have religion thrust upon them by the government, thereby safeguarding everyone's religious liberty. How is it "coercive" to prevent one religion or one form of religious expression from having political dominance over others?

For additional news and commentary, visit the following links.

Talking Points Memo: Gingrich: Secular Elites Have Declared War on Time Itself

Politico: New Gingrich Warns: Creeping Secularism Replacing Christianity

Beliefnet: Gingrich Talks of Journey to Catholicism

News Tidbits

San Fransisco Chronicle: No death penalty provision in Uganda anti-gay bill

Inside Higher Ed: Equal Time for "Traditional Values"

ABC News: Christian Network Implicated in Parental Kidnapping Involving Lesbian Partner

The Advocate: The Gay Planned Parenthood Debate

MSNBC: White House berates Franklin Graham over birth comments 

American Independent: LGBT Supporters March at A&M after Student Senate Backs "Family and Traditional Values" Amendment

Florida Independent: Collier County Planned Parenthood workshop with Catholics for Choice draws fire

Colorado Independent: Palin to honor troops in Colorado with Christian military crusader Boykin

Commentary Tidbits

Huffington Post: 42 Nobel Laureates Work to Replace Creationism With Science in Louisiana 

SPLC Hatewatch: Businessman at Center of Lesbian Custody Case Hawked Hate Pub Subscriber Lists

Right Wing Watch: The Religious Right's Fact-Free Climate Change Misinformation Campaign

Cynthia Tucker at Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Eddie Long: homophobe, narcissist, con artist

Mother Jones: The GOP’s Favorite Fringe Historian

Bold Faith Type: Trump’s Uneven Courtship of the Religious Right

Pam’s House Blend: An Open Letter to Bryan Fischer

Friendly Atheist: Reporters Witness a Christian Pastor Molesting Women at Demon-Banishing Service    (Trigger warning)