Guerrilla Dove has Moved
Guerrilla Dove is now Moderate Edge. Come visit the new site featuring video and cutting edge commentary.
Dispatches from Behind Enemy Lines in the Culture Wars. A liberal's report from inside the world of the religious right.
Guerrilla Dove is now Moderate Edge. Come visit the new site featuring video and cutting edge commentary.
Article VI of the US Constitution
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
From the New York Times, October 6, 2005:
Dr. Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family and one of a handful of prominent Christian conservatives to support the selection of Ms. Miers publicly, said in his radio program Wednesday: "There has been a firestorm of activity since then. This nomination has angered and disillusioned many conservatives, many Christian conservatives."
Explaining his reasons for supporting her and praying for guidance, Dr. Dobson cited her religious faith and said he knew her conservative evangelical church. "I know the person who brought her to the Lord," he said. "I have talked at length to people that know her and have known her for a long time."
Dr. Dobson acknowledged conversations with Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, about the selection but declined to disclose their contents. "You will have to trust me on this one," he said, adding that if he was wrong, "the blood of those babies" - aborted fetuses - "will be on my hands to some degree."
I work with Boy Scouts and above all else we teach these young men about duty to one’s self, one’s family and one’s country. My father served in the Marine Corp and before he died I asked him why he signed up, his answer was simple, “I loved my country and wanted to serve.” There are few things in life worth fighting for or worth dying for, but there are some.
Sequestered at Fort Bragg under orders restricting his contacts sits one lone man, Captain Ian Fishback. Captain Fishback is by all accounts a devout Christian who can quote the US Constitution from memory. Consider this from Andrew Sullivan’s blog:
Another source informs that the word is around that Rumsfeld has taken a strong interest in this. He is quoted as saying "Either break him or destroy him, and do it quickly."
What offense did Captain Fishback commit? Simple, after 17 months of trying to get the US Military to address the widespread use of torture and prisoner abuse that he had personally witnessed, after failing to attract the interest of congressman and senators, Captain Fishback submitted his findings to Human Rights Watch.
Please read the letter that Fishback sent to Sen. John McCain as posted on the Washington Post website.
Please write to your Representative in the House, Senators and the President demanding that Captain Fishback be freed and his story be heard. And if you are wondering who this man is and what he stands for consider these quotes from his letter:
"Some do not see the need for this work. Some argue that since our actions are not as horrifying as Al Qaeda's, we should not be concerned. When did Al Qaeda become any type of standard by which we measure the morality of the United States? We are America, and our actions should be held to a higher standard, the ideals expressed in documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."
"Do we sacrifice our ideals in order to preserve security? Terrorism inspires fear and suppresses ideals like freedom and individual rights. Overcoming the fear posed by terrorist threats is a tremendous test of our courage. Will we confront danger and adversity in order to preserve our ideals, or will our courage and commitment to individual rights wither at the prospect of sacrifice? My response is simple. If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is "America."
Does anyone remember Mr. Smith goes to Washington? This time its for real.
Here's what the Christian Coalition (Pat Robertson's organization and staunch supporters of W.) had to say about Pat's comments on assassinating Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela.....
(AgapePress) - Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) founder Pat Robertson is showing no sign of regret over the controversial remarks he made Monday on his 700 Club television program, calling for the U.S. assassination of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, a leader the evangelist described as "a terrific danger" to America.
News sources quoted Robertson as saying the U.S. should have its operatives "take Chavez out," in order to stop him from making his country "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism." And despite widespread criticism on network TV shows the following day, the outspoken evangelist did not shy away from making further controversial observations on his 700 Club program on Tuesday.
Discussing the biblical roots of Islam, Robertson noted on the Tuesday 700 Club broadcast that "Abraham had a couple of sons. One was named Isaac; the other was Ishmael, and the Bible talks about Ishmael as being a wild ass. He's just uncontrollable. And it's almost like that seed of rebellion and uncontrolled anger has filtered into these people." The Christian commentator went on to say that Islamic terrorists seem to be motivated by "a spirit of murder."
Although Robertson did not repeat or even mention his call for assassinating President Chavez on the Tuesday show, CBN representatives say the longtime 700 Club host stands by his previous statements. Other prominent conservatives have disagreed with and criticized the evangelical leader for his comments, however.
Like millions of people I started blogging out of frustration following the November 2004 elections and the inexplicable folly of re-electing what is surly one of the most criminally inclined administrations in American history. While I started out hoping to impart insights into the religious right, Bush’s base, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated by a movement that seems bent on duping its followers into rejecting objective reality in favor of an Amway like sales pitch. Evangelicals are promised prosperity and the good life if they will only buy one more box of soap and bring in just one more distributor. In this case the boxes of soap were tax cuts, wars without end and the destruction of our environment. While plumbing the depths of American Evangelicalism I found a movement with the moral depth and clarity of a mud puddle.
Indeed, modern American evangelicalism promises its followers eternal life in exchange for accepting white midwestern culture and supporting whatever bizarre policies the Republican Party has adopted. Those who do not accept the Evangelical formula voluntarily are deemed morally inferior and are therefore fair game for having the culture shoved down their throats. This stands in stark contrast to other religious movement such as the Quakers, Mennonites and Amish who have adopted a strict religious ethic but have no concept of using the force of law (or the US military) to impose it on others. In the end, the key distinction is between those movements that promote a utopian society and those that lead to tyranny, oppression and ultimately their own destruction.
Much of the modern Christian theology was defined by the early Church’s response to heresy. One heresy that seems appropriate to consider when trying to understand the folly of the Religious Right in general and American Evangelicalism in particular is Docetism. Docetism (from the Greek word dokesis, which means to seem) was the belief that Christ was wholly God, and his humanity and suffering only seemed tobe real. In short, Docetism granted Christ his divinity but denied him his humanity. This contrasts with mainstream Christian orthodoxy which states that Christ is both fully divine and fully human.
The heresy of the American Evagelicanism (if it can be called heresy) is not that they deny Christ’s humanity, it is that they are in denial about their own. In short, the key weaknesses of Evangelicals are pride and arrogance. Evangelicals are the first to proclaim the sinful nature of huminity and our propensity to commit all manner of evil. Indeed, so debotched is human nature that Evangelicals see it as only natural to impose no end of government control over personal freedom lest our society be overrun by the innate human desire to commit evil. Strangely, it is only other people’s sin that seems to enrage Evangelicals as Evangelicals are largely blind to the sins they commit on their own.
More disturbingly, for many if not most American Evangelicals the issue is not really falling for every con artist who professes a faith in God so much as giving in to their all too human desire to feel safely ensconsed in their own whitewashed culture. Indeed, I believe history will show that American Evangelicalism defining attribute as a movement was not that it promoted religion so much as that it coveted political power as a means to impose its cultural norms upon a nation and the world. The underlying assumption with the Religious Right is that the only cultural norm that can exist are their own.
In my experience with Evangelicals I have found them to be just as prone to marrital infidelity, larceny, sexual exploitation and all other maner of indescretion as the general public. Indeed, my anecdotal observations appear to be supported by solid research from organizations such as Barna. That Evangelicals are just as prone to human frailty and weakness as the general population is excusable, what is not excusable is their insistence on applying a moral standard to the rest of society that they theselves fail to adhere to.
There is a sense within the Evangelical movement that once someone is “saved” they are not only free from the sins of the past but are largely incapable of committing sins in the future and therefore hold a position of moral superiority over the rest of human society. It is a kind of cultural racism that has given many members of the Religious Right the sure and certain belief that only they are qualified to hold high office and rule over others. This is not a movement that values diversity, at least intellectual diversity.
Intellectually, the institution of Evangelicalism teaches, no indoctrinates it followers in the sure and certain knowledge that solid objective information is the enemy. Biological evolution is a scientific fact backed by libraries filled with first class research? Wrong, its all a plot by Satan and anyone who accept such notions is clearly working for the devil in his efforts to overturn the authority of the Bible! You say that one of our pastors has been engaged in (choose one) theft, sexual exploitation or some other nefarious activity and that you have solid evidience and eye witness testimony to support the charge? Wrong, our pastor loves Jesus therefore it’s the accusors who are evil. In short, it is a system where one’s innate belief in moral superiority trumps objective reality. Anyone challenging this paradigm is engaged in persecussion and is therefor a valid target.
The Shakesperian tragidy of American Evangelicism is that while its followers sincerely want to bring about a better world on behalf of God, their efforts to gain political power and to enforce social control has turned Evangelicalism into little more than a fanatical and corrupt secular political movement. That a major political party would sieze control of Evangelical leadership (and vice versa) was not only natural, it was inevitble. In this case no matter how bizzare or corrupt President Bush’s behavior he need only remind people that he is an Evangelical and the base magically falls into line without question. Indeed, like the victims of any skilled con artist, evangelicals not only excuse the behavior of the Bush administration, Evangelicals have become its chief defenders.
The basic contradiction of modern Evangelicalism is that it is a religious movement which claims to have aligned itself more closely with God than any other Christian movement in history and yet it has placed its entire identity (and great deal of its material holdings) in the hands of a secular political movement. A secular political movement that worships not God but the free market, a system that values the rich over the poor, the strong over the weak and the priveliged over the impoverished. In short, through its alignment with the Republican party Evangelicals have placed their faith not in God but in a system that turns the kingdom of God as described by Jesus squarly on its head. Evangelicals have, ironically, become the incarnation of all they claim to oppose.
For many American Evangelicals it is inconceivable that anyone can adhere to a belief system and operate under any cultural norms other than theirs. With a belief system ground into their skulls and with the unlimited power of the US government now at their disposal it takes little imagination to see who the Religious Right is fighting in the culture war; anyone who does not think, talk, walk, look or believe as they do. The following description of religious oppression is from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State…
"He knew I was Jewish and referred to myself and my religion using the f-word, calling me, like, an f-ing Jew, blaming me for killing Jesus," Weinstein said.
ABC reported that during a class on the Holocaust, one cadet told a Jewish student that the mass murder occurred because the Jews killed Christ.
Non-believers have also had problems. One former cadet, an atheist who has since graduated, said he posted a poem about atheists in the military on his door but it was constantly torn off. He asserted that cadets were pressured to attend Christian services and that the academy promoted the film "The Passion of the Christ."
When he complained, the former cadet said, an officer told him he was Christian and considered it his duty to "bring him back" to Christianity.
Other complaints include:
· The placement of an annual ad in the official academy newspaper that declares Jesus as the only savior. About 200 academy staff members, including some department heads, have signed the ad in years past. It did not run last year.
· A statement in June of 2003 by academy commandant, Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, a born-again Christian, who told cadets that their first responsibility is to their God. He also strongly endorsed the National Day of Prayer.
· Officer commission ceremonies being held at off-campus churches.
· Complaints that mandatory academy events are often held on Jewish holidays.
· Actions by football coach Fisher DeBerry who posted a large Christian banner in a locker room that read, "I am a Christian first and last.... I am a member of Team Jesus Christ." DeBerry was told to remove the banner.
How did the Academy take on such a religious cast? Apparently, the institution has been heavily influenced by Focus on the Family and other high-profile Religious Right groups that proliferate in the Pike's Peak area. Also, fundamentalist groups have for years targeted the military for aggressive proselytism efforts.
And what does the good Dr. Dobson have to say about all of this?
Christians at the U.S. Air Force Academy are simply too aggressive and outspoken, according to a formal complaint by the activist group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The complaint puts the academy in the crosshairs of the mainstream media and liberals.
As always, it’s a conspiracy hatched by the liberal media. Replace word “Liberal” with “Jew” and “Mainstream Media” with “Communist” and you will get a better sense of where Dobson is coming from. But wait, there’s more….
Tom Clemmons, an Air Force Academy graduate and former officer, said it's really an attempt to quash the free speech of Christians.
"I totally disagree with what they're saying. I applaud any chaplain that would encourage students to know the Lord," Clemmons said. "This is a free country, even in the military.
"If I did experience a bias in the Air Force, it was against Christians. The secular humanists kind of run the show, by and large. Now, while we do have Christians at the Academy and in the Air Force, it's definitely a minority."
Everyone, he added, is a witness to what they believe, one way or the other, and that Christians have a right to share in the public arena.
While all Americans should be outraged at the conduct of the religious right and their bigoted culture war, one can only pray that a few individuals within the religious right would acknowledge their movement’s hypocrisy. While we on the left, Christian Left I might add, can yell and scream until we are blue in the “state” real change will only come when a few brave soles within the religious right have the courage to stand up and confront the evil that their movement has given into.
For weeks now I have been wanting to write a short piece on the relationship between the US budget deficit and the balance of trade between the US and China. China buys large amounts of US debt to fix the yuan to the US dollar. Normally, in the face of massive trade deficits the dollar would drop relative to the yuan making the price of US goods go down in relative terms and increasing demand for US products in China which would reduce the swelling trade deficit. However, by purchasing large amounts of US debt, the Chinese have helped keep US interest rates low and the price of the yuan near the dollar so that the trade deficit remains large. Anyway, I was going to write something on this until I heard Dr. D. James Kennedy, Senior pastor of Coral Ridge ministries, depositor of 5,000lb block of 10 commandments inscribed granite and promoter of odd ball “Christian” theology.
For background on Coral Ridge check out this post from earlier this year.
Anyway, Dr. Kennedy went off on Sunday (as he does on most Sundays) on the evils of Communism and Socialism. The upshot of his commentary seemed to be that Jesus was a hard core capitalist and that God really wants us to accumulate massive amounts of private wealth. While we may choose to use our accumulated wealth for “Charity” there is nothing that says we have to, it's strictly voluntary. Further Dr. Kennedy stated, “God defends private property with his flaming sword of his own [4th] commandment.” He also pointed out that the early church in Jerusalem blew it by sharing everything thus leaving themselves so poor that the Apostle Paul had to go around asking for money from the other churches to support these early proto socialists. Woof!
You know, you watch this guy preaching to a squeaky clean audience of thousands in an enormous ultra modern church and you can begin to see why Kennedy’s followers see Jesus more as a captain of industry and militaristic anti-communist rather than as an itinerant Jewish rabbi. I hope Jesus is taking notes. No more of this walking around and hanging out with the fisherman, tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and other outcasts. Kennedy makes it clear, Christianity is a top drawer high end affair. As I was getting ready to leave I thought Kennedy was about to promote the virtues of no money down real estate investing using a revolutionary new system that involved voluntarily giving all of your money to Coral Ridge ministries.
Anyway, for any of you budding theology students out there I strongly suggest you start getting in touch with the real Jesus, the one in the Brooks Brothers suit with the cell phone plastered to his ear issuing buy and sell orders to his haggard broker.