Keyword: Religious Right

"Praise the Lord, Pass the Ammunition, and Give Me My Tax Cuts!" Email Print

The reigning corporate plutocracy's game plan could be succinctly summarized by paraphrasing a famous song of yesteryear.

"Praise the Lord, pass the ammunition and give me my tax cuts!" is reflective of what passes for current day philosophy of the New World Order, neoconservative right inhabited by the likes of George W. Bush, Tea Partiers, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Karl Rove.

How much better it would be for America as well as the rest of the world if the angry Boehner refrain regarding Obama's health care legislation of "Hell no, you can't!" and the angry frustration embodied in it represented an accurate assessment of where things really stand in current day America.

In the overall scheme of events the Obama campaign refrain that Boehner was mocking is far more indicative of how the New World Order neocons are faring than any kind of accurate prediction of where Obama's forthcoming administration would take America.

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Rudy Attacked by Right Flank; Let the Battle Continue! Email Print

One of Karl Rove's toughest assignments was to juggle the elements of the so-called Bush Republican coalition by catering to the religious right at election time. Operatives needed to walk this potentially fatal minefield softly.  

While seeking not to upset the vital religious right constituency, other more moderate conservative types needed to be kept within the Republican fold.  Their support also needed to be retained to stand any chance of triumphing on the national scene.

A student of history, Rove certainly correlated this challenge alongside that perennially faced by his idol Richard Nixon when he sought the presidency.  As the saying then went, Nixon would "fly right for money and fly left for votes."

This was the game Nixon needed to successfully play given the existence at that time of a more progressive Eastern Republican wing that had to be placated alongside more conservative element in the Midwest and west, along with the then opening opportunities in the south.

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Senator Coburn's Very Good and Dishonest Week Email Print

The recent report from the Administration for Children and Families defends abstinence-only programs by attacking comprehensive sexuality education.

By William Smith, SIECUS.

Senator Tom Coburn must have felt like a champ last week.  He released his own missive on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), claiming in the title of the document that the CDC's "wasteful" spending indicated a "CDC Off Center." The 114 pages of that report have consumed more paper and staff time in its creation than it is worth.  Until the CDC comes fully into line with Dr. Coburn's vision of fiscal restraint and public health strained through an ideological sieve, such diatribes make for amusing reading.  I was pleased to see that yours truly made the cut when Coburn retold the story of how I got booted from a peer-reviewed panel at the national STD conference. I was tossed out because I was actually going to question the public health rationale for abstinence-only-until-marri age programs--of course, that's not exactly how Coburn told the story. Amusingly, the CDC ended up picking up the last minute tab for the goofs brought in to replace me--of course the report didn't mention that.


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Brownback Rapes Body Politic Email Print

By Scott Swenson

Sen. Sam Brownback's remarks that rape and incest victims should carry a pregnancy to term amount to verbal rape of the body politic.

Greetings from Kansas, where I am home with family starting a summer of writing on the road.  Kansas is also home to Sen. Sam Brownback whose presidential campaign has yet to crest the two percent mark in most GOP polls.

He trails even "None of these candidates." If there were a percentile ranking for compassion, he would rank even lower.

Speaking before the National Catholic Men's Conference, Brownback said women who become pregnant from rape or incest should carry the pregnancy to term.

Brownback's argument follows a preverse "two wrongs don't make a right" logic for which the assembled Catholic men gave him a standing ovation.  Without any discussion of the millenia of sexist indoctrination introducing the concept of male dominance before a man even considers rape, Brownback ignores the original sin to get to the red meat --- the "compounding" issue of abortion.

From a purely political standpoint, Brownback's campaign is raising no money, attracting no voters, and bringing no new ideas to the table. His debate performances have a Howdy-Doodey on meth quality that only serve as comic relief from the dour Reps. Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo.  He seems to believe the only way to attract attention is to state extreme positions in front of friendly audiences.

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Beyond Shame: Democrats Sell Out Youth Email Print

Today, the House Democrats will waltz into the mark-up of the Labor HHS Subcommittee and proudly present a bill that puts their stamp of approval on domestic abstinence-only-until-marri age programs--an ideological boondoggle that threatens the health and well-being of America's youth.

By James Wagoner

The most appalling aspect of this sell-out is that that the Democrats will not only fully fund the worst of the failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs--they'll give them a $27 million increase--the first in three years!

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More Federal Funding Goes to Abstinence-Only Email Print

By Tyler LePard

Despite repeated scientific proof that abstinence-only programs don't work, the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB)--program offices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)--recently announced a grant to the Medical Institute for Sexual Health to develop online abstinence training programs. This $207,400 grant qualifies as technical assistance from the Abstinence Education Division of FYSB in order to integrate "medical and scientific information into abstinence education programming."


According to their website, the Medical Institute for Sexual Health (MI) is a credible scientific organization interested in public health:


"MI was founded to confront the global epidemics of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We identify and evaluate scientific information on sexual health and promote healthy sexual decisions and behaviors by communicating credible scientific information."


However, their focus on abstinence, to the exclusion of important health aspects of comprehensive sex ed shows, that they value ideology over sound public health. The Medical Institute plays up the failure rate of contraception and opposes mandating the HPV vaccine (despite acknowledging HPV as the most common sexually transmitted infection).  Additionally, SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) features the Medical Institute in their National Opponents of Comprehensive Sexuality.

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This Week in Blogging the Religious Right -- Taking Action Edition Email Print

Better late than never, this week's posts about the religious right from The Greater Blogosphere are as concerning, thought provoking and even inspiring as ever. This week there are notable posts on taking action on a number of fronts: including how better contend with aspects of the politics of the religious right in the GOP; refuting the revisionist history in a highly touted Bible study program marketed to schools; debunking a religious right talking point on stem cell research --  and a hair-raising expose of the unholy alliance between Christian rightists and Democrats against medical privacy in Texas.

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The Anglican Antigay Agenda Email Print

You can tell a lot about a political or religious faction by its leaders. That is why it is so interesting, and concerning, that the rightwing Episcopalians that are busy breaking away from the American church are joining the Anglican faction led by Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria.  

Indeed, Akinola may soon be better known as a notorious persecutor of gays and lesbians than for his role in fomenting schism in the Episcopal Church in the U.S.  He is a prominent advocate for a bill that The New York Times recently called a "poisonous piece of legislation" that would criminalize all "amorous" same sex relationships and ban political organizing on behalf of gay rights: all subject to 5 years imprisonment. One probable side effect would be to undermine efforts to curb the spread of AIDS.

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This is the Time Email Print

In the life of successful social and political movements, leaders, elections, and even institutions come and go, but the movement goes on. This has certainly been true of the religious right. The recent elections, for example, were a set back, and there is some shaking out going on:  but there is no evidence that the wider movement has peaked.

But I have opened here with a disgression.  This post is not about the religious right. It is about us.

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Inside The #1 Religious Right Money Machine Email Print

Update:  A much shorter version of my investigative report appeared in Mother Jones, Dec 2005. This the full-length version. further not: The National Christian Foundation is now the 29th largest charitiable foundation in the US according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy's just released report, the Philanthropy 400.

 "When you choose to work with the National Christian Foundation, you get a partner that shares your Biblical perspective on giving...We teach [donors] valuable ways to invest dollars into God's Kingdom, rather than surrender whose dollars to the federal government"--The National Christian Foundation

Tucked between two large hospital complexes on the northern perimeter of Atlanta's vast sprawl is the largest and least known single financial delivery system to the Christian Right.

Since its founding nearly twenty-five years ago, the National Christian Charitable Foundation--AKA The National Christian Foundation-- has become the leading financial delivery system to the Religious Right, having channeled nearly $1 billion to ministries, conservative think tanks and political activists around the country and overseas.  NCF operates so far under the public radar that even its hometown newspaper, the Atlanta Constitution, has never featured them in an article.

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Mitt Romney and the Religious Right Email Print

The Religious Right is not now, nor has it ever been exclusively Christian.  It has always been a coalition of conservative religious groups including various kinds of Protestants -- both evangelcial and mainline, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, and more.

This reality will be thrown into sharper relief as Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts ramps up his campaign for the GOP nomination for president. Without evaluating his chances, there is no question that he is running and making the rounds, and like John McCain and all of the other prospective candidates, wooing the religious right. As Romney tacks to the religious and to the right in pursuit of the nomination (he tacked prochoice and moderate to win the governorship of Massachusetts and played down religion), the question of how a former Mormon bishop, fits in the religious right will be a question.  Historically, fundadmentalist and evangelical Christians have viewed Mormons as unChrisitian, and even as a dangerous cult. The prejudice that still runs deep against Catholics arguably runs deeper against Mormons. This has been widely discussed in the mainstream press, and has been acknowledged by Christian right leaders as an issue. Some have sought to be open to Romney, who spoke at Family Research Council's recent Values Voters Summit.  But are values voters just conservative Christian voters when they get to the voting booth? Thats what James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family seems to think.

Under the headline "Christian Leader: Romney's Mormon Faith Could Hinder Presidential Bid," the New York Sun reported:

A prominent and powerful evangelical Christian leader, James Dobson, said yesterday that the Mormon faith practiced by Governor Romney of Massachusetts could pose a serious obstacle if Mr. Romney makes a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

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Danforth Says He is No Longer Obtuse about the Christian Right Email Print

Former Senator John Danforth (R-MO),  has a book coming out on Tuesday: "Faith and Politics: How the 'Moral Values' Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together."  This is not good news for the religious right, for which he has some strong criticisms consistent with his speaking and writing of the past few years. As a former GOP sentator, U.S. Ambassador to the UN and an Episcopal priest, his words carry some weight. While I am glad that he is speaking out, and I have no doubt that he will add a thoughtfulf and helpful voice to the contemporary discussion of the role of religion and public life, my main criticism is that he should have and arguably could have done a lot more, a lot  sooner. Nevertheless, I say better late than never. Perhaps Danforth's high profile public criticisms of the religious right and the polititians that pander to it, will help others find find their voice. Who knows, maybe even some Democrats can be helped; particularly those who have not yet succumbed to the temptation to throw their principles overboard while attempting to appeal to conservative "values voters."  

Danforth offered this explanation to his home town newspaper, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, as to why he only recently has come to be speaking out: "Maybe I was obtuse," he said.  That, and Terry Schiavo.

More on the flip.

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No body. No crime. How to get away with murder. Email Print

Most of you may not recognize this image:

Those are US National Guardsmen (in the foreground) attacking unarmed students (on the hill) at Ohio's Kent State University in May, 1970.  Seems like ancient history, doesn't it?  Times have changed, right?

From Kent State to Police State
Some will say, "We're focused on the future!  We are working to win back the congress!"  Who cares history?  Well, you should care -- if you care about what congress will be able to achieve in 2007 and beyond.   Let me show you.  Come with me to the scene of another crime against citizens of the republic that recently happened in Ohio: The theft of the 2004 election  You need to hurry up.  In 30 days the smoking gun will be history.   Unless you act now.

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Buffy, David, and the Religious Left Email Print

There has been much discussion of late of the rise of a new religious left. While there are a lot of stirrings out there, I think that such claims are premature. While I look at this primarily from the standpoint of thinking about the various forces that might be cobbled together to better contend with the religious right, I want to offer a few thoughts about this going forward.

The idea that a religious left could provide a counterweight to the religious right seems to have several main components. One is the point that the Conventional Wisdom stresses; that the leaders of the religious right are not the sole voices of Christianity, let alone a Christian view of politics and public policy. True enough. (One wonders why it didn't occur to them sooner.) Another, is that there are great Jewish and Christian social justice traditions to draw upon -- that emphasize that Jesus and the Bible in general, had a great deal more to say about poverty than say, abortion or homosexuality. All true. But the main thing I have yet to hear any rumblings about is how all this connects to citizenship, ongoing active engagement in public life in general, and electoral politics in particular. Funny about that, since electoral politics has been the movement's main vehicle to power.

But generally, I think that anyone thinking about getting a religious left off the ground, and perhaps even engaging the religious right, has a lot to learn from young David of Bible fame, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of teen movie fame.

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Don't Think of the Elephant on the Table Email Print

The blogosphere has become an important new cultural, political, journalistic phenomenon. The Yearly Kos celebrated its newfound power, and there will be conferences to ponder what it all means.

And there are also conferences this summer to discuss politics and important issues of the day as we head into the drama of the mid-term elections. But amidst all of the turmoil of the changing political landscape and fascinating advances in communications technology -- one thing remains largely unchanged. When organizations get together, one subject that is rarely on the agenda is the religious right and what to do about it.  

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