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Back February 6th, 2005 Forward
dogemperor [userpic]
Somehow I am not shocked at this

Basic Training in Religious Tolerance

(NYT link; it was snagged from a site at Telecom Digest that is meant to fix the whole password issue, if it does not, use Bugmenot extension on Firefox or go to the Telecom Digest direct link)

Of special notes to dominionism-watchers:

a) This is in Colorado Springs, one of a few cities that is a de facto national headquarters of the Religious Right (I actually recall reading somewhere that upwards of 40-something separate and distinct dominionist or Religious Right groups are headquartered in Colorado Springs)

b) Most of the reports of religious intolerance are in regards to the Air Force Academy; Sunfell has, in particular, posted before on how several dominionist groups (including the AoG) have pretty much almost entirely hijacked the chaplain system in the military. (Sunfell, if you could post the link, that might give people some more background)

(As an aside--in many dominionist denominations, there is little or no formal training one has to go through to even be certified a minister, and some dominionist groups actively are against requiring someone to go through at least a *little* of the training most seminary students have to go through. Many dominionist ministers have no formal theological training at all; in the vast majority of states, if you can show proof you are *associated* with a large enough denomination one can get a ministerial license (for example, in KY the magic number is fifty individuals or being associated with a denomination or sect with over fifty individuals.) I am not certain what the legal requirements are in the military for chaplaincy, but I expect they are probably similar if not *looser* than the legal standard for me to be able to officiate marriages.

(As another aside--I cannot speak for other denominations, but the particular group I walked away from not only has all of seventeen seminaries *worldwide* (for a denomination of over *two million* or more members) but also does not ordain women at *all*; in fact, I'd dare say the vast majority of "ministers" in the denomination have had no formal training whatsoever in theology other than Bible-school courses at the church)

c) One of the particular highlights in the article:

"People were doing and saying things that would not be tolerated at any Air Force base we've ever been at," said Col. Debra Gray, vice commandant of cadets at the academy, which plans to begin mandatory religious sensitivity sessions in February for cadets as well as faculty and staff members.

Some cadets were offended when fliers for the film "Passion of the Christ" were left around campus. Others have complained of being told by other cadets to march in a "heathen flight" if they did not participate in religious services during basic training. One Jewish cadet reported being called a "Christ killer." Atheists have expressed problems with God's being invoked in public academy statements.

(Bolded text my emphasis)

Yes, they were actively *trying to run those who were not dominionists out of the university*. (And so much for "Passion of the Christ" *not* encouraging people to think Jewish people killed Christ :P)

dogemperor [userpic]
Sunday Morning News Part 1: The Good


My perusal of the news this morning (and I am not done yet...) has dug up some interesting articles. One is pretty good, one is pretty bad, and the third is downright ugly in what it predicts.

The good: The Greening of Evangelicals (Washington Post article, registration required.) An Excerpt:

Thanks to the Rev. Leroy Hedman, the parishioners at Georgetown Gospel Chapel take their baptismal waters cold. The preacher has unplugged the electricity-guzzling heater in the immersion baptism tank behind his pulpit. He has also installed energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs throughout the church and has placed water barrels beneath its gutter pipes -- using runoff to irrigate the congregation's all-organic gardens.

Such "creation care" should be at the heart of evangelical life, Hedman says, along with condemning abortion, protecting family and loving Jesus. He uses the term "creation care" because, he says, it does not annoy conservative Christians for whom the word "environmentalism" connotes liberals, secularists and Democrats.

Add "Creation care" to the buzzword lexicon. It might be an awkward phrase, but it's a step in the right direction...sort of.

There is growing evidence -- in polling and in public statements of church leaders -- that evangelicals are beginning to go for the green. Despite wariness toward mainstream environmental groups, a growing number of evangelicals view stewardship of the environment as a responsibility mandated by God in the Bible.

"The environment is a values issue," said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals. "There are significant and compelling theological reasons why it should be a banner issue for the Christian right."

Nice to find some evangelicals do care for this planet, even if they call it 'God's Body'. And some of them see past the dominionist belief that 'every tree must fall' in order for Christ to return:

Even for green activists within the evangelical movement, there are landmines. One faction in the movement, called dispensationalism, argues that the return of Jesus and the end of the world are near, so it is pointless to fret about environmental degradation.

James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first interior secretary, famously made this argument before Congress in 1981, saying: "God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back." The enduring appeal of End Time musings among evangelicals is reflected in the phenomenal success of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic potboilers, which have sold more than 60 million copies and are the best-selling novels in the country.

Haggard, the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, concedes that this thinking "is a problem that I do have to address regularly in talking to the common man on the street. I tell them to live your life as if Jesus is coming back tomorrow, but plan your life as if he is not coming back in your lifetime. I also tell them that the authors of the Left Behind books have life insurance policies."

This argument is apparently resonating. Green said the notion that an imminent Judgment Day absolves people of environmental responsibility is now a "fringe" belief.

Unusual weather phenomena, such as the four hurricanes that battered Florida last year and the melting of the glaciers around the world, have captured the attention of evangelicals and made many more willing to listen to scientific warnings about the dangers of global warming, Haggard said.


In Seattle, Hedman says that evangelicals should worry less about the moral authority of the president and more about their biblical obligation to care for Earth.

"The Earth is God's body," Hedman said in a recent sermon. "God wants us to look after it."

I'll second that. It's a good start.


dogemperor [userpic]
Sunday Morning News Part 2: The bad


Media Matters talks about a new free tabloid in the DC area which was bankrolled by a mysterious and very conservative right wing billionaire:

On February 1, a free daily tabloid arrived on newsstands and in mailboxes in the Washington, DC area: the Washington Examiner. The new paper is owned by Denver billionaire Philip F. Anschutz, an Evangelical Presbyterian who has bankrolled numerous ultra-conservative causes and has donated at least half a million dollars to Republican committees and political candidates. The Examiner's first three editorials all took hardline conservative positions.


Anschutz has a history of supporting socially conservative causes. According to a recent Post article, Anschutz's family foundation gave James Dobson, the founder of the conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family, an award for his "contributions to the American Family." The Post noted that according to the foundation's website, Focus on the Family works to "counter the media-saturating message that homosexuality is inborn and unchangeable" and that one of the group's policy experts referred to abortion as an example of when "Satan temporarily succeeds in destroying God's creation." Further, as the Post mentioned, Anschutz contributed $10,000 in 1992 to Colorado Family Values in support of the group's efforts to pass a state constitutional amendment to invalidate state and local laws that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. (The referendum passed, but the United States Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional.) According to the Post, "Anschutz's money helped pay for an ad campaign that said such anti-bias laws gave gays and lesbians 'special rights.'"

In May 2003, the Orange County Weekly reported that other Anschutz Foundation beneficiaries include the Institute for American Values, which according to the Weekly "campaigns against single parenting," and Enough is Enough, which "promotes Internet censorship." The San Francisco Chronicle noted on February 20, 2004, that Anschutz also funds Morality in Media. As Media Matters previously noted, the Institute for American Values also receives funding from the conservative Bradley and Scaife foundations, as well as grants from the John M. Olin Foundation, another major financer of conservative organizations. Enough is Enough and Morality in Media have also received funding from the conservative Castle Rock Foundation.

Anschutz has also made significant financial contributions to Republicans. The Washington Post described Anschutz as "an active Republican donor" stating that "he, his companies and members of his family have given more than $500,000 in campaign contributions to GOP candidates and committees" since 1996. Variety noted in its October 4, 2004, edition that Anschutz has supported "a number of Republican political candidates, including John Ashcroft and Peter Coors."

Read the entire article. It's a taste of things to come.

dogemperor [userpic]
Sunday Morning News part 3: The Ugly


The American Conservative, a flagship magazine of the far right, isn't the place that you would expect to find the following article. But its very presence is a sharp warning that even the most conservative people in the US are aware that the Dominionist-driven rot is spreading.

Hunger for Dictatorship

An excerpt:

Students of history inevitably think in terms of periods: the New Deal, McCarthyism, “the Sixties” (1964-1973), the NEP, the purge trials—all have their dates. Weimar, whose cultural excesses made effective propaganda for the Nazis, now seems like the antechamber to Nazism, though surely no Weimar figures perceived their time that way as they were living it. We may pretend to know what lies ahead, feigning certainty to score polemical points, but we never do.

Nonetheless, there are foreshadowings well worth noting. The last weeks of 2004 saw several explicit warnings from the antiwar Right about the coming of an American fascism. Paul Craig Roberts in these pages wrote of the “brownshirting” of American conservatism—a word that might not have surprised had it come from Michael Moore or Michael Lerner. But from a Hoover Institution senior fellow, former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, and one-time Wall Street Journal editor, it was striking.


Stern points to the religious (and more explicitly Protestant) component in the rise of Nazism—but I don’t think the proto-fascist mood is strongest among the so-called Christian Right. The critical letters this magazine receives from self-identified evangelical Christians are almost always civil in tone; those from Christian Zionists may quote Scripture about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in ways that are maddeningly nonrational and indisputably pre-Enlightenment—but these are not the letters foaming with a hatred for those with the presumption to oppose George W. Bush’s wars for freedom and democracy. The genuinely devout are perhaps less inclined to see the United States as “God marching on earth.”

Secondly, it is necessary to distinguish between a sudden proliferation of fascist tendencies and an imminent danger. There may be, among some neocons and some more populist right-wingers, unmistakable antidemocratic tendencies. But America hasn’t yet experienced organized street violence against dissenters or a state that is willing—in an unambiguous fashion—to jail its critics. The administration certainly has its far Right ideologues—the Washington Post’s recent profile of Alberto Gonzales, whose memos are literally written for him by Cheney aide David Addington, provides striking evidence. But the Bush administration still seems more embarrassed than proud of its most authoritarian aspects. Gonzales takes some pains to present himself as an opponent of torture; hypocrisy in this realm is perhaps preferable to open contempt for international law and the Bill of Rights.

And yet the very fact that the f-word can be seriously raised in an American context is evidence enough that we have moved into a new period. The invasion of Iraq has put the possibility of the end to American democracy on the table and has empowered groups on the Right that would acquiesce to and in some cases welcome the suppression of core American freedoms. That would be the titanic irony of course, the mother of them all—that a war initiated under the pretense of spreading democracy would lead to its destruction in one of its very birthplaces. But as historians know, history is full of ironies.

Read the entire article.


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