Dark Christianity
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Justice Sunday II


Today's Talk to Action blog has another post on debunking Christian Nationalism, which mentions a second "Justice Sunday", this time featuring a bigger celebrity cast, and a harder push to get rid of so-called "activist judges".

Once again, the theocratic Christian Right is making a big show of conflating the notion of "people of faith" with membership in he Christian Right of the Republican party. The rhetoric is a tad less strident, but the message is the same.

But the preach-fest of last time has been replaced with a more dramatic production, that will include three country music stars. Notably Lee Greenwood, the singer-songwriter best known for his patriotic hit, "God Bless the USA." This song has been an anthem at Christian Right rallies for years, and no doubt it will be the emotional highlight of what we can expect will be a carefully choreographed program.

Like last time, religious leaders who do not share the theocratic agenda of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and his allies can be expected to be outraged. The first to speak out was the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance:

"Here we go again!" Rev. Gaddy said. "And, this time the imagery and the implications of the message advanced by leaders of the religious right are more offensive, sacrilegious, and undemocratic than those so integral to Justice Sunday I."

"Right now, the most serious threats to the fundamental rights and liberties in our nation are not coming from a lack of God's interest but from a small group of religious right leaders who have assumed the mantle of national religious authorities and seek to impose on the whole nation and its constitution their particular views on religion, the courts, politics, and justice."

"Here we go again," indeed.

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I want to read this book


Talk To Action talks about a very interesting book that I'd like to get:

God vs. the Gavel by Marci Hamilton.

In light of the Justice Sunday II post below, such a book, which weighs the value of religion and the rule of law, is a must read. Here's the blurb:

God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law challenges the pervasive assumption that all religious conduct deserves constitutional protection. While religious conduct provides many benefits to society, it is not always benign. The thesis of the book is that anyone who harms another person should be governed by the laws that govern everyone else – and truth be told, religion is capable of great harm.

This may not sound like a radical proposition, but it has been under assault since the 1960s. The majority of academics and many religious organizations would construct a fortress around religious conduct that would make it extremely difficult to prosecute child abuse by clergy, medical neglect of children by faith healers, and other socially intolerable behaviors. This book intends to change the course of the public debate over religion by bringing to the public's attention the tactics of religious entities to avoid the law and therefore harm others. God vs. the Gavel will bring much-needed balance to the contemporary, heated debate about religion and its role in society.

Marci A. Hamilton is an internationally recognized constitutional authority specializing in church/state relations. She is a leading national expert on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which she successfully challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, and is involved in cutting-edge First Amendment litigation involving clergy abuse (on behalf of victims) and religious land use (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act).

The excerpt (linked on the page above) is also quite interesting. I need to figure out a way to borrow or budget such books as this one for my own collection and research.

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What does Jesus want?


Religious Right Watch does an interesting comparison of what Christ asks of his followers, and what the Religious Right asks:

The least Jesus asks is not what the Religious Right asks

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 31-46, Jesus tells a parable in which admittance to heaven depends on a person's demonstrated ability to have done six things in life:

1) Fed the hungry
2) Gave drink to the thirsty
3) Welcomed the stranger
4) Clothed the naked
5) Cared for the sick
6) Visited prisoners

Listening to the typical conservative evangelical or, especially, Fundamentalist sermon in 10,000's of churches in America, you would seldom get the sense that Jesus will care more about the above than he will that you:

1) Remained a virgin until your wedding night
2) Supported pro-Israel foreign policy on the belief that Israel basically can't do anything wrong
3) Refrained from ever touching a member of the same sex in any but an utterly chaste manner
4) Voted for "Godly," "Bible-believing," or "values" candidates--i.e. Republicans per the Religious Right's definitions of "Godly," "Bible-believing," or "values"
5) Believed that Jesus would be returning in the sky soon, quite possibly within your lifetime
6) Kept yourself and your children from listening to "secular" music or viewing "secular" films or TV

The whole post is worth a visit.

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Dominionist Groups' Strategies Against Planned Parenthood

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]britzkrieg)

From Women's eNews:

The campaign against Planned Parenthood now goes far beyond anti-abortion protests. Led by two national organizations--Life Decisions and STOPP--it features community protests, corporate boycotts and targeting of clinics with weak finances...

With an annual budget of approximately $110,000, Douglas R. Scott, Life Decisions' president, and his staff of three, research and publish "The Boycott List" of companies--usually about 50 or 60 in number--that donate to Planned Parenthood...

According to a March press release, current boycott targets include Adobe Systems, Bank of America, Johnson and Johnson, Kenneth Cole, Levi Strauss, Nationwide Insurance, Prudential, Unilever, Wachovia, Whole Foods and Walt Disney...

Scott claims that 116 companies have withdrawn Planned Parenthood support, pulling $35 million in funds away from the organization...

STOPP, the other thorn in Planned Parenthood's side, is a division of the anti-abortion, anti-contraception American Life League in Stafford, Va., which has a $7 million annual budget. STOPP--short for Stop Planned Parenthood--organizes actions to "defeat" Planned Parenthood, which it describes as "the very head of the Culture of Death in the U.S."

David Bereit, STOPP's new national director, plans to train local community members to oppose Planned Parenthood, as he did in Bryan-College Station, Texas, where, he says, he coordinated 60 churches and 3,000 people to remove Planned Parenthood's education program from schools and reduce abortions at a local clinic by more than 15 percent...

The group publishes a chart of Planned Parenthood clinics where abortions are performed, as well as "The Ryan Report," a monthly newsletter detailing Planned Parenthood activities and local opposition.

Bereirt researches IRS documents of local Planned Parenthood affiliates, hoping to identify those that are weak financially. "If there are active efforts in those towns, those are places where we could have an impact," he said.

STOPP also pushes state legislation to stop any governmental funds from reaching Planned Parenthood affiliates. Nationally, approximately one-third of Planned Parenthood's services are supported by government funding, usually for contraception or health care services for low-income women (abortion is not covered).

Full Article

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Today's Cultural Warfare Update

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]britzkrieg)

Selected headlines and blurbs from [info]solarbird's cultural warfare update for 7/15:

* Focus on the Family (FotF) claims that women who have abortions are more likely to abuse drugs later.
* FotF criticizes an anti-discrimination bill in Oregon, claiming that adding gays to existing basic civil rights law would "force churches and religious institutions and organizations into hiring homosexuals."
* FotF protests the dropping of charges against a mayor arrested for performing gay/lesbian marriage ceremonies.
* Albertan premier Ralph Klein says Alberta will allow marriage, but "will focus its attention on protecting those who support traditional marriage."
* Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America’s Culture & Family Institute, was recently interviewed for comment on the Fx Network’s show ’30 Days.’ The show featured a young man with strong Christian faith living with a homosexual in San Francisco’s Castro district for 30 days. During that time, the young man is persuaded over and over to change or renounce the biblical teaching that homosexuality is a sin.
* Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich declared Tuesday that the state will spend 10 million dollars on stem-cell research -- both adult and embryonic. FotF is predictably pissed.

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