Dark Christianity
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Federal employees loyalty oath


Here we go...

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility News Release (www.peer.org)

For Immediate Release: October 13, 2005
Contact: Chas Offutt (202) 265-7337

POLITICAL SCREENING FOR ALL PARK SERVICE MANAGERS — Mid-Level Managers Picked for Fealty to “the President’s Management Agenda”

Washington, DC — The National Park Service has started using a political loyalty test for picking all its top civil service positions, according to an agency directive released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Under the new order, all mid-level managers and above must also be approved by a Bush administration political appointee.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
The American Empire


This Sierra Times article is very interesting:

The American Empire: An Unholy Alliance between Church and State
Lee R. Shelton IV

The man hailed as the first Christian emperor of Rome was Constantine, whose alleged "conversion" in 312 A.D. came on the eve of a great battle for the Roman throne. In the simplified version of the legend, Constantine saw a flaming cross in the sky emblazoned with the words "In hoc signo vinces," meaning "By this sign, conquer"--and he proceeded to do just that.

Constantine the Great, however, was far from Christian. Throughout his life, he remained a worshipper of Sol Invictus (the Invincible Sun) and retained the title of "Pontifex Maximus," which meant that, in addition to his duties as emperor, he served as the chief priest of the Roman pagan religion. (Ironically, the Catholic Church continues to bestow that title on its popes.)Read more... )

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ACTION ALERT- Headstart bill allows religious discrimination


The House has passed H.R 2123, the "School Readiness Act of 2005." Amendment #574 (Boehner) allows "faith based" groups to discriminate in hiring and accepting volunteers for Headstart programs:

More information on the bill here.

Text of amendment:

(a)(1) The Secretary shall not provide financial assistance for any program, project, or activity under this subchapter unless the grant or contract with respect thereto specifically provides that no person with responsibilities in the operation thereof will discriminate with respect to any such program, project, or activity because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, political affiliation, or beliefs.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to a recipient of financial assistance under this subchapter that is a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society, with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities. Such recipients shall comply with the other requirements contained in this subsection.

The act is now in committee. Write your senators and tell them to oppose Amendment #547 to the School Readiness act.

List of senators:


Handwritten/typed letters have more impact than e-mails.

dogemperor [userpic]
Something to watch for?


FEMA offers program to reimburse religious groups that helped during the hurricanes:

Story here, from CNN

dogemperor [userpic]
Cronyism and faith-based thinking


The latter part of this Petty-Larseny [sic] blog goes into some interesting observations of Bush's faith-based behavior:

All of this, though, leaves us with the question of why does Bush now, after Sept. 11, after Katrina, after Michael Brown, still feel comfortable relying on trickle-down cronyism to fill spots of vital national security?

Oddly, John Kerry unknowingly provided the key to understanding this pivotal part of Bush's personality. In a debate discussion utterly unrelated to this one, he said: "The president and I have a difference of opinion about how we live out our sense of our faith. I talked about it earlier when I talked about the works and faith without works being dead."

Pres. Bush is a faith-based president. More importantly, he's a faith-based person. He's a new breed of Christian; seeing the world and everyone in it solely through the lens of personal salvation. I don't mean he literally has a religious litmus test. I mean that he's embraced a viral, mutant strain of Christianity that pays no heed to the teachings or works of Jesus, but focuses exclusively on a new, ephemeral, poorly defined notion of faith: Personal acceptance of (something you call) Christ as (something you perceive as) your savior. That's it. That's how you get to heaven. You don't even have to accept the biblically defined Jesus, you just have to think you do.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]


'An issue raised by the Feds that Kenyon found distasteful: an instruction that chaplains bless recovered bodies. A company source said the Feds are insisting on this, and the first chaplains are supposed to go out this week. Asked if that was mixing church and state, a FEMA spokeswoman responded: "A prayer is not necessarily religious. Everybody prays."'

dogemperor [userpic]
New York Times column


This Frank Rich column in the New York Times has some interesting things to say:

WHEN there's money on the line, cronies always come first in this White House, no matter how great the human suffering. After Katrina, the FEMA Web site directing charitable contributions prominently listed Operation Blessing, a Pat Robertson kitty that, according to I.R.S. documents obtained by ABC News, has given more than half of its yearly cash donations to Mr. Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. If FEMA is that cavalier about charitable donations, imagine what it's doing with the $62 billion (so far) of taxpayers' money sent its way for Katrina relief. Actually, you don't have to imagine: we already know some of it was immediately siphoned into no-bid contracts with a major Republican donor, the Fluor Corporation, as well as with a client of the consultant Joe Allbaugh, the Bush 2000 campaign manager who ran FEMA for this White House until Brownie, Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate, was installed in his place.</blockquote>

The questions are starting to be asked, folks. The important part is that we keep asking them and keep people from burying them.

dogemperor [userpic]
On one of the major groups being promoted...

One of the groups that is now being specifically mentioned (including in Bush's speech last night) is the Heritage Foundation. They pass themselves off as a "conservative think tank" but are linked with multiple dominionist/Avengelical groups, including a secretive group called the Council for National Policy:


For those who actually *want* to see their plans for NOLA, they have them posted at http://www.heritage.org/Research/GovernmentReform/sr05.cfm

Here's the summary, courtesy of a poster at [info]after_katrina:

1. Waiver on environmental rules
2. Eliminaton of capital gains tax
3. Private ownership of public schools
4. The heirs of any victim worth more than $1.5 million should be exempt from the estate tax.

(This is part of a dominionist platform, as an aside; the "waiver on environmental rules" is supported by dominionist because they either see environmental destruction as something that will make Jesus come back faster, or (in the case of those dominionists into "spiritual warfare/deliverance ministry" type stuff) they actually see environmentalism as a form of devil worship. Dominionists also support destruction of public school systems in the hope that children will be forced to turn to sectarian means to be educated (including dominionist-run homeschooling and dominionist-run private schools; it is ALREADY difficult to find support for homeschooling that is not controlled by dominionists)).

dogemperor [userpic]
New article details dominionist agendas with Katrina relief

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/09/AR2005090901867.html?tr=y&auid=1108137 notes how, among other things, one of the things dominionist groups are using Katrina relief efforts as a way to ramrod federal funding for dominionist groups through:

Sensing an opening, Republican leaders have also begun to lobby the White House to resume the drive for vouchers that would allow government money to be used at private and parochial schools, a battle that Republicans waged and lost during the debate over the No Child Left Behind education law of 2001. "If we make the decision that federal money will follow the child, we should make it a voucher. That's a Republican principle," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

Similarly, Republican leaders are seeking a change in a law that would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give money directly to religious groups that are helping Katrina's survivors, an extension of the administration's long-standing goal of enlarging the role of faith-based organizations in providing social services. "The important thing is to empower and encourage anyone who is willing and able to help to administer emergency help," said Kevin Madden, spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).

Yes, they're trying to change the laws to directly funnel *your tax dollars* to groups like Operation Blessing (known for trade in blood diamonds) and Convoy of Hope (a stealth-evangelism "charity" that is the de facto "charity" wing of the AoG, a denomination that is strongly linked with the present administration and actually has support of "deliverance ministry" dominionism in its official church policy) as well as dominionist-operated schools.

dogemperor [userpic]
Bill Moyers nails it again!


In this speech repeated on Salon.com, Bill Moyers talks about the religious bullies that threaten America's religious freedom. Here are some excerpts:

Hostages to fear

The bullies using Sept. 11 to threaten America's religious and moral freedom must be opposed with a stubbornness to match their own.

Editor's note: This article is excerpted from Bill Moyer's address at the Union Theological Seminary in New York on Sept. 7.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Bill Moyers

Sept. 11, 2005 | At the Central Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas, where I was baptized in the faith, we believed in a free church in a free state. I still do. My spiritual forebears did not take kindly to living under theocrats who embraced religious liberty for themselves but denied it to others. "Forced worship stinks in God's nostrils," thundered dissenter Roger Williams as he was banished from Massachusetts for denying Puritan authority over his conscience. Baptists there were a "pitiful negligible minority," but they were agitators for freedom and therefore denounced as "incendiaries of the commonwealth" for holding to their belief in that great democracy of faith -- the priesthood of all believers. For refusing to pay tribute to the state religion they were fined flogged, and exiled.

In 1651 Baptist Obadiah Holmes was given 30 stripes with a three-corded whip after he violated the law and took forbidden Communion with another Baptist in Lynn, Mass. His friends offered to pay his fine for his release but he refused. They offered him strong drink to anesthetize the pain of the flogging. Again he refused. It is the love of liberty, he said, "that must free the soul."

Such revolutionary ideas made the new nation with its Constitution and Bill of Rights "a haven for the cause of conscience." No longer could magistrates order citizens to support churches they did not attend and recite creeds that they did not believe. No longer would "the loathsome combination of church and state" -- as Thomas Jefferson described it -- be the settled order. Unlike the Old World that had been racked with religious wars and persecution, the government of America would take no sides in the religious free-for-all that liberty would make possible and politics would make inevitable.This is a must-read! )

dogemperor [userpic]
The Ungrateful One Percent


Today's AlterNet has an interesting article about the American Family Association's hurricane relief efforts:

The American Family Association, an anti-gay anti-reproductive rights organization, wants to help hurricane victims, as long as the victims are church-goers who will be appropriately grateful.

The American Family Association sent out a plea to churches today to house hurricane victims, however the plea was accompanied by a warning:

"If your church would be willing to adopt a family, please fill out the form and email it back to us. We in turn will contact a family needing shelter and have them get in contact with you directly. You can interview them to see if their needs and your facilities are compatible and to secure references such as their previous local church and pastor. We suggest that you screen the family carefully. While 99% of these people will be very appreciative, there is always that 1% who can create problems."[italics in original]

Well, isn't that nice of them to warn us off the ungrateful bastards. I especially dislike the part about families securing a "reference" from their previous local church and pastor. God forbid the family didn't go to church or that their previous church and pastor are unable to give a reference at the moment, being probably more than a little occupied with their own survival and that of the thousands of displaced people around them.

The American Family Association bills itself as "America's Largest Pro-family Online Action site" but its pretty clear in times of national tragedy that non-church going families and other ingrates aren't included in the ranks.

Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.

Anyone wanting a sneak preview of how faith-based groups will make life miserable for those of the 'wrong' faith merely have to monitor AFA.

dogemperor [userpic]
Bush Administration Charity List Dominated by Religious Groups

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

Article via [info]religionnewsblo, from Bloomberg.com. Neither surprising nor very alarming, it's still interesting.

The U.S. government released a list of charitable groups collecting contributions to help Hurricane Katrina victims that is dominated by religious organizations and excludes many secular and international relief groups.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency list was posted on the agency's Web site and published in major newspapers yesterday. After the American Red Cross, which was named first, the next organization was Operation Blessing, a group based in Virginia Beach, Virginia and founded by televangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson.

``How in the heck did that happen?'' said Richard Walden, president of Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based secular group that has been conducting disaster relief work since 1979 and was not on FEMA's list. ``That gives Pat Robertson millions of extra dollars.''

On the plus side, "Matthew De Galan, chief development officer at MercyCorps, a secular relief and development organization in Portland, Oregon...said his group is raising a record amount of money despite the omission and said he doesn't ascribe any motives to the content of the list."

dogemperor [userpic]
Cultural Warfare Update

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

Here are some of the "headlines" from [info]solarbird's cultural warfare update for July 6:

* Tennessee opens a new probe of the "ex-gay" camp (previously discussed here)
* Focus on the Family blasts the American Academy of Pediatricians for stating that abstinence-only education doesn't work very well (previously discussed here)
* Concerned Women for America "cranky" about gay rights protest historical marker in Pennsylvania
* Florida governor Jeb Bush pushes evangelistic Christian program in schools
* Family Research Council (FRC) condemns United Church of Christ for recognising same-sex marriages
* FRC action item: Demand Thomas/Scalia-like justice to replace O'Connor, condemns her for voting for Lawrence v. Texas as "striking at the heart of our Judeo-Christian heritage"

Check out the link to the Jeb Bush story in particular. Here's an excerpt:

Just before Father's Day, Gov. Jeb Bush announced that he wanted every public school in Florida to host a Christian-based program designed to increase fathers' participation in their children's lives... The program, All Pro Dad, combines a biblical foundation with the draw of popular professional athletes to promote the belief that "the father is the head of the household" and that men should rely on God to help them be better parents and keep their marriages intact. It also encourages Bible reading.

dogemperor [userpic]
Interesting articles re dominionism, et al

Upon reading that ADL is also (though far, far less of an extent than SPLC is) starting to realise that the dominionists are a threat, I did some surfing on their site and a few links off ADL's site:

http://www.adl.org/PresRele/RelChStSep_90/4507_90.htm (A report on the ADL condemning having Roy Moore in regards to a Senate hearing on religious intolerance)

http://www.adl.org/PresRele/RelChStSep_90/4694_90.htm (in regards to an attempt in Florida to pass a school prayer bill)

http://www.adl.org/PresRele/RelChStSep_90/4695_90.htm (ADL's statement on the "Justice Sunday" debacle)

http://www.adl.org/PresRele/RelChStSep_90/4510_90.htm (regarding ADL's efforts to fight attempted passage of bills and amendments that would allow churches to promote specific candidates--this is one of the BIGGIES the dominionists are trying to get passed, for obvious reasons (both because dominionist churches do it so much, and because dominionist churches are starting to lose their tax exempt status over it on occasion)

http://www.adl.org/PresRele/RelChStSep_90/4519_90.htm (regarding ADL's statement on the Texas Republican Party's official platform (which is pretty much a dominionist tract in and of itself, up to and including promotion of the "Christian Nation" canard)

http://www.adl.org/vouchers/vouchers_main.asp (ADL's statement re school vouchers)

http://www.adl.org/charitable_choice/Charitable_Choice_a.asp (ADL's statement re "charitable choice" initiatives)

http://www.adl.org/Civil_Rights/boehner_amend.asp (ADL's statement on an ongoing attempt to allow Head Start facilities operated by churches to discriminate--as it is, dominionist groups by and large cannot participate in running a Head Start facility because they keep pushing the right to ban gays, Democrats, and...well, anyone who ISN'T a dominionist. Dominionists are pushing to get this changed so that they can practice "stealth evangelism" on your kids with YOUR tax dollars)

http://www.adl.org/religious_freedom/court_sep_georgia.asp (re ADL efforts on the state level to prevent passage of dominionist-friendly amendments to Georgia's state constitution that would allow sending tax money directly to dominionist groups)

I'll be making a second post, focusing specifically on the context with so-called "Messianic Judaism" (which is an increasing concern in the Jewish community).

dogemperor [userpic]
New Zach update, some good news...

...seeing as I think we all can use it with the whole Supreme Court justice retirement thing :P


Apparently the state of Tennessee is investigating whether Love In Action/Refuge can be shut down as an unlicensed healthcare facility.

The one possible bit of bad news is if they can successfully claim they're "faith based" they may be exempt; however, as they've claimed they have licensed counselors (admittedly licensed by having degrees from dominionist groups that in part act as certification mills as well as indoctrination centers, such as Liberty University) they fall under purview of a new Tennessee law.

According to the article, there is also apparently legal precedent in Tennessee for emancipation of teens who are at threat of being sent to dominionist-run clinics like Love In Action/Refuge. Also, the state of Tennessee has permanently revoked the license of at least one Memphis-area counselor who was practicing as an "ex-gay therapist" and promoting the commitment of kids to Love In Action et al.

(Forwarded to ISAC, Southern Poverty Law Center, Emancipation Project, nospank.net)

dogemperor [userpic]
Federal Chastity program funds religious indoctrination


The Silver Ring Thing is a blatantly religious abstinance program that is federally funded.

(WOMENSENEWS)--The Silver Ring Thing is a live three-hour, high-tech sound, light and video show complete with actors and comedy sketches with a stated mission to impress teens to promote teen chastity and so-called Christian values.

The mobile shows--set up in churches, conference centers and other venues around the country--culminate with teens pledging abstinence until they present a silver ring that symbolizes their celibacy to their spouse on their wedding day. They also sign a covenant agreeing to follow "biblical standards." Teens who don't want to participate in the religious testimonials that are part of the ceremony are allowed to leave the room.

The $15 silver rings that teens are encouraged to buy for the ceremony are inscribed with a biblical reference of 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, which reads "God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of all sexual sin. Then each of you will control your body and live in holiness and honor."

Photographs of Silver Ring Thing events in newsletters and on its Web site depict a majority of female teens in the audiences.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Oh, what a tangled web we weave...


I suppose that I should insert a bit of clarity here for our many new readers. I think that the 'no Bush bashing' rule has become a bit of a stumbling block and perhaps the source of some misunderstandings. Let's correct our course a bit, shall we?

It is impossible to discuss Christian extremists (or what Fredrick Clarkson has called 'religious supermacists') without politics (and Bush) leaching into the discussion. In fact, if it weren't for the marriage between the Religious Right and the Republican Party, I seriously doubt that this community would have much to discuss. It is clear that the purpose of this collision between religion and politics is to chip away at the foundation of our government- like termites chewing away at a wooden house, until it collapses from being gutted from within.

Things like chipping away at the Establishment Clause (separation of church and state) by creating Faith Based initiatives, attacking 'activist judges', that do not kowtow to the desires of the Dominionists to have Biblical based laws, the slow corrosion of our educational systems with the one-two punch of No Child Left Behind and the ID versus Actual Science debate, and the attacks on our social security, environment, and even our pocketbooks with the tax cuts for the rich being shifted to a bigger burden for the vanishing middle class to pay... it all ties together. Every one of these, and many more seeming unrelated little things are termites eating away at this country and our constitution.

The destruction of our country is being guided by End-times-addled people who want to dominate, and then destroy our world to hasten Christ's return. They have said this themselves, if you follow the links to the various sites we have listed.

Where does Bush stand in all this? He is the figurehead of the religious supermacists, as well as the 'divinely ordained and guided' director of all this slow destruction. That "Bush Fish" is just a blatant example of what has been brewing for years under the surface- within the ranks of the Religious right- and out of the media mainstream: that the religious supermacists truly believe that the President is merely one step away from being a divinely ordained 'king' of some new Crusade- once they get those messy judges and the Constitution out of the way. They truly believe this. Heck, they even have "Presidential Prayer Team" that devotes itself full time to praying for the President. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is the first time that such a thing has been so blatantly public or so blatantly one-sided.

Yes, I know that sometimes this sounds like foil-hattery. I wish it was. It isn't. People are blind to all the little holes being chewed in our country's carefully crafted foundation, and they poo-poo the folks like me who have been following this stuff for decades, seeing the patterns and the grass roots and the monies being built up, looking at their parallel universe which has been, until recently, well hidden from the mainstream.

It is OK to criticize this administration. It is still legal (barely) to do so. But we must also avoid stepping over the line from criticism to outright bashing. The line can sometimes be difficult to see, but like someone said about obscenity, we know it when we see it. This community has grown exponentially in the last few months, and we are fine tuning our moderation guidelines. So, please bear with us. We'll find a proper and steady course, and go from there.

dogemperor [userpic]
Mix of Quake Aid and Preaching Stirs Concern


New York Times article about the problem with evangelical missionaries attempting to convert tsunami victims:

ORAKETIYA, Sri Lanka, Jan. 19 -A dozen Americans walked into a relief camp here, showering bereft parents and traumatized children with gifts, attention and affection. They also quietly offered camp residents something else: Jesus.

The Americans, who all come from one church in Texas, have staged plays detailing the life of Jesus and had children draw pictures of him, camp residents said. They have told parents who lost children that they should still believe in God, and held group prayers where they tried to heal a partly paralyzed man and a deaf 12year-old girl.

The attempts at proselytizing are angering local Christian leaders, who worry that they could provoke a violent backlash against Christians in Sri Lanka, a predominantly Buddhist country that is already a religious tinderbox.

Last year, Buddhist hard-liners attacked the offices of the World Vision Christian aid group and vandalized or threatened churches and pastors 75 times. They accuse Christians of using money and social programs to cajole and coerce conversions.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Americans United for Seperation of Church and State article


From Americans United comes this interesting article:

America Cannot Defeat Tyranny Worldwide By Destroying The Church-State Wall At Home, Says Americans United
Friday, January 21, 2005

Church-State Watchdog Criticizes Overuse Of Religion During Inaugural

President George W. Bush pledged to end tyranny around the world during his inaugural yesterday - yet sent exactly the wrong message by presiding over festivities that were heavily religious, often Christian, in nature, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, criticized the Inaugural for its de facto message that the United States has some sort of official tie to religion.

"If President Bush is serious about ending tyranny all over the globe, he needs to start by respecting religious diversity and church-state separation at home," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "Behaving as if our country is an officially Christian republic instead of the secular state it is only plays into the hands of extremists who use religion as an excuse to hate our country and its freedoms."Read more... )

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Villagers Furious with Christian Missionaries


This article from Yahoo News is interesting:

Samanthapettai, Jan 16 (ANI): Rage and fury has gripped this tsunami-hit tiny Hindu village in India's southern Tamil Nadu after a group of Christian missionaries allegedly refused them aid for not agreeing to follow their religion.

Samanthapettai, near the temple town of Madurai, faced near devastation on the December 26 when massive tidal waves wiped it clean of homes and lives.

Most of the 200 people here are homeless or displaced , battling to rebuild lives and locating lost family members besides facing risks of epidemic,disease and trauma.

Jubilant at seeing the relief trucks loaded with food, clothes and the much-needed medicines the villagers, many of who have not had a square meal in days, were shocked when the nuns asked them to convert before distributing biscuits and water.

Heated arguments broke out as the locals forcibly tried to stop the relief trucks from leaving. The missionaries, who rushed into their cars on seeing television reporters and the cameras refusing to comment on the incident and managed to leave the village.

Disappointed and shocked into disbelief the hapless villagers still await aid.

"Many NGOs (volunteer groups) are extending help to us but there in our village the NGO, which was till now helping us is now asking us to follow the Christian religion. We are staunch followers of Hindu religion and refused their request. And after that these people with their aid materials are leaving the village without distributing that to us," Rajni Kumar, a villager said.

The incident is an exception to concerted charity in a catastrophe that has left no one untouched.(ANI)

It would have been nice for the article to reveal which missionary group this was. Since nuns were mentioned, it would seem that this was a Catholic group.

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