Dark Christianity
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David Vs. Goliath


This taskforce has undertaken a study of "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-affirming religious organizations". Naturally, they've discovered that there are a whole lot of conservative religious organizations lined up against them.

Read the report.

In recent years, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have faced unprecedented attacks from a highly organized religious right. David v. Goliath outlines the "parallel" progressive faith movement that welcomes LGBT people, and has grown simultaneously with the secular rights movement. It reveals the intense opposition to these progressive faith groups and the huge forces waged against them by the anti-LGBT industry, which has unabashedly and effectively rallied conservative people of faith to its cause.

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'A man of God and the GOP, he is speaking out for moderation -- in religion, politics, science and government. The lanky figure once dubbed "St. Jack," not always warmly, for the perch he seemed to occupy on Washington's moral high ground, expects people will sour on the assertive brand of Christianity so closely branded Republican.

'"I'm counting on nausea," he says.'

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Read this sermon!


It's been a very rich day for articles! I just found another one, via Mark Crispin Miller's blog that is a sermon from a Seattle area pastor, Reverend Rich Lang. Here's an excerpt:

Within the Church there is an irreconcilable divergence emerging (1 John 2:18-19). At its extremes we see the birth of Patriot Pastors in Ohio even as liberal churches become targets for IRS investigations. We see Justice Sundays and the growth of theocratic nationalism even as more are jailed because of their faith-based resistance to the further production of war. From the pulpits of the nation the Sermon on the Mount, Christian identification with the poor, the declaration to love our enemies are! all replaced with strategies of church growth or manipulations to infiltrate political parties.

Congregations insist that clergy dare not speak its name. Congregations insist that clergy stay embedded in their role as chaplain and golf partner. They insist that clergy provide comfort and offer therapeutic guidance. And clergy, with paycheck in hand, and a desire for career advancement in heart, oblige their congregations with false words of “peace, peace” (Jeremiah 8).

But when does it get said? When do we clergy preach I Samuel 8, Isaiah 6, Jeremiah 8, Ezekiel 33, 1 John 2, Revelation 18? When do we prepare our people for the next act of terrorism and the next seizure of power? When do we clergy declare that allegiance to a military security state committed to permanent war is idolatry? When do we cease our support for the regime that sends troops out to oppress, dominate and die while it chants the empty slogan "support our troops?”

When, in other words, will clergy name the disease that is our present reality? When do we speak of it from the pulpit? What are we waiting for? What other signs do we need? Are we waiting for the inevitable arrests of dissidents? Are we waiting for the next invasion, and then the next? Are we waiting for further heresy trials, further church harassment, further cultural friction? Are we waiting until the waters of the coming economic flood finally bubble up under our own chins? When do we dare blow the trumpet and warn our people? When do we dare cast aside the comforts of popularity, prosperity, and privilege so that we finally speak its name? And having spoken it from the pulpit, from the Bible study, from out of each pastoral visit we make, having spoken the Word then perhaps we can lead our people in doing that which only the Church can do: casting out the demon while repenting for the sin of this republic now turned empire. Just like Jesus encountering the man in the tombs, we must begin this exorcism by naming its name: some might call it militarism but I think it is better understood as fascism (Mark 5).


Anyone want to hunt down and post the Biblical verses?

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Gary Hart on Gods and Caesars


I'm not "uncomfortable" with the way Jesus is being tossed around -- I'm angry about it. I'd go well beyond discomfort. I think the religious right is making Jesus into some kind of Old Testament wrathful prophet who is judgmental, divisive, and opposed to any notion of liberalism, whereas the teachings of Jesus tell quite a different story. He was tolerant. He was forgiving. He preached love, not hate. In many ways, the literal reading of the teachings of Jesus in the gospels, particularly not filtered through the later apostles in the New Testament, but the literal teachings of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels, are almost totally at odds with the teachings of the present-day religious right. ~Gary Hart

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Liberals of faith speak up

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Taxing an Unfriendly Church


A New York Times Editorial

Shortly before the last election, a former rector at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., gave a fiery antipoverty and antiwar sermon. He did not endorse a presidential candidate, but he criticized President Bush's policies in Iraq and at home. Now the Internal Revenue Service has challenged the church's tax-exempt status. It's important to know just how the tax police have chosen this church - and other congregations - to pursue after an election that energized churchgoers of most denominations.

I.R.S. officials have said about 20 churches are being investigated for activities across the political spectrum that could jeopardize their tax status. The agency is barred by law from revealing which churches, but officials have said these targets were chosen by a team of civil servants, not political appointees, at the Treasury Department. The I.R.S. argues that freedom of religion does not grant freedom from taxes if churches engage in politics.

That should mean that the 2004 presidential campaign would be an extremely fertile field. While some churches allowed Democrats to speak from the pulpit, the conservative Christians last year mounted an especially intense - and successful - drive to keep President Bush in office. Some issued voter guides that pointedly showed how their own religion was allied with Mr. Bush's views. Several Roman Catholic bishops even suggested that a vote for John Kerry would be a mortal sin. Since the election, Republicans have held two openly political nationally televised revival meetings at churches to support Mr. Bush's judicial nominations.

If the I.R.S. is pursuing any of those churches, we certainly have not heard from them about it. All Saints in Pasadena has released copies of the letter from the I.R.S., along with tapes of the sermon and a defense of the church's antiwar mission going back to the days when church leaders protested internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The I.R.S. letter stated that the agency had "concerns" about a sermon by the Rev. George Regas that The Los Angeles Times called "a searing indictment of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq."

Church leaders have hired lawyers and refused to agree to a settlement that requires them to admit that the sermon was over the line drawn by the I.R.S. The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon, the rector of All Saints, told parishioners that the church would continue to resist the government's efforts. That sounds right. With the feverish courting of religious voters these days, the I.R.S. does have the daunting task of separating politics from church policy. Still, it would seem to be hard to justify picking on a church that has a long record of opposition to wars waged by leaders from both parties.

I know this has been noted here before, but it's nice to a nation news outlet make some noise about it.

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Talk To Action Launches Today


From Frederick Clarkson:

New National Bog Site Takes On The Religious Right

Talk to Action, the first national interactive blog site devoted to discussing the theocratic Christian Right and what to do about it launches on Monday, November 21st, 2005.


Talk to Action, founded by author Frederick Clarkson, blogger Bruce Wilson, and 13 other writers, seeks to advance the national conversation on this subject.

"We are concerned about the theocratic tendencies of the religious right in the United States," said Clarkson. "Among other things, claims that America is a Christian Nation; sectarian approaches to public policy such as efforts to require the teaching of "intelligent design"; the movement to redefine our laws in terms of religious laws; and a growing culture of religious intolerance and religious supremacism. We welcome anyone who shares our concerns to think and learn with us. Strategize with us. Debate with us."

Clarkson, the author of the book, Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, has written about politics and religion for more than 20 years. Among the founding writers are: Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates; Max Blumenthal, Joan Bokaer, founder of Theocracy Watch; Cynthia Cooper, author and playwright; Michelle Goldberg, Senior Writer at Salon.com; Esther Kaplan, author of With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy and Democracy in George Bush's White House; Dr. Bruce Prescott, Executive Director, Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists; noted blogger, Pastordan, a minister in the United Church of Christ who operates the blog site, Street Prophets; and Joel Pelleteir, an artist whose painting American Fundamentalists, is touring the United States.

On Tuesday, November 29th, Talk to Action will, in partnership with the San Francisco-based Mother Jones magazine, host a national "e-conference," on the Talk to Action site, featuring writers and editors of Mother Jones which is publishing several articles about the religious right in the next issue. (For information, contact Richard Reynolds, rreynolds@motherjones.com )

Talk to Action, like such major blog sites as The Daily Kos, uses "scoop" software, that has proved to be highly conducive to online discussion. The site differs from other major sites, however, in that it seeks to be less freewheeling in tone as well as content. Talk to Action seeks a more thoughtful, civil, and nonpartisan tone than is found on many sites. While anyone can read the site, those who agree with it's general purpose are welcome to become registered users, publish their own essays, and comment on the posts of others.

"We favor religious equality and separation of church and state," Clarkson said. "We support reproductive freedom and gay and lesbian civil rights -- including marriage equality. Therefore," he says, "debates about abortion and gay rights are off topic on this site. We understand that there are those who may be concerned generally about the politics of the Christian Right, who may not completely share our view on these matters. They are welcome to participate anyway, but bearing this in mind. Our purpose is to take the conversation forward, and not let it be held back by debating what, in our view are or should be, settled matters of human and civil rights.

I am proud to say that I am part of that stable of writers, although I will be working more in the background at first. Everyone here is welcome to go and check out TTA- they will welcome everyone from similar communities. Fred reads this community, as do many of the folks who will be posting there, and our community is prominently featured. The interaction and intercommunication of communities like ours is vital to our ability to counter the Religious Right, and each blog and community has its role to play. Go and give them a big welcome, and spread the word yourselves.

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Thoughts from an Evangelical pastor


Half the fun of reading diaries in "Daily Kos" is reading the replies to them. In the diary I posted below, there were some very interesting replies. One of them quoted an unnamed retired Ohio Evangelical pastor, who did not mince words about the real intent of the "Political Christians" (dominionists). Here's what he had to say:

"God's plan [trying to win peoples' minds and hearts through love, respect, prayer, moral suasion, etc.] may appear to be weak and ineffectual to the 'movers and shakers' among this generation of church leaders. Things aren't moving fast enough for them.

"And so they take power into their own hands. They think it is God's power, but it turns out to be Satan's power. They don't remember when the Political Christians did gain enough power a century ago to pass an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the production and sale of alcoholic beverages. This is an example of the tyranny of the majority. Did it work?

[Not only did it not work, but Prohibition created the means for many gangsters and other outlaws to flourish and thrive. The government had to repeal Prohibition in order to regain control over the revenue they were losing! -ed]

"Worldly politics, as it is practiced by the Republican and Democratic Parties, is always in Satan's realm. The political parties are completely without morals. Their only goal is winning the election. They will tell lies in order to win an election...One would hope that when a group of Christians joins forces with a political party, that the Christians would have a wholesome moral influence upon politics.

"What happened? The Religious Right produced some of the most scurrilous campaign literature I have ever seen [against John Kerry]. Rather than raising the level of moral discourse, these Christians willingly dragged themselves down below the level of respectability. Non-political Christians are appalled at how low the Political Christians stooped in order to 'win' the election. Winning is the goal, not kindness, respect for the opponent, or other Christian and democratic virtues. Win the election but lose your soul.

"Christians who enter the realm of partisan politics (even in sending emails) ought to know that they are entering Satan's realm. They need to be wary, lest the lust for power ovewhelms them. We Christians need to make our voice heard and realize at the same time that that voice will be compromised. There is no possibility of a pure Christian party or voice. Our only hope is that somehow God can use our voice and our moral actions to bend the society in constructive directions. At best we are a respected voice within society. We will never be the voice which controls society. Christian control of the government is not God's plan."

I hope to find out the name of this pastor and the source of his quote. It was not indicated in the original post. If any here know where this came from, I'd be happy to find out.

dogemperor [userpic]
Been Lurking

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

Hey, I joined a while ago and have just recently jumped in the fray with comments.

I am not sure if pointing this site out is on topic, but I found it interesting, scroll to the bottom and look at the note to ministers. Jesus would be ashamed.

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credit where its due...


How The Christian Left Can Get It Right
by Todd Huffman

"A close friend recently lamented in conversation that the Republicans have “stolen God”. Maybe, I said, but at least we still have Jesus.

"While many on the righteously religious right say they’ve “found” him, the story of the Jesus they’ve found is the one they’ve written themselves – the one in which a vengeful Jesus wields his cross as a sword and a shield. That’s not the Jesus I know, nor the one known by many Americans, irrespective of their political affiliations.

"I personally know at least a dozen Republicans who voted against their party in last November’s elections in part because they recognize this..."

* * *

The real Christians in this country are finding their voices.

Let's hope it's not too late.

dogemperor [userpic]
"Creation Care" among evangelicals


This NYT article casts a ray of hope upon the care of this planet:

When Cleaner Air Is a Biblical Obligation

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 - In their long and frustrated efforts pushing Congress to pass legislation on global warming, environmentalists are gaining a new ally.

With increasing vigor, evangelical groups that are part of the base of conservative support for leading Republicans are campaigning for laws that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists have linked with global warming.

In the latest effort, the National Association of Evangelicals, a nonprofit organization that includes 45,000 churches serving 30 million people across the country, is circulating among its leaders the draft of a policy statement that would encourage lawmakers to pass legislation creating mandatory controls for carbon emissions.Read more... )

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Vatican gets something right

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

Vatican: Faithful should listen to Science

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press Writer | November 3, 2005

VATICAN CITY --A Vatican cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, made the comments at a news conference on a Vatican project to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science that has long bedeviled the Roman Catholic Church and is part of the evolution debate in the United States.

The Vatican project was inspired by Pope John Paul II's 1992 declaration that the church's 17th-century denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension." Galileo was condemned for supporting Nicolaus Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun; church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.

"The permanent lesson that the Galileo case represents pushes us to keep alive the dialogue between the various disciplines, and in particular between theology and the natural sciences, if we want to prevent similar episodes from repeating themselves in the future," Poupard said.

But he said science, too, should listen to religion.

"We know where scientific reason can end up by itself: the atomic bomb and the possibility of cloning human beings are fruit of a reason that wants to free itself from every ethical or religious link," he said.

"But we also know the dangers of a religion that severs its links with reason and becomes prey to fundamentalism," he said.

"The faithful have the obligation to listen to that which secular modern science has to offer, just as we ask that knowledge of the faith be taken in consideration as an expert voice in humanity."

Poupard and others at the news conference were asked about the religion-science debate raging in the United States over evolution and "intelligent design."

Intelligent design's supporters argue that natural selection, an element of evolutionary theory, cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms.

Monsignor Gianfranco Basti, director of the Vatican project STOQ, or Science, Theology and Ontological Quest, reaffirmed John Paul's 1996 statement that evolution was "more than just a hypothesis."

"A hypothesis asks whether something is true or false," he said. "(Evolution) is more than a hypothesis because there is proof."

Current Mood: happy
Current Music: Air America Radio: Al Franken
dogemperor [userpic]
Vatican supports science, fears fundementalism


Vatican: Faithful Should Listen to Science

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 34 minutes ago

A Vatican cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, made the comments at a news conference on a Vatican project to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science that has long bedeviled the Roman Catholic Church and is part of the evolution debate in the United States.

The Vatican project was inspired by Pope John Paul II's 1992 declaration that the church's 17th-century denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension." Galileo was condemned for supporting Nicolaus Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun; church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.Read more... )

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Jimmy Carter interview


Talk To Action examines Jimmy Carter's new book. Here, he talks about the deterioration of common courtesy on Capitol Hill:

Nowadays, the Washington scene is completely different, with almost every issue decided on a strictly partisan basis. Probing public debate on key legislative decisions is almost a thing of the past. Basic agreements are made between lobbyists and legislative leaders, often within closed party caucuses where rigid discipline is paramount. Even personal courtesies, which had been especially cherished in the U.S. Senate, are no longer considered to be sacrosanct. This deterioration in harmony, cooperation, and collegiality in the Congress is, at least in part, a result of the rise of fundamentalist tendencies and their religious and political impact.

Fortunately, this degree of rigidity and confrontation has not yet taken hold among the general public.

Fred Clarkson continues:

Carter is right. But it will take some effort to learn how to engage in constructive conversation, and to learn with whom it is worth having such conversations and with whom it is not. I am not going to try to lay out a plan on this short essay. But rather to stake out the ground that it is not only possible, but necessary.

That's why is wrong to write off, as some do, all conservative Christians as beyond all conversation and all reason. I find the routine derisive language used by many against those with whom they disagree on matters of religion to be incompatible with the values of tolerance and equality to which progressives have historically been all about. It borders on religious bigotry -- and all too often falls well over the line.

Jimmy Carter is a conservative Democrat. He is also an evangelical Christian. His faith is an important to his identity. He is also hero of civil and human rights. He supports the separation of church and state. And he opposes the fundamentalist enforcers who have taken over the Southern Baptist Convention. He left the SBC out of principle. He opposes, among other things, their insistence on the subordination of women, and the banning of women from positions of leadership in the denomination.

dogemperor [userpic]
Today's Fresh Air


Today's Fresh Air with Terry Gross is going to feature President Jimmy Carter, who is a born-again Mainstream Baptist (see sidebar for link to their site). According to the blurb I heard this morning, he's going to lay into the overweening evangelical takeover of the government.

That ought to be a treat!

UPDATE- the show is now available to listen to. Carter goes into detail about the takeover in 2000 of the Southern Baptist Convention and the very negative changes that the fundementalist/dominionist people imposed on this faith. He talks about a very restrictive creed that was imposed upon the previously creedless Baptist church, and why he left.

It's very interesting.

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Hey there Christian Left! - Now, Getting down to business...


It's a sad fact that progressives get together and mope, while the Religious Right gets
together and gets their people in office. Time that changed.

The fact is that we tend to mope in little clumps. I've been whizzing around YahooGroups
for the afternoon, and I've seen something like two dozen separate email lists of
progressive Christians -- some of them 200 names long, some of them 20; all very active,
commenting on the media.

By the way, Dark_Christianity is by far the most active of the LiveJournal communities.

But think about all the scattered energy of our many groups -- twenty something discreet
groups, none of them speaking to each other? It's good to talk; it's good to vent; but it's
much better to organize and do something.

Read more... )

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Gilkyson: Man of God


Heard a song on the radio this morning today (WRPI - a local college station), it was a Christian Country/Folk song by Eliza Gilkyson called Man of God, from her album Paradise Hotel. It's some powerful Christian backlash against the Dominionist pretensions and general attitude of this administration:

lyrics )

If you regularly listen to a Country station on the radio, I suggest you call in to request they play it. :-)

Current Mood: encouraged
dogemperor [userpic]
Link Recommendation


I have recently discovered http://www.jesusonthefamily.org/, billed as "Politics for People Who Think. It is a Christian site against dominionism, and has links to article such as "Bush's Bomb-Threat Nation: Do You Feel Safer Now?" ""I'm Ready to Die" Fundamentalist Christianity Instills a Depressing-- and Dangerous--Nihilism," and "Why Conservative Christians Fear Tolerance, Parts 1 & 2: 1-Making Tolerance a Sin, 2-Those Liberal Southern Baptists!"

dogemperor [userpic]
Bill Moyers on Evangelicals and the Environment


Great, insightful article: Caring for Creation.

It's refreshing to learn that not all evangelicals want to destroy the planet to hasten Christ's return...

dogemperor [userpic]
Rescuing Jesus


Article from Salon.com:

Rescuing Jesus
Bush & Co. have hijacked Jesus, using him as the poster child for their callous worldview. It's time to rescue Christ from his kidnappers.

By Alessandro Camon

Oct. 07, 2005 | Harriet Miers, should she be confirmed to the Supreme Court, will be the resident evangelical Christian. She shares her religious background with George W. Bush, whose claim to have chosen her based on "knowing her heart" has as much to do with the born-again faith he shares with her as with her long service in his inner circle. This choice might have left secular conservatives perplexed or downright dissatisfied, but is an obvious crowd-pleaser with the Christian right. Above all, it reflects the importance of Christianity for Bush, widely described as the most devout president in history.Read more... )

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