Dark Christianity
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Dispensationalism and its dangers


This excellent recent article by Chip Berlet talks about dispensationalism and why it isn't good to blend it with public policies:

Prophecy Belief and Constitutional Boundaries

A group of ultraconservative political operatives have harnessed a particular reading of Biblical prophecy, known as Premillenial Dispensationalism, (embraced by tens of millions of evangelical Christians) and transformed these beliefs into campaigns to deny basic rights to groups of people framed as sinful and subversive.

Premillennial means a belief that Jesus Christ returns in the End Times and, after a series of confrontations and battles against evil, he reigns over an earthly utopia for a thousand years…a millennium. Therefore, Christ returns before (“pre”) the Godly millennial kingdom. Dispensations are epochs, or blocks of history, during which certain things happen. Premillennial Dispensationalists think that we are poised on the edge of that historic epoch during which the End Times preface the second coming of Christ and his millennial reign.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Another blog!


Check out Holier Than Thou: When the Christian Right Goes Wrong. It's a blog written by Greg Spring, who says:

I am a television producer, journalist and award-winning political columnist. My work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Playboy and Los Angeles Magazine, among others. My political columns have been honored by Art Buchwald and the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

And the preface of the blog is interesting too:

“Holier Than Thou” is our weekly quiz to test how well you’ve been keeping up with what the Religious Right is really up to. When they screw up, we’re there to note it. When their feet of clay start to crumble, we’re there to chip away a bit more. And when they serve as president of their church while leading a double life as the nation’s most feared serial killer…well, you get the idea.

Looks like fun reading ahead!

dogemperor [userpic]
Christian Coalition Official Molested Family Members

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

NEW YORK After news broke that local law enforcement officials were investigating complaints that Louis Beres, longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, had molested three female family members when they were pre-teens, The Oregonian in Portland went out and interviewed Beres' family members.

Two told reporters that Beres, indeed, had molested them. All three said they have been interviewed for several hours by detectives.

"I was molested," said one of the women, now in her early 50s. "I was victimized, and I've suffered all my life for it. I'm still afraid to be in the same room with [Beres]."

The coalition led by Beres, 70, champions socially conservative candidates and causes. Its Web site describes the group as "Oregon's leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage." The group opposes abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research. It is affiliated with the national Christian Coalition, which was founded in 1989 by television evangelist Pat Robertson.

More here: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001263321

dogemperor [userpic]
Christian Coalition on the way out?


Is the Christian Coalition going away? This newspaper thinks so.

Good riddance.

dogemperor [userpic]
Open Center conference on the Religious Right


In late April, I went to NYC to attend the first of these conferences. Here's a link to the one in October for those who might be interested. I'd love to go but my budget says 'no'. So, if someone could go to this and be the 'blogger on the spot', I'd appreciate it!

Here's the link:

Dominionism, Political Power & the Theocratic Right

dogemperor [userpic]
Hoist by his own petard, the hypocrite



dogemperor [userpic]
Dark Christianity mentioned by name!


Looks like [info]dogemperor's in-depth research is getting attention in other similar communities: Religious Right Watch mentioned her by name in a recent post about dominionist influence in the FCC.

Good work, [info]dogemperor!

dogemperor [userpic]
Falwell attacks Christian Alliance for Progress


This Religious Right Watch article has links to emails and other interesting goodies.

Christian readers of RRW might very well find an advocate in the new org, Christian Alliance for Progress (CAP). They were recently attacked by Jerry Falwell, so they must be doing something right. Christian or non-, if you want a great example of the Christian Right's understanding of "faith" (i.e., the Christian Right is really about [conservative] politics, not faith), the below reprinted e-mail from CAP is interesting. (The emphasis is not in the original.)

dogemperor [userpic]
Keeping Cool


Here's an excellent essay by Frederick Clarkson, which talks about striking a balance when dealing with the Religious Right. An excerpt:

The Dominionists are coming! The Dominionists are coming!

Some contemporary Paul Revere's of the internet write breathlessly about the Christian Right as if the advocates of theocracy have all but won. They conflate a sense of urgency about the situation or concern about the "agenda" of the Christian Right, with the inevitability or even the imminence of victory. I am writing this from the perspective of over twenty years of researching and writing about the Christian Right -- and up front I want to say -- don't believe everything you read. As the song goes in West Side Story: "stay cool, boy."

Has the Christian Right gained great political power? Yup.

Should we take it seriously? Yup.

Do we have a lot to learn? Yup.

Is it over? Far from it.

One more quickie Q&A.

Does this movement have a theocratic political agenda? Yes they do, although most of its leaders deny it, and certainly most conservative Christians would not agree with the more theocratic or "dominionist" elements. They have, however, been sold on a form of historical revisionism that claims that the U.S. was founded as a "Christian nation," and that this legacy has been stolen -- stolen! -- by those who would betray God and the original intentions of the Founding Fathers. This is a powerful myth. And it is but one element of why the Christian Right is the best organized faction in American politics.

But politics is about many things, and it is always in motion. Many people have a tendency to freeze certain perceptions about political realities in thier minds -- hence the danger of getting the notion of the power of the Christian right fixed in one's mind such that one cannot see outcomes other than a Christian theocracy and a looming inquisition. The truth is that this is the stuff of B horror movies.

Well, OK. There is also The Handmaid's Tale. (Margaret Atwood's novel is much better than the movie.) But whether this tale of a future corrupt theocracy is a warning or a prophesy is entirely up to us.

But there are reality-based ways of evaluating the Christian right. And there are a lot of people who have spent a lot of years acquiring the kind of knowledge that will be useful in this time.

Read the whole thing. And grab a copy of "Eternal Hostility" by Frederick Clarkson. It's an excellent overview of the Christian right.

dogemperor [userpic]
A Voice from the Christian Left


Common Dreams has a great essay which reminds us how far from Jesus' teachings the 'righteous' Right has strayed:

A Voice from the Christian Left
By Marilyn Chandler McEntyre

Among those who are mournful and angry about the outcome of this election, doubtful about the integrity of the process, and opposed to the neoconservative agenda are Christians who believe the name of Christ is being pressed into service to market a political agenda impossible to align with the ethics, mission, or character of Jesus. Here are some of the identifying features of that agenda: -- suppression of authentic diversity and debate in the name of “unity” -- fearmongering and secret surveillance in the name of “safety” -- wanton military aggression in the name of “liberation” -- triumphalist rewriting of recent history to justify unprecedented economic imperialism -- use of religious language to persuade a poorly informed public to accept political control by the few -- literalistic and selective use of biblical texts to legitimate that control -- sale of government to big business to consolidate that control -- sloganeering, anti-intellectualism, and oversimplification to forestall reflection, analysis, and debate -- expropriation of public media to insure the success of all the above.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
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.

dogemperor [userpic]
Religious Right Watch officially launched!


Today marks the official launch of Religious Right Watch. I think that this will do a lot to broaden the ability to educate the sleeping giant of the non-religious and moderate Christians in the US (and abroad) about the vipers in our corn crib.

There's a very interesting post there about the terminology used to describe this movement. Here, I use "dominionist" to describe it, because dominion is their major goal above others, but there are other ideas too. An excerpt:

When discussing the Religious Right, especially with people who are not yet well-versed on the subject, it's important to communicate effectively; many commentators use inaccurate or unhelpful terminology.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Updates: Article on eminent domain vs. churches and the Revised Letter to my pastor

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

Here's a nice big festering crock of you-know-what, courtesy of the New York Times(registration required)

Ruling on Property Seizure Rallies Christian Groups Text of article inside )

Sorry, but I don't buy that classic "O NOZ ALL TEH CHURCHz0rZ R GOING BAI BAI" fearmongering. It's been my observations that developers go after prime farmland and older housing areas first, rather than attempt to mess with the can of worms that church property entails. And seeing as how my area is currently experiencing some serious growth, if anything, even the churches are getting into the development business and expanding their operations on fields that were once open plains. I know of at least two churches who have slated future buildings for such land sites.

And now, the Revised Edition of Letter To My Pastor... )

I'm going to print and mail this sucker out sometime Monday, but before I do, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on it (i.e., does it say what it should say, or does it need some more editing before I mail it out?).

dogemperor [userpic]
Which Power?


An op-ed column asks whether or not the religious right is confusing temporal power with the spread of God's Kingdom:

The First Amendment protects political involvement based on religious faith. Anyone who suggests otherwise - that religious people acting on their convictions in the political arena somehow violates the Constitution - turns the First Amendment on its head.

But increasingly these days many religious people - and especially some well-known conservative Christian leaders- confuse their own temporal power and influence with the spread of God's kingdom.

The political pronouncements from the pulpit become increasingly more brazen and bold. At the Southern Baptist Convention recently, the Rev. Jerry Falwell told pastors that conservative Christians had re-elected George Bush and that their next task was keeping Hillary Clinton from election in 2008.

Leaving aside the extraordinary departure from Baptist tradition such partisan political talk represents, the marshaling of Christian legions in overtly political wars confuses political triumphalism with advancing the cause of Christ.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Religious Right websites


[info]firepie asked for a list of Religious Right websites. I found a nice collection of them. Here they are:

American Family Association

Fallwell's Moral Majority Coalition

The 700 Club

James Dobson's Focus on the Family

Breakthrough- Rod Parsley's World Harvest Church

The 10/40 window (world conversion site)

FORCE Ministries (Warning- noisy intro.)

Campus Crusade for Christ

Liberty University

Bob Jones University

That ought to get you started. Anyone else, feel free to add to the list.

dogemperor [userpic]
Making Decisions, seeing possibilities


From Talk To Action comes this post by Chip Berlet:

We have learned a few things at Political Research Associates (PRA) over the past 24 years of studying U.S. right-wing political and social movements, and we have captured our best advice in a document titled "Ground Rules and Tips for Challenging the Right." There are three sections--Do Your Homework, Stay Cool in Public, and Keep Organizing--each with several suggestions.

When PRA staff speak in public we often expand on these recommendations, and a blog seems like a good place to enshrine these musings in written form. Over the next few months, I will pick one suggestion and write a short essay around it, with some useful links if I can find them.

To start, let’s look at the following recommendation:

Distinguish between leaders and followers in right-wing organizations.

Leaders are often “professional” right-wingers. They’ve made a career of promoting a rightist agenda and attacking progressives and progressive issues. Followers, on the other hand, may not be well-informed. They are often mobilized by fears about family and future based on information that, if true, would indeed be frightening. This so-called “education” is often skillful, deceitful, and convincing. These followers may take positions that are more extreme than those of the leaders, but on the other hand, they may not know exactly what they are supporting by attending a certain organization’s rally or conference. To critique and expose the leaders of right-wing organizations is the work of a good progressive organizer, writer or activist. In the case of the followers, however, it is important to reserve judgment and listen to their grievances. Do not assume that they are all sophisticated political agents or have access to a variety of information sources.
PublicEye.org - Ground Rules and Tips for Challenging the Right

There are some great pointers and definitions in this article. Definitely worth a look.

dogemperor [userpic]
Defining Generic, Theocratic Dominionism


The Christian Right, Dominionism, and Theocracy

dogemperor [userpic]
Texas Freedom Network


Thought you might be interested.

A mainstream voice to counter the Religious Right in Texas

dogemperor [userpic]
Fundementalists attempt to hijack United Church of Christ


Chuck Currie talks about an attempt by fundementalists to creedify this progressive and currently creedless church:

United Church Of Christ Will Consider Fundamentalist-backed Resolution Concerning Jesus

In the coming weeks you’ll read a lot about the United Church of Christ in the media. Our General Synod begins July 1st in Atlanta and many of the issues considered will be difficult and controversial. I’ve written about several of those issues – including gay marriage and divestment from companies that profit from the occupation of Palestine. But there are other issues that will also cause a stir in the media and among critics of the UCC in the religious right.

One headline you’ll likely see will read something like:

United Church of Christ Rejects Divinity of Jesus


A small group of UCC members are pushing a resolution declaring support for the divinity of Jesus. The resolution reads in part:

The greatest issue facing our denomination is whether or not to acknowledge the Lordship and divinity of Jesus, which is the most basic of all Christian teachings. A pastor or church cannot deny the divinity of Jesus and claim to be Christian. Our status as a Christian denomination and our loyalty to Jesus as Lord needs to be clarified since it is well known that there are UCC pastors and churches that do not adhere to the Lordship and divinity of Jesus, so much so in fact that the UCC is often referred to as “Unitarians Considering Christ.” It is highly detrimental to the health and growth of UCC churches and extremely embarrassing for UCC pastors and members to be viewed as non-Christians. This resolution provides us with the opportunity to vigorously dispel any notions that we allow non-Christian and/or anti-Christian doctrines, while at the same time providing us the opportunity to boldly declare and celebrate that we are indeed a Christian denomination requiring that all of our pastors and churches adhere to the most essential, indispensable Christian doctrine of all, namely that Jesus is Lord.

This sounds very much like the tactics used to hijack and fundementalize the Southern Baptist Convention.

What the backers of this resolution are actually after is a fundamentalist interpretation of Scripture and it is true that such an interpretation is widely rejected in our denomination. The UCC is also not a creedal or doctrinal church.

The United Church of Christ embraces a theological heritage that affirms the Bible as the authoritative witness to the Word of God, the creeds of the ecumenical councils, and the confessions of the Reformation. The UCC has roots in the "covenantal" tradition—meaning there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose any doctrine or form of worship on its members. Christ alone is Head of the church. We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith. The UCC therefore receives the historic creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith.

This is a progressive church. Attacks by fundementalizers are meant to bring it into lockstep with conservative and literalist congregations. I sincerely hope that the members of this church can stand up to this attack.

dogemperor [userpic]
Seeing the light? Maybe...


A friend of mine pointed me to a post on rec.music.filk that discussed a book that two well known Dominionist preachers have published, Blinded By the Might.

Two major "Moral Majority" bigwigs have, apparently, given up on
theocratizing the United States - and they urge their fellow Fundies,
too, to change their ways.

Specifically, these two have written a book telling their fellow
Fundies that no Christian should - EVER - have even *tried* putting
religion into the political arena:

BLINDED BY MIGHT (authors: Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson)
Read more... )

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