Dark Christianity
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Mississippi lets religious documents be posted on public property


Mississippi lets religious documents be posted on public property

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. - Mississippi is among the first states in the nation to make it lawful to allow religious documents to be posted on public property.

The law gives permission to those in authority of public buildings to post the Ten Commandments, excerpts of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and the motto, "In God We Trust."

By signing Senate Bill 2486 on April 20, Gov. Haley Barbour "thrills" the Christian conservative base of the Republican Party, which he'll need if he plans to seek re-election or launch a presidential campaign, said Larry J. Sabato, director of the director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Virginia.

"Fundamentalist Christians can be a majority of those who turn up in caucus primaries. This would be very useful in seeking the Republican nomination for president," Sabato said.

Full story here.

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Mississippi moves towards posting religious material in public buildings


This article talks about the approval of a measure in the Mississippi state house requiring the posting of The Ten Commandments and other religious materials:

JACKSON, Miss. - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour indicated Wednesday he was inclined to sign a bill that would require all public buildings to have postings of the Ten Commandments, "In God We Trust" and excerpts from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

The Mississippi House overwhelmingly approved the measure on a 97-15 vote with little debate Wednesday. The Senate approved it Tuesday on a 40-4 vote, but not before one lawmaker tried to kill the bill.

Barbour spokesman Pete Smith said "the governor is inclined to sign" the bill into law.

Democratic Sen. Johnnie Walls unsuccessfully tried to kill the bill Tuesday.

"What we're attempting to do here is proselytize our religion," he said. "We're setting ourselves up for a lot of ridicule. Again, Mississippi will look less than progressive."

Rabbi Debra Kassoff called the bill a "flagrant and vain use of God's name for political gain."

"I am offended by the Legislature's disregard for separation of church and state, a principle that has allowed religious minorities of every creed to live and flourish in this country for over 200 years, largely without fear," Kassoff wrote in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

Under the bill, the Decalogue, the Beatitudes and "In God We Trust," can be posted in public buildings. Since 2001, Mississippi has had a law requiring the motto "In God We Trust" to be posted in every public school classroom.

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The God Racket: From DeMille to DeLay


This New York Times editorial expresses quite a few relevant points. An excerpt:

AS Congress and the president scurried to play God in the lives of Terri Schiavo and her family last weekend, ABC kicked off Holy Week with its perennial ritual: a rebroadcast of the 1956 Hollywood blockbuster, "The Ten Commandments."

Cecil B. DeMille's epic is known for the parting of its Technicolor Red Sea, for the religiosity of its dialogue (Anne Baxter's Nefretiri to Charlton Heston's Moses: "You can worship any God you like as long as I can worship you.") and for a Golden Calf scene that DeMille himself described as "an orgy Sunday-school children can watch." But this year the lovable old war horse has a relevance that transcends camp. At a time when government, culture, science, medicine and the rule of law are all under threat from an emboldened religious minority out to remake America according to its dogma, the half-forgotten show business history of "The Ten Commandments" provides a telling back story.

As DeMille readied his costly Paramount production for release a half-century ago, he seized on an ingenious publicity scheme. In partnership with the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a nationwide association of civic-minded clubs founded by theater owners, he sponsored the construction of several thousand Ten Commandments monuments throughout the country to hype his product. The Pharaoh himself - that would be Yul Brynner - participated in the gala unveiling of the Milwaukee slab. Heston did the same in North Dakota. Bizarrely enough, all these years later, it is another of these DeMille-inspired granite monuments, on the grounds of the Texas Capitol in Austin, that is a focus of the Ten Commandments case that the United States Supreme Court heard this month.

We must wait for the court's ruling on whether the relics of a Hollywood relic breach the separation of church and state. Either way, it's clear that one principle, so firmly upheld by DeMille, has remained inviolate no matter what the courts have to say: American moguls, snake-oil salesmen and politicians looking to score riches or power will stop at little if they feel it is in their interests to exploit God to achieve those ends. While sometimes God racketeers are guilty of the relatively minor sin of bad taste - witness the crucifixion-nail jewelry licensed by Mel Gibson - sometimes we get the demagoguery of Father Coughlin or the big-time cons of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker.

The religio-hucksterism surrounding the Schiavo case makes DeMille's Hollywood crusades look like amateur night. This circus is the latest and most egregious in a series of cultural shocks that have followed Election Day 2004, when a fateful exit poll question on "moral values" ignited a take-no-prisoners political grab by moral zealots. During the commercial interruptions on "The Ten Commandments" last weekend, viewers could surf over to the cable news networks and find a Bible-thumping show as only Washington could conceive it. Congress was floating such scenarios as staging a meeting in Ms. Schiavo's hospital room or, alternatively, subpoenaing her, her husband and her doctors to a hearing in Washington. All in the name of faith.

The whole article is worth a read.

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What is it with judges in Alabama?

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]blueboy2000)

They're at it again in Alabama. Yet ANOTHER state court judge is drawing attention to himself with the Ten Commandments.

This is happening in the southern part of the state. Roy Moore is from the north. More I think about it, I'm surprised--from what little I know about Alabama politics, the southern part of the state is much, much more Republican and fundified than the north. Some counties in that region haven't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1956, and that area was one of the first areas in the South where the old "Dixiecrats" started changing parties in the 60s.

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Will Bush Be in Contempt of Court?

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

As you may know, Alabama State Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been in defiance of a federal court order to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the state's judicial building. Now comes Dr. David C. Reardon of the Elliot Institute to suggest to Justice Moore that he appeal to President Bush to openly defy federal jurisprudence by refusing to enforce the federal court order. The Alliance Alert offers this explanation:

Some will complain that what I am counseling will lead to a constitutional crisis. My response is we already have a constitutional crisis. Federal judges, including the Supreme Court, no longer limit themselves to interpreting the law but are unduly anxious to create laws reflecting their own personal convictions and beliefs through creative interpretations of the Constitution. The logic offered to justify these interpretations is often ludicrously weak and clearly [at] odds with the original intent [of] the Constitution’ s articles when they were adopted. What I am proposing is the solution to the crisis we already have.

Social engineering and legislating from the federal bench must be stopped, or at least curtailed. This can done simply by electing a president who recognizes his coequal authority as a sworn defender of the Constitution and has enough spine to tell the courts: "Send in your own troops. We’re not going to enforce court orders which are clearly unconstitutional. To do so would place my Administration in violation of my oath to uphold the Constitution."

Some folks will stop at nothing to force their religious beliefs upon us all, even to the point of throwing the Constitution on a funeral pyre. Here's the open letter from Dr. Reardon to Justice Moore: http://www.alliancealert.org/aa/2003_08_20_01.htm

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