Dark Christianity
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dogemperor [userpic]
American Family Association launches DDoS on Philadelphia city mail system?

There has been a *very* interesting thread on SPAM-L, a mailinglist dedicated to fighting network abuse, regarding an American Family Association astroturfing campaign which ended up launching a distributed denial of service attack against the City of Philadelphia's email servers--specifically as a method of protesting Philadelphia's announcement they will charge the Boy Scouts local council rent for use of city meeting facilities (the city allows nonprofits otherwise in compliance with city laws to use facilities, but the city's Fairness ordinance also explicitly prohibits giving this treatment to groups that discriminate against others on the basis of religion or sexual orientation--both of which the BSA does).

The chaos seems to have started on October 24, when the mail system was brought to a screeching halt:
Part one: Mailbombing via astroturfing )

Where this gets of particular interest to Dark Christianity is that the massive mailbombing of City of Philadelphia aldermen seems to have been the result of an astroturfing campaign by the AFA of Pennsylvania--the same group who formerly had Michael Marcavage as its head (and whose group Repent America essentially originated as a lobbying wing/sister org of AFA-PA, in much the same manner of relationship of Freedom's Heritage Forum, AFA-KY, and Frank Simon); Marcavage is known, among other things, for ongoing campaigns to disrupt "Gay Day" held by the Philadelphia Phillies.

And the AFA-PA seems to have coordinated with the national AFA to launch the astroturfing--one which resulted in the sending over 300,000 nearly identical emails including nearly 120,000 from one individual and nearly 200,000 from the AFA itself (which managed to trip the spam filters):
Part 2: AFA linked to mailbombing-by-proxy )

A third newspaper article--now apparently revised, but the original version of which was published on SPAM-L--implicates AFA even more decisively:

COMPUTER ATTACK: The American Family Association of Tupelo, MS, headed by United Methodist clergyman Donald Wildmon, was apparently behind an Oct. 20-22 email barrage that nearly crashed the City of Philadelphia's computer system, according to the Philadelphia Bulletin.

City computers were hit by some 300,000 e-mails, most of which were traced back to the AFA computer system, said Terry Phillis, the city's technology director. Almost all of the emails supported the local Boy Scouts' Cradle of Liberty Council. Philadelphia officials have directed the Boy Scouts to comply with the city's non-discrimination policy by renouncing the National Boy Scouts' stance against accepting openly
gay members, or lose their right to use city-owned facilities. AFA representatives refused to comment on the attack.

Of note--whilst this is one of the first documented cases of astroturfing that crosses the line to a distributed denial of service attack in the email sense--this is neither the first DDoS nor the first astroturfing/"letterspamming" by a dominionist group. Calvary Chapel (and something like eight separate front companies) became positively infamous for app-spamming for "distant translator" applications to such a degree that the FCC has had to put a freeze on all new applications while it sorts out the over 13,000 apps that Calvary Chapel-linked groups put in (in some cases, involving multiple frontgroups simultaneously putting in multiple applications for distant translators of radio stations that were receiving the *same* feed through Calvary Satellite Network); another example of "letter-bombing" of this sort is the Parent's Television Council, a dominionist pro-censorship group known to be behind literally 99.9 percent of indecency complaints to the FCC (some for things as innocuous as someone saying "damn" before the watershed hour, or women in bikinis).

There is quite the active debate going on at SPAM-L on whether this sort of behaviour should be considered a bona fide form of network abuse (so far, the consensus is trending towards "yes"; there is precedent for this, including "make money fast" and 419 scams being considered a special type of spam (aka "the same thing lots and lots of times"), and deliberate attempts at automated trolling (for example, Hipcrime on Usenet) have also set a precedent for considering this abusive).

At least one commentator has even noted that there is a possibility AFA could be liable under federal laws prohibiting denial of service (via perhaps a novel interpretation of computer crimes laws as well as laws prohibiting incitement to riot; as the poster noted, "Incitement to commit actions which amount to DoS is likely enough for the movers and shakers to be indicted") and has noted a potential precedent used in a different "incitement to DDoS" case (namely, that of Colin Francis McCrae, who attempted a similar extortion DDoS against a UK county police department). Very interestingly to me, much of the discussion is explicitly taking into account the history of astroturfing by dominionist groups in general and noting that this tactic is being used *precisely* because of its abusiveness.

A minor historical note: Just because there's a lively discussion on what is being considered as "religiospam" by the net.abuse community doesn't mean that this is the first religious spam.

Far from it.

In fact, the first recorded large Usenet spam (aside from variants of "Make Money Fast", which have been ongoing pretty much continuously since 1988 or so, and a few smaller spams; the first organised Usenet spam seems to have been a variant of the 419 schemes that plague email nowadays dating from 1988, and the first known email spam dated back from 1978 from the now-borged-into-HP Digital Computers (this was, in fact, so long ago that Internet sites did not yet have .com/.net/.org addresses, still using NCP rather than TCP/IP which was still in development; the changeover to TCP/IP for the Internet would not occur until the mid-80s, and Usenet did not yet exist) was in fact a religiospam of the sort that should be very familiar to most of the readers here.

The first documented "big" Usenet spam was a largescale spam sent to practically the entire Usenet of the time--6000+ separate discussion forums--claiming that the Rapture was imminent (Clarence Thomas IV--no relation to the Supreme Court Justice--was an employee of a Seventh Day Adventist college who was fired after the incident). The spam--which is actually in part archived--was interesting in part because it contained many claims that sound much more like Assemblies theology than Seventh Day Adventist--among other things, the claim that the US had gone away from "God's Constitution" as noted in Exodus, a heavy promotion of "spiritual warfare" theology of the neopente sort (and claims straight out of Hal Lindsey's "The Late, Great Planet Earth"), and ending up with posting the (Protestant) version of the Ten Commandments as "God's Constitution"--very interestingly and eerily similar to claims made by folks promoting Roy Moore's political campaigns, among others. (In retrospect, I have to wonder of Thomas was part of either a group attempting to steeplejack the Seventh-Day Adventists or had been recruited by dominionists; the SDA has actually been surprisingly vocal (for a conservative evangelical Christian group) in protesting the "America is a Christian Nation" historical revisionism promoted by Wallbuilders et al.)

dogemperor [userpic]
Does Ron Paul see a "war" on Christianity and Christmas?


According to an article in The Carpetbagger Report, he just might:

One of Ron Paul’s selling points as a presidential candidate is his willingness to reject Republican orthodoxy. As the theory goes, the modern-day GOP has been taken over by neocons and religious extremists, and Paul’s libertarian-brand conservatism rejects both. Given that most liberals have a similar disdain for the Podhoretz and Dobson crowds, Paul has picked up a few fans on the left, too.

But what I did not realize is that when it comes to the religious right’s theocratic worldview, Paul is surprisingly in line with TV preachers like Pat Robertson. An alert reader emailed me this Ron Paul commentary from December 2003, in which the Texas Republican laments “the ongoing war against religion” in general, and Christianity in specific.

Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view. The justification is always that someone, somewhere, might possibly be offended or feel uncomfortable living in the midst of a largely Christian society, so all must yield to the fragile sensibilities of the few. The ultimate goal of the anti-religious elites is to transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity.

What’s the difference between this analysis and the nonsense on The 700 Club? Slightly better writing, maybe, but the worldview is identical. Indeed, Paul is even on the same page as Bill O’Reilly when it comes to the absurd “war on Christmas.”

Christmas pageants and plays, including Handel’s Messiah, have been banned from schools and community halls. Nativity scenes have been ordered removed from town squares, and even criticized as offensive when placed on private church lawns. Office Christmas parties have become taboo, replaced by colorless seasonal parties to ensure no employees feel threatened by a “hostile environment.” … [T]he once commonplace refrain of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by the vague, ubiquitous “Happy Holidays.” But what holiday? Is Christmas some kind of secret, a word that cannot be uttered in public? Why have we allowed the secularists to intimidate us into downplaying our most cherished and meaningful Christian celebration?

I can appreciate the fact that Paul supporters get annoyed when critics are dismissive of his ideas when it comes to eliminating most of the federal government, overhauling the modern foreign-policy apparatus, and eliminating the Federal Reserve. But are these same fans — most of whom ostensibly support church-state separation — equally willing to support Paul’s Falwell-like rhetoric on “protecting” Christianity from the nefarious “secularists”?

Uh, oh! Looks like Paul is a True Believer™ in disguise!

Here's the original 2003 column by Ron Paul:

Christmas In Secular America

Who the heck calls themselves a 'secularist'?

dogemperor [userpic]
The Creation Museum


Author John Scalzi has an interesting post up about the Creation Museum, its major crowds, the information being presented and the sorts of people he saw there.


dogemperor [userpic]
Hoo-boy. What is going on in Idaho?


A state task force wants to repeal no-fault divorce and "encourage" mothers to stay home. At least one member of said task force publicly proclaimed that divorce is a way for Satan to undermine society.

Does this sound like Dominionism, or ultra-conservative LDS members run amok? Help?

dogemperor [userpic]
Intelligent Design on Trial


I recieved this email notification from the ACLU this morning and I thought it would be something that peopple here would be interested in watching.

This Tuesday, November 13th at 8:00 PM, PBS’s award winning show NOVA will be airing a documentary on the Dover intelligent design trial. “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” is a two hour documentary that tells the story of the Dover case.

In September 2005, the ACLU went to court over the first-ever legal challenge to teaching intelligent design -- the assertion that an intelligent, supernatural entity has intervened in the history of life. The story of this case and of our plaintiffs -- 11 brave parents who took on their local school board and community -- is a real-life drama and one you won’t want to miss.

dogemperor [userpic]
"The Cancer From Within"


Another chilling article about the infestation of the USAF Academy by Dominionists in Common Dreams:

Excerpt inside )

Also, here's an interesting Dan Rather Reports piece about "Christian Soldiers". It's very gratifying to hear the words "Dominionist Christian" coming from Dan Rather. And they do a good job defining the term. Go watch.

dogemperor [userpic]
Huckabee pulls into 2nd place in Iowa

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

Salon interview: Mike Huckabee, on a wing and a prayer

Excerpt. Click Headline for full story. )

dogemperor [userpic]
Updates and backgrounder on ALERT Academy talk

FWIW: I've just posted a rather long article on DailyKos regarding the ALERT Academy, its connections to Bill Gothard (which even go beyond the group being a literal Gothard paramilitary training academy for future "God Warriors") and the particular Brigadier-General who was at the speech (he not only is apparently head of the Air Force's Internet and military satellite surveillance efforts as well as maintaining the GPS system, he also apparently has a documentable history of commencement speeches at Joel's Army-linked schools).

Recs from DailyKos members, as always, appreciated.

dogemperor [userpic]


Islamic extremists have plan to dominate world, Air Force general says

dogemperor [userpic]
Robertson endorses Giuliani

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

Televangelist Pat Robertson today endorsed Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani, saying the former New York mayor's promises to appoint conservative judges and protect Americans "from the blood lust of Islamic terrorists" should trump conservatives' concerns about Giuliani's support of abortion rights.

I'm rather surprised that Marion Pat considers killing Muslims more important than protecting the Almighty Fetus.

Then again, maybe I shouldn't be.


Current Mood: hungry
dogemperor [userpic]
Finances of Six Evangelists Draw Senator's Scrutiny


From the Wall Street Journal

November 6, 2007; Page A6

The ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee is looking into six television evangelists, including Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar and other "prosperity theology" adherents who preach that wealth is a sign of God's favor.

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa wants to know whether the ministers have avoided taxes on for-profit activities or used their ministries for personal benefit. Religious organizations are generally exempt from federal taxes, but they must pay taxes if they engage in for-profit businesses. Employees can't use church property primarily for personal gain.

Mr. Grassley said his investigation was prompted by complaints from watchdog groups and others that the ministers live in multimillion-dollar homes, travel on private jets and engage in profit-making ventures from their ministries. He said the complaints raised suspicions,.  )

Original Article

dogemperor [userpic]
Looks like certain televangelists are in trouble...


Including "name it and claim it" master Creflo Dollar, and the notorious fake faith healer Benny Hinn.

Read all about it here.

dogemperor [userpic]
A request for help from the community re AFA-KY robocalls

Upon further review of the "Fake Fairness Coalition" calls (there are several recordings out there), I am thinking the voice does sound a lot like that of Frank Simon (based on previous Freedom's Heritage Forum robocalls).

However, I just want to make sure I'm not on crack. Hence, I am requesting your assistance. (If any of you known people into voice analysis, please also point them this way.)

Here is the latest post on Pam's House Blend (there will shortly be a mirror post on DailyKos, as soon as it allows me to post, that is) regarding the matter from me--it includes links to speeches from Simon as well as the robocall in question.

This is necessary as we may have found definitive evidence linking Simon firmly to the robocalling, and I really want to nail these bastards to the wall if we can get good, solid proof.

Recommends and comments appreciated.

dogemperor [userpic]
Romney endorsed by "father of modern religious conservative movement"

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

Romney wins backing from Paul Weyrich

Excerpt. Click Headline for full story. )
I guess the good news is that the RR is continuing to be fractured so far.

Current Mood: bitchy
dogemperor [userpic]
Latest AFA News - Christmas Buttons


I find it amusing, seeing as Halloween has been changed to "Harvest" or "Autumn" festivals.


AFA donates 1,000 Christmas buttons to students at high school which banned Christmas from posters

dogemperor [userpic]
AFA-KY may be engaging in illegal tricks

Sorry late-ish on this, folks, but wanted to get my ducks in a row here...

Anyways, there is evidence to suggest that AFA-KY and Freedom's Heritage Forum--groups run by notorious dominionist hatemonger Frank Simon--may be robocalling in attempts to dead-agent both the Kentucky Fairness Coalition and Democratic candidate Steve Beshear.

This is something that hits very, very close to home for me--Simon happens to be a deacon of the very church I walked away from, among other things, and (partly from having grown up in his church) I've seen the rather nasty history of this sort of stuff that has been promoted (including, of note, frank promotion of Holocaust revisionism such as "The Pink Swastika"--these people are essentially a slightly less outspoken version of Watchmen On The Walls and in particular their American front)...stuff that is finally starting to get the attention of the SPLC.

If any readers in KY have received these robocalls and have not received other telephone calls since, you *should* be able to hit *57 to trace (they have hidden caller ID records and complaints are already being filed with the KY electoral commission, so this should hopefully give them some info to work with--they at least can't forge ANI records).

Also, those of you on DailyKos, please recommend the first link above so that this info gets out, and feel free to post links to others. (The local media has not reported on this so much, though a few national outlets are starting to.)

dogemperor [userpic]
Gay Hatin' Gospel - part 6

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

An addition to Slacktivist's consideration of why Christianity is often taken to primarily equal homophobia:

"I've been asked to revisit the backlash theory, giving more weight to the perceived seriousness of the threat. In doing so, it has been suggested, I should also revisit the demagogue theory, giving more consideration to the possibility that there really are barbarians at the gate -- big, gay, fabulous barbarians, apparently.

Those who have asked me to reconsider this -- in a series of e-mails that included some which were quite civil -- seem to think I've been going about this question all wrong. They don't deny the accuracy of the recent findings from the Barna Group --

-- but they see this alteration in the very identity of American Christianity as the legitimate and necessary response to a very real life-or-death struggle over the meaning of Christianity and America...

...If homosexuals are accorded legal equality and cultural acceptance, or even tolerance, then, according to this view, every distinction between vice and virtue, between right and wrong, will melt away, the Bible, religion, morality and the rule of law will lose all meaning and society will crash to the ground like a kite without a string.

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together -- mass hysteria.

They really believe this."

Again for emphasis - I am very aware that not all Christians are homophobic or see the rejection of gay rights as a primary issue. Slacktivist himself is a good example of the non-homophobic Christian tendency. But it's clear that this homophobia is a core belief of the Dominionists - and they have become so successful at establishing their version of theology as the baseline that the Barna Group results were so skewed.

Current Mood: blah
Current Music: NiggyTardust-Saul Williams-The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!
dogemperor [userpic]
Huckabee gains major RR endorsement

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

Rick Scarborough: Why I'm supporting Mike Huckabee for president

Excerpt. Click Headline for full story. )
If Huckabee doesn't scare you, you don't know enough about him. Same goes for Rick Scarborough. Believe me. I moved away from Pearland just over a year ago. I've seen Scarborough's influence up close and personal.

dogemperor [userpic]
America's Armageddonites Push for More War

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

Original found here.

By Jon Basil Utley, Foreign Policy in Focus. Posted October 22, 2007.

Some fundamentalist evangelicals have moved from forecasting Armageddon to actually trying to bring it about.

Utopian fantasies have long transfixed the human race. Yet today a much rarer fantasy has become popular in the United States. Millions of Americans, the richest people in history, have a death wish. They are the new "Armageddonites," fundamentalist evangelicals who have moved from forecasting Armageddon to actually trying to bring it about.

Most journalists find it difficult to take seriously that tens of millions of Americans, filled with fantasies of revenge and empowerment, long to leave a world they despise. These Armageddonites believe that they alone will get a quick, free pass when they are "raptured" to paradise, no good deeds necessary, not even a day of judgment. Ironically, they share this utopian fantasy with a group that they often castigate, namely fundamentalist Muslims who believe that dying in battle also means direct access to Heaven. For the Armageddonites, however, there are no waiting virgins, but they do agree with Muslims that there will be "no booze, no bars," in the words of a popular Gaither Singers song.

These end-timers have great influence over the U.S. government's foreign policy. They are thick with the Republican leadership. At a recent conference in Washington, congressional leader Roy Blunt, for example, has said that their work is "part of God's plan." At the same meeting, where speakers promoted attacking Iran, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay glorified "end times." Indeed the Bush administration often consults with them on Mideast policies. The organizer of the conference, Rev. John Hagee, is often welcomed at the White House, although his ratings are among the lowest on integrity and transparency by Ministry Watch, which rates religious broadcasters. He raises millions of dollars from his campaign supporting Israeli settlements on the West Bank, including much for himself. Erstwhile presidential candidate Gary Bauer is on his Board of Directors. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson also both expressed strong end-times beliefs.

American fundamentalists strongly supported the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. They consistently support Israel's hard-line policies. And they are beating the drums for war against Iran. Thanks to these end-timers, American foreign policy has turned much of the world against us, including most Muslims, nearly a quarter of the human race.

The Beginning of End Times

The evangelical movement originally was not so "end times" focused. Rather, it was concerned with the "moral" decline inside America. The Armageddon theory started with the writings of a Scottish preacher, John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). His ideas then spread to America with publication in 1917 of the Scofield Reference Bible, foretelling that the return of the Jews to Palestine would bring about the end times. The best-selling book of the 1970s, The Late, Great Planet Earth, further spread this message. The movement did not make a conscious effort to affect foreign policy until Jerry Falwell went to Jerusalem and the Left Behind books became best sellers.

( Read More )

Current Mood: cranky
dogemperor [userpic]
Impolite Dinner Conversation - Australian Christian Lobby update

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]crazyjane13)

Hey all,

The Australian Christian Lobby have released the results of their "values-voting" questionnaire, which they sent to most of the parties running in the upcoming Australian Federal election.

If you're interested, you can find my article on it here at my journal.

Current Mood: disgusted
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