Dark Christianity
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dogemperor [userpic]
dozens of heads were bowed


This Washington Post column talks about the (lack of) activity on National Day of Prayer yesterday:

Let us pray.

Let us pray that, on next year's National Day of Prayer, there is better attendance at the "Bible Reading Marathon" on the West Front of the Capitol.

Organizers put out 600 folding chairs on the lawn -- the spot where presidents are inaugurated -- and set up a huge stage with powerful amplifiers. But at 9:30 a.m. yesterday, not one of the 600 seats was occupied. By 11 a.m., as a woman read a passage from Revelations, attendance had grown -- to four people. Finally, at 1 p.m., 37 of the 600 seats were occupied, though many of those people were tourists eating lunch.

Where was everybody?

"This isn't that kind of event," explained Jeff Gannon, spokesman for the host, the International Bible Reading Association. Gannon, actually a pseudonym for James Guckert, had earned fame in 2005 representing a conservative Web site at White House briefings until it was revealed that he posted nude pictures of himself on the Web to offer his services as a $200-an-hour gay escort.

Let us pray for the power to understand how Gannon made his way from HotMilitaryStud.com to the International Bible Reading Association.


Let us pray, as well, for the beleaguered practitioners of Christian street theater, for they deserve greater press coverage.

The Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition scheduled a "National Day of Prayer observance" and news conference for 3 p.m. yesterday in front of the Supreme Court. Gannon, wearing a Marines baseball cap, arrived to help with the press outreach.

But the event attracted only one photographer (from the Washington Times), one reporter (author of the Washington Sketch) and not a single television camera. The participants themselves were late, and only eight showed up.

I just wish that the columnist had mentioned that NDP is not ecumenical- by any long shot. Maybe next year...

dogemperor [userpic]
Defcon Audio Chat: The Goldberg/Burress Debate

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

DefCon Board Member Michelle Goldberg to Debate the Religious Right
Read more... )

Prior registration is required.

dogemperor [userpic]
Chris Hedges to speak at The Rothko Chapel in Houston

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

Of likely interest to those of you in the Houston area:
Former War Correspondent and Author Chris Hedges to speak at The Rothko Chapel

Renowned war correspondent and author, Chris Hedges, will speak on the topic of his upcoming book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America on September 25, 2006 at 7:30 pm at The Rothko Chapel.
Read more... ) After reading this article, I am very interested in hearing Mr. Hedges speak. They are asking for RSVP for the date in question.
The spark that could set it ablaze may be lying in the hands of an Islamic terrorist cell, in the hands of the ideological twins of the Christian Right. Another catastrophic terrorist attack could be our Reichstag fire, the excuse used to begin the accelerated dismantling of our open society. The ideology of the Christian Right is not one of love and compassion, the central theme of Christ's message, but of violence and hatred. It has a strong appeal to many in our society, but it is also aided by our complacency. Let us not stand at the open city gates waiting passively and meekly for the barbarians. They are coming. They are slouching rudely towards Bethlehem. Let us, if nothing else, begin to call them by their name.

dogemperor [userpic]
Nation article: Taking Back the Faith

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

This article came up in my email today. It's from The Nation last month, and you may have seen it already. I mention it again because the author, Dan Wakefield, who has written The Hijacking of Jesus, will "be speaking with author Susan Jacoby this Monday, May 22, in New York City, in a discussion of what role, if any, religion should play in politics."

The Hijacking of Jesus: A Conversation Between Dan Wakefield and Susan Jacoby
Monday, May 22nd, 7:00 pm
The Riverside Church, Assembly Hall, 490 Riverside Drive, NYC
Free admission.
Sponsored by Nation Books and co-sponsored by The Riverside Church Mission and Social Justice Ministry
For more information click here or call (212) 209-5442.

If you happen to be close enough to NYC to attend, you might want to do so. I would if I could.

dogemperor [userpic]
ATTN: Those in Columbus, Ohio

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

I saw this advertised and I believe it is open to the Public as most clubs and events are:

Presenter: Cynthia Burack
02/02/2006 7:30 PM
Caldwell 120
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
God gives Christians "Dominion" over the earth?

Join SFF and Associate Professor Cynthia Burack as we examine the political psychology and intentions of the Fundamentalist Right in america and abroad.

Please forgive me if this is not the place to put this but since there is a lot going on in Columbus reguarding World Harvest Church and I think that at least several people on here are from the Columbus area this seemed like a good idea.

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]


Religious Right Watch has posted that another Dominionism conference is slated for this fall in late October in NYC:

Also this fall The Graduate Center, CUNY and The New York Open Center will once again collaborate to present: Dominionism, Political Power, and the Theocratic Right

Dominionism is an influential form of fundamentalist religion that believes that in order to fulfill biblical prophecy, "godly Christians" must take control of the levers of political and judicial power in America in the near future. Popularized by the Left Behind series of books that are said to have sold over sixty million copies, this religious belief system has become increasingly influential. FEATURING: Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates; co-author, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort; Frederick Clarkson, author, Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy; Michael Northcott, teaches Christian Ethics, University of Edinburgh, Scotland; author, An Angel Directs the Storm: Apocalyptic Religion and American Empire; Esther Kaplan, author, With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy and Democracy in George W. Bush's White House.

Friday, October 21 7:30-9:30pm & Saturday, Oct. 22 10am-6pm.

You can register for the full session or Friday evening or Saturday separately.

To register or for more information contact: The Graduate Center, CUNY 212 817-8215. Or The New York Open Center 212 219-2527.

The DVD of the April conference is out, too- I plan to get it. It's too short a notice for me to go to this fall's conference, but perhaps some of you will go.

dogemperor [userpic]
Los Angeles: SCHA-LA / dominionism (x-post)


It's really been a long time since SCHA-LA has done anything, and we have decided that we want to start working together in person again. So, what does that mean? Bar-b-que, of course. And discourse.

We are going to have a bar-b-que-slash-discussion about Kingdom Theology/Dominionism: what it is, what we think their agenda is, how it affects us and what we can do about it.

We're looking at weekends in August to see when would be the best time to hold it. We put together an e-vite with all of the details, but rather than post our home address and phone number all over the internet, if you want an invitation to come, here is what you can do:

please e-mail scha_losangeles[at]yahoo[dot]com and give us the following information:

your name
your phone number
why you want to come & what food you want to bring
would you like to do a short presentation/lead a discussion? what topic?

And we will call you just to confirm. Once settled, we'll send you an e-vite. So please, e-mail us. It's going to be great. Those of you who used to come to SCHA meetings know this: we're a really nice, very diverse group of people, most of whom are great cooks. There's always lots of food. It's a great way to meet people in the area who are interested in the same things you are.

dogemperor [userpic]
Spiritual Activism conference


Found this on "Christian Alliance":

Spiritual Activism Conferences in Berkeley, Ca. July 20-23, 2005. In Washington, D.C. Feb. 10-13, 2006

Courtesy of TIKKUN Magazine: A Bimonthly Jewish Critique of Politics, Culture, & Society

Go to above link for conference details.

Begin the process of creating the strategy and program for The Nework of Spiritual Progressives (NSP), which will:

1. Challenge the misuse of God and religion by the Religious Right

2. Challenge the ethos of selfishness and materialism of the advanced industrial societies (first and foremost in the U.S. and Canada), and replace it with a NEW BOTTOM LINE (so that institutions are judged efficient, rational and productive not only to the extent that they maximize money and power, but also to the extent that they maximize love and caring, ethical and ecological consciousness, and to the extent that they maximize our capacities to respond to the universe with awe and wonder)

3. Build an alliance between secular, religious and "spiritual but not religious" progressives--in part by challenging the anti-religious biases in parts of the liberal culture (while acknowledging the legitimacy of anger against those parts of the religious world that have embodied authoritarian, racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic practices and attitudes).

DC in February, eh? Who's up for going?

dogemperor [userpic]
LA Conference on theocracy


Talk2Action has a link to a conference Sunday in Westwood about the Religious Right. This sounds like a similar conference to the one I attended earlier this month:

The Religious Right's Assault on the Judiciary--And What We Can Do About It!
2:30 - 5:30 pm - Free Admission

Westwood United Methodist Church
10497 Wilshire Blvd
310 474-4511

Using Religion as an Instrument of OppressionRead more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Conference shows deep divide of liberals, religious right


Here's another look at the NYC conference from a conservative point of view. It's interesting how the different sides spin these things... I've taken the rare liberty of including my own remarks in [brackets] in the body of the article- being there and actually listening to what went on is definitely an advantage.

Conference shows deep divide of liberals, religious right

By RICHARD N. OSTLING, The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, May. 7, 2005

NEW YORK – A video screen showed President Bush boarding a plane for Washington. His purpose: to get to the White House and sign Congress’ bill asking federal courts to review the removal of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube.

Joan Bokaer of TheocracyWatch.org offered her take on the action. “There’s something strange about the folks running our country,” she quipped. The audience of 500 people responded with some appreciative chuckles.

Bokaer, from a social action center affiliated with Cornell University, was speaking at a conference last weekend that denounced conservative Republicans on matters like mercy-killing, abortion, gay marriage, research using human embryos, broadcast indecency, Israel, Iraq, faith-based charity funding, judicial nominations and church-state relations. The book table sold assorted Bush-bashing titles. [I saw one or two, but the majority of books were about the Religious Right, the 'culture wars' and other subjects.- ed]

But the gathering wasn’t a Democratic Party caucus.

It was an academic conference at the City University of New York on “the real agenda of the religious far right” – and it offered a fresh example of just how venomous America’s conservative-liberal religious split has become and how entangled faith is with politics.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Talk2Action: Conference a big success


Talk To Action has a post on the success of last weekend's Religious Right Conference which I attended (and which I am still compiling notes on):

NY Conference on Theocracy a Big Success

This past weekend a big conference titled Examining the Agenda of the Religious Far Right was staged in New York. Over 500 people participated including numerous reporters and documentary film makers. Conference participants heard an unusually diverse range of critical perspectives on the religious right. I was honored to be among the speakers -- but I spent alot of time in very worthwhile listening.

Those who wanted to be there, but were unable to come, will be pleased to learn that the conference sponsors plan to edit the conference down to an hour long film, which they plan to broadcast and make available on DVD. A book based on the main conference presentations may be in the works. Those who would like to know what I said, can check out these blog posts ( here, here and here) which provided much of the substance of my talk.)Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Another article- from the Washington Times


This article is the Washington Times look at last weekend's conference:

Liberals gather to plumb depths of Christian right
By Jon Ward
Published May 3, 2005

NEW YORK -- The 58-year-old man stepped to the microphone and spoke like a zealous Christian anxious to learn about carrying the Gospel to nonbelievers.

"We're trying to understand these people. How do we reach out to them?" asked Wayne Reagan, 58, a retired Housing Authority official.

But Mr. Reagan was asking how to evangelize believers, specifically Christians, with the gospel of secularism.

Mr. Reagan, who is not religious, attended a conference Friday and Saturday at the City College of New York, called "Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right." The event was sponsored by the New York Open Center, a holistic learning center, and by the People for the American Way Foundation.

Mr. Reagan's question was one example of how liberals are making unprecedented efforts to understand, and even imitate, Christian conservatives. Another conference attendee asked a speaker how to talk to her Christian conservative relatives.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
A Spiritual Olive Branch for the Far Right


Here's the first editorial about the Open Center conference I attended this past weekend:

A spiritual olive branch for the far-right faithful
Ellis Henican

May 1, 2005

Chip Berlet isn't the devil. He doesn't even look the part.

He's a big, burly guy in suspenders and a sport shirt who was raised Presbyterian in northern New Jersey. He's spent most of his adult life at the intersection of journalism and community activism - in Colorado, Chicago and Boston. Over the years, he's become one of America's leading experts on the steady rise of conservative Christianity and its growing role in political life. He was onto this long before George W. Bush came into the White House.

These days, Berlet thinks of himself as an organizer, a researcher and a radical left-wing Christian. Yet he counts among his friends quite a few people whom his other friends consider whacked-out right-wing religious zealots.

"Actually," Berlet was saying on Friday afternoon, "I don't like those labels at all, calling people 'religious extremists' or 'radical religious right.' You can't have a conversation when you start that way. I want to talk to these people. I want to engage them. ... I want to have a real discourse about religion and politics."

Welcome to backlash against the latest scary rise of America's Religious Right.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
The Open Center Conference- opening thoughts


These are some initial thoughts culled from my personal journal. I will be writing about more in-depth things in the next few days.

Oh, yeah- the conference... folks, it's making history. No one has ever gathered together such a comprehensive group of influential thinkers, writers, researchers or ministers, and the Open Center is taping the whole thing and editing it down to make available for PBS affiliates to pick up. I am on the list to get a copy of this disk (and the unedited version) when they produce it. I will personally see that our PBS station picks it up- I know one of the program directors personally. And I have a DVD from Theology Watch for the public access channel, which I plan to get shown when I get home.

Here's some of what I learned while there:

Dialogue is more important than name calling when dealing with the Dominionists. They expect being called freaks and extremists (they are pretty extreme), they tend to play such name calling to their advantage- after all, the Bible, which they hold more important than Jesus himself, says that they'll be persecuted.

So, we have to step beyond the wild claims of their leaders, and engage the followers. They're good people going down a bad road- and some of them don't know how bad it is because of the tactics of deliberate deception, stealth and doublespeak practiced by their leaders. I know that most of them would be loath to execute people who might be their own kin- sons, daughters, siblings- just for being gay. And there are men who are not poisoned by the extreme patriarchy preached to them, who see the women in their lives as equals, not helpmeets.

One speaker said that this movement isn't 'Christianity' at all- it's the wolf of fascism and totaltarianism in Christian sheep's clothing. I think he had a very good point. It isn't about religion, no matter how much they want to claim it is. It's about power and greed.

This whole Dominionist thing has only just breached the surface and touched the minds of those who should be alarmed by now. The 'blue states' are very insular, and have for so long looked at the Dominionist movement as a Southern and Midwestern thing that it hasn't registered how far they've gotten until people started putting the puzzle together in the mainstream media recently. The Dominionists crow that the Schiavo case was a 'godsend' to them. In a way, it was also a godsend to us, as it cracked the facade of the Dominionists and showed us their true colors and chilling ideas for the future of this country. That is, if we don't meet them head on and put an end to it. When Mennonites, gentle, pacific Christian people, start muttering about how awful the president is and want to give him the boot, then there's something afoot. If the ugliness of the extremist Dominionists has trickled into their insular and serene community, that's the canary in the coal shaft.

The conference was sold out. They had an overflow auditorium. People from all over the country came. I met [info]kalibex and Katherine Yurica and several of the major speakers. Fredrick Clarkson and Chip Berlet have gotten together and created a website devoted to dialogue about the Christian Right. It's called Talk2Action. It looks like it is going to be a major nexus of ideas and dialogue.

For this community, I have some ideas and plans for it that I will share with you over the following days. I want to take it to the next level- make it a paid account, and then tweak the interface so that you the readers can have access to an ever growing number of excellent blogs. Blogging is the new media- the mainstream are pretty much rubberstamps of each other.

So, that's my entry for tonight. I am worn out, I have a wrenched arm from a sharp subway braking, and I have a notebook full of goodies to share. Stay tuned!

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