Dark Christianity
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Backlash against the changing wind

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

As has been noted in comments on [info]nebris's recent post here, the idea that the Christian Right is whupped is wishful thinking. Wallis *is* being a bit optimistic, even though "the wind is changing" (if you've heard him speak or read "God's Politics", he urges us to "change the wind" in the direction of compassion). Recent history should show that the backchannel organizations are pretty strong, and will also not be bothered by the truth in their efforts to get their own way.

As one example, here is one effort by one of the "patriot pastor" dominionist wingnuts. As a Christian I don't have an objection to the "no king but King Jesus" part per se, but the idea of conflating church and state doesn't follow on from this.

I wish these folks wouldn't cherry-pick US history, much like they cherry-pick the Bible, to support their heresies. What is Caesar is not of God. Jesus did not come on earth to establish a political kingdom, which surprised folks at the time because that's what they were expecting out of a Messiah. And the Baptist/AoG/"independent Bible church" wingnuts who call on the name of the Founding Fathers' original intent in their desire to establish a state religion would have been fined or thrown in the stocks in the Virginia colony pre-independence ... the state religion there was Anglican and Anabaptists weren't well recieved. Not only was the religion clause of the First Amendment a way to keep all the different competing religious interests in the Original 13 happy, Jefferson had seen the results and didn't like them.

If y'all need some humor after this, and haven't seen the "Ted Haggard Is Completely Heterosexual" folk song video, Charlotte Bob says check it out.

Tip of the hat to Shakesville for both of these.

Current Mood: annoyed
dogemperor [userpic]
Air Force Eases Rules on Religion


By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 10, 2006
New Guidelines Reflect Evangelicals' Criticism, General Says )

dogemperor [userpic]
Wow... just wow.


I found a clip of Pastor Ted Haggard giving Richard Dawkins a lecture about arrogance. Holy shit- talk about the pot calling the kettle black... Richard Dawkins, for those of you who do not know, is an eminent evolutionary biologist who is also an ardent atheist. He wrote "The Blind Watchmaker", and "The Selfish Gene", among other things. Ted Haggard is the pastor of the dominionist New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Here's the site. And here's the show it came from. Chances are that we'll never see it in the US.

What I could not get over was the snarl on Haggard's face as he dressed Dawkins down, and the flat hate in his eyes. And you could see that Dawkins was shaking with anger. He does not play well with True Believers ™.

Here's an article about Dawkins from the Guardian.

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Tom Brokaw talks to evangelicals


Here's a link to the transcript of a recent NBC Special about evangelicals. I think that you will find it interesting that many of them say that they don't want a theocracy, but yet still endorse one using different words.

NBC's Tom Brokaw goes inside the world of Christian Evangelicals

Read it and learn.

dogemperor [userpic]
A revealing look onthe public/private face of dominionist churches

As reported by several blogs, including http://nonprophet.typepad.com/nonprophet/2005/05/ted_haggard_don.html, there apparently was a *very* interesting memo sent from the head pastor of New Life Church (a dominionist church in Colorado Springs, Colorado directly associated with the USAF religious coercion scandal and also at the heart of much of the dominionist initiatives out of that town).

I've taken the liberty of including the entire text below:

Text of the letter to New Life Church's congregation )

The most interesting bit on the letter, at least to me, is how they actively are encouraging people to hide the fact the church is into deliverance ministry/"Kingdom Now" theology (the bits about not telling the media about "seeing demons" et al) and hiding the fact it's into the whole pentecostal movement/"latter rain"/"third wave" type stuff *period* (the bits about warning about "dancing in the spirit" et al)

This is a rare example from the "inside" on how dominionist groups actively promote a public/private face; this is, however, at the same time not isolated (it is known that Family First, Australia's dominionist political party (and de facto political wing of the Australian AoG), has published similar advisories to its workers (shown when one slipped up if asked if lesbians should be burned at the stake); it is also known that many dominionist denominations have different guidelines for members "in the in crowd" as part of "stealth evangelism" or simply hiding its true theology from the general public).

More backgrounder on this particular dominionist group is at http://www.harpers.org/SoldiersOfChrist.html (and other sites); http://nonprophet.typepad.com/nonprophet/2005/05/the_power_of_ar.html has some interesting info re an interview with the one of the persons in charge at the dominionist group (including the fact that the church may be promoting the use of "correction rods"--rods used to beat children in accordance with the beliefs of some dominionists and as mentioned in Dobson's books and the Babywise series of books by Ezra)
http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2005/05/gay_sex_demons.html has some interesting info re the particular flavour of "deliverance ministry" practiced at New Life Church (which is not dissimilar to what I have seen/experienced in the dominionist group I walked away from)

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Memorial Day News Digest


Soldiers of Christ: inside America's biggest megachurch: full Harpers article.

Feeling the Hate with the religious broadcasters: Full Harpers article.

Luring Teenagers to Religion: tactics used by various religons to get young people to join.

Microsoft severs ties with Ralph Reed, who was a member of the Christian Coalition. Guess the blowback from the WA gay rights bill got their attention.

Hope that everyone has a pleasant holiday.

dogemperor [userpic]
You can't make stuff like this up...


Pastor Ted Haggard, of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, has given some pointers to his congregation about how to behave for the media, according to this article

Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family has long been a media magnet, for obvious reasons: Any organization willing to take on an enemy as wily as SpongeBob Squarepants is bound to receive attention. But lately, another Christian institution in the area -- New Life Church -- has joined Focus in the national spotlight. The sizable amount of coverage New Life has garnered to date will be supplemented by plenty more in the coming months, and thanks to a Springs-based blogger known as Non-Prophet, outside observers can learn how insiders have been preparing for the onslaught.Read more... )

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The Revealer: Destination Christian Nation


The Revealer asks if Europe should be worried about Evangelical politics in the US. The answer is yes. Read more... )

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Inside America's Most Powerful Megachurch


The first half of Jeff Sharlet's "Harper's" article Inside America's Most Powerful Megachurch" is available on his "Revealer" website. I highly recommend it.

Here's an excerpt:

the city’s mightiest megachurch crests silver and blue atop a gentle slope of pale yellow prairie grass on the outskirts of town. Silver and blue, as it happens, are Air Force colors. New Life Church was built far north of town in part so it would be visible from the Air Force Academy. New Life wanted that kind of character in its congregation.

“Church” is insufficient to describe the complex. There is a permanent structure called the Tent, which regularly fills with hundreds or thousands of teens and twentysomethings for New Life’s various youth gatherings. Next to the Tent stands the old sanctuary, a gray box capable of seating 1,500; this juts out into the new sanctuary, capacity 7,500, already too small. At the complex’s western edge is the World Prayer Center, which looks like a great iron wedge driven into the plains. The true architectural wonder of New Life, however, is the pyramid of authority into which it orders its 11,000 members. At the base are 1,300 cell groups, whose leaders answer to section leaders, who answer to zone, who answer to district, who answer to Pastor Ted Haggard, New Life’s founder.Read more... )

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Sunday Morning News Part 1: The Good


My perusal of the news this morning (and I am not done yet...) has dug up some interesting articles. One is pretty good, one is pretty bad, and the third is downright ugly in what it predicts.

The good: The Greening of Evangelicals (Washington Post article, registration required.) An Excerpt:

Thanks to the Rev. Leroy Hedman, the parishioners at Georgetown Gospel Chapel take their baptismal waters cold. The preacher has unplugged the electricity-guzzling heater in the immersion baptism tank behind his pulpit. He has also installed energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs throughout the church and has placed water barrels beneath its gutter pipes -- using runoff to irrigate the congregation's all-organic gardens.

Such "creation care" should be at the heart of evangelical life, Hedman says, along with condemning abortion, protecting family and loving Jesus. He uses the term "creation care" because, he says, it does not annoy conservative Christians for whom the word "environmentalism" connotes liberals, secularists and Democrats.

Add "Creation care" to the buzzword lexicon. It might be an awkward phrase, but it's a step in the right direction...sort of.

There is growing evidence -- in polling and in public statements of church leaders -- that evangelicals are beginning to go for the green. Despite wariness toward mainstream environmental groups, a growing number of evangelicals view stewardship of the environment as a responsibility mandated by God in the Bible.

"The environment is a values issue," said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals. "There are significant and compelling theological reasons why it should be a banner issue for the Christian right."

Nice to find some evangelicals do care for this planet, even if they call it 'God's Body'. And some of them see past the dominionist belief that 'every tree must fall' in order for Christ to return:

Even for green activists within the evangelical movement, there are landmines. One faction in the movement, called dispensationalism, argues that the return of Jesus and the end of the world are near, so it is pointless to fret about environmental degradation.

James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first interior secretary, famously made this argument before Congress in 1981, saying: "God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back." The enduring appeal of End Time musings among evangelicals is reflected in the phenomenal success of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic potboilers, which have sold more than 60 million copies and are the best-selling novels in the country.

Haggard, the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, concedes that this thinking "is a problem that I do have to address regularly in talking to the common man on the street. I tell them to live your life as if Jesus is coming back tomorrow, but plan your life as if he is not coming back in your lifetime. I also tell them that the authors of the Left Behind books have life insurance policies."

This argument is apparently resonating. Green said the notion that an imminent Judgment Day absolves people of environmental responsibility is now a "fringe" belief.

Unusual weather phenomena, such as the four hurricanes that battered Florida last year and the melting of the glaciers around the world, have captured the attention of evangelicals and made many more willing to listen to scientific warnings about the dangers of global warming, Haggard said.


In Seattle, Hedman says that evangelicals should worry less about the moral authority of the president and more about their biblical obligation to care for Earth.

"The Earth is God's body," Hedman said in a recent sermon. "God wants us to look after it."

I'll second that. It's a good start.


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