Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Christian Supremacist Watch 

Frederick Clarkson:
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 several 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.


An unexpected highlight for me was meeting novelist Kurt Vonnegut, who was among many notables who had come to hear as distinguished, smart and often inconoclastic a bunch of journalists, authors, activists, and academics ever assembled to talk about this subject. Nothing quite like it had ever been done before. We can only hope that it will be done again and again, and all over the country.

continue reading NY Conference on Theocracy...


Jeff Sharlet (interview with On the Media - WNYC Radio):
If you go to churches and you talk to regular people, a lot of people on the religious right are talking about civil war, and they're talking about civil war in not a metaphorical sense, in a literal sense. They hope it won't happen, but they are afraid that it might. And I think that has come through this growing metaphor of spiritual war.

continue reading Messiah Complex (transcript)


Via Bartholomew's notes on religion:
...300 school districts are currently offering a course called "The Bible as History and Literature," a course curriculum from the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS).

America's leading theocrats shower blessings upon the NCBCPS:
The site for the NCBCPS also contains endorsements from a number of PhDs, although that list is not encouraging: the top place goes to a motivational speaker called Joel A Freeman; under him we find J Randall Price, “P.h.D. in Middle Eastern and Asian Studies”. Price is in fact a Christian Zionist fundamentalist most noted for an absurd book called The Coming Last Days Temple. In fact, all the PhDs listed with Bible-related qualifications actually relate to Biblical studies the way Ken Ham does to science: there’s Robert G Cornuke, a crank who spends his time looking for the lost Ark of the Covenant; Roy E Knuteson is an obscure figure associated with the fundamentalist Dallas Theological Seminary (and I mean "fundamentalist" literally, not just as a polemical term).

The advisory committee is also rather alarming and completely devoid of serious Biblical scholars: instead, we find conservative politicians and the likes of D. James Kennedy (plus Rabbi Daniel Lapin as token Jew). Particularly disturbing, but not surprising, is the presence of pseudo-historian David Barton; the course claims to teach schoolchildren about how the Bible was understood by the US Founding Fathers.

Read Learning the Bible from Fundamentalists

"I hope...to see the day when...in...our country we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" ~ Rev. Jerry Falwell

Max Blumenthal:
The recent right-wing fixation on impeaching judges was conceptualized by David Barton, Republican consultant and vice chairman of the Texas GOP. In 1996 Barton published a handbook called Impeachment: Restraining an Overactive Judiciary, which was timed to coincide with Tom DeLay's bid for legislation authorizing Congress to impeach judges. "The judges need to be intimidated," DeLay told reporters that year.

In 1989 Barton published a book titled The Myth of Separation, which proclaims, "This book proves that the separation of church and state is a myth." The Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, in a critique of his 1995 documentary America's Godly Heritage, stated that it was "laced with exaggerations, half-truths, and misstatements of fact." Barton is on the board of advisers of the Providence Foundation, a Christian Reconstructionist group that promotes the idea that biblical law should be instituted in America. In 1991 Barton spoke at a Colorado retreat sponsored by Pastor Pete Peters, an adherent of racist Christian Identity theology with well-established neo-Nazi ties. During the 2004 presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee hired him as a paid consultant for "evangelical outreach." The RNC sponsored more than 300 events for him.


On Monday, April 11, at Senator Frist's invitation, David Barton will lead him and other senators on an evening tour of the Capitol, offering "a fresh perspective on our nation's religious heritage."

Read: In Contempt of Courts, by Max Blumenthal; The Nation, 04.11.2005.


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