Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

I don’t see how you can be President without a relationship with the Lord.
-President George Bush, 2005

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The second coming of Christ is everything that I’m living for. I hope the rapture comes tomorrow.
-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, 2007

America has no King but Jesus
-Attorney General John Ashcroft, 2004

The Republican Party of Texas affirms that the United States of America is a Christian Nation
-Official platform, GOP, Texas

Apparently some people think it can’t happen here in America – at least according to many of the comments on the various places my last article appeared. (See part one: “What will happen when the Christian right takes over”.)

Well, let’s discuss this.

Can you think of other examples throughout world history in which fundamentalist, right-wing, religious extremists have gained images-210power and plunged their country into a dark ages-like society of ignorance, oppression and fear? I’m sure you can – I can think of probably eight examples right now, without even using Google. So why couldn’t this happen here? All it takes are four ingredients, all of which are present right now in America.

1. A large group of religiously inspired fundamentalist leaders who are committed to seeing their religious texts made to be the law of the land. Check.

2. A large group of religiously inspired citizens willing to follow and support said powerful people. Check.

3. A perceived enemy. Check.

4. A persecution complex. Check.

Let’s briefly take these one at a time:

A large minority of religiously inspired fundamentalist leaders who are committed to seeing their religious texts made to be the law of the land.

images-211Dominionism, as I’ve written about previously, simply means that Christians have the responsibility to take over every aspect of society and to govern solely in accordance with Biblical law. These Christians believe that until we have a theocracy, Jesus will be delayed in His return.

In short, Jesus will come only after Christians succeed in establishing Christian rule over the earth.

Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ — to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.

But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice.
It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.
It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.
It is dominion we are after.
World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish.
-George Grant, executive director of D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries, in “The Changing of the Guard.”

Let’s go back to 2005. By that time, the Christian right was well on its way to gaining control. James Dobson and his ilk had succeeded in bringing their brand of fundamentalist Christianity from the fringes of American life to the heart of political power.

images-212By 2005, 42 out of 100 US senators were entirely supportive of the Christian right agenda, holding ratings of 100 percent from the Christian Coalition. Extreme fundamentalists entered the US Senate, including Tom Coburn of Oklahoma (calling for the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions) and Jim DeMint (wanting to ban unmarried pregnant women from teaching in public schools). Fundamentalist Christian theology was already driving our federal policy on medical research (with the ban on stem cell research), sex education (which the government decreed should focus exclusively on abstinence), and US foreign policy in the Middle East (where an important driver of US policy was the need to have Jerusalem in the hands of the Jews in order to satisfy a biblical condition to the second coming of Christ). The federal government was channeling billions in taxpayer funds to evangelical organizations.

And new legislation was being introduced almost weekly. A few examples, among hundreds: Have you heard of the Constitution Restoration Act? This law would have prevented federal courts from hearing church/state separation cases. Seriously. How about the House of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, which would have allowed tax-exempt churches to engage in partisan political activity?

And all this has continued, and it has actually picked up speed.

Did you know that there are many Christians, including in government, who believe that all Old Testament punishments, includingNew-Fundamentalism stoning, should be restored?

Did you know that in Oklahoma, to name just one example, most state-wide executive offices are held by evangelicals, along with over 85% of the legislature? And most of them support the entire agenda – criminalization of homosexuality, adultery and blasphemy (seriously!), the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions, reinstatement of mandatory school prayer, a requirement that Genesis be taught in science classes – all based on the Bible as ultimate law. They call their vision of America a “Christian Nation,” and all that stands in the way of that vision is the federal court system.

A large group of religiously inspired citizens willing to follow and support said powerful people.

73%-76% of Americans self identify as Christian.

Six-in-ten white evangelical Protestants say that the Bible should be the guiding principle in making laws when it conflicts with the will of the people.

Seven-in-ten white evangelicals (69%) believe God gave Israel to the Jewish people and a solid majority (59%) believes that Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Significantly, those who believe that God gave Israel to the Jews and that the state of Israel fulfills biblical prophecy are much more likely than others to sympathize with Israel in its dispute with the Palestinians.

An overwhelming percentage of Christians (79%) say they believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ, and fully 62% of white evangelicals say the Bible is the actual word of God, to be taken literally.

A perceived enemy

Anti-Semitism served other totalitarian movements well, but it is currently off-limits. Communism worked for a while, but has faded as a credible threat following the fall of the Soviet Union. So which enemy did American fundamentalists choose? They picked two:

1. Secularism is the big one, which, they argue, is really a competing religion. It’s what they’ve been fighting for years.

images-2132. The “homosexual agenda.” Preachers preach that the rise of homosexuality is the surest sign of the coming end times. Conservative preachers remind the faithful over and over that the rise of homosexuality is God’s way of testing humanity – if we tolerate the abomination, then we are irrevocably lost and abandoned by God.

The official platform of the Texas Republican Party states:

Homosexuality is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.

A persecution complex

robertsonA common strategy of fundamentalists the world over is to claim victimhood, and our country’s evangelical preachers have successfully tapped into the “persecuted church” paradigm. The growth of a modern, secular, and tolerant society, they argue, really is about the tyrannical suppression of Christianity, because the idea of a secular and tolerant society is inconsistent with Christian claims to dominion over civil society. In an Orwellian twist, “religious tolerance” becomes, to the right-wingers, intolerant and tyrannical. Extension of basic civil liberties to those who engage in a sexual practice that is taboo to fundamentalists becomes an attack on the Christian church in which Christians are the true victims. Permitting gays to marry becomes an attack on marriage in which married people are somehow victimized. Abortion is seen as an attack on God and, by extension, on Christians. Not allowing teachers to teach scripture as science is now “persecution” of Christians. See how this works? Basically, if they can’t have things their way, they are being persecuted.

Pat Robertson kicked this whole thing off in the early 1990’s when he stated:

Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to Evangelical Christians. It’s no different. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media, and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority group in history.

Do you hear how bizarre, how sick this thinking is? A former candidate for president asserting that the treatment of evangelical Christians by “liberal America” was more terrible than the treatment of Cambodians at the hands of Pol Pot, of the Tutsi minority by the Hutu majority in Rwanda, the Bosnian Muslims by the Serbs, the Jews by the Nazis, the early Christians by the Romans, the Native Americans by the Spanish, the slaves by the slave owners? Just…wow.

According to the fundamentalists, if our society does NOT base its laws on the bronze age morality found in the Christian Bible, then it’s Christians who are being persecuted and victimized.

oppression

———————————————–

So, again I ask – why do people think that religious extremists could never plunge this country into the kind of hell that’s going on in Afghanistan and so many other countries around the world? Because our extremists follow a different religion and read a different set of sacred texts?

In Salem, Massachusetts, in 1683, 83% of taxpayers stated that they “had no religious allegiance.” There is not a single mention of God in the US Constitution. And although deists and theocrats and religious dissidents of all stripes were among the earliest settlers of the New World, the political project that was America was first and foremost a project of the enlightenment, where freedom from state religion – the source of so much turmoil and tragedy in European history – was among the core objectives.

See part 3:  Lock and Load!  The new Christian Right rhetoric

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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

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this weekAnd THIS WEEK in the news…

1. In Alaska – one house of the state legislature passed a law that threatens to arrest law enforcement officers if they try to enforce federal laws relating to gun control. They have decided that they won’t recognize national laws and that they will arrest anyone who tries to enforce them. Rep. Andy Josephson, an Anchorage Democrat, argued that the bill alaska gunsviolated the Constitution’s supremacy clause and wouldn’t hold up under legal scrutiny. He says he can’t support the bill because he sees it as a breach of his oath of office. In fact, Representative Josephson had to stop twice during his testimony to hold back tears as he passionately argued against what he called “secessionist talk.”

Our star is on the flag – we implored the USA to let us join them. I’m proud to be an American. I care deeply about my state, and I’m very proud to be an American. Very proud. (pause to hold back tears) I think this is secessionist talk.

vaginal ultrasound

2. Yesterday in Arkansas, the governor, Mike Beebe, vetoed an abortion ban that passed both chambers of the Republican- dominated legislature.

3. In Indiana the senate passed a forced vaginal ultrasound bill.

4. In Illinois Robin Kelly was elected as the Democratic nominee in a Chicago-area district to bidenreplace Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr, who was forced out in an ethics scandal. Kelly is a strong supporter of gun control, which helped her to beat her opponent who had been highly rated by the NRA. Vice President Biden argued today that the primary election victory of a gun control advocate to represent Illinois in Congress sends a message that voters won’t stand for inaction in response to shooting violence after the Connecticut school shooting.

5. Pennsylvania Republicans are trying to move ahead with a scheme to rig that state’s electoral votes. Several electoral riggingother states flirted with this idea recently, but gave up on it after intense push back from their constituents and the media. “The Republican Party is on the wrong side of the issues and instead of appealing to the growing electorate, they’re scheming to rig the election,” says Melanie Roussell, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee. “The Republicans in the Pennsylvania House and Senate could push this legislation through both houses in a matter of days, while Republicans in Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida have all come out against Electoral College vote rigging in their states.”

6. The US supreme court is hearing a challenge to the voting rights act. In a fast-paced, 70-minute argument, the court’s liberals and conservatives engaged in a sometimes tense back and forth over whether there is an ongoing need in 2013 for a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure requires states with a history of discrimination, mainly in the Deep South, to get approval before making changes in the way elections are held.

7. Republicans are threatening John Brennen’s nomination to run the CIA.

same sex marriage8. 75 republican lawmakers just signed a brief to the supreme court telling them to side WITH same sex marriage rights. These are Republicans!

9. Chris Christi just became the 8th Republican governor who previously said he wanted nothing to do with Obama care to sign his state up for Obama care’s provisions.

10. Talks with Iran over their nuclear program got underway yesterday.

And of course Congress is focusing on none of these real crises or real fights or opportunities for real progress. What Washington is dealing with is a self-imposed crisis – the automatic budget cuts happening this coming Friday. This is a crisis they could just end. This is a crisis that the White House and Congress agreed to previously and one that they now almost unanimously agree will be bad for the country – and all they have to do is repeal it.

If they don’t, hundred of thousands of jobs will be lost. In fact, within the next 20 days, hundreds of thousands of civilians associated with the military will be furloughed and/or have their salaries cut by 20%. Teachers, police officers and others will lose their jobs. Social service agencies will cut back or close. Thousands of government employees will lose their jobs. All this while we are just now finally climbing out of recession.

And why? Tune in..same channel..next article: “Less then 10% of Americans know the truth…”

The tea partiers’ alternate reality

Reported by David Daley, Executive Director of Salon

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants Republicans to stop being the stupid party — but apparently the memo hasn’t gotten out to state legislatures around the country.

February has been a banner month for truly silly and anti-intellectual bills in state capitals. Some of these bills are based on the idea that birth control is poison, and that students should not be corrected for arguing in biology class that dinosaurs and humans coexisted. Others would stop gun control efforts by making it a felony to try to enact gun control.

This is not the Onion: Here are some of the actual proposals.

1. Let corporations vote!

corporationsIn Montana, state Rep. Steve Lavin introduced a bill that would allow corporations to vote in local elections, taking the idea that “corporations are people” to new heights.

Think Progress reports that under the proposal, “if a firm, partnership, company, or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote.”

2. Criminalize gun control!

In Missouri, state Rep. Mike Leara believes even proposing gun control should be illegal. So he has proposed legislation that would make it a felony for “any member of the general assembly who proposes a piece of legislation that further restricts the right of an individual to bear arms, as set forth under the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”

“I filed HB 633 as a matter of principle and as a statement in defense of the Second Amendment rights of all Missourians,” Leara told Buzzfeed. “I want it to be clear that the Missouri House will stand in defense of the people’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

3. Birth control is poison

“Part of (women’s) identity is the potential to be a mother,” says a state senator from Oklahoma. “They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they are being asked to poison their bodies.”viagra

The full state Senate in Oklahoma will take up a measure to allow companies to strip birth control and abortion coverage from employer healthcare plans under a bill that unanimously cleared the committee level last week. This puts the law in conflict with the Obamacare provision that mandates contraception coverage in employee group insurance plans, unless the company in question meets the religious organization that qualifies for an exemption.

4. Read Ayn Rand or don't graduate

The chairman of the education committee in Idaho’s Senate introduced a bill earlier this month that would make students read — and pass a test — on “Atlas Shrugged” as a requirement for a high school diploma. He says that book “made my son a Republican,” then added, “well, he’s not a practicing Republican. But it certainly made him conservative.”

The senator, John Goedde, told the Idaho Spokesman-Review he was “sending a message to the State Board of Education, because he’s unhappy with its recent move to repeal a rule requiring two online courses to graduate from high school, and with its decision to back off on another planned rule regarding principal evaluations.”

Creationism5. Make science teachers contradict science

In Kansas, the state Board of Education will vote on new science standards this year, so the legislative jockeying has begun. A bill before the House Education Committee would make schools include evidence against climate change in science classes.

According to the bill, science teachers would be required to “provide information to students of scientific evidence which both supports and counters a scientific theory or hypothesis.”

There is no specific sponsor on the bill, which carries the committee’s name. The committee is controlled by Republicans, most of whom have made anti-science statements, including one who believes that “evolution is a lie from Satan.”

In Oklahoma, however, go right ahead and argue that humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time. On a 9-8 vote last week, the Oklahoma Common Education committee approved the so-called Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act.

If the bill becomes law, it would make it illegal for biology teachers to fail students who write papers against evolution, creationism (1)climate change and other theories with near 100 percent approval in the scientific community.

“I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks,” said state Rep. Gus Blackwell.

You wanna see something worse? Go to http://stuffthatmattersblog.com/2013/02/28/this-weeks-bloomberg-poll-less-than-10-of-americans-know-the-truth/