Religious Right Not Going Away

By Larry Jones

Some pundits and progressives are saying that, while George Bush had strong links to Christian fascists, Obama will soon be president so the culture wars and the religious right will now be on the decline.  WRONG!!!  The goal of many of the vast multitude of Christian fascists is to “win the world for Jesus”: they are not about to abandon their global mission just because of a change in U.S. leadership.

 

Here’s one example, and one indication of how a hateful outlook with Christian fascist underpinnings is penetrating many arenas of society. Unfortunately, many people put some money in the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettles in December. You may have done the same. The sign above the kettles reads “Doing the Most Good.”  You may have thought that surely these “kindly people” cannot be part of the radical right’s attacks on the LGBT community as well as on Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and other “heathens.”  WRONG again!!

 

Check this out. Here’s just one quote from Michelle Goldberg’s new book, Kingdom Coming, about the many horrors on the religious right, this excerpt describing how a conservative Catholic employee of the Salvation Army encountered discrimination on the basis of religious belief (or lack of religious belief) within the Salvation Army, enabled and prodded by decisions and policies of the Bush Regime:

“[Anne] Lown, who had been an employee at the Salvation Army for twenty-four years and oversaw 800 workers, said religion had never had anything to do with her job.  As long as she'd been there, the New York social services division had been independent from the evangelical side of the organization.  

“Her office ran more public programs than any Salvation Army division in the United States, most of them for children.  Almost all of the money came from the state and local government, and Lown assumed that it would be illegal to infuse taxpayer-funded services with Christianity.  Her division had gay, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu employees, reflecting the city it served.” For more see: http://www.mediatransparency.org/aroundthewebblurb.php?aroundTheWebBlurbID=449

When the Salvation Army began its new Reorganization Plan, it removed all gays or lesbians and all people of faith other than fundamentalist Christians. The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a suit against the Salvation Army in which Lown and 17 other present or former employees were the Plaintiffs and the Defendants were the Salvation Army and governmental agencies, including the State of New York and the City of New York, among others.  Bush’s U.S. Justice Department filed a friend of the court brief siding with the Salvation Army.

The complaint stated that the Salvation Army’s new Reorganization Plan “intends to provide social services only in a manner consistent with its religious principles, and all social service employees must acknowledge and adhere to this requirement regardless of legal and ethical standards.”  Ultimately the suit was dismissed.

So much for genuine justice!  And note this: In July, 2001, shortly after George W. Bush came to power, the regime entered into a secret deal by which the Salvation Army would promote Bush’s faith based initiative in return for the government’s overlooking laws against employment discrimination at the Salvation Army locations.  Such Christian cooperation with government just warms the cockles of your heart, doesn’t it?

ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS TO WIN THE WORLD FOR JESUS

These disclosures about the “doing-the-most-good” Salvation Army provide a link to how huge numbers of the “saved” are being trained in ultra-fundamentalist schools for warfare against any people or groups who don’t share their rigid and frightening doctrines.  Their victory would mean, of course, that the U.S. and ultimately every nation would be theocratic, run by biblical law, not by constitutional law. 

Here are the connections: The Salvation Army has a “War College” which is affiliated with the Wagner Leadership Institute founded by C. Peter Wagner, father of The New Apostolic Reformation.  His Third Wave Movement you have heard about in connection with Sarah Palin’s church.  “Peter Wagner’s doctrine includes the expectation that the drive for world conquest will, if necessary, be fought with guns and bullets rather than prayers and evangelism,” according to Bruce Wilson, one of the founders of and main journalists for Talk To Action, an excellent site which battles the many permutations of the religious right. (See: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/12/26/134754/19/Front_Page/Salvation_Army_Moves_Towards_New_Apostolic_Reformation_Theology

Sarah Palin was anointed by Thomas Muthee, the African literal witch hunter who is supposedly credited with helping cause the death of that “terrible heretic” Mother Teresa and is a major figure in the New Apostolic Reformation.  Among other very strange and dangerous activities, this movement identifies “demon strongholds” in such places as the University of Texas, Jerusalem and major U.S. monuments, and has “prayer warriors” conducting spiritual warfare to expel demons and bring these evil geographic areas into “alignment with the Kingdom.”  One may be quickly led to correctly believe they mean their Kingdom, not God’s.

All of this has been identified by religious right watchers as the next major movement of the religious right and their serious move to merge church and state.  Leaders of this movement do not include any of the well known Christian fascist personages such as Pastor Rick Warren, James Dobson, or Tony Perkins.  But these leaders, unknown to almost everyone outside their network, represent a strong and malevolent group dedicated to a form of world domination.

OTHER EVIDENCE THAT THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT IS NOT GOING AWAY

Far right Christians have ensconced themselves deeply in the military, as we have reported here before.  (See http://www.worldcantwait.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5160:illegal-religious-activity-in-the-military-sould-be-prosecuted&catid=95:larry-jones&Itemid=275) One of the latest constitutional infractions involves the case of SPC Dustin Chalker, an Iraqi veteran who is non-religious and who filed suit against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Department of Defense for having been forced to listen to Christian prayers at mandatory services. 

His suit was amended on December 29 to include additions regarding unsuccessful attempts by service members to resolve their complaints through military channels. Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation stated that the list of amended items “includes missionary proselytizing of Iraqi and Afghan citizens, an official USAF sponsored evangelical motocross team ministry, the prominent featuring of a Christian white supremacist in the USAF’s flagship quarterly professional magazine and the unbridled Christian supremacy espoused in a U.S. suicide prevention program, to name just a few.”  Whether these clearly illegal activities will be eliminated when Obama is inaugurated remains to be seen, but his appointment of Gates to head the U.S. military is not a good sign.

Regarding other aspects of the present and future strength of Christian fascists, major anti-religious-right journalist Frederick Clarkson posted on AlterNet on Christmas day an excellent analysis of why the Christian fascists aren’t going to vanish any time soon.  See (http://www.alternet.org/story/114798/merry_war_on_christmas_--_the_religious_right_isn't_going_anywhere/) He makes a telling point about how the staying power of the religious right is in part rooted in its strong infrastructure on a state level, rather than relying on hard-to-fund national organizations with large budgets, although groups such as Focus on the Family are still hard at work.  Further, the Christian right’s view of the culture is seen by them as a religious war, including the battle against abortion, LGBT rights and same-sex marriage, the move to privatize education, and the drive to get intelligent design/creationism into public schools.

For these religious oriented politicos the notion of fighting a war is not metaphorical; they see real warfare as stemming from a biblical worldview, which endorses violence against what they claim is evil.  “That,” Clarkson points out, “is why we have seen decades of violence against abortion providers and against LGBT people, and almost nothing from other sides who are merely exercising their civil rights to believe differently or to seek greater equality under the law.”

Many young, white evangelicals are not so turned on by the traditional targets of the culture war and are looking to such issues as global warming and poverty.  The religious right is going after them with such projects as Focus on the Family’s “Truth Project,” an indoctrination program which is touring the country to reach the college age demographic with the usual propaganda about family issues but now also promoting intelligent design/creationism.

Gaining strength is another Christian fascist organization named “TheCall.” Its founder, Lou Engle, was inspired in 1997 at the ardently misogynist Promise Keepers’ gathering on the Washington, DC, Mall.  He found a rich woman to give him $100,000 to form a youth-oriented group which could also gather large crowds to fast and pray. TheCall was active in promoting California’s Proposition 8 which struck down the law allowing same-sex marriage. They were able to gather 33,000 people on election eve to pray for the success of Prop 8 and to listen to Focus on the Family’s James Dobson and Tony Perkins.

Of course, the New Apostolic Reformation movement would label TheCall as beyond the pale of “true faith.” Thankfully, that's their problem, not ours. May they battle long and hard to defeat each other.

But don’t expect any of the misguided and treacherous religious right groups discussed above to go away any time soon.  All the more motivation for us to mobilize around objective truth and reason toward a very different kind of future.

 

Main Theocracy Religious Right Not Going Away

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World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.