Saturday, August 25, 2012

Akin for the Truth: How Are US Religious Fundamentalists Any Different Than Middle Eastern Ones?

clip In the American media, the news from Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and elsewhere generally runs along the same themes: scary, violent and religious nutsos. But isn't it time the US media and the American public agreed that America isn't much different? America has just as many religious fundamentalists and nut jobs, and they are making public statements just as often - if not more often - than the religious fundies elsewhere.

Akin for the Truth: How Are US Religious Fundamentalists Any Different Than Middle Eastern Ones?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Does Newly Passed Amendment in Missouri Protect Prayer Or Exclude Non-Christians?

Transcript and audio available at the link---

August 17, 2012
Advocates say a public prayer amendment to the Missouri state constitution will strengthen the right to pray in public. But critics say it'll marginalize non-Christians. Guest host Jacki Lyden talks with Missouri State Rep. Mike McGhee who sponsored the initiative, and the Anti-Defamation League's Karen Aroesty, who opposes it.

Look what happens without it

Click on photo for an enlarged view.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Talking About Separation of Church and State

A Spotlight on Freethought

Missouri Votes to Allow Christians to Discriminate Against Non-Believers

complete article at this link:

The Founding Fathers were explicit in the First Amendment’s separation and no-establishment clause that prohibits religion from dictating the course of any part of the government. Republicans are allegedly extraordinarily fierce defenders of the Constitution except where it conflicts with their ideology, and as Americans have witnessed for the past year-and-a-half, GOP ideology is firmly rooted in obeisance to fundamentalist Christianity. On Tuesday, voters in Missouri took a major step towards granting Christians the right to dominate public meetings, discriminate against non-Christians, and dictate school curriculum as defined by evangelical Christian fanatics. Now that residents of the “show me state” have established Christianity as the state religion.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the “right to pray” Amendment (Amendment 2), a measure that ensures public meetings, school functions, and educators are beholden to adhere to the whims and mythos of fundamentalist Christianity. The amendment was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Mike McGhee, a Baptist, to allegedly protect the state’s Christians, about 80 percent of the population, who complain they are under siege in the public square. The Christian’s, buoyed by support from the state’s four Catholic bishops, define “under siege” as not being allowed impose their version of Christianity on the rest of the population. In fact, McGhee worked in concert with his preacher, Rev. Terry Hodges of First Baptist Church, who said if the amendment passes, it will “level the playing field” because Christians “enjoyed home-field advantage for the country’s first 150 years, but that’s changed, and now there’s a hostility toward Christians.”


The hostility towards Christians is fantasized by the president of Missouri Family Network who said, “religious liberty is pretty important and a high priority, the public feels the Supreme Court took this away from them over 50 years ago by ruling against mandatory school prayer.” Opponents of the amendment say it will “become the vehicle for a sectarian agenda, typically Christian and typically Protestant, in violation of the no-establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.” The amendment also jeopardizes education by including a clause that allows parents and students to dictate curriculum and instruction to fit their religious inclinations.

One section of the amendment says “no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs.” The programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, Josh Rosenau, said allowing students to opt out of assignments would be problematic.


 With the overwhelming majority of Missouri residents subscribing to Christianity, education will be transformed into bible classes and students will finish school with the academic acumen of Dark Ages hunter-gatherers; only more superstitious.

According to the Constitution, religious protections are already guaranteed under the Bill of Rights, and if a person wants to pray in public, they have that right. However, they do not have the right to force other citizens, or students, to suffer their superstitious appeals or praises to an imaginary being.


Missouri’s Amendment 2 is a Dominionist ploy to insert Christianity into education and public discourse regardless the Constitution’s prohibition on establishing a state religion. The so-called “democratic clarity” is little more than religious imposition by Christian majority to transform America into a sectarian Christian nation and is part of a long-term effort to establish a theocracy. The movement has infiltrated all levels of public and private entities, and the educational system is their best opportunity to program an entire generation of “onward Christian soldiers” to finally establish the Christian nation they fantasize America becoming. The Missouri Family Network’s assertion that the Supreme Court “took religious liberty away” from Christians by banning mandatory school prayer informs their sense of entitlement to force students to submit to Christianity, and now Christian parents and students have legal cover to force schools to alter their curriculum to meet bible standards.

America is creeping toward a theocratic government the Founders evaded with the First Amendment, and Dominionists scored a major victory with passage of Amendment 2. It is unfortunate that taxpayers will lose millions-of-dollars fighting this religious intrusion in the courts, and all the while, superstitious children will dictate to teachers what they are allowed to teach. Like the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, the ban on mandatory school prayer is enduring a long-term assault by Christian fanatics who will not accept that the bible is not the law of the land, and that Christians do not control every aspect of society and government. If Missouri was an aberration, one could chalk it up to regional religious lunacy, but all across America, Christians are infiltrating school boards, city councils, state legislatures, and Congress to impose their version of religious liberty on the entire population.

Dominionism is as dangerous a threat to the existence of a free America as the corporatists seeking to take control of the government. There is nothing as perilous as religious zealots with power and motivation to seize control of all aspects of society, and if Americans are not vigilant, this country will go the way of Afghanistan when the Taliban took advantage of an opening and began a reign of terror that continues unabated. The 2010 midterm elections should be a lesson to all Americans that when enough fundamentalists gain a little power and influence, no group is safe from extremism and religious imposition. This week in Missouri, fundamentalists were handed a lot of power by voters who thought they were protecting their religious liberty, but tragically, they just dealt a devastating blow to the Constitution in a moment of religious insanity they will remember as how theocracy came to America.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wall Builder Falling Down

David Barton has been a hero to the right for claiming the founding fathers wanted a Christian nation. But now even his conservative peers are disowning his work.

By Michelle Goldberg

clip--At the Rediscovering God in America conference in 2011, Mike Huckabee gave an impassioned introduction to David Barton, the religious right’s favorite revisionist historian. “I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced—at gunpoint, no less—to listen to every David Barton message,” he said. “And I think our country would be better for it.”

It’s hard to overstate how important Barton has been in shaping the worldview of the Christian right, and of populist conservatives more generally. A self-taught historian with a degree in religious education from Oral Roberts University, he runs a Texas-based organization called WallBuilders, which specializes in books and videos meant to show that the founding fathers were overwhelmingly “orthodox, evangelical” believers who intended for the United States to be a Christian nation. Newt Gingrich has called his work “wonderful” and “most useful.” George W. Bush’s campaign hired him to do clergy outreach in 2004. In 2010, Glenn Beck called him called him “the most important man in America right now.” At the end of the month, he’s slated to serve on the GOP’s platform committee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Complete article here:

Additional NPR story here with audio and transcript--

clip  For example, you've been taught the Constitution is a secular document. Not so, says Barton: The Constitution is laced with biblical quotations.

"You look at Article 3, Section 1, the treason clause," he told James Robison on Trinity Broadcast Network. "Direct quote out of the Bible. You look at Article 2, the quote on the president has to be a native born? That is Deuteronomy 17:15, verbatim. I mean, it drives the secularists nuts because the Bible's all over it! Now we as Christians don't tend to recognize that. We think it's a secular document; we've bought into their lies. It's not."

We looked up every citation Barton said was from the Bible, but not one of them checked out. Moreover, the Constitution as written in 1787 has no mention of God or religion except to prohibit a religious test for office. The First Amendment does address religion.