Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 5, 2009

A RELIGIOUS RIGHT CRACK-UP?.... In general, the most noticeable fissure among politically conservative evangelical Christians is generational. In this dynamic, older evangelicals see themselves as an appendage of the Republican Party, and consider abortion and gay rights as the only "moral" issues that matter. Younger evangelicals are less partisan, and consider poverty and global warming important, too.

But there's another fissure, which in the short term, may be even more consequential. It's between leaders of the religious movement vs. those more inclined to take John 18:36 to heart (Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world").

The split first emerged, on a conceptual level, about a decade ago, when Cal Thomas, a far-right columnist and founding member of the Moral Majority, write a book called "Blinded by Might," arguing that conservative evangelical Christians have been going about their efforts all wrong. Religious right activists, Thomas said, should focus less on political power and influence -- having a seat at the proverbial GOP table -- and more on religion and family.

In her Washington Post column today, Kathleen Parker reports on how this kind of thinking as grown considerably more common, to the point that many "principled Christians" are now "finished with politics." Parker highlights a recent argument between Tom Minnery, head of the political arm of Focus on the Family, and Steve Deace of WHO Radio in Iowa.

Deace's point was that established Christian activist groups too often settle for lesser evils in exchange for electing Republicans.... Compromise may be the grease of politics, but it has no place in Christian orthodoxy, according to Deace.

Put another way, Christians may have no place in the political fray of dealmaking. That doesn't mean one disengages from political life, but it might mean that the church shouldn't be a branch of the Republican Party. It might mean trading fame and fortune (green rooms and fundraisers) for humility and charity.

Deace's radio show may be beneath the radar of most Americans and even most Christians, but he is not alone in his thinking. I was alerted to the Deace-Minnery interview by E. Ray Moore -- founder of the South Carolina-based Exodus Mandate, an initiative to encourage Christian education and home schooling. Moore, who considers himself a member of the Christian right, thinks the movement is imploding.

"It's hard to admit defeat, but this one was self-inflicted," he wrote in an e-mail. "Yes, Dr. Dobson and the pro-family or Christian right political movement is a failure; it would have made me sad to say this in the past, but they have done it to themselves."

For Christians such as Moore -- and others better known, such as columnist Cal Thomas, a former vice president for the Moral Majority -- the heart of Christianity is in the home, not the halls of Congress or even the courts. And the route to a more moral America is through good works -- service, prayer and education -- not political lobbying.

It's worth noting that both sides of the fissure believe the culture war has effectively been lost, but they differ wildly on the diagnosis. For religious right leaders, the culture war flopped because they faced too many enemies (popular culture, changing norms, progressive interest groups) with too few allies (no Republican follow-through). For those like Deace and Thomas, the war never should have been fought in the first place, because it required principled Christians to effectively become political lobbyists.

Thomas told Parker, "If people who call themselves Christians want to see any influence in the culture, then they ought to start following the commands of Jesus and people will be so amazed that they will be attracted to Him. The problem isn't political. The problem is moral and spiritual.... You have the choice between a way that works and brings no credit or money or national attention. Or, a way that doesn't work that gets you lots of attention and has little influence on the culture."

The movement, in other words, has a decision to make.

Steve Benen 9:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (179)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Now, if Cal Thomas would just stay home . . . .

Posted by: portly neighbor on April 5, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

What are they complaining about? They got GWB into office, one of their own! I guess they didn't like the results. That's what happens when you put a premium on magical thinking... hopefully, demographics and secularization will keep this from happing again.

Posted by: r_m on April 5, 2009 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Stop ducking, Steve: would you have been as happy about this choice, when it was presented to MLK and SNCC?

Posted by: anonymous on April 5, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

When you say "principled Christians," I think you mean rabidly supertitious, ignorant, sexually obsessed control freaks.

Posted by: candideinnc on April 5, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

(Cal)Thomas told Parker, "If people who call themselves Christians want to see any influence in the culture, then they ought to start following the commands of Jesus and people will be so amazed that they will be attracted to Him."

It certainly would be a pleasant change to see people who loudly proclaim that they are Christians actually doing Christ-like acts -- you know, caring for the poor, the sick and the oppressed instead of fighting for tax cuts for millionaires and for the right of six year olds to buy Uzis from vending machines.

Posted by: SteveT on April 5, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

As His Holiness The Dalai Lama says, "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." If religious faith has meaning at all it is in its ability to improve the conduct of human beings for the benefit of others. When religious faith becomes diverted into political and cultural war and one-up-manship it loses that fundamental purpose. It simply degenerates into a political movement, usually bereft of the pragmatism necessary to govern effectively.

In that respect Deace, Thomas and Moore would seem to be nearer the mark than the Christian right culture warriors who appear to have lost the fundamental plot of Jesus' teaching that, as Steve quotes "My kingdom is not of this world". Or "Seek ye the Kingdom of Heaven and all things will be added unto you."

When the practice of a religion loses sight of its spiritual dimension, as well as of its humanitarian benefit, it ceases to be a meaningful endeavor. Without a spiritual purpose, what use is it?

Posted by: Goldilocks on April 5, 2009 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

And the blasphemous dirty fucking peaceniks will be cast out in 5...4...3...

I'll make more popcorn but first, we bring you a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

If you feed the troll you have to take it home with you.

That is all.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on April 5, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

If they do this, if the movement shifts from a political movement to a truly spiritual one, then they'd actually be returning to their roots. Before they became political in the 60s/70s, after the Murray decision and Roe, right-wingers stayed out of politics because it was considered inherently dirty and that anyone who gets into politics is sullied.

It doesn't mean that they'll disengage completely from politics, of course, but the GOP has sold them out so many times AND they're sort of headless at the moment, so a shift could certainly happen. (All the old leaders are old or dead, no new younger ones have really stepped into the fore.)

The younger evangelicals do seem pretty different from the older ones, not really quite so rage-filled at dems, perhaps more hopeful and wish to see change in the world. For that reason alone I don't think they hate Obama, hell, some of them might have even voted for him. Their parents' issues are not necessarily their issues.

Posted by: zoe kentucky from pittsburgh on April 5, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Both orthodox and evangelical Christians have to face the reality of Christ Crucified -- not just absorbed without the least trace into the Greco-Roman (pagan) or Jewish political establishments of the day. If we do not do this, especially in this season, we become merely Essenes, Donatists, or other sorts of late-Roman imperial sects that have not survived.

Jews and Muslims have to deal with their own monotheistic beliefs, too, as best they can in the very same global military, political, and economic context as Christians. We share one God eternally but one planet, at least for the time being.

I think we are all failing now, and I wonder what it profits any of us, as monotheists, to rage furiously among ourselves like evil children when there are historical examples of mature, learned believers who collaboratively built peaceful military and civil alternatives to paganism on well grounded and common interpretations of a shared oral tradition: That which was revealed by one God even before it was written, infallibly or not, on fragile media, in lost dialects, then copied unreliably by sometimes vain and, at best, only tentatively learned authorities.

If a God or Gods are just politial instruments of idolotry and blasphemy, then they will fail and any moral progress we have made or merely hope for will not last even one generation. That is one lesson Jews, Christians, and Muslims should understand perfectly.

The political crisis of monotheism is by no means confined to right-wing Republicans, evengelicals, or Christians generally. All God's children are fighting among themselves, impoverished of soul, and endangering all species, not least themselves.

Posted by: John Robert BEHRMAN on April 5, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Imagine what a wonderful world we would live in if every religion would just focus on following their beliefs and stay out of everyone else's business.

Posted by: ArtEclectic on April 5, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

As an Iowan--now the gayest state in the Midwest!--I want to make sure people don't get the wrong idea about Deace. He is as hardcore a wignut as you will ever find, who worked tirelessly to help Mike Huckabee secure his caucus victory here. Deace doesn't want to disengage from the Republican Party; he just wants to see the Taliban wing firmly in control.

Posted by: Matt on April 5, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

..."My prayers have been answered"...

Posted by: Capt.D on April 5, 2009 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

There is a historical note that is VERY important to understanding this topic.

The so-called "Evangelicals" have traditionally followed the John 18:36 doctrine and kept out of politics. This changed in the mid-1970s when the newly founded right wing think tanks, led by the Heritage Foundation, started funnelling money and attention to the fundamentalist leaders like Falwell, who responded by forming organizations like the Moral Majority.

The motivation of all the players was clear. The secular conservative extremists at Heritage knew they needed a voting base that wouldn't look too closely at the far right policies they advocated.

The religious leaders (Falwell, Robertson, Bakker, Dobson, etc) were in it for money and power, pure and simple. Some of them had managed to build reasonably large money-generating machines using religious radio networks and newsletters, but what Heritage offered them was something far greater.

For the fundamentalist followers, well we on the left can make fun of their motivations, but in truth they *are* strongly motivated to improve the world, just woefully misguided. These organizations actually do a lot of volunteer work for the poor that we don't see because their political work is more visible. We're not talking about the brightest bulbs in the population here -- I mean, these are the followers of obvious shucksters like Falwell. But they did buy into the "save the babies" bullshit.

However, now that they've been used for 30 years with little tangible results, you can see that for them there is a certain comfort to be had by going back to the John 18:36 doctrine. "Forget about the larger world, you can't do anything about it. Directly help those you can help."

And be clear that Kathleen Parker is not alone. More and more of them are realizing just how badly they've been used. This is a very common theme on religious right blogs and comment boards. The creeping doubt about the Republican party has been growing for some time now. It's hard to find any fundamentalist who trusts big business, especially big oil, any more. They like rationalize that the Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans when it comes to corruption, but the point is that they've come to realize their party is phenomenally corrupt. But they'd accept this if somehow, 28 years after Reagan took power and the Senate went Republican, Roe v. Wade were not still the law of the land. The fact that it is still the law, despite having 7 Republican justices on the Supreme Court and Republican control from 1995-2009 tells them that this just isn't going to change.

Instead, more and more fundies have come to realize that the Republicans love them as a voting block and will toss them kisses and code words, but won't actually make the important changes that they want to see made.

Posted by: Cool on April 5, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

jesus doesn't hate, just Republicans do.

Posted by: bob on April 5, 2009 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

The Far Right Religious movement is a joke. The only things they care about are "abortion" and "gay marriage".

Where is their move to make a felony out of "Adultery" - after all that is one of the Top Ten on the Commandments.

When people bring up actually helping the poor - we hear cries of "Socialism" - not "What would Jesus do?".

It is truly disgusting how Christianity has been perverted by a few at the top of the Jesus ladder for their own personal gains.

If any of them think that God is going to just look the other way at how they have behaved and used His name - well - good look at the Pearly Gates...

Because if the words of Ricky Ricardo "You got some 'splainin' to do"...

Posted by: Rob on April 5, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

I'm actually almost crying reading about this, because I, like many spiritually-inclined Liberals, have always felt it was just an almost unbearable WRONGNESS that Jesus' name would be trotted out in the halls of the United States Congress, as if we could know how God would vote on any issue we think up!

I never though these guys would realize that what they were doing was wrong. Quite frankly, I assumed they didn't actually believe in God and were just posing for the cameras, but now, at last, in what's looking more and more like the End Times, some of these wicked hypocrites are returning to sanity and good works!

How can anyone deny it's some kind of age of miracles when W gets scheduled to speak at the RNC convention, and a hurricane makes landfall at the exact right moment to prevent it. Bobby Jindal mocks volcano monitoring, and a volcano erupts in Sarah Palin's state. Now the most hypocritical people in our nation are finding their consciences and devoting their lives to good works! Hallelujah!

Posted by: HyperInfluential on April 5, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

But what about Jesus' admonition to his followers to adopt trickle down economics, huh?

Posted by: Dolmance on April 5, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

They were at war with the US Constitution, not the 'culture', they never had a chance.

The more intolerance they embrace, the further they will fall.

Posted by: kyzipster on April 5, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I am reminded of someone's comment when asked what he thought of Christianity. "It would be nice," he said. We have not really seen it yet. What we see are power blocs colliding within a religious orientation that should be about love and wishing others well. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Posted by: Karen on April 5, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

if more people were "Followers of Christ" rather than "Christians" the world would be much better.

Posted by: old dog on April 5, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I think of the Amish community where a mad man went on a rampage and shot several of their children. What did the community do? They ministered to the gunman's family. That is true Christianity. They did it quietly and naturally without any fanfare, but their actions shouted out to all. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20761374/

Posted by: CDW on April 5, 2009 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

hey HyperInfluential,
Jesus or god did not talk to you via volcanoes and hurricanes. stop this crazy talk about end times. all this does is allow you to not to be responsible as a citizen of this planet. young people are dying in a war, corps are robbing you blind. and jesus is going to save us, please stop this isanity.
god gave you reason, free thinking and logic so use it.
stop this horrible war. love the planet and tell a young person that they have value and we will save the "eden" for them.

Posted by: bob on April 5, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

The culture war goes back to the sixties upheaval and the media explosion. Older and blue collar whites saw only moral decay in sex, race mixing, mind expanding drugs, and questioning of authority.

They should have taken refuge in the true Christ, where they would have found tolerance and faith. Now maybe they finally will. But the world has paid for their mistakes.

Posted by: bob zimway on April 5, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Or, a way that doesn't work that gets you lots of attention and has little influence on the culture."

It certainly doesn't work and it does get them lots of attention, but I would dispute that there is little influence on the culture. Since the religious right started getting politically involved and powerful, the percent of Americans rejecting Christianity has more than doubled. It may not be the influence they desire, but it certainly is influence.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on April 5, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK
I never though these guys would realize that what they were doing was wrong.

You'e better check out what they're being taught in 'home schooling' before you start weeping with joy. Just because they've decided to keep their business out of politics doesn't mean they've decided that we're all one in 'god's eyes.

Posted by: gbear on April 5, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

McCain-Palin still got 46% of the vote nationwide. So there's still plenty of rabid right wing land in our land. And still enough Repugs in the Congress to cause immense mischief and hold up dozens of critical Obama appointments. (Just wait til a Supreme Court seat opens up!)

So this is no time to sit back and celebrate. We're in the top of the first inning, and there's a long game in front of us law-abiding, Constitution-loving Americans.

Posted by: unsettled on April 5, 2009 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

"When you say "principled Christians," I think you mean rabidly supertitious, ignorant, sexually obsessed control freaks."

Couldn't agree MORE with this statement.

Posted by: Al in SoCal on April 5, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

"When you say "principled Christians," I think you mean rabidly supertitious, ignorant, sexually obsessed control freaks."

- while I do see a place for your argument, such statements are unproductive, provoke unwanted counter attacks, and add to the distance between Americans. why not say something constructive?

Posted by: cathal on April 5, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

To HyperInfluential:

To be fair, Mt. Redoubt has been rumbling away from some time and had been predicted to erupt for weeks prior. (Though the exact time at which it would erupt wasn't known.) Bobby Jindal, being the colossal half-zombified moron that he is, dismissed volcano monitoring as a triviality, probably lumping it in with the remainder of environmental science, which to most Red Teamers just doesn't matter. It stands to reason that he was unaware of Redoubt's increasing activity, and was also unaware of the people and facilities within the area the volcano could plausibly affect. (Including massive oil storage facilities near the foot of the mountain with regional and national importance.)

The hurricane, I'll give you, but Bobby Jindal mocking volcanology while a volcano sitting next to a major oil refinery prepares to erupt is just sheer stupidity.

Posted by: CaptainFailmore on April 5, 2009 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Christiones ad leones! (Christians to the Lions!)
was a cheer heard for hundreds of years in the Roman Colliseum. Maybe someday we'll hear it in American stadiums, preferably as part of an awesome halftime show. If they're worried about the End Times, maybe it 's time for their own, personal end time - on pay TV!

But somehow I doubt if today's loonytune Christian rightists would face martyrdom with as much class as the Early Christians did.

Posted by: Joe Quinlan on April 5, 2009 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

As a Christian, I must admit the last decade has pained me greatly. We have forgotten what it means to be Christians. We have forsaken the gospel and chased political influence. We have stopped asking "What Would Jesus Do", and started asking "What Can You Do For Me". Our priorities have been inverted. We have stopped living for the glory of God... we live for our own glory and our own power. This must stop.

A Christian is "one in whom Jesus Christ lives by His Spirit, and one who allows the life and character of Jesus Christ to be lived out through his behavior, in order to function as intended for the glory of God". We must never forget the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:34-40). Please note the second one says love your neighbor, not love your fellow Christian.

Let us not forget our Saviour. He could have come as a king or anything else he wanted to. But no, he came as a simple, humble man. If he did not seek political power within the Sanhedrin, why must we.

Posted by: Gerald on April 5, 2009 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Religious Fundamentalism and politics always produce horrible results for the people in any country. Take all the countries in the Middle East, for example. And Israel will also lose it's strength as the ultra-orthodox become more influential.

I like our ideal in America: you can be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, agnostic, or atheist, as long as you don't force your views on your neighbor.

Posted by: marcos on April 5, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Most interesting to read, particularly on Palm Sunday. Living one's Christian beliefs isn't compatible with the Repuglican Party. Christians are called to a different calling.

Posted by: janiceinthemountains on April 5, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

The christian movement never learned to understand nor respect people. They have falsely assumed that they and their beliefs should rule the entire the human race.

The expectation that they would, could and should dictate culture based on their belief of what they need to do to get their dead asses into heaven is what they lost. Their arrogance took a hit.


Posted by: Silver Owl on April 5, 2009 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think that is the best answer for the religious right to just be faithful to their God and NOT to a particular political party (republican party)! It scares me when i see so-called "religious leaders" too close to politicians, i dont remember reading about Jesus being close to pontius palite.

Posted by: lavelle m. on April 5, 2009 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Is there any question about why our Founding Fathers separated Church and State? ............


Posted by: Ohg Rea Tone on April 5, 2009 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

wow, it never ceases to amaze me when liberals completely miss the point. Of course Jesus (and followers of Jesus) beliver in healing the sick, helping the poor and serving god by serving others. What Jesus teaches us is that it is our PERSONAL responsibility to take care of our neighbor and fellow man. Not someone elses (ie: the government) What have YOU personaly done to battle homelessness, poverty, disease, human rights violations?

The true "principled Christians" are the vast silent majority that take action in Jesus name and not waste everyones time with do nothing, feel good, wastefull government spending.

the only thing governement programs produce is more government jobs for more bureaucrats.

Posted by: fred in socal on April 5, 2009 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hinduism is a monotheism religion-- all the deities you hear about, male, female, etc., are simply aspects of the one. Hindus do not worship idols -- no one over the age of 7 thinks that God is really in the statue of Ganesh, for example.

It is also the oldest monotheistic religion, as well as the only one that has consistently regarded other religions as other ways to the same end. Perhaps because it has been so respectful of other religions and has not therefore sought to convert people in other religions (or change their culture), it seems invisible in the west. Of course, colonialism, west-centriism, and racism also doubtless contribute to its invisibility.

Posted by: nelliekenery on April 5, 2009 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

I don't believe the religious right has cracked up at all. They lost the Presidential and congressional election of '08, but in my state, the Republicans, helped mostly by fundamentalist christian churches, actually gained the majority at the state level. (TN) Already, much of the religious right is reforming and creating think tanks which will serve to get out a message in the MSM. I never underestimate the power the mega churches have on communities, especially in the South. When the leading contenders for the presidential election are Sarah Palin (devoutly Pentacostal), Bobby Jindal (charasmatic Catholic), and Newt Gingrich (recent convert and reportedly Orthodox--Opus Dei type--Catholic), I do not think the religious right is losing prominence at all. Just wait until '12. They will be back....

Posted by: Cydni on April 5, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

This is a very welcome development. Jesus would certainly tell them to win people over by Example and Love.

and more love in this world is a good thing

Posted by: Lilybart on April 5, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

A shame the Romans didn't try a little harder. Too many christians too few lions I guess.........

A pity really

Posted by: Emil Karpo on April 5, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

I live in Indiana where you get a license plate at no extra cost that says "In God We Trust". I chose not to get that plate because I do not want to be identified with a lot of the people who sport that license. Where I live in Southern Indiana, we are next to the Bible Belt where homosexuality and abortion are violently opposed. I just can't get worked up about those two issues. I am a 73 year old woman, married to the same man for 50 years.

Posted by: jean on April 5, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Here's something particularly sad...

I am a rabid athiest. I have a bunch of friends, family, associates who are good, kind people who are religious.

On the one hand, I love them dearly and am committed to their happiness. But as I survey the damage that has been done to humanity and our modern culture by religious zealots, I am disgusted by almost all religions. Any possible cultural evils that they have railed about were much less negative than the results of their in-your-face, my-way-or-the-highway, you-are-evil-and-damned-to-hell attitudes. The election of G. W. Bush, alone, nearly brought American civilization to its collective knees and I blame, yes, BLAME the religious right for the assault on our society.

For this reason, the bad apples have poisoned the barrel for me for a long time. It will take thousands of good religionisists doing the quiet work of being good to change my mind. As an athiest, I do quiet good every day with no hope of reward here or in an afterlife, and in this regard, our religious friends could learn a lesson from the godless.

I am sad for those among us who don't have the spiritual strength to accept a world without god and perserve toward goodness, anyway. I hope for them, however.

Posted by: fauxscot on April 5, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

When you rob a culture or person of their faith, you steal there power. Chritanity and other monotheistic religion have used this to conquer other people throughout history. It is all about power not saving people. Thankfully we hava a constitution. Because there will always be sociopathic power hungry con men who will use religion to manipulate the faithful. The sheep may have caught on this time,but it is just a matter of time before the next one comes along

Posted by: denice everham on April 5, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone should read Cool's comment above--it provides invaluable historical perspective. I would add that the pre-1980s apoliticism of the American evangelical community was a solid tradition dating back to the eighteenth century, with relatively few exceptions. It was that community that originated the "separation of church and state" model for interpreting the religion clauses of the First Amendment--not the framers of the Constitution or the secularists of the twentieth century. For them, government was always to be regarded with suspicion and kept at arm's length, largely because of the damage that entanglement with government would wreak to their own community and its values. The original poster expresses this idea very well. So the anticipated movement of evangelicals away from political activism perhaps indicates not a cyclical movement but a return to historical form.

Posted by: Cool is right on April 5, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

All this means is that the Bible-pushing religious right is intending to go underground, so it can really get down and dirty with its agenda, while maintaining its public image of righteousness.

Posted by: A Hired Gun on April 5, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Thank God for that!

Posted by: Bluegerm on April 5, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

The values and morals of ANY religion have absolutely no place in politics with respect establishing public policy or writing legislation. We need to focus on ETHICAL behavior and leave morals in the church and within every individual's home.

We were never a "Christian" nation. Neither are we a "Caucasian" nation or an "Anglo" nation. The notion that one group of religions is more American than any other is contrary to the tenets established by our founding fathers when they endorsed the "separation of church and state" as a fundamental concept in the US Constitution.

Posted by: labman57 on April 5, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I see a lot of knee-jerk reaction to Christianity from many of the posts here. To these folks, I'd like to say that I am sorry on behalf of my misguided Christian bretheren. The culture-warfare was a con employed by the right wing for political gain. Many Christians got fooled by this. They forgot that Jesus was a liberal =P (Look at the company he kept, after all - hangin out with prostitutes and murderers)

Please don't flame on Christianity for this though, or you'll be duped yourselves.

Jesus would have never condoned a theocracy. There's plenty of scripture that makes that clear. Jesus likely would have called out these right-wing political-christian types. Remember the Pharisees?

Any reasonable Christian can find plenty of supporting scripture for my point with even a cursory examination of the gospels.

So please, keep the above in mind, and forgive the good folks that lost their way. They were conned. They're only human.

To underscore my point, even if say,you don't believe Jesus was actually the son of the One True God, he was at least, a pretty nice guy who had some good ideas about how people should treat each other. He didn't like it when the establishment tried to commandeer his message for their own purposes either - (and they did, and people fell for it back then too)

People who try to understand, and follow his teachings aren't inherently bad. It's obvious. When you claim otherwise, you insult some very decent people, and denigrate yourself by making such obviously false assertions.

Regards

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Where was the out cry when Rush Limbaugh made the off-hand remark that "sometimes GOD thinks that he is Rush Limbaugh". This was made at the CPAC with ALL of the so call Christioon Right groups had delegates present,

Posted by: alvin1 on April 5, 2009 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

The greatest thrill I have had for years is watching the Screwball Evangelical Right collapsing like a a stacked deck of cards. There was a good reason the Founding Father's kept Religion out of Politics and this last eight years was enough for any one with common sense to see why. I am thrilled to no end to see the look on Dobson, Perkins, Hagee's lying greedy faces, I just vomit. They all helped bring in this Greed that is so prevalent right now, that has become a deep rooted Cancer in our economics. They forgot about the Poor, Sick and Troubled masses. There biggest concern is abortion, and in fifty years when the country is overrun by population they will be the first in line to promote abortion.

Posted by: Steve Tucker on April 5, 2009 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

"What have YOU personaly done to battle homelessness, poverty, disease, human rights violations?"

I personally, as a NONCHRISTIAN, just got back from a great volunteer trip to the Dominican Republic to provide direct health care to banana plantation workers and immigrant Hatian workers.

I also donate regularly to our local homeless shelter and volunteer to help feed them.

Please take your sanctimony elsewhere. Maybe your local Republican Headquarters where it is appreciated. Not amongst honest people with an honest grip.

Posted by: Michael on April 5, 2009 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Good, because America is fed up with reichwing Christians!

Posted by: Thomas Mc on April 5, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Micheal, thank you for your service. Our country needs people with a sense of duty and social justice, regardless of spiritual persuasion.

Now, since the question about service has been posed and repeated, I'll respond - as a Christian

I volunteer for my church. I'm a recovering ex-christian who became christian again after discovering a local christian faith community that stresses social-justice work as a means to exercise their christian faith. The majority of my faith community (including my fiancee) are former or current missionaries whose primary goals are combating poverty, drug addiction, homelessness and the persecution of the migrant farm-workers in our community. That's what brought me back into the Christian fold. Therefore I have more or less come to affirm my faith through works, for better or for worse. People like me are out there. There's quite a few of us in fact. It's just that we're not interested in pushing a political agenda, we have no bully-pulpit, and so we're simply not as loud as the religious-right.

I wouldn't be suprised if we're quietly becoming the silent majority amongst Christians in this country though. Stay tuned.

Regards.

Regards

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

It never made sense to yolk any genuine spirituality, non-selfish ethical views and suspicion of materialism to the creepy, Randian self-interested megacapitalism of the Republican party - how come it took the rank and file so long to get that? (I say the R&F since of course manipulative, cynical hacks like Jerry Falwell never gave a crap about verity or compatibility anyway. I saw just how literally evil he almost certainly was in a documentary about the Bakers.)

Posted by: Neil B ☼ on April 5, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

To hear a professed Christian (Fred, a few comments up) say that self-sufficient Christians are better than liberals who support the government's programs to help the poor is just one more example of the twisted ideology of such so-called individualists.

Fred, the people elect the government, and the government is an expression of the people, for better or for worse. Social programs are developed to help the weak and those who choose to live a reasonable life free of head stomping greed.

You're so concerned that someone somewhere is having a good time on your dime. Lighten up, man. So what! GIVE TO THE POOR. Your God will love and bless you for that.

Posted by: bob zimway on April 5, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

It would appear that few people are informed about the history of political right activism. Historically, the political right was quite active in this country up through the mid 1920s. The religious right was responsible for the Volstead Act through their decades old Temperance Movement. They were also responsible for laws outlawing the teaching of evolution in some of the southern states. Then a couple of things happened that end their striking political successes. They receiving a blow when the great William Jennings Bryan made a fool of himself at the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trail. This created a rift in the movement with liberal believers adopting two forms of truth: Biblical and scientific, while conservatives retain Biblical inerrancy only. The next set back was the death of their leader Bryan in 1925; this left them leaderless and without an effective national voice. The spike that ended the political religious right activism was repeal of the Volstead Act in 1933. Conservative Christians followed Cal Thomas' advice and retreated to their churches and carnival tents, which in my view is where they belong today. There is no room in American politics for a religious Party. It is hard enough for politicians to reach compromise when many of them stand behind what they believe is the word of God. How does one compromise with God, if one truly believes? It isn't rational to expect compromise. It is unreasonable to ask someone to do this. Yet to be effective, our form of government requires compromise. Is it any wonder that we have had ineffective government for so long. While we can't blame the religious right entirely for this ineffectuality, they certainly contributed to it

Posted by: Roger Werner on April 5, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

It will be a beautiful day for America when the Evengelical movement that has been trying to destroy our nation since the early 90's is wiped out. These Christians are fill with hate ignorance. Neither them nor there archaic beliefs should be tolerated, and should be openly and stomped out by all of us. There savior was a wino swami, and they have perverted it for mind control and political gain. F#CK YOUR GOD. HE IS DEAD.

Posted by: Your God is Dead on April 5, 2009 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans have been using the gullible Christian Right for 30 years now and guess what - it has actually gotten them LESS religion in America..... Honestly, I should thank God for toning their rhetoric down some.

We cannot take the Bible literally today. Why?

Well, go to BibleGateway.Com and look up "Put to Death" and see how many things we should have ALL been stoned to death for by now.

http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=put+to+death&qs_version=9

People have gotten so, so far away from the Message that was supposed to be what Jesus was promoting - peace, love, and respect for others (the poor, the disabled, well, anybody). Instead we have a new rise in the KKK types, who incidentally think they are Christians.

Sorry, but to me, anybody who hates another one of God's children represents pure EVIL. But since they are so insecure themselves they have nobody else to blame.

Posted by: Marcia on April 5, 2009 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I was a deeply committed member of a Christian church, having been born again and taken the Walk to Emmaus. Then the Republican Party made a calculated decision to hyjack my religion, to further their policical agenda. The people I see on TV and hear on the radio who claim to be part of the "Moral Majority" absolutely make me sick. I am much more afraid of them, than I am of a gay couple who want to marry. Seriously, I stopped going to church back when that church started telling me who I should or should not vote for. Christianity should be about CHRIST; it is not now. If you put aside your pre-disposed political viewpoint and actually read what Jesus put the most emphasis on, you will see it is not about accumulating power and wealth on earth. The whole idea of Christian activism should be to win souls for Christ and to do so by being His hands and feet on this earth. Witnessing constantly, even using words if necessary, although which are not really needed if we are putting onto practice the priorities of our Master in all things. How these people think they are doing that is completely beyond me. If I ever find another church that preaches the gospel of Jesus, rather than the gospel of Karl Rove, I may return to the pew. Until then, I will continue to love my Lord and serve my Lord in appropriate ways - with love, patience, kindness and humility; just like He did.

Posted by: Kate in SW Fla on April 5, 2009 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Obama take note and quit pandering to hate-mongering pastor-zealots like Rick Warren and his ilk and start paying attention to the wishes of the majority.
Yes to Main St. and no to Wall St.

Posted by: GM on April 5, 2009 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I hold Jesus utterly blameless for the religion postumously foisted on his shoulders.

Posted by: $13Bill on April 5, 2009 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Neil, the only reason that happened was because the right needed that voting-bloc. It was a con game, and this kind of thing has been played out throughout human history. The theocracy craze in much of the muslim world is another example of this phenomenon. Authoritarianism often plays to moralism because it's an easy ploy. In the end though it's just about power and control. This is actually well covered ground in the Bible, but it's convenient to ignore this when making a power grab.

When anyone in politics is willing to preach about their "morality" in order to get elected, I wonder what else they'll sell their "morality" for.

Regards


Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I find it interesting that the religious right is just now realizing that they have been bamboozled
by the corporatist, ruling class Republicans,who could have never achieved a working majority on their own.

These two groups made a deal about 30 years ago. The Wall Street Republicans gave lip service to "moral values", abortion, faith based initiatives, etc. in order to get the primarily middle and working class evangelicals to vote against their own economic interests.

The ruling Republicans never actually outlawed abortion or put prayer back in schools. They just said the words the religious right wanted to hear while consolidating their power and concentrating wealth. Now poorer, the evangelicals are waking up to see it was all a flim-flam. They got suckered into a game of 3 Card Monte and now are out of a job and about to lose their homes.

Posted by: Kayo Frisco on April 5, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Religious Reich finished with politics? - - -Could we have that in writing please?

Posted by: Sgt Lucifer on April 5, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Principled Christians?" to differentiate between Unprincipled Christians? We know who they are...Haggard, Robertson, Falwell, Reed, Dobson and all those catholic bishops who provided safety and solace to their clerics who were raping and sodomizing christian youth!

Posted by: joe on April 5, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

A time was, within living memory, when there were Protestants, Catholics,and Jews. Then there were suddenly--CHRISTIANS. The trouble is they died out long ago. The last one died on Calvary. The name was appropriated and defamed by numbskull, American Bible-thumpers, not all of them in the Bible belt.

Posted by: billygore2000 on April 5, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

A time was, within living memory, when there were Protestants, Catholics,and Jews. Then there were suddenly--CHRISTIANS. The trouble is they died out long ago. The last one died on Calvary. The name was appropriated and defamed by numbskull, American Bible-thumpers, not all of them in the Bible belt.

Posted by: billygore2000 on April 5, 2009 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Religion is the most dangerous concept known to humankind.
Religion was "created and designed" by men for men, at the expense of females, and the weak minded.
Religion degrades females to that of bondage and slavery Worldwide.
Human History tells the truth even though religion must hide the truth as always.
Religion relies on ignorance, fear, intolerance, bigotry, racism, greed, and arrogance.

Posted by: Rich Monk on April 5, 2009 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The reality is that of numbers and age of population. Younger voters tend to be less rigid as the catholic church has painfully learned.

When people were less concerned about having a job and making ends meet, moral excursions and arguments were to some a diversion. Now it is bread and butter issues as homes and jobs are at risk.

The attention is now on the economy and the survival of communities and states. I suspect religious organizations are having a much more difficult time fund raising.

Posted by: geek on April 5, 2009 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

To ressurect our nation we need more teachers and less preachers. More emphasis on rational thinking and less on giving up our right to question to those who say only they have access to the "truth."

Posted by: joe on April 5, 2009 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

If true... FAR OUT!

I really don't want to end up in a civil war but if the religious right doesn't back off that's where we are going, because we are not going back into their evil churches and we are not going to tolerate their phony morals in our laws.

Posted by: Playin Possum on April 5, 2009 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I personally will not support any religion that does not speak out against the hate groups that inspire these mass murders of innocent people, they are so worried about gays, and the protection of a fetus, but do not say a word about the killings of the innocent!

Posted by: JS on April 5, 2009 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

The religious right were wildly sucessful. As partners with the Republican Party they achieved their dream. They controlled all branches of the government. What they wrought was the nightmare of an incompetent lying administration, endless wars, huge deficits, abridging constitutional rights, torture, world scorn and a global economic crisis. It's time for the religious conservatives to go back to church. The nation needs to return to governance based on facts and evidence not religious dogma.

Posted by: afgail on April 5, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Rich,

That's a quite a broad brush you are painting with.

Sure, I'll concede that you can easily point to scripture that can be twisted to support this.

Regardless, your statement is facile.

But just to make my point, I'm gonna have to call you out when it comes to Buddhism. Could you please explain to me how buddhism promotes a patriarchy, or in anyway devalues women?

Here's the inherent problem with your asserion.

You are confusing *religion* and *human nature*. Religion is often a means to make a power grab. But it's human nature to buy into arguments about "morality" by authoritarian power-seekers. Religion as just a convenient tool, and certainly not the only one at that. Hitler's Germany was secular/authoritarian. He employed nationalism instead of religion, but although this is an extreme example of that ploy, it's still the same game.

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt if the political religious right is breaking up. It may be more to the point that other coalitiions have emerged to beat them in both political and in the cultural wars. We assume that their losses are self inflicted as we tended to see them as nearly unbeatable politically. Obama mustered such a coalition to beat them.

Is there a generational difference causing the split? Again, I doubt it. The only difference is in the packaging of the message to be more hip and more adapative to pop culture. Otherwise, the same old stuff. The only generational problem is in getting new younger recurits, not the message.

Also, a comment about the difference between liberal and right wing Christians. In general, liberal Christians project their religion onto politics. Right wing Christians project their politics into their religion so that Jesus becomes an anti-big government activist who rethought whipping the money changers and instead praised their beliefs in open markets.

Posted by: MrWebster on April 5, 2009 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

When religion mixes with politics, both become corrupted.

Posted by: Bruce Boese on April 5, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Someone wasn't paying attention in history class. We humans have been through this all before, many times. Our US constitutional separation of church and state protects the religious from being exploited by the political. The religious communities should be on the front line defending our separation of church and state. Christians crossed over to the other side and were used unmercifully.

Posted by: Pan on April 5, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

You can make the most beautiful religious space in the world, between your own ears. The problem comes after you conclude that's just not enough and insist (and legislate) that I have to do likewise.

Stay out of my life Christians, and I'll stay out of yours. Push me and I'll push back.

Posted by: Count Spatula on April 5, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Religious people becoming political is not the problem. The problem is their political views being garbage and based on idealogy which does not hold up to reality.

Posted by: Jordan on April 5, 2009 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm a recovering ex-christian who became christian again after discovering a local christian faith community that stresses social-justice work as a means to exercise their christian faith. The majority of my faith community (including my fiancee) are former or current missionaries whose primary goals are combating poverty, drug addiction, homelessness and the persecution of the migrant farm-workers in our community. That's what brought me back into the Christian fold. Therefore I have more or less come to affirm my faith through works, for better or for worse. People like me are out there."
Posted by: fashionofchrist

Well done and good on you FoC! If the nation had more X-tians like you, we'd have more equality, AND X-tians would have acheived the influence and respect they've shrilly demanded for the last 30 years.

Sincerely, An atheist who volunteers, has a consience, and could peacefully coexist with X-tians who apply the bible to themselves.

Posted by: Jeff on April 5, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

This actually worries me a bit. It means that if the exodus really happens, the only outspoken Christians left in politics and the media will be the people with no values or faith and only their own personal interests at heart. We're never going to get rid of them, no matter how hard we try. The situation could actually end up being WORSE.

Posted by: WhatTheHolyHeck on April 5, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to point out that it's decidedly unchristian-like behavior to attempt to impose a theocracy. God gave us free will. God wants us to *want* to follow Him. To impose His tenants through legislation is to undermine His gift to us. He wants willing followers, not brainwashed subjects. Furthermore, Jesus decreed that His authority was *above* our mortal power structures - not alongside them. He was pretty clear on that. Trying to create some kind of Christian utopia here on Earth is impossible and dangerous. Not only did Jesus recognize that, but I think our founding fathers recognized that - even the Christian ones ;)

Regards

Posted by: schizophonic on April 5, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'll believe the death of the Christofacist political hate group when I see the body in the ground and I can dance on its grave.

Posted by: elaygee on April 5, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

"When you say "principled Christians," I think you mean rabidly supertitious, ignorant, sexually obsessed control freaks."

- while I do see a place for your argument, such statements are unproductive, provoke unwanted counter attacks, and add to the distance between Americans. why not say something constructive?

Posted by: cathal on April 5, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think there are many people on this site who have already remarked that there is a difference between the followers of the teachings of Christ and the self-styled Christians who rail about other peoples' sexual activities and abortion. I truly admire the selfless, generous, well intentioned religious among us. That said, I find it pointless to show any respect for the modern day Elmer Gantrys and their followers, the idealogues on the right who are fighting the "cultural wars," for the reasons I state above. I do not believe they are well intentioned. I think the religious conservatives are fools and stooges. I live in the south and see all the home schooling that is going on where bigotry and stupidity are fertilized by the "true believers," fundamentalist dupes of the modern day television Tartuffes. A new crop of know nothings is coming out of this fertile sod every day. I think the appropriate response to the "religious right" is ridicule.

While there may be an isolated voice or two in the wilderness, Evangelicals who try to pry the faithful from the arms of Dobson and his crowd, I can tell you for a certainty that it is too late. I do not believe compromise is feasible or desirable when confronting superstition, bigotry and people with profound personality disorders.

Posted by: candideinnc on April 5, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

schizophonic AKA fashionofchrist

sorry about any confusion regarding my nick-switch. it was unintentional.

I'll be posting as fashionofchrist again from now on.

Regards.

Posted by: schizophonic on April 5, 2009 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

As a true believer and a Democrat these last 10 years or so have been long and sad. The huge Evangelical right wing political movement has misued the Word. The love and hope of faith was made into a weapon resulting in devisiveness and hatefulness.

This will be a welcome change.

Posted by: Friend on April 5, 2009 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

candideinnc,

I agree with the thrust of your post, but I'd like to add that it's far easy to fall into a sort of reactionary response to Christians in general. The danger in that is persuasive, especially when so many Christians have allowed themselves to be used by demagoguery and the ogliarchy. It's infuriating, and that is why such a rush to judgement is so easy. I'm not accusing you of anything, more just wagging a finger in general for people to be cautious. I believe that it is important to take a step back and be mindful before the automatic response kicks in. And lets be there to support and engage with the folks that are coming to terms with the fact that they were being used for the past 30 years.

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

You'd hear a completely different story from these people if Palin had been elected (they don't care about McCain). I think what we're hearing from them is extreme disappointment, and I expect they will be back in full force once Huckabee, Palin, or Jindal starts campaigning.

Posted by: frontstreet on April 5, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm part of the "New Atheism" movement. I wish religious people would not only disengage from politics, but from their religion as well. Religion has historically promoted bigotry, monarchy, and ignorance. It has denigrated science, human rights, and independent thought.

Posted by: Jared96 on April 5, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I, too, have been appalled at the way the "religious right" has perverted the teachings of Jesus in support of unbridled individualism. How can you call yourself a Christian while espousing a doctrine so diametrically opposed to his teaching? This is "having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof."

Christians should act privately to relieve suffering, feed the hungry, and pursue justice. They should also act together to these ends. When we do this together, through our elected representatives, it's called government.

From a follower of Jesus, who prays.

Posted by: Don on April 5, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Jared96...

you just said "I wish religious people would not only disengage from politics, but from their religion as well"

So you want to silence dissent, and you want me to disengage from my beliefs because they offend you? How is that statement not ignorant or bigoted?

The cognitive dissonance is starkly apparent.

IOW: Pot, kettle, and all that

I'll take the "old" atheists any day. At least they were generally intellectually honest.

Regards

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

FasionofChrist--I see what you are saying. As a tactical issue, name calling and stereotyping might not be terribly effective in winning over converts. If the issues involved were less personal, I probably would agree with you wholeheartedly and change my rhetorical ways. As a gay man, though, I look at this from the point of someone whose "ox is being gored." You see, I really have a dog in this fight (love those metaphors.)

The religious right does not show me and my community respect. What is worse is that they are trying to disenfranchise us as a matter of law. As long as the fundies, Pope, conservative Catholics, neocon orthodox Jews and other religious nuts make me the and my kind the target of their self-righteous crusades, they are not likely to see much civility in return. I will leave it up to you kind liberal heterosexuals to play nice with them.

Posted by: candideinnc on April 5, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

if you're a "follower of jesus", you are already biased and need some serious, rational 'soul-searching' before you can impose your beliefs upon me or any other rational human being out there...and there are alot of them, with more to come...

Posted by: christopherflynn on April 5, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

The notion that ANY Christian being in a political party,and pledging allegiance to a politician and his rantings,has always disgusted me.

If Christians claim,to be followers of JESUS,why ARM YOURSELVES WITH GUNS,PRAY FOR, AND OVER WAR,RACE HATE,AND HOLD UP PEOPLE WHO ARE IMMORAL AS YOUR LEADERS,WHILE PREACHING FAMILY VALUES.

You faux Christians have brought reproach upon spirituality,and being so entrenched in your Dogma,are likened to the extremist,this country is at war with.

I hope you put down the gun,and open your Bible,AND APPLY THE CONTENTS TO YOUR SELVES FIRST,before you speak to someone else on Family VALUES,HYPOCRITES.

Posted by: beck on April 5, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

I used to consider myself a christian until the evangelist bush christians came into power. God does not torture, god does not want unending war and god made everyone of us making all of us brothers and sisters and loves everyone of us not just a select few..I no longer consider myself a christian, I call myself spiritual now..

Posted by: bay on April 5, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Bushs christians made me ashamed...

Posted by: bay on April 5, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

candideininc,

you said
"
The religious right does not show me and my community respect. What is worse is that they are trying to disenfranchise us as a matter of law. As long as the fundies, Pope, conservative Catholics, neocon orthodox Jews and other religious nuts make me the and my kind the target of their self-righteous crusades, they are not likely to see much civility in return. I will leave it up to you kind liberal heterosexuals to play nice with them."

I agree. In general.

As a someone who spent their formative years (18-27) living on capitol hill (aka the "gay ghetto") in seattle, wa - working in IT and engaged in (for the most part) a healthy relationship with a gay man. I'm hardly hetero. **(more on this at the end of my post)

I get it. I'm with you. And it must *suck* to be stuck in a nuthouse like the area you are from.

I don't envy your situation in that regard. I'm pulling for you. Fight the good the fight, (but pick your battles carefully)

These people don't represent Christianity - they subvert it...

Regards

**below is a long PS rant about "OMG - TEH GAYZZZ"
(feel free to skip)
Although I understand why you'd assume I'm hetero, but.. I'm bi, and I've known that for my entire life. I still know that now. For the record, anyone who feels that gay people cannot be Christian needs to seriously brush up on their scripture. God made us how He made us. We live in sin. ALL OF US, gay or not. He doesn't leave wooden nickels under straw hats. Jesus saved us all, and loves us all. Attempts at conversion are sick.

/rant

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I Came to America as a christian young man and 8 yrs later, am not a christian anymore.The christ that i followed in Africa was different to the christ that i've seen here in America.The jesus here seems to be a Republican.I couldn't believe my eyes,how Jesus has been used in abortion and hating on gay people.Funny,they say they support life but where were those conservative christians when one of their own was starting a war in Iraqi? hello?a war means we gonna be killing human life? a double pathetic standard. Take a look at these people who are in front of the conservative christian movement, Rush Limbaugh,Dobson,Sean Hannity,Bill Oreilly,Ann Coulter,Newt Gingrich, now tell me something, do any of these guys remind you of that jesus of the bible? what jesus do they remind you of? the one who came to die for humanity? the one who fed the poor? visited you in jail,gave you a drink when you were thirsty? gave you clothes when you had none? or do they remind you of the non existent jesus who cared so much about money in the form of low taxes and castigated sharing wealth as a socialist act.
sadly, the christians here in America follow this crap. As long as i live i know for sure, they are in love with a jesus that i have never known! by the way, listen to their language, does it remind you of jesus?
American christianity not for me!

Posted by: francis on April 5, 2009 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

THE word Christian has been stained AND DILUTED, by the so called Christian groups.You will pay a heavy price for trying to insidiously turn America into a THEOCRACY,it's a DEMOCRACY with many freedoms religion being one.

You short sighted bigots,trying to get people to operate under your fake value system,you are exposed.

You support THE HATE SPEECH,AND EXTREME IDEAS,OF
FOX NEWS,RADIO,REPUBLICANS,AND LIMBAUGH,all of which have yielded bad results and division for AMERICANS,While you hold a gun and A BIBLE!!

Posted by: PARKER on April 5, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

100 posts already; not sure anyone will see this, but....

HEY STEVE!!!

Matt (above) sez:

I want to make sure people don't get the wrong idea about Deace. He is as hardcore a wignut as you will ever find, who worked tirelessly to help Mike Huckabee secure his caucus victory here. Deace doesn't want to disengage from the Republican Party; he just wants to see the Taliban wing firmly in control.

Steve, this would seem to directly contradict the primary thesis of Parker's article, as well as the pt that you are sharing.

A little actual reporting would seem to be in order here.

Posted by: Disputo on April 5, 2009 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

francis,

There are plenty of Christians in this country that disagree with the loudmouthed demagogues in the bully-pulpits. I had a similar crisis of faith myself. I found Christianity community I can believe in again, locally in my little rural county (Skagit County - WA)

Tierra Nueva (my faith community)

I'm not imploring you to join or anything - I just want to let you know that there's a spiritual Christian movement in this country that is far different then the loud right-wing.

Regards

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hey fred in socal, we could argue about just what the government's role is, but conservatives - aided by the religious right - pursued policies that were deliberately destructive to the middle class and to funnel money to the upper classes (like the fraudulent capital gains tax cut, mostly helping traders and financiers and likely very responsible for the bubble that led to the current mess. And what about all the interference in personal matters by the government (instead of personal moral action) under conservatives, which isn't called for by Jesus either? BTW I (a Unitarian Universalist) put up thousands over the last five years for the homeless cause.

PS I am rather sure HyperInfluential on April 5, 2009 at 11:41 AM is being sarcastic. People's sarcdar seems to be weakening ...(heh I must put that up on UrbanDictionary.com...)

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on April 5, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Well all you trolls got Bush elected twice! He was a failure at every business he entered, but worse as the executive of the U.S!
You did this, thanks for nothing. I've lost 70% of my business, want to support me, idiots!
You're the ones who will complain about Obama the loudest, he's a socialist, baloney, your pal Bush socialized the banks, but you go ahead, keep listening to the RushPublican OxyMoron, and then wonder why you're all so fuc*king mean!
Oh, and you're the same hypocrites that are against a woman's right to chose, man those damned babies better be born, BUT YOU HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THE DEATH PENALTY! Oh, and you could care less what happens to the same babies when they are born, you could give a sh*t less!
"K" street makes way too much money on your donations to ever get rid of abortion, if the fricking Bush didn't do it, it'll never be done.
Mad, you darned right I'm mad, mad as a hatter after 8 years of this crap.
Oh, and that doesn't include my views on the Stalin of the U.S., the biggest poser in the history of this country, his royal HIGHNESS Ronald Reagan.
What did tax cuts for the wealthy ever do for you idiots anyway? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, FOOLS!

Posted by: Andrea D on April 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Andrea D,

I'm a Christian. I voted for Obama, and against Bush (twice). Don't point your finger at me.

Regards

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Once any religion becomes institutionalized it becomes a tool for maintianing social control, inviting corruption and subverting the very core principals for which it aims to serve. I would like to see religion serve the public good rather than dictate what that means to everyone.

Posted by: Steven on April 5, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Steven,

I think you hit the nail right on the head.

Regards

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

BECAUSE OF FALSE RELIGION.I NOW have a heavy heart at the example you faux Christians have set. You could've lead the way for peace,love,brotherly love choosing to be,an instrument for goodwill.

Where is the, love,joy,peace,mildness,kindness,goodness,and self control,THE identifying marks of a TRUE CHRISTIAN?

JESUS NEVER,advocated politics for Christians.


Follow the true person of LOVE,instead of your misguided minister,that is OWNED BY A POLITICAL PARTY,and pledged to deliver YOU,and your allegiance, to their cause,no matter how EXTREME,or in conflict with God's word,that you should follow.

Posted by: ben on April 5, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus was opposed to man-made power structures. He liked to tear them down and mix them up. Christianity can never function as a majority. It is inherently subversive, which is why when it is commandeered in support of the oligarchy we get a poisonous mutant like the current right-wing "moral majority". IOW: What Steven said.

Regards.

Posted by: fashionofchrist on April 5, 2009 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

In addressing a wider topic, if not for the influence of our powerful "ally" in the middle east, religion and Christianity in particular would not have the stigma that it has developed in U.S. politics.
Israel's influence post 911 went off the charts with the threat of middle east terrorism brought to our soil. All we do in trying to secure the middle east benefits Israel first and as long as we continue to fight their enemies they will use any proxy available.
It just happens to be the Christians turn.

Posted by: Jesus was a jew on April 5, 2009 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

James Dobson is an embarrassment to Christians.He lead them off a cliff,when he formed a bond with a political party,and turned his back on GOD'S word.

If you a Christian,and hear your minister say anything,in contrast to GOD'S WORD,WALK OUT!!!
When the pews empty,they will get the message.

Posted by: vince on April 5, 2009 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

I fear Christian Fundamentalists as much as Islamic ones. But, if devout Christians want to practice what they preach and attract by example within their own lives, then more power to them. If this turns out to be true, then I welcome it. The irony is that much of the US electorate was turned off to the Religious Right as of late and this actually may have defeated them these past two years. Without the albatross of the religious right, the conservatives may have a real shot at permanent power, the dream of Karl Rove.

Posted by: stevmg on April 5, 2009 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

"In addressing a wider topic, if not for the influence of our powerful "ally" in the middle east, religion and Christianity in particular would not have the stigma that it has developed in U.S. politics.
Israel's influence post 911 went off the charts with the threat of middle east terrorism brought to our soil. All we do in trying to secure the middle east benefits Israel first and as long as we continue to fight their enemies they will use any proxy available.
It just happens to be the Christians turn."
Posted by: Jesus was a jew

Agreed... and this topic is choked out anytime it is ever brought up in main stream media.. Nobody wants the 'stigma' of being a Nazi! Thank "god" for the internet..

Posted by: David Davison on April 5, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

This is the way it should be. One religion has no place in dominating our government. People have every right to practice or believe in what they want as I have a right not to have my rights taken away because of their beliefs.

Posted by: krissy on April 5, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Thus proving that religion and politics don't mix. Church is a group of people with common spiritual beliefs,that, today, often turn into religions. Religions have become man-made secret handshakes of exclusion. Political parties are groups of people with the same/similar ideologies when it comes to development of policy on the social, economic, governmental infrastructure and global involvement of a given country. The mistake was made when these folks bought into the notion that conservative ideology and conservative religion or church beliefs were synonymous and directly connected. They bought into this repackaging offered by Bush, not understanding that the snake oil sold would come back to bite them as they discovered nothing they stood for in their religious beliefs was even remotely being mirrored in the actions - lying, cheating, greed, hate-mongering, deceit, betrayal, misuse of power -- of the Republican politicians they supported.

Posted by: E Joyce on April 5, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

The culture war was of their own making.

Christians decided it was "them vs us",thereby subjectively setting themselves up as the "perfect" ones - and you KNOW where pride takes you.

"Everything you know is wrong".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEDhU9SgFGI

Posted by: mommadona on April 5, 2009 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Francis, do not give up on people of religion in this country...we are out here, in a silent majority so to speak. Many of us do not condone what has happened with the Evangelical movement and politics; I find it derisive and quite frankly an invasion of my rights to keep religion free of the state, as our forefathers meant for it to be. The most famous signers of our great Constitution were mainly deists, such as Jefferson and Franklin. We are free here to worship as we choose...I just don't want other's religions forced on me with law...that is where it oversteps and I find that totally wrong. Our relationships with "our" particular God(s) is our own business, no one else's. I am sick of the "money machine" Evangelicals who in some cases chose their path for the "earthly rewards" it provided them. They aren't real Christians, just business opportunists, manipulating and stretching God's love and truth in all directions. They are exposed again..we need to wake up and recognize it when it rears it's ugly head the "next time". Quit living in fear of God, of terrorists, of poverty, of war, living, dying, etal....we are fed this diet, day after day brought to us by the American main stream/cable media hype. Americans need to stand up and demand more than fear and loathing in their society. The media hyped the culture wars and Evangelical hysteria...turn them off and quit supplying their advertisers with YOUR dollars. Expect and DEMAND accountability for what people are saying when they say it. Until we do, we can expect the radicals on any side of an issue to get a greater hearing than the majority of normal, rationale folks out here in America.

Posted by: Cigi on April 5, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

It's true, Christians etc. are not always tools of the conservatives. There is The Network of Spiritual Progressives, Swords into Plowshares etc. and don't forget the way MLK expressed religious sentiments and movements.

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on April 5, 2009 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ." Ghandi

Posted by: Bertha Vazquez on April 5, 2009 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

The fundamental difference between democrats and republicans lies in their view of mankind and their relationship to god.

Democrats believe that man is inherently good and capable of governing themselves with a monarchy or elite ruling class. Democrats tend to be more secular, allowing individuals and groups to worship as they please without interference. They believe that self governance through democratic ideals is the way to achieve social justice. Their focus is on principles.

Republicans believe that man is inherently evil and incapable of governing themselves. They believe that social order can only be achieved by a ruling, elite class. Because that generally means that this class controls the wealth of a nation, they need to feel blessed by a generous god for singling them out and granting them abundance over others. (Calvinism). They need an alliance with god through the Southern Bible Convention whose leaders aspire to control and wealth. Their focus is on property and the protection of that property (their property), hence the need for a large police and military force.

Who do you think will win in this clash of beliefs?

Posted by: joe on April 5, 2009 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

The fundamental difference between democrats and republicans lies in their view of mankind and their relationship to god.

Democrats believe that man is inherently good and capable of governing themselves with a monarchy or elite ruling class. Democrats tend to be more secular, allowing individuals and groups to worship as they please without interference. They believe that self governance through democratic ideals is the way to achieve social justice. Their focus is on principles.

Republicans believe that man is inherently evil and incapable of governing themselves. They believe that social order can only be achieved by a ruling, elite class. Because that generally means that this class controls the wealth of a nation, they need to feel blessed by a generous god for singling them out and granting them abundance over others. (Calvinism). They need an alliance with god through the Southern Bible Convention whose leaders aspire to control and wealth. Their focus is on property and the protection of that property (their property), hence the need for a large police and military force.

Who do you think will win in this clash of beliefs?

Posted by: joe on April 5, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ah...the power of attraction vs the 'faith through fear of punishment authoritarianism' or 'western guilt'. Do you recall the video calling on 'Christians' to pray for rain at the dem convention when Obama would accept the nomination. Did this person accept it as a message from God when it didn't rain that God opposed him and his ideas...or did he just think others didn't pray enough?

Anyone claiming to speak for God or 'his will' in order to gain control over others' actions has reduced God to their own personal authoritarian mob boss. Basically religious principles are the same as moral principles and "God" doesn't even need to be mentioned.

Goodness and kindness trump dogma and present day religious environments are expanding due to a recognition that good people include non Christians and many people have kindness in common regardless of 'religious' beliefs.

I also happen to believe that the right wing republican conservative party is being exposed for what they are...self-serving greedy hypocrites whose only mission is to protect the holdings and the business of wealthiest Americans even at the downfall of the rest of the country.

Posted by: bjobotts on April 5, 2009 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus was for the poor the GOP was for the rich.
Jesus said give ceasar what is due in Taxes. The GOP is for Tax cuts.
Jesus hung out with the outcast and oppressed. the GOP oppressed working people.The Dem's or the GOP are full of men and at times they will all do wrong. Jesus said we are (all) as fithy Rags. Jesus did not call any church group in his day right. They were men!!
Most were for power same as now. Jesus was for the broken outcast and the 2009 GOP is for the rich and , Big business and the war machine that make big buck. Politic is not of Jesus Dem's nor GOP. All are men some do right some do wrong. The southern GOP is base on race and money Bank on that. What you see is what you get just look around!

Posted by: walker on April 5, 2009 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Why does it never occur to so many Christians that Jesus was a socialist, pure and simple.

Why do they avoid the warning that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven. If this is true, and there is a heaven, we can be assured that all those who suffer poverty have much to look forward to.

Posted by: Bill on April 5, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Is Rush of Jesus? GOP, Rush all are for the rich! Jesus said help the outcast and poor. GOP Law and order help the rich spy on your neighbor!
We as a people must all do better . Jesus send people your way that don't look like you ,not from the same class of people as you are to help but most turn there back. (Thy word is truth) Jesus said, not how you feel people!!! The word plain and simple!!!!

Posted by: walker on April 5, 2009 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

RWCs are the Knights Templar of the GOP.

Posted by: Puckup on April 5, 2009 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

btw...these people who say things like "let's not forget our Saviour..." seem incapable that there are millions of people who feel you have all been duped into believing a fiction....That you are too filled with fear an insecurity not to believe what you have been told to believe because it makes it harder to take responsibility for your existence.

The same Christian story was told almost verbatim 2000 yrs earlier and ;this comic book hero god who performed such amazing feats has just stopped performing yet there are what many consider some very sick fanatics hearing voices and trying to exert power over others based on theses voices being paid by donations they manipulate from millions of people convinced by them to believe their visions. When armies try to take over your property saying God gave it to them and a thousand miles away people say it's true...God did give it to them...reason has left the building.
Because you believe it doesn't make it true is the biggest lesson fanatics face. Religion has no place in government...none...it should not ever be a consideration and is so unnecessary.

Posted by: bjobotts on April 5, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus was a was socialist and push socialist views. If one had all had. Read your Bible Chiristian!!!He was for the poor and outcast. His views are all over the 66 books GOP christian!!!! What would Jesus DO if he live in america today?

Posted by: walker on April 5, 2009 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus is for real if you believe or not ! Every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord! Just hold on and wait and see time (WILL) tell!! Roman 13 Government was ordain by GOD!

Posted by: walker on April 5, 2009 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

How interesting: when raw political ambition and theocracy fail them, desperate Christians try good works as a last resort. Jesus must be so pleased.

Posted by: Me on April 5, 2009 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

the statement above, that xtians don't want social programs because they want to help people individually is probably THE most repulsive justifications for selfishness that right wing "christians" have employed over the years.

watching them at work in the U.S. led me to not merely dismiss them, but to actively detest them. they represent the worst that this nation has to offer, from their fealty to the moneyed to their hatred of women, homosexuals, those of other faiths, science, and the very foundations of this nation.

We know them by their fruits. George W. Bush will, hopefully, be the last fundamentalist president this nation will ever see. It will take decades to undo the damage these fundamentalist have done.

good riddance.

Posted by: fauxreal on April 5, 2009 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is a great development and I hope it catches on with the Christian right.

I understand their beliefs and I respect their right to believe that. The friction comes when they try to push that belief on others through politics or intimidation, instead of focusing on their own homes and own families and leaving the rest of us to live our lives.

We would all get along a whole lot better if they would respect the separation of church and state a lot more than they do.

Posted by: October Mermaid on April 5, 2009 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

As a 50 year old pastor let me say that this not a generational difference. The conservative right I would say was successful. Not in returning Roe v Wade, but for a good long time it hijacked and held hostage a silent minority of christians who held an opposing view to Falwell and Dobson. Many were fearful to speak out for fear of the liberal label. Churches used political propaganda and fear tactics to serve their own religious agenda. That agenda for the fundamentalist was to merge morality and patriotism. Vulnerable fundamentalist followers wanted christian people in office 'for Jesus' and the two became perfect bedfellows. Any opposition was easily painted as liberal theology. It has not changed. It is just that the politics have changed. In churches today there is still an ugly battle theologically. Young educated people get it and so do older reasoning people get it that the Jesus of the bible is not was being preached by the conservative right. There are millions just like me and authors Brennan Manning, Jim Wallis etc. who were marginalized for a very long time. Young and old, democrat and republican are reasoning what's again.

Posted by: jazzro on April 5, 2009 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Just for full disclosure: I call myself "spiritual" because I believe human consciousness is a form of energy that cannot be destroyed and must, therefore, exist in some other form when not currently animating a human body, but I do not believe that the Creator of our world would want or need to be worshiped, being a perfected being in no way like us.

I consider myself a follower of the teachings of Jesus, as well as numerous other people who shared their thoughts on morality and the nature of consciousness over our long history, but I do not worship any such teachers.

Posted by: HyperInfluential on April 5, 2009 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

PS: I don't know if these are the End Times, but they certainly are freaky! Things seem to get weirder every day, especially as the GOP implodes in slow motion.

Posted by: HyperInfluential on April 5, 2009 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Christian religion played a key role in advocating slavery, of allowing woman to be veiwed as property or to be treated as 2nd class citizens, of preventing women to vote for hundreds of years in the U.S. It was the Christian institution that Hilter referenced when rationalizing the persecution of Jews. It was the Christians who until 50 years who prevented blacks from marrying whites in this country.

It was the Christian religion that actively used military power during the Crusades, and other eras (especially the treatment of native North and South Americans) to kill non-christians or use swords or guns and torture to convert the "non-believers" to "save their souls".

It was Christians who for hundreds of years killed or threatened with death those who believed that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way around.

It is the Christians today who believe gay people are an abomination of God.

It is gay Christians today who lobby against abortion and condoms but by far and away the same groups who rabidly support gun ownership and rally behind capital punishment.

It is the Christian religion today that has a 50% divorce rate among their followers, rampant issues with pedophilia in their priesthood, has hundreds of billions of dollars of cash and property (most tax-free), has executives and priest that live lavish lifstyles worlwide, and believe the Earth (and the Universe for that matter), is roughly 5-8 thousand years old (men and dinosaurs lived together), and that evolution is non-sense.

That is the problem with Christianity. For 2000 years is has evolved into something that Jesus himself would not recognize.

The GOP courted the most basest of the base of the Christian population, the ones who believe in the "the Rapture". Their result of the inter-mingling between Church and State is the disastrous and embarrassing G.W. Bush and his neo-convict clowns.

I think more and more Americans have come to realize the lunacy of trying to promote antiquated Christian beliefs in a pluralistic country and world.

I, myself don't call my myself Christian, however I do follow the teachings of Christ: non-violence, love of thy neighbor including those who are outcasts, rejecting materialism and financial greed, and helping the less fortunate.

Posted by: RickChicago on April 5, 2009 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Now was this latest Christian epiphany before or after the last one....that blacks were really human beings and deserved a seat at the all inclusive table of Christianity.

Posted by: stephennnn on April 5, 2009 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Legislating religious morality necessarily results in losses of freedom and liberty and ends up in nations like Iran and Afghanistan. Keep religion out of government and government out of religion, I say.

Posted by: Dustin on April 5, 2009 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Jesus, protect me from your followers." I don't think Gandhi said that, but I saw it on a T-Shirt once in P-Town, and always thought it was cute (and sadly, true).

Posted by: Scott on April 5, 2009 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Holy crap. (Yes, pun intended) The religious right is discovering . . . the First Amendment.

Separation of church and civil government doesn't require a rejection of either, but it does require our practice of each to embrace different rules.

Posted by: SayLessDoMore on April 5, 2009 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Can any so called, Christian,explain to me,how you are different from Muslim extremist? You both LOVE war,hate,advocate carrying a gun,bigoted toward anyone who's different from you,actively involved in politics,and DISTORT the true meaning of GOD'S WORD?

Posted by: RICK on April 5, 2009 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Can any Christian,explain to me,how you are different from Muslim extremist? You both LOVE war,hate,advocate carrying a gun,bigoted toward anyone who's different from you,actively involved in politics,and DISTORT the true meaning of GOD'S WORD? HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT ?

Posted by: RICK on April 5, 2009 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I am stunned by the vitriol of the non-believers in these comments. Let me start by saying I am agnostic, so I'm sympathetic to the idea that believers are misguided. But I find your over-heated rhetoric disturbing. I can tell you that there are PLENTY of good, kind-hearted, tolerant, action-oriented (in the sense of actively working to help others) Christians in my neck of the woods (suburban Atlanta). In fact, our very best friends are charismatic Christians who "live their faith" every day, in the best sense of that phrase. I would be happy to be FashionofChrist's friend. A lot of you non-believers - not so much.

Posted by: carolatl on April 5, 2009 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Once you use power to try to force people to adhere to your morality, then you are no longer religious. You are political. Power = politics. The religious right has all the characteristics of the Taliban. Jesus was never political; he was always spiritual. Forget the Old Testament revenge and punishment crap. Jesus taught a new way, which was love and brotherhood. If you want to be a Christian, then start acting like one.

Posted by: skyreader7 on April 5, 2009 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

I am a 63 year old white male who has lived a life that most of you would find most difficult to comprehend, I've been a hippy? whatever that con notates, been a biker{still ride Harley's at my age}
Was at Woodstock, no not the corporate sponsored one's,Monterrey Pop festival etc,Viet Nam war protester, and The current fiasco.
I have traveled all over the world with my occupation, Chef: off shore Research drilling platforms, have had many friends in many different cultures and religions.
In all my years of getting to get around to get around I have only had one religion tell me I was going to hell for not believing as they do, and Im agnostic, care to guess which one it was?
My personal beliefs is that we are all here for a purpose and it is not the purview of some idiot with a bible and or Koran to tell me how I must survive to meet their so called god,
When in fact their beliefs and actions are the source of most of the hatred we see around and through out our history. as the old song goes, take this Job and Shove it, How a new rendition take this Religion and Shove it, I'm pretty sure there are few dead people that might agree.
if he is so wonderful and absolute why didn't he intervene?
Du far
Rwanda
Bosnia
The American Indian
the list is long and sickening and I'm sure these people
would like to have been left alone.


Posted by: Nightslider on April 5, 2009 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

"It certainly would be a pleasant change to see people who loudly proclaim that they are Christians actually doing Christ-like acts -- you know, caring for the poor, the sick..."

?????????
Do you folks really have any idea who gives dollar after dollar to charities and philanthropies??? Who helps communities rebuild after floods???

As evident by all these comments, you have two groups;
One- those that talk about helping everyone, but don't help financially or by any results. "Talking about it" is all that is important.

Two; those that give money and time.

Symbolism over substance.

Posted by: steve on April 5, 2009 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

There sure is a lot of hate going on here and you are not even christians! Who is the hypocrite now? I can already forsee from these posts that christians are the new jews in this new germany. Get over it quick! We're better than this. Or are we? C'mon, let it go already.

Posted by: what the? on April 5, 2009 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

And so far no one has even brought up the rape of many indigenous cultures by these no nothing do gooders. There was so much uproar when the Taliban destroyed the buddhas - their own country's heritage before Islam. They were merely statues.

Yet the x tians go about preaching the superiority of their God to the so called ignorant, around the world, de stabilizing centuries old traditions.
By all means build hospitals and schools, but do n 't take away the only thing some of these people have, their history and way of life.

Posted by: suido_intellect on April 5, 2009 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Religious Right''' is a codundrun, fiction, label they gave themselves decades ago. They are "Right" minded, but not at all religious, christian or tempered. This group in America is as Racical as al Queda. In John 18: the mention of 'not of this world' is a factor so called 'christians' forgot, gave themselves a free pass into heaven and forgot it was an earned thing, a divine, loving human being that would be chosen for 'the heavenly' government. The other lambs that would be chosen on judgement day will live in paradise 'on earth'. In Revelations it speaks of 122000 going to the heavenly kingdom. That would take a process of elimination. Not everyone goes to heaven, not everyone will see 'paradise on earth.

There are no 'born again'christian as if chosen. knowone knows until judgement day if they walked at all like the heavenly Son Jesus. Ridiculous avangelic nonsense and totally narcissistic to believe they are saved.

Posted by: whitehawk on April 5, 2009 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

@what the?

oh please. victimhood has been the mating call of the religious right and the oil-i-garchs for the last 20 years.

fuuny, but when a group uses its power to try to deny civil rights to others, to force superstition to be taught to children whose parents know better and don't want to subsidize someone else's religion, when politicians use those with irrational beliefs to ruin an economy - people get sick of them and the situations they create.

yes, people are angry and rightly so.

The anger, however, is toward the political manifestation of fundamentalism - what someone believes in private is his or her own business. However, when people try to force beliefs upon the rest of a society when there is overwhelming evidence that these beliefs are not only false, but also bad for a democracy's well being... people will fight back.

And thank goodness for that. It may be the only thing that will save us from Summers and Gaithner, too - two more true believers in failed experiments.

Posted by: fauxreal on April 5, 2009 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

I wish all these comments could be taped and put on youtube and be read out loud to America.It would so be nice to start seeing a shift from the hypocrisy that has crippled so many people in this country to start losing that grip.
I was too sad and too mad to attend any church especially when i saw wars that were faught by George Bush justifiably or not, there was so much silence in the christian faith in America except for some liberals and the dixie chicks who apparently stood their ground. i dont remember Pat Robertson,Benny Hinn or the other popular evangelicals call upon christians to pressure mr Bush not to start the war or encourage other christians hold prayer vigils to stop the war or help out during the war,matter of fact i didnt even see most of them working in Louisiana during Katrina. There are so many inocent people who are dead today and so when i see muslims remain quiet when one of their own attacks inocent people, it reminds me of the christians right here, they silently supported revenge.
I wish Ghandi and Martin Luther king were still alive, i think we could've have learned better.

Posted by: francis on April 5, 2009 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

I was often lost in my early teens and as life would have it I was sent to a Quaker High School (farm)- The Meeting School in NH. It changed my life.

To live and be loved by people whose lives are their witness...who don't preach but live each day sacredly I believe can change the world.

Peace

Posted by: thatwhichisgood on April 5, 2009 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

I have been preaching this message to my "rigt-wing" "brethren" FOR YEARS (it seems)!!!! Frankly, they are so blinded by the Limbaugh's, Coulters - and, most of all, their supremely blinding hatred of all things "liberal" that they cannot see such simple scriptures as "My Kingdom is not of this world" and "our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil 3:20) - to "we are to judge the church BUT God is to judge those outside of the church (ICor5:12,13). They have become exactly what the two fold more a child of hell disciples of their right wing masters as did the disciples of the right wingers who murdered Jesus - the Pharisees....

Well, I have done my best -

Aner

Posted by: Aner on April 5, 2009 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

and a post script -

The fundamentalists shouldn't feel all that special. Politicians court the cult leader Sun Yun Moon just as assidiously, but not as loudly. Moon was the person in charge of Bush's prayer breakfast when he took office.

Moon makes lots of contributions to politicians, just like fundies. He was influential in helping to prop up dictators in Central America - he declares he is the messiah, but this doesn't bother all those Republican true believers in congress because he has lots of $$.

That's the true religion in Congress.

The only reason the oil-i-garchs paid any attention to fundies at all was because they were a political open market after the civil rights act - as LBJ predicted, when the govt. actually did its job and enforced civil rights in the south, the fundies left the democratic party in droves. That's the heritage and the continuing zeitgeist of the "religious right."

The up-and-cominb threat of religious fascism, however, springs from the charismatic movement. Sarah Palin comes out of this variety of religious populism. Obviously southern fundies can work with that faction, too, just as they worked with Moon.


Posted by: fauxreal on April 5, 2009 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Bravo! Please, someone inform Pat Robertson of this.

Posted by: g brion on April 5, 2009 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Just yesterday I had someone tell me that he believed in Jesus and in a later conversation that he believed people do not have a "right" to healthcare. Was it Jesus who taught him that society has no moral obligation to help the sick? Because that's what he believes.

Posted by: SteveS on April 5, 2009 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not forget David Kuo (author of Tempting Faith). His book is all about how the religious right, was used by the Bush administration, et al. He eye-witnessed this abuse directly, as he quoted Rove: "Get me a f&%$ing faith based thing!"

Posted by: leonspinks on April 6, 2009 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

KEEP YOUR IMAGINARY GOD OUT OG MY GOVERNMENT

Posted by: Rick on April 6, 2009 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Strange this piece never mentions Pastor Greg Boyd who 3 yrs ago did a 6 part sermon called "The Cross & The Sword" and a follow up book called "Myth Of A Christian Nation" advocating Christians to go back to the teachings of Jesus and abandoning the politcal world. His and Jim Wallis works helped restore a faith I had lost and made me realize that just because the loudest voices get the most attention that Jesus taught using power under the world instead of power over the world to get his word out. Dobson et al might want to go back to divinty school and redo the courses on the New Testament if they want to stay relevent.

Posted by: Allen on April 6, 2009 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

Cal Thomas needs to tender his resignation from the religion ABOUT Jesus and join the religion OF Jesus.

The peripatetic Galilean made savage attacks on the first-century family values of his day, as well as rudely exposing the hypocrisy of the religion of his day. Once you look beneath the bureaucratic and militant overlay that was painted over the Good News when the Roman Emperor Constantine converted, this is really not that difficult to see. Think history, facts and evidence, and THEN explore faith and belief.

It has been said before that Jesus of Nazareth came preaching the Kingdom of God. And what came was the Church. When Jesus was made to say that his Kingdom was "not of this world" in the Book of John, any blue-collar scholar of any intelligence knows that this is the Jewish rabbi being interpretated by a group of followers trying to make him meaningful from their own distance of over 60 years after the crucifixion.

And often God HAS to compromise. The spirit always has to confront the particular culture in a particular way. The elegance of compromise often leaves behind holy fingerprints. For example, Jesus' admonishon that we should render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's and render unto God what is God's fits that thesis perfectly.

Cal and other marginalized Christians need to start taking Jesus seriously rather than just literally.

Posted by: james on April 6, 2009 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Just as many Americans and some Muslims believe that the Muslim religion has been hijacked by Muslim extremists; the same is true for Christianity in America. Many Christians are waking up to the racist influence the GOP has tarnished the Christian faith with; as well as, the over zealous fanatic political leanings that has wrought the "ends justifies the means" mentality that is being rejected by younger Christians. Adult parent Christians can stand to learn from the spiritually centered youth of today. Wash your hands of the hypocrits of the GOP, the racist base and the divisive pandering thereof.

Posted by: Anthony Look on April 6, 2009 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

They cracked up a long time ago.

Posted by: Eugenian on April 6, 2009 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

In other words, if you want to inspire others towards Christianity, be a good christian.

Let's get down to brass tacks. Their whole problem could be summed up with one word: Hypocrisy.

Christianity doesn't look inviting if it's represented by a bunch of hypocrites.

Culture war or no culture war, people generally don't like to be associated with hypocrites.

As a christian myself I really should try to have compassion, but it's hard when I think of how much hatred these people have purposefully and willfully created and nursed in huge portions of our population.

Religion has no rightful place in government. And willfully creating hatred and prejudices in others for political gain is a serious evil.

Posted by: erin on April 6, 2009 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

The religious right is just a front for the old Dixiecrats. When the Democrats passed the Civil Rights Act in the '60s, the southern dems ran to the republican party and used religion as their excuse hiding behind family values to smokescreen their anti black, anti gay, pro military, pro tax cuts agenda. Now the few real Christians are finally catching on and are hesitant to follow in their footsteps.

Posted by: JDL51 on April 6, 2009 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

It took them this long to realize that "you have to become the change you want."

Posted by: REO Guru on April 6, 2009 at 4:40 AM | PERMALINK

I live in London England, and i have watched with increasing interest and horror at what is widely thought of as Christianity in the US: worship of money, outright militarism, open bigotry, contempt for the poor, the needy, the criminal, the disabled, weeping over unborn fetus's but happy visit war on millions of adults...the list is long.

I dont know what happened in America. The New Testament is written in modern English and anyone can read it and see what Jesus was all about. But American Christians would rather be told what's in it by some smiling fraud with a tan, a motorcade and a palatial house. In poor nations illiteracy is high and people are reliant on often corrupt clerics for religious guidance. But thats not true of America, a first world nation with more money than most everyone else put together. I dont understand how "Christianity" became the opposite of Jesus's teachings. Can someone shed some light? Thank you.

Posted by: Harkadahl on April 6, 2009 at 5:52 AM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that organized religion has at it's heart a much needed compassionate mission. However, when politics becomes a way to an end it becomes tied to the wins and loses of the party they choose to identify with. We all know where that party of choice is at this point in time. It appears, unfortunately, that at this time they find themselves in agreement with the money changers.

Posted by: Gordon on April 6, 2009 at 6:26 AM | PERMALINK

As a stealth Christian I am constantly busting my Christian friends when they spew hate. I see the hate in their eyes when they address abortion. It is an outlet for a hate somewhere buried inside. They know and have friends or gay acquaintances . But the hate has to be redirected somewhere, rather than addressed.

I had one Christian friend who didn't talk to me for a year because when he was spewing cross eyed vitriol one time about Hillary Clinton. I queried him about Ms. Clinton dedicating her life to public service, trying to secure health care for people, holding a marriage together under the most embarrassing horrific public spectacles in recent history and raising a great kid. I asked him to look deep into his "heart" (yeah I know Christian code word) and find where these feelings were coming from. He stormed off, a friend explained it, I had "Questioned his christianity(?)."

I have Christian friends who always jump the gun and spew coded "evangelical" re-focused hate monologues, who when questioned on their premise agree they are on the wrong track, or, come back the next day and apologize or reevaluate their position after reading "the word". Did Jesus put me there to temper these scary dudes? I don't know.

I just am concerned about the agno-atheo hate spewed by some of the "enlightened" anti religionists I have read on this outstanding forum. I see the cute code words you have as well.. but wow track down the hate (deep inside you) and address it on a personal if not "spiritual" basis. We will all be better for it.

By the way I got "Christianized" because a friend asked me to back him up when some Christians were coming by because "you read and stuff" and can "smoke them". Jesus busts everybody (including his followers)on a personal not a group basis. I began reading the gospels a hater and am learning (day by day)to LOVE.. Peace my atheist and Christian brothers..Been there.

Posted by: Pete Dooley on April 6, 2009 at 6:58 AM | PERMALINK

Since Christians operate out of belief systems, instead of reality 'systems', it was a simple matter for the Republican party to dupe them into participating solely for votes.

Christian conservatives never had any business being in politics in the first place. They belong in their churches. Christian conservatives have no business telling others what to believe or how to operate their lives. Indeed, the most vocal of them have so many skeletons that have been exposed on the national scene, they have become the de facto standard for the definition of hypocrisy.

Religion is a chosen behavior. Since the vast majority of Americans don't choose to be a non-thinking Christian conservative, they have no business trying to force their beliefs on us thru political legislation.

They didn't get it that Europe already evolved entirely thru this phase of their civilization. It happened after the Catholic Church was no longer the law-keeper. Funny how that happened centuries ago and the fundies in the US didn't know that.

Posted by: Mark on April 6, 2009 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

It may be true, but watch out for that groups like Palin's. I believe it's called Third Wave and is pretty freaky scary. They believe that God has given them a mandate to "rule", cleanse the land, cast out witches, condem Catholics, etc.

It's pretty far right, but do some reading on it and you will be shocked. Mainstream Evangelicals may be finally getting it, but Palin's brand of
"religion" has one major goal---political power.

Posted by: trisha on April 6, 2009 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

And well should far right radicals be done with politics, and hopefully politics will be glad to reciprocate! The far right has done more to harm faith and religion than any group in recent years. They have not only lost their own witness to the Resurrection of Christ, they have compromised the witness of believers who really care about offering God's love to everyone, not just those who happen to agree with us on every small point of doctrine. The business of the church is to enlarge God's kingdom, not to restrict it.

Posted by: MEM on April 6, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

"More and more of them are realizing just how badly they've been used...."

Hmmm, I doubt that. There is, after all, a reason why religious leaders are so often referred to as "shepherds."

It's more likely that, in today's economy, the sheep have already been sheared as closely as possible. The Rick Warrens and James Dobsons of the God Business will have to find some other source of income.

Speaking of the Dobsons, Dr. Dobson's son is booked to take over Focus on the Family. From what we could glean from a recent interview in the Denver Post, the future looks dim for FOTF. He made George Bush sound like a theological heavyweight.

Posted by: Mandy Cat on April 6, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

when any religious group foams at the mouth at the idea that a female might use a morning after pill for rape but condones the murder of thousands upon thousands of children who live in another country, that religious group is morally bankrupt.

when any religious group picks and chooses which verses to interpret literally in order to deny others civil rights, that religion is morally bankrupt. when I grew up in the south, these same religious factions claimed blacks were from "the tribe of Dan" and therefore god didn't bless them - their lies were used to support racism.

they do the same thing now with homosexuals. they can no longer claim that parents should murder a child who talks back to them, but do choose a passage in a text a few lines down and claim *that* part is inerrant, while the other parts are not - because a position like infanticide for rudeness is so obviously psychologically aberrant.

In light of scholarship over hundreds of years, a position that the bible is literally true and inerrant is intellectually unsupportable.

this is the truth that christians who value the teachings of the beatitudes should make known to their fellow believers and that the media should also make known because they have spent so many years lying to the American public to prop up a belief in an "inerrant" financial ponzi scheme called deregulation.

Too many Americans are ignorant - because of the religious leaders who have sucked all the air out of christianity with their false claims of inerrancy - that only the "religious right" can then interpret.

Evolution is fact as well, as much as gravity is fact though both, in scientific jargon, are called theories. No one among the fundies tries to deny gravity. The only reason they try to deny geology, biology and chemistry is because science has proven that the bible is not a literal document.

When the fundamentalists try to dumb down our children because their faith cannot survive the light of truth, then the problem is with the faith, not with reality. The problem is with them as a political force, not with the reality of the scientific method.

But, again, a person has the freedom to believe what he or she will in private. These beliefs, however, may not be forced upon the rest of the nation and that is what has happened when idiots in the Bush administration put scientific lies about the Grand Canyon out as govt. information.

So, yeah, people get angry and rightly so.

LIteralism/fundamentalism is ahistorical. Such beliefs, set against historical fact, scientific fact and current information demonstrate such beliefs are delusional.

Posted by: fauxreal on April 6, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

A little late to the party, but welcome back to reality...and thanks for the humility to say you were wrong. That's where all reconciliation begins. Frankly, since siding with Reagan in 1980, the religious right has bedded too closely with America’s corporate thieves, warmongers, and now after Bush, torturers; not to mention it’s wholesale rejection of science. We will all be grateful to see our major faith communities return to their more considerate roots, a place from which the evangelical community can effect its real work and regain some of its lost glimmer.

Posted by: Will B on April 6, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

What happened to the religious right is simple. Probably 90-95% of people in America have, at some time, been exposed to church or to someone telling them about Christianity, whether they want to hear it or not. While many people choose to stay with it, a similar or slightly larger number choose to either give it up completely, or practice some hybrid (do good deeds, don't go to church). The things that all people take away from their brush with Christianity are peace, love, and tolerance for their fellow man. However, when you put on a national and international stage a person who loudly proclaims at every turn the he/she is a Christian, and how much Christ means to them, personally, and then those same people practice war, hate, and intolerance, it goes against everything that most people (and most Christians) think of Christianity and Christians (real ones). This contradiction is what is destroying the religious right, and none too soon, might I add. If they wanted success, they should have stuck to Jesus' teachings. Instead, the RR made their leaders into gods in their own right, and so slowly the whirlwind comes.

Posted by: Andre on April 6, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

wow, it never ceases to amaze me when liberals completely miss the point. Of course Jesus (and followers of Jesus) beliver in healing the sick, helping the poor and serving god by serving others. What Jesus teaches us is that it is our PERSONAL responsibility to take care of our neighbor and fellow man. Not someone elses (ie: the government) What have YOU personaly done to battle homelessness, poverty, disease, human rights violations?

The true "principled Christians" are the vast silent majority that take action in Jesus name and not waste everyones time with do nothing, feel good, wastefull government spending.

the only thing governement programs produce is more government jobs for more bureaucrats.
.................................................

So its fine to spend 400B on the weapons of war, or to 30k per year to incarcerate non-violent offenders?

The progressive agenda has never held that gov't public service was intended as "The Work of God", and yet the abolishing of Roe vs. Wade, stem cell research, and Islamic fundamentalism, has always been presented as the work of God by the christian conservative right, and those who may disagree have been potrayed as morally bankrupt.

I agree that waste in Goverment spending is something to resolve as soon as possibly, but to imply that the effort to assist our fellow Americans is "mala en se" is selfish, self-centered, and mean-spirited.

Gov't provides a necessary balance in a free market capitalism. Capitalism unbalance grows into plutocracy, and plutocracy is driven completely by corporate profits, which as we've just seen does not always act in the national interest. If Govt was as you suggest, corporations would freely drive down the cost of labor, drive up the cost of goods and services, tort laws would be abolished, working conditions would suffer, and the responsible businesses would fail for being responsible, much like the financial institutions suffereing before the public learned of this crisis which were losing market share for not purchasing mortagage back CDO's during the boom like their competitors. A good read for you would be "The Theory of Moral Sentiment" greed and selfishness is the life blood of capitalism and the natural human condition, that tendacy must be checked by a reponsible Gov't that always keeps an eye on the greater good or any community would divide itself into stark class groups, and conflit would quickly ensue. The poor will always out-number the well-to-do so you and either provide for the robust creation of the broadest middle class block possible, or start building private prisons on every block to incarcerate people for being poor, the only reason we even have a middle class is because of progressives who saw the value in a large middle class. The growth in the upper sector is directly related to the progressive push to build a robust middle class in the late 30's and 40's

In conclusion, if the christian community, instead of rasing millions for the political campaigns of Republicans was actually organized and as a body of belivers acted to assist the poor, house the homeless, feed the hungry, and educate the iliterate, then govt would have no reason to invest public capital into the suffering population.

It appears that you doubt that such poverty exists, or worst you could care less, and if that's the case really your not the one to have this conversation.

Posted by: NotPeter'sSword on April 6, 2009 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

A reinstitution of the separation of church and state is long overdue. And religious people trying to "force" their ideas onto others is one that will always be met by an equal or greater opposing force. I never understood how these "political christians" could verbally promote both smaller government, and at the same time try to enact laws against personal behavior that would require a camera in every bedroom to enforce. And a lot more police and prisons...

If "Christians" would live by example (reduce their own amount of divorces and abortions) instead of projecting their own collective psychological guilt onto everybody else, the world would be a much better place.

Now Cal, please get to work on the armageddonists, who only care about their reservation on the silver spaceship, who are angling for a Holy War against all of Islam.

Posted by: Tom Kennedy on April 6, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I personally have found the religious zealots of the mega churches and the right-wing conservatives so distasteful with their greed, power mongering, and hypocrisy that I've vowed off all organized religion and I'm not alone. I have many friends and co-workers that have faith, but no taste for the church. We are on our own spiritually and have very liberal views because we see the Democrats as the party of compassion, everything the Republicans and conservatives claim to be in theory, but are not in action.

Posted by: teetx on April 6, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

The religious party lost because we are a pleural nation; not a religious nation. Most Americans believe in diversity of belief, opinion and pov and the almost universial knowledge that you can't make people live a religious belief that is not their own. Individuals are free to belief at they choose, live their lives as they choose and vote as they choose. This business of trying to force the population to live a set of "rules" that does not make sense to themselves on a personal level is just folly.

AND, this business of trying to reign in women's rights as a way to be more pious is also folly; in a nation were women are 51% of the population, vote, work, pay taxes, are an economics force to be reckoned with, own property and are free to express themselves is, well. . .folly.

If the right who are religious [any many are not as evidenced by their behavior behind closed doors], want to change the nation, they should concentrate on raising their families with THEIR core values and in the end, hope the kids are well taught enough to live those values. Otherwise, leave me and my family alone. . .we have our own values to which we must contend.

Posted by: Rockerbabe on April 6, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly