Saturday, September 12, 2009

The 9/12 Marchers and the Far Right Subversives

By Frank Schaeffer

Who are these people?! Where do they come from?! Ordinary Americans might wonder why anyone would stoop so low as to follow Glenn Beck, Fox News and Dick Armey (and their corporate sponsors masquerading as "FreedomWorks") as they organize their "9/12 March On Washington" to cynically exploit the 9/11 attack.

Patriotic Americans might question the organizer's aim to provide a media forum for dimwitted right wingers to scream "Liar!" "Socialist!" "Antichrist!" "Muslim!" "Death Panels!" "He's not an American!" and so on and on and on about the commander in chief charged with defending us from further attacks. And some people might even cry "shame on you!" to the more mainstream Republicans participating that include Dick Armey of FreedomWorks, as well as GOP Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Pence of Indiana, Tom Price of Georgia, and South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint.

Ordinary folks from Planet Earth may ask why the Republican Party, right-wing activists and members of the Religious Right seem so unreachable with mere facts let alone decency and decorum. (As the proud father of a US Marine who fought in Afghanistan I'm particularly outraged that these people would exploit the 9/11 attacks after my son and others were prepared to give their lives in response to our enemies.)

As a former Religious Right leader, who was raised (and home-schooled by my Evangelical-leader parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer) in the movement, let me explain just why the ordinary rules of decency don't apply to the right these days.

Let me also answer this question: Who are these people?

Protecting Your Children From Satan

A big part of the answer to understanding the heightened climate of outright hate and fear of the "other" is the home school and Christian school movement. It is a modern incarnation of the anti-federal government ideology of earlier firebrands such as John Calhoun who was the 7th Vice President and a Southern politician in the 19th century. Calhoun embraced slavery, states' rights, limited government, and said that Americans should secede from the union if it went against their wishes. (See: "Calhoun Conservatism Raises Its Ugly Head" by Mike Lux in the Huffington Post Sept 11/09.)

In the early 1970s the evangelicals like my late father and James Dobson decided that the our society had fallen so far "away from God" and so far from "America's Christian history" that it was time to metaphorically decamp to not just another country but to another planet:. In other words virtually unnoticed by the media and mainstream political operatives, a big chunk of American society seceded from the union in all but name.

What they did is turn the white race-based in "Christian school" movement of the 1950s into a countercultural phenomena. As tens of thousands of new Christian schools opened, it was no longer just about "protecting" white kids from minorities and African-Americans. It was about protecting your children from Satan in other words the United States government's long reach through the public school system.

To protect your children from Satan -- in other words mainstream, open patriotic and pluralistic America -- you either kept them at home where mom and dad could teach the children right from wrong or send them to a cloistered private evangelical/fundamentalist school. At home or in school you used curriculum prepared by the likes of James--beat-your-child-and-dare-to-discipline-Dobson, RJ-slavery-was-a-good-thing-Rushdoony, or many and other right-wing anti-American activists. That curriculum presented "secular America" as downright evil. Hating the USA became next to godliness.

The Anti-American Home Schoolers Come Of Age

We are now several generations into this experiment of holier-than-thou withdrawal from our American mainstream culture. If you wonder who it is that's both running and underwriting organizations such as the Family Research Council, Focus On The Family, Freedom Works and other organizers of the 9/12 March and who are most faithful followers the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh or viewers of Fox News your answer is: it's the home school/Christian school generation of men and women now hitting their thirties and even forties who might as well have been raised on a different planet.

What are these home school and Christian school children taught? Here's a quote from one of the far right's leading home school curricula creators:

"The stranger in ancient Israel did not serve as a judge, although he received all the benefits of living in the land. The political question is this: By what biblical standard is the pagan to be granted the right to bring political sanctions against God's people? We recognize that unbelievers are not to vote in Church elections. Why should they be allowed to vote in civil elections in a covenanted Christian nation? Which judicial standards will they impose? By what other standard than the Bible?"

(Gary North of Institute For Christian Economics)

The generation raised on the belief that the US government is illegitimate because it is trying to "impose" non-biblical laws on people has hit the streets. These are the people who grew up indoctrinated into an alternative reality. Today they are out there waving signs of Obama dressed as Hitler. They are buying weapons and ammunition. Some are in the growing and revived militia movement. They are Dick Armey's foot soldiers. People like Armey and Beck can count on the ignorance of their dupes. It's against their religion to read a real newspaper, watch anything but Fox or go to a real school.

Evangelical Red Guards

Over the last 30 years Evangelical fundamentalists have managed to do what Chairman Mao failed to do with his Red Guards: indoctrinate a whole generation of evangelical people to see their own society as the enemy and act like subversives from within the culture. These people are more anti-American than Al-Qaeda. The "Christian Reconstruction" movement is working for theocracy. Reconstructionism (of which Gary North is one leader) says that the law given for the political and legal ordering of ancient Israel is intended for all people at all times.

Reconstructionist leader David Barton gives a definition:

"The Christian goal for the world is the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics, in which every area of life is redeemed and placed under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the rule of God's law."


Who are Glenn Beck's foot soldiers? In effect what we have is a group of indoctrinated people who have never actually lived in America because they were brought up deliberately cloistered from it by their parents and churches. Because they are legally "Americans" they can move freely around our democracy trying to destroy it working within the United States. Today they are acting like a fifth column, no, they are a fifth column. Some of them have not just seceded metaphorically, there is even a growing movement for states to secede literally.

Today the right wing America haters actually are doing to America what no "illegal" immigrants ever do: work to overthrow our democracy and replace it with a theocracy. The home-schooled, privately educated brainwashed horde are an antidemocratic, fundamentally anti-American political movement. For a start they do not accept the results of the last election.

Liberal/Progressive Wishful Thinking and Blindness

Meanwhile those ordinary Americans including many Democrats, progressives and liberal's who work within the system can hardly imagine that there are people so far outside the lines of what they regard as ordinary decent behavior that the progressives seem psychologically unequipped to deal with this reality.

President Obama is one such person. His talk of bipartisanship is a pipe dream. Why?

Bipartisan Pipe Dream

Because you can't be bipartisan with people who don't play by the same rules--say accepting the will of the people -- as you do. Obama is not alone in his gentlemanly wishful thinking. For instance consider New York Times book review editor Sam Tanenhaus saying in his book (The Death of Conservatism) that the the conservative movement is over.

Tanenhaus rightly points out that the extremism of the right has driven away traditional Republicans. I ought to know! I, as a life-long Republican and former Religious Right activist helped create this situation. But Tanenhaus and others like him just don't get the fact that the far right is resurgent, in fact more dangerous than ever as a wounded animal is dangerous. They don't get it because kindly liberals also live in a bubble.

The kindly liberal reasonable bubble of an open liberal culture in which reason, argument in fact prevails is far removed from the other America, one of militia training camps, fundamentalist churches, parents who follow Dobson's "parenting" advice by "breaking" their children and whipping them (as Dobson tells them to do in his books) and thus raising the damaged and dangerous automatons of biblical vengeance and sadism.

The Last Chess Game You'll Ever Play

What reasonable people don't understand is this: if one person is playing chess abiding by the rules and their opponent is losing at the chess game it may appear that they have lost the match. But what if one person is willing to change the rules? For instance, if you're playing chess against someone who -- if they start losing -- takes a lead pipe out of their back pocket and smashes you over the head with it the "rules" change.

Serial Killers

The real story of the Religious Right and their power to destroy is told by Max Blumenthal in Republican Gomorrah, and Jeff Sharlet in The Family and by me in Crazy For God. What our books have in common is the understanding that you can lose in the political system but still "win" -- according to your destructive agenda -- if your agenda is non-political but rather religious and apocalyptic in nature.

To understand the Religious Right today and how dangerous they are don't think politics-- think serial killers who "win" by "getting even" with the society they perceive as having disrespected them. It isn't about facts. It isn't about election results. It isn't about truth. It's about victimhood and revenge on the "elite" in other words on everyone not like you. It is about the weird combination of sadism and masochism Blumenthal describes in his book.

Think Republicans who have no plan of their own for health care reform other than stopping Obama. Think "Deathers" and "Birthers" who are all about de-legitimizing our system as "evil" because it includes rights for gays.

New Rules: Anarchy and Scorched Earth

What those who think that the power of the Religious Right and/or the Republicans is ended don't understand is that it's only ended if you believe in the rules. When I say the rules I mean, for instance, that if you lose an election the other side gets to legislate. However if your opponent is not interested in the rules and is, A) waiting for Jesus to return and consume all the "infidels" or, B) you are just waiting to take that "lead pipe" out of your back pocket -- say go to public meetings and intimidate people by carrying loaded weapons to those meetings -- or worse, maybe even use them to shoot down someone -- all polite bets are off!

The fact of the matter is we now know what the experiment in raising children outside of the American mainstream means. It means that there's a whole subculture within American culture that mistrusts facts precisely because they are facts. They glory an alternative view of not just politics but of reality.

They frequent the creationist museum and look at dioramas of dinosaurs cavorting with humans. They believe that gay people choose to be gay just stick it to the rest of us and could change if they invite Jesus into their hearts. They believe that before you run for governor of Alaska, for instance, you should get a preacher specializing in "casting out the spirit of witchcraft" to anoint you so you can win against the demonic forces of secularism -- as was the case with Sarah Palin when she first ran for governor. They believe that the NRA was telling the truth when they claimed that Obama would "take away your guns" and so have loaded up with more guns and ammunition. They think the time has come to rise up and overthrow the government. And yes, most of them also believe that black people are inferior to whites, so to have a black man in the White House is itself "proof" of American's fall from grace.

There's no arguing with such people and no winning against them using mere elections. They are not playing by American rules. Their idea of winning is not fair elections but Armageddon.

Religious Right Growing Again

Those who say that the Religious Right and the far right have lost their power are looking through the lens of rule-obeying democratic liberalism. They don't understand that their opponents will always carry the proverbial lead pipe in his or her back pocket. To the progressives who think that the Religious Right and the right wing has lost its power I say this: You're correct when it comes to political facts (for the moment) of the last election, but you're dead wrong when it comes to the way revolutions work.

Second American "Tea Party" Revolution

Revolutionaries never have played by the rules. They don't have to win by the rules. They hate the rules. They don't live in a rule based or fact based universe.

They believe they are serving a "higher cause" so it makes the "mere human" rules unimportant. They're ready to shout down opponents, call out "liar" about someone telling the truth, undermine public meetings and/or commit physical violence. They are also willing to become the tools of cynical corporate lobbyists using them for ulterior purposes, say stalling health care reform.

In order to "win" -- in other words destroy our country as we know it -- the far right merely needs to be true to its own rule which is, to put it very mildly, that coloring outside the lines is not only perfectly okay but required.

Conclusion

Not only do the Religious Right distrust facts to them facts are evil. You are "satanic" if you believe in evolution. You're also satanic if you believe health-care reform is about anything but death panels and abortions. You're satanic if you don't believe that gay people are evil or that if you think sex education is sensible. You're satanic if you don't believe in Satan!

The tactics that progressives develop for actually winning against the right have to involve far more than politics. They have to also involve ceaseless vigilance against an enemy that has now -- literally -- raised up an armed, paranoid and deluded alternative nation within our borders and created a fifth column to undermine the United States and our democracy. They need to be called out by the rest of us in no uncertain terms.

Long term the Religious Right subculture has to be understood, then exposed for what it is: an anti-democracy movement built on willful lies with potentially violent underpinnings in the thrall of an apocalyptic cult of revenge on everyone not like "us." It is also the useful tool of corporate lobbyists. Who use these shock troops of the proudly ignorant for non-ideological reasons.

The Religious Right may have lost a round politically but they've still got a "lead pipe" in their back pocket. They can still "win" by making the rest of us lose our democracy by increments. They will even spit in the rest of our faces by exploiting the national tragedy of 9/11 in their 9/12 March.

Frank Schaeffer is the author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and the forthcoming Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion (Or Atheism)

40 comments:

gmftech said...

Maybe the religious right needs to team up with the radical muslims...they can split the difference.

Ben said...

Over generalization. There are a mixture of agendas. Tax protest, Federal debt protest, anti-war protest, etc. There are also some that believe 9/11 was perpetrated by the Bush administration to further his war agenda. In the liberty movement there are evangelicals, atheists, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Mormons, agnostics, and plenty of people who just want to orchestrate their own lives and could care less about what people believe about God.

Frank, maybe you could clear this all up if you would just write an article about your views on the Constitution.

rp said...

I am of course a member of that generation of Evangelicals raised in this way, and my parents used the language of revolution throughout my childhood. The most important point I think to remember is that you can't use reason or logic to fight this movement directly, but you CAN use reason and logic to appeal to those outside the movement. My hope is that Obama and others like him will be able to pull the independents and non-Evangelicals in the Republican party towards him, but at the moment he's not doing a very good job. He needs to be as passionate as the Glenn Beck's of the world -- the stakes are pretty high when you have a significant portion of society rallying around these leaders -- and so far, I don't see this passion in his Presidency. Hopefully as the mantle of the office settles on him more firmly he will begin to step up to the plate. The other side is already there in spades.

Ben Daniel said...

Frank,

Thanks for rescuing the concept of "Patriotism" from those who have no concept of what Patriotism is all about. I remember seeing a clip of Glen Beck in front of a group of Texan Tea Partiers who were calling for Texas to break away from the Union. In response to this, Glen Beck said "These people love America."(!?)It reminded me of a bumper sticker I saw in Tennessee just after 9/11 that depicted a Confederate battle flag and the words "United We Stand." Duh. It would be funny if it weren't so dangerous.

Keep up the good work.

Ben Daniel

conscious at last said...

Thank you for all of your very valuable work. Your voice is essential now. Your explanation of the problem is very clear. What do you think are reasonable and intelligent ways of dealing with this situation ?? Please Respond !

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cs harris said...

Thank you for this. I've been reading and reading about this movement (just finished your Crazy for God, BTW; wonderful), but I never could quite manage to understand the mental disconnect these people display. Something in this essay of yours finally 'clicked'. But it's all the more terrifying because you can neither reason with this kind of mentality, nor educate a stubbornly closed mind.

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi all: Frank here, Thanks all of you for the comments. Yes, I generalize here. The fact that this is more complicated and that there are exceptions doesn't change a thing about the basic danger of unlimited stupidity on the right combined with fear of the "other." As to what to do about this, well, we need to keep talking, writing and screaming bloody murder, before there are real murders, all too real a possibility when you look at the hate-filled mob. The protests are all about Obama, not the issues. If deficits were the issue the same crowd would have marched against Bush. It is -- so sorry to say -- about one thing: a black man in the White House.

Dress it up, but that's what it boils down to. Then there is the fear of the "other" born of the fact that the religious right fears facts, can't deal with them because they live in a mythological universe of the "Return of Christ" creationism, guns-make-you-safe, gays are dangerous on and on ... all stories. Somewhere deep inside the evangelicals etc., know that what they believe is being -- and has been -- disproved. So they feel deeply inferior and angry. That makes them incredibly dangerous.

Karen Ashley Greenstone said...

Frank, this post helps me understand better what you've been saying about the religious far-right. The thing that seems almost hopeless is that, when people believe that they represent the one right way sanctioned by God, there doesn't seem any possibility of building a bridge to talk with them. Anything that differs from their one right way is dismissed out of hand. So how can any conversation take place?

One thing that seemed hopeful to me in Crazy For God and in excerpts I've read from your coming book Patience With God is your description of the intolerable conflict you felt when you were working for the religious far-right, a conflict between your stated beliefs and your actual experience of reality. At a time when anyone observing you from the outside would have said, "This Frank Schaeffer is a hard-core religious right person," the truth is that you were extremely conflicted within yourself and that it wouldn't be long before you would leave the religious right. Since the religious far-right IS so out of sync with reality, might this not be an increasingly intolerable conflict for some of them, even though they APPEAR hard-core, just as it was for you. Could we not speak to that part of those on the religious far-right, those who feel (however dimly) this conflict?

Unfortunately, now that I've read this post, I have a different thought. It reminds me of what I learned when I studied verbally abusive relationships, where Partner A is coming from a one-up/one-down model and uses verbal abuse to keep self in a one-up position and the other in a one-down position. Partner B, on the other hand, is coming from a cooperative model, where the expectation is that both partners share the goal of using talk to build personal connection and intimacy. The result is that Partner B keeps trying to fit Partner A's verbal abuse into the cooperative model and keeps trying and failing to build connections, feeling more and more frustrated, blaming self, and giving Partner A the satisfaction of being one-up. Partner B simply cannot imagine anyone using talk to establish dominance over the other and keeps responding "reasonably"--and it doesn't work. This is what I hear you saying about the way reasonable people respond to the religious far-right, not realizing that the far-right group is not operating reasonably and will not respond to reason. And it's extremely hard to motivate Partner A to change.

Frank, do you have any thoughts about what I said in my second paragraph, about speaking to the conflicted part of people on the religious far-right?

debinOH said...

I think that every person in America should have to read the three books you mentioned in your article. Coming from that horrendous background I know that what you say is absolutely true.

"Normal" people don't believe it. They haven't been behind the scenes to see these people in action. Quite frankly people think I'm nuts to even be slightly worried about what these people are doing to our country. I am afraid they aren't going to wake up in time to prevent a war in our own country.

People also can't believe that "Christians" would harm us. What they fail to realize like you said is that they aren't playing by normal rules. They are on a mission from God. The rules don't apply anymore.

I hope that president Obama and his people start realizing it (maybe they do?) or I am afraid we are in big trouble although I have no idea how you can put this genie back in the bottle.

We may just have to leave our country......

Devans00 said...

Frank,

I enjoy reading your articles and seeing your interviews because I believe you have a lot of credibility to talk about the American subculture you know so well.

Please keep up your work of enlightening us who are not familiar with the Republican Party, right-wing activists and members of the Religious Right world view.

Faithless said...

Thank you, Frank, for speaking out so clearly. I, too, am a product of the religious right. I attended Bob Jones Academy while in high school. We homeschooled our son for years. I left Christianity in my forties, and the process was difficult, painful, and tortured. It cost me all my extended family - they all remain in the religious right.

You have described the situation perfectly.

I have been trying to explain all this to friends for a very long time, mostly without success. They simply see me as "obsessed" with the subject and way too dramatic. They do not understand, or they don't believe, that the people I grew up around will settle for nothing less than a theocracy, with their religious views the law of the land.

matt said...

Frank. Thank you for displaying a distorted view of the tea party movement. This is not what it is about. Its about protesting government expansion, government run healthcare, higher taxation. Both democrats and republicans are guilty of this. Our president wants to be the big uniter but he will be the one who will break this country apart with his socialst views. If you want to be like Europe then go live over there. If you want to have crappy universal healthcare then go live in Canada, UK or Russia. Nobody force you to live here. The constitution is written to prevent the federal government from obtaining power over the states and the people, this is what they are trying to do.

Do you Frank want the government to dictate to you where you can go, what you can wear and what you can eat, what you can think and feel. If you do then go live in China or North Korea. This is what these people are protesting. Expanding government.

We fought tyrranic King George for freedom and independence. I be damned if we will lose it again.

Cash Gorman said...

I doubt if you've ever been out of your own state let alone the country Matt. Contrary to what you've been told Canada has very good health care, they live longer, have lower childhood mortality rates and nobody has to declare bankruptcy because they had the gall to get sick.

PersonalFailure said...

Do you Frank want the government to dictate to you where you can go, what you can wear and what you can eat, what you can think and feel.


what does that have to do with my husband getting health insurance?

BeamStalk said...

Matt, I keep these facts special for people like you, although it is as Frank said, you will ignore facts for lies.

Life expectancy at birth (years)

1. Japan — 82.6
38. USA — 78.2

World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems (2000)

1. France
37. USA

Total health expenditures per capita, 2003

United States $5711
Australia $2886
Austria $2958
Belgium $3044
Canada $2998
Denmark $2743
Finland $2104
France $3048
Germany $2983
Ireland $2466
Italy $2314
Japan $2249
Netherlands $2909
Norway $3769
Sweden $2745
United Kingdom $2317

To conclude I will bring you a little comment from this blog - http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/23988.html

"Now I don’t know why quitters like Sarah Palin and second-raters like Newt Gingrich don’t think Americans are smart enough and tough enough to beat the goddamn French and Japanese on living the longest. But I for one say that we can do it. And if those asswipes don’t fuck it up with their whining and their second-guessing, we’re sure as hell GOING to do it.

Goddammit, this is the country that marched into France and took care of their Nazi problem for ‘em! And now Sarah Palin is telling us that those Frogs are better than us at kicking the shit out of germs and cancer and friggin’ heart disease? The fuck they are! That goddamn Wasilla quitter may be scared of a challenge, but I’ll put my money on real Americans having the stones to square off against a bunch of existential philosophers."

booger321 said...

My wife and I are old hippie budhists. We homeschooled our two sons through high school because of the horrid deterioration of our public school system. We used the whack job religious curiculums we had to employ from time to time to illustrate the absurdities of right-wing christian thought.
But to imply that all protests against confiscatory taxation, nanny-state intrusion into personal affairs and honest scepticism about the Kim Il Sung-like quasi-deification of President Obama, is to be immediately dimissed as the instrument of blind "christian" bigotry is simply wrong. Remember, George Harrison wrote "Taxman"!

johnson said...

Once again you fail to admit the truth, and to my mind that makes me suspect that your current position is merely a result of holding a spittle wetted finger to the wind and walking, sideways, in that direction.

The truths you need to face are these:
1. 9/11 was a result of our government. While I personally believe the United States government was directly responsible for bringing down WTC 1 & 2, the cruise missile strike in the Pentagon, and the cruise missile that crashed in Pennsylvania, our government is equally culpable even if all they did was "let" it happen.

2. Because the Taliban government, and Al-Qaeda were not responsible for the disasters of 9/11, our war in Afghanistan is based only on lies and is illegal.

3. Our invasion and current occupation of Iraq is based on statements made by, hopefully, soon, ex-President Bush, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, et al which then were thought to be, and now are known to be, lies. There never were any weapons of mass destruction. Sadaam Hussein never had nuclear weapons programs. The Iraqi government never had any connection with Al-Qaeda, because, in the first case, well, it didn't, and in the second place, Al-Qaeda had nothing afoot for which Iraq might have had a connection since 9/11 was not an Al-Qaeda operation.

3. Both of our wars, being illegal, the American soldiers in those countries are no better than terrorists. The people they kill are freedom fighters and non-combatants. Each and every one of those deaths, BY OUR STANDARDS, are murders.

4. Because the lies in the first two statements are a matter of public knowledge and are known, or should be known, by every American, because all American terrorists (sometimes incorrectly called soldiers) murdering innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan are serving voluntarily they are actively and intentionally serving as part of a conspiracy to commit murder, and are therefore murders.

5. Therefore every terrorist who comes back in a box has gotten the punishment they deserve, every terrorist who comes back merely wounded should count itself lucky, and every terrorist who comes back unharmed should be held before an international tribunal and sentenced for its culpability in those murders.

Why won't you call a spade a spade and begin to speak the truth?

Robert Booth
booth.robert.e@gmail.com

johnson said...

BeamStalk>> Are you for real? WWII as evidence of what the stones of real Americans can accomplish? Have you watched Amercian television lately? It only proves the unintelligence of the average American. I still chuckle about what I heard a friend sayalmost 20 years ago, "No one ever last a buck betting against the intelligence of the average American consumer." We are the most unhealthy because we are the most easily lead by our noses. We are the most easily led by our noses because we are the most uninformed. We are the most uninformed because we are the least well read, and the most uneducated about foreign language and culture.

sorry to bust your bubble about american supremacy

BeamStalk said...

Wow a twoofer. Johnson you are exactly the type of person this article is about. You will continue to ignore the actual facts and blame it on some conspiracy, that has no evidence to show for itself.

Also that sound you are hearing is coming partially from the hollows of your cranium and the joke going right over your head.

johnson said...

matt>> what parallel universe did you come in from, buddy? In this one, here is the truth about the Canadian health system, at least it is one man's experience:

I was married to a woman from Canada. About 3 years before we met she, at the age of about 30 was diagnosed with breast cancer. In less than a week of the diagnosis she was admitted to the Tom Baker Cancer Center in Calgary, a leading cancer treatment center, given several thorough physical screenings and given surgery to remove as much of the cancer as was practical. Because the treatment was state of the art neither a partial nor radical mastectomy was performed even though the cancer was quite advanced. As soon as possible after the surgery she was started on Chemo-therapy (which was so state of the art, and so tailored to her that she didn't lose her hair, although she did suffer with terrible nausea), which, eventually allowed her to outlive the cancer that would have killed her, likely, in the USA, for lack of healthcare insurance. And if she had been treated in the USA she would have been left breast-less (because USA cancer treatment mostly took, especially for the uninsured/underinsured, a "one-size-fits-all" approach), and bankrupt for the cost. Two years after we married, while living in your "wonderful" USA, TBCC contacted her and asked that she go to a regional cancer center for follow-up. They just wanted to make sure everything was going ok. The state we were living in required employers to provide healthcare but she had already found out that as her cancer was pre-existing any treatment she needed for it would not be covered by the healthcare insurance. TBCC covered the cost. A small tumor was discovered. TBCC, AT ITS OWN EXPENSE (paid, ultimately by the Canadian healthcare system), had thrice weekly concoctions of chemotherapy sent to that cancer center for administration. After 3 weeks, when it was discovered that the regional cancer center had botched an MRI so badly that a tumor on her brainstem went undetected, TBCC, again at its expense and ultimately the Canadian healthcare system, had her return to Canada so they could supervise he treatment directly. After many months of treatment she survived both cancers, and is alive, again, thanks to a healthcare system that works.

At about that time I, through my employer, became eligible for inclusion of my family in my healthcare insurance. What I discovered was that although treatment of her cancer was not deniable as pre-existing (go figure, the pre-existing exclusion didn't apply to family member, only to the primary insured), the cost to cover my family would have been so much that I would have been able to either, pay out rent, or buy food, but not both.

That, brother, is a whacked system.

By the way... her cost for the millions of dollars worth of healthcare she received: zero dollars. And that's zero dollars whether you think in USD or CD. Zero is zero.

I don't know what Canadian healthcare system you're talking about, Matt, but is not the one just north of these United States. I'd say before you starting shooting make sure of your spotter, your target and your backdrop. In this case you have believed spotters who are simply liars with black hearts so you've wasted ammunition of a target that doesn't exist.

johnson said...

BeamStalk>> As to conspiracy: all explanations for what happened on 9/11/01 are conspiracy based. It was either:
1. a conspiracy of Islamic extremists with no knowledge or involvement of the USA government.
2. a conspiracy of Islamic extremists the plans of which were known by our government but allowed to happen.
3. a conspiracy by our government and made to look, badly, like #1.

If it was #1, why was there never a review of who failed? Even the commanding officer of Pearl Harbor was court-martialed for "allowing" that attack. But no heads rolled for 9/11. The reason is that to have had THAT inquiry would have brought out the truth of the matter.

If not #3, how could commercial jets, which don't have the structural integrity to fly 500+ mph at 1000' elevation, have been clock at those speeds as they leveled off over New York before hitting the twin towers? Commercial jets would have been ground to dust by the air they were flying through at those speeds. Cruise missiles, on the other hand are build to make exactly that sort of attack.

But you saw it on TV, you say? I bet you're one of those people who thinks they actually saw live fireworks during the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies. By the way, I have some nice real estate between Seattle and Bainbridge Island I think you might be interested in. Let me know. On second thought, I'm through with you, so don't bother.

BeamStalk said...

Not that I really expect you to read and learn but everything you say has already been debunked for awhile now.

http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/06-09-11

Sorry the science is my side and it is strong.

Notice I said conspiracy theories without evidence. All the evidence points to terrorists and terrorists alone.

The stupid twoofer is stupid.

Artgirl said...
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Paul said...

I have some close relatives who are fervid evanglicals.What I learned long before knowing of Frank Schaefer is that they are totally immune to facts that contradict their belief systems. Creationism is a scientifically supported fact; global warming is a hoax; deforestation is a hoax, and, most mystifying of all is the totally un-Christian view that it is evil to support health care for poor people. The Christ of the Gospels would roll over in his grave (metaphorically) if he heard supposed Christians protesting everything He preached about helping the poor.

Thank you Frank. I'm going to send your Crazy for God book to them, even though I know they'll hate it and will no doubt conclude that I belong in hell.

Osprey said...

I just learned about you tonight when I saw you on MSNBC, then listened to you talk about Crazy For God on CSPAN, then read your website. I grew up in and subsequently escaped a charismatic upbringing plus eventually left the Republican Party as well. Regardless, I find this current blog post a very interesting perspective.

I do think there is an unwritten story to all of this - technology. Yes, we've all read how technology will/has fulfill(ed) Biblical prophecies. Change has existed from the beginning of human history and technology has accelerated human change (social, cultural, economic, etc.). The next decades will literally transform human history as a result of accelerating technological change (e.g. Ray Kurzweil and the Technological Singularity).

Part of this hard right wing fundamentalist backlash and response is against this accelerating technological change and the accelerating interconnectedness of people worldwide. No group likes their faithful (i.e. controlled) constantly exposed to the free exchange of ideas, philosophies, worldviews, etc., hence the Great Firewall of China blocking the internet and the suppression of the Twitter Revolution in Iran.

I believe accelerating technological change is the wildcard in the future as the human experience will be completely transformed. The right wing fundamentalist backlash includes a Luddite element and flavor to it. I'll leave any apocalyptic implications aside.

All the Best, David

Kristen said...

Hey Frank,
I write as a Democrat who is a liberal evangelical. I also love socialized medicine and I also really appreciated your parents. You do damage in painting all evangelicals a certain way. Frankly not all that many are reconstructionists (I dont know any) and they are not all a threatening sort of people who want to take over the country. I also dont know any who talk about beating their children as the way to discipline them. Perhaps it would be good to separate 'evangelical' from 'fundamentalist'. I too am appalled by how the Republicans are talking and acting, but not all of them are evangelicals. There are too many good and educated evangelicals out there to just write them all off as you have. The ones I know are good and decent people, quick to help a neighbor in need. You are doing what you accuse them of- with broadsweeping generalizations and pulling out the worst examples to focus on. You are doing your own part to deepen the schism between right and left.

Egmont van Dyck said...

More and more I am ashamed to be living in this country. Ignorance is the destruction of this nation.

Steven Banks said...

This whole discussion, begun by Schaeffer, is sad. It is destructive, divisive, and hateful. The very violation of the heart we should have whatever our point of view or religion. None of what has been written here, except for Kristen above, is helpful to the resolution of our national problems or to the harmony of humankind.

Frank, you are violating the very principles you supposedly uphold. It seems to me that you, and the diciples you've so longed to create, the hypocrites around here. You have become an angry man who is enslaved by your bitterness. Until you can stop lashing out at your parents you will have nothing valuable to contribute to the conversation. So shut up.

marmie said...

Such fear- and hate-mongering, Frank! Wow, the far right must still be proud of you. Your generalizations are so "out there" - I'm a homeschooler who vehemently disagrees with the theonomists but now I've been tarred with the same brush. Thanks.

Geoff in Bellevue said...

He's a "thinker" but he's no "chip off the block" when it comes to philosophy. I went to a life changing seminar in Calgary with the L'Abri people in 1975, and his father and the rest of the people who came and spoke were in the solid Evangelical camp BUT were also focused on engaging the culture. Hans Rookmaaker himself said "Christians are ... Read Morelike cola. Mostly water, with just 5% syrup" by which he meant Christians were mostly human like everyone else. The L'Abri people where Frank came from were fighting against isolationism. The people I know are still about serving God and engaging the culture, not abandoning it or hitting it with a lead pipe.

Frank, whatever you've got going on, it's not good.

tapestryofgrace said...

Franky, when your father was raising you the way you describe, I was growing up on the far left. It seems we've crossed paths over the year--I've moved on from marching against the Vietnam War to homeschooling my own children. Both of us have learned from our experiences--but we seem to have learned the opposite lesson.

Here's the good news--there's one right answer for every single soul on earth. Each one of us must encounter Christ in our own way. When we do, He becomes our only agenda. That sets us free from right, left, pro-American, anti-American, and every other thing that divides us.

Kwach said...

I just want to let you know how much your voice and your insight is needed and appreciated, Mr. Schaeffer. I, too, am a recovering evangelical, and crazy for God is a perfect way to put it. Please keep up the wonderful work you are doing.

Folk Artist K Arthur said...

Thanks for the laugh! I havent rolled my eyes that far back in my head since I was a teenager..have you even listened to the "other side" or talk to one from the "other side" ?bless America and I thank God everyday that we have freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

I think there are too many people arguing about the pitifully small amounts of truth they think they know. If anyone believes that the Evil One is not behind the mayhem of this world, that would be naive. Conspiracy or not, an agenda exists to drive Christ from the world and subjugate all mankind to his evil will. How does Satan do this? Create confusion, hatred, factions, lies, and all manner of deceits. Those who have the pollyanna belief that the governments of today are like our fathers full of providential care for the lowly citizens, are biased and hardened to any theories or evidence that is contrary to mainstream medias reportings of events and news. Those who are afraid of something sinister behind every rock, have trouble discerning who to trust, even those who are a part of a good organization.
There is Absolute Truth about all things, but people are the fallible elements, not God. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and ALL things will be added unto you."

sid said...

Good work.Keep it up.Someone said, "Falsehood and deceit shun investigation, truth invites it" . Remember the now discontinued slogan on Fox News, " We report--You decide." There should have been, in bold letters an acknowledgement--"BUT WE DECIDE WHAT TO REPORT"

Anonymous said...

Frank I enjoy your work. I am a progressive evangelical and I am getting to the point that calling myself evangelical is something that I am less and less comfortable with. Not all evangelicals are hateful, arrogant, ignorant, warmongers but most of the hateful, arrogant, ignorant, warmongers that I know are evangelicals

Anonymous said...

Frank said: "As to what to do about this, well, we need to keep talking, writing and screaming bloody murder, before there are real murders, all too real a possibility when you look at the hate-filled mob."

Frank - According to your own words in this article, you and your kind are the "hate-filled mob". And you are going after "the other" that you condemn as not part of your own mindset. You my friend, are a very dangerous man and I truly pity anybody who gets in your way.

traces2757 said...

Frank, I watched the Rachel Maddow show segment on 11/17 where you talked about the "prayer for Obama" fad. Every single thing that you said was what I have been thinking. Thank you for articulating it so well!

All this hate, viciousness, lying, fear-mongoring, violence incitement. It's not funny. It's frightening. As a progressive Christian (which the fundies would say is a contradiction in terms), I and liberals like me are, increasingly, a target of vicious hatred. We would be wrong to not take it seriously.

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Richard Ramsey said...

Frank Schaeffer: "And yes, most of them also believe that black people are inferior to whites, so to have a black man in the White House is itself "proof" of American's fall from grace."

Frank,

Seriously? Seriously?? "Most?" You once were in a unique position to get Evangelicals to take a look at themselves and ask some probing questions. And, I do believe many would have listened. The legitimate grievances you have and the salient points you could make are getting garbled by all the foam in your mouth.

You angrily and sloppily equivocate all right-of-center theologically conservative Christians. By alleging that "these people" base their beliefs and actions on delusions and are violent racists intent on destroying the country, you are displaying the very hateful paranoia and intolerance that you are condemning. You've traded one apocalyptic metanarrative for another.

I, too, find Christian Reconstructionists' rhetoric alarming, and when Evangelicals become acquainted with that movement they are usually alarmed as well. But, you continually equivocate the two-even to the point of calling Sarah Palin a Reconstructionist (Your HuffPo article: Killing Uganda's Gays: The Long Reach of American "Reconstructionist" Fascism). If Palin were truly a Reconstructionist, she would have never run for political office (because Reconstructionists hold that a woman cannot run for civil office). She is, by nature of being a female political figure, anti-reconstructionist.

As a Quaker, I don't consider myself a "Evangelical" in the social-politcal-cultural sense in which the term is now used. I suppose I could be identified as such when the definition is based on historical theological beliefs. And, I am absolutely NOT a Reconstructionist.

While I am going to homeschool my children, it is not because I wish to shield them from Satan/evils of a secular world, but because I wish to shield them from a substandard education, which, sadly, is what the public schools in my area (and in much of the country) are likely to offer. This is the same reason Barrack Obama won't send his kids to public school.

Admittedly, I hope to utilize the homeschooling experience to instill Christian values and beliefs. But, my decision to homeschool is based largely on statistics that show that homeschool children tend to outperform public school children and that public schools are, academically speaking, in a downward spiral.

Would you stave off the threat of theocracy by taking this educational and parental right away from me? Should all American citizens be forced to educate their children in a way that you and your current camp consider mainstream? Should Quiverfull Reconstructionists be sterilized so as not outnumber the secular liberals who just don't seem to have the...guts...to reproduce in comparable numbers? What's your final solution to this impending doom?

Part of my concerted effort to engage reality is that I notice how poor quality and diminished quantity seems to be a trademark of government-run social services. And that the spending required to facilitate these subpar programs drives up national debt and taxes. I also can't help but notice that the left's constant, hysterical assertion that passionate criticism inevitably leads to violence against the criticized is, in and of itself, a passionate criticism.

I imagine many right-leaning Christians and tea-partiers have made the same observations independent of divine or delusional revelation.

Richard Ramsey