Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Thought Experiment--The Islamic "Narrative" and the American "Narrative"

Op-Ed Columnist Thomas Friedman's editorial in today's New York Times , "America vs. The Narrative", sparked this thought:

If the Islamic world has a fantasy "narrative" about America and our intentions, don't we ourselves --- those within the American religious right --- have a similarly misinformed "narrative"?

Here's my thought experiment: Read Friedman's original, posted below for your convenience, then read my Americanized version which follows. All I've done is change a few names and issues and you'll get the point.

We have our own religious/political myths and they are no less dangerous...

Here's the Friedman original:

What should we make of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who apparently killed 13 innocent people at Fort Hood?

Here’s my take: Major Hasan may have been mentally unbalanced — I assume anyone who shoots up innocent people is. But the more you read about his support for Muslim suicide bombers, about how he showed up at a public-health seminar with a PowerPoint presentation titled “Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam,” and about his contacts with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric famous for using the Web to support jihadist violence against America — the more it seems that Major Hasan was just another angry jihadist spurred to action by “The Narrative.”

What is scary is that even though he was born, raised and educated in America, The Narrative still got to him.

The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books — and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes — this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand “American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy” to keep Muslims down.

Yes, after two decades in which U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny — in Bosnia, Darfur, Kuwait, Somalia, Lebanon, Kurdistan, post-earthquake Pakistan, post-tsunami Indonesia, Iraq and Afghanistan — a narrative that says America is dedicated to keeping Muslims down is thriving.

Although most of the Muslims being killed today are being killed by jihadist suicide bombers in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Indonesia, you’d never know it from listening to their world. The dominant narrative there is that 9/11 was a kind of fraud: America’s unprovoked onslaught on Islam is the real story, and the Muslims are the real victims — of U.S. perfidy.

Have no doubt: we punched a fist into the Arab/Muslim world after 9/11, partly to send a message of deterrence, but primarily to destroy two tyrannical regimes — the Taliban and the Baathists — and to work with Afghans and Iraqis to build a different kind of politics. In the process, we did some stupid and bad things. But for every Abu Ghraib, our soldiers and diplomats perpetrated a million acts of kindness aimed at giving Arabs and Muslims a better chance to succeed with modernity and to elect their own leaders.

The Narrative was concocted by jihadists to obscure that.

It’s working. As a Jordanian-born counterterrorism expert, who asked to remain anonymous, said to me: “This narrative is now omnipresent in Arab and Muslim communities in the region and in migrant communities around the world. These communities are bombarded with this narrative in huge doses and on a daily basis. [It says] the West, and right now mostly the U.S. and Israel, is single-handedly and completely responsible for all the grievances of the Arab and the Muslim worlds. Ironically, the vast majority of the media outlets targeting these communities are Arab-government owned — mostly from the Gulf.”

This narrative suits Arab governments. It allows them to deflect onto America all of their people’s grievances over why their countries are falling behind. And it suits Al Qaeda, which doesn’t need much organization anymore — just push out The Narrative over the Web and satellite TV, let it heat up humiliated, frustrated or socially alienated Muslim males, and one or two will open fire on their own. See: Major Hasan.

“Liberal Arabs like me are as angry as a terrorist and as determined to change the status quo,” said my Jordanian friend. The only difference “is that while we choose education, knowledge and success to bring about change, a terrorist, having bought into the narrative, has a sense of powerlessness and helplessness, which are inculcated in us from childhood, that lead him to believe that there is only one way, and that is violence.”

What should we make of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who apparently killed 13 innocent people at Fort Hood?What to do? Many Arab Muslims know that what ails their societies is more than the West, and that The Narrative is just an escape from looking honestly at themselves. But none of their leaders dare or care to open that discussion. In his Cairo speech last June, President Obama effectively built a connection with the Muslim mainstream. Maybe he could spark the debate by asking that same audience this question:

“Whenever something like Fort Hood happens you say, ‘This is not Islam.’ I believe that. But you keep telling us what Islam isn’t. You need to tell us what it is and show us how its positive interpretations are being promoted in your schools and mosques. If this is not Islam, then why is it that a million Muslims will pour into the streets to protest Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, but not one will take to the streets to protest Muslim suicide bombers who blow up other Muslims, real people, created in the image of God? You need to explain that to us — and to yourselves.”

Here is my imaginary fictionalized version of Friedman's piece, changed to fit another myth from our very own far right religious fanatic fringe:

What should we make of Richard Poplawski, 23, who met 3 Pittsburgh officers at his doorway and shot two of them in the head? An officer who tried to help the two also was killed. The gunman was wearing a bulletproof vest and "lying in wait" opened fire on officers responding to a fake domestic disturbance call, killing three of them and turning a quiet Pittsburgh street into a battlefield, police said.

Friends said the gunman recently had been upset about the "fact" that he believed that the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

Here’s my take: Richard Poplawski may have been mentally unbalanced — I assume anyone who shoots up innocent people is. But the more you read about his support for the Tea Bag movement, about how he showed up at a public-health seminar with a PowerPoint presentation titled “Why Health Care reform is a War on American values,” and about his contacts with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin,— the more it seems that Richard Poplawski was just another angry Religious right jihadist spurred to action by “The Narrative.”

What is scary is that even though he was born, raised and educated in America, The Narrative still got to him.

The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the evangelical-far right world since 9/11. Propagated by evangelical and far right Web sites, preachers, neoconservative intellectuals, satellite news stations and books — and tacitly endorsed by some senators, governors and congressmen — this narrative posits that America has declared war on Christian values, as part of a grand “American-Progressive-Democratic conspiracy” to keep Christians down.

Yes, after two decades in which U.S. domestic policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Christians or trying to help free them from want — a narrative that says America is dedicated to keeping Christians down is thriving.

Although most of the Christians with no health care being killed today by lack of insurance are being killed by other Christians working for the insurance lobby, you’d never know it from listening to their world. The dominant narrative there is that 9/11 was a kind of fraud: America’s unprovoked onslaught on Evangelicals is the real story, and the Christians are the real victims — of U.S. perfidy.

Have no doubt: we punched a fist into the Evangelical world after Roe v. Wade, partly to send a message of tolerance, but primarily to destroy two tyrannical regimes — patriarchy and the abuse of women — and to work with ordinary Americans to build a different kind of politics. In the process, we did some stupid and bad things. But for every late term abortion, our federal government perpetrated a million acts of kindness aimed at giving Americans and evangelicals a better chance to succeed with modernity .

The Narrative was concocted by right wing fundamentalists in cahoots with ideology-driven neoconservatives to obscure that.

It’s working. As a Congressman, who asked to remain anonymous, said to me: “This narrative is now omnipresent in American and Evangelical communities in the region and in migrant communities around the world. These communities are bombarded with this narrative in huge doses and on a daily basis. [It says] the Democrats, and right now mostly the U.S. government, is single-handedly and completely responsible for all the grievances of the Christians. Ironically, the vast majority of the media outlets targeting these communities are far right Rupert Murdoch owned.”

This narrative suits evangelical leaders and Republicans in Congress. It allows them to deflect onto the Democrats all of their people’s grievances over why their communities are falling behind. And it suits Sarah Palin, who doesn’t need much organization anymore — just push out The Narrative over the Web and satellite TV, let it heat up humiliated, frustrated or socially alienated fundamentalist/right wing uneducated white males, and one or two will open fire on their own. See: Richard Poplawski, Scott Roeder, James von Brunn.

Many American evangelicals know that what ails their societies is more than the Democrats, and that The Narrative is just an escape from looking honestly at themselves.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Franklin Graham and Sarah Palin (Just How Sick Are the Evangelicals?)

By Frank Schaeffer

What do Sarah Palin, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Rupert Murdoch and where Franklin buried his mother Ruth (against her wishes) all have to do with each other and the morphing of the old Republican Party into the new American lipstick fascism?

Herein is a story about the people are who believe in "legal" torture but not in universal health care... and all in the name of Jesus no less.

A little background:

I remember my late father -- the evangelical leader often called the "father of the religious right," Francis Schaeffer -- screaming at Mom one Sunday when I was a child, then he threw a potted ivy at her. Then he put on his suit and went down to preach his Sunday sermon in our living room chapel.

It was not the only Sunday Dad switched gears from rage to preaching as I describe in 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 this was the same chapel that the Billy Graham family sometimes dropped by to worship in, along with their Swiss-Armenian, multimillionaire in-laws, after Billy---like some Middle Eastern potentate---arranged for his seventeen-year-old daughter’s marriage to the son of a particularly wealthy donor who lived up the road from us in the ski resort of Villars.

Did the followers of Billy Graham know he’d plucked his seventeen-year-old daughter out of her first semester at Wheaton College to marry a man much older than her that she had never met? Would they have cared? Or do evangelicals always sweep their dirty laundry out of sight while they point their holier-than-thou middle fingers at others?

Fast forward from the 1960s to the present

Franklin Graham -- Billy's son and nepotistic "heir" to the Graham empire -- says he wants to help the poor. So what is he doing standing next to Sarah - "death panels" - Palin at a press conference as she denounces health care reform as a "Government takeover of the US economy"?

What is Franklin Graham doing promoting Palin's plan to destroy the Republican Party in order to push for a pure far right agenda that would leave old style Republicans (like the late William F. Buckley or Barry Goldwater) screaming bloody murder about incipient fascism?

Franklin is part of today's evangelical "leadership" that has remained mute on the blasphemous misuse of the Bible in the infamous Psalm 109: 8 T-shirt scandal wherein the verse calls for the death of the President (dressed up as a "prayer request.") But Franklin has lent the Graham family name to Palin's book tour. And he stood next to her as she urged the defeat ("some changes") of all incumbent congressmen who vote to give health care to all Americans.

Franklin Graham-- the Islamophobe and gay-basher -- is now backing the symbol of the "America" that wants legal torture but not universal health care. He is impressed by the "spirituality" of a bare faced liar who equated health care reform with "death panels."

What's wrong with this picture? Or to put it in terms Franklin might use himself: What would Jesus say?

I know about God business nepotism. A little more background.

One morning in the early 1980s, I looked out over several acres of pale blue polyester and some twelve thousand Southern Baptist ministers. My evangelist father was being treated for lymphoma at the Mao Clinic, and in his place I’d been asked to deliver several keynote addresses on the evangelical/fundamentalist circuit. I was following in the proudly nepotistic American Protestant tradition, wherein the Holy Spirit always seems to lead the offspring and spouses of evangelical superstars to “follow the call.”

A few weeks before, after being introduced by Pat Robertson, I had delivered a rousing take-back-America speech to thousands of cheering religious broadcasters. And not long after, I would appear at a huge pro-life rally in Denver. Cal Thomas--once the vice president of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, who later became a Fox News Commentator--would introduce me as “the best speaker in America.” The “anointing” he said, was “clearly on this young man!” They were saying that I was a better speaker than my famous father.

At that moment the Schaeffers were evangelical royalty. When I was growing up in L’Abri, my parents’ religious community in Switzerland, it was not unusual to find myself seated across the dining room table from Billy Graham’s daughter or President Ford’s son, even Timothy Leary. The English actress Glynis Johns used to come for Sunday high tea. I figured it was normal. They were just a few of the thousands who made it through our doors. Only later did I realize that L’Abri attracted a weirdly eclectic group of people who otherwise would not be caught dead in the same room. My childhood was, to say the least, unusual.

When Gerald Ford died in January of 2007, I recalled that the day he had assumed the presidency, his daughter-in-law Gayle was babysitting my daughter Jessica as her job in the work-study program at L’Abri, where Mike Ford, the President’s son was a student.

Mom and Dad met with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush Sr. and stayed in the White House several times. In the 1990s when my mother Edith---then in her eighties---heard that George W. Bush might run for the presidency, she exclaimed, “What? But Barbara asked me to pray especially for young George. She didn’t think he had what it took to do anything.”

Back to the present

As I explain in detail my new book Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion (Or Atheism)maybe the problem is that big time American religion is as corrupt -- and frankly nuts -- as Palin is. And maybe we are seeing the first stages of the sordid getting into bed with America's version of Evita Peron by our religious leaders, just as the Roman Catholic bishops in so many places seemed inordinately comfortable with emerging fascist leaders in the 1930s.

But who is Franklin as he blesses our very own Evita/Mussolini wannabe?

Sarah Palin's memoir is a perfect metaphor for what ails America and the Republican Party and evangelical Christianity. And now she's hooked up and been blessed by Franklin Graham the circle of low life scratching low life is almost complete.

Sarah Palin's fortunes are inextricably linked to the evangelical community, those same people that put George Jr in power and kept him there by voting for him and aiding and abetting the stealing of two elections to boot and the starting of a dumb war for no reason, thus the murdering of over 4000 of our troops and countless Iraqi civilians too. Her book is published by the Zondervan publishing house, formerly an evangelical family-run religious publishing powerhouse now owned by Rupert Murdoch. (Back in the day my family's and many evangelical leader friend's books -- for instance the Billy Graham books -- helped put Zondervan on the map, this was when I was a young religious nut activist in the 70s).

Palin's book was ghostwritten by the editor of the far, far loony right fundamentalist World magazine founded by Marvin Olasky (of which more in a moment). The advance was paid out of the huge profits Murdoch made off Rick-stop-gays-prop-8-Warren's Purpose Driven Life.

Celtic Diva at Blue Oasis website has this interesting bit of speculation on how Miss Palin has been traveling on her book tour:

Sarah Palin arrived in North Carolina Sunday by way of Asheville. She was slated to have a much-touted dinner with Franklin Graham and his father Billy. While this is a video made by a fan (so pardon the drippiness) it does provide a good view of the plane she arrived on...and the call number. You may also see some "interesting" dynamics at play:

"Linda, Thought I would let you know. The plane Sarah flew in to Asheville had the N number 262SP. The SP does not stand for Sarah Palin but the plane is owned by Samaritans Purse [one of Franklin Graham's organizations] . I checked it out at the FAA registry. Wonder if that plane is being used at Rochester and other book signing destinations? Samaritan donations being put to good use to haul Palin's carcass around."

As if that was not interesting enough, he wrote back later:

Tried to check the flight activity for this airplane (N262SP) at Flightwise.com. The flight activity for this plane is blocked by the owner. Guess he doesn't want anyone to know where he is flying. This is a good site to track an airplane's activity. Might come in handy for checking the use of AK state airplanes.

Yup, especially those Alaska planes now leased by Samaritan's Purse up here.
It seems that one must apply to have their plane's schedule made "private" and in doing so, a reason must be provided. I'd love to see the reason Franklin Graham gave for blocking access.


Want to know who Franklin is and why he and Sarah are such soul mates and why he's allegedly been secretly flying her around in a "non-profit" plane dedicated to an organization supposed to help the poor? Here's a guy that would do to America what he did to his mother.

Only in the strange—dare I say obscene—world of big-time American consumer religion could the following story be possible, combining as it does the ego, commercialism, betrayal, nepotism, and personality cult aspects of American “Christianity.”

According to newspaper reports (“A Family at Cross-Purposes: Billy Graham’s Sons Argue Over a Final Resting Place,” Washington Post, December 13, 2006), a family feud erupted in Billy Graham’s family over where he and his wife, Ruth, were to be buried. Was it to be in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the Billy Graham “museum” erected in the vicinity of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters? Or should their remains go to a small private site near their home in Montreat?

Franklin Graham, the 56-year-old “heir” to Billy’s ministry, insisted that the burial spot be at the $28–$30 million, 40,000-square-foot museum. It creates a “farm setting” to look like the place where Billy grew up outside of Charlotte. Other family members—including Ruth Graham—wanted to have a quieter final resting place.

The Washington Post called the family “debate” a struggle worthy of the Old Testament, pitting brother against brother, son against mother. After Ruth’s death, Billy was trapped in the middle pondering what to do with her remains. The Post said Ruth had signed a notarized document with six witnesses, saying she wanted to be buried near her home. After her death her wishes were ignored, and Billy was talked into doing what Franklin wanted.

Ruth (whom I knew and liked and who was close to my mother) was laid to “rest,” against her wishes, in what amounts to an amusement park for the greater glory of—what? Consultants had worked with the Walt Disney Company to create a large “barn” and “silo” as a reminder of Billy Graham’s early childhood on a dairy farm near Charlotte. Today, visitors wishing to visit Ruth’s tomb pass through a 40-foot-tall glass entry cut in the shape of a cross and are greeted by a mechanical talking cow. From there, they walk on paths of straw through rooms of exhibits. At the end, a stone walkway shaped like a cross takes them to a garden where Ruth lies (as will Billy Graham when he dies). The Post also reported that tourists have more than one chance to get their names on a mailing list and later, therefore, to be solicited for funds.

And now Franklin Graham has dragged his father into backing Sarah Palin. As David Gibson noted in Politics Daily ("Sarah Palin's Visit with Billy Graham: Dinner, Prayer and a Photo-Op", posted 11/28/09)

[Billy] Graham was certainly effusive in his praise of the former Alaska governor and GOP veep candidate, releasing a statement after the meeting:


"It was an honor having Governor Palin and her family in our home this evening. I, like many people, have been impressed with her strong commitment to her faith, to family and love of country. I appreciated hearing her speak of her own spiritual journey and her life in Alaska. I shared with her my own memories of preaching in the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage in 1984. We had an opportunity to pray together. Life in the spotlight is not easy and I pray that whatever lies ahead for this family that their faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, would remain strong and that God would put a hedge of protection around her and all those she holds dear. Sarah and her family will always be welcome in the Graham home."

Graham's son and heir apparent, Franklin, told The Charlotte Observer that his father has "followed her career and likes her strong stand on faith...Daddy feels God was using her to wake America up."

He may also have burnished her thin foreign policy credentials, though only with the slice of the American electorate that reads the Bible looking for End Times scenarios. Franklin said Palin quizzed Graham what the Bible says about Israel, Iran and Iraq.


The evangelical/fundamentalist religion is no different in its core “values” from the celebrity-worshiping, entertainment-oriented society it claims to be a prophetic witness to. In this vein it’s no coincidence that Billy Graham’s alma mater, the aforementioned Wheaton College, also has a “museum” attached to its campus in which Disneyland-like experiences are offered. (The very same school from which Billy plucked his underage daughter to marry the son of a wealthy supporter his daughter had -- up to that moment -- never met!)

This attraction is described on the school’s website as a “journey through the Museum [that] takes you on a Walk Through The Gospel, with a stirring three-dimensional presentation of the Christian message.” But that is only after you have experienced an “encounter [with] one of the loveliest and most fascinating presentations of the basic Christian message in The Cross of The Millennium. From here, you’ll enter a major section of the Museum which highlights the Life and Ministry of Billy Graham.”

Since it turns out that Franklin Graham has cornered the market on his parent’s remains for his amusement/fund-raising/empire maintaining park, (much as Palin has cornered the market for what's left of the Republican Party) perhaps Wheaton can cut a deal for at least a lock of hair, toenail, or some other Billy relic, to be placed in a suitable jewel-encrusted reliquary, or, given today’s fashions, incorporated into a giant cross-shaped roller coaster ride. Now it looks like he's backing Palin in a bid to become her spiritual advisory/Rasputin.

Star power is seductive. Then again the Palins and the Grahams have family weirdness and dysfunction in common. Ruth Graham the daughter of Billy wrote to me after she read my memoir Crazy For God saying that she identified with my own journey out of the evangelical fold and saying that she and the other Graham children were "sacrificial lambs." Maybe Ruth Jr can counsel Sarah Palin's children in later years as they try to also get the ringing out of their ears of being thrown under the bus of public life for their mother's greater glory.

Here's a woman whose husband associated closely with the Alaska secessionist party, which itself associates with lunatic fringe secessionist groups and far right militias nationwide. Here's a woman who stabs John McCain in the back, the man who brought this small town mayor and one time Alaska Governor to national prominence. Here's a woman who quit the job of governor to become a full-time rabble rouser in the style of a Munich 1930s of beer hall putsch.

And what's her backing? The Rupert Murdoch/Reconstructionist Empire, the marriage of hard right capitalism with harder right Old Testament would-be theocracy. And now the cherry on the cake: Franklin Graham signs on.

They belong together. Franklin Graham is a religious extremist. His hateful words make that clear.

Franklin On Muslims:

"The god of Islam is ... a different god, and I believe a very evil and a very wicked religion." (CBC, Sunday, October 22, 2006)
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2006/10/22/graham.html

Franklin On Nuclear Holy War/Genocide against Arabs:

"But let's use the weapons we have, the weapons of mass destruction if need be and destroy the enemy."

Franklin On blaming gays for AIDS:

"I believe that God created one man and one woman. He gave sex to us, God did, and sex is to be enjoyed and is to be used within the bounds that God created.... In sexual behavior outside the parameters that God created, we're at high risk, and we're seeing the evidence of this with HIV/AIDS. We're outside of these parameters, and we have a huge global problem now."
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/aids/interviews/graham.html

Franklin On the Katrina tragedy:

"This is one wicked city, OK? It's known for Mardi Gras, for Satan worship. It's known for sex perversion. It's known for every type of drugs and alcohol and the orgies and all of these things that go on down there in New Orleans... There's been a black spiritual cloud over New Orleans for years. They believe God is going to use that storm to bring revival."
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9600878/

Franklin On Hindus:

"..we traveled to the subcontinent of India, with its hundreds of millions of people locked in the darkness of Hinduism… These people were bound by Satan's power." Franklin Graham "Rebel With a Cause" (pg 138-139)

No wonder Franklin looked so at home giving the prayer and invocation at Bush Jr's inauguration! Bush/Graham they needed each other. And without Fox News Palin be nothing, just as without the evangelicals Bush would have been nothing. And without the 5 million Murdoch paid Palin for her book she'd be stuck scraping by on $100,000 speaking fees. Without the millions of evangelicals who are Fox News' audience Fox would not exist. And who ghosted the book for her? Another of Franklin Graham's good friends.

Lynn Vincent, the features editor of World, an fundamentalist flagship magazine.Vincent also ghost wrote the memoir of Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, the former head of the Army's Special Forces Command, who believes that his job in the U.S. military was to defeat Satan for the Christian nation of America.

Of our enemies in Somalia, Boykin said, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." And why does the world hate us? "We are hated because we are a nation of believers." And how do we defeat terrorism? "[W]e come against them in the name of Jesus."

And what about the founder of World magazine? Marvin Olasky the editor in chief is a far right Reconstructionist who (like Franklin Graham) has been working to more or less turn America into a theocracy ever since the late 1980s and early 1990s. The 16-book Turning Point Christian Worldview series was largely funded by far right banker-fortune Howard Ahmanson, Jr.'s Fieldstead Institute, which champions the cause of "total integration of Biblical law into our lives." (Ahmanson once donated 150,000 to one of my far right projects in the early 80s).

Ahmanson funded four of Olasky's 30 books, and Michelle Goldberg, author of the book Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, places Olasky in a crucial role to Christian reconstructionism and dominionism, saying "I’m not sure whether he actually identifies himself as a Christian reconstructionist, but he’s very close to Christian reconstructionism."

Olasky -- someone who used to be a big fan of mine and my late father and quoted Dad and me often when I was a religious right leader -- was an adviser on Bush’s first Presidential campaign, influencing Bush and the Republican Party.

So now we have it: a far right operative who -- with the help of a ghost writer who believes that Roosevelt was a secret communist -- trashes the Republican Party for her own personality cult agenda, was "blessed" by a preacher before she ran for governor who cast out "witches", who claims in her book the "God's hand" has been on her "every step in the way", and that she's going to "fulfill" destiny. She's funded directly via the huge advance by Murdoch and is coached by the Olasky/reconstructonist wing of the hard right. And now the Graham empire signs on to the emerging party of American theocracy.

As I said, between Murdoch, Sarah Palin and Franklin Graham we have "leaders" who believe torture should be legal but that health care should not be available to all. What would Jesus say about his American self-proclaimed representatives? Nothing. He'd be too busy throwing up.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Frank Schaeffer in NYC Tuesday Nov 23

I'm delighted to announce that Frank Schaeffer will be speaking at McNally Jackson
here in NYC on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Frank is the blunt, brave soul (that's right) who's been giving us a lot of truth about
the far-right Christianist machine, FOX News included, that's been whipping up
intense seditious hatred with especial fervor since Obama was elected. (Not long
ago I sent out an item quoting Frank's sharp claim that FOX is clearly "trawling for
assassins.") His critique of that sick place is indispensable, because he's actually been
there himself, working--or, as he would put it, milking--the Christianist circuit
as the son of evangelist/fundamentalist Francis Schaeffer, and, for years, a rising theocratic
star in his own right.

Having long since come to his senses, Frank has written many excellent books, including
his memoir, Crazy for God, several novels--and his latest, Patience with God, a
double whammy that takes on both the raging Christianists and their mirror opposites,
the "New Atheists" (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens et al.), who, Frank holds, proselytize
as fiercely, and simplistically, as the anti-humanistic zealots they despise.

This should be really interesting, so try to be there if you can.

MCM

Frank Schaeffer
Author of Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion {or Atheism}

In conversation with Mark Crispin Miller

Frank Schaeffer was a founding figure of the Religious Right and instrumental in
making the modern, politicized version of evangelical Christianity what it is today.
Recently, however, he has turned his back on some of his evengelical counterparts' less-nuanced views, in favor of depth and intelligence, even liberalism, both in his
political and religious beliefs.

Schaeffer is the author of the memoir Crazy for God and the bestselling Keeping the
Faith. In his latest book he takes on bluster and intolerance from both ends of the
spectrum, atheists and conservative Christians alike, presenting instead what he
calls the "Church of Hopeful Uncertainty".

He'll be here with our regular political discussion host, professor and activist
Mark Crispin Miller.


Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009,
7:00pm-8:00pm
McNally Jackson Bookstore
52 Prince St. (b/t Lafayette and Mulberry)
NY, NY
212-274-1160

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The American Taliban

Following my recent appearance on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, where I was talking about my new book Patience With God--Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion (Or Atheism) and where I warned her viewers that that the religious right is now “trawling for assassins” with the use of inflammatory items like T-Shirts calling for President Obama’s death, I got a lot of email. What is interesting to note is just how unimaginative and downright stupid the hate mail from the right is.

Speaking of “trawling” (this time for reactions to President Obama) I’d unwittingly conducted a little experiment without meaning to: a basic intelligence test of the right and left.

The cretinism and unhinged nature of the responses from the anti-Obama legion is scary. No, I didn't pick just the worst examples. Trust me: this is all they have! (See below).

On the other hand the thoughtful response from so many is heartening. (Again, examples here are typical).

The question is: can these two groups coexist peacefully within our borders? I’m not so sure they can. What is expressed here isn't two points of view but the raw truth about two countries within one border: Sane America and hater Cretin America.

Here’s a sample from the right:

Gotta tell ya,,I thought you looked dumb on the clip form Lesdow. I mean you seriously believe that those of us who don’ t like Obummer really want him dead? That’s not the way I see it and I am buying a shirt today thanks to you. Maybe before long you will wake up and see the mistake you are making in support of a Communist,,,but then again probably not considering that you aren’t that bright considering that you are in cahoots with MSNBC and their il.
Andy Cooke



And…


I heard you were going to be on Maddow's show. I never watch that ugly dyke, but I was curious to hear what you had to say. You have truly sold your soul to the Devil. I guess this is the only way you can make a living since you could not hack it as an evangelical.

May God have mercy on your soul.

Lee


Here’s an sample from the other America:



Dear Mr. Schaeffer,


...The religious right is playing out a 'death wish'. As a group, they are engaging in a type of 'self-initiation' into a dangerous and eschatological cult-like movement.

Some classic warning signs are evident:

They are cutting off ties with 'family', which can be seen as moderate Republicans. They vilify 'former members' who have left the fold. They advocate extremely harsh treatment of non-members.

Their cult leader is not one person, but rather a 'collective trope' comprising a rigid, dominant complex of ideology, behavior, culture, and language.

They are dependent on the 'collective trope' for direction, instruction, and reasoning. Independent thought or criticism of the 'collective' is punished. Criticism of the 'collective' is deemed persecution.

I realize you are intimately aware and knowledgeable about this perspective. And no doubt you are also aware of the issues involved with 'deprogramming'. Typically, deprogramming occurs only through 'exit counseling' or intervention. For 23% of the nation's population, intervention is unrealistic, and voluntary deprogramming is exceedingly rare and only an option for intelligent, honest, introspective, and educated individuals (such as yourself).

When I hear you speak I typically hear you issue warnings. I hear you inform. I hear you educate. I hear you raise awareness. Thank you.

But, respectfully, we need a plan. We need a realistic viable 'grown up' plan for de-escalation, deprogramming, and re-integration of the religious right. Alternatively, we need a serious assessment of the possibility that such a plan is not viable, and that there may be an insurmountable cultural rift between two different peoples that were formerly of one nation.

To most Americans, the idea of a partitioning of ourselves into two nations is utterly unthinkable. But if 70 million citizens are dedicated to creating a society and government which is in fair measure is mutually repugnant to another 230 million people, such ideas must at least be considered.

When you use language such as "trawling for assassins", you are at your best because you are vividly describing a forward looking, speculative assessment of the state of things. I urge you to do more of that. I urge you use your experience, intelligence, and intuition to look even further into the future and describe what you see.

I counted myself as an evangelical Christian for 3 years. Not a long time by common standards I suspect. But I understand the power of lifestyle, culture, and peer groups in creating a zone of comfort for believers. I understand the ways in which a sense of empowerment is derived from evangelical participation. I understand the tenacity of belief, the sense of righteous correctness, and the divine mandate to not sway or veer from the one truth. I understand the danger this assuredness poses to both individuals and to the greater society at large...


Again, sincerest thanks,

Dave Richards


And…

...I am quite passionate in my support for Barrack Obama and his very real desire to help bring a much-needed change to this country and to the world. I have no problem in believing him completely when he said in a recent interview that doing the right thing now is infinitely more important to him than any concerns as to whether he may be re-elected to the presidency in 2012 - this is a man who is clearly exceptional in very many ways.

Unfortunately, the tremendous amount of resistance that is being generated against Obama and his agenda has been truly troubling to me as well - if it were merely the usual partisan divisions that were being argued, that would be one thing. But the intense personal animosity for this man quickly reached rather absurd proportions soon after he won the Democratic nomination last year, and you are right in pointing out that the right-wing extremist media seem to be literally "trolling for assassins" in order to put an end to this administration. It's amazing to me that so many in our country's short history whose only desire was to serve their fellow man were not only strongly opposed for their efforts, but were cruelly cut down in the prime of their lives.

Along with you, and I hope many others, I pray that President Obama will be surrounded by the most holy of all the angels as he pursues God's work here on this earth.


What these email writers were reacting to was that I said that the T-shirt vendors selling the Psalm 109:8 logo as in pray that the President dies, had crossed a line into a place that is nothing more than the organizing of a death squad, or “trolling for assassins” as I put it. Here’s what is in the Psalm they quote:


"May his days be few; may another take his office!"

Here are what the other verses in that Pslam call for (in case you didn't "get" verse 8).

9 May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow!
10 May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
11 May the creditor seize all that he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
12 Let there be none to extend kindness to him, nor any to pity his fatherless children!
13 May his posterity be cut off; may his name be blotted out in the second generation!
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!
15 Let them be before the Lord continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth!



Where is the response from the evangelical leadership to what – from a “Bible believing” point of view is a blasphemous misuse of the Bible in a hate crusade?

The Christian leadership that fails to denounce this fiasco is morally bankrupt. If the president is killed ask the editors of Christianity Today magazine where they were and what they did to stop the hate. Where’s the Catholic League on this one? Where are the editors of far right Obama-hating World magazine? Where’s Franklin Graham, and Chuck Colson and James Dobson and Rick Warren?

The far right "Christian" leadership managed to crank out a new deceleration against abortion and stem cell research just this week called the "Manhattan deceleration." Here's the list that signed it. Where are these people's deceleration of conscience against their own followers and fellow "Christians" when it comes to not murdering the President and/or seeming to encourage violence with Bible verse bumper stickers?


# Dr. Daniel Akin
President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, N.C.)
# Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola
Primate, Anglican Church of Nigeria (Abika, Nigeria)
# Randy Alcorn
Founder and Director, Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM) (Sandy, Ore.)
# Rt. Rev. David Anderson
President and CEO, American Anglican Council (Atlanta)
# Leith Anderson
President of National Association of Evangelicals (Washington, D.C.)
# Charlotte K. Ardizzone
TV Show Host and Speaker, INSP Television (Charlotte, N.C.)
# Kay Arthur
CEO and Co-founder, Precept Ministries International (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
# Dr. Mark L. Bailey
President, Dallas Theological Seminary (Dallas)
# Most Rev. Craig W. Bates
Archbishop, International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (Malverne, N.Y.)
# Gary Bauer
President, American Values; Chairman, Campaign for Working Families
# His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop Basil Essey
The Right Reverend Bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (Wichita, Kan.)
# Joel Belz
Founder, World Magazine (Asheville, N.C.)
# Rev. Michael L. Beresford
Managing Director of Church Relations, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (Charlotte, N.C.)
# Ken Boa
President, Reflections Ministries (Atlanta)
# Joseph Bottum
Editor of First Things (New York)
# Pastor Randy & Sarah Brannon
Senior Pastor, Grace Community Church (Madera, Calif.)
# Steve Brown
National Radio Broadcaster, Key Life (Maitland, Fla.)
# Dr. Robert C. Cannada, Jr.
Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando, Fla.)
# Galen Carey
Director of Government Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals (Washington, D.C.)
# Dr. Bryan Chapell
President, Covenant Theological Seminary (St. Louis)
# Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput
Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver
# Timothy Clinton
President, American Association of Christian Counselors (Forest, Va.)
# Chuck Colson
Founder, The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview (Lansdowne, Va.)
# Most Rev. Salvatore Joseph Cordileone
Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, Calif.
# Dr. Gary Culpepper
Associate Professor, Providence College (Providence, R.I.)
# Jim Daly
President and CEO, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
# Marjorie Dannenfelser
President, Susan B. Anthony List (Arlington, Va.)
# Rev. Daniel Delgado
Board of Directors, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Pastor, Third Day Missions Church (Staten Island, N.Y.)
# Patrick J. Deneen
Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Associate Professor and Director, The Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)
# Dr. James Dobson
Founder, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
# Dr. David Dockery
President, Union University (Jackson, Tenn.)
# Most Rev. Timothy Dolan
Archbishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of New York, N.Y.
# Dr. William Donohue
President, Catholic League (New York)
# Dr. James T. Draper, Jr.
President Emeritus, LifeWay (Nashville, Tenn.)
# Dinesh D'Souza
Writer and Speaker (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.)
# Most Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church in North America (Ambridge, Pa. )
# Dr. Michael Easley
President Emeritus, Moody Bible Institute (Chicago)
# Dr. William Edgar
Professor, Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia)
# Brett Elder
Executive Director, Stewardship Council (Grand Rapids, Mich.
# Rev. Joel Elowsky
Drew University (Madison, N.J.)
# Stuart Epperson
Co-Founder and Chariman of the Board, Salem Communications Corporation (Camarillo, Calif.)
# Rev. Jonathan Falwell
Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, Va.)
# William J. Federer
President, Amerisearch, Inc. (St. Louis)
# Fr. Joseph D. Fessio
Founder and Editor, Ignatius Press (Ft. Collins, Colo.)
# Carmen Fowler
President and Executive Editor, Presbyterian Lay Committee (Lenoir, N.C.)
# Maggie Gallagher
President, National Organization for Marriage (Manassas, Va.)
# Dr. Jim Garlow
Senior Pastor, Skyline Church (La Mesa, Calif.)
# Steven Garofalo
Senior Consultant, Search and Assessment Services (Charlotte, N.C.)
# Dr. Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.)
# Dr. Timothy George
Dean and Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School at Samford University (Birmingham, Ala.)
# Thomas Gilson
Director of Strategic Processes, Campus Crusade for Christ International (Norfolk, Va.)
# Dr. Jack Graham
Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church (Plano, Texas)
# Dr. Wayne Grudem
Research Professor of Theological and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary (Phoenix)
# Dr. Cornell "Corkie" Haan
National Facilitator of Spiritual Unity, The Mission America Coalition (Palm Desert, Calif.)
# Fr. Chad Hatfield
Chancellor, CEO and Archpriest, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (Yonkers, N.Y.)
# Dr. Dennis Hollinger
President and Professor of Christian Ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, Mass.)
# Dr. Jeanette Hsieh
Executive Vice President and Provost, Trinity International University (Deerfield, Ill.)
# Dr. John A. Huffman, Jr.
Senior Pastor, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (Newport Beach, Calif.); Chairman of the Board, Christianity Today International (Carol Stream, Ill.)
# Rev. Ken Hutcherson
Pastor, Antioch Bible Church (Kirkland, Wash.)
# Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church (Beltsville, Md.)
# Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse
President, American Orthodox Institute; Editor, OrthodoxyToday.org (Naples, Fla.)
# Jerry Jenkins
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Moody Bible Institute (Black Forest, Colo.)
# Camille Kampouris
Editorial Board, Kairos Journal
# Emmanuel A. Kampouris
Publisher, Kairos Journal
# Rev. Tim Keller
Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church (New York)
# Dr. Peter Kreeft
Professor of Philosophy, Boston College (Mass.) and at the Kings College (N.Y.)
# Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz
Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky.
# Jim Kushiner
Editor, Touchstone (Chicago)
# Dr. Richard Land
President, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC (Washington, D.C.)
# Jim Law
Senior Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church (Woodstock, Ga.)
# Dr. Matthew Levering
Associate Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University (Naples, Fla.)
# Dr. Peter Lillback
President, The Providence Forum (West Conshohocken, Pa.)
# Dr. Duane Litfin
President, Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.)
# Rev. Herb Lusk
Pastor, Greater Exodus Baptist Church (Philadelphia)
# His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida
Archbishop Emeritus, Roman Catholic Diocese of Detroit
# Most Rev. Richard J. Malone
Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine
# Rev. Francis Martin
Professor of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary (Detroit)
# Dr. Joseph Mattera
Bishop and Senior Pastor, Resurrection Church (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
# Phil Maxwell
Pastor, Gateway Church (Bridgewater, N.J.)
# Josh McDowell
Founder, Josh McDowell Ministries (Plano, Texas)
# Alex McFarland
President, Southern Evangelical Seminary (Charlotte, N.C.)
# Most Rev. George Dallas McKinney
Bishop, Founder and Pastor, St. Stephen's Church of God in Christ (San Diego)
# Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns
Missionary Bishop, Convocation of Anglicans of North America (Herndon, Va.)
# Dr. C. Ben Mitchell
Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy, Union University (Jackson, Tenn.)
# Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, Ky.)
# Dr. Russell D. Moore
Senior Vice President for Academic Administration and Dean of the School of Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, Ky.)
# Most Rev. John J. Myers
Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.
# Most Rev. Joseph F. Naumann
Archbishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City, Kan.
# David Neff
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today (Carol Stream, Ill.)
# Tom Nelson
Senior Pastor, Christ Community Evangelical Free Church (Leawood, Kan.)
# Niel Nielson
President, Covenant College (Lookout Mt., Ga.)
# Most Rev. John Nienstedt
Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
# Dr. Tom Oden
Theologian, United Methodist Minister; Professor, Drew University (Madison, N.J.)
# Marvin Olasky
Editor-in-Chief, World Magazine; Provost, The Kings College (New York)
# Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix
# Rev. William Owens
Chairman, Coalition of African-American Pastors (Memphis, Tenn.)
# Dr. J.I. Packer
Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College (Canada)
# Metr. Jonah Paffhausen
Primate, Orthodox Church in America (Syosset, N.Y.)
# Tony Perkins
President, Family Research Council (Washington, D.C.)
# Eric M. Pillmore
CEO, Pillmore Consulting LLC (Doylestown, Pa.)
# Dr. Everett Piper
President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University (Bartlesville, Okla.)
# Todd Pitner
President, Rev Increase
# Dr. Cornelius Plantinga
President, Calvin Theological Seminary (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
# Dr. David Platt
Pastor, Church at Brook Hills (Birmingham, Ala.)
# Rev. Jim Pocock
Pastor, Trinitarian Congregational Church (Wayland, Mass.)
# Fred Potter
Executive Director and CEO, Christian Legal Society (Springfield, Va.)
# Dennis Rainey
President, CEO, and Co-Founder, FamilyLife (Little Rock, Ark.)
# Fr. Patrick Reardon
Pastor, All Saints' Antiochian Orthodox Church (Chicago)
# Bob Reccord
Founder, Total Life Impact, Inc. (Suwanee, Ga.)
# His Eminence Justin Cardinal Rigali
Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia
# Frank Schubert
President, Schubert Flint Public Affairs (Sacramento, Calif.)
# David Schuringa
President, Crossroads Bible Institute (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
# Tricia Scribner
Author (Harrisburg, N.C.)
# Dr. Dave Seaford
Senior Pastor, Community Fellowship Church (Matthews, N.C.)
# Alan Sears
President, CEO, and General Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
# Randy Setzer
Senior Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church (Lincolnton, N.C.)
# Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan
Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, Colo.
# Dr. Ron Sider
Director, Evangelicals for Social Action (Wynnewood, Pa.)
# Fr. Robert Sirico
Founder, Acton Institute (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
# Dr. Robert Sloan
President, Houston Baptist University (Houston)
# Charles Stetson
Chairman of the Board, Bible Literacy Project (New York)
# Dr. David Stevens
CEO, Christian Medical and Dental Association (Bristol, Tenn.)
# John Stonestreet
Executive Director, Summit Ministries (Manitou Springs, Colo.)
# Dr. Joseph Stowell
President, Cornerstone University (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
# Dr. Sarah Sumner
Professor of Theology and Ministry, Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, Calif.)
# Dr. Glenn Sunshine
Chairman of the History Department, Central Connecticut State University (New Britain, Conn.)
# Joni Eareckson Tada
Founder and CEO, Joni and Friends International Disability Center (Agoura Hills, Calif.)
# Luiz Tellez
President, The Witherspoon Institute (Princeton, N.J.)
# Dr. Timothy C. Tennent
President, Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Ky.)
# Michael Timmis
Chairman, Prison Fellowship and Prison Fellowship International (Naples, Fla.)
# Mark Tooley
President, Institute for Religion and Democracy (Washington, D.C.)
# H. James Towey
President, St. Vincent College (Latrobe, Pa.)
# Juan Valdes
Middle and High School Chaplain, Florida Christian School (Miami, Fla.)
# Todd Wagner
Pastor, WaterMark Community Church (Dallas)
# Dr. Graham Walker
President, Patrick Henry College (Purcellville, Va.)
# Fr. Alexander F. C. Webster, Ph.D.
Archpriest, Orthodox Church in America; Professorial Lecturer, The George Washington University (Ashburn, Va.)
# George Weigel
Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center (Washington, D.C.)
# David Welch
Houston Area Pastor Council Executive Director, US Pastors Council (Houston)
# Dr. James Emery White
Founding and Senior Pastor, Mecklenburg Community Church (Charlotte, N.C.)
# Dr. Hayes Wicker
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church (Naples, Fla.)
# Mark Williamson
Founder and President, Foundation Restoration Ministries/Federal Intercessors (Katy, Texas)
# Parker T. Williamson
Editor Emeritus and Senior Correspondent, Presbyterian Lay Committee
# Dr. Craig Williford
President, Trinity International University (Deerfield, Ill.)
# Dr. John Woodbridge
Research Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Ill.)
# Don M. Woodside
Performance Matters Associates (Matthews, N.C.)
# Dr. Frank Wright
President, National Religious Broadcasters (Manassas, Va.)
# Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl
Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
# Paul Young
COO and Executive Vice President, Christian Research Institute (Charlotte, N.C.)
# Dr. Michael Youssef
President, Leading the Way (Atlanta)
# Ravi Zacharias
Founder and Chairman of the Board, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (Norcross, Ga.)
# Most Rev. David A. Zubik
Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
# James R. Thobaben, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Professor, Bioethics and Social Ethics, Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Ky.)

By their silence they are in bed with people who write things like this: “those of us who don’ t like Obummer really want him dead…”

If it happens you know who to blame. The moral cowards listed above are expert at judging the "secular culture" and denouncing it but never at coming together to denounce their own blasphemous rabid followers.

They are like the Muslim leaders that right wing people complain about for never denouncing their extremists. Well, now we have an American Taliban threatening domestic violence by misquoting our version of the Koran where are the people on the list above speaking out?

Where?!




Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sarah Palin America's Evita Perón

By Frank Schaeffer

Sarah Palin's memoir is a perfect metaphor for what ails America and the Republican Party. Her book is published by the Zondervan publishing house, formerly an evangelical family-run religious publishing powerhouse now owned by Rupert Murdoch. (Back in the day my family's and many evangelical leader friend's books helped put Zondervan on the map, this was when I was a young religious nut activist in the 70s). Palin's book was ghostwritten by the editor of the far, far loony right fundamentalist World magazine founded by Marvin Olasky (of which more in a moment). The book will get a big boost from ratings-seeking Oprah. Murdoch... Oprah... far right politics... The advance was paid out of the huge profits Murdoch made off Rick-stop-gays-prop-8-Warren's Purpose Driven Life.

The chief characteristic of Palin's book is her trashing of the old cautious and respectable William F. Buckley-style Republican Party in general and John McCain and his campaign in particular, an act of backstabbing right up there with the "Et tu Brute" assassination of Caesar. I should say it is actually the second characteristic, that comes a distant second to the building of a Sarah Palin cult of personality, wherein Jesus and Sarah will "take America back for God."

As a former Republican, religious right activist who saw the light, re-registered as an independent voter and then, in the last election cycle, worked hard to get then Senator Obama elected, and having been one of the instigators of what is now becoming the bomb-throwing wing of the former Republican Party -- now a far right fundamentalist cult -- I understand better than most that Palin's book is her bid to take over the Republican Party, something like Oprah's positioning herself as the doyen of publishing.

It's personality cult time, personality cult with an agenda. The agenda isn't about politics at all. This is about naked power. Welcome to the world of our home grown very own Evita Perón. Welcome to Act II of the American "Reconstructionist" movement to establish a theocracy. The theocrats now have their Joan of Arc.

What is Sarah -- Evita -- Palin/Jesus about? Let's just call her the new face of Lipstick Fascism.

And who is standing between us and Sarah's burning desire to BE somebody? President Obama, that's who.

Problem is President Obama has "friends" who seem more like enemies every day: the impatient juvenile left is already trumpeting his "failure" because he hasn't fixed everything in one whole year!

But back to Palin: If the results in upstate New York are any indication she's all about eliminating the Republican Party to replace it with a disjointed hard right cult of personality/theocracy.

This is the "party" of "Obama must fail" ideology and "Jesus saves!" everyone but gays, blacks and other "Not Real Americans."

Here's a woman whose husband associated closely with the Alaska secessionist party, which itself associates with lunatic fringe secessionist groups and far right militias nationwide. Here's a woman who stabs John McCain in the back, the man who brought this small town mayor and one time Alaska Governor to national prominence. Here's a woman who quit the job of governor to become a full-time rabblerouser in the style of a Munich 1930s of beer hall putsch.

And what's her backing? The Rupert Murdoch/Reconstructionist Empire, the marriage of hard right capitalism with harder right Old Testament would-be theocracy.

Without Fox News she'd be nothing. Without the 5 million Murdoch paid her for her book she'd be stuck scraping by on $100,000 speaking fees. Without the millions of evangelicals who are Fox News' audience Fox would not exist. And who ghosted the book for her?

Lynn Vincent, the features editor of World, an fundamentalist flagship magazine.Vincent also ghost wrote the memoir of Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, the former head of the Army's Special Forces Command, who believes that his job in the U.S. military was to defeat Satan for the Christian nation of America.

Of our enemies in Somalia, Boykin said, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." And why does the world hate us? "We are hated because we are a nation of believers." And how do we defeat terrorism? "[W]e come against them in the name of Jesus."

Vincent has authored several columns bashing gay men and lesbians as "abnormal" and "devian[t]." Vincent laments the American Psychiatric Association's decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Vincent also co-authored Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party (Nelson Current, 2006) with Robert Stacy McCain, a book that; "documents the tragic story of how the nation's oldest political party has inspired, then cruelly betrayed, the hopes of millions of Americans, including many of our friends and dear members of our own families -- as well as sincere and honest officials within the party itself."

On Page 100, Vincent and McCain wrote:

If anything was red and scary, it was the scab of treachery that [Whittaker] Chambers peeled back to reveal a Democratic administration teeming with a Communist infection, and despite repeated warnings, doing nothing. One member of the HUAC [House Un-American Activities Committee], a Republican congressman from California named Richard Nixon, believed Chambers. His dogged pursuit of the truth ultimately revealed the extent to which Joseph Stalin was pulling Roosevelt's strings like those of a hapless puppet.


And what about the founder of World magazine? Marvin Olasky the editor in chief is a far right Reconstructionist who has been working to more or less turn America into a theocracy ever since the late 1980s and early 1990s. The 16-book Turning Point Christian Worldview series was largely funded by far right banker-fortune Howard Ahmanson, Jr.'s Fieldstead Institute, which champions the cause of "total integration of Biblical law into our lives." (Ahmanson once donated 150,000 to one of my far right projects in the early 80s).

Ahmanson funded four of Olasky's 30 books, and Michelle Goldberg, author of the book Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, places Olasky in a crucial role to Christian reconstructionism and dominionism, saying "I’m not sure whether he actually identifies himself as a Christian reconstructionist, but he’s very close to Christian reconstructionism."

Olasky -- someone who used to be a big fan of mine and my late father and quoted Dad and me often when I was a religious right leader -- was an adviser on Bush’s first Presidential campaign, influencing Bush and the Republican Party.

Christian Reconstructionism as a movement is something philosophically like Bible-inspired totalitarianism/theocratic neofascism. Karen Armstrong sees this potential for fascism in Christian Reconstructionism, as does Max Blumeanthal. The system of dominion envisaged by Christian Reconstructionist theologians R. J. Rushdoony and Gary North is totalitarian. Many others put my late father in the same camp, though I don't.

So now we have it: a far right operative who -- with the help of a ghost writer who believes that Roosevelt was a secret communist and that gays will burn in Hell -- trashes the Republican Party for her own personality cult agenda, was "blessed" by a preacher before she ran for governor who cast out "witches", who claims in her book the "God's hand" has been on her "every step in the way", and that she's going to "fulfill" destiny. She's funded directly via the huge advance by Murdoch and is coached by the Olasky/reconstructonist wing of the hard right.

The circle of power, money, loony theology and greed closes. McCain is thrown to the dogs. Oprah cashes in. Welcome to America.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Best "Patience With God" Interview (WHYY)

http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2009/11/13/former-evangelical-frank-schaeffer-on-his-new-book-patience-with-god/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

From Tiller To Ft. Hood

By Frank Schaeffer



By Frank Schaeffer

The killings at Ft Hood are a reminder of just why we don't want fundamentalist religion mixing with the US military. The words "religious freedom" can't be a one stop justification for stupidity: say ignoring clear warning signs from potential killers, be they abortion doctor haters or America-haters. Put it this way; what is more dangerous, gays serving in the military or radical fundamentalists be they Islamic or Christian in uniform? In other words do we want anyone in our military convinced of any certainty other than their oath to uphold our constitution?

Given our tendency to psychobabble everything to death the alleged Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan is being given what I'll call the NPR/Oprah therapeutic pass. We're told he was stressed, bullied, alone etc., etc. Excuses are being made for his actions. No one wants to look as if they are down on Islam, much less down on religion in general. How come?

Since when is religion off limits? Is that why the FBI was slow to act in this case as they were before 9/11 when they lost track of the terrorists hatching that plot in flight schools?

I'm a religious person and have just written a book defending religion (Patience With God--Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion Or Atheism). But the sort of faith I defend is the only reasonable faith there is: faith in uncertainty and the embrace of paradox. Life isn't long enough to ever know anything.

From the scandals of forced evangelicalism at the US Air Force Academy, to a military chaplaincy deliberately overrun by militantly fundamentalist Christians, to this post-Ft. Hood shooting soft peddling of the religion angle out of "sensitivity" to Muslims the codling of religion has to stop.

National security is more important than religious freedom. And there is a difference between the civilian world and the military world. The military not only has the right to bar some from service - say felons - but the duty to protect the rest of us from nuts that the military might send back into civilian life armed and dangerous. (And I speak here as the proud pro-military father of a US Marine who fought for our country in Afghanistan.)

This Ft. Hood killing spree had a recent foreshadowing in the murder of Dr. George Tiller. That too was a case of what seems to be religiously-inspired domestic terror. Operation Rescue and the Taliban et al have more in common than the mere religions that separate them. Killing for Allah or for Jesus all comes out the same.

The FBI seemed to have been equally reluctant to intervene when they could have, when Tiller's murderer was gluing locks shut on buildings and committing other acts of vandalism that the FBI was aware of before he killed Dr. Tiller. Now, in this case again - probably out of undue "respect" for religion -- the FBI held back on exposing the Ft. Hood alleged killer's connections with radicalized Islam when, according to ABC News, "alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan had more unexplained connections to people being tracked by the FBI than just radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki." ("More Hasan Ties to People Under Investigation by FBI" Nov 11, 09)

Let's get something straight: at this moment of American history religious fanatics of all faiths are our biggest security problem. And it is time to change the national discussion on religion, that seeks to blame everything but religion for bad behavior by religious fanatics.

The religious fanatics whine and plead special deference and we give it to them. Why? From the Tea Bagger loonies - mostly right wing evangelicals - we that hear the mainstream media doesn't respect them. From the Muslim community we hear that the shooter in Ft. Hood was bullied, that he faced stress, and that Muslims in the military are picked on.

Enough excuses!

It is time to stand up and denounce loony religion and the insane actions it spawns. Dumb, vicious religion needs no excuses for bad behavior. From Sarah Palin's evangelical/fundamentalist lies about "death panels" to the Ft. Hood shooter's hate of America the religious right - be it Islamic or Christian - is to be feared not pitied.

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 Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion (Or Atheism)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Best Review Of "Patience With God"

http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-patience-with-god-faith/

Book Review: Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism) by Frank Schaeffer

(Blogcritics Nov 10, 09)

Reviewed By Jordan Richardson

(Jordan Richardson is a Canadian freelance writer and maple syrup enthusiast. His film reviews can be found at the Canadian Cinephile's Reviews and his music reviews are located at the Canadian Audiophile's Reviews and News.)

As the son of Francis Schaeffer, Frank Schaeffer has been no stranger to the rigours of evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity. Francis believed he had the answers to the questions of the ages with his belief in fundamentalist doctrine and he was largely responsible for the rise of the Religious Right in American politics. As his son, Frank lived through and participated in the despicable intersection of religion and politics.

But with passing years came clarity and Frank has gone from the obnoxious assurance of fundamentalist religion to the quiet doubt and curiosity of a more open faith. As an author, film director, and blogger for the Huffington Post, Schaeffer’s life is a testimony that rings true for many of us who have found themselves on similar ground.

In his new book, Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism), Schaeffer goes well beyond the typical pat answers of specious Christians who allude to Christianity as a “relationship, not a religion” and deconstructs the eager certainty, venomous literalism, and widespread insincerity that taints and has since formed the mould for the modern evangelical and fundamentalist movements.

Not content to merely strike at one side of the aisle, Schaeffer also volleys a fair-sized wad of equitable critique at many of the so-called New Atheists. He gears up harsh criticisms for Richard Dawkins, chastising him for his “self-serving compassion” and slogan-bearing T-shirt sales, and guts Bill Maher’s cowardly Religulous for asking softball, juvenile Sunday School questions of easy targets. Schaeffer also offers up a biting if simplistic critique of Christopher Hitchens and rounds off the torture-hungry Sam Harris in brief fashion.

But Patience With God is not a book about pegging down the “New Atheists” or stacking the odds in the favour of his particular Belief of Choice. Instead, this book is a war on the evil concept of certainty itself. In applauding Daniel Dennett and his brilliant Breaking the Spell, Schaeffer tilts his hand not as an argumentative pundit against all things atheist but rather a critic against a certain brand of, well, anything.

For Schaeffer, he believes that the brand of vitriolic “evangelism” from the “New Atheists” sells their overall message short and, further to the point, erodes any opportunity for unity among people of faith and people without faith.

As hard as Schaeffer might be on the “New Atheists,” he reserves the bulk of his bile for the evangelicals and fundamentalists. Targeting the likes of Rick Warren, Franklin Graham, John Hagee, and the two cretins behind the senseless Left Behind series of “books,” Schaeffer is on the money when he describes their hazardous conviction and criticizes their pursuit of profit and political pragmatism.

In the chapter entitled “Spaceship Jesus Will Come Back and Whisk Us Away,” Schaeffer details the dangerous philosophy of the book of Revelation and offers clarifying history, all the while admitting that he’d much sooner choose to share a lifeboat with Hitchens than with Tim LaHaye or Jerry Jenkins. After all, Schaeffer notes, “He might even bring along a case of wine.”

Patience With God is part “sermon” and part memoir, interlacing Schaeffer’s quest for a united world filled with compassionate, knowledge-hungry folks with stories from his past and present. It is beautiful to read how some of his stronger spiritual moments come from holding his granddaughter or looking at the moon in the sky.

At the core of Patience With God is Schaeffer’s discovery of the “gift of paradox” and his general worship of the uncertain. His faith in God is couched in not knowing what or who God is rather than in identifying the deity (or perhaps deities) with a number of self-serving characteristics. His exploration of faith is one of existing in the universe, of unity with other human beings regardless of personal faith and conviction, and of compassion with an emphasis on tolerance and authenticity.

It is, indeed, a refreshing book and incredibly easy to read. While many atheists and religious people alike will feel targeted by Schaeffer, his is an even-handed approach that does well to strip away the childish shell of fighting over who’s “right” when the question can’t be answered. “The point is not to argue over how we got here but to agree to a better vision of where we want to evolve to now,” he says after linking Charles Darwin’s “liberating truth” with Jesus’ “selfless example.”

In the end, Patience With God is not going to be the magic answer or the key that opens the door to a united humanity. That is, however, not a failing of the book nor is it the failing of any of those men and women who have pleaded incessantly for compassion over wickedness, tolerance over bigotry, reason over ignorance, and love over hate for centuries. Instead, our lack of unity on issues of faith and, indeed, anything else can and should be blamed on nothing more than our frail, malicious craving to be right.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My "Patience For God" Interview on "The Left Coast"

http://www.lftlc.com/podcasts/november-4-2009-hour-2-frank-schaeffer-interview

My Interview With John Whitehead on Huff Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-w-whitehead/patience-with-god-taking_b_342250.html

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Good Interview With Laura Flanders Grit TV

I was pleased to be interviewed by someone who had actually read my new book and asked good questions. It gave me a chance to lay out what the book is about.

http://lauraflanders.firedoglake.com/

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Wierd 24 Hours

Last night I was on Fox Radio. The first caller -- having heard me talk about why I left the Republican Party -- said "I'll bet he's (that's me) a homosexual and divorced!" I explained that if I were gay I'd not be insulted to be called such, but in fact have been married for 39 years now and am hetro. So much for reason from the religious right.

Well, today I invite you to go to Alternet and read the furious (almost unhinged in some cases) responses from various atheist readers to my 11 page-long blog there on the New Atheists. If you had any doubts that atheism is a religion check out the tone and content of the responses.

http://www.alternet.org/belief/143674/are_the_%22new_atheists%22_as_bad_as_christian_fundamentalists


Best, Frank

Monday, November 2, 2009

Revised and Expanded Speaking Tour Dates/Places

Frank Schaeffer -- Udated Upcoming Events

Date: Thursday, November 5th 2009 Time: 7:00 pm Location: Lolita Bar 266 Broom St. New York, NY 10002 Event: “Patience with God” book party hosted by Jeff Sharlet (author of “The Family”) and Killing the Buddha online magazine. Contact: (703) 967-7217

Date: Friday, November 6th 2009 Time: 7:00 pm Location: Cornerstone Bookstore 45 Lafayette St. Salem MA 01957 Event: “Patience with God” talk, reading and book signing Contact: (978) 744-1831 www.cornerstonebooks-salem.com

Date: Friday November 13 2009 Time: 7:30 pm Location: First & Central Presbyterian Church 1101 N. Market St. Wilmington, DE 19801-1223 Event: “Patience with God” talk, reading and book signing Contact: (302) 654-5371 www.fandc.org

Date: Tuesday, November 17th 2009 Time: 7:00 pm Location: Hammer Museum 10899 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90024 Event: “Patience with God” lecture and discussion hosted by the Hammer Museum Contact: Claudia Bestor Director of Public Programs and Education (310) 443-7038 office cbestor@hammer.ucla.edu www.hammer.ucla.edu

Date: Friday, November 20th 2009 Time: 10:25am Location: A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel Gordon College 255 Grapevine Rd. Wenham MA 01984 Event: Convocation program with “Patience with God” 45 minutes with Q&A following. Contact: Julie Ray 978-927-2300

Date: Friday, November 20th 2009 Time: 7:00 pm Location: Jabberwocky Bookstore 50 Water St. Newburyport MA 01950 Event: “Patience with God” talk, reading and book signing Contact: (978) 465-9359 www.jabberwocky.booksense.com

Date: Tuesday, November 24th 2009 Time: 7:00 pm Location: McNally Jackson Bookstore 52 Prince St. (b/t Lafayette & Mulberry) New York, NY 10002 Event: “Patience with God” talk and book-signing. Contact: Dustin Kurtz 212-274-1160

Date: Saturday, December 5th 2009 Time: 7:00 pm Location: St. Mary’s Orthodox Church 8 Inman St. (Boston) Cambridge, MA 02139 Event: “Patience with God” lecture and discussion Contact: Fr. Antony Hughes – (617) 547-1234

Date: Saturday, February 20th 2010 Time: 1:00 pm Location: Holy Trinity Orthodox Church 4070 Park Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06604 Event: “Patience with God” lecture and discussion Contact: Gail Bellas-Papageorge – (203) 913-7601

The Loony Right Eats Its Own

What a weird life! In the 1970s and 80s I helped my late Evangelical-leader, Religious Right founder father as his nepotistic sidekick. We helped establish the Religious Right and send it on its merry way to doom. Now I -- a backslider former Evangelical, former Republican -- watch in amazed fascination as once again the Right I helped launch like a nasty little torpedo into the guts of the Republican Party once again explodes.

Frank Rich explains:

The battle for upstate New York confirms just how swiftly the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy Obama. The movement's undisputed leaders, Palin and Beck, neither of whom has what Palin once called the "actual responsibilities" of public office, would gladly see the Republican Party die on the cross of right-wing ideological purity. Over the short term, at least, their wish could come true.


The New York fracas was ignited by the routine decision of 11 local Republican county chairmen to anoint an assemblywoman, Dede Scozzafava, as their party's nominee for the vacant seat. The 23rd is in safe Republican territory that hasn't sent a Democrat to Congress in decades. And Scozzafava is a mainstream conservative by New York standards; one statistical measure found her voting record slightly to the right of her fellow Republicans in the Assembly. But she has occasionally strayed from orthodoxy on social issues (abortion, same-sex marriage) and endorsed the Obama stimulus package. To the right's Jacobins, that's cause to send her to the guillotine.


("The G.O.P. Stalinists Invade Upstate New York" New York Times, Oct 31, 09)

But how did the GOP become a "paranoid cult"?

The Republicans are arsonists who burned down our national home. They combined the failed ideologies of the Religious Right, so-called free market deregulation and the Neoconservative love of war to light a fire that has consumed America.

I used to be one of them. As recently as 2000 I worked to get Senator McCain elected in that year's primary. I have a file of handwritten thank you notes from Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush I and II. In the 1970s and early 80s I hung out with Jack Kemp and bought into his "supply side" myth and even wrote a book he endorsed pushing his ideas.) There's more, but take it from me; my parents and I were about as tight with -- and useful to -- the Republican Party as anyone. We played a big part creating the Religious Right.

In the mid 1980s I left the Religious Right, after I realized just how very anti-American they are, (the theme I explore in my book Patience With God--Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion Or Atheism). They wanted America to fail in order to prove they were right about America's "moral decline."

They're still at it. Why are the ultra-conservatives, the loony "deather", "birther", "Obama-is-the-Antichrist" right killing their own party? Because they are into purity.

Problem is life is full of paradox!

Since the right won't accept colors other than black and white on their palette they are condemned to live in an alternative universe of absolutes in a world that demands nuance.

How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now? Barry church-and-state-must-be-separate Goldwater, William F. civility-is-next-to-godliness Buckley defined the modern conservatism that used to be what the Republican Party I belonged to was about. No longer! Today no actual conservative can be a Republican.

Reagan would despise today's wholly negative Republican Party. And can you picture the gentlemanly and always polite Ronald I-legalized-abortion-in-California Reagan, endorsing a radio hate-jock slob who crudely mocked a man with Parkinson's and who now says he wants an American president to fail?!

With people like Palin, Limbaugh and Beck as the loudmouth image of the Republican Party -- Republicans need no enemies. But something far more serious has happened than an image problem: the Republican Party has become the party of obstruction at just the time when all Americans should be pulling together for the good of our country. Instead, Republicans are today's fifth column sabotaging American renewal.

These are not just the "Party Of No", these are the traitors who would rather legalize torture than medical care for all.

For the party that created our crises of misbegotten war, mismanaged economy, the lack of regulation of our banking industry, handing our country to rich crooks... to obstruct the one person who is trying to repair the damage is obscene. And now they are eating their own, since once you embrace purity no one is ever pure enough. This is the result of replacing planet earth with planet ideology, politics with religion.

Unless you haven't been paying attention to the recent history of the Republican Party you will know that today Republican ideology and energy is derived from three sources: the Religious Right, the Neoconservative Movement and corporate business interests.

The Republican problem was and is a systemic disparagement of government, community, faith in our institutions, family, God's creation and the mitigating institutions that put a check on something any party aligned with a religious movement should know all about: sin. Greed is not the only problem. The genius of the American system is supposedly that we have a system of checks and balances. The Republicans destroyed those checks and balances by deregulation and by trying to turn America into a defacto theocracy.

Bush felt no guilt about promoting completely unqualified people to high posts merely on the basis of social, ideological or political connections. I'll take that a step further: I don't think Bush ever wanted the government to work.

The Republicans have been trying to deconstruct our government for 40 years.

Now the national Republican leadership -- yes, that's Beck, Limbaugh, Palin -- would rather have a completely unqualified goof run than a qualified person, in other words "do" governance the way Bush did, as long as ideology is served.

As Rich writes:

Who exactly is the third-party maverick arousing such ardor? Doug Hoffman doesn't even live in the district. When he appeared before the editorial board of The Watertown Daily Times 10 days ago, he "showed no grasp" of local issues, as the subsequent editorial put it. Hoffman complained that he should have received the questions in advance -- blissfully unaware that they had been asked by the paper in an editorial on the morning of his visit.


If Republicans could feel shame there would have been a series of contrite public apologies by now for the fiasco of non-governing that typified the Bush administration. My pension, other people's pensions, our homes, jobs and economy are in chaos because of Republicans. Young Americans are dying in Iraq because of Republicans. They blew our chance in Afghanistan too. The world is a more dangerous place because of Republicans. Until President Obama was sworn in America was hated because of Republicans.

Far from saying they are sorry for the state our country is in the Republicans are now indulging in belligerent anti-Obama posturing on the one hand and a Stalinist purge of their own ranks on the other hand and a Church Lady-style sniffing out of anyone not purely crazy enough for them and sending them off to face the Palin/Beck/Limbaugh firing squad.

Why? Because the Republicans have become the party of perpetual fear of facts, fear of paradoxical dilemma and fear of truth. Fear eats her young.


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).