Friday, December 31, 2010

My Latest Pro-Obama Blast

Read it (click) HERE

Obama's Critics Owe Him a New Years (Fact-Based) Apology

Review of "Patience With God"

"Frank Schaeffer is a very divisive and controversial figure. For instance, I don’t agree with his outspoken left wing politics. However, I absolutely love to read Frank’s books..."

I sometimes wonder if the art of disagreeing re a book review is dead. Here's a review that proves there are still some people out there who can honestly disagree, but still enjoy someone else's work, and be fair.

For the rest of this honest review of my nook click HERE

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Frank Schaeffer Speaking Dates, Times, Places

Hi, Frank Schaeffer here:

I'm setting up my 2011 book tour/speaking tour to launch my new book SEX, MOM and GOD: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway.

You may order the book on Amazon


Do you have any event, college, church, group you'd like me to speak at?

The best dates for me are between May 10 to the end of October this year.

Contact me at frankaschaeffer@aol.com if you'd like to talk about this before my calendar fills up.

I speak at colleges, churches, events and will be talking about the connection between political and sexual dysfunction as this sexual/political dysfunction powers and motivates both the religious and secular right, and about how to offer an alternative.

With far right social agenda and "Tea Party" Republicans controlling one house of Congress, this is (sadly) a very relevant topic.

I think there is an alternative to right wing paranoia and fear: a deeper connection with spirituality, Christianity and Love, and sane reality-based politics. I also think we must push back against far right/religious right mythology and willful (often homophobic and misogynist) ignorance and fear.

Having once been a leader on the other -- and wrong -- side I think I can help define this moment and provide a counter-argument that is efective. That's what my new book, "Sex, Mom and God" does -- besides (I hope) -- make my readers laugh out loud.

(If you want to see/hear the way I approach these things there are plenty of examples, interviews on NPR with Terri Gross on "Fresh Air" etc., and you may check out on my website frankschaeffer.com for sources.)

Again, if you want to contact me, please email me at frankaschaeffer@aol.com.

Very Best,
Frank

frankschaeffer@aol.com

Saturday, December 25, 2010

You Aren't Alone

Dear Friends: I have a family around me who I love and who love me. I also know what it is like to be alone. Sometimes this day and other "family days" are hard for us all. This year Christmas is good for me, but maybe it isn't for you. I've been there at times and if you need a friend today feel free to contact me. You aren't alone. Love Frank

frankschaeffer.com

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Truth About the State of Israel

The truth is that when it comes to pandering to powerful religious/ethnic "blocs" in the US the biggest game in town is the across the board bowing to the white Evangelical "base" of the Republican Party. That's the bloc of voters that adds up to real numbers, as high as a third of the American voting population.

When it comes to the State of Israel,it's the Christian Zionists who have driven American foreign policy over a cliff. Christian Zionists continuously jeopardize our future by putting the promotion of harebrained interpretations of biblical "prophecy" ahead of the well being of both Israel and the US.

To the Christian Zionists "defending Israel" is just a handy pretext for indulging their obsession: egging on, even "helping" the fulfillment of "biblical prophecies" about the "return of Christ." But their worst sin isn't just embracing dumb "theology" but that they have enabled a nefarious group of losers to irreparably harm America and contribute to the needless killing of our men and women in uniform worldwide: the neoconservatives.

To the neoconservatives "defending Israel" is just a handy pretext for upholding the myth of "American exceptionalism" for profit and nationalistic "glory," of the kind that was supposed to have gone out of fashion when hubris and stupidity got half the young male population of Europe killed in World War One.

America needlessly went to war in Iraq because neoconservative war mongers -- who laugh at the "those rubes" as they think of earnest Evangelical Christian Zionists, and whose own sons and daughters seem notably absent from our armed services -- used the religious passion and dedication of conservative Evangelicals to provide political means and cover for the neoconservatives' commitment to America's military dominance of the world. In other words the Evangelicals provided the votes to put foolish war mongers like George W Bush in power.

With "friends" like the Christian Zionists and the neoconservatives Israel, America, our men and women in uniform, the Palestinians and the rest of humanity need no enemies. This is made poignantly clear by a new film, With God On Our Side.

With God On Our Side is the most powerful, humane and compassionate documentary exposé of the Christian Zionist movement, and the impact of their ideology on the lives they have touched (and ruined), ever made. It is well crafted, subtle and fair. And -- notable in the "when hell freezes over" department -- it was directed and produced by... an American Evangelical.

Porter Speakman Jr.(director and producer) was raised by an Evangelical minister. Speakman grew up in a Charlotte, North Carolina in an evangelical (Pentecostal) home. These days he attends a small conservative Anglican church where he lives in Colorado Springs, "the Evangelical capitol of the world," as some wags call the blighted town where James Dobson runs his Evangelical "Focus On The Family" empire.

The film traces Speakman's change of heart from Christian Zionist to moderate peace maker. Speakman's fictional alter ego -- the young actor who narrates the movie -- recreates Speakman's ethical, spiritual and political journey. His dramatized journey links the interviews and historical material that provide the facts which correct the absurd lies told by the Christian Zionists not to mention their apocalyptic fantasies.

I understand where Speakman is coming from. I too look at these issues from an inside perspective. My late father, Francis Schaeffer, was a key Evangelical founder and leader of the American Religious Right. I grew up in a home where the "return of the Jews to Israel" was seen as "proof" of "God fulfilling prophecy" in order to expedite the return of Christ. I changed my mind and I changed my politics. I explain why I quit the evangelical movement in my book 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. I no longer believe that any "prophecy" is being fulfilled in Israel or anywhere else. I don't believe anyone is "chosen." If there is a God then God either loves all people or none.

With God On Our Side is a pointed contradiction of most American Evangelicals who still believe that to "be a Christian" means that you must give your full support to the extremist elements in the State of Israel. They believe that God loves some people lots more than others. In fact the logic of their actions points to their hatred of the Palestinians, even hatred of Christian Palestinians, let alone of "those Muslims."

For instance John Hagee, mega church pastor and founder of Christians United for Israel has said: "For twenty five almost twenty six years now, I have been pounding the Evangelical community over television. The Bible is a very pro-Israel book. If a Christian admits 'I believe the Bible', I can make him a pro-Israel supporter or they will have to denounce their faith. So I have Christians over a barrel you might say."

Few within the Christian Evangelical community have dared to publicly question Haggee's type of approach. Speakman's film presents an authentically Christian and Evangelical alternative perspective to the warmonger Far Right's views. As such this film is literally the most important document of its kind -- because it was made by an insider. It is the key to understanding why Evangelicals have become the permanent party of war in the name of "helping Israel."

Note: If we go to war with Iran you'll know why after watching this film. Hint: it won't be to protect American interests.

With God On Our Side does more than just present another Evangelical perspective -- it presents an opportunity for Christians of all denominations as well as Jews, Muslims, atheists and agnostics -- whomever -- to engage for peace as vigorously as the Christian Zionists root for war.

Speakman allows everyone he interviews to express themselves, share what they believe and then he responds with story, facts and context. With God On Our Side contains interviews with the leading Christian Zionists including John Hagee and Malcolm Hedding (of the so-called International Christian Embassy Jerusalem).

The film shows that one of the problems with the Christian Zionist rhetoric is it is never put into context. Hagee and his warmongering ilk say whatever they want and get an "Amen" -- and a check -- from those who believe the same. But when you show the implications of their beliefs and actions, it becomes clear that this is not the way of Jesus.

Those like Hagee and Hedding are deeply disconnected from the pain and suffering amongst the Palestinian people and they abuse the Bible to justify such an approach with blatant disregard for the Bible's core teaching for both Jews and Christians -- love of neighbor.

The Christian Zionists are also deeply disconnected from the American military family that, for generations now, has been the spear point not of American foreign policy but of Evangelical fantasies about making the world "safe" for the return of Christ by "helping" along "biblical prophecy" by "standing up for Israel." This so-called standing up has mired America in perpetual war. And as if that's not enough their very raison d'être is an insult to any actual God (if there is such a thing). I mean how could God be stupider than his frail human creatures? And what could be stupider than tying land acquisition to spirituality, as if the God Of The Universe is addicted to enforcing borders established by British colonialists and/or some rather nasty genocidal warring Bronze Age tribes?!

With God On Our Side soberly and quietly challenges the thought that God is only "with" one ethnic or religious group. When I interviewed Speakman for this article he said, "When you think God is on your side everything is justified. Radical Muslims justify suicide bombings, Radical Jews justify ethnic cleansing and radical Christians justify modern-day crusades."

Speakman has toured the US (mostly in churches) twice with the movie -- quite incredibly mostly ignored by the mainstream media so far -- and is now in the UK and Ireland to answer his (often insanely hostile Evangelical) critics. "What we are seeing is that there are many people who are disturbed that they have not heard this side of the story before," says Speakman. "What is encouraging is that many people who watch our movie then want to learn more and get involved to make a positive change, for both Palestinians and Jews."

After watching With God On Our Side I have a renewed hope that peace in Palestine and Israel is possible. This film can help that happen by signaling the beginning of the end of the largely unchallenged influence of Christian Zionism.

Order the DVD at a big discount HERE

Thursday, December 23, 2010

President Obama 1, Critics 0

By Frank Schaeffer


While President Obama brilliantly cajoled 13 Republicans to join every Democratic senator to ratify the New Start nuclear arms treaty with Russia, adding (as the Times put it) “the capstone to what now shapes up to be a remarkably successful legislative agenda for President Obama’s first two years…” in an interview with The Times of London Julian Assange compared himself to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also compared the Obama administration criticisms of him to the “persecution” endured by American Jews in the 1950s.

While President Obama signed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell into law the Michael Moore – once again – interpreted history through what might be charitably called a very personal lens when he – again – let his readers know that yet more WikiLeaks documents mention him and his movies!

While President Obama orchestrated the push back in the Senate—that then unanimously approved a bill to pay for the medical care of workers who cleaned up ground zero… after McConnell and other Republicans blocked the bill, Markos Moulitsas on Daily Kos that blasted the President saying "It’s really obnoxious hearing Democrats like Obama trying to make that argument [that Obama needed to compromise with the Republicans on the tax cuts]."

Wait a minute, “Democrats like Obama”? Would that be President Obama you’re talking about so dismissively?

“One thing I hope people have seen during this lame-duck: I am persistent,” Mr. Obama said, at a news conference celebrating his end of year achievements. “If I believe in something strongly, I stay on it.”

Yes, and the President keeps proving that his rabid critics on the Right who are working so hard to undermine his presidency at every turn are no match for him.

He also keeps proving that, compared to the Left of the Democratic Party (let alone such "icons" as Assange) he knows how to get things done that actually change lives and matter. President Obama also seems to be the only grownup, not to mention the smartest person, in many a room.

While the Democratic Left navel gazes, inflates their own importance with articles about how they got mentioned in WikiLeaks (WOW!)... while Assange and others suffering from delusions of grandeur keep posturing as saviors of the human race, President Obama, Hilary Clinton, the late Richard Holbrooke et al, actually have been working for the good of America and the world.

The Senate ratified the New Start arms-reduction treaty, which the President said was his foreign-policy priority. Republicans surrendered, then grudgingly allowed the passage of the Sept. 11 legislation too. And that was after they tried to undermine the repeal of DADT.

The President never backed down. He won a string of bipartisan legislative triumphs. Meanwhile the Left keeps saying that to be bipartisan is a sign of weakness. Really?

The President's Right Wing Republican critics are now thoroughly exposed as the hard-hearted empty suits they are.

President Obama's Lefty critics look more and more like petulant teenagers.

Score One to President Obama, Zero to his critics.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and 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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Good Review of "Patience With God"

PATIENCE WITH GOD was reviewed in the 12/3 Santa Fe New Mexican: “Patience with God is the middle ground between Rick Warren and Christopher Hitchens, a measured alternative to what has begun to feel like strictly black-and-white arguments that conflate religion with politics, assume all Christians have identical beliefs, and seem to require all Americans to make a dichotomous choice between moral tradition and Godless progress…Schaeffer’s voice is casual but firm. You don’t have to agree with him, but he isn’t easily dismissed.”

To buy the book "click" HERE

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gays, the Military and God

By Frank Schaeffer

(This article was first published on the Huffington Post)


In the light (or should I say "dark") of the Republican's stand against repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" we need to understand the wider context of the fight that pits human rights against the conservative Christians who have taken over the Republican Party.

If there is one thing all Christians should have learned by now it's that we -- of all people -- should never, ever cast aspersions on anyone else's sex life!

When it comes to pointing the finger over sexual "sin" the worldwide Christian community -- from the halls of the Vatican, to some Evangelical conservative "home church" established in somebody's basement two minutes ago -- is in the morally compromised position of a sometime violent habitual rapist criticizing a shoplifter for stealing a candy bar.

We're not talking about "a few bad apples," but the whole edifice of religion top to bottom.

I look at these issues from an inside perspective. My late father, Francis Schaeffer, was a key Evangelical founder and leader of the American Religious Right. I grew up in a home where we knew all the key actors in the anti-gay Evangelical/Far Right "cause". I changed my mind and I changed my politics. I explain why I quit the evangelical movement in my book 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.

Speaking of rapists, an impartial inquiry into child abuse at Catholic institutions in Ireland found that the top church leaders knew that sexual abuse was endemic in boys' and girls' institutions. A nine-year government inquiry investigated a sixty-year period when more than 35,000 children were placed in a network of "reformatories," "industrial schools" and "workhouses." All of them suffered physical and/or sexual abuse that more than two thousand witnesses confirmed to the commission. They were placing children in these camps until the 1980s. Physical and emotional abuse was a built-in deliberate feature of these institutions for young men and women. The inquiry proved that child rape defines Irish Catholicism as surely as the sign of the cross once did.

(Rachel Maddow recently interviewed David Bahati, the author of the "Kill The Gays" Ugandan bill and he said that "We must do this to protect our children." I thought that actually if logic ruled and protecting children was the goal, gays would be free but Roman Catholic bishops and priests would be rounded up as a preventative measure. Okay, I'm kidding but on the face of the evidence that would make more sense!)

Closer to home the Family (or The Fellowship) ran a residential "ministry" specializing in housing and indoctrinating members of Congress in their Washington DC, C-Street residence. Several Family members -- Nevada Senator John Ensign, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and former Representative Chip Pickering of Mississippi -- were all found guilty of adultery. This fact would be meaningless to anyone but their wives, except for the fact that all three also defined their political careers by loudly advertising their so-called Christian family values. Sanford admitted to an affair with a woman in Argentina. Ensign admitted that his family paid $96,000 in hush money to his former mistress and her family. Pickering is said to have conducted his adulterous affair, within the walls of the Family's C-Street complex.

Then there was George Rekers, who played an important role in many of the most extreme Evangelical assaults on gay people's rights. His career started in 1982 with his publishing a homophobic "textbook" Growing Up Straight: What Families Should Know About Homosexuality. Rekers was a co-founder with James Dobson of the gay-bashing Family Research Council. In 2010 Rekers was found to be "in a class by himself" when it came to sexual hypocrisy (as New York Times columnist Frank Rich noted). A Baptist minister with a bent for "curing" homosexuality, sixty-year-old Rekers was caught by a Miami New Times reporter with a twenty-year-old male escort at Miami International Airport. The "couple" was returning from a ten-day trip to London. Rekers only mistake, he told Christianity Today magazine, was to hire a "travel assistant" without proper vetting. Rekers said, "[my assistant] did let me share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him, with many Scriptures in three extended conversations."

With the innumerable "Christian" sex scandals that seem to crash into the headlines every day we've arrived the point where I think I may -- jokingly, of course -- safely say that all Evangelical anti-gay activists may be closeted gays hiding behind their loud anti-gay public proclamations and that all the "traditional family values" leaders will, eventually, be shown to be have been committing adultery -- when not calling press conferences to denounce "godless Liberals."

There is an attending level of smarmy hypocrisy expressed as "we hate the sin, but love the sinner" that is as ludicrous as it is two-faced. For instance, in 2010 the top Evangelical leadership participated (as they have each year for decades) in a Washington schmooze fest "prayer breakfast" organized by none other than the Family. At that very moment The Family was also hock deep in yet another scandal, this time in Uganda.

The story of the Ugandan legislation to kill gays -- for being gay -- was intertwined with the Family and also with representatives of the wider "respectable" American Evangelical community. According to many press reports, the genesis of the anti-homosexual Ugandan bill may be traced to a three-day seminar in Kampala in March 2009 called "Exposing the Truth behind Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda." This seminar was led by Evangelical leader and hero to the Religious Right, Scott Lively. He is best known for his Holocaust revisionist book, The Pink Swastika, which claims homosexuals founded the Nazi party and were responsible for death camp atrocities.

According to sources who attended the conference (and that were later widely quoted in the press) Lively told his Kampala audience, "I know more about this [homosexuality] than almost anyone in the world ... The gay movement is an evil institution. The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity." The results of the seminar were dramatic. "The community has become very hostile now," Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda said in an interview. "We have to watch our backs very much more than before because the community thinks if the Ugandan government is not passing the law, they will deal with [gay] people on their own."

In a shameful exception to his usual decency President Obama participated in The Family-run "prayer breakfast" farce. He did this even though Bahati -- the same man behind the kill the gays legislation Maddow just interviewed -- was deeply involved in The Family's work in Uganda at that time, and the ethics minister of Uganda and was also helping to organize The Family's National Prayer Breakfast.

A day before this "prayer" schmooze-farce I participated in a press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington DC, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). I did so to do my bit to call attention to the anti-gay activities of the Family. "Prayer is a good thing, and Americans ought to gather to pray, but we better be careful what we pray for," said one of our presenters, Gene Robinson (the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church). "I call upon our president to make himself known to be in opposition... to this violation of human rights for all of God's children in Uganda and beyond," Robinson concluded.

A gay Ugandan, who was seeking asylum in the United States, gave a detailed account of the harassment he withstood "from my fellow Christians in Uganda." Given the multiplying death threats he was receiving for speaking out Moses (not his real name), addressed reporters with a paper bag over his head to conceal his identity. He described in detail how, "one would rather die than come out of the closet" in religiously conservative Uganda. He also spoke about how American Evangelicals had egged on the Ugandan authorities with the Evangelical-propagated pseudo-scientific myth that homosexuality is a "chosen life-style" that can be "cured" by Jesus and/or therapy, and that therefore people who remain gay are gay because they choose to be and thus are "sinning" -- on purpose.

No wonder Far Right American Evangelicals not only slander gay men and women but also have an affinity for certain repressive religion-saturated countries like gay-bashing Uganda. As we've seen, a bedrock article of faith among the American Evangelicals is that America had "Christian origins," and that today America must be "restored" to our "religious heritage." To recap, the "Puritan heritage" of America is cited as evidence for our need to return to our biblical roots -- and/or to work internationally, as do the Family -- to get others to follow our "holy" path.

Today's anti-gay Evangelicals are just carrying on the tradition of persecuting people in the name of God begun in the Bay State. Puritans were their day's Evangelical/Roman Catholic Lynch Mob. They too believed that they were defending authentic Christianity. They said that they were on a divine mission, even calling themselves "The New Israel" and a "city set upon a hill." John Winthrop (governor of Massachusetts Bay) transferred the idea of "nationhood" in biblical Israel to the Massachusetts Bay Company. Puritans said the Bible confirmed their status as the New Israel. And since the Puritans claimed they were God's "Chosen People" they said that they had the right to take land from the "heathen." These were the American Indians whom the Puritans thought of as the "new Canaanites," to be slaughtered with God's blessing and in the case of the Pequot Indians, burned alive.

When "Moses" spoke at our press conference his hands gripped the Press Club lectern and when he released that grip they trembled. I hugged Moses after he concluded his remarks and discovered that his back was drenched in sweat even in that ice-cold air conditioned room. I spoke next and I felt ashamed to be holding forth at so little personal cost. I could speak from that podium without risk of more than a few emails from people who wrote things like; "you fucking fag lover" and "your father would be ashamed of you" while Moses faced death for standing up against the religion-led Lynch Mob. Nevertheless I know a little about what he was enduring because I'm used to certain types of "correspondence," like this email (typos in the original) that I happened to receive when working on this chapter.

From: D--- Date: Mon, Sep 27, 2010 10:27 am
I just read what you wrote in support of our Muslim Marxist, Lying SOB POTUS. He is a shill for the NWO and wants to bring the USA down to 3rd world status. He refuses to show his longform birth certificate, and tha means he is hiding something, like he is not constitutionally eligible to be in the position that he findshimself in. A LIAR is what he amounts to, and that kind of person does not represent me or mine. You are a jaded idoit. . . I work for a living, you should try doing the same thing, cause your ideology and your writing sucks. . . Do not reply. . . You must be a communist also, you look like one. . . RATFINK!



Moses faced daily threats from the sort of people who wrote that RATFINK note to me. But I chose to leave the Evangelical fold and also chose to support President Obama, knowing full well that, given my past, I'd attract the attention of the many people gleefully wallowing in the subterranean river of sewage that flows wide and deep just under the surface of American life. Moses hadn't chosen anything. He was hated for merely trying to fulfill the natural longings he was born with.

To be true to what I hope is the heart of the best of the universal religious message: redemption through selflessness, hope and love, necessitates a new and fearless repudiation of the parts of the same books and traditions -- be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim (or other) -- that also bring us a message of hate, exclusion, ignorance, tribalism and fear. To find any spiritual truth within any religion's holy books they must be mentally edited, by the light God has placed in each of us. To see ourselves as fellow travelers sharing a humble uncertainty is the only antidote to fundamentalism of all kinds, religious or secular... or for that matter, to the intolerant idiocy of today's Republican Party.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and 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

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Peace in Palestine and Israel is Possible

The truth is that when it comes to pandering to powerful religious/ethnic "blocs" in the US the biggest game in town is the across the board bowing to the white Evangelical "base" of the Republican Party. That's the bloc of voters that adds up to real numbers, as high as a third of the American voting population.

When it comes to the State of Israel,it's the Christian Zionists who have driven American foreign policy over a cliff. Christian Zionists continuously jeopardize our future by putting the promotion of harebrained interpretations of biblical "prophecy" ahead of the well being of both Israel and the US.

To the Christian Zionists "defending Israel" is just a handy pretext for indulging their obsession: egging on, even "helping" the fulfillment of "biblical prophecies" about the "return of Christ." But their worst sin isn't just embracing dumb "theology" but that they have enabled a nefarious group of losers to irreparably harm America and contribute to the needless killing of our men and women in uniform worldwide: the neoconservatives.

To the neoconservatives "defending Israel" is just a handy pretext for upholding the myth of "American exceptionalism" for profit and nationalistic "glory," of the kind that was supposed to have gone out of fashion when hubris and stupidity got half the young male population of Europe killed in World War One.

America needlessly went to war in Iraq because neoconservative war mongers -- who laugh at the "those rubes" as they think of earnest Evangelical Christian Zionists, and whose own sons and daughters seem notably absent from our armed services -- used the religious passion and dedication of conservative Evangelicals to provide political means and cover for the neoconservatives' commitment to America's military dominance of the world. In other words the Evangelicals provided the votes to put foolish war mongers like George W Bush in power.

With "friends" like the Christian Zionists and the neoconservatives Israel, America, our men and women in uniform, the Palestinians and the rest of humanity need no enemies. This is made poignantly clear by a new film, With God On Our Side.

With God On Our Side is the most powerful, humane and compassionate documentary exposé of the Christian Zionist movement, and the impact of their ideology on the lives they have touched (and ruined), ever made. It is well crafted, subtle and fair. And -- notable in the "when hell freezes over" department -- it was directed and produced by... an American Evangelical.

Porter Speakman Jr.(director and producer) was raised by an Evangelical minister. Speakman grew up in a Charlotte, North Carolina in an evangelical (Pentecostal) home. These days he attends a small conservative Anglican church where he lives in Colorado Springs, "the Evangelical capitol of the world," as some wags call the blighted town where James Dobson runs his Evangelical "Focus On The Family" empire.

The film traces Speakman's change of heart from Christian Zionist to moderate peace maker. Speakman's fictional alter ego -- the young actor who narrates the movie -- recreates Speakman's ethical, spiritual and political journey. His dramatized journey links the interviews and historical material that provide the facts which correct the absurd lies told by the Christian Zionists not to mention their apocalyptic fantasies.

I understand where Speakman is coming from. I too look at these issues from an inside perspective. My late father, Francis Schaeffer, was a key Evangelical founder and leader of the American Religious Right. I grew up in a home where the "return of the Jews to Israel" was seen as "proof" of "God fulfilling prophecy" in order to expedite the return of Christ. I changed my mind and I changed my politics. I explain why I quit the evangelical movement in my book 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. I no longer believe that any "prophecy" is being fulfilled in Israel or anywhere else. I don't believe anyone is "chosen." If there is a God then God either loves all people or none.

With God On Our Side is a pointed contradiction of most American Evangelicals who still believe that to "be a Christian" means that you must give your full support to the extremist elements in the State of Israel. They believe that God loves some people lots more than others. In fact the logic of their actions points to their hatred of the Palestinians, even hatred of Christian Palestinians, let alone of "those Muslims."

For instance John Hagee, mega church pastor and founder of Christians United for Israel has said: "For twenty five almost twenty six years now, I have been pounding the Evangelical community over television. The Bible is a very pro-Israel book. If a Christian admits 'I believe the Bible', I can make him a pro-Israel supporter or they will have to denounce their faith. So I have Christians over a barrel you might say."

Few within the Christian Evangelical community have dared to publicly question Haggee's type of approach. Speakman's film presents an authentically Christian and Evangelical alternative perspective to the warmonger Far Right's views. As such this film is literally the most important document of its kind -- because it was made by an insider. It is the key to understanding why Evangelicals have become the permanent party of war in the name of "helping Israel."

Note: If we go to war with Iran you'll know why after watching this film. Hint: it won't be to protect American interests.

With God On Our Side does more than just present another Evangelical perspective -- it presents an opportunity for Christians of all denominations as well as Jews, Muslims, atheists and agnostics -- whomever -- to engage for peace as vigorously as the Christian Zionists root for war.

Speakman allows everyone he interviews to express themselves, share what they believe and then he responds with story, facts and context. With God On Our Side contains interviews with the leading Christian Zionists including John Hagee and Malcolm Hedding (of the so-called International Christian Embassy Jerusalem).

The film shows that one of the problems with the Christian Zionist rhetoric is it is never put into context. Hagee and his warmongering ilk say whatever they want and get an "Amen" -- and a check -- from those who believe the same. But when you show the implications of their beliefs and actions, it becomes clear that this is not the way of Jesus.

Those like Hagee and Hedding are deeply disconnected from the pain and suffering amongst the Palestinian people and they abuse the Bible to justify such an approach with blatant disregard for the Bible's core teaching for both Jews and Christians -- love of neighbor.

The Christian Zionists are also deeply disconnected from the American military family that, for generations now, has been the spear point not of American foreign policy but of Evangelical fantasies about making the world "safe" for the return of Christ by "helping" along "biblical prophecy" by "standing up for Israel." This so-called standing up has mired America in perpetual war. And as if that's not enough their very raison d'être is an insult to any actual God (if there is such a thing). I mean how could God be stupider than his frail human creatures? And what could be stupider than tying land acquisition to spirituality, as if the God Of The Universe is addicted to enforcing borders established by British colonialists and/or some rather nasty genocidal warring Bronze Age tribes?!

With God On Our Side soberly and quietly challenges the thought that God is only "with" one ethnic or religious group. When I interviewed Speakman for this article he said, "When you think God is on your side everything is justified. Radical Muslims justify suicide bombings, Radical Jews justify ethnic cleansing and radical Christians justify modern-day crusades."

Speakman has toured the US (mostly in churches) twice with the movie -- quite incredibly mostly ignored by the mainstream media so far -- and is now in the UK and Ireland to answer his (often insanely hostile Evangelical) critics. "What we are seeing is that there are many people who are disturbed that they have not heard this side of the story before," says Speakman. "What is encouraging is that many people who watch our movie then want to learn more and get involved to make a positive change, for both Palestinians and Jews."

After watching With God On Our Side I have a renewed hope that peace in Palestine and Israel is possible. This film can help that happen by signaling the beginning of the end of the largely unchallenged influence of Christian Zionism.

Order the DVD at a big discount HERE

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and 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

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sex, Mom and God (Pre-Order My New Book)

To pre-order go to Amazon Here


Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway [Hardcover]
Frank Schaeffer (Author)
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Product Description
From the author of "Crazy for God and Patience with God", this is the third book in Frank Schaeffer's one-of-a-kind trilogy about God, religion, growing up evangelical - and living the life that came after. With laugh-out-loud scenes from his childhood and youth and acidic ruminations on the present state of an America he and his fundamentalist parents help create, Frank Schaeffer asks what the Becks and the Limbaughs and the Palins and the paranoid fantasies of the 'right-wing echo chamber' are really all about. Here's a hint: sex. The author's far-from-prudish evangelical mother sweetly but bizarrely provides startling (and hilarious) juxtapositions of the religious and the sensual during his childhood and youth. As the author himself explains: 'I'm a novelist and storyteller. So my way of telling the Big Story of what the religious right did to America is to fold it into the individual story of my life. I do this for two reasons: first, it's (I hope) entertaining and provides insight into the evangelical right-wing mindset. Second, it so happens that my father and mother (Francis and Edith Schaeffer) and I became leaders in the far religious-right movement and so had a big impact on America. My story is a window into millions of similar lives but also the (somewhat scandalous and controversial) story of one life and family that touched millions of others. 'Dip into my life and learn why certain folks have a perpetual chip on their shoulder over imagined grievances to the point where they hate their (own democratically) elected government and-curiously, in the name of 'patriotism' - are thoroughly anti-American. Hang out with the Schaeffer clan for a bit and discover why the religious right is rooting for the Apocalypse while also regarding themselves as victims of the liberal elite and all the while mired in perpetual sexual dysfunction and weirdness that creates a self-loathing culture that lashes out at the rest of us. And they do it all in the Name of Jesus.
About the Author
Frank Schaeffer is the author of the New York Times bestseller Keeping Faith and the memoir Crazy for God. His novels, including Portofino, have been translated into nine languages. He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and NPR's Fresh Air, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and AlterNet. He and his wife, Genie, live in Massachusetts and have three children.
Product Details
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press (May 31, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0306819287
ISBN-13: 978-0306819285
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