Thursday, January 27, 2011

Did Evangelicals Kill a Gay Man

Heres my latest on this: Click here

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blame the NRA

Lost in the "who is to blame" game after the tragedy in Arizona is this fact: The NRA, above any one group is to blame.

Was the killer of a 9-year old honor student, a judge and many others, "of the right" or "of the left?" Did he shoot a congresswoman because of his anti-government ideology? Or was he just nuts? Those questions may never be resolved. But one thing is certain: the killer used a weapon that no American should ever have the right to carry in public outside of law enforcement, and no American with even a hint of mental problems should ever be allowed to buy a weapon like that either.

There is one group of activists who have made sure reasonable Americans -- of both parties -- have no voice when it comes to guns.

NRA J'accuse.

I own two guns; a single shot ten gauge shot gun and a single shot .22. Both are used from time to time (rarely) re woodchucks decimating my garden. My son became a Marine, scored "expert" in his rifle qualification on Parris Island, fought in Afghanistan and came home. I'm proud of him. I'm not anti-gun. Some of my books are used as text books by our military.

I'm a gun owner but not a supporter of the NRA, let alone of the gun lobby.

To me the word freedom means freedom to go to church or not where I want, freedom to educate myself and my family, freedom to vote, freedom to have access to my elected representatives, freedom to speak my mind. It does not mean freedom to own, use, collect and play with the sorts of weapons that only make sense in the hands of Marines like my son when they are at war, but no sense whatsoever in the hands of civilians.

One point: whoever is to "blame" other than the shooter -- if anyone -- the right and only the right has steadily supported is America's insanely permissive gun "laws." The right owns them.

One truth no one can deny: the Second Amendment indeed guarantees our right to own weapons, but nowhere does it guarantee the right to own, carry and use what in the modern era of semi-automatic multiple shot weapons are exclusively weapons of mass destruction.

Who in their right mind thinks it's a good idea to allow someone to carry a handgun with a 30 round clip in public, anywhere, ever? Who in their right mind wants a young man like the alleged shooter Jared Loughner that the Army wouldn't take and a school kicked out for trouble making having access to such weapons?

Whoever the killer was motivated by, right, left, Fox, News, the Village Voice or Vogue Magazine, whatever, (or just "voices") why did he have that kind of weapon?

Answer: the NRA.

Who let the NRA succeed in intimidating America into accepting the "fact" of such guns in the hands of killers as somehow inevitable let alone "constitutional?"

Answer: The NRA's base.

Who is that "base"?

In that sense the right owns this tragedy. In that sense all the political leaders telling us they are praying for the victims yet who received high marks from the NRA for their voting records on guns are complicit.

I own a guns. I don't carry my guns to political rallies to make a "point," as did some Tea Party folks last summer. I don't wave a "Don't tread On Me" banner in one hand and a gun in the other. I don't carry a firearm to presidential rallies and wear a T-shirt with the same words Timothy McVeigh proudly wore the day he blew up the Oklahoma government offices. But there are people who do. And the weapons they carry are a lot more like what my son was using to shoot our enemies than anything any Founding Father ever owned!

I don't think I should have the "right" to carry a handgun in public, as one can in Arizona and a host of other NRA-influenced (dominated?) states spiraling into insanity. And I don't think guns are cute or fun. And nor does my Marine son, who won't even own one as a civilian given his wartime experiences. As he said to me after returning for multiple deployments: "Dad, I've seen enough guns to last me a lifetime."

As (political psychologist and neuroscientist) Drew Westen brilliantly put it:

Whether they are owned and operated by the NRA, too cowardly to take on the NRA for fear of being defeated in the next election, or misled into believing that the average American is as psychotic as the man who opened fire in Tucson (i.e., that most Americans can't tell the difference between hunting deer and hunting people, or between a hunting rifle and a semi-automatic), our leaders have either faithfully served the interest of Smith and Wesson and the gun lobby or failed to oppose them. The result is that the country has shifted to the right on gun safety, which is what naturally happens when the right is vocal and the left is frightened and silent.

But even today, if you simply speak to ordinary Americans in plain English, they do not believe in the NRA's interpretation of the Second Amendment...

Consider a message colleagues and I tested with two large national samples of registered voters, which beat a tough conservative anti-regulation message on guns by 20 points with both the general electorate and swing voters:

Every law-abiding citizen has the right to bear arms to hunt and protect his family. But that right doesn't extend to criminals, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally ill... We need to use some common sense in deciding what kind of weapons we want on the streets. I don't know any hunters who keep stockpiles of munitions in their basements, and I don't think the Founding Fathers had AK-47s in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment.

Another message beat the conservative message by 40 points with Independent voters, by beginning with a simple statement of principle with which voters across the political spectrum agree if they simply hear it enunciated:

My view on guns reflects one simple principle: that our gun laws should guarantee the rights and freedoms of all law-abiding Americans. That's why I stand with the majority who believe in the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns to hunt and protect their families. And that's why I also stand with the majority who believe they have the right to send their kids to school in the morning and have them come home safely.

Or consider yet another message, which began as follows:

Every law-abiding American has the right to own a gun to hunt and protect his family... But you don't need an assault weapon to hunt deer, and if you do, you shouldn't be anywhere near a gun.

Americans get it, if you just speak to them like adults.

None of these messages is a "hard left" message on guns -- a message that might better fit the sensibilities of (and be more appropriate for) New York City, Connecticut, Massachusetts, or much of the West Coast. But these are messages that win all over the heartland -- and even win in some unlikely places, like the Deep South and the West -- because they aren't about taking away the rights of law-abiding gun owners. They are about protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens, whether they own a gun or not...

If our elected officials are in the pockets of those who would allow the shooting of their colleagues with semi-automatic weapons with no legitimate civilian uses -- while mouthing platitudes about their concern for their colleagues -- it's time to call their bluff.

Guns don't kill people. Cowards and lobbyists do.


I don't feel my freedom depends on the right to own a semi-automatic weapon with a 30 round clip. I don't think gun shows, gun dealers, or people who own combat weapons are protecting me or my country. In fact I know my real freedom is curtailed by the fools who have empowered the NRA and the weapons companies they shill for and the political "leaders" who pimp for them all.

Forget the left/right politics for a moment. Forget Sarah Palin's "cross hairs" and Fox News anti-government crusade. Whoever our latest mass murderer was or is or turns out to be: Gun laws in America are off the rails. Want to blame someone for that? Blame the NRA.

How about freedom from the sorts of weapons that no one hunts with, that you don't need for home protection, and that are only "good" for one thing: murder? How about freedom to own guns in a reasonable manner and from the NRA?


Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of the forthcoming 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

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords

In the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, make no mistake: we have a mere taste of the deep river of know-nothing sewage that flows just under the American surface that is about to gush into view with the Far Right having having made their takeover of one house of our Congress a reality. This is the "Second Amendment remedy" they've been rooting for. The shooter may be nuts. Who pushed him? Who created the climate where these actions were thinkable?

In the 1970s and 80s I was a Far Right instigator, a leader of the (then new) anti-abortion movement. I describe why I left this 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. My late father Francis Schaeffer has been called the father of the Religious Right. I -- following the Evangelical "holy tradition" of North Korea-style nepotism -- was for a time his sidekick. Together we helped set the table for the feast of reactionary hate America is dining on today as the White Far Right/Neoconservative War Machine and the Religious non-reality-based anti-modern Permanent American Lynch Mob hits America in the mouth for daring to elect our first black president and other "liberals."

Who is the Republican Far Right and what do they want? To understand our Republican future -- check out our recent Republican past. These are the "patriots" who gave us:

  • Two non-stop wars that needlessly killed over 5,000 Americans

  • Replaced our military with a mercenary killers-for-hire dirty world of "contractors" that now outnumber our men and women in every American military operation

  • Destroyed our economy by deregulating business and the banks

  • Launched an anti-gay "gays-choose-to-be-gay" mythology on America leading to the further oppression of gay men and women

  • Put secretive Far Right religious operatives including the "C-Street" ("Family") in positions of influence through members of congress who are in their pockets

  • Aided and abetted the death to gays legislation in Uganda

  • Tried to launch a race and religion war in America by stirring up hate against the Muslim minority

  • Have tried to turn non-Latino Americans into a Latino-fearing xenophobic anti-immigrant mob

  • Created the climate wherein abortion providers were first labeled "baby killers" then murdered

  • Lied about the President, saying he isn't American, is a Muslim, is the Antichrist

  • Unleashed a plague of guns on America feeding one murder spree after another

  • Struck down over a century of legal rulings limiting the buying and selling of elections by corporations, giving us a "new" and "improved" system of unlimited secret contributions to eviscerate even the pretense of actual democracy and finally hand America over to the super wealthy -- maybe forever

  • Run candidates for Congress who are calling for the violent overthrow of the American Government should they fail at the ballot box

  • Supported anti-science, anti-education biblical mythology

  • Backed candidates who want to force rape victims to carry their pregnancies to term

  • Fought people fighting global warming and plunged us into an irrevocable date with global death while reaping short term profits for the coal and oil industry

  • Put the American future in hock to Far Right Zionists forever by backing the settlers in the State of Isreal and by trying to undermine peace iniatives

  • Put America in hock to Far Right Evangelicals who are rooting for the "return of Christ" and the Apocalypse...

  • And with the Tea Party Republicans in Congress now you haven't seen anything yet.
    To change the way things are we need to understand why at any given moment about a third of our population doesn't care about what is true -- or even fact-based -- but instead live life informed by self-reinforcing beliefs which are proudly non-fact-based and rooted in deep-seated resentment that can't be cured because what is resented never actually happened.

    Stop the flood of putrid moral failure that is about to engulf us. Get into the "minds" of the killers, into the heads sort of people who saw Sarah Palin's cross hairs targeting an American congresswoman and decided to pull an actual trigger. "Listen to the killer's "thoughts" of the sort of person who gunned down cops in Pittsburgh because he said that since Obama was elected "the government" would take away his guns...

    I hope Obama fails... watch Fox News, put a Psalm 109 bumper sticker on my car calling for the death of the President, carry a loaded weapon to a political rally to show them we will keep our Second Amendment options open, put enemies in the crosshairs of a rifle scope on Facebook, Obama isn't a real American, he's Muslim, He's a communist, like Hitler, like Stalin, Death Panels, watch Fox News, government takeover of health care, watch Fox News, return to the gold standard, watch Fox News, buy gold, the Fed is evil, the United Nations is evil, Jesus will come back soon, the gays chose to be that way, the gays want to take over America, watch Fox News, we're here to take back our country, Obama is a white racist, there will be Second Amendment remedies, government is the problem, there is no global warming, watch Fox News, if Obama is elected he'll take our guns, watch Fox News, Jesus is coming back, watch Fox News, Obama hates America, watch Fox News, Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalism, buy guns, watch Fox News, buy more guns, Jesus is coming back, one world government is on the way, stand with Israel, Jesus is coming back, global warming is a conspiracy to take our freedoms away, stop those Mexican immigrants now, send them back, watch Fox News, say no to citizenship for immigrant's children, even ones born here, buy guns, buy gold, kill a judge, kill a liberal, kill a congresswoman...

    And the Far Right/Fox News reaction?

    Ooops! This has nothing to do with us!

    Take down the Facebook page that put the victim in the rifle cross hairs!

    This is a tragedy!

    Call for prayers for the victims!

    We were just kidding!... Until the next time that is...



    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Speaking Tour for SEX, MOM and GOD

    Hi, Frank Schaeffer here:

    Happy New Year! 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."

    I'd like your help. Do you have a connection to an event, college, church, or other group you'd like me to speak to and that might invite me?

    The dates I'm hoping to fill are between May 10 (the day my new book comes out) to the end of the year.

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

    You may also pre-order my new book on Amazon HERE.

    I speak at colleges, churches, events and will be talking about the connection between political and sexual dysfunction as this sexual/political dysfunction motivates the religious right and the hatred, fear, myth and paranoia they cling to. Why is religion such a life long prison for so many perople?

    I think there is an alternative to religion-inspired fear: a deeper connection with God and Love that leads full lives and also to sane reality-based politics. I believe we must push back against religious right mythology and willful (homophobic and misogynist) ignorance and fear. It destroys individual lives. It threatens America.

    Having once been a leader on the other -- and wrong -- side I think I can help provide a counter-argument that is effective. That's what my new book, "Sex, Mom and God" will do -- 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., that you may check out on my website frankschaeffer.com.)

    Again, if you want to contact me, please e-mail me at frankaschaeffer@aol.com (but not at the e-mail address used to send you this group e-mail) and we can set something up.

    Thank you for considering ways to help me launch this speaking tour,
    Very Best,
    Frank

    frankschaeffer@aol.com