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Religion & Spirituality

How the Fundamentalist Mind Compels Conservative Christians to Force Their Beliefs on You

  • Good people are willing to subvert the U.S. Constitution and even violate human decency in their quest for converts.
  • Is America on the Verge of Theocracy?
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington

Valerie Tarico, AlterNet

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

Many evangelicals wear their religion on T-shirts and around their necks and on car bumpers and eye-blacks. They hand out tracts on college campuses and stage revival meetings on military bases. They use weddings and funerals to preach come-to-Jesus sermons. In their resolve to spread the good news that Jesus saves, some also do things that are more morally dubious.

In Tucson, nice young couples cultivate relationships with lonely college students without disclosing that they are paid to engage in “friendship missions.” In Seattle, volunteers woo first- and second-graders to afterschool Good News Clubs that the children are incapable of distinguishing from school-sponsored activities. In Muslim countries, Christian missionaries skirt laws that ban proselytizing by pretending to be mere aid workers, putting genuinely secular aid workers at risk. In the U.S. military, soldiers bully other soldiers into prayer meetings or the Passion of the Christ and then send bizarrely profane emails to people who try to stop them.

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Is America on the Verge of Theocracy? Henry A. Giroux, TruthOut.org / Alternet

  • Extremists shape American politics to unabashedly pursue legislative policies that favor the rich and punish the poor.
  • 4 Fundamentalist Ideologies Threatening U.S. Liberty
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington

How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington, George Monbiot, Guardian
The degradation of intelligence and learning in American politics results from a series of interlocking tragedies
 

Is America on the Verge of Theocracy?

  • Extremists shape American politics to unabashedly pursue legislative policies that favor the rich and punish the poor.
  • 4 Fundamentalist Ideologies Threatening U.S. Liberty
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington

Henry A. Giroux, TruthOut.org / Alternet

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Michael Sodos

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

Americans seem confident in the mythical notion that the United States is a free nation dedicated to reproducing the principles of equality, justice and democracy. What has been ignored in this delusional view is the growing rise of an expanded national security state since 2001 and an attack on individual rights that suggests that the United States has more in common with authoritarian regimes like China and Iran "than anyone may like to admit."

I want to address this seemingly untenable notion that the United States has become a breeding ground for authoritarianism by focusing on four fundamentalisms: market fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism, educational fundamentalism and military fundamentalism. This is far from a exhaustive list, but it does raise serious questions about how the claim to democracy in the United States has been severely damaged, if not made impossible.

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How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington, George Monbiot, Guardian UK
The degradation of intelligence and learning in American politics results from a series of interlocking tragedies

 

The Religious Right's Plot To Take Control Of Our Public Schools

The people who brought you "Jesus Camp" are moving into your neighborhood school. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Rachel Tabachnick, AlterNet

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.
 

Photo Credit: yamchild
 
The Good News Club: The Stealth Assault on America’s Children <> by Katherine Stewart uncovers a right-wing conspiracy to infiltrate and destroy the nation’s public school system, using recent Supreme Court decisions as a lever. It’s a must-read for anyone who’s seen public school kids, perhaps their own, targeted for proselytizing by peers, teachers and adult volunteers. And for those who haven’t, it’s a wake-up call.  

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas once wrote, “Religion is certainly a source of positive values, and we need as many positive values in the school as we can get.” It sounds benign. But what if the particular brand of religion is coercive, and in conflict with the teachings and values of the family of the students being targeted? It doesn’t matter. Because under the law as it stands now, evangelical churches have the right to gather, teach and proselytize in your neighborhood school.

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Why Evangelicals Don't Care When Rich White Conservatives Defile Marriage

  • Gingrich doesn’t live by the strict sexual rules laid out by conservatives, because those rules are meant for other people: the poor, Democrats, gays, and minorities.
  • Newt Didn't Want an 'Open Relationship' -- He Just Wanted to Cheat

Amanda MarcotteAlterNet

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock
 
Newt Gingrich’s win in the South Carolina primary looks like it may not be an outlier; Gingrich’s poll numbers are rising rapidly in Florida, and he has a good chance of beating Romney there as well. Gingrich is doing well in no small part because he has so much support amongst evangelical Christians; so much so that many evangelical leaders refused to go along with an attempt to unify the Christian right behind Santorum.

In South Carolina, evangelical Christians voted for Gingrich 2-to-1 over boring family man Mitt Romney. For anyone who takes seriously the notion that evangelical Christians actually care about things like family and fidelity, this support for Gingrich is baffling, since he has a history of serial adultery that he barely bothers to disavow. But a closer examination of the situation makes clear what’s going on: for the Republican base, “family values” don’t actually matter, but are just a gloss painted over what really motivates them: reactionary rage. They love Gingrich because he’s a flaming ball of rage they can wield against everyone they hate.

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Memo to the News Media: Newt Didn't Want an 'Open Relationship' -- He Just Wanted to Cheat, Theresa "Darklady" Reed, AlterNet
You don’t lie about an affair for six years and then ask permission.

 

No, This Is Why We've Been Beating Up on the Church

  • The Church has been "beaten up" over the last 10 or 12 years because, at its highest possible echelons, it functioned as an international conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding the crime of sexual assault.
  • The Catholic Church Is Still Lying to Itself

Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

Yesterday (Feb 7) on the blog, we discussed the appearence on my man Chuck Todd's Daily Rundown program of a certain George Weigel, alleged Catholic public intellectual and full-time fluffer of the Clan of The Red Beanie. (Weigel is a man born five centuries too late. He'd have been the guy in the corner of the Spanish dungeon taking down in impeccable penmanship the confessions of the people being tortured for the greater glory of The Church.) It wasn't until I read last night the full account of his appearence transcript that I realized that Weigel had pole-vaulted over the International Chutzpah Line. In arguing for the existence of some mythical "Catholic backlash" to the Obama administration's decision to require that contraception be included in any health plans sanctioned under the Affordable Care Act, Weigel said the following:

"This has struck a tribal nerve in Catholicism," Catholic scholar George Weigel said to Chuck Todd on the Daily Rundown. "The Catholic Church has been beaten up over the last 10 or 11 years and I think Catholics are tired of the government and others beating up on the church."

Holy mother of god, to coin a phrase.

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Black Evangelicals, White Evangelicals and Franklin Graham's Repentance

Black evangelicals also have personal faith that Jesus’ death paid for their sins, but their Gospel doesn’t end with personal (and individual) salvation. For (them... the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were for the redemption of both individual souls and the redemption of whole societies.

Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners/God's Politics

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!


Franklin Graham in his home office, Boone, N.C. 2003. Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

When Franklin Graham expressed doubts about President Obama’s Christian faith during and interview on Morning Joe last week (Feb 19-25), it reminded me of an uncomfortable dinner I had in the late ‘90s.

I sat down for a pleasant meal in the home of two great friends — one of them a white evangelical faith leader deeply committed to social justice. Well into the evening’s conversation —when we’d dropped all our pretenses and our exchanges moved well past mealtime niceties — one friend asked me something that caught me entirely off guard.

“Do you think Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Christian?” he said.

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Santorum at odds with his own church on environment

Santorum can't be blamed for wanting to throw a little red meat to conservatives as he seeks to maintain his momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But he is as wrong on his theology as he is on the science.

Larry B. Stammer,  Los Angeles (CA) Times

Photo: Matt Stamey, Associated Press

It has long been a maxim that mixing religion and politics can spell trouble. So when Rick Santorum told a partisan crowd in Columbus, Ohio, recently that President Obama's worldview was based on a "phony theology" that drives "radical environmentalists," he must have known his comments would reverberate far beyond his conservative political base.

Santorum was speaking of efforts to forestall the worst effects of climate change through controls on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, and policies aimed at encouraging the development of renewable sources of energy. Obama, he said, was putting the Earth before the needs of humans. "It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology."

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