Don't fear this : stop it
October 14, 2004 4:00 PM   Subscribe

You will be conquered by Stealth and Deception : in the swift advance of a long-planned coup against secular society, to launch an American theocracy, "the Dominionists are succeeding in their quest for national control and world power" - Kathleen Yurica, founder of the Yurica Report which, like Theocracy Watch, monitors the American religious right writes "Since the writing and posting of my essay, The Despoiling of America in February 2004, there is more and more evidence that not only has a cultural war been launched, but that the plotters are winning it....First the hard right dominionists took over the Southern Baptist Convention with its 16 million members and a fortune in corporate businesses. Then they took over the Republican Party...they are moving to limit the power of the Supreme Court. Now there is evidence dominionists are trying to take over the U. S. military

....Americans and the mainstream media have been very slow in catching on to the fact that we are in a war — a war that is cultural, religious and political, a war that uses stealth and deception and the rules of engagement written by the enemies to representative democracy. Unless Americans wake up, we could lose that war."

posted by troutfishing (75 comments total)
Ann Coulter for president. Platform: convert them all to Christianity. Amen. God Bless America.
SINGS: Amazing Grace, how sweet...hmmmmmm, hmm, hmmm
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:14 PM on October 14, 2004

It's another reason to vote Kerry--unless you want someone else's religious values turned into all of our laws.
posted by amberglow at 4:23 PM on October 14, 2004

"Whatever else it achieves, the presidential campaign of 2000 will be remembered as the time in American politics when the wall separating church and state began to collapse." -- New York Times Magazine, Jan. 30, 2000

Wobbly Wall Between Church and State

A radical assault on the Constitution "House Passes HR 3313, the “Marriage Protection Act”
With Two More Dominionist Bills to Go....the first step, in U.S. history, to change the system of checks and balances built into the U.S. Constitution."

"The agenda of these Christians of the Far Right is brazen and clear. They have turned a zealous minority into a ruling class....This is not a wild-eyed conspiracy theory; their plans are preached in pulpits weekly, and have now taken shape as proposed legislation. Look no further than the recently introduced "Constitution Restoration Act." If we do not pay attention to their manipulation of American democratic processes now that they have gained remarkable power among Republicans, the principles of our democracy will eventually be as distant a memory as the kinder, gentler Southern Baptist Convention of my childhood. . . .

If the Act passes, Iraqis would have stronger protection from religious extremism than Americans." - Columnist James Heflin


"...there is now overwhelming evidence that conservative Christians have set out to overthrow the government of the United States, dispense with our democracy, and institute in its place a government ruled by Old Testament..." - Kathleen Yurica

"God's plan is for His people, ladies and gentlemen, to take dominion…What is dominion? Well, dominion is Lordship. He wants His people to reign and rule with Him..." - Pat Robertson, on 700 Club

"There is a whole generation of young American evangelicals who have been indoctrinated with this concept all their lives; I have corresponded with a number of them and listened to such sentiments over and over (often couched in contemptuous, frighteningly pejorative language toward "liberals", leaving little doubt that such are worthy of religious persecution).

The following is taken from an email to me from a young Bush supporter:

"You selfish hypocrite! Do you really expect me to bow down to accept your hypocritical verbal excrement? I don't know why you cling to a party that is downright evil. Whatever Jesus Christ stands for, today's liberal Democratic Party opposes. If you look at the National platforms of the two parties, the Democrats actively support EVERYTHING that is destructive, immoral, unbiblical... EVERYTHING. You are supporting the greatest destructive influence that the American family and the American church has ever seen...."

 This was in response to my question on how Bush's policies could be reconciled with Christ's teachings in the Sermon on the Mount (I never identified myself with any political party). If these sentiments were the exception they would be easier to dismiss, but this is representative of what I have heard coming from self-described "Christian believers" nationwide." - From "A Review of The Despoiling of America", by By Dennis Crews
posted by troutfishing at 4:25 PM on October 14, 2004

Um. Interesting speculation, I guess. I find the vaguely inchoate syntax a little off-putting, but hey, it's her website and she can write however she wants to.

As a church-going Christian who is not a bigoted shithead, though, I find that this kind of evangelical atheism makes me uneasy. I also am surprised that you can make yourself seem like an authority just by calling your website "The ME Report" (though since it seems to have worked for Drudge, I'm wishing Ms. Yurica all the best with it).
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:37 PM on October 14, 2004

From what I remember from my Lutheran upbringing, the old and new testaments do not have a lot of overlap, philisophically speaking. Jesus didn't seem very big on the fire and brimstone stuff.

As for the line of thinking exemplified by the Dominionists, that doesn't seem very Christ-like--Christian, if you will--either. Where is the love, tolerance, turning other cheek, introspection, etc.? These people are not Christian.

Who remembers the yelling preacher kid that appeared on the Donahue show in the 80's? You know, he was about ten years old and held the bible up to his mouth like a megaphone, shouting venom at anyone within eyesight. Whoremonger was his most frequently used word.

Who knew that little kid's weird world view would become the mainstream?
posted by tomharpel at 4:52 PM on October 14, 2004

PBS: The Jesus Factor
posted by Stuart_R at 4:54 PM on October 14, 2004

Okay, here's the thing that bugs me about this. There are actually people who call themselves "Dominionists". They are extraordinarily fringe-y tax resisters, white supremacists, etc. "Christian Reconstruction" calls itself a "Dominionist" movement.

To describe all evangelical Christians--or the evangelical Christians you don't like--as "Dominionist" strikes me of the kind of lameass rhetoric one hears in a college bar, when one kid says "Bush is a fascist" and the other kid says "Oh, yeah? Well, Kerry is a communist!"

So despite all of the hard work this woman is doing in investigating what are surely very important issues, she's already lost me by describing every evangelical Christian she doesn't agree with as a "Dominionist".
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:00 PM on October 14, 2004

There is a strict, unspoken code of hypocritically behaviour in the religious right that reminds me of the double standards inherent in totalitarian regimes.

Today I have been mulling over making a FPP on Dick Cheney's reaction to John Kerry's remarks about Mary Cheney. It has shocked and offended the second family that Kerry mentioned their out daughter, a key member of the Bush Cheney campaign, in what seems to any out homo, a completely normal, inoffensive way.

The vitriol unleashed confirmed my suspicion that the Cheney's aren't as cool with Mary's bush-munching (forgive the pun, I couldn't resist) as they claim to be. They can mention that they have a gay daughter, but inferring that her condition is normal, seems slanderous to them. Kerry is a bad man for recognizing that Mary Cheney probably views herself as gasp normal.

It's good to love a gay child, even hire her to work for the GOP, but to mention that she might think that she's normal. Herecy, cry I, heresy. Bad Kerry.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:13 PM on October 14, 2004

Make that post, then, gesamkuntswerk, because you're missing the point on the Cheney issue, and further discussion here (on that topic) is probably an unwelcome threadjack.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:20 PM on October 14, 2004

Um. Interesting speculation, I guess. I find the vaguely inchoate syntax a little off-putting, but hey, it's her website and she can write however she wants to.

Sidhedevil: It does read as patchwork, but it seems like the beginning to what might be an important resource. At least it's raises some interesting flags. I dread the day when a site about "dominionism" or whatever the hell it's called, offers well documented, clear and compelling proof for the transformation of the U.S. into a theocracy that would give the Taliban a run for it's money.
posted by Skygazer at 5:26 PM on October 14, 2004

scary stuff trout. these guys and the red heifer crew...
posted by specialk420 at 5:39 PM on October 14, 2004

Hey, I'm a Charismatic christian, and I missed the memo about taking over the government. What gives?
posted by konolia at 5:56 PM on October 14, 2004

the old and new testaments do not have a lot of overlap, philisophically speaking.

I've been perusing the Pentateuch lately and while I have observed the, um, celebrated harsh consequences for laws many would consider arbitrary, I'm also interested by how much social and neighborly care is actually called for: limitations on interest, the requirement to let hungry people glean from your fields/orchards, newlywed husbands don't get drafted so they can stay home and make their wives happy, requirement to pay servants living wages, forgiveness of debts in Jubilee years.... it's almost downright democratic.

So I think that you can make some argument that the New and Old Testaments are divided down the two great religious themes of Charity and Holiness respectively, both works really do contain a liberal amount of both philosophies. What I find interesting is that in my observation, most people seem to have a natural tendancy to one or the other as religious poles: I know a number of people who believe strongly in charity but that the concept of holiness is bunk (and have seen that perspective strongly represented on metafilter), and likewise, a number of people who take strongly to the idea that keepin' the rules is the most important thing. It's clear to me that religion encourages both, but people

Ultimately, this is the thing that frightens me most about theocracies -- not only that they tend to be run by absolutist true believers, but that they tend to be selective about what they draw on religion for. And without that holistic viewpoint, any benefits involved in its practice are lost. Not to mention that the same result, and worse, happens when you remove choice.
posted by weston at 6:03 PM on October 14, 2004

scary stuff trout. these guys and the red heifer crew...

Also...I just want to point out that I'm proud of the fact that if you Google for the phrase "Cult of the Red Heifer" or "Red Heifer Matrix", I'm #1! And it's not because I got the memos, either.
posted by weston at 6:07 PM on October 14, 2004

"To describe all evangelical Christians--or the evangelical Christians you don't like--as "Dominionist" " sidhedevil, Please show me where, in the text, Yurica has done that. She is NOT referring to "All Christians", "all evangelicals", all baptists, all fundamentalists, or "all" anything except for "all those who believe in Dominion theology" How much of Kathleen Yurica's pieces did you read anyway ? The subtitle of my main link, to the first of Yurica's several stories, makes - and quite explicitly - the distinction you claim is lacking, and Yurica has been covering the religious right for two decades at least :

I know I posted a great mass of material there, but let me make one thing clear

Theology Watch makes this distinction quite explicitly however, and perhaps Mrs. Yurica would be well advised to do so as well.

"Please don't misunderstand the title: the Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party. This site is not about religion, nor about Christianity, nor about Republicans. This site is about how a small group of Republican strategists targeted a religious constituency to expand the base of their party, and how a small group of religious extremists targeted the Republican Party to bring the United States government under religious control."

But, look to the bottom of this long quote from Yurica's article "despoiling America" - where she makes the distinction quite explicitly :

"This article is the documented story of how a political religious movement called Dominionism gained control of the Republican Party, then took over Congress, then took over the White House, and now is sealing the conversion of America to a theocracy by taking over the American Judiciary.  It’s the story of why and how “the wrath of God Almighty” will be unleashed against the middle class, against the poor, and against the elderly and sick of this nation by George W. Bush and his army of Republican Dominionist “rulers.”
How Dominionism Was Spread
The years 1982-1986 marked the period Pat Robertson and radio and televangelists urgently broadcast appeals that rallied Christian followers to accept a new political religion that would turn millions of Christians into an army of political operatives. It was the period when the militant church raised itself from centuries of sleep and once again eyed power.
At the time, most Americans were completely unaware of the militant agenda being preached on a daily basis across the breadth and width of America. Although it was called “Christianity” it can barely be recognized as Christian. It in fact was and is a wolf paradingin sheep’s clothing: It was and is a political scheme to take over the government of the United States and then turn that government into an aggressor nation that will forcibly establish the United States as the ruling empire of the twenty-first century. It is subversive, seditious, secretive, and dangerous.[9]
Dominionism is a natural if unintended extension of Social Darwinism and is frequently called “Christian Reconstructionism.” Its doctrines are shocking to ordinary Christian believers"

posted by troutfishing at 6:10 PM on October 14, 2004

....Americans and the mainstream media have been very slow in catching on to the fact that we are in a war — a war that is cultural, religious and political, a war that uses stealth and deception and the rules of engagement written by the enemies to representative democracy. Unless Americans wake up, we could lose that war."

Was this written by Pat Buchanan's liberal doppleganger? All this talk of culture war and all...
posted by MikeMc at 6:13 PM on October 14, 2004

The Dominion is in the gamma quadrant, and anyway Odo will save us somehow.
posted by Trik at 6:21 PM on October 14, 2004

Come on, you pussies. What could possibly be wrong with letting a fundamentalist sect run a country according to religious law?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:23 PM on October 14, 2004

Sidhedevil, what do you reckon we should call them? Imagining for the sake of argument that there's a movement evangelical christians who are not-so-secretly implementing a theocracy, piece by piece. If they're not just christians, not just evangelical christians, and not dominionists, then what are they?
posted by willpie at 6:23 PM on October 14, 2004

...this kind of evangelical atheism...

I must have missed that part. And I think I would have spotted it -- I have an allergy to evangelical atheism, so I probably would have gotten disgusted and started posting about how this whole thing was a reactionary wank fest. Instead, as a non-evangelical atheist, living in a relatively liberal and secular city in western NY -- wherein I often find multiple daily reminders that I'm really not good enough to live with decent Christian folk -- I find it chillingly plausible.
posted by lodurr at 6:24 PM on October 14, 2004

konolia - I guess you're out of the loop, or at least you're not tuned in to the 700 Club.

But the partial takeover of the US government by this extremist religious faction is already an accomplished fact.

"I find that this kind of evangelical atheism makes me uneasy. I also am surprised that you can make yourself seem like an authority just by calling your website "The ME Report" - Covering a subject for a few decades and writing several books on it and numerous areticles - as Yurica has done - can help towards that though.

I'm rather unclear, though, about what "evangelical atheism" refers to. Does it refer to the Dominionists ?

Has this post rattled you ?


specialk420 - yes, but the Red Heiffer crew isn't torturing people in Abu Ghraib, training the National Gaurd, or planning a complete takeover of the government to implement an American theocracy which is a precise mirror image of the Taliban's vision of government.

Just saying.


MikeMc - no. The religious right, the Dominionists to be explicit, framed the script.
posted by troutfishing at 6:26 PM on October 14, 2004

Great, now I'm trippin' on this "Red Heifer" thing. Like I really need to waste more hours reading up on odd religious beliefs.
There's just something about weird religious stuff that just draws me in, I'm still on my $cientology kick that started when they breached the remailer.
posted by MikeMc at 6:50 PM on October 14, 2004

'Perusing the Pentateuch' is my new favorite euphemism for masturbation.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:51 PM on October 14, 2004

The worst and scariest thing about all of this is that people just dismiss each instance that pops up about it--if Norquist calls for starving all social programs, or Swaggart says he's going to kill a gay person, or that General who calls Iraq a Crusade...people just say, "oh that wacko." Most don't treat it as something to even be concerned about.

It's much more troubling to those of us who aren't Christians, and/or lead lives that are being proscribed, whether thru proposed Constitutional amendments, or removal of information and executive order, or defunding of programs that help others, because we're the wrong others, and know people that are affected in other ways. There's an FPP on us refusing to fund a UN program on women's rights that directly illustrates this, and is just one relatively small example.
posted by amberglow at 7:00 PM on October 14, 2004

Now there is evidence dominionists are trying to take over the U. S. military

...and our park system, too :D oh no!
posted by kliuless at 7:10 PM on October 14, 2004

For all that, they're still just people and there's a relatively small number of them. If their actions are so distressing, find them and kill them.
posted by aramaic at 7:35 PM on October 14, 2004

well, aramaic, finding them and killing them would just make them martyrs, no?
posted by amberglow at 7:40 PM on October 14, 2004

lynndie england: the new virgin mary?
posted by quonsar at 7:40 PM on October 14, 2004

"they're still just people and there's a relatively small number of them." - well, they also happen to have taken over a good chunk of the government and are moving in fast to seize the final bits.

Small numbers can do amazing things when their power is amplified by bureaucracy, armies, and technology.

But denial is still thick in the air.

Too bad, that : by the time the denial wanes, this game may be long over.
posted by troutfishing at 8:29 PM on October 14, 2004

Hey, so what part do the Illuminati and the masons play in this?

Come on, man, this is left wing kookiness. Seriously.
posted by konolia at 8:55 PM on October 14, 2004

Ya know, I'd love to agree with konolia about this being left wing kookiness, but really, it's quite plausible..

It's quite plausible because of the very fact that most people dismiss it as impossible that "in this day and age, and in this country" something like this could happen.

is it really happening? Is there great evidence towards it? I dunno, but it's at least believable to an extent. The absolute unwillingness of anyone to budge or realize that "under god" was added to the pledge of allegiance LONG AFTER it was created is one of many examples of hardline religious influence over our society and our government. It seems to be happening a lot - enough to be slightly alarming.

Enough to suspect some gargantuan conspiracy? I dunno, probably not - but I wouldn't go calling someone who thinks so a lunatic just yet.
posted by twiggy at 9:11 PM on October 14, 2004

No, I don't think it's kooky at all. All that is comes from a series of steps. Steps to where? At what incline? To what end?

All the world's a stage and we're beginning to realize that mystery science theater 3000 wasn't directed by us at all. Nor the Simpsons or Life Goes On. We just went along on their ride.


That said, I grew up in Littleton Colorado, I saw and experienced the neurotic passions of negativity up close. (Were it not for ***Columbine***, nobody would know where I was talking about -- isn't it funny how mythic proportions can sneak up on all of us at exactly the same time creating a brand, a concept that can never be erased?).

Several times a week one could see cars and SUV's (though I doubt they were called such back then) sporting the "IMAGINE NO LIBERALS" bumpersticker. We're in a state of extreme polarization right now. I would hazard to guess that there are many more folks around this country who would place that sticker onto their back window these days.

But what, what does the phrase "imagine no liberals" bring to mind?

Personally, at the time, I thought it was insipid, relatively playful (for those days) cliche. Afterall, if you eliminate all the liberals you're still gonna have disagreement somewhere down the line. Does one just eliminate all who disagree with him? See? It's circular. These trends will eventually burn out. But at what cost? Now of course, such rhetoric scares me, not out of my wits, but into them instead.

There is no kookiness involved in this line of thought at all. It's all a matter of "how far are we willing to let things as they are now, go on like this?". At what cost should we not take these people seriously?


Also, whatever does the phrase "armies of compassion" mean? President Bush used it, I believe, twice last night.

Also, what happened to the so-called "May Day for Marriage March" that was supposed to take place on the Mall today?

Intresstin' times. . .
posted by crasspastor at 10:12 PM on October 14, 2004

Ooops. That Mayday for Marriage March is apparently going to take place tomorrow.
posted by crasspastor at 10:16 PM on October 14, 2004

The "intelligence analysis" subtitle is unfortunate. Whether deserved or not, it makes the site sound like Lyndon LaRouche.
posted by inksyndicate at 10:29 PM on October 14, 2004

inksyndicate - nice way to avoid the material. I guess I'm going to have to resort to the "I hit you over the head with graphics, facts, quotes,and logic" approach.

So be it.

Christian Coalition Control of the US Senate.

"[graph] is based on Christian Coalition scorecards, so it shows how often members of the U.S. Senate voted with or against Christian Coalition supported bills. Republicans are red, Democrats are blue [black in my graph]. This graph explains why the seven top ranking leaders received scores of 100%. As you can see by the 41 Republican Senators who received scores of 100% from Christian Coalition, 41 out of 51 Republican Senators in 2003 supported the agenda of the Religious Right 100% of the time. One Democrat received a score of 100%. That was Zell Miller, (D-GA) who spoke at the Republican convention. 31 out of 49 Democrats and one independent received scores of 0. "

"United States Senate Republican Leadership :
1) Bill Frist, TN 2) Mitch McConnell, KY 3) Rick Santorum, PA  
4) Bob Bennet, UT 5) Kay Bailey Hutchinson, TX 6) Jon Kyl, AZ 7) George Allen, VA 

They are the seven highest ranking Republican Senators in the U.S. Senate.

Every one of them received a scorecard of 100% from Christian Coalition. That means they voted with Christian Coalition 100% of the time. How were people representing such an extreme ideological point of view elected to the top positions in the Republican Party? - The leaders of the Republican Party were chosen by their colleagues." (Theocracy Watch)

Look at the graph on your right.

It is based on Christian Coalition scorecards, so it shows how often members of the U.S. Senate voted with or against Christian Coalition supported bills. Republicans are red, Democrats are blue. This graph explains why the seven top ranking leaders received scores of 100%. As you can see by the 41 Republican Senators who received scores of 100% from Christian Coalition, 41 out of 51 Republican Senators in 2003 supported the agenda of the Religious Right 100% of the time. One Democrat received a score of 100%. That was Zell Miller, (D-GA) who spoke at the Republican convention. 31 out of 49 Democrats and one independent received scores of 0. "

Meanwhile, " Christian conservatives now hold a majority of seats in 36% of all Republican Party state committees (or 18 of 50 states), plus large minorities in 81% of the rest, double their strength from a decade before. They are weak in just 6 states (plus D.C.), all northeastern. As the study put it, Christians are "gaining influence by spreading out to more states and digging in when faced with opposition." Once dismissed as a small regional movement, "Christian conservatives have become a staple of politics nearly everywhere." (from The Christian Statesman

So : the Christian Right controls the Senate and Congress, meanwhile :

""The "wall of separation between church and state" is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned." 
- William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Dissenting Opinion in Wallace v. Jaffree (1985)"

""We receive our rights from God."

"The decision points up the fact that we need common-sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God.  Those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench."

- George W. Bush, in statements to reporters with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  (Note: Putin is an atheist.)  Bush was criticizing the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that references to God make reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in schools unconstitutional.  June 26, 2002"

"Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal.  And because we have understood that our source is eternal, America has been different. We have no king but Jesus." 

- John Ashcroft, Commencement address given on May 8, 1999, upon receiving an honorary degree at ultra-right-wing and ultra-fundamentalist Bob Jones University, also known for its anti-African-American segregationist policies"

White House Consults religious right on foreign policy

"If Christian people work together, they can succeed during this decade in winning back control of the institutions that have been taken from them over the past 70 years. Expect confrontations that will be not only unpleasant but at times physically bloody.... This decade will not be for the faint of heart, but the resolute.  Institutions will be plunged into wrenching change. We will be living through one of the most tumultuous periods of human history. When it is over, I am convinced God's people will emerge victorious." 

- Pat Robertson, Pat Robertson's Perspective octavo 1992


Christian Right theology : Dominionism and Reconstructionism :

"There are a variety of ideological tendencies within the Christian Right. At the truly extreme end of the spectrum is a set of ideas proponents call reconstructionism, associated with only a small number of think tanks and book publishers. Many Christian Right activists have never even heard of reconstructionism, whose advocates call for the imposition of an Old Testament style theocracy, complete with capital punishment for offenses including adultery, homosexuality, and blasphemy......More prevalent on the Christian Right is the Dominionist idea, shared by Reconstructionists, that Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns -- and there is no consensus on when that might be. Dominionist thinking precludes coalitions between believers and unbelievers"


From George Grant, a leading dominionist writer in The Changing of the Guard, Biblical Principles for Political Action:

Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ -- to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.

But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice.

It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.

It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.

It is dominion we are after.

World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less... Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land -- of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ. (pp. 50-51)"

Recommended titles for your home family -"A Christian Parent's Reading List"

posted by troutfishing at 4:56 AM on October 15, 2004

twiggy - It's not merely plausible, it's already happened for the most part.

You just failed to notice. Most people did.

Democracy Crumbles in the Middle of the Night :

"Never before has the House of Representatives operated in such secrecy:

At 2:54 a.m. on a Friday in March, the House cut veterans benefits by three votes.

At 2:39 a.m. on a Friday in April, the House slashed education and health care by five votes.

At 1:56 a.m. on a Friday in May, the House passed the Leave No Millionaire Behind tax-cut bill by a handful of votes.

At 2:33 a.m. on a Friday in June, the House passed the Medicare privatization and prescription drug bill by one vote.

At 12:57 a.m. on a Friday in July, the House eviscerated Head Start by one vote.

And then, after returning from summer recess, at 12:12 a.m. on a Friday in October, the House voted $87 billion for Iraq.
Always in the middle of the night. Always after the press had passed their deadlines. Always after the American people had turned off the news and gone to bed."


"Hey, so what part do the Illuminati and the masons play in this?" - Konolia, what's your real agenda ? Before you reply, remember the Ten Commandments.

But your ploy doesn't work here (see graph, above, on Christian Coalition control of the US Senate).
posted by troutfishing at 5:08 AM on October 15, 2004

crasspastor: Personally, at the time, I thought it was insipid, relatively playful (for those days) cliche.

That's what interest me the most, these days. At a certain time the librul bumpersticker was, for you, an element of the "cliche joke domain" on the level of cliche kitty of fark fame maybe, but politicized.

Then the realization At what cost should we not take these people seriously?

It seems to be like a blurring, moving line from joke domain to reality-and-consequences domain.

For instance, take howard stern. Apparently he was hit by hefty fines from the FCC ( a consequence of the infamous superball "incident" ?) and he has got, afaik, an history of bad relations and fines from the FCC ; which obviously made him happy because his show is mostly based on sexual double entendre, "in your face" sexual imagery et al ..basically always trying to exploit the "controversial" side of anything..seeking conflict for showbusiness purposes, while at the same time trying to defuse the conflict escalation by inserting fragments of rationalization. He was riding the wave of controversy on racism and sexism and apparently fell off the surfboard.

Point being, he somewhere in time crossed an imaginary line of tolerability and realized he was OUT of the jokes domain, was going to lose the battle and lose control of his "spin zone" (which he lost as he's apparently moving to satellite in 2006 : who is going to pay to listen to him remains to be seen)

As a parallel, the librul jokes are no longer taken ALWAYS as harmless jokes by many ... what amazes me is that the alarm bell was rang many times (dissenting opinion=treason, either-with-us-or-terrorist, badmouthing war = badmouthing soldiers), but apparently part of population didn't hear it and still doesn't hear it.

I wonder what else is needed to have the population that still buys into the "librul evil" meme have the same realization Stern had with increasing threat of massive fines.
posted by elpapacito at 6:52 AM on October 15, 2004

Come on, man, this is left wing kookiness. Seriously.

Back in the early 60s, my mom was looking forward to her sophomore year of high school because that's when the dance unit in phy ed began. She really wanted to learn how to dance, and in rural central Minnesota, phy ed class was pretty much the only way.

But then when she was a freshman, all the Baptists got together and ran for school board and voted for each other and got elected. And they removed dance from the school's curriculum, because "dancing is sinful." They tinkered with the science curriculum, bringing it more in line with God's word.

When I was a kid in rural Wisconsin, I witnessed the same things starting to happen in my town. Evangelical Christians who formed a minority of the town's residents banded together, found some candidates, and began taking over the school board and the city council.

They're doing this all over the country, little by little. They started small, decades ago, and are creeping their influence from the ground up. They've taken majority control in my state's legislature and control the redistricting process (they do in Texas too, wink wink). By controlling the redistricting process they are shaping the House of Representatives to their liking.

To say this isn't happening, to claim this is loony left-wing tinfoil hat thinking, is to lack perspective and curiosity in a manner similar to our current president. I don't know if this is "Dominionism" or if there's a name for it at all. But I know it's real and it reeks of a theological subversion of our democracy.
posted by rocketman at 7:11 AM on October 15, 2004

Babylon A Go-Go
Wartime is different. During a war, all of the things the Extreme Christian has spent his spare time reading about in those books with the cheesy illustrated covers are suddenly in play. During times of peace, hope for deliverance always remains far off, but in times of war, there is always at least a theoretical chance that the entire physical world will be reduced to rubble, clearing the way for the magic moment — when the sky opens up, and an angel floats down from heaven, saying, "You see, Jerry, you were right all along ... the others were fools ... they should never have given you shit about your station wagon ... the Glorious Appearing is Nigh ..."

The Christian nerd factor for this particular war in Iraq has been higher than usual, and for obvious reasons. One, it is being waged for no obvious reason, making it fertile ground for all sorts of wild scriptural speculation— just about anything you want to dream up, even the idea that Saddam Hussein is the antichrist makes more sense than the actual justification for the war given by the government. Two, our occupation of Iraq is, or at least has evolved into, a confrontation with Islam. Three, it is led on our side by a Christian. Four, it is taking place in the site of ancient Babylon, a territory with no small significance in the Armageddon story.

That said, not much of the rhetoric emanating from the apocalyptic crowd is all that coherent. There isn't much of a consensus as to what it's all about. In fact, a lot of the murmurings from places like End Times magazine and the Lahaye/Jenkins Left Behind set will remind you of Butthead's reaction to a Kraftwerk video: "Hey, Beavis. This means something."

There are some general themes, of course. In general, the Christian right strongly supports the war, and is deeply concerned with Saddam Hussein's persecution of Christians. It has suddenly become very worried about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It Supports The Troops, who are vaguely supposed to be doing God's work. And of course the fundamentalists are in a hurry to send Bibles by the hundreds of thousands, so that they can be read as soon as the electricity comes on. But with regard to the question of what the war is all about, where it's leading us, and why, the picture is much more confused.

There is absolutely nothing in the world funnier than a fundamentalist Christian in a state of high spiritual agitation, happily injected into the middle of a grotesque secular disaster. Hand him a pen, camera or guitar in these situations, and he is likely to outshine even the pre-rehab Sam Kinison for pure comic power. He becomes a resource the country should really treasure.
posted by y2karl at 7:14 AM on October 15, 2004

I live in SW Florida, and I know a lot of Fundies and Evangelicals. The Fundies are crazy, and almost laughable... but the Evangelicals are SCARY, cause they're numerous and sane.

It's been estimated that up to 40% of this nation considers itself Evangelical Christians. That number seems outrageous to me, but after what I've seen the past four years, it makes me nervous.

And I'm a Christian as well.
posted by taumeson at 7:27 AM on October 15, 2004

Color me deep skeptical. I read the linked Yurica Report and for my money, it's what happens when somebody with Web publishing software obesses over Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. A little browsing and I could probably come up with similarly scholarly Web sites that "expose" the far-left enviros or the secular humanists.
posted by alumshubby at 7:44 AM on October 15, 2004

it's what happens when somebody with Web publishing software obesses over Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

Yeah, because it's not like there's anything remotely like that happening at this very moment or anything.
posted by soyjoy at 8:30 AM on October 15, 2004

Christian Coalition Control of the US Senate


Trout, you're betraying a fundamental ignorance of what these scores are, how they're constructed, and what their purpose is.

These things, no matter what interest group is putting them together, are not neutral, objective measures of who agrees with them and how often.

They are advertising.

Just to be clear, let's repeat that: interest group scores are advertising. PR fluff. How accurate an assessment of who's with them and against them are they? As accurate as information about Coke from Pepsi. Treating them as some sort of truth about anything is at least as stupid as treating press releases from Nike as objective measures of truth, and you should be at least as skeptical of interest group scores as you would be of Nike press releases.

They are always -- always -- put together to generate a false or exaggerated polarization. That's their entire purpose -- to give people they generally like a very high score, and to give people they generally dislike a very low score, and to demonstrate that congressional leadership are either saints or sinners so as to gather more funding through direct mail campaigns.

The votes they use to put their scores together are generally a hodgepodge of votes that are vaguely defensible as having something to do with their issue area -- or not; back in the dim mists of history, more than one farming interest group counted a vote for the MX missile as a pro-farmer vote.

All that you're really seeing here is that the Christian Coalition wants to draw an artificially sharp line between liberals and conservatives because they find that useful in their fundraising and rabblerousing. If you want a sense of how Senators are distributed along a more general ideological dimension, look here for the 107th (01-02) Senate; the ones for the current Congress aren't released yet since the Congress isn't irrevocably over.

Are these the same people as the Nazi eugenicists who were taking over last month, or is this a new and different conspiracy? Should we expect an expose' of another group taking over the country in a month or so?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:37 AM on October 15, 2004

ROU, ignore this at your own peril. You think there'd be free speech in more fully realized Christian America? An open, uncensored internet? The entertainment options you have now? Porn? ...
posted by amberglow at 8:48 AM on October 15, 2004

ROU_Xenophobe - "All that you're really seeing here is that the Christian Coalition wants to draw an artificially sharp line between liberals and conservatives." - Bullshit.

My friend, I look to actions and also to words - and here, those converge. I suppose you're saying that just because 1) the religious right in America has made substantial inroads towards controlling the government, 2) they are still on the march and 3) will not stop - if we are to take them at their words - until they have achieved an American Theocracy that I should do WHAT ?

Trust their good intentions ? I trust their intentions all right, but I would not call those "good".

This is not inconsequential : there are fundamental and radical changes to US government now in motion - in the form of recent legislation pushed by the religious right controlled GOP. See The Wobbly Wall Between Church and State"In February, lawmakers introduced the Constitutional Restoration Act of 2004 which also says that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over "any matter" regarding public officials who acknowledge "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government."

The deep reporting on the takeover of the Republican party by the Religious Right has mostly come from those who grew up within or are deeply familiar with that tradition - and as Taumeson's, Crasspastor's, and Rocketman's personal testimonies support, this is no conspiratorial fantasy - unless you want to tar a rather wide assortment of alarmed individuals with that brush - including (see quote at the end of this comment) Walter Cronkite.

But I can understand your unwillingness to confront this - it is a bitter pill to swallow.

alumshubby, I would refer you to the "Jesus Landing Pad" story done by the Village Voice - about how a communication from the Religious Right to the Bush White House revealed that leaders of the religious right were consulting with the White House on US policy towards Israel.

Your skepticism is based on nothing except an inclination - against all the evidence - to be skeptical.

The takeover of the Republican Party by the religious right - I'll say it and demonstrate it again - is an established fact (see chart below) and - further - it has been explicitly acknowledged and railed against by many clergy - evangelicals and other mainstream Christians who do NOT believe in a theological vision that denmands the imposition of American theocracy.

The GOP doesn't own Jesus "It is time for Christian liberals to respond to the efforts of the Republican Party and all its spokespersons to paint -- with as broad a brush stroke as possible -- all liberals as immoral and anti-religious.....We have been abandoning the field for too long to the so-called religious right, which arrogantly claims that no one can oppose its partisan agendas and be faithful to God.....It is idolatry to claim that the Republican Party -- or indeed any party -- is the party of Jesus. It is idolatry to try to reduce Jesus to an apologist for any narrow self-interest." - Op Ed, Fort Worth Telegram Gazette, September 5, 2004

"God is not a right-wing zealot "The Rev. Albert Pennybacker is a Bible Belt preacher with a drawl who's urging people to support "basic religious values." But he's no Jerry Falwell clone."

"Republican Presidential Campaign BlasphemousM - Webster defines blasphemy as "profane or contemptuous speech, writing, or action concerning God or anything held as divine." Blasphemy is running rampant in our country as this election campaign proceeds, trivializing holy things as it moves on...." - Op Ed, The Charleston Gazette, 10/08/2004

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A group of prominent Evangelicals and moderate to conservative religious leaders have sent an open letter to President Bush condemning the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign's improper collaboration with church leaders and use of congregational directories.....The signatories, all of whom teach ethics, ask President Bush to repudiate his campaign's violations of fundamental principles of democracy and the sanctity of their houses of worship.

"Recovering a Hijacked Faith", July 13, 2004 Boston Globe Op-Ed by Jim Wallace of Sojourner's

"Friday, October 08, 2004 - PASADENA -- A group of Fuller Theological Seminary professors, saying they are responding to a "grave moral crisis' in America, are signing a statement opposing President Bush's alleged convergence of God, church and nation and what they call his "theology of war.' " (Padadena Star-News)

(see one of my comment above for an explanation of this graph - and for a far more exhaustive study of the recent political gains of the religious right, see Theocracy Watch's Taking Over the Republican Party and Government (lots of charts and analyses of RR takeover and strong influence at the state level, of state Republican party orgs.)

NYT Editorial, July 24, 2004 - "A Radical Assault on The Constitution

For more background and documents, see:

" 'On a Mission From God' : The Religious Right and The Emerging American Theocracy

and also 'We Could Control This Country'
_____________________ is interesting, that termites don't build things, and the great builders of our nation almost to a man have been Christians, because Christians have the desire to build something. He is motivated by love of man and God, so he builds. The people who have come into [our] institutions [today] are primarily termites. They are into destroying institutions that have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own traditions, that we have.... The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it ought to be, and the time has arrived for a godly fumigation." -- Pat Robertson, New York Magazine, August 18, 1986 (from a big, scary list of vicious Pat Robertson quotations)

""I am deeply disturbed by the dangerous and growing influence of people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell on our nation’s political leaders." – Walter Cronkite, January, 2004

posted by troutfishing at 9:34 AM on October 15, 2004

It's also very possible that there'll be a new Comstock emerging, along with a newer Society for Suppression of Vice
posted by amberglow at 9:47 AM on October 15, 2004

Not to mention the recrudesced Committee on the Present Danger - "One day after the launch of the 2004 CPD, managing director Peter Hannaford resigned after it was reported that Hannaford, while working for his PR firm the Carmen Group, has lobbied on behalf of Austria's Freedom Party, which is headed by right-wing nationalist Joerg Haider. Haider has been quoted as commending the "orderly employment policy" of the Nazi Third Reich government and paid a "solidarity visit" to Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein in 2002. Some CPD members defended Hannaford; Midge Decter said, "I first came to know him because he was a right-hand man of Ronald Reagan. I cannot imagine Pete Hannaford is anything but a firm and solid lover of democracy." (Disinfopedia)
posted by troutfishing at 10:37 AM on October 15, 2004

Given that the Scientologists successfully infiltrated the IRS (and, thankfully, were eventually caught out), and have successfully infiltrated several other government agencies, there is no doubt that religious groups can do the very same.

To think that the most rabid evangelical groups are not actively planning to assert their values on the nation by electing their own is the height of foolishness.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:58 AM on October 15, 2004

I know someone who sent this link to an acquaintance. This is someone with whom she'd had normal, cordial conversations and shared some professional contact. On the phone, they'd briefly touched on politics, so she knew he was conservative; she thought that the words of a lifelong conservative turned Kerry supporter might convince him. That's always a dangerous assumption no matter what your political beliefs, but the reply still shocked her. Here it is, in part (edited, but all the words are original):

Independant Republican? All that means either he was a spy for the Demoncrats or he has commited great sin in his life.

You have been surreptitiously assimilated by the Demoncrats to belive something so flawed and wicked. I hold faith that God and GW will lead us out of the dark age and into an age of great happiness.

It's a small personal anecdote, but it's an increasingly common experience everywhere to find that people communicate about politics this way, where common ground is impossible because of religious conviction. That's too pale a word, even -- I'd call it devotion, to a politician as God's representative, ultimately answerable to heaven alone, not to mere people. All errors are forgiven, no matter how egregious; what is the war in Iraq, compared to the war for souls, the culture war between good and evil, and the coming Final Days? With so much death and destruction on nigh, the actual, real people maimed and victimized by war are small potatoes. You can pity them, aid them, cry for them; however, ultimately they are harbingers and symbols of the greater suffering the unsaved will know when they are Judged. Without divinely inspired leadership, more of those souls will be irretrievably lost, and what's worth: death, or eternal torment? This is a very real consideration for a lot of people when they decide whom to vote for.

I really think the puzzlement, the shock people on both sides feel when trying to have an ordinary political conversation stems to a surprising extent from this essential difference of conviction. If you don't see the office of the Presidency itself as being God-ordained, much less this particular President as some kind of anointed, trying to understand this point of view is like a perception test, where the image in the foreground is so clearly defined you never see the shapes the shadows make. We keep trying to talk -- and increasingly, to abandon that for shouting, cursing, accusations, and fighting -- but we are punching at mirages. And while many recognize the problem, absolutely no one I know knows how to make it stop. So, forgive me troutfishing, but I am still afraid.
posted by melissa may at 11:19 AM on October 15, 2004

As to Saddam Hussein persecuting Christians, actually he employed Christian housekeepers-because they would not steal.

Saddam was and is an evil man, but he was not particularly a persecutor of Christians as far as I know.
posted by konolia at 11:36 AM on October 15, 2004

Troutfishing, you seem not to get my central point. There is an actual group, with actual members, called "Christian Reconstruction". They have meetings and newsletters and stuff. There are actual groups and individuals, including the "Christian Reconstruction" group, who call themselves "Dominionists". I imagine they might have meetings and newsletters and stuff.

Then there are other people who share similar philosophies about religion and politics. My beef with Ms. Yurica's writing on this topic is that she doesn't distinguish between "Dominionists" (people self-identified with a specific set of philosophies) and "Dominionists" (people Yurica identifies as having a specific set of philosophies).

Let me give an example of why I think this is intellectually slipshod. If one decided, for example, that the chief qualities of the Boy Scouts of America were a celebration of paramilitary exercises and a commitment to enjoying the outdoors, one could say "X is a Boy Scout" (meaning that X was a member of the Boy Scouts of America), and "Y is a boy scout" (meaning that Y shared the qualities generally associated with the Boy Scouts of America).

However, if Y were elected President, that wouldn't mean that the Boy Scouts of America, per se, were now taking over the reins of power. It certainly might mean that Y, who shared the "boy scout" philosophy, might more open to the Boy Scouts of America influence than another president would be. But that's not exactly the same thing.

So the way in which Yurica's slippery use of the terms "Christian Reconstructionism" and "Dominionism", without, to me, being clear in many cases about whether she's referring to people whom she believes to share common philosophies or people who are self-identified members of organized groups devoted to the furtherance of those philosophies, makes her work less compelling to me than if she had framed the concept with more intellectual clarity.

It really does remind me of the John Birch Society writings in which the word "Communist" is used interchangeably to mean "member of the Communist Party USA" and "Democrat or Republican who voted for a progressive income tax".
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:46 AM on October 15, 2004

I'm still not buying into this idea that the far-right-Christians are taking over America any more than I am that secular humanist liberalism (I'm chuckling as I type the phrase) is taking over America. When all there is on cable TV is reruns of Lassie and religious programming -- and no more Baywatch or Desparate Housewives -- I'll be more inclined to believe it. As long as I'm seeing threads like these on MeFi and elsewhere, then what we're discussing is just the same fringe of pod people and control freaks the US has been infested with since Cotton Mather and Father Coughlin.
posted by alumshubby at 12:00 PM on October 15, 2004


I don't doubt that religious fanatics have made terrific progress in seizing an increasing amount of power in government. I was just making an aesthetic judgment.

A lot of this is quite similar to what I've written about in covering the Moonies, who openly employ the doctrine that deception in the pursuit of Heaven on Earth is just...and have literally pursued plans to infiltrate government, which Congress warned of in the '70s. And they're buddies with a lot of these people we're talking about.
posted by inksyndicate at 12:46 PM on October 15, 2004

Sunday Halloween Irks Some in Bible Belt
NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) - Across the Bible Belt this Halloween, some little ghosts and goblins might get shooed away by the neighbors - and some youngsters will not be allowed to go trick-or-treating at all - because the holiday falls on a Sunday this year.
"It's a day for the good Lord, not for the devil," said Barbara Braswell, who plans to send her 4-year-old granddaughter Maliyah out trick-or-treating in a princess costume on Saturday instead.
Some towns around the country are decreeing that Halloween be celebrated on Saturday to avoid complaints from those who might be offended by the sight of demons and witches ringing their doorbell on the Sabbath. Others insist the holiday should be celebrated on Oct. 31 no matter what.
(on Drudge right now)
posted by amberglow at 12:56 PM on October 15, 2004

inksyndicate - I wasn't sure. I actual do agree with your aesthetic judgement on that. Also - I find the "Doctrine of Deception" especially interesting.

alumshubby - As I keep saying, it's not an "idea" - as in a theoretical notion. It's a documented trend which has been extensively written about - sometimes by secular and non religious right republicans (I might add) : of how the religious right took power around the US, at the local level first and then the State level and - finally - at the National Level.

But, the religious right won't bother with your precious TV programing until the seizure of power is complete- why should they ? The movement has it's own media which operates quite independently of the secular, "Satanic" mass media which mainstream America watches. That will be the last thing to go, for a provides a convenient cover of distraction behind which the Kingdom Warriors are quite busy.

melissa may - the only way to deal with that sort of fear, besides resigning yourself to living in a theocracy, is to fight these trends.

sidhedevil - "she doesn't distinguish between "Dominionists" (people self-identified with a specific set of philosophies) and "Dominionists" (people Yurica identifies as having a specific set of philosophies)." - meaning that her definition of the set of "real Dominionists" is imprecise ? How would one accurately gauge, with precision, the set of "Dominionists" - through self-identification ? And what of those who are heavily influenced by Dominionist theology ?

I see your argument as oddly peripheral to the main issues at hand here :

It's impossible, sure, to "prove" that the already partial takeover of the US government by far right religious conservatives is intentional, or that the passage of legislation which seems to conform at least to a hard religious right - or a Dominionist - agenda is intentional.

It's impossible to "prove" that the recent Congress trend - of the Republican passage of extreme legislation by stealth in the wee hours of the morning, with rushed voting and sometimes even secrecy concerning the actual contents of bills being voted on - is "intentional".

It's just happened to work out such that it seems to correspond with Pat Robertson's longstanding call for a takeover of US government.

Maybe it's all coincidental.

But, the preponderance of personal testimony seeded through this thread suggests not.

Oh - and speaking of Boy Scouts : they sometimes grow up into dedicated Christian Warriors (of unclear allegiance).
posted by troutfishing at 1:42 PM on October 15, 2004

All I mean, trout, is that that graph doesn't mean what you say it means.

Graphs of almost *every* interest-group score look just like that.

This is because they're marketing tools. What message do you want to send to potential fundraisers? Well, first you want to scare them, so you need some bad guys. Second, you want to give an impression of competence or effectiveness, so you need to have another chunk of people on your side who you can claim to have influence (irrespective of whether or not that's true).

So you pick your votes very carefully to get some people you know you like on the "correct" side, and some other people you know you don't like on the "wrong" side.

They're not very good measures of anything, and they're especially not good measures of influence.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:47 PM on October 15, 2004

ROU_Xenophobe - Well, the graph does "prove" quite a lot in fact - there is indeed a rather sharp delineation between the CC position on many issues and the positions of various liberal interest groups, and the graph depicts that sharp divide.

I'm not disputing that the graphs are good for marketing (and coercion as well) but I am disputing your apparent (to me) assertion that I'm overstating the influence of the religious right in Congress and the Senate.

Further don't buy your claim that graphs of almost every interest group score like that - they actually don't (not to the same hyper-polarized degree) :

If you go intro the Theocracy Watch site, you can look at various analogous graphs from other (liberal) interest groups too, as well as how the Christian Coalition's approval ratings have changed over time to reflect a far more sharply polarized political climate- as well analyses of the increasing dominance of the Religious Right at the state level.

But in the end, such disputes mean little compared to facts on the ground - the increasing power of the Religious Right to pass legislation associated with it's agenda.
posted by troutfishing at 3:13 PM on October 15, 2004

I just got back from CosCo where a display table was was stacked high with DVD copies of "Fahrenheit 9/11," right down the aisle from the giant pies, huge bags of potato chips and massive cubes of toilet paper. As I watched, an ordinary housewife lady picked it up and threw it in her cart, just like in the intro to the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and shuffled on down toward the checkout counter. This is still a pretty free country.
posted by Faze at 3:29 PM on October 15, 2004

Faze - That made me laugh. Thanks. Well, it is free for the moment. Just wait, though, till Nov. 1 - then we'll know whether or not GW Bush will get to make some juicy Supreme Court appointments as well as go for broke in terms of fully implementing his agenda.
posted by troutfishing at 3:38 PM on October 15, 2004

faze: excuse the frankness and my thickness , but I don't see the connection between freedom to shop'til'you run out of money and the freedom of a country ? Freedom from what again ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:42 PM on October 15, 2004

elpapacito - well - obviously - freedom from restrictions against shopping!

And since shopping is the truest American virtue we'll know, when we can shop no more, that we're really f___cked!
posted by troutfishing at 7:29 PM on October 15, 2004

Shopping, and the fact that almost every group is now a "target market", may be a saving grace here--Companies won't stand for any of those desirable markets being treated too badly, if they can't buy the stuff being peddled. (That doesn't cover everyone tho)
posted by amberglow at 8:32 PM on October 15, 2004

amberglow - well, I'd guess that incremental purges wouldn't shake the overall economy too much - if they were implemented over the course of several years.

There are a few historical examples - which come to my mind - of this sort of graduated approach.

Just saying and - for the record - I'd imagine I'd be classed as an "undesirable" myself : for being too politically outspoken.
posted by troutfishing at 7:35 AM on October 16, 2004

excuse the frankness and my thickness

Since you're being "frank," I believe the term you are looking for is "girthy," not "thick."
posted by kindall at 8:28 AM on October 16, 2004

Troutfishing, what I think is counterproductive in Yurica's writing is what I think is counterproductive in the news stories that say that every imaginable terrorist act is "linked to al-Qaeda". Or that every criminal act is "linked to the Mafia."

There is an al-Qaeda. There is a Mafia. They are organizations with members. There is a group called "Christian Reconstruction". It is an organization with members. As for "Dominionists", though it seems not to be a formal organization per se, there are individuals and organizations that identify themselves with that label--it's more like "Ivy League" than "Boy Scouts of America" in that context.

Yurica doesn't draw a distinction between "Christian Reconstruction" members and people she characterizes as "Christian Reconstructionists". That linguistic sloppiness, in my mind, helps her imply that there is one central formally organized group plotting a set of actions, rather than a loose confederation of groups sharing similar ideologies.

The problem with this, in my mind, is that it leads to the thinking that "if we just got rid of that discrete set of 'bad guys', the problem would be over." This is the same thing I bemoan when all radical Islamic terrorism is boiled down to "al-Qaeda". It's a false characterization of a complex problem as "us v. them"--"the Untouchables vs. the Capone gang".

So my perception--and I really did read Yurica's stuff pretty carefully--is that her writing characterizes radical eschatological Christianity as a discrete set of "bad guys" in much the same way. I think that this is counterproductive--radical eschatological Christianity is no better organized than radical Islamic terrorism, and combating it requires not the elimination of a particular formal organization, but rather far more complex approaches.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:47 AM on October 16, 2004

Sidhedevil - My deep thanks for sticking with this thread and for the insight of that reply. Your rephrasing of your point finally bypassed my cognitive deficits - I agree.

I think Yurica's approach likely is a typical human response - especially when discovering what is seen as a menacing social movement - to view that as a monolithic phenomenon and to fail to make close but significant distinctions.

I'm sure I was guilty of some of the same on this thread, although my concern over the spread of what I see as negative manifestationsd of Christianity remains sharp.

So - in patiently tolerating my intial passion of my concern on this - you have my earnest respect.

I actually found myself arguing - with considerable passion - in the spirit of your observation on the "Bush Like Me" thread.


As for more complex approaches, here's one example
posted by troutfishing at 9:21 AM on October 16, 2004

When all there is on cable TV is reruns of Lassie and religious programming -- and no more Baywatch or Desparate Housewives -- I'll be more inclined to believe it.

This presumes that hard Christians are disinclined to watch soft porn.

Given the sexual escapades of some of the most successful evangelists, I daresay that such is not true.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:08 PM on October 16, 2004

Thanks, TF! I knew I wasn't explaining myself well at first, and being challenged on it helped me clarify my own thinking. I appreciate the collegial response. (But your last link 404'd on me).
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:45 PM on October 16, 2004

On a lighter note, this letter reposted on the Yurica Report is from a listener to Dr Laura Schlesinger's radio show and it concerns her statement that: "as an observant
Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22,
and cannot be condoned under any circumstance".

It's very clever and very very funny. Leviticus seems to have the answers to all of life's pesky moral difficulties.
posted by Skygazer at 1:22 PM on October 17, 2004

Skygazer - That's a classic, isn't it ? I think it might have been posted on Metafilter already...

"Dear Dr. Laura.....

1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned > in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring > > > nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but > > > not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. The passage clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?........

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)"


"...,being challenged on it helped me clarify my own thinking. I appreciate the collegial response. (But your last link 404'd on me)." - sidhedevil, Likewise. I'm tempted to mention your insight to Yurica - she probably would benefit from it.

That last link seems to work now. Maybe the server is erratic.
posted by troutfishing at 7:15 PM on October 17, 2004

Skygazer - That's a classic, isn't it ?

I don't know if the West Wing got it from the internets or vice versa, but martin sheen gives this speech (or one very much like it) to an anti-gay lobbyist on one episode.
posted by mdn at 8:18 PM on October 17, 2004

Hey trout, who says I'm not fighting? I live in a part of the country largely abandoned by progressives, albeit in a uniquely progressive community in my state. Most people who really want out from under ye olde repressive yoke of religious and social intolerance light the hell out of here for the coasts, and I'm pretty sure that day's soon coming for me.

Sorry to be I I I about it, but this is a deeply personal issue for me, representing an unbridgeable social rift in my family, workplace, and community. I've shared family dinners, worked with, taught, and befriended people with the evangelical mindset; I daresay know it a lot more intimately than many people who are immediately dismissive it. However you parse or define it, as a body they have more hard-won influence over local and national politics than ever before, and this President represents their greatest coup. And now, after all these years of contentious but essentially cooperative existence, I literally don't know how to coexist anymore, because the culture war and apocalyptic rhetoric of their churches has influenced their thinking to the point where I am longer a person. In their mindset, they are on God's side, and I am not, and their job is to get me on their team while obliterating the rights that I cherish.

My point: I don't care what's on cable or the tables at CostCo, this is no longer fringe thinking to be chuckled at or dismissed with a little finger wave of disgust. In many communities, evangelical thinking is mainstream, and it's a mindset that's curtailing scientific research, education, environmental protections, social freedom, and peaceful international relations for us all, not just farmgirls and shitkickers from Podunk, USA.

Ultimately, we all have to live here together, and we're increasingly split evenly on this question, so really, I want to know: what's the most effective way to fight? Because I've been donating my time and my money and my vote for years, and with each one that passes, it's less effective. I can move to a coast, even out of this country if say Canada would have me, but I can't move off this planet, and there's not a corner of it unaffected by this bloody lust to bring the End Times down on all our heads.
posted by melissa may at 11:52 PM on October 17, 2004

melissa may - I didn't mean to suggest that you weren't fighting.

The only way to put an end to this is to call Dominion Theology for what it is - a presumption which amounts to a blasphemous heresy in that it's adherents claim to know the will of god and claim for themselves the role of being God's own agents.

That is idolatry, and must be called as such : not easy given where you are living.

That is a start - to call this thing for what it is : a deep straying from the message of the Gospels, one which is suffused with Satanic messages of violent hatred.

It's underlying spirit is not of Christianity anymore.

My family is also split apart by this rift, and I now have to confront my brother, to ask :

Is this what you believe ? A doctrine of hatred and killing ? Do you call that Christian, of Christ ?
posted by troutfishing at 4:26 AM on October 18, 2004

in this week's Time magazine, there's a spread of pictures from the campaign trail--and this caught my eye: a banner reading "Bridging the Gap between Congress and the Church"-- it's from these folks--Center for Moral Clarity
posted by amberglow at 12:45 PM on October 18, 2004

amberglow - they've got a sinister logo. Satanic, even, I'd say.
posted by troutfishing at 5:54 AM on October 19, 2004

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