Category: theocracy

Feeding the market for American mythology

By Alan Bean

Two articles grabbed my attention this morning.  The first deals with fairy tales about the Christian origins of America; the second addresses civil war fairy tales (hint: it had nothing to do with slavery).

Every trained historian, regardless of personal ideology, knows that America was founded by Deists and high church Protestants who were desperate to save their fledgling nation from European-style religious wars.  Hence the separation of church and state.

Similarly, you would be hard pressed to find a single person who has studied American history at the graduate level who would argue that Southern slavery was irrelevant to the civil war.  Unfortunately, the sentimental attachment to Christian-America and the confederate Lost Cause is so passionate that elaborate mythologies arise unbidden to satisfy the demand. 

Over at Talk to Action, Chris Rodda begins a jaw-dropping post thusly: (more…)

Campolo: Why the Christian Right will Dominate

As an evangelical Christian with a progressive social agenda, Tony Campolo has occupied and defended an uncomfortable patch of territory in the American religious world.

I’m not sure how much of the horror story Tony relates in this article is autobiographical, but we can be sure the Eastern University sociologist and American Baptist preacher knows whereof he speaks.  This frank discussion of a painful subject was written for Christian Ethics Today, a publication sponsored by moderate evangelicals seeking to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with their God.

Have you ever wondered why there are so few progressive religious voices in the popular media?  Dr. Campolo tells us exactly why that is, leaving little to the imagination.  As we seek to forge a new moral consensus for ending mass incarceration, we need to know what we’re up against.  Alan Bean

Why The Religious Right Will Dominate

By Tony Campolo

Eastern University

There are reasons why Religious Right Evangelicals will continue to dominate religious discourse, not only in their own sector of the Christian community, but also in what transpires in mainline denominations. Moderate voices, for the most part, are being sidelined and those with liberal views will find fewer and fewer means to express their opinions or gain an audience for their convictions. (more…)

Texas history texts ripped by conservative group

By Alan Bean

“If all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'”  – George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell learned how easily the past is misremembered as a combatant in the Spanish Civil War and during his years with the BBC in WWII.  Orwell is a hero to both the left and the right because he believed in relating historical fact as objectively and honestly as fallible flesh is able. 

As the culture wars rage, it is incumbent upon partisans on the left and right to police their own side of the conflict.  When 57% of Republicans believe the president is a Muslim, 45% believe he was born outside the United States, and 24% believe Mr. Obama may be the antiChrist, we’ve got a problem that only Republican leaders can effectively address.  We aren’t selling out when we critique our own people; we’re ensuring that the game is fairly played.

That is precisely what the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute has done in its report on the historical curricula taught in American schools.  Their dissection of the Texas State Board of Education’s distorted historical vision is utterly devastating.  I have pasted some of the pithy highlights below, but I urge you to read the entire report. (more…)

Judge’s 10 Commandments display ruled unconstitutional

By Alan Bean

R. J. Rushdoony

This Politics Daily article by legal analyst Andrew Cohen reflects the combination of panic and zeal conservative Christians are evincing in these strange times.  Ohio trial judge James Deweese didn’t just display the Decalogue in his courtroom, he displayed a series of posters arguing that the law rests on a religious (read ‘Christian’) foundation.  The implication is that, shorn of its biblical support system, the law would crumble to dust.  Consider this gem:

There is a conflict of legal and moral philosophies raging in the United States. That conflict is between moral relativism and moral absolutism. We are moving towards moral relativism. All law is legislated morality. The only question is whose morality. Because morality is based on faith, there is no such thing as religious neutrality in law or morality. (more…)