“To Transform A Nation” Means A Holy War, Man!

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

—I John 4:20

In case you didn’t know, there is about to be another American Revolution.

Or, take your pick, another Civil War.

Now, either this revolution or civil war will be fought by an Angry God, or by Angry God-worshipping fundamentalist Christians who are outraged that women want, and until recently were getting, control of their own reproductive lives.

Or the war will be fought by zealots who are outraged that people of the same sex can kiss each other in public and otherwise get treated as equals under law.

Or the war will be fought by folks who are upset about both reproductive and marriage freedom, mixed with a lot of outrage over ObamaCare.obama socialist

In any case, Christian jihadists here in America are letting it be known they are prepared for the worst.

Let’s start with Rick Joyner, a Christian pastor who is the founder and head of a right-wing religious group called MorningStar Ministries.  He is also the president of an organization called The Oak Initiative, which describes itself as,

a grassroots movement to UniteMobilizeEquip, and Activate Christians to be the salt and light they are called to be by engaging in the great issues of our time from a sound biblical worldview.

By its own admission, this group of Christian zealots exists to encourage its members “to transform a nation”—that’s this nation, folks—and to become “change-agents and facilitating change in every aspect of our culture as we, the Oak Initiative, become infused into the areas of social, cultural, and political impact wherever we find ourselves.”

The short of it is that this group, and others like it, have as a goal to remake America in ways compatible with fundamentalist Christianity, and these people are using the Republican Party, at the local, state, and federal levels, as a jihadist vehicle to accomplish their goal.

One of The Oak Initiative’s board members is Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin (retired), who, incredibly, at one time was the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence under George W. Bush. Boykin, a fundamentalist zealot, became relatively famous for his remarks in 2003 related to the War on Terror, remarks made while serving as the, uh, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and remarks that claimed that his Christian God was “bigger” than the Muslim “idol.”

In a follow-up statement—part of which was redacted by adults in the Pentagon—a statement meant to apologize for and explain the juvenile and stupid claims that upset so many here and abroad, Boykin wrote:

• I believe that God intervenes in the affairs of men, to include nations, as Benjamin Franklin so eloquently stated. Yes I believe that George Bush was placed in the White House by God as well as Bill Clinton and other presidents.

• As a Christian I believe that there is a spiritual war that is continuous as articulated in the Bible. It is not confined to the war of terrorism.

Nothing, I submit, articulates the mindset of right-wing Christians—who, again, have hijacked the Republican Party to do their dirty work—better than those two statements: God guides history and history is essentially a battle between Good Spirits and Evil Spirits.

Magical thinking like that is everywhere these days, in caves in Tora Bora or in, well, Virginia Beach, Virginia, home of Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network.

Robertson, fresh off from citing the death penalty in Leviticus for gay folks and suggesting that two gay men kissing makes him barf—no word in yet on what two women kissing does to him, but I have my suspicions—and claiming that “the Bible didn’t talk about civil rights,” asked:

Which is going to take precedence, the Supreme Court of the United States or the holy word of God?

Apparently, the answer is “the holy word of God,” at least the version interpreted by Pat Robertson. On Wednesday the religious freak suggested that Americans follow the Egyptians and “rise up against” ObamaCare, which, of course, is “state socialism,” even though Republicans invented it. In any case, God, obviously, is opposed to folks having health insurance because if you just pray hard enough, and, more important, send Pat Robertson thirty-bucks a month, you don’t need no stinkin’ health insurance.

And if you think an Egyptian-like revolt here in America is only a figment of Pat Robertson’s twisted, fundamentalist mind, then you don’t know Larry Klayman, who founded Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch and writes a column for the popular source of Christian lies about Obama, World Net Daily. Klayman wrote on Tuesday that the President “is a closet religious Muslim through and through” and then suggested the possibility of a military revolt against him:

…given the state of affairs generally in this nation, which borders on total political, economic, moral and ethical collapse, is it inconceivable that one day the military in this country could rise up in support of not only the American people but themselves, and remove Obama and his radical Muslim, socialist comrades by whatever means prove necessary to preserve the republic?

Yes, he went there. But that’s expected from a zealot who is fearful that a non-peaceful revolution “could again prove necessary to restore the republic.”

But Barack Obama is not just an enemy of the United States. American Family Association talk show maiden, Sandy Rios, said about the President:

I long ago crossed the line in trying to be careful about how I speak about him because as far as I’m concerned he’s an enemy of the faith. I believe he is. He presses all things immoral, all things unbiblical and he claims to be a Christian which to me is even worse, it’s worse.

Okay, I can see how Obama is an enemy of America. He wants to destroy it and then turn it over to the Chinese or the Muslims or whoever else would want it at that point. What I don’t see is how he is “an enemy of the faith.” Perhaps, weirdly, it is his faithfulness to his, uh, one and only wife that makes him an enemy, or his two lovely children?roberson and trump

Whatever it is, we know that a real friend of the faith would be somebody like, oh, Donald Trump! Yeah, Trump is someone that right-wing Christians can get behind. And Bob Vander Plaats, that freaky Christian zealot from Iowa, is doing just that. He has invited the mammon-crazed, divorced (twice!) birther to speak at something called, falsely, the Family Leadership Summit. Praise God, who we are told, knows how many hairs are on Donald’s strange looking head, if not how few synapses are firing at any one time inside it.

Speaking of a lack of lively synapses, there’s Glenn Beck. Last week he said,

we are not fighting with the president of the United States, we are not fighting with the Democrats, we are fighting evil.

Except that the other day he said President Obama was a “ridiculous piece of garbage.” But, now that I think about it, I guess you don’t have to be an evil piece of garbage. On Tuesday Beck said:

…we are in so much trouble … if we don’t wake up and, as a nation, start to insist that our nation’s laws follow the laws of nature’s god and nature’s laws, we’re in trouble, man; we’re in real trouble. The darkness is astounding.

Yes, “we’re in trouble, man.” The darkness, the darkness of religious dogma, is astounding. But what is more astounding is that such dogma has a home, a relatively comfortable home, in the Republican Party.

And whether sober-minded Democrats, or even the few sober-minded Republicans left out there, want to admit it or ignore it, these dogma-loving zealots have taken over local precincts and local elective offices, state party committees and statehouses, and have a sizable contingent in the Congress of the United States.

Yep, we’re in trouble, man.



  1. Love it.


  2. middlechildwoman

     /  July 11, 2013

    The frightening truth. Hoping for a blue Texas return . . . When will these thugs learn to leave the women alone? At least one of our Joplin school board members is a Glenn Beck fan. Religious fanatics surround us. I often wonder why they are so hateful and narrow minded. Ah, well, as a middle child, I will soldier on, hoping that reason, not emotion prevails.


    • @ Middlechildwoman,

      You said,

      Religious fanatics surround us. I often wonder why they are so hateful and narrow minded.

      I submit that religion, like plutonium, has a critical-mass property and when it reaches that in a community, it becomes irresistible. For an example of that, consider a letter to the editor in today’s Joplin Globe castigating Anson for trying to exclude God as a prime factor in the city’s tornado recovery. In this political/religious climate, if you’re not whole-heartedly with them, you’re the enemy. Sigh.


  3. Middlechildwoman,

    I will submit to you that one of the reasons that some of these folks are so hateful and narrow minded is that the Book in which they put all their spiritual marbles, for the most part, sanctions such hatefulness and narrow mindedness. Just crack open the Old Testament in just about any place and you will find out what I mean.



    • King Beauregard

       /  July 11, 2013

      Yes and no on that. There’s also an awful lot in BOTH Testaments about being kind to the poor, the widow, the child, and even the foreigner. What the Religious Right has done, and I give them credit for quite a technical achievement, is reverse-engineer Christianity so that every trace of compassion has been removed and demonized. They have somehow grafted Christian theology to Ayn Rand in Frankenstein fashion, and created a shambling abomination that a sane culture would subject to a little torch-and-pitchfork action.


      • King B,

        My point is that the Old Testament particularly sanctions hatefulness and narrow-mindedness (athough there is certainly more to it than that, including the things you rightly mention). Not only in its historical sections–which tell the story of the Israelites conquering their enemies (when they weren’t being conquered themselves), killing them, sometimes women and children, and taking their stuff, and justifying that behavior with a sort of they-had-it-coming-because-they-have-offended-God defense, but also if you look at the Psalms, you will also find hatefulness sanctioned, as well as an acute narrow-mindedness.

        I was not trying to discount the positive values you mentioned and I am glad you brought them up. But they do not change the fact that the Bible (also in the NT) gives folks reasons to think that a certain brand of hate and parochial thought is not only okay, it is required of a true believer. If it were all values like “help the poor” and “take care of your brother” that would be one thing. But it is not. Some passages have been used to justify the most heinous behavior imaginable, and I submit that such is the case because the writers of the book meant to do so. They were trying to justify otherwise unjustifiable behavior and they did so by appealing to a Manichean view of the world that is still present in the kind of folks I wrote about in this post. As Franklin Graham essentially said the other day, this is his God’s world and the rest of us have got no business mucking up his God’s world.

        Finally, the thrust of all this fundamentalist nonsense is that in the end God will divide everything up into the good guys and the bad guys and the good guys will get all the good stuff and the bad guys will burn in hell forever. Believing that kind of stuff sort of leads one to be hateful towards those perceived to be bad guys, and it allows one to narrowly define who those bad guys are. And to do that the Bible is their guide.



        • King Beauregard

           /  July 11, 2013

          Tribe vs. tribe primate imperative, no different from the apes they don’t believe they evolved from.


  4. King Beauregard

     /  July 11, 2013

    If we’re basing our death penalties on the Old Testament, you are also to be put to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath (which by the way is Saturday). Any of you ever do yard work on a Saturday? Then according to the Bible, you deserve to die, and probably go to hell right afterwards.

    What else does Leviticus speak out against? Well, there’s wearing garments made of two different materials; any of you wearing polycotton blends? Kosher laws, too, come from Leviticus, and are still in effect every much as anti-gay proscriptions are. Ironically, when you show your Christian solidarity by eating at Chick-Fil-A, all you’re doing is consigning yourself to hell — not just for violating Christ’s “least of my brothers” edict, but for violating the Old Testament.

    You oughtta try reading your Bible some time, rather than having your pastor summarize it for you. There’s an awful lot he’s not telling you about what is expected of you, if you don’t want to go to hell.


  5. ansonburlingame

     /  July 12, 2013

    We agree, Duane, that the religious right wing of politics is destructive to American government, period. Just how destructive can be debated as I HOPE that such sentiments never achieve real majority influence in the manner in which we govern. By that of course I mean control of both houses of Congress and the White House.

    If American political power resulted in a “Santorum White House” and an “Akin-like” Congressional majority, well God forbid such politics. Give the country such political direction and then consider “Egypt” and what is transpiring therein right now!!!

    The next time I hear a politician advancing a political agenda because it is God’ Will to do so, I may just …….!!!

    But when you and others come after me for my own form of “morality” well you will get the same ……..!!!

    One side sneers at the lack of religion and the other sneers at lack of public moraility to tax ourselves into oblivion, or so it seems to me. NEITHER religion or personal moral values should play a role in how we govern America, in my view. But I am sure some on the left will attempt to twist such a statement to “prove” that I am a racist, anti-poor, lack compassion, etc., etc.

    Solution? Govern America Constitutionally, and leave all the religious/moral condemnations beyond the pale of political debate.



    • Anson,

      I will simply respond to your comment here by making the point that the Republican Party, which is heavily influenced by the folks you admit are “destructive to American politics,” is the vehicle by which these folks affect our culture, via our political system. And only when folks like you–I mean folks on the right who see the religious right for what it is–insist that the GOP not adopt religious dogma as a basis to govern, then the party will continue to do so. And the zealots will continue, precinct by precinct, to dominate the party.

      I guess I am saying that it is up to conservatives like you to limit the influence of conservatives like, say, John Putnam, in Jasper County and beyond. From what I hear, you are off to a good start, but diligence and persistence is the only thing that will work. Because I know these folks. They won’t give up.



  6. This is scary stuff, Duane. Ideology powered by religion is dynamite because faith rejects reason. Also, King B is right that the underlying motives are tribal and therefore relatively immune to reason. When one considers parallel trends, it gets worse: the craze for assault weapons and stockpiling of ammunition to the extent it can’t be kept on the shelves. Rather than fixing the Middle East, we are becoming more like it.

    Great post.


    • Jim,

      Good point about our resemblance, in some important ways, to the current climate in the Middle East.

      I note that you contextualize tribalism as “relatively” immune to reason.

      How true. But it leaves room for a tribalism that superordinates reason over dogma, which is the kind of tribe I want to be a part of and encourage others to be a part of, too.

      Unfortunately, before we can get a lot of folks to join that kind of tribe, we have to point out the dangers inherent in the belief system of the dogma-over-reason tribe, which is what I, a former member of that tribe (although I attempted to make reason a servant of my religious beliefs), am trying, in my teensy-weensy way, to do.

      I also want to make clear that I am not attacking those who hold religious or transcendent beliefs. I am attacking, as earnestly as I can, those who hold dogmatic religious beliefs about which no one can be the least bit confident, in terms of reason.



  7. ansonburlingame

     /  July 12, 2013


    How about ideology powered by certitude of public morality and an unending quest for equality in every aspect of human life?


    • ” . . . certitude of public morality . . . ” sounds like an oxymoron to me, Anson. Public life in America today, and I include political life as a subset, is rife with aggrandizement, bias, and corruption. But as for ” . . . equality in every aspect of human life”, that is surely what the founders intended, just as Herb expounds so eloquently below. He speaks for me.


  8. Duane:

    Interesting discussion on a very provocative (and very well written) post. As I read through it, along with all the comments (to date), it seems to me that what we have here may be an irreversible gap in belief systems, specifically the Abrahamic religions, that doesn’t bode well for the future.

    In this country, it’s the Christians who hold sway in all things religious. And those Christians who are emotionally invested in their beliefs (read irrational) are blinded by dogma, which, in turn, blinds them to the rights and obligations of the people and their government implicit in the social contract. But worse are the fundamentalist elected officials who throw their oath of office under the bus for the sake of imposing their beliefs on the very democracy they have been elected to protect and defend.

    Therein lies the problem. Monotheism is the antithesis of secularism. And secularism is at the heart of democracy in a diverse, multi-cultural and highly heterogeneous society. Self-righteous, sanctimonious and bigoted Christians, especially those who profess to know what God thinks, have, by definition, an authoritarian worldview. There is no room for compromise because, well, after all, they can read the mind of God.

    And God, as understood and presented by the Christian zealots, is misogynistic, homophobic, racist, intolerant, cruel, vindictive, paranoid, narcissistic, irrational, controlling, bigoted, irresponsible, contradictory, immoral, and dictatorial. And that’s on a good day.

    The problem is, how do we either stop this insanity or somehow minimize it? Is the Christian right getting bigger or just noisier? Is there a trend in electing more fundamentalists? And what about the roadblock called the first amendment? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” There are thousands of chaplains all over the military (overwhelmingly Christian) and in the halls of Congress as well as state legislatures. And don’t forget the 40 million Christians in this country who call themselves Evangelicals.

    In a speech to the Virginia legislature, “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments,” that he made in 1785, James Madison said:

    “(E)ccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

    None of us can say it better than that.



    • Herb,

      As usual, on this subject, we are almost in complete agreement, and the Madison quote never gets old. It ought to be on every capitol building and court building in the country.

      I say “almost in complete agreement” because I would quibble with a couple of things, just because I like quibbling, I guess:

      1. The reason the national future is threatened by religious dogma (there has always, in our history, been outsized influence) is that the future is increasingly dependent on an understanding of and appreciation of and support for science and scientific thinking. In other words, we can no longer afford the ignorance and intolerance associated with religious dogma, at least in terms of how we govern ourselves.

      2. You said, “Monotheism is the antithesis of secularism.” I think that goes too far. I consider myself a theist or (quasi-theist) and a secularist (defined: “The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education”) and I know there are plenty of us out there. Heck, one could even be a fundamentalist and a secularist, I suppose, even though we don’t seem to grow many of them here in America.

      3. Regarding your citation of the First Amendment, consider this: The religion-related declaration therein, in itself, is a contradiction, isn’t it? Read it again:

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

      What if the “free exercise” of your particular religion includes “establishing” it as the official church, or at least using that religion as the official moral foundation of the United States? I know of some respected conservative constitutional scholars who believe that religion in general can partner with the government to achieve the state’s goals. And why couldn’t right-wing Christians take it one step further and limit that partnership only to Christians? Especially if right-wing Christians get five of their own elevated to the Supreme Court? Thus, I don’t necessarily see the First Amendment as a “roadblock” at all, especially when you consider the “overwhelmingly Christian” influence in the military and government. The Constitution is what the Supremes say it is and if Americans continue to elect presidents who appoint to the Court right-wing zealots, then all bets are off.

      And, damn, once again, I love that Madison quote.




      • Duane,

        I think we totally agree. In fact, I agree with your quibbling. I just need to clarify a few things.

        1. It is absolutely true that religious dogma, specifically Christian dogma, and more specifically Fundamentalist Christian dogma, will work to defeat progress in the sciences, especially where biological evolution is involved. Your comment would have been a good follow-on to further explain the damage that dogma can do. No quibbles here.

        2. The sentence, “Monotheism is the antithesis of secularism,” is rhetorically and semantically correct. Monotheism refers to a religion organized around “one god.” Secularism refers to an organization, in this case, a democratic republic, that rejects or excludes religion and religious considerations from its operations. Ergo, the two terms are mutually exclusive; i.e., one is the antithesis of the other.

        Again, the quibble here is my fault for not making it clear that I meant a secular government as opposed to a secular society. (I can dream, can’t I?) I was thinking of Article VI, paragraph 3, of the Constitution, where it says, “NO religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

        That said, our government is rife with theistic references such as “In God We Trust” on our money, “under God” in our pledges (oaths), and “God bless America” at the end of almost every presidential speech. Then there are the aforementioned chaplains, religious references written all over government buildings, and Christian crosses and Jewish Stars of David all over government owned cemeteries.

        So, we’re hypocrites. What else is new?

        3. As to the First Amendment prohibitions re religion, I wrote a rather extended essay on this subject a few years ago over on my Humanist blog. You can find it here – http://thehumanistchallenge.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/the-alchemy-of-religion-and-the-quantum-theory-of-humanism-2/

        I go into a number of SCOTUS decisions that I hope will help clarify their thinking on the subject and the related social impacts from the point of view of the non-theists. Leave a comment there is you wish.

        When I’m writing on a subject about which I am very passionate, I have a tendency to wax hyperbolically. As a result, I need someone to pull me back down to earth and pour a little cold water on my hot, fiery hair. So, thanks for doing that. I have no quibbles there at all.



        • ansonburlingame

           /  July 14, 2013

          Herb and Duane,

          I “think” I understand your concerns Herb and they are reasonable. All relgions have “nuts” within them and you don’t like or condone religious zealots, I call them “nuts”. I don’t either. It becomes THEIR interpretation of the Bible, or Al-Quan, etc. that MUST prevail and death or hell be upon those that disagree.

          But the underpinnings of religion, the quest for moral certitude, truth, what is right and wrong, is not all bad for sure. By and large the Christian New Testament that provides what supposedly Christ said and preached is not “wrong” by most human standards of right and wrong. In fact my own reading of the Al-Quran finds similar dictates related to right and wrong within the directions of Allah, via the Angel Gabriel and then Mohammed. sort of twisted path to enlightenment. Sort of like the book of ACTS in the New Testament or the “teachings (letters) of Paul, a human INTERPRETiNG what Christ MEANT to say. For example, can any Christian show me where CHRIST refjected homosexuals? All the Biblical references I have seen come from Paul, an INTERPRETER of Christ. Was he too infalible, like a human Pope?? There in my view is the Iron Age “stuff” that Duanes loves to preach about.

          I think even Duane agrees that there is “right and wrong” in human affairs. In fact he preaches his views on such all the time, right and wrong, good and bad, with conservatives ALWAYS bad. Sure sounds like what he might have said when he preached evangelical Christianity, long ago, but now rejects, and I support such rejection, religiously or spiritually.

          My only concern with Duane, in matters of faith or even politics, is he discounts any reasonable attempt to reject his politics and is not afraid in any way to condemn such rejection, morally.

          I don’t know how many times I have disagreed with political positions in this blog and been accused by many of being a racist, “not caring” (which means no compassion to me), a “Das Boot U-Boat commander”, meaning I suppose a Nazi, etc. which is a bunch of crap for sure.

          I reject universal HC or even ACA for reasons financial and get accused of somehow wanting pregant women to have to give birth on the steps of a hospital as well, thank you very much Jim Wheeler. Let’s get morality and religion OUT of such arguments and get down to the pragmatic issues of how to effectively GOVERN ALL Americans and pay for it as well, fairly and across the board. In that sense Equaity does NOT equal morality or religion. In fact REAL(finanacially, education, etc.) equality for ALL is WRONG and I see no religious or moral basis to try to achieve such utopia.

          But for sure I DO support equality before the law. Now I await the EC critique of the Zimmerman verdict to tell me why such equality was NOT rendered by that jury, a fair and impartial jury as far as I can tell.



  9. ansonburlingame

     /  July 12, 2013

    Several points, briefly,

    First Jim, I saw nothing in Herb’s comment about how to deal with the issue of equality for citizens. So I stick with my point that some people use the quest for equality for untoward purposes that fail, rather miserably. I can point north to a particular city as just an example.

    Herb your words by and large are on the mark though I must say the tone is rather harsh. You and I both know some really good Christian folks. So the ridicule you write should only be at those that “deserve it” which is not all Christians, Muslims, etc.. By and large the “Church” (es) have contributed to society on earth in many cases.

    And Duane, count me in as a secularist. I have not seen that definition before but sure adhere to it. As for a “theist” vs. a “monotheist” welll count me as the latter one, a belief in one “being” that probably got everything started ;but does NOT control much of anything, day to day.

    Both the Martin and Zimmerman families are likely praying hard right now for their verdict of choice. Some juror may well be praying to God for guidance as well. But I don’t think anything is “up there” telling them the next right thing to do, much less ready and able to deliver their conflicting requests.. It ulitmately becomes a matter of choice at the personal level for jurors and hope only, for the families.

    BUT both Herb and Duane, if belief in God or a god provides HOPE, well that ain’t bad for sure, as long as one does no harm to others. I find such hope comforting today. But I will never try to impose my own sense of hope on others as well.



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