Why Christian Conservatives Don’t Care If The Country Falls

What is it about the mixture of Christianity and conservatism that makes many folks who call themselves Christian conservatives say and do things that seem to be neither Christian nor conservative?

As a former Christian conservative myself, I think I can offer some insight into why putting the two things together so often results in such toxic ideological vapors.

I think I can explain the behavior of a Ted Cruz, a Michele Bachmann, a Glenn Beck, a Sean Hannity, a Rush Limbaugh, a Bill O’Reilly, and a Sarah Palin. I think I can explain why their brains release ideological gas so noxious that it not only threatens the well-being of liberals, but it is now poisoning the blood of other conservatives. As they continue to fight their “culture war,” these Christian conservative zealots are now openly attacking members of their own political party, members who lack sufficient ideological holiness or militancy. Why would they do that? I think I know why.

I think I know why Tony Perkins, who leads one of the most powerful Christian conservative groups in the country, the Family Research Council, would say something that would lead to a headline like this:

Right-wing Christian: Liberals are the real theocrats because they want to help the poor

Perkins says that the government has no responsibility to care for poor people because the Bible expects individual Christians to do so. Then, committing the unforgivable sin of contradiction, says that, “As Christians, we’re responsible for the policies of this government because it’s us.” Yes, he said that the government is “us” but that “us” has no responsibility to take care of poor folks. Perhaps God can sort that one out.

In the mean time, I think I know why Christian conservative Pat Buchanan would generate a headline like this:

Pat Buchanan to GOP: Better to destroy the country than give in to Obamacare

Writing for a strange but influential Christian website called World Net Daily, Buchanan commented on the government shutdown and the subsequent “all-time low” approval numbers for Republicans:

Republicans should refuse to raise the white flag and insist on an honorable avenue of retreat.

And if Harry Reid’s Senate demands the GOP end the sequester on federal spending, or be blamed for a debt default, the party should, Samson-like, bring down the roof of the temple on everybody’s head.

Wow. I said I think I know why these people say and do such things. And now perhaps you can see why, too. It’s right there in Buchanan’s allusion to Samson, the Old Testament hero who was given supernatural strength to fight his foes, including the thousand Philistines that he allegedly slaughtered on one occasion using only the jawbone of an ass.

What Buchanan was alluding to was Samson’s suicide mission to destroy a pagan temple. Here is the biblical account of the end of Samson’s jihad:

Then Samson called out to the Lord, “Lord God, please remember me! Make me strong just this once more, God, so I can have revenge on the Philistines, just one act of revenge for my two eyes.” Samson grabbed the two central pillars that held up the temple. He leaned against one with his right hand and the other with his left. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He strained with all his might, and the temple collapsed on the rulers and all the people who were in it. So it turned out that he killed more people in his death than he did during his life.

ted cruz takes down the templeYou see? You see why Ted Cruz is doing what even people in his own party find destructive? You see why Tony Perkins doesn’t want the government feeding the poor? You see why Pat Buchanan would rather see the government fall down on everyone’s head than for Republicans to give an inch? Because these people believe government is a pagan temple. Because these zealots believe liberals and Democrats are pagans worshiping a false god in that pagan temple. That’s why.

That’s why Christianity and conservatism is such a toxic mix. Christianity gives these people what they think are their holy orders to fight the Culture War, the war against paganism. And conservatism, using the vehicle of the Republican Party, gives them what they think is Samson-like power to ultimately win it.

Even if it means taking the country down.

The New Deviants?

Here’s the latest regarding Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill:

claire mccaskill on gay marriage

As the story makes clear, her position is one of freedom. She said:

While churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside of their religious beliefs, neither should the government tell people who they have a right to marry.

McCaskill also talked about an “uncomfortable inequality” and said,

Supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principles of liberty and equality.

Meanwhile, many folks on the right, who talk a lot about “a country founded on the principles of liberty and equality,” don’t think those principles extend to folks who have the Gay Disease. The president of the Family Research Council, a powerful force in Republican politics, said in response to Republican Senator Rob Portman’s change of heart on the issue of gay marriage:

I commend Senator Portman for his unconditional love for his son.  Regardless of a child’s choices, the love of a parent can and should be a guiding beacon in the lives of their sons and daughters.  Unconditional love, however, does not mean unconditional support in choices that are both harmful to them and society as a whole.  This is especially true when we approach public policy.  Our unconditional love for our children should not override the historical and social science evidence which makes abundantly clear what is best for all children and for society – being raised by a married mother and father.

The Family Research Council, in case you aren’t sufficiently scared of what the Gay Disease can do to society, published a helpful post titled, “The Negative Health Effects of Homosexuality.” I will summarize it for you: Gay sex will kill us all!

The truth behind most of the opposition to same-sex marriage is that it is based on the fact that the Bible has a problem with homosexuality, namely that people with the Gay Disease should be killed, or, more accurately in these New Testament times, people with the Gay Disease should let Jesus heal them.

Fortunately, the times are changing rather quickly.

It is good that people like Claire McCaskill are rejecting the idea that there is something wrong with homosexuals. And it is even better that people are coming around to the idea that same-sex marriage is about liberty and equality.

And best of all is that the way things are going, some day the deviants among us will be those who want to deny other people liberty and equality based on Iron Age theology.

Only In America?

One kid dreams of fame and fortune, one kid helps pay the rent,

One could end up goin’ to prison, one just might be President

— “Only in America,” by Brooks and Dunn

hat other universe, the one inhabited by mutants who love Jesus more than they love the things Jesus arguably stood for, was at it again with their creepy 2012 Values Voter Summit, brought to us by that extremist hate group, the Family Research Council.

Amid all the talk at the summit of just how right Romney was to lie about and then trash the Commander-in-Chief during an international incident that saw an American ambassador killed, these GOP Jeezus-loving folks also managed to pile on the Commander-in-Chief by loudly accusing him of bending his knee before “radical Islamists” and causing all those extremists to flex their very tiny muscles in the face of our beloved America.

The usual irrational suspects (irrational in this universe, but coldly logical in the one in which they live and move and have their being) were at it, including Republican foreign policy expert Michele Bachmann, who as HuffPo reported:

slammed President Barack Obama and his administration on Friday for pursuing a foreign policy of what she called “apology and appeasement” and claiming they played a direct role in enabling the recent attacks in Egypt and Libya that took the lives of four Americans.

Her exact claim was,

[W]hat we’re watching develop before our eyes today are the direct consequences of this administration’s policy of apology and appeasement across the globe and the supposed success of the president’s foreign policy genius…

Yes, all that apologizing and appeasing, which Mr. Obama has delivered time and again via drones and dead terrorists, has definitely pissed off the extremists. In fact, let’s go ask Mr. bin Laden how he feels about it:

ERSTWHILE CONSERVATIVE: I’d like to ask the leader of al Qaeda if he is taking advantage of Mr. Obama’s weakness as an American president. Well, is he?

SPOKESMAN FOR OSAMA BIN LADEN: Uh, Mr. bin Laden cannot come to the phone right now. He has gone deep sea diving in the Arabian Sea.

ERSTWHILE CONSERVATIVE: Okay. When do you expect him back?

SPOKESMAN FOR OSAMA BIN LADEN: Uh, it will be a very long dive.

Oh, well. Maybe he will get back to us real soon.

In the mean time, Ms. Bachmann finished up her bearing-false-witness speech by offering some GOP Jesus love to our president:

Barack Obama has been the most dangerous president we have ever had on foreign policy.

You mean, more dangerous than Jimmy Carter? Come on now, Michele. You can’t mean it. President Carter will be upset that he is no longer the poster child for bad foreign policy at Republican gatherings.

In any case, Gary Bauer, an evangelical zealot who gives me the willies, had the crowd on their holy feet with this:

Don’t tell me to worry about Muslim sensibilities.

Okay. So nobody should tell Mr. Bauer to worry about Muslim sensibilities. I know I won’t tell him to because, well, I don’t much worry about them either. But thank Allah that somebody told George W. Bush and Barack Obama to worry about them, because if our political leaders don’t, then more Americans may die.

I guess one can conclude, using the logic governing that strange Bachmann-Bauer universe, that evangelical American Christians who don’t care about Muslim sensibilities apparently want Americans to die.  Yeah, that’s it. They don’t give a damn if Americans die, right?

And speaking of that strange universe with its strange logic, we now know it is okay to pal around with terrorists as long as,

a) they now love GOP Jesus, or

b) they weren’t really terrorists at all.

I am talking about the appearance at the screwy summit of a man who John Glasstetter of Right Wing Watch called a “fake terrorist,” a man who,

is identified on the schedule as Kamal Saleem, but his real name is Khodor Shami. He claims that he was a Muslim Brotherhood operative who “came to the United States of America…to destroy this country” and crossed the Canadian border and “brought weapon caches right through cities.” He also claims to have “completed his first bloody terror mission into Israel for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) at the age of seven.”

Saleem is widely known to be a fraud. Yet he’s being presented by the Family Research Council as the real deal and appears next to Ryan on the featured speakers page, with “former terrorist” under his name.

For a complete rundown of just how deluded this guy is, of how he is able to fleece gullible right-wingers, go here and be prepared to puke uncontrollably, as you contemplate the fact that he was prominently featured on a program of prominent conservatives that also featured appearances by Paul Ryan and, via video, Mitt Romney. It truly is sickening.

Given the endless and factless attacks on President Obama for hanging out with terrorists, I would never have thought it was okay for followers of GOP Jeezus to not only hang out with a terrorist, phony or no, but to embrace him with loving, if hypocritical, GOP Jeezus arms. Especially a man who claims that “killing Jews and Christians” was his “dream as a child.” 

I guess the following words helped make that awkward embrace easier, which Mr. Saleem-Shami uttered before those gathered angels of Republicanism at the Values Voter Summit:

How do you change a terrorist? Introduce him to Jesus.

Okay. The old “I’ve been redeemed” play. I get it . But which Jesus did he meet? Because Barack Obama also claims to have been introduced to Jesus, redeemed by Jesus, albeit not GOP Jeezus. It’s important to identify correctly this Jesus fella, because the former or fake terrorist, either Mr. Saleem or Mr. Shami, said the following about Mr. Obama’s was-it-or-wasn’t-it curtsy to Saudi King Abdullah:

When the president bowed before the King of Islam and bowed his knees — in Islam we bow five times a day, that’s what we used to do, and when we kiss the signet ring of the king, that means we are under his authority. And when we surrender to that authority and we apologize to everybody over there, in Islam that is a victory, and that is the start of the march now, somewhere to take over your land, take over your country and fulfill your purpose and become united Islamic nation. This is what happened.

Yes, he said that. But he also said more than that. He said that Hillary Clinton is about to introduce a UN resolution that will,

subjugate American people to be arrested and put in jail and their churches and synagogues shut down and go under ground…

Yes, he said that, too.

Talking, falsely, about how much Obama wants to arm Egypt (“our president enabled Egypt to have two submarines to control the Suez Canal against Israel“) and how Obama has turned his back against Israel, this crazy man on the program with Ryan and Romney also said of our president:

Netanyahu wanted peace, but our president says, “I don’t have time for peace. You all go knock your heads together.”

Maybe they want Iran to obtain the nukes so they can control the region.

Of course! It’s obvious. President Obama wants Iran to rule the world!

Needless to say, after his speech, this Obama-hating self-proclaimed terrorist exited to thunderous applause from the Saints of Obama Hate, as Brooks and Dunn bellowed out “Only in America.”

Only in America, indeed. Only in a very strange America in a very strange and disturbing universe, a universe peopled by conservative Christian Republicans who worship an equally strange and disturbing Jeezus.

A Collective Hallucination

A collective hallucination is a sensory hallucination induced by the power of suggestion to a group of people. It generally occurs in heightened emotional situations, especially among the religiously devoted.”

The Skeptic’s Dictionary

ow that conservative evangelicals have lost their favorite Catholic, Rick Santorum, who was essentially crushed by Mittens’ money-guzzling campaign bus, the logical question becomes: will the right-wing evangelical movement ever fully embrace their Mormon champion?

That question was posed today to a leader of the movement to bring Christian sharia—complete with transvaginal probes—into your life, Tony Perkins, president of the Dobsonian Family Research Council.  If anyone would know what contemporary right-winging Bible thumpers are thinking, he would.

But before we get to the question he was asked and his answer, let’s look at Perkins. He was born and raised just about half an hour west of Tulsa, the epicenter of cocksure Midwestern evangelicalism.   He ended up in Baton Rouge where he won a seat in the state legislature and where he began his sharia crusade.  Here’s how Right Wing Watch characterized his earlier career in politics:

Perkin’s Louisiana legislative background includes:

  • author of legislation requiring public schools to install filtering software.
  • author of American History Preservation Act, which “prevents censorship of America’s Christian heritage in Louisiana public schools.”
  • authored legislation providing “a daily time of silent prayer in Louisiana public schools.”
  • author of the first Covenant Marriage Law.

In 1998, Perkins founded the Louisiana Family Forum due to his concern for “increasing influence of the homosexual community on public policy issues.”

So, you can see why the Family Research Council—a Christian sharia lobbying group—hired Perkins to be its president.  And if you bother to check into it, you can also see why the Southern Poverty Law Center famously labeled the FRC as an anti-gay hate group.  The short of it is that Perkins has, among other things, promoted the idea that gay men are a threat to children. Taliban, anyone?

In any case, Luke Russert on MSNBC asked Perkins if conservative evangelicals would embrace Romney or “stay home.” The Christianly Perkins, bearing false witness, said this:

No, I don’t think they’re gonna stay home. That’s not the question. I mean, you have the backdrop of Barack Obama, which clearly when you look at his policies—not theoretical but practical—that he has imposed upon this nation, both socially and economically, that is an anathema to social conservative voters, so they’re gonna vote for Mitt Romney. There’s not a question there.

The question is the level of enthusiasm and intensity. It’s turnout…will people be voting in great numbers for Mitt Romney, will they be working for him…that’s going to be the key in terms of who’s going to win this next election.

Now, that’s not exactly a Hallelujah Chorus endorsement of Mittens, but it suggests how most conservative Christians will likely approach the polls in November: with a Bible, a nose clip, and an I-hate-Obama-more-than-I-hate-the-Mormon-cultist determination.

But I want to return to what Perkins said about a fellow Christian:

…you have the backdrop of Barack Obama, which clearly when you look at his policies—not theoretical but practical—that he has imposed upon this nation, both socially and economically, that is an anathema to social conservative voters…

Obama “imposed” his policies on the country?  Imposed? That word was no accident. Perkins didn’t just misspeak.  He meant to suggest that Obama is forcing his will on the American people. He meant  to use that word because it reinforces the arch narrative about the President that conservatives never tire of pushing. Try something: type in “Obama is a dictator” into your search engine. See?

Here is one example that comes up:

THE MAN IS A DICTATOR’: BECK BLASTS OBAMA’S MOVE TO CIRCUMVENT CONGRESS 

Think that is just an extremist website pushing that headline? Nope. The Blaze is now mainstream conservative journalism.

Another mainstreamer, Rush Limbaugh, routinely uses the loaded term “regime” to describe the Obama administration. Sometimes he calls it “The Lawless Obama Regime” for spice. Here is a gem from that monologue:

Folks, it is clearly lawless. If you regard the Constitution as law, this is lawless behavior by an out-of-control, rogue executive. This is what happens in banana republics, tinhorn dictatorships.

Sean Hannity regularly—and without complaint from conservative Christians—refers to the President as “The Anointed One,” a term for the Messiah. Hannity defends himself (and misses the point) by saying that he “respects the office of the president,” but that those nasty liberals called Bush bad names, too.

Dick Morris, a very regular contributor to Fox “News,” published a video under the title,

Obama Assumes Dictatorial Powers

Introducing that video he said,

In this video commentary, I discuss how, in a March 16th Executive Order, Obama asserts his power to socialize America, even in peacetime!

What can explain this hysteria? I never much believed in the explanatory power of the term “collective hallucination,” but what else explains a movement that far and wide believes the President of the United States, whether he be a foreigner or a marginal American, whether he be a Muslim or a nominal Christian, is a despotic socialist with a Messiah complex?

Pick Rick Says GOP Jesus

Conservative evangelicals have finally heard from God—it only took Him three ballots to get through!—regarding whom they should support in the GOP primary, and the man with a God-sized Google problem, Rick Santorum, gets the Divine Nod.

That evangelical Christian leaders have explicitly thrown in with one political party in America doesn’t seem to bother the likes of James Dobson or Donald Wildmon, among the organizers of this current group of religious fanatics who have a mission to rid American leadership of people like fellow-Christian, but insufficiently godly or American, Barack Hussein Obama.

The spokesman for the event in Texas this weekend was Tony Perkins, a zealot who leads the Family Research Council, which oversees GOP compliance with so-called biblical morality. Mr. Perkins offered this extraordinary bit of insight into the evangelical psyche:

Mr. Perkins declined to explain why participants moved toward Mr. Santorum, other than to praise his consistent record on social and economic issues. In the discussions, Mr. Perkins said, participants were as concerned about repealing Mr. Obama’s health care law and fighting the national debt as they were about abortion and same-sex marriage.

And many evangelicals have said they are bothered not only by Mr. Gingrich’s three marriages, but by his attacks on Mr. Romney’s work in private equity, which they believe amounts to attacks on free enterprise.

Now, you can search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and I dare say you will not find in it an attack on the Affordable Care Act or concern about America’s indebtedness or abortion or, for that matter, “same-sex marriage” (it is a civil-rights issue in 21st-century America, not a moral one).

Nor will you find a defense of private equity firms or the kind of buzzard-blessed capitalism practiced by Bain Capital and Mitt Romney, even if some want to call such activity “free enterprise.”

But the Bible that evangelicals tote and thump does say this (in James 1:9-11):

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower.  For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

It is clear that the Republican Party has become the home of conservative evangelicals and it is clear that conservative evangelicals are attempting to make the square pegs of Christian theology fit into the round holes of GOP-protected greed—just look at Tony Perkins’ tweet after Republicans in Wisconsin attacked, successfully (for now), unions:

Again, you will not find in the Bible an attack in any form on labor unions, but you will find in the history of the Religious Right’s relationship with the Republican Party an attempt, as a service to big-business interests, to crush organized labor.

And speaking of using the Bible nefariously, you may have heard that the Speaker of the House of my former home state of Kansas recently distributed an email with a reference to the dreadful Psalm 109:8, known in some places as the “Obama Prayer“:

May his days be few;

      may another take his place of leadership.

The email came with this plea:

At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president! Look it up — it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!

In his defense, the Speaker, Mike O’Neal (who seems to have a problem with forwarding emails about the Obamas), said,

This email is about prayer expressing what Republicans around the country are working toward — voting into office a like-minded president in 2012.

The problem is, as I posted more than two years ago, that Psalm 109:8 does not sit in isolation. The Psalmist was once again whining to God about “wicked and deceitful men” persecuting him, and he wanted some revenge, including death and plunder and punishment of children and grandchildren (as well as, retroactively, the offender’s “fathers”).

But interestingly enough, Mr. O’Neal may have helped identify the eventual GOP nominee in his reference to Psalm 109, which the NIV translates:

Appoint an evil man to oppose him;

          let an accuser stand at his right hand.

When he is tried, let him be found guilty,

         and may his prayers  condemn him.

May his days be few;

         may another take his place of leadership.

Before the Psalmist and Mr. O’Neal say, “may another take [Obama’s] place of leadership,” the scripture says, “Appoint an evil man to oppose him.” 

Someone should ask the too-clever-by-half Mr. O’Neal—and other Republicans who promote this nonsense—just who that “evil man” could be: Mitt, Newt, or one of the Rick brothers?

Gays, God, And The GOP

There is a war coming among Tea Party folks.

Those of us on the outside of the Tea Party movement have marveled at the way religious crusaders like the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Stone Age conservatives like Jim DeMint have managed to not only get their noses under the Tea Party tent, but actually have become the ringmasters, directing the show.

But DeMint’s comments last week about gay teachers and single women illuminate the trouble that is brewing within the movement.  Here is a statement released on Tuesday from GOProud, a counter-intuitive organization of gay and lesbian and transgendered conservatives:

On Friday, United States Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) told a crowd in South Carolina that he supports barring openly gay teachers, as well as sexually active unmarried female teachers, from the school system. “Jim DeMint’s comments can only be described as outrageous and bizarre. The idea that someone who says they believe in limited government would support the government weeding out gay teachers and unmarried sexually active female teachers simply defies logic,” said Christopher R. Barron, Chairman of the GOProud Board. “Jim DeMint is doing his best to make Alvin Greene look sane.”

Mr. Barron, a Tea Party true believer, told Lawrence O’Donnell this:

The energy in the conservative movement is around the Tea Party, which is about limiting the size and scope of government—I mean Jim DeMint calls himself a limited government conservative, yet his idea of a limited government is one large enough to be policing the sex lives of our public school teachers. I mean, the idea is completely and totally insane and it completely flies in the face of what the Tea Party movement stands for…this movement is not about gay marriage, it isn’t about gay teachers or sexually active, unmarried women teachers or any of these social issues.

Want to bet?  Mr. Barron may just now be getting his head out of his fiscally conservative ass, but the truth about the Tea Party movement has been apparent for months now.  The movement has not only been financed by big-money Republicans, it has been hijacked by white Christian conservatives, who see the movement as a way to bring America back to its “Christian roots.” 

And DeMint’s comments only serve to reveal the enormous crack between those who erroneously think they are fighting to restore constitutional government and those who naively think they are fighting to restore American Christendom.

Gay Americans like Christopher Barron desperately want the Republican Party to be an inclusive and happy family of fiscally conservative, Hayek-toting libertarians.  Nope. The party is quickly becoming the property of fiscally conservative, Bible-toting zealots.

And the Bible says that the way Christopher Barron and his gay friends “choose” to have sex is an abomination to the Lord.

Just ask Jim DeMint.

Here is Christopher Barron’s appearance on The Last Word last night:

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UPDATED! UPDATED! Christian Values Voters: Obama Hates America

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!

     —Sabine Baring-Gould
 
UPDATE 9/20/2010: Rachel Maddow did a segment on the revival of the Culture War, featuring the Christian Right:
 
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_____________________
This morning I heard on television a couple of talking heads tell us that the Tea Party movement is fueled by fear over the national debt and government spending and their angst had little to do with the social issues that perennially haunt our politics, like abortion rights and homosexual equality.
The consensus was that the teapartiers are so scared for our children’s and grandchildren’s economic future that the old divisive moral issues are just not that important to them.  

Well, I realize that’s a popular notion, and there is certainly some truth to the idea that many people are worried sick over Republican economic chickens roosting in Obama’s nest, but it overlooks one important fact: The so-called social conservatives—the self-described Values Voters—don’t see it that way at all. 

They see a definite link between what they perceive to be the Democrats’ socialistic tinkering with the economy and Democratic support of abortion rights and the “gay agenda” and other ungodly horrors. If you don’t believe me, just listen to Mitt Romney at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit on Friday:  

…what is occurring in America today is different than simply a shift in seats. And it is not merely the result of disappointment or anger, though there may well be reason for both. 

What is being felt in America today is more profound than that, more solemn, more sober. Americans believe that Washington is threatening the very foundations of what has made America, America. Washington is assaulting America’s values. It is endeavoring to change what this nation has been, to change what it is, and to change what it is destined to become.

This room is filled every year by citizens—modern patriots—who are passionate about America’s values. These values include the sanctity of life and the preservation of marriage. But the Obama Administration has taken its assault to even more American values. The American people have finally seen Obama liberalism for what it is; they have seen the counterfeit values that underlie it, and they want none of it! 

Romney wasn’t the only one of the Christian Values Voter Summit speakers who connected the Tea Party movement with the vision of Christian moralists, who want American social values to mirror the values of fundamentalists and evangelicals, derived from Iron Age books and pre-Enlightenment theology.   

It’s just that Romney is supposed to be a serious candidate for the presidency in 2012, unlike the Michele Bachmans and Rick Santorums and Gary Bauers and other assorted guardians of God’s values, who believe they can use the Tea Party movement as a vehicle to achieve a quasi-theocratic state, a quasi-theocratic Christian state. 

That state would be one in which, in the name of “liberty” and in the name of God, women would be forced to bear children against their will—even children conceived through rape;  it would be a state in which, in the name of “freedom” and in complete allegiance to an ancient ignorance, gays and lesbians would be denied equal protection under the law and would be banished from the military, from serving their country, at a great cost to our national security.  

Whether a majority of Tea Party true-believers conceive of their movement this way doesn’t really matter.  Because the Romneys and Gingrichs and Huckabees are unquestionably using the Tea Party movement to further their own parochial political interests and are using it to force the agenda of the religious right down the throats of all Americans. 

And if Democrats and other like-minded folks don’t get to the polls this November, it won’t just be a mid-term shellacking of Democratic candidates we have to worry about.   

Christian Values Voters are marching toward us, dressed in the armor of God.

If you don’t think these people are a little unhinged; if you don’t believe that they hate a fellow Christian, Barack Obama, like the devil himself; if you don’t worry that they may get their righteous hands on the government throttle; I present below a short video clip and the accompanying transcript  featuring a speaker at the Values Voter Summit on Friday. 

Just keep in mind that the people before whom this man was speaking (and laughing) are the same people who invite you to church to worship Jesus and who claim that they represent a Loving Savior:   

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We have an administration today—I may get arrows and bullets shot at me or something—but  the thing about that is we have a guy that hates America. I’m just going to say it, okay?  Until we get rid of Barry or Barack—I haven’t seen his little feet on that birth certificate, so I don’t know what he is, right?

Onward, Christian Soldiers! Marching as to war!

[Romney photo:Mark Wilson, Getty Images]

God Kills Man Using Leviticus-Loving Grizzly Bear

Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish led me to this bit of Americana:

Commenting on an AP story on the death of a man in Yellowstone National Park, who was killed by a grizzly bear, Bryan Fischer, a man with fundamentalist poison gurgling through his veins, said this:

God said a curse would fall on a land which turned its back on him, and one consequence would be more tragic deaths at the hands of predatory animals. The truly sad thing here is that we are bringing this curse upon ourselves.

No, the truly sad thing is that people like Bryan Fischer are so comfortable canoeing down the mainstream of conservative thought, as demonstrated by his status as an invited speaker at this year’s Values Voter Summit, sponsored by America’s preeminent bullshit disseminators, the Family Research Council.

Here is the webpage, promoting the Festival of Intolerance, featuring America’s finest reactionaries, including Mr. Fischer, right next to thrice-married, family-values man, Newt Gingrich:

Ask, Tell, And Go To Hell

On Tuesday, during a segment on Hardball with Chris Matthews that discussed Obama’s pledge to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy toward homosexuals in the military, I watched this exchange between Chris Matthews and Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, the Gestapo of American morality:  

Matthews: Let me ask you, Peter.  Do you think people choose to be gay?  

Sprigg: People do not choose to have same-sex attractions but they do choose to engage in homosexual conduct. And that’s conduct, also, which incidentally, is against the law within the military.  It violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  It doesn’t make any sense for us to be actively recruiting people who are going to violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  

Matthews: Do you think we should outlaw gay behavior?  

Sprigg: I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas*, which overturned the sodomy laws in this country, was wrongly decided.  I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.  

Matthews: So, we should outlaw gay behavior?  

Sprigg: Yes! [laughs] 

Nevermind that Sprigg concedes that “same-sex attractions” are not choices, which is a monumental concession in itself for a member of the Religious Right.  Having so conceded, he then proceeds to argue that acting on one’s innate attraction to same-sex partners should be criminal.    

It’s as if he argued that even though one has a predeliction toward women, the government is within its prerogatives to outlaw sex with women. This, my friends, is a rare glimpse into the mind of a Talibanic zealot–and a major player in the Republican Party–who, if he had his way, would proscribe the sexual behavior of people based on his religious beliefs.

 Here is the segment transcribed above:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 *This case was decided 6 to 3. Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer and O’Connor  were in the majority, and Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas were, predictably, in the minority.  I urge interested readers to read Scalia’s dissent, in which he ridiculed the majority’s inconsistent application of stare decisis, and then compare it to the conservative rationale in the recent case (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) that gave corporations free speech rights.

A Heart Doctor With A Heart

Dr. John M. Cox, a cardiologist at Freeman Hospital, has written yet again on the subject of health care reform.  This time, he has commented on last month’s “prayercast,” which was an attempt by righteous Republicans to bring divine intervention into the health care reform process.

The prayercast event* featured a prayer by Tony Perkins, who, according to Frank Schaeffer, is the “well known paranoid and delusional moralist leader of the Family Research Council.”

The prayer included the following:

Life and death hinges on the Senate health care bill.

Now, a rational person might conclude that the succeeding invocation of the Almighty would include a petition that He might convince recalcitrant and gainsaying Republicans to get on board and make sure that the 45,000 folks who die each year because of a lack of insurance might have a “right to human life.”

Nope. The prayer continued:

We face significant threats to the God-given right to human life through government funding of abortions, our health from rationing, our family finances from higher taxes, and our general freedoms posed by the government plan to take over health care.

So, invoking the God of Tea Party Heaven, was actually a ploy to derail health care reform. 

That’s where Dr. Cox comes in:

I wonder if God is “for” insurance companies denying coverage to those with pre-existing illnesses. I wonder if God is “for” canceling insurance policies whenever individuals get sick. I wonder if God is “for” continuing to allow 35 million Americans to have no health insurance coverage. I wonder if God is “for” allowing many more people than died on 9/11 to die monthly because they cannot afford to get health care.

Apparently, Dr. Cox sings from a different hymnal than our Tea Party Holy Rollers:

In certain parts of this country, political theater is wrapped in Christianity. Politicians continue to cynically use the conservative Christian movement for their purposes. This is not about making people healthier. This is not about making insurance companies do the right thing morally. This is about scoring political points by a party who is, at present, out of power. The use of prayer vigils for this purpose sickens me.

Finally, Dr. Cox, the heart doctor with a heart, concluded with this flurry:

The proposed bills are not perfect. However, as I have stated before in previous communications, the status quo will quickly drive us off a cliff. All this anti-government rhetoric is just that. We all drive on government-built roads. Many of us already have government-funded insurance. Our skies are safer as a result of government air traffic controllers. Our country is a reasonably safe place in which to visit and travel because of government police and firefighters. When private industry chews people up and spits them out, it is the rightful place of government to try to make that right. Health insurance companies have not been our friends. I, for one, will applaud when something is finally done legislatively.

And I suspect so will the Almighty, notwithstanding the prayers of his “followers.”

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*For those interested, here is a list of some prayercast attendees, either in person or via video:

James Dobson: “I just pray that you will frustrate the plans of the Evil One.”

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, who reportedly said the Pilgrims believed “that the Bible was a blueprint for all of mankind… to tell us about economics, to tell us about education, to tell us about government.” Obviously, the Pilgrims didn’t have the foresight to include health care.

Sen. Jim DeMint and Sen. Sam Brownback, who apparently believed that the valiant effort by the Senate’s 40 Republicans—to frustrate Democrats and confuse the public—needed supernatural tweaking.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who in a moment of personal clarity that she kindly expanded to include all of us, prayed:

“And we say oh Lord we deserve your wrath. But would you yet give our nation mercy? We ask for your mercy. We cry out to you oh God this is our moment and this is our time Lord. We are at the end of ourselves and now we need you. We need you Lord.”

Lord, have mercy, indeed.

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