"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
Some day, Evangelicals will figure out that the Left and it’s media allies played on our theological differences to defeat Mitt Romney and re-elect Barack Obama – and now we watch the world burn. All while
Nero Obama fiddles golfs.
But hey, if your opponent has a weakness, you exploit it – right? Well that seems to be the case with a Salon piece that crossed my desk this morning – “How the Catholic Church masterminded the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby debacle.” The subtitle is fascinating -
While evangelical Christians ultimately brought down the contraception mandate, they had big help from Catholics
Does anybody recognize a pattern here? Do you remember when Prop 8 passed in California and it opponents rioted at Mormon sites in the state, engaging in property damage and intimidation? Do yo remember when they boycotted businesses where it was known that the owners backed the proposition?
What was a great example of religious cooperation in pursuit of shared political goals quickly became “a Mormon” thing and shamefully Evangelicals, who should have been helping Mormons protect their property, their reputation and their right to approach their houses of worship, seemed more than glad to let Mormons take the hit. The Left successfully played on our theological differences to make one of our best shared victories into a separating lever and Prop 8 stood for a very short time.
This nasty Salon piece by Patricia Miller seems to want to make the same maneuver between Evangelicals and Catholics over Hobby Lobby. Ostensibly a piece reporting on the role of the Catholic College of Bishops in the whole affair, its tone and language seek to demonize the Bishops and turn them into some sort of religious Bilderberger or Rothschild. The piece features a side-by-side photo of New York Archbishop Dolan and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as if they formed some sort of cabal. This piece has little relation to reporting and much to propaganda. But then it is Salon so I am not entirely surprised.
However, there are two take-aways that need careful reflection by those of religious bent.
The Left no longer opposes us, they hate us. It would be easy to weave all sorts of narratives about where such hatred could lead. But such narratives would all be based on the Left retaining the levels of power it has enjoyed for the last few years. Fortunately, that is already slipping from their grasp because they have overplayed their hand. Nonetheless, we should take great caution in how we proceed. Such hatred creates peril for its object, regardless of the political balance.
Secondly, we cannot let our fear of demonization cow us into separating ourselves from the religious herd. Not only because such separation means we will ultimately lose the battle on our issues – as was the case with Prop 8 – but because it means we will lose our some part of our souls as we let others sacrifice for our sake.
This is not a time for timidity.
The nation is unhappy.
This is an anniversary date on which we should remember the evil that was enacted upon us and the justice we brought to the world. Instead we find that many do not remember (because they were not taught) and the evil is closing in on us once again.
The president tried to turn that mood around last night and failed, utterly. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of memories and disappointments. Hugh Hewitt rounds up just a small sampling of the disappointed reaction to the president last night.
No wonder we are unhappy.
Much of the failure of this administration lies in its inability, perhaps unwillingness, to recognize some essential tenets of the American character. These tenets are deeply rooted in Christianity; they are in large part what makes us a Christian nation. I can hear The Left screaming charges of “theocracy” right now. Nonsense , this is not about theology in any serious fashion. Those of us on The Right look at the moral/social place we find ourselves and wonder if we really are a Christian nation anymore. I would argue that in many important ways we still are.
Americans recognize evil when they see it. Christianity recognizes evil when it sees it. We don’t parse it, we don’t split hairs, we name it for what it is. In order to fight it, you have to look it square in the eye and recognize it. We believe evil can be redeemed, but generally there is a penance to achieve that redemption. Without the penance, we can never be sure the evil will not return. This is not theological (Evangelicals and Catholics will argue eternally about the role of penance) this is practical. Practically speaking you do bad, you suffer consequences so I can know you have learned not to do bad again. You don’t renounce the bad, the consequences keep coming. This president truly does not get that.
Americans worry about more than just themselves. Christians are commanded to do this. Few passages galled me more in the president’s address last night than this one, “American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves,….” In other words, “Not my problem, really.” That is remarkably self-centered, even selfish. In the preceding paragraph of the speech was this gem, “While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland,….” In other words, “Evil does not really matter unless you perpetrate it on me.” Well, you know, we weren’t gassing Jews here in America way back in the day, so why did we bother with Europe? It was the Japanese that hit Pearl. We fought in Europe because it was the right thing to do. But then if the president cannot recognize evil, then he cannot really recognize “right” either.
Americans die for others, we do not ask others to die for us. That, dear friends, is the heart of Christianity. While Obama committed an entire additional 475 troops to non-combatant roles, John Kerry bragged about the “40 nation coalition.” (Talk about herding cats!) Inherent in every action taken and proposed by the president is an effort not to spend American lives. No one wants to see an American die, but it is honorable and good, even Godly, when they die in defense of what is right – in the destruction of evil. But then again, you have to recognize evil to get that.
No wonder we are unhappy.
But we will not stay unhappy for long. Americans hope, and Christianity is the source of our hope. We will get through this, and eventually we will be accorded the opportunity to rebuild this great nation and to put evil back into its dark places. Despite this administrations best efforts, we remain rooted in our hope in the ways I have just described and so many more.
We will be happy again.
Politico Magazine has published a featured piece by Randall Balmer entitled “The Real Origins of the Religious Right,” that illustrates first hand how history gets rewritten. His thesis:
One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.
This myth of origins is oft repeated by the movement’s leaders. In his 2005 book, Jerry Falwell, the firebrand fundamentalist preacher, recounts his distress upon reading about the ruling in the Jan. 23, 1973, edition of the Lynchburg News: “I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wade story,” Falwell writes, “growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it.” Evangelicals, he decided, needed to organize.
Some of these anti-Roe crusaders even went so far as to call themselves “new abolitionists,” invoking their antebellum predecessors who had fought to eradicate slavery.
But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism.
His evidence is, that a) Evangelicals were slow to wake up to the problems inherent in the Rose v. Wade decision, and b) that some began organizing in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that removed tax-exempt status from some church related schools in the south that were segregated. This are both facts long in evidence and denied by no one. However, Balmer weaves these facts, along with some others, into a narrative that makes the rise of the religious right appear to be some Machiavellian scheme, foisted upon gullible, thoughtless Evangelicals solely in order to preserve segregation.
What does Balmer not consider? Well, for one, Green v Kennedy (the SCOTUS segregation/tax case) and Nixon’s subsequent policy decisions for the IRS represented a significant step by government into defining what was and what was not religion and religious training. Having much family in Mississippi, I am well aware that many of the church schools that sprang up in South in the wake Brown were racist to their core, but that does not change the fact that these moves represented a significant move on the part of the federal government from telling public institutions what to do to telling private and ostensibly religious institutions what to do. These moves represented as big an (or perhaps a bigger?) intrusion by government into religion as the intrusion posed by Obamacare’s abortion coverage provisions today. While the racial admission practices of these schools was not highlighted, the legal ramifications of these decisions was widely discussed and to my memory played a role in galvanizing religious people across the nation to political action. Abhorrent as the racial admission policies of these schools were, if the government could attack their tax exempt status based on that policy, what other policy might they also someday decide warranted such an erosion of the separation of church and state? There was a very real danger in these decisions and Obamacare’s abortion coverage provisions are front-and-center example one.
Balmer makes this sound sinister:
Although Bob Jones Jr., the school’s founder, argued that racial segregation was mandated by the Bible, Falwell and Weyrich quickly sought to shift the grounds of the debate, framing their opposition in terms of religious freedom rather than in defense of racial segregation. For decades, evangelical leaders had boasted that because their educational institutions accepted no federal money (except for, of course, not having to pay taxes) the government could not tell them how to run their shops—whom to hire or not, whom to admit or reject. The Civil Rights Act, however, changed that calculus.
Balmer adds no facts to the historical records here. All he does is assert motivation and weave a narrative worthy of a Bilderberger theorist. Religious freedom was, and remains, a very real issue in all of this.
Balmer’s “art” sees its highest expression in this paragraph:
Between Weyrich’s machinations and Schaeffer’s jeremiad, evangelicals were slowly coming around on the abortion issue. At the conclusion of the film tour in March 1979, Schaeffer reported that Protestants, especially evangelicals, “have been so sluggish on this issue of human life, and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? is causing real waves, among church people and governmental people too.”
“Machinations?” — “Jeremaid?” My goodness, I had no clue that Hydra had hidden itself inside Evangelicals and Protestants just waiting for the time when it could assert its dangerous philosophy and with the aid of the computerized Armen Zola conquer the world.
There is no question that the desire to educate their children outside of the presence of African-Americans played an early role in organizing Protestants and Evangelicals to political action. But the movement that became the Religious Right outgrew that small and particular aspect of its beginning quickly. Balmer offers no evidence, or even narrative, that connects the religious freedom narrative to the abortion narrative other than chronological coincidence. (Well, in fairness there are unfootnoted references to the archives of Liberty University) And yet it was the abortion issue that caught the concern and energy of the religious nation.
The game that Balmer plays in this atrocious piece could be just as easily played by looking into the Communism derived motives of some early leaders in the liberal movement. Most people of the left, even those I disagree with strongly, are good people seeking what they view as best for the nation. The same is true for people of the right. Every political movement, left, right, and middle, has its opportunists and less than purely motivated players. They do not define the movement. The movement is defined by the millions that join it and where they take it.
Balmer here attempts in the grossest of manners to call into the question an entire movement based solely on sinister assertions surrounding facts known to anyone that was either there, or that bothers to look. This is not journalism, it’s not spin, it’s not even agenda journalism. (It is certainly not historical research.) This is crafting a conspiracy theory – pure and simple.
Such things are written and published on the Internet daily. No surprise there. It is; however, shameful that Politico has not merely published this tripe, but featured it.
Another decade – another Clinton scandal – Benghazi.
How did Bill Clinton survive impeachment? Pretty simple really. With the deft aid of partisan allies in Congress and a willing press, he managed to turn what was a perjury trial into a referendum on the “right” of a guy to mess up in his marriage from time-to-time. I find it fascinating the Monica Lewinsky pops up her head when Hillary Clinton – and the president – find themselves in a bind worthy of Congressional investigation. Sometimes I wonder if it is not a signal to run the same play?
Boehner has named the Republican side of the special investigative committee and Pelosi has balked. Why has Ms. Pelosi balked?
In a letter sent Friday afternoon to Boehner, Pelosi rejected committee rules proposed by Republicans, citing concerns that Democrats would be treated no better than on the contentious House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Democrats and Republicans on that committee, under Chairman Darrell Issa, D-Calif., clashed repeatedly over the handling of its Benghazi inquiries.
“Regrettably, the proposal does not prevent the unacceptable and repeated abuses by committed by Chairman Issa in any meaningful way, and we find it ultimately unfair,” Pelosi wrote, adding that she hoped a one-on-one meeting with Boehner may produce a way forward. “I am still hopeful we can reach an agreement,” she said. [emphasis added]
Let’s see, “unfair” – I think that is ringing some bells here. Let’s face it Affirmative Action was all about righting the ‘unfairness” in hiring practices based on race, gender etc. So, we have an African-American president and a female Secretary of State under (deserved) fire from a Republican controlled House and we cry “unfair.” Is it possible that they are trying to turn a straightforward investigation into the politicization of the murder of American diplomats and the potential dereliction of duty by the Commander-in-Chief into a referendum on race and gender? Could Ms. Pelosi be sending a signal to the press minions on how to spin the thing?
It’s the play book the Clinton’s have used before. Worked then, and if anything the press is even more in the bag now than it was twenty or so years ago.
I was stunned when Clinton did it and I am more stunned now. The lack of honor is extraordinary. Nixon had the decency and honor for the office to resign rather than taint it in this fashion. This bunch clearly does not – shame on them and shame on us for putting up with it.