Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Sermon GOP =The Religious Right & Uberconservative Extremists

The take over of the GOP/Republican Party

Their rhetoric was as vile then in 1992 as it is now
They were angrier than usual because their hero Ronald Reagan they believed had betrayed them . Reagan did not in their view spend enough time and energy pushing through legislation that would have furthered the Religious Right's agenda ie anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-feminism, anti-Evolution, pro-prayer in the public schools, pro-guns, pro-war etc.

George W. Bush having served two terms had also not done enough in their view to stem the tide of liberalism . Then as now they are fighting in the Culture Wars. They have become desperate after the McCain /Sarah Palin failure to take the presidency which allowed Obama and his liberal administration to seize power. Their rhetoric became over heated in the 2008 campaign as they believed traditional America and American values were threatened by UnAmerican liberals who are in their perception out to remake America into a socialist, multicultural , secular humanist totalitarian state.

So The tea Party/Republicans have become captive to the Religious Right and Uberconservative extremist who are anti-government and even though they do not represent a majority of Americans they want to impose their agenda on all Americans.

The GOP is using the Religious Right to foment anger, resentment , hate, prejudice and bigotry to illustrate how out of touch with the American people the current administration is. And in their rhetoric at least they claim that if necessary they will take up arms to defend traditional American values.

For an in depth study of their take over of the GOP see: Daniel K. Williams
God's Own Party: The Making of The Christian Right pub. 2010 which I just finished reading. An excellent introduction to this subject.
For more see Bibliography page at below blogger heading.

video from People For the American Way showing how the Uberconservative Evangelical fundamentalist began to set the agenda of the Republican Part from at least 1992 to the present-though their roots in the party go back at least to the 1964 Barry Goldwater campaign for the presidency. Years later Goldwater would not only distance himself fro these extremists but spoke out against them to their great horror.

The Religious Right and the 1992 GOP Convention

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks and The Religious Right' Racist Roots

Mark Jurgensmeyer argues that much of the violent rhetoric and acts of violence can be traced to Dominionism and Reconstructionism which have been discussed at length here in a number of posts.

The uberconservative evangelical Movement has moved further to the right as it is influenced by Evangelical leaders who taken on the religious ideology of Dominionism and Reconstructionist . Dominionism and Reconstructionism are variants on the establishment of God's Law being applied to all facets of life and to all institutions including to a more or lesser degree applied to the various levels of government. Much of this as I have argued has been rebranded or repackaged to make it appear closer to traditional mainstream Christianity. For instance as we have seen this in the promulgating of the ideology and theology of the Seven Mountains in which the movement intends to exert more influence on seven major areas or facets of society which include religion and the family, Churches,education, the Media, entertainment and the arts, all levels of government, the economy and business and the Military and legilatures and the judiciary.

The various evangelical leaders may differ to what extent their influence should be in these areas from just having a voice in such matters to complete control over each of these area of influence.. But in any case however moderate they may seem to be each step in increasing such influence leads to a slippery slope equivalent to what to a form of Creeping Theocracy. And what is of note is that they themselves are guilty of what they keep warning that all Muslims including Muslim Americans are guilty of that is "Creeping Shariah". This might be seen as a classic form of "projection" in which they accuse others of what they would do if they had the power to do that is set up a theocracy which would be anti-liberalism, anti-multicultualism, anti-diversity and absolutely intolerant of all opposing theologies and ideologies.

The Return of Christian Terrorism by Mark Jurgensmeyer, Jan 15, 2011

Threats of right-wing violence have doubled in the past year. What is behind the latest upsurge in the movement to create a Christian theocratic state?

Christian terrorism has returned to America with a vengeance. And it is not just Roeder. When members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan and Ohio recently were arrested with plans to kill a random policeman and then plant Improvised Explosive Devices in the area where the funeral would be held to kill hundreds more, this was a terrorist plot of the sort that would impress Shi’ite militia and al Qaeda activists in Iraq. The Southern Poverty Law Center, founded by Morris Dees, which has closely watched the rise of right-wing extremism in this country for many decades, declares that threats and incidents of right-wing violence have risen 200% in this past year—unfortunately coinciding with the tenure of the first African-American president in US history. When Chip Berlet, one of this country’s best monitors of right-wing extremism, warned in a perceptive essay last week on RD that the hostile right-wing political climate in this country has created the groundwork for a demonic new form of violence and terrorism, I fear that he is correct...

Christian Warrior, Sacred Battle

Though these new forms of violence are undoubtedly political and probably racist, they also have a religious dimension. And this brings me back to what I know about Rev. Paul Hill, the assassin who the similarly misguided assassin, Scott Roeder, quoted at length in that Wichita court room last week. In 1994, Hill, a Presbyterian pastor at the extreme fringe of the anti-abortion activist movement, came armed to a clinic in Pensacola, Florida. He aimed at Dr. John Britton, who was entering the clinic along with his bodyguard, James Barrett. The shots killed both men and wounded Barrett’s wife, Joan. Hill immediately put down his weapon and was arrested; presenting an image of someone who knew that he would be arrested, convicted, and executed by the State of Florida for his actions, which he was in 2003. This would make Hill something of a Christian suicide attacker.

What is interesting about Hill and his supporters is not just his political views, but also his religious ones. As I reported in my book, Terror in the Mind of God, and in an essay for RD several months ago, Hill framed his actions as those of a Christian warrior engaged in sacred battle. “My eyes were opened to the enormous impact” such an event would have, he wrote, adding that “the effect would be incalculable.” Hill said that he opened his Bible and found sustenance in Psalms 91: “You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day.” Hill interpreted this as an affirmation that his act was biblically approved.

One of the supporters that Paul Hill had written these words to was Rev. Michael Bray, a Lutheran pastor in Bowie, Maryland, who had served prison time for his conviction of fire-bombing abortion-related clinics on the Eastern seaboard. Bray published a newsletter and then a Web site for his Christian anti-abortion movement, and published a book theologically justifying violence against abortion service providers, A Time to Kill. He is also alleged to be the author of the Army of God manual that provides details on how to conduct terrorist acts against abortion-related clinics.

...At its hardest edge, the movement requires the creation of a kind of Christian politics to set the stage for America’s acceptance of the second coming of Christ. In this context, it is significant today that in some parts of the United States, over one-third of the opponents of the policies of President Barack Obama believe he is the Antichrist as characterized in the End-Times Rapture scenario.

The Christian anti-abortion movement is permeated with ideas from Dominion Theology. Randall Terry (founder of the militant anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue and a writer for the Dominion magazine Crosswinds) signed the magazine’s “Manifesto for the Christian Church,” which asserted that America should “function as a Christian nation.” The Manifesto said that America should therefore oppose “social moral evils” of secular society such as “abortion on demand, fornication, homosexuality, sexual entertainment, state usurpation of parental rights and God-given liberties, statist-collectivist theft from citizens through devaluation of their money and redistribution of their wealth, and evolutionism taught as a monopoly viewpoint in the public schools.”

At the extreme right wing of Dominion Theology is a relatively obscure theological movement that Mike Bray found particularly appealing: Reconstruction Theology, whose exponents long to create a Christian theocratic state. Bray had studied their writings extensively and possessed a shelf of books written by Reconstruction authors. The convicted anti-abortion killer Paul Hill cited Reconstruction theologians in his own writings and once studied with a founder of the movement, Greg Bahnsen, at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.

As part of the move towards a civil religion or even a theocracy Tea party Republicans and their Media super-stars insist that America was founded by God Fearing Evangelical Christians and they did so because this was all part of Divine Providence, America they believe is "The Shining City On The Hill" a"Beacon" to the world of God's work in action on Earth. American exceptionalism is therefore part of its character as God's chosen nation . The Right-Wing Evangelical fundamentalist Christians believe that all of this is foretold in the Bible.

In their ideology and theology it is natural to assume that America's War of Independence's success was a matter of Divine Providence. They therefore conclude that the founding fathers are quite exceptional group of men who were speaking on behalf of the Christian God. So they are to be reverred as saints. The writings of the Founding Fathers who were saint-like or were prophets are in their view sacroscant. The Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the laws they passed and the letters they wrote are part of Holy Scripture in the same way the New Testament, the Old Testament or the letters from Paul etc. and the Book of Revelation are all not merely inspired by God but are the very words and thoughs of the Christian God.

Glenn Beck recently added his own spin on the three fifths clause in the US Constitution . According to this clause in the Constitution Black Americans were deemed to be He argues it wasn't as offensive and degrading of African Americans as it is usually characterized. He claims that the clause was created to somehow or other advance the abolitionist antislavery cause.

Given his view of the Constitution and the founding fathers that he refuses to accept that some parts of the constitution are outdated or reveal the prejudice and bigotry and racist views of many of the founding fathers. He sees them as equivalent to saints or to Jesus' Apostles so they can do no wrong. He refuses to accept that they were just men who reflected in their views the time and place in which they lived.

"Pro-Slavery? Or Just Unapologetic? Glenn Beck Defends the Three-Fifths Clause of the U.S. Constitution" by Chauncey DeVega via, Jan. 2011

The Tea Party Glenn Beck Sarah Palin New Right’s onanistic spewing over naive worshiping of the U.S. Constitution continues once more.

Earlier this week the Tea Party GOP Congress sponsored a Right-wing friendly reading of the U.S. Constitution with all of the “inconvenient” and “naughty” parts omitted or politely glossed over. In a teachable moment, Glenn Beck (historian in residence at Fox News) had to intervene against his confederates and “educate” them on the follies of their embarrassment motivated rewriting of history. Predictably, Beck did this by lecturing the Tea Party Republicans on the divine genius and perfection of the near deities known as “The Founders.”

[Apparently, this cabal of historical superheroes--a bunch reasonable folk know as John Jay, Washington, Madison, Jefferson, et al.--can do no wrong. For Beck and the Tea Bagger crowd, this disparate collection of personalities were not real people, political pragmatists who committed deeds both ill and good in the interest of political expediency--interests and deeds both selfish and generous. Nope. Not here.]

Glenn Beck’s misrepresentations point to a bigger play at hand. The Texas rewriting of U.S. history, the banning of “Ethnic Studies” programs in Arizona, the Neo-Secessionist movement, and the general politics of white victimology and racial resentment that are the beating heart of the Republican Tea Party, speak to an old and deep vein of anti-intellectualism in American public life. Symptomatically, as we work through history and its relationship to American politics, Beck and the New Right are possessed of a belief that all opinions are created equal, and that the historical record is simply a “social construct,” a function of mere interpretation that can be massaged at will to fit the political demands of the day.

...Is this too much to expect of a dilettante historian with an on knee, mouth open, and ears ready audience that takes what Beck utters as wisdom from on high, metaphorical rain come down from the mountain top? Or am I just being too hopeful?

and so it goes,

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