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News :: Environment
13 Oct 2006
JESUS IS WAR.
-----Do Not miss! GOD AND POLITICS, 4 hours of special programming on Link TV, Sunday, Oct 22nd at 8:00 PM
God and Politics Part 1 (2 hours)
Religion and Politics - the two subjects you are never supposed to mention at a dinner party. But over the last 50 years in America, our religious values and our political values have started to merge…this union finding its perfect expression in our president, George W. Bush. How did this happen? When did our politicians religious beliefs become so important to voters? And how are the politics of faith polarizing America?
-----Watchdog Group Lauds School Officials For Agreeing Not To Display Picture Of Jesus Or Other Unconstitutional Religious Displays, Americans United, October 6, 2006
-----Internet Assassins, Talk To Action, October 6, 2006
Vision Forum , a far right Christian organization, is trying to defend itself from critics. The critics of Vision Forum are not secularists, liberal Christians, nor even conservative Christians. The critics are fundamentalist Baptists who are concerned about the harsh reconstructionist ideas that appear to be at the theological center of Vision Forum.
-----The theocracy movement in Ohio, Talk To Action, October 4, 2006
-----Mingling Politics And Faith: Archbishop Sermon Reaches Supreme Court Justices At Red Mass, Wall of Separation, October 2, 2006
The archbishop message came a day before the U.S. Supreme Court new term commences and was attended by top Bush administration officials as well as Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Wuerl call for lawmakers to stay grounded in their religious moorings precedes a high court session that will require the justices to rule on the constitutionality of a federal law that bans so-called partial-birth abortions. (Two federal appeals courts have invalidated the law.)
SECTION 2 CONGRESS
PUSH FOR NEW LEGISLATION
-----Battle Brewing Over Military Chaplains, The Associated Press, October 3, 2006
They lost a battle last week to push through legislation that would have allowed military chaplains to publicly lead groups in sectarian prayers. The language was championed by conservatives who say service policies are so restrictive that chaplains cannot invoke Jesus name when praying in public, including over a dead soldier on the battlefield. This is about a First Amendment right to free speech, said Jones, R-N.C., in an interview Monday. Jones and Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., said pushing legislation next year to lift religious restrictions on chaplains would be a focus for them if re-elected.
PUBLIC EXPRESSION OF RELIGION ACT, H.R. 2679 AND S3696 PERA
S 3696 PERA
-----Establishment Clause In the Balance? S3696 PERA Bill Awaits 2006 Outcome, Talk To Action, October 2, 2006
Operating in strategic tandem with an ongoing GOP push to politicize churches, A companion bill to H.R. 2679, the --Public Expression Of Religion Act-- ( more accurate titled --The Religious Supremacy Act or The Christian Supremacy Act-- ), that was introduced in the US Senate by Kansas Senator Sam Brownback and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint ( both GOP ) as S 3696, now awaits a vote. S 3696 will not make it to the Senate before the November elections, so the 2006 outcome may determine its future viability.
-----Deconstructing The Constitution, One Clause At A Time, DailyKos, September 30, 2006
Erwin Chemerinsky, one of the nations foremost constitutional scholars, pens a frightening online op-ed at WashingtonPost.com: With little public attention or even notice, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that undermines enforcement of the First Amendment separation of church and state. The Public Expression of Religion Act - H.R. 2679 - provides that attorneys who successfully challenge government actions as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment shall not be entitled to recover attorneys fees. The bill has only one purpose: to prevent suits challenging unconstitutional government actions advancing religion. [...]
-----House Passes Measure on Religion Suits, Washington Post, September 27, 2006
The House passed a bill yesterday that would bar judges from awarding legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union and similar groups that sue municipalities for violating the Constitution\'s ban on government establishment of religion.
-----Mr. Stripper Is in Trouble (the court stripper that is), Talk To Action, September 27, 2006
U.S. Representative John Hostettler (R-IN) is a busy man. He has made an impressive career of authoring bills in the U.S. House of Representatives, then getting them out of committee and to the floor for a vote, and finally winning their passage along party lines. His series of bills over the past three years are nothing less than an attempt to defang one whole branch of the federal government - an independent judiciary. His method is called - court stripping.
Rep. Hostettler most recent bill passed yesterday along party lines. H.R. 2679 is euphemistically called the -Public Expression of Religion Act- and more accurately referred to as the - Christian Supremacy Act. This bill is consistent with Rep. Hostettler philosophy in which he stated: When the courts make unconstitutional decisions, we should not enforce them. Federal courts have no army or navy. The court can opine, decide, talk about, sing, whatever it wants to do. We\'re not saying they can\'t do that. At the end of the day, we\'re saying the court can\'t enforce its opinions.
-----House Passes Fee-Stripping Bill, Americans United , September 26, 2006
The U.S. House of Representatives in full political mode approved a seriously flawed bill aimed at stopping citizens from challenging in court government-sponsored religious activities, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
-----The GOP Hold on Evangelicals is Weakening, Washington Post, October 6, 2006
The Party Showing in Midterm Elections May Be Hurt as Polls Indicate Support Dropping in Base
-----Oh, The Religious Right on Foley DefCon, October 4, 2006
-----The Family Research Council New Line Of Business? Talk To Action, October 4, 2006
The FRC approach to the Foley scandal - deflection by misdirection - is the default religious right approach to the Foley scandal, and over at DefCon, DefCon Clarke has an amusing roundup of the various deflection strategies different groups are testing out, and the scattershot nature suggests a loosely coordinated approach: throw all sorts of crud at the wall to see what will stick.
-----Amid GOP Pederasty Scandal, Child Molestation Coverup Allegations Hound Pope Benedict XVl, Talk To Action, October 3, 2006
In a striking synchronicity with the emergent scandal surrounding the GOP coverup of Congressman Mark Foleys apparent longstanding habit of sexual predation on minors, a BBC documentary program that aired yesterday, sparking a firestorm of protest from the Vatican, featured allegations that Pope Benedict XVl played a key role in covering up child molestation within the Catholic Church and that in 2001 Benedict - as Cardinal Ratzinger - issued a secret edict advising church officials to cover up instances of sexual predation within the Catholic Church. The edict has been described as an updated version of an earlier church document known as the Crimen Sollicitationis.
-----Christian Right Avoidance Of GOP -- From Abortion and Sex-Slavery -- Scandal Fuels Dem. Attack Ads, Talk To Action, September 30, 2006
RAW Story is showcasing a video clip from a debate in which Democratic challenger Retired Lt. Col. Charlie Brown, candidate for California 4th District, said the following about his GOP opponent: Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) knew of and tolerated forced abortions, sex slavery and sweatshop conditions in the Northern Marianas Islands.
-----Politicizing Churches : Full Court Press, Talk To Action, September 28, 2006
At the 2006 Voter Values Summit last weekend, I listened as US Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe called Global Warming a UN conspiracy, and a hoax, and then urged conference goers to join the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance and bring the issue to their churches - even petition their church parent affiliations. Meanwhile, in a concurrent breakout session, Paul Weyrich protege Connie Marshner was advocating a (quite possibly illegal) plan for activists in attendance to purloin church directories, for fake polling, to better target 2006 GOTV efforts ( Rob Boston, writing for Americans United, describes the incident ). But today, as described in an Interfaith Alliance press release, James Inhofe has upped the ante with his submission of S. 3957: The Inhofe bill, S. 3957, would amend the IRS Code to allow houses of worship to endorse candidates from the pulpit and engage in partisan political activity without harming their tax-exempt status. A full court GOP press, to lock in theocra!
tic legislation in anticipation of possible 2006 Democratic Party gains, appears to be underway.
-----US Senator Inhofe Claims Global Warming is a UN Conspiracy, Talk To Action, September 25, 2006
I have transcribed the first portion of a speech made this Saturday, at the 2006 Voter Values Summit by U.S. Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, alleging that Global Warming is a hoax tied to a United Nations conspiracy. There is much to say on this, and by this evening I will have transcribed the rest of the speech and added, for context, some commentary on the tactical issues underlying the Inhofe address.
CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT (CIANA)
-----House Passes Teen Endangerment Act; Intrusive Law Puts Health and Safety of Teens at Risk, Planned Parenthood, September 27, 2006
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) denounced the U.S. House of Representatives passage today of the deceptively titled Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), more accurately described as the Teen Endangerment Act, which jeopardizes the health and safety of teens across the nation. Instead of addressing pressing national issues, such as port security, tax breaks for the middle class and funding for critical social services, the House used precious floor time in the weeks before Election Day to revisit this dangerous law, despite having already passed a very similar measure in April 2005.
PREGNANT WOMEN SUPPORT ACT
-----Trojan Donkey, Talk To Action, September 26, 2006:
Congressman Lincoln Davis (D-TN) introduced the Pregnant Women Support Act on Wednesday, September 20th. We now have a comprehensive measure that will support pregnant women who do not want to have abortions by ensuring health care, child care, support to stay in school, and other important support for pregnant women and their families. Gee, that all sounds just great, right?
Maybe it is because 95-10 calls for preventing pregnancy, but mentions contraception only in regard to failure rates -- anti-choice dog whistle code for --abstinence-only--. Maybe it is because 95-10 also calls for the imposition of repressive legislation upon every physician in the country. Maybe it is because 95-10 mandates federal funding for a nationwide network to funnel unsuspecting women seeking information about abortion into crisis pregnancy center --ministries.
SECTION 3 JUDICIARY
-----The Pizza-man Delivers; the Thomas More Law Center, Talk To Action, September 30, 2006
Tom Monaghan the pizza dough man has delivered us the -- The Thomas More Law Center, its mission, its members, and most of all, its legal philosophy. And as we will see, the center lawsuits reveal a decidedly theocratic disposition towards government. The Thomas More Law Center describes its mission as they say, ...a not-for-profit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. Our purpose is to be the sword and shield for people of faith, providing legal representation without charge to defend and protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public square. (End quote) This sense of legal militancy is affirmed by its logo which features a sword superimposed over a cross surrounded by American Flag bunting and a bald eagle.
SECTION 4 VOTER GUIDES
-----Religious-Right Voter Guides Facing Challenge From Left, Washington Post , September 29, 2006
A new group called Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good said yesterday that it will distribute at least 1 million voter guides before the Nov. 7 elections, emphasizing church teachings on war, poverty and social justice as well as on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.
SECTION 5 EDUCATION
-----Evolution and School Shootings, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, October 3, 2006
-----Museum Field Trip Deemed Too Revealing, New York Times, September 30, 2006
But Ms. McGee, 51, a popular art teacher with 28 years in the classroom, is out of a job after leading her fifth-grade classes last April through the Dallas Museum of Art. One of her students saw nude art in the museum, and after the parent of this child complained, the teacher was suspended.
SECTION 6 A CULTURE OF DEATH AND ARMAGEDDON
-----The End Times Agenda, Bill Berkowitz, International Relations Center, October 5, 2006
For Hagee, Rosenberg, and Falwell, Israel plays the critical role in End Time scenarios. For these men, it is more than the random cries of – the world is coming to an end.-- Their books, commentaries, and public statements reflect their beliefs that serial conflicts in the Middle East are a sign of the biblical prophesy presaging Armageddon, the return of Jesus Christ, and the final battle for the souls of mankind.
While the popularity of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has plummeted since the end of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, from which Hezbollah appears to have emerged stronger both politically and militarily, Christian Zionists in the United States view the outcome not only as a defeat for Israel, but also as a prelude to a much wider war. In fact, they think the conflict might be a sign of impending Armageddon.
In his most recent book, __Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World.__, The end of the world as we know it is rapidly approaching...Just before us is a nuclear countdown with Iran, followed by the war of Ezekiel (as described in Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39), and then the final battle—the battle of Armageddon. (End quote)
-----Jesus Camp: Documentary gives a frightening view across the cultural divide, JewsOnFirst, October 3, 2006
-----Fundamentalist Camp Trains The Little Army of God, Alternet, September 28, 2006:
The directors of the new documentary --Jesus Camp – discuss the good, the bad, and the disharmony in the evangelical community.
-----Deadly Inspiration in the Book of Revelation Fresh Air from WHYY, September 28, 2006:
In his new book__A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization__, Jonathan Kirsch explores the ways the Book of Revelation has been interpreted since its inception and how the final book of the New Testament has influenced literature, history and popular culture.
SECTION 7 GAY RIGHTS
-----Supreme Court and Texas are Queer for Lovers, Virtual Citizen, October 4, 2006
-----Secretive - Exclusive Brethren - Scandal Assumes Global Dimensions, Talk To Action, September 29, 2006
In Christianity, there are a welter of – Brethren – groups but only one – Exclusive Brethren – ( or maybe two, as it were ). The secretive cultish religious association - out of concern over gay marriage - has recently moved into active engagement in politics. Of special interest to American politics, leading up to the 2006 election and beyond as well, are the accusations that the Exclusive Brethren have abused nonprofit status, conducted anonymous political campaigns, and engaged in partisan politics while receiving public funds.
-----New Front in the Culture War: Gay Rights to be Sacrificed on the Altar of the Mid-Term Elections, Talk To Action, September 25, 2006
The Christian Right has regrouped and launched a new offensive in the ongoing Christian Right Culture War. Gay marriage and the homosexual agenda are the primary tactical scapegoats. These culture warriors are on a mission from God, and like a band of blue state brothers (and now sisters), they seek to mobilize values voters to go to the polls in November and vote for Godly candidates. They are encouraged by new evidence that this type of Christian Right voter mobilization plan did indeed help elect the Godly candidate, George W. Bush, President in 2004.
SECTION 8 TO BE JEWISH, MUSLIN, GAY OR WICCAN
-----With the Party of Dobson, Max Blumenthal, The Nation, September 27, 2006
Earlier in the week, Allen had said reports of his Jewish lineage were aspersions before acknowledging they were true.
But as Allen sought to dampen the public controversy over his mishandling of his Jewish heritage, his association with these Four Horsemen simply called attention to the problematic utterances of Dobson and Perkins . __The Focus on the Family__ by Dobson, for example, published an article in its Citizen magazine last February attacking the parents of federal judge Stephen Reinhardt (whose step-grandfather was a Holocaust survivor) for telling their son tales of horrific violence about the Holocaust that lacked the redemptive power of the atonement of Christ. The Anti-Defamation League has repeatedly condemned Wildmon for his conspiratorial diatribes against secular Jews. And Perkins, for his part, paid $82,500 to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke for his phone-bank list and then spoke at a 2001 fundraiser for the Council of Conservative Citizens, the largest white supremacist organization in America.
-----Christian Zionist leader Hagee depicts Jews as Christ killers, JewsOnFirst, September 26, 2006
John Hagee, the megachurch pastor who is the current face of Christian Zionism in the United States, depicted Jews as Christ killers in a recent interview. Hagee also stated that Muslims have a mandate to kill Christians and Jews and that God caused Hurricane Katrina to destroy New Orleans to prevent a scheduled gay parade.
Hagee made the controversial remarks about Jews, Muslims and gays during a September 18th interivew on the National Public Radio program Fresh Air. Jews, he said, will weep when they see Jesus Christ whose side they have pierced.
-----Americans United Warns VA To Recognize Wiccan Rights Or Face Litigation, September 26, 2006
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today warned the Department of Veterans Affairs that litigation will become unavoidable if it continues to discriminate against Wiccans by denying the right to include the Pentacle, the Wiccan emblem of belief, on government-furnished headstones, plaques, and other memorials for fallen veterans. In a letter issued today, Americans United gave the VA fourteen days to approve the Pentacle or face litigation.
SECTION 9 REPUBLICANS and CHRISTIANS AGAINST RELIGIOUS RIGHT
-----The Changing Politics of Rick Warren and Randy Brinson, Talk To Action, Ocotber 4, 2006
Two years ago many conservative Christian leaders were sending direct and indirect messages that voting for Bush and the republican party was the only right Christian way to vote. Not much has changed in two years, but there are some signs that a few leaders have changed their minds about politics.
-----GOPs Hold on Evangelicals Weakening, Washington Post, October 6, 2006
-----The Christian Right, Mid-term Elections, & Social Movements, Talk To Action, October 2, 2006
-----Danforth Warns of Christian Right but Says Tide Will Turn, Washington Post , September 28, 2007
The potency of the Christian right in the Republican Party is limited, former senator John C. Danforth of Missouri is telling audiences this month. A lifelong Republican moderate disturbed by his party\'s direction, he contends that the political center has a future.
Describing himself as, in his words, -- a Republican for the old reasons,-- Danforth, 70, is promoting a new book that describes religion as a divisive force in the United States today and accuses the religious right and its political supporters of creating a sectarian party.
SECTION 10 ENVIRONMENT
-----Evangelical Christians are increasingly part of the movement to protect Gods green Earth. Bill McKibben on Alternatet, October 4, 2006
SECTION 11 BROADCAST CONTROL
-----TX Religious Broadcaster, Local CA Group Fight For PBS Station License, Talk To Action, October 2, 2006