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View Diary: CNN picks up the Christian Embassy video story (159 comments)

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  •  Back in the "Old Days" (28+ / 0-)

    the heads of all of the major movie studios were very concerned about the up tick of Christian fundamentalism in the 1920's and 30's.  They were mostly Jewish, had escaped the pograms of Eastern Europe, and had no interest in subjecting their children to anti-semitism.

    They very skillfully crafted several films which portrayed the "preacher" as a nut case.  They pushed the meme that religion was a private matter, and that anyone who was interested in devisive religious activities was dangerous and not to be followed.  They were very good at showing the projection elements in the personalities of those who "wage war on sin".

    The importance of movies in the life of a majority of Americans resulted in their message being so widely disseminated that we entered a glorious period between 1940 and 1980, in which religion was not a topic in the public square.  Any attempt to make it so would have been laughed off the stage.

    Hollywood, as a corporate controlled entity, without the personal values of individual movie makers, has resigned its power to examine the dark side of our culture and innoculate the average American against the evils these extremist movements represent.

    If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. -Phil Pastoret

    by Granny Doc on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 05:57:33 AM PST

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    •  From that era (33+ / 0-)

      I processed into the Army at Ft Hood TX in September of 1960 (Eisenhower had insisted on "under god" in the pledge and "in god we trust on the money but Kennedy was winning the election and shaming the religious nuts). On the dog tag form I had written "no preference" in the religion slot. The clerk called the Chaplain, he interviewed me in line and, satisfied that I was raised an atheist, allowed it. Later, at Ft Bragg, the Chaplain, Father Giello insisted that I have special status and be relieved from Church calls. For ceremonies like funerals, I carried the company guidon, (flag) and stood outside the chapel with the rest of the guidon bearers. He used me and two other guys (one Pagan and another atheist) from my company, as examples to explain religious tolerance and the separation of church and state to the troops. I never felt discriminated against and no one ever tried to convert me. Truly, different times.

      "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

      by johnmorris on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 07:33:20 AM PST

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    •  proof? (0+ / 0-)

      can you provide documentation for your account?
      along with names of movies that show preachers as nuts?

      •  One example: "Elmer Gantry" n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        auditor, Granny Doc, RudiB
      •  Go on out to TCM.com (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oldpro, niteskolar, lcrp, alizard

        They have produced two documentaries describing the phenomena I mentioned.  There was also a favorite of mine, "Rain" with Joan Crawford as Saddie Thompson, a "shocker" of the period and one of the reasons the Board was deemed acceptable.

        There is no one conversant with early film history who is not aware of the agenda of Mayer, and Goldwin to protect the status of Jews against the encroaching fundamentalism of the "Revival Movement".

        If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. -Phil Pastoret

        by Granny Doc on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:06:21 AM PST

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    •  Religion not a topic? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      auditor, Simplify

      I very much disagree. Religion was still a topic in the public square, as it should be. The difference was that there was more of a tendency to observe certain boundaries.

      Growing up in the '60s, I remember that there were public prayers at civic functions, but they were often of a more 'benign' nature. The model seemed to be more of the Deism of the Founding Fathers than the Jesus-down-your-throat variety encroaching today.

      What about "Is God Dead" on the cover of Time, or the furor over Jesus Christ Superstar. Prayer in Public Schools (that started LONG before Reaganism). And who could ever forget "Godless Communism"?

      Religion was certainly portrayed in films and television, but it was a fairly vanilla brand of mainline protestantism (usually episcopalian).

      I don't know where you get that it was not a topic in the public square--I remember it quite differently. I started public Kindergarten in 1960 in Long Beach, CA. After first grade we moved to Orange County. A former classmate who went on to second grade in Long Beach told me they were studying the Bible in class.

      How are you defining "the public square"?

      Blessed are the arrogant...for they shall be really impressed with themselves.

      by homogenius on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 09:12:35 AM PST

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      •  I remember when (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        homogenius, Granny Doc

        the phrase (graffiti) Clapton is God was seen as an outrage, especially here in the US.  I remember it being on the cover of a magazine, I want to say it was Rolling Stone, but not sure.  It could have been Time.  It's been a long time.  lol.

        Just because a person has faith doesn't mean that he isn't full of crap.-- Pastordan

        by Maggie Mae on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 09:46:17 AM PST

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      •  Christofascists are mistaken... (7+ / 0-)

        ...when they say that the Bible was banned from public schools.

        I read selections of the Bible (the Book of Job) in senior English class along with Archibald MacLeish's J.B.

        Similarly, I read the Bible in a historical context when my Civ class was studying the Roman Empire.

        The Christofascists don't want critical study of the Bible, they just want religion rammed down people's throats, and G-d help any less-fanatical Christians, Jews, atheists, or members of other religions who get in the way.

        9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

        by varro on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 10:39:48 AM PST

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      •  Well, you're right. Good memory. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rebecca, homogenius

        Reminds me of lots of examples thru the 60s, 70s, 80s...while I was on a school board and later a college board of trustees.  Religion, the bible and sex education along with prayer in school and at graduations, etc. was a constant and growing issue.  Now it's at the creches in courthouses and statehouses, menorahs at the airport, stage.  Sheesh...the religious folks of all descriptions just keeping pushing on every front.  The god squad is aptly named.

        Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

        by oldpro on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:20:54 AM PST

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    •  I remember (7+ / 0-)

      some weak protests over Jesus Christ Superstar, which was presented at my high school by a professional acting group in the early 70's. This was in Decatur, Illinois. A mid-sized, downstate industrial Bible-belt city. To be honest, I can't see that happening today.
      I remember friends who attended fundie churches, and they would always contact me just on the off chance that I would contribute some of my metaphysical books for their book-burnings. This is a true story. However, they were considered fringe and not given any credibility.
      My parents, and most people in the Christian community, viewed the fundies as wackos. My parents referred to them as "Holy Rollers" and "Bible Thumpers". They were not mainstream Christian.
      Mainstream Christian, at that time, was more Beatitudes and Love Your Neighbor. Mainstream Christian congregations fought for civil rights, women's rights and against the Vietnam War.
      Yes, there was an uproar from Christians on the God is Dead announcement, as well as John Lennon's announcement that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus. But all in all, mainstream Christianity was pretty damn progressive.
      I would not feel one iota of discomfort attending Christian religious services like I grew up with in the United Methodist church, despite my lifelong pagan beliefs -- which my Christian parents knew about and did not discourage, but rather encouraged me to study and read about all religions.
      In those days, the Scopes trial was believed by an overwhelming majority of people (even in downstate Illinois) to be an embarassment and evolution was believed to be unquestionably valid. In our race to the moon with the Soviets, we could not afford to fall behind in science, and it was given a prominent place in the curriculum.
      One last story: I took a class in HS called "The Bible as Literature", and aced it. The class was filled with fundie kids, who hated every minute of it and who argued with the teacher constantly. I pointed out to one of them during such an argument that the class was about literature, not theology. The school board, and the hierarchy, supported that teacher without question. Again, I can't see that happening today.
      I think my parents would be shocked at how far the wacky "Bible Thumpers" have driven the reputation of Christianity from where it used to be.

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