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View Diary: BREAKING: Mike Huckabee member of Bill Gothard cult (264 comments)

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  •  You're right. These are the people (19+ / 0-)

    who work to get on school boards, who work to get on city councils, and nobody knows anything about them.  They slip in under the radar.

    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

    by Reepicheep on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 04:47:47 PM PST

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    •  another problem is that they're persistent (21+ / 0-)

      they never stop.

      Between election cycles most people forget about politics, but the Christian right has a much longer-term view. They don't sleep, they organize. And they don't disdain working their way up from the bottom. School board, city council, no position's too low for their dignity. They know that it's only a matter of time.

      Ironically, they're building a true grass-roots movement to take this country for themselves. I would admire their effort, if their goals weren't so horrific.

      •  Well put. (21+ / 0-)

        That's one thing that people don't seem to remember--dominionists never, ever stop.

        Political dominionist movements can literally be traced nonstop to the 1920s in some cases (in particular, the groups Huckabee is working with)...every time people think that "they've finally beaten the religious right", what's actually happening is that they're reorganising.

        As a wise man once said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance".  Twice as true when it comes to dominionists.

      •  They have every right to do this (11+ / 0-)

        And we have every obligation to stop them. The right of determined minorities to subvert the will of the majority, being guaranteed and in many ways facilitated by the constitution, has always been democracy's weakest aspect.

        I suspect that so long as this country doesn't face serious catastrophe, the majority of Americans will be moderate enough to not allow these people to take over. But if mass catastrophe strikes, watch out, because these people--and others like them, e.g. their good buddies the neocons--will be ready to jump in and take over.

        In fact, to a large extent, this is what happened on 2000, and on 9/11. But that was nothing compared to where they'd like to take the country, and I believe could, if opportunity permits them. Think Germany circa 1933.

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        by kovie on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 05:23:32 PM PST

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        •  actually, they largely DON'T have the right (5+ / 0-)

          Religious non-profits with IRS exemptions are NOT supposed to do political organization on behalf of a specific candidate. Unfortunately, the current nutcase in the White House doesn't want this kind of law enforced against Republicans.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 09:45:08 PM PST

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          •  separation of church and state? (7+ / 0-)

            that wall is looking paper-thin already under Bush; it will be eroded completely if the Huckabee contingent gains power.

            This country is completely upside-down now. If you talk about principle for principle's sake, people stare at you as if you're speaking Martian.

            21st century America is all about having your cake and eating it at the expense of poor brown people thousands of miles off.

            Nietzsche once explained why these seemingly irrational movements gain such a hold on people: "at least life becomes interesting again", he says. That's what will bring the Christianist maniacs to real power: they're entertaining.

            The American public will shrug, and vote for them. Just because they promise to put on an amusing show, and people are bored of dull corporate shills like Romney. At least the Christian right is sincere in wanting to ban abortion, execute homosexuals, and nuke the Middle East. "Why not give them a shot?" will be the mindset of the American people.

            •  I think you go a bit too far (4+ / 0-)

              For now, it's unlikely that wackjob fanatics like Huckabee will get elected to be president, for several reasons. For one thing, they are all Republicans, or pretend to be Republicans, and the country is unlikely to elect another Republican as president who's also this fanatically religious. Not now at least. Two, when religious fanatics get elected, they tend to mask their fanaticism with a more reasonable veneer. Huckabee's tried to do this, but he's slowly getting "outed" as a fanatic (e.g. amending the constitution to make it fall under "god's law"). And third, the country is less concerned about "values" issues now than it was just a few years ago. That wedge got played out in '04 and is unlikely to return any time soon. So I think that for NOW, we're relatively safe from someone like Huckabee taking over.

              However, these people still exist, in great numbers, and have real, serious power and influence, and the infrastructure to wield it on the national stage. They're not going away, even if they'll likely be forced to stand aside for now as the political pendulum swings back to the let. And somehow they'll make a comeback, I'm sure, perhaps stronger than ever--especially if times are tough or some new "values" issues comes to the fore (or an old one that we'd hoped went away comes back).

              And under the right circumstances, e.g. a massive national catastrophe, they could even take over (or, alternatively, by nominating yet another stealth fanatic, like Bush, but even worse, if that could be imagined). This could all happen, I believe, under the right circumstances, especially since religious fanatics aren't the only kind of fanatics in the US. There's also the neocons, extreme libertarians, nativists, gun fanatics, white supremacists, creationists, etc. Combined, and in growing numbers, they could take over someday. But only under the right circumstances.

              And only, I also believe, if they're allowed to continue to thrive in the shadows and subcultural niches that exist all over this country. Which is why I believe that it's essential to counter them by any and all LEGAL means necessary (i.e. no HUAC-type hearings, no illegal wiretaps, no banning of books and such, etc.). And by that I mean forming citizen watchdog groups to monitor their activities, exposing and condemning their most fanatical, hateful and dangerous ideas, protesting rallies that they might hold, and, if warranted, having the government look into possible illegal activities that they might be involved in. But most of all it's up to everyday people to be vigilant about and react effectively to their fanaticism. They can never be truly defeated, and will never truly go away. But they can be marginalized as a major political and cultural force in this country, I believe.

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              by kovie on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 10:45:43 PM PST

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              •  I wish I shared your optimism (6+ / 0-)

                but I don't see much cause for it.

                I agree completely with what you say. If we enter a second Great Depression, fascist ideas will gain great currency. If those ideas are married with end-time Christianist fervor there is no telling how it will end. Save that it will involve nuclear weapons.

                by nominating yet another stealth fanatic, like Bush, but even worse, if that could be imagined

                Bush is not a religious fanatic, that's not where he springs from. He is old-school New England GOP. But thanks to Rove, he could pass himself off as one of the Christian right.

                Bush is the opposite of a stealth fanatic--a corporate tool who uses the religious right but keeps them at arm's length.

                What you fear is a true believer whom big business thinks they can use.

                Hitler was such a man--the corporations and the establishment conservatives thought he would be useful to restore order, and then they could dispose of him once the profitable status quo had been reestablished. It was their mistake--he proved to be a bigger man than they were. And the results were catastrophic.

                What you fear is an American Hitler, and though we are not there at the moment, we are one recession away from him.

                We must combat the Christian hard right by all means within the law. Groups like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are our last, best hope to roll back the madness of the dominionist right, and drive them back into the obscurity from which they came.

                •  I've read enough about Bush (5+ / 0-)

                  and some of the people he most trusts and respects, to fear that part of him does indeed believe in this millenialist armaggedon crap. Perhaps not sincerely, as he's clearly incapable of deep and sincere conviction about anything. But superficially, I suspect that he's bought into many of these ideas, and isn't just "using" these people to advance his political goals. Of course, the people who chose him to be the GOP's nominee in the late 90's are likely themselves not believers in all this (although perhaps some are, given the power that they have in today's GOP). But he himself is, I think, not entirely cynical in his embrace of Christianist evangelicalism, however shallow and uncommitted it might really be for a man incapable of any real conviction.

                  But I agree that this could happen, and not necessarily only the way that Hitler came to power. Someday a real religious fanatic much like Huckabee, but with the political skills of a Bush or Rove, might come to power in the US, should things go seriously bad and stay that way for an extended period. In the past this might not have been likely, since fewer Americans bought into this crap. But it appears that up to 30% if not more of Americans are deep into the Kool Aid, with another 20-30% likely susceptible to it under the right circumstanes (at least 60% of Americans profess to not believingin evolution, which to me directly correlates to the number of people liable to fall under the sway of such movements and leaders--if you don't believe in evolution, you are by definition a believer in irrationality, which is what these movements fundamentally are).

                  We are clearly headed into a pretty serious economic downturn. Most likely not a true depression, but possibly a deep and extended recession. Should Bush get his way and attack Iran, and things get seriously out of hand there and in Pakistan, which could trigger a war with India--both of which have nukes--and so on, combined with such a recession, and the general sense of this country being on the wrong track, and we might just have the conditions for such a thing to happen. I doubt it, but it could. More likely, though, we will emerge from the present series of crises and the Bush era relatively intact (such as it were), and it will be some future series of events and circumstances that could trigger such a Christianist takeover (which, being Jewish, I am convinced will have major anti-Semitic elements, as well as racist, homophobic, anti-intellectual, anti-liberal, anti-left and nativist ones).

                  My dad, who travels the country by car on business, mostly through red state small town America, and who lived through the Holocaust, is convinced that this is coming. He's seen the raw elements that would combine to make it happen, and is sure that, under the right circumstances, it'll happen, and will be catastrophic. And in case anyone thinks us to be paranoid catastrophists, could anyone have imagined that someone like Bush could have taken over and instituted the radical changes that he has, in such a short amount of time? That might well be just a preview of what MIGHT be yet to come (but hopefully never will, and I believe can be prevented). And he's certainly done his share to lay the institutional, legal, constitutional, ideological, cultural, economic and phsychological groundwork to help make it possible Bush and people like him were a beachhead. There are others ready and waiting to follow and continue the assault.

                  We must not let them.

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                  by kovie on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 12:10:33 AM PST

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                  •  education is our only defense (4+ / 0-)

                    that, and the power of the Internet to allow us to organize and bring to light that which would otherwise have been buried in darkness.

                    If we were truly committed to fighting these nihilistic religious movements, we would begin by ensuring that our children were taught about the importance of the scientific method and that religion, while it may inform one's politics, must never be used as the basis for the law. As Jesus himself said, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's."

                    But the wingnuts have us beat there too, they've taken over school boards and pushed for the teaching of "intelligent design." Once you get people to believe that God created all species as they are, you can get them to believe anything. For once you believe that 2 + 2 = 5, you are obligated to believe more and more lies lest the original lie be exposed.

                    Without education, we're doomed no matter what. And given the sorry state of our schools, we have a very long way to go before we can consider ourselves out of the woods.

                    •  Well, if the Dover ruling is any indication (4+ / 0-)

                      we're SLOWLY starting to win that battle. The judge in that case was a conservative Republican appointed by Bush II, yet he still saw through their BS and dismissed their case as rediculous. Of course, they didn't go away, they just skulked off to lick their wounds and reorganized, and they'll be back. Because they know that if they can't get their hands on our educational system, they're doomed.

                      Of course, they have other ways around this, e.g. home schooling, charter schools, vouchers, after-school classes, church brainwashing, books, movies, concerts, retreats, camps, etc., and even in the public school system they're going to keep on trying to make inroads. But there are ways around their ways around the system. E.g. raising the quality of public education and requiring that all private schools and alternate forms of education adhere to public school standards (at a minimum), random inspections, common national curriculum, etc. All driving school graduates need to study the same topics and pass the same tests, so why not religious schools?

                      This is going to take literally decades, but I think that it can be done, if for no other reason than that it HAS to be done. Or else, the term "American Taliban" will take on a whole different meaning. Anyone who doesn't think this possible is living in denial.

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                      by kovie on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 01:19:43 AM PST

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          •  I meant in general (4+ / 0-)

            As in even the most whackjob movement has to right to employ lawful means to advance its cause. Clearly, churches and other NP's do night have the legal right to promote specific candidates, and I would hope that the next president enforces this. But to the extent that they use their organization to advance a certain agenda separate from the campaigns of specific candidates, I believe that they have the right to do this. And we have every obligation to stop them--also legally, of course.

            The only reason that a creep like Bush was able to even come close to becoming president--and before him Reagan and a host of other far-right cretins--was because the organizational infrastructure was in place to make that happen. So this is less about any specific people or leaders, and more about this infrastructure and the various organizations and ideologies that make them so viable.

            We have to go after these if we're to get the country back on its proper democratic, enlightened, egalitarian and progressive path. Part of that is using "technical" means, such as enforcing these laws. Part of it is going after the more heinous of their leaders. But also important is attacking their underlying values, beliefs, goals and ideology, which are not only quite frightening but which go against both the spirit and letter of what this country is all about. As a conservative once said, ideas have consequences.

            I never would in a million years have imagined that such people, and others of the same approximate batshit crazy ilk (e.g. the anti-New World Orders, the vigilantes, the Birchers, the Paulists, etc.) could have not only existed, but thrived in our kind of society and political system. I tend to be overly rational in my view of things, and forget that a lot of people are most decidedly not. Of course, most people who are not always rational are not this crazy or dangerous. But some are, and these are such people. They are fully capable of causing immense damage to our country.

            They already have, in many ways--e.g. all that Bush has wraught--but it could get far, far worse under the right conditions, I believe--i.e. a major catastrophe that dwarves 9/11, at a time when strong, responsible and smart leadership is lacking at the national level. E.g. Nazi Germany, the Khmer Rough, Bolsheviks, Taliban, etc. And going after their tax status is the least of it, and just a start. I don't know how, but we have to somehow go after their very ideology and popularity. Legally, of course.

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            by kovie on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 10:06:45 PM PST

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            •  one big mistake in an otherwise great posting (6+ / 0-)

              Churches and other nonprofits do not have the legal right to promote specific candidates or parties, if they want to remain tax-exempt nonprofits.

              If they want to operate as regular taxable entities they can promote whoever and whatever they like.

              Tax exempt status is a privileged advantage given originally as part of the separtion of church & state, and then extended to non-church-related organizations with equivalent core missions: charity, education, and science (the latter instead of theology).  The flip side of the deal is that in exchange for the tax exemption, they can't attempt to influence politics by the most direct route of support for or against candidates for office.  

              Under some conditions this also extends to the issue of influencing legislation including ballot measures.

              What they can do is go generic: e.g. "don't vote for any candidate who supports abortion or birth control."  The Catholilc Church went pretty far down this road in recent elections, including threats of excommunication (translated: you will go to hell unless you vote for our guy).  They can also issue biased "voter guides" that mention candidates by name and "compare" their stances on various issues.   IMHO these loopholes need to be closed, and tax exempt orgs should be forbidden to say or do anything about electoral politics including voter registation drives.  

              The key issue/problem is not about people doing these things on a volunteer basis, it's about orgs putting their money into doing it, and the money is where the most harm is done.   Tax exempt status means that rich righties such as Scaife can write you a great big check and then deduct the amount from their personal income for tax purposes.  That is an absolutely huge method by which the nutcases have grown like tumors to the point where they are today.  

              Otherwise, these orgs are welcome to forfeit their tax exemptions, including having to pay property taxes for (in some cases very large) real estate holdings, and then do whatever they like about candidates etc.

              •  I agree (3+ / 0-)

                And I actually said so in my previous comment:

                Clearly, churches and other NP's do night [sic] have the legal right to promote specific candidates, and I would hope that the next president enforces this.

                By "night", a typo, I meant "not", as in they do NOT have this right.

                So I guess this makes my comment 100% great? :-)

                And I agree with you that the definiton of political activity by non-profits needs to be broadened--carefully, though, lest, say, a religious group be legally prevented from defending itself against unfair political attack, or a charity finds itself unable to promote itself because it engages in activities that some might find politically controversial (e.g. helping to prevent AIDS by handing out condoms). Non-profits should always be able to promote and defend themselves and their causes, just not in a way that clearly favors a specific candidate, party or other outside movement, organization or political cause.

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                by kovie on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 11:51:54 PM PST

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                •  a typo here and a dyslexic reading error there... (4+ / 0-)

                  Looks like we figured out how that happened.

                  Re. defending themselves, we should be careful with that, lest it become used for partisan attack purposes.  Consider how the religious extremists always talk about Christians being persecuted in the US.

                  I would stick to keeping all nonprofits away from anything to do with candidates, legislation, and ballot measures, and that's all.  

                  If a legislature passes a bill that steps on a church or nonprofit's rights, then it can sue in court and raise money to support the lawsuit.  Think of it as the political equivalent of the Swiss militia: it isn't designed to fight outside the country, but it can fight ferociously inside the country.  

                  ---

                  •  I was speaking generally (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dogemperor

                    as I haven't given the matter enough thought, nor am I expert enough, to be able to meaningfully propose viable and reasonable divding lines between what NPs should and should not be able to do. But that there should be activities that NPs should not be allowed to engage in seems obvious to me. (Like, oh, own its own law schools whose graduates the DoJ draws upon for its "talent" pool.)

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                    by kovie on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 01:41:26 AM PST

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                    •  hmm... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      dogemperor, Sister Coyote

                      About law schools.  I have to disagree.  Putting the study & teaching of an entire subject matter off-limits to specific groups strikes me as tyrannical.  

                      Frankly I have to agree with you on one point, which is that you haven't thought it out in a suffcient degree of detail.  Consider this:

                      All (or almost all with few if any exceptions) law schools are part of colleges and universities, and aside from those run by states such as the University of California system, these are tax-exempt nonprofit educational institutions.  

                      Now if we say that nonprofits can't run law schools, we've just shut down almost every law school in the US except the ones run by state governments.  

                      Is that what we want?  And if we do that to law, how'bout science, since science informs public policy...?   See where that gets us?

                      OTOH if we say that religious nonprofits can't run law schools, then we're discriminating against one subcategory of nonprofits solely on the grounds that they are religious, and that's just as bad.  

                      As for Jerry Falwell University, their grads were simply unqualified and Bush hired them for political reasons.  The cure for that would be simply to insist that DoJ people come from top-flight law schools only, but then we're discriminating against potentially highly capable candidates who, for example, didn't have the family financial resources to go to Harvard or Yale et. al., or pay out-of-state tuition for the one that's attached to UC Berkeley or similar top-flight state systems.  

                      See where that gets us?  

                      Policies toward nonprofits, as with policies in many other areas, are full of implications and unintended consequences, and need to be thought through in all detail before being put into effect.  

                      •  Um... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        dogemperor, Sister Coyote

                        I was snarkily referring to Regents University Law School, whose graduates have been hired by the DoJ by the score. Obviously they should be allowed to exist and do as they wish, and obviously anyone should be allowed to hire their graduates, even if they're obviously a right-wing institution that leans heavily towards a Federalist Society/Scalia interpretation of the constitution and law that I think runs counter to the true spirit if not letter of both. Or, they just put out dumb graduates, e.g. Ms. Goodling.

                        "I believe I crossed the lines. But I didn't mean to..."

                        Relax, I'm not suggesting that we start shutting down schools or unfairly regulating them based on ideological or religious affiliation. I was being ironic. :-)

                        I just changed my sig line because some bozo asked me to.

                        by kovie on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 01:20:24 PM PST

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