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The first four years of the Bush Administration, particularly after 9/11, were characterized by a highly unusual, and at times downright creepy, uniformity of opinion. It was almost impossible to find a Republican anywhere expressing any criticism of George Bush -- on any issue, ever. And other than a few humiliating attacks launched by the party's most extreme elements against so-called GOP moderates made for the purpose of showing who was Boss in the GOP, Republicans almost never spoke ill of one another either, despite glaring differences in their views on a whole host of critically important issues.

In many ways, over this time period, the GOP more closely resembled a cult than a political party, and the cohesiveness of the cult was centered around Personality -- a glorification of, and blind reverence for, George W. Bush.  But all of that is changing now

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg has written a rather petulant and substance-free reply in National Review's Corner to the parts of this diary which discuss him, and since I could not publish a second diary here, I posted my response to him here.

With Bush's plummeting approval ratings, and with the Administration's competence and integrity being assaulted on all fronts, the political dynamic of the country is changing, and it is changing rapidly and dramatically, as two separate devleopments demonstrate -- the attack this week by George Will on "social conservatives," and a similar, long overdue assault on this theocratic movement by the Anti-Defamation League.


In what is sure to be a potent bellwether of the imminent war over religious and political freedom in this country, George Will uses his column this week to expressly accuse the "social conservative" wing of the GOP of being decidedly un-conservative in its objectives and ideology, and all but warns that the GOP will be destroyed by the continued ascendancy of this sector of the Republican Party. Using the truly embarrassing (but quite illustrative) decision of a Kansas school board to literally re-define science in order to permit the teaching of warmed-over creationism in the public schools, Will warns:

"It does me no injury," said Thomas Jefferson, "for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." But it is injurious, and unneighborly, when zealots try to compel public education to infuse theism into scientific education.

The conservative coalition, which is coming unglued for many reasons, will rapidly disintegrate if limited-government conservatives become convinced that social conservatives are unwilling to concentrate their character-building and soul-saving energies on the private institutions that mediate between individuals and government, and instead try to conscript government into sectarian crusades.


There is not and has never been anything remotely conservative about these religious extremists. They do not favor limited government in any way. They believe so faithfully in the righteousness of their political agenda that they see any means to achieve their objectives as justifiable -- including exploiting and increasing the powers of all 3 branches of the federal government in order to achieve them.

But Will's dire warnings are too late. The GOP is already hopelessly dependent upon the enthusiastic support of this strident, power-hungry minority. And these social conservatives are tired of waiting. They believe that their time for true power has arrived and they are not going to modify their demands or be satisfied with token gestures. They believe that they twice delivered the Presidency to George Bush and that the GOP needs them if the party is to stay in power. These beliefs have made them drunk with power and they are insisting upon carte blanche to control the areas of federal policy they care about. And they have been given that control by a captive Administration which has no choice.

Almost nothing happens of any domestic significance without the prior consultation and approval of the James Dobson's of the world, and entire sectors of federal law are being shaped to comport with their highly intrusive vision. There is nothing conservative about it, but by operating in the bureaucratic crevices of Washington where little attention is paid, they are slowly but inexorably re-creating almost every sector of federal law and administrative agency regulations in their own image.

Mainstream conservatives were willing to tolerate these creeping theocratic intrusions because they, like almost everyone else, were cowed into submission by the Bush Administration's cynical post-9/11 exploitation of war and patriotism rhetoric, and because they thought they would get the things they cared about (reduced federal spending, enforcement of immigration laws, a reduction in the scope and reach of the federal government) in exchange for a few token, tolerable crumbs symbolically being thrown to the social conservative crowd in order to placate them.

But, as it turns out, the joke is on the mainstream conservatives. It is they who have been placated with token crumbs as they watch federal power and federal spending explode, often in order to promote the fundamentals of the social conservative agenda. With Bush now becoming weaker and weaker, they are magically re-discovering their beliefs and their courage and are beginning to crawl out of their cages and survey what is taking place. And they aren't happy about it.

Like Yugoslavia when it was ruled by Tito, these simmering conflicts among the GOP constituencies have been suppressed and prohibited by the unchallenged rule of George Bush, but the conflicts were never truly eliminated. They lurked under the homogenized surface. And as Bush's hegemonic rule over his party disintegrates, so, too, does his ability to suppress these disagreements. Without the unifying authority behind which they all obediently followed, these conflicts are bubbling to the surface again, ready to explode.

It is about time. The social conservatives have bought into their own PR, and have been aided by a dumb, uncritical media which, almost immediately after Bush's re-election, got collectively bullied into reading the 2004 election as some unmistakable sign that the true face of the American populace is James Dobson. That is not true and never was. Social conservatives are a loud and organized minority, but a minority to be sure. And their liberty-restricting, regressive agenda is plainly anathema to the majority of Americans, and even the majority of Republicans, who enjoy their individual liberties and freedoms as much as anyone else and do not want the Federal Government annexed by a crusading crowd which wants to use and radically expand Federal power in order to dictate how Americans live and die.

Will's column coincided with a similar -- and arguably more important -- attack on the Religious Right by Abraham Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation Legaue, which had previously been muted in its criticism of the Christian theocrats due to their religion-based support of Israel.  Apparently concluding that this was a Deal with the Devil which he was no longer willing to maintain, Foxman gave a speech last week "directly attacking several prominent religious right groups and challenging their motives, which he said include nothing less than 'Christianizing America.'" He identified the odious Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council as two of the leading crusaders in this plainly theocratic movement.


The compelling urgency of this problem is self-evident, as the polling data cited by Foxman in his speech makes conclusively clear:

According to the survey, 70 percent of weekly churchgoers and 76 percent of self-described Evangelicals agreed that "Christianity is under attack" in this country -- a conclusion that is hard to square with their growing influence in Congress, the White House and the courts, he said.

Sixty-nine percent of Evangelicals and 60 percent of weekly churchgoers said there should be "organized" prayer in public schools, according to the survey, and 89 percent of Evangelicals agreed that religious symbols "like the Ten Commandments" should be displayed in public buildings. More ominously, only 26 percent of Evangelicals and 31 percent of weekly churchgoers agreed that "courts should protect church-state separation."



We are talking here about a group of religious fanatics which, despite its extremism, is gaining more and more power over America's domestic policies and is shaping federal law in almost every sector to comport with their religious dogma. The fact that only a small minority of this movement believes that the church-state separation should be preserved says all one needs to know about their ultimate goals -- goals which they are closer than ever to achieving, with 3 years still remaining in the Administration which is giving them a virtual free run at shaping domestic policy.

The explosiveness of this rift within the GOP is nicely illustrated by the reaction of National Review's Jonah Goldberg to the ADL's long overdue stance.  Driven by the deep personal fear which characterizes virtually everything that he thinks and writes, Goldberg yesterday attacked the ADL for this speech, because Goldberg is petrified that the ADL, by criticizing this theocratic movement, will make them angry. He beings by melodramatically lamenting that the ADL "is making a horrible, horrible mistake," and then launches this telling, name-calling criticism of the ADL's stance:

Indeed, it strikes me as a form of cowardice to turn your energies against philo-Semtic (sic) Christian conservatives at a moment when real anti-Semitism is thriving in so many other quarters. Liberalism isn't Judaism and Judaism isn't liberalism. He'd be well advised to keep that in mind, for the sake of Jews and liberals alike.

Goldberg apparently thinks that, "for the sake of Jews," the ADL should avoid criticizing "Christian conservatives" because to do so is to associate itself with liberalism, which can only endanger Jews. He argues that the theocratic longings of Christian conservatism ought to be ignored by the ADL because the group's energies are better directed towards fighting what he calls "real anti-Semitism thriving in so many other quarters."

What powerful forces exhibiting "real anti-Semitism" does Goldberg think the ADL should be condemning instead of the church-state attacks being launched by the American Religious Right? Where are these threatening circles of "real anti-Semitism" which the ADL can do anything about? Goldberg doesn't say. Is it found among impotent, powerless Ward Churchill-type academicians? Among Muslim rioters in the French slums? Among clownish neo-Nazi groups with membership lists in the hundreds?

In case Goldberg hasn't noticed, Christian conservatives are the dominant political force in the United States. They control the White House, the Senate Leadership and the House. Virtually no domestic political decision of any significance is made without their prior approval.

The notion that it is cowardly to stand up to this powerful group, but would be somehow brave to castigate some fringe neo-Nazi group or International A.N.S.W.E.R. rally of 20 people, is exactly backwards. The ADL's decision to finally denounce this genuine, significant threat to religious and political freedom took courage precisely because doing so required Foxman to condemn the most powerful political group in the United States.

Indeed, the ADL's courage is starkly illustrated precisely by contrasting it with Goldberg's rather pathetic fears. It is the warrior Goldberg who, unsurprisingly, is the coward here. He is counseling that the Christian conservatives not be criticized because they will get angry and provoking that reaction should be avoided for "the sake of Jews." By admirable contrast, Foxman is alerting people to a threat posed by this group notwithstanding its power and undeterred by the prospect that they will not like him for it. "Cowardice" is what is driving Goldberg, not Foxman. And, as is so often the case, Goldberg knows that he is driven by fear, which is what causes him to label others as "cowards."

This war has been a long time coming and it is long past the time that it plays out. But better late than never. The combination of Will's column and the ADL's condemnation of the Christian Right suggest that it is becoming increasingly clear that people are finally awakening to the severity of the threat posed by these thinly disguised theocrats. For the last 4 years, the same fear which is still causing Goldberg to wet himself has deterred all but a few from publicly warning of the agenda of this movement, but as Bush's popularity whittles away, so, too, is this fear. And finally, the true agenda -- and rapidly increasing power -- of these religious extremists is being recognized.

UPDATE: Looks like the much-heralded support of Jews by the Far Religious Right is conditioned upon the willingness of Jews to remain quiet and nod in agreement when theocrats issue their decrees -- just as Jonah Goldberg fearfully recommends they do. Listen to this thuggish and overtly threatening response to Foxman's concerns from Dobson's Focus on the Family:

Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family's vice president of government and public policy, called Foxman's speech "perplexing." Noting that the evangelical groups Foxman cited are staunch supporters of Israel, Minnery told the Forward, "If you keep bullying your friends, pretty soon you won't have any."
How long can the GOP manage to keep these scotch-taped coalitions together? Not much longer -- at all -- from the looks of it.

Originally posted to GlennGreenwald on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 03:41 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  go go, gadget glenn (none)
    nice read - thanks!  i hope the signs are as good as your interpretation
  •  Deals with the devil (4.00)
    MUST be repaid.

    I feel no sympathy for Will and other fiscal moderates and conservatives. They knew they had little in common with the holy roller crowd, but tolerated them for political expediency. Well, Dobson an dthe rollers are much louder. For a while they scared almost everyone into silence.

    I saw this implosion coming a few years back. Wish it had happened earlier, but I'll take it.

    What goes around certainly comes back. May the GOP wallow in political insolvency and irrevelance for the rest of time.

    -7.38, -5.23 One day we ALL will know the truth about the 2000 presidential election. God help us all.

    by CocoaLove on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:01:09 AM PST

    •  No symapthy is warranted. . . (4.00)
      that's for sure.  But the key to the Rovian success has been keeping these extremely disparate coalitions together, marching lockstep with the GOP.  Nothing, in my view, is more critically important to undermining GOP hegemony than fracturing these alliance and forcing them to realize that they are too far apart to exist under one banner.  

      It worked for awhile because Bush was able to keep the religious zealots happy by feeding them symbolic crumbs that the moderates and small-government conservatives could live with.  But now they're not satisfied with symbolism.  They are demanding - and getting - real Christian Right impositions, and that is making the rest of the Party, and independents, unwilling to go along with it any more.

      The more the Religious Right demands and gets, the more difficult the GOP's dilemma becomes.  They now have to feed the beast that they created, and that will (and should be) their downfall.

      •  What you said here is the most important part (4.00)
        We should do what we can to fuel the divisions in the GOP by constantly pointing out the excesses of the AmTaliban wing.  Only a small number of Republicans are comfortable with their excesses and the more light we shine on it, the more divisions will ensure.  It's divide and conquer.

        The real start of this was Terry Schiavo, when people were appalled at the extent of this group's desire to intrude into our lives.  Since then, it's like the scales have fallen from their eyes and they see the true threat these people post.

        •  You are exactly right... (4.00)
          The real start of this was Terry Schiavo

          That was the big eye-opener, and a real and pleasant surprise it was to see people wake up. After the re-election, I had thought the Bush personality cult was implacable.

          What may surprise others is that there is actually a strain (maybe 20% of the total) of educated, thinking "Evangelicals" who also don't believe that government should be taken over by political Christians.  Not much has been heard from them over the past 5 years.

          There is still a strong line of evangelical thought that comes from a different place than where Dobson, Robertson, et al. are coming from. As a retired evangelical pastor from Ohio whom I know of recently put it:

          "God's plan [trying to win peoples' minds and hearts through love, respect, prayer, moral suasion, etc.] may appear to be weak and ineffectual to the 'movers and shakers' among this generation of church leaders. Things aren't moving fast enough for them.

          "And so they take power into their own hands. They think it is God's power, but it turns out to be Satan's power. They don't remember when the Political Christians did gain enough power a century ago to pass an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the production and sale of alcoholic beverages. This is an example of the tyranny of the majority. Did it work?

          "Worldly politics, as it is practiced by the Republican and Democratic Parties, is always in Satan's realm. The political parties are completely without morals. Their only goal is winning the election. They will tell lies in order to win an election...One would hope that when a group of Christians joins forces with a political party, that the Christians would have a wholesome moral influence upon politics.

          "What happened? The Religious Right produced some of the most scurrilous campaign literature I have ever seen [against John Kerry]. Rather than raising the level of moral discourse, these Christians willingly dragged themselves down below the level of respectability. Non-political Christians are appalled at how low the Political Christians stooped in order to 'win' the election. Winning is the goal, not kindness, respect for the opponent, or other Christian and democratic virtues. Win the election but lose your soul.

          "Christians who enter the realm of partisan politics (even in sending emails) ought to know that they are entering Satan's realm. They need to be wary, lest the lust for power ovewhelms them. We Christians need to make our voice heard and realize at the same time that that voice will be compromised. There is no possibility of a pure Christian party or voice. Our only hope is that somehow God can use our voice and our moral actions to bend the society in constructive directions. At best we are a respected voice within society. We will never be the voice which controls society. Christian control of the government is not God's plan."

          Of course, one may not agree with just every sentiment expressed by this evangelical Christian minister, but I have great respect for his integrity and thoughtfulness and his much more traditional "Evangelical" view of politics. It gives me hope that even within evangelicalism, there is a lot of waking-up yet to occur...

          •  Name of pastor please? (4.00)
            So we can ask him/her to come out of retirement or at least send them our support for saying what John Locke and Roger Williams said more than 200 years ago and unfortunately needs to be said again. Man, the learning curves of some people on the issue of religion and government are really really pathetic.  

            "I don't reject conservatism because it is followed by conservatives, I reject poor thinking, which conservatives seem especially expert at."

            by dicta on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:14:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Power corrupts (4.00)
              Always has, always will. For those who aren't secure in themselves, and in their faith, a taste of power will destroy them.

              And very few people are that secure in either.

              •  It's all about power. (none)
                Conservatism has one principle - increasing the power of the powerful.

                "There is not and has never been anything remotely conservative about these religious extremists. They do not favor limited government in any way."

                Here the diarist is mistaken. Advocacy for limited government is a tactic of conservatism, not a principle. Conservatives argue for limited government only in the context of limiting government's ability to help the little guy and restrain the big guy. Once they have accomplished this targeted neutering of government, it is logical by the one true conservative principle to begin increasing government's ability to help the big guy and restrain the little guy. At this point, conservative rhetoric about limited government will grow quieter. We are already seeing this.

                Similarly, conservatism's identification with religious faith is merely a tactic. Religion is a great way to manipulate people. Fundamentalism and conservatism share a psychology of obedience to an authority figure. The object of that obedience can be confused between/transfered from God to conservative elites who mouth the appropriate religious and moral tones, again fulfilling the aims of the one true conservative principle - more power for the powerful.

                Seen in the light of what conservatism really is, religious extremism does not conflict with conservatism nor the conservative tactic of limiting government's ability to help the little guy and restrain the powerful.

                •  This is NOT 'conservatism' (none)

                  Conservatism, at least according to its ultimate theorist, Edmund Burke, is about maintaining at least something from the status quo and not trashing the existing scheme for the sake of some half-baked revolutionary claptrap.

                  Please, please, please stop referring to the current administration and its political base as “conservatives.” Radical right-wingers is a much more appropriate term. I am not surprised that George Will, while explicitly delineating the reasons why they are not conservatives, still uses the term “conservative” to refer to them. But there is no excuse for it here. With all due respect, please stop.

                  Grok Your World

                  grok: to understand something in a deep and empathic way

                  by Grok Your World on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 01:46:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Are you a conservative? (none)
                    Do you consider yourself a conservative? I am curious as to why you are so worked up about defending conservatism and seperating it from the modern conservative movement.

                    I don't know anything about Edmund Burke, but your description of his idea of conservatism fits in quite well with mine given the time he lived in and the liberal currents threatening to undermine the absolute power of the ruling classes. Like I said, conservatives want more power for the powerful. I challenge you to give me an alternate explanation of conservatism that reconciles as well as mine the apparent inconsistencies espoused by self-identified conservatives. Conservatism is not what it says; it is what it does. And for decades it has been battling to undo the New Deal. What part of the status quo is that maintaining?

                    What are liberal principles? Freedom of expression, freedom of religion, government by the governed, equality under the law. Do you get as worked up defending the liberal label as you do the conservative label?

                    •  Burke was a Liberal (4.00)
                      He supported decolonization of America, Ireland, and India. Fortunately, America was able to wrest liberty from the Brits by force of arms. India and Ireland weren't quite so lucky (at least until the Brits got smacked around by Germany, twice). Don't equate opposition to the extremes of the French Revolution to extremism. The French Revolution was extremely traumatic. Even though we owe our present good life to those traumas, it is only natural to not wish them on anybody. Do you support the Iraq war? The trauma we are causing there will surely get them into the modern world quicker than they would have otherwise. In fact, our current policy can only be described as Jacobin. Shall we set up scaffolds and guillotines in Amman, Damascus, Tehran, Islamabad, Jeddah? Shall our tanks rumble into Mecca and raze the Kabaa in order to liberate the world from the tyranny of superstition? Are you so opposed to Burke now?

                      The contemporay liberal is a conservative. Why? Liberals want to conserve all the good that has been done since FDR. Liberals want to conserve America's blood and treasure, not squander it in the deserts of Iraq. Liberals want to conserve the environment so that our progeny will have a clean place to live.

                    •  Nothing normative in my comments either way ... (none)

                      I am simply trying to use the terms used by the current administration and its political base and pointing out the internal inconsistencies in their logic. I am not making a value judgment about one label or another. And that is all that "liberal" and "conservative" have become these days, labels, as Paul Goodman seems to indicate in his comment.

                      And indeed I am also arguing that if someone is opposed to the current administration and its base, then one should not use the term “conservative” to describe them, because the terminology is so imprecise.

                      A good place to  start with Burke, as with most things is wikipedia: wikipedia: Edmund Burke.

                      Grok Your World

                      grok: to understand something in a deep and empathic way

                      by Grok Your World on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 03:15:50 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  labels (none)
                        You see conservatism in a way that leaves you scratching your head and trying to explain away the inconsistencies by accusing conservatives of not really being conservative. I am looking at the direction that conservativism moves a society in reality (in a pre-industrial society that direction is toward fuedalism, in an industrial society the direction is fascism, in a post-industrial society towards something probably even more scary) and suggesting a definition of conservatism based on what it does rather than what it says and that accounts for all of the apparent inconsistencies. A theocracy and a government limited in its ability to help the poor and middle class or restrain the rich are both tools of a movement to increase the power of the ruling classes. This explains why these two factions coexist within one conservative movement - because they are both consistent with the goal of conservatism.

                        So which definition is more useful? I argue that mine is, because it better explains reality.

                        •  What aspects of the status quo ... (none)
                          are they “conserving”? Really, I don’t think you and I disagree all that much. But I would hesitate to call it a semantic difference, because the words we use are awfully important. To me, calling them “conservative” is like calling Pablo Picasso an Impressionist.

                          Grok Your World

                          grok: to understand something in a deep and empathic way

                          by Grok Your World on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:57:15 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

          •  From my experience (4.00)
            Those 20% of reasonable evangelicals spend much of their time being defensive about their faith instead of trying to work to make it more politically and socially responsible.

            And yes, it is about folks like Dobson trying to gain power in order to use the government to forcibly remake society. They're power-mad thugs.

            I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

            by eugene on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:27:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's true (4.00)
            In fact, nearly half the evangelicals I know fall into this category.  One has even expressed the belief that Dubya may be the Anti-Christ, since after all the Anti-Christ allegedly comes disguised as avery pious, popular figure who claims to be doing the will of god.

            Oh, would that the rest of the evangelicals see the GOP and those Dobson types for what they really are.

            All your vote are belong to us

            by Harkov311 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:31:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Hey PKinTexas, (none)
            I love the way your pastor friend thinks.  Though I am an agnostic, I'd love to send a check to his congregation.  I have a feeling, however, that he would tell me to put away my wallet and then ask about the state of my immortal soul.  
            •  He might, I don't know! (none)
              But then again, many thinking Evangelicals understand that believing in an afterlife is a private choice one makes, quite arguably against the physical and scientific evidence.

              He might try to influence your choice, but if you had considered the evidence carefully, pro and con, I suspect he would respect your decision! He is big on freedom of choice in both religion and politics.

      •  No it's worked because for 30+ years (4.00)
        and even for longer than that, back to Henry Ford writing Falafel O'Reilly and John Gibson's "The Jews Liberals Who Stole Christmas" screeds for them - the "sane" rank-and-file conservatives who were only in it for the money and/or were scared of Strangers, willingly turned a blind eye to the Theocons in their midst, and to the fact that their leadership was using the "Moral Values" and "Persecuted AmJudeoChristianity" and "Culture Wars" rhetoric as a deliberate recruiting tool, whether they believed it themselves or not.

        In the Sept issue of American Spectator, a Regnery magazine, there are about six pages of angry, long letters denouncing them and canceling subscriptions for having run a long isue supporting Intelligent Design the month before, and denouncing them for selling out to the Fundies. Apparently, a lot of secular doctors and lawyers and investment bankers are just now noticing who they've been in bed with.

        Which means that they had to be a lot more asleep at the wheel than they're letting on, the past four elections. Remember Pat Buchanan's Culture Wars/Abortion convention speech?

        But also, the Theocratic right is not a monolith, nor anti-academic, either. Many in its ranks dismissed the crazies and are pro-science, and are in now the same fix as the atheist doctor in the AmSpect letters. Particularly the Roman Catholics, like Bill Buckley.

        How do I know? I used to be part of the Academic Catholic Conservative movement, into which my parents were drawn because they were too cool to be associated with mere hippies, it offered an ethical ideology of Sacrifice and Duty which appealed to them as military-brats at the same time as a bohemian aesthetic which appealed to them as rebellious 60s kids, a way to feel like they were Saving the World from the bland 50s America they hated as well as Saving Souls from the sins of abortion and state tyranny and religious persecution.

        And we "created our own reality" by only reading our own stuff, and/or reading everything else with the prior assumption that anything the least bit negative about Christianity was godless liberal/Commie bias. Of course we don't want to mandate Christianity or persecute pagans, we thought, those of us who came originally from an American Humanist background before converting into the movement, that's just a slander concocted by the diabolical commies and repeated by the naive liberals.

        You cannot believe how angry reading Handmaid's Tale made me, the first time, back when - even when I already had doubts about the prolife movement, still having someone else say things like that was the way many dKossacks flip out hearing Europeans criticize the US...

        "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

        by bellatrys on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:08:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This Needs To Be A Diary! (none)
          Or better yet, the foundation for a re-analysis of develepments discussed in this diary.

          While the facts presented in the current diary are surely significant, the analysis is extremely weak because it misconstrues the nature of the conservative movement and how it has cohered over time.  This comment is an absolutely invaluable corrective, and really ought to be seen and read by everyone on this site.

      •  hey glenn (none)
        Nice to know you're alive and well. Rio!

        -- yr. old tennis partner at MP, Michael R.

      •  Glenn, excellent diary! (none)
        I think you've really defined, focused on (no pun intended) the preeminent wedge issue for the Dems. It seems to me the Dems must divide these bastards until they are crying for mercy. Dems must expose to mainstream Republicans and independent voters the toxic cesspool (Christian right wing Taliban) that has become the bedrock foundation of the Republcian party.

        They will flee in droves, if the Dems present a compelling and positive alternative which stresses, energy independence, affordable healthcare, exit from Iraq, fiscal disipline, and COMPETENCE!

        http://www.epluribusmedia.org/donate.htm

        by nyceve on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:07:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  George Will, Cheerleader Extraordinaire (4.00)
        So George Will is putting down the pom-poms!

        Doesn't make up for years of support and encouragement for the fundies and a blind eye to their dangers.  

        The only thing he's really scared of is losing.

      •  I keep thinking of (4.00)
        Little Shop of Horrors...

        FEED ME... FEED ME...

      •  Jonah Goldberg replied to you, Glenn (none)
        in a long, bitter post at the Corner.  What he says makes no sense, it's all devoted to being dismissive of your argument (which he ignores by trying to belittle it), and it makes him look like a fool.

        Is that really the best the LA Times can do?

    •  I can't say I saw it coming (none)
      But, I wondered and wondered why on Earth my Father in Law would align himself with the kooks who make up that part of the Republican party.
    •  Exactly Right (4.00)
      These moderate conservatives have made a deal with the devil much in the same way that relatively unpopular Weimar conservatives like Gustav Stresemann hitched their wagons to the popularity and power of the Nazis for electoral gain. They are like the wizard's apprentice -- incapable of controlling the golum they've created.

      Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

      by Benito on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:15:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree 100% (4.00)
      In order to get his taxes lowered and social programs for the poor slashed, George Will and the Republican party used these social conservatives, baiting them with issues like abortion and gay marriage.

      Now they have created a monster that they cannot control - and I say, "Good."  Americans will not separate out the religious right from regular republicans and they will all go down. George Will will go down, blaming the fundies, when it was their creation.

      "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

      by adigal on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:16:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  a two-part revelation (3.91)
        Seems to me one of the main functions of the tablibangelists crusades always was to hog the public spotlight with hot stuff (gays, abortion, etc) while the others pick our pockets. Looting and pillaging was always the agenda. Privatizing public lands, resources and services from prisons to schools, the bankruptcy bill, the medicare hustle-- that's the real business this GOPer cabal was about, as everyone here knows.   Even the so-called WOT was simply a new opportunity to open the Treasury.

        The religious right was supposed to stay in its place, happy decoys, with pockets full of faith=based initiatives.

        So-- part one: theocracy appalls George Will & the Doctors. The ADL ain't gonna swallow any more. And part two (soon coming, imo): the scales fall from public eyes-- & gas prices, Katrina, the mess in Iraq (etc) start to expose just how much money has been stolen & spent, just how many services have been taken away.

        The Medicare bill has just gone into effect.  Everybody's grandparents are getting screwed. Part 2 is also beginning.

        I personally don't care how much worse it gets because I am convinced this alliance in all its glory must be repudiated, not just voted out of office temporarily.  

        Great diary.

    •  If (4.00)
      you are prepared to deal with the devil, then you must be prepared to lose your soul.

      Halley Seven, United States Nil - You see, it can be done!

      by ian1973uk on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:50:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Will, and others like him (4.00)
      are indeed to blame. "In the end, we'll remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends."  They have been silent too long.
  •  I never thought about it (4.00)
    in precisely this way:

    In case Goldberg hasn't noticed, Christian conservatives are the dominant political force in the United States. They control the White House, the Senate Leadership and the House. Virtually no domestic political decision of any significance is made without their prior approval.

    But I suppose it is true.  This is an excellent diary.  Recommended.

    "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

    by LithiumCola on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:10:18 AM PST

    •  Why do you think that Dr. Laura and Bob Novak (4.00)
      converted to Catholicism recently? They know which way the wind is blowing and what the largest, richest, most politically powerful single Christian denomination is. Get on the good side of the biggest kid on the block, so to speak.

      Of course, anyone who knows Jewish history knows this won't work, turning Conversado, but...

      "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

      by bellatrys on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:09:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Appeasement Doesn't Work Either (4.00)
             Goldberg seems to be laboring under the impression that if only Jews would be nice to the right-wing fundies then they won't turn really nasty and start putting Jews in camps, etc..
             It's the sort of "maybe they'll feed us on the train" mentality that helped make the Final Solution what it was.
             When he refers to "philosemitic" Christians, Goldberg displays true ignorance of the Christian Right's real attitudes. The CR isn't "for" the Jews or "for" Israel".  It's for the crackpot interpretations of New Testament prophecies in which the modern state of Israel is supposed to play a role in the Second Coming.  The scenario calls for the Jews to build the Third Temple on the site of the Second(bye-bye Dome of the Rock). After that things get weird. The Jews are supposed to either convert or get burned up in the name of sweet Jesus. Or something like that.
             Maybe Goldberg is aware of all this and believes it doesn't matter.  Maybe he thinks that Jews like himself can use and manipulate these dumb goyische goobers. Problem is, the goobers have the big batallions, and that's always the decisive factor in the end.  The only response is to make bigger batallions, and you can't do that by pretending that your mortal enemies are really your friends.

        Most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place they're capable of anything--Noah Cross.

        by angry blue planet on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 06:07:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Jonah Goldberg makes my eyes bleed (none)
          Angry blue, you just stole my thunder with your analysis of the Religious right's solid stance on Israel..... What better way to anticipate Armmegedon than to equipt one side with arms and sympathy and plead for calm and understanding amongst the Palestinians as each new settlement squeezes any hope of a contiguous homeland.

          "What is history but myths agreed upon." N. Boneparte

          by say what on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 11:03:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Wait (none)
        Didn't Dr. Laura actually convert from Christianity to Judaism?  Or are you saying she has since converted to Catholicism?
        •  started out Jewish (none)
          made her name that way, the Old Testament Values shtik, but recently became Catholic in a somewhat strange, apparently OOC move.

          Then Novak did, too.

          See also Prager, Dennis, another one of the Token Jewish Non-Liberals, recently given op ed on the LA Times to denounce All Islam as responsible for the French riots, freqently mocked by World O'Crap etc. in the Carnival of the Wingnuts, for "putting the Jew in Judeo-Christian" in a very wingnut watercarrying way. Hasn't gone Conversado yet, afaik.

          "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

          by bellatrys on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 11:36:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Just in case you didn't follow the path ... (4.00)
       ... of induction, now that they control two of the three branches of the US government, and have what amounts to control of media in America (since the head can stand for the whole body, read this little essay on Newspeak, Rush Limbaugh, and fascism), they are using their money (deep) and their organization (broad) to gain control of the third branch of the US government, the Judiciary.  Note that it was this branch of US government which gave George Bush his narrow victory in 2004 -- the one that was immediately and uncontestedly spoken of as a mandate for continued preemptive war which Bush in a moment of ill-repressed candor referred to as a "crusade".  They are inches from succeeding in taking over the judiciary -- a court coup that will be unreversible for at least a generation.  I am not alone in smelling the gas in the air:  this is likely to be the most important congressional decision in my lifetime.  I can only hope that this diary is correct.  Stripping the religious fanatics of their political power is just the first step.  The Neo-fascists must also be thrown out of the government.  Every last one.  Filibustering Alito, if it comes to that, is just a start. Fight!  Fight for your rights!

      -5.13;-6.92 De-Bu$hify NOW! Remove *every* Bu$hCo appointee and revoke their security clearances

      by Yellow Canary on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:04:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Icing on the cake (4.00)
    Nothing would be better than the radical right and the Repigs to split and for the radical right to form their own party forever dooming the Repigs to minority status and marginalizing the zombie zealots for good.  Who cares if they somehow take South Carolina or Utah.  I'd rather they take one state than the whole country.

    It'll be interesting to see the implosion.  I expected it in 08 as the McCains and Brownbacks of the Repig party ripped it in half, but if it happens sooner, all the better.

    -7.38, -5.74 This is your world. These are your people. You can live for yourself today, or help build tomorrow for everyone.

    by DisNoir36 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:16:00 AM PST

    •  I agree with you, on one level; (4.00)
      it would be fun, for a while, to see this split emerging.  Maybe the political environment would be more like Canada, where a centrist consensus holds sway, and where Canadians watch with amusement every few years as the right tries to reinvent/repackage itself, to try to smuggle religious conservatism into the heart of Canadian politics via a kind of Trojan Horse of fiscal conservatism.

      (It's terribly amusing, by the way, and it's fun to watch someone like Conservative leader Stephen Harper trying to stifle or muzzle the religious wackos in his party, as one imprudent peep out of them about a referendum on abortion or gay marriage relegates the Right to yet another poor electoral showing.  Canada is Bizzarro U.S.A.)

      However, my worry is that the religious right will go down swinging.  These people are not right in the head.  Some of them believe in Dominionism, which in part consists of the direct implementation of biblical law (selectively chosen, of course).  I worry that if the coalition implodes, these people aren't going to skulk back to their megachurches, muttering grumpily to themselves about moderate Republican "Judases" and "Satan's minions."  Failure will only further radicalize them, as it has done already with their repeated failure to implement that most crucial of religious right goals, the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

      (By this, I do not mean that they have failed to severly undercut Roe v. Wade by other means; in some parts of the country, the lack of access to resources for family planning already renders Roe v. Wade toothless, as others on dKos have pointed out.)

      Did we ever find out who mailed those anthrax letters?  I'm not one hundred per cent sure it wasn't someone home grown.  And if that's the case, that set of incidents -- still left unsolved by the Justice department -- indicates just how extreme some thwarted faction of the religious right might become.  It could make the bombing of abortion clinics look like a gentle warm-up.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:49:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They have such a party (none)
      waiting in the fringes and in fact, frequently mentioned by religious wingnuts as the party to fall back on if the GOP "let's them down".  It's the ironically named Constitution Party, and they could turn that direction if the GOP coalition really does fall apart (though I still think most instead will sit out elections hoping to knock the GOP out of power to remind the party of their needed votes).  I could see such a party making headway in some states (Alabama I could see electing some officials running on that ticket, for example).  Maybe that would be best.  They get to spout their "purified" ideology and have an uncensored voice, and we get the relief of knowing they don't have the numbers to ever control government (other than a few offices here and there in the Deep South).  Really though, the idea of a progressive-center ruling coalition, with a real minority opposition of thoughtful conservatives to critique and check it's excesses, and an even smaller joke opposition of wingnuts to always remind us why we don't want to go that direction, seems way too ideal for me to let myself believe it will happen.
  •  Careful with that Axe Eugene... (4.00)
    These boys are dangerous! And they will play for keeps. They have nothing to lose because they have the trump card, e.g. martial law.

    Executive Order l2333
    "The President has the power to seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces domestic and abroad, call reserve forces amounting to 2 1/2 million men to duty, institute martial law, seize and control all means of transportation, regulate all private enterprise, restrict travel, and in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all Americans...
    Most [of these laws] remain a a potential source of virtually unlimited power for a President should he choose to activate them. It is possible that some future President could exercise this vast authority in an attempt to place the United States under authoritarian rule.

    I just finished watching the the Charlie Rose - 2005.11.15 - Ahmad Chalabi interview (there is a torrent floating aound out there)...

    Bushie, and Cheney, and Chalabi Makes Three

    If you watched Chalabi on Pete Rose last night,
    and suffered through his very earnest portrayal
    of the "good" Iraqi's, just trying to get their
    affairs in order, and oh, yes, by the way, he's
    the Minister of Oil Affairs and soon to be the
    Prime Minister of Iraq. Even Pete Rose soon got
    tired of the prosyletizing and evangelizing at
    the end of his interview, demanding 'yes, or no'
    about something MSM will never publish anyway.

    So it was with a classic Chalabi smirk that we
    saw the news tonight revealing an Iraqi Interior
    Minister and his Iran-trained Shia cell was busy torturing Sunni's in some secret prison, and so immediately putting the lie to everything that Chalabi was promising about, 'hold and go long'.
    Iraq will explode in civil war as soon as we go.

    That's the problem with pitchmen. "Evangelizing", in the current vernacular. "Conversion ratio" in the modern marketing speak. You get a good pitch going, let's say, "All Roses and Chocolates", and then the client is converted, but the cost-growth is killer, and the product isn't performing, and there's all kinds of gross defects, so you have to start pitching, "Just Wait and We'll Fix It".

    [SFX - Theme song from "Elephant Walk"]

    Sure they will. Iraqis will run their own v. of Democracy and Freedom when I'm the US president.

    On the other hand, look, the oil in Iraq is worth by conservative estimates $10's of TRILLIONS. If you took all the loot and treasure, going all the way from the Romans, Charlemagne, Black Beard's pirates, Napoleon, Hitler, hey, even Ken Lay, the total of looted treasure in all of human history does not hold a small candle to Iraqi oil wealth.

    Surely that's worth considering re why Woodward would say what he said, and why not. If you were Cheney, and wanted to bring Plame down, who are
    the very first journalists you would leak it to?
    Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein. Am I right?

    Whether Bob reported on Yellow Cake the way they wanted them to, or just the obverse, they would still get Plame's name outed. I'm sure Rove was sitting there spinning his Rolodex, and spinning every g-d-damn journalist he could find.

    Look beneath the personalities. Look beneath the story. Look beneath the money, at the insiders.
    You'all are starting to sound like Trotskyites.

    Ahmed Chalabi is sitting on the largest treasure in all of human history. Our entire civilization depends for it's very existence on the orderly dispersal, for a tidy and spiraling profit, of that treasure. The US, as the largest military in world history, larger than all other militaries in the world combined, is protecting that oil for US. Well, not for any of US, not for you and me, but certainly for US Big Oil and Big Banking.

    At least we'll get a sip now and then. Imagine being a poor Iraqi, sitting, no, squatting on the greatest treasure of all, and not a tithe, not a farthing going your way. Their lives will be no better than migras crawling across burning sands between Nogales and Pheonix, 130 in the shade.

    Give the Iraqi people an oil royalty? Insh'allah!

    The greatest army on earth, the greatest treasure on earth, and an occupation paid by the greatest tax suckers in history, ruled by two evangelical cheerleaders and one wack-job crip oil baron.

    Chr-st, you can't make this s--t up!

    I hold with Rob Brezny. These are End Times now. This is The Apocalypse we're living through. For American's anyway, Apocalpse ain't too shabby.

    I remember flying into a remote Alaskan oil town in the dead of winter, on Christmas, 1980. There was a sudden swirl of wind, and only one wheel touched down. The pilot fought for steerage and the engines howled like banshees in reverse.

    A woman stood up in the shuddering darkness and started screaming her lungs out.

    A sourdough oil worker bawled, "Shaddup, lady! For Deadhorse, that was a damn good landing!"

    This is just the beginning of the Oil Wars!
    Throw the little fish back and focus ... focus!

    •  Preaching to the choir (4.00)
      You forgot the buried clause in the Real ID Act, suspension of all laws without judicial review by DHS order to AG, ostensibly to protect borders...

      We get it, okay?  Especially the use of the "whackos" as DeLay's former press secretary Scanlon described the neo-con's strategy.

      It's all about them, and it's all about the money, all about the oil and the power that comes from having control of both.

      At some point the Chinese get pissed off -- and they have very loooong cultural memories.  I'll hedge my bets, take lessons in Mandarin.

    •  PETE Rose played for the Cincinnati Reds. (none)
      This is Pete Rose, AKA "Charlie Hustle"

      This is Charlie Rose, the newsman.

  •  These theocrats (4.00)
    Who want to destroy church-state separation are un-American, in my opinion.  They ignore the lessons world history teaches us, and they ignore, by cherry picking and disingenuousness, our own American history.

    They are dangerous.

    And they are un-American.

  •  Very (4.00)
    well written, a reco and a link for you

    Read UTI, your free thought forum

    by DarkSyde on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:19:50 AM PST

  •  Dominionists are open 24/7 (4.00)
    Harpers had a great article called "Feeling the Hate" earlier this year looking at these people close up, including the now relatively famous James Dobson. Calling them "Christian conservatives" does disservice to both Christians and conservatives. They are our very own Taliban, and literally want to rule the world. The article examines the peculiar alliance between the Dominionists and Israel (which might help to explain diatribes from the likes of Jonah Goldberg).

    It's gratifying that true conservatives are addressing this issue directly now (better late than never), because the Democrats, while fighting Dominionist policies one by one (anti-science, etc.), have been totally ineffective at characterizing them as the kind of overall threat they really are.

  •  remember that at the top (4.00)
    they see Religion as the Opiate of the Masses - and themselves as the Doctors prescribing it. In accord with their view of humanity taken from Plato's Republic, that the bulk of the pyramid is mindless appetite-driven proles who need to be ruled, led, and lied to in order to protect themselves from themeslves, then a much smaller layer of natural middle-management types who can put aside personal gratification for duty, if properly motivated (read: lied to) by the smallest tier of all, the apex of the pyramid, the natural master class, those whom Nature calls to lead the rest for their own Good.

    Guess which tier people like Buckley think they are in? Not the Hoi Polloi I can tell you, the men of the belly - and not the men of the heart, the ones who get to push the hoi polloi around but aren't setting the agenda.

    And in the Republic, mind you, state religion and mythology are a good thing whether or not they are True - because they create social cohesion and moral values in the young proles - who are supposed to be exposed to no challenging, conflicting ideas in their media either. Nothing but patriotic and pious songs and stories to be allowed!

    Remember, Plato calls for censorship of things like the Iliad, fercryinoutloud, because it shows heroes acting like brats and feuds between the leaders of Our Side, and this will have the bad effect of making young people think twice about going to war when their leaders tell them to...

    Oh, and this anti-democratic aristocratic  revisionism of American history (sometimes under the guise of DemocracyTM, sometimes not) has been going great guns in Catholic conservative academia for the past 30 years, Thomas Aquinas and Christendom Colleges (both founded by ex-Military Intelligence guys, btw, one of whom worked for the CIA with the support of Buckley's brother-in-law Brent Bozell III - and Buckley was CIA) and others modeled on them.

     Only it's not entirely revisionism: Jefferson et al did think that we commoners weren't capable of ruling ourselves, and did operate from a background of that Classical aristocratic elitism in the Neo-Classical Era. Mindless Founding-Father worship, uncritical teaching of the American Revolution throughout generations of grammar and middle school students, has made us very vulnerable to this - the idea that "the Murkin Sheeple" need a strong hand to push them around and tell them comforting lies because "they can't handle the truth" and shouldn't be allowed to screw things up--

    are you nodding along? Why don't you realize that you'd be in the bottom of the pyramid - not one of the elite? But I have seen this same attitude on dKos, from liberals, no less than I grew uncomfortable discerning it among us "libertarian" (anarcho-syndic) Catholic Conservatives. Thus does Far Left authoritarianism, like that of VIctor Horowitz et al, end up shaking hands with Far Right authoritarianism, like the St. General Franco-worshipping National Review readers I knew, in a historic re-enactment of the Stalin-Hitler pact...

    "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

    by bellatrys on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:24:00 AM PST

  •  fake christians (4.00)
    I consider myself a golden christian I believe in the golden rule and Judge not ,lest ye be judged .We have fake christians in charge now, like the KKK and they dont speak for me..Church and govt. should never mix, thats a personal thing and nobodys business but your own..Govt is trying to force their beliefs down our throats and they believe they can kill whoever they want to.  Our forefathers knew the two do not mix with our consitution..Yes they believed in god, but saw the spanish inquistion and God loves me but doesnt love you  Hitler destroy europe and our salem witchhunt destroy america.The KKK fake christians do not speak for me...God knows they are fake..
  •  Great catch (4.00)
    Great catch on Jonah Golberg's warning.

    I guess it's not quite "stay in the ghetto and shut up lest you provoke a pogrom" but it has that tenor, doesn't it?

    Accountability moment, my ass!

    by orthogonal on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:29:03 AM PST

    •  Perhaps it is more like... (none)
      stay put in Anatevka, or the cossack hetmen will be comin' round.

      Not quite so ghetto, word...

      People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression: I hope it's gonna be alright... Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

      by rgilly on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 11:40:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Rushdoonyist Theocon Domnionists... (4.00)
    have asserted their agenda and right to rule by their continued "loyalty" to Bushco. They will fight the Fiduciary Responsible-ist wing and Main Streeters and attempt to marginalize them once and for all. Even critical ADList Jews are on the hit list, to allow the Israel prophecies to come to pass...

    The Republican Party is a powderkeg, a ticking timebomb at the point of no return...

    People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression: I hope it's gonna be alright... Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

    by rgilly on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:31:55 AM PST

  •  Those who forget history (4.00)
    Hopefully Jonah will wake up.  If he thinks that the Religious Reich isn't going to turn against the Jews, he still believes in the toothfairy.

    Jonah, baby, you're being used and Israel is being used in their hope to provoke the end times.  If you guys don't then convert, it'll be ssdd.  Are you prepped and ready to sit on some ghetto council?

    Forced baptism was all the rage in 15th century Spain.  It can and will happen again.

  •  about time (4.00)
    It's a shame these small cracks couldn't have shown up in time for the election, but you take what you can get.
    I am glad that the fiscal conservatives are finally beginning to speak up, but the Democrats and other progressives need to jump on people like Will and scream "Where the hell have you been the last five years?" The fiscal conservatives and so-called good government Republicans who have sat on the sidelines or even worse, actively participated in this hijacking of their party, are actually even more despicable  than the actual fundies are in my opinion. At least people like Santorum and Coburn have been clear about where they stand and what they want to do. The folks who voted for these looneys knew what they were getting. It's the McCains and Spectors of the party, with the aid of columnists like Will, who by their silence, allowed these theists to completely corrupt their party.
    Taking a page out of Rove's book, these are precisely the people the Dems should go after the hardest.
  •  excellent work but fair warning (4.00)
    they are distancing themselves from bush, and if the republican party solidifies around a back to the basics of republicanism, they could unify in time for 2008.  We need to watch out for that.

    they're getting out of the way of the train wreck and attempting to build credibility for the 06 and 08 elections.  and they're a fiendishly clever bunch, don't put it past 'em.

    The Global Struggle against Violent Extremism begins at home!

    by JLongs on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:52:16 AM PST

  •  The Link to Foxman's speech (none)
    Doesn't work.
  •  The Theocratic Movement... (4.00)

    Is more entwined within our government than many think...read this for a more in depth look....

    Jesus Plus Nothing

  •  Fundamentalist Christianity = Anti-Semitism (4.00)
    Foxman finally realized it. Yes, there are atrocious anti-Semites in the Muslim world. And they must be confronted at every turn. But here at home, the biggest anti-Semites are not the anti-Israel Left, which includes a disproportionate number of Jews by the way. The home of anti-Semitism is fundamentalist Christianity and the followers of Tim LaHaye who earnestly believe that the Rapture will send the Jews to Hell AFTER they go to Israel. These are the people who give us Jews "Love" and not respect - but love to them means converting to their religion and nothing else. Note that many evangelicals do not feel this way at all. But the hardest core of evangelicals, especially the Southern Baptists, still treat the Jews with utter disrespect. On one level it's refreshing that the most virulent anti-Semitism is no longer cultural or racial as it had been in Europe for centuries. Sure, there is the occasional vaguely coded reference to New York liberal Jews who want to steal Christmas, but mostly it is because of the "secular Jews", not the Jews per se. Religious anti-Semitism is, in some ways, also the least palatable in public discourse. And even the old swords of religious anti-Semitism - calling us "Christ killers" for example - don't occupy a central place in the anti-Semitic canon. But in many ways the newest den of anti-Semitism is the oldest, dating to the days of Paul who conflated the Jewish people with the corrupt rabbis who ruled Ancient Israel. Only by converting the stubborn Jews to the new-found faith in Christ could this benighted people be saved. The same goal motivates the modern day Christian fundamentalist, who cannot comprehend or accept a people accepting God without Jesus.
    •  If It's No Longer Cultural or Racial Then It's (none)
      no longer anti-Semitism.

      Every syllable of the attitudes and behavior you describe applies equally to Protestant Presbyterians, Roman Catholics and athiests of the race formerly known as 'master.'

      What you're describing is not opposition to Semites, any more than critique of Israel is. They'd welcome you the same as they would my blue-eyed Celtic self, if we'd convert to their beliefs. I see it all the time as a wedding musician visiting a variety of churches.

      Yes, among this population there certainly are anti-Semitic and anti-Black people and leaders, but while it's definitely imperialistic towards all of humanity, the religion is not anti-Semitic.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:52:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You've exposed their secret (3.88)
    The GOP is comprised of a fragile alliance of non-mainstream ideologies which have banded together for political expediency.  The modern GOP is basically a coalition of the marginal: theocrats, anti-government zealots, rampant profiteers, racists/sexists, warmongerers, and old throwbacks still seething and confused by the 60's cultural revolutions.  None of these groups enjoy any sort of popular endorsement of their views.  However, this amalgamation was powerful enough to capture much of the federal government.

    It's going to be extremely interesting watching each group disavow the others as the entire GOP agenda is now held in such public scorn.  

    Fantastic fucking diary.  Recommended.

  •  If Jesus was... (4.00)
    ...alive, he would urging followers to "Destroy this mega-church (temple)..." and to denounce the megachurch pastors as nothing but Chaucerian Pardoners and snake-oil medicine hawkers.

    Here's what the founder of Judeo-christianity had to say about these fools and their idols and their churches, crosses, dashboard Jesuses:

    God (via Moses, Exodus, xx, 3):

    3 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth

    And here's what the REAL christians had to say about mega-church freaks:

    St. Stephen (Acts, vi, 44-48):  

    44 "Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45  Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God's favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.  47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him.

    48  "However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men."

    Isaiah  (Acts, vi, 48-50).:  

    48 "However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet (Isaiah)says:
         49" 'Heaven is my throne,
         and the earth is my footstool.
         What kind of house will you build for
         me?     says the Lord.
         Or where will my resting place be?
         50  Has not my hand made all these
         things
    ?'

  •  Funny about that poll Foxman cites (4.00)
    Christianity is under attack in the United States -- the attack is coming from the Religious Right.
  •  In defense of the ADL (4.00)
    Foxman's speech may have been the first time he directly targeted specific Christian Right groups, but the ADL has been fighting their agenda for years. They even filed an amicus brief to the  Supreme Court in the Pledge of Allegiance case saying that requiring students to say the Pledge with "under God" in it is a violation of the Constitution.  And they've been very vocal in their opposition of school prayer and school voucher programs.
  •  It's Pastor Niemoller time (4.00)
    I'm afraid:

    First they came for the Jews
     and I did not speak out--because I was not a Jew.
     Then they came for the Communists
     and I did not speak out--because I was not a Communist.
     Then they came for the trade unionists
     and I did not speak out--because I was not a trade unionist.
     Then they came for me--
     and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    Other metaphors (than Germany in the '30s) suggest themselves as well:

    Iran at the time of the hostage crisis

    and

    The Lady from Niger (so appropriate!)

    The Perfect is the Enemy of the Better

    by dabize on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 06:48:19 AM PST

  •  George Will (4.00)
    is nothing but a rat trying to jump off the sinking Gooper ship. As pointed out upthread, everything he wrote today has been true for years---so why does he wait until now to take notice?

    The unholy alliance between the big money wing of the Rethugs and the hypochristian wingnuts is darkly mirrored on the Arabian peninsula, where a corrupt ruling family clings to power with the help of fanatical theofascist clergy whom they in turn prop up. They only difference between the house of Saud and the house of Bush is that here, we import the oil rather than export it.

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:12:45 AM PST

    •  Will has been saying this all along (none)
      George Will has been bad-mouthing the religious right all along.  He is not a theocrat and never has been.  This is nothing new for him.  It IS new for him to have company.  

      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:20:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (none)
    That's one reason I think it's so important to spread the word when reports come out like the recent one about Tom DeLays former aide calling the Christian conservatives wackos. Keep spreading those seeds of division!
  •  'Social Conservatives' ARE 'Real Conservatives' (4.00)
    While the developments presented here are certainly significant, there is a weakness of analysis visible in passages such as this:
    There is not and has never been anything remotely conservative about these religious extremists. They do not favor limited government in any way. They believe so faithfully in the righteousness of their political agenda that they see any means to achieve their objectives as justifiable -- including exploiting and increasing the powers of all 3 branches of the federal government in order to achieve them.
    This analysis assumes that "real conservatives believe in "limited government."  Certainly, many conservative pundits and ideologues have said this many times over the years, but that hardly makes it true.  It makes it a good line, nothing more.

    There are two major things wrong with it: (1) It misconstrues the self-presentation of one strand of conservatism as "real" conservatism. (2) It ignores the fact--well known by public opinion researchers--that majorities of self-identified conservatives support expanded or sustained levels of social spending, and have done so for as far back as we have polling data.

    In fact, conservatism has very little in the way of ideological foundations, since it is basically about the conservation of power in the hands of traditional elites, and opposition to broader power-sharing or the emergence of new new elites.  It has taken many different forms in different countries over time, because the nature of traditional elites and the threats they face has taken many forms.  Its rationalizations in different places have clashed, even while its proponents have supported one another.

    Here's an excerpt from an ongoing project I'm working on:

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes conservatism as a "disposition in politics to preserve what is established," as "a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change," and as "the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change."

    The American Heritage Dictionary definition is similar, calling it, "The inclination, especially in politics, to maintain the existing or traditional, order," and, "A political philosophy or attitude emphasizing respect for traditional institutions, distrust of government activism, and opposition to sudden change in the established order."

    The Encyclopedia Encarta (Encarta) characterizes conservatism as "a reaction against the Age of Enlightenment," while the Columbia Encyclopedia (Columbia) portrays it more narrowly as a "reaction to the political and social changes associated with the eras of the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution."  

    Encarata notes that " Conservatives advocated belief in faith over reason, tradition over free inquiry, hierarchy over equality, collective values over individualism, and divine or natural law over secular law."  Columbia specifically cites Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre, saying, "They emphasized preserving the power of king and aristocracy, maintaining the influence of landholders against the rising industrial bourgeoisie, limiting suffrage, and continuing ties between church and state."

    Both note that (unlike American conservatives today) European conservatives were concerned with social welfare. Columbia emphasizes the "conservative view that social welfare was the responsibility of the privileged [which] inspired passage of much humanitarian legislation," particularly in England. Benjamin Disraeli in particular, "exemplified the conservative tendency to resort to moderate reform in order to preserve the foundations of the established order."

    Encarta notes the darker history of conservatism in continental Europe, which "rejected democratic principles and institutions, including, in some cases, participation in elections and the universal franchise," through the end of the 19h Century--and even beyond to their support of  "authoritarian and totalitarian movements--for example, fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany--in the years between 1920 and the end of World War II (1945)," and even later--until 1975 in Spain.

    Encarta also discusses the doctrine of corporatism, derived from Roman Catholic social doctrine expressed in two Papal encyclicals, Rerum novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo anno (1931): "In the name of social justice and order, corporatism advocates a close collaboration between employers and workers under the direction of the state in all matters regarding conditions of work, wages, prices, production, and exchange. Its aim is to substitute "corporate" (that is, collective) considerations for the free play of the market and for competition."  

    Neither encyclopedia mentions it, but leading American conservatives strongly supported Mussolini and even Hitler before America was drawn into World War II. Furthermore, corporatism openly embraced exactly the sort of oppressive big government that American conservative leaders endlessly rail against.  Only in those countries, the oppression was real. Amnesty International was started because two Portuguese students were jailed--in 1961--for making a toast to freedom--and Amnesty founder Peter Benenson saw a story about it in the paper, and decided he had to do something.  There were no elections, no freedom of speech, or association, no separation of church and state, no political rights at all as we know them.  Yet, leading American conservatives praised and admired Mussolini, and remained fond of Franco up to the end.  (The Portuguese regime was a clone of Franco's, and was also defended by them.)

    In fact, what the diarist calls "real conservatives" are an historical anamoly, due to the fact that, outside of the Southern plantation system, America had relatively little in the way of a traditional ruling conservative elite, once the state-level theocracies were dis-established.  Instead, American conservatism derived in very large measure from the business ideology of the late 19th Century, which was interlaced with strong elements of laissez fare liberalism.  Nonetheless, as noted in the quoted passage, they had little trouble embrasing Mussolini, or even doing business with Hitler.

    In short, social and religious conservatives, traditionally strongest in the South, are actually more in tune with the mainstream of conservatism as it exists elsewhere in the world than are "real" conservatives.

    •  I've been arguing for 5 years that the (none)
      real conservatives are Democrats-  who more or less are just trying to preserve the status quo.

      The wingnuts, Religious Reich, and neo-cons are attempting to weaken or outright destroy civil liberties, women's rights, freedom of the press, established government programs that help the poor, our public education system, consumer protection, environmental protections, etc.  

      This site has been asking for Democrats to be progressives or liberals.   But the truth is- I'd be relieved if we could simply defend the status quo.

      Look up, not down, Look out, not in, Look forward, not back, And lend a hand. -Edward Everett Hale

      by deadinthewater on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 11:04:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  'Liberals Are The New Conservatives'--A 1950s Meme (none)
        This was one of the memes that floated around in the 1950s, particularly as Eisenhower made it clear he had no intention to try to dismantle the welfare state.

        But that was more or less Boston/NYC/Beltway chatter.  At the very time people were talking this way, the Civil Rights Movement was stirring up dramatic changes that the CW of the time could not even dream of. And then came the women's movement, and everything after that.  

        So, yes, I think there's a measure of truth in this notion--one that goes a good deal deeper, in fact.  I think that the conservative function of liberalism actually started with religious tolerance and other Reformation-era liberal ideas. What were seen as radical departures were actually ways of stabilizing a system that would otherwise implode under the pressures of unprecedented social change, and resulting unmediated conflicts.

        But, at the same time, these ideas really were radical.  None moreso than religious tolerance.  And that's the essential nature of liberalism, IMHO.  It is a pragmatic systemization of radical ideas into a continuing tradition that facilitates cultural stability in the face of rapid and continuous social change.  In short, it's the bridge between radicalism and conservatism.

    •  words (none)
      I hope you don't think I'm being dismissive of the objection you raised to my diary when I say that it is, in my view, more of a semantic disagreement than anything else.

      Whatever you want to label them, it is an indisputable fact that there is a group within the GOP Party which favors restrained government in every sector except the military.  That includes government restraint in the economic and social realms.  

      Perhaps you can call them Goldwater conservatives, since Goldwater certainly was consistent in his restrained-government views, which is why he repeatedly expressed horror and disgust throughout the 1990s at the theocratic wing of the party and their attempts to  expand government in order to impose their social agenda.  I would put George Will in that group, too.

      If you want to say that it's the social conservatives who are the "real conservatives" and these small government conservatives who are are something else, that's fine with me.  To me, the important point is now what you call them, but that these different constituencies exist and the GOP depends on them for power, so that the most important objective is to fuel their separation.

      •  More Than Semantics (none)
        Three points:

        (1) You're absolutely right that there are real splits appearing, and that they reflect much deeper contradictions that have been papered over for a long time.

        However:

        (2) In dealing with folks as rhetoric-driven as American conservatives, it's impossible to dismiss anything as being "mere semantics."  I know that you are talking about our semantics in talking about them, but that's precisely my point: You are parroting the sort of language that a certain segment of the conservative movement is trying to use to delegitimate other segments.  I'm all for letting them have their catfight. Hopefully it will escalate to tigerfight and beyond.  But I'm not for uncritically accepting their language.

        (3) The real cleavages are not simply between different factions of the conservative movement. Indeed, the most significant cleavages are probably between the movement leaders and the broad base of conservative voters, who are only loosely--if at all--connected to the movement.

        It's the conservative base that shows strong support for the welfare state, for example, in diametric opposition to Norquists fantasy of drowning it in a bathtub.  They are also more internationalist than not--as PIPA has shown in a number of polls.  (The earliest evidence of this goes back at least to 1964 .)  Underlying these and other policy manifestations is a relative lack of psychological extremism in the conservative voter base, compared to their leaders.  They can get worked up, of course, but the baseline difference between left and right is much greater among those who are more politically involved--and the difference comes primarily from the right getting more extreme.

        As a result, all in all, the politics and values of everyday conservatives are closer to that of liberals than they are the conservative elite--which is one reason why the conservative elite has to spend so much energy demonizing liberals.  

        And this is where the infighting among conservative elites benefits us: it disrupts the routine, unified, intense focus on demonizing liberals. It creates an opening for us to reach these people while the folks they normally listen to are attacking one another, and disrupting the simplistic unifying messages they rely on so much.

  •  Fundy Right Has Been a Boon (none)
    So at some point this coalition unravels, the GOP goes into decline for 5-10 years and the Democrats take over.

    Where is America when Dems are finally back in government?

    I think when we look at the top end traditional conservatives' incomes and % of national wealth on that day, compared to their standing in the mid 70's, they'll be able to afford their coalition unravelling just fine.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 07:22:22 AM PST

  •  What is a cult (4.00)
    I have been saying these people are a cult for a long time.Many thought I was radical but I was simply conveying what I saw as a growing force. The right-wingers and the Christian right will go down in history as a cult.

    DR. MARGARET SINGER writes that a form of mind control is "THOUGHT REFORM = LANGUAGE + SOCIAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCE" and she says "When you attack a person's self-concept, aversive emotional arousal is created".

    Tell me this, have you seen this type of behavior lately?

    Adherents who become increasingly dependent on the movement for their view on reality;
    Important decisions in the lives of the adherents are made by others;
    Making sharp distinctions between us and them, divine and satanic, good and evil, etc. that are not open for discussion;
    Leader who claim divine authority for their deeds and for their orders to their followers;
    Leader and movements who are unequivocally focused on achieving a certain goal.
    The organization is willing to place itself above the law. This is probably the most important characteristic.
    The leader sets forth ethical guidelines members must follow but from which the leader is exempt
    The group is preparing to fight a literal, physical Armageddon against other human beings;
    The leader regularly makes public assertions that he or she knows is false and/or the group has a policy of routinely deceiving outsiders.

    James R. Lewis

  •   Jumpstarting Armageddon (4.00)
    "If Christian fundamentalists are to be believed, America's invasion of Iraq and the consequent brutal slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians in that country are all part of a grand divine plan that will finally culminate in the 'second coming' of Jesus Christ. Establishing an empire that will extend all over the globe, Christ will rule like a powerful monarch, saving those who believe in him and dispatching non-believers, all non-Christians and non-conformist Christians, to everlasting perdition in hell. This is no childish nonsense for millions of Christian fundamentalists, who sincerely believe this to be predicted in the Bible. Not surprisingly, American Christian fundamentalists are today among the most fanatic supporters of Bush's global imperialist wars, in Iraq and elsewhere, which they see as in keeping with the divine mandate. They are no eccentric or lunatic fringe elements, for today Christian fundamentalists exercise a powerful influence in American politics. Among them is George Bush himself,  who insists that the American invasion of Iraq has been sanctioned by God, with whom he claims to be in personal communication."
    •  Well (none)
      I'm guessing any unscrupulous political liar would claim his actions are "sanctioned by God" if he thought he could get away with it.

      The sad part is that Bush thought he could get away with it. And the even sadder part is that he was right.

      Bush wants war in the Middle East because of the oil. That seems like a big "duh" -- he's an oilman, from a family of oilmen.

      The fact that this ties into some wacky doomsday religious cult is just a bonus. A perfect storm of stupid ideas.

  •  Thomas Jefferson is the BOMB and (none)
    you wrote a great diary
  •  Theocracy (1.50)
    I think there is a confusion of terms here, as people are calling conservative Christians theocrats when they are not even in favor of a religious establishment.  A theocracy is a government directed either by God or priests in the interests of a single religion.  A state with an established religion (like the present-day United Kingdom or even Canada) gives official state favors to a particular denomination or religion.  Most American religious conservatives want neither of these things; they merely want to be able to bring their religious views into the public square. Remember, the Constitution does not explicitly seperate church and state; it merely forbids the establishment of a national religion.  It even allowed (until the adoption of the 14th amendment) individual states to have their own established religions.  After coining the phrase "seperation of church and state" in an 1804 letter to the editor(not a law), President Thomas Jefferson went to the United States Capitol to attend a church service.  The point is that informal religious expression is not prohibited by the Constitution and this is what religious conservatives are advocating in favor of.  Calling conservative American Christians theocrats is akin to calling liberals communists- it is a gross libel that will only inflame passions instead of contributing to rational dialogue and discussion between two political sides.
    •  Regarding President Thomas Jefferson (none)
      coining the phrase "separation of church and state."
      I got a coin in my hand right now with Jefferson on it, and right in front of his face are the words, "In God We Trust."
      I don't have a problem with it. But, what more do religious conservatives want?
      Please expain.

      -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

      by pat bunny on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:02:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Technically... (none)
      what the so-called "religious right" advocates is an implementation of theonomy, or as I call it using one of their terms, rule by a "oligarchy of godly men." It is the purging of those they deem ungodly and immoral from all levels of government and replacing them with people who both agree with their core position (namely, that their peculiar interpretation of the Bible be the basis of all governance and social interaction) and people who actively participate in church ritual as proof of their commitment. Those rituals include both in-church rituals, public professions of faith, and evangelistic/missionary activities.
    •  Leroy (4.00)
      are you familiar with the Yurica Report?

      Dominionist - theocrat - I don't think the diary author is that far off in using that term.

      There is a specific article you may want to check out, described as follows on the homepage of The Yurica Report (scroll down almost halfway)
      The Despoiling of America
      How George W. Bush became the head of the new American Dominionist Church/State
      by Katherine Yurica

      Most Americans have been aware that religious right Republicans have become extremely active politically in the last twenty years. But because we're Americans and we're mostly tolerant of other people's religious beliefs, their rise to power hasn't really troubled us. We should be troubled. There is now overwhelming evidence that conservative Christians set out to overthrow the government of the United States, dispense with our democracy, and institute in its place, a government ruled by Old Testament laws--including an expanded litany of death penalties. This article is not a conspiracy theory. It contains the legal elements required for the prosecution of any criminal or civil conspiracy in our nation. The proof is in this article. Don't miss this one.

      Editor's Note:
      Since the posting of "The Despoiling of America" on February 11, 2004, the Yurica Report has learned of two other articles, which when read with "Despoiling," add a deeper and more chilling layer to our report. Click here to go to an interview with Jeffrey Sharlet and click here to read Sharlet's original article at Harper's Magazine.
    •  "they merely want" (4.00)
      A theocracy is a government directed either by God or priests in the interests of a single religion.  A state with an established religion (like the present-day United Kingdom or even Canada) gives official state favors to a particular denomination or religion.  Most American religious conservatives want neither of these things; they merely want to be able to bring their religious views into the public square.

      A government can be directed, functionally and effectively, by and on behalf of specific religious interests even when there are no legally mandated religious tests or requirements for those who hold government offices, and no established state religion.  If you want to understand how this works,  check out the current state of affairs in Iran.

      Do those who object to hearing "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" merely want to be able to bring their religious views into the public square?  Do those who warn that God will punish a town for electing school board members who propose to teach Intelligent Design as religion rather than as science merely want to be able to bring their religious views into the public square?

      This "public square" you are talking about consists of those places that have been paid for with tax dollars of citizens past and present.  Those citizens past include certain of my ancestors who were religious dissenters.  They came to this nation to escape religious persecution -- by which they did not mean being subjected to hearing someone say "Happy Holidays."  No, what they meant by religious persecution included such things as being excluded from economic opportunities because their religious views were different from those of the majority.  It included things like teachers looking the other way while their children were bullied.  It meant things like being arrested and sent to jail for crimes they did not commit.

      These ancestors were Christians who believed that prayer should come from the depths of the heart and soul, and should be either silent or spoken only within the context of worship with fellow believers.  They were Christians who did not decorate Christmas trees or sing Christmas carols because they found these things inconsistent with their approach to worship.  I do not follow these customs of my ancestors, but I respect and agree with their desire to keep their tax dollars from being used to support or promote religious observances. Thus, even while I happily display religious holiday decorations on my own front lawn, I stand with those who oppose the placing of such displays in the public square.  Hier stehe ich, and I stand in solidarity with my ancestors, who merely wanted to worship as their conscience dictated in the privacy of their own homes and churches - and to allow others the freedom to do the same.

      I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

      by homeland observer on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 10:42:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  huh? (none)
      You may be right, given how much flex there is within the definition of "most religious conservatives". But based on what I've seen of them -- including miscellaneous polls -- your statement is a comical misrepresentation of what the religious right has been explicitly demanding for many years. Sure, we could randomly pick 50,000 of them, and put them in a stadium, and within days they'd be tearing each other apart over sectarian issues --- but that doesn't mean they don't want a theocracy. It just means they each want a theocracy close to their own cherished beliefs.

      They want prayer in schools. Not "a moment of contemplation", but an out-loud, explicit prayer to the God of Abraham and his Son, provided by school officials and community clergy. They want certain varieties of sinners stripped of their civil rights. They want to teach their theology in the public schools, funded with public money, or even better, they want public money to be directed to religious schools. (Which is what the Germans had, by the way.)

      They want a foreign policy based on their religious beliefs (no aid to organizations that offer contraceptive counseling; defend Israel at any cost).

      At every turn, they want public policies and institutions organized, not to accommodate their beliefs, but to force everyone else to live as if we shared their beliefs. Most recently, they are opposing the introduction of a vaccine that will prevent cervical cancer, on the grounds that it will encourage fornication. If you don't want to call it theocracy, fine ... but then it is incumbent on you to find another word to describe this particular brand of totalitarianism. Either way, my daughter is getting that vaccine -- or it is war.

      •  Rel (none)
        This is going to be vague, because as you point out we're talking about a widely disparate group of people but here it goes...

        "they want public money to be directed to religious schools"
        This would be a violation of the Establishment clause in that it would be providing a church with taxpayer money.  Nothing else you mention is.  Especially not "They want a foreign policy based on their religious beliefs"  Martin Luther King wanted a domestic policy based on his religious beliefs- and he fought for it.  If you disagree with Christian conservatives, fight them in the political process.  But everyone brings their values to their politics, and to single out one particular group to call theocrats because of it is not fair.

        •  it is not an easy distinction (none)
          Hmm. You think that school prayers in public schools would not violate the Establishment clause?

          I agree that our values inform our objectives, and that, since religious people take their values from their religion, it is essentially absurd to think you can neatly tease the two apart. My best effort at making that distinction revolves around the degree to which one's values are inflicted on others. In a pluralist society, some people will always be doing things other people don't like, and some government activities will always be violating somebody's sense of what is right and wrong.

          I am not sure there is a proper word for people who insist that everyone in society, and that all government action, be in sync with their particular values. Some might think that totalitarian fits, but that's a poor word to describe an extreme libertarian. However, there is a word for people who believe that everyone in society, and that all government action, be in sync with their particular religion-based values. And that word is theocrat.

          It's the difference between MLK and the prophet Elijah Muhammad. If you don't think there's a difference, fair enough: We differ.

    •  Leroy, don't be ridiculous. (none)
      You imply that Thomas Jefferson did not support a separation of church and state because he went to church.  From this you would like us to believe that separating god and government is an invalid reading of the constitution.  You could not be more incorrect.

      Jefferson was a primary architect of the protection of minority religions, currently non-Christian religions, by preventing the government from "establishing" a religion.

      You miss one very important nuance of the separation of church and state.  There is a difference between the "public square" and government operations.  No Kossack would try and prohibit the exercise of religion in the "public square."  In fact, we would fight for such an expression.  But the sidewalk or public park is not the same thing as compulsory public schools or a court of law.  If the difference is not obvious, then focus on power.  Schools mold minds and courts put people in jail.

      This mistake is the undercurrent of misunderstanding when Christian conservatives believe their religion is "under attack."  This country is the bulwark of religious expression and is the safest place in the world to worship, or not worship, how you please.  Jefferson, drawing from the philosophy of John Locke, paid attention to the historical evidence of devastation and persecution when one tries to inject religious theism into law.  It is impossible to legislate a person's conscience.

      And that is exactly what the radical right-wing so desperately desires.  See abortion and "intelligent design."

      Prayer in the schools and religious iconology in courthouses poses a danger that O'Connor warned against in Allegheny County v. ACLU.  By allowing governments to display overt preference for one religion over any other, the disciples of the other faiths receive the message that they are second-class citizens.  It is constitutionally impermissible to allow the government to reduce someone to a sub-class of American citizenry based on their faith.  Government has power that cannot be wielded based on faith because the rule of law is a rational system.  See John Locke.

      That is what Jefferson stood for.  Once you can grasp that, you can understand that his personal worshiping habits are irrelevant to the separation of church and state.

      •  TJeff and Seperation (none)
        "You imply that Thomas Jefferson did not support a separation of church and state because he went to church."

        No I didnt.  I said he went to a church service in the United States Capitol- the building that serves as the seat of the federal government.  If he believed in a strictly interpreted "seperation of church and state" he surely would not have been attending church services in a federal building.  Jefferson, more than most Founders, did believe in a seperation of church and state.  I was just pointing out that he may not have been as strict about it as you apparently are.
        But youre still missing the crux of my argument- Connecticut had an established religion until the 1820s and that was fine with the Constitution.  The Founders didnt want a national church, but they had no problem with religion in the public square.  They would not have seen prayer in schools or publicly posted Ten Commandments as threatening.  Yall are also ignoring the distinction between theocracy and establishment.  (Most) Christian conservatives seek neither, but they especially are not seeking a theocracy- they have no desire to limit anyone else's freedom to worship as they please.  

        •  Church + State = Godlessness (none)

          Executive Summary:  Christians are well-advised to keep the government at arm's length, lest they wind up offending God while their churches atrophy into ill-maintained shells.  

          First, here's Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists.


          Mr. President

          To messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

          Gentlemen

          The affectionate sentiments of esteem & approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful & zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more & more pleasing.

          Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

          I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

          (signed) Thomas Jefferson
          Jan.1.1802.


          Source

          The part in brackets was in his draft, and deleted so as not to offend members of his party.  Also, he may have attended services, but back then the Capitol was open for religious and nonreligious services and ceremonies (as it still is).  

          As Christians we are bound by the Great Commandment:

          (Matthew 22:37-40)

          37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  38) This is the first and great commandment.  39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

          We are also given the Great Commission, to make the Gospel (Good News) known throughout the world.  

          The problem with conflating Church and State is that Christian history after the Roman persecutions ended is full of violations of Matthew 22:39.  Even universal suffrage is not a sovereign cure:  a recent example in a Western democracy would be the Magdalene Laundries of Ireland, where women were incarcerated without due process and forced to work without pay, often enduring physical and sexual abuse as well.  Even Canadians (not always so nice) had their infamous mission schools busily abusing First Nations children in God's name under the Canadian Flags -- I suspect that many Christians believe that Hell was created for those who create Hell on Earth, and thus the Christians running those schools placed their immortal soul in danger.  

          And, when Church and State combine, the flock gets sheared (at best), scattered or slaughtered (a la Germany, twice).  The Lutheran Church in Germany cozied up to the Kaiser and too many German rectors caved to Hitler (who held out more baubles than Weimar Germany), so now West Germany is at 14% attendance, almost matching East Germany's 5% (after 40 years of a tyrannical state determined to erase religion) -- incidentally the Scandinavian countries with established churches tend toward 5-6% as well.  Maybe West Germany's dire levels of participation are aided by the church tax;  the churches get their cut even if people stay home.  The lesson here is that if the state wants to kill a church, marrying itself to the church can be as effective as adopting the most tyrannical manifestations of Officially Godless Communism.  horror source here  Fortunately the Franco marriage to the Catholic Church only dropped Spanish church attendance to 25%.  

          Even the Irish in the Republic are starting to stay away.  An RTE poll source    shows that only 50% of the Irish attend church weekly, down from mid-70s in a mere decade and 84% in 1990-91.  I believe that the pederasty scandals, the laundry scandals and a litany of other sins and crimes against the weak and helpless that the State helped the Church fall into began the purge.

          So when progressive Christians see elements of the Church and elements of the State dancing around each other -- they react as weathermen do when the orange circle and the blue circle side-by-side on the Doppler:  a twister is brewing and it's time to raise the alarm.  

          •  Establishment (none)
            I agree with most of this, but it has nothing to do with what I was saying.  I argued that most Christian conservatives DO NOT want an established church and especially not a theocracy.  They just want to be able to express their religion in the public square.  Attending church services in the Capitol building is akin to what modern Christian conservatives want- a venue in public places to express their religious beliefs, including the possibility of student-led prayers in school and extracirricular activities.  I have never met or read anyone who wants people to be horsewhipped for not attending the Episcopal church at least once a month (as happened under establishment in colonial Virginia).  Broad non-sectarian relgious expression is not the same as establishment is not the same as theocracy.  This was my argument, and by pointing out the dangers of establishment you have not really dealt with it.  Read my posts- I never advocate or say that anyone else advocates establishment- and one reason for this involves the many dangers you have listed
            •  "The Public Square" (none)

              Student-led prayer is protected by the Constitution, the Supreme Court and even the ACLU, as long as no other students are forced to attend or participate in it.  Student-led prayer groups also meet in public schools, since students may use school facilities for prayer meetings, provided that classes are not in session and other groups of students meeting for lawful, secular purposes are allowed the same access.  

              Student-led prayers at graduation, provided that a majority of students request them, are neither forbidden nor universally protected at the moment.  Some lower courts have said yes, but the Supreme Court has not decided yet.  (Of course, nothing stops the valedictorian from ad-libbing and throwing in an invocation, then calling in attack dogs from the ACLU or ACLJ should any consequences ensue...)  

              I suspect that we differ not over the utilization of the public square, but of the public purse.  As it stands, a town may not discriminate for or against any group that wants to put up its symbols on the public square.  It may not put up, at public expense, the symbols endorsing one religion.  

              A string of Supreme Court rulings allow manger displays as part of a larger display celebrating the season.  Christians on town councils waste no time in turning the reindeer and elves proffering presents toward the Christ Child -- perhaps a stronger Christian statement.  And nothing at all restrains private citizens, upset by Supreme Court "meddling", from purchasing and erecting Nativity scenes in their front yards.

  •  Tiger by the Tail (none)
    that's what it is, alright.

    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:05:09 AM PST

  •  I hope (4.00)
    what Democratic leaders take away from these debates is the fact that they cannot ignore the faith of the people anymore.  I've heard way too many Dem politicians get on TV and gloss over this everytime it comes up while Republicans get on the TV and sling it in all directions.

    Even if people aren't religious extremists, they still hear the "faith and morality" message and latch onto it without really thinking about what real backing is.  If you get a captive audience to the networks and keep telling them that 2+2=5, eventually they are going to start beleiving it.  Eventually people start thinking "maybe Christianity really IS under attack".

    I read the ADL article yesterday and applauded it.  I think it's about time that more people started standing up to say "You do not represent me, you do not represent my beliefs, and you most certainly do not represent this country."

    According to the CIA World Factbook: Protestants =  52%, Roman Catholics = 24%, Mormons = 2%, Jewish =  1%, Muslim = 1%, other = 10%, none = 10% (2002 est.)

    If you add up the Protestants, Catholics, and Mormons as all being based on Christianity, you are looking at 78%, 78.

    How can anyone possibly say that a 78% majority is UNDER ATTACK.  from what? anti Christian Leprechauns?

    Since Constantine I, the Edict of Milan in 313, and the Council of Nicaea in 325, Christianity has been the dominant and rising force is western religious culture.  From then until now the only serious threat to Christianity has been ITSELF.  And once again Mr. Dobson and his ilk are proving that again.

    Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  

    They can talk about Christian tradition all they want, as long as they realize that "tradition" means getting drunk with power (check), taking extreme views to control the people and extort money from them (check), going pretty much freakin insano (check), and then having people within your own group calling bullshit and smacking you right back down to earth taking a bunch of your "serfs" in the process (waiting).

    If there was ever a need for people to step up and nail a list of complaints to the door of Dobson's palace, the time is now.  Anybody got a hammer?

    •  HAHAHA (none)
      Anti-Christian Leprechauns!  Next time some Dominionist kook tried telling me how picked-on all the poor Christians are, I'm using that one.

      These fundies can be such professional victims.  I'm already working on a diary about that phenomenon.

      All your vote are belong to us

      by Harkov311 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:47:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the only possible answer! (4.00)
        78% Christian vs. 1% Jewish (no threat there)

        78% Christian vs. 1% Muslim (no threat there)

        78% Christian vs. 10% Other (considering the fact that this covers everything from Buddhists to Jedi Knights this is hardly a unified frontal assault)

        78% Christian vs. 10% None (Seriously, Athiests and people who think that it is no ones business what they believe in are hardly waging all out war against Christians.  If anything they are just happy to be left alone.  The only reason this group tends to speak up at all is because Christians keep shoving Jesus into their faces.  You can't provoke someone, have them tell you to stop, and then claim that you are under attack.)

        Anti-Christian Leprechauns are the only possible group that could be causing this level of mayhem.  That or gnomes, it's a toss up at this point.

        •  HAHAHA yet again (none)
          "since this group covers everything from Bhuddists to Jedi Knights, this is hardly a unified frontal assault."

          "That or gnomes, it's a toss-up at this point."

          Dude, you're giving Franken a run for his money.  I haven't laughed that hard at a political joke since I read the Hannity chapter of "Lies."

          All your vote are belong to us

          by Harkov311 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:19:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  But ya see... (none)
          the Victim Imperial Christians have re-stolen the stolen plans with the markup for the apostate X-wing and heathen Y-wing snub fighters to assault their Christian Death Star.

          Just remember this, The dogma exhaust port is rational-ray shielded, you'll have to use proton torpedoes...

          People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression: I hope it's gonna be alright... Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

          by rgilly on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 11:51:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  gnomes (none)
        1. Collect Christian underpants
        2. ?
        3. Profit.
    •  Anti-Christian Leprechauns Of The World Unite! (none)
      There a very powerful bunch.  The most singular sign of their power is that they've managed to convince almost everyone that they don't exist.

      In fact, they are the force behind the force behind the Bavarian Illumaniti.

      Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

      Pssst-- Wanna buy a map to a pot of gold?

  •  The whackjobs wagging the administration (none)
    ... only need to hold it together long enough until they ram through legislation or court decisions that take away people's ability to vote them out of power.
    .
    What they've been doing illegally all these years they're enshrining into law until the courts are safely stacked with ideologues replacing impartial judges and state-level whackjobs close off public access to constitutional protections.
    .

    Treason's Greetings to terrorist sympathizer and national disgrace Bill O'Reilly

    by Peanut on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:21:33 AM PST

  •  What Goldberg calls "philo-Semitic".... (4.00)
    .....might be just as accurately labelled "Abrahamocentric bigotry."

    The development of an Abrahamic "big tent" in US discourse can be observed in such phrases as "shared Judaeo-Christian values." In areas such as Detroit, with large numbers of Muslim voters, politicians who wish to pander to the shared prejudices of all three Abrahamic constituencies will speak of "shared Judaeo-Christian-Islamic values."

    It should be needless to say -- but sadly isn't -- that this formulation rests on the fundamental bigotry inherent in any notion that true ethical behavior necessarily derives from belief in the common deity of these three traditions, and its unstated corollary that Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, pagans, or any other group outside the Abrahamic big tent do not share our common values and, by definition, do not have a substantive basis for ethical conduct.

    At a time when the intra-family quarrels of Jews, Christians, and Muslims have become the flash points for terrorism, torture, illegal occupation, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in the global sphere, it is also critical to insist that leaders within these communities clearly and publicly renounce the notion that individuals and communities who are not part of their shared faith tradition are somehow less ethical, less worthy, or less deserving of full legal protection of their rights to freedom from Abrahamic religious imposition of any kind in the operation of their governments, their places of employment, or the free exercise of their rights of religious freedom, especially their right to freedom from religion.

    Most critically, Freedom from Religion, when meaningfully considered in the context of the First Amendment, must include freedom from having one's tax dollars used for US government support for the Establishment of Religion in client states.

    •  Will Herberg laid it out years ago (none)
      in "Protestant, Catholic, Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology".

      These were the accepted forms of religion in America, anything else was considered a cult or a mythology.

      SOCIAL SECURITY: Invented by Democrats yesterday, Protected by Democrats today

      by mollyd on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:08:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Traditional conservatives have a fix (none)
     for this whenever they show the guts to use it: leave the GOP and form their own party in coalition with the Democratic Party. By taking the New Englanders and a few others like McCain they could shift power in both houses of Congress. They would have more power to impact policy than they do now as an all-but-taken-for-granted minority in the GOP.

    Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton and even Nancy Pelosi are a lot closer than Bill Frist and Tom DeLay to George Will.

    Pipe dreams are not an exit strategy.

    by TrainWreck on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:26:16 AM PST

  •  Squeaky wheels get the media grease (none)
    It's a rule of thumb.

    But also, historically, when faced with a military conflict (or the advent of any major social policy change), you tend to have about 5 to 10 percent of the populace in favor of it, and about the same number violently opposed.

    That leaves something like 80 to 90 percent of the public that doesn't really give a damn one way or the other, as long as whatever it is doesn't affect them in any significant way.

    Let's take an example and see how this works in action - trust me, it's relevant to the diary. How about 10 Commandments plaques in courtrooms? On the one hand, you get the evangelicals going to the mat, demanding that we have this. Over on the other side, strict church 'n' state separatists file suit and battle the thing. Interest groups on both sides mobilize and picket and get on TV.

    The majority of citizens pretty much ignore all of this and go about their lives, which tend to be complex enough without getting enmeshed in messy religious-political strife - and beside, gotta get the tires rotated on the car, pick up the dry cleaning and get dinner together by 7, so who has time to call a senator anyway? Let alone knock on doors and file petitions.

    So the image we get in the media is one of crazed fundamentalists (like Dobson) vs. sterile atheists (e.g., removing "God" from the pledge of allegiance) and the majority considers this fringe activity. Now, as you correctly note, Glenn, things are starting to change because that complacent 80 percent is getting royally pissed off.

    The backwash is slipping under the doormat, and the effects of religious fundamentalism are getting hard to ignore. Expect a surge of moderate anger in '06 and plenty of Republican defeats. The GOP sees it coming already and the rats are making double-time for the docks.

    •  And the reason the complacent 80% (none)
      is getting royally pissed off is because NOTHING is getting done. NOTHING.

      The govt just seems to worry about stuff that the vast majority of people either don't care about or don't see as the govt's business.

      Schiavo was the final straw. That was a ploy to appease the right, pure and simple, and NOBODY in the complacent middle thought that the feds had ANY right to get involved. And it was totally BLATANT. Katrina as well - totally screwed up, and it shouldn't have been.

      Remember too -- that complacent middle is getting squeezed by taxes and healthcare, watching their kids go off to Iraq (multiple times), and seeing the rich get richer and richer while they can barely pay their bills.

      They ARE royally pissed. And for good reason.

  •  A question or two? (none)
    Hate to rain on any parades, and I, too, hope the Repub coalition of fundies, etc., splits into a million fragments.  But here is the rub, and hence my questions.

    Way back when the Southeast was in the Dem camp, guess what was the driving force?  Well, it was a mix of the black vote and the Christian fundie vote!

    Now, if the fundies split with the Repubs, will they try and realign with the Dems?  My guess, probably.

    Will the Dems buy that?  Don't know, but when it comes to expediency, it seems no party is strong on a long memory.

    And it makes me kinda nervous now that so many Dems have decided to publicly profess their religiosity!  Mind you, I think religion is fine, on a personal basis.  But these public displays of late?  Calculated to draw the uber Christians?  The fundies?

    Don't know, but it is a bit worrisome, I think.

    •  Agreed (none)
      Many may not remember that the Fundies were part of the Dem Party for a very long time. They had a large role in the Civil Rights Movement. My fevent hope is that we can put those folks out on the fringe where they belong and keep them there. Listen to their ideas, if they are good? Yes. But, make them a full partner? Absolutely not.

      Common Sense is not Common

      by RustyBrown on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 12:43:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  good post (none)
        They had a large role in the Civil Rights Movement.
        That is s a good observation.  Christian faith was a glue well used by leaders to create a workable coalition that crossed racial and economic lines.  

        My fevent hope is that we can put those folks out on the fringe where they belong and keep them there
        The reality is though that a national party needs to peel off a good number of these "fringe" votes to win in a big way.  Splitting the vote, at least, will do enough for the Democrats to rise back to sound control of Congress.

        Marginializing them long-term will only lead us back to where we are now.. the rest of both parities constituencies are so well fixed that there are very few blocks of votes that up for grabs, and this one of them.

        Listen to their ideas, if they are good? Yes. But, make them a full partner? Absolutely not.
        I think the problem is that this won't do; if they don't see themselves as getting the same attention as, say, the black vote or the women vote or pro-abortion vote they are going to refactionalize back to the GOP.

  •  The GOP's Unholy Alliance (none)
    Figuring that it could crack blue-collar rural neighborhoods (e3specially in the south) if they embraced the theocratic message, the GOP did just that in 1980.  Such was the force of Reagan's personality that he was able to placate them without really giving them much (although he did keep up a quixotic crusade to re-legalize school-led prayer).

    But now that the Gipper is gone, succeeded by a family of power-hungry sycophants (the Bushes) the GOP is being invaded by ever more theocrats, who demand (and are given) ever more power by the national party leaders.  The GOP sometimes pays a price for its close alliance with these groups (Jim Hunt defeated Robin Hayes for NC governor partly because of Hayes' Christian Coalition allies, and Kathleen Sebelius defeated Tim Shallenburger in KS for much the same reason).

    For a long time now, the GOP has believed that it could keep the theocrats quiet by throwing them an occasional ineffectual bone and hoping that'd be distracted till the next election.  But the GOP mad a mistake when it assumed these voters were its base.  They vote GOP out of a belief that their religion-based government will one day be enacted.  hThey vote GOP because they despise the equality-preaching Democrats, not because they love the Republicans' positions.

    Barry Goldwater warned the Republicans that there would one day be hell to pay for getting in bed with Falwell and company.  I don' even think it would be far-fetched to see the Republicans split into 2 parties (3/4 into the "secualar GOP," and 1/4 into a new "dominionist" party).

    The good news is that the public seems to be waking up to the interference of these groups in the government, and they don't like it.  I actually hope the GOP tries to salvage it's dominionist alliance.  It would make promoting the Democrats even easier.

    All your vote are belong to us

    by Harkov311 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 08:42:08 AM PST

    •  hmm (none)
      But the GOP mad a mistake when it assumed these voters were its base.

      That's just not true.  The GOP base is the religious right, for good or bad.  They vote and vote in reliable, high quantities, usually straight ticket.  In my home state the voting rate for this block approaches 85%, which is why despite being only 15-20% of the population they can dramatically tilt the landscape - when the liberal blocks come out at 40-60% rates to vote a sometimes mixed ticket it's not hard to see who comes out ahead.

      They vote GOP out of a belief that their religion-based government will one day be enacted.  hThey vote GOP because they despise the equality-preaching Democrats, not because they love the Republicans' positions.
      This really isn't it.  I know a lot of these types, and have never met a single one that wants a religious theocracy.  

      What they really want is to never have to deal with gays, never have to deal with outspoken minorities, and to be able to prosper.   It's a form of leave me alone bigotry.

  •  Very good comparison (none)
    between Bush and Tito, except Tito ruled with a tremendously strong individual power.  Bush is the imbecilic figurehead for a small cartel of wannabe Tito's led by Dick Cheney.

    Not to criticize -- I've often compared Bush to Stalin and Brezhnev, but the Tito comparison is, to my mind, far more apt.

  •  My wife and I run (none)
    Questions-for-Christians.com

    We don't put as much into as we should. We're way too busy. But this diary has prompted me to post some questions about the Seperation of Church and State that I've wanted to post for a while.

    Please go post some answers for Christians, Kossacks!

    Thanks for this great diary. I've wondered how long the Bushies could hold together their unholy alliance of neo-cons, corporate fascists, and theofascists, when the only thing they all really have in common is fascism.

    •  On the subject of questions for Christians (humor) (4.00)
      From another email list that I'm on... I'm slightly scandalized by it but it's funny in a black humor sort of way...
      Subject: Clarification needed...

      Dear President Bush,

      Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have learned a great deal from you and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them:

      1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not to Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

      2. If I wanted to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7, in this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

      3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

      4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

      5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

      6. A friend of mine feels that, even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there "degrees" of abomination?

      7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

      8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

      9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

      10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev. 24:10-16)? Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?

      I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

      Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
      Another friend I shared with this mused on whether the Leviticus stance on homosexuality was what prompted Paul's warnings since he was certainly a product of his culture and the teachings in Leviticus. Might certainly serve as an eye-opener to fundy Christians on the edge of "awakening" to see how many other 'commandments' American Christianity chooses to ignore.
  •  If anyone is going to do it... (none)
    I guess it will take non-fundies conservatives to fight the right-wing fundamentalists seeing as the religious left has been unable (unwilling?) to do so.
  •  Too little, too late (4.00)
    The time to jump the Bush ship is gone. Those SOBs kept all their criticism to themselves, until it was not convenient for them anymore: Bush is unelectable, his legacy is disatrous and anyone backing him sinks in the polls.

    The GOP gave legitimacy to the fundie right, now they should endure it's noxious effect in the polls.

    The Republican "values" are not for me: I'd rather be a sinful heathen than shun reality while condoning torture, stealing, treason and bigotry

    by lawnorder on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:37:16 AM PST

  •  First they came for the Atheists... (none)
    then they will come for the jews.

    And there will be no one left to stop them.

    How can Goldberg NOT remember the poem ?

    The Republican "values" are not for me: I'd rather be a sinful heathen than shun reality while condoning torture, stealing, treason and bigotry

    by lawnorder on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:47:59 AM PST

  •  Jonah Goldberg (none)
    I attended Goucher College for two years, immediately following Jonah's departure (graduation?) Note that this was about 14 years ago, and that I grew to dislike the school for other reasons. Through various actions of youth, I don't remember a great deal of detail from the time, particularly about someone who wasn't there at the time.

    So, with that in mind, IF my memory serves me right, Jonah was always a petty little pissant tyrant. Given my own political views at the time, I agreed with much of what I heard from those who knew him, but thought he was maybe a little extreme.

    If memory serves.

  •  The ADL is an awful organization (none)
    While their LONG overdue decision to take on their buddies in the Religious Right should be praised, let's not make the mistake that the ADL does anyone (except for Israelis) any good.

    The only substantive form of anti-semitism, that with a power structure and base, is that which is being spread by the Religious Right. This is of course an opinion that the good folks at the ADL would have me hung out to dry as an "anti-semite" for, assuredly.

    Through thick and through thin, through Falwell and Robertson and Dobson and so on and so forth, the ADL has been happy to just swallow the Right's money and praise for Israel, no matter how strange it seemed in the morning.

    Did they really wake up to chew their arm off from underneath the ugly, limp body of the Religious Right? Doubtful.

    The ADL will most likely continue to be first and foremost not concerned with anti-semitism as such, but more, painting critics of Israel as anti-semites while the real Jew-haters funnel funds into the ADL's swollen bank accounts and lip-service in the name of Israeli purity of arms, ideals and democracy into the hearts of all good American Zionists.

    Sorry, but fuck the ADL.

    "There's nothing new except for the history that you don't know."

    by krikkit4 on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 09:56:54 AM PST

    •  Critical (none)
      I am also critical of Foxman, who has been slow -- or refused -- to defend George Soros from accusations coming from the right that he is a "self-loathing Jew" and "foreign money-lender," etc., etc. and who has been more eager to solidify his relationship with Movement Conservatism.

      Guess what, Mr. Foxman?

      Movement Conservatism wants you dead.

      "When you starve the beast, you starve the people. And the bathtub was a reference to New Orleans." -- bink

      by bink on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 10:52:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Talibaning Of America (none)
    Is what all of this is.  

    These people can't be stopped.  They don't call them zealots without a reason.  

    One area I think the original article is wrong is the White House.  I truly think the White House and many GOP leaders in the Senate and Congress are right-wing Christian zealots.  

    The scary thing is not just them wanting the 10 commandments on the lawn of courthouses or teaching Christianity in schools.

    The scary thing with some of these people is they would like to see the facilitation of events to bring about the Apocalypse.  Read some of the true fanatics on this issue and you'll see what I'm talking about.

    They said it could never happen here; however, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing the equivalents of Dachu for liberals, democrats and non-believers....

    My new motto:
    I can't guess what Jesus would do; however, I have my doubts he would pull the lever for the GOP in an election....

  •  Prayer in school=Holy Grail for these folks (4.00)
    Living here amongst all the Evangelicals, THIS is truly the end game.  Yes, they are rabidly against abortion, but even THEY know that outlawing Roe v. Wade only makes it illegal in the South.

    On the other hand, prayer in public school, this is where it all starts.  Why?  How else are you going to be able to grow your Church?

    There are more Churches than gas stations in Memphis.  Churches are big, big business and they need support/$$$.  It is unreal the amount of marketing (not well intended Scriptural advice, mind you, but plain ol' 'hey, come join our CHurch' marketing) I get here.  

    The prayer in public school will allow them to proselytize 24/7...and that's when I move.

    I've always, always, always said the proper frame for Democrats on Religion is this:

    "We respect faith, ALL FAITHS, regardless of whether your Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic or Christian" (and yes, I'm aware I said Catholic and Christian - that's precisely the wedge we need).  So much so, that we don't want those in the minority faith to feel oppressed and intimidated.  That's why we support the separation of Church and State."

    Only the Dominionists portion of the Evangelical set will take umbrage at the above statement.  And that's precisely what we want: 'moderate' Evangelicals and moderate in general vs. the 'us vs. those heathens' Dobsonites.

    The cracks are showing.  The Rabbis start denouncing Dobson, Falwell and Roberts, those 3 have to either backtrack or watch people recoil in horror as they realize just how looney these 3 individuals are.

    •  Hello YankeeinMemphis (none)
      Fellow Memphian here....but life long one.

      You are 100% correct in your assessment of religion here in Memphis.  Your statement about  ".....Catholics or Christians.." is right on target.

      Also,as a recovering Baptist I can tell you that you have hit the nail on the head with your analysis of the mega churches.

      The atmosphere here is so much more poisonous than it was in the 50's-60's when I grew up.  I was so relieved to see the progress (I thought) we made in the 60's-70's...and now to see us regress to worse than it was is frightening.

      MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: IRAQ IS BROKEN

      by martik on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:03:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  against right-wing theocrats (none)
    Specifically referring to the title, let me promote again what we are doing in eastern Indiana against our own right wing theocrat, Congressmanand RSC Chairman Mike Pence.

    Running against him is Methodist Minister Barry Welsh, who has been attacking (telling the truth) about Pence for a few months now and is definitely gaining momentum. The right-wing is definitely worried, a "Baptist minister" called Barry the other day an threatened to get the IRS on his church unless he withdraws from the race. (Sound familiar?)

    The Welsh campaign is also working on getting candidates for House races, and specifically against members of the Republican Study Committee, 99 of the most ultra-conservative wingnuts nationwide. The RSC, specifically, are the right wing theocrats in the House, and we need to defeat as many of the as possible. They are also the main group pushing for massive budget cuts (while also for making the tax "cuts" permanent).

    As of this writing there are still 48 vacant races against these people. We have created a sub-site of our site devoted to this, including maps and Excel compatible data, located here

    Polls on this site and other blogs suggest that nearly 80% of us still do not know who the RSC are. I suggest if this topic is important to you, please inform yourself about this very red group of House GOP, and take up the cause to defeat one or more of them.

  •  It's the Martyr Complex (4.00)
    Christian fundamentalists like to imagine that they and their beliefs are under attack because it makes them martyrs for Christ. Martyrdom, even if it's only imaginary, is the surest way to heaven. Anyone who disagrees with them is persecuting them. They expect this and even welcome it. It only serves to prove the strength of their faith.

    It is virtually impossible to offer any constructive criticism of Christian fundamentalism because it is immediately perceived as an attack upon their beliefs.

  •  Reverend Barry Welsh for Congress links (none)
    The Barry Welsh for Congress website

    50 State Strategy website highlighting Dem-vacant house races, and the Republican Study Committee.

    Sorry, I programmed the links wrong in the last post.

    Now why can't we edit comments?

  •  a suggested read (none)
    In the current issue of Vanity Fair (Dec. 2005) there is an article by Craig Unger, author of "House of Bush - House of Saud." The article is called "American Rapture" and it addresses the underlying bond between the Christian Right and Jewish organizations.
    I highly recommend the article, even though this movement of these evangelicals seems even more frightening than even I knew. I had never heard of Tim LaHaye and once you meet him you will wish you never had either.
  •  Excellent diary Glen (none)
    I only wish we would see the kind of bravery demonstrated by the ADL with other orginizations and leaders.

    The courage to call a spade a spade.  If Goldberg is resorting to such conspicuous threats then I agree with you.  It's time for this battle to begin.  For the sake of our country.

  •  George Will has never been right about anything (none)
    Usually, he is just pointing out the wrongs of others.  The man has never had an original thought or idea.  

    "The cravat should accentuate the loins, not the ears"

    Attribution Unknown

  •  To begin with, (none)
    Christian conservatives were never the friedns of the Jews---they only support Israel's right to exist becasue there must be a Jewish Nation for the prophecies of Revelations to come through. MANY of these folks  fitmly beelive we are int he End Times right now.  While they support  israel, quite a few (one bro-in-law, and ex-bro-iun-law, both good evangelicals)are actually deeply anti-Semitic

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 12:22:38 PM PST

  •  IF THERE'S WAR, HERE ARE SOME VOLLEYS: (none)
    TELL YOUR SENATORS: STOP ALITO:

    http://petition.savethecourt.org/...

    AND WHILE YOU'RE AT, SIGN PLANNED PARENTHOOD'S PETITION, TOO:

    http://www.ppaction.org/...

    AND DON'T FORGET: URGE CONGRESS TO SUPPORT PLAN B:

    http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/...

     

  •  2,000 years in the making (none)
    that's how long the christians have been preparing for this day.  Evangelicals in this country believe their ideology far outweighs these quaint, recent notions of democracy and the American Constitution.  Their dream can be traced all the way back to the maniacal teachings and imperialist machinations of a certain man named Paul the Apostle.

    This is why I fear this conflict will never be settled with legislation or political discourse.

    Baldric, you wouldn't know a cunning plan if it painted itself blue and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "cunning plans are here again!"

    by Magnus Greel on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 02:55:17 PM PST

  •  I have this recurring image of Jonah Goldberg (none)
    and his ilk digging their fingernails into their GOP ideological ground to the point where their nails are peeled back and bloodied as the tide of public opinion washes them away.  Pretty vivid huh?  But I can't help imagining them holding on for dear life.  Their world is crumbling around them.  Thank goodness.
  •  The Bush Davidians (none)
    I've felt that the only way to explain this creepy adherence we've seen the last few years has been to think of it as a cult. It certainly fits all of the characteristics. Today, I heard Ed Schultz refer to them as Bush Davidians and I think that's perfect.

    We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

    by kainah on Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 04:30:01 PM PST

  •  I say we send an email campaign to George Will (none)
    see my diary on it here.  Let's do it!
  •  GOP coalition is exhausted (none)
    People like George Will are looking ahead to what would happen in 2008 if the GOP runs another candidate like GWB who aims to keep the coalition of christian moralists, neocons,  and economic libertarians together. It's really a tough coalition. If Will is calculating that a GOP candidate like Giuliani can beat any Democratic opponent, even at the expense of losing the votes of many of the christian moralists who would sit the election out because of Giuliani's social positions and character flaws, then better start sending the message now to those moralists that they need to join in or get out of the way in 2008.
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