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Member since: Sat Jul 3, 2010, 12:24 PM
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How Christian Fundamentalism Feeds the Toxic Partisanship of US Politics

When evangelicals attack 'the gay agenda' of an anti-bullying event in schools, something is sick in America's religious culture

October 29, 2012 | Mix It Up at Lunch Day is one of those programs that just seems like a nice thing to do.

The idea is that on one day of the school year, kids are invited to have lunch with the kind of kids they don't usually hang out with: the jocks mix with the nerds, lunch tables are racially integrated, et cetera. Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of their Teaching Tolerance division, it arose out of a broad effort to tackle the problems of bullying in the schools and bigotry in society – and it appears to have been effective in breaking down stereotypes and reducing prejudice. Over 2,000 schools nationwide now participate in the program, which is set to take place this year on 30 October.

You can argue about how permanent its effects are, or whether other approaches might be better, but the idea of making new friends in the lunchroom seems utterly benign. Right?

Wrong, as it turns out – at least, according to the American Family Association, a radical rightwing evangelical policy group. Mix It Up at Lunch Day is, in fact, part of "a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools," according to the AFA literature . The program "is an entry-level 'diversity' program designed specifically by SPCL (sic) to establish the acceptance of homosexuality into public schools, including elementary and junior high schools," warns the AFA website. "See if your child's school is on the list."


The far right 's fixation on same-sex relationships is so ludicrous that it defines a sub-category of camp. But let's take a step back for a moment. The big question, the one that keeps coming back in every one of these skirmishes in the culture wars, is: why is the loudest religion in American politics today so much about hate?


It is, IMO, the failure of more liberal believers to stand up, speak out, and marginalize the right-wing zealots that is enabling them to have so much power. Sure, there are a few progressive churches and groups that do, but it is the general apathy displayed by not-right-wing-zealot-believers that exacerbates this issue.

If Karl Marx was correct, and religion is opiate for the masses, then one can understand how hard the habit is to kick. But kick it we must.

Why the Protestant Work Ethic Is a Menace to Society

Good riddance to a religious approach that preached salvation through constant hard labor.

October 24, 2012 | Two weeks ago Pew Research pinpointed an historic threshold: for the first time only 48% of Americans deemed themselves Protestant. Yes, the dominant majority since Puritan days has shrunk to minority status, alongside (one trusts) its perennial double: the White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant ruling class.

With the Protestant hegemony fading, let us project a similar demise for the simplistic, planet-threatening credo known as the "Protestant Ethic." That triumphant code consecrates hard work, prosperity and control over nature, complacently measuring progress by net profit and GNP numbers. Here's a conviction that unifies our two parties in love with the status quo, along with reactionaries and fundamentalists everywhere. For all proclaim the Divinity of Hard Work, that Hard Work Conquers All, even that Work is Salvation, as both sign and vehicle of "exceptionalism" and personal deliverance.

For the hard right, does not the magic of hard work resolve crime, poverty, racial inequality, family shortcomings, economic stagnation and phantom enemies far and wide? The solution to all hard knocks, these hard people say, is hard work, the anvil for human destiny -- and beyond. Gee, what happened to one-time, theoretical promises of greater leisure time?

Certainly Yanks celebrate that savvy American, Benjamin Franklin, who elevated thrift, industry, and tenacity; or as he put it, "Energy and persistence alter all things." But today's ideological folly distorts the context of birthright, namely background, gender, education, and family assets. Thus schoolchildren still endure injunctions to "keep your nose to the grindstone" (ouch), "there is no substitute for hard work" (Thomas Edison), and my favorite, "hard work never killed anyone" ("but why take the chance," quipped witty Edgar Bergen).


Christian group fights Texas for banning ‘Vote the Bible’ shirt at polls

A Christian group in Texas is threatening to file a formal complaint with the Attorney General’s office because a woman who lives near Austin was forced to cover up her “Vote the Bible” T-shirt after election officials suggested that it could be construed as illegal electioneering.

In a complaint to the Williamson Country Election Administrator, Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz said that Ms. Alva “Kay” Hill was told that her shirt “may be offensive” because it was an implicit suggestion to “vote Republican.” Texas Election Code § 85.036 states that “a person may not electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party in or within 100 feet” of a polling place. Hill was permitted to vote after an election worker gave her a jacket to cover up the T-shirt.

Saenz is now demanding that the Williamson Country Election Office release a public statement that “Vote the Bible” T-shirts are allowed in polling places, inform poll workers and publicly apologize to Hill for the “embarrassment, humiliation and intimidation.”

But Williamson County Public Affairs Director Connie Watson told KTBC that poll workers were simply following Texas election law.

Raw Story (http://s.tt/1rxat)


Until liberal believers take the lead and start marginalizing the religious zealots...
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