Posts Tagged “american family association”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal waves with a Bible in his hand, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2015, in Baton Rouge, La. Gov. Jindal continued to court Christian conservatives for a possible presidential campaign with a headlining appearance at an all-day prayer rally hosted by the American Family Association. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman, via Washington Post)Louisiana’s Republican governor Bobby Jindal — a fierce Religious Rightist, if not an outright Christofascist — led a prayer revival yesterday at Louisiana State University. As the Washington Post explains, it’s a strong indication that he plans to run for president in 2016 (WebCite cached article):

Skipping an Iowa event that drew a number of 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls in favor of a controversial Louisiana prayer rally, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) called for a national spiritual revival and urged event attendees to proselytize on behalf of their Christian beliefs.

Jindal had insisted the day-long evangelical event hosted by the American Family Association on the campus of Louisiana State University was a religious and not political gathering. And, indeed, his 15-minute long remarks to the group consisted entirely of a highly personal testimony about how he had come to his Catholic beliefs. Jindal was raised by Hindu parents but converted to Catholicism in high school.

But Jindal’s keynote address at the event came as he has been courting Christian conservatives in advance of a possible run for president, meeting with pastors in the early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Former Texas governor Rick Perry hosted the same event, known as “The Response,” in 2011, just before announcing he was running for president.

The Bobster’s revival meeting didn’t go unnoticed by others, as the Post reports:

The event drew protests outside the basketball arena where several hundred were gathered because of accusations that the American Family Association promotes discrimination against gays and is hostile to non-Christians. Jindal briefly referred to the protests in his appearance, asking the rally’s attendees to pray for the demonstrators.

Ah. The old “I’ll pray for you” thing hurled at those who refuse to believe. I’m sure he knows this is an insulting tactic, even if it sounds all compassionate and shit. Well played, Bobby! Well played.

The Bobster even included a gratuitous little story which likely reflects how he intends to inject his fierce, dogmatic religionism into government:

Jindal recalled a girl in high school who said she wanted to grow up to be a Supreme Court justice, so she could “save innocent human lives” from abortion.

He put these words in the mouth of someone else, but this tale illustrates how he views participating in government. And that’s not to uphold the laws that are written, as they’re written, but instead to wrench and manipulate them to coincide with the Almighty’s dictates, whatever he thinks those are, and without regard for what those laws actually say.

Not that the Bobster really cares much, but here’s my response to his “response”:

Gov Jindal, if you think the country needs more God, then start with this one American: Track me down and make me turn to your God. I dare you. If it’s mandatory for all Americans to do so, then what reason would you have not to do it? Go ahead. I invite you to try your best — if you dare. Should you not do this, to me or to any other insolent non-believer, then I must presume that Americans turning to your deity can’t actually be as imperative as you said it is. That would demonstrate your cowardice, not to mention your hypocrisy — which, for supposedly-dutiful Catholics such as yourself, was explicitly forbidden to you by the founder of your own religion.

One last observation: The irony of a Roman Catholic leading a Protestant-style prayer revival — sponsored by a Protestant group — is especially precious. By leading an event of this kind, the Bobster openly admits he needs to curry the favor of devout Protestants, especially of the evangelical variety. But in the end, they’re his ecclesiastical enemies, not his friends. Just as America’s Catholic bishops have done, he’s forging what, ultimately, can only be called an unholy alliance. Should he get elected and start bending the country toward the Christocracy he wants, eventually he and his fellow Catholics will end up in evangelicals’ crosshairs. Many of them consider Jindal’s Church “the Whore of Babylon” mentioned in Revelation. A lot of those evangelicals would happily throw “Mary-worshipping papists” like Jindal into the flames of eternal perdition, if ever given the chance. Just saying.

Photo credit: AP Photo / Jonathan Bachman, via the Washington Post.

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crying baby leoOne of the things I go into at length, in my page on scriptures that Christians love to ignore, is Jesus’ injunction against his followers judging others. He was very clear and specific on the matter, yet Christians have, historically, refused to obey this explicit instruction. Christianity’s history is a long chronicle of Christians judging other Christians … and non-Christians … adversely, and often coming to blows over it. It’s not as though they aren’t aware of this teaching; what they’ve done is to rationalize it away so as to grant themselves license to judge, even though they’ve been ordered not to.

An example of precisely this sort of rationale was offered by the AFA’s Bryan Fischer. He objects to people he calls “secular fundamentalists” and “Leftists” using this injunction against dutiful Christianists like himself (WebCite cached article):

Leftists think it’s [i.e. Matthew 7:1] their trump card. Anytime a social conservative expresses criticism of, say homosexual behavior, the secular fundamentalist throws the “judge not” card on the table, declares game over, and smugly dares his vanquished opponent to breathe another word.

Here’s the problem. A leftist cannot use that argument without condemning himself.

If judging other people is wrong, then, to personalize it, he has no moral right to judge me, which is exactly what he is doing by condemning me for criticizing deviant sexual behavior.

His whole argument is predicated on his mindless conviction that passing moral judgments on other people is, well, immoral. But then he is guilty of the very thing of which he charges me.

Fischer even conjures up a laughable, imagined dialog with his own personal version of a “Leftist” in support of his contention.

His problem is, his entire argument is predicated on a straw man. He assumes that “secular fundamentalists” (aka “Leftists”) are under the same injunction that he is. The problem: They very well might not be! Jesus’ order to his followers not to judge others, by definition does not include non-Christians, who increasingly make up a larger proportion of America’s ideological Left (or what Fischer refers to as “secular fundamentalists,” whatever that might mean).

I concede that any Christians within the ideological Left would, of course, be subject to the same injunction Fischer and all of his fiercely Rightist co-religionists are. But given that Fischer is complaining about “secular fundamentalists” and equating them with “the Left,” he’s referring to a larger group than just liberal Christian believers, a group that would have to include non-Christians. Some of Fischer’s critics to whom he’s responding are not subject to Jesus’ injunction against judging others, and are allowed to judge him negatively — and simultaneously inform him that he’s violating Jesus’ teachings.

Fischer didn’t use it, but some Christians cite another scripture passage as an evasion:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

This passage is an admission that it’s sometimes necessary for Christians to correct each other. However, it clearly contradicts what Jesus said on the subject. And it’s not a “clarification” of what Jesus taught, because it’s not worded that way. No part of 2 Timothy says anything along the lines of, “Jesus did teach us not to judge one another, but sometimes you need to admonish and correct others, and when you do, Scripture will help you do it.” It’s not in there … at all. But even if 2 Timothy did say that, we’d still end up with Jesus on the one hand teaching one thing, and the author of 2 Timothy (which, in spite of Christian tradition, was not written by Paul), who says another.

At any rate, if Fischer, or any other Christian, objects to being told s/he isn’t supposed to judge anyone else, too bad. It’s their religion, they picked it, and that’s what it teaches. If they don’t like it, they either need to alter their religion and its scripture so it teaches something else, or leave the religion and find another. This problem is entirely between Christians and their God.

Photo credit: storyvillegirl, via Flickr.

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'One Nation, Under God: Remember, if you don't believe in God, you're not a REAL American. Keep prayer and God in school, where they belong!' / Image © Austin Cline, Licensed to About; Original Poster: University of GeorgiaThe massacre that happened here in my home state of Connecticut — nearly the worst school shooting in the country’s history — occurred only 10 hours ago as I type this (WebCite cached version). Police and medical examiners are still on the scene, and not all the bodies have even been removed from the building. Yet the wing-nut Christofascist Bryan Fischer, one of the gauleiters of the militant Christianist American Family Association, saw fit to declare why 28 people (at the latest count), including 20 small children, had to die. Would you believe, it’s because Newtown’s public schools don’t begin their days with prayer?

Yes folks, that’s right. God allowed 28 people to be slaughtered in one school, because its denizens don’t pray to him every morning. I’m sure you don’t believe me, but it’s true. Right Wing Watch reports — based on primary source material — what Fischer said (cached):

Bryan Fischer spent the first hour of his radio program today discussing this morning’s truly horrific shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, which he, of course, blamed on the fact that prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments are not taught in public schools.

Fischer said that God could have protected the victims of this massacre, but didn’t because “God is not going to go where he is not wanted” and so if school administrators really want to protect students, they will start every school day with prayer

I’m not asking you to believe either Right Wing Watch, or me. Go ahead and see it for yourself, the Youtube video is available right here:

I won’t bother waiting for the movement of “good” Christians outraged enough by Fischer’s vile, putrid stench to rise up and drive him off the air and force him into obscurity. There aren’t enough “good” Christians in the US with the fortitude to take him on. What few of them remain, will take the cowards’ way out, and whine, “Well, he doesn’t speak for me,” as though that settles it.

But it doesn’t.

Christians, your religion belongs to you. And Bryan Fischer claims to speak for it. If you object to vicious, hateful pricks like him claiming to be your religion’s spokesmen, then it’s up to you to do something about it. If you won’t respect your own religion enough to police it and shut down asshats like Fischer, then you can’t expect outside observers such as myself to respect it, or you for believing in it. It just won’t work.

My guess is, none of you will do anything about him. And sadly, that’s all I need to know.

Update 1: Fischer isn’t the only Christofascist who won’t even wait until the bodies are cold, to use this horrific event as a bludgeon to pound their fierce, unrelenting religionism into people. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports, Mike Huckabee spewed the same bile on Fox News (cached):

Americans should blame their schools, and removal of God from the classroom, for Friday’s murders of schoolchildren in Connecticut, according to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate who is now a pundit and host on Fox News. …

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be surprised that schools would become places of carnage?” …

“We’ve made it (school) a place where we don’t talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability — that we’re not going to have to be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know holy God in judgment,” said Huckabee.

Expect more, not less, of this kind of ridiculous chatter in the days to come.

Update 2: It turns out I was right, when in my last update on this, I said we should expect more of this kind of crap. Eric Hovind, the Creationism-spewing son of militant Creationist Kent Hovind, posted this little gem on Twitter yesterday (cached):

Are you happy now that the shooter grew up in a school without God?

We can add Hovind to the list of “Jerks for Jesus” using this event to promote their Christofascism.

Photo credit: Austin Cline, Licensed to About; Original Poster: University of Georgia

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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Pietas; Note the cross used to denote 'Piety'Texas governor Rick Perry would like to succeed his predecessor, George W. Bush, as the country’s next evangelical-in-chief. He’s a bit more of a Christofascist than Bush was (but not by much), having done things such as to order all of the people of his state — religious or not — to pray for rain. He’s also done some other extreme, but not quite so religious, things as to threaten the secession of Texas if his personally-desired policies were not enacted in Washington (WebCite cached article).

The hyperreligious Perry has decided to give his own “Response” to the country’s ongoing recession and the breakdown of national politics. The Washington Post reports this day-long religious revival is every bit as grandiose and sanctimonious as one expects from a guy like him (cached):

The GOP 2012 presidential nomination contest so far has centered almost exclusively on economic issues: the major candidates blasting President Obama for increasing the federal budget deficit and criticizing one another’s records on health care and job creation.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who is expected to announce his presidential candidacy in the next few weeks, will start to change that on Saturday, by hosting a day of prayer and fasting in Houston dubbed “The Response.”

Attendees from Texas and across the country will gather at a pro football stadium to ask for “God’s forgiveness, his wisdom and his provision for our state and nation,” according to Perry’s video invitation. …

Perry says the day is inspired by the words of the Old Testament book of Joel, in which the prophet calls on the Hebrew people to pray, fast and ask for God’s forgiveness. The Texas governor argues that America similarly needs to ask for God’s help today because it is a “nation in crisis.”

“We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters,” Perry writes on the event’s Web site. “As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.”

Perry can’t help but do this, you see, because in his eyes, America isn’t godly enough. About the only thing he hasn’t done is to declare explicitly that the recession and political breakdown is a punishment imposed on the country by a God who’s enraged that the people aren’t praying hard enough and aren’t sufficiently evangelical Protestant for his taste. But not to worry … by the end of this hours-long event, Perry may well have veered close to saying something like that.

I note that this huge event is precisely the sort of “public piety” that — as I’ve blogged previously — the founder of Perry’s own religion, Jesus Christ himself, explicitly and clearly ordered his followers never, ever to engage in. In case Gov. Perry or any other militant Christians out there aren’t clear on this, I will repeat here Jesus’ own words as reported in the gospel according to Matthew (emphasis mine):

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-6)

So you see, by establishing this event and acting as its emcee, the righteous Perry is actually disobeying the bedrock principles of his own claimed religion! I must congratulate the Governor for providing this sterling example of the intellectual, moral and spiritual bankruptcy of his own religion as it’s widely practiced in the US. Great job, sir. Just wonderful. I can’t possibly have asked for better!

The separation of church and state issues implied by Perry’s “Response” haven’t gone unnoticed, and have been widely mentioned, for example in this CNN Political Ticker article that suggests the poor response to the “Response” may be explained by SOCAS considerations (cached). Another facet of Ricky-boy’s “Response” which hasn’t gone unreported is that its sponsor is the American Family Association, about whose absurd and extreme pronouncements I’ve blogged a number of times, and who’ve been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. My bet is that the Rickster doesn’t really care what sorts of hatemongers and freakish lunatics he’s hanging around with … as long as they help him get people before his pulpit and are willing to beat the drum of his kind of Christofascism, they’re probably just fine by him.

Not that he or anyone else cares, but my own Agnostic response to Perry’s “Response” is: If you, Gov. Perry, or your Jesus, or anyone else for that matter, demands that I — as an American — must pray with you, then you’re just going to have to make me do so. If it’s as imperative a thing as you claim it is, Governor, then you have absolutely no reason not to do your utmost to wring compliance out of me (even if I’m not a resident of Texas, because as you’ve designed it, this is a national event).

Go ahead, Governor. I dare you; you have no reason — based on your own beliefs — not to. Come on, make me pray with you.

Photo credit: scazon.

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Siege of Damascus, second crusadeThe militant Christofascists at the American Family Association continue their crusade to force the entire planet to worship their Christianist religion, their way. One of this group’s leading lights, Bryan Fischer, has declared that First Amendment protections do not apply to Muslims in the US (WebCite cached article):

The First Amendment was written by the Founders to protect the free exercise of Christianity.

That’s a curious claim, because the words of that Amendment say nothing of the sort. In fact, its words apply to any and all religions. It’s true that the various Christian denominations were pretty much the only religions in the infant United States, but if the Founders’ had intended to protect only Christianity and no other religion, they certainly could have written it that way. Instead, they referred simply to “establishment[s] of religion,” which they must have been aware could include religions other than Christianity. Note also that the relevant portion of the First Amendment is known as “the Establishment Clause,” not “the Christian Clause.”

Not content with this asinine claim, though, the Neocrusading Fischer thunders on:

Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy.

Fischer goes on to complain about what he snidely calls “the Religion of Peace,” but proves himself a poor ambassador of “the Religion of Love.” Way to go, guy. Keep it up. Continue to live down to all my expectations of militant Christian fundamentalists.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Muslim Brotherhood EmblemAccording to Franklin Graham, son of the world-famous preacher Billy Graham, the Obama administration is in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood and has saturated the US government with its vile Islam-loving and Christian-hating agents. We know this is true, because … well, he says so, and because his media outlet of choice, Newsmax, is reporting it (WebCite cached article):

The Muslim Brotherhood, with the complicity of the Obama administration, has infiltrated the U.S. government at the highest levels and is influencing American policy that leaves the world’s Christians in grave danger, warns internationally known evangelist Franklin Graham.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is very strong and active here in our country,” Graham tells Newsmax. “We have these people advising our military and State Department. We’ve brought in Muslims to tell us how to make policy toward Muslim countries.

Note that this isn’t really a new allegation; the American Family Association made a similar claim about a year ago — about the US military — after the Pentagon disinvited the younger Graham from its National Day of Prayer event.

Graham’s “evidence” for this, is the following:

A new report from the Roman Catholic aid agency Aid to the Church in Need supports Graham’s contention that the persecution of Christians world­wide has worsened exponentially in the past few years.

According to the report, Christians face increased suffering in 22 countries around the world, with Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Nigeria being among the worst countries to be a Christian in today.

Even if this report were true, it still does not prove that Barack Obama has allowed a cabal of Muslim Brotherhood adherents to infiltrate the US government and ceded control to them. What I can say is that Christians are guilty of no small amount of persecution, themselves, so Graham hardly has the “moral high ground” to stand on.

Generally speaking, I find paranoid conspiracy theories like this one amusing … if only because so many people buy into them, in spite of such little evidence that they’re true. In some cases the lack of evidence is, perversely, viewed as being evidence itself; i.e. “If this conspiracy existed, of course, they’d make sure no evidence of it was available, so a lack of evidence is precisely what we’d expect!” The illogic of this just shows how abysmally ignorant people are. It’s as though they walked around with neon signs that say “Idiot”!

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum at Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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08KKKfamilyPortraitThe Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights organization that began its life by litigating desegregation cases, has doggedly tracked “hate groups” around the country for a couple of decades. It’s best-known for having tracked white-supremacist groups, but recently, the SPLC applied its definition of “hate group” to some Religious Right organizations and churches. Here is their list, which includes specific reasons why they’ve designated each as “hate groups” (WebCite cached article). The full list of 18 is as follows:

  1. Abiding Truth Ministries

  2. American Family Association

  3. Americans for Truth About Homosexuality

  4. American Vision

  5. Chalcedon Foundation

  6. Christian Anti-Defamation Commission

  7. Concerned Women for America

  8. Coral Ridge Ministries

  9. Dove World Outreach Center

  10. Faithful Word Baptist Church

  11. Family Research Council

  12. Family Research Institute

  13. Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment

  14. Illinois Family Institute

  15. Liberty Counsel

  16. MassResistance

  17. National Organization for Marriage

  18. Traditional Values Coalition

Some of these are localized groups, but some others have a national presence and are politically influential — especially with the 2010 elections which will put the House of Representatives into the hands of a number of Congresspersons who’re basically automatons doing the work of these outfits. I’ve also blogged on the antics of some of these outfits; ordinarily I’d provide links to all of them, but they’re too numerous for me to do that (I blogged a half a dozen times or more on the Qur’an-burners at the Dove World Outreach Center alone).

The SPLC has basically thrown them into the same bin with a whole raft of other types of “hate groups” which most people would recognize as such: the Aryan Nations, Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, etc.

The Religious Right is, of course, outraged about this; see e.g. this Christian Post story (cached article). (As though that’s news … I mean, aren’t they always outraged over something? Their stock in trade is “outrage.” If they ever stopped being outraged, they’d cease to exist.)

Well, boo-fucking-hoo hoo, people. If the shoe fits — or in this case, if the definition of “hate group” applies — then wear it. In other words, if you don’t want to be condemned, then stop condemning other people. See how easy that is?

Hat tip: Little Green Footballs.

Photo credit: Image Editor.

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