Posts Tagged “religiofascist”
It turns out that more than one GOP Senate candidate opposes separation of church and state and believes it to be unconstitutional — even though a long sequence of Supreme Court decisions has decided that it is. The latest Christofascist to make this declaration is Ken Buck, who’s running for US Senate from Colorado, as the Washington Post reports (WebCite cached article):
Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck has questioned the separation of government and religion, drawing criticism from Democrats who last week chided another tea party candidate for the same view.
Buck’s opponents have been circulating a clip of him from a 2009 GOP forum in which he won applause from a conservative crowd at Colorado Christian University when he said the Constitution doesn’t require church and state to be separate.
“I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state. It was not written into the Constitution,” Buck said on the video. “While we have a Constitution that is very strong in the sense that we are not gonna have a religion that’s sanctioned by the government, it doesn’t mean that we need to have a separation between government and religion.”
As with Christine O’Donnell, who spewed similar views during a debate, Buck’s campaign is defending his words:
Buck hasn’t said anything public recently about the issue. His spokesman, Owen Loftus, said Wednesday that Buck’s belief stands.
OK, so now we know Ken Buck is a Christofascist, if not a dominionist or Christian reconstructionist.
All I can say to Mr Buck is this: Hey Ken, if you want this American to become a Christian, you’re just going to have to make me one. Go ahead. Do your worst. I dare you to give it your best shot. I’m ready for whatever you decide to do in order to force me to become the Christian you think I must be.
In case anyone is not clear on the matter, as I explained previously, separation of church and state IS most certainly Constitutional … not merely because the Supreme Court has decided it is, but because that’s what the writer of the First Amendment, James Madison, himself said it meant!
Photo Credit: Buck for Colorado Web site.
Tags: 2010 election
, christian right
, colorado christian university
, election 2010
, ken buck
, religious right
, Separation of church and state
, us senate
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Speaking of Religious Rightists who want to have things both ways, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council weighed in on the wave of gay teen suicides recently. He didn’t offer any words of sympathy for suicidal gay teens, nor for the families left behind by these tragedies. Oh no. That would have been too kind, for a man whose career has been built on vilifying gays and condemning them in every way imaginable. Instead, his piece — thoughtfully hosted by the Washington Post On Faith blog, which apparently is so hard up for content that they have to ask religiofascists like Perkins for material — actually dares to make a case for why it’s understandable that gay teens might want to kill themselves. Here is just a sampling of his reprehensible drivel (WebCite cached article):
The media has recently been filled with reports of several recent suicides by teenagers who are reported to have been victims of “anti-gay” bullying [cached]. Some homosexual activist groups lay blame at the feet of conservative Christians who teach that homosexual conduct is wrong, as well as pro-family groups such as Family Research Council which oppose elements of the homosexual political agenda, such as same-sex “marriage.”
Oh the horrors! Gay groups whose members have been railed against by Religious Right groups such as the FRC, have dared to blame them for having railed against them! Whodathunkit? Perkins’s sanctimony is almost laughable. He continues with this (brief) caveat:
The Christians and pro-family leaders I know are unanimous in believing that no person, especially a child, should be subjected to verbal or physical harassment or violence–whether because of their sexuality, their religious beliefs, or for any other reason. Such bullying violates the Christian’s obligation to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and receives no support from the pro-family political movement.
Having said this, however, Perkins proceeds to lay out a case for exactly why gays should hate themselves for being gay, and why everyone else should condemn them for being gay:
There is an abundance of evidence that homosexuals experience higher rates of mental health problems in general, including depression. …
Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal — yet they have been told by the homosexual movement, and their allies in the media and the educational establishment, that they are “born gay” and can never change. This — and not society’s disapproval — may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide. …
Since homosexual conduct is associated with higher rates of sexual promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, substance abuse, and domestic violence, it too qualifies as a behavior that is harmful to the people who engage in it and to society at large.
The rest of Perkins’s blood-chilling diatribe is littered with inferences that homosexuality is a “choice” and that gays can “change” to being heterosexual, if only “good Christians” will invite them to do so. This, however, is bullshit, because Christian gay-conversion does not work. If anything, it actually harms gays. Gays are not gay because they “chose” to be gay … that is, quite simply, what they are. Perkins and the rest of his army of militant Christians may not like it or wish to admit it, but it remains true.
What I can’t figure is why WaPo allowed this horrific apologia for hatred of gays to grace their Web site. I just don’t get it. I can’t imagine its editors actually believed there was any merit to this piece.
Photo credit: Austin Cline / About.Com.
, christian fundamentalism
, christian fundamentalist
, christian right
, conversion therapy
, family research council
, gay conversion
, gay conversion therapy
, gay teen suicide
, religious right
, say suicide
, teen suicide
, tony perkins
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Based on this latest piece of news, I can conclude nothing else than that there is a war going on against Islam in the United States, and as far as I can tell, it’s fueled by the Religious Right. I just blogged about a mosque construction site in Tennessee being set ablaze; but now, a mosque in San Antonio has been vandalized, as KENS-TV reports (WebCite cached article):
A San Antonio mosque has been hit several times in the past week by vandals.
Tensions are already running high with the mosque controversy in New York City. Now, the Islamic Center of San Antonio has become a target.
Vandals spray-painted symbols and letters on the facade of the new building.
Members of the Islamic center near the Medical Center in northwest San Antonio said they came out from prayers Sunday to find the cars in the parking lot vandalized with graffiti and anti-Islamic messages.
Here’s the televised report:
Although I’m no fan of Islam, any more than I’m a fan of Christianity, I can’t see any valid, rational, morally-sound reason for this kind of behavior. It’s destructive; it’s violent; it’s criminal; and it’s dangerous. I’m also not alone in being alarmed at what appears to be a war on American Islam … Slate ran a piece on it (cached). This pushback against Muslims in America is worse than pretty much anything that happened in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks … and that makes little sense, because there hasn’t been any such event recently.
I suggest it’s time for the militant Right to grow the fuck up and stop this violent crap, before someone dies.
Hat tip: Little Green Footballs.
Update: KENS-TV reports (again, with HT from LGF; cached version) that this is not being treated as a hate crime. However, the FBI remains on the case … which suggests the opposite, to me anyway.
Photo credit: david_shankbone.
, christian right
, ground zero mosque
, islamic center of san antonio
, religious right
, san antonio
, san antonio mosque
, san antonio TX
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The news out of Iowa these days isn’t good. There’s the salmonella-tainted eggs, which have hit a second producer in that state (WebCite cached article), of course. That’s been news for the last few days. The other Iowa news you likely have not heard about, is the religiofascist bellyaching that’s been going on there, over gays. This story is taking on a life of its own … sad to say.
It all started with a Republican legislative candidate’s idiotic rant about AIDS being God’s retribution against gays, as reported by the Iowa Independent (cached):
When the Bible says homosexuals should be “put to death; their blood shall be upon them,” the blood is really AIDS. Or so says Jeremy Walters, Republican legislative hopeful, in a series of posts on his Facebook. …
Walters uses the old Leviticus 20:13 to support his claim. Evangelicals love to trot out this and other verses as “proof” that God has condemned gays. What they forget is that other Leviticus passages also forbid a great many other things, including the eating of pork (Lev 11:7-8) and shellfish (Lev 11:10-12). Yes folks, that means no shrimp scampi or baby-back ribs for good, dutiful Christians!
As adamant as Walters is about this matter, it hasn’t previously been a cornerstone of his campaign:
On his campaign website, Walters makes no mention of same-sex marriage or gay rights at all, focusing instead on economic issues like property taxes, the estate tax and the state budget, as well as gun rights and education.
To its credit, the Iowa Republican Party has disavowed Walters’s words, again as reported by the Iowa Independent (cached):
Statements by a Republican candidate for the Iowa House that AIDS is punishment for the sin of homosexuality have been officially denounced by Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn. …
“Mr. Walters’ comments are inappropriate and in no way represent the beliefs of the Republican Party of Iowa,” Strawn said in a statement to The Iowa Independent. “HIV/AIDS does not discriminate and our hearts and prayers go out to any Iowa family facing this disease.”
That, at least, is pretty clear and unequivocal. This same story, however, reveals that Walters plans not to back down on his claim:
Walters told The Des Moines Register that he has no plans to remove the posting from his Facebook page, saying it’s only offensive to gay rights advocates, “because they know it’s the truth. Truth does hurt.”
Nonetheless, Walters’s remarks on gays and AIDS have been removed.
Even with the state Republican party clearly weighing against Walters, however, the matter still will not die. A radio host has angrily called bullshit on Strawn’s claim that “AIDS does not discriminate” … again reported by the Iowa Independent (cached):
The gay rights movement has worked hard to convince society that AIDS does not discriminate, but that is a lie, conservative radio host Jan Mickelson said on his WHO-AM show Thursday. …
“For the chairman of the Republican Party to say, ‘AIDS doesn’t discriminate,’ well of course it does,” Mickelson said. “It discriminates against people who engage in stupid behavior.”
“Lung disease doesn’t discriminate, but it’s probably a good idea to stop smoking,” he said. …
Mickelson said it all comes down to God’s law, or natural law, which “also applies to sexual disorders.”
Mickelson’s lung-disease scenario doesn’t quite work as well as he probably thinks it does; there are people who’ve been afflicted by lung disease, caused by environmental factors outside their control. Musician Warren Zevon, for example, died of a form of lung cancer which is triggered by asbestos; as near as anyone can figure, his exposure came during childhood, from his family’s carpet business (asbestos was a component of some carpet fibers until just a few decades ago). He didn’t ask to get lung cancer, and my guess is that no one knew his exposure to carpet fibers would cause it. So Zevon’s cancer cannot be called any kind of natural consequence of willful, “stupid behavior.”
At any rate, Mickelson may have realized he was stepping into a steaming load of manure of his own making, because his remarks after that point are almost incomprehensible:
So, does God punish homosexuality? Does he punish sodomy? Well, no, he doesn’t get off his throne and say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna get that guy.’ Well not directly,” he said. “Most of God’s laws, which another way of saying God’s law would be natural law, that is, law that is consistent with the nature of the universe because it was built in such a way, most of God’s laws are self enforcing. God doesn’t have to do anything. So if you skydive without a parachute, does God punish people who do that? No, but one of his inventions does. Gravity. If you skydive without a parachute, you’re going to die. Should you blame God for that?”
Mickelson kept spewing gibberish, even after callers challenged him on various points around this topic; read the article if you wish to see the depths of stupidity and inanity he stooped to in order to hold onto his religiously-motivated bigotry.
Folks, this is just another sterling example of “the Religion of Love” in action.
Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith.
Photo credit: Marshall Astor.
, des moines IA
, iowa 67th district
, iowa gop
, iowa legislature
, iowa republican
, iowa republicans
, jan mickelson
, jeremy walters
, matt strawn
, religion of love
, wrath of god
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Sharron Angle, who’s running for the US Senate in Nevada against current majority leader Harry Reid, recently was interviewed by a Christian radio host. In the course of the interview she revealed herself as a militant Christian religiofascist. The Las Vegas Sun reports on this interview, which — until the Sun took note of it — had gone under the radar of the media (WebCite cached article):
And [Angle said] these programs that you mentioned — that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward — are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.
Here, Angle reiterates the laughable whine of Georgia Congressional candidate Ed Martin that government — or more specifically, President Obama — is getting between Christians and their deity.
I never fail to be amazed at the amount of sheer power these people attribute to things other than God … when at the same time they claim their God is all-powerful and can never be overcome or thwarted by anything.
That assumes, of course, that their objections to government are rational. The truth is that they’re not. Neither Sharron Angle, nor Ed Martin, nor anyone else in the Religious Right objected to entitlement spending while George W. Bush was in office and the Religious Right controlled Congress. Their objections to government only made themselves apparent as they began to lose power — first in the 2006 mid-term elections when they lost control of Congress, and more seriously in 2008 when they lost the White House.
In other words, it’s nothing but sour grapes … and it’s childish. Well, boo freakin’ hoo, Ms Angle.
Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.
Photo credit: TPM.
Tags: barack obama
, christan right
, christian reconstructionism
, ed martin
, first commandment
, president obama
, religious right
, sharron angle
, ten commandments
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As I’ve mentioned before, it appears Oklahoma has become the new Kansas. Writer Thomas Frank famously posited in 2004 — in his What’s the Matter with Kansas? — that the Religious Right had used his home state as a kind of crucible in which to construct a suitable following for its religiofascist agenda. It certainly appears, over the last couple years (as I’ve touched on a time or two here on this blog), that they’ve drifted one state to the south and are now trying to make Oklahoma into a second crucible. The latest example of this militant religiofascism is something known as the Save Our State amendment. Its goal is to prevent Islamic shari’a law from being followed by Oklahoma courts. ABC News reported on this insanely misguided effort (WebCite cached article):
Oklahoma is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban state judges from relying on Islamic law known as Sharia when deciding cases.
The ban is a cornerstone of a “Save our State” amendment to the Oklahoma constitution that was recently approved by the Legislature.
The amendment — which also would forbid judges from using international laws as a basis for decisions — will now be put before Oklahoma’s voters in November. Approval is expected.
There are two problems with this amendment. The most important is that it’s based on the paranoid delusion that Oklahoma courts may soon follow shari’a law. There is absolutely no evidence that this has yet happened, however, nor is there any evidence it’s on the horizon. The Religious Right is going to war over a mirage.
The second problem is that — where American courts following international-law precedent is concerned — that ship has already sailed. It has been done, and it might be done again; and because the US Supreme Court has done it, that means a state constitutional amendment cannot prevent it.
T. Scott Brown, Atheist Examiner for Oklahoma City, goes over this in more detail (including providing a list of relevant court cases).
I’d like to be clear on the fact that I am opposed to shari’a law being imposed on anyone, Muslims included. It’s a metaphysically-based legal system closely tied to Islamic religious doctrines and practices. As a form of justice, it leaves much to be desired. Metaphysically-based legal codes are nearly as detrimental to humanity as metaphysically-based medicine is. I’ve also blogged on the evils — and the follies — of shari’a law. I’ve also pointed out the foolishness of allowing shari’a law in UK courts. So by pointing out that Oklahoma’s “Save our State amendment” is insane, I am not “defending” shari’a law. What I am saying is that passing a state-constitutional amendment preventing something from happening, which is not currently happening and will never happen, is paranoid-delusional thinking, and that sane, mature adults do not engage in this kind of thing.
The hosts of Religiofascism are on the march, folks! They not only have taken over Kansas, they’ve pretty much got Oklahoma in their corner too.
Hat tip: OKC Atheist Examiner.
Photo credit: dustout.
Tags: christian right
, law system
, legal system
, oklahoma city
, oklahoma city OK
, oklahoma state constitution
, religious right
, save our state
, save our state amendment
, shari'a law
, state constitution
, t scott brown
, what's the matter with kansas
3 Comments »
The country’s most famous paranoid schizophrenic, Glenn Beck, continues to rail about “social justice” and how it’s not Christian to want to give to others. As I’ve blogged before, Beckie-boy’s reasoning is fatally flawed because he conflates terminology; specifically, he is ferociously angry about the use of certain terms that once had served as Communist “catch phrases.” That these terms happen also to have meaning to other people — for other purposes — appears to be something he’s blissfully unaware of. This leads him to say and do things that end up appearing nonsensical, if not insane. The Time magazine Swampland blog recently took note of one such example (WebCite cached article):
This time he claimed that black liberation theology—theology that believes Jesus saves victims from their oppressors—forces whites to unnecessarily confess to racism and inspires the government to redistribute money from wealthy whites to victimized minorities. Because Jesus is not a victim, in Beck’s words, “Social justice isn’t in the Bible.”
However three days before the resurrection, Jesus, a Palestinian Jew, himself was tortured and hung on a cross. Beck says that even then Jesus was only a victor — “If Jesus was a victim he would have come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did.”
Beckie-boy thus redefines the reality of Christian legend by declaring Jesus — who supposedly had been tried on a trumped-up charge, beaten, tortured, falsely convicted of that crime, and executed for it — was not actually a “victim,” because in Beckie-boy’s mind, being a “victim” means you also must react violently.
I haven’t actually taken the time to look it up, but I’m pretty sure no dictionary definition of “victim” requires that a “victim” also kick the asses of his those who victimized him/her. Obviously the Beckster made that part up, just so he could find something to bitch and whine about. To say that Jesus cannot have been a “victim” of Roman justice, is laughable!
So, all you Right-wing religionists … I have to ask … why do you continue to let this off-the-rails batshit-insane lunatic, who clearly hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about, speak for you? Haven’t you had enough of this circus yet? When are you going to ask that Beckie-boy be returned to the asylum he escaped from?
For the benefit of Glennie and his sycophantic, mindless followers, here is but one of Jesus’ teachings for you to consider:
But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?”
The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.”
Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?”
Then He will answer them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46)
I suggest that Glennie and his screaming Right-wing minions get ready for that latter judgement … because if Jesus does return someday, they’ll find themselves in big trouble!
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.
, glenn beck
, jesus christ
, right wing
, social justice
4 Comments »
Religiofascism … particularly Christian religiofascism, or Christofascism … is alive and well in the Lone Star state. The Texas Board of Education recently reviewed curriculum guidelines, with an eye toward turning public school social-studies classrooms into proselytization venues. The New York Times Magazine provides a lengthy explanation of the process and what lay behind it: (WebCite cached article):
Following the appeals from the public, the members of what is the most influential state board of education in the country, and one of the most politically conservative, submitted their own proposed changes to the new social-studies curriculum guidelines, whose adoption was the subject of all the attention — guidelines that will affect students around the country, from kindergarten to 12th grade, for the next 10 years. Gail Lowe — who publishes a twice-a-week newspaper when she is not grappling with divisive education issues — is the official chairwoman, but the meeting was dominated by another member. Don McLeroy, a small, vigorous man with a shiny pate and bristling mustache, proposed amendment after amendment on social issues to the document that teams of professional educators had drawn up over 12 months, in what would have to be described as a single-handed display of archconservative political strong-arming. …
The cultural roots of the Texas showdown may be said to date to the late 1980s, when, in the wake of his failed presidential effort, the Rev. Pat Robertson founded the Christian Coalition partly on the logic that conservative Christians should focus their energies at the grass-roots level. One strategy was to put candidates forward for state and local school-board elections — Robertson’s protégé, Ralph Reed, once said, “I would rather have a thousand school-board members than one president and no school-board members” — and Texas was a beachhead. Since the election of two Christian conservatives in 2006, there are now seven on the Texas state board who are quite open about the fact that they vote in concert to advance a Christian agenda. “They do vote as a bloc,” Pat Hardy, a board member who considers herself a conservative Republican but who stands apart from the Christian faction, told me. “They work consciously to pull one more vote in with them on an issue so they’ll have a majority.” …
These folks quite frankly admit their agenda, which is to fashion a specifically Christian government, some time in the future, by turning today’s children into tomorrow’s militant political soldiers for Jesus:
The Christian “truth” about America’s founding has long been taught in Christian schools, but not beyond. Recently, however — perhaps out of ire at what they see as an aggressive, secular, liberal agenda in Washington and perhaps also because they sense an opening in the battle, a sudden weakness in the lines of the secularists — some activists decided that the time was right to try to reshape the history that children in public schools study. Succeeding at this would help them toward their ultimate goal of reshaping American society. As Cynthia Dunbar, another Christian activist on the Texas board, put it, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”
A lot of their reasoning is predicated on faulty logic, of course:
For McLeroy, separation of church and state is a myth perpetrated by secular liberals. “There are two basic facts about man,” he said. “He was created in the image of God, and he is fallen. You can’t appreciate the founding of our country without realizing that the founders understood that. For our kids to not know our history, that could kill a society. That’s why to me this is a huge thing.”
It’s also “a huge thing” to me, too. The truth about the Founders is that they did, in fact, want religion and state to be severed from one another. The author of the First Amendment, James Madison, said so, rather clearly and unambiguously. Don’t just take my word for that … read it for yourself, from his own pen (WebCite cached version).
The Christofascists’ reasoning is also based on more than a little paranoia and conspiratorial thinking:
The idea behind standing up to experts is that the scientific establishment has been withholding information from the public that would show flaws in the theory of evolution and that it is guilty of what McLeroy called an “intentional neglect of other scientific possibilities.” Similarly, the Christian bloc’s notion this year to bring Christianity into the coverage of American history is not, from their perspective, revisionism but rather an uncovering of truths that have been suppressed. “I don’t know that what we’re doing is redefining the role of religion in America,” says Gail Lowe, who became chairwoman of the board after McLeroy was ousted and who is one of the seven conservative Christians. “Many of us recognize that Judeo-Christian principles were the basis of our country and that many of our founding documents had a basis in Scripture. As we try to promote a better understanding of the Constitution, federalism, the separation of the branches of government, the basic rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, I think it will become evident to students that the founders had a religious motivation.”
There is much more to this New York Times Magazine article, which includes tracking out the history of the notion of “separation of church and state.” Sadly, the article leaves out the contribution of Roger Williams, Baptist minister and founder of the Rhode Island colony, which was established with religious freedom as its core. The Founding Fathers a century after him, certainly knew about him and had been influenced by his ideas. The Times adopts and relays the inaccurate claim that the phrase “separation of church and state” originated in Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter to the Danbury Baptists. The truth is that Williams had come up with the phrase over a century before Jefferson. One can debate whether or not Jefferson knew about it particular, but there’s no doubt he knew about Williams’s ideas and career.
In spite of this and other flaws, though, I invite you all to read the Times Magazine article in full. It does accurately relate the duplicity, dishonesty, and the subtle manipulation of the Christofascists in Texas who are trying to raise a new generation of soldiers for Jesus who will — they hope — establish a new Christian theocracy in the United States.
P.S. I contributed an article to Freethoughtpedia some time ago, which goes over the pros and cons of the issue of whether or not the U.S. was founded as “a Christian nation.” Please have a look.
Hat tip: Skeptics & Heretics forum on Delphi Forums.
Update: Religion Dispatches explores in greater detail the relationship between this particular movement and the larger national “intelligent design” movement.
Tags: austin TX
, christian coalition
, christian fundamentalism
, christian fundamentalists
, christian reconstruction
, christian reconstructionism
, christian reconstructionist
, christian right
, don mcleroy
, heritage foundation
, intelligent design
, moral majority
, public schools
, religious right
, social studies
, texas schools
3 Comments »