Posts Tagged “religious right”

If you think Fox News really is “fair and balanced,” guess again. They’ve been the mouthpieces for the Religious Right ever since the channel began in the mid 90s, and they remain so. The lengths to which Fox News will go, in order to make the Religious Right look good even in the face of obvious facts to the contrary, are ludicrous.

Here is one example which I just came across recently.

On the heels of a metastudy — which I blogged about a little over a week ago — showing that “abstinence-only” sex education is a dismal failure and actually results in more teen pregnancies than other types — Fox News released this story a couple of days later in an attempt to show the opposite:

Study: Religious Teens More Likely to Abstain from Sex

Religious teens lose their virginity later than those who are not religious — waiting on average three years longer than their peers, a recent study reported.

Janet Rosenbaum, a post doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote in this month’s issue of “Pediatrics” that those with strong religious backgrounds became sexually active at about 21 on average — regardless if they took a pledge to remain a virgin until marriage. …

Rosenbaum told FOXNews.com she compared apples to apples. “The behavior of teenagers who have never been to church before is pretty irrelevant when understanding the behavior virginity pledgers,” she said.

Overall, religious students, regardless of whether they take virginity pledges, are more conservative than their non-religious peers. When compared against national averages, “they are having sex an average of about three years later than the average American,” Rosenbaum said.

Note that in this story, Fox News does not dispute that the taking of virginity pledges does not affect whether or not kids have sex. What they are doing is emphasizing — instead — that religious kids are less likely to have sex. Moreover, they are actually dismissing the behavior of non-church-going kids as “irrelevant” to the study.

This is an insane use of the figures in this study. The study ostensibly is examining whether “abstinence-only” sex education coupled with virginity pledges, actually works. Clearly it does not do so. What Fox is doing, here, is plucking out of these results, those kids who are not church-going. But they cannot really do that … since quite obviously these “abstinence-only” sex education programs include both church-going and non-church-going kids! You cannot measure their effectiveness by culling out a big chunk of that group!

What Fox has done, therefore, is to put a happier face on what is truly bad news for the Religious Right, by shining a light only on a tiny part of it and de-emphasizing the rest.

“Fair and balanced”? I think I’ll let “you decide.”

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One of the pitfalls inherent in setting public policy according to metaphysical beliefs, is that not only can you screw things up unintentionally, you can thereafter be unable to correct that screw-up, because doing so would run afoul of the metaphysics itself. A great example of this that was recently exposed, was reported recently by CNN:

s many as one in eight teens in the United States may take a virginity pledge at some point, vowing to wait until they’re married before having sex. But do such pledges work? Are pledge takers more likely than other teens to delay sexual activity?

According to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, pledge takers are as likely to have sex before marriage as other teens who are also religious, but don’t take the pledge. However, pledge takers are less likely than other religious or conservative teens to use condoms or birth control when they do start having sex.

While it’s great to teach that abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy — because, in fact, it is! — robbing kids of any knowledge of contraception hamstrings them in the event they choose to violate that principle … and that appears to be as likely among pledge-takers as among others. You end up, ironically, with more unintended pregnancies than you would have otherwise!

The problem is that the hyperreligious fundamentalist Christian beliefs that are the foundation of “abstinence-only” sex education, prevents this failing from being corrected. It is taken as axiomatic that teaching contraception is never acceptable … and this remains the case even if not teaching it turns out to be counter-productive!

I can think of few clearer examples of religionazi lunacy, than this.

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In a time when “flip-flopping” is considered a cardinal sin, Dr James Dobson, the ruling prince of the Religious Right™ appears poised to commit an egregious flip-flop of his own:

The AP reports, “Conservative Christian leader James Dobson has softened his stance against Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, saying he could reverse his position and endorse the Arizona senator despite serious misgivings. ‘I never thought I would hear myself saying this,’ Dobson said in a radio broadcast to air Monday. ‘… While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might.’”

You’ll note the twisted language Dobson used — “I’m not endorsing McCain, but I might” — which shows just how tortured the Dobster must feel over this. As I blogged earlier, just a few weeks ago the Dobster had vehemently denied the slightest possibility of any support for McCain, going so far as to declare his sheep “stay-at-homes” rather than vote for a conservative who’s not quite conservative enough for him. Now he’s hedging, implying he might.

This is precious, especially since that the idea that someone might “flip-flop” sends shivers down the horrifically righteous spines of the morally straitjacketed Religious Right™. The political reality that the Dobster will not get a slavering mindless evangelical into the White House this year must have unhinged him.

Of course, the poor man need not have put himself through these contortions; it’s not acceptable for a tax-exempt organization to endorse a political candidate. I’ve tried, but somehow cannot find how it is that religious groups and their leaders are entitled to do so and remain tax-exempt. Maybe someday the IRS will do its job and stop America’s clergy from doing this … but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

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James Dobson, founder and ruler of Focus On The Family, and the current reigning prince of the Religious Right™ in the US, complained about presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama and his knowledge of the Bible. In the process, however, he reveals his own ignorance of the Bible rather than Obama’s:

As Barack Obama broadens his outreach to evangelical voters, one of the movement’s biggest names, James Dobson, accuses the likely Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible and pushing a “fruitcake interpretation” of the Constitution. …

“Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?” Obama said. “Would we go with James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s?” referring to the civil rights leader.

Dobson took aim at examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy — chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, “a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application.”

“Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles,” Obama said [according to Dobson].

Dobson and Minnery accused Obama of wrongly equating Old Testament texts and dietary codes that no longer apply to Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament.

Gee, that’s funny. If Old Testament rules no longer apply to Christians, why then does Dobson base his hatred of homosexuals on Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13? Dobson is being disingenuous, then, and obviously so. Furthermore, Dobson’s whine comes nowhere near addressing Obama’s comments about the Sermon on the Mount — which is, in fact — and was even in Jesus’ time — fairly “radical.” (Seriously … “turn the other cheek”? Who really does that? No one I know of. So yes, on its face it is and was a radical instruction! Dobson thus denies the obvious.)

In this and many other ways, Dobson and his crew reveal their own ignorance of the Bible, their dishonesty, and their unwillingness actually to follow Christ’s own teachings as Jesus delivered them. Dobson is at war with homosexuals, but Jesus’ injunction against fighting back means he should not be; he is required instead always to “turn the other cheek.” This means he must go so far as to allow himself to be destroyed by the homosexual agenda (which does not actually exist except in the delusional fantasies of evangelical Christians) if needed.

As for Obama’s “fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution,” Dobson again — like many in the Religious Right — forgets a few things. First, the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution were not fundamentalist Christians like themselves. Far from it. Second, the Constitution as it was originally written permitted slavery, and under it only white landowning males could vote. We literally cannot now go back to the time when the Constitution was penned. Trying to do so is a fool’s errand; basing one’s views of how the US ought to be on one’s (erroneous) assumptions about its authors — and based on the Constitution’s original, un-amended contents — is the real “fruitcake interpretation” here. Third, and most obviously, Christianity as Jesus taught it is overtly and specifically apolitical. He spoke to his followers of “the kingdom of heaven” or “the kingdom of God,” not about any earthly kingdoms. In fact, he very clearly said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21, Mk 12:17, & Lk 20:25). This means that creating or remaking a government in the name of Christ, amounts to blasphemy of the highest order.

If Dobson is truly the reverent Christian he claims to be, he ought to know that … and stop trying to rule the US as its theocrat-in-chief.

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It’s no secret that the Religious Right is downright furious that John McCain is the presumptive GOP nominee for president. He’s not nearly religious enough for them, even though over the last year he has veered often into theocratic territory. The reigning prince of the R.R., James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, has said he will not vote, if McCain is the nominee — and his word carries great weight among the nation’s fundamentalist masses. It appears that the R.R. has, indeed, decided follow through on Dobson’s threat to stay out of the 2008 presidential election and let Barack Obama win. According to Bob Novak of the Washington Post:

Some U.S. Christians are not reconciled to McCain’s candidacy but instead regard the prospective presidency of Barack Obama in the nature of a biblical plague visited upon a sinful people.

They plan to let the country be plagued by four years of an Obama administration, so as to ensure a Huckabee election in 2012. That’s right … better (in their minds) to lose the White House for 4 years, in order both to deny it to McCain and get Huckabee elected.

The logic of this strategem is so perverse as to be beyond description. Essentially these religio-Nazis prefer four years of a Democrat in office, to McCain. No one ever accused fundamentalists (of any religion) of being rational … once again, they manage to live down to all my expectations of them.

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