Christianity’s War on America: The Values Voters Summit

I’m not telling you anything you don’t know when I say the United States is in pretty bad shape right now.  The economy is in the middle of a meltdown, unemployment has skyrocketed and the nation is so deeply divided, it’s difficult to tell someone to have a nice day without starting an argument.  And yet on Monday, October 10, 2011, one of the biggest topics of discussion in this country was something that happened over the weekend at a Christian political gathering called the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C.

One of the many, many clergymen in attendance at the summit was Pastor Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the First Baptist megachurch in Dallas, Texas, who introduced Governor Rick Perry on Friday.  During the introduction, Jeffress said, “Do we want a candidate who is a good moral person, or do we want a candidate who is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ?  In Rick Perry, we have a candidate who is a committed follower of Christ.”  While speaking to reporters in the hallway later, Jeffress expanded on that:  “Mormonism is not Christianity.  It’s not politically correct to say, but Mormonism is a cult.” He told CNN, “I think Mitt Romney’s a good, moral man, but I think those of us who are born-again followers of Christ should always prefer a competent Christian to a competent non-Christian like Mitt Romney.  So that’s why I’m enthusiastic about Perry.”  Jeffress’s remarks were bigger news than Perry’s speech.  Talk radio was abuzz on Monday with discussion about it.

I’ve always been a fan of talk radio — but reasonable talk radio, not the hate-spewing, fact-distorting and sometimes outright lying hysteria that dominates the airwaves today.  I live in northern California and for most of my life, I’ve been a regular listener of San Francisco’s KGO, a news-talk station with a lineup of civilized, intelligent, mostly centrist hosts.  Two of the best are Gil Gross on weekday afternoons and John Rothmann on weekday evenings.  I don’t always agree with them, of course — I can’t think of anyone with whom I always agree — but they’re intelligent, witty and — most importantly, as far as I’m concerned — reasonable men, responsible broadcasters who respect their listeners and don’t shoot for the lowest common denominator with inflammatory rhetoric to grab ratings.  They’re very good at what they do, but they’re local hosts because, for the most part, nationally syndicated talk radio is short on reason and respect and feasts on the lowest common denominator.

Both Gross and Rothmann discussed Jeffress’s remarks about Mormonism on Monday.  So did talk hosts across the country, but these are the guys I heard, so I’m focusing on them.  Gross asked listeners if Jeffress’s comments made him a bigot; many of his callers said yes, it did.  Rothmann took a more general approach and discussed the overall significance of Jeffress’s remarks.

When a caller pointed out that Jeffress’s comments and other religious discussions had no place in American politics because we’re supposed to separate religion from government in this country, Rothmann said that was beside the point because the discussion does take place and has for a long time.  To make his point, he referred to the bitter presidential race of 1884, when Presbyterian minister Samuel D. Burchard addressed the Religious Bureau of the Republican National Committee a week before the general election and, supporting Republican candidate James G. Blaine, said, “We are Republicans, and don’t propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been rum, Romanism, and rebellion.  We are loyal to our flag.”  Burchard referred to prohibition (rum), Catholicism (Romanism) and the Civil War (rebellion), and when voters got wind of the nasty remark from a man of the cloth, the election swung in favor of Democrat Grover Cleveland.

Rothmann went on to point out that religion has long been an issue in politics, citing national suspicion over John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism and Jimmy Carter’s use of the fact that he was an evangelical Christian in his campaign.  This raises an important question:

So what?  Does the length of time that something has gone on make it right?  Was the fact that women had never had the right to vote before in the United States reason to continue denying them the vote?  Was the fact that slavery had gone on for 89 years a good reason not to end it in 1865?  Does the fact that people have been arguing about the religious beliefs of candidates for centuries cancel out paragraph three of Article IV of the United States Constitution?

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

It angers me that we’re spending so much time discussing the speeches and comments made at the Values Voters Summit.  Why is it news that a representative of one Christian sect has slammed another Christian sect?  That’s been going on for 2,000 years!  There are more than 30,000 different denominations of the One True Faith because none of them can agree on the particulars, and each Christian denomination claims to be the right one.  Jeffress’s comments shouldn’t be eliciting discussion, they should be eliciting yawns.  This is what they do — when they’re not slamming people outside Christianity, they’re slamming everyone else within Christianity.  Old news, folks.  It should not be part of the national discussion!

What we should be discussing is the fact that no one — no one — who attends or supports the Values Voters Summit has any business holding public office in the United States, least of all the office of president!

Why, you ask?  Pull up a chair and get comfortable.

The Values Voters Summit is an annual conference of social conservative activists that began in 2006.  Its organizers and sponsors define the key issues for social conservatives — code for (mostly fundamentalist) Christians — which are primarily the opposition to a woman’s right to have access to abortion or birth control and to the rights of gay Americans, among other things.  Who are the organizers and sponsors?  I’m so glad you asked.

Family Research Council
The driving force behind the Values Voters Summit is the Family Research Council, founded by James Dobson of Focus on the Family.  It primarily advocates against LGBT rights and abortion, but also actively opposes divorce, pornography, birth control and stem-cell research.  It pours money and effort into getting prayer and the teaching of creation (“intelligent design”) into public schools and one of its main objectives is to implement in all of America’s domestic and foreign policy a rigid standard of Christian “morality.”  But it attacks nothing with the venom and passion with which it attacks the rights of gay people.  The founding board of the FRC included a man named George Rekers.

Maybe you remember Rekers, a psychologist and Southern Baptist minister.  As a UCLA doctoral student in the 1970s, Rekers led an experimental study to treat what he called “sissyboy syndrome” (effeminate behavior in young boys) involving a little boy named Kirk Murphy, advocating beating to prevent the behavior in question.  Rekers repeatedly declared the experiment a success, but Murphy suffered long-term emotional damage that resulted in suicide.  Rekers is a longtime prominent opponent of gay rights who has actively worked to prevent gay couples from adopting children.  In the spring of 2010, he was caught going on a European vacation with a male prostitute.  He claimed he’d hired the escort to carry his luggage because a recent surgery had made him unable to do any lifting.  But the rentboy told a different story — that Rekers had paid him for daily “sexual massages.”  FRC president Tony Perkins and others associated with the organization have repeatedly cited Rekers’s research in its demonization of homosexuality, which is made up of demonizing information proven false by every legitimate professional medical and psychiatric organization in the country.

In a 1999 article titled “Homosexual Behavior and Pedophilia,” Perkins wrote:

“ … one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order. … Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”

The article has been removed from the FRC website, but the claims made by Perkins and others associated with the FRC have led the Southern Poverty Law Center to include the organization on its list of hate groups for deliberately spreading disinformation about homosexuality.  Perkins, FRC spokesman Peter Spriggs and others in the group have advocated making homosexuality illegal and punishable by time in prison.  The FRC also promotes “conversion therapy,” which claims to “cure” homosexuality but has been denounced, once again, by every legitimate professional medical and psychiatric organization in the country as both ineffective and harmful.

American Family Association
Originally founded by Donald Wildmon in 1977 as the National Federation for Decency, the AFA describes itself as a “Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with primary emphasis on TV and other media.”  A United Methodist minister, Wildmon has spent most of his life organizing boycotts against the sponsors of anything he finds offensive.  And he pretty much finds everything offensive.  As Aimee Groth and Gus Lubin pointed out in their recent Business Insider article, “Although his organization was a non-profit, Wildmon’s American Family Association grew at a rate that would cause envy in Silicon Valley.  Within years his Christian organization was a feared adversary of Fortune 500 companies.”

Wildmon kicked things off in 1978 by boycotting Sears for sponsoring Charlie’s Angels and Three’s Company.  In coordination with Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Federation, he led a 1986 boycott that moved the 7-Eleven chain to take Playboy and Penthouse out of its stores.  In 1988, Wildmon claimed an episode of Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures depicted Mighty Mouse sniffing cocaine — although the cartoon mouse was only sniffing the remains of a crushed flower — and called animator Ralph Bakshi a “pornographer” because he made the 1972 animated movie Fritz the Cat.  Bakshi vehemently denied the accusation, saying, “Mighty Mouse was happy after smelling the flowers because it helped him remember the little girl who sold it to him fondly.”  But he edited the 3.5-second bit from the episode, fearing that children would think Wildmon’s claim was true.  Wildmon then said the edit was “a de facto admission that, indeed, Mighty Mouse was snorting cocaine.”  In 2005, the AFA launched a three-year boycott of Ford for advertising in gay magazines and has angrily accused many companies of fighting a nonexistent “war on Christmas” because they use phrases like “happy holidays” in their stores at Christmas time.  As Bakshi said, “This all smacks of burning books and the Third Reich. It smacks of McCarthyism. I’m not going to get into who sniffs what. This is lunacy!”  Of course, he’s right.  It does.

The AFA has been very active in politics over the years, supporting the 2008 presidential campaign of former Arkansas governor and Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee and has been a powerful supporter of the Tea Party.  But there is no better evidence of the diseased nature of the AFA than its current spokesman, Bryan Fischer.

On his radio show Focal Point and in his column Rightly Concerned, Fischer vomits up hatred, bigotry and lies the way Linda Blair vomited pea soup in The Exorcist.  His hatred of homosexuals, non-Christians, Native Americans and other minorities and anyone to the left of Dracula is so venomous that it boggles the mind.  And he does it all in the name of his personal lord and savior, Jesus Christ.  Here are just a few samples of the endless parade of disgusting crap that flows from this man, and by extension from the AFA:

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews. Gays in the military is an experiment that has been tried and found disastrously and tragically wanting. Maybe it’s time for Congress to learn a lesson from history.”
— “Homosexuality, Hitler and ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” May 28, 2010

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. While there certainly ought to be a presumption of religious liberty for non-Christian religious traditions in America, the Founders were not writing a suicide pact when they wrote the First Amendment. … From a constitutional point of view, Muslims have no First Amendment right to build mosques in America.”
Rightly Concerned, March 23, 2011

Homosexual conduct is as risky and dangerous as injection drug abuse. No right-thinking adult would encourage a student tempted to shoot up to yield to such impulses and plunge headlong into a drug-addled lifestyle. In fact, we would be highly critical of any adult who would do that, and hold him partially accountable for the destruction that would follow. … If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students.”
Rightly Concerned, October 13, 2010

Here’s an idea: since gay sex is more dangerous to human health than cigarette smoking, let’s make sure our public policies on both are the same. … In other words, the official administration policy on cigarette smoking is abstinence. Let’s make it the official government position on gay sex.”
Rightly Concerned, December 9, 2010

The native American tribes at the time of the European settlement and founding of the United States were, virtually without exception, steeped in the basest forms of superstition, had been guilty of savagery in warfare for hundreds of years, and practiced the most debased forms of sexuality. … Many of the tribal reservations today remain mired in poverty and alcoholism because many native Americans continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition instead of coming into the light of Christianity and assimilating into Christian culture.”
Rightly Concerned, February 8, 2011 (column removed from website)

We simply should not elevate to the highest court in the land people who are known for engaging in sexually abnormal behavior which would technically make them felons in a quarter of the states over which they will have jurisdiction.”
Rightly Concerned, April 15, 2010

I did one time visit the mosque on the Mount in Jerusalem when I was there ten, twelve years ago. … That’s the only time I’ve been into a mosque, and it was to pray that god would pull that house down.”
Focal Point, November 10, 2010

[T]he most compassionate thing we can do for Americans is to bring a halt to the immigration of Muslims into the U.S. … The most compassionate thing we can do for Muslims who have already immigrated here is to help repatriate them back to Muslim countries, where they can live in a culture which shares their values, a place where they can once again be at home, surrounded by people who cherish their deeply held ideals. Why force them to chafe against the freedom, liberty and civil rights we cherish in the West?”
Rightly Concerned, April 8, 2010

Please watch this video compilation of some of the things Fischer has said on his radio — that homosexuality should be a felony, that all liberals hate god and Christiantiy, that gay activists are Nazis, that the First Amendment was written for Christians alone, that Hitler recruited gay men for his army because they had no morals and would do whatever he told them, and more.

Bryan Fischer is the face and voice of the American Family Association, and he has been embraced by the Republican Party.  He spoke at this year’s Values Voters Summit, as he has in the past, on the same stage as Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and others.  Mitt Romney gently chided him, but he did not name him and his rebuke was so soft, you could have gotten a good night’s sleep on it.  As spokesman of the AFA, Bryan Fischer has directed hatred at just about everyone and has supported ideas and policies that oppose everything the United States and its Constitution stand for, and yet the best Mitt Romney can do is say the following:

“Our values ennoble the citizen, and they strengthen the nation. We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line I think. Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate. The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us – let no agenda, narrow our vision or drive us apart.”

But Romney still appeared at the summit, still spoke on the stage, still embraced the summit’s organizers and sponsors in an effort to secure the votes of people whose words and actions repeatedly trample the United States Constitution.  If he wants to be the president of the United States, then he shouldn’t even have BEEN there!

There are other groups associated with the summit.  Those listed above are the worst offenders — and aren’t they enough? — but they are all made of the same cloth.

For more than 30 years, ever since Ronald Reagan led Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson into the White House with him, the United States has been under the growing influence of a group of theocratic, anti-Constitution Christian groups who work hard to demonize and limit the rights of everyone who does not meet their particular biblical standards, all the while engaging in hateful rhetoric and activities that oppose everything America stands for.

It has been a gradual process, not unlike soaking in a vat of water that is ever so slowly brought to a boil.  Now it’s boiling, and we’re in it.  But because the process has been so gradual, we have been blind to its acceleration and growth, so that instead of condemning and denouncing it, we are steeped in discussions about the validity of the activities and beliefs of its perpetrators.

Instead of railing against it, reasonable men like Gil Gross and John Rothmann talk about whether or not Pastor Robert Jeffress’s comments about the Mormon faith are right or wrong.  Who cares about his comments about the Mormon faith when these people are trying to make women second-class citizens, turn gay people into criminals simply because of their sexuality and transform this country into a totalitarian theocracy?  We are so immersed in this movement that no one seems to be very upset that all of the Republican candidates for president repeatedly embrace these bigoted and anti-American groups!  The Republican party has become the Republican Church because it has been commandeered by these hateful tyrants who want to legislate their religious beliefs to everyone in America!

Why aren’t more people speaking out?  Not everyone is ignorant of this problem.  Plenty of people see it.  But because it involves religion, people are afraid to speak up.  After all, doesn’t the United States provide freedom of religion to all?  Aren’t these people free to believe as they please?

Yes, they are.  But they are not free to use politics and the government to impose their religion on everyone, and that is exactly what they’re doing!  They’re doing it right in front of our faces.  They are dictating the national dialogue and, even worse, they are influencing elections.  And all the while, they are not paying taxes!  If these groups want to be this involved in politics, then they should be paying taxes!  They’re all non-profit groups, and if it means changing the tax laws to prevent this kind of threatening influence over the nation, then so be it!

Anyone who says we are wrong to condemn their words and deeds because they are extensions of religious belief is sound asleep!  No one has limited the religious freedoms of these people.  Their religious liberty remains fully intact.  But they are threatening the freedoms of others, and they are using America’s freedom of religion as their protection.

It’s time to stop discussing the Values Voters Summit as if it’s just another gathering of politically concerned Americans.  It is not.  It is a meeting of religious fascists that is being participated in and supported, year after year, by the very people who want to lead this nation — the very people who do lead this nation!

That should scare the shit out of EVERYBODY!

I call on people like Gil Gross and John Rothmann and other media voices to stop treating this conference as if it’s anything but a threat to the freedoms provided by the United States.  And I call on you, dear reader, to do the same.  Follow the links in this article and educate yourself about the people involved in the Values Voters Summit.  From now on, when you hear this conference or any of its participants being discussed in a group or on a radio or TV call-in show, speak up!  Don’t let anyone get away with discussing these people as if they are anything other than what they are — bigots, hate-mongers and Constitution-hating theocrats who want to turn this country into a nation that is governed according to their religious beliefs.  They are a threat to the United States, even more than terrorists, because they are already here and entrenched in our politics and government.

We’ve been silent for too long.  It’s far past time to wake up and speak out.  If these groups get what they want — and they are closer to that goal than ever before — it will be the fault of each and every one of us.  And it will be too late to speak up then, because speaking up will no longer be allowed.

(Read the follow-up to this article, “Jesus was ‘Far more Incendiary and Inflammatory” Than Bryan Fischer”)

About Ray Garton

I am the author of more than 60 books, including the horror novels LIVE GIRLS, CRUCIFAX, LOT LIZARDS and THE LOVELIEST DEAD, and the thrillers SEX AND VIOLENCE IN HOLLYWOOD, MURDER WAS MY ALIBI, TRADE SECRETS, TRAILER PARK NOIR, and my newest thriller, MEDS Please visit my website for more information:
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25 Responses to Christianity’s War on America: The Values Voters Summit

  1. Another great post, Ray, but I laughed when I read this:

    “Here’s an idea: since gay sex is more dangerous to human health than cigarette smoking, let’s make sure our public policies on both are the same. … In other words, the official administration policy on cigarette smoking is abstinence. Let’s make it the official government position on gay sex.”

    I know it’s a hateful comment, but I just had the image of someone giving a blowjob and lighting their boyfriend’s fart because of the comparison to smoking.

  2. Brent Slensker says:

    I LOVE this part!!
    “Why is it news that a representative of one Christian sect has slammed another Christian sect? That’s been going on for 2,000 years!…..Old news, folks. It should not be part of the national discussion!”
    I remember a correspondence between two Founding Fathers regarding prominent parsons who were demanding a role to play in Gov’t and one FF said, “If we LET THEM they would have one another in the pillories!” and it was decided to IGNORE the parsons collectively!
    Can someone remember who they were?

  3. Ray Garton says:

    LOL John! Thanks. The post needed some humor.

    Brent — If you can find out who those two founders were, please let me know!

  4. tenoreprimo says:

    I’m posting a link to this on my Facebook page, and I will urge people to read it. It is so well written and succinct that it will surely help clear the mind of anyone open to having their minds cleared.

  5. Another great clarion call for us to wake up and take action. It isn’t enough to be outraged by this, we need to find ways to act. Thank you, Ray.

  6. koalamaya says:

    Those right wing religion pushers don’t seem to have any problem trampling on the rights of others. They know they have a majority and they are more than ready to use it to force their will on everyone else whether they agree with it or not. Of course whatever laws they can pressure the spineless politicians to enact that trample on people’s freedoms they will say they are doing for the good of the country and if you don’t like what they are doing then you just don’t care about or are even trying to undermine what is best for the country.

  7. Bronze Dog says:

    “They are a threat to the United States, even more than terrorists, because they are already here and entrenched in our politics and government.”

    That’s a point I bring up whenever someone talks about radical Islam being a bigger problem. It’s kind of hard to worry about a terrorist around the corner when the Christian Fundies have been wrecking the house non-stop for decades.

  8. Humans….just enough intelligence to be delusional. At least monkeys understand they are fighting each other over resources.
    Another well resourced article that makes my dentist rich from all the teeth grinding I do after reading it. It’s worth it…keep them coming!

  9. hogarm says:

    Much of our countries’ woes are because the Republican Party is not only pro-religion, the Republican Party has become a religion. The separation of church and state means nothing to them, because they are the state, they are the religion.
    We liberals (those who promote liberty as opposed to those who promote theocratic authoritarianism) have to be careful when we insult them as “Christians”. We only offend the real Christians. The religion of Republicanism is anything but Christian.
    Jesus was a pretty good guy as far as gods go. He taught the golden rule, do unto others, love thy brother, give all of your money to the poor, turn the other cheek, etc. In fact, Jesus was a downright socialist, if not a communist. And we know what the Republicianists think of socialism!
    The Republicianists are into the Old Testament. Stone adulteresses, impertinent teenagers, gays, atheists and the rest of us “those people.”
    We need a new insulting name for the religion of the Republicianists. Being Old Testament believers they could be called Neo-Jews, except that would offend the Jews; and the ones I know are quite liberal.
    So help me out, what is a catchy, insulting name for this new religion?

  10. Ray Garton says:

    We part ways here, Hogarm. You’re essentially trying to give Christianity a pass, and that’s not going to fly. Who are you — who is anyone? — to say who’s a “real” Christian and who isn’t? The Jesus of the bible — which, by the way, is the ONLY Jesus, because there is no historical record of his existence — was so loving that he introduced the concept of eternal torment in hell for anyone who doesn’t accept and worship him. He told people to “hate” their families or they couldn’t come to him. He said the poor would always be around and there was really nothing anybody could do about it. He also told the poor not to worry about the future. He said they shouldn’t concern themselves with actually DOING something about their situation, that they should accept their lot in life and shut the hell up. He told them to look for their reward in some nonexistent fantasy land after death.

    A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus not only existed but was the son of god, and they worship him. THAT’S a Christian. When you say these people aren’t “real” Christians, you’re just wasting our time with the same quibbling that Jeffress engaged in when he said that Mormons aren’t Christians. They’re ALL Christians! You’re saying that only good, kind and loving people are Christians and that is demonstrably false. If Christians are offended by the fact that these assholes are Christians, they shouldn’t complain to me or anyone else who points it out. They should complain to the assholes. Or better yet, maybe they should ask themselves if they really want to belong to a club that would have those assholes as members — a club that would be RUN by such assholes, because let’s face it, these organizations are in prominent positions of leadership in American Christianity. What you want to do here, Hogarm, is actually part of the problem. Nope. All the folks who attend the Values Voters Summit are Christians. Saying they aren’t is untrue, avoids the issue, and it’s bullshit. If the truth offends people, too bad.

  11. koalamaya says:

    WHY Are Politicians Christian?

  12. hogarm says:

    I absolutely do not give “Christians” a pass.
    But I am a pragmatist. To be elected to serve in DC in America today, one has to claim to be a Christian. That is not going to change anytime soon. The real concern is that it may happen only after they ruin our country.
    Of course I realize that Jesus the christ was a Paul Bunyan of the first century. But I don’t see a threat to my life, my liberty, my pursuit of happiness from the Episcopalians or the Unitarians. I do see that threat from GWB, Palin, Bachmann and Perry of the church of Republicanism. Pragmatically, we have to be able to criticize and insult them without offending the liberal Christians.
    One of the ways to do this is to point out that the theology of Republicianism is not in any way “Christian” according to the teachings of Jesus the Paul Bunyan Christ.
    I am searching for a name to insult the Republicianists other than “Christian.” Neo-Jew is what they are, but that alienates the Jews.

  13. Brooklyn Boy says:

    Wonderful post!
    It’s too bad the media at large doesn’t have the guts to confront these delusional wackaloons who, under the guise of “faith” and “values”, would turn this country into a religious dictatorship if they had half the chance. That happened once before. It was called the Dark Ages.

  14. Pingback: Christianity’s War on America: Jesus was “far more incendiary and inflammatory” than Bryan Fischer | Atheist Oasis – A Rational Refuge

  15. Sue Blue says:

    This is a great post about a subject that the media treats like a fart in a crowded elevator. Everyone can smell it, everyone knows it stinks, but no one wants to mention it or lay blame. It has to be tolerated because its…well, it’s just there, and you can’t get away from it anyway. We should all be holding our noses and pointing fingers and protesting loudly against the bloated gasbags and their sewer-pipe organizations that are stinking up our country and drowning us in shit.

  16. Sally says:

    I know that it’s fashionable, almost mandatory, for US atheists to adopt the position of Constitutional Democrats (Ca-dets), defending Franklin, Jefferson and the rest of the lads as ‘free thinkers,’ “deists but not necessarily christians” who “advocated the separation of church and state” etc etc. And, yes, I know that when you think of your good ole USA, you like to think of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” and “Freedom and Justice for All” — all the glories of the Eighteenth Century Enlightenment.

    But what you either forget, or don’t know, is that the USA’s roots lie in the Seventeenth Century — a time of violent conspiracies, paranoia and self-righteous intolerance, when religion was a cardinal dimension of social existence. And, as slavery was the “snake coiled under the table of the Constitutional Convention,” religion has been coiled under the US table for nearly 400 years.
    USans have used their invisible friend as justification for exterminating Native Americans and expropriating their lands, for fighting against (or for) slavery and for extending the ‘freedoms’ of US imperialism to Hawai’I, the Philippines, the Caribbean and much of Central and South America and Asia. Like every other European army, the US entered WWI with “god on our side,” fought numerous wars from 1917 to 1992 against ‘godless communism’ and denied freedoms to their own citizens, white, black and red, in the name of “christian civilization.”

    Religion is so deeply embedded in the US psyche that it will take nothing short of cultural brainwashing to remove it — yet remove it you must, before it strangles you.

  17. Sue Blue says:

    Sally, all you say is true to one degree or another. However, there is no reason to continue to use bronze-age myths to inform 21st-century thinking. Much of the evils of religion were carried over into the US, but the framers of the Constitution had seen the results of state-supported religion in their own countries and this is why we have (or are supposed to have) separation of church and state. Religious zealots have been actively trying to rewrite the Constitution and inject religious law into this country at least since the 80s (Reagan era Moral Majority). One of their claims is that America was founded as a “Christian” nation. It wasn’t. As “Christian” as the founders may have been, and however often their descendants tried to claim god’s endorsement of their actions, the founding documents of this nation clearly indicate the secular intent of their authors.

  18. Sue Blue says:

    Values voters – geting rid of embryos is murder, sending 18-year-olds to war, denying health care to women and children, letting the poor starve – all pretty much okey-dokey! They’re against “big government” and “government interference” in their lives, but they want the government to make laws telling people what they can and can’t do with their bodies. Men are the movers and shakers, women cook, clean, and punch out little christians until menopause, when, apparently, they can either babysit the grandkids or just die, since they don’t have any other use. But by golly, don’t let them women get abortions or have sex for fun! Don’t let them unions make the poor, poor corporations pay their lazy, good-for-nothing employees a living wage! Don’t ask the rich to help out, either, since they deserve to be rich and the poor deserve to be poor because they let themselves get taken advantage of by the rich.
    Values Voters – People that think you can have a nation without a sense of community. In other words, selfish, bigoted, racist idiots.

  19. Pingback: Allegories Gone Wild: The Sky Is Falling…Why? Because It Was Predicted | Atheist Oasis – A Rational Refuge

  20. Harry Stripling says:

    I urge each reader to visit the web site “the evil bible .com. Here you will see the evils of religion.The site post actual bible scriptures that depict RAPE, tourture, human and animal sacrifice, incest and tales to frighten the ignorant population to damnation if they fail to heed their tripe.
    I venture no “Vacation Bible School” ever tells their child pupils about the real nature of their God. Religion should have a warning label and be restricted to +18 year old people. I am not amazed that the preachers only use the scriptures that portray their God as a wonderful loving, forgiving and peaceful creature. He is none of the above!
    Religious zealots brain wash children and hold that women are simply procreation machines and should have no rights.
    Never in a million years could I be persuaded to vote for any Republican or should say religious shill. I also have trouble voting for a Democrat in that they are not ever interested in me and my future. They only care about corporations and getting reelected.Their is no one to vote for in todays environment..

  21. jimmer54 says:

    Hey Ray
    This post has been referred by Crooks and Liars dot com . Sunday the 23rd congrats.

  22. Ray Garton says:

    Wow! Wonderful!

  23. LaurenG says:

    Hi there!

    I’m a bit late in the posting of this, as it has been a month or so that this was posted.

    I want to thank you for this wonderful piece. I feel like I am constantly fighting a battle to keep others religious beliefs out of my life. It is never-ending, and at times I feel like I’m the only one paying attention. I’m thankful for people like you.

    Yes, this absolutely scares the shit out of me and the people who are not afraid are blind. To allow any of this near government office will destroy life as we know it. It concerns me that as an atheist I am vilified by these people with their ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Mr. Gingrich has made it clear that anyone without god is not competent to make moral decisions and therefore should not be allowed into presidential office. To me, that is essentially calling me un-American, and very nearly declaring me a terrorist. The term ‘terrorist’ is thrown around willy nilly now-a-days, but the people in this post are terrorists. They are threatening our very way of life with their hate and utter disregard for the rights of millions.

    Thank you for this. I will be linking it to FB. Keep it up!

  24. Harry Stripling says:

    The majority of these Christians fall into one of two categories.Either they were brainwashed as children or they are reformed alcoholics . Religion is a women sport. Ever notice the number of women in a church versus the men? It is a social club.Every time I admit to being an atheist I am immediately labeled a pariah and the person attempts to “convert ” me. I am aghast as to women who can support any doctrine that strips away their rights to control their own body. The religious right is against abortion and birth control because it produces potential customers. The Queers religion(Catholics) has rules that provide damnation for birth control. Talk about new customers!

  25. wingoov says:

    Every citizen of our nation should have the same rights as every other citizen, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation – and that includes the right of consenting adults to marry they choose.

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