A Serious Parody
I'm going to let this one speak for itself. As much as I hate to do it, the following article will not be as powerful if you don't first read this one. (Clicking on "this one" in the previous sentence will open it in a new browser window so you don't get lost and to allow for easy "comparison".) I hate sending traffic to this site, but I can virtually guarantee you that they're not going to give me permission to reproduce the article here.
"I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" Those were the words of Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority and self-appointed savior of American morality, on the 700 Club, on September 13, 2001.
The comments were made in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center just two days prior. In his diatribe Falwell said, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America." [Author's note: I realize this is not a complete sentence, but that's what the man said.] Blaming everyone but the terrorists themselves, Falwell characterized about half the country as willing accomplices to one of the greatest tragedies in American history, apparently oblivious to the anger and ill-will the policies of the government he supports and backs have generated since President Bush took office. Pat Robertson stood by giving his endorsement to Falwell's venomous speech. The mainstream media broadcast his intolerant ravings which pointed the finger not at killers themselves, whose actions where publicly, promptly and firmly denounced by major Islamic organizations and mosques, but at all who dare object to radical religious right dogma.
Indeed, we are at war. We find ourselves in the midst of a spiritual and political struggle for the very soul of the nation. At stake is the future of our culture and the well being of countless souls. And one of the most bitterly and fiercely contested battles in this war is over whether or not this country was meant to be a "Christian" nation.
Really, this war is not new. It is one that has existed since the founding of this nation. As Thomas Jefferson's autobiography clearly indicates [see the passages regarding the attempt to introduce the words "Jesus Christ" into the preamble of the Virginia State Constitution], the forces of secularity and religion, of tolerance and intolerance, of equality and privilege, of civil rights and legalized discrimination have always clashed, and with great consequence. The people of America have been given the responsibility to equip themselves with knowledge and go forth into this war as civil rights soldiers to do battle for justice and for equality. While true freedom fighters throughout the centuries have had to wrestle against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this religious legalism, against the establishment of religious doctrine through laws, we have witnessed in our lifetime an intensification of this perennial struggle in the context of our own culture.
As Western culture in general, and America in particular, have become increasingly "Christianized", traditional values this country was founded on have been abandoned and the floodgates to special treatment have been opened. Nothing is more indicative of the rapid rate of religious exclusivity than the breach of the wall of separation of church and state that has occured since the 2000 presidential election.
So we understand that the cultural war we currently find ourselves fighting is not something which began several decades ago. Though the civil rights movement of the 1960's gave the first real indications that the reins of power were changing hands, looking at the larger context we see those changes are the outgrowth of a shift in worldviews— from a paternalistic to a humanistic one— that has been underway for several centuries. But it is over the last few years that the movement to thwart equality and undermine the US Constitution has enjoyed unparalleled success. It has made inroads into virtually every aspect of the culture, and we have only begun to see the devastating results.
In the 2000's especially, after what seemed to be something of a loss of momentum in the previous decade, the "radical religious right" movement made tremendous strides under the current Bush administration. With the support of the special interest groups, government, Christian radio/TV stations, "scientific" studies funded by religious groups, censured mental health "experts", and a bankroll of "old money" (or should I say "oil money", radical religious rights activists have made alarming progress in their campaign to create a "Christian" America wherein their morality is enshrined in laws, in direct violation of the US Constitution. Hard statistics confirm the obvious fact that the American public is becoming more accepting of the subtle dissection of the US Constitution. While the radical religious right activists would have us believe that the majority of American's agree with their agenda, according to a CNN/Time poll conducted by Harris Interactive on June 19-20, 2002, only 18% of Christians consider themselves fundamentalists. (View entire survey results here.)
With the help of media, the relatively small but well organized, well funded radical religious right movement has given the radical religious right community an influence grossly disproportionate to its numbers. Those actual numbers are hard to come by. According to Americans United:
In fact, USA Today reported that, according to an internal fund-raising document, the Coalition mailed only 428,000 membership cards in 1998. This figure jibes with Coalition membership figures put forth by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. AU analyzed Coalition postal statements in the mid 1990s, when the group mailed a bimonthly membership magazine to supporters. Based on those figures, Americans United estimated Coalition membership at between 400,000 and 450,000. (The New York Times reported in August  that the Coalition's membership rolls were swelled with "thousands of names of dead people and wrong addresses" as well as "many one-time contributors and people who once signed a petition or called an 800 number.")
The Christian Coalition is by far the largest of the radical religious right organizations. Even if we were to accept their inflated membership figures, and triple it for all the other radical religious right groups out there, it would still represent less than three percent of the population. Yet they exercise remarkable political clout in imposing their brand of morality upon the rest of the nation. As a result of their aggressive efforts we are experiencing what has been called the Christianizing of America. It is not overstating the case to suggest that the radical religious right movement poses one of the greatest threats facing our nation, our children, our culture and our civil rights.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote to Baron von Humboldt in 1813, "History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." We do not need to turn to a book that is not accepted as truth by fully 2/3 of the world's population to find proof. [Author's note: I hold the Bible in high esteem and believe it is the most amazing book ever written. I believe it is divinely inspired, and yet it is for the most part a book of faith and not a history book.] We need look no further than human history chock full of the damage, death and destruction caused by radical religious thinking: the Crusades, the Salem witch trials, the Spanish Inquisition and slavery to the more modern tragedies such as the civil strife in Ireland, the Palestinian/Israeli civil strife, even the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Of special concern to us is the fact that the promotion of the radical religious right agenda has become, of necessity, at the same time a movement against individual civil rights. Groups that refuse to join the crusade to create a Christian nation will continue to be maligned as hateful and intolerant institutions which must be not be permitted to stand in the way of "God's truth". Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, revealed their agenda against the US Constitution when he said, "When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. 'What do you mean?' the media challenged me. 'You're not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe in the Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?' My simple answer is, 'Yes, they are.'" (from Pat Robertson's "The New World Order," page 218.) (For more memorable quotes from Mr. Robertson, click here.)
So much for the Bill of Rights. As the stakes in the culture war continue to escalate, we can expect increased hostility toward those who dare resist the tide and take a stand for truth, justice and equality and who dare to defend the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.
All of this means that the promotion of the radical religious right's agenda presents one of the most formidable challenges facing freedom-loving Americans today. The outcome of this battle and the greater cultural war of which it is a crucial part will determine the moral landscape of our nation for generations to come. But in order to be effective in this war for the good of all mankind, we must be informed and constitutionally literate on the issue. With that in mind we will be publishing a series of articles over the next several weeks dealing with the radical religious right agenda in America today.
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