Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Religious Incorrectness…

In Freethought on January 31, 2013 at 7:52 am

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From digby
Hullabaloo

This Barna Group study is fascinating, but unsurprising:

The findings of a poll published Wednesday (Jan. 23), reveal a “double standard” among a significant portion of evangelicals on the question of religious liberty, said David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, a California think tank that studies American religion and culture.

While these Christians are particularly concerned that religious freedoms are being eroded in this country, “they also want Judeo-Christians to dominate the culture,” said Kinnamon.

“They cannot have it both ways,” he said. “This does not mean putting Judeo-Christian values aside, but it will require a renegotiation of those values in the public square as America increasingly becomes a multi-faith nation.”

Yes, they can have it both ways. They believe the constitution is a Christian tract that requires the American government to follow the Bible. To them “religious freedom” means that Christianity must guide the entire nation. And they have con artists out there “proving” it every day:

David Barton is not a historian. He has a bachelor’s degree in Christian education from Oral Roberts University and runs a company called WallBuilders in Aledo, Texas. But his vision of a religion-infused America is wildly popular with churches, schools and the GOP, and that makes him a power. He was named one of Time magazine’s most influential evangelicals. He was a long-time vice chairman for the Texas Republican Party. He says that he consults for the federal government and state school boards, that he testifies in court as an expert witness, that he gives a breathtaking 400 speeches a year.

Seeking his endorsement are politicians including Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz of Texas and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who’s mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich is a fan. So is Mike Huckabee.

“I almost wish that there would be like a simultaneous telecast,” Huckabee said at a conference last year, “and all Americans will be forced, forced — at gunpoint, no less — to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country will be better for it.”
[...]
David Barton says Americans have been misled about their history. And he aims to change that.

Barton has collected 100,000 documents from before 1812 — original or certified copies of letters, sermons, newspaper articles and official documents of the Founding Fathers. He says they prove that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious men who built America on Christian ideas — something you never learn in school.

For example, you’ve been taught the Constitution is a secular document. Not so, says Barton: The Constitution is laced with biblical quotations.

“You look at Article 3, Section 1, the treason clause,” he told James Robison on Trinity Broadcast Network. “Direct quote out of the Bible. You look at Article 2, the quote on the president has to be a native born? That is Deuteronomy 17:15, verbatim. I mean, it drives the secularists nuts because the Bible’s all over it! Now we as Christians don’t tend to recognize that. We think it’s a secular document; we’ve bought into their lies. It’s not.”

We looked up every citation Barton said was from the Bible, but not one of them checked out. Moreover, the Constitution as written in 1787 has no mention of God or religion except to prohibit a religious test for office. The First Amendment does address religion.

What about the idea that the founders did not want government entangled in religion? Wrong again, says Barton. On his tours of the U.S. Capitol, for example, he claims that Congress not only published the first American Bible in 1782, but it also intended the Bible to be used in public schools.

“And we’re going to be told they don’t want any kind of religion in education, they don’t want voluntary prayer?” Barton asks his audience rhetorically? “No, it doesn’t make sense.”

But historians say Barton is flat-out wrong in his facts and conclusion. Congress never published or paid a dime for the 1782 Bible. It was printed and paid for by Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken. At Aitken’s request, Congress agreed to have its chaplains check the Bible for accuracy. It was not, historians say, a government promotion of religion.

No kidding. A thousand years of bloody religious wars in Europe didn’t escape their notice. But then they didn’t have “historians” like David Barton around to guide them.
~~

  1. We are not talking about religion. To some extent actual religions are inner looking. These people, the politically aggressive christian fundamentalist, don’t care about spirituality, have no concern for their souls. They are externally oriented toward others they have been conditioned to fear. What they care about is safety by means of conquest. They are conducting the preliminaries of civil war. This is true of every “fundamentalist” Muslim, Sikh, Jew or other sectarian group that contemplates winning control over territory where they will dominate and exploit non-believers. They are the mentally damaged seeking each other out for the tiny measure of comfort that comes from belonging. They are also the most easily duped and manipulated people in the world. This is why, under the surface, all fundamentalist are more alike then different. This is why fundamentalist christians support fundamentalist Jews, Salafist, and Wahabis who have diametrically opposed beliefs. Religious fundamentalist everywhere have more in common with each other than any of the rest of us have in common. We look weak and that alone provokes those with existential dread. They tend to believe that they are in danger of being destroyed by those who disagree them. It is an odd paradox. Overwhelming fear directed toward those felt to be inferior in belief provokes depraved violence that can excuse any action as proof of religious devotion. Abortionist need assassinating. Suicide bombers roam.d

    The opposing sectarian groups, now active in Egypt, and to some extent here in the US, continue to act as if the conflict has something to do with belief or fact. It doesn’t. This is what war feels like. The only criteria that matters to the would be conquerers is who’s side you are perceived to be on. Our most recent born again president announced, “You are with us or you are against us.” The implication is that if you aren’t with him kiss your ass goodbye. It creates a funny sort of war where one side is aggressive and heavily armed and the other side is into peace and disarmament.

    Consequently, I tend to look beyond protestations of belief and principle to try to discern secret strategies and tactics. A person involved in what they conceive of as a fight to the death is going to lie and conspire at every chance. This would be true of any of us who perceived ourselves to be in a struggle to the death. At least I do not dehumanize these people. In their world view their very existence is threatened by my existence.

    The ignorant and deluded tend to create the tsunamis of history behind the dark manipulations of those with no belief beyond their own dominance, the demagogs. The informed and reality oriented can only inject reason and compassion into the fight until it is too late. When the survivors of civil wars pick themselves up and crawl out of the holes they have been hiding in they find others who are interested in survival, not conquest, regardless of how they aligned themselves before the hot war broke out.

    Fundamentalism is the toxic mimic of religion and spirituality. It is impossible to approach any concept of God with a closed mind filled with fear. Fundamentalism hijacks religion but is not committed to classical religious values. Whereas it is essentially impossible to confront organized fundamentalism to any positive effect, it is possible to connect with individuals on the periphery of these fundamentalist groups and form human bonds that neutralize some of the fear that is so dangerous to everyone. This is why it is vital to these groups to isolate their members from the larger society. It is hard to recruit assassins and suicide bombers who see the humanity of their targets. It is hard to manage assassins and bombers unless they are constantly surrounded by true believers who stoke their fear. The best way to fight this war is to draw out subordinate members of the fundamentalist groups and ween them away from death loving fear. Hug a fundamentalist today.

    ybera

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