Talk to Action, the first national interactive blog site devoted to discussing the theocratic Christian Right and what to do about it, will host a national "e-conference," on the Talk to Action site, featuring writers and editors of Mother Jones, which is publishing several articles about the religious right in the next issue. The event will begin at 10am EST, Tuesday, November 29th.
Talk to Action, founded by author Frederick Clarkson, blogger Bruce Wilson, and 14 other writers, seeks to advance the national conversation on this subject. Former Sen. Gary Hart (D-CO), will be making a guest appearance at the e-conference. Hart has just published God and Caesar in America: An Essay on Religion and Politics (Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2005).
"We favor religious equality and separation of church and state," Clarkson said. "We support reproductive freedom and gay and lesbian civil rights -- including marriage equality. Therefore," he says, "debates about abortion and gay rights are off topic on this site. We understand that there are those who may be concerned generally about the politics of the Christian Right, who may not completely share our view on these matters. They are welcome to participate anyway, but bearing this in mind. Our purpose is to take the conversation forward, and not let it be held back by debating what, in our view are or should be, settled matters of human and civil rights."
The progressive blog Shakespeare's Sister gets extra credit in the Religious Right surveillance department for spotting the latest ploy by Focus on the Family: 5,000 little promotional balls given out at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. They promote a new Focus on the Family (often abbreviated "FOF" online) website aiming to, among other things, "cure" gay Americans. FOF is James Dobson's would-be family-oriented counseling machine that is primarily a vehicle for the propagation of the Religious Right's agenda--an agenda that is, by definition, political.
Here are important insights on how to act locally against FOF's operations.
There's great content here about some of FOF's recent political shenanigans--this time relative to "Justice Sunday." A short overview on FOF is here (scroll down to "Focus on the Family" subheading), and a look at their significant role in the rightwing's longtime war against gay Americans can be seen here.
From Harmon Leon's "Infiltrator" column comes his almost Juvenalian first-person reporting on The Promise Keepers, "The Manly Men of God."
"If you want to truly change the world, change the men, states the Promise Keepers' literature. (Sorry, ladies.) This weekend is designed to "expose a list of lies of the world against our manhood." Holy shit, not only are people lying to men, but manhood is also on the line!
Who started the Promise Keepers in 1990? Why, the head coach of the University of Colorado football team, of course -- a manly man doing a manly profession. As far as filling arenas goes, the Promise Keepers are the AC/DC of men-only, Jesus-centered events. Touring 20 cities around the country, with ticket prices at $89, filling up larger outdoor stadiums with upward of 40,000 people, the Promise Keepers are holy big business.
What separates me (a man) from most of these men (not women) is I'm in the inner circle for this weekend's arena event. That's right, phoning a few days earlier, I volunteered to be on the Promise Keepers Prayer Team.
Talk to Action (TTA), a website dedicated to fostering coordinated responses to, and educational discussions about, the Religious Right launches today, to coincide with the publication of Mother Jones' special issue, "God and Country."
Please go to TTA right away and register to become a user. (It's free.) You'll enjoy the ability of read, interact, and learn relative to the subject of the Religious Right's massive influence in American politics, policy, culture, education, government, and law.
Also, you can read the Mother Jones special edition online forFREE. The magazine is generously offers readers of Religious Right Watch and IseFire online access to their special edition issue through a free subscriber code.
Just go to MotherJones.com, use subscriber code MJ5RES, and be a part of history.
This ground-breaking special issue of Mother Jones, "God and Country, Where the Christian Right Is Leading Us," brings together some of the most important writers and thinkers about the Religion Right today, and will be a milestone in the national discussion about where the Religious Right is leading America.
TTA is an exciting development: a website dedicated to taking action in response to, and fostering educational discussion about, the Religious Right. Involved in TTA are authors, journalists, commentators, experts, and educators:
We at the League cried foul earlier this year when the Food and Drug Administration rejected a plan to allow over-the-counter sale of the morning-after emergency contraception pill. It appeared that the agency's political appointees were overriding the medical decision of an FDA advisory panel of scientists who concluded "the drug could be safely used as an over-the-counter drug by women older than 17."
Our hunch was validated on Monday with a release of a Government Accountability Office report which found that the decision process was "unusual." The report cited evidence that the decision to prohibit over-the-counter sale of the medication was made early in the review process by high-level officials with apparent disregard for the results of any scientific findings.
The report's findings are disturbing. The FDA was involved in an indefensible misuse of the regulatory agency's authority, impeding medical progress at the expense of personal liberty and privacy rights. The agency should be in the business of determining the safety and efficacy of drugs, not making judgments on their moral implications. "FDA" stands for "Food and Drug Administration," not "Food, Drug and Morality Patrol."
PINKERTON - As the polls are coming in, it is obvious that pro-gay-rights candidates have won a majority of the seats on the town's school board.
"Well, it's about time," says voter Evelyn Gaylord, "I'm sick and tired of those Fundamentalist Christians and their Agenda." Mrs. Gaylord's sentiments seem to be shared by many of the voters in today's election.
It appears that the firebrand anti-Fundamentalist rhetoric of several of the candidates hit its mark among the voters. A good example of such rhetoric is from a statement issued by incumbent Simeon Kwir, "Thanks to Fundamentalist activists there are already Christian clubs in our schools. Next on their Agenda is school prayer. It's obvious who their target is: our children. The Fundamentalists are recruiting in schools and that has to stop!"
"My son found out the other day that his geography teacher is, is.. one of them. I cannot stand for this," says concerned parent Sappho Jones. Jones cites the presence of openly Fundamentalist teachers as a sign of the declining focus on morality in public schools. "The curriculum in the schools nowadays actually teaches that thier lifestyle is OK. If somebody doesn't do something about this soon I'm going to send my kids to a Montessori school."
"It's part of a grand vision for them, a Fundamentalist Agenda," says Dr. John van Dyke, founder of Fixation on the Familial Unit, "They are conspiring with the pro-war crowd and corrupt CEO's to create an America devoid of morality. I'm afraid it may get worse before it gets better. With activist judges legislating from the bench, we may see more laws being circumvented to benefit the Religious Right. This is the reason our organization was founded. We want to be a source of hope in these troubling times. We will publicly endorse candidates like Mr. Kwir who are courageous enough to stand up to the Fundamentalist Agenda."
If the new school board members live up to their promises, the future of Pinkerton's schools is clear. Is this the beginning of a nation-wide, grassroots movement to combat the Religious Right? Only time will tell.
Yes--it is, in fact, inherently illogical. (Of course it is, since ID ultimately is not about science; it's about the fear of its proponents. It's about their psychologies.)
ID honks and squeals over a handful of anecdotes that it feels demonstrates a lack of evidence for the long-ago proved theory of evolution--that reality upon which (and which is confirmed by) modern genetics and biology. Those anecdotes include the complexity of the human cell. (i.e. "Cells are complex, thus God exists." How's that for "science?")
Since ID is not evidence-based (but rather based on pointing out things it tries to negatively relate to evolution), it cannot be proved or disproved. It is an intellectual trap, a kind of dope. You can't prove Intelligent Design, which boils down to the non-scientific proposition that "Some things are sometimes really, really complex, so there must be a God," anymore than you can prove "I think therefore I am" or "God is dead" or "We are the stuff of alien races before us" or any other speculative declaration.
But...while it is true that ID is a philosophical, not scientific, entity; it is more specifically true that it is a philosophical and anti-scientific entity. It is grotesquely anti-scientific and hateful of human curiosity, for it essentially declares that when we as human observers see something we just can't figure out, we need to conclude that God exists. We need to quite asking "Why?" and quit trying to figure things out.
Here is what ID is like:
Intelligent Design is like the child who sees an airplane fly through the sky and concludes that there must be a God, because the child knows that gravity exists, yet here is some object defying gravity, an object so complex that it's beyond his understanding (and the child assumes that it always will be beyond anyone's understanding) therefore what he is seeing must be a miracle, therefore--as a miracle--it must be proof of God's existence.
What is more, this type of thinking the child deems to be "science."
So, here we are, The United States of America in 2005: we're like Rome at its most arrogant and myotic, the global superpower self-indulgently dancing in an oblivious haze, drunk on the dope of *Intelligent Design, *homosexuality as an immoral condition, *sex education as something to be withheld from teenagers because it's evil, *the State of Israel as evidence of the approach of the Antichrist, *homosexuality as something that can and must be "cured," *the definition of a fetus as being fully human (a "child"), *demon possession, *the denial of global warming, *ad hoc religious tests for candidate for elected office (are they "born again?" if not, they oughtn't govern, no matter how qualified), *divine missions (George W. Bush himself said he was called by God to be President).