I'm always amazed at the logical loops the religious right tie around themselves. Here's the latest pep talk video for Indiana's proposed marriage amendment and, of course, it's all about the "right to vote."
The Christian Right, which is the GOP’s most reliable and agitated voting bloc, is obsessed with the courts, and the Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit is the nation’s second most important judicial body, which is why Republicans “gave the game away when all but a few of them opposed Obama’s three most recent appointments.”
Now that Democrats were forced into limiting the filibuster, the Christian Right has its incentive to mobilize for 2014. A simple majority control of the Senate gives it an opportunity to pack the courts with judges straight out of the Justice Scalia mold, who once said that separation of church and state would come under scrutiny under a Supreme Court with a Scalia majority. If the Christian Right sweeps Republicans to control the Senate in next year’s midterms, the anti-secularists will take a big step forward toward their stated ideological goals.
For anyone who knows the history of the religious right, the possible revocation of tax-exempt status for claimed religious belief is a potent flashpoint. In his book, Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical's Lament, religion historian Randall Balmer argues that contrary to conventional wisdom, which Balmar calls the "abortion myth", evangelical voters were not propelled to political activism by the supreme court's 1973 decision in Roe v Wade.
Instead, the issue that mobilized these voters was the IRS's 1975 revocation of the tax-exempt status of the segregationist Bob Jones University. Rightwing religious architect Paul Weyrich told Balmer that it was "the federal government's moves against Christian schools" that actually "enraged the Christian community".
Bob Jones University claimed its ban on interracial dating and admission of students in interracial marriages was rooted in the Bible. It did not end its ban on interracial dating until 2000. The IRS's decision – which went through protracted litigation that ultimately ended when the supreme court let the revocation stand – was in response to new IRS regulations and a 1972 Supreme Court case holding that educational institutions with racially discriminatory policies were not entitled to tax exemption.
"The Religious Right arose as a political movement for the purpose, effectively, of defending racial discrimination at Bob Jones University and at other segregated schools."
In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to high school biology students suggesting that there is an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution called intelligent design–the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The teachers refused to comply. Later, parents opposed to intelligent design filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state.
"There was a blow-up like you couldn't believe," Bill Buckingham, head of the school board's curriculum committee, tells NOVA. Buckingham helped formulate the intelligent-design policy when he noticed that the biology textbook chosen by teachers for classroom use was, in his words, "laced with Darwinism."
Laced with Darwinism. Gasp! The next thing you know, physics will be laced with Einstein, too!
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the case last year, saying the university couldn't challenge the employer or birth control mandates before they went into effect. The university argues that providing employees and students with health insurance that covers contraceptives violates its religious freedom under the First Amendment, and that employers cannot be compelled to provide health insurance.
On the heels of the successful campaign to remove three Iowa Supreme Court justices because of the court ruling in favor of marriage equality, Bob Vander Plaats has made it his mission to get the four remaining justices removed as well and begun raising money for that purpose.
As a friend and former adviser on three of Bob Vander Plaats' campaigns, I understood from Bob that he was done with campaigning against the courts after the retention vote Nov. 2. Yet his senseless attacks on the courts continue.
Bob is obsessed with the gay-marriage issue. He is so obsessed that he would rather see the Iowa judicial system destroyed, instead of pursuing a change in the law within the channels provided (a constitutional amendment).
Liberty University Law School Dean and Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver joined David Barton and Rick Green on WallBuilders Live to denounce Obama and the Justice Department for failing to win cases on Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA).... ..... a September poll conducted by the Associated Press shows that 58% of Americans agree that “couples of the same sex [should] be entitled to the same government benefits as married couples of the opposite sex,” and 52% even support federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Staver may be using Barton’s tremendously flawed reading on how opposition to same-sex marriage impacted the midterm election, while in reality “only 1%” of voters said “same-sex marriage was the single most important issue.”
Barton’s co-host Rick Green goes on to laud Staver for his role in training Religious Right activists at the Law School of Liberty University, which was founded by the late Jerry Falwell, to use the “right Biblical worldview” to shape government, politics, and the courts
Last week [Right Wing Watch] noted that Rep. Michele Bachmann intends to have David Barton as one of the instructors for the weekly class on the Constitution that she is organizing for members of Congress.
A small group of fanatics plan to hijack a memorial event on Sunday ostensibly dedicated to the memory of soldiers who died in an attack last year at Fort Hood, Texas. The event will feature speakers with a long history of vicious anti-Islamic bigotry and rhetoric that targets not the actions of terrorists but rather condemns the religion of Islam itself.
As I've reported recently, conservatives, spurred by the ahistorical renderings of Newt Gingrich and others, wrap the exceptionalism narrative into a pat us-versus-them package: that Obama doesn't understand the divine roots of the American founding, probably because he's not really a Christian and not really an American, and only by electing the likes of Michele Bachmann or Jim DeMint can we ensure that the Christian nation ship can be righted again.
By framing the confrontation of this narrative as an "uphill battle," Democrats make the enormous and unnecessary mistake of placing themselves in the position of the counter-cultural underdog. The conservatives have no special right to own the American exceptionalism narrative, and Democrats shouldn't yield that ground to them. They need an America narrative of their own, one that is just as forceful and unapologetic as the right's.