10 (Biased) Examples of Christian Terrorism

 

jesusgunnedHere we go again, some clueless partisan will now explain how the kid stealing gumballs who will get whipped if he is caught by his folks is far worse than the crack dealer who thinks drive-bys are the best way to deal with competitors or witnesses and whose Mom and Pop will never admit is a nasty sucker instead of their misunderstood little boy.

SATURDAY, AUG 3, 2013 07:00 AM PDT

10 worst examples of Christian or far-right terrorism

Conservatives claim that all terrorists are Muslim, but most violent attacks in the US are carried out by white men

How racist! Did they count the white men who were Muslim terrorists twice?

BY 

From Fox News to the Weekly Standard, neoconservatives have tried to paint terrorism as a largely or exclusively Islamic phenomenon. Their message of Islamophobia has been repeated many times since the George W. Bush era: Islam is inherently violent, Christianity is inherently peaceful, and there is no such thing as a Christian terrorist or a white male terrorist. But the facts don’t bear that out. Far-right white male radicals and extreme Christianists are every bit as capable of acts of terrorism as radical Islamists, and to pretend that such terrorists don’t exist does the public a huge disservice. Dzhokhar Anzorovich Tsarnaev and the late Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev (the Chechen brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombing of April 15, 2013) are both considered white and appear to have been motivated in part by radical Islam. And many terrorist attacks in the United States have been carried out by people who were neither Muslims nor dark-skinned.

When white males of the far right carry out violent attacks, neocons and Republicans typically describe them as lone-wolf extremists rather than people who are part of terrorist networks or well-organized terrorist movements. Yet many of the terrorist attacks in the United States have been carried out by people who had long histories of networking with other terrorists. In fact, most of the terrorist activity occurring in the United States in recent years has not come from Muslims, but from a combination of radical Christianists, white supremacists and far-right militia groups.

Given that Ft. Hood shooting by Maj. Hassan was classified as “workplace violence” you might be able to make a case as far as government records go; if you count the times Islamic fundamentalists with normative scripture to quote have been involved in violence as opposed to Bible Verse spouting Christians doing such things the count would be far more one-sided in the other direction. If we expand our focus world-wide there is no question, almost the only people involved with terrorism today are Islamists; the remainder are a radical and unsupported teaspoon in a bucket of Islamic aggression supported by most of the Imams outside the U.S..

Below are 10 of the worst examples of non-Islamic terrorism that have occurred in the United States in the last 30 years.

Well Virginia, at least one sentence in this piece was accurate, too bad the author could not keep to the ‘examples of non-Islamic’ part instead of turning it into a lynch-whitey-and-the-Christians-fest.

1. Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre, Aug. 5, 2012. The virulent, neocon-fueled Islamophobia that has plagued post-9/11 America has not only posed a threat to Muslims, it has had deadly consequences for people of other faiths, including Sikhs. Sikhs are not Muslims; the traditional Sikh attire, including their turbans, is different from traditional Sunni, Shiite or Sufi attire. But to a racist, a bearded Sikh looks like a Muslim. Only four days after 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh immigrant from India who owned a gas station in Mesa, Arizona, was murdered by Frank Silva Roque, a racist who obviously mistook him for a Muslim.

But Sodhi’s murder was not the last example of anti-Sikh violence in post-9/11 America. On Aug. 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page used a semiautomatic weapon to murder six people during an attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page’s connection to the white supremacist movement was well-documented: he had been a member of the neo-Nazi rock bands End Empathy and Definite Hate. Attorney General Eric Holder described the attack as “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred.” It was good to see the nation’s top cop acknowledge that terrorist acts can, in fact, involve white males murdering people of color.

Deceitful definitions are the hallmark of this list. Neo-Nazi (National Socialism) is a far Left mind-set, not a far-Right one. The Right thinks of itself as the “owners” of the status quo, the “traditional way things are done”; their problem children use its system to steal power and abuse it. Meanwhile the Left sees itself as the “champion of the underdog” to the point that they excuse virtually any crime or ‘gaming of the system’ that puts one of “their own” over on “the Man.” Sounds like divisive tribalism in PC clothing to me.

The #1 on this list is not about Christians or the far-Right, who tend to be theocrats seeking to own the system and not radicals seeking to destroy it. It is about a far-Left, Neo-Nazi loser who was about as un-Christian as they come as well as being rejected by virtually all of the mainstream Right, Middle and Left. This does not for a moment stop the Leftists from pulling him out as a straw man to use against their opponents in the theft of power from the people.

2. The murder of Dr. George Tiller, May 31, 2009. Imagine that a physician had been the victim of an attempted assassination by an Islamic jihadist in 1993, and received numerous death threats from al-Qaeda after that, before being murdered by an al-Qaeda member. Neocons, Fox News and the Christian Right would have had a field day. A physician was the victim of a terrorist killing that day, but neither the terrorist nor the people who inflamed the terrorist were Muslims. Dr. George Tiller, who was shot and killed by anti-abortion terrorist Scott Roeder on May 31, 2009, was a victim of Christian Right terrorism, not al-Qaeda.

Tiller had a long history of being targeted for violence by Christian Right terrorists. In 1986, his clinic was firebombed. Then, in 1993, Tiller was shot five times by female Christian Right terrorist Shelly Shannon (now serving time in a federal prison) but survived that attack. Given that Tiller had been the victim of an attempted murder and received countless death threats after that, Fox News would have done well to avoid fanning the flames of unrest. Instead, Bill O’Reilly repeatedly referred to him as “Tiller the baby killer.” When Roeder murdered Tiller, O’Reilly condemned the attack but did so in a way that was lukewarm at best.

Keith Olbermann called O’Reilly out and denounced him as a “facilitator for domestic terrorism” and a “blindly irresponsible man.” And Crazy for God author Frank Schaffer, who was formerly a figure on the Christian Right but has since become critical of that movement, asserted that the Christian Right’s extreme anti-abortion rhetoric “helped create the climate that made this murder likely to happen.” Neocon Ann Coulter, meanwhile, viewed Tiller’s murder as a source of comic relief, telling O’Reilly, I don’t really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester.” The Republican/neocon double standard when it comes to terrorism is obvious. At Fox News and AM neocon talk radio, Islamic terrorism is a source of nonstop fear-mongering, while Christian Right terrorism gets a pass.

The Leftist once again gives a pass to the evil of his own sides radicals. while denigrating the Right for the same thing. I think both sides can be guilty of this kind of condoning of crime.

Late-term abortion, the kind Tiller specialized in, is far from cut-and-dried in it’s ethics and morality regardless of your religion, or lack thereof. In a world where 6 month preemies routinely live and prosper the justification for late-term abortion over delivery and adoption start to look pretty damn self-serving. I do not agree in any way with the theocrats on the Right; the only place in the Bible where it even might be talking about abortion is so vague that both sides use it as a proof that their side is the correct one according to scripture. I certainly do not support an individual taking a persons life into their own hands absent a clear and present danger to a person’s life, limb or property. But, we do need to have a conclusive debate on just when a fetus becomes a baby; the present standard seems to be that until a baby breathes air, with permission of the mother, it is a piece of flesh and may be done with as the clinic chooses, i.e. let die and then disposed of or sent to the research labs.

I have always supported a woman’s right to choose, in the first trimester, have been iffy on it in the second and have never supported it except in the case of extreme birth defects or an actual threat to the mother’s life coupled with a likelihood that the baby will be dead or a victim of massive defects in the final three months.

A woman gets to choose, but how many times does society have to allow her to keep choosing? At what point does a woman-with-a-choice become a mother-with-a-responsibility? We would arrest a woman sharing her cigarette and whiskey with her newborn but, we do nothing save frown in disapproval if she does it a day before she delivers; even when the child is ‘wanted‘! This is an indefensible position.

Would I have been willing to shake Tiller’s hand? No.

Do I think he deserved anything but due process of law in his professional life? Again, unequivocally, no.

3. Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church shooting, July 27, 2008. On July 27, 2008, Christian Right sympathizer Jim David Adkisson walked into the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee during a children’s play and began shooting people at random. Two were killed, while seven others were injured but survived. Adkisson said he was motivated by a hatred of liberals, Democrats and gays, and he considered neocon Bernard Goldberg’s book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, his political manifesto. Adkisson (who pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and is now serving life in prison without parole) was vehemently anti-abortion, but apparently committing an act of terrorism during a children’s play was good ol’ Republican family values. While Adkisson’s act of terrorism was reported on Fox News, it didn’t get the round-the-clock coverage an act of Islamic terrorism would have garnered.

Here we have the classic partisan trick of taking some lone-wolf radical and pretending that they represent the mainstream of their opposition; all parties in America are guilty to some extent or another but, this list get nauseating inn how disingenuous it is in it’s attempt to tar the opposition with a brush of distortion and concealed facts.

4. The murder of Dr. John Britton, July 29, 1994. To hear the Christian Right tell it, there is no such thing as Christian terrorism. Tell that to the victims of the Army of God, a loose network of radical Christianists with a long history of terrorist attacks on abortion providers. One Christian Right terrorist with ties to the Army of God was Paul Jennings Hill, who was executed by lethal injection on Sept. 3, 2003 for the murders of abortion doctor John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett. Hill shot both of them in cold blood and expressed no remorse whatsoever; he insisted he was doing’s God’s work and has been exalted as a martyr by the Army of God.

So, what he is saying Virginia is that the “Army of God” is far more radical than even the “Rev.” Phelps’ group of anti-gay “activists”? What exactly does this say about mainstream Christianity in relation to the normative schools of doctrine within Islam? Is there even a correlation?

5. The Centennial Olympic Park bombing, July 27, 1996. Paul Jennings Hill is hardly the only Christian terrorist who has been praised by the Army of God; that organization has also praised Eric Rudolph, who is serving life without parole for a long list of terrorist attacks committed in the name of Christianity. Rudolph is best known for carrying out the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympics—a blast that killed spectator Alice Hawthorne and wounded 111 others. Hawthorne wasn’t the only person Rudolph murdered: his bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama in 1998 caused the death of Robert Sanderson (a Birmingham police officer and part-time security guard) and caused nurse Emily Lyons to lose an eye.

Rudolph’s other acts of Christian terrorism include bombing the Otherwise Lounge (a lesbian bar in Atlanta) in 1997 and an abortion clinic in an Atlanta suburb in 1997. Rudolph was no lone wolf: he was part of a terrorist movement that encouraged his violence. And the Army of God continues to exalt Rudolph as a brave Christian who is doing God’s work.

The Army of God is hardly an example of the kind of “Christian” that even the typical ‘radical Christian’ can accept as normative. In Islam, Sunni and Shiite, the norm is support of honor killings, gays executed, and apostates murdered, all with the sanction the Qur’an or ahadith.

Just imagine how much worse the Irish ‘Troubles‘ would have been if there had been hordes of Catholic priests and bishops running around IReland preaching support for the IRA’s violence. Of course the new Irish “converts” to radicalism would have found it confusing when they realized they had joined an atheistic, Marxist group (IRA)!

6. The murder of Barnett Slepian byJames Charles Kopp, Oct. 23, 1998. Like Paul Jennings Hill, Eric Rudolph and Scott Roeder, James Charles Kopp is a radical Christian terrorist who has been exalted as a hero by the Army of God. On Oct. 23, 1998 Kopp fired a single shot into the Amherst, NY home of Barnett Slepian (a doctor who performed abortions), mortally wounding him. Slepian died an hour later. Kopp later claimed he only meant to wound Slepian, not kill him. But Judge Michael D’Amico of Erin County, NY said that the killing was clearly premeditated and sentenced Kopp to 25 years to life. Kopp is a suspect in other anti-abortion terrorist attacks, including the non-fatal shootings of three doctors in Canada, though it appears unlikely that Kopp will be extradited to Canada to face any charges.

And which mainstream, normalized Christian sect is it that supports this kind of radicalism? Army of God? A group so radical that the groups considered radical by the mainstream think they are over-the-line is now normative Christianity?

7. Planned Parenthood bombing, Brookline, Massachusetts, 1994. Seldom has the term “Christian terrorist” been used in connection with John C. Salvi on AM talk radio or at Fox News, but it’s a term that easily applies to him. In 1994, the radical anti-abortionist and Army of God member attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts, shooting and killing receptionists Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols and wounding several others. Salvi was found dead in his prison cell in 1996, and his death was ruled a suicide. The Army of God has exalted Salvi as a Christian martyr and described Lowney and Nichols not as victims of domestic terrorism, but as infidels who got what they deserved. The Rev. Donald Spitz, a Christianist and Army of God supporter who is so extreme that even the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue disassociated itself from him, has praised Salvi as well.

So, the only praise this guy got was from a group that Radical Right groups consider too radical? How is this an indictment against any sect of mainstream Christianity? All of the major schools of Islamic jurisprudence endorse honor killing, the execution of gays and apostates as well as other doctrines equally abhorrent to the modern civilised human.

8. Suicide attack on IRS building in Austin, Texas, Feb. 18, 2010. When Joseph Stack flew a plane into the Echelon office complex (where an IRS office was located), Fox News’ coverage of the incident was calm and matter-of-fact. Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa seemed to find the attack amusing and joked that it could have been avoided if the federal government had followed his advice and abolished the IRS. Nonetheless, there were two fatalities: Stack and IRS employee Vernon Hunter. Stack left behind a rambling suicide note outlining his reasons for the attack, which included a disdain for the IRS as well as total disgust with health insurance companies and bank bailouts. Some of the most insightful coverage of the incident came from Noam Chomsky, who said that while Stack had some legitimate grievances—millions of Americans shared his outrage over bank bailouts and the practices of health insurance companies—the way he expressed them was absolutely wrong.

All of which adds up to his being more in tune with Leftists like Chomsky than with conservatives or Christians; another strawman; unless the author’s argument is that only white Lefties commit terrorism.

Of course, Virginia, there are bad people on the Right but, being Right Wingers they will work the system from inside rather than game it from outside.

9. The murder of Alan Berg, June 18, 1984. One of the most absurd claims some Republicans have made about white supremacists is that they are liberals and progressives. That claim is especially ludicrous in light of the terrorist killing of liberal Denver-based talk show host Alan Berg, a critic of white supremacists who was killed with an automatic weapon on June 18, 1984. The killing was linked to members of the Order, a white supremacist group that had marked Berg for death. Order members David Lane (a former Ku Klux Klan member who had also been active in the Aryan Nations) and Bruce Pierce were both convicted in federal court on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and violating Berg’s civil rights and given what amounted to life sentences.

Robert Matthews, who founded the Order, got that name from a fictional group in white supremacist William Luther Pierce’s anti-Semitic 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries—a book Timothy McVeigh was quite fond of. The novel’s fictional account of the destruction of a government building has been described as the inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.

I don’t know about their being “liberal” but, they certainly are NOT aligned with ANY mainstream grouping on either the Left or Right! William Luther Pierce’s own words show that clearly; the closest is the anti-semitism shared with the Left-of-Center Left and radical theocrats from the far Right.

Liars and hypocrites: those are terms that apply pretty well to every politician in the Western world these days, and the Republicans are no better than the Democrats.”

 

“…stop listening to the hypocritical cant of the liberals and the mindless ramblings of the conservatives.”

 

“..But when democracy instead becomes a threat to continued Jewish rule, they are just as fervent anti-democrats.”

 

“… The government we have in Washington now … cannot and should not be reformed or repaired or salvaged. It should be pulled down and have a stake driven through its heart. Everyone who is a part of it should be dealt with in the same way. …… If you want to make an impression on anyone in Washington today, you must convince him that you are willing and able either to hurt him or to help him.”

Clearly this movement is not aligned with conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats or anyone else interested in evolution of society over revolution by a disgruntled minority.

Especially disturbing is when a partisan just makes things up and puts them in the mouth of their opponent; unjustly and dishonestly hanging them with a rope they had nothing to do with making. The last one ion the list full of it, from start to finish.

10. Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing, April 19, 1995. Neocons and Republicans grow angry and uncomfortable whenever Timothy McVeigh is cited as an example of a non-Islamic terrorist…

What I noticed was more of a confusion about why the LEft insists that an anti-government, self-declared agnostic must be conflated with conservative Christians. That hardly adds up to denying that any self-declared “Christian” is without faults.

…Pointing out that a non-Muslim white male [G DeW: WHY do you have to drag race into this? There are plenty of white Muslims in prison for terrorist crimes.] carried out an attack as vicious and deadly as the Oklahoma City bombing doesn’t fit into their narrative that only Muslims and people of color are capable of carrying out terrorist attacks. Neocons will claim that bringing up McVeigh’s name during a discussion of terrorism is a “red herring” that distracts us from fighting radical Islamists, but that downplays the cruel, destructive nature of the attack. [Emphasis added]…

There is one problem with this; There is no mainstream political organisation, Left, Right or Middle, that says any such thing. They all focus on the fundamentalist and radical mentalities.

It is well known on the Right that the majority of American Muslims have absolutely no faith in the representation of the national Muslim “advocacy” groups like CAIR and MPAC. The problem actually is not the perpetrators of terrorist acts, it is the numerous fundamentalist-minded Imams who are the initial radical element; using their authority as religious leaders to cherry-pick from actual scripture and doctrine only what they need to radicalize individual Muslims whenever they can.

“…Prior to the al-Qaeda attacks of 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing McVeigh orchestrated was the most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history: 168 people were killed and more than 600 were injured. When McVeigh drove a truck filled with explosives into the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, his goal was to kill as many people as possible. Clearly, McVeigh was not motivated by radical Islam; rather, he was motivated by an extreme hatred for the U.S. government and saw the attack as revenge for the Ruby Ridge incident of 1992 and the Waco Siege in 1993. He had white supremacist leanings as well (when he was in the U.S. Army, McVeigh was reprimanded for wearing a “white power” T-shirt he had bought at a KKK demonstration). McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001. He should have served life without parole instead, as a living reminder of the type of viciousness the extreme right is capable of.”

Here we run up against the Leftist’s cherished fantasy that the KKK and all of the most violent and virulent racism from American history came from Republicans when the truth is that until the late 50’s and early 60’s when Federal court decisions made their legislative foot dragging on integration moot did the Left STOP being the ideology of the Black-hater, Jew-hater or indeed the “other”-haters they had always been; at least in public, there is no sign that the racism of the Left has done anything but morph into a more subtle and slimy form.

Before the Civil War the people in the North that most opposed abolition were Democrats; in the South the ones who supported it were Republican. During the Civil War (or The War, as Southerners like to refer to it to this day) The people in the North who opposed the war were Democrats. After the war was over the KKK was formed by, once again, Democrats.

In the 50’s it was Democrats who perpetrated the famous acts of violence against peaceful protestors; Gov. Wallace – Dem, Bull Connor – Dem, MLK’s assassin – Democrat… the list is endless. Republicans have their faults to be sure, any partisan grouping is going to have them running out of their ears but, if you hang someone, use a rope that they made, not one you crafted to lynch the innocent.

 

Dumbest (uncorrected) Choices in American History: Shortlist

100_0172a

My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:

Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food

Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument

The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

Public Sector Unions

Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity

Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent

Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race

Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor

Campaign donations by businesses

Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech

Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs

Letting Lawyers advertise

Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration

Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education

Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)

Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages

Bilingual Education as a policy

Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders

Peer promotion in school

Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?

Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all

Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama

Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom

Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract

Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either

Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury

Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday

The Writer’s Strike

ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease

Guy DeWhitney on Government by Heretics Crusaders

My ideal of government:
Un-self-consciously, individual humans that are raised to feel a profound duty to protect all aspects of seldom/individuality that neither “picks someone’s pocket nor breaks someone’s leg” and a profound respect for the notion that we are all one and what goes around not only comes around, it DIRECTLY affects us; i.e. “successful” assholery damages a psyche’s ability to make ‘good’ choices in the future.Guy DeWhitneys Heretics Crusade

Who is Right vs. What is Right: Finding Solutions Instead of Being Part of the Problem

Heretics Crusade by Guy DeWhitney

I actually see a sea change happening in the West regarding Islamic aggressions. It will most certainly still be a long and twisted road but, I do think that it is inevitable that the Western ways will prevail.

The total flip-flop of governmental concerns regarding potential violence from Islam and Christianity in the eyes of the law is utterly insane. It only makes sense to formulate an objective, constitutionally sound, policy/strategy for identifying and dealing with all ideologically driven extremist groups that might pose a threat to anyone’s life, limb or property.

Unless we wish to dispose of the First Amendment we must always forbid to the government the ability to say “This is a real religion but, that one is false” or we will quickly find that one denomination/trend in theology has become dominant. I for one would rather keep my freedoms, even if it is a harder road.

The best test I have ever seen for identifying worrisome religious groups is

‘THE Advanced ISAAC BONEWITS’ CULT DANGER EVALUATION FRAME’

I have edited it a bit for space and clarity…

In order to utilize the frame, assign each item a value from 1 to 10 points, with 1 being “Low” and 10 being “High“. Religions with total scores towards the high end of the scale are more than likely un-healthy groups for anyone.

1. Internal Control:
Amount of internal political and social power exercised by leader(s) over members; lack of clearly defined organizational rights for members.

2. External Control:
Amount of external political and social influence desired or obtained; emphasis on directing members’ external political and social behavior.

3. Wisdom/Knowledge Claimed by leader(s):
Amount of infallibility declared or implied about decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations;…

4. Wisdom/Knowledge Credited to leader(s) by members:
Amount of trust in decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations made by leader(s); amount of hostility by members towards internal or external critics and/or towards verification efforts.

5. Dogma:
Rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility or “fundamentalism;” …

6. Recruiting:
Emphasis put on attracting new members; amount of proselytizing; requirement for all members to bring in new ones.

7. Front Groups:
Number of subsidiary groups using different names from that of main group, especially when connections are hidden.

8. Wealth:
Amount of money and/or property desired or obtained by group; emphasis on members’ donations; economic lifestyle of leader(s) compared to ordinary members.

9. Sexual Manipulation of members by leader(s):
Amount of control exercised over sexuality of members in terms of sexual orientation, behavior, and/or choice of partners.

10. Sexual Favoritism:
Advancement or preferential treatment dependent upon sexual activity with the leader(s).

11. Censorship:
Amount of control over members’ access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines or leader(s).

12. Isolation:
Amount of effort to keep members from communicating with non-members, including family, friends and lovers.

13. Dropout Control:
Intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts.

14.Violence:
Amount of approval when used by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s).

15. Paranoia:
Amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; exaggeration of perceived power of opponents; prevalence of conspiracy theories.

16. Grimness:
Amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).

17. Surrender of Will:
Amount of emphasis on members not having to be responsible for personal decisions; degree of individual disempowerment created by the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).

18. Hypocrisy:
amount of approval for actions which the group officially considers immoral or unethical, when done by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s); willingness to violate the group’s declared principles for political, psychological, social, economic, military, or other gain.

From the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (or ABCDEF) v2.6 © 1979, 2001 by Isaac Bonewits

As near as I can tell, with the most generous of judgment possible, normative Islam. scores 140!

With an objective test such as this it is possible for law enforcement to merely point to a high score when asked about why a certain religious community is being monitored for actual criminal activity; it worked it Ireland, the key is to enforce it strictly and enforce it strictly across the board!

http://hereticscrusade.com
Ideas instead of Ideologies!

 

Huffington Post’s Reverend Kimball Bears False Witness Against Christianity and Judaism

 Who would Jesus behead?

This, Virginia, is why I do not put any great weight on my own ordination; any fool can be ordained and seeking God has nothing to do with it; witness the blatant bearing of false witness to further a political agenda exercised by this so-called minister. Here a so called minister of God is even bearing false witness against his own religion, if you can believe it!

Here we have an analysis of the ranting’s of one Charles Kimball, the director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a Baptist minister regarding the culpability of Christians and Christianity for the Oslo massacre and bombing by mass murderer (alleged, I think we are supposed to say Virginia) Anders Breivik.

The horrific events in Norway this past weekend provide yet another powerful teachable moment in the ongoing and increasingly dangerous saga of religion becoming lethal.

I can’t imagine how. Unless the good reverend’s point is somehow that the actions of non-Christian religious folk caused Breivik to snap I don’t see the point.  Breivik very pointedly explained that he was not, would not be, and did not recommend being a religious Christian; to him “Christian” seems to be no more than a catch-all term for non-Muslim of European culture! He also never used Christian theology in his writings to base his actions upon.

Indeed it would be hard to find any Christian “church” today, anywhere, that would be able to propound a theology based in the teachings of Jesus that would support the killing of anyone merely to make a point, let alone try to justify the slaughter of children to make said point. Even Fred Phelps and his sad band of haters do not promote violence, other than making decent people wish for an excuse to righteously kick their asses. Sadly, Phelps and Co. have been too clever so far to give the rest of us an excuse to use our laws to put them away… This is the price you pay for freedom.

Reality aside, facts aside, respect for his own religion and co-religionists aside, the good Rev. wants to use this as a teaching moment. Such aggressive compassion surely must be a good thing, right, Virginia? Right?

The murderous rampage by Anders Behring Breivik brings several important lessons more clearly into view.

Indeed, it does, but not in the way you seem to feel, Sir!

First, religion is an extraordinarily powerful and pervasive force in human society. Throughout history, people within various religions have been motivated to their highest and noblest best actions. At the same time, some of the worst things human beings have done to one another have been done in the name of or justified by religion. Religion is a powerful force inspiring constructive and destructive behavior among believers.

Right, but what does this have to do with a man, Breivik, who justified his evil with secular arguments, and did not use any religion’s message or theology to base his horror upon?

Second, we live in a world with many weapons of mass destruction. Quite apart from the horrors associated with chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, we now know that a devious plan can utilize automatic weapons, fertilizer, box knives and commercial airplanes as weapons of mass destruction. Attacking a summer camp for youth vividly reminds us that there are many ways people bent on doing great harm can accomplish their goal.

As far as I can tell that last paragraph was no more than background music for an ongoing apologia for the “free speech is good, but it can go too far” crowd who equate free speech with inoffensive (to them) speech.

Third, we now know with certainty that it doesn’t take many people to wreak havoc on a wide scale. Breivik may have acted alone or within a small circle of cohorts, as did Timothy McVeigh. Nineteen men carried out the attacks of Sept. 11. Small numbers of zealots who are convinced they know what God wants for them and for everyone else are capable of almost anything.

Notice how the oh, so honest Revd. throws in McVeigh, another secular terrorist who explicitly rejected any theological grounds for his crimes against humanity to balance the unarguably theocratic 9/11 terrorists, among others too numerous to count. What this compulsion he shares with other Leftists, to beat his breast and declare “We are just as bad!” instead of solving the problems, is all about is simply beyond me.

I can’t think of any modern religious terror committed by other than lone madmen at all except for the Islamic kind… Even the Irish terrorists who divided on religious lines never used Christianity to justify what they did, nor did the clergy in any way justify or support them, in fact for the most part they were Marxists whom the local Catholic clergy would not trust any more than they would Protestants!! The same can be said about abortion clinic bombers, they are lone wolves and, are not backed up by mainstream theology or communities in any way.

Not surprisingly, many preachers and pundits who have spewed hateful rhetoric and fanned the flames of Islamophobia are now scrambling to disassociate themselves, their published statements about Islam and Muslims, and what some call “true” Christianity from the actions of Breivik.

No my dear wolf in minister’s clothing, you are the one who is scrambling to tar innocent people with the taint of Breivik’s evil in order to further your own agenda  That is the very epitome of bearing false witness against your neighbor! I highly doubt even one of the people you seek to demonize ever called for violence against Muslims in any way; certainly none of the “influential” ones have; they certainly did not promote violence against the enablers of Islamism, which seems to be what Breivik thought he was doing in the dark buzzing cloud pretending to be his soul. At the same time, others quoted by Breivik have promoted violent and totalitarian schemes… but they are never mentioned by the oh, so righteous Reverend.

But words matter. Examine the path taken by violent extremists claiming inspiration from Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism and you can trace connections with the fiery rhetoric of influential, sometimes self-appointed leaders in madrasas, in books, at religious rallies, on websites and the like. There are consequences when cocksure Christians or Muslim militants proclaim God’s truth while stoking fear of the “other” in the minds of their would-be followers.

Here “Rev.” Kimball is bending over backwards until his spine snaps to attempt to “level the playing field” between Islam and other religions when it comes to directly inspiring violence. He fails to make his case.  Show me the violent Christian, Jewish or Buddhist movement, in the lifetime of this nation, that was encouraged by “fiery rhetoric” from “influential” books, churches, synagogues and leaders? Can you think of any in the last two hundred years? I can’t, just a handful of nutjobs who are universally excoriated by their own co-religionists.  No-one complained about what kind of burial Jim Jones got, no Christian thought it important how a lunatic mass murderer should be buried!

Meanwhile, the good reverend goes back to his “free speech is bad in the wrong hands” theme. The wrong hands here of course being hands that are possessed by someone who disagrees with the enlightened view of Revd. Kimball.

While there are no easy answers or simple solutions, there are constructive ways to move forward in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world community. It begins with education.

Study programs in schools and colleges, churches, mosques and synagogues are essential. Interfaith dialogue and engagement with people of different religious and cultural backgrounds are invaluable ways to dispel generic fears and help humanize the “other.” All across the U.S., Christians, Muslims and Jews are working together to build Habitat for Humanity houses and work on common problems such as crime and drug abuse within their communities. These kinds of intentional efforts at education and cooperation are vital at the local, national and international level. We need more and more such endeavors in the U.S., not only for the well-being of our communities, but also as a way to model the kind of healthy religious pluralism our future requires.

The truly sad part about Kimball’s misguided view is that the above actions are not being done, and never will be done by the kinds of religious extremists he worries about; not the handful of Christian ones and, not the thousands upon thousands of Muslim ones. At most they will use such activities as a smokescreen while they pursue their theocratic agenda’s unmolested.  I can only assume that either Mr. Kimball’s seminary did not offer a real course in history or, that he flunked it.

He also seems to be guilty of the sin of Liberal Racism. To that mindset the “underclasses” of past racist philosophies have not vanished, they are poor, helpless children that must take under protection, for their own good.

Because they are “of the oppressed”, a state of permanent victimhood, their actions do not make a difference compared to the actions of the evil, dominant White Man from Europe and America that is Kimball’s real devil, and God.

He will never compare the fruit of Muslim and Christian fairly, because then he would be forced to speak of Islam (from the perspective of any devout Christian clergyman) as a religion that might stem from God but, that has been mired for most of its existence in a theo/political system of worldly evil.

The path to a more hopeful and healthy future also requires people of faith and goodwill to speak out clearly and directly against extremists of all stripes.

I can’t argue with that. That is what the Heretics Crusade is.

Although most of us were taught by our parents not to talk about religion or politics in public, the stakes today are far too high for deferential silence or casual indifference. Ignorance is not bliss; silence is proving deadly.

Once again, I agree, I don’t think anyone reasonable would try. But, that is not the pitch, that is just the windup with a lean to the left to imply a slider, this next bit is the pitch; a spitball, knuckleball covered in tar.

Just as many people continue to call on Muslims to speak out forcefully and unambiguously against violence and extremism, so too must Christians and Jews openly challenge those who advocate extremism and foster hatred in the name of religion. This means, for example, naming names and identifying the theological and political positions of Jewish fundamentalists and Muslim extremists who block potential paths to peace in Israel/Palestine.

The problem with this little gem is that the Jewish and Christian communities in this country as a whole have always stood against anyone who used violence and extremism to advance or defend their faiths! It has been held a virtual truth that to do so is to abrogate that faith entirely!

Just what more is it that they are supposed to do when the mainstream Islamic community complains about how Osama Bin Laden was buried after assuring us for years that he was not a “real Muslim”?

For me, as a follower of Jesus and a Christian minister, it means strongly disagreeing with TV preachers with political clout such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley. They have every right to espouse their religious and political worldviews. But their ill-informed and hateful rhetoric about Islam and Muslims, as well as their certainty that Jesus will be arriving in the next couple of weeks, has very real consequences.

That is nice Chuck, when are you going to do it? This whole piece reads like it is aimed against free speech and, to me, seems to be intended to gently brush Oslo/Breivik tar on anti-Jihadist bloggers and writers who have never propounded, or invoked, an ideology of violence; yet gives a pass to Breivik “inspiring” figures and writers (in his own words) who happen to be on your side of the war in your mind. You haven’t even given us a clear idea of just what they say that you oppose! If that last paragraph was really the point of your post then, I have to say I think your point fell flat.

The mind-boggling terrorism manifest in Norway will continue to provide hard but important lessons about the dangers all around us and the need to find more constructive ways to move forward in the 21st century. It is a stark reminder that we share a fragile planet where ignorance, hate and fear can link easily with religious worldviews and produce horrific consequences.

Yes Virginia, the world is a dangerous place, especially if you equate the evil acts of lone scumbags with the evil acts of organized and ideologically driven scumbags who are numerous and active instead of isolated and sporadic.

Christian Riots in Europe

Christians Outraged by Jesus Made out of Lego

April 12 (Associated Reuters) — Christians took to the streets all across Scandinavia today to protest the unveiling of a statue of Jesus made entirely out of Lego blocks.

Gangs of rioting youths threw paving stones and bottles, broke shop windows, set cars on fire, burned Israeli flags, and chased hapless Jews down side streets.

One angry demonstrator, dressed in an “I (heart) Jesus” T-shirt and wearing a cross around his neck, told reporters that Christianophobia must not be tolerated. “They can’t insult our Savior this way! There are 2.1 billion Christians in the world, and we will not sit idly by while our Messiah is dishonored!”

He added, “I believe in free speech, but there are limits.”

The Swedish government assured the Christian community that the perpetrators of this cowardly act would be found swiftly and brought to justice.

Read it all by clicking on the title

God Hates Holland


(Head Heretic: So, I am reading my email yesterday and some person of limited experience pops off with this quote in response to my assertion that every religion, including Christianity coould and would attract a certain percentage of nutcases. Just like any ideology can and will. I mentioned the 700 club as a good place to get a look at the mentalist of the Christian supremacist in the warm and fuzzy mode. What was this genius of history’s response?

Emphasis mine:
“I watch the 700 club all the time. There is nothing totalitarian or remotely threatening about Christianity,
even the most fundamentalist strains of it.”

Now I would like to think that this person is simply ignorant but he goes on to assume I am some far Left Socialist anti-semitic…blah blah blah. The point is that I say there are SOME fools who use Christianity in a bad way and I am suddenly the attacker of an entire faith. Let me reiterate, ANYONE, Muslim, Christian, or Jew or ANYONE who thinks their ideology has NO evil people involved in it. Who think that somehow their sacred books protect them from hypocrites and power seekers is either profoundly and willingly ignorant or they are ONE OF THE SUPREMACISTS hiding in sheep’s clothes as they pursue their power games and ego trips.
Anyone who says there are NO dangerous groups associated with Christianity is just an evil soul themselves. Ditto Judaism, Islam, Buddhism Shinto Hindu WHATEVER ideology. Including Liberalism and Conservatism. ALL CAUSES CAN AND DO ATTRACT FUDGEHEADS!!!! Anyone who focuses more on the faults of others ideology’s and IGNORES the faults of their own has defaulted all moral high ground.

Critical Eye column by Perro de Jong

06-03-2009
Listen to Perro de Jong’s column

I’ve been trying to find out more about the funerals of the five Turkish passengers and crew who died tragically in the Amsterdam plane crash.

I imagine that the presence at those funerals of a bunch of big, burly Americans sporting sunglasses and cowboy hats wouldn’t exactly have gone unnoticed. Especially if they’d been brandishing billboards with the slogan “you are going to hell.”

So I’m guessing that members of the Westboro Baptist Church didn’t in the end travel from their headquarters in Topeka, Kansas to Istanbul, Turkey as they’d threatened to do in one of their pamphlets.

“Yes”, they said in the pamphlet, “we will picket their funerals in religious protest and warning. God hates the morally depraved and murderous Turkish Muslims.”

Cheering at funerals – particularly those of US soldiers who died in Iraq – is what Westboro pastor Fred Phelps, his wife Margie and their thirteen children became notorious for. It’s why documentary maker Louis Theroux once branded them “America’s most hated family.”

Filthy Dutch
But they’re nothing if not democratic: where the European Union is doing its damnest to keep Turkey out by hook or by crook, the Phelpses seem perfectly happy to welcome the Turks to their club of ‘people God hates’. Along with Americans, Swedes and of course with my fellow countrymen.

Actually, the Westboro Church was going to come to the Netherlands at first, to protest against the “morally depraved and filthy Dutch”. But then it became clear that no Dutch passengers had died in the plane crash.

So they had to improvise. Because the crux of the Phelpses’ unorthodox approach is that God’s will is made visible through the punishments He metes out. And what makes Him more furious than anything is tolerating homosexuality. That’s why “God Hates Sweden”, why “God Hates Turkey” and why “God Hates Holland.”

Actually, the Swedes even have their own website: www.godhatessweden.com. Which, if you ask me, is something of an insult. I mean, come on! Surely we’re more depraved here in the Netherlands than that bunch of Scandinavian goody two-shoes? Where’s our website?

Einstein
Anyway, it’s a philosophy…and as an avid student of quantum theory, who am I to discard it? For the scientists among you, the thing about quantum physics that irked the great Albert Einstein was that it’s so pragmatic it accepts just about any theory, however unlikely, as long as it is able to describe the facts correctly.

“God does not play dice” was Einstein’s famous retort. Ah, but the question is: has He been using the time he saves not playing dice to start wars and bring down planes?

And besides, it’s all terribly old hat really. I mean, God may hate Holland, but Allah beat him to it by at least eight years.

Holland Haters from Pakistan
I had to dig through my archives a bit, but let me quote to you from a letter that Radio Netherlands received back then. From Pervez Khan and Mohammed Hoffman, two Pakistani expats living in Germany who styled themselves “Holland Haters”.

“Dutch homosexuals and prostitutes of ‘Lying Radio Holland'”, the letter begins “immediately commence the course of a continuous barking like mad dogs against the Honourable Islamic Mujahideen and their glorious Jihad.”

The reasons – laid down in an exhaustive, eleven-point list – are that “nearly every Dutch woman is a prostitute and keeps a vibrator in the house”, “nearly every Dutch man is a homosexual” and “the dirty Dutch never shower and foreigners renting rooms are told that shower is only twice a week.”

I’ve often wondered what happened to good old Pervez. Thanks to a bit of creative googling I found out that these days, he and his wife are much too busy predicting the annihilation of India to concern themselves with such trifling matters as Dutch homosexuals.

Snubbed by Pervez Khan and ignored by the Westboro Baptist Church in favour of Turkey of all places. Somebody up there must really hate Holland…

Ooh, the Christian Taliban are subtle but DO exist!

(HH here: now at first glance a moderate to conservative who did not have a personal ax to grind against Christianity might see this article as reasonable. But take note that if there ever arose in America a town High School with a majority of Muslim or Pagan students who tried to establish a “student” tradition like this one this same author’s head would explode.

The district is right on this one! The only solution is for teachers and coaches to maintain total neutrality toward religion IN THEIR JOB. What they speak when THEY are paying for their speech is certainly their own business. But not when they are on the job. It is not the function of a coach to help “maintain the solidarity of traditional religion”. Not unless you want to agree with people like the Saudi Government and the Taliban.)

LAW OF THE LAND
Judges: Coach can’t bow head while players pray
Court decision affirms school’s ‘hostility’ to religion

Posted: March 03, 2009
1:29 pm Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case involving a high school football coach’s effort to respect his players’ tradition of stopping for a moment of prayer prior to games, leaving in place an appeals court decision that essentially mandates a school policy of “hostility,” according to a law firm whose members worked on the case.

(HH here: one beautiful thing about some conservative judges; they have an annoying tendency, (annoying to their appointers that is”) they tend to get tot he Supreme Court and TAKE THE JOB SERIOUSLY. Many have shed partisanship and become much more impartial and objective once on the top bench.)

“This [decision] undermines a time-honored tradition that has less to do with religion than it does athletic tradition,” said John Whitehead, chief of The Rutherford Institute, which argued the case on behalf of Coach Marcus Borden of East Brunswick High School in New Jersey.

“It’s a sad statement on our rights as Americans that schools are no longer bastions of freedom. We’ve become so politically correct and secularized that religious individuals who seek the same First Amendment rights as others are censored,” Whitehead said.

(HH here: Coming from someone who would froth at the mouth at the thought of a Muslim or Pagan teacher or coach being able to speak their mind “uncensored” on things like prayer and religion this seems a tad disingenuous.)

As WND reported, a federal court of appeals concluded the high school coach broke the law routinely when he would bow his head or “take a knee” while his team prayed before games – a school tradition for 25 years.

Borden has defended himself, saying, “We’re teaching kids values. There’s nothing wrong with being spiritual.”

(HH: Spirituality is not a “Value” in the sense that a school should be teaching it. There are many different “spiritual values” and who gets to choose which ones YOUR kids are exposed to?)

A ruling from the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the activists, saying Borden was endorsing religion unconstitutionally.

The Rutherford Institute said the decision was a blow to athletic coaches across the nation, because the rights of coaches to silently bow their heads in respect while student players are offering a pre-game prayer has been called unconstitutional.

The bottom line, Whitehead said, is that the logical interpretation now is that coaches – as well as teachers – have no constitutional rights of liberty, expression or academic freedom in connection with their jobs

The American Football Coaches Association had filed an amicus in support of Borden, declaring that “when the federal courts interpret the Constitution in a way that intrudes into the locker room, invades the player-coach relationship, and undermines a coach’s ability to maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect and team unity by showing deference to the prayers of this nation’s youth, that concerns the AFCA.”

(HH: WOW, that is almost a straight out statement that they want to be able to “enforce” a particular SPIRITUAL value system on their players. Nuf said I think. Supreme Court 1 Christian Theocrats 0.)

In its brief requesting a Supreme Court review, the Rutherford Institute warned of the impact of the decision.

“By enjoining Coach Borden from showing respect for his players voluntary prayer acts, the decision … requires public school educators to violate the Establishment Clause by showing disrespect and hostility towards student-initiated religious practices,” the brief said.

(HH here: I must have missed the part that said the coach was to “disrespect” anything. I read it as a requirement that the coach remain aloof, not in contempt. See how the all black or all white thinking or a totalitarian works?)

Prior rulings from at least three other federal court circuits have established that schools cannot show hostility to religion, and even the Supreme Court’s prior decisions reflect that belief, the institute argued.

“In Lynch v. Donnelly, this Court recognized that the Establishment Clause ‘affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any,'” the Rutherford Institute said.

(HH: here they are taking a page from the Muslims supremacists book. To not be seen to conform is to be seen as disrespecting. Our home grown version is a bit softer around the edges but Taliban is Taliban and by their fruit shall ye know them!)

Read it all by clicking on the title

Moderate Religious commentary. Blogging the Bible? Blogging the Koran? How about BOTH?

I started looking at Hot Air’s Blogging the Koran and decided to read the original Slate: Blogging the Bible first. That was yesterday afternoon! It is now 10:00PM. The writer, David Plotz (yes, that IS his real name) is fantastic. Here is a small sample of his comments:

“Koheleth begins by deploring the “solitary individuals,” who spend all their time working but have no one to share their wealth with. This flows into the following glorious passage:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone?

This is an out-of-fashion sentiment for our individualistic era—like something from a Swedish government pamphlet, circa 1975. But my God! It’s phenomenal! Let’s talk about the killer line of the passage: “How can one keep warm alone?” My all-time favorite Slate article is this 1997 essay about marriage by the late Herb Stein, written right after the death of his wife. Stein described watching couples walk by the sidewalk cafe where he was sitting. He asked why the wives were important to their husbands.

First, she is a warm body in bed. I don’t refer to their sexual activity. That is important but too varied for me to generalize about. I refer to something that is, if possible, even more primitive. It is human contact. A baby crying in its crib doesn’t want conversation or a gold ring. He wants to be picked up, held, and patted. Adults need that physical contact also. They need to cuddle together for warmth and comfort in an indifferent or cold world.

When I read Stein’s article 10 years ago, I wept, imagining him with no one to cuddle with anymore. And I almost cried at this passage from Ecclesiastes, thinking of all those who don’t have someone to keep them warm in bed.

The chapter closes with a smack at the ostentatiously religious: “Be not overeager to go to the House of God.” The implication, if I read the surrounding verses correctly, is that the prayers and offerings of fools are worthless. ”

Find the rest HERE! Warning! It is addictive!

The Blogging the Koran was a bit too partisan for my taste. I would like to see a true moderate Muslim do the job over.

And so you know I reall AM a moderate!

Liberal Church
Nowadays the word Liberal is often used as a pejorative. Heck, I often use it that way myself at least in my own head. I am a moderate and probably spend about 40% of the time cursing the idiocy of the Liberals and 60% complaining and worrying about the Conservatives (It is too bad there are not more real conservative minds in the Conservative camp these days.). Of the two the Conservatives tend to scare me a bit more but the Liberals in total power would be just as bad in other ways. But the actions of the radicals on either side does not condemn the entire school of thought. This should be remembered by pundits on both sides in this age of attack politics.

Lately a radically Conservative group has taken over almost all the political voice of American Christianity. They have used their pulpit to propound, and pound in, their own view of history and how Christianity has influenced the development of the United States as a nation. The problem is that they have forgotten from just where in the Church all that influence came. Yes, it was those damn liberals. Every time!

In American history, every time the religious culture had a profound influence on society those influences came from Liberal Churches, not Conservative ones. The Conservative Churches in every case have held the line with the status quo through history whether it was regarding the Revolution, slavery, child labor, workers rights, racial equality or now, gay rights.

Yet these same Conservative Churches of today want to shine their halo on the contributions of Liberal Churches of the past.

This activity is not unique to Christianity by any means. A Radical Conservative Jew will spend much energy telling you about Judaism’s amazing contributions to Western society but will not see that his brand of thinking never produced any of it. Find any Conservative Imam and you will find a man eager to convince you that Islam has been an enormously positive contributor to civilization over the centuries. But remind him that his blind Conservative philosophy again had nothing to do with those periods of Islamic glory he polishes up for you to admire and he may take offense.

In each case, when religious and political power are intermingled, progress comes when the Church is Liberal and tolerant and only stagnation and decay when the Church is Conservative. It should be noted that Conservative religious thought can have great influence on society, but it seems to be chiefly negative. Witness the defense of slavery and the stances against child labor and civil rights laws. Witness the attempts at blind conversion of any people that are under the influence of the politicized religion.

Conservatism is highly successful at keeping the wheels of a society turning. But it has no track record for being able to grease those wheels or provide a creative inspiration for the people who are pushing the cart of civilization. Without a Liberal element in society, one with enough of a voice to smack the bosses upside the head now and then to moderate their actions, society is nothing but a slave camp destined to fade into the dust of history.