Pat Robertson is on This Week with George Stephanalphabet, and he said something that I will get to in a moment, but which immediately reminded me of this statement:
Does anyone else find it odd that rightwing Christians are more feared in this country than are the extremist adherents of the Islam that ideologically fueled the 9/11 attacks and continue to fuel Al Quaeda in Iraq?
No one I am aware of is more afraid of right-wing Christians than radical Islamists. No one I know is calling for bombing campaigns on the Moral Majority. No one I know is proposing invading Colorado Springs or Richmond. I think it is even a stretch that people are afraid, when really what I am is disgusted. This is nothing more than an absurd strawman, and we all know it.
Now, to be fair, Baldilocks makes a very good point in the same post:
During the last two presidential campaigns the Democrat candidates campaigned openly in churches and no one turned a hair (well almost no one). Senator John Kerry and the former vice-president himself worked their nauseating black-preacher shtick a few times while black church parisioners clapped and smiled. (In all fairness, however, I did notice that some of those smiles looked forced.)
Well it’s a different thing visiting, which both parties do, than requesting and receiving the email lists of the churches which the GOP visited.
Now, personally I think politicians should stay out of churches and churches should stay out of politics. Now if they want to pay taxes then I think they should jump right in.
But seeing they are tax exempt — Well– they should stay out.
And I for one don’t fear the right wing fanatics more than the radical Islamists, I consider them to be identical.
As Richard Dawkins says:
“Bush and bin Laden are really on the same side: the side of faith and violence against the side of reason and discussion. Both have implacable faith that they are right and the other is evil. Each believes that when he dies he is going to heaven. Each believes that if he could kill the other, his path to paradise in the next world would be even swifter. The delusional “next world” is welcome to both of them. This world would be a much better place without either of them.”
At this point, the fiction that many churches are politically uninvolved is just that. We need to enforce that provision, delete the provision, or repeal the exemption.
Sigh. The hyperbole just snowballs. Yes, Pat Robertson and Bin Laden–identical. Like John Kerry and Joe Stalin.
John: seems you’re missing a liveblogging opportunity, and a chance to mind=meld with PFAW and other like-minded “mainstreamers” groups: http://insider.washingtontimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20050501-124025-3104r
Sigh. The hyperbole just snowballs. Yes, Pat Robertson and Bin Laden–identical. Like John Kerry and Joe Stalin.
Depressing, isn’t it? Neither side has a monoploy on heated and over-the-top rhetoric.
Just for the record, Bush is not bin Laden, neiter is Pat Robertson. I may disagree profoundly with Robertson on many issues, but there is a clear distinction.
Bush has repeatedly said that true freedom dictates that religious affiliation, or lack of it, is a personal choice.
Islamism teaches that the infidel must submit or be exterminated, and that Islam must run the state.
Christianity’s reformation allowed the separation of church and state. No such reformation has taken place in Islam yet, but either it will or the Islamists will force things to come to a head in a world war, which they will lose, but will be catastrophic to the West too.
The Religious Right, while backward thinking in many ways and potentially corrosive to the principals of the American Constitutional system of government, is positively progressive compared to Islamist movement. Any attempts to propose moral equivalence between the two is demonstrative of a colossal, and most likely willful, ignorance.
The imposition of policy by judicial fiat, bypassing the democratic process, is at this point far more of a danger to America than the Religious right, since the Postmodern Transnational left seeks to override the Constitution in an effort to force its agenda on the USA through its adherents on the SCOTUS.
As long as Republicans seek to appoint Constitutional constructionists (which the lying left hypocritically call
If Robertson is concerned with the afterlife and gaining crowns in heaven and all that sort of stuff, is it crazy for him to think breakdowns in people’s moral character are worse than death? If Robertson believes people are condemned to hellfire and brimstone for all of eternity if they aren’t Christians then is it really so crazy to think he sees the breakdown in America’s moral fibre as more important than anything in this world?
As an aetheist who was raised in a Baptist Church I think a lot of the so-called analysis of true believers’ rhetoric misses the mark. It’s fine to criticize his calculus (e.g. There is no afterlife so only this life matters so of course death is worse than moral decline.) but you ought to identify what lies at the heart of the disagreement.
In this case the disagreement I have with Robertson is in his belief in an afterlife and my thinking he’s wrong. But to not understand that his premises are different than mine is to engage in fundamentally (pun intended) shallow analysis.
“No one I know is calling for bombing campaigns in the Moral Majority”. On the other hand, consider Operation Rescue, Randall Terry and Eric Rudolph.
There really is right-wing terrorism in the USA–see Dave Neiwert, passim.
Pat Robertson is a wingnut. If you want to go on a rant about him and why he seems to be the main Christian under whom the cable news stations stick a mike all the time, I’ll be right there with you.
Fortunately for us Protestant Christians, there are dozens of denominations and thousands of Christian leaders to listen to. Ah, the beauty of a de-centralized church! Also, Robertson has never held a political office. (Yes, I remember when he ran. Seemed like a pretty decisive ‘no’ to theocracy to me. I doubt if things would be different for him or Falwell or similar types in the future.)
Al Gore–along with his influence–is a different story.
Perhaps you are correct in determining the Democrats’ motive here, but, when they make these (condescending) visits, is race-baiting the extent of the outcome? Do the some of the more gullible parishioners take it as a “sign” that they should vote the same way as their pastor? I don’t know the answer to that either. No presidential candidates visited my church.
Anyway, thanks for the link.
Birkel, good comment.
“…when they make these (condescending) visits, is race-baiting the extent of the outcome?”
Without question- the message is not a broad, ecumenical “Vote for Democrats we share your values,” it is not even the more narrowly tailored bile that the current GOP members are exploiting right now (“Vote Republican because DDemocrats hate people of faith”), but rather, it is simply “Vote Democrat or more black churches will burn and the GOP will take away your rights and make you second class citizens.”
I don’t find any of the above tasteful, but I find it hard to really get worked up about the first scenario. The other two are just out of bounds.
Man, that scene from Bulworth kicked so much ass.
“We share your values” may not be the *intended* message. However, it may be the *accidental* one. (And, personally, I think that if
is the *intended* message, then a sharing of values is also the intended message: that civil rights are of the utmost importance and that the Democratic Party is the sole defender of those rights.)
Consider this: many black churches have historically been almost the political-theological entities you seem to have been..ahem..preaching against here. This fact is, of course, a by-product of the civil rights era, since most of the grass-roots activism was born in southern black churches. A preacher is a powerful person in the black community–southern or not–and when one allows anyone–especially a politician–to enter his pulpit, it may mean more to the parishioner than it does to the visitor. (In the cases of Kerry and Gore, that’s a sure bet.)
This is why I wonder whether the intended message is the lone one sent. Kerry, Gore, et al. may merely be shilling for votes among the “faithful,” but I’m wondering whether the law of unintended consequences applies here.
Either he suggested or did not, period. “Seemed to suggest” sounds like a bit of cheesy projection. If you can prove your point prove it, otherwise leave the cheesey tactics to the NY Times.
Here is the transcript. Read it, and tell me whether or not he seems to suggest is a fair representation or not. I think it is:
IIRC, it was Robertson, along with Jerry Falwell, who said the 9/11 attacks were sent by God to punish America for liberalism.
He’s different from bin Laden only in degree, not in kind.
Joh Cole stated:
but rather, it is simply “Vote Democrat or more black churches will burn and the GOP will take away your rights and make you second class citizens.”
do you have a transcript where this quote came from Johh?
Yeah, yeah. And John Kerry differs from Joe Stalin only in degree, not in kind.
Sheesh…I mean, cordially…
Juliette- I see your point and agree with you- the unintended consequences have the same effect.
Mark- Do you own research. I am not digging up the church burning nonsense or the Gore church speeches again.
as a new visitor to your site I am unaware of issues you may have covered in months/years past. also, it was not clear from the quote that it was Gore you were talking about. I’ve done a search but haven’t come up with anything. maybe you should add a “Gore, race baiting” catagory to your page.
Trying to draw a rough equivalence between Dem and GOP appeals to religious constituencies really misses the mark. It assumes that there is no distinction worth mentioning between the constituencies appealed to. Presumably because they all fall under the heading of “Christian”.
Nonsense. The 700 Club and the S.C.L.C. are no more identical than the Southern Baptist Convention and the Vatican are, for all their common evocations of Christianity.
All of the above have social agendas that they promote as being dictated by their Christian faith but, surprise, surprise, their agendas don’t agree. Any discussion of the collision of politics and religion that doesn’t recognize the profound divisions between the various sects of Christianity, has already swallowed the theocratic meme that opposition to theocracy equals hatred of Christianity.
If all we were discussing was the politician’s traditional deference for religious belief this wouldn’t matter as much. I have no problem with politicians attending any religious service assuming that the believers don’t drive them from the temple.
I don’t have enough contempt for people of faith, black or white, to suggest that they would blindly vote for whatever bright eyed politico happened to pop up in their pulpit. I think that religious voters, like most voters, choose candidates based on their personal agendas. The question what is the agenda, not the particular spiritual bunting.
How many of the Black churches in question advocate religious tests for public office? How many call for limiting the rights of their fellow citizens based on the particular theological conceptions of their faith?
The bottom line is you either are concerned that there is an organized drive to impress the narrow religious vision of a vocal, well financed minority on the political, legal and social structures of the USA, or you are not.
If you are concerned, the pressing issue is where that drive is coming from, not which politicians trawl for religious votes. The short answer to that is that they all do it.
There’s a world of difference between a Christian who believes in the Sermon on the Mount as a blueprint for social welfare and one who believes that their own particular sect should hold dominion over civil law, regulating everything from who we sleep with to how we die.
Everyone’s going to have to decide which frightens them more; the black churches, with their Dem votes or the “religious right” with their moral and electoral support for the likes of Texas Tom Delay and their ambition to dominate a nation.
how these ‘men of God’ can sit there and just blatantly lie while keeping a straight face
If you believe in the big sky fairy and can preach it with a straight face …. why not? I don’t think it seem that difficult once they had accepted the first lie. Which of course also can explain why it is they are not struck down mid-sentence.
I think that we both see the danger of both sides pandering to any religious group, whether they mean to or not.
Maybe the danger of the Democrat candidates’ visits to black churches isn’t as apparent because there is no *perception* that the Dems are trying to build a theocracy.
W.B. Reeves: Lots of opining based on straw men in your comment.
Who is expressing “contempt” for people of faith?
What other mainstream churches advocate religious tests for public office?
Who is frightened of the “black church?”
My comments about these subjects are my opinion based on reading and personal experience. You impute contempt and fear; based on what?
I am not digging up the church burning nonsense or the Gore church speeches again.
Granted, but that’s hardly the only thing Democrats discuss when visiting African-American churches. For example, many Democratic lawmakers are, you know, members of African-American churches.
And let me say that the above comment I left should’ve noted the equivalence of Roberson as a true believer and other radical religious folks who are true believers who think life-after-death stuff trumps life-before-death stuff.
So the Robertson is like OBL comments don’t really bother me as long as we realize that only applies to the thoughts of the two. The actions are somewhat different to date, I am willing to argue.
Despite what you may think, you are not the subject of my post.
“W.B. Reeves: Lots of opining based on straw men in your comment.”
“Who is expressing “contempt” for people of faith?”
I’m not aware I accused anyone of expressing contempt. Quite the opposite actually.
“What other mainstream churches advocate religious tests for public office?”
I wasn’t talking about mainstream churches so I don’t see that your question is pertinent.
“Who is frightened of the “black church?”
That depends on how one answers the question I posed. It was, after all, a question, not an accusation.
In any case, I think it clear that I was refering to the disparate agendas illustrated by the divide between the Black churches and the religious right. Some people dislike and fear both theocracy and the welfare state. For such people the temptation to equivocate, to take a “plague on both their houses” attitude will be strong. I was pointing out that, since the two agendas were not identical, the equivalency was a false one. At the end of the day such folks are going to have to decide which agenda they fear more.
“My comments about these subjects are my opinion based on reading and personal experience. You impute contempt and fear; based on what?”
If I’d intended to “inpute” anything to you personally you can be sure I would have done so. Far from engaging in personalities, I did’nt even mention your name.
Now if want talk about any of the other points I raised, I’m all ears.
Worst case scenario, Al queda can take out a couple of buildings worth maybe 2 billion.
Wort case scenario, Fundies can take out drug/reproductive/artistic/media industries worth hundreds of billions.
You can buy insurance for your building, but not for your industry.
That has got to be the dumbest post I’ve ever seen.
What insurance did the 3000 dead in NYC and DC have against dying?
Did you notice my final comment about the SCOTUS criticism?
WB Reeves: Just in case you’re reading this, I may not be the subject of your *comment,* however, my *post* is the subject of John’s post. Just in case you hadn’t figured it out.
“If I’d intended to “inpute” anything to you personally you can be sure I would have done so.”
Where did I say you imputed something about me personnally? I hope you took the time in these 12 days to figure out that I’m the one who brought up the subject of the black church which is why I thought you were talking to me. I never thought or said that you were talking *about* me.