Here is a great editorial by Josh Sager that I found on bostonoccupier.com.
The United States is currently facing a very serious threat: a group of highly motivated and deeply committed religious extremists is currently attempting to take over the government and institute religious laws. These extremists are highly organized, willing to commit violence against those who oppose them, and are infiltrating every segment of our government in an attempt to remake the country’s policy in their own image. The policies which these extremists support include: controlling the lives and bodies of women, inserting religious dogma into public education, suppressing other faiths’ religious practices, writing laws which enforce religious morality over the secular public, and the re-writing of history in order to indoctrinate future generations into believing that these policies are the true values of the country. Based solely upon my description of these religious fanatics, many who read this would likely believe that the religion which these zealots follow is Islam, but they would be incorrect.
The religious extremists whom I speak of are not Muslims, but rather the extremist Christian fundamentalists who have attached themselves to the right wing. Recently, numerous politicians have not only rejected the idea of the “separation of church and state”, but have pushed policies based entirely upon conservative Christian teachings (ex. banning gay marriage based upon biblical passages); such policies are not based in factual evidence and have no place in the United States.
Ironically, it is often the very same politicians who fear-monger around the idea of Muslim religious law (Sharia Law), who support Christian religious laws that are the Christian equivalent to Sharia Law. With the blatant and pervasive propagation of imagined Sharia fear-mongering, it is tremendously hypocritical that our elected officials and media have not taken up arms over the very real threat of Christian religious law.
The United States is a purely secular country and any attempt to institute religious laws, regardless of the religion, should be fought be every American. Religious laws are contrary to American values and it makes no difference if the basis for such religious laws is the Bible, Koran, Torah, Manusmrti (Hindi caste text) or any other religious text. All too often, the media fails to frame religious laws as such, and simply lumps these unconstitutional laws into the conservative narrative—this is a terrible mistake and serves to conceal the religious justifications of proposed laws behind a veneer of political ideology.
Christian extremists in the United States have a long history of attempting to legislate sexual morality as well as control women. These extremists believe that their religious text–the Christian Bible—should be the base for determining what Americans are allowed to do in their bedrooms, who they should be allowed to love, and what level of control women should have over their bodies. Often, these religious fundamentalists conceal their religious laws by using moral arguments, but, given a little digging, it is usually easy to see the religious justifications behind these laws.
The infiltration of the government by religious fundamentalist is by no means a new phenomenon, but it has become worse in the past decade. The rise in power of the conservative movement has allowed the Christian conservative movement to gain a great deal of influence within modern American politics. Fringe Christian extremists—such as Santorum, Perry, or Bachmann—are seen as legitimate political candidates today, when they would have been laughed off of the stage even during the 2000 presidential election.
Abortion rights and affordable birth control are issues which are vital to the health and personal power of women in the United States. When women have control over their bodies and reproductive choices, they are able to participate in society on equal footing with men. Unfortunately, Christian extremists believe that their religion mandates the subjugation of women, thus are vitriolically anti-reproductive freedom; while they are not as blatantly restrictive of women as Muslim extremists in the Middle East, American Christian fundamentalist have demonstrated a persistent desire to control the choices of women. There is no rational explanation for the banning of birth control and any attempt to do so should be seen as what it is—the enforcing of religious dogma over society and an attack on women’s rights.
Many Christian extremists claim that their anti-abortion fervor comes from a desire to protect life, but this position is debunked by several inconsistencies. Christian fundamentalists are against birth control, sexual education, and spending on early-life care, thus it is obvious that they care little about reducing the number of abortions or protecting children; in essence, they only care about preventing women from controlling their bodies and are using the goal of “protecting children” as an excuse. In addition to their hypocrisy surrounding children’s welfare and abortion rights, many Christian fundamentalists support violence to end abortion rights. No rational human being can simultaneously claim to be pro-life, yet shoot or blow up abortion doctors for performing abortions for the women who want them.
It is possible for an individual to be anti-abortion on moral grounds, but not if their only arguments against abortion are the fact that their religious texts have been interpreted to say that abortion is a “sin”. Abortion may be a sin (sins are human constructs created to label religious taboos) but, as we aren’t a theocracy, there is no reason why the government should criminalize religious “sins”.
Preventing gay marriage from being legalized and blocking the granting of equal rights to same sex couples are two of the most common policies which modern Christian fundamentalists attempt to push on society as a whole. The justifications for attacking the rights of same-sex couples are nothing more than religious arguments and Christian extremists rarely attempt to conceal it. This blatant overreach of one religion into secular policy is rarely pointed out by the media, and only highlights how complacent the public has become about protecting the separation of church and state. The next time you hear a Christian fundamentalist politician promote an anti-gay agenda using religious justifications (I.E. Watch TV for 5 minutes), imagine that the politician is a Muslim, rather than a Christian, and is citing the Koran, rather than the bible; even though the situations are identical, in that they involve one religion attempting to legislate their religion, the outcry against Christian fundamentalist law is non-existent when compared to if they were Muslims. Religious laws are religious laws, regardless of the religion, and we must never allow any religious faith to control public policy.
Ultimately, it is up to the American people and the media to fight back against religious law and ensure that the only laws which are govern us are based entirely upon secular logic. The media must research the justifications behind laws and ensure that they are based in fact and the public good, rather than the writings of long dead religious figures. Once the media or, in the case of media failures, informed individuals, identify laws based upon religious arguments, the public must ensure that politicians are held accountable. Voters must vote out any politician who supports religious laws, regardless of party affiliation or whether their personal faith is being supported. The United States is not a theocracy and any attempt to insert religion into public policy is inherently un-American; we have seen the result of mixing church and state in countries like Saudi Arabia, and most of us don’t like what we see.
That was a great editorial! Need to hear more before you are convinced about the threat that Josh described above…..here is an ad being published by Billy Graham in newspapers across the United States this week.
I think what Billy is telling us is that God is a white republican who doesn’t really care for black liberals.
Oh, you would like to know my opinion about Billy and his ad – Complete Bullshit!
I couldn’t have said it better myself I didn’t try. This is a great post by
Let’s deconstruct what Billy Graham has to say about endorsing Mitt Romney:
“It was a privilege to pray with Governor Romney—for his family and our country. I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms.”
Well, Mr. Graham. You left out a lot, didn’t you? No mention of protecting the poor, a favorite topic of Jesus. NO mention of holding the wealthy accountable for exploitation of the country and its resources. No mention of protecting the earth as God’s creation. No mention of holding our former President and VP accountable for unbudgeted, illegal wars and torture.
Especially no mention of the inscrutable…
View original post 521 more words
A few weeks ago I went after Black Ministers for their hypocrisy in encouraging their church members not to vote in the Presidential election. Today it’s Billy Graham’s turn on the hot seat. In case you don’t know, Billy is without question the biggest evangelist that America has ever produced. I never shared his beliefs but until this week he at least had my respect. That respect is now completely gone and I have to call the man out as being a huge hypocrite. Here is why….
Billy, along with most other evangelical Christians, has consistently labeled Mormonism as a cult. Let me put it more bluntly…he thought all Mormons were going to Hell. Until this week, Billy’s website had an article clearly categorizing Mormonism as a cult.
(Let me make it clear, I don’t have a dog in that fight. I firmly believe that one of our key right in America is freedom of religion FOR EVERYONE regardless of who or how you worship. Christians, Mormons, Muslims, etc. all share that exact same freedom. I also believe that means FREEDOM FROM religion!)
Now….back to Billy. This week Billy jumped into the 2012 Presidential Election fray, met with Mitt Romney, and endorsed him for president. At the same time his website article about Mormonism being a cult mysteriously disappeared from his website. To put it a little more bluntly (using evangelical christian terms), Billy has cast his lot with the devil (based on his categorization of Mormonism with as a cult and the fact that he is backing a Mormon for president) and is trying to cover it up by removing HIS words about Mormonism from his website. What else do you call that but Hypocrisy with a capital H. To put it into Mitt Romney language, Billy has shown that he is an etch-a-sketch evangelist. Shame on you!
The details from an article on CNN are provided below if you are interested.
Billy Graham site removes
Mormon ‘cult’ reference
after Romney meeting
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham’s mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
In a section of the website called Billy Graham’s My Answer there had been the question “What is a cult?”
Answer: “A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith.”
“Some of these groups are Jehovah’s Witnesess, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spritualists, Scientologists, and others,” the site continued.
No longer. On Tuesday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed that page has recently been removed from the site.
“Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Ken Barun, chief of staff for the association, told CNN in a statement. “We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.”
Romney is a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of which are known as Mormons.
The information about cults can be found on cached sections of the website onArchive.org from June 5, 2010.
The theological question of where Mormons fit on the religious spectrum has drawn more attention because of Romney’s candidacy. Mormons consider themselves to be strong Christians. Many traditional Christian denominations disagree, though rank-and-file members have their own views on the matter.
The removal of the post from the Graham group’s website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website and then later by the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that the information on cults was accessed as recently as Thursday afternoon.
Last week’s meeting between Romney and Graham was their first.
After the 30 minute sit-down in Montreat, North Carolina, just outside Asheville, Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters that Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying “I’ll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that.”
The evangelist who has been called America’s pastor and has prayed with every American president since Harry Truman said in a statement following the meeting that “It was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney — for his family and our country.”
Graham met with President Barack Obama in 2010 and with Sen. John McCain when he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in 2008.
“I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads,” Graham’s statement continued. “I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms.”
When asked about Graham’s beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that “Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations.
“Neither did Mr. Graham attempt to divide his audience before he had opportunity to preach to them. He has a genuine love for all people, and faithfully proclaimed the love of God to everyone, providing opportunity for them to respond by making a faith commitment.
“Mr. Graham’s calling is not to pass judgment, but to proclaim the biblical truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven, allowing every individual and group to fall along that plumb line,” the statement went on.
“He further stressed that salvation is the work of Almighty God, and that only He knows what is in each human heart,” the statement said.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, lists the LDS Church as a theological cult. The Catholic Church also does not recognize Mormon baptisms as being theologically compatible with its own.
The LDS Church has long bristled at being called a cult. Mormons note the many similarities and overlap between their teachings and that of other churches but point to their belief in other scriptures like the Book of Mormon as the reason they split with other churches.
In the 2012 campaign Romney has been generally quiet about his church, though his role as a lay church leader was prominently featured in the Republican National Convention, and his campaign has allowed members of the press pool accompanying Romney to film him attending services.