Right at posting time for This Week in Blogging the Religious Right, the blogosphere has erupted with breaking stories about the deeper background of the scandal involving ABC’s prospective docudrama, The Path to 9/11. It turns out that the film company behind the film is a project of Youth With A Mission, a major dominionist organization. Dave Neiwert at Orcinus details how Loren Cunningham, the leader of YWAM wove the ideas of theocratic Christian Reconstructionism into the YWAM indoctination program. And Max Blumenthal at The Huffington Post reveals how a covert rightwing propaganda operation headed by David Horowitz has been working behind the scenes, and that most importantly:
On this project, he is working with a secretive evangelical religious right group founded by The Path to 9/11’s director David Cunningham that proclaims its goal to “transform Hollywood” in line with its messianic vision.Before The Path to 9/11 entered the production stage, Disney/ABC contracted David Cunningham as the film’s director. Cunningham is no ordinary Hollywood journeyman. He is in fact the son of Loren Cunningham, founder of the right-wing evangelical group Youth With A Mission (YWAM). The young Cunningham helped found an auxiliary of his father’s group called The Film Institute (TFI), which, according to its mission statement, is “dedicated to a Godly transformation and revolution TO and THROUGH the Film and Televisionindustry.” As part of TFI’s long-term strategy, Cunningham helped place interns from Youth With A Mission’s ” a network?in film industry jobs “so that they can begin to impact and transform Hollywood from the inside out,” according to a YWAM report.
UPDATE:And Ishmael has some powerful background in a Daily Kos diary — YWAM’s connection to genocidal dictator, Rios Montt of Guatemala…
Rios Montt is generally credited with the murder of some 70,000 Mayan peasants, but all through the killing he maintained a love affair with the American Christian Right, which was delighted by the fact that he’s an evangelical Protestant in a deeply Catholic country, converted in 1976 by American self-declared “Jesus Freaks,” fundamentalist hippies. Here’s where YWAM comes in:
Rios Montt’s ascension to power [by coup in 1982] was celebrated by thge U.S. Christian Right as a sign of divine intervention in Central America…. In May, 1982, [Pat] Robertson told the New York Times that his Christian Broadcasting Network would send missionaries and more than a billion dollars in aid to help Rios Montt rule the country. While Robertson’s offer never came to fruition, it enabled Rios Montt to convince the U.S. Congress that he would not seek massive sums of U.S. aid. Instead, he would rely on “private aid from U.S. evangelicals. Toward that end, Rios Montt’s aide… came to the United States for a meeting with… [Reagan consigliore] Edwin Meese, Interior Secretary James Watt… and Christian Right leaders Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Loren Cunningham (head of Youth With a Mission).
For the regular round-up, please continue, on the flip.
The Daily Kos Markos picks-upon a post by Pastordanat Street Prophets — and a theme I, among others, raised in response to Barack Obama (and Jim Wallis), awhile back, (twice) — if Democrats are supposedly so hostile to religion, name one.It is long past time Democrats wake up to the simple fact that people are parroting a variant of a key frame established by religious right leaders. The bitter irony is that this has been internalized even by leading journalists, academics and Democrats. Good for Pastordan and Kos for calling them out.
Back in July I wrote:
Wallis, Obama and their supporters have yet to name one liberal or Democratic leader anywhere in the United States who has ever behaved in the way they describe. Does it happen? I don’t doubt it. But I have not witnessed such an episode in 30 years of experience in public life.And I am not alone.
Blog from the Capital
Don Byrd reports:
The new issue of Newsweek magazine has a brief follow-up on the Katherine Harris church-state-separation-is-a-lie fiasco, and in some ways addresses my question: aren’t there many (dangerous) people who agree with her, even though we’re not hearing much from them?
Rogers also posts about Christian nationalism, reminding Christians of the risks of conflating national and religious identity.
For a host of reasons, no country should attempt to embody and promote Christianity or any other faith… when we fuse the cross and the flag and America stumbles, the gospel stumbles as well. It’s something Christians ought to bear in mind, particularly these days.
Pastordan has an analysis of the recent Florida GOP primary results:
Indeed, only 20% of Florida voters bothered to turn out on Tuesday, sealing Gallagher’s doom. Agape Press would like you to think this means the candidates weren’t conservative enough, but I dunno about that. The GOP might be losing its most radical religious voters – exactly the kind of people who write articles for Agape Press – but for the most part, I think what the Florida vote demonstrates is that there’s only so many times you can go to the same well.Voters have other things on their minds besides same-sex marriage and abortion: war, a crappy economy, hurricanes, terror.
As noted below, this combination of factors puts the GOP in a tight spot: they could potentially lose both the moderate and radical vote. That, in turn, could lead to the crack-up of the Republican coalition of social conservatives, plutarchs, and military hawks. If things keep heading this way, it’s possible that a sizable bloc of voters could bolt for the Constitution Party.
Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Ed Brayton discusses a remarkable opinion by federal appeals court judge Harvie Wilkerson, (who has been on the GOP short list for the U.S. Supreme Court), eviscerating antigay marriage amendments to state constitutions:
he comes out against both state and federal constitutional amendments against gay marriage. That’s on top of the fact that it is highly unusual for a sitting judge to so boldly assert his opinion on an ongoing political controversy. But he makes some really good points, including one about how such amendments may very well backfire on those who advanced them:
The Federal Marriage Amendment has helped spread the constitutional fever to the states. State constitutional bans on same-sex marriages vary considerably in their wording, particularly with respect to civil unions. But most would repose in judges the authority to interpret such ambiguous terms as “domestic union,” “similar to marriage,” “rights, obligations, privileges and immunities of marriage,” “incidents of marriage” and so forth. Thus the irony: Those who wish to curb activist judges are vesting judges with unprecedented interpretative authority whose constitutional nature makes it all but impervious to legislative change.
We Unite Ohio
Bruce Wilson discusses the wider implications of the Ohio Restoration Project
The Republic of T
Terrance has an insightful analysis about why Christian right groups oppose anti-bullying legislation
Faith in Public Life
David Buckley announces a free, easy to use and very useful new service that aggregates religion news and emails it to you with a list of headlines and news sources.
Wall of Separation
Rob Boston flags a letter to the editor of World Net Daily, in which a conservative Christian letter writer recalls his experience in the Air Force in Hawaii, where he was required to stand during Budhist prayers.
The incident apparently caused Christenot [the letter writer] no small amount of discomfort, as he felt he had betrayed his faith. But it was also a learning experience. Christenot came to understand how non-Christians might feel when they are compelled to sit through Christian rituals.”We often advocate the practice of Judeo-Christian rituals in America’s public schools by hiding behind the excuse that they are voluntary and any student who doesn’t wish to participate can simply remained seated and silent,” wrote Christenot. “Oh that this were true. But if I, as a mature adult, would be so confounded and uncomfortable when faced with the decision of observing and standing on my own religious principles or run the risk of offending the majority crowd, I can only imagine what thoughts and confusion must run through the head of the typical child or teenager, for whom peer acceptance is one of the highest ideals.”
Randall Balmer writes:
The thing I find most amusing about the leaders of the Religious Right these days is the way fly into an apoplectic fit anytime anyone mentions the word “theocracy.”
Talk to Action
Bartholomew, in his debut front page post, discusses the strange Christian right politics of the Inuit in Northern Quebec.
John Dorhauer denounces the “lies” told by religious right “renewal” groups as they seek to sew discontent and schism in the mainline protestant United Church of Christ.
JoelP stresses the influence of neoconservative philosopher Leo Strauss:
The importance of Leo Strauss’s influence on both current far-Right Republican politics as well as far-Right Conservative Christian tactics to infiltrate the Republican Party cannot be overstated. As a grinning Ralph Reed has stated many times publicly, it’s not important what people think about you, only that you operate quietly in the background and achieve your goals by any means necessary.
Frank Cocozzelli identifies apparent biases favoring the far right Opus Dei order, in a book by a supposedly liberal Catholic journalist.
I expected a more thorough investigative report. Instead the result is a near puff-piece.
Cyncooper reports that
The right-wing American Life League is rolling in buckets of money, and a lot of goes right back into the pockets of the people who run it, according to a new report released by Catholics for a Free Choice.
Moiv throws the book at militant antiabortion leader Fr. Frank Pavone’s role in American political life.
Yes, the tax-exempt status of religious organizations forbids overt campaigning for individual candidates. And Frank Pavone is Priests for Life. But what does that matter to a man whose contempt for federal law runs so deep that his reaction to the FACE Act — which outlaws the violence he claims to disavow — was to set it on fire?