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Religion Last Updated: Sep 8th, 2006 - 00:59:20

Theocrats or theofascists? The Religious Right�s true colors
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Sep 8, 2006, 00:53

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The August 9 Focus on the Family CitizenLink article by Wendy Cloyd was titled �The �Religious Right� is Under Attack and One Guy is Fed Up.� The opening paragraph set the agenda and asserted one of the Religious Right�s fundamental deceptions:

Patrick Hynes has worked as a political consultant for many years. Immersed in the inner workings of the Republican Party, he has become acutely aware of the constant barrage of left-leaning media in a determined smear campaign against what they label the Religious Right -- conservatives working to protect family values. [italics added]

Patrick Hynes is senior �account executive with the Republican consulting firm Marsh Copsey & Scott.� That Mr. Hynes has a distinct theo-political agenda is obvious. His book In Defense of the Religious Right: Why conservative Christians are the lifeblood of the Republican Party and why that terrifies the Democrats makes that abundantly clear. He�s a Republican apologist, and the Republican Party bows down to the Religious Right. The title of Scott Shepard�s September 25, 2004, Cox News Service article made that clear: �Falwell says evangelicals control GOP, Bush�s fate.� Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) agreed, in disgust: �This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy.�

Ms. Cloyd�s definition of the Religious Right -- �conservatives working to protect family values� -- is about as specious as a statement can get. Committed life-partners loving and caring for each other and their children, working to provide the best, most secure home for their family and protecting it from forces that would do it and their children harm: are these not �family values�? They are also what gay and lesbian partners and parents do, yet the Religious Right has vehemently fought every -- every -- effort to protect these Americans and their families. They have, in fact, been tireless in their efforts to devalue and hurt these families, beginning with the campaign all organization in the Religious Right avidly support: banning same-sex marriage and, thereby, denying parents and their children the social, legal and economic benefits the state-sanctioned civil institution of �marriage� confers.

Interesting how Focus on the Family and all the other so-called �pro-family� organization of the Religious Right are so willing to hurt hundreds of thousands of children and their families in order to advance their self-serving theo-political agenda.

Ms. Cloyd�s CitizenLink article reported an interview with Mr. Hynes: leading questions, predictable replies, beginning with Hynes� unctuous tip of the political hat to �kingmaker� and Focus on the Family chairman James Dobson in relation to the Terri Schiavo fiasco: �but the only people that were standing up were people like Dr. James Dobson.�

Standing up for what? Using a family�s personal tragedy for political gain? The vast majority of the American public thought people like Dobson -- and Sen. Rick Santorum -- should have stayed out of the Schiavo case. Recall that it was a Dobson supporter who traveled from Michigan to Florida to offer a hamburger and soda to a comatose, brain-dead woman who hadn�t swallowed -- much less chewed -- in years. How out of focus and pathetically cruel is that?

�Theocracy� and �theocrat� came up in the interview:

Interviewer: Touch on this trend in the media of throwing around the word �theocracy.� A lot of people hear it, but don�t have an understanding of exactly what it means and why it�s a silly thing to say.

Hynes: The book really started because the word �theocrat� was just being overused. Any real theocracy would put members of the clergy in a decision-making role in the government, which is what we see in Iran and the Middle East. Obviously there�s nothing like that here. We have a democratic process where people get to vote. . . .

Predictably, Mr. Hynes� response was honed sophistry. While the electorate can indeed vote a member of the clergy or someone who embraces theocratic goals into public office, there are plenty of �decision-making� positions in government -- and especially in the current faith-based administration -- that are filled by appointment. There are a substantial number of Bush appointees who are also ordained clergy. The federal Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives attests to theo-political pandering. Moreover, one does not have to be a card-carrying member of the clergy to embrace a theocratic ideology: former attorney general John Ashcroft and messianic president George W. Bush come immediately to mind.

Mr. Hynes highlighted and exposed the Religious Right�s agenda in response to the last question:

Interviewer: What do you hope readers take home from the book?

Hynes: What I hope is that it will cut through the rhetoric that we�re going to hear as we get closer to the 2006 election that poses that Religious conservatives are trying to impose a theocracy on them or do anything that is not consistent with our long, historical political tradition. [italics added]

The Religious Right�s �long, historical political tradition� has been to make America a theocracy, �one nation under God,� their �God� and impose their theo-political dogma. Republican religious conservative and perennial political candidate Alan Keyes makes that very clear in his �declarationist� principles:

Our duty to seek and follow the will of the Creator is prior to all government. Accordingly, so is the liberty of religious conscience.

The authority of the Creator as prior to all civil society and human authority must be respected for liberty to endure.

There is a natural right to life, prior to all positive law, including the Constitution.

Again, �theocrats� do not need to be card-carrying members of the clergy. They can be theologians or leaders of the Religious Right, such as those sponsoring and participating in the �Stand for the Family� events scheduled for this fall, just prior to November elections. The names are familiar from the three �Justice Sunday� events (JS I, JS II, JS III): James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; Dr. Ken Hutcherson, senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church.

Another participant, Southern Baptist theologian and broadcaster Dr. Richard Land, said his message to the flock at the Stand for the Family events will be �to vote for the values that they understand are taught by the Lord in Scripture.� Don�t vote for what�s in the best interest of a secular nation and its diverse population; vote militant religious dogma defined by who and what it excludes. Sound like a theocratic message to you?

One of the issues Stand for the Family will address -- and rail against -- is same-sex marriage. After all, can�t give �those� citizens and their families civil equality in a theocracy. They must be excluded at any cost and by any means necessary. Dobson illustrated that well when he once again derided gay and lesbian Americans and their families in his August 2006 Focus on the Family Action missive that, of course, included a promo -- �Need more ammunition in the battle against gay marriage?� -- for his Marriage Under Fire book and CDs in which he claims allowing gays and lesbians to enter into a civil marriage and thereby better provide for their children and families would bring about the end of the world: �The culture war will be over, and the world may soon become �as it was in the days of Noah.�� How�s that for theocratic demagoguery?

Tom Minnery, senior vice president of public policy at Focus on the Family, said about the Stand for the Family events, �It is our plan to fill large arenas in each city with thousands of people, to alert them to the tremendous issues facing them in the upcoming elections -- and to lay out those issues in a nonpartisan fashion� [italics added].

�In a nonpartisan fashion�? Do you think he said that with a straight face?

Conservatives Put Faith in Church Voter Drives
Evangelicals seek to sign up a new flock of GOP supporters in states with crucial November races

By Peter Wallsten, [Los Angeles] Times Staff Writer
August 15, 2006

WASHINGTON -- As discontent with the Republican Party threatens to dampen the turnout of conservative voters in November, evangelical leaders are launching a massive registration drive that could help counter the malaise and mobilize new religious voters in battleground states.

The program, coordinated by the Colorado-based group Focus on the Family and its influential founder, James C. Dobson, would use a variety of methods -- including information inserted in church publications and booths placed outside worship services -- to recruit millions of new voters in 2006 and beyond. . . . [italics added]

Aside from Focus on the Family�s drive to sign up new Religious Right Republican voters, if the Stand for the Family events are nonpartisan, why were they specifically �designed to educate and motivate pro-family conservative Christians in three states where there are important races on November�s ballot�? In those three states it�s the Religious Right�s Republican gofers who are in danger of losing the election.

One of those theocratic gofers in trouble is Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum, the Golden Child of the �pro-family� Religious Right and avid supporter of a constitutional amendment to make gay and lesbian Americans and their families permanently second-class. Santorum has a 100 percent rating from the Christian Coalition. He was the only member of the Senate to go to Florida, uninvited, and intrude into the Schiavo family�s personal tragedy. He also threatened to oust all judges who didn�t rule in the Schiavo case as he and the Religious Right demanded. A devout Catholic oblivious to the Church�s ongoing corruption and its �passive� reaction to legislative efforts to curtail sexual abuse by priests in the state he supposedly represents, Mr. Santorum has endorsed the Vatican�s idea of outlawing birth control, even for married couples.

More recently, Santorum withdrew his name from a Diversity Statement:

Less than a week after becoming the 170th member of Congress to affirm that his office does not discriminate in its employment practices based on an individual�s �sexual orientation or gender identity and expression,� U.S. senator Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, on Wednesday [August 9, 2006] rescinded his signature on a diversity statement. . . .

The diversity statement is a joint project initiated in 2003 by GenderPAC and the Human Rights Campaign that has received bipartisan support on Capitol Hill from members of the House and Senate. Santorum�s signature came after a meeting during the week of July 24 between the senator and GenderPac volunteers. After the meeting, Santorum posed for a picture with them. . . .

On Wednesday, Santorum faxed GenderPAC a new statement that read in part, �To be clear, my office has not adopted the proposed �diversity statement� nor the agenda of your organization. . . . My name should no longer be reported as having adopted the �diversity statement.��

Apparently Sen. Santorum had already heard the voice of his master:

Family Advocate Questions Representatives� Signatures on 'Diversity Statement�
By Allie Martin
August 16, 2006

(AgapePress) - The American Family Association of Pennsylvania is blasting three U.S. congressmen who have signed a �diversity statement� from two pro-homosexual groups.

A pro-family activist in Pennsylvania is bothered that three U.S. House members from the Keystone State -- Republican Jim Gerlach and Democrats Robert Brady and Mike Doyle -- have signed the statement from GenderPAC and the Human Rights Campaign. That statement says the congressmen will not discriminate in their hiring practices based on an employee's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. . . .

Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of Pennsylvania, . . . has asked Congressmen Gerlach, Brady, and Doyle to reconsider their signatures on the pro-homosexual diversity statement.

�Diversity� is a dirty word for the Religious Right and their political sycophants. They prefer a different �D� word: �Discrimination.� They demand everyone be and live as they dictate. Those who won�t or can�t do as they�re told must be excluded or re-educated via electric shock treatments, exorcisms, and Gatoraide, or by other means: �Gay man beaten to be �scared straight.�� If one of the Religious Right�s favorite pseudo-scientists, discredited �psychologist� Paul Cameron had his way, they�d be exterminated:

At the 1985 Conservative Political Action Conference, Cameron announced to the attendees, �Unless we get medically lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals.� According to an interview with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Cameron was recommending the extermination option as early as 1983. --Mark E. Pietrzyk, News-Telegraph, March 10,1995.

Perhaps Mr. Hynes is right after all. That�s not �theocratic.� It�s theofascist.

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