been waiting until the Christian fascist movement started filling stadiums with
young people and hyping them up to do battle in �God�s army� to get alarmed,
wait no longer.
weeks, Battle Cry, a Christian fundamentalist youth movement and an offshoot of
Teen Mania Ministeries,
has held mega-rally rock concerts in San Francisco and Detroit, attracting more
than 25,000 youth, and this weekend they plan to fill Wachovia Stadium in
their religion and values are under attack but, amidst spectacular lightshows,
hummers, Navy Seals, and military imagery on stage, it is Battle Cry that has
declared war on everyone else! Ron Luce, Battle Cry�s leader and Teen Mania
president and founder, makes clear this is not mere metaphor: �This is war. And
Jesus invites us to get into the action, telling us that the violent -- the
�forceful� ones -- will lay hold of the kingdom.�
at Battle Cry�s Honor Academy, which trains 500 youth each year and preaches
that homosexuality and masturbation are sins, reveals a lot about what kind of
society they are fighting for. Interns are not allowed to listen to secular
music, watch R-rated movies, or date. Men are not allowed to use the Internet
unsupervised and the length of women�s skirts is regulated. The logic behind
this, that men must be protected from the sin of sexual temptation, is the same
logic that drives Islamic fundamentalists to shroud women in burqas!
multi-million dollar operation that sends more than 5,000 missionaries to more
than 34 countries each year, are some of the most powerful and extreme
religious lunatics in the country. Their partners include Pat Robertson (who
got a call from Karl Rove to discuss Alito before the nomination was made
public), Ted Haggard (who brags that his concerns will be responded to by the
White House within 24 hours), Jerry Falwell (who blamed September 11 on
homosexuals, feminists, pagans, and abortionists), and others. Their past
events have been addressed, by video, by Barbara Bush and, in person, by former
President Gerry Ford. This weekend�s keynote address will be from Franklyn Graham,
son of Billy Graham, who has ministered to George Bush and publicly proclaimed
that Islam is an �evil religion.�
of these figures have in common is their insistence that the Bible be read
literally and obeyed as the inerrant
word of God. And, as Ron Luce leads youth to pray, �I will keep my eyes on the
battle, submitting to Your code even when I don�t understand. . . . outside my
comfort zone in the battle zone,� it would be foolish to expect that there is
any part of the Bible�s literal horrors this movement would be unwilling to
enforce. That includes stoning disobedient children and non-virgin brides
(Deuteronomy 21:18-21 and 22:13-21), executing gays (Leviticus 20:13), and
keeping slaves (Peter 2:18).
they staged a protest on the steps of San Francisco�s City Hall precisely
because they were �the very city hall steps where several months ago �gay
marriages� were celebrated.� Their answer to the scourge of rape and violence
against women is to condemn divorce, spread ignorance, insist on virginity --
the very things that will more entrap women in these nightmares. And today,
they aim to hold rallies at fifty City Halls around the country.
like the president who appointed Ron Luce to the White House Advisory
Commission on Drug-Free Communities, Battle Cry tells its share of bald-faced
lies. For one, they claim that �a society fortified by biblical principals and
a strong moral code . . . is the heritage our forefathers fought and died to
secure for us.� But the word "God" never appears in the Constitution.
After three-and-a-half months of debate about what should go into the document
that would govern the land, the framers drafted a constitution that is secular.
Further Battle Cry claims
America has been �set aside for God�s purposes -- a country established for
good and fruitfully blessed so that we might take God�s message to the ends of
the earth.� It is revealing that for all their talk about the value of life and
the evils of violent imagery, Battle Cry never speaks against the real violence
and loss of life being inflicted by U.S. troops in Iraq.
there is one thing that Battle Cry gets right: this country is in the midst of
a deep moral crisis. We are indeed living through times when business-as-usual
As the Bush
regime wages unjust wars and conducts torture, as they leave New Orleans to
rot, and drag this country each day closer to a theocracy where abortion and
birth control are banned, science is pulled under, gays are persecuted, it is
no wonder that young people are searching for meaning and morality.
is, however, youth will not find the morality they need in a stadium listening
to Ron Luce preach about religious war and intolerance. And they won�t find it
while buying Battle Cry�s keepsake dog tags.
need to be challenged to look around them and think for themselves.
confident that if they do, many of them will find that the truly moral way to
live is to throw their tremendous energies and dreams of a better world into
stopping this madness and driving out the Bush regime.
generation -- and their counterparts all around the world -- will have to live
with the consequences, one way or another.
Taylor is a writer for Revolution newspaper and initiator of World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush