BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tuesday

Was gonna get back to Jeff Sharlet's piece in Harper's re: the Evangelical movement in Colorado Springs.

Until I read Bob Moser's brilliant Rolling Stone article:

"The Crusaders - Christian evangelicals are plotting to remake America in their own image"

Here we go. Some excerpts:
It's February, and 900 of America's staunchest Christian fundamentalists have gathered in Fort Lauderdale to look back on what they accomplished in last year's election -- and to plan what's next. As they assemble in the vast sanctuary of Coral Ridge Presbyterian, with all fifty state flags dangling from the rafters, three stadium-size video screens flash the name of the conference: RECLAIMING AMERICA FOR CHRIST.

Meet the Dominionists -- biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government.
Why?

I've been told that the Dominionists believe that "Christ" will come again...AS A NATION.

Not as a man. But as a NATION.

And that NATION is AMERICA.

So they've got some work to do.

To bring "Him" back.
They want to rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American history, pack the nation's courts with judges who follow OLD TESTAMENT LAW, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have abortions.

Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a "faith-based" government that will endure far longer than Bush's presidency -- all the way until Jesus comes back.
Again...some believe that Christ will come back as a man...but others believe that the Second Coming is a "Christ-like" Nation.

Ours.
"Most people hear them talk about a 'Christian nation' and think, 'Well, that sounds like a good, moral thing,' says the Rev. Mel White, who ghostwrote Jerry Falwell's autobiography before breaking with the evangelical movement. "What they don't know -- what even most conservative Christians who voted for Bush don't know -- is that 'CHRISTIAN NATION' means something else entirely to these Dominionist leaders. This movement is no more about following the example of Christ than Bush's Clean Water Act is about clean water."
Christian nation.

It's not just a theocracy.

And definitely not moderate.
The godfather of the Dominionists is D. James Kennedy, the most influential evangelical you've never heard of. A former Arthur Murray dance instructor, he launched his Florida ministry in 1959, when most evangelicals still followed Billy Graham's gospel of nonpartisan soul-saving. Kennedy built Coral Ridge Ministries into a $37-million-a-year empire, with a TV-and-radio audience of 3 million, by preaching that it was time to save America -- not soul by soul but election by election. After helping found the Moral Majority in 1979, Kennedy became a five-star general in the Christian army. Bush sought his blessing before running for president -- and continues to consult top Dominionists on matters of federal policy.

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost," Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."
No more Ozz-fest. That's for sure.

(Maiden is co-headlining this summer.)
At Reclaiming America, most of the conference is taken up by grassroots training sessions that supply ministers, retirees and devout churchgoers with "The Facts of Stem-Cell Research" or "Practical Steps to Impact Your Community with America's Historical Judeo-Christian Heritage." "We're going to turn you into an army of one," Gary Cass, executive director of Reclaiming America, promises activists at one workshop held in Evangalism Explosion Hall. The Dominionists also attend speeches by supporters like Rep. KATHERINE HARRIS of Florida, who urges them to "win back America for God."
KATHERINE HARRIS.

There she is again!

I'm shocked.
To implement their sweeping agenda, the Dominionists are working to remake the federal courts in God's image.

In their view, the Founding Fathers never intended to erect a barrier between politics and religion.

"The other side knows we've got strongholds in the executive and legislative branches," Cass tells the troops. "If we start winning the judiciary, their power base is going to be eroded."

To pack the courts with fundamentalists like Moore, Dominionist leaders are planning a massive media blitz. They're also pressuring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist -- an ally who's courting support for his presidential bid -- to halt the long-standing use of filibusters to hold up judicial nominations. An anti-filibuster petition circulating at the conference blasts Democrats for their "outrageous stonewalling of appointments" -- even though Congress has approved more nominees of Bush than of any president since Jimmy Carter.
I would not want to appear in front of a Neo-American judge if I wasn't "born again."

Too bad for me: I'm an Irish Catholic.

Better not commit a federal crime.
It helps that Dominionists have a DIRECT LINE TO THE WHITE HOUSE: The Rev. Richard Land, top lobbyist for the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, enjoys a weekly conference call with top Bush advisers including KARL ROVE.

"We've got the Holy Spirit's wind at our backs!" Land declares in an arm-waving, red-faced speech. He takes particular aim at the threat posed by JOHN LENNON, denouncing "IMAGINE" as a "secular anthem" that envisions a future of "CLONE PLANTATIONS, CHILD SACRIFICE, LEGALIZED POLYGAMY and HARD-CORE PORN."
Boy...am I stupid.

I've listened to "Imagine," hmm, maybe a MILLION TIMES and totally missed the point of the song.

Clone plantations.

Child sacrifice.

Legalized polygamy.

Hard-core porn.

Totally missed the point.

So let's break it down!

*

"Imagine there's no heaven"

Okay, I can see where they'd hate that line --

"It's easy if you try"

Not for them --

"No hell below us"

Uh, they need Hell for the whole "thing" to work --

"Above us only sky"

And the Beast of the Apocalypse.

*

"Imagine all the people living for today"

*

Hmm.

At this point...no evidence of "Clone Plantations."

("Imagine there's a clone plantation, it's easy if you try, it's located in Los Angeles, somewhere near Van Nuys.")

*

"Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do"

Well, our friends can imagine no "secular" countries --

"Nothing to kill or die for, no religion, too"

Oops: They don't like that line --

"Imagine all the people...living life in peace"

*

There it is: If you listen to that verse backwards, you'll hear Lennon sing, "Yoko and I have invested heavily in cloning. You should, too."

*

"Imagine no possesions, I wonder if you can"

("Hold on! God values "achievement." Don't listen to that...no possesion message!")

"No need for greed or hunger"

("If they accept our financial package. With some restrictions!")

"A brotherhood of man"

("Brotherhood is their code word for...a clone plantation!")

*

Imagine all the people...sharing all the world.

*

They can imagine all the "born again people" sharing all the world --

The rest of us are screwed.

*

You may say Im a dreamer,
But Im not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

*

I guess the good Reverend heard the last verse...this way:
"I hope some day you'll join us...in Hilldale, Utah...and the world will live as one...on Warren Jeff's giant polygamist colony."
Otherwise, I'm not hearing it.

Last excerpts from Rolling Stone:
While the dominionists rely on grass-roots activists to fight their battles, they are backed by some of America's richest entrepreneurs. Amway founder Rich DeVos, a Kennedy ally who's the leading Republican contender for governor of Michigan, has tossed more than $5 million into the collection plate. Jean Case, wife of former AOL chief Steve Case -- whose fortune was made largely on sex-chat rooms -- has donated $8 million. And Tom Monaghan, founder of DOMINO'S PIZZA, is a major source of cash for FOCUS ON THE FAMILY (James Dobson), a megaministry WORKING with Kennedy TO ELIMINATE ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

The one-two punch of militant activists and big money has helped make the Dominionists a force in WASHINGTON, where GROWING NUMBER OF CONGRESSMEN OWE THEIR ELECTIONS TO THE MACHINE. Kennedy has also created the Center for Christian Statesmanship, which trains elected officials to "more effectively share their faith in the public arena." Speaking to the group, HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP TOM DELAY -- a winner of Kennedy's Distinguished Christian Statesman Award -- called Bush's faith-based initiatives "a great opportunity to bring God back into the public institutions of our country.
They want it more than we do.

God bless 'em.

Please take the time to read the full piece in Rolling Stone.

And your comments, please.

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