This is the second part of my study on the political aims of the Christian Right in the USA, and not only. If history teaches us something, then all reasonable men and women shouldn’t underestimate the degree of conviction that such people have. Since the beginning of organized Religions we have seen, and unfortunately still see, the worst abuses, massacres, tortures and violations of basic human rights perpetrated by fanatics of all denominations.
“It is not a sin to kill an infidel it opens the gates of Heaven”, Pope Urban II in the year 1095
We need to find ways to win the war “Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political strategist, and deputy chief of staff told a gathering of the Family Research Council in March, 2002. The Family Research Council is one of the most powerful lobbying organizations of the theocratic right today. Rove wasn't talking about the war on terrorism. He was talking about the war on secular society.
Anyone who has read Reverend’s Tim LaHaye co-authored book, Mind Siege: The Battle for Truth in the New Millennium, published in 2000 knows that this best-selling book (the simple fact that it was a bestseller in the US is frightening per se) issues a call to arms for Evangelical Christians to battle against secular humanism. Mind Siege declares that secular humanism is a "religion," and issues marching orders to evangelical Christians to gear up for an all-out battle to root secular humanists out of public life; their bottom line is that "No humanist is fit to hold office." It is important for people who want effectively counter such ideas in the US to read this book, it isn’t sufficient to simply dismiss or look down on such ideas, one has to understand them, on the principle of always know your enemy. Had Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the UK in 1932, and Edward Daladier, French Premier same year actually taken the time to read Mein Kampf, then perhaps the Germans would have been stopped before occupying the Ruhr, and the world wouldn’t have lived through WW2.
LaHaye, best known for the Left Behind Series, was one of the founders of the Moral Majority. He first declared war on secular humanism in 1980 with his widely read book, The Battle for the Mind, in which he claims that evangelicals need to become politically involved to fight the great evil, secular humanism, which is threatening to destroy America. Another book that should be read with care, because it also explains what type of political involvement, and phrase like the one below should ring alarm bells.
"The real enemy is the secular humanist mindset which seeks to destroy everything that is good in this society."
Pat Robertson media mogul and famous television Evangelist, founder of the Christian Coalition, explained the nature of the war on secularism in 1991 at a Christian Coalition Road to Victory gathering:
"It's going to be a spiritual battle. There will be satanic forces.... We are not going to be coming up just against human beings, to beat them in elections. We're going to be coming up against spiritual warfare."
Pat Robertson, who is my view an extremely dangerous man, with business interests with Rupert Murdoch, Halliburton, United Technology, and other Corporate giants, named his enemies in a 1992 newsletter, Pat Robertson Perspective. The list includes, among others, the National Organization for Women, the National Education Association, the National Council of Churches, the Gay-Lesbian Caucus, as well as People for the American Way, and Americans United for a Separation of Church and State. They are lumped together as the "Radical Left."
Rob Boston prominent author in the US in his book; Pat Robertson: The most dangerous man in America, gives a pretty indication as to why.
"The strategy against the American Radical Left should be the same as General Douglas MacArthur employed against the Japanese in the Pacific... Bypass their strongholds, then surround them, isolate them, bombard them, then blast the individuals out of their power bunkers with hand-to-hand combat. The battle for Iwo Jima was not pleasant, but our troops won it. The battle to regain the soul of America won't be pleasant either, but we will win it."
Governor Bob Riley Of Alabama speaking to the Alabama Christian Coalition's "Friends of the Family" Celebration, March 8, 2003, noting that the country was facing a war in Iraq, made the following statement:
"There is another war going on in this country. This one is far more insidious. It's one that you just can't go and attack. It's a war for the absolute soul of this country."
Then went on to ask his political allies to back a crusade to regain America in the name of Christ
Dennis James Kennedy (November 3, 1930 - September 5, 2007), better known as D. James Kennedy, was an American Christian broadcaster, church pastor, and founder of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he was senior pastor from 1960 until his death in 2007. Kennedy also founded Evangelism Explosion International, Coral Ridge Ministries, the Westminster Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, the Knox Theological Seminary, and the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, a socially conservative political group.
During his life reached a viewing and listening audience of about 3.5 million people every Sunday morning. He talked about going beyond the destruction of the Berlin Wall to battering down
"The even more diabolical 'wall of separation' that has led to increasing secularization, godlessness, immorality, and corruption in our country."
"God has called us to engage the enemy in this culture war. That is our challenge today."
During his life Kennedy wrote and published the book Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul, published in 1997. In the same book he states:
"How much more forcefully can I say it? The time has come, and it is long overdue, when Christians and conservatives and all men and women who believe in the birthright of freedom must rise up and reclaim America for Jesus Christ."
One of the most interesting aspects of the Christian Right in the USA is not only that they are waging a war, but at the same time they also see themselves as victims. Victims of the Federal Government, the Democrats, the atheists, the Liberals, the Catholics, and of anyone who dares criticize or argue their warped vision of the world.
The American Federation for Separation of Church and State reported this very revealing statement from Federal Judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown, on April 26, 2005:
"These are perilous times for people of faith, not in the sense that we are going to lose our lives, but in the sense that it will cost you something if you are a person of faith who stands up for what you believe in and say those things out loud."
In April, 2003, the American Federation for Separation of Church and State wrote:
"House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) is helping controversial Religious Right group raise
Christians' conference is coming to D.C., featuring a modified-A-list of conservative heavyweights organized by Vision America, including Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, Sen. John Cornyn, Phyllis Schlafly, Sen. Sam Brownback and Rep. Tom DeLay, as well as some Jews..."
...as speaker after speaker hammered on the theme of oppression of Christians by a shadowy liberal establishment, it became clear that, like many of the sermons, books, and articles written by leaders of the Christian right, the real purpose of "Justice Sunday II" was to reinforce a sense of victimhood among the broadest possible swath of American Christians.
In all this time while playing the victims the Christian Right, continued its stealthy infiltration of the Republican Party and already this infiltration should have been clear to many in 1998/99 but evidently not as In 2000, the Republican Party of Texas declared that it "affirms that the United States is a Christian nation."
In February 2004 that sentiment reached the national level. The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 would acknowledge Christianity's God as the "sovereign source" of our laws. It would reach back in history and reverse all judicial decisions that have built a wall between church and state, and it would prohibit federal judges from making such rulings in the future.
An article appeared in Harper’s March, 2003 called "Jesus Plus Nothing: Undercover among America's secret theocrats" by Jeff Sharlet. While the term "dominion" isn't used, the goal is the same. Says Sharlet, the ultimate goal of the Family is "a government built by God," which is by definition a theocracy.
Who is the Christian Right?
Many religious leaders, including those from mainline Christian Churches, are deeply concerned about the religious right. The Interfaith Alliance, for example, "is a nonpartisan, clergy-led grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the positive, healing role of faith in civic life and challenging intolerance and extremism."
Like the main divisions in Islam or Judaism, likewise the Christian Right does not view mainline Christians as true Christians. Neither should the term Evangelical be used as synonymous with the theocratic right, as Evangelicals cover the whole political spectrum in the US. Former President Jimmy Carter, America's first evangelical Christian president, still teaches Sunday school at his Baptist church in Plains, Georgia.
He said in an interview with The American Prospect, in April 5, 2004:
“When I was younger, almost all Baptists were strongly committed on a theological basis to the separation of church and state. It was only 25 years ago when there began to be a melding of the Republican Party with fundamentalist Christianity, particularly with the Southern Baptist Convention. This is a fairly new development, and I think it was brought about by the abandonment of some of the basic principles of Christianity.”
This study is not about the core principles on which the Republican Party was founded; on the contrary, it is on the systematic erosion of those principles. Intelligent men and women in the Republican Party have warned repeatedly against this, but their warnings have so far fallen on deaf hears. To quote a highly respected, very conservative Republican, former presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater,
Our problem is with ... the religious extremists ... who want to destroy everybody who doesn't agree with them. I see them as betrayers of the fundamental principles of conservatism. A lot of so-called conservatives today don't know what the word means. (1994)
Bill Reitscher, another prominent Republican Conservative, and a close friend of Barry Goldwater had this to say on the issue:
“Prepare yourself, fellow Americans, for historic change, the most dramatic and far-reaching change in your lifetime, a sweeping metamorphosis that may alter radically the distinctive, time-honored structure of the fabled American experiment, which has endured for most of the last 225 years.”
The Republican Main Street Pertnership, is a group of GOP moderates that includes Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, Gov. George Pataki of New York, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. Salon claims moderate Republicans are feeling desperate.
It's no wonder moderates are feeling desperate. After all, a faction within their own party is fighting to purge them -- and that faction includes some of the nation's most powerful Republicans.
While this Study is not about Republicans as such or the Republican Party, it is about Republican strategists with links to a certain type of corporate America, who would like to see zero taxation on their profits, limited Government intervention, a complete reversal of civil and workers rights legislation and most important of all the complete emasculation and castration of the US. Constitution that guarantees those rights; and that to achieve these goals, target people of a certain faith as a way to expand the political base of their party, and about a very specific group of religious leaders who are using the Republican Party as a way to gain dominion over society and that will guarantee those aims and goals in exchange for the implementation of a Christian Theocracy in the USA. In a way there is an historical parallel in all this with the concordats that Emperor Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinu (c. 27 February 272 – 22 May 337), when needing men to man his legions in his war against Emperor Maxentius he reversed the persecutions of the Christians by his predecessor, Diocletian, as long as the Christian accepted to fight on his side and issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of Christians throughout the empire. A “Quid pro quo”, that allowed the spread of Christianity in the world.
As explained by journalist and author Chris Hedges:
This movement is a hybrid of fundamentalists, Pentacostals, Southern Baptists, Conservative Catholics, Charismatics and other evangelicals, all of whom are at war doctrinally, but who nonetheless share a belief that America is destined to become a Christian nation, led by Christian men who are in turn directed by God...Lately the leaders of the movement have even begun to reach out to Mormons.
America becomes, in this militant Biblicism, an agent of God, and all political and intellectual opponents of America's Christian leaders are viewed, quite simply, as agents of Satan.
THE STRATEGY OF THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT:
As an author with no vested interests in the issue, and not living in the USA, or having any intention to do so in the future, it is easy for me analyzing the voluminous documents in my possession so as to get a picture of whole problem that isn’t dictated by personal, or emotional considerations, but merely factual.
There are basically two ways to subvert a system:
1) By violent confrontation, but that can go either way.
2) By infiltrating the system from below in order to control it from above.
The Christian Right has chosen the way of systematic infiltration of the American political system. It takes longer, but it is certainly more effective. The Nazis came to power in exactly the same way in Germany in 1933, in a very similar way, and if one compares ideologies between them and the Christian Right in the US, the parallels to say disturbing would be an under-statement. Nazi ideology stressed the failures of communism, liberalism, and democracy, supported the "racial purity of the German people" not so different from the Religious elitism of the Christian Right in the USA. The Nazis persecuted those they perceived as either race enemies or Lebensunwertes Leben, that is "life unworthy of living". This included Jews, Slavs, Roma, and so-called "Mischlinge" along with Communists, homosexuals, the mentally and physically disabled, and others such as Liberals, Democrats, and Intellectuals. They too believed that they had been called on by God to save the German people from the abyss. The areas of strongest Nazi support were in rural Protestant areas such as Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg, Pomerania and East Prussia. Depressed working-class areas such as Thuringia also gave a strong Nazi vote, another parallel can be drawn here with the support to the Christian Right that comes from the US Southern Bible Belt, which traditionally has an economy based more on agriculture and his traditionally poorer than the North, where most of the industry is concentrated. By 1930 the German economy was beset with mass unemployment and widespread business failures. The SPD and the KPD parties were bitterly divided and unable to formulate an effective solution, this allowed the Nazis to gain 18.5% of the electorate thus becoming the second largest party in Parliament, and the inability of the other parties to reach a consensus, and create a workable partisan coalition made it possible for the Nazis to get into power without firing a shot. The consequence of that event we all know.
It is difficult for people that live daily lives in a country, even the most educated of them, to see such dangers and appreciate them for what they really are. Therefore, even if there are warning signs, brought to the media they are quite easily dismissed or ignored, by the pressures of daily life, and more so in times of economic austerity were people feel very insecure about their own future and that of their families. By the time people realize what has happened it normally too late.
Greg Goldin already in 1993 published in The Nation an article, quoting moderate Republicans:
What the Christian right spends a lot of time doing," says Marc Wolin, a moderate Republican who ran unsuccessfully for Congress from San Francisco last year, "is going after obscure party posts. They try to control the party apparatus in each county. We have a lot to fear from these people. They want to set up a theocracy in America.
According to Craig Berkman, former chairman of the Republican Party in Oregon:
They have acquired a very detailed and accurate understanding of how political parties are organized. Parties are very susceptible to being taken over by ideologues because lower party offices have no appeal to the vast majority of our citizenry. Many precincts are represented by no one. If you decide all of a sudden because it's your Christian duty to become a precinct representative, you only need a few votes to get elected.
Increasingly, they have the key say-so on who will be a delegate at the national convention, and who will write the party platform and nominate the presidential candidate. In a state like Oregon, with 600,000 registered Republicans, it is possible for 2000 or 3000 people to control the state party apparatus. If they are outvoted by one or two votes, parliamentary manipulations begin, and after two or three hours of discussion about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, the more reasonable people with other things to do leave, and in the wee hours of the morning, things are decided. That's how they achieve their objectives.
Until progressives and intelligent Americans come to understand what these fundamentalists Christian Right Wing read, hear, are told and deeply believe, they cannot understand American politics, much less be effective in opposing with a factual democratic remedy. Given fundamentalist Christianity's inherent cultural isolation, it is nearly impossible for most enlightened Americans to imagine, in honest human terms, what fundamentalist Americans believe, let alone understand why they should all care. The Obama Administration is a classic example of this, they seriously underestimated the forces they were up against, and took little or no remedy to actually undo the damage already done to the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights that was done by the Bush Administration.
There is no doubt that the strategy of the Christian Right is slowly but surely working. A lot of these successes are still too sparse to be put into contest, but if one looks at them with attention it is easy to see where all this is leading:
The Hostettler bill, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 23, 2004, indicates the strength of the religious right. While media attention focused on the two-ton granite monument of the Ten Commandments placed in the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court by its Chief Justice Ray Moore, little, if any attention was focused on a House measure that passed by a vote of 260 - 161. The Hostettler bill blocks the federal government from spending any tax funds to enforce the 11th U.S. circuit Court of Appeals order to have the monument removed. During floor debate, the author of the bill insisted that Congress has the power to curb the courts. This bill is an assault on an independent judiciary.
What happened between 1964 and 1994?
A group of Republican strategists who had worked on Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign were worried. Goldwater had been soundly defeated, and the strategists feared that the base of the Republican Party -- primarily southern segregationists and the very wealthy -- was too narrow. So they set out to expand the base calling themselves the New Right. Goldwater was not part of the New Right.
One member of the New Right, Republican Strategist Paul Wayrich, founded the Heritage Foundation in 1973 -- a think tank to promote the ideas of the New Right. Weyrich also founded ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council in 1973 to coordinate the work of Religious Right state legislators. ALEC initially positioned itself as a counterweight to liberal foundations and think tanks, focusing on social issues like abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment, but became a magnet for corporate lobbyists.
ALEC gives business a direct hand in writing bills that are considered in state assemblies nationwide. Funded primarily by large corporations, industry groups, and conservative foundations -- including R.J. Reynolds, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute -- the group takes a chain-restaurant approach to public policy, supplying precooked McBills to state lawmakers. Since most legislators are in session only part of the year and often have no staff to do independent research, they're quick to swallow what ALEC serves up. In 2000, according to the council, members introduced more than 3,100 bills based on its models, passing 450 into law.
In 1979 Weyrich coined the term "Moral Majority." Their goal was to politicize members of fundamentalist, Pentecostal and charismatic churches - a constituency that had been basically apolitical.
Not all members of fundamentalist, Pentecostal and charismatic churches support the Religious Right, but those were the groups targeted by the New Right. And some members of churches outside of those mentioned support the Religious Right, while many other Christian leaders strongly oppose them.
Paul Weyrich, speaking in Dallas in 1980, captured the spirit of this new movement. He said,
"We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context."
Jerry Falwell who became the leader of the Moral Majority said:
"Get them saved, get them Baptized, and get them registered."
(These two quotes can be heard on the video produced by People for the American Way called Life And Liberty for All Who Believe.)
Thousands of fundamentalist preachers participated in political training seminars that year, and by June, more than two million voters had been registered Republican. Their goal was to register 5 million by November. In the 1980 elections, the newly politicized Religious Right succeeded in unseating five of the most liberal Democrat incumbents in the U.S. Senate, and provided the margin that helped Ronald Reagan defeat Jimmy Carter.
The year 1980 was the year that a sleeping giant was awakened, and the political landscape of the United States was dramatically altered.
Many other organizations formed in the eighties. The Reverend Timothy LaHaye founded the American Coalition for Traditional Values -- a network of 110,000 churches committed to getting Christian candidates elected to office.
In 1980 LaHaye was present at the birth of the Moral Majority and agreed to serve on the organization's first board of directors under the tutelage of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, with whom he remains close today.
A year later, LaHaye was co-founder and first president of the Council for National Policy (CNP), a secretive umbrella group of far right leaders who meet regularly to plot strategy designed to advance a theocratic agenda.
"No one individual has played a more central organizing role in the religious right than Tim LaHaye," says Larry Eskridge of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, calling him "the most influential American evangelical of the last twenty-five years." (Rolling Stone, January 28, 2004.)
In 1979 Beverly and Tim LaHaye founded Concerned Women for American (CWA) claiming a membership of 600,000. With prayer and action meetings, the women were, and still are a formidable lobbying force. CWA was successful in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment, and their lawyers won an important textbook case in 1987 to combat Secular Humanism in the schools. That case was later overturned by the higher courts.
James Dobson, host of the radio show Focus on the Family, founded the Family Research Council in 1983 to act as the political lobbying arm of his radio show. Because an estimated four million listeners tune into his radio show daily, the Family Research Council has remained a formidable lobbying organization.
And the highly secretive Council for National Policy was founded in 1981 to conduct three-times-a-year strategy sessions. The CNP was and still is an umbrella organization of right-wing leaders who gather regularly to plot strategy, share ideas and fund causes and candidates to advance the theocratic agenda. more
A Short-Lived Sigh of Relief
In 1988 Pat Robertson ran for President in the Republican Primaries and lost to George Bush Sr. In 1989 the Moral Majority disbanded. A lot of people concerned about the Religious Right breathed a deep sigh of relief. But there was one strange event that should have been a warning sign.
Pat Robertson beat Vice President George Bush Sr. in the Iowa Republican caucuses. How did Pat Robertson beat the Vice President in that state? Members of his campaign worked precinct by precinct to take over the party leadership at the local level until, eventually, they controlled the state party apparatus.
In March, 1986, I (Joan Bokaer) was on a speaking tour in Iowa and received a copy of the following memo Robertson had distributed to the Iowa Republican County Caucus:
"How to Participate in a Political Party
Rule the world for God.
Give the impression that you are there to work for the party, not push an ideology.
Hide your strength.
Don't flaunt your Christianity.
Christians need to take leadership positions. Party officers control political parties and so it is very important that mature Christians have a majority of leadership positions whenever possible, God willing."
One of their very effective tactics was to tie up the meetings for hours until people left. Then they appointed themselves leaders and made key decisions. Once they took over the local leadership throughout the State of Iowa, they could control the state party apparatus. After their success in the Iowa '88 primary, they used the same tactic in several other states -- precinct by precinct.
Republican State Party Platforms began to get pretty interesting in 1992. The Republican Party of Washington State in 1992 outlawed witchcraft and yoga classes.
The Activists Handbook, by Frederick Clarkson and Skipp Porteous of the (no longer active) Institute for First Amendment Studies of which with great difficulty I managed to get a copy, puts their whole strategy in black and white, and it is a very effective weapon that the Christian Right knows how to use well.
In fact in 1992 A group dedicated to making the Bible the law of the land has quietly positioned itself to take over the Republican Party's power structure in Santa Clara County.
The 17 Christian right candidates for the Republican Central Committee appear on a mailer put out by a Tehama County group called Citizens for Liberty. The flier says the candidates advocate "traditional family values, more jobs, lower taxes, welfare reform and choice in education."
But at least some have a more sweeping agenda ... Some see takeover plans. More liberal Republicans say the Central Committee campaign is part of a widespread "stealth" effort to take over America by starting with little-noticed local races. They cite elections in San Diego County two years ago, when 60 of 90 Christian right candidates for low-level offices won election, largely by campaigning through conservative churches.
"Clearly the strategy is to control the central committees and then use the central committees to give credibility to their candidates," said Luis Buhler...
A fundraising letter ... includes "a call for the death penalty for abortion, adultery and unrepentant homosexuality.
When Pat Robertson ran Against Bush he hired Ralph Reed also Known as the Right Hand of God, credited with getting the Republicans their victories as the Christian”s Coalition political mastermind; to get their candidates elected Reed and Robertson taught them to use stealth: avoid publicity, stay out of debates, and work below the radar screen. Don't call attention to yourself. And then Christian Coalition campaigned on their behalf exclusively in fundamentalist, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.
While candidates avoided the limelight, Christian Coalition Family Values Voter Guides were distributed to participating churches. Church telephone directories were used for "get-out-the-vote" telephone banks.
By election time in 1994 Christian Coalition had distributed 40 million copies of the "Family Values Voter's Guide" in more than 100,000 churches nationwide. 1994 was the year Republicans took control of Congress for the first time in 40 years. It was also the year that Republicans made a huge gain in State Legislatures.
The purpose of focusing on state legislative races was to enable Republicans to gerrymander Congressional Districts. To be fair, both parties have used the practice of gerrymandering to their advantage, but, in recent years, Republicans have elevated this practice to new heights.
1996, 45 million voter guides were sent out.
In 2000, 75 million voter guides were sent out to support George Bush.
In 2002 - 24 million; the Religious Right backed candidates won 18 new House seats, and 11 Senate and Gubernatorial elections. Ralph Reed resigned from Christian Coalition in 1997, it lost its tax exempt status in 1999, and Robertson resigned in 2001.
The organization appears to have lost much of its momentum, but it changed the course of American politics. The candidates it has supported now reside in the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, the courts, state boards of education and more. And most of the Republican leadership of the U.S. Congress consistently receive 100% scores from Christian Coalition. Thirty-eight out of fifty-two Republicans in the U.S. Senate received 100% scorecards from Family Research Council in 2003 and forty-one out of fifty-one Senators received 100% scorecards from Christian Coalition in 2004.
To see Senate scorecards produced by the League of Conservation Voters, a consortium of environmental organizations, compared to the scorecards produced by three organizations that promote the theocratic right -- the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council, and the Eagle Forum -- click here. (These tables were provided by Glenn Scherer, October, 2004.)
Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), speaking at a Christian Coalition gathering in October, 2002 said about the voter guides:
"As a candidate, I could see my polling numbers shoot up as those voter guides went out. I appreciate it and they work."
Bush-Cheney Campaign, 2004:
The Bush/Cheney ticket in the 2004 election is no doubt a victory over Democracy by the Christian Right.
Few US Presidents have been as openly religious as Bush. The Faith of George W. Bush, by Christian author Stephen Mansfield has lifted the lid on how deep those Christian convictions run. It stirred up one hell of a controversy at a time when the administration was keen to portray its 'war on terror' as non-religious. The book, which depicts a President who prays each day and believes he is on a direct mission from God, proves beyond doubt that those claim Bush's administration was heavily influenced by extremist Christians are correct and shows the dangers of having such men in power.
The American Prospect, June, 2003: " How Bush promotes religion and erodes the separation of church and state."
With the help of evangelical speechwriter Michael Gerson, Bush lards his speeches with code words directed at Christian conservatives. In his State of the Union address, Bush mentioned the "wonder-working power" of the American people, an allusion to an evangelical Christian song whose lyrics cite the "power, wonder-working power, in the blood of the Lamb" -- i.e., Jesus.
To see what's new and dangerous about Bush's approach to religion; you have to look beyond the president's copious prayers and exhortations, which are legally meaningless. Clinton also showed immense political sympathy for religion, but he didn't nominate a slate of right-wing judges who could give the law a decidedly a direction towards a pro-Christian bent. And Bush has gone further than that. From school-prayer guidelines issued by the Department of Education to faith-based initiatives to directives from virtually every federal agency, there's hardly a place where Bush hasn't increased both the presence and the potency of religion in American government. In the process, the Bush administration lavishly catered to the very religious-right groups that gave us the dubious Christian-nation concept ...
Ralph Reed, former Executive Director of the Christian Coalition, and Bush Campaign Manager relied on stealth tactics throughout the nineteen nineties. He no longer needs to use stealth. As a senior official of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign, Reed attended the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention to ask pastors explicitly for their help in winning votes.
Mr. Reed delivered his remarks at a Bush-Cheney "pastors reception," paid for by the Bush campaign. The hosts were the departing president of the Southern Baptists and three other prominent leaders, and the reception was in a conference room of a hotel adjacent to the convention. As the pastors came in, a campaign aide collected about 100 signatures and addresses from ministers pledging to endorse Mr. Bush's re-election publicly, to "host a citizenship Sunday for voter registration," to "identify someone who will help in voter registration and outreach" and to organize a " 'party for the president' with other pastors" on specific dates closer to the election. (Taken from the archives of the New York Times, June 18, 2004)
The last 4 years of the Bush/Cheney Presidency aside the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the massive debt that was left to the Obama Administration can been seen a building block for the eventual take over of the Christian Right in America. One of the salient points of this Presidency has been the systematic destruction and weakening of the American legal system and Constitutional Legal framework.
Bush and Cheney covertly and not so covertly supported Dominionist factions within the Christian Right that seek to re-interpret if not rewrite the U.S. Constitution so that it conforms to their Biblical Worldview, state funding was provided to Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a legal quack that actually declared in public:
“ It's time to get Jesus into the judicial mix. Now we're working to establish Liberty University School of Law, which will open its doors in August 2004. We are going to teach lawyers to think in a biblical, Christian world view."
According to dominionists, the Bible has supremacy over the U.S. Constitution. And the policy of destabilization of the Legal system can seen already in the 2002 address to the Society of Catholic Social Scientists in Ann Arbor, Michigan by federal judge James Leon Holmes appointed in July, 2004, where he affirmed the supremacy of the Bible by stating:
Christianity transcends the political order and cannot be subordinated to the political order.
The principle of separation of church and state has no place in his vision for the future:
The final reunion of Church and state will take place at the end of time, when Christ will claim definitive political power of all creation, inaugurating an entirely new society based on the supernatural.
So much for independence of the Judiciary.
The United States Constitution calls for three branches of government. In order to impose their agenda on the country, Religious Right legislators have been attempting to undermine one of the branches of government -- an independent judiciary.
Furthermore, since the Supreme Court decision Marbury v. Madison in 1803, it has been clearly established that the courts have the ultimate power to interpret the Constitution. But right-wing ideologues, unhappy with some of the courts' rulings, have begun to question this principle as part of a broader war on the federal judiciary.
This strategy can be deduced by the series of bills and laws that were passed during the Bush/Cheney Presidency and that had their total support.
Moreover Bush/Cheney’s idea of the “perfect judge” is personified by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
Supreme Court Justice Scalia has been one the person who have had the greatest impact in helping the Religious Right establish its sovereignty and getting so far ahead in their agenda. President Bush talked about Scalia as the justice he admires the most. In his near quarter-century on the Court, Scalia has staked out a conservative ideology in his opinions, advocating textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation. As an Doctor of Law I have read some of his rulings and have come to the conclusion that this man should never have been allowed in a courtroom. As a member of the Bar in the UK and in Switzerland I can safely say that such a man would never get in the position of a Supreme Court Judge in either country. Here are some of his views:
1)"...Government...derives its moral authority from God. It is the minister of God with powers to "avenge" to "execute wrath" including even wrath by the sword (which is unmistakenly a reference to the death penalty)." Here he quoting St.Paul.
2) The "consensus" that government is the minister of God "has been upset, I think by the emergence of democracy...It is much more difficult to see the hand of God...behind the fools and rogues...we ourselves elect of our own free will. A clear attack on the basis of Democracy.
3) "the reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure divine authority...should [be] the resolution to combat it as effectively as possible." Here it is clear that he sees Democracy has a challenge to the will of God.
However the most astounding and unbelievable statement coming from a man that is a Supreme Court Justice is this:
"...the Constitution that I interpret is not living but dead...It means today not what current society (much less the Court) thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted."
This view of the US Constitution as "dead" could become the basis of a strategy to dismantle the separation of church and state. In a speech on January 12, 2003, at a Religious Freedom Day event, Scalia said that the principle was not imbedded in the constitution and therefore should be added democratically, which means through a constitutional amendment. An amendment to the Constitution on church-state separation would be impossible to achieve in the current political climate, so the argument is disingenuous, however should the Democrats lose the next Presidential elections then I am afraid that future of the US Constitution is seriously at stake.
On September 23, 2004, the U.S. House voted 247-173 to approve the "Pledge Protection Act," The measure, H.R. 2028, bans all federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, from considering constitutional challenges to the Pledge.
On July 23, 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by a vote of 260-161 an amendment to an appropriations bill that bars the use of federal funds to enforce the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ordered the removal of a two-ton Ten Commandments monument from the Judicial Building in Montgomery, Alabama.
One year later, almost to the day, the Marriage Protection Act. On July 23, 2004, with strong backing from the Bush administration, the Marriage Protection Act was adopted in the U.S. House of Representatives 233 to 194. The bill would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law passed in 1996 that purports to leave the recognition of same-sex marriage entirely to each state.
On September 23, 2004, the U.S. House voted 247-173 to approve the "Pledge Protection Act," The measure, H.R. 2028, bans all federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, from considering constitutional challenges to the Pledge.
The Religious Right views the Federal Courts has the biggest stumbling block to their long term plans of takeover of the USA, and with good reason, as aside flukes like Antonin Scalia, the US has some very great legal minds that are neither blind nor taken by extreme religious beliefs, and that has judges think independently.
Federal courts ordered Justice Roy Moore to remove his two-ton, Ten Commandment monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court. In addition, a federal judge in Chesterfield County, Virginia, supported the right of a Wiccan to lead a prayer at the Board of Supervisors meetings where only Christian prayers were allowed.
In another case, a federal judge ruled that the state of Louisiana’s Abstinence-only sex education program had to stop proselytizing or risk defunding.
The Supreme Court ruling, Locke v. Davey, was a great victory for separation of church and state. It was a 7-2 decision, in which Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist authored the opinion.
The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 was one of the most serious challenges and ultimate court-stripping measure mounted by the Religious Right and introduced into both houses of Congress on February 11, 2004. Absolutely contrary to the intentions of the framers of the U.S. Constitution who wrote a Secular Document it includes the acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, and threatens with "impeachment" and "conviction" judges who uphold church state separation. The Thomas Report from the Library of Congress.
Underestimating a group of people that want to subvert the whole concept of Democracy and basic rights in the USA, and whose strategy has been so far one of planning and stealth is not something to be taken lightly.
It is evident that what the Christian Right wants to achieve in the USA is a form of Christian Sharia Law, based on the 10 Commandments, and a total disregard for civil liberties and basic freedoms. In short they want to promote a return to Obscurantism and the Dark Ages. It’s no small wonder that they want to dismantle the US Supreme Court.
If one reflects to the function of the US Supreme, its influence and not only in the USA, then the future of the Supreme Court is of particular concern all free thinking Americans, as some justices are likely to retire soon. The Supreme Court has the power to actually impose its will on the country as we witnessed with the landmark and worldwide distributed opinion Brown vs. Board of Education, 1954. I based my doctoral Thesis in Law on that Opinion when I took my Doctorate in Law at the University of Pretoria in 1989, and Apartheid notwithstanding and the fact I was an officer of the Army, I got my doctorate, though it raised a few eyebrows with some.
Mandatory school segregation existed in twenty-one states. A very powerful Civil Rights movement along with a Supreme Court that believed segregation based on race was unconstitutional led to the landmark decision, Brown vs. Board of Education. As a result twenty one states were required to desegregate their schools.
Another event from that period captures the power of the Supreme Court to support the goals of a major movement. When James Meredith arrived on the campus of the University of Mississippi, students rioted, two men died, and hundreds of people were injured while state police stood by doing nothing. Because of the Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. Board of Education, President Kennedy sent in 30,000 troops to quell the violence. They formed a physical barrier between the new students entering school and the rioting mob. That event captures the power of a Supreme Court opinion to force an entire region of the country to act against its will (in this instance, for the good).
Many of the great movements of this century changed conditions in your country because of a remarkable group of people who sat on the Supreme Court. Civil rights, women's and reproductive rights, worker's safety and minimum wage laws, environmental protections, anti-discrimination laws affecting all minorities and disabled peoples - all those rights and protections were established because of a Supreme Court that enabled the federal government to impose laws and regulations on states and industry. A court dominated by members of the Federalist Society which is nothing more than the pseudo-legal voice of the Christian Right will unravel the hard-fought federal protections of this century.
The Federalist Society formed twenty years ago in reaction to the powers the Supreme Court was granting the federal government. It is a network of lawyers, elected officials and scholars who want to free corporations from government regulations. It is hostile to civil rights, environmental protections, worker safety laws, a separation between church and state and more.
Some prominent leaders of the Religious Right play a dominant role in the Federalist Society. For example former President of the Christian Coalition, Donald Hodel is a board member. Twenty four of President Bush's top cabinet members and most of his court nominations are members of the Federalist Society. The list includes John Ashcroft, Attorney General; Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy; Gail Norton, Secretary of the Interior; and Theodore Olson, Solicitor General. Other notable members are Justices Scalia and Thomas, Orrin Hatch, Kenneth Starr.
Another President Bush in the Whitehouse will be a sure disaster for Democracy and freedom, in this uncertain world we need men of reason and culture at the helm of America, and Europe, allowing the forces of ignorance and religious totalitarianism to take over means certain destruction for the world as we know it and for future generations.