Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fox News Suggests Rabbis Protesting Beck Are In the 'Vast Soros Conspiracy' Too Bruce Wilson Sat Jan 29, 2011 at 12:03:56 PM EST

Part of the grim underlying reality of this ongoing saga, the stirrings of Jewish protest against the sort of Jew-baiting that Texas megapastor John Hagee and other evangelicals have been doing for years, which Glenn Beck has now picked up, is that the group of 400 rabbis who have written a letter to Fox News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch, concerning Glenn Beck's attacks on Holocaust survivor George Soros, appear to have taken on an organizational mandate which, once upon a time, was championed by the Anti Defamation League.
Glenn Beck has not only suggested that George Soros bears some personal responsibility for the Nazi theft of property from Holocaust victims, he has repeatedly claimed that Soros is part of a vast international conspiracy - a thinly veiled contemporary analog to the early 20th Century anti-Jewish conspiracy theories used to whip up hatred against Jews in America, Europe, and especially Nazi Germany.As described in a Yahoo news story, Fox's official response doubles down on Beck's Jew-baiting by insinuating that the group of rabbis who wrote the protest letter to Murdoch were themselves part of the alleged Soros conspiracy.

The letter, addressed to News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch (see image here), requests that host Glenn Beck "be sanctioned by Fox News for his completely unacceptable attacks on a survivor of the Holocaust" -- philanthropist and financier George Soros -- and that Fox News chief executive "Roger Ailes apologize for his dismissive remarks about rabbis' sensitivity to how the Holocaust is used on the air." (News Corp. owns both Fox News and the Journal.)In a statement provided to The Cutline, Joel Cheatwood, senior vice president of development for Fox News, said: "We haven't seen the ad, but this group is a George Soros backed left-wing political organization that has been trying to engage Glenn Beck primarily for publicity purposes."
Beck's conspiracy theory places George Soros in a role, in a conspiracy theory narrative, that in the early 20th Century was filled by Jewish banking concerns headed by the Rothschild, Kuhn-Loeb, Warburg, and Schiff banking concerns: all banking entities cited in Nazi propaganda as allegedly controlling the world economy by controlling international money markets. Those four banking entities are listed to this day, in Christian versions of anti-Jewish conspiracy theory, as leading the alleged Jewish conspiracy. Christians United For Israel founder John Hagee also claims Rothschilds control international finance.
There is truth to the claim that there is concentrated control of international finance, but the controlling entities aren't Jewish--according to a study by two Swiss physicists released in early 2009 and reported in a February 13, 2009 Science News story:

Researchers have made the first maps of corporate stock ownership for the stock markets of a large number of countries, 48 in all. The new network analysis technique reveals "backbones" in these ownership networks: big players that together own a controlling stake in more than 80 percent of the companies in the markets..."If you do a network analysis, you can see things that you couldn't see otherwise," says Stefano Battiston, coauthor of the study and a physicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich who studies complex socioeconomic networks. "Although from an individual point of view corporations are widely held, from a global point of view ownership is more highly concentrated."...
The top ten such companies were:
       1.  The Capital Group Companies (U.S.)
       2.  Fidelity Management & Research (U.S.)
       3.  Barclays PLC (U.K.)
       4.  Franklin Resources (U.S.)
       5.  AXA (France)
       6.  JPMorgan Chase & Co. (U.S.)
       7.  Dimensional Fund Advisors (U.S.)
       8.  Merrill Lynch & Co. (U.S.)
       9.  Wellington Management Company (U.S.)
      10.  UBS (Switzerland)

John McCain, John Hagee & "God Sent Hitler" Revisited Bruce Wilson Sun Jan 30, 2011 at 01:35:29 PM EST

I've been reading a lot lately - it's a great aggregation site (news, and pretty much everything else under the sun)  with unpredictable, quirky content and a young-ish, smart reader base.Today I noticed a heavily recommended submission attacking attackingthe Huffington Post for (allegedly) not being a real news site. Then I noticed a less-well recommended submission with the title of Has the Huffington Post actually ever broken a story?
Well, Huffpo sure has.
In May 2008, a wrote a post titled 
Audio Recording of McCain's Political Endorser John Hagee Preaching Jews Are Cursed and Subhuman
. It contained audio I'd found from a 2005 sermon (which I initially dated as "late 1990's" to be on the very conservative side) in which Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee, whose political endorsement presidential candidate John McCain had been after "like a dog in heat" (as I put it in a March 2008 post) declared that "God sent Hitler... Hitler was a hunter."
About a week later, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post noticed my post and covered it, in a story prominent on the Huffington Post's front page. From there Keith Olbermann'sCountdown picked it up, and pretty soon scandalous audio, from a 2005 sermon, had seriously damaged presidential candidate John McCain's already shaky relationship with the evangelical right, his key base of electoral support.
[below: Keith Olbermann, on Countdown, covers "God sent Hitler."

Within 48 hours of when Olbermann showcased my audio clip of John Hagee bellowing about how God had sent Hitler, a "hunter", to chase Europe's Jews towards Palestine, the clip was being played on news stations worldwide. And, within about 48 hours, John McCain had a national press conference in which he rejected his endorsement from Hagee and denounced pastor Hagee's statement.
This was a blow to the McCain campaign, because in the 2000 election GOP primaries John McCain had repeatedly attacked evangelists such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as "agent of intolerance." McCain, of course, lost to George W. Bush, who had close ties (or better) with American right wing evangelicals.
McCain began advance work patching things up with Robertson, Falwell and the evangelical right somewhere around 2005, and it took McCain a few years to get to Hagee, who had by 2008 emerged as a major evangelical kingmaker. The McCain-Hagee rift was a blow to McCain's relationship with a major chunk of his GOP electoral base, and it arguably help tilt his campaign advisers towards their choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP running mate pick. That, in turn both electrified McCain's evangelical base and scored away independent and moderate voters. The rest is history.
Below is my writeup of the affair, which I did for my user profile on this website.
"In May 2008, Wilson posted a 3 and 1/2 minute video widely credited* in mainstream media with precipitating then-GOP presidential candidate John McCain's decision to reject his long-sought political endorsement from influential Christian evangelist, Texas megachurch pastor and Christians United For Israel founder John Hagee. The video featured an audio excerpt from a late 2005 Hagee sermon (broadcast internationally on Christian networks) in which pastor Hagee claimed that God sent Hitler and the Nazis to force Europe's Jews to Palestine. The audio excerpt from Wilson' video was broadcast widely both by domestic US media and also foreign media.
In Fall 2008, as part of a two-person research team, Wilson and researcher Rachel Tabachnick correctly identified the specific religious tendency which then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is most closely associated with, the New Apostolic Reformation. Wilson's effort was the first to publicize Palin's association with Kenyan evangelist Thomas Muthee, a professed witch hunter, and also Palin's personal friendship with Alaska evangelist Mary Glazier, who heads Sarah Palin's personal prayer group and also claims, like Muthee, to have used prayer to fight a witch. Muthee and Glazier are top leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation movement, which purports to be the most radical change in Christianity since the Protestant Reformation. NAR leaders advocate forced wealth transfer and the the driving unbelievers from "the land."

Bruce Wilson is currently working on his first book.

*For a description of the genesis and impact of the "God Sent Hitler" video, see Eric Boehlert's 2009 book Bloggers on the Bus (pages 105 through 116), my twin accounts at Religion Dispatches and my The Personal Democracy Forum, which the LA Times noted in a June 1, 2008 post.

Relatively  few national news outlets  (such as Salon.comCBSCNNWired MagazineJTA News and The Huffington Post) noted my authorship of the video, but many attributed the video to Talk To Action. The following news outlets credited Talk To Action: Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press and MSNBC, The New York Times, The San Antonio Express News and NewsweekABC News credited "a website" while a other news outlets credited a "blogger" or, in the case of the Jerusalem Post, a left wing blogger. To the best of  my knowledge, none of the news outlets which identified the source of the video acknowledged that I had been writing on John Hagee, at that point in time, for approximately a year and a half and generated enough text to fill a decent size book.

Without the advice and input of Rachel Tabachnick, who to my knowledge likely has the deepest understanding of Christian Zionism of any scholar, journalist, reporter or pundit currently alive, the video might never have come about and so the "God Sent Hitler" video, which precipitated the McCain/Hagee rift, should be properly be regarded as our co-production.

It was early in May 2008 that Tabachnick and I began what has become fruitful research partnership, and since that time we have collaboratively explored the trajectory of Christian Zionism, traced its origins, and begun to map out a new understanding of the contemporary American and world Christian right which examines how a parallel stream of charismatic Christianity has largely overwhelmed the influence of traditional fundamentalism and is increasingly changing the face of Christianity on a worldwide basis.

Religious Right business connections discussed ArchaeoBob Sun Jan 30, 2011 at 06:24:23 PM EST

Today in the paper, they've actually got an article about Chic-Fil-A and their support of religious right stuff!  for this paper, it's actually a bit critical! ll&tc=pgallI'm hoping that things like this will prove to be chinks in the dominionist wall... and that readers will start to see how the religious right can be such a pernicious problem in a free society, especially when they have funding and support from a major chain as Chic-Fil-A.  What is amusing is that we've known about things like this for years, but only now the news is catching on.  I must admit that I've seen this pattern for years, however - learning about something and it only making the news weeks or months after I'd heard about it from other sources.
I would have no problem with the owners running the company according to Christian principles - that is, TRUE Christian principles.  The sort of rules and regulations, and the things that this company supports shows them to be of the type that rather than being a force for good (and actually helping people), they try to force their "Christian Principles" on others - same as all the flavors of the Religious Right that we struggle against.  It should be none of their business what an employee (or other) does away from the company (with a couple of common-sense caveats), and I resent them using bait-and-switch proselytizing.  If their version of Christianity is so valid, why do they use deception and lies to promote it?  Why do they require people to sign statements?  Essentially, they are trying to force external behaviors on something that should be an internal motivation to do right.  Some of those behaviors are not necessarily "Christian" either... I can argue that the usual ban on fun, alcohol, dancing, etc. is not actually Christian practice.  At most, such things could be called Paulian, and I would even find that possibly erroneous.
When I was in business, I was repeatedly warned by a few (decent) business owners that if anyone started talking or promoting religion in business, that they could not be trusted and to avoid dealing with them if possible and try to prevent loss if not.  I learned just how accurate this warning was - when people brought their religion into their business, they invariably found reasons and ways to be dishonest and greedy and religion was ALWAYS the justification.  I did try to avoid the Bible-Pounders, but economics made it impossible, and while the usual greed cost us a lot, I must say that a significant portion of the losses I took were directly due to these "Good Christians" and related types - even when I tried to "talk the talk" around them.  I did have a small handful of customers who were very religious but it was a personal and inward thing, and those few remained my customers until the day health forced me to close the door.  I also had a couple that were very secular and that also remained customers to the end.
I'm no longer connected in any way with the business world (Thank God!!!), but I'd bet that I would be hearing horror stories about Chic-Fil-A if I was.  They have all of the outward signs of a business that practices deception and dishonest (and unfair) dealings with suppliers and employees, based upon the businesses I observed over a sixteen year time frame.   Being a big business, they are scrutinized far more thoroughly than smaller businesses, and thus I could understand them hiring more minorities.  However, another thing I observed in those years of business - the more religious (with that handful of exceptions) a business owner/president was, the more likely that they did not have minorities working in anything more than the bottom rung - and as I discovered, the real reason was pure and unadulterated bigotry (they knew better than to talk where someone who they thought could be "librul" might hear*).  It would be interesting to analyze the structure and employment history of Chic-Fil-A.  I would not be surprised, knowing it's history and the way it is, to learn that minorities (especially African-Americans) were only found as laborers (or maybe even local managers) of stores, and the higher you went in the organization, the rarer minorities would become.
Someone who is GLBT, or belonging to a non-"Christian" faith... probably non-existent or severely persecuted.
I haven't eaten anything from Chic-Fil-A and one time actually went hungry rather than eat one of their sandwiches.  I refuse to support religious right institutions, whether they be churches or businesses.  I doubt we can ever break the stranglehold the dominionist/religious right programming has on their minds, but we can hope that the pressure such as this article discusses gets them to realize that open discrimination is not acceptable.
*-  When it became public knowledge I was myself one of those despised minorities, American Indian, I lost around 60% of my customers in little over a month.  The people I'd heard private racist rants from... a couple of them even accused me of lying to them or deceiving them about my identity (even though I didn't know about my heritage until my mid 30's).

Exorcism and religious intolerance Diane Vera Tue Feb 01, 2011 at 08:46:33 AM EST

Exorcism and "spiritual warfare" are often accompanied by religious intolerance and attempts to impose theocracy -- at least in the context of the "New Apostolic Reformation," as has been pointed out many times, by Rachel Tabachnick, Bruce Wilson, and others, here on Talk To Action.Question:  To what extent is this also true of Catholic exorcism?
Recently there's been a flurry of mass media attention to Catholic exorcism, due to the premiere of the movie The Rite, loosely based on the book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio.
The Catholic Church is much more restrained in its approach to demonology than Pentecostal, Charismatic, and new-Apostolic "deliverance ministries" typically are.  Whereas the latter tend to see demons, demons everywhere, Catholic exorcists make at least some attempt to distinguish "demonic" activity from mental illness and to recommend appropriate treatment for the latter.However, at least one Catholic bishop has admitted that the recent Catholic exorcism trend has been influenced by the Charismatic movement.  According to the National Catholic Register story A Nation and Its Demons, January 29, 2010:

The exorcist usually works in union with another priest and/or with a deliverance team.  According to Bishop [Thomas] Paprocki [of Springfield, Ill.], the "deliverance" aspect is a modern addition, having grown up through charismatic prayer groups that focus on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He explained that during the 1960s and 1970s the devil's work received less emphasis in the Church. The charismatic groups which formed during those decades, however, tended to focus more on deliverance of people from evil. Most exorcists today turn to such groups to be part of an exorcism and deliverance team, to pray for and with them. Another aspect to the team approach is the use of health-care professionals to screen for mental illness.
Talk To Action's "New Apostolic Reformation Resarch Team" might want to investigate the possible extent of crossover between the "New Apostolic Reformation" and Catholic charismatics.  (Such crossover might be possible even though at least some "New Apostolic Reformation" leaders, on the other hand, are very anti-Catholic, even going so far as to regard the entire Catholic Church as being controlled by a demon called the "Queen of Heaven.")
Be that as it may, long before the "New Apostolic Reformation" emerged as a distinct movement, Catholic exorcism has long been associated with the more conservative and authoritarian sectors of the Catholic Church.  For example, back in the 1970's, a leading popular proponent of exorcism was Malachi Martin, a Catholic traditionalist who wroteHostage to the Devil (1975).
More recently, in 2005, a Vatican-backed course on exorcism was taught at the Pontifical Academy Regina Apostolorum, run by the Legion of Christ, a controversial, notoriously authoritarian conservative religious order founded by the subsequently-disgraced Marcial Maciel.  (See Vatican backs exorcism course:  Church lacks priests qualified to practice ritual by Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2005, re-published on the Boston Globe site.)  The course was taught in the midst of a Satanic panic in Italy, and the course itself featured highly questionable alleged "experts" on Satanism.  (See Richard Bartholomew's posts Italy an Unhealthy Climate for Satanists, January 7, 2005, and More on Italian Satanism, January 10, 2005.)
In November 2010 in Baltimore, there was a two-day closed-door conference on exorcism, for American Bishops, just before the annual fall meeting of the nation's bishops.  According to the New York Times ("For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived" by Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, November 12, 2010):

Some Catholic commentators said they were puzzled why the bishops would bother with exorcisms in a year when they are facing a full plate of crises -- from parish and school closings, to polls showing the loss of one of every three white baptized members, to the sexual abuse scandal flaring up again.But to R. Scott Appleby, a professor of American Catholic history at the University of Notre Dame, the bishops' timing makes perfect sense.
"What they're trying to do in restoring exorcisms," said Dr. Appleby, a longtime observer of the bishops, "is to strengthen and enhance what seems to be lost in the church, which is the sense that the church is not like any other institution. It is supernatural, and the key players in that are the hierarchy and the priests who can be given the faculties of exorcism.
"It's a strategy for saying: `We are not the Federal Reserve, and we are not the World Council of Churches. We deal with angels and demons.' "
Pope Benedict XVI has emphasized a return to traditional rituals and practices, and some observers said the bishops' interest in exorcism was consistent with the direction set by the pope.
The conference on exorcism was organized by Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, who I quoted earlier.  Paprocki was appointed bishop of Springfield, Illinois, in April 2010.  His appointment was protested by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) due to his remark, three years ago, blaming the Devil for the wave of sex-abuse lawsuits against the Church.  (See New Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki Once Blamed Devil For Sex Abuse Lawsuits, by Christopher Will, Huffington Post, April 10, 2010.)
The movie The Rite is loosely based on the experiences of Father Gary Thomas, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Saratoga, Calif.  Father Thomas regards all non-Abrahamic religions as opening doorways to demons.  He has even said that "any new age activities," or dabbling in witchcraft, "immediately disqualifies" the practitioner from running for public office!  According to an interview in The Catholic Spirit, "Book focusing on US priest's training as exorcist being made into movie," January 25, 2011:

Asked about the case of Republican U.S. Senate aspirant Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, and her comment that she had "dabbled into witchcraft" in high school, Father Thomas replied, "I find that incredibly troubling that a person who had taken part in witchcraft would run" for office.O'Donnell made the comment in an appearance on a 1999 television show. The segment had never aired until the host of the show, Bill Maher, aired it during the election campaign.
"I think that immediately disqualifies her from public office (as it would for) anybody who engages in witchcraft or engages in any new age activities," the priest said. "It opens doorways to the diabolical. I think it impairs people's judgments.
Of course, there were other, better reasons to object to O'Donnell's candidacy.  (See Ask Christine O'Donnell the Right Questions - Not if She is a Witch by Rachel Tabachnick, Thu Sep 23, 2010, here on Talk To Action,)
According to an interview with Father Gary Thomas by Peg Aloi, on January 26, 2011, Father Thomas believes in pretty much the entire "Satanic Ritual Abuse" meme, complete with recovered memories.  Here again he also condemnts polytheism, including traditional Native American religions, as "opening them up to a spirit realm that could be very dangerous."
Another well-known exorcist is Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, former president of Human Life International: "The Pro-Life Leader Who Is Also an Exorcist."  Euteneuer is the author of two books, Exorcism and the Church Militant and Demonic Abortion.  In an interview by Deal W. Hudson in Inside Catholic, republished on the Catholic Online website, 7/20/2010, Euteneuer said:

Exorcism and the Church Militant is intended, in part, as a warning to parents who allow their children to be desensitized to "the dark world" by books and films like the Harry Potter series and the vampire books of Stephanie Meyer. Father Euteneuer told me possession is almost always a result of someone getting involved in some sort of occult practices, such as witchcraft, Wicca, tarot cards, and Ouiji boards."Harry Potter and these Twilight vampires glamorize the power of evil," Father Eutenener explained, "and this has lead to many, many cases of possession among young people." It may begin with a child or teenager simply "playing around" with the occult, but that seemingly harmless act is "opening a window" to possession.
Yes, he really believes that reading vampire fiction is evil and dangerous, if the following blog post has accurately reprinted a statement of his: Vampire Logic, Monday, July 26, 2010.
In August 2010, Euteneuer was removed from public ministry by his bishop, for undisclosed reasons.  More recently, some Catholic bloggers have alleged sexual improprieties.  (An example is "Of Aquinas, Augustine, and Euteneuer: reflections on Fr. Tom on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas" by Tom O'Toole on the right wing website Renew America, January 29, 2011.)  Another blogger, Frank Weathers, questioned the accuracy of Euteneuer's autobiography, in "For Cults of Personality, Not! (Or My Brush with Fr. Thomas Euteneuer)," Sunday, January 30, 2011.
(P.S., Feb. 5, 2011:  Frederick Clarkson has called attention to the Bene Diction Blogs On post Father Thomas Euteneurer, the cult of personality, moral failure and the blogosphere, February 1, 2011.  Apparently the talk of a sex scandal has been verified.)
(Further P.S., February 6, 2011:  The following blog post includes a history of Thomas Euteneuer's anti-abortion activism:  The Shame of an Exorcist Admitting Violation of Chastity by Michelle Goldberg, The Daily Beast, February 2, 2011.  And here is a relevant news story:  Anti-abortion group says multiple women have complained about disgraced priest by Lona O'Connor, Palm Beach Post, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011.)
Pagan blogger Jason Pitzi-Waters has written the following posts about the recent  Catholic exorcism revival and accompanying attitudes toward polytheistic religions:

Anyhow, the recent mass media attention to exorcism, thanks to the premiere of The Rite, may result in some good opportunities for activists here to call attention to the political implications of the larger "spiritual warfare" trend.

"Spiritual Fitness" is Christian, Says Professed Co-Author of Army Leadership Manual Bruce Wilson Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 10:46:00 AM EST

"the military has turned away from a values system based on reason and experience alone. We are instead pursuing a values system that's ultimate source of right and wrong is defined by religious, primarily Christian, principles. This method enables our military to have moral absolutes." - Army Chaplain [then] Lt. Col. Ron Huggler, who professes to have helped revise the Army's Field Manual 22-100, on leadership
Recently, controversy has arisen over the United States Army's "Spiritual Fitness" doctrine and program. Included as part of the Army's mandatory Comprehensive Soldier Fitness test is a "Spiritual Fitness Test", based on Army Regulation 600-63 on Health Promotion, which defines "spiritual fitness" as a component of combat readiness. The Army has claimed the Spiritual Fitness program was inspired by the World Health Organization. But Lt. Col. Ron Huggler, who says he helped rewrite the Army's revised version FM 22-100 manual on leadership (released in October 2006) asserts the US military has turned to the promotion of explicitly Christian principles.
[related stories: see US Army's "Spiritual Fitness" Campaign and Uganda's "Kill the Gays Bill" Linked, and Christian Flag Folding Ceremony Reveals Official Sanction of Church-State Violations in the Military, and Soldiers Forced to See Chaplain After Failing Army's Spiritual Fitness Test, and U.S. Soldiers Punished For Not Attending Christian Concert]
As a January 17, 2011 story from Utah KSL-TV News, by Michael De Groote,describes, after taking the "spiritual fitness" test Ft. Bragg-based Army Sergeant Justin Griffin, an atheist, got the following assessments - "You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life... At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and others around you... You may question your beliefs, principles, and values." The KSL-TV story continues,

"After he took the test, Griffith hooked up with Mikey Weinstein, the president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which describes itself on its website as a "nonprofit charitable foundation he founded to directly battle the far-right militant radical evangelical religious fundamentalists."The foundation is helping Griffith and 219 other soldiers -- including Christians -- in a potential lawsuit to force the Army to remove the Spiritual Fitness section from the mandatory Comprehensive Soldier Fitness test. They feel that the Spiritual Fitness section violates the Constitution's Establishment Clause and the No Religious Test clause. "
The KSL-TV story quoted Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Freddie Mack
who claimed that the idea that "spiritual fitness" is a component of human well-being came from the World Health Organization and said that the spiritual fitness program was designed to reduce help reduce Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
But a paper written by professed co-author of the Army's FM 22-100 field manual on leadership [then] Lt. Col. Ron Huggler directly contradicts Army spokesperson Mack's claim.
The most recent revision of the Army Field Manual FM 22-100, on leadership, appears to have been released in October 2006. On May 7, 2007, the Army issued Regulation 600-63 on Health Promotion, which explicitly defined Spiritual Fitness as a component of combat readiness and mandated that base commanders, and Army commanders at all levels, promote the vaguely defined (to put it charitably) "spiritual fitness" idea.
Lt. Col. Huggler's paper, "Teaching and Developing Character in the Armed Forces" appeared on the website of the Association For Christian Conferences Teaching and Service. ACCTS targets the world's militaries for evangelizing with the following justification:

"approximately 65% of the earth's nations are heavily influenced by their armed forces.With military personnel from so many countries stationed around the globe, there has never been a more strategic time to share the life-changing gospel of Christ with the semi-closed society of international military personnel. Positively changed lives among military personnel will result in positive changes for the nations of our world."
As its top-billed activity, ACCTS engages in "training military Christian leaders to form locally-led Military Christian Fellowships (MCFs); currently, there are MCFs in more than 85 countries."
Ron Huggler's paper "Teaching and Developing Character in the Armed Forces" was published along with a group of papers by ACCTS authors, both retired and active-duty, from militaries across the globe including in the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom, Korea, the Ukraine, Holland, Romania, and Russia.
As Army Chaplain Ron. Huggler writes in the paper,

"What is there besides human reason and experience that can assist us in deciding what is ultimately right and wrong? I submit that religion, (in the US military we call it spiritual fitness), is the critical missing element. Again, let me turn to an experiential argument. Historically, in the US before the 1960's the way a national ethical problem was addressed was that the best reason and experience were brought to bear on the problem. The process did not end there, however. The result was scrutinized. If the result violated a religious principle (usually a Christian principle) then that right was considered wrong or inadequate and was rejected....Beginning in the 1960's, our Supreme Court struck down many of the ways we instilled religious principles in the populace. We grew into a country that pursued right and wrong based on reason and experience alone. We reaped and are continuing to reap moral and ethical weakness and its logical result, character weakness. The resulting negative impact on our nation is evident. The quality of our military is lessened as we incorporate officers and enlisted personnel without the strength of character we need. That is why the military has turned away from a values system based on reason and experience alone. We are instead pursuing a values system that's ultimate source of right and wrong is defined by religious, primarily Christian, principles. This method enables our military to have moral absolutes. "
Lt. Col. Huggler's sentiments fit into a widespread narrative, on the US evangelical right, which blames an allegedly disastrous moral decline on the purported removal of Christianity from "the public square." Such narratives commonly reference Supreme Court decisions such as the 1963 Abington School District v. Schempp US Supreme Court decision which "delcared school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools in the United States to be unconstitutional."
1963 was the year that US national rates of murder and violent crime began to rise, a trend that did not break until roughly 1992. Divorce rates had already been rising for years, which many trace to the rise of no-fault divorce laws. But by the 1990's both trends were dropping and they continued to do so in the following decade as well. The US State with the lowest rate, Massachusetts, now boasts a divorce rate that prevailed in the Bay State prior to the onset of World War Two. Massachusetts also has had legal gay marriage now for the better part of a decade.
As Ron Huggler detailed the struggle within the US military, between advocates for secular values and advocates for overtly religious, Christian-based values,

"The US Army decided five years ago to review and rewrite its doctrine on ethics and character development. I was part of the process that rewrote our Army Field Manual 22-100, Army Leadership. Very early in the process it became apparent that two very distinct camps of belief were going to fight for control over how we would define our values, ethics, and how we would develop character. There were those who were adamant that a philosophy based on reason and experience alone was more than adequate for the Army. They argued, "We live in a very diverse religious society and using any religious principles would only confuse or leave someone out". The other side was just as adamant that reason and experience informed and controlled by religious principle would offer the best philosophy for defining our values, ethics, and how we would develop character. The battle was tremendously hard fought. Who won out? Reason and experience informed and controlled by religious principle. "
Based on Huggler's statement and the publication date of the Army Field Manual 22-100, the decision to rewrite Army doctrine on "character and ethics development" would have occurred no earlier than 2001. In 2007, the Army released Regulation 600-63 on Health Promotion, which contains the following:

"Chapter 6 Spiritual Fitness
6-1. General
A spiritually fit person recognizes there are multiple dimensions that make up a human being and seeks to develop the total person concept. This includes enhancing spiritual fitness through reflection and practice of a lifestyle based on personal qualities needed to sustain one during times of stress, hardship, and tragedy. When a person's actions are different from his or her stated values, the person lives with inner conflict. This person struggles for integrity and congruity, but cannot find inner peace until this struggle is dealt with. The extent to which this is accomplished is a measure of spiritual fitness.
6-2. Spiritual fitness
a. Commanders at all levels shall encourage and provide for human self-development activities leading to increased spiritual fitness in accordance with this regulation, AR 600-20, AR 165-1, and other applicable directives.
b. Army leaders should develop an awareness of the lifestyles, cultural backgrounds, stages of development, possible relationships to religious beliefs, and the needs of their Soldiers, Army civilians, and Family members. The CHPC will recommend, coordinate, and ensure the integration of spiritual fitness programs for units, Soldiers, Family members, and Army civilians in their area of responsibility.
c. Commanders at the installation state JFHQ, DRU/MSC, and community level shall develop Soldiers and Family support activities to undergird, reinforce, and implement the enhancement of spiritual fitness. They will ensure time is scheduled for activities, programs, and training to accomplish the goals of spiritual fitness programs.
d. In providing for self-development activities, commanders and other leaders must ensure they do not favor one form of religion over another. The practice of religion, to the extent that it relates to spiritual fitness, must be left to the sole discretion of the Soldier, Family member, or Army civilian. They must be free to worship or not worship as they choose without fear of being disciplined or stigmatized for their choice. (See AR 165-1 and AR 600-20).
e. All Soldiers and Army civilians are expected to live by the tenets of the professional Army ethic and those individual values that support and sustain the Army way of life. (See FM 1.)"

Dominionism's Threat Against Indian Country winter rabbit Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 09:47:52 PM EST

We are very pleased to welcome veteran blogger Winter Rabbit as a guest front pager. He is a teacher and a musician who writes at Native American Netroots, from which this piece is cross posted. -- FC  He says of himself:
My circumstances have found me in South Dakota with some frequency in recent years.  I was ignorant of the area's history for the first two years and so I finally decided to educate myself.  This opened my eyes to the point that I vowed to help people understand, so that the assimilation and cultural genocide might cease. One day, I hope, that sect of the Dominant Culture that is religiously intolerant will be civilly restrained, because the entirety of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be adhered to. My tribal heritage is unknown.
Religion and state have united to assimilate the American Indian in the past, such as with Ulysses S. Grant's Peace Policy that created the Indian Boarding Schools, and in more recent times, pro-Peabody Western Coal Indians and obtaining a false Hopi-Navajo Tribal Counsel designation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, who were several First Mesa Hopi who had been converted to Mormonism.   Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them, and you cannot change what you do not acknowledge.Indian Boarding Schools with the "incest, child abuse, hostage negotiations, kidnapping, and religious abuse" that accompanied it created two things in the victims: trauma bonds and Stockholm Syndrome by definition.

SourceExploitive relationships can create trauma bonds-chains that link a victim to someone who is dangerous to them. Divorce, employee relations, litigation of any type, incest and child abuse, family and marital systems, domestic violence, hostage negotiations, kidnapping, professional exploitation and religious abuse are all areas of trauma bonding. All these relationship share one thing:  They are situations of incredible intensity or importance where there is an exploitation of trust or power.

SourceThis sort of betrayal creates something called a trauma bond or betrayal bond. A trauma bond is where an intense, traumatic experience or betrayal of trust takes place, forming an equally intense relationship/bond with the perpetrator. It is related to Stockholm Syndrome, after the hostages of Stockholm bankrobbers who waited for them to get out of jail a decade later and defended them -- and one even got engaged to one of them.
Stockholm Syndrome explains why that when a new student began attending an Indian Boarding School and spoke their tribal language, students who had been attending that Indian Boarding School mocked the new student for speaking the language. "Exploitive relationships (were created) can create trauma bonds-chains that link(ed) a victim to someone who is (was) dangerous to them" between the children and the teachers. The authentic self being lost, mirroring and defending the cultural genocide inflicted upon them by their perpetrators was a defense mechanism to cover up the original pain. So,Dominionism's threat against Indian Country is not merely external in terms of land theft, but also internal: striking at the very core the authentic self.
Our communities are still struggling with the consequences of forced assimilation through religious and education institutions designed to kill the Indian in us, said Innu human rights lawyer Armand MacKenzie, who attended a residential school in Quebec.

Christian Crees Tear Down Sweat LodgeMeanwhile, the Oujé-Bougoumou band council notified Lana Wapachee by letter in early December that several elders and community members were coming to her property to take the sweat lodge down. And they did. It was dismantled on Dec. 6 as Mianscum and dozens of community members stood witness. Police said the outer structure had to be dismantled as well. All the materials were left in a pile in the yard.

The ban believed to be the first of its kind signals trouble ahead for tribal governments that choose Christian beliefs over tribal traditions, according to some observers, who blame the heavy influence of Christian churches that often denounce traditional First Nations spiritual beliefs. Our communities are still struggling with the consequences of forced assimilation through religious and education institutions designed to kill the Indian in us, said Innu human rights lawyer Armand MacKenzie, who attended a residential school in Quebec.
First Mesa Hopi who had been converted to Mormonism.

 By Dan Katchongva, Sun Clan (Ca. 1865-1972) Translated by DanaqyumptewaNow this Tribal Council was formed illegally, even according to whiteman's laws. We traditional leaders have disapproved and protested from the start. In spite of this they have been organized and recognized by the United States Government for the purpose of disguising its wrong-doings to the outside world. We do not have representatives in this organization, nor are we legally subject to their regulations and programs. We Hopi are an independent sovereign nation, by the law of the Great Spirit, but the United States Government does not want to recognize the aboriginal leaders of this land. Instead, he recognizes only what he himself has created out of today's children in order to carry out his scheme to claim all of our land.
Dominionism's threat against Indian Country is not merely external in terms of land theft, but also internal, striking at the very core the authentic self.

American Activism too Privileged & Bogged: Europeans Maintain Efforts for Big Mountain"The BIA Indian police are intensifying their daily presence and intimidations. They have graded the main dirt roads that allows them to be on constant patrol.."I think that they will be rounding up Dineh-owned cattle and horses. It is pretty likely that there will be livestock impoundments or confiscation... Indian police operating out of the Hopi reservation do not have any real commanding-authority...

Three members from the Hopi Tribe arrived to give their testimonies as show support for their neighbors, The Dine. Their presence dispelled the public relations myth that the traditional Hopi and the Dine are involved in a Range War."

America's West Bank (Edited and New Info.)John Boyden with his "several First Mesa Hopi who had been converted to Mormonism " wanted Peabody Coal to strip mine Black Mesa after the natural resources had been discovered. More than 10,000 Navajo and 100 Hopi did not want Black Mesa stripped.
Dominionism's threat against Indian Country is not merely external in terms of land theft, but also internal: striking at the very core the authentic self.

SourceOn Tuesday, May 20th, key traditional elder resister to the relocation laws, Pauline Whitesinger, was served a notice to halt new construction of an earth lodge commonly known as a hogan, and this notice was served by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) agency deputized officers, Hopi Tribal Range Technicians. In addition to this warning about illegal construction activity, officers attempted to get personal information from a non-Indian volunteer helper and sheepherder. The issued notice also stated that elder Whitesinger is having an unauthorized guest and thus, she is violating laws of the Hopi Tribe.
I am not a psychologist and I have no major research study to cite in connection with the specifics contained herein, so this is my opinion. I offer the information to be considered. So too, consider why: Scott MacLeod of HEALING for the NATIVES MINISTRIES is convinced "dismantling of the cement tomb over the mass grave" at Wounded Knee is sound judgment; why Jay Swallow teaches "the prophetic act of smashing pottery (Native American) that depicted Baal and Leviathan;" why the drafters of the Genocide Convention severely weakened the prevention part of their goal when they cut out of their document the prohibition and punishability of acts of cultural genocide;" and why  "Charles Hanson suggestedBlack Elk regretted his Catholicism in 1948."
I think, that the greatest pain in this life is not being yourself, and the solution lies in helping our brothers and sisters be themselves.
"I searched for my brother and could not find him
I searched for my God and he was no where to be found
When I found myself; I found all three."
(author unknown)

Short Takes
Frederick Clarkson
Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 09:37:18 AM EST
The Huffington Post:  Our own Chris Rodda discusses how she became a blogger.NewsHounds: How Glenn Beck is entering the language like Sen. Joe McCarthy.
AlterNet:  Adele Stan reports on the funding of the militant anti-abortion outfit, Live Action.
Religion Dispatches: Sarah Posner reports on the theology and politics of Bill Gothard.
"Gothard told me that America's problems are caused by "rejecting God's ways" and that "we should make laws that are in harmony with the laws of nature and the laws of God."

Ted Haggard's R n R: Resurrection and Rebranding Bill Berkowitz Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 12:50:18 PM EST

The Resurrection of Ted Haggard as Orchestrated By (Wait for It!) ... Ted HaggardFour years ago, after Pastor Ted Haggard, then one of the most important and influential leaders of the Religious Right, was discovered to have bought crystal meth and to have had a series of sexual encounters with a gay prostitute, he was banished from his church and his hometown. It was a national scandal that recalled the dalliances of televangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. On his way out the door, Haggard signed a lucrative settlement, getting paid handsomely to go off into the wilderness.
He was to retreat into the Arizona desert, get counseling and stay away for awhile. Instead he returned home to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was given about a $200,000 severance package and was to have nothing to do with his former church - the 10,000 to 14,000-member New Life Church where he pastored for more than 20 years - or its parishioners, but now, he keeps running into them at various spots around town. He was supposed to stay away from the media, but instead he and his wife Gayle appeared in an HBO documentary, on Oprah and Larry King, and had dozens of other media moments. He wasn't supposed to start up his own church, but now he's got St. James church, which he founded last summer in his living room, and is holding forth in a middle school cafeteria. And he no doubt has plans for something bigger.
Oh, how the mighty had fallen, and oh, how the once mighty is picking up the pieces and creating a new brand.
"I bought the drugs to enhance masturbation. Because what crystal meth does - Mike [Jones] taught me this - crystal meth makes it so you don't ejaculate soon. So you can watch porn and masturbate for a long time."  - Ted Haggard to GQ's Kevin RooseA new church; a new tv show (maybe)
The former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of the Religious Right's liaisons to President Bush's inner sanctum is on the march; he has a new church, media access and possibly an ongoing television reality show.
Although no one really knows where the road is leading for the Haggards, on the evening of January 16, "Ted Haggard: Scandalous" aired on TLC. In the Washington Post's Under God blog, Julia Duin wrote: "Just when you hope that this poor family is going to settle down and lead a happy life and ministry, they come out with another book or TV appearance. Why are they doing this? Is it the money? The need for acceptance? Fame? You tell me."
Haggard's new church is called St. James, named after the apostle who said, "Faith by itself, if it doesn't have works, is dead" (James 2:14-26). The Church has a nicely developed website ( which features a picture of Haggard, with arms in the air making a preaching-point before a group of folks.
Saint James Church's mission is "to fulfill the great commission to make disciples by fulfilling the great commandments to love." It has a "Slogan": "Give SomeONE a Break," and a "Motto": ". . . doing our faith."
On the church website, Haggard's official bio rewrites a bit of his story. It states that Haggard "resigned" - as opposed to being forced to quit - both from his church and the NAE, after "confessing to a personal moral failure," as opposed to being purposefully outed by Mike Jones and having to come clean. The bio goes on to state, "During a two-year period of quiet healing, [not so quiet] Ted and Gayle rebuilt their marriage and emerged a stronger couple and family. After this period, they began to share the story of their trials and restoration with some church audiences around the country, as well as on some national television programs." And boy did they "share" and "share" and "share."
Haggard is blogging at "The Official Blog of Ted Haggard" ( ficial-blog-of-pastor-ted) and he's tweeting (@tedhaggard), where as of February 5, he had 12 followers. A recent tweet promotes comedian Rich Praytor, while another promotes I Do Windows, a local company that cleans windows (nothing to do with scrubbing computers).
Kevin Roose is the author of "The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University" -- Jerry Falwell's Liberty U. During a conference where he was speaking about his book, Haggard's oldest son Marcus approached him and suggested that he "should talk to his dad."
Roose contacted Haggard and wound up "tag[ing] along" on an unexpected camping trip with him and two of his other sons, Elliott and Jonathan. Roose also spoke with Haggard after the camping trip, attended a Haggard-led church service at a Middle School, and interviewed Haggard's outer, Mike Jones, as well.
On the camping trip, in the hours after the kids bedded down in Haggard's Escalade, Haggard "bitterly runs through everything we all have wrong about him," Roose reported in the February issue of GQ.
As summed up by Roose, in his article titled "The Last Temptation of Ted," Haggard said he was "never a right-wing power broker in the vein of Jerry Falwell." His White House contacts were "with low-level" staff. Haggard said that "he was never a homophobe either ... and though he supported a 2006 amendment outlawing gay marriage in Colorado, he was also in favor of a ballot measure that would have extended domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples."
When asked about Mike Jones, Haggard said, "We never had sex sex. I bought drugs and a massage from him, and he masturbated me at the end if it. That's it."
Roose also visited with Jones at his one-bedroom apartment in Denver. Jones told him that he "wouldn't do it again" - expose Haggard that is - because "It's ruined my life, too."
If you're looking for money quotes from the Roose piece, consider these:
"I bought the drugs to enhance masturbation. Because what crystal meth does - Mike [Jones] taught me this - crystal meth makes it so you don't ejaculate soon. So you can watch porn and masturbate for a long time."
"Here's where I really am on this issue. I think that probably, if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual."
"I'm 54, with children, with a belief system, and I can have enforced boundaries in my life. Just like you're a heterosexual but you don't have sex with every woman that you're attracted to, so I can be who I am and exclusively have sex with my wife and be perfectly satisfied."
Roose concluded that Haggard "may be telling the truth [about the various charges hurled at him] but his peculiar brand of self-victimization and protestation - in which every 'I messed up' is followed by a 'but...' - makes it hard for people in Colorado Springs to believe that he is actually sorry for what he did. One former New Life member expressed what seems to be the general sentiment surrounding his resurgence: "I think Ted genuinely loves God, and I think he has a sincere interest in helping people, but I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth.'"
Early last month, Haggard starred in "Ted Haggard: Scandalous," (a Sneak Peek is available @ which was produced by RelativityReal, and, according to Entertainment Weekly, showed Haggard going "about setting up his new church inside his barn in Colorado Springs."
"My family and I endured the darkest hours imaginable in the public spotlight," Haggard said about the new show, "and have spent the last four years fighting and struggling to rebuild our lives, our faith and our family. Showing the world the new chapter of our lives will hopefully inspire others to find their own path to overcome their struggles and embrace the power of acceptance. The church is open to all, even those who have committed the darkest sins."
It is probably too soon to tell whether Haggard and his family will wind up with a Kardashian-like presence on cable TV. And, while you never know what the future might hold for him, at a minimum, he should be in the running for  Colorado Springs' comeback player of the year.