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Hat tip to P6
I said earlier that the answer Churchill partisans would give is “politics.” It is also the answer the jury gave. It was the jury’s task to determine whether Churchill’s dismissal would have occurred independently of the adverse political response to his constitutionally protected statements. In the ordinary academic course of things would his writings have been subject to the extended and minute scrutiny that led to the committee’s recommendations? Had the governor not called Hoffman, had state representatives not appeared on TV to call for Churchill’s head, had commentators all over the country not vilified Churchill for his 9/11 views, would any of this have happened.? The answer seems obvious to me and it has now been given authoritative form in the jury’s verdict.Let me add (I hope it would be unnecessary) that nothing I have said should be taken either as a judgment (positive or negative) on Churchill’s work or as a questioning of the committee’s motives. I am not competent to judge Churchill’s writings and I express no view of them. And I have no doubts at all about the integrity of the committee members. They just got caught up in a circus that should have never come to town.
Is the Christian right finished as a political entity? Or, more to the point, are principled Christians finished with politics?Personally, I doubt it - there's too much money to walk away from. You can be sure the megachurches are already plotting their next takeover attempt as they lick their wounds.
These questions have been getting fresh air lately as frustrated conservative Christians question the pragmatism -- defined as the compromising of principles -- of the old guard. One might gently call the current debate a generational rift.I.E. 'That Olde-Tyme Religion' just ain't everything it's cracked up to be. People get education these days. Lies and twisted half-truths just don't have the staying power they used to. Drat those darned libruls and their schools! How can you expect to keep the masses under control if the sop of religion doesn't work!? Good grief, next thing you know they'll want to start running for office and displacing the annointed ones2.
The older generation, represented by such icons as James Dobson, who recently retired as head of Focus on the Family, has compromised too much, according to a growing phalanx of disillusioned Christians. Pragmatically speaking, the Christian coalition of cultural crusaders didn't work.I.E. they weren't right-wing or crazy enough. Which is a harbinger of even more religion-based extremism to come - mark my words.
For proof, one need look no further than Dobson himself, who was captured on tape recently saying that the big cultural battles have all been lost.And what do deeply-entrenched stormtroopers do when they're lost and cornered? Surrender isn't in their lexicon, so be prepared for some truly evil maneuvers as this particular ouroboros continues to consume itself.
Deace's point was that established Christian activist groups too often settle for lesser evils in exchange for electing Republicans. He cited as examples Dobson's support of Mitt Romney and John McCain, neither of whom is pro-life or pro-family enough from Deace's perspective.Hear that? That the bellwether of a new religious right-wing movement that will take extremism to whole new levels. Romney and McCain weren't 'pro-life or pro-family enough'... good grief. What amazes me is how these whackadoos stand right up and pronounce that they lost because they weren't extreme enough. I'm honestly frightened of what will happen the next time they get anywhere near power again. You can be assured it won't be good and payback is a staple of their lifestyle.
Compromise may be the grease of politics, but it has no place in Christian orthodoxy, according to Deace.
Put another way, Christians may have no place in the political fray of dealmaking. That doesn't mean one disengages from political life, but it might mean that the church shouldn't be a branch of the Republican Party. It might mean trading fame and fortune (green rooms and fundraisers) for humility and charity.I.E. they'll be operating in secret. Don't think for one nanosecond that the power-hungry megachurch preachers in this country will ever stop lusting for power. They tasted the heady wine of politcal power and it's like a cancer gnawing at them. Like Gollum moaning for his 'precious' they'll never give up.
Deace's radio show may be beneath the radar of most Americans and even most Christians, but he is not alone in his thinking. I was alerted to the Deace-Minnery interview by E. Ray Moore -- founder of the South Carolina-based Exodus Mandate, an initiative to encourage Christian education and home schooling. Moore, who considers himself a member of the Christian right, thinks the movement is imploding.
"It's hard to admit defeat, but this one was self-inflicted," he wrote in an e-mail. "Yes, Dr. Dobson and the pro-family or Christian right political movement is a failure; it would have made me sad to say this in the past, but they have done it to themselves."
For Christians such as Moore -- and others better known, such as columnist Cal Thomas, a former vice president for the Moral Majority -- the heart of Christianity is in the home, not the halls of Congress or even the courts. And the route to a more moral America is through good works -- service, prayer and education -- not political lobbying.
So there you have it - the takeover attempt will 'go underground' into home schooling and off-the-radar meetings. You can count on a nonstop drumbeat from the fundamentalists that the public schools are 'failing' and 'corrupt' etc, etc, ad nauseum - backed up with 'proof' from their faux-science 'institutes' cranked out after long, sweaty prayer/strategizing sessions.
Moore says: "In the modern era of the Christian right, we have traded these proven methods for a mess of pottage . . . and often in a shrill and nagging manner, which makes our God look weak in the eyes of the world."No, it doesn't make 'your' God3 look 'weak' - it makes you look like the charlatans and crimminals that you truly are. Divinity is like that - when you try and use it wrongly, the truth illuminates your own corruption and that's why you stumbled: pride. It's past time that someone admitted that.
Amen to that, says Thomas, who made similar points in his 1999 book "Blinded by Might," co-written with Moral Majority platform architect Ed Dobson (no relation to James Dobson). Thomas, who speaks with a stand-up comic's clip (and wit), has long maintained that the religious right is in left field.
"If people who call themselves Christians want to see any influence in the culture, then they ought to start following the commands of Jesus and people will be so amazed that they will be attracted to Him," Thomas told me. "The problem isn't political. The problem is moral and spiritual.
Ya know, it's funny - but I distinctly remember lots and lots of people pointing this out and underlining how the GOP was anything but Christian. Only now after defeat do the mighty realize their mistake. Again, pride blinded them and I believe will do so again.
Whether James Dobson's admission of failure -- or Deace's challenges to Minnery -- foretells a crackup of the older Christian right remains to be seen. But something is stirring, and it sounds like the GOP may be losing its bailout money. God apparently has his own stimulus plan.
"You have the choice between a way that works and brings no credit or money or national attention," says Thomas. "Or, a way that doesn't work that gets you lots of attention and has little influence on the culture."
Oh, there's been a 'crackup' already - the way the mega-rich megapreachers have been succumbing to wordly influence (Oral Roberts much?)(Haggard much?) like drunken prom dates. What was most telling was how their 'organizations' worked so hard to cover it up4.
It is hard to imagine a political talk show without a self-appointed moral arbiter bemoaning the lack of family values in America.
But, do let's try.
(clasps hands and falls to knees in front of keyboard)
Oh Jesus! I Believe! Make it True!!!
(imagines a morose Rush Limbaugh sitting in a delapidated lawn chair on a rubbish-strewn Malaysian beach5)
(whispering fervently)I do believe, I do believe...