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    Posted: 14-Feb-2008 at 22:36

The Crusaders

Christian evangelicals are plotting to remake America in their own image

BOB MOSERPosted Apr 07, 2005 12:00 AM

It's February, and 900 of America's staunchest Christian fundamentalists have gathered in Fort Lauderdale to look back on what they accomplished in last year's election -- and to plan what's next. As they assemble in the vast sanctuary of Coral Ridge Presbyterian, with all fifty state flags dangling from the rafters, three stadium-size video screens flash the name of the conference: RECLAIMING AMERICA FOR CHRIST. These are the evangelical activists behind the nation's most effective political machine -- one that brought more than 4 million new Christian voters to the polls last November, sending George W. Bush back to the White House and thirty-two new pro-lifers to Congress. But despite their unprecedented power, fundamentalists still see themselves as a persecuted minority, waging a holy war against the godless forces of secularism. To rouse themselves, they kick off the festivities with "Soldiers of the Cross, Arise," the bloodthirstiest tune in all of Christendom: "Seize your armor, gird it on/Now the battle will be won/Soon, your enemies all slain/Crowns of glory you shall gain."

Meet the Dominionists -- biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government. As the far-right wing of the evangelical movement, Dominionists are pressing an agenda that makes Newt Gingrich's Contract With America look like the Communist Manifesto. They want to rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American history, pack the nation's courts with judges who follow Old Testament law, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have abortions. In Florida, when the courts ordered Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed, it was the Dominionists who organized round-the-clock protests and issued a fiery call for Gov. Jeb Bush to defy the law and take Schiavo into state custody. Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a "faith-based" government that will endure far longer than Bush's presidency -- all the way until Jesus comes back.

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

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

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost," Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."

At Reclaiming America, most of the conference is taken up by grassroots training sessions that supply ministers, retirees and devout churchgoers with "The Facts of Stem-Cell Research" or "Practical Steps to Impact Your Community with America's Historical Judeo-Christian Heritage." "We're going to turn you into an army of one," Gary Cass, executive director of Reclaiming America, promises activists at one workshop held in Evangalism Explosion Hall. The Dominionists also attend speeches by supporters like Rep. Katherine Harris of Florida, who urges them to "win back America for God." In their spare time, conference-goers buy books about a God-devised health program called the Maker's Diet or meet with a financial adviser who offers a "biblically sound investment plan."

To implement their sweeping agenda, the Dominionists are working to remake the federal courts in God's image. In their view, the Founding Fathers never intended to erect a barrier between politics and religion. "The First Amendment does not say there should be a separation of church and state," declares Alan Sears, president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund, a team of 750 attorneys trained by the Dominionists to fight abortion and gay marriage. Sears argues that the constitutional guarantee against state-sponsored religion is actually designed to "shield" the church from federal interference -- allowing Christians to take their rightful place at the head of the government. "We have a right, indeed an obligation, to govern," says David Limbaugh, brother of Rush and author of Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity. Nothing gets the Dominionists to their feet faster than ringing condemnations of judicial tyranny. "Activist judges have systematically deconstructed the Constitution," roars Rick Scarborough, author of Mixing Church and State. "A God-free society is their goal!"

Activist judges, of course, are precisely what the Dominionists want. Their model is Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who installed a 5,300-pound granite memorial to the Ten Commandments, complete with an open Bible carved in its top, in the state judicial building. At Reclaiming America, Roy's Rock sits out front, fresh off a tour of twenty-one states, perched on the flag-festooned flatbed of a diesel truck, a potent symbol of the "faith-based" justice the Dominionists are bent on imposing. Activists at the conference pose for photographs beside the rock and have circulated a petition urging President Bush to appoint Moore -- who once penned an opinion calling for the state to execute "practicing homosexuals" -- to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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

To pack the courts with fundamentalists like Moore, Dominionist leaders are planning a massive media blitz. They're also pressuring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist -- an ally who's courting support for his presidential bid -- to halt the long-standing use of filibusters to hold up judicial nominations. An anti-filibuster petition circulating at the conference blasts Democrats for their "outrageous stonewalling of appointments" -- even though Congress has approved more nominees of Bush than of any president since Jimmy Carter.

It helps that Dominionists have a direct line to the White House: The Rev. Richard Land, top lobbyist for the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, enjoys a weekly conference call with top Bush advisers including Karl Rove. "We've got the Holy Spirit's wind at our backs!" Land declares in an arm-waving, red-faced speech. He takes particular aim at the threat posed by John Lennon, denouncing "Imagine" as a "secular anthem" that envisions a future of "clone plantations, child sacrifice, legalized polygamy and hard-core porn."

The Dominionists are also stepping up efforts to turn public schools into forums for evangelism. In a landmark case, the Alliance Defense Fund is suing a California school district that threatened to dismiss a born-again teacher who was evangelizing fifth-graders. In the conference's opening ceremony, the Dominionists recite an oath they dream of hearing in every classroom: "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe."

Cass urges conference-goers to stack school boards with Dominionists. "The most humble Christian is more qualified for office than the best-educated pagan," says Cass, an anti-abortion activist who led a takeover of his school district's board in San Diego. "We built quite a little grass-roots machine out there. Now it's my burden to multiply that success all across America."

Cass points to the Rev. Gary Beeler, a Baptist minister from Tennessee who got permission for thousands of students to skip class and attend weeklong events that he calls "old-time revivals, with preaching and singing and soul-saving and the whole nine yards." Now, with support from Kennedy, Beeler is selling his house and buying a mobile home to spread his crusade nationwide. "It's not exactly what I planned to do with my retirement," he says. "But it's what God told me to do."

Cass also presents another small-town activist, Kevin McCoy, with a Salt and Light Award for leading a successful campaign to shut down an anti-bullying program in West Virginia schools. McCoy, a soft-spoken, prematurely gray postal worker, fought to end the program because it taught tolerance for gay people -- and thus, in his view, constituted a "thinly disguised effort to promote the homosexual agenda." "What America needs," Cass tells the faithful, "is more Kevin McCoys."

While the dominionists rely on grass-roots activists to fight their battles, they are backed by some of America's richest entrepreneurs. Amway founder Rich DeVos, a Kennedy ally who's the leading Republican contender for governor of Michigan, has tossed more than $5 million into the collection plate. Jean Case, wife of former AOL chief Steve Case -- whose fortune was made largely on sex-chat rooms -- has donated $8 million. And Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza, is a major source of cash for Focus on the Family, a megaministry working with Kennedy to eliminate all public schools.

The one-two punch of militant activists and big money has helped make the Dominionists a force in Washington, where a growing number of congressmen owe their elections to the machine. Kennedy has also created the Center for Christian Statesmanship, which trains elected officials to "more effectively share their faith in the public arena." Speaking to the group, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay -- a winner of Kennedy's Distinguished Christian Statesman Award -- called Bush's faith-based initiatives "a great opportunity to bring God back into the public institutions of our country."

The most vivid proof of the Christianizing of Capitol Hill comes at the final session of Reclaiming America. Rep. Walter Jones, a lanky congressman from North Carolina, gives a fire-and-brimstone speech that would have gotten him laughed out of Washington thirty years ago. In today's climate, however, he's got a chance of passing his pet project, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, which would permit ministers to endorse political candidates from their pulpits, effectively converting their tax-exempt churches into Republican campaign headquarters.

"America is under assault!" Jones thunders as his aides dash around the sanctuary snapping PR photos. "Everyone in America has the right to speak freely, except for those standing in the pulpits of our churches!" The amen chorus reaches a fever pitch. Hands fly heavenward. It's one thing to hear such words from Dominionist leaders -- but to this crowd, there's nothing more thrilling than getting the gospel from a U.S. congressman. "You cannot have a strong nation that does not follow God," Jones preaches, working up to a climactic, passionate plea for a biblical republic. "God, please -- God, please -- God, please -- save America!"


http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/7235393?pageid=rs.Home&pageregion=single7&rnd=1113271947906&has-player=true&version=6.0.12.1040


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Voice of Reason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2008 at 14:27
WOW is all i have to say really...
 
This isn't what Christians are called to do first off. God never blessed the govornment, He blessed the land, and the people of a nation, not the govornment. Jesus himself taught that we, as christians, should obey the law and the authorities put over us. - I haven't read them, but there have been entire books written by pastors that show why christians cannot succeed politically to "Win back America for God" - I find this foolishness, and i'm a Christian myself.
 
I think they should just think about it.. They're trying to win a govornment.. instead of souls... Confused - If they were to put their efforts into doing what we're supposed to be doing instead of fanatically trying to control the govornment of America, maybe they wouldn't be hated quite as much??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2008 at 15:46

Hmmm... this report is nearly three years old and the Democrats have since won back congress in Nov. of 2006. The evangelicals really slipped on that one, hmmm...

There is alot of extreme nutters on both sides of the aisle. Some people are afraid of crazy right-wing evangelicals, while others are afraid of loony left-wing hedonists. Why they get more space on a continual basis, over the more rational every-day-joe... inside and out of US government, is way beyond me? Maybe it's just good ol' fashioned partisan politics shaped too influence our fears, so that we will vote for the correct party of their choice... and not ours? It also doesn't hurt too sensationalize reports to drive up the profits either!

This is just one example of why i have been sick of the American political scene for roughly two decades now!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SearchAndDestroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2008 at 16:27
The difference was that the Evangelicals were continuely getting stronger and moving thousands of votes in one direction. But I believe their power has been waning since the last election, I mean numbers dropping in support of those political organizations, and I say good ridence.
The one thats nicknamed the Father of the Constitution, James Madison and another Forefather,Thomas Jefferson, made a strong effort to seperate Religion in Politics, and I think they did it because they understood the abuse that could follow if they were mixed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2008 at 22:41
Personally I'm frightened by both the extreme religious right and the extreme secularist left who often have a hidden agenda other then arguing for a secular America for example trying to advance the interests of other religions and allowing religious double standreds.

I certainly don't want God's law or government but I don't want him pushed out of the picture ether.        
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Voice of Reason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Feb-2008 at 01:51
Originally posted by Kevin Kevin wrote:

I certainly don't want God's law or government but I don't want him pushed out of the picture ether. 
 
Well technically the ten commandments are basically about law and order...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Feb-2008 at 13:35
'Christians' like these are what scares Europeans about the States. How could a country which has spearheaded most of the technological innovations of the 20th century, maintain an intricate legal system etc. etc. really produce such a large number of these nutjobs??
"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Voice of Reason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Feb-2008 at 14:59

Because relgious freedom was one of the bigest bases for the founding of the Nation. - It's no wonder why there are so many Smile

I honestly believe that Europe has them too.. they're just not outspoken. Example though is the British Creationist group that is now going to schools and such.. i've forgotten the exact name, just read a article on it though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Feb-2008 at 00:47
@Parnell
 
In the sensationalized atmosphere of our media, it's the nutjobs who get all the press! Being a Christian doesn't  or shouldn't equal or even mean... that the majority is wanting too bring on armageddon before it's time.
 
Nor does being a Muslim automatically equate into the majority in wanting too kill/blow-up/behead everybody up who happens to disagree with them in the slightest. Most especially seeing that with recent past several years event's, they have been the main ones being victimized, killed, blown-up and beheaded by their own co-religonists.
 
Neither should jews be looked upon as some nefarious group looking too subversively take over the world. Or for that matter... should secularists be looked upon as some sort of diabolical, godless heathens looking to destroy all religons in their entirity!
 
But......................
 
Controversy is what will sell in the next days newspaper, not informational facts! We are sadly getting more ignorant with each new conspiracy put out for the public's disseminating pleasure!
 
If people are too be afraid of anything, then i think what they should really be afraid of is the "thing" that no one can possibly see coming? Does any of this make any sense?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Voice of Reason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Feb-2008 at 16:28
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

 If people are too be afraid of anything, then i think what they should really be afraid of is the "thing" that no one can possibly see coming?
 
Makes good sense Panther! But what is the "thing" that noone sees coming that your referring to? Something like a natural disaster that will probably be coming in the future that we should all be preparing for? (I'm not saying your specifying anything, just probing around for what it could be..)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Feb-2008 at 19:15
I will read this and get back but to me it sounds, if I can barrow from other groups, Christophobic. It seems that anytime a certain group comes against another they often demonize them. I glanced at it and later I will examine it so I can properly respond. Remember, I do believe in this groups right to an opinion but how much out of context are they taking it? Much of what you hear from Christians is in the spiritual realm. Christ said, "My kingdom is not of this Earth.." It is so easy to take what they say out of context!!
I believe they only want to take part in our representative government but as soon as they do I hear certain extreme liberal groupls claim they want a theocracy. I know a lot of Christian: Orthodox, Protestants and Roman Catholic and the vast majority do not want a theocratic government. It is only when Christ returns that Christians believe such a government will take place and if you do not believe in Christianity then why worry. I will come back!!
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Feb-2008 at 00:38
Originally posted by Voice of Reason Voice of Reason wrote:

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

 If people are too be afraid of anything, then i think what they should really be afraid of is the "thing" that no one can possibly see coming?
 
Makes good sense Panther! But what is the "thing" that noone sees coming that your referring to? Something like a natural disaster that will probably be coming in the future that we should all be preparing for? (I'm not saying your specifying anything, just probing around for what it could be..)
 
There is an old soldierly saying that goes something like this: "You never hear the shot that kills you."
 
Usally applied on a personal basis for soldiers themseleves. but, i think... this seems rather apprapro for any human society?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Voice of Reason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Feb-2008 at 14:45
Yes, i agree, we probably wont hear the shot that kills us Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Feb-2008 at 20:35
sorry so many things to do in life. I think it is funny how they use spiritual terms that really only apply to the spiritual realm such as Christians talking about the armor of God, it is very subjective. To compare them to modern jihadist is lame because because there is no comparison. Please do not bring up the few nut cases who are totally condemned by most Christians.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Feb-2008 at 20:49
Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:

sorry so many things to do in life. I think it is funny how they use spiritual terms that really only apply to the spiritual realm such as Christians talking about the armor of God, it is very subjective. To compare them to modern jihadist is lame because because there is no comparison. Please do not bring up the few nut cases who are totally condemned by most Christians.
 
Well, we do have to discuss them -- a discussion during which it should be made apparent that they are condemned by most Christians.
 
I would point to two examples. In one thread, I noted a military story that dealt with the harassment of a soldier by his Christian brethren. In another thread, Brian J Checco noted a nut-job who hinted at the forced suppression of atheistic groups. Both stories dealt with extremes, both theistic and atheistic. Still, it is only through discussing them that we may better understand them.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Voice of Reason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Feb-2008 at 15:26
I agree with Akolouthos, good observation!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Feb-2008 at 15:57
Hello to you all
 
Of course you can't compare "Jihadist" with evangelical fundamentalists, the latter are far worse. At least the "Jihadists" have a huge sense of pragmatism and throughout their movement they proved you can deal with them but the fundamentalist evangelicals are the worst thing that could happen to the world and calling them fringe groups is not correct. These people will go all the way to push their ideas and this is a problem. They are willing to do the wrong thing and continue to do it because it is "biblically correct", for example one guy had no problem in nuking Iran and exerminating the Palestinians in a radio call to one of the conservative talk show hosts and the did not see anything wrong with that and several callers agreed. Some in congress and many in the are in support of these ideas and many local politicians as well. Now this scares me.
 
And how long till they do what another not job in Russia does in BBC's documentry about democracy in the world who said without any shame democracy is not the best system and we must obey our leaders (Putin) who were chosen by God and any opposition will be opposing God, even Jihadists can't claim this. Jihadists don't have nuclear weapons and will never have them and even if they did  will never use them but if secularists did it what makes us sure that a nut job former preacher who called for the mass transfer of an entire nation and for slicing up the lands of another nation just because the Bible says that wouldn't nuke the world?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2008 at 20:52

Of course you can't compare "Jihadist" with evangelical fundamentalists, the latter are far worse.


Al Jassas - you have got to be joking!! now they do irritate me (Christians fundes) but I do not see them blowing up people, stoning women for adultery who were raped, total theocracy in many Islamic countries. The USA was, at one time, a nation with a Christian world view. I agree some of the founding fathers were Deist but they still had a Christian foundation. I have never met a Christian who wants a theocracy and I know many. I realize also that most Muslims do not do these things.

I will try and find the time to get back to you on this
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2008 at 21:53
Quote
now they do irritate me (Christians fundes) but I do not see them blowing up people,


No they just terrorize abortion clinics and their staff....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2008 at 18:47
Originally posted by JanusRook JanusRook wrote:

Quote now they do irritate me (Christians fundes) but I do not see them blowing up people,
No they just terrorize abortion clinics and their staff....


Janus rock that is a poor example because it is only a few nut cases and the vast majority of Christians condemn it. This type of violence cannot be justified by the teaching or example of Christ and please do not take versus out of context that have only a spiritual application.

I, myself, have a universal view of God.
One mans way to Heaven is another man's way to Hell.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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