Mojo Blog: A Missing Voice in Ohio

Mojo Blog

A Missing Voice in Ohio

The New York Times notes that the evangelical power broker Reverend Rod Parsley of Ohio does not have his same swagger this year.

Six months ago, Rev. Rod Parsley was one of the more prominent evangelicals to hail Sen. John McCain as a “strong, true, consistent conservative.”

But two days before the election, in a state central to Mr. McCain’s hopes, Rev. Rod Parsley preached to his vast congregation at World Harvest Church of hellfire and “circling in on a fight with the eternal forces of darkness” without ever mentioning Mr. McCain.

The reason is pretty simple. Mother Jones revealed that Parsley, a major megacurch pastor who holds sway over a good number of swing state Ohio voters, leads a not-so-secret life as an intolerant anti-Muslim bigot. In one of his books, he argued that America is at war with Islam:

The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore.

Mother Jones unearthed video of Parsley making similar statements. He claimed Islam was an “anti-Christ religion that intends, through violence, to conquer the world,” adding, “Allah was a demon spirit.”

Minnesota Independent: Religious Right Watch: ‘Values voters’ would vote for Satan before Obama

Minnesota Independent

Religious Right Watch: ‘Values voters’ would vote for Satan before Obama

In the final days of the election, the anti-Obama rhetoric from the religious right has reached a fevered pitch. One religious right leader says that conservative evangelicals would rather vote for the devil than Barack Obama and a religious right author says Obama could be the anti-Christ, but Obama doesn’t know it yet.

“Barack Obama could be running against the devil and you’d still have high turnout among values voters,” said Mat Staver, of Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal entity affiliated with the late-Jerry Falwell. Staver is also the dean of the law school at Falwell’s Liberty University.

“Obama has, by virtue of his liberal positions on values issues, energized values voters to show up and cast a vote against him,” Staver told Politico.

Meanwhile, Michael O’Brien, author of several Christian end-times novels including Children of the Last Daysshares his view of whether Obama is the anti-Christ.

He is indeed a powerful manipulator of crowds, even as he appears ever so humble and wholesomely charming. I doubt that he is the long-prophesied ruler of the world, but I also believe that he is a carrier of a deadly moral virus, indeed a kind of anti-apostle spreading concepts and agendas that are not only anti-Christ but anti-human as well. In this sense he is of the spirit of Antichrist (perhaps without knowing it), and probably is one of several key figures in the world who (knowingly or unknowingly) will be instrumental in ushering in the time of great trial for the Church under its last and worst persecution, amidst the numerous other tribulations prophesied in the books of Daniel and Revelation, and letters of St Paul, St. John, and St. Peter.

American Prospect: The FundamentaList

American Prospect

The FundamentaList

This week in the religious right: How the current Republican attacks on Democrats are straight out of the religious right’s play book and why the Florida gay marriage ban is failing.

Some elite Republicans are shocked, shocked, to discover the ugliness lurking in their party. Figures from Peggy Noonan to Colin Powell cannot believe it! The party of the shining city on the hill is turning vulgar!

The feigned surprise is laughable. After all, the only card left in the Republican deck is straight out of the religious right’s 30 year-old battle plan, which the GOP has warmly embraced since Reagan. Since the mid-1970s, the Republican Party has validated the religious right’s mythology of America’s Christian nationhood, cowed to its authoritarian litmus tests, and made demagoguery not only fashionable but heroic.

Michele Bachmann’s call for witch hunts and Sarah Palin’s accusations of socialism may be anachronistic, but if you are familiar with the ideological underpinnings of the religious right, you recognize them as carefully calibrated to appeal to loyalists who have been schooled in the evils of “statism” — the elevation of government over God. When Bachmann talks about Obama or other Democrats being “anti-American,” it’s a dog whistle to the base: It must be Satan trying to bring down America. When Palin calls Obama a socialist, she’s really calling him godless, and therefore a danger to God’s plan for America.

Elite Republicans’ sudden hostility to that kind of slime, however, shows just how much they have turned a blind eye to the animating principle of the religious right, which is not at its core opposition to abortion or gay rights, but support for instituting an authoritarian, supposedly “biblical” law. The Council for National Policy — the secretive brain trust of the conservative movement that meets quarterly to map out conservative movement (and GOP) strategy — was based on this very idea. Since its founding in 1981, the CNP vets Republican candidates each election cycle, and, although the group never much cared for McCain, it very much approved of Palin.

One of CNP’s founders, Conservative Caucus and Conservative Party founder Howard Phillips, is a protegé of R.J. Rushdoony, the architect of the Christian Reconstructionism that is the cornerstone of the religious right. Rushdoony summed up his view of “statism” when he said, “The historic Christian concept of government is the self-government of the Christian man under God and in terms of His law. This is set over against the top-heavy centralization of post-Enlightenment statism. The only cure for totalitarianism is the restoration of Christian government.”

Blue NC: It’s Christian Against Christian in my inbox/Prayer can move mountains, why not Obama?

Blue NC

It’s Christian Against Christian in my inbox/Prayer can move mountains, why not Obama?

Gah, just got this from my aunt in Florida:

Prayer can move mountains, why not Obama?

Being dismayed recently when a family member of mine said to me with great resignation that Obama will take the presidency. These words came from someone who in the past has been a great prayer warrior.

What is happening was my question??? Why are we Christians settling and not issuing a battle cry and falling to our knees and taking our country back?

We allow ourselves to be stripped of the right to pray at school functions and in school, we have the 10 commandments removed from government places and are told we cannot pray in school, all the while providing public prayer places for Muslims. What in the world is going on and why are we being apathetic?

Why aren’t we praying? Our God is a mighty God who is waiting patiently for us to raise our voices to heaven to stop the tide of the anti-Christ actions in our world today. Now we find we have a charismatic candidate for president who does not respect our flag and refuses to wear one on his lapel except when it becomes politically expedient and whose own wife and pastor that he loves profess to have strong anti-white feelings, and we sit back and say “it is a given, we can do nothing.”

There has never been a time in 2000 years that we can do nothing, never a time that we must sit back and allow the evil in men’s and women’s hearts to take over our world. We should be very afraid because our apathy is leading us to perdition.

It is time for all Christian Americans to raise the battle cry and take our nation back. Maybe McCain on his own cannot defeat Obama, but our God can and He will if we take to our knees in prayer and raise a mighty cry to the heavens to “Save us O Lord.” We have the power to change the course of this election and to keep a man as suspect as Barak Obama from leading our country to who knows where with his message of “change” – a change which I fear will be away from our Christian ideals and away from Christ and further away from one nation under God.

….

What do I even say to that??? I don’t want to be silent and let her think I agree with this. OTOH, I don’t necessarily want to make waves. On the other other hand, I’d like to stand up for my beliefs and say that yes, I’ll be praying, too, as will lots of other people — for an Obamavictory (never mind the part about me praying to a God they don’t believe in).

I just don’t get it. What are these people so afraid of? What do they think is going to happen if Obama wins–mandatory abortions for women and forced conversions to Islam or something? Mind you, he’s never been a Muslim, so the “One Nation, Under Allah” is just preying/praying (haha, get it?) on people’s fears.

Do they think their precious daughters are going to be forced to marry “n*****s”? And what is it going to say about their faith if they pray and pray and pray, and Obama still wins? That their God doesn’t care about our presidential elections? Or that he cares more about the Christians who were praying for Obama than the ones who were praying for McCain?

Media Matters: Cunningham invoked “[s]ix-six-six” and “the beast” in discussing “Barack Hussein Obama”

Media Matters

Cunningham invoked “[s]ix-six-six” and “the beast” in discussing “Barack Hussein Obama”

Stating that 666,000 new voters have registered in Ohio, Bill Cunningham said on October 10: “Six, six, six. The mark of the beast. The great majority, of course, are registered by ACORN. … Who conducted ACORN seminars to tell ACORN employees and others how to cheat the system? Barack Hussein Obama. I may declare him to be the beast. Six, six, six. It could be the end of all days.” On the October 13 edition of Cunningham’s show, a caller said of Obama, “He may be the Antichrist.”

Working-Class Perspectives: To Race and Class Add Religion

Working-Class Perspectives

To Race and Class Add Religion

Discussions of race and class often ignore religion, relegating it to the distant margins or explaining it away as a cover for something else.  If we examine American history, as historian Mark Noll does in God and Race in American Politics: A Short History, we see that religion and race have often been interconnected.  Class and religion also intersect; religious people, institutions, and symbolic resources span social classes and have played important roles in working-class movements. In Youngstown, Ohio, religious leaders responded to deindustrialization by organizing social justice projects.  More recently, they have initiated processes of racial reconciliation. If we want to understand how class and race fit together, we must take religion more seriously.  We need to see how race, class, and religion work together.

A number of top-notch scholars have already moved in this direction. For example, the authors of Divided by Faith contend that racial segregation is maintained less by intentional racism than by sins of omission.  People are so absorbed with attaining the good social and spiritual life for their own selves, families, churches, and communities that their “brothers and sisters” on the other side of racial and class boundaries are left to be their own keepers. Religion, which could bring people together across race and class divisions, may in practice reinforce segregation.

AmericaBlog: At McCain event, Iowa pastor apparently wants Jesus to honor his own name by defeating Obama

AmericaBlog

At McCain event, Iowa pastor apparently wants Jesus to honor his own name by defeating Obama 

Iowa Independent liveblogged McCain’s campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. Why McCain is campaigning in Iowa defies explanation. That state is out of his grasp, but hey, if the brain trust at McCain HQ wants him there, who are we to argue? Anyway, check out the disturbing invocation:

The invocation is interesting, as I hear keyboards going all around me:

“There are plenty of people around the world who are praying to their god, be they Hindu, Buddah, or Allah, that (McCain’s) opponent wins. I pray that you step forward and honor your own name.” Ends with “in Jesus’ name.”

Wow. McCain does not appear to have been here yet to catch that, but wow. The preacher’s name appears to be a Pastor Conrad of the Evangelical Free Church.

Wow is right. I’m sure Jesus perked right up when he heard that one. The way these right wingers bastardize and politicize religion is just beyond the pale. And, the veiled hate-mongering doesn’t seem all that Christian either.

UPDATE: Think Progress has more of the “prayer.” It gets even worse. The pastor wants Jesus to protect his own reputation by defeating Obama:

I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and election day.