Is class war. Beware of elites who know what’s bad is good for you!
The Washington City Paper has a very sharp bone to pick with the New Yorker’s “Frat House for Jesus” piece about the C Street Fellowship:
… Thanks to Bob Hunter’s special interest the Fellowship grew to be a formidable political force in Ugandan politics, turning the country into a popular petri dish for fundamentalist Christian social policies—an almost-ban on condoms, for instance—and a receptive audience for some of their more fervidly homophobic activists, who have trouble raking in the speaker fees stateside these days. When Sharlet asked the architect of the “death penalty for gays” legislation whether it had any connection to the Fellowship in Uganda, he said “I do not know what you mean, ‘connection.’ There is no ‘connection.’ They are the same thing. The bill is the Fellowship. It was our idea.”
So while the law was not drafted by a junior aide to Jim DeMint or anything like that, and the Fellowship in America certainly distancing themselves when they realized how much bad press they might get for instigating gay death panels—especially with all those unfortunate things they’d said in the eighties about how HIV was a just plague on a perverted lifestyle and that sort of nonsense—the Fellowship’s involvement in this draconian bill is not exactly limited to “feeling like they have the standing” to recommend they call off the homo-cide for now. In their possible defense—and there is only one thing you can possibly say in possible defense of the Family on this one—the legislation is in limbo right now. It hasn’t been enacted, nor has it been repealed.
Now, while any moderately close follower of Ugandan politics could have surely read all this “between the lines” of Boyer’s two-sentence explanation…yeah, just kidding, it’s totally, bizarrely, unbelievably misleading and journalism like deserves to be electrocuted. The piece takes pains to mention Vereide’s nebulous connection to the formation of Goodwill Industries but elides his zealous anti-union sermonizing in the thirties and forties; consigns the Hitler and Mao rhetoric to a single parenthetical sentence; refers to Family guy Michael Timmis as having made a “fortune in high-risk business transactions” which doesn’t mean anything; and makes only one mention I found of anything—besides the obvious intimate relationship with Jesus Santa Christ—Family members have actually materially gained from club membership. And that is: cheap housing. (Boyer claims C Street residents pay $900 a month.) But probably Boyer would say I just don’t “get” it. After all…
One view of the Fellowship, with some popularity on the secular left, is of a sort of theocratic Blackwater, advancing a conservative agenda in the councils of power throughout the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a friend of the Fellowship, might dispute that view—if she spoke about the group, which she does not.
As Sharlet’s book explains, many members of the military these days seem to have become seized by the belief that the Constitution makes no mention of the separation of church and state, and he quotes a promotion for a book calledUnder Orders: A Spiritual Handbook for Military Personnel as saying:
Under the rubric of free speech and the twisted idea of separation of church and state, there has evolved more and more an anti-Christian bias in this country.
The book is blurbed by Gen. David Petraeus, who writes it “should be in every rucksack for those moments when Soldiers need spiritual energy.” (And whoseapproval ratings, do not forget, are higher than those of his so-called “boss.”) But if we’ve actually gotten to the point in this country where the New Yorker is specifying that only the secular left finds any of this prayer breakfast pecadillo death squad stuff truly disturbing, we are going to need all the “spiritual energy” we can get.
It’s not as if the unemployed are real people!
Legislation by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to help the “99ers” — unemployed people who’ve exhausted the 99 weeks of unemployment insurance available in some states — failed in the Senate on Wednesday, to nobody’s surprise.
Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) objected to Stabenow’s unanimous consent request. “Without knowing how much it is going to cost and how we’re going to pay for it, while we’re all certainly sympathetic and want to work to make people go back to work — my home state of Florida certainly suffering with very high unemployment — we need to know how we’re going to pay for it so we don’t put this debt on our children and grandchildren,” said LeMieux.
Stabenow’s bill would have provided an additional 20 weeks of benefits in states where the unemployment rate is above 7.5 percent, and it would have boosted a tax credit for businesses that hire unemployed workers. Stabenow said she wanted the bill to be designated “emergency spending” and exempt from “pay-as-you-go” rules, as is customarily the case with unemployment benefits.
“The reality for us in America is that we will never get out of debt with more than 15 million people out of work,” said Stabenow. “So when folks talk about the deficit and leaving the deficit for our children, we will never get out of debt had this country until people get back to work, until they have good-paying jobs, and in between times, we will not move this economy forward until we are helping people be able to keep going in this recession.”
Despite the lobbying of the unemployed, additional weeks of benefits seemed like a hopeless cause after the Senate spent 50 days this summer in gridlock over a reauthorization of the existing 99 weeks.
Several unemployed people have told HuffPost over the past few weeks, however, that they appreciated the gesture even if the bill had no chance of success. Stabenow’s spokesman ignored repeated requests for info from HuffPost.
Let’s see. Jon Stewart was oh-so-holier-than-thou last night when, taking part in some “on the other hand” false equivalence that would have done any Villager proud, he denounced Alan Grayson’s Taliban Dan ad as extreme, showing a clip that he says proves it was taken out of context. (Clearly, he was depending on the finding by Factcheck.org, a group bloggers know to double-check.) It’s not really taken out of context when someone is associated with an extreme fundamentalist sect — one that believes death by stoning should be the punishment for “sins” like astrology.
Another expert on the Religious Right, Bruce W. Wilson who writes at Talk2Action, has delved into Daniel Webster’s ties to Christian Reconstructionists and writes this fascinating piece for Alternet. He notes Webster’s continuing association with Bill Gothard, (at whose Institute Webster was recorded making his remarks about women submitting to their husbands in 2009):
As an August 5, 1996 article in the Gainesville Sun quoted Webster, ‘I respect (Bill Gothard) as much as anybody. ..
Bill Gothard, in turn, was a close ally of R.J. Rushdoony, considered the father of Christian Reconstructionism and founder of the movement’s flagship institution, the Chalcedon Institute.
As Vice President of the Chalcedon Institute Martin Selbrede stated in the Institute’s March/April 2010 issue of Faith For All Of Life, the only reason Bill Gothard didn’t agree to use Chalcedon founder R.J. Rushdoony’s monumental Institutes of Biblical Lawtome in Gothard’s sprawling evangelical empire is that the two couldn’t agree on divorce. Rushdoony’sInstitutes was a template for instituting Biblical law in government (for more on Reconstructionism, see story appendix.)
As Selbrede wrote,
“[T]he divide between Gothard and Rushdoony on divorce was a deep and abiding one. Gothard proposed using Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law as a resource for his massive ministry; the sheer volume of the resulting sales would have made Rushdoony both rich and famous. Gothard’s condition for moving forward on this was letter-simple: Rushdoony merely needed to remove the section on divorce from his book, and the highly profitable deal would be sealed.
Rushdoony refused the offer.”
So, while Gothard was categorically opposed to divorce, Rushdoony, a virulently racist Holocaust denier who espoused Geocentrism, was a little more liberal on divorce. In other words, the two men were otherwise in substantial agreement – except for the sticking point of divorce, they both agreed that Rushdoony’s vision for Biblical law should be imposed upon America.That vision included instituting stoning as a form of capital punishment for rape, kidnapping, murder, heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, “sodomy or homosexuality,” incest, striking a parent, extreme juvenile delinquency, and “unchastity before marriage.”
Daniel Webster’s association with Bill Gothard’s Institute For Basic Life Training has continued into the present, and a speech Webster made at a Nashville IBLP conference in 2009 has now become a source of controversy due to a new Alan Grayson campaign ad. Grayson is currently taking a media drubbing because of a campaign ad that calls Grayson’s political opponent, Republican Daniel Webster, “Taliban Dan.”
An assessment from Factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, [is saying] that a new Graysoncampaign ad attacking Grayson’s political opponent, Republican Daniel Webster, [was] allegedly taking out of context statements Webster made in a speech at a 2009 conference of a religious organization called the “Institute of Basic Life Principles.”
Die-hard religious right researchers at ReligionDispatches.org are challenging Factcheck.org’s immediate charge, and Religion Dispatches editor Sarah Posner calls out Factcheck.org for blandly describing Bill Gothard’s IBLP as a ”non-denominational Christian organization that runs programs and training sessions.”
Many across the political spectrum appear appalled by the Grayson campaign’s “Taliban” label but Daniel Webster’s nearly three-decade long, intimate involvement with the Bill Gothard and the Institute For Basic Life Principles suggests that the label may be less than hyperbolic.