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Category 4 cynicism

In comments to the previous post, I'm reminded that there can also be a fourth, and much worse category explaining the promotion of falsehoods: "cynical manipulation."

Which reminds me of a really stupid brilliant scheme I came up with.

I speak fluent religious right with an authentic native accent. Using that fluency, I could set up the Christian Defense Fund — a nonprofit avowedly set up for the legal defense of the religious freedoms of persecuted American Christians.

I'd print up some CDF letterhead and toss up a Web site, using a logo and color-scheme transparently plagiarized from the Children's Defense Fund. When they sued over this infringement (I'd be as rude as possible until they had no choice but to sue) I would yell Persecution! and hit the Christian radio circuit, using this liberal antagonism to establish a reputation and collect some start-up capital for the group.

I'd use that initial money to hire top-notch designers, copy writers and direct mail people . I'm imagining an operating budget of roughly 5 percent for legal defense activities, 45 percent for fundraising and marketing, and 50 percent for executive compensation — meaning my personal salary.

The litigation would be modeled after the crankish, incoherent lawsuits filed by Birther Queen Orly Taitz — lots of noise, but zero chance of success. The salary would, through well-hidden back channels, be funneled into donations to the ACLU.

That scheme would work.

By "work," there, I mean it would be, in the short term, an easy, effective way of raising large sums of money. And I could maybe almost convince myself that it was justifiable in that most of the money I was taking from naive Christians by playing on their persecution fantasies would be going to the ACLU and, therefore, really would be helping to defend their religious liberty. That's more than can be said with confidence of any of the dozens of perhaps equally cynical groups that make up the cottage industry of American Christian legal defense funds noisily filing publicity-seeking lawsuits on behalf of town-hall creches or Protestant 10 Commandments monuments.

The problem with such a cynical undertaking is that in the long run it would corrode everything it touched. By fostering a fearful stupidity, it would ultimately undermine the kind of healthy, responsible, reality-based citizenship that is a necessary precondition for any society that hopes to preserve civil liberties. And by contributing to the notion that the majority is entitled to privileges not enjoyed by minorities, it would ultimately undermine the rights of all.

Plus, let's face it, once I became able to justify the kind of duplicity and brazen disingenuousness it would take to operate such a scheme, I'd quickly also become the sort of person who could find some rationale for keeping an ever-larger share of the profits for myself, and soon the checks to the ACLU would be little more than a token fraction.

Cynicism, in the not-so-very long run, is toxic. Which is why this brilliant scheme would soon prove to be a Really Bad Idea.

A Really Bad Idea but, sadly, not a very original one. The Breathless Stoner Dude and his colleagues at Good Fight Ministries don't seem to me to have embraced this level of conscious, explicit cynicism, but I have no doubt that RodeoBob is right and that there are others in the "Rock & Roll is Satan's Music" racket who fully appreciate that it's nonsense, but find it to be lucrative nonsense.

Mike Warnke, for example. He just happens to be the guy who got caught doing exactly that sort of cynical manipulation, but I'm sure there are many, many others.

This is America, after all, the land of P.T. Barnum and Ken Ham. And wherever two or more are gathered in credulous gullibility, a third will always show up to take their money.

The remarkable thing about America, though, is that for every Mike Warnke fleecing the foolish with his cynical con game there also seems to be a Breathless Stoner Dude who's running the exact same sleazy con without even fully realizing it.

  • Keith

    i’ve always been puzzled by the “they took away our school prayer” meme. can you not pray silently? maybe before lunch in the caf? or before gym class?
    Oh sure, no one’s stopping any child or teacher form doing that. But what you can’t do is stand up and lead an ostentatious public prayer, out loud. And that’s why the fundies hate the ACLU, for taking away their “right” to be sanctimonious assholes.

  • http://www.classicreader.com/book/2028/8/ Murfyn

    “Wherever two or more are gathered in credulous gullibility, a third will always show up to take their money.”
    This needs to be carved in stone, on libraries and courthouses. Or not. But it’s still great.

  • Jessica

    “Opus dei” is my mispronounced “misled”-ism. I have no idea if it’s “day-ee” or “dee” or “dee-eye” or none of the above. I avoid having to deal with this by not reading as much Dan Brown. It’s worked for me so far.
    =)
    “Wherever two or more are gathered in credulous gullibility, a third will always show up to take their money.”
    This needs to be carved in stone, on libraries and courthouses. Or not. But it’s still great.

    N+1′ed

  • Jason

    OK, I stand corrected about the war memorial thing. You brought issues with it that I either hadn’t considered or didn’t know about.
    I note, Jason, that all the objections to the ACLU you you raise are about their limiting the expressions of your religion. If you objected to them limiting viewpoints you don’t agree with I’d respect it, but I’m afraid the collection of examples you put together makes it sound like you’re arguing from self-interested motives rather than a desire for justice.
    Yes, the examples I included were *my* religion, but I would also object to similiar cases involving other relgions.
    @GDwarf
    I also don’t see anything particularly wrong with a teacher wearing a crucifix while teaching.
    Nor, to my knowledge, does the ACLU.

    From the Pennslyvania ACLU’s website:
    Yes. Pennsylvania law says that public school staff can’t wear religious clothing or accessories while on the job. That prevents a nun from wearing a habit, a priest from wearing a Roman collar, a Muslim from wearing a veil, and a Jew from wearing a yarmulke or visible talit katan (fringes) while teaching. This prevents a teacher from promoting a particular religion.
    http://www.aclupa.org/education/studentsrightsmanual/freedomofreligion/religiousclothingandaccess.htm
    I guess it just bothers me because I feel like rather than shutting down all references to religion on public property we should have balanced references to religion and let all religions who wish to put up a display for holidays or whatever else to do so. Banning all religious expression from public property seems like silencing people while encouring a balanced display of all traditions seems more like a free exchange of ideas and ultimately more tolerant.

  • The Other Jim

    “Opus dei” is my mispronounced “misled”-ism. I have no idea if it’s “day-ee” or “dee” or “dee-eye” or none of the above.
    Day-ee. I suddenly feel like John Cleese: “How many Romans are there?”

  • chris y

    “Opus dei” is my mispronounced “misled”-ism. I have no idea if it’s “day-ee” or “dee” or “dee-eye” or none of the above.
    If it’s Church Latin, pronouncing it exactly as if it was Italian is a reliable rule of thumb. Legal Latin is more complicated because well known phrases like “Hay-bee-us Corp-us” are always pronounced as if they were English, but with obscurer terms some people like to show off and use the Erasmian pronunciation that’s taught in schools that teach classical Latin.

  • http://www.kitwhitfield.com Kit Whitfield

    Banning all religious expression from public property seems like silencing people
    Not what that case was about. At all. It was about the use of public property effectively supporting a single religion as if it were the established religion of the nation. Did you actually read the article you linked to in total? The ACLU weren’t objecting to religious expression, they were objecting to religious establishment. Two different things. They’re for the former in appropriate contexts and against the latter. So should you be: if America had an established religion, it’s very unlikely it would be Episcopalianism. You’d find your religion treated as lesser than the established one.
    And holidays have nothing to do with it; that ‘memorial’ was a permanent set-up, not a seasonal one. I know you’ve objected to what you considered rude language in an atheist’s Christmas sign before now – which was actually put up alongside a Christian sign in the kind of ‘balance’ you’re talking about – but this situation is not that situation, and transplanting feelings from the one to the other is going to confuse the issue. The same applies to whether or not teachers, who are supposed to represent a non-denominational system and be equally approachable to students of all faiths, should be allowed to wear religious insignia while they’ve got their teacher hats on: it’s a totally different situation.* Deciding on one based on feelings about the others is like judging Peter based on feelings about Paul.
    Every case should be examined on its own merits, not fudged with others. That’s the essence of justice: judging wisely requires understanding the fine distinctions.
    *And blaming the ACLU for that is unreasonable: the ACLU is simply quoting Pennsylvania law. That’s the state’s law, not their own. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  • MadGastronomer

    Jason, it’s never a balanced representation. There are always more Christians available to work on and throw money at such a display, and many of them have some sort of point of pride about having the biggest, shiniest display. Besides, anyone can put up such displays on public land, why on earth should they use public land?
    And the Pennsylvania ACLU page does not say the ACLU (particularly not as a whole, that’s one state) is involved in any actual cases regarding the wearing of crosses, it merely states Pennsylvania law. I request that you find a better example of it if you wish to justify your claim that the ACLU is draconian and wants to prevent teachers from wearing crosses.

  • lonespark

    I guess it just bothers me because I feel like rather than shutting down all references to religion on public property we should have balanced references to religion and let all religions who wish to put up a display for holidays or whatever else to do so.
    But then how is your objection to the behavior of the ACLU? They are trying to ensure that the law is equally enforced. They didn’t make the law. (They certainly may have lobbied to get it passed, but it’s not like there weren’t other interest groups involved and the ultimate responsibilty is the legislators’.)

  • lonespark

    The school uniform thing in the ACLUPA FAQ is interesting. Which faiths prohibit the wearing of uniforms? I think Anabaptists do, which makes it kind of weird that PA has that law, but then maybe the devout ones aren’t in regular schools anyway?

  • Froborr

    But then how is your objection to the behavior of the ACLU? They are trying to ensure that the law is equally enforced. They didn’t make the law. (They certainly may have lobbied to get it passed, but it’s not like there weren’t other interest groups involved and the ultimate responsibilty is the legislators’.)

    Unless the Pennsylvania ACLU is *very* different from the national and DC-area branches (which is entirely possible, of course), I find it much more likely they lobbied *against* a law banning teachers from wearing religious symbols.

  • http://beckyandeli.blogspot.com/ Becky

    I just want to thank you for referring to the “Protestant 10 Commandments”. I admit that the phrase “10 Commandments” is standard, but the actual ten as listed vary between Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. It drives me up a damn wall that people pushing for these monuments won’t admit that they are specifically establishing Protestant Christianity.
    (Not to mention the people who insist that we’d be a better country if we all just followed the 10 Commandments. Really? Not honoring the Sabbath is what broke this place?)

  • lonespark

    Ah, yeah, you’re probably right on that one. I kind of didn’t corral all my thoughts.

  • Froborr

    Not to mention that Jews don’t have ten commandments, but hundreds, which are split into ten broad categories.
    Actually, that was something I noticed about the ACLUPA FAQ — it is not, actually, against the law to put up the Ten Commandments in a classroom, *if* it has a secular educational purpose and other religions are treated equally. For example, my high school comparitive religions class was so covered in posters it was basically wallpaper: a list of the Muslim prophets, the Protestant 10 Commandments, a couple of Sephiroth diagrams, Zeus’ family tree, a chart of Hindu gods, the Eightfold Path, and a bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting.
    Man, that teacher was awesome. I haven’t thought about him in years.

  • Froborr

    Sorry, I think I was a little unclear: I meant that I noticed the ACLUPA FAQ got that wrong. I’m starting to think ACLUPA may need a little brush-up on the case law there.
    Still, have to keep in mind that the purpose of the FAQ is *not* to list ACLUPA’s objectives, but to let students know what rights they do and don’t have in the public schools. Very different purposes, if the ACLU is seeking to change a particular right.

  • lonespark

    Teaching comparative religion sounds like my dream job.

  • Tricksterson, Pastor of the Church of St. Henson

    test

  • Tricksterson, Pastor of the Church of St. Henson

    Okay, typepad was blocking me. Grrr, bad Typepad, no crocodile!

  • Tricksterson, Pastor of the Church of St. Henson

    Okay, here’s what I was trying to say:
    Who knew Joe bob Briggs had a serious side? Or a deep and intelligent one?
    The only thing in regards to school prayer I have no objection to is the iidea of a “moment of silence” because you can think whatever you want to (and in 7th-12th grades it would more likely be contemplating how to get to first, second or whatever base with fillintheblank than anything else). But that, I’m sure wouldn’t be enough for most people who want prayer back because it’s not about their right to pray, it’s about their right to push their version of prayer down other people’s throats.
    On public monuments I would be equally happy with either all (Go ahead, put your cross right there, between the Muslim crecent and the Star of David, right in front of the Buddh statue and across from the pentagram and i think jason is sincere when he says he’d be happy with that too) or nothing. Nothing is simpler and easier but all would be lots more fun.

  • Dash

    Others have taken Jason to task on this, so “what Kit said,” “what Froborr said,” “what Mad Gastronomer said,” etc.
    In addition to what you have all pointed out–that it requires a downright Palinesque misreading to mistake the statement “Pennsylvania law says X” in what’s identified as a “Student Manual” for the statement, “We think X should be the case”–I’d like to add that, on that very page, to the right, we find the “ACLU Opinion.” Here is what it says: “The ACLU argues that every school uniform policy must give parents and students a choice to opt out if they want to, for religious or other reasons. You have a right to a public school education, and it shouldn’t hinge on whether you obey a uniform policy or not.”
    Sounds like the ACLU is leaning very strongly in precisely the opposite direction from what Jason was saying.

  • hapax

    Jason, I understand what you are saying about a teacher wearing a cross (or a hijab, or pentagram, etc.). I used to customarily wear a cross at all times. I still do, sometimes, tucked under my shirt.
    But not anymore.
    *I am a government employee.* It is my job, paid for by tax money, to accessible to ALL people who have a question at the public library. Suppose a Muslim gentleman, or a Wiccan, etc. came up to the reference desk, saw my cross, and hesitated even for just a moment — “If I ask this, will she think I am a terrorist? A Satanist? Maybe I had better not ask…” I have failed at my job.
    This would be a thousand times more true if I were a school teacher, with a captive audience of minors — already an unequal power relationship. How much more unfair to put even the tiniest burden upon a student of a different faith, or no faith, to make me that much less approachable?
    A city that is built upon a hill cannot be hid, and therefore may frighten people from coming near. Sometimes you have to put your light underneath a bushel, to avoid blinding people unfairly.

  • Froborr

    Yay, hapax is back!
    …Wow, say that 10 times fast.
    Anyway, hapax, you have an excellent point. I shall have to ponder my opinion on the issue.

  • http://wenzersaddictions.blogspot.com/ Wenzer

    Hi, hapax! :::waves:::

  • Jessica

    Hi hapax! we ♥ u!
    Glad you’re back!

  • hapax

    My goodness. I feel all warm and cuddled now.

  • Laima

    Also glad to see you back, hapax. Place isn’t the same without you.

  • Jessica

    I call dibs on being hapax’s friend on facebook (assuming she has a facebook account). =)

  • Hawker Hurricane

    Ahhh, good old Answers in Genesis. I live almost within walking distance of the Creation Museum, actually, assuming I don’t mind a day’s hike. I’ve never been; I suppose I could rustle up a few friends and head over there, but since all I’d end up doing is internal heckling it’s probably best that I don’t, actually.
    Speaking of this area, I remember a big scandal a few years ago where a church pastor was caught embezzling large amounts of church funds. Gather a large enough sample of people with religious (or non-religious) authority and it’s inevitable that at least one is only in it for the money. One of the unfortunate bits of human nature, really.
    Posted by: jmaccabeus |
    ——————————————–
    jmac, I live in walking* distance of the Institute for Creation Research and thier museum. I went with my Father, who has a Earth Sciences Masters. I pointed out thier errors in history, he pointed out thier science errors, and we stiffed them for the ‘donation’.
    *I can hike 30 miles. It’d take me a couple of days, but I could do it. I’d probably get arrested for vagrancy if I tried to camp out in downtown La Mesa, though.
    ==================================================
    i’ve always been puzzled by the “they took away our school prayer” meme. can you not pray silently? maybe before lunch in the caf? or before gym class?
    in fact, isn’t there a line in in bible about praying in privacy, because peeps who pray in public aren’t doing for the right reasons?
    do these people not read their own textbook?
    Posted by: Grenadine |
    ——————————
    But if the teacher doesn’t force them to pray, many students won’t pray. I know I wouldn’t.
    “As long as thier are math tests, thier will be prayer in school. Yes, studying works better, but it cuts into TV time.”
    =======================
    Cross as War Memorial (topic shift)
    In San Diego, on Mount Soledad, there is a concrete cross. A little history, from memory so details may be wrong:
    1913: Wooden cross is placed on Mt Soledad by church and dedicated on Easter Sunday. The land is unclaimed.
    1918: The cross is burned in brush fire. Replaced by same church in 1920, again dedicated on Easter Sunday.
    1933: Cross is burned by KKK.
    1935: New wooden Cross is placed by a different church. Again dedicated on Easter Sunday.
    1951: Cross blows down in high winds.
    1954: New wooden cross placed by 2nd church. Again dedicated on Easter Sunday.
    1955: Wooden cross replaced by concrete one. Dedicated once more on Easter Sunday. Marked on your AAA map as “Mount Soledad Easter Cross”. Annual church group Easter sunrise services held at cross from this date on.
    1981: Land is claimed by housing developer.
    1988: Attempted housing development fails, land is donated to city to dodge property taxes. City places park on land, including walkway to cross. City now owns cross.
    1989: Sued over cross on now city owned lands.
    1990: Church group claims cross is war memorial. Plaintiff points out that nothing nowhere calls it a war memorial. City sneaks in bronze plaque calling it a war memorial.
    1995: Church group astonished to find that the site has been reserved by a Athiest group for Easter Sunday sunrise, throw screaming fit over takeover of ‘thier’ site. This is the only year since 1955 that there was no Christian Easter Sunday Sunrise Service.
    2001: VFW holds Veterans Day ceremony at Cross. This is (to my knowledge) the ONLY time a veteran group has had ceremonies at the site.
    Now, I don’t know jack about the Mojave Cross, other than that the Obama Admin is fighting to keep it as a war memorial. I do know that the “Mount Soledad Easter Cross” wasn’t a war memorial until the city was sued for being in a public park.

  • jmaccabeus

    *I can hike 30 miles. It’d take me a couple of days, but I could do it. I’d probably get arrested for vagrancy if I tried to camp out in downtown La Mesa, though.

    That’s actually what I meant by walking distance in my case as well. A lot better for the environment than driving over would be, certainly (though for realistically getting there, a bus and/or bike would be what I’d actually use).
    And your history of the Mount Soledad cross reminds me far too much of that one castle from Monty Python. “It burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp.” I have such an odd mind sometimes…

  • Hawker Hurricane

    “Wherever two or more are gathered in credulous gullibility, a third will always show up to take their money.”
    This needs to be carved in stone, on libraries and courthouses. Or not. But it’s still great.
    Posted by: Murfyn |
    —————————
    Full quote from PT Barnum:
    “There’s a sucker born every minute, and two to take him.”
    ================================
    I guess it just bothers me because I feel like rather than shutting down all references to religion on public property we should have balanced references to religion and let all religions who wish to put up a display for holidays or whatever else to do so. Banning all religious expression from public property seems like silencing people while encouring a balanced display of all traditions seems more like a free exchange of ideas and ultimately more tolerant.
    Posted by: Jason
    ——————
    There is no law, and Constitutionally can be no law, banning religious expression on private property. So, if religious groups wish to put up a display on the holidays, I feel that they should be permitted to do so on the grounds of church of thier choice. Or perhaps on thier front lawns. Or on the property of a private business, if the owner permits/desires.
    ==========================
    Sorry, pet peeve.

  • Mike Wyatt

    The Other Jim: “Does anybody know how big fundgelicalism is in Oz?”
    It’s not small, but nowhere near as dominant as it seems to be in US. Australia is a very big geographic area with a very small population, mostly concentrated on the East coast in three cities each a thousand kilometres from the next. It’s hard for a religous, social or political movement to achieve critical mass, because there just isn’t the population to support it a lot of the time. We have a couple of hardcore fundie politicians, we have a rather conservative Anglican Archbishop here in Sydney (who was instrumental in forming the “We Won’t Go To Lambeth, We Might Get Cooties” GAFCON meeting last year), and I’d say it’s reasonable to say that there’s a fair conservative swing amongst the Anglican and Baptist churches I’ve been to around the place. But we also have liberal Christian churches who march in pride parades, and we have Mosques, Temples, Synagogues, Kingdom Halls and any number of other places of worship. It’s no surprise to me that Ken Ham went overseas – it’s where the money is. If even 5% of the population wants what he’s selling, that’s a target market of 1,000,000 in Australia vs 15,000,000 in the USA. With that increase in population comes better distribution models (cable TV wasn’t available here until the 90s, and even now it’s the exception rather than the rule, nationally syndicated radio shows are pretty much unknown, etc), so getting the product to that market is easier too.
    Hope that made some sense.

  • calenturian

    @The Other Jim: Well, Ham is from Australia, after all.
    Yeah, sorry about that. Quick, let’s all pretend he’s from New Zealand!
    Does anybody know how big fundagelicalism is in Oz?
    What Mike Wyatt said. We’ve got groups like Hillsong and the Exclusive Brethren, but they’re nowhere near as influential here (especially now that we don’t have a Prime Minister in bed with the EBs), and the more frothy fundamentalists get laughed at more than they get listened to. I can’t remember the last time anyone took Fred Nile seriously.
    Unfortunately the Labor government has to suck up to one of the hardcore fundies (Stephen Fielding, for those of you playing at home.) to get legislation through the Senate, but so far Fielding’s influence has been mostly limited to making a lot of noise about Internet filtering.

  • malpollyon

    Ah, the Exclusive Brethren. They believe fiercely in being “apolitical” to the point that they disobey our compulsory voting law and get fined every year. But for some reason this didn’t stop the church leadership from making secret donations to certain right-wing politicians. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

  • http://www.kitwhitfield.com Kit Whitfield

    Hey, hapax! Glad you’re back too; missed you. :-)

  • Tricksterson, Pastor of the Church of St. Henson

    At first reading the Soledad Cross history I wondered if something just didn’t want it there (doesn’t mention if First nations used it for anything or maybe the God of Concrete) but probably not. But why did the KKK burn it? I know, that’s what they do but usually they bring their own. Was it a black church that put up that one?

  • Dash

    Exclusive Brethren? Do they come right out and call themselves that in Australia? Because here in the U.S. they tend to call themselves “Christians.” (What that says about those other people who call themselves “Christians,” I leave to you.)
    And loud cheers on the return of hapax! We’ve missed you! Oh, how we have missed you!

  • Ms. Anon E. Mouse, Esq.

    Exclusive Brethrens exist in North America — I have number of friends who left those churches. They’re largely dying out, though, and have no significant voice in most communities. You’ll often see the churches still, though. They’re called “Gospel Halls” and they usually have scripture in front using the KJV.

  • random atheist

    Welcome back, hapax! I missed you, too.

  • Dash

    Exclusive Brethrens exist in North America — I have number of friends who left those churches.
    [waves at Ms. Anon E. Mouse, Esq.]
    They’re largely dying out, though, and have no significant voice in most communities. You’ll often see the churches still, though. They’re called “Gospel Halls” and they usually have scripture in front using the KJV.
    Also, occasionally “Gospel Chapels,” for the somewhat more liberal ones. (“Liberal” being an exceedingly relative term, when you’re talking about this bunch.)
    Ah, it takes me back, it does.

  • hagsrus

    Adding my voice to the Welcome Back, Hapax! brigade.

  • hagsrus

    Who asked me?
    Nobody, but
    I before e except after c does not include
    their (possessive of “they”)
    atheist (a=without plus theist)
    Apologies, but they make my pet Peeve start shedding.
    /who asked me

  • calenturian

    @Dash: Exclusive Brethren? Do they come right out and call themselves that in Australia?
    They certainly do. And Kevin Rudd came right out and called them an extremist cult that breaks up families, about three months before being elected Prime Minister :)

  • JM

    Right on, hagsrus. You’re not an “athiest” unless you’re the most athy.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    “I” before “E”, except after “C”,
    Or when sounded like “A”, as in “neighbor” and “weigh”,
    And on weekends and holidays, and all throughout May,
    And you’ll always be wrong no matter what you say.
    (Can’t recall source.)

  • Ms. Anon E. Mouse, Esq.

    @Dash
    No: Bible chapels are for “Open Brethren”
    The history of the Brethrens are full of schisms. In North America right now, the three major wings are Exclusive (Gospel Halls), Open (BIble Chapels) and Closed (I forget what their meetings are called). The open/closed/exclusive has to do with who’s allowed to take communion (and of course the fundie-ness of their theology). Within an exclusive or closed brethren church, you need to bring a letter from another exclusive or closed brethren church saying that you are a moral member in good standing to be able to take communion. Of course, you can’t take a letter from a closed brethren church to an exclusive brethren church or vice versa.

  • Chris

    “I speak fluent religious right with an authentic native accent.”
    I find this hard to believe.
    For example, you’ve said on more than one occasion that religious right people believe that beliefs are all that matter and that works don’t. In the churches that I’ve been in, I haven’t seen or heard anything of the kind.
    You have also castigated the religious right for assuming the worst in their opposition, based on not much more than “this is the way I see it, therefore it must be true.” But, you turn around and do the very same thing with the religious right. In your July 31st Tribulation Force piece, you wrote the following:
    “Sure, the fundraising letters of groups like the Alliance Defense Fund and the Rutherford Institute are filled with urban legends about preachers getting accused of slander against sinners, but everyone writing and reading those pleas for money knows full well they’re just a bit of self-deluding nonsense repeated to help us feel persecuted and therefore better than our kitten-burning neighbors.”
    Unless you have something more than “I think this is ridiculous and false, therefore it is”, then all you’re doing is assuming the worst in them. You and the religious right have at least this much in common. You’re both starting from the position of “that side is a bunch of liars.”
    I like much of what you say, Fred, but I’m not convinced that you are as in touch with what’s going on with the religious right as you think you are.

  • LMM

    Unless you have something more than “I think this is ridiculous and false, therefore it is”, then all you’re doing is assuming the worst in them. You and the religious right have at least this much in common. You’re both starting from the position of “that side is a bunch of liars.”
    Err … IIRC, didn’t Fred mention that he had *written* some of those fundraising letters?

  • Hawker Hurricane

    But why did the KKK burn it? I know, that’s what they do but usually they bring their own. Was it a black church that put up that one?
    Posted by: Tricksterson
    ————————
    I think they were just too lazy to carry thier own wood up there.
    Oh, for more information (rather than my memory distortions), try

  • Hawker Hurricane
  • http://wenzersaddictions.blogspot.com/ Wenzer

    For example, you’ve said on more than one occasion that religious right people believe that beliefs are all that matter and that works don’t. In the churches that I’ve been in, I haven’t seen or heard anything of the kind.
    Um, pritnear every religious right person I’ve ever encountered believes that all that matters is faith and that works don’t matter, the whole “it’s by faith, not by works, that you are justified” thing taken to an extreme. I see an overemphasis on salvation and a near-total disregard for good works.
    Of course, that’s just my experience, YMMV.


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