David Barton is more influential than Jim Wallis

I am an evangelical Christian. So are David Barton, Tim LaHaye, Al Mohler and C. Peter Wagner.

Apart from our shared faith, there are very few opinions I share with those four men. Nearly all of what they have to say about church and state, pluralism, science, economics and social justice gives me the howling fantods. And yet it remains the case that all five of us are evangelical Christians.

I suppose I could just pretend that David Barton, Tim LaHaye, Al Mohler and C. Peter Wagner do not exist. That way whenever someone says, “You’re an evangelical? You mean like David Barton?” I could just tell them that no such person exists and therefore I would not have to be embarrassed by our kinship.

But, alas, that won’t work because it is not true. David Barton, sadly, does exist.

So maybe I could allow for their existence but pretend it doesn’t matter. I could just pretend that David Barton, Tim LaHaye, Al Mohler and C. Peter Wagner are insignificant fringe figures who exercise no influence among American evangelicals. That way whenever someone asks me about their views I could reassure them that such people are of no consequence, that their influence is just being exaggerated as a scary story told by a conspiracy of liberal bloggers out to make the rest of us evangelicals look silly.

That seems to be what Jim Wallis is doing here, and what Mark Pinsky is doing here. And it’s sort of what Jim Ball is doing here, although the deliberate obtuseness of that piece seems like an even effort at some even more cynical kind of “triangulation.”

But this doesn’t work either because this also is not true. David Barton, Bryan Fischer, Al Mohler and C. Peter Wagner are influential leaders, each with a large following. None of them represents all or even most of American evangelicalism, but each one is part of it — a significant part of it. This is undeniably true, so I just don’t understand what anyone thinks might be gained from trying to deny it.

Pinsky refers to Barton as a “splinter, marginal figure.” That is simply not accurate. Barton has become a staple of conservative cable news, talk radio, Christian radio and Republican campaigns. I wish it were the other way around, but David Barton has become more influential in American evangelicalism and in American politics than Jim Wallis has ever been.

That this fact is unpleasant does not make it untrue.

Rob Boston of Americans United posted a pretty sharp rebuke to Wallis, Pinsky, Ball and anyone else playing this weird game of trying to pretend away the existence, influence and agenda of the religious right.

There are people in this country who belong to fundamentalist Christian religious groups and who believe that they have the right (and perhaps the duty) to run your life.

That is a fact. These people exist. I’ll be spending some time with them this weekend at the Family Research Council’s “Values Voter Summit.”

It’s also a fact that some folks would like to pretend that these people don’t exist, or that they are a fringe group that can be easily dismissed. Some evangelicals are embarrassed by the antics of politically active, extreme fundamentalists, but instead of standing up to them, they’ve decided instead to criticize those of us who write about the Religious Right. …

Those of us who write about the Religious Right are not overreacting. Nor do we, as Wallis and Pinsky seem to think, believe that all evangelicals are theocrats. Indeed, we know that the theocratic wing is a minority – but we also know that a minority can have influence far beyond its numbers.

Christian Reconstructionists like the late Rousas John Rushdoony laid the intellectual groundwork for today’s Religious Right. Did everyone who read Rushdoony believe, as he did, that the U.S. government must operate under the Old Testament’s legal code? No. But I’ve attended enough Religious Right meetings and have heard enough demands for “biblical law” in America to know that these people are not fans of our secular government.

A fringe movement did not bring tens of thousands of people to a football stadium for Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer rally in August. A fringe movement did not remove three justices from the Iowa Supreme Court in 2010 because they voted for marriage equality. A fringe movement did not mobilize and pass anti-gay amendments in more than half of the states. A fringe movement did not mobilize fundamentalist churches and their congregants to push the Republican Party far to the right on social issues. A fringe movement did not pass anti-abortion laws across the nation,  intimidate public school science teachers into watering down the teaching of evolution and derail the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Religious Right did these things. It is a nationwide movement consisting of several large organizations backed by powerful television and radio ministries. It collects more than $1 billion annually in tax-free donations. Not all of its supporters are theocrats who burn to base American law on a narrow understanding of the Bible. But some certainly are. …

None of us believes that the United States is on the verge of becoming a Christian fundamentalist theocracy out of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but we realize that what could happen (and indeed is happening) is bad enough: Your gay neighbors lose their rights. A girl who has been raped finds it difficult to get a legal abortion. Your tax money is plowed into religious schools that teach things you find offensive. A giant cross is erected in a public park. Your kid gets a lousy science education in public school.

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  • http://twitter.com/mattmcirvin Matt McIrvin

    It’s not just evangelicals; I see a lot of this from libertarian-leaning people who usually vote Republican.  They don’t subscribe to any of the religious right’s values, and in fact are often atheists; but they respond to the prominence of hateful religious-right figures in the conservative movement by arguing that they’re not really that influential and liberals are just inflating them into boogeymen (to the extent of arguing that people like Bryan Fischer would be nonentities if it weren’t for outraged liberals giving them free publicity).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I think it’s because a lot of them secretly don’t care one way or another what happens to gay people or women. They get something else out of the whole thing — low taxes, subsidies for their own interests, whatever — and don’t mind if some other person gets screwed over. Some of them might believe that Bryan Fisher doesn’t really exist or that he isn’t really “one of them” but I think most of them really don’t care what he does as long as he stays away from them personally.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I think it’s because a lot of them secretly don’t care one way or another what happens to gay people or women. They get something else out of the whole thing — low taxes, subsidies for their own interests, whatever — and don’t mind if some other person gets screwed over. Some of them might believe that Bryan Fisher doesn’t really exist or that he isn’t really “one of them” but I think most of them really don’t care what he does as long as he stays away from them personally.

    Same thing happens on the other side. I know plenty of people who consider themselves progressives because of their social views, but they aren’t bothered much about economic justice. They’re not raving right-wingers; they just don’t think income inequality is a big deal. To the extent that they do care about economic matters, their concerns covers the middle class* not the nearly and actually destitute. And so centre left parties become more and more socially progressive parties for the middle class, leaving those of us who are genuine social demomrats to choose between being the ignored extreme of a centrist party of throwing the towel in and joining up with quasi-socialists.

    *Point of clarification for an international audience: as I hear it, the middle class in Amercia is considered to be small and pretty screwed. Here the middle class is large and doing very well, thank you (not that you could tell from the whinging).

  • http://twitter.com/mattmcirvin Matt McIrvin

    It’s not just evangelicals; I see a lot of this from libertarian-leaning people who usually vote Republican.  They don’t subscribe to any of the religious right’s values, and in fact are often atheists; but they respond to the prominence of hateful religious-right figures in the conservative movement by arguing that they’re not really that influential and liberals are just inflating them into boogeymen (to the extent of arguing that people like Bryan Fischer would be nonentities if it weren’t for outraged liberals giving them free publicity).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I think it’s because a lot of them secretly don’t care one way or another what happens to gay people or women. They get something else out of the whole thing — low taxes, subsidies for their own interests, whatever — and don’t mind if some other person gets screwed over. Some of them might believe that Bryan Fisher doesn’t really exist or that he isn’t really “one of them” but I think most of them really don’t care what he does as long as he stays away from them personally.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I think it’s because a lot of them secretly don’t care one way or another what happens to gay people or women. They get something else out of the whole thing — low taxes, subsidies for their own interests, whatever — and don’t mind if some other person gets screwed over. Some of them might believe that Bryan Fisher doesn’t really exist or that he isn’t really “one of them” but I think most of them really don’t care what he does as long as he stays away from them personally.

    Same thing happens on the other side. I know plenty of people who consider themselves progressives because of their social views, but they aren’t bothered much about economic justice. They’re not raving right-wingers; they just don’t think income inequality is a big deal. To the extent that they do care about economic matters, their concerns covers the middle class* not the nearly and actually destitute. And so centre left parties become more and more socially progressive parties for the middle class, leaving those of us who are genuine social demomrats to choose between being the ignored extreme of a centrist party of throwing the towel in and joining up with quasi-socialists.

    *Point of clarification for an international audience: as I hear it, the middle class in Amercia is considered to be small and pretty screwed. Here the middle class is large and doing very well, thank you (not that you could tell from the whinging).

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    None of us believes that the United States is on the verge of becoming a Christian fundamentalist theocracy out of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but we realize that what could happen (and indeed is happening) is bad enough

    That was actually the concept behind my poorly-executed second NaNoWriMo novel.  I wanted to explore the question of how bad – short of some dystopian fundamentalist theocracy – things would have to be in order for a majority of people to realize that it was bad enough.  It was a delicate balance that I wasn’t able to achieve, and I veered too far towards the extreme end of things.
    Still, it’s an important question for all of the theocratic apologiests.  How bad does it have to get in order for you to recognize that it’s bad?
    And, more to the point of this post, how much influence does a “fringe” element have to exert before you even admit that such an element exists in the first place, let alone that it’s not so “fringe” as you’d like to think?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    None of us believes that the United States is on the verge of becoming a Christian fundamentalist theocracy out of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but we realize that what could happen (and indeed is happening) is bad enough

    That was actually the concept behind my poorly-executed second NaNoWriMo novel.  I wanted to explore the question of how bad – short of some dystopian fundamentalist theocracy – things would have to be in order for a majority of people to realize that it was bad enough.  It was a delicate balance that I wasn’t able to achieve, and I veered too far towards the extreme end of things.
    Still, it’s an important question for all of the theocratic apologiests.  How bad does it have to get in order for you to recognize that it’s bad?
    And, more to the point of this post, how much influence does a “fringe” element have to exert before you even admit that such an element exists in the first place, let alone that it’s not so “fringe” as you’d like to think?

  • Anonymous

    I’m not denying that people like Barton are influential or that their influence is definitely Not a Good Thing. But I wonder, should we let labels be dictated by popular opinion. Say (e.g.) a bunch of people registered as Democrats but did not really hold traditional Democratic positions? If enough of them registered, it would be conceivable that the majority of “Democrats” would think abortion should be illegal or that private school vouchers were a good thing or that unionization was killing the American dream or some other such belief that goes against what Democrats usually hold to. 

    But I think the natural response wouldn’t be that Democrats were suddenly pro-life; it would be that those people weren’t really Democrats. Similarly, I would hope that the evangelical movement has core beliefs and texts and “philosophers” that define what it means to be one. If you don’t accept what they say, that’s your right but you may not be a good evangelical. It then becomes the responsibility of *true* evangelicals to call the posers out and insist: these people may be using our name, but they’re not really what we stand for at all.

  • hapax

    But I think the natural response wouldn’t be that Democrats were
    suddenly pro-life; it would be that those people weren’t really
    Democrats.

    This would be true if there were some abstract transcendent ideal of “Democrat” that we could measure each registrant against.  But there isn’t.  Indeed, USian political parties are a particularly BAD example of such a notion, considering that historically the Republican party was founded on a radical anti-slavery program, while the Democratic party was the staunch defender of “states rights”.

    And even in your own post — personally, I would love it if a huge number of people who self-identify as “pro-life” would join me in working to abolish the death penalty, advocate for peace, promote universal access to health care and a living wage, etc.  If that happened, “pro-life” would no longer be an oxymoron meaning “pro-forced-pregnancy”, and would become a label that I would be proud to bear without constantly explaining it.

    I think Fred Clark is trying to do the same for “evangelical Christian” — return it to mean “one who proclaims the Good News”.

  • Anonymous

    melayton —

    But let’s say our hypothetical anti-abortion, pro-vouchers, anti-union Democrats became so successful that they end up being the majority of Democrats in Congress and in state and local legislatures throughout the country. Would it be fair to insist then that people  not judge the Democratic Party by them? You’re right when it comes to smaller situations, but if 40 – 45% of evangelicals agree with Barton, etc. then those beliefs do become at least some part of the evangelical movement. (That’s not to say that people who disagree with them can’t also claim the label or that they can’t insist that the others don’t stand for  what they see as the truth, but they can’t pretend as if it’s some kind of trick).

    I think this might also be an issue with Protestantism in general. As I understand it, there isn’t a single Pope or Vatican or even a list of guidelines and regulations (outside of the Bible) that outside observers can look at to determine what it means to be an evangelical Christian. It seems like a label of self-identification, which makes the whole, “if you don’t accept these specific beliefs and ‘philosophers’ then you might not be a very good evangelical” really difficult.

  • Anonymous

     

    But I think the natural response wouldn’t be that Democrats were
    suddenly pro-life; it would be that those people weren’t really
    Democrats.

    I think this is the wrong way to approach it.  If a bunch of conservatives called themselves Democrats (and this is already happening since nobody wants the taint of GWB), it changes the definition of what Democrat means.  When a group gets big enough and diverse enough, then you end up with sub-groups with new labels.  If there is too much disagreement, then they will split into distinct groups with different names, and a new group with a new name may end up having the same positions as an older version of the group they split off from.  This happens with religion all the time, which is why we have so many denominations in almost every religion that is more than a few decades old.  It can be a little confusing, but it would be even more confusing for outsiders to use one term while the group members call themselves something different.

    Nobody really has a specific claim to any of these terms.  You can’t say that the version that exist in 2011 or the version that existed in 1960 is the One True Version and any deviation from that doesn’t get to use the label.  Every group and label changes with time.  It’s better to view the group as changing than to view it as someone stealing a label from someone else.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not denying that people like Barton are influential or that their influence is definitely Not a Good Thing. But I wonder, should we let labels be dictated by popular opinion. Say (e.g.) a bunch of people registered as Democrats but did not really hold traditional Democratic positions? If enough of them registered, it would be conceivable that the majority of “Democrats” would think abortion should be illegal or that private school vouchers were a good thing or that unionization was killing the American dream or some other such belief that goes against what Democrats usually hold to. 

    But I think the natural response wouldn’t be that Democrats were suddenly pro-life; it would be that those people weren’t really Democrats. Similarly, I would hope that the evangelical movement has core beliefs and texts and “philosophers” that define what it means to be one. If you don’t accept what they say, that’s your right but you may not be a good evangelical. It then becomes the responsibility of *true* evangelicals to call the posers out and insist: these people may be using our name, but they’re not really what we stand for at all.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not denying that people like Barton are influential or that their influence is definitely Not a Good Thing. But I wonder, should we let labels be dictated by popular opinion. Say (e.g.) a bunch of people registered as Democrats but did not really hold traditional Democratic positions? If enough of them registered, it would be conceivable that the majority of “Democrats” would think abortion should be illegal or that private school vouchers were a good thing or that unionization was killing the American dream or some other such belief that goes against what Democrats usually hold to. 

    But I think the natural response wouldn’t be that Democrats were suddenly pro-life; it would be that those people weren’t really Democrats. Similarly, I would hope that the evangelical movement has core beliefs and texts and “philosophers” that define what it means to be one. If you don’t accept what they say, that’s your right but you may not be a good evangelical. It then becomes the responsibility of *true* evangelicals to call the posers out and insist: these people may be using our name, but they’re not really what we stand for at all.

  • hapax

    But I think the natural response wouldn’t be that Democrats were
    suddenly pro-life; it would be that those people weren’t really
    Democrats.

    This would be true if there were some abstract transcendent ideal of “Democrat” that we could measure each registrant against.  But there isn’t.  Indeed, USian political parties are a particularly BAD example of such a notion, considering that historically the Republican party was founded on a radical anti-slavery program, while the Democratic party was the staunch defender of “states rights”.

    And even in your own post — personally, I would love it if a huge number of people who self-identify as “pro-life” would join me in working to abolish the death penalty, advocate for peace, promote universal access to health care and a living wage, etc.  If that happened, “pro-life” would no longer be an oxymoron meaning “pro-forced-pregnancy”, and would become a label that I would be proud to bear without constantly explaining it.

    I think Fred Clark is trying to do the same for “evangelical Christian” — return it to mean “one who proclaims the Good News”.

  • Anonymous

    melayton —

    But let’s say our hypothetical anti-abortion, pro-vouchers, anti-union Democrats became so successful that they end up being the majority of Democrats in Congress and in state and local legislatures throughout the country. Would it be fair to insist then that people  not judge the Democratic Party by them? You’re right when it comes to smaller situations, but if 40 – 45% of evangelicals agree with Barton, etc. then those beliefs do become at least some part of the evangelical movement. (That’s not to say that people who disagree with them can’t also claim the label or that they can’t insist that the others don’t stand for  what they see as the truth, but they can’t pretend as if it’s some kind of trick).

    I think this might also be an issue with Protestantism in general. As I understand it, there isn’t a single Pope or Vatican or even a list of guidelines and regulations (outside of the Bible) that outside observers can look at to determine what it means to be an evangelical Christian. It seems like a label of self-identification, which makes the whole, “if you don’t accept these specific beliefs and ‘philosophers’ then you might not be a very good evangelical” really difficult.

  • Anonymous

     

    But I think the natural response wouldn’t be that Democrats were
    suddenly pro-life; it would be that those people weren’t really
    Democrats.

    I think this is the wrong way to approach it.  If a bunch of conservatives called themselves Democrats (and this is already happening since nobody wants the taint of GWB), it changes the definition of what Democrat means.  When a group gets big enough and diverse enough, then you end up with sub-groups with new labels.  If there is too much disagreement, then they will split into distinct groups with different names, and a new group with a new name may end up having the same positions as an older version of the group they split off from.  This happens with religion all the time, which is why we have so many denominations in almost every religion that is more than a few decades old.  It can be a little confusing, but it would be even more confusing for outsiders to use one term while the group members call themselves something different.

    Nobody really has a specific claim to any of these terms.  You can’t say that the version that exist in 2011 or the version that existed in 1960 is the One True Version and any deviation from that doesn’t get to use the label.  Every group and label changes with time.  It’s better to view the group as changing than to view it as someone stealing a label from someone else.

  • Albanaeon

    Oh, I think self-serving interest is at the heart of a lot of the current Repub party.  The fiscal conservatives need the large voting bloc that the social conservatives represent.  The social conservatives need the more sophisticated and better funding that fiscals bring.  Libertarians normally don’t have anything in common with the social conservatives, but if they are voting for more free market, than they don’t see anything against allying with them.  Particularly when most Libertarians seem to think that somehow they’ll have enough money and or power in their utopia that whatever freedom destroying idiocies the socials get through, it won’t effect them.  So you’ve got one group that doesn’t think or care about the consequences of their action and another that thinks they’ll be immune supporting a small group of very wealthy, very greedy people.  And it worked, for a while.  But a generation of this has had the two groups interbreeding and bottle fed a steady diet of fact free misinformation, and voila, we have the Teaparty.  It doesn’t know anything about governing or the world or really reality, but it knows guvmint is bad, taxes teh devil, and they are an oppressed minority.  So all they can do is lash out and try to bring down everyone.  They, as a group or individual, could barely be trusted to a lemonade stand, much less the reigns of government.

    And the sad thing is that I think the Repub leadership knows this, but either can’t or won’t do anything to change it because their base would devour them.  Reminds me of a old Chinese legend.  A man thought it would be great to ride a tiger, and after much trying, finally succeeded.  While it granted him respect and power he wanted, he could never get off the tiger, because it would tear him apart.

  • Matri

    And the sad thing is that I think the Repub leadership knows this, but
    either can’t or won’t do anything to change it because their base would
    devour them.

    I agree. They’ve built their entire power base on this. It has reached critical mass, they can’t stop it now or it will implode the entire party.

    I suspect it will take at least a couple of generations to cure, when their descendants educate themselves out of the dark age imposed by these people.

  • Albanaeon

    Oh, I think self-serving interest is at the heart of a lot of the current Repub party.  The fiscal conservatives need the large voting bloc that the social conservatives represent.  The social conservatives need the more sophisticated and better funding that fiscals bring.  Libertarians normally don’t have anything in common with the social conservatives, but if they are voting for more free market, than they don’t see anything against allying with them.  Particularly when most Libertarians seem to think that somehow they’ll have enough money and or power in their utopia that whatever freedom destroying idiocies the socials get through, it won’t effect them.  So you’ve got one group that doesn’t think or care about the consequences of their action and another that thinks they’ll be immune supporting a small group of very wealthy, very greedy people.  And it worked, for a while.  But a generation of this has had the two groups interbreeding and bottle fed a steady diet of fact free misinformation, and voila, we have the Teaparty.  It doesn’t know anything about governing or the world or really reality, but it knows guvmint is bad, taxes teh devil, and they are an oppressed minority.  So all they can do is lash out and try to bring down everyone.  They, as a group or individual, could barely be trusted to a lemonade stand, much less the reigns of government.

    And the sad thing is that I think the Repub leadership knows this, but either can’t or won’t do anything to change it because their base would devour them.  Reminds me of a old Chinese legend.  A man thought it would be great to ride a tiger, and after much trying, finally succeeded.  While it granted him respect and power he wanted, he could never get off the tiger, because it would tear him apart.

  • Matri

    And the sad thing is that I think the Repub leadership knows this, but
    either can’t or won’t do anything to change it because their base would
    devour them.

    I agree. They’ve built their entire power base on this. It has reached critical mass, they can’t stop it now or it will implode the entire party.

    I suspect it will take at least a couple of generations to cure, when their descendants educate themselves out of the dark age imposed by these people.

  • Anonymous

    “But I think the natural response wouldn’t be that Democrats were
    suddenly pro-life; it would be that those people weren’t really
    Democrats.”

    Which would be reasonable, until such people had succeeded in changing the core of the Democratic Party.   Which is what happened to the GOP.

  • Anonymous

    “But I think the natural response wouldn’t be that Democrats were
    suddenly pro-life; it would be that those people weren’t really
    Democrats.”

    Which would be reasonable, until such people had succeeded in changing the core of the Democratic Party.   Which is what happened to the GOP.

  • Anonymous

    And the
    sad thing is that I think the Repub leadership knows this, but either
    can’t or won’t do anything to change it because their base would devour
    them.  Reminds me of a old Chinese legend.  A man thought it would be
    great to ride a tiger, and after much trying, finally succeeded.  While
    it granted him respect and power he wanted, he could never get off the
    tiger, because it would tear him apart.

    That’s a really good metaphor. I do think that the balance of power isn’t as rigid as it is with the tiger. Evangelical Christians, like many voters, don’t really have too many options (at least on the federal level). Remember, it was the Democrats (Jimmy Carter) who first mobilized them as a modern political force. They only switched over to the Republicans after he fell out of favor. Just as the GOP knows that it has to keep the conservative evangelical crowd appeased in order to have enough support for the rest of their agenda, the conservative evangelicals know that they have to back the right-wing economic policies in order to keep their influence (the GOP leadership wouldn’t put up with them for long if they started supporting things like a ‘debt jubilee’ or a larger welfare state).

    (If you think about it, why should being a religious fundamentalist automatically mean that you’re against welfare programs? Why should someone who is anti-gay marriage also have to be against inheritance taxes? What does being pro-life have to do with global warming skepticism? Those things all shouldn’t be as inextricably linked as they are in our political system.)

  • Albanaeon

    I think it has something to do with politics often being treated like a sporting match.  Analysis based towards how can candidate a can win such and so voter with policies x and y.  My guys are won so that means we are better.  The ultimate (I hope…) expression of this is the Republicans stated goal is to make sure that Obama is a one term president.  That is not governing, that’s just wanting to go ‘nyah, nyah.”  And the media is terrible about this.  I heard more how Obama’s job bill was a ploy to regrab the progressives.  Asking if it will generate jobs, not so much.  And most of that was with whatever talking head happened to be nearest.  So a real analysis, pros and cons, if the damn thing will even work?  Nope, just a lot on how this effects Obama’s reelection chances and what the Repubs are going to do to stop it. 

    As long as we win seems the modus operandi of the day…

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    (If you think about it, why should being a religious fundamentalist automatically mean that you’re against welfare programs? Why should someone who is anti-gay marriage also have to be against inheritance taxes? What does being pro-life have to do with global warming skepticism? Those things all shouldn’t be as inextricably linked as they are in our political system.)

    They shouldn’t. And in many places and for many people, they aren’t.

    America is unusual among developed countries for the degree to which libertarian economic views are held among the public, and also to the degree to which religion is invoked in the political sphere. Those two things seemed to have become intertwined at some point.

    They certainly weren’t always. I heard a story about one of the early American travelling evangelists (Charles Finney, maybe?) who pretty much invented the altar call. When you went up the front to say you were giving your life to Jesus you were taken aside and shown two lists. One was people signed up to provide material support to the anti-slavey movement; the other was people signed up to provide material support to the women’s suffrage movement. If you said you didn’t want to join either the guy suggested that you weren’t really prepared to give your life to Jesus just yet.

  • Anonymous

    “America is unusual among developed countries for the degree to which
    libertarian economic views are held among the public, and also to the
    degree to which religion is invoked in the political sphere. Those two
    things seemed to have become intertwined at some point.”

    True, but nonetheless I think that intertwinings can cast light on what people think is actually important. 

    For example, we would expect that someone who believes that life begins at conception and therefore that abortion is murder to be enthusiastically supportive of contraception.  After all, the surest way to prevent an abortion is to prevent an unwanted pregnancy in the first place.  Yet we typically (albeit not inevitably) see just the opposite:  those who are most loudly proclaiming themselves “pro-life” are also working hardest to restrict contraception.  What do abortions and contraception have in common? Sex.  So I infer that the “pro-life” crowd by and large is far more concerned about sex than life.

    The previous poster asked “why should being a religious fundamentalist automatically mean that you’re against welfare programs?”  Biblical Christianity pounds incessantly on the topic of economic justice and concern for the poor.  Yet self-described “Biblical Christians” tend to be indifferent, or even actively hostile, to such concerns.  From this I infer that these “Biblical Christians” are not particularly interested in, or are even actively hostile to, Biblical Christianity.

  • Daughter

    I would also add that in the U.S., it tends to be white evangelicals who are the most vocally opposed to economic justice (on average).  There are many, many evangelicals of color in the U.S. who have are both socially conservative and economically liberal.

  • Mark Z.

    FWIW, growing up I knew lots of evangelicals who were anti-abortion and pro-contraception. 

    What they were against, and this might be what you’re getting at with “working to restrict contraception”, was providing contraception (or information on it) through public schools. But this was more a feature of being against public schools in general. Public schools tell our children lies about evolution, they no longer lead them in mandatory prayers*, they don’t spank them, they expose them to all kinds of dangerous other children who are all in gangs and on drugs, and now they want to give out condoms, and really it would be best if we all pulled our kids out of school and homeschooled them (and then complained that we’re not getting our money’s worth from the government). The general complaint was that the school system interferes with the supposed right of parents to instill all of their own values in their children.

    Yet these people are quite capable of looking at, say, the Phelps family or the FLDS guys and seeing that sometimes parents have incredibly shitty values and need to be interfered with. They just have trouble with the more typical case of “your values are okay but not perfect, and we’d like your children to at least be aware of some other options”. It reads to them as “your values suck, and we are going to take your children and teach them not to be like you.”

    * not that this ever worked very well for anyone but a narrow band of mildly religious Protestants

  • Anonymous

    And the
    sad thing is that I think the Repub leadership knows this, but either
    can’t or won’t do anything to change it because their base would devour
    them.  Reminds me of a old Chinese legend.  A man thought it would be
    great to ride a tiger, and after much trying, finally succeeded.  While
    it granted him respect and power he wanted, he could never get off the
    tiger, because it would tear him apart.

    That’s a really good metaphor. I do think that the balance of power isn’t as rigid as it is with the tiger. Evangelical Christians, like many voters, don’t really have too many options (at least on the federal level). Remember, it was the Democrats (Jimmy Carter) who first mobilized them as a modern political force. They only switched over to the Republicans after he fell out of favor. Just as the GOP knows that it has to keep the conservative evangelical crowd appeased in order to have enough support for the rest of their agenda, the conservative evangelicals know that they have to back the right-wing economic policies in order to keep their influence (the GOP leadership wouldn’t put up with them for long if they started supporting things like a ‘debt jubilee’ or a larger welfare state).

    (If you think about it, why should being a religious fundamentalist automatically mean that you’re against welfare programs? Why should someone who is anti-gay marriage also have to be against inheritance taxes? What does being pro-life have to do with global warming skepticism? Those things all shouldn’t be as inextricably linked as they are in our political system.)

  • Albanaeon

    I think it has something to do with politics often being treated like a sporting match.  Analysis based towards how can candidate a can win such and so voter with policies x and y.  My guys are won so that means we are better.  The ultimate (I hope…) expression of this is the Republicans stated goal is to make sure that Obama is a one term president.  That is not governing, that’s just wanting to go ‘nyah, nyah.”  And the media is terrible about this.  I heard more how Obama’s job bill was a ploy to regrab the progressives.  Asking if it will generate jobs, not so much.  And most of that was with whatever talking head happened to be nearest.  So a real analysis, pros and cons, if the damn thing will even work?  Nope, just a lot on how this effects Obama’s reelection chances and what the Repubs are going to do to stop it. 

    As long as we win seems the modus operandi of the day…

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    (If you think about it, why should being a religious fundamentalist automatically mean that you’re against welfare programs? Why should someone who is anti-gay marriage also have to be against inheritance taxes? What does being pro-life have to do with global warming skepticism? Those things all shouldn’t be as inextricably linked as they are in our political system.)

    They shouldn’t. And in many places and for many people, they aren’t.

    America is unusual among developed countries for the degree to which libertarian economic views are held among the public, and also to the degree to which religion is invoked in the political sphere. Those two things seemed to have become intertwined at some point.

    They certainly weren’t always. I heard a story about one of the early American travelling evangelists (Charles Finney, maybe?) who pretty much invented the altar call. When you went up the front to say you were giving your life to Jesus you were taken aside and shown two lists. One was people signed up to provide material support to the anti-slavey movement; the other was people signed up to provide material support to the women’s suffrage movement. If you said you didn’t want to join either the guy suggested that you weren’t really prepared to give your life to Jesus just yet.

  • Anonymous

    “America is unusual among developed countries for the degree to which
    libertarian economic views are held among the public, and also to the
    degree to which religion is invoked in the political sphere. Those two
    things seemed to have become intertwined at some point.”

    True, but nonetheless I think that intertwinings can cast light on what people think is actually important. 

    For example, we would expect that someone who believes that life begins at conception and therefore that abortion is murder to be enthusiastically supportive of contraception.  After all, the surest way to prevent an abortion is to prevent an unwanted pregnancy in the first place.  Yet we typically (albeit not inevitably) see just the opposite:  those who are most loudly proclaiming themselves “pro-life” are also working hardest to restrict contraception.  What do abortions and contraception have in common? Sex.  So I infer that the “pro-life” crowd by and large is far more concerned about sex than life.

    The previous poster asked “why should being a religious fundamentalist automatically mean that you’re against welfare programs?”  Biblical Christianity pounds incessantly on the topic of economic justice and concern for the poor.  Yet self-described “Biblical Christians” tend to be indifferent, or even actively hostile, to such concerns.  From this I infer that these “Biblical Christians” are not particularly interested in, or are even actively hostile to, Biblical Christianity.

  • Daughter

    I would also add that in the U.S., it tends to be white evangelicals who are the most vocally opposed to economic justice (on average).  There are many, many evangelicals of color in the U.S. who have are both socially conservative and economically liberal.

  • Mark Z.

    FWIW, growing up I knew lots of evangelicals who were anti-abortion and pro-contraception. 

    What they were against, and this might be what you’re getting at with “working to restrict contraception”, was providing contraception (or information on it) through public schools. But this was more a feature of being against public schools in general. Public schools tell our children lies about evolution, they no longer lead them in mandatory prayers*, they don’t spank them, they expose them to all kinds of dangerous other children who are all in gangs and on drugs, and now they want to give out condoms, and really it would be best if we all pulled our kids out of school and homeschooled them (and then complained that we’re not getting our money’s worth from the government). The general complaint was that the school system interferes with the supposed right of parents to instill all of their own values in their children.

    Yet these people are quite capable of looking at, say, the Phelps family or the FLDS guys and seeing that sometimes parents have incredibly shitty values and need to be interfered with. They just have trouble with the more typical case of “your values are okay but not perfect, and we’d like your children to at least be aware of some other options”. It reads to them as “your values suck, and we are going to take your children and teach them not to be like you.”

    * not that this ever worked very well for anyone but a narrow band of mildly religious Protestants

  • Anonymous

    There are people in this country who belong to fundamentalist Christian religious groups and who believe that they have the right (and perhaps the duty) to run your life.

    Thank God for the progressives who want to determine what food my daughter may eat, what coat my wife may wear, and what mode or make of transportation I may use.  They want to dictate what kind of light bulb and laundry detergent we may buy.  They want to prohibit me from owning a gun or using a fireplace.  They want to take more of my earnings and they want to dictate what form of health care we are allowed to have.  But at least they’re willing to stay out of my bedroom — for now.

  • P J Evans

     Citations or it’s all propaganda. You’ve bitched about these before, and it’s been pointed out that those aren’t happening.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Thank God for the progressives who want to determine what food my
    daughter may eat, what coat my wife may wear, and what mode or make
    of transportation I may use.  They want to dictate what kind of light
    bulb and laundry detergent we may buy.  They want to prohibit me from
    owning a gun or using a fireplace.  They want to take more of my
    earnings and they want to dictate what form of health care we are
    allowed to have.  But at least they’re willing to stay out of my bedroom
    — for now.

    If you were anyone but aunursa, I’d assume you were doing this ironically, or to make some point about what the conservatives think liberals are doing.  Sadly, I’m forced to assume you actually believe that regulating foodstuffs and encouraging people to eat healthy is some sort of terrible government plot.  And I’m forced to assume that you think that we’re about to give political power to the “fur is murder” people.  And I’m forced to assume you’re one of those people who actually believes Barack Obama’s complete lack of movement to take away guns is actually part of his super seekrit plot to take away all the gunz and enslave everyone in a soshulist paradice.

    Also, too, fireplace?  What the fuck?  And where the hell are you getting regulated out of purchasing your preferred flavor of Tide?

    And, for the last goddamn time, getting rid of incandescent lightbulbs IS NOT A BIG FUCKING DEAL.  They’re better for the environment as long as they’re disposed of properly.  They use 1/4 the power of incandescent bulbs.  They give off more natural light.  It’s like government regulations to force people to wear seat belts.  Your personal freedom to kill yourself and the occupants of your car have been taken away.  Gee, damn.  Get the fuck over yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    Don’t you read headlines?  The Obama administration is accused of GIVING AWAY guns, not taking them.  Why this doesn’t please you, I’ll never know.

  • Albanaeon

    You know, I was about to go on about how the lightbulb industry itself had lobbied for the standards your complaining about or how the market itself is demanding more efficient vehicle and such, but fuck it.  Yes aunursa, us evil liberals are out to take away your rights.  And you know what, I, as a liberal, have zero sympathy for you and your rights.  Because quite frankly, if we were to give aunursa all the freedoms, then we cut into ours.  Complain as you will about Tide and cars and fireplaces, I want to see my son grow up in a less polluted world.  Say what you will about your daughter’s nutrition, but I don’t want my health care costs raised because of it.  If you want your wife feel all great wearing fur, fine.  But I don’t care because I don’t want an inherently cruel and pointless industry in my world and am going to do everything in my power. 

    Speak all you want about freedoms, but when they start infringing on my rights, the rights of my family, or even the innocents around you, damn straight I am going to make sure you don’t have those rights.  They hurt me, they hurt mine, and they damned hurt you in the end.  So go ahead an whine about how horrible the world is, but do it quietly.  We’re going to make this world a better place whether you like it or not.

  • Apocalypse Review

    aunursa: I normally don’t address posts directly to you. However, this latest example of your reiteration of demonstrably exaggerated depictions of Democratic party ideals as well as expressions of privilege, moves me to want to address this piece by piece because it is so demonstrably incorrect.

    determine what food my
    daughter may eat

    I hope you’re not seriously agitating for the relaxation of food safety standards that keep food manufacturers from adulterating said food.

    what coat my wife may wear

    This is completely absurd. While some animal rights activists have agitated against the use of real live animal furs for coats, by and large the only regulations I can find that are actually employed have to do with minimum occupational health and safety standards for textile factories.

    If you are referring to the use of trade preferences to change the relative prices of imported textiles versus domestic, that’s not a direct determination; that’s simply a political decision made which alters who benefits economically (and let’s not pretend that the “free market” is a value neutral optimum; it is as much a political decision to run an economy that way and direct rewards as it is to intervene in said economy), but in the end it simply affects the relative prices of certain clothes with respect to one another.

    and what mode or make
    of transportation I may use.

    Again, this is an absurd overstatement.

    What people are proposing are taxes that change the relative prices of automotive transport versus public transportation. Or, for that matter, subsidies that would benefit public transit riders over car users, on the rather sensible principle that effective mass transit programs would cut down traffic congestion and pollution, and therefore, fuel usage.

    I’ve noted that in Europe, even for all its mass transit, a sizable portion of the population still owns cars. Consider Germany, for example – many Germans like to drive, and no German government would seriously consider restricting car usage.

    Germany is also a lot more ‘socialist’ than the USA has ever been or currently is – and I mean West Germany, by the way.

    They want to dictate what kind of light
    bulb and laundry detergent we may buy.

    No, they just want to require that light bulbs meet certain efficiency standards. Incandescent bulbs will still be available; they’ll just likely cost more since it’s harder to engineer them to meet the standard than it does halogens and fluorescents.

    Laundry detergent? You can’t be seriously suggesting that mandating low-phosphate detergents is a bad idea! Phosphorus-containing compounds tend to stimulate bacterial and algal growth in water, and it’s to try and prevent large algal blooms in lakes and oceans that this measure was used.

    They want to prohibit me from
    owning a gun

    It is an entirely sensible thing to ask gun owners to prove basic competency with their weapons before being licenced to use them. It is also an entirely sensible thing to pass a law that a person convicted of certain offences be prevented from getting a weapon.

    Both of these – and others – have been actively hindered by Republicans to the point where I have seen it reported that domestic violence cases involving guns have actually resulted in police finding that because of laws restricting background checks to gun retailers and grandfathering out gun trade shows, men convicted of assaulting wives or girlfriends have been able to re-offend.

    using a fireplace.

    To use your favorite phrase – no. You’re reaching.

    They want to take more of my
    earnings

    How interesting, this “take” thing you are mentioning.

    I don’t suppose getting the world’s biggest military, a myraid of state supported land-grant universities, K-12 schools, decent roads, police forces, a justice system, food inspection, restaurant health inspection, and so much more besides might have anything to do with it.

    You are being like the fish who does not see the water around it. All you see is your money is going for taxes, and you fail utterly to see the results that come from those taxes.

    and they want to dictate what form of health care we are
    allowed to have.

    I’m surprised you even try to claim that a free market in health care is at all a good idea. Every First World nation on this planet except the USA and Switzerland* have government-run national health insurance systems and do fairly well for themselves besides.

    But at least they’re willing to stay out of my bedroom
    — for now.

    If you seriously believe that Democrats are the ones who want to poke their noses into your (straight privileged**) bedroom life–

    I can only conclude that you have absolutely no notion of the long and loud wheezing and moaning Republicans have bequeathed the media with in terms of loud pontifications as to just what form of sexual activity between two people they consider to be appropriate.

    I’m just surprised their heads didn’t explode when the SupCt finally struck down all state sodomy laws.

    To summarize:

    I honestly have no idea how you can say what you have stated, and do so with complete bald-faced lack of understanding of the actual meaning of the talking points you are bringing up.

    * Switzerland is a special case. Unlike the USA, their health insurance providers are fairly small and decentralized, so that oligopolistic and rent-seeking behavior in the form of denial of insurance for dubious reasons is frowned harshly upon and insurance is reasonably priced and readily available to all.

    ** Trust me when I say that when “they” do come for you, it’ll be after a fascist right-wing government has come to power and has no idea what to do after all the QUILTBAG people get kicked out of the country.

  • Jenora Feuer

    Incandescent bulbs will still be available; they’ll just likely cost
    more since it’s harder to engineer them to meet the standard than it
    does halogens and fluorescents.

    Minor nitpick, though I expect you yourself actually know this…

    Halogen bulbs are incandescent bulbs, just filled with a halogen gas rather than a vacuum, because the gas helps re-deposit tungsten back on the filament rather than letting it evaporate and deposit on the inside of the bulb.  As a result they’re more expensive to make, but they can be run at a hotter temperature while still remaining longer lived.  And, oddly enough, running hotter actually makes them more efficient because more of the energy is given off in the visible light spectrum, so they can give off the same amount of light with less power input.  But they are still fundamentally incandescent bulbs.

  • Apocalypse Review

    Fair point about the halogen bulbs; I was a bit annoyed with aunursa and wrote faster than I should.

  • P J Evans

    determine what food my daughter may eat

    As I recall, the objection wasn’t to food safety, but to people wanting restrictions on fast-food aimed at children. Which is more or less reasonable, but (as I also recall) no one said that parents wouldn’t be able to buy those if they wanted.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That makes more sense; I actually tilted my head sideways and went “bzuh?” at the original statement and the only thing I couild come up with off the top of my head was the same kind of overblown crap Freedom Fighter used to proffer as ‘proof’ that milk pasteurization regulations were resulting in jackbooted thugs beating down the doors of the Amish, or somesuch.

    My suspicion is that laws regarding fast food marketing to children will probably take the form of blocking advertising in schools for such, as well as perhaps an extra tax on the sale of such foods*.

    * I’m not really keen on that idea TBH because of the way relative food prices have gone so wonky in the USA it’s actually cheaper to eat pure ground beef than it is to eat fruits and vegetables. A tax on fast food should go hand in hand with easing of subsidies on meat and increasing them on domestically produced fruits and vegetables.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to compare the number and strength of laws prohibiting the sale of fast food to children to the number and strength of laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. Do any states have Constitutional amendments outlawing the sale or marketing to fast food to children? Has anyone been deported for selling fast food to children? Do people who give fast food to children have to seriously worry that their children might be removed from their home by the government? Are there federal laws on the books essentially giving states license to disregard the “full faith and credit clause” of the Constitution when it comes to the civil liberties of either parents or corporations who give/sell fast food to children?

    It’s not a reasonable comparison. The former is, at worst, a wrongheaded and overly-paternalistic response to a real problem (childhood obesity). The latter is, at best, a manifestation of paranoia and bigotry enshrined into law and at worst an attempt to systematically violate the liberties of hundreds of thousands of people in the name of religion.

  • http://brandiweed.livejournal.com/ Brandi
  • Anonymous

    You went on this rant before, and a bunch of people shot every point you attempted to make down. 

    So you add more bullshit to it. Good game!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Pelikan/100000903137143 Jonathan Pelikan

    Hey, dipshit, allow me to re-translate part of your post from teabagger to human: “Those damn libruls want to make sure I can’t get sold spoiled meat, a number of those damn libruls have a philosophical opposition to fur clothing, and a lot of those fuckers even want to wean us off our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.” Thing is, I could go on, but I know it wouldn’t matter one single bit. You’re talking shit, and you know it, just like other Conservatives.

    I can prove that the Tea Party is wrong about, oh, everything, and I can prove that Randite economic policy is a disaster for this country. I can prove that George W Bush lied to get us into Iraq. I can prove Rush Limbaugh is a racist gasbag. You, on the other hand, can’t prove any of what you’re spewing, so I won’t bother demanding you try. You’re such a coward that you didn’t even bother putting what you’re for, because you know that on this blog, you and it would get taken apart in fine detail by better people than you.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    But at least they’re willing to stay out of my bedroom — for now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodomy_laws_in_the_United_States

    Note which states had to have the Supreme Court order them out of the bedroom.  Not a lot of DFH-led states on that list…

  • Anonymous

    There are people in this country who belong to fundamentalist Christian religious groups and who believe that they have the right (and perhaps the duty) to run your life.

    Thank God for the progressives who want to determine what food my daughter may eat, what coat my wife may wear, and what mode or make of transportation I may use.  They want to dictate what kind of light bulb and laundry detergent we may buy.  They want to prohibit me from owning a gun or using a fireplace.  They want to take more of my earnings and they want to dictate what form of health care we are allowed to have.  But at least they’re willing to stay out of my bedroom — for now.

  • P J Evans

     Citations or it’s all propaganda. You’ve bitched about these before, and it’s been pointed out that those aren’t happening.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Thank God for the progressives who want to determine what food my
    daughter may eat, what coat my wife may wear, and what mode or make
    of transportation I may use.  They want to dictate what kind of light
    bulb and laundry detergent we may buy.  They want to prohibit me from
    owning a gun or using a fireplace.  They want to take more of my
    earnings and they want to dictate what form of health care we are
    allowed to have.  But at least they’re willing to stay out of my bedroom
    — for now.

    If you were anyone but aunursa, I’d assume you were doing this ironically, or to make some point about what the conservatives think liberals are doing.  Sadly, I’m forced to assume you actually believe that regulating foodstuffs and encouraging people to eat healthy is some sort of terrible government plot.  And I’m forced to assume that you think that we’re about to give political power to the “fur is murder” people.  And I’m forced to assume you’re one of those people who actually believes Barack Obama’s complete lack of movement to take away guns is actually part of his super seekrit plot to take away all the gunz and enslave everyone in a soshulist paradice.

    Also, too, fireplace?  What the fuck?  And where the hell are you getting regulated out of purchasing your preferred flavor of Tide?

    And, for the last goddamn time, getting rid of incandescent lightbulbs IS NOT A BIG FUCKING DEAL.  They’re better for the environment as long as they’re disposed of properly.  They use 1/4 the power of incandescent bulbs.  They give off more natural light.  It’s like government regulations to force people to wear seat belts.  Your personal freedom to kill yourself and the occupants of your car have been taken away.  Gee, damn.  Get the fuck over yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    Don’t you read headlines?  The Obama administration is accused of GIVING AWAY guns, not taking them.  Why this doesn’t please you, I’ll never know.

  • Albanaeon

    You know, I was about to go on about how the lightbulb industry itself had lobbied for the standards your complaining about or how the market itself is demanding more efficient vehicle and such, but fuck it.  Yes aunursa, us evil liberals are out to take away your rights.  And you know what, I, as a liberal, have zero sympathy for you and your rights.  Because quite frankly, if we were to give aunursa all the freedoms, then we cut into ours.  Complain as you will about Tide and cars and fireplaces, I want to see my son grow up in a less polluted world.  Say what you will about your daughter’s nutrition, but I don’t want my health care costs raised because of it.  If you want your wife feel all great wearing fur, fine.  But I don’t care because I don’t want an inherently cruel and pointless industry in my world and am going to do everything in my power to end it. 

    Speak all you want about freedoms, but when they start infringing on my rights, the rights of my family, or even the innocents around you, damn straight I am going to make sure you don’t have those rights.  They hurt me, they hurt mine, and they damned hurt you in the end.  So go ahead an whine about how horrible the world is, but do it quietly.  We’re going to make this world a better place whether you like it or not.

  • Apocalypse Review

    aunursa: I normally don’t address posts directly to you. However, this latest example of your reiteration of demonstrably exaggerated depictions of Democratic party ideals as well as expressions of privilege, moves me to want to address this piece by piece because it is so demonstrably incorrect.

    determine what food my
    daughter may eat

    I hope you’re not seriously agitating for the relaxation of food safety standards that keep food manufacturers from adulterating said food.

    what coat my wife may wear

    This is completely absurd. While some animal rights activists have agitated against the use of real live animal furs for coats, by and large the only regulations I can find that are actually employed have to do with minimum occupational health and safety standards for textile factories.

    If you are referring to the use of trade preferences to change the relative prices of imported textiles versus domestic, that’s not a direct determination; that’s simply a political decision made which alters who benefits economically (and let’s not pretend that the “free market” is a value neutral optimum; it is as much a political decision to run an economy that way and direct rewards as it is to intervene in said economy), but in the end it simply affects the relative prices of certain clothes with respect to one another.

    and what mode or make
    of transportation I may use.

    Again, this is an absurd overstatement.

    What people are proposing are taxes that change the relative prices of automotive transport versus public transportation. Or, for that matter, subsidies that would benefit public transit riders over car users, on the rather sensible principle that effective mass transit programs would cut down traffic congestion and pollution, and therefore, fuel usage.

    I’ve noted that in Europe, even for all its mass transit, a sizable portion of the population still owns cars. Consider Germany, for example – many Germans like to drive, and no German government would seriously consider restricting car usage.

    Germany is also a lot more ‘socialist’ than the USA has ever been or currently is – and I mean West Germany, by the way.

    They want to dictate what kind of light
    bulb and laundry detergent we may buy.

    No, they just want to require that light bulbs meet certain efficiency standards. Incandescent bulbs will still be available; they’ll just likely cost more since it’s harder to engineer them to meet the standard than it does halogens and fluorescents.

    Laundry detergent? You can’t be seriously suggesting that mandating low-phosphate detergents is a bad idea! Phosphorus-containing compounds tend to stimulate bacterial and algal growth in water, and it’s to try and prevent large algal blooms in lakes and oceans that this measure was used.

    They want to prohibit me from
    owning a gun

    It is an entirely sensible thing to ask gun owners to prove basic competency with their weapons before being licenced to use them. It is also an entirely sensible thing to pass a law that a person convicted of certain offences be prevented from getting a weapon.

    Both of these – and others – have been actively hindered by Republicans to the point where I have seen it reported that domestic violence cases involving guns have actually resulted in police finding that because of laws restricting background checks to gun retailers and grandfathering out gun trade shows, men convicted of assaulting wives or girlfriends have been able to re-offend.

    using a fireplace.

    To use your favorite phrase – no. You’re reaching.

    They want to take more of my
    earnings

    How interesting, this “take” thing you are mentioning.

    I don’t suppose getting the world’s biggest military, a myraid of state supported land-grant universities, K-12 schools, decent roads, police forces, a justice system, food inspection, restaurant health inspection, and so much more besides might have anything to do with it.

    You are being like the fish who does not see the water around it. All you see is your money is going for taxes, and you fail utterly to see the results that come from those taxes.

    and they want to dictate what form of health care we are
    allowed to have.

    I’m surprised you even try to claim that a free market in health care is at all a good idea. Every First World nation on this planet except the USA and Switzerland* have government-run national health insurance systems and do fairly well for themselves besides.

    But at least they’re willing to stay out of my bedroom
    — for now.

    If you seriously believe that Democrats are the ones who want to poke their noses into your (straight privileged**) bedroom life–

    I can only conclude that you have absolutely no notion of the long and loud wheezing and moaning Republicans have bequeathed the media with in terms of loud pontifications as to just what form of sexual activity between two people they consider to be appropriate.

    I’m just surprised their heads didn’t explode when the SupCt finally struck down all state sodomy laws.

    To summarize:

    I honestly have no idea how you can say what you have stated, and do so with complete bald-faced lack of understanding of the actual meaning of the talking points you are bringing up.

    * Switzerland is a special case. Unlike the USA, their health insurance providers are fairly small and decentralized, so that oligopolistic and rent-seeking behavior in the form of denial of insurance for dubious reasons is frowned harshly upon and insurance is reasonably priced and readily available to all.

    ** Trust me when I say that when “they” do come for you, it’ll be after a fascist right-wing government has come to power and has no idea what to do after all the QUILTBAG people get kicked out of the country.

  • Jenora Feuer

    Incandescent bulbs will still be available; they’ll just likely cost
    more since it’s harder to engineer them to meet the standard than it
    does halogens and fluorescents.

    Minor nitpick, though I expect you yourself actually know this…

    Halogen bulbs are incandescent bulbs, just filled with a halogen gas rather than a vacuum, because the gas helps re-deposit tungsten back on the filament rather than letting it evaporate and deposit on the inside of the bulb.  As a result they’re more expensive to make, but they can be run at a hotter temperature while still remaining longer lived.  And, oddly enough, running hotter actually makes them more efficient because more of the energy is given off in the visible light spectrum, so they can give off the same amount of light with less power input.  But they are still fundamentally incandescent bulbs.

  • Apocalypse Review

    Fair point about the halogen bulbs; I was a bit annoyed with aunursa and wrote faster than I should.

  • P J Evans

    determine what food my daughter may eat

    As I recall, the objection wasn’t to food safety, but to people wanting restrictions on fast-food aimed at children. Which is more or less reasonable, but (as I also recall) no one said that parents wouldn’t be able to buy those if they wanted.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That makes more sense; I actually tilted my head sideways and went “bzuh?” at the original statement and the only thing I couild come up with off the top of my head was the same kind of overblown crap Freedom Fighter used to proffer as ‘proof’ that milk pasteurization regulations were resulting in jackbooted thugs beating down the doors of the Amish, or somesuch.

    My suspicion is that laws regarding fast food marketing to children will probably take the form of blocking advertising in schools for such, as well as perhaps an extra tax on the sale of such foods*.

    * I’m not really keen on that idea TBH because of the way relative food prices have gone so wonky in the USA it’s actually cheaper to eat pure ground beef than it is to eat fruits and vegetables. A tax on fast food should go hand in hand with easing of subsidies on meat and increasing them on domestically produced fruits and vegetables.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to compare the number and strength of laws prohibiting the sale of fast food to children to the number and strength of laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. Do any states have Constitutional amendments outlawing the sale or marketing to fast food to children? Has anyone been deported for selling fast food to children? Do people who give fast food to children have to seriously worry that their children might be removed from their home by the government? Are there federal laws on the books essentially giving states license to disregard the “full faith and credit clause” of the Constitution when it comes to the civil liberties of either parents or corporations who give/sell fast food to children?

    It’s not a reasonable comparison. The former is, at worst, a wrongheaded and overly-paternalistic response to a real problem (childhood obesity). The latter is, at best, a manifestation of paranoia and bigotry enshrined into law and at worst an attempt to systematically violate the liberties of hundreds of thousands of people in the name of religion.

  • http://brandiweed.livejournal.com/ Brandi
  • Anonymous

    You went on this rant before, and a bunch of people shot every point you attempted to make down. 

    So you add more bullshit to it. Good game!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Pelikan/100000903137143 Jonathan Pelikan

    Hey, dipshit, allow me to re-translate part of your post from teabagger to human: “Those damn libruls want to make sure I can’t get sold spoiled meat, a number of those damn libruls have a philosophical opposition to fur clothing, and a lot of those fuckers even want to wean us off our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.” Thing is, I could go on, but I know it wouldn’t matter one single bit. You’re talking shit, and you know it, just like other Conservatives.

    I can prove that the Tea Party is wrong about, oh, everything, and I can prove that Randite economic policy is a disaster for this country. I can prove that George W Bush lied to get us into Iraq. I can prove Rush Limbaugh is a racist gasbag. You, on the other hand, can’t prove any of what you’re spewing, so I won’t bother demanding you try. You’re such a coward that you didn’t even bother putting what you’re for, because you know that on this blog, you and it would get taken apart in fine detail by better people than you.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    But at least they’re willing to stay out of my bedroom — for now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodomy_laws_in_the_United_States

    Note which states had to have the Supreme Court order them out of the bedroom.  Not a lot of DFH-led states on that list…

  • Marshall Pease

    What I’m seeing is that prominent Atheists like Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, et all, are able to insist that all religious people are anti-science and politically absurd Bible-thumpers, if they aren’t barbarian hordes who plant bombs and mutilate small girls. Which is a strong support for their political stance that Dr. Science (“He knows more than you do!”) has the answers and churches are at best irrelevant but mostly much worse, and therefore the only “sane, reasonable” policy is Anti-Accomodationism: smite them all with an ox-goad!

    So all us Accomodationists (“Love your neighbor as yourself”) in the middle get smitten from both sides. Don’t know what to do about it exactly, but for sure pretending there’s no problem never helps.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    What I’m seeing is that prominent Atheists like Jerry Coyne, Richard
    Dawkins, Sam Harris, et all, are able to insist that all religious
    people are anti-science and politically absurd Bible-thumpers, if they
    aren’t barbarian hordes who plant bombs and mutilate small girls. Which
    is a strong support for their political stance that Dr. Science
    (“He knows more than you do!”) has the answers and churches are at best
    irrelevant but mostly much worse, and therefore the only “sane,
    reasonable” policy is Anti-Accomodationism: smite them all with an
    ox-goad!

    Careful you don’t light yourself on fire getting that straw man burning brightly.

    Believe it or not, but PZ Myers reads Slacktivist.  Or, at least, he read it as of last year.  Daily.  He’s even mentioned it on his blog.  Like in this post where he draws a bright line distinction between Fred Clark and Ken Ham.  Seeing has how PeeZed is one of the most prominent of the anti-accomodationists, I don’t see your argument holding much water.

    The anti-accomodationists don’t want to destroy religion.  The want to make sure that religion stays out of science, period.  They don’t see, “Goddidit,” as a valid explanation for natural phenomenon and see anyone who says, “Well, let’s just not say anything that could possibly make religious people like science any less,” as an enemy of science.  It’s not a fight between scientists and religion.  It’s a fight amongst the science-minded of whether religion should play a role in science.

  • Marshall Pease

    What I’m seeing is that prominent Atheists like Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, et all, are able to insist that all religious people are anti-science and politically absurd ignerent Bible-thumpers, if they aren’t barbarian hordes who plant bombs and mutilate small girls. Which is a strong support for their political stance that Dr. Science (“He knows more than you do!”) has the answers and churches are at best irrelevant but mostly much worse, and therefore the only “sane, reasonable” policy is Anti-Accomodationism: smite them all with an ox-goad!

    So all us Accomodationists (“Love your neighbor as yourself”) in the middle get smitten from both sides. Don’t know what to do about it exactly, but for sure pretending there’s no problem never helps.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    What I’m seeing is that prominent Atheists like Jerry Coyne, Richard
    Dawkins, Sam Harris, et all, are able to insist that all religious
    people are anti-science and politically absurd Bible-thumpers, if they
    aren’t barbarian hordes who plant bombs and mutilate small girls. Which
    is a strong support for their political stance that Dr. Science
    (“He knows more than you do!”) has the answers and churches are at best
    irrelevant but mostly much worse, and therefore the only “sane,
    reasonable” policy is Anti-Accomodationism: smite them all with an
    ox-goad!

    Careful you don’t light yourself on fire getting that straw man burning brightly.

    Believe it or not, but PZ Myers reads Slacktivist.  Or, at least, he read it as of last year.  Daily.  He’s even mentioned it on his blog.  Like in this post where he draws a bright line distinction between Fred Clark and Ken Ham.  Seeing has how PeeZed is one of the most prominent of the anti-accomodationists, I don’t see your argument holding much water.

    The anti-accomodationists don’t want to destroy religion.  The want to make sure that religion stays out of science, period.  They don’t see, “Goddidit,” as a valid explanation for natural phenomenon and see anyone who says, “Well, let’s just not say anything that could possibly make religious people like science any less,” as an enemy of science.  It’s not a fight between scientists and religion.  It’s a fight amongst the science-minded of whether religion should play a role in science.

  • WingedBeast

    By the way, I don’t believe that the US is on the verge of becoming The Handmaid’s Tale, but I see us moving in that direction with every religion-based law.

    I also see us traveling in the 1985 direction and the Brave New World direction, as well.  That’s, in my view, the unholy trinity of destopian futures.  Total control through religion to dictate what you believe, language to restrict what thoughts are possible to express, and distraction to keep all thoughts shallower than the average kiddie pool.  The disturbing part is that they aren’t mutually exclusive, in fact they work best in tandom.

    But, back to The Handmaid’s Tale.  Part of the point of Dystopian Futures isn’t to say “we’ll be here tomorrow”.  It’s to say “We could get there by next generational week if we keep going in this direction.”  Looking back on history, it’s easy to see how far we’ve come.  It’s harder to note that we moved by inches at a time.

    And, that’s what I see the religious right doing.  They’re moving us a few inches towards religious domination at a time.  And, I see a religious Right that looks at Handmaid’s Tale as an ideal world and what would be an ideal story were it not for a couple women who wouldn’t get with the program.

    Oh, and aunursa, for the most part, you’re bringing up topics where liberals do a lot of work to try to convince people to make certain decisions, like not wearing fur.  How horrible of us to say things to try to convince you of things.

  • WingedBeast

    By the way, I don’t believe that the US is on the verge of becoming The Handmaid’s Tale, but I see us moving in that direction with every religion-based law.

    I also see us traveling in the 1985 direction and the Brave New World direction, as well.  That’s, in my view, the unholy trinity of destopian futures.  Total control through religion to dictate what you believe, language to restrict what thoughts are possible to express, and distraction to keep all thoughts shallower than the average kiddie pool.  The disturbing part is that they aren’t mutually exclusive, in fact they work best in tandom.

    But, back to The Handmaid’s Tale.  Part of the point of Dystopian Futures isn’t to say “we’ll be here tomorrow”.  It’s to say “We could get there by next generational week if we keep going in this direction.”  Looking back on history, it’s easy to see how far we’ve come.  It’s harder to note that we moved by inches at a time.

    And, that’s what I see the religious right doing.  They’re moving us a few inches towards religious domination at a time.  And, I see a religious Right that looks at Handmaid’s Tale as an ideal world and what would be an ideal story were it not for a couple women who wouldn’t get with the program.

    Oh, and aunursa, for the most part, you’re bringing up topics where liberals do a lot of work to try to convince people to make certain decisions, like not wearing fur.  How horrible of us to say things to try to convince you of things.

  • Apocalypse Review

    By the way, I came across this as the perfect rejoinder for anyone who motors on with that “JUST GET A JOB” thing.

    http://i.imgur.com/MeYQl.jpg

  • Apocalypse Review

    By the way, I came across this as the perfect rejoinder for anyone who motors on with that “JUST GET A JOB” thing.

    http://i.imgur.com/MeYQl.jpg

  • Anonymous

    Hey Fred when I meet an evangelical American I will say:

    Hey are you an evangelical like slacktivist?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Fred when I meet an evangelical American I will say this:

    Hey are you an evangelical like slacktivist?

  • Anonymous

    None of us believes that the United States is on the verge of becoming a
    Christian fundamentalist theocracy out of Margaret Atwood’s The
    Handmaid’s Tale,

    Wait until we elect President Brother Rick.  Then it’s on.

  • Anonymous

    None of us believes that the United States is on the verge of becoming a
    Christian fundamentalist theocracy out of Margaret Atwood’s The
    Handmaid’s Tale,

    Wait until we elect President Brother Rick.  Then it’s on.

  • seniorMom

    Fred Clark, WHY are you an Evangelical?

    I dropped the label in my mid-50s when I read myself out of a fundamentalist Baptist church.  Now that I’m an official senior citizen I’m encouraged as I read websites blogged by young “Evangelicals” and note the questioning and changing attitudes among the younger generations.  It gives me hope that these people are debating issues such as the value of science, new ways of approaching the Bible, the place of women in the church, the relationship of politics and Christianity and so on.

    I think it was CS Lewis who said he could not say he WAS a Christian, only that he was BECOMING one.

  • seniorMom

    Fred Clark, WHY are you an Evangelical?

    I dropped the label in my mid-50s when I read myself out of a fundamentalist Baptist church.  Now that I’m an official senior citizen I’m encouraged as I read websites blogged by young “Evangelicals” and note the questioning and changing attitudes among the younger generations.  It gives me hope that these people are debating issues such as the value of science, new ways of approaching the Bible, the place of women in the church, the relationship of politics and Christianity and so on.

    I think it was CS Lewis who said he could not say he WAS a Christian, only that he was BECOMING one.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    Thank you very much for writing this.  (I got here via a link in a comment thread on Daylight Atheism.)

    From Rob Boston:

    A fringe movement did not bring tens of thousands of people to a football stadium for Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer rally in August. A fringe movement did not remove three justices from the Iowa Supreme Court in 2010 because they voted for marriage equality. A fringe movement did not mobilize and pass anti-gay amendments in more than half of the states. A fringe movement did not mobilize fundamentalist churches and their congregants to push the Republican Party far to the right on social issues. A fringe movement did not pass anti-abortion laws across the nation,  intimidate public school science teachers into watering down the teaching of evolution and derail the Equal Rights Amendment.

    I think this is an important point.  Reading what Jim Wallis wrote and then thinking of the large effects of the supposed fringe movement makes me think that Jim Wallis is ignoring the issues.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    Thank you very much for writing this.  (I got here via a link in a comment thread on Daylight Atheism.)

    From Rob Boston:

    A fringe movement did not bring tens of thousands of people to a football stadium for Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer rally in August. A fringe movement did not remove three justices from the Iowa Supreme Court in 2010 because they voted for marriage equality. A fringe movement did not mobilize and pass anti-gay amendments in more than half of the states. A fringe movement did not mobilize fundamentalist churches and their congregants to push the Republican Party far to the right on social issues. A fringe movement did not pass anti-abortion laws across the nation,  intimidate public school science teachers into watering down the teaching of evolution and derail the Equal Rights Amendment.

    I think this is an important point.  Reading what Jim Wallis wrote and then thinking of the large effects of the supposed fringe movement makes me think that Jim Wallis is ignoring the issues.

  • http://magichelmet.typepad.com/surplus jhe

    Apart from our shared faith, there are very few opinions I share with
    those four men. Nearly all of what they have to say about church and
    state, pluralism, science, economics and social justice gives me the
    howling fantods. And yet it remains the case that all five of us are
    evangelical Christians.

    In all seriousness, can you describe the “shared” parts of your faiths?  I’ve always struggled to see how the public (or maybe I should say “well-publicized”) face of Evangelical Christianity has anything remotely to do with Jesus of Nazareth. 

  • http://magichelmet.typepad.com/surplus jhe

    Apart from our shared faith, there are very few opinions I share with
    those four men. Nearly all of what they have to say about church and
    state, pluralism, science, economics and social justice gives me the
    howling fantods. And yet it remains the case that all five of us are
    evangelical Christians.

    In all seriousness, can you describe the “shared” parts of your faiths?  I’ve always struggled to see how the public (or maybe I should say “well-publicized”) face of Evangelical Christianity has anything remotely to do with Jesus of Nazareth. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, for the record, here’s aunursa’s first go-round with strawmanning, immortalized in a screenshot.

    http://www3.picturepush.com/photo/a/6769606/img/6769606.jpg

    Future readers reading these archives take note.


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