Religious right groups jump at chance to shield members from seeing books

Religious right groups jump at chance to shield members from seeing books August 10, 2012

Concerned Women for America and the American Family Association are both urging their followers to think twice about shopping at Amazon.com.

Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos upset the anti-gay activist groups by donating $2.5 million to protect marriage equality in Washington State.

“So long Amazon” was the message from “One Million Moms” (which David Badash, accurately, describes as “the low-cost fundraising and email-harvesting arm of the certified anti-gay hate group, American Family Association”). And CWA noted that its supporters may be “troubled” or “uneasy” about shopping at Amazon — urging them instead to shop through CWA’s own online store.

Neither of these groups expects to influence Amazon one way or another, but that’s not the point here. The point here is that the pretext of protesting Amazon’s support for LGBT rights gives them an excuse to urge their followers to avoid the site.

Because even if Jeff Bezos traded his company to Dan Cathy for a lifetime supply of chicken sandwiches, these groups still wouldn’t want their followers going to Amazon. It’s too much like a library. And you can’t control people who spend too much time in a library. You can’t keep them from asking questions, or satisfy them with only the official answers.

Amazon, in other words, is a threat to the subcultural bubble that these groups must maintain to survive.

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Deanna Pan of Mother Jones wades through the textbooks produced by Bob Jones University Press and Pensacola’s A Beka Books to highlight “14 Wacky ‘Facts’ Kids Will Learn in Louisiana’s Voucher Schools.”

The fundamentalist Christian school I grew up in tried out the A Beka Books one year for science. I can honestly say that I read that book more thoroughly and attentively than any other textbook I’ve ever used.

What happened was, once we students realized that book was riddled with errors, it became a contest to see who could find even more. The contest went on for quite some time, but if I remember correctly the book did include several error-free pages.

The A Beka Book textbook turned out to be a one-year experiment for our school. Neither the textbook, nor the teacher who had championed it, were invited back the following term.

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Speaking of fundamentalist Christian schools … Jesse Curtis reads Joseph Crespino on the rise of the religious right. The latter JC backs up Randall Balmer’s claim that the movement began in the fight for tax-exempt status for the thousands of newly formed private Christian schools that sprang up following Brown v. Board of Education.

The right to create segregated religious schools and to have those schools be tax exempt, they argued, was a fundamental issue of “religious liberty.”

Because it’s never about bigotry. It’s always about “religious liberty.”

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The Punning Pundit muses on the Flustercluck of 2012, and echoes the wisdom of Gamaliel:

If anti-gay bigotry is on the right side of history — if it truly does lead to an increase in the welfare of humanity — then free speech will hasten the day we live in a better world. And if anti-gay bigotry is (as seems obvious) odious and awful, then the ability of bigots to spout off unmolested will bring a swifter end to the terrors they would have unleashed.


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