Excerpt: Classifying Christians by Todd S. Berzon

An excerpt from Classifying Christians: Ethnography, Heresiology, and the Limits of Knowledge in Late Antiquity by Todd S. Berzon. Continue Reading →

A Very Perry Christmas

Ashley Baxstrom:  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Christmas tree lots sprouting up like weeds, Christmas lights hung on trees in every wannabe-hip-neighborhood in the five boroughs, a whole new set of Christmas displays in the Macy’s windows. And of course, the turtledove on top:  pundits and politicians decrying the “War on Christmas.” There may not be snow on the ground (the rolling Texas farmland ground), but there are Kay Jewelers commercials on the air, which means the culture wars – like poinsettias and gingerbread lattes – must be back in season.  Today Gov. Perry released a brand new campaign ad, keeping pace with the other GOP candidates and the changing season.

“I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Christian,” Perry says. “But you don’t need to be in the pews every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”  (Really, if you didn’t watch it before, just – just watch it. If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the voice of the Ghost of a Certain Texas President Past.)

Perry promises (drawls) that if he’s elected he’ll stop “Obama’s war on religion” and will fight against “liberal attacks on our religious heritage.” Continue Reading →

As Goes Iowa:The Family Leader, Religious Politics and 2012

by Andy Kopsa

America’s culture wars are at full throttle: defunding Planned Parenthood, chipping away at a woman’s right to an abortion – and if possible taking away that right altogether, preventing or ending gay marriage (because it could lead to Sharia law), enacting Religious Freedom Restoration Acts to “restore religious liberty” that was never lost.  State after state after state serves as a front on which the Christian Right and their willing Republican legislators wage these wars.  Iowa is a perfect microcosm, an example of the powerful Christian Political Action Committees (PACs) leading the effort.  Iowa’s powerful and successful The Family Leader is a model to which all others can be held.

The Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC), which recently changed its name to The Family Leader*, is the most vocal and political anti-gay organization in Iowa.  As a federally funded chapter of the Family Research Council (FRC), IFPC railed against gay marriage leading up to the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision granting marriage equality for same sex couples.  They started the “LUV Iowa” (Let Us Vote) Campaign to bring a Proposition 8-like ballot initiative to the state.  They sent lobbyists to the state capital and held ‘pro-family’ rallies. Continue Reading →