No time for games

Thanks to our friendly fellow blogger The Sensuous Curmudgeon for drawing our attention this story: a story about the quest for truth. A story about history and modernity. A story about one of the greatest stories ever told – with a children’s board game. And a story about the people who hate that game.
In a Jan. 9 article entitled “Noah’s Ark Game Misses the Boat,” Institute for Creation Research (ICR) Science Writer – I’m sorry, “science writer” – Brian Thomas, M.S. (don’t miss the M.S.) blasts toy maker Ideal for their new Noah’s Ark Game (on sale at Wal-Mart!) for contributing to what is apparently a dearth of stories, toys and other representations which “parody” and create a “misleading impression” about the biblical Ark. Continue Reading →

Communication Regulation, the Religious Right, and the Battle over Net Neutrality

This week the Obama Administration scrapped the Fairness Doctrine and 83 other media regulations.  Kathryn Montalbano examines the ongoing struggle over radio, TV, and now, Internet access and content.

by Kathryn Montalbano

In June Ralph Reed, conservative American political activist and, during the 1990s, executive director of the Christian Coalition, hosted the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, DC, perhaps more appropriately referred to as the “Christian Coalition on steroids.”  A smattering of Republican luminaries and presidential candidates, including Glenn Beck, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, were there to woo evangelical leadership and Tea Party activists, providing more proof the two are quite past any ideological differences.

The relationship functions, according to Reed, because the former group exhibits “a quintessentially anti-government, corporate-minded ‘Christian’ or ‘biblical’ view of the role of government.”

This alleged anti-government, corporate-minded philosophy hasn’t just helped at the polls. In the fierce debates surrounding Internet regulation and net neutrality—a term coined by former Columbia Law Professor and now member of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Policy Planning, Tim Wu—Reed’s reasserting his influence. Continue Reading →

Perry’s Cross-Section of the Body of Christ

by Abby Ohlheiser

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, hugged the praise musicians one by one as he took the stage for a second time at The Response two weekends ago, a day-long prayer and fasting rally in Houston, funded by the American Family Association (AFA).  He had amassed a crowd of over 30,000 who were happy, dancing, and calling for a Christian infusion into what they see as an America in grave danger–in bad need of God’s mercy.  I use the possessive here because Perry was, along with the praise music, was infusing the audience. In many ways this was his stage, his rally, his call to God. And, as we now know (but had already guessed), The Response was also a warm-up routine for Perry’s announcement of his presidential candidacy one week later.  The theology of the event, both of a Christian religion and an American religion, was specific: the nation must revive.  Young people must convert.  And to the sort of Christianity that abides by Mike Bickle’s “pure reading” of Scripture. Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, was one of the most heavily featured speakers at The Response.  As he said at the rally:

There’s a crisis of truth in the pulpits today in our land. That, in the name of tolerance, even in the name of love, we are redefining love that is not on God’s terms. Jesus is God. There is no other God than Jesus. Father, son, and Holy Spirit. All the world religions, they can say what they say. There is no other god besides Jesus. There is no other standard of truth.

Continue Reading →

Perry's Cross-Section of the Body of Christ

by Abby Ohlheiser

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, hugged the praise musicians one by one as he took the stage for a second time at The Response two weekends ago, a day-long prayer and fasting rally in Houston, funded by the American Family Association (AFA).  He had amassed a crowd of over 30,000 who were happy, dancing, and calling for a Christian infusion into what they see as an America in grave danger–in bad need of God’s mercy.  I use the possessive here because Perry was, along with the praise music, was infusing the audience. In many ways this was his stage, his rally, his call to God. And, as we now know (but had already guessed), The Response was also a warm-up routine for Perry’s announcement of his presidential candidacy one week later.  The theology of the event, both of a Christian religion and an American religion, was specific: the nation must revive.  Young people must convert.  And to the sort of Christianity that abides by Mike Bickle’s “pure reading” of Scripture. Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, was one of the most heavily featured speakers at The Response.  As he said at the rally:

There’s a crisis of truth in the pulpits today in our land. That, in the name of tolerance, even in the name of love, we are redefining love that is not on God’s terms. Jesus is God. There is no other God than Jesus. Father, son, and Holy Spirit. All the world religions, they can say what they say. There is no other god besides Jesus. There is no other standard of truth.

Continue Reading →

Attacking Tolerance: Who's Bullying Anti-Bullying Educators?

The organization People for the American Way (PFAW) has a new report out on how religious groups are working to end tolerance and anti-bullying education in schools because they believe it normalizes non-traditional gender and sexual behavior.  The arguments to end such education, as summarized by PFAW, are that 1) anti-bullying training indoctrinates children into non-normative behavior that is harmful, 2) it gives LGBT students special rights, 3) it discriminates against those who oppose LGBT rights, and 4) it removes shame from LGBT students. Continue Reading →

Attacking Tolerance: Who’s Bullying Anti-Bullying Educators?

The organization People for the American Way (PFAW) has a new report out on how religious groups are working to end tolerance and anti-bullying education in schools because they believe it normalizes non-traditional gender and sexual behavior.  The arguments to end such education, as summarized by PFAW, are that 1) anti-bullying training indoctrinates children into non-normative behavior that is harmful, 2) it gives LGBT students special rights, 3) it discriminates against those who oppose LGBT rights, and 4) it removes shame from LGBT students. Continue Reading →

Attacking Tolerance: Who’s Bullying Anti-Bullying Educators?

The organization People for the American Way (PFAW) has a new report out on how religious groups are working to end tolerance and anti-bullying education in schools because they believe it normalizes non-traditional gender and sexual behavior.  The arguments to end such education, as summarized by PFAW, are that 1) anti-bullying training indoctrinates children into non-normative behavior that is harmful, 2) it gives LGBT students special rights, 3) it discriminates against those who oppose LGBT rights, and 4) it removes shame from LGBT students. Continue Reading →

Republicans Have Found Their Culprit

Trent Franks (R-AZ) made a fantastic assignation of blame today when speaking with Candy Crowley on CNN.  The “culture of death” killed six people in Arizona, in the form of a lunatic young man:

But sometimes you can see central elements, and that central element is this unhinged lunatic that had no respect for human life was willing to make some grand statement, I don’t know if he even knows what grand statement he was willing to make to take the lives of his fellow human lives to do it. And there is the problem, a lack of respect for innocent human life. It’s a lack of respect for the constitution, for freedom.

Isn’t this the same language Republicans have been using for the past four decades regarding abortion? The narrative Franks again seamlessly employs to explain the murder of a pro-immigration representative in increasingly violent Arizona is a loss of our moral compass, a move from God, a betrayal of a certain interpretation of the constitution, as demonstrated by a lone killer. Because Franks and his Republican allies are right with God (the authority on innocent life, the constitution and freedom) they are exempt from blame; we, a society which has lost it’s way, however, are not.

I think Franks might be right but not in the way he thinks he is. Continue Reading →

Showing Them to the Dining Room

The Obama administration has failed to regulate discrimination by federally-funded faith-based organizations

By Andy Kopsa

I have been investigating and reporting on an anti-gay Christian political organization, the Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC), for over a year now.  The IFPC, a state affiliate of the Family Research Council*, a premier national anti-gay rights organization, has received over $3 million in government grants since 2005.  When I began uncovering the ease with which the IFPC (and numerous other FRC state affiliates) applied for and received federal funding, coupled with their blatant anti-gay political message, I began investigating the history and mechanics of the faith-based funding system.

I, like many others, anxiously awaited President Obama’s executive order expected to revise George W. Bush’s policymaking and funding criteria for faith-based organizations. But the order released on November 17th offers little in the way of true reform. Instead it is a wordy regurgitation of existing transparency reformations, offers minor tweaks to protections of beneficiaries, does nothing for spending oversight reform and completely eschews legalized hiring discrimination allowed faith-based organizations.

In 2008, then candidate Obama said that although he supported funding faith-based programs, he would do away with hiring discrimination.  However, like so many Obama promises, that is one yet to be fulfilled. Continue Reading →