Remembering how Rove treated Christians

August 14, 2007, 11:04 am | Posted by

Amidst all the analysis of Rove’s legacy, a few writers have remembered how Karl Rove manipulated American Christianity.

And at Street Prophets, the Rev. Deb Haffner riffs on his reason, that he’s “leaving for family.” She writes:

You know, that Karl Rove resigned yesterday to spend more time with his family…of course. Not because of continuing controversies around Valerie Plame, the dismissed US attorneys, the plummeting esteem of the administration, and so on, but because after 35 years working for Mr. Bush, he realized he had neglected his family and it was time to come home. Oh, and that he had to make up his mind by Labor Day. For resigning members of the Bush administration, family is like the “dog ate my homework” excuse.

Matthew Yglesias notes the Atlantic Monthly‘s, Joshua Green shows off his long-form skillz on how Rove wasn’t that smart after all, just willing to wangle the religious more than most in his party.

Salon’s Lou Dubose (h/t Dan) writes:

The “guns, God, and gays” campaigns that defined Texas politics and the politics of the South became the model for Republican Party campaigns across the country. It was Rove who was responsible for the whispering campaign that characterized Democratic Gov. Ann Richards, Bush’s opponent in the 1994 governor’s race, as a closet lesbian, in a successful attempt to peel away conservative Christian votes in East Texas.

Perhaps the most recent example of a successful social-issues campaign was in Ohio during the 2004 election, which provided critical electoral votes to secure George Bush’s second term. With Bush in peril of losing to John Kerry, the Republican National Committee looked to David Barton to go into Ohio and turn out the base. Barton is a former vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party and one of the founders of the WallBuilders, a Christian advocacy group working to restore God to His central position in American history, and in the history and social studies curricula of the nation’s public schools.

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Game not over: Left Behind returns in Iraq

August 13, 2007, 3:38 am | Posted by

You may remember the media attention created a couple of months ago by several progressive Christian groups who kicked up a ruckus when the rapture/fundamentalist folks behind Left Behind released their video game.

CrossWalk America’s The Rev. Eric Elnes writes: Just when you thought the Left Behind Games people had backed down – after negative publicity CrossWalk America helped create resulted in the firing of their senior VP and Left Behind Games stock plunging from $7.44 to $0.25 (and now at just over $.05/share), a new effort is underway to promote their horrific “convert or kill” theology.

The Nation‘s Max Blumenthal points out:

Actor Stephen Baldwin, the youngest member of the famous Baldwin brothers, is no longer playing Pauly Shore’s sidekick in comedy masterpieces like Biodome. He has a much more serious calling these days. Baldwin became a right-wing, born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks, and now is the star of Operation Straight Up (OSU), an evangelical entertainment troupe that actively proselytizes among active-duty members of the US military. As an official arm of the Defense Department’s America Supports You program, OSU plans to mail copies of the controversial apocalyptic video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces to soldiers serving in Iraq. OSU is also scheduled to embark on a “Military Crusade in Iraq” in the near future.

Of course, it’s perfect for Christian soldiers because it is “so young, so hip, so cool.” Jesus Christ, it’s like totally killer. . .

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ONE-derful news from New Hampshire

August 10, 2007, 2:38 pm | Posted by

The ONE Campaign just released some exciting polling numbers on the values of New Hampshire voters coming into the 2008 elections. The bottom line: Democrats and Republicans support candidates who make fighting poverty a priority.

The full polling memo can be found here.

Especially interesting is the values language that resonated with voters across the political spectrum:

Democrats and Republicans agree that America has a moral obligation as a compassionate nation to help the world’s poorest people through foreign assistance. More than nine in ten Democrats (93%) and 84% of Republicans agree that when millions of children around the world are dying from preventable diseases and hunger, we have a moral obligation to do what we can to help. Similarly, Democrats (90%) and Republicans (85%) agree that it is in keeping with the country’s values and our history of compassion to lead an effort to solve some of the most serious problems facing the world’s poorest people.

This is more evidence of a trend FPL has been tracking for some time: the “values voter” isn’t necessarily the anti-abortion anti-gay marriage activist we heard so much about in 2004, but someone who is concerned about “compassion issues” such as poverty.

Organizations like ONE Vote will be working hard to make sure these issues–and creative approaches to addressing them– take center stage in campaign 2008. Clearly, the citizens of New Hampshire are willing to speak out on this issue; lets all hope that the candidates listen.

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At Aspen, E.O. Wilson seeks common ground with evangelical pastors

August 9, 2007, 5:31 am | Posted by

American biologist (Myrmecology, a branch of entomology), researcher (sociobiology, biodiversity), theorist (consilience, biophilia), and naturalist (conservationism) E. O. Wilson shares a letter to a Christian pastor, an appeal for common cause on caring for creation.

Wilson is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his scientific humanist ideas concerned with religious, moral, and ethical matters. As of 2007, he was the Pellegrino Research Professor in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.

On Jul 8th, 2006, at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Wilson shared some progressive thoughts on saving creation. He calls this century, the century of the environment.

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What’s new in the neighborhood? Questions edition?

August 8, 2007, 3:59 am | Posted by

What the. . .religion at YearlyKos? Yep, Street Prophets helps out the concern trolls (Washington Times and Get Religion) who reported not finding much conflict over religion. Pastor Dan ponders:

So again, I’m not really sure what his point is. It’s like he and the Washington Times are pointing to the Interfaith Service and the apparent lack of conflict over religious issues and saying “a-ha!”

A-ha what? A-ha we’re a diverse but inclusive bunch of people? A-ha religion wasn’t a major focus of the conference? A-ha we’re liberals? Seriously, I don’t get it.

Any questions? Mik over at JSpot reflection on the Faith or No panel discussion at YearlyKos as well as a way beyond the spats of late.

CrossLeft wonders what’s really the difference in thinking between liberal and moderate Christians?

Progressive/Liberals think that things can be better for our society. They see that many who are individually oppressed are oppressed because of certain structures in society that keep them in their place. Conservatives want to change the individual, but often think the social structures are just fine. Progressives/Liberals often think too much of the social structures, and not enough about the individual. Might there be a balance?

City of Brass launched a new information site called Talk Islam. It deals with humdrum questions such as:

Do muslims condemn terror?, Was Islam spread by sword point conversions?, Is there a “Just War” theory in Islam? Does Osama bin Laden have authority to issue fatwa for jihad?

Does the Qur’an call Jews “apes and pigs” ?

Progressive Islam wonders, What is it with all these articles about Pakistan? As I do this roundup, the news is breaking that Mr. Musharraf may declare a state of emergency. Not sure if that’s an answer, but it does raise some questions.

Remember that Hindu guy who got shouted at during his Senate prayer service? It looks like Christian fundamentalists weren’t the only ones mad. Faithfully Progressive notes an emerging and strange coalition. Religious extremists and New Atheists Attack Freedom of Conscience. This essay is part of a series that he is going documenting the rise of this new challenge to religious tolerance. The intro is here.

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