Religion

For Christ's Sake, Have a Cuppa Tea

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Michelle Goldberg has an odd article on the American Prospect site today about the Tea Party movement and the religious right. Observing that some prominent Christian conservatives are going to speak at the Tea Party National Convention in Nashville next month, Goldberg doesn't merely conclude that their faction is one of many grouplings eager to identify themselves with the (highly contested) Tea Party brand. She declares that that "the tea-party movement is no longer merely populist, libertarian, or anti-government, if it ever was. It is theocratic." Sounds like a serious stretch to me; read the article and judge for yourself.

Elsewhere in Reason: The more I read about the variety of views competing within the Tea Party milieu, the more I think back to the Reform Party convention I covered 10 years ago.

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    1. Stuck in my head now. Must have a cuppa tea…tea in the morning, tea in the evening…Hallelujah!

  1. Michelle Goldberg is a paranoid idiot. She made her reputation writing a book about the coming Christian takeover of the country in the 00s. She went out and met with every Christian nut she could find, yet had a hell of a time finding anyone plotting to take over the country. Those evangelicals are apparently a sneaky lot who don’t give up their plans easily.

    Goldberg is a walking talking characature of the narrow minded, paranoid, providential, New York Leftist. Why anyone reads her or takes her seriously is beyond me.

    1. Providential,” John? As in: Fortunate as if occurring as a gift from a deity.

      WTF?

  2. Ah, well then I suppose she admits that President Obama is “socialist,” and the validity of all the “palling around with terrorists” and Rev. Wright-based attacks.

    1. No. Only rightwing dogs have fleas.

  3. As one of the resident house liberals I think the lady is daft. Many conservative christians want the government out of many areas it currently is involved in, so it’s not all that unnatural for them to be a part of an less government movement imo…

    1. Good for you. Goldberg is daft about a lot of things. She normally about as sophisticated and insightful as the typical feministing commenter. You should see the blogging heads videos she has done with Ann Althouse. Althouse destroys her. In one of them she cuts off the feed and refuses to talk anymore.

      1. Don’t forget this gem between Goldberg and Megan McArdle:

        http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlo…..;out=27:50

    2. Many conservative christians want the government out of many areas it currently is involved in, so it’s not all that unnatural for them to be a part of an less government movement imo…

      Even more important, activists of all stripes want to go where the action is. (Hence the weirdness I saw at the Reform Party convention.) If she wrote an article saying the Christian right was trying to get a foothold in the Tea Party movement, she’d be on solid ground. But to declare the whole shebang “theocratic” because a few people have speaking slots at an event is to engage in the political equivalent of the one-drop rule.

      1. It is like saying that ANSWER has taken control of the Democratic Party because they put on a few anti-war rallies under Bush. It is just daft. I can’t believe anyone publishes Goldberg.

        1. “I can’t believe anyone publishes Goldberg.”

          I think most liberal columnists are of pretty poor quality. I get the WaPo and Eugene Robinson, Dana Milbank, Ruth Marcus, they’re all pretty terrible. I read Kathleen Parker and George Will regularly and they’re good 85% of the time. I don’t know what it is with liberal columnists these days…A lot more people like Michael Kinsley are needed…

          1. I disagree with Kinsley, but he is very smart and worth reading. Parker isn’t bad either. The only thing that bugs me about her is that they always put her on as a conservative even though she is a liberal.

            I think they are so bad because they all talk to each other and give the same answers. It makes them lazy. They never take the other side at its word and attack their arguments. Here, rather than looking at the tea parties and addressing their concerns, Goldberg just engages in ad homonym attacks and guilt by association. That makes for boring writing.

            1. Parker is only a liberal relative to you John. She’s right of center nationally.

              1. Parker is only conservative relative to you, MNG. She’s left of center nationally.

                Never read her, but two can play that game. Really, do you (or does anyone) really know where the center nationally is? They dont even seem to know.

                1. You can look at polls for that, and compare the mode to Parker’s positions.

                  Next question class.

                  1. You can provide some links and show your work for that assertion. Being a smug prick is not a substitute for argument. Since you are a liberal where that kind of thing does pass, I can understand your confusion.

                    1. Neither is hurling insults like “smug prick,” John. Just sayin.

                    2. I agree. John, that’s not good discourse from you and it relegates your argument to near troll status.

                  2. We trust public opinion polls now?

      2. Jesse you need to do an investigative report on why DC’s Action Heroes Archives by noted Objectivist Steve Ditko is so freaking expensive. Is it some plot to keep a libertarian author out of people’s reach?

    3. There’s hope for you yet MNG.

  4. I’ve never understood this paranoia about some Christian theocracy rising in the U.S. Just because some extra-religious people would like more religion in public life, that doesn’t mean they want Pat Robertson to seize the throne and rule with an iron fist. I’ve seen virtually nothing to back up that extreme view of the religious right.

    1. I find that most of them are pretty harmless and a bit daft and just want their local communities to be let alone.

      1. I find that most of them are pretty harmless and a bit daft and just want their local communities to be let alone.

        Except when they go out of their way to harsh on the gays. Sure, they may wish to be left alone, but they don’t seem able to leave others alone.

    2. Well, I don’t know about a “theocracy” but it was not too distant of a past when religion-based laws had a pretty big, and I would argue negative, impact on society. I’m thinking of state led and enforced prayer in schools, blue laws, obscenity laws. If you look at porn or read comic books or watch movies your life is much better now that religion has been put in its proper place…

      1. That’s a different issue. If some religious fruitcake wants my kid to learn Creationism in his science class, I’m all for preventing it.

        My point was that there’s no one looking to establish anything like a theocracy in this country, but you wouldn’t know it reading this kind of crap. It’s just like most leftwingers aren’t looking for the next Stalin.

      2. I think you are pretty naive to think that religion was the only driving force behind those laws. Many feminist have a bigger problem with porn than the many evangelicals. And most blue laws were driven by economic protectionism in the name of religion. Restaurants and bars don’t want you to be able to go to a liquor store on Sunday.

        As far as prayer in school, yes it was in a few places an enforced orthodoxy and not good. But, I am unaware of any public school at anytime where students were forced to pray. At most, there was prayer present. Beyond that, we have replaced prayer with a lot worse orthodoxy. Frankly, I would rather take my chances with the occasional public prayer than be subjected to the ghia worshiping bullshit that is put out in public school. You think it was tough for a Jewish kid back in the day. Well, try being the kid today who calls bullshit on global warming or questions the utility of recycling.

        Further, in the name of putting religion in its proper place, we have stepped all over the 1st Amendment. I am sorry, it is a free country and people are free to express their religious views in public. And that means that they can do it in valedictorian speeches or term papers or wherever the hell else they want to do it.

        1. “Many feminist have a bigger problem with porn than the many evangelicals”

          Dude, it wasn’t feminists keeping Young Lady Chatterly’s lovers out of the US…

          “I am unaware of any public school at anytime where students were forced to pray”

          In many schools the teacher would have the class rise and after saying the pledge they would recite a prayer. That was quite common John.

          “And most blue laws were driven by economic protectionism in the name of religion.”

          I don’t buy that. The prevalance and scope of blue laws seemed pretty well correlated with areas where conservative Christians were strongest.

          Has anyone suggested kids can’t praise Jesus all day long in their valedictorian speeches? School employees can’t, but that’s it AFAIK.

          1. “Dude, it wasn’t feminists keeping Young Lady Chatterly’s lovers out of the US…”

            No they just claim that porn causes rape and want class action suits against porn producers.

            “In many schools the teacher would have the class rise and after saying the pledge they would recite a prayer. That was quite common John.”

            Again, prayer was present. You didn’t have to do it. And you didn’t have to write term papers on the value of Jesus. We are better off without that. You are right. I am not endorsing that kind of thing. But, we have replaced that with a much more oppressive liberal orthodoxy in schools. Instead of the odd prayer that most kids ignored, we now have sex ed for six year olds, and round the clock environmentalist propaganda. I went to school in the same environment you did and it for all its faults was a hell of a lot less oppressive than it is today.

            “Has anyone suggested kids can’t praise Jesus all day long in their valedictorian speeches? School employees can’t, but that’s it AFAIK.”

            Yes they have.

            Free speech ‘gutted’ in valedictorian speech case
            ONE NEWS NOW.com ^ | 5/7/2009 6:00:00 AM | Charlie Butts

            Posted on Friday, May 08, 2009 5:26:26 AM by Cindy

            The Rutherford Institute is suing a Billings, Montana, school over a graduation decision.

            John Whitehead, founder of the Institute, says many people were scheduled to speak at the 2008 Butte High School graduation. Some chose serious subjects, others humor, he says.

            “Renee Griffith, who is a Christian, wanted to mention Christ once and mention God once in one of her very short remarks, and the school said she couldn’t do it,” he explains. “She [insisted she] wanted to do it, so then they actually removed her from the graduation ceremony and did not allow her to speak.”

            According to a Rutherford press release, the co-valedictorian was ordered to replace two phrases in her speech — “sharing Christ” and “lived with a purpose from God with a passionate love for Him” — with the following phrases: “sharing my faith” and “lived with a purpose, a purpose derived from my faith and based on a love of mankind.”

            http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2246758/posts

            That is just one example. There are lots of others. Liberal school administrators tend to be nasty oppressive fucks.

            1. “No they just claim that porn causes rape and want class action suits against porn producers.”

              The number of obscenity laws passed in this nation’s history with religious support is far higher than any passed with feminist support.

              “Again, prayer was present. You didn’t have to do it.”

              No, the teacher, who makes the rules in the class, rules that if you break you get in trouble for, told us to rise and recite the prayer. That’s not just prayer being “present.”

              And your Montana case doesn’t move me much as the administrator is breaking the law. We’re talking about what the law IS.

              1. They break the law all the time. And as you point out below, making people pray has been illegal since 1962. Yet, you claim it was still a menace in 1970s Virginia, despite no one else here ever experiencing anything like it. But, you write off a 2009 Montana case as just “liberals breaking the law, nothing to see here”.

                1. My point is that there are many people in the Religious Right who would like to see the law re-written to go back to pre-Engel. This conversation started with me saying that when such people decided what the laws were the laws sucked and so I don’t want them to be deciding the laws.

                  You say we have gone to far in re-writing the laws, but we have not. We just have stupid administrators breaking the law, which is fine as currently written.

                  1. “We just have stupid administrators breaking the law, which is fine as currently written.”

                    And those administrators who broke the law wouldn’t like to rewrite the law just like you claim the evangelicals would like to?

                    In MNG world liberals are never guilty of anything. Those administrators just broke the law but they didn’t mean anything by it. Now an evangelical who breaks out a bible at a school, that guy is really a threat. Right MNG?

                    1. That some administrators break the law on religious expression is no proof that the law is badly written as you claim, just as the fact that thieves steal is no proof that laws against stealing are badly written.

                      It’s not like I don’t worry about stupid school administrators breaking the law and suppressing the religious speech of students: I actually donate to the Rutherford Institute John (I met Whitehead two or three times when I lived in virginia, class act that guy).

                    2. Way to miss the point. Those school administrators are breaking the law because they would like to change it. They are just as much or more of a threat the evangelicals you are so concerned about. But they get a pass from you because in your world no liberal is really that wrong about anything.

                    3. “Now an evangelical who breaks out a bible at a school, that guy is really a threat”

                      No, those who try to write the laws like the one in Engel, they are the threat. We call them the Religious Right and this conversation started with me decrying the laws they used to be able to make and work to make today.

              2. “The number of obscenity laws passed in this nation’s history with religious support is far higher than any passed with feminist support.”

                Since the 70s, it’s been like the temperance movement – if you’re trying to outlaw porn anywhere, you get the feminists,,religious, and everyday patents to back you, since building the maximum coalition you can hold together is how you get laws passed.

              3. In many places, the schools prevent mentions of God or prayers at graduation without support of the law.

                There have been examples of valedictorians not graduating becuase of mentioning God in their speeches.

        2. I had school led prayers via intercom until about 1978.

          1. still have em here , AFAIK

            1. I’m 40 and we had teacher led prayers in my elementary school just as I described above. I’ll admit I am not sure what would have happened if any of us blatantly refused to recite because none of us tried it.

              1. Im 40, and I never remember prayer at school.

                Must not be many christians in Ky or something.

              2. Where did you live? I have never heard of that happening in the 70s. I grew up in rural Kansas for Christ sake and nothing like that ever happened. I call shenanigans.

                1. I lived in Virginia at the time.

                2. “The respondent Board of Education of Union Free School District No. 9, New Hyde Park, New York, acting in its official capacity under state law, directed the School District’s principal to cause the following prayer to be said aloud by each class in the presence of a teacher at the beginning of each school day”

                  Engel v. Vitale, 1962

                  1. scripture is quoted from the Bible over the intercom in the local schools everyday here. Yes, today.

                    1. That’s creepy, brotherben.

                    2. “scripture is quoted from the Bible over the intercom in the local schools everyday here”

                      Even the story of Onan?

          2. We had a Moment of Violence instead of prayer.

  5. Let me once again suggest a reading of American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips. It was, to me, a fascinating book.

  6. And there are a lot of people, what we call the “Religious Right,” who would love to put us back there.

    It wouldn’t be Iran or anything, but it would suck pretty bad…

  7. The article said that Sarah Palin is getting 100k dollars for speaking at the Tea Party national convention. Will her new job as a correspondant for Foxnews create a problem with this appearance? Will it be seen as an endorsement of the tea party by Fox?

    1. I shouldn’t think so, any more so than Donna Brazil speaking at a political rally would mean CNN endorses that movement.

      1. Very sly, MNG.

        1. I wasn’t trying to be sly. I think it would be goofy to think that because a contributor to a network or paper appears at an event that the network or paper is endorsing that event. Every network has dozens of contributors and they are chosen in part because they are politically relevant people. Such people are going to be involved in political events.

          Even if it were endorsed or hell led or created wholesale by a network or paper so what? They can’t make people come to something they disagree with. When liberals were accusing Fox of “orchestrating” the Tea Party I thought it was silly. They aren’t, but let’s say they were. So what?

  8. Maybe they should call it the Tea Partay. You know, bring in more contemporary urban blacks.

  9. As an evangelical, I wish more of my brethren who claim the mantle of Christianity would demonstrate it by putting their faith in God and not government. I don’t need Washington’s permission to pray or worship or gather with my brothers and sisters. The Gospels paint a much different picture than what I see in the American church. I don’t mind seeing Christians involved politically (that would be hypocritical, after all), but I am always disappointed when the church, or those leaders acting under the banner of Christianity, decide to join the fray.

    1. You would think Christians would be more concerned about people’s souls than they would be government. What the hell good does it do to coerce people to do what you think is the right thing?

      1. AMEN!!!

      2. Precisely. We’re more concerned about getting folks to the voting booth than to heaven. It’s disgusting.

      3. This goes back to yesterday’s thread about A Clockwork Orange. Morality is a choice. If you are forcing people to be doing (or not doing) something, you haven’t changed their morality one whit, since they are not acting out of choice, but compulsion.

          1. (Insert inevitable reference to 2007 print-edition review of Andy Olree’s “The Choice Principle: The Biblical Case for Legal Toleration” here.)

            1. Thanks for that link. I enjoyed that.

  10. The degree of influence from the religious right varies by state. Here in Texas, the buckle of the bible belt, GOP might as well stand for God’s Own Party.

    The state party platform has more in common with a Constitution party platform than with those from less theocratic states.

    Nearly half of the state board of education is comprised of young earth creationists that strongly believe an extraterrestrial space daddy created the universe between in six days, less than ten thousand years ago. All of which is fine, until you try to teach “intelligent design” in science class, as they tried to.

    Having failed to impose their theology on high school science students, they took the effort down the hall to the sociology/history curriculum, where they are trying to portray the founding fathers as theists who intended to form a Christian nation.

    To of the outside “experts” these nutjobs have hired to advise have no legitimate credentials in either subject, but are plenty qualified to lead an ole fashioned revival. One is proud Christian Dominionist, whose contribution has been to suggest that McCarthyism has been vindicated.

    The article may use the term “theocracy” broadly, but it fits the Texas GOP like a pair of custom made snake skin boots. At the two tea parties I attended, religious overtones were secondary, but palpable.

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