bill moyers on religious extremism

There’s a reason everyone seems to be giving Bill Moyers awards these days. Every time he goes somewhere to accept one, he gives a brilliant speech, and says things that very few others dare to. His acceptance speech at the Union Theological Seminary of New York on September 10 was no exception. It’s classic, brilliant Moyers at his fundamentalist-skewering best. Check it out if you get a chance. It’s powerful stuff. (And, before you leave a comment calling him a Christ-hating Islamic apologist, read the piece. I think you’ll find that he spends as much time, if not more, going after the Islamic extremists in the world.)

…This silence on economic and political morality is deafening but revealing. The radicals on the Christian right are now the dominant force in America’s governing party. Without them the government would not be in the hands of people who don’t believe in government. They are culpable in upholding a system of class and race in which, as we saw last week, the rich escape and the poor are left behind. And they are on they are crusading for a government “of, by, and for the people” in favor of one based on Biblical authority…

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  1. Shanster
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Hey, that was a pretty good speech. I’d be offended if I were one of them religious extremists.

    But how can he make the claim that the religious zealots don’t care about the poor? Haven’t we seen an immense compassionate response from the churches, or are the Evangelical fundamentalists just sitting back and letting us Baptists and Pentacostals take care of our own? I don’t think so, but I’d be open to any information.

  2. Tony Buttons
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    In the case of the Scientologists, who have been flooding into New Orleans, I think they see it as an opportunity to build their base. As for extreme Christian groups, I haven’t heard much about them having a presence. Are there specific churches that you’ve heard about, Shanster?

  3. Shanster
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    No, that’s why I asked. I just assumed they were doing the same thing as most of us: the best we can.

  4. Shanster
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I found that the Evangelicals are indeed involved, through World Relief. Who, then, are the radicals who Moyers says “marginalize the poor”?

  5. Teddy Glass
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Here’s something I received from a large Colorado-based evangelical church. It looks like they are helping by raising funds.

    Dear New Lifers and friends of New Life Church,

    All of you are aware of the devastation that Hurricane Katrina has caused along the Gulf Coast, and many of you have asked how you can help. Right now, major relief organizations are doing the best anyone could do, helping people in the region at large. New Life Church will be directly assisting local churches in the region as they work to help the people in their communities recover.

    This Sunday, we will be taking a special offering to go toward this effort. If you would like to give but won’t be able to come on Sunday, you can also write a check and mail it to the church or drop it by the office. Make your check payable to New Life Church, and in the memo put “disaster relief.”

    Once the region is stable and order is restored enough to know how we can best help, we will be sending a team of New Lifers to assist with the effort. Right now, there is almost no communication within the affected areas, and there is violence and lawlessness which is preventing us from really knowing what is needed there. Too often, people rush to help and end up being more of a hindrance, so we are taking a little bit more time to assess the situation because we want to be sure we are authentically helping the relief effort.

    Let’s continue to keep this tragedy in our prayers. Thank you all for your support and generosity.

    I love being your pastor,

    Pastor Ted Haggard

  6. john galt
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    from the onion (for those of you who do not know this is SATIRE)

    Report: More Kids Being Home-Churched

    September 14, 2005 | Issue 41

  7. mark
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Shanster, I’m sure that there are evangelicals that genuinely care about the people in the Gulf Coast. There are others, however, who’ve gone on record saying that this was divine retribution, and that they deserved what they got. And, as Teddy points out, I’m sure some are just using it an opportunity to raise funds. People, I’m sorry to say, regardless of their religious affiliation, are pretty self-serving, disgusting creatures.

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