back to the “christ hating” grindstone

Max Blumenthal recently reported on the Huffington Post site that President Bush’s roundly-disliked appointee as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John “Fuck Consensus Building” Bolton, has met with Christian fundamentalist James Dobson and representatives from his morality-policing organization, Focus on the Family, to discuss how they might work together in the future. Here’s a clip (excerpted from Blumenthal’s report) from a recent Focus on the Family broadcast:

JIM DALY (President of Focus on the Family): He’s [Bolton’s] a good man. I mean, everything we saw of him in that almost hour we met with him…he’s just a solid pro-life gentleman and uh, certainly more meek than what the Democrats portrayed. He’s a nice guy.

JAMES DOBSON: But we had an opportunity to talk to him about the possibility of Focus on the Family working with the United Nations. That really did excite me.

DALY: Absolutely. I think what came across in the meeting is that he [Bolton] is pro-life and pro-family and he gave us an invitation to work with him in setting some policy there at the UN that would support the values we believe in.

DOBSON: Now we’re finding out why the Democrats didn’t want him…

DALY: It had nothing to do…

DOBSON: He’s [Bolton’s] pro-life, pro-family, pro-morality and sees things the way we do regarding condom distribution and abstinence and other things.

Who would have thought that the “pro-morality” folks would be the ones withholding the condoms from the African countries battling to keep their populations alive in the life and death battle against AIDS? It’s not terribly intuitive, is it? (I know the adjective “Orwellian” gets thrown around a lot these days, but it seems to work here.)

And, Holy Shit! As long as we’re on the subject of religious zealots, do me a favor and check out this clip from the television show Trading Spouces (via Crooks and Liars). I know it’s not really fair to suggest that many on the far right take their religious fundamentalism to such extremes (as the woman featured in this clip), but Holy Shit! Watching this clip, I can’t help but wonder how this might play outside the United States… Is this, I wonder, how people abroad see all of us — as super-sized born-again lunatics who imagine themselves as “warriors” in some epic battle of good against evil? (I guess it doesn’t really help that our Ambassador to the United Nations is looking for ways to incorporate Focus on the Family and their “traditional family values” into our diplomatic efforts.)

I suppose we should be happy though. In lots of other places around the world, young extremists show God how much they love him by blowing themselves, and the people around them, up. Here, happily, maybe because they control just about every branch of government, they seem to be content praying non-stop in an arrow-shaped building pointed at the Supreme Court. (Can anyone really dispute the fact that religious lunacy is on an up-swing in this country?)

With all of this, it’s easy to see how some might be tempted to lose faith, and perhaps even go so far as to “Beware of the God.” (Thanks to Scott Trudeau for that link.) Personally, I don’t think that’s the answer though, at least for me. For all that I rail on this loud, angry subset of Christians in America that seem to be practicing a strikingly un-Christian version of the religion, I do feel as though Christianity has something to offer in terms of the global debate. I just fear that the non-extremists might give up the fight, as they did in the Republican party, and that the best things about the religion might be lost forever, in favor of this cultish worship of Jesus as a personal self-help guru. I guess only time will tell.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with this thought from a man that I very much respect, former President Jimmy Carter. It comes from the back cover of his new book, “Our Endangered Values,” which Linette and I just bought as a Christmas present for her father.

Americans cherish the greatness of our homeland, but many do not realize how extensive and profound are the transformations that are now taking place in our nation’s basic moral values and political philosophy.

Our people have been justifiably proud to see America’s power and influence used to preserve peace for ourselves and others, promote economic and social justice, raise high the banner of human rights, protect the quality of our environment, alleviate human suffering, and cooperate with other peoples to reach these common goals.

We have learned the value of providing our citizens with accurate information and treating dissenting voices with respect. Most of our political leaders have attempted to control deficit spending, preserve the separation of church and state, and protect civil liberties and personal privacy.

All of these historic commitments are now being challenged.

In my opinion, we need to hear more Christian voices like his… and a little less from the “Justice Sunday” crowd. (Justice Sunday III, by the way, is scheduled to take place January 8 in Philly.)

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9 Comments

  1. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted December 5, 2005 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Next you will be trying to get rid of Christmas!

    http://thinkprogress.org/2005/12/05/christmas-conspiracy/

  2. mark
    Posted December 5, 2005 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I saw a great photo from Fox News earlier. The news crawler across the bottom of the screen said something like, “If liberals get their way, Christmas will be destroyed, and our economy with it.”

  3. mark
    Posted December 6, 2005 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I knew the John Barrymore post wasn’t going to get any comments, but I thought that people might actually have something to say aboout this one… This surprises me.

  4. Stella Magdalen
    Posted December 7, 2005 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    My Dad insists that J.C. was the best president of the 20th century. While initially I scoffed like everyone else, because my Dad is considered to be fairly brilliant I started thinking hard about it and I’m starting to see some real logic there.

  5. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted December 7, 2005 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I took me a moment to realizae that by JC you didn’t mean Jesus. I thought that you were suggesting that Jeus had been leading us through W.

  6. Stella Magdalen
    Posted December 7, 2005 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I am starting to think those initials are no idle coincidence, aren’t you?
    Everybody laughed, villified and kicked around Carter too didn’t they?
    And everyboby knows I think someone in the current cabal is the Anti.

  7. It's Skinner Again
    Posted December 7, 2005 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Is it time to point out again that Christmas is a fairly recent institution? And that many churches (including Baptists and Presbyterians) used to reject it as a pagan celebration with no Biblical authority?

    When I was a kid, Christians were always protesting the commercialization of Christmas; now they’re upset that commercialization isn’t Christian enough. Curious, isn’t it?

    As for Carter, he was honest and decent; and Americans hate nothing more. Honesty and decency just aren’t very flashy.

  8. Stella Magdalen
    Posted December 7, 2005 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    he also helps feeds and house the poor, what a rotten apple, next thing he’ll probably be tipping over counters at the bank.

  9. mark
    Posted December 8, 2005 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    The artist responsible for the piece above, by the way, just sent me a note. She seems quite nice, and, if you’d you like to find out more about this project of hers dealing with religious extrimism, all you have to do is follow that link. (Her name is Deborah Kelly.)

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