Right-wing Christians, a growing threat

Michelle Goldberg says progressives need to wake up and pay attention to the enormous — and growing — influence of the radical Christian right.

"I don't want to be alarmist, but this is actually quite alarming," Michelle Goldberg said. She was referring to the subject of her new book, "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism," which chronicles the steady rise of the neocons of Christianity.

Whether she's attending a Ten Commandments conference or joining Tony Perkins' conference calls to listen in on what D.C. agenda will be passed on to congregations, Goldberg's reporting offers insight into a movement that has reshaped the nation's political and cultural landscape. Goldberg did not go undercover, nor wear any disguise. Rather, she simply showed up, listened and learned. And what she has learned is definitely alarming.

Traveling around the country on her book tour, Goldberg notes that many people have approached her with stories that illustrate the religious intolerance that is the hallmark of an aggressive Christian movement. On a muggy day in Brooklyn, Goldberg sat down with me to discuss the need for Americans -- particularly progressives and liberals -- to recognize the sophisticated intellectual structure of Christian Nationalism, and how it has succeeded in constructing a parallel reality based on Biblical rhetoric and revisionist history.

Onnesha Roychoudhuri: How did the idea for the book come about?

Michelle Goldberg: I've done reporting on the subject for a long time. One of the first pieces I did on the Christian right was on the ex-gay movement. What struck me going to the Exodus Conference was that it takes place in this whole entire parallel universe. They have their own psychologists, psychological institutions and their own version of professional medical literature. The amount of books, magazines and media, and the way it almost duplicated everything that we have in our so-called reality, is remarkable. What struck me years later when I was reporting on the Bush administration was that the parallel institutions that I had first come into contact with were replacing the mainstream institutions -- especially in the federal bureaucracy.

Roychoudhuri: Can you give an example?

Goldberg: In the Department of Health and Human Services, the people they hired to formulate sex education policy, at both the national and international level, didn't come from the American Medical Association or the big medical schools. They're coming from places like the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, which is this Christian Nationalist medical group. [The group says it is a "nonprofit scientific, educational organization to confront the global epidemics of non-marital pregnancy."]

One of the earlier stories I did for Salon was on the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) which does family planning, but they don't do abortion, mostly safe childcare and reproductive health through clinics all over the world. Congress had appropriated $35 million to the UNFPA. There's this group called the Population Research Institute -- another one of these parallel institutions. They're radically anti-family planning and claim that population control policies are part of this "one-world conspiracy" to cull the population of the faithful so that the "one-world government" can more easily assert its control. On the website it said that not only is overpopulation a myth, but all the people on Earth could live comfortably in the state of Texas. I did this story in 2002. I still had this naïve idea that this kind of thing would remain marginal.

But what's amazing is that Population Research Institution went on to testify before Congress saying that the UNFPA promotes forced abortions in China. These kinds of accusations start echoing up the ladder to the point where Bush froze the UNFPA funding. This despite the fact that the State Department had already sent a delegation to China to investigate and said there was nothing to these accusations at all.

There's a myth on the left that's been fostered by Thomas Frank. I think it's a mistake to think that the religious right hasn't got anything. Frank has fostered this idea that the right votes to end abortion and gets a repeal of the estate tax. They've actually gotten quite a bit. One of the main ways they are rewarded below the radar is by being given vast amounts of control over American family planning policy abroad.

Roychoudhuri: What is "Christian Nationalism" and what characterizes it as a political movement?

Goldberg: Christian Nationalism is a political ideology separate from evangelicals. Evangelicals are about 30 percent of the American population. Christian Nationalism is a subset of 10-15 percent. It's less a religion than it is an ideology about the way America should be governed. It has this whole revisionist history claiming that America was founded as a Christian nation, that the separation of church and state is a fraud perpetrated by seculars. What follows from that are ideas about Christianization of institutions in American life, and that the courts have vastly overstepped their authority in the enforcement of the separation of church and state.

Roychoudhuri: Throughout the book, you show examples of the Christian Nationalist movement pushing for special privileges under the banner of equal rights. The change in the hiring rights of faith-based social programs seems to epitomize this.

Goldberg: The words that they use for that is "religious freedom in hiring rights." Religious groups have been able to get government checks for a long time. But they used to have to abide by 1956 civil rights law which has an exemption for religious groups. So, if you're a church you can prefer Christians, mosques can prefer Muslims, but the catch has always been that if you're contracting with the government, then you have to abide by the same civil rights laws as everybody else. Bush, by executive order, overturned that so that government-funded charities are no longer bound by the laws. Now, there is job training, drug treatment and preschool programs that are totally separate. The job is 100-percent taxpayer funded, but they can say in the help-wanted ad, "Christians only."

Bush wanted to get the Salvation Army aboard the faith-based initiatives. The Salvation Army then brought in a consultant to Christianize certain divisions. He asked the human resources director at the Salvation Army headquarters, Maureen Schmidt, whether one of the human resource staffers at the social services division, Margaret Geissman, was Jewish, because she had a "Jewish sounding name." Schmidt told him that she wasn't. So then he went to her and said, "I want a list of homosexuals who work there."

She said no. She's a really conservative lady, but she was totally appalled and refused to do it.

Roychoudhuri: How did this kind of shift occur? Is there an architect behind these faith-based programs?

Goldberg: The architect of the faith-based initiative is Marvin Olasky. He was an advisor of Bush's campaign. Bush wrote the foreword to Olasky's book, Compassionate Conservatism, I think people hear "compassionate conservatism," and it sounds like a banality, but if you know Olasky's book, you know it's outlining something very specific. Olasky believes that America is in moral decline and that we need to return social services to churches. He also believes that conversion is an important part of the process. This book laid out exactly what he thought we should be doing, and Bush went and did it.

Roychoudhuri: Your book discusses the role that megachurches play in the politics of the right. Can you explain the ties?

Goldberg: It's not all of the megachurches, but it is many of them. There's different kinds of connections. New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Ted Haggard is the pastor there. He has a call with the White House every single week. Other churches are networked in through the Family Research Council in D.C. It's run by Tony Perkins who has these conference calls that I actually got the number for and started listening in on. All these pastors call in and Perkins basically updates them on his latest conversations with the White House and the congressional leadership. He tells them what kind of issues he needs to focus their congregations on. So he would say you need to have your congregants write to their senators about abolishing the filibuster or about confirming a certain judge. He's literally relaying marching orders from Washington, D.C.

Roychoudhuri: Do you think congregants are aware of the connection?

Goldberg: I kind of doubt that people in the congregations know that but I'm not sure that they would be particularly angry or outraged about it. It would only outrage you if you believe in the separation of church and state, that church shouldn't be a political party.

Roychoudhuri: You frequently discuss the similarities between Christian Nationalism and fascism and totalitarianism. Were you conflicted about broaching this?

Goldberg: Among liberals, there is always talk about fascism and there's a kind of agreement that you can't talk about it more publicly without sounding like a lunatic. You don't want to sound like you're comparing Bush to Hitler. We have no language to talk about the intermediate stages of this kind of thing. But there are these really unmistakable parallels to fascism, not as a government system, but to fascism in its early stages. Before fascism is a government, it's a movement. It's not born in power, it comes to power. I think it's time to talk about fascism or another word for it. Christian Nationalism is one way to talk about it. But there are things that are going on that are not normal, they're not politics usual.

These things are always subtle and gradual, but there are moments when all of a sudden you think "Oh, they're drawing up lists of people who are gay at public agencies." I don't want to be alarmist, but this is actually quite alarming. Just recently, there was a story about a Jewish family in Delaware who moved after fearing retaliation for filing a lawsuit regarding state-sponsored religion. As I've been traveling around the country, and I've been traveling a lot, I keep hearing about things like this happening all over the place.

There's one abortion clinic in Mississippi right now and Operation Rescue is planning to close it down. In parts of the country, doctors are living under constant terrorist threat and it's a daily battle. If you're in other parts of the country, you can be completely unaware of it. I keep hearing from people on the coasts who say, well, I'm sure the pendulum will swing back. But my sense is that, for instance, gay people who are living in conservative states or Jews who are living in places where there aren't a lot of other Jews, definitely feel something is going on and it's affecting them on a day to day basis.

Roychoudhuri: You see this becoming an even more polarized battle in the future -- the secular vs. religious. Barack Obama recently gave a speech in which he advocated for a middle ground, and for progressives to embrace their faith. Do you think that's a viable option?

Goldberg: Obama's speech to me was interesting. I thought that there were some things about it that were really valuable, and some things that were really destructive. What he said about people feeling that there's something missing in their life, and speaking to that, was right on. The religious right gives people the narrative arc both for their own lives and then the country as a whole and it's very comforting to people. Giving someone a list of policies -- even policies that will make their lives better can't really compare to that.

But what was destructive was that he took for granted right-wing rhetoric that has no basis in fact. He said, "What's the matter with the Pledge of Allegiance, I don't think anybody is really bothered by the 'under God.'"

He's right; most people aren't bothered by it. It's a myth that liberals, not to mention Democrats, have done anything against the Pledge of Allegiance. The only people trying to take the "under God" out are a few individuals representing themselves. When that California guy sued to have the "under God" taken out of the pledge of allegiance, he wasn't being represented by the ACLU, or the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. He was representing himself.

Roychoudhuri: What do you think it's going to take for progressives and liberals to gain more currency?

Goldberg: One thing that the right does have that you don't have on the left are these umbrella organizations. Most years, I go to the Conservative Political Action Conference which brings together the religious right, but also the neocons, the hate government people like Grover Norquist, and the gun owners. They see each other there once a year, they have weekly meetings that Grover Norquist holds where he brings together representatives from all the different right-wing groups. Then there are institutions like the Heritage Foundation that has religious right social policy thinkers but also neocon defense people. Not everybody believes everything in the movement, but there are these interlocking circles and this social milieu where people meet and ideas circulate. We don't have that.

We don't have one meeting that brings together the feminist groups, gay groups, civil liberties and environmental groups. I feel like I'm always talking to like-minded organizations, and they don't know what the other group is up to.

Roychoudhuri: Any sense why that is?

Goldberg: There is progressive funding available for programs, but not for institution-building. It's just now that they're starting to come up with journals about these ideas that should underlie where the progressive Democrats should go. There has been a real neglect in part because people held the right in such contempt. There was never any appreciation for the depths of the intellectual infrastructure. Even though the stereotype is that liberals are the academics, there is, in certain senses, anti-intellectualism among policy and political people who don't see how that structure roots people, shapes ideas. It's more than just crafting a message; it creates this whole interwoven skein of values and assumptions. Now we're starting to see an attempt to create that on the left.

The other thing that I think is really necessary is creating something parallel to the right's Concerned Women for America. Let's say it gets in the news that the Dover school board is talking about introducing creationism. We know the ACLU is great when it gets to the legal issues, but even before it gets to that stage, we need consultants calling up the people on our side saying, "Here's what we're up against, this is what to expect, this is how you can talk about it in a way that will resonate with people." You have the information, but it's just not getting to those people. Whereas, on the other side, you do have consultants calling up coaching people through it before it even gets to the table.

Roychoudhuri: You're very solution-oriented in the last chapter of the book, but you clearly state that you think it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Goldberg: It's already worse since the book came out. There's an idea out there that once Bush is gone, or maybe if the Republicans lose Congress, then we'll all be free and clear. Obviously, there's nothing more important to me than seeing the Republicans lose Congress. But, it's entirely possible that most Americans are going to vote Democratic in the polls but that Republicans will still control Congress. The huge structural advantages the Republicans have created for themselves have to be addressed before anything else can be solved. I would say the collapse of the Republican Party is really important, but the Christian Nationalist movement is not a majority. I don't think there needs to be a majority to affect policy.

Roychoudhuri: You write of a pretty enormous communication chasm: "Dialogue is impossible without some shared sense of reality... What's lacking isn't just truth, it's the entire social mechanism by which truth is distinguished from falsehood." How can we regain that?

Goldberg: I found the last chapter the hardest to write because I do feel like in certain ways the problem is much larger than any solutions I've come up with. There are all these voices on the right that can say almost anything without consequence. You would never see Kerry joining hands with someone from the Black Panther Party or someone from the ANSWER coalition. But there are people on the right who are calling for theocracy and almost nothing they say discredits them; they're still treated as respectable mainstream voices.

It's important to get people to pay attention to who these people really are. People don't know what Reconstructionism is, so it doesn't occur to them to be shocked when they see a Reconstructionist on a panel or at a banquet table with congressmen. That should be politically damaging; that should be embarrassing. And the media needs to stop treating it as "some people say this" and "some people say that" as though it's balanced, as though they're legitimate points of view.

Also, journalists should take these religious groups seriously enough to ask about them. I'm totally agnostic on the question of whether Bush is a true believer or totally cynical, I think he's some combination. Somebody asked Bush at a public meeting whether any of his Middle East policies are informed by his vision of the End Times. That to me is a totally legitimate question and he didn't really answer it. If these people are saying they take their religion seriously, then people have a right to ask what is it and do you believe x, y or z.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/38830/


Anonymous said...

I totally concur. The right-wingers who are trying to establish a theocracy in the U.S. are a serious threat. They are, in fact, the worse thing about christinsanity. If people want to believe in a sky daddy, talking donkeys, pregnant virgins, and living deadmen, that's their problem - until they try to impose it on the rest of us and then it becomes our problem.

I am especially ticked off at the right-wingnuts today - the day after our illustrious commander-n-thief vetoed a bill for funding stem cell research. I have been crippled by multiple sclerosis so it gulls me to think I'll have to wait longer for a possible medical solution just because a bunch of creepy christians value embryoes that are about to be flushed down the loo more than actual, living, breathing (but suffering) people.

jimearl said...

Like Thackerie, I also totally concur. We are all facing a serious problem that could well lead to war between believers and non-believers. Much is at stake and if the fucknuts continue in power it won't be long before the battle lines are drawn. I have a real problem with people who want to make their beliefs into our laws. Since there is strength in unity, we have to have the means of getting non-believers organized and working together. The time has passed where we can stay in the closet and wish for the best. We much be active and vocal. I live in the deep south where there's at least a church or two on about every corner. I run a small business and share a parking lot with a church. If anyone has any ideas what we can do to become more organized, share it with this group. It may be a start. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Jim Earl - There are some organizations that are already involved in the effort, and there are two in particular that I support financially to the fullest extent possible:

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (http://www.au.org) and the ACLU (http://www.aclu.org).

I also recommend that voters should thoroughly check into the background, as well as the stated platform, of politicians before voting. And bear in mind that such scrutiny should not be limited to candidates seeking national or statewide offices but also local offices, including city councils and school boards, because this is where the fundies often get their start (on school boards in particular).

Anonymous said...

I am of the opinion that what is going on here (social dynamics) is a complex phenomenon. I don't think that it is as simple as "Christian=Republican=bad" and "non or ex-Christian=Democrat=good". For instance there are some political issues (e.g. should we teach Creationism as being on par with evolution in American public schools?) where I SIDE WITH LIBERALS. There are other issues (e.g. should we defend ourselves against those who would attack the USA and her allies?) where I SIDE WITH CONSERVATIVES.

The problems that we face today and in the near future are not simple ones in my opinion.


Anonymous said...

Aaaaaaaaagh. Time to run screaming off into the woods. This stuff just turns my stomach, mainly because it is so true. I wish I could say that a progressive movement will rise up and defeat these bastards, but we are so fractured I just don't see it happening in time... As for the democrats, as Jon Stewart of The Daily Show says, "It's the party of no ideas vs. the party of bad ideas."

J. C. Samuelson said...

I just read an article that lends credence to this post from a cultural standpoint. See this article for an interesting review of the case of Clean Flicks v. Steven Soderbergh. The writer examines the cultural reasons why the defendants essentially felt that copyright law didn't apply to them.

Quoted from the article:
"In contemporary America, entities and individuals motivated by religious or moral faith have come to believe that the law should not apply to them when it conflicts with their particular interests and world view."

J. C. Samuelson said...

Posted before I was finished...

Now, as to this post I'd just like to point out that Ms. Goldberg isn't exactly unbiased. She, like many other progressives, mistakenly conflates Christianity with the Republican party and has a blatant political agenda her comments illustrate. For example, she says:

"Obviously, there's nothing more important to me than seeing the Republicans lose Congress."


"I would say the collapse of the Republican Party is really important..."

Although I'm not Republican, and can see how it may appear that way, it's just not true. I know several Republicans just in my neighborhood who don't like Bush's policies or subscribe to the evangelical worldview.

Yes, they do regret their votes.

In other words, I don't think it's as cut & dry as she portrays it.

Anonymous said...

It all seems a little confuseing to me. This too shall pass.

Anonymous said...

You're completely right, we need to fight the good fight and keep these nutty people out of the government and hold off their assault for another 20 or so years, by then, minorities are going to be such a high percentage of the population that the Republicans will be unable to win elections without changing their ideals....

Anonymous said...

Its apparent that the strength of the U.S. was in its "melting pot" philosophy, incorporating values and cultural ideas through rigorous debate and inclusion, well, at least that's what was supposed to happen, most times the melting together was catalyzed using a blow torch called national survival, etc. Which, by the way is exactly why "Israel", is still together, they are continually hardened to their national cause by fear of attack, war is the blow torch that keeps them melded together as a nation, and culture.

The U.S. has its times of unity, when attacked as a whole, but not totally, even when attacked by the Japanese, there were sectors of people speaking out against the U.S. and their involvement. The U.S. has fallen into the trap of fallen "melting pot" ideaology, into "diversity", which on a rigid scale can be seen as separatism. Accepting individuality, and unique diversity is understood by anyone educated, however, groups of people forming to separate themselves from the rest, is destructive to a body trying to stand as one. There are so many special interest groups, that its not surprising that the country has fallen into a state of separationist groups, where the only unity that can be found, is when it benefits a special groups' cause.

The reason there is a political structure, is to get an agreeance or compromise between groups, so they grow together. In politics, this compromise is impossible to achieve, the group with the biggest number of voters will be the ones catered to, the laws, etc., will reflect that voting populations' ideaology, a true middle ground can not be found in the political arena, and its because as one poster stated.

The compromising is most productive at the grass-roots level, in the community, at local representative elections, public school elections, etc. This sounds easy, but standing up in front of a crowd of people, and presenting a dissenting view to the majority, places one in an uncomfortable position, but its either stand up to the local community and find common ground, or have it imposed by the community on children, in schools, etc.

If the grass-roots community common ground can not be reached, then reach out to neighboring cities, counties, etc., to give them support to offset the state representation. If one lives in a state that is almost majority vote one way, then reach out nationally to organizations that can protect a citizens' rights based on constitutional law. I attempt to believe that most people understand that taking freedoms from others, is setting a precedent that may be used against them eventually, and so, common ground in reachable, unfortunately, there are some remote areas of the U.S., where entire cities feel they are a nation unto themselves. The only solution there, is to move, in my humble opinion, and move somewhere where a vote can make a difference in the local community.

Piprus said...

I agree with the posters who characterize this "christian right" movement as a threat to our republic. Historically it has been based on humanistic values, not on religious dogma. The christian right would change all that, replacing our constitution with a taliban-like dictatorship of the clergy. A la Iran. There are even radical factions of this genre, like the followers of the late R.J. Rushdooney, that would impose "biblical" punishment laws. Visualize public executions of gays, juvenile delinquents, and "fornicators".

Those of us who love freedom, even the freedom to pursue any religion or none at all, need to keep our guard up. There will always be those who believe in controlling the people.

We have seen enough of an erosian of our civil rights under the present administration. We need to stop that process, lest we wake up one day and find ourselves living in a police state. The xian right, along with the fascist neocons, would have it so.

This was a great post. Don't stop here. There are a number of "watch" groups on the net, monitoring anti-democratic activity in America. (And I'm not a crazy conspiracy theorist, I simply believe there will always be those who will try to use our freedoms to destroy them from within)

(Thackerie, I agree with you. The veto from the administration was nothing more than a nod to the radical xian right. There was no other rational reason I can see to block that measure.)

Anonymous said...

To Jim earl,...I too have been looking for an organization to become involved in and support that exposes fundementalist religions of every kind.
I think we need to go the media just like the televangelists do,...but that takes money!
It's definately time to become pro-active in educating the public of the foolishness and dangers of following these dogmatic leaders of ancient mythological religions!
Geoge Carlin says we should,..."stop protesting wars and start protesting against organized religion"! That takes takes some guts,....probably won't ever happen.

Ian said...

If these people come to power and institute christian lifestyle and the bible as the law of the land, i'm moving to Canada. Or maybe i'll go to England and support a europe led invasion to take the united states back as a country where you can live without being forced into how to live or what to believe.

Wait a minute, diddn't that happen in Afghanestan?

swabby429 said...

I've been watching the religious right since the late 1970's...they have not changed their focus.

Their agenda has been unbending, their momentum continued to build throught to the "Moral Majority", to the "700 Club", to Dr. Dobson's "Focus on the Family" organization. The Family Research Council, etc.

I don't understand why this movement comes as such a surprise to us now. I've been supporting the ACLU and church/state separation groups for years.

Uniting liberals and non christian groups is akin to herding cats. If organization doesn't become coherant soon, fighting these fascists will be as tough as shoveling snow in the middle of a blizzard.

Enough talk, action must now occur.


Anonymous said...

"There are other issues (e.g. should we defend ourselves against those who would attack the USA and her allies?) where I SIDE WITH CONSERVATIVES."

I take exception to this comment. Since when are liberals against fighting back against aggressors? You're drinking from the neocon coolaid too much I think.

As far as the topic goes, the religious right is a scary group. I think I saw a senator or representative suggest that a law be made making adultery illegal. Just amazing that something like that could be considered. Religion is a blight on humanity.

- Jim

Anonymous said...

Here are a few of relevant websites:
www.au.org. I'd like to kick off an email conversation about the role of ex-christians in this battle. There may be some ways that we are uniquely well positioned to challenge the bible worshipers. If anyone is interested, I'm at valerietaricoathotmail.

Anonymous said...

These people are scary, but I am encouraged that they number only 30%, that isn't that much.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is an excellent organization and I am a member. Someone else has mentioned it on this site before. Members get a great monthly newspaper. Just do a search for them to find their website.

They are also having a convention in San Francisco the first weekend in October. Julie Sweeney is one of the speakers. My partner, Kathy, and I are going. I would love to see some folks from this site there.

Regards, carol

Anonymous said...

Jim, I would expect a comment like that from a full on liberal. I am a moderate however. I know it may not be sexy, but it is what it is. I think that the far left, if given full rein, would be every bit as damaging to our country as the far right would be if given full rein. Both extemes need to be kept in check in my opinion.

Thanks webmaster for giving me the opportunity to express my opinion.


Anonymous said...

I think there are a lot of good laws on the books, but, it has taken the U.S. almost two hundred years to finally ammend the constitution with civil rights. The words of "all men are created equal", make the point. Where were the women in that phrase, where were the minority rights? They were given lip service, in a country that was supposed to follow its constitution.

The U.S. system does have a lot to offer its citizens, but it requires much effort to sway the majority, see women's suffrage, and early minority status in the U.S., that still occur to some degree today. Even when the laws are on the books, we have major cities within yokal states that turn the other way, when local citizens force their religious views on state and federal property, i.e., religious symbols, ten commandments, etc, on court house lawns.

It requires those who are at the grass roots level in their city, to be vigilent and know the laws, and if necessary to bring illegal activity to the knowledge of a group of citizens that can address the issues at the national level, by bringing federal departments into the matter. A local person, may not have the power to influence a rabid local majority, but a national agency can definitely force the gov't to intervene and put the legal mechanisms into action. Many problems in the U.S. could be solved by enforcing the laws on the books, to include constitutional law, i.e., prayer in schools, etc.

Voting for the right people in office, does make a difference, as it keeps honest citizens from havin to do their job for them. But, when the local politician fails, kicking the matter up a notch to an organization that can nationally spotlight the failing politician, then changes can occur. No politician makes changes that aren't popular locally, unless they are forced by those who hold higher authority.

I also agree, that extremism on either end of the polls isn't going to do anyone any good, as typically, those on polar extremes typically define their stance in absolute terms, which removes freedom from the population. When the population loses the freedom to question the gov't for "any" reason, the days ahead will not look bright... it is why, we still have the right to bare arms and assemble. It keeps those who are attempting to establish a tyranny from getting a hold of the nation, and its the responsibilty of the citizens to prevent such acivity. Again, it requires effort, and many times a keen understanding of the laws being challenged and created.

A national organization that can take large quantities of legal proposals, and break them down into easily understood chunks, and provide them to the interested citizen, will in fact make the greatest impact on the way business is conducted in America. Many politicians, etc., create a huge beurocracy of paperwork, in order to drown the avergage citizen in a sea of information, to prevent involvement in matters that are sensitive.

Media outlets are supposed to cover such information, but, one has to trust the source of the media outlet, and it is obvious that some media outlets are a little one way or another, and typically never offer the individual the ability to engage the information being presented. I personally don't have time to read long pork barrel bills coming out of congress, but an organization who is staffed to make such observations seems to be a place to turn for information.

The average citizen works many hours, and by the time they get home are drained of the desire to go digging into legal research, to ensure politicians or gov't officials aren't conducting illegal or inappropriate acts. I know... the DOJ is supposed to handle some of this activity, but... does anyone doubt for a minute the influence that can be imposed on a single individual department head? One big brother can't be kept "known" to be honest, it takes two at a minimum looking over eachothers' shoulders.

Anonymous said...

I'm at least relieved that Jews have absolutely no influence in the United States and Europe today, and that Muslims are a tiny and completely harmless religious sect that practice a religion of peace.

Anonymous said...

John said he was glad that the Jews don't have much influence in the U.S. Unforturnately, that's not true. Through the Israel Lobby, they have a lot of influence. Look at how overwhelmingly Congress is supporting Israel in their most recent murderous rampage.

Anonymous said...

The religious right is totally influenced by the jews(Israel)!They take literally the scripture that says "I will bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who curse Israel"
I know from 20 yrs. of being a fundie,....this scripture scares the sh-t out of them!

Anonymous said...

You make Lenny scared. :(

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