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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Almost No One is Christian Enough

Charles "Chuck" Colson was Nixon's chief counsel and one of the Watergate Seven sent up the river for his connection to that scandal. The man who many say was 'Nixon's Karl Rove' experienced a marvelous christian rebirth in prison and founded the Prison Fellowship.

So it's with a barrel of salt that I read an article by Colson at the Christian Post, titled Who Is Funding Attacks on Christians? (the hyperlink is mine):

The full-page ad in the New York Times featured head shots of Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Pat Robertson [PDF]. Above them, in giant type, were the words, “Meet America’s Most Influential Stem Cell Scientists.” The ad charges evangelicals with trying to turn America into a theocracy and outlaw scientific research.

This ad was one of many hysterical, vicious, and untruthful ads paid for by a group called the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, or “DefCon.” But far from defending the Constitution, DefCon, which does not have to report who they are or who is paying for these ads, is an extreme left-wing group intent on demonizing religious conservatives.

Promoting embryo-destructive stem-cell research is just one of its causes. DefCon also supports abortion, special rights for homosexuals, a radical animal-rights agenda, and force-feeding school kids an uncritical view of Darwinian evolution.

Those views, of course, are standard fare for the left today. But much more disturbing is the manner in which this secretive campaign portrays people of faith. On its website, it accuses Christians of “hijacking” the federal courts and of wanting to achieve “absolute power over all branches of government . . . breaking the rules to get it.” We’re accused of trying to make medical decisions for women and turning homosexuals into second-class citizens.

In the school classroom, we zealots are scheming to replace “scientific knowledge with religious ideology.” Moreover, we are plotting to use the government to “proselytize or to infringe on the religious freedom of all Americans.” Wow.

Yeah, Chuck, that's just nuts. Why on earth would anyone actually think that Dobson, Falwell, and Robertson want christian theocracy, when that's exactly what they tell us they want?

"I have a Divine Mandate to go into the halls of Congress and fight for laws that will save America."

"We must, from the highest office in the land right down to the shoeshine boy in the airport, have a return to Biblical basics."
--Jerry Falwell

"The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that's what's been happening."
--Pat Robertson

"This really was a Christian nation," he claims, "and, as far as its founders were concerned, to try separating Christianity from government is virtually impossible and would result in unthinkable damage to the nation and its people. Much of the damage we see around us must be attributed to this separation."
--James Dobson

To be fair, I don't know of any political movement that doesn't think that the government would be better off if everyone in it embraced their ideology. But the religious right embraces a theology known as Dominionism. This theology is best explained as a belief that God gave christians the world to rule. In 1986, Pat Robertson distributed a flyer to the Iowa Republican County Caucus that read:

How to Participate in a Political Party:

Rule the world for God.

Give the impression that you are there to work for the party, not push an ideology.

Hide your strength.

Don't flaunt your Christianity.

Christians need to take leadership positions. Party officers control political parties and so it is very important that mature Christians have a majority of leadership positions whenever possible, God willing.

So, when Colson tells us that saying religious extremists want theocracy is '
hysterical, vicious, and untruthful', we have to ask, "So what, exactly, does 'Rule the world for God' mean, then?"

Colson tells us, "Well, who is funding the spewing of all this hatred and deceit? It takes a lot of digging to find out.

"One major source is the Tides Center, funded by the far-left Tides Foundation, which helps to fund the ACLU, PETA, pro-abortion groups [NARAL], the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Planned Parenthood,, and the Council for American-Islamic Relations, which has links to terrorism."

First off, saying CAIR has links to terrorism is a common rightwing smear. A quick google search of the terms CAIR terrorism shows that this connection is made exclusively by rightwingers -- they're muslim, they're critical of President Bush, so they must be terrorist. That's all the connection the logical leapers on the right need.

But the more subtle smear is that all of this is some shadowy conspiracy of lefty groups to 'attack christians'. Colson may have needed to do a 'lot of digging' to find out about the connection between Tides and, but that doesn't mean it's any secret at all. If you go to the Tides Center's website, Campaign to Defend the Constitution is clearly listed as a grant recipient. Some secret.

And is this a group created to attack christians? Since Defcon's Advisory Board includes Rev. Fletcher Harper, an Episcopal priest, Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Project of greater Los Angeles, founded by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957, and Rev. Dr. Mel White, of the Dallas Cathedral of Hope of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, that seems unlikely.

More likely is that Colson -- like far too many on the right -- has a very narrow view of who's a 'real' christian and and an extremely broad view of who's a 'false' christian. Jesus is a republican and any liberals who claim Christianity are either lying or deluded.

And Colson's idea of what christians believe is far outside the mainstream. It's even far right for Born-Again Christians. Where he tells us 'promoting embryo-destructive stem-cell research is just one of [Defcon's] causes', a Harris Poll taken in 2004 tells us:

The level of opposition to stem cell research varies according to people’s religious beliefs. Those who describe themselves as "very religious" are much more likely to oppose stem research than those who are "not at all" or "not very" religious (23% vs. 4%). Born-Again Christians are more likely to oppose it than are other Christians (21% vs. 9%); and Catholics are somewhat more likely to oppose it than Protestants (15% vs. 10%).

However, clear majorities of all religious groups we analyzed favor stem cell research.

No matter how you measure someone's Christianity, most christians support stem cell research. They just aren't christian enough, I guess -- almost no one is.

In the end, Colson's article is a smear piece -- we're supposed to be shocked that a lefty grantor gives money to a lefty grantee? By casting this whole thing as a cloak and dagger 'attack on christians', he hopes to distract your attention from the valid criticism in the ad taken out by Defcon to his 'exposing' of something that's absolutely no secret at all.

There's a reason why the Boston Globe's Martin Nolan called Colson the 'spiritual ancestor' of Karl Rove. Prison may have taught him a love of Jesus, but it didn't teach him a damned thing about honesty.


Technorati tags: ; ; ; ; isn't attacking s so much as religious nutjobs like


Terror-Free said...

Islamofascist CAIR Doesn't Like the Term "Islamic Fascist": FNC video, 8/14/6

CAIR Terrorist Apologist Blames Israel, FNC video, 8/12/6

Free Patriotic Corner Banners:

Wisco said...

None of which does anything to prove that CAIR is 'terrorist' -- it just proves you don't agree.

You're really kind of proving my point here...

Anonymous said...

The reason people link CAIR to terrorism is because of CAIR's real connections to terror organizations--the following quote is from this Daniel Pipes' piece on a lawsuit by CAIR against the guy running the website

"It's easy to understand why CAIR chose to leave this one alone, what with five current or former CAIR affiliates arrested, convicted, or deported on terrorism-related charges [emphasis mine]:

Randall Royer, CAIR's communications specialist and civil rights coordinator, was indicted on charges of conspiring to help Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to battle American troops in Afghanistan. He later pled guilty to lesser firearm-related charges and was sentenced to twenty years in prison.

Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR's Texas chapter, was convicted in July 2004 along with his four brothers of having illegally shipped computers from their Dallas-area business, InfoCom Corporation, to Libya and Syria, two designated state sponsors of terrorism. In April of 2005, Elashi and two brothers were also convicted of knowingly doing business with Mousa Abu Marzook, a senior Hamas leader and Specially Designated Terrorist. He continues to face charges that he provided more than $12.4 million to Hamas while he was running the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), America's largest Islamic charity.

Bassem Khafagi, CAIR's community relations director, pleaded guilty in September 2003 to lying on his visa application and for passing bad checks for substantial amounts in early 2001, for which he was deported. Khafagi was also a founding member and president of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), an organization under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for terrorism-related activities.

Rabih Haddad, a CAIR fundraiser, was arrested on terrorism-related charges and deported from the United States due to his subsequent work as executive director of the Global Relief Foundation, a charity he co-founded; in October 2002, GRF was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for financing Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. According to a CAIR complaint, Homam Albaroudi, a member of CAIR's Michigan chapter and also a founding member and executive director of the IANA also founded the Free Rabih Haddad Committee.

Siraj Wahhaj, a CAIR advisory board member, was named in 1995 by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White as a possible unindicted co-conspirator in connection with the plot to blow up New York City landmarks led by the blind sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman."

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as far as that lawsuit went?
It was dismissed (from: this followup):

"In a stunning setback, the Council on American-Islamic Relations' defamation suit against Andrew Whitehead of Anti-CAIR has been dismissed with prejudice.

The Anti-CAIR website,, reports a "mutually agreeable settlement," the terms of which are confidential. However, Whitehead notes that he issued no public apology to CAIR, made no retractions or corrections, and left the Anti-CAIR website unchanged, so that it continues to post the statements that triggered CAIR's suit. Specifically, CAIR had complained about Whitehead calling it a "terrorist supporting front organization … founded by Hamas supporters" that aims "to make radical Islam the dominant religion in the United States." It also objected to being described as "dedicated to the overthrow of the United States Constitution and the installation of an Islamic theocracy in America."

That clears the decks; no additional actions are pending between these two parties. In brief, Whitehead won a sweet victory, while CAIR suffered a humiliating defeat."

Anonymous said...

For a background piece that goes into detail about CAIR, its supporters and detractors (including Muslim groups), see this piece by Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha called
"CAIR: Islamists Fooling the Establishment" from the Spring 2006 issue of Middle East Quarterly.

Anonymous said...

One last post, on an important "meta" issue. The author of this blog here suggests that the only people making the connection between CAIR and terrorism are right-wingers, the idea being that right-wingers need to have an enemy to fight and/or paranoid and/or are intolerant and/ get the idea.

But there's another way of looking at it, which is that it may be that people on the left have a certain blindness. There seems to be a streak in the Left that wants to tweak the West without looking closely at whom they're sleeping with.

From this
Robert Spencer piece

"I have long insisted that the problem of radical Islam is not a liberal or conservative issue; it's a human rights issue. The unfortunate fact, however, is that largely it is only conservatives who care about it. In the face of the global jihad, the left is strangely silent: no protest marches, no angry full-page ads in the New York Times. When the Left does notice an adulterous woman being stoned to death under Sharia law, or some other outrage in the Islamic world, it is usually dismissed as an aberration or somehow blamed on their all-purpose bogeyman: the United States government.

Why? Because to the left any conflict in the world must be the result of Western aggression, either historic (the Crusades, colonialism) or current."

This piece by Fjordman, a European writer who has been writing on this issue for a while, is a good one:
Electing a New People: The Leftist - Islamic Alliance

And there's more, for example, people looking at why feminists seem to be putting multi-culturalism ahead of women's rights:

Feminists Pave the Way for Women to be Raped

There's lots more out there about the odd connection between various
leftist and islamist groups, but I'd rather not clog these comments up further.

I'll close with a quote from this Opinion Journal piece, which points out that the term "Islamofascism" which is in vogue now, was actually coined by a French Marxist and also note what he says about Foucalt:

"The term "Islamofascism" was introduced by the French writer Maxine Rodinson (1915-2004) to describe the Iranian Revolution of 1978. Rodinson was a Marxist, who described as "fascist" any movement of which he disapproved. But we should be grateful to him for coining a word that enables people on the left to denounce our common enemy. After all, other French leftists--Michel Foucault, for example--had welcomed the [Iranian] revolution as an amusing threat to Western interests. It is only now that people on the left can acknowledge that they are just as much a target as the rest of us, in a war that has global chaos as its goal."

Let us hope that both left and right can see what needs to be seen and act as appropriate.

Wisco said...

I think you have to take info from Daniel Pipes with a grain of salt.

He thinks that the internment of japanese-americans during WWII was a good idea, for example. Likewise, he claims that Islam is incompatible with democracy. He's called for what amounts to ethnic cleansing of palestinians from Israel and was a big supporter of arming Saddam Hussein.

The guy's clearly just a racist.

Wisco said...

If the organization's big enough, you can find all sorts of local leaders in criminal trouble. It took me all of five minutes to put these links together.

Fla. Christian Coalition leader arrested in ballot signature scam ...
Anti-gay Christian Coalition leader sexually molests girl
Police say Christian Coalition leader admits molesting girls
Minnesota Christian Coalition Founder on the Run from Cops
Report Links [Christian Coalition founder] Ralph Reed To Abramoff

Now, by the logic I'm seeing used here, the CC is a politically corrupt organization of child molesters.

It's not an argument I'd make, but it's an argument that those who cite this 'proof' that CAIR is a terrorist organization will be forced to make in order to remain logically consistent.

D.C. said...

I'm the "anonymous" who posted the three longer postings above.

Re: Daniel Pipes:

I searched out a bunch of links to
counter your points, but it looks
like they are all adequately dealt
with in the Wikipedia article about
Pipes, so rather than posting it all, here's the Wikipedia article--the stuff in question is under the "Opinions" section: Pipes Wikipedia article

A few related points:
Re: internment, while he's stated that he's not in favor of using internment now, this issue has been used against him by...CAIR:
See here

As far as Islam being incompatible with democracy...a quick search shows me this (from this Daniel Pipes piece):

"ET: Are Islam and democracy compatible?

DP: Yes, for there is nothing in Islam that necessarily contradicts democracy. [my emphasis] The reason that so few Muslim countries today are democratic has less to do with the nature of Islam, much less the Qur'an, than with the historical experience of Muslims. Put simply, Muslims have had a particularly difficult time accepting influences from the West. This results in part from the historic hostility between themselves and Christendom, in part from the great differences between traditional Muslim ways and modern Western ways. One of Western innovations that has distinctly not flourished in the Muslim world is democracy, but it is just one of many. This situation can change in the future, for there is nothing inherent in Islam to prevent Muslims from becoming full-fledged citizens of their states."

Seems pretty clear cut that he doesn't think there's a problem with Islam and democracy, though I expect he does see one between Islamism and democracy.

And, re: Palestinian ethnic cleansing, ironically, what comes up when searching for this is a weblog entry of Pipes' concerning Iraq's eviction of Palestinians, see here.

In any case, it seems clear that calling Pipes a racist is an ad hominem attack, which would let one off the hook from actually having to read what he says and examining the facts he brings and the conclusions he draws from them.

D.C. said...

Re: your point that if an organization is large enough you can find local leaders who are in criminal trouble,
this goes much further.

Given that CAIR goes on about how connecting Islam and terror is erroneous, having important officials being locked up on terror charges is much more significant than a bit of corruption here and there.

There's a lot to be said about CAIR.
Much of it on right-wing sites, which I expect you may not be sympathetic with just for that reason, so I'll try to link mostly with other places.

From, an older piece, Islam's flawed spokesmen, from 9/21/2001.

Investors Business Daily did a profile of CAIR, reprinted here

Wikipedia article on criticisms of CAIR.

And there's this

And, as I mentioned earlier, there's a site dedicated to watching CAIR, called
that was sued by CAIR only to have CAIR retreat.

And a few points I'm not sure are covered up there (sorry, they're from right-wing sites):

from here:
"The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was founded by HAMAS leader Mousa Abu Marzook, a man who was deported by the United States to Jordan in 1997. Marzook, who may very well be, today, second in command of HAMAS, also founded, in 1981, CAIR’s parent organization, the Islamic Association for Palestine.

This is important, when considering the previous questions asked, but – but – there is a much bigger connection to CAIR, with respect to the Holy Land Foundation."

And, similarly, from :here

"Both Oliver “Buck” Revell and Steve Pomerantz, former FBI Directors of Counterterrorism, call CAIR, a HAMAS front-group. CAIR got its original seed money and executive director, Nihad Awad, from another group (Islamic Association for Palestine) that was started with $490,000 from the personal bank account of HAMAS political director Moussa Abu Marzook. CAIR now gets significant funding from Saudi Arabia.

CAIR Chief Awad, an avowed HAMAS supporter, compared Hezbollah—the terrorist group that murdered over 300 U.S. Marines and civilians--to Patrick Henry and the founding fathers. After the 9/11 attacks, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper refused to specifically denounce Bin Laden. CAIR designated the conviction of the “Blind Cleric,” Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as a hate-crime. Its spokesman, Hooper, and Board Chairman, Omar Ahmad, support transforming the United States into a Muslim theocratic state."

Anyway, I don't know if I'll get to keep doing this since it is really rather time consuming and I have a life to get back to :-)

I'll leave you with the suggestion that it is useful to be open to information from a variety of sources.