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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Harry Potter, Islam, and Why 'Values Voters' are Chumps

Ever wondered what it takes to be a opinion maker on the religious right? One requirement seems to be a complete lack of understanding of the concept of irony. Take Nancy Salvato from the Alliance for School Choice, who writes that worrying that Harry Potter books promote Wicca is paranoid, then heads out to points paranoid of her own. She begins out sane enough:

To begin, I must disclose that I whole heartedly agree with Gwinnett County, Georgia Schools attorney Victoria Sweeny’s opinion that, “Harry Potter promotes reading and good values.” Furthermore, she is absolutely correct when she says that, “The major themes are good versus evil, overcoming adversity, loyalty, friendship and courage," which I believe are all important ideas for kids to consider during their formative years. More needs to be said, though, in order to frame this ridiculous issue in its proper context.

We are facing clear and immediate dangers to our way of life and shouldn’t waste time entertaining the paranoid delusions of any person(s) declaring that Wicca is being proselytized through the Harry Potter series, especially anyone who hasn’t bothered to read an entire book. Indeed, from everything I’ve ever read about Wicca, it is a very peaceful practice. A good site to read more can be found here:

But then Salvato elects herself Mayor of Crazytown:

Yet, one can conclude that another religious practice is spreading evil amongst us; those who believe in the inalienable rights of every person to pursue life, liberty, and happiness; and respect and defend the U.S. Constitution which protects these rights. As Mehdi Mozaffari explains on the History News Network website (, Islamism is 'an ideology bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the conquest of the world with all means'. Radical Islamists, in the name of Allah, will commit indiscriminate, non-selective and suicidal acts of terror, as has been demonstrated on American soil.

Despite this, in our nation’s public schools, children are being taught about Ramadan and have been required to play act being Muslims ( I find it perplexing that teachers are compelled to avoid explaining Judeo-Christian religious history and curriculum directors find it unnecessary to require teaching this aspect of our nation’s history, yet it’s acceptable to teach about Muslim traditions while removing the Ten Commandments from the public square. Even more curious is that those practicing extreme forms of this faith want to follow Sharia laws in our country; they want to be exempted from the “rule of law” which governs the sovereign citizens of our nation (

Is irony good for you? Because I think she might've gotten a lethal dose.

Muslims foresee a muslim world -- so different from Christianity, who's Bible tells us, "every knee shall bend." And, when she writes, "Radical Islamists, in the name of Allah, will commit indiscriminate, non-selective and suicidal acts of terror, as has been demonstrated on American soil," she ignores the fact that most of the terrorist acts committed during the '90s were committed by christian terrorists. And writing about "the inalienable rights of every person to pursue life, liberty, and happiness; and respect and defend the U.S. Constitution which protects these rights" in an article calling for an end to teaching kids about Islam is a case study in 'not getting it.'

Which brings me to this exchange between MSNBC's Tucker Carlson and Hardball's Chris Matthews:

CARLSON: It goes deeper than that though. The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power. Everybody in…

MATTHEWS: How do you know that? How do you know that?

CARLSON: Because I know them. Because I grew up with them. Because I live with them. They live on my street. Because I live in Washington, and I know that everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals. And the evangelicals know that, and they're beginning to learn that their own leaders sort of look askance at them and don't share their values.

MATTHEWS: So this gay marriage issue and other issues related to the gay lifestyle are simply tools to get elected?

CARLSON: That's exactly right. It's pandering to the base in the most cynical way, and the base is beginning to figure it out

Keith Olbermann brings up the same point:

It is described as the largest, most influential evangelical denomination in a new book by the former number-two man in Bush's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.

The book, "Tempting Faith," not out until Monday, but in our third story tonight, a Countdown exclusive we've obtained a copy and it is devastating work.


Kuo's bottom line: the Bush White House is playing millions of American Christians for suckers.

According to Kuo, Karl Rove's office referred to evangelical leaders as 'the nuts.'

Kuo says, "National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as 'ridiculous,' 'out of control,' and just plain 'goofy.' "

This isn't really news to me, I've been saying the same thing for some time. In a post titled, Give the Religious Right Two or Three Decades and They Realize They're Pigeons, I wrote back in April:

Look back to the last presidential election. In fact, let me sum up the GOP message - Iraq, flip-flop, gay marriage, swift boat, gay marriage, abortion, gay marriage, freedom fries, gay marriage, gay marriage, terror alert, terror alert, gay marriage, gay marriage, gay marriage.

Pretty much it, right? So Bush squeezes out the slimmest of margins and claims a mandate for - wait for it - social security reform. For the voters who barely put him over the top, he might as well have been advocating a war on egg bagels - they didn't give a hot bowl. "What the hell happened to gay marriage?" they asked and Bush's dream of an extremely effed-up social security system died.

All you have to do is look at the legislation Republicans pass and compare them to the issues they talk about when they campaign and it's obvious. You talk about gay marriage, then you work on privatizing social security. You stump on abortion, then get to work on tax cuts. Republicans almost never keep the promises they make to their evangelical base. You think Mary Salvato has a chance in hell of getting schools to stop teaching about Islam? The GOP thinks she's a 'nut' -- but Lenin would've called her a 'useful idiot'. She gets crackpots all riled up and going to the polls. There, they believe they're voting for their 'moral values', but they're actually voting for Republican economic policy and war in Iraq. They vote to get "THOU SHALT BE CHRISTIAN" written into the Constitution and wind up with tax cuts on the sale of Farberge Eggs or some other scheme that doesn't do anything for them at all.

So it's pretty funny to read Salvato call people worried about Harry Potter in schools 'uninformed and inane'.


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