View Full Version : Fundamentalists Go After Microsoft Again
01-10-2008, 02:11 AM
Fundamentalists Launch Shareholder Drive To Fight Microsoft On Gay Rights
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
January 9, 2008
(Seattle, Washington) A group of conservative religious leaders have formed a corporation to organize a shareholder revolt against what they call Microsoft's funding of the gay agenda.
AGN Financial is led by Rev. Ken Hutcherson (pictured), a Redmond, Washington pastor who has fought Microsoft on gay issues in the past. It's board of advisors includes longtime gay foes Don Wildmon of the American Family Association and Family Values leader Gay Bauer.
In a statement AGN said "that corporations are donating close to $1 Billion every year to promote the dissolution of family values in our society." Microsoft is the first corporation to be targeted but if the campaign is successful other companies will be added.
AGN this week launched its “Buy Three, Donate One” campaign where supporters are urged to buy three Microsoft shares and donate one to AGN.
The shareholders would then be able to vote at Microsoft annual meetings. AGN hopes to have enough shares of its own through donations to force votes on what it sees as issues of faith.
"We are not trying to hurt Microsoft or their shareholders nor are we calling for a boycott of their products or services. We are trying to help them," Hutcherson said in the statement.
The AGN Financial Website will allow shareholders "to see what AGN recommendations are backed by Biblical scriptures. For the first time in American History, a single person with only three shares of Microsoft stock, will have the voice of millions or even hundreds of millions of shares shaping the moral decisions of one of the largest companies in the world."
Hutcherson's megachurch is a stone's throw from Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Last November he caused a stir at the company's recent annual meeting, demanding the world's biggest computer company abandon its LGBT worker policy.
Microsoft has a written anti-discrimination policy and provides health benefits to the partners of gay workers.
Microsoft's directors urged shareholders to reject Hutcherson's attempt to kill the policy, and the issue failed to get enough support for a vote.
"I consider myself a warrior for Christ. Microsoft don't scare me. I got God with me," Hutcherson told reporters following the vote. "As for any comparison with LGBT rights and civil rights for African Americans, Hutcherson says there is none. How many homosexuals have you ever seen had to ride on the back of a bus? I haven't seen one. I know that many blacks have in the past. "I've never seen an ex-black. Michael Jackson couldn't even achieve that. But I've seen ex-gays. We minister to them every day. We talk to them about how to get out of that sin."
Hutcherson said this week that he hopes AGN Financial with the support of conservative church groups across the country will be able to muster enough shares to bring the issue to a vote this year.
Hutcherson has been battling Microsoft and the state of Washington over LGBT rights for more than two years.
When a gay rights bill was before the legislature in 2005 Hutcherson met with company executives and threatened a national boycott of the computer giant if it did not disavow itself from the gay rights bill.
Microsoft earlier had announced its support for the legislation saying it would help attract talented workers to the state.
Following Hutcherson's threat the company distanced itself from the bill and the measure lost by a single vote in the Senate sparking outrage from Microsoft's LGBT workers and gay consumers around the world.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer then sent an email to employees claiming that the company had made a decision before the legislative session began that it should to narrow its focus on a shorter list of issues directly affecting the business.
But, that explanation, in light of details of the meeting between Microsoft and Hutcherson, failed to appease LGBT advocates. Even an attempt by Microsoft chair Bill Gates to quiet opposition failed.
"Next time this one comes around, we'll see," Gates told the Seattle Times a few weeks later. "We certainly have a lot of employees who sent us mail. Next time it comes around that'll be a major factor for us to take into consideration."
When the storm showed no sign of abating Microsoft came full circle, announcing that it would once again support LGBT civil rights.
The measure was reintroduced in 2006 and passed.
01-10-2008, 05:01 PM
Although, Microsoft does have other issues, such as using US prison workers for $3/hr, whether the workers want to work or not.
01-12-2008, 10:26 PM
Was it a Freudian slip that you misspelled Gary Bauer, and said Gay Bauer instead? I thought it was hilarious!!!!:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
01-13-2008, 11:48 PM
If I were Microsoft and these nutjobs were trying to manipulate me, I'd pull every red cent of funding that possibly made it's way to any conservative organization, interest or politician. Let their peers shut them down. It'd happen in a heartbeat, I imagine.
Okay...this is pretty funny. Why stop at microsoft? With this kind of logic they need to invest heavily in gay.com and Disney stock while they're at it.
01-16-2008, 04:29 PM
Now why the fundies are saying there is no comparison with denying blacks their rights with denying gays their rights? UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH. They compare gay rights to blacks being segregated and not being able to ride on buses , But their logic is a bit convoluted isn't it?
They are trying to deny gays and lesbians of job security or being protected from discrimination on jobs ,benefits and anything they can think of,and they won't stop until gays and lesbians are evicted from their homes,denied jobs and equal benefits which by the way they pay into and are also tax paying citizens,Perhaps gays and lesbians should refuse to pay taxes since they aren't considered equal or lawful citizens,what next? Deny them social security?I'd say that is pretty similar to making blacks second class citizens.I'm am sick of them blaming gays for the lack of family values, sorry if they divorce, don't pay child support, or can't deal with their own marriage and family problems,knock some girl up and have a child out of wedlock, and own personal weakness without blaming it on someone else or the gay community
THEY are pathetic.
Gays and lesbians can not cause their marriage problems, family problems and they need to grow up and take responsibility for their own actions and words and thoughts and deeds. They are pathetically childish in insisting that gays and lesbians destroy their families and values. What a cop out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No wonder they have dysfunctional marriages and relationships and it's all because the gays want their own rights and to be in the relationships they choose to be in.Yep blame it on the gays as that will some how absolve them of their own responsibility for their own lives and what they do.YEEEEEESH.
Yep , a gay person in a gay relationship destroyed my marriage my life, my family......Does this make anyone want puke or what?
My personal opinion any gay or lesbian who is not a part of a LGBT affirming church should pull out and withdraw support or contribution to that church.... Any church that bashes LGBT people. Don't support any candidate who refuses to acknowledge gay rights and vote for and support candidates that do. I wonder what they would do if lgbt people stopped going to their churches?
Too many gays have been in traditional marriages to begin with only to find that it wasn't who they were, and actually the spouse ends up having to pick up the pieces when they find out the marriage was a sham and based on a lie, while I don't think it was the intention of the LGBT person to hurt the other person , they couldn't live their lives any longer based on lies. But the right is not smart enough to see that hurts marriages. They would rather gays pretend and stay in a marriage that isn't really benefitting them or their partner.Or commit suicide rather than not try to change their orientation.All I can say, and I know I'm using course language here.But f--k that.
The right if they were truly concerned with the welfare of the LGBT person wouldn't go out of their way to try to destroy their lives .They are actually punnishing LGBT people and basically saying you step in line and abide by our rules or else we'll make your lives miserable.
We'll take away your jobs deny you benefits ,keep you from being able to have a life and make sure you are eradicated . This is indeed a civil rights issue, it is based on the same bigotry and treatment of black people. Weren't they denied education, equal opportunity , discriminated against based on their skin color ,segregated?Aren't gays in a sense being segregated from attending Many church services or to worship at many of their churches?Or ostracized at schools and colleges that are religious if they are found out they are gay, isn't that segregation,not allowed to serve in the military if found out gay?
What do they want to do to LGBT people, basically the same thing they did to black people.Even quarantine those who have aids? Make them second class citizens, Talk about exterminating gays? WOW what brotherly love.
As usual the rights logic makes no sense. What about gay workers and gay supporters investing in shares of microsoft to counter the right's intent to control shares and call the shots. Perhaps gay rights groups or organizations or churches could on a large scale invest in microsoft's stock and own shares. And boycott businesses that are antigay. The right uses this tactic and alot of times it get's them what they want ,why couldn't we? Why not have advertisement about the dangers of ex-gay therapy, posted on billboards the way the broadcast and advertise ex-gay therapy, with exgay survivors from all over telling why it hasn't worked for them? Why let the right call all the shots? What about Soul Force joining with other notable gay rights organizations like HRC, ACLU, and others to take action? The right has their lawyers and organizations and agenda to spread their diseased thinking .
The right also organizes through churches and their communities to get the vote out for what and who they want.Why not do the same with gay organizations, churches, gay rights supporters. That's why the right usually get's away with what it does, they know how to organize and get people on their side to support their cause even if it means through lies (Which I wouldn't recommend on our side,we don't want to win through lies)They tell their congregants to vote and how and for what and that congregants better be active in politics in order to support their cause.
Why can't as a community and through various organizations LGBT People do the same.There is power in numbers and the right knows that. They even organize in smaller communities to vote on issues like the marriage amendment.When we are passively involved how can we accomplish anything? The right also has donors ,alot of times corporations like Coors donating money to them, why not see if we can't get gay friendly businesses or corporations to donate to our cause?Or perhaps gay affirming churches to donate to organize and have lawyers to help our cause ,the right does it.They have an organization of their own lawyers.They also have think tanks, and we don't?
Here below is an article on how the right organizes and makes money to support their causes:http://www.theocracywatch.org/faith_base.htm
From the above article:The March, 2004, issue of Church and State reports that the "Faith Czar" Jim Towey announced to reporters that $40 billion dollars was now available to religious charities.
By studying White House press releases and the White House web site, Daniel Zwerdling found that religious groups could apply to more than a hundred federal programs that gave out more than $65 billion. In addition, religious groups ccould apply for more money through state-administered programs.
From the Washington Post, January 4, 2005:
.. in 2003, groups dubbed "faith-based" received $1.17 billion in grants from federal agencies, according to documents provided by the White House to the Associated Press.
That's not enough, said H. James Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. An additional $40 billion in federal money is given out by state governments, he said..
01-16-2008, 06:07 PM
This is the text of an executive order signed by Bush on June 1
On September 22, 2003, the White House announced new rules making $28 billion available to religious charities that proselytize and discriminate in hiring. Susan Jacoby, director of the Center for Inquiry in Metro New York claims "The White House has taken what may be its boldest step yet to blur the constitutional separation of church and state." While the White House announced these controversial new rules, the media hardly paid attention.
While religious charities receive billions of dollars, federal programs are experiencing funding cuts. The largest federally funded after-school program, the $1 billion-a-year 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is threatened with a budget reduction of $400 million for the Fiscal Year 2004. The resulting cuts in Washington D.C. alone could eliminate after-school services for 2,902 District children.
As reported in the Washington Post, Congress has ordered more than $3 million in grants since 2001 earmarked for respected former Redskins cornerback Darrell Green's Youth Life Foundation, with the goal in part of opening more Green learning centers here and in other cities. But his center is directly serving only 38 kids, in a city where 35,000 live in poverty.
From Church and State editorial, March 9, 2004:
The Corporation for National and Community Service has allocated $324,000 in Americorps funding for staffing at four daycare centers run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.
But The Children's Crusade, a mentoring program that has won national honors, lost all its budget of half a million dollars. The group had hoped to partner 35 young adults with poor minority children. That won't be happening now.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has been following Bush's Faith-Based Initiative since he assumed the office of President. They have filed lawsuits, and their magazine, Church and State, has many important, in-depth articles.
From Americans United, August 17, 2004:
A new study of the "faith-based" initiative raises troubling questions about the Bush administration's disregard for constitutional and civil rights protections, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The report issued today by the Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy lists the many executive actions President George W. Bush has taken to fund a wide range of religion-based social services. The sweeping changes in federal policy, the report indicates, have come without congressional authorization.
Philadelphia Church That Endorsed Bush Gets $1 Million 'Faith-Based' Grant
Wednesday June 23, 2004
"The Rev. Lusk endorsed candidate Bush, and wound up getting a $1-million faith-based grant from the Bush administration," [Barry] Lynn said. "Now there's a heavenly payoff."
"Faith-Based Fiat," January, 2003, Church and State:
"On Dec. 12, speaking to over 1,000 religious and charitable leaders gathered at the Downtown Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia, George W. Bush launched another major offensive in his drive to implement his controversial "faith-based" initiative. Circumventing a reluctant Congress, which has refused to enact the administration's scheme, Bush announced a sweeping package of executive actions to encourage churches and other religious groups to apply for billions in government contracts to help the disadvantaged."
"Faith-Based Foray," From Church and State, October, 2002,
"Not willing to let a skeptical Congress delay its plan for government-funded religion, the Bush administration is moving ahead with the faith-based initiative anyway."
"Faith-Based Victory," Church and State, May, 2003, brings good news! A powerful coalition formed in the U.S. Senate to derail President Bush and U.S. Senator Rick Santorum's efforts to pass legislation making it legal to discriminate in employment. As a result, the final legislation is nothing like the Bush/Santorum plan. This 'good news' article affirms the power of coalition building in the Senate.
"Faith-Based Failure," Church and State, November, 2002, highlights a report documenting major problems with the Faith Based program that has been implemented in Texas for the past five year
"The Bush 'Faith-Based' Orders: Dangerous Decrees, Church and State. On Dec. 12, 2002, President George W. Bush issued two executive orders putting into place his controversial "faith-based" initiative, February, 2003. (So far, I haven't been able to find this article on AU's newly reformatted web site -jb) more
Sierra magazine, January-February, 2004, has a feature article on abstinence-only education in the public schools. Federally funded programs are based on fear and end up proselytizing. A Louisianna state judge has ruled that the proselytizing must stop or the programs risk defunding.
"For Louisianna seventh graders, abstinence-only education appears first and foremost to be about terrifying diseases: suppurating boils, endless rashes, sterility, cancers, and the physical and psychic morbidity with which they are to be punished for having sex before marriage."
"Hundreds of federally funded abstinence-only programs are run by faith-based groups. The Louisianna American Civil Liberties Union found that ... thousands of dollars went to programs that included prayers as well as continuous referrences to God, Jesus Christ, and the spiritual repercussions of sex before marriage."
Faith Base Lock Up
In Lawtey, Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush dedicated what is being called the nation's first religion-based prison.
A North Florida prison will be converted into the nation's first faith-based lockup. Critics say public money shouldn't be spent on religious programs.
"This is a clearly unconstitutional scheme," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "A state can no more create a faith-based prison than it could set up faith-based public schools or faith-based police departments."
Americans United filed a lawsuit to block a similar state-sponsored fundamentalist Christian project operating with public funds at a prison in Iowa. That case, which challenges state support of Charles Colson's InnerChange program, is pending in federal court.
How the the InnerChange Prison Fellowship program cooked the books so that the program's failure looks like a success. To read about Americans United current litigation, click here.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a non-profit group that represents park workers and public employees, charged in a release last week that the National Park Service is hell-bent on removing images of anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, pro-choice marches and gay rights marches from an eight-minute video tape located at the Lincoln Memorial covering historic gatherings that have taken place there and on the Washington Mall.
"The park service leadership now caters exclusively to conservative Christian fundamentalist groups," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch in his group's release. "The Bush Administration appears to be sponsoring a program of Faith-Based Parks."
"... morality conservative groups have a special entree with decision makers at the Park Service and the White House."
The federal government lost a lawsuit when a federal court ruled that a program crossed the line between church and state. From the Washington Post July 6, 2004: "America Corps Loses Suit on Religion:"
The federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps must stop financing programs that place volunteers in Catholic schools, a judge has ruled, saying it unconstitutionally crosses the line between church and state.
Increasingly--and more often than not, with the explicit cheerleading and support of dominionist groups--there is an emphasis for reliance on "faith based" initiatives, such as "faith based" rehab programs, "faith based" disaster aid charities, etc. Unfortunately, this is often turning into a chance for faith-based coercion--often on what is, quite literally, a captive audience. more
Marvin Olasky, a Reconstructionist influenced professor of Journalism, has served as a close advisor to Bush. Olasky's book, Compassionate Conservatism, creates a justification for Bush's policies on faith based giving. Bush wrote the forward to the book published in 2000. Olasky is a compelling writer who shares his philosophical ideas through heart-wrenching and inspiring human interest stories. He makes a strong case for faith based giving. Evangelical Christian charities succeed, according to Olasky, where government fails. Olasky sees no problem with government funds going to missions that proselytize. The fact that someone who is hungry and vulnerable might have to undergo a religious conversion to get food and shelter doesn't bother him.
The Problem with Proselytizing
Bill Moyers program, NOW, (the first of a two-part series) aired on PBS September 26, 2003, makes clear the problem with proselytizing. The TV show focuses on one program that trains church volunteers to help lift people out of poverty. At first, the whole concept looked truly wonderful. A volunteer family infuses a young, struggling mother of three with love and a sense of caring -- which is very moving.
Then the pressure begins to join their church. This "loving" family is all the support this young mother has in the world, and she feels deeply conflicted about joining their church. When she was asked by the interviewer about joining the church, her face froze in what looked like silent terror. She hadn't wanted to join, but appeared to be terrified of losing the love and support of her sponsoring family. The sponsoring family told the interviewer that they're taught not to invite the family to their church for the first month, and that they never told the woman that she had to join. But it's clear that the invitations to go to church would not let up.
That look of frozen terror on the young woman's face illustrated dramatically the dangers of government funding for church sponsored charities. Millions of young, vulnerable mothers and struggling families will feel coerced to join the "correct" evangelical churches.
The Civil Rights Act, 1964
The Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, poses a problem to faith base charities receiving tax-payer dollars, for it bans discrimination in employment on the basis of race, gender, or religion. But religious charities receiving faith based dollars don't want to be forced to hire people of other religions, and especially don't want to hire gays or lesbians. The President doesn't let the Civil Rights Act deter him from giving money to charities that discriminate in hiring.
The Washington Post reported back in July, 2001, that the Bush administration made a deal with the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army would spend upwards of $110,000 per month to lobby for Bush's faith Based Initiative, and the White House would give the Salvation Army a "firm commitment" allowing greater freedom in discrimination against gays in employment. The New York Times reports, 2/5/04, that the New York City Salvation Army is requiring employees to fill out forms stating their religion, among other things.
Senator Rick Santorum vowed to actually rewrite the anti-discrimination laws. There's a difference between executivte orders and changing the law. Executive orders can be changed by the next president, but laws are lasting.
Senator Santorum and President Bush have been trying to change anti-discrimination laws through Congress for religious charities, but they failed, and this is an important and little known success story. After haggling with the Senate for two years, the CARE Act was finally passed. It allows taxpayers who do not itemize tax deductions to write off a portion of their charitable donations for two years. It is vastly different from the Bush/Santorum plan.
The Bush/Santorum plan was stopped by effective organizing. Americans United for Separation of Church and State helped form the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination or (CARD). This coalition brought together fifty two religious, public policy and educational organizations. Members include the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Interfaith Alliance, the NAACP, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, the National Education Association, The National Association of Social Workers, The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Baptist Churches and the Rabbinical Assembly. For a full list of the 52 organizations, go to stopreligiousdiscrimination.org. The CARD coalition is a good example of effective grassroots organizing.
An article by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (12/17/02), discusses a move by the Bush administration to enable agencies that receive government funding to discriminate.
Another problem with Bush's program is the potential for political manipulation. The Republican Party campaigned to bring traditionally Democratic constituencies into its fold in the 2002 elections. U.S. Rep. Anne M. Northup (R-Ky.) created a non-profit organization to steer federal money to religious groups in order to boost her political strength in the African-American community.
From Church and State, "Preaching The GOP Gospel, Using His 'Faith-Based' Initiative To Try To Win Converts In The African-American Community, Bush Seeks To Make His Calling And Election Sure," Sept., 2003:
Rep. Northup was never popular in the black community before. Now her non-profit, Louisville Neighborhood Initiative Inc., (LNI) doles out federal money to poor, mostly minority neighborhoods. "I can't paint a clearer picture," said the Rev. C. Mackey Daniels, pastor of West Chestnut Baptist Church. "The support was given in order to get votes." U.S. Rep. Robert Ehrlich in his bid for governor of Maryland promised to use money from Bush's faith-based initiative to build support in African-American churches.
Justice Sunday III' Pastor Has Received $1 Million In 'Faith-Based' Funds, Americans United, January 4, 2005:
Pastor Herb Lusk, the Philadelphia preacher hosting the Religious Right-led "Justice Sunday III" rally this weekend, has a long history of partisan activity on behalf of Republicans and has been awarded more than $1 million in "faith-based" grants by the Bush administration ...
As reported in the New York Times , January 23, 2003, another Bush assault on the 'wall' of separation of church and State is a shift in policy that, for the first time allows the federal government to give money to houses of worship to build buildings. Church and State, January 29, 2003: "Teen Challenge, Louisiana Church Program Proselytize Clients On Behalf Of Evangelical Christianity:" (So far, I haven't been able to find this AU Press Release on their newly reformatted web site -jb) more
"There are plenty of reasons for religious groups in America to run, screaming, from the notion of faith-based initiatives. A university theologian explains why." James Dunnmore
From The Associated Press, January 14, 2006:
A group can sue the federal government over claims that President Bush's faith-based initiative is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, a federal appeals court ruled.
Last updated: April-2006
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01-16-2008, 07:48 PM
Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence
by Frederick Clarkson
Overview and Roots
The Christian Right has shown impressive resilience and has rebounded dramatically after a series of embarrassing televangelist scandals of the late 1980s, the collapse of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, and the failed presidential bid of Pat Robertson. In the 1990s, Christian Right organizing went to the grassroots and exerted wide influence in American politics across the country.
There is no doubt that Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition gets much of the credit for this successful strategic shift to the local level. But another largely overlooked reason for the persistent success of the Christian Right is a theological shift since the 1960s. The catalyst for the shift is Christian Reconstructionism--arguably the driving ideology of the Christian Right in the 1990s.
The significance of the Reconstructionist movement is not its numbers, but the power of its ideas and their surprisingly rapid acceptance. Many on the Christian Right are unaware that they hold Reconstructionist ideas. Because as a theology it is controversial, even among evangelicals, many who are consciously influenced by it avoid the label. This furtiveness is not, however, as significant as the potency of the ideology itself. Generally, Reconstructionism seeks to replace democracy with a theocratic elite that would govern by imposing their interpretation of "Biblical Law." Reconstructionism would eliminate not only democracy but many of its manifestations, such as labor unions, civil rights laws, and public schools. Women would be generally relegated to hearth and home. Insufficiently Christian men would be denied citizenship, perhaps executed. So severe is this theocracy that it would extend capital punishment beyond such crimes as kidnapping, rape, and murder to include, among other things, blasphemy, heresy, adultery, and homosexuality.(Grand plans and schemes I'd say)
Reconstructionism has expanded from the works of a small group of scholars to inform a wide swath of conservative Christian thought and action. While many Reconstructionist political positions are commonly held conservative views, what is significant is that Reconstructionists have created a comprehensive program, with Biblical justifications for far right political policies. Many post-World War II conservative, anticommunist activists were also, if secondarily, conservative Christians. However, the Reconstructionist movement calls on conservatives to be Christians first, and to build a church-based political movement from there.
For much of Reconstructionism's short history it has been an ideology in search of a constituency. But its influence has grown far beyond the founders' expectations. As Reconstructionist author Gary North observes, "We once were shepherds without sheep. No longer."
What is Reconstructionism?
Reconstructionism is a theology that arose out of conservative Presbyterianism (Reformed and Orthodox), which proposes that contemporary application of the laws of Old Testament Israel, or "Biblical Law," is the basis for reconstructing society toward the Kingdom of God on earth.
Reconstructionism argues that the Bible is to be the governing text for all areas of life--such as government, education, law, and the arts, not merely "social" or "moral" issues like pornography, homosexuality, and abortion. Reconstructionists have formulated a "Biblical world view" and "Biblical principles" by which to examine contemporary matters. Reconstructionist theologian David Chilton succinctly describes this view: "The Christian goal for the world is the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics, in which every area of life is redeemed and placed under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the rule of God's law."
More broadly, Reconstructionists believe that there are three main areas of governance: family government, church government, and civil government. Under God's covenant, the nuclear family is the basic unit. The husband is the head of the family, and wife and children are "in submission" to him. In turn, the husband "submits" to Jesus and to God's laws as detailed in the Old Testament. The church has its own ecclesiastical structure and governance. Civil government exists to implement God's laws. All three institutions are under Biblical Law, the implementation of which is called "theonomy."
The Origin of Reconstructionism
The original and defining text of Reconstructionism is Institutes of Biblical Law, published in 1973 by Rousas John Rushdoony--an 800-page explanation of the Ten Commandments, the Biblical "case law" that derives from them, and their application today. "The only true order," writes Rushdoony, "is founded on Biblical Law.
All law is religious in nature, and every non-Biblical law-order represents an anti-Christian religion." In brief, he continues, "Every law-order is a state of war against the enemies of that order, and all law is a form of warfare."
Gary North, Rushdoony's son-in-law, wrote an appendix to Institutes on the subject of "Christian economics." It is a polemic which serves as a model for the application of "Biblical Principles."
Rushdoony and a younger theologian, Rev. Greg Bahnsen, were both students of Cornelius Van Til, a Princeton University theologian. Although Van Til himself never became a Reconstructionist, Reconstructionists claim him as the father of their movement. According to Gary North, Van Til argued that "There is no philosophical strategy that has ever worked, except this one; to challenge the lost in terms of the revelation of God in His Bible. . .by what standard can man know anything truly? By the Bible, and only by the Bible." This idea that the correct and only way to view reality is through the lens of a Biblical world view is known as presuppositionalism. According to Gary North, Van Til stopped short of proposing what a Biblical society might look like or how to get there. That is where Reconstructionism begins. While Van Til states that man is not autonomous and that all rationality is inseparable from faith in God and the Bible, the Reconstructionists go further and set a course of world conquest or "dominion," claiming a Biblically prophesied "inevitable victory."
Reconstructionists also believe that "the Christians" are the "new chosen people of God," commanded to do what "Adam in Eden and Israel in Canaan failed to do. . .create the society that God requires." Further, Jews, once the "chosen people," failed to live up to God's covenant and therefore are no longer God's chosen. Christians, of the correct sort, now are.
Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law consciously echoes a major work of the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. In fact, Reconstructionists see themselves as the theological and political heirs of Calvin. The theocracy Calvin created in Geneva, Switzerland in the 1500s is one of the political models Reconstructionists look to, along with Old Testament Israel and the Calvinist Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Epitomizing the Reconstructionist idea of Biblical "warfare" is the centrality of capital punishment under Biblical Law. Doctrinal leaders (notably Rushdoony, North, and Bahnsen) call for the death penalty for a wide range of crimes in addition to such contemporary capital crimes as rape, kidnapping, and murder. Death is also the punishment for apostasy (abandonment of the faith), heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, "sodomy or homosexuality," incest, striking a parent, incorrigible juvenile delinquency, and, in the case of women, "unchastity before marriage."
According to Gary North, women who have abortions should be publicly executed, "along with those who advised them to abort their children." Rushdoony concludes: "God's government prevails, and His alternatives are clear-cut: either men and nations obey His laws, or God invokes the death penalty against them." Reconstructionists insist that "the death penalty is the maximum, not necessarily the mandatory penalty." However, such judgments may depend less on Biblical Principles than on which faction gains power in the theocratic republic. The potential for bloodthirsty episodes on the order of the Salem witchcraft trials or the Spanish Inquisition is inadvertently revealed by Reconstructionist theologian Rev. Ray Sutton, who claims that the Reconstructed Biblical theocracies would be "happy" places, to which people would flock because "capital punishment is one of the best evangelistic tools of a society."
The Biblically approved methods of execution include burning (at the stake for example), stoning, hanging, and "the sword." Gary North, the self-described economist of Reconstructionism, prefers stoning because, among other things, stones are cheap, plentiful, and convenient. Punishments for non-capital crimes generally involve whipping, restitution in the form of indentured servitude, or slavery. Prisons would likely be only temporary holding tanks, prior to imposition of the actual sentence.
People who sympathize with Reconstructionism often flee the label because of the severe and unpopular nature of such views. Even those who feel it appropriate that they would be the governors of God's theocracy often waffle on the particulars, like capital punishment for sinners and nonbelievers. Unflinching advocates, however, insist upon consistency. Rev. Greg Bahnsen, in his book By This Standard, writes: "We. . .endorse the justice of God's penal code, if the Bible is to be the foundation of our Christian political ethic." Bringing back archaic hebrew laws and superstitions for the modern world? Perhaps we should stone people for not observing the sabath as the bible suggests or stone people for wearing mixed fibers or eating shellfish? These laws are ancient history society is going backwards if they reinstate these laws. Look at theocratic societies around the world they are oppressive , backward and often the people are ignorant, uneducated and live in poverty
Reconstructionism has adopted "covenantalism," the theological doctrine that Biblical "covenants" exist between God and man, God and nations, God and families, and that they make up the binding, incorporating doctrine that makes sense of everything. Specifically, there is a series of covenant "structures" that make up a Biblical blueprint for society's institutions. Reconstructionists believe that God "judges" a whole society according to how it keeps these covenantal laws, and provides signs of that judgment. This belief can be seen, for example, in the claim that AIDS is a "sign of God's judgment."
Reconstructionist Rev. Ray Sutton writes that "there is no such thing as a natural disaster. Nature is not neutral. Nothing takes place in nature by chance. . .Although we may not know the exact sin being judged," Sutton declares, "what occurs results from God."
Christian Historical Revisionism
Part of the Reconstructionist world view is a revisionist view of history called "Christian history," which holds that history is predestined from "creation" until the inevitable arrival of the Kingdom of God. Christian history is written by means of retroactively discerning "God's providence."
Most Reconstructionists, for example, argue that the United States is a "Christian Nation" and that they are the champions and heirs of the "original intentions of the Founding Fathers." This dual justification for their views, one religious, the other somehow constitutional, is the result of a form of historical revisionism that Rushdoony frankly calls "Christian revisionism."
Christian revisionism is important in understanding the Christian Right's approach to politics and public policy. If one's political righteousness and sense of historical continuity are articles of faith, what appear as facts to everyone else fall before the compelling evidence of faith. Whatever does not fit neatly into a "Biblical world view" becomes problematic, perhaps a delusion sent by Satan.
The invocations of the Bible and the Founding Fathers are powerful ingredients for good religious-nationalist demagoguery. However, among the stark flaws of Reconstructionist history is the way Christian revisionism distorts historical fact.
For example, by interpreting the framing of the Constitution as if it were a document inspired by and adhering to a Reconstructionist version of Biblical Christianity, Reconstructionists make a claim that denies the existence of Article VI of the Constitution. Most historians agree that Article VI, which states that public officials shall be "bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States," was a move toward disestablishment of churches as official power brokers and the establishment of the principles of religious pluralism and separation of church and state.
R. J. Rushdoony, in his influential 1963 book, The Nature of the American System, claims that "The Constitution was designed to perpetuate a Christian order," then asks rhetorically: "Why then is there, in the main, an absence of any reference to Christianity in the Constitution?" He argues that the purpose was to protect religion from the federal government and to preserve "states' rights."
Once again, however, such a view requires ignoring Article VI. Before 1787, most of the colonies and early states had required pledges of allegiance to Christianity and that one be a Christian of the correct sect to hold office. Part of the struggle toward democracy at the time was the disestablishment of the state churches--the power structures of the local colonial theocracies. Thus the "religious test" was a significant philosophical matter. There was little debate over Article VI, which passed unanimously at the Constitutional Convention.
Most of the states soon followed the federal lead in conforming to it. Reconstructionist author Gary DeMar, in his 1993 book America's Christian History: The Untold Story, also trips over Article VI. He quotes from colonial and state constitutions to prove they were "Christian" states. And, of course, they generally were, until the framers of the Constitution set disestablishment irrevocably in motion. Yet DeMar tries to explain this away, claiming that Article VI merely banned "government mandated religious tests"--as if there were any other kind at issue. He later asserts that Article VI was a "mistake" on the part of the framers, implying that they did not intend disestablishment.
By contrast, mainstream historian Garry Wills sees no mistake. In his book Under God: Religion and American Politics, he concludes that the framers stitched together ideas from "constitutional monarchies, ancient republics, and modern leagues. . . .but we [the US] invented nothing, except disestablishment. . . . No other government in the history of the world had launched itself without the help of officially recognized gods and their state connected ministers." Disestablishment was the clear and unambiguous choice of the framers of the Constitution, most of whom were also serious Christians.
Even Gary North (who holds a Ph.D. in History) sees the connection between Article VI and disestablishment and attacks Rushdoony's version of the "Christian" Constitution. North writes that "In his desire to make the case for Christian America, he [Rushdoony] closed his eyes to the judicial break from Christian America: the ratification of the Constitution." North says Rushdoony "pretends" that Article VI "does not say what it says, and it does not mean what it has always meant: a legal barrier to Christian theocracy," leading "directly to the rise of religious pluralism."
North's views are the exception on the Christian Right. The falsely nostalgic view of a Christian Constitution, somehow subverted by modernism and the Supreme Court, generally holds sway. Christian historical revisionism is the premise of much Christian Right political and historical literature and is being widely taught and accepted in Christian schools and home schools. It informs the political understanding of the broader Christian Right. The popularization of this perspective is a dangerously polarizing factor in contemporary politics.
A Movement of Ideas
As a movement primarily of ideas, Reconstructionism has no single denominational or institutional home. Nor is it totally defined by a single charismatic leader, nor even a single text. Rather, it is defined by a small group of scholars who are identified with Reformed or Orthodox Presbyterianism. The movement networks primarily through magazines, conferences, publishing houses, think tanks, and bookstores. As a matter of strategy, it is a self-consciously decentralized and publicity-shy movement.
Reconstructionist leaders seem to have two consistent characteristics: a background in conservative Presbyterianism, and connections to the John Birch Society (JBS).
In 1973, R. J. Rushdoony compared the structure of the JBS to the "early church." He wrote in Institutes: "The key to the John Birch Society's effectiveness has been a plan of operation which has a strong resemblance to the early church; have meetings, local `lay' leaders, area supervisors or `bishops.'"
The JBS connection does not stop there. Most leading Reconstructionists have either been JBS members or have close ties to the organization. Reconstructionist literature can be found in JBS-affiliated American Opinion bookstores.
Indeed, the conspiracist views of Reconstructionist writers (focusing on the United Nations and the Council on Foreign Relations, among others) are consistent with those of the John Birch Society. A classic statement of the JBS world view, Call It Conspiracy by Larry Abraham, features a prologue and an epilogue by Reconstructionist Gary North. In fact, former JBS chairman Larry McDonald may himself have been a Reconstructionist. Joseph
Morecraft has written that "Larry [McDonald] understood that when the authors of the US Constitution spoke of law, they meant the law of God as revealed in the Bible. I have heard him say many times that we must refute humanistic, relativistic law with Biblical Law."
As opposed to JBS beliefs, however, Reconstructionists emphasize the primacy of Christianity over politics. Gary North, for example, insists that it is the institution of the Church itself to which loyalty and energy are owed, before any other arena of life. Christians are called to Christianity first and foremost, and Christianization should extend to all areas of life. This emphasis on Christianity has political implications because, in the 1990s, it is likely that the JBS world view is persuasive to more people when packaged as a Biblical world view.
Part 1: Overview and Roots
Part 2: A Generation of Reconstructionists
Part 3: No Longer Without Sheep
Part 4: A Covert Kingdom
Return to Table of Contents
Frederick Clarkson is an author and lecturer who has written extensively on right-wing religious groups from the Christian Coalition to the Unification Church. He is co-author of Challenging the Christian Right: The Activist's Handbook, (Institute for First Amendment Studies, 1992), and is author of Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Democracy and Theocracy in the United States, (Common Courage Press, 1996). This article originally appeared in the March and June 1994 issues of The Public Eye.
01-16-2008, 08:19 PM
My opinion, these people have a sick world view and are sick people, instead of advancing society and instead of teaching the gospel of peace that Christ had taught they teach the opposite,they advocate cruel punnishment and have more in common with the islamic fanatics then they realize, in fact their theology is almost identical, think about it.. Look at it, what makes them different from the fanatics in islam(I'm not saying all moslems are fanatics) Christianity is not something you can force down someone's throats.
These people live in a fantasy world, they also use the bible as a weapon of guilt and punnishment, and have taken it totally out of context. The new testament actually speaks against violence and goes on to say that people who are quick to shed the blood of another , destruction and misery are their ways and the way of peace they have not known.. Also in other scripture it explains men in later times are proud, insolent violent,haters of God (Hating God's mercy and redemption and love for humanity) lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, unloving ,unforgiving , unholy and unthankful and unmerciful.. Paul renunciated the old testament laws by saying you are saved by grace and not by your own acts or by following the law. God doesn't rule through an iron fist or through the corrupt minds of men who thirst for power and are often greedy and blinded by their own egoism and weaknesses and lust for control and power over others.
Aids as a punnishment from God ?Is he so vengeful then to cause young children to suffer and live as orphans and homeless in Africa after their parents dies of aids?God does not love these children then?How about the person who is infected with contaminated blood is he somehow being punnished by God? Or the wife of a husband who cheats on her and gets infected and transmits the disease to her, punnished by God?How about children who are born with HIV or aids? Punnished by God? These people are perverse to believe such nonsense. Or to attribute such insanity to God.
God would indiscriminately punnish the innocent for the actions of others? Even the righteous? Total nonsense. Would God punnish a mother who had to have an abortion out of medical necessity or a girl who was raped or a victim of incest? Actually the old testament would force the woman who was raped to marry her rapist....To be subjected to more brutal treatment I guess, makes alot of sense.
These people advocate murder and violence toward others for not being Christians? Burning of witches? Let's bring back the inquisitions and dark ages then.
Of course during the inquisitions they did more than torch people at the stakes, they did gruesome things like torture people with instruments and even cannabalizing and boiling their bodies. Yep the good old days of slavery and servitude would be brought back.Civil rights abolished... These people are supposed to be educated and they know little about the bible and the progressive movement toward a more peaceful and equitable world. Maybe we ought to bring back animal sacrifices, as required by the old testament....It was mandated after all, Required by "god". If anything Jesus taught it was that man should evolve from a savage blood thirsty barbarian into a more evolved principled and enlightened human being.Man's cruelty does not evoke God's mercy and love of justice or grace and forgiveness. Even Jesus didn't hurl or throw stones at the woman accused of adultery who was about to be stoned by the pharisees and crowd. Doesn't that say he held these traditions as reprehensible? If he truly believed such actions were justified he would have picked up a stone and joined the crowd in the stoning.
Did he follow the laws of the sabbath or other customs of hebrew ancient culture, often he acted quite contrary to these customs. Why then wasn't Jesus put to death for not following the strict laws of sabbath that the old testament required saying the penalty was death for even picking up sticks on the sabbath? He evidently did not believe these customs or rules represented God's true intentions. He evidently did not believe this was a mandate actually coming from God as the old testament said, otherwise he would not have broken the rules of the sabbath in the first place.What is the kingdom of God anyway,Jesus said it was the fathers good pleasure to give his children the kingdom of heaven and that the kingdom does not with observation, but is within.(You)
"A blind faith in the moral superiority of our own way of life will only hinder efforts to tackle violent extremism "
MY personal opinon is while the bible does contain inspiration and certain beautiful passages, and some gems of wisdom ,it is not infallible, it can't be , too many contradictions can be pointed out in the book, it was also written by fallible ,imperfect men. Also translated through the centuries almost two thousand years ago. We may have lost some of the meaning in the process of translations throughout the years. We also only have clues as to what ancient civilizations were like through other writngs and artifacts found.Possibly certain things were omitted by the early church from the bible.
There is no way we can say that man is not beyond corruption. Man is often self centered and can even corrupt even the purest intentions.And perhaps even corrupt God and his intentions and distort the truth. Throughout the centuries the gospel of peace was turned into violence and bloodshed and persecution.Man did untold cruelty to his fellow man..Innocent people often suffered.Is man to be reduced to such a beast?Man has made it almost intolerable to coexist peacefully with others on this planet.
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