Friday, May 27, 2005

My Father's America

I am an American, fighting in the forces that guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense. -- US Military Code of Conduct, Article I

Give me, kind Heaven, a private station, A mind serene for contemplation: Title and profit I resign; The post of honor shall be mine. -- John Gay

These were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of the times. -- Ecclesiasticus 44:7

It wasn't the reward that mattered or the recognition you might harvest. It was your depth of commitment, your quality of service, the product of your devotion -- these were the things that counted in a life. When you gave purely, the honor came in the giving, and that was honor enough. --Scott O'Grady, USAF

I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, after all, to matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all. --Leo C. Rosten

"Never give in! Never give in! Never, never, never. Never -- in anything great or small, large or petty -- never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense." -- Sir Winston Churchill

"Our own heart, and not other men's opinion, form our true honor." -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- John Calvin Coolidge

"If you must choose between two paths, either of which will bring death and defeat, then choose the path wherein you die fighting for honor and justice." -- Pan Ku

"At the close of life the question will be not how much have you got, but how much have you given; nor how much have you won, but how much have you done; not how much have you saved, but how much have you sacrificed; how much have you loved and served, not how much were you honored." -- Nathan C. Schaeffer

I miss my Dad this time of year. Not because he was killed in action, but because throughout a life punctuated by achievement, trials, and personal demons, he felt his service in the USAF was where he found his best self. The clarity of ethical conduct appealed to his sense of how people need to be to and with one another. I think if he had been alive to witness this last presidential election his reaction would have been one of shame. Shame that there is no honor that cannot be shoved aside in the cause of winning. Shame that the debate of ideas is a distant second to the besmichment of character. This is not to say my Dad wasn't politically savvy, I grew up outside of Chicago, after all, but he did expect the people who earned his vote to "have some stones" when it came to making tough choices. Phrases like "civil servant" and "civic virtues" weren't lip service, they were core attitudes, as much a part of him as his size 12 1/2 feet.

During his lifetime he did not miss a single opportunity to vote. Not one. Voting, he explained, was a civilian's duty towards democracy. Not voting, in my house, was akin to capital crime. He and my Mother, both whip smart and good debaters, turned election time around our house into an unending series of congealing suppers on dinner-plates, chilling to the tune of political discourse. I can remember seeing my brother face down, asleep at the table while the pro's and con's raged, oblivious.

My Dad had very set ideas about behavior. There was no lying, no dissembling the truth when faced with the dark brown-eyed stare down. Honor was a mindset; trust earnest by conduct. These are all military ideals, I realize now. As a child, they were just the law. Deviations were disciplined. Conduct should never be compromised.

When I read about things like Abu Ghraib, I think about my Dad. I know what he would have thought was honorable in that situation. I know where he would have considered the line to be. Honor's qualities preclude avoidance of responsibility. My Dad, as an officer, would not have looked upon trials of service men and women favorably. The chain of command is absolute. You are responsible for your people. They don't piss without you knowing about it. Honor requires ethics, courage and responsibility. Honor earned is your strongest shield, but it is a transparent one.

My Dad was not a perfect father, but to me he embodied America. He always tried. He embraced duty, country and family with passion and commitment. You knew where you stood with my Dad. You knew where you stood with his America.

This weekend we look at ours. This is the great, untrumpeted gift of the Memorial Day holiday to our nation. It gives us an opportunity to see honor as it should be seen: quietly, in individual gratitude for the sacrifice, and with personal introspection for the enormity of that gift. As you look upon the faces of the dead, see them, but be also humble, as is befitting honor.

(The banner you see above came into being thanks to the efforts of Patcam2005 of DO NOT READ ANY OF THIS and me, and it represents only a portion of the service personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq so far this year. Peace be with them.)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Truth or Consequences

The last post I put up here and on Bring It On regarding Dominionism generated a number of comments. Specifically, the figure of 35 million Dominionists was challenged. What I wanted to convey was that 35 million people are Dominion influenced, and most of them are quite fervent about their beliefs. People who are swayed to that degree are functioning as Dominionists, whether they accept the title or not.

Let's take a little quiz, shall we?

True or False:

1) A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Especially when espoused by scientists and universities.

2) People are poor because they have not been "born again".

3) Wealth is a sign that one is following the will of God.

4) Mental illness is a sign that the mind has been devoured by Satan.

5) Drug and alcohol addictions can only be cured by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

6) Believing in "the truth" means knowing anyone who believes differently is wrong and condemned to hell for eternity.

7) True believers have divine authority to subvert, by any means, the government in order to create a theocracy based on "the truth".

Did you answer true to any of these? Did you answer true to most, or all of them? Congratulations, and welcome to the 35 Million Club!

My, THAT was fun. Anybody up for another?

True of False:

The Bible says:

1) But for this very reason--adding, on your part, all earnestness-- along with your faith, manifest also a noble character: along with a noble character, knowledge;

2) Whoever mocks the poor reproaches his Maker. He who is glad at calamity shall not be unpunished.

3) For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can't carry anything out.

4) Open your mouth for the mute, in the cause of all who are left desolate

5) Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

6) For those who lead this people lead them astray; and those who are led by them are destroyed.

7) He said, "Watch out that you don't get led astray, for many will come in my name, saying,' I am he,' and,'The time is at hand.' Therefore don't follow them.

Did you answer true to any of these? Did you answer true to all of them? Congratulations, and welcome to the Rest of the Christian World. (Here's your answer key: 2 Peter 1:5, Proverbs 17:5, Timothy 6:7, Proverbs 31:8, Psalms 82:3, Isaiah 9:16, Luke 21:8)

You see, the chief problem here is that God is no longer in the discussion. When you claim to KNOW all, and all others are damned, you tend to get a little sloppy about the details. There's a power mindset that is inherently against the integrity of faith. God isn't about taking over countries or changing political landscapes. God is not going to pat you on the head for subverting a nation and creating more poor, needy and afflicted people while cementing power for yourself. God is all about honesty, humility, and self sacrifice.

God is not about HERE!

Sure, this is the arena where you get an opportunity for self discovery. But face it, people, God has zero interest in the American political landscape. He will, however, examine your motives fairly closely. Did you help the poor like he asked? Did you speak up for the afflicted? Did you give your wealth or hoard it? If you gave, did you pick and choose who would receive it, or did you care for all the needy, even the distasteful ones. (We are all sinners to God. He doesn't cherry pick the "good" sinners.) Did you use your words wisely, or did you use them to control, coerce or manipulate less intelligent people? Do you teach that the very people God entrusted into our care are, for whatever reason, not our responsibility?

The religious right of twenty-first century America is anti-American, inherently violent, and a cruel, tyrannical, punitive, force of death and destruction. In its mindset, adult human lives do not matter because the human condition itself is inherently evil resulting in eternal and everlasting punishment in hell unless its members are redeemed in a prescribed manner by the fundamentalist God/man/savior, Jesus Christ. Moreover, with an embarrassingly adolescent flamboyance, Dominionists shamelessly rape, pillage, and desecrate the earth because in the first place, their Bible has given them authority over all things human and in the second place, their “imminent” apocalyptic rapture, transporting them from the human “veil of tears” to live happily ever after in heaven, entitles them to do so. Meanwhile, we the unredeemed, the unbelievers, the poor, the feminists, the gay and lesbian, the disabled, the homeless, the mentally ill, the addicted, and those who are conscientiously following divergent spiritual paths of their choice, are suffering in the wake of Christian fundamentalism’s devastation of the economy, the earth, and the human race. But this is what we deserve for not becoming born-again devotees of their Jesus. And we deserve even worse—to burn in hell for all of eternity. Hence, we are expendable, inconsequential, and a force to be conquered, broken, imprisoned, or killed. -- Carolyn Baker

Strong words? Some might think so, but this woman grew up in a Christian fundamentalist family. Where I come from , that entitles her to speak. What she has to say is downright frightening.

Wanton power lust is not moral. 51% is not a mandate; neither are the current administration approval ratings.

Tell you what. Hit this link, and type in the word POOR in the search box. Uh huh. Now that, my friends, is a moral mandate.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Church of Silence

I need to preface this post by stating that I am not a Catholic. I'm married to a Catholic, who does not practice, and have several close family members who practice faithfully. So I do not speak as a lay person, but I do have insight.

That said, what happened on Friday to Fr. Tom Reese was wrong.

The fact that it broke on Friday, a slow news day in front of a slow news weekend, was undoubtedly an optimistic effort to shove the whole mess under the collective Vatican rug before Monday, when something fresher would be certain to capture the media's alleged attention.

Father Tom is, or rather was, the seven year editor of America magazine, a leading publication regarding Catholic thought and opinion. The degree in which his peers hold him in respect is commanding. Here's a few quotes:

“Father Tom is no loose cannon and no flaming liberal or radical, but a trusted and knowledgeable expert on a broad range of Catholic issues. In his job at America magazine he has proved himself as a moderate and extremely fair-minded editor who has taken meticulous care to balance any articles on controversial topics with perspectives from all different viewpoints. That always included a clear representation of the church’s teaching on any given issue. That, nonetheless, he is being forced out for providing that kind of forum for intelligent debate on issues of concern to American Catholics today sends a chilling message." -- Meinrad Scherer-Emunds , U.S. Catholic Magazine

Reese is an exemplary Christian, a model priest and a Jesuit in the best of that order’s tradition of robust thought and dedicated scholarship. A political scientist by training, he has written some of the most authoritative and objective studies of the hierarchy yet published. -- National Catholic Reporter, editorial

Reese, professionals across the spectrum say, is a moderate and mild man. No raging anarchist, no raving heretic. He is a thoughtful man, a fair man and a competent one. He is a scholar and writer, a person who examines a subject from multiple perspectives so that others can do the same. He provides the background ideas people need to come to clear, firm conclusions of their own. He is, in other words, a good journalist. -- Sister Joan Chittister

Over the past five years, Fr. Tom Reese oversaw articles published on some touchy subjects including condoms, gay priests, perceived foot dragging over theological discipline, pro-choice American politicians, and Dominus Iesus (a 2000 Vatican document by then-Cardinal Ratzinger that clarified the Church's position as the one true Christian Church, causing controversy among non-Catholic Christian denominations and Jews, and slowing forward progress made towards these groups). The America magazine articles opened dialogue and referred to church teachings in the discussion of these topics, many of them complex or emotionally complicated.

The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the group responsible for the ultimate removal of Father Tom, after applying pressure for five years. The Congregation during that time was headed up by Cardinal Ratzinger. In 2002 the Congregation proposed a three member censor board for the magazine, a control device that was rigorously debated against by the magazine. Reese ultimately resigned May 6, 2005 when faced with the choice of leaving or accepting a censor board.

Discussion regarding Ratzinger's (now Pope Benedict XVI) involvement is ongoing, but without credible evidence I am not ready to render an opinion.

I am, however, ready to ask some questions.

What, exactly, is the Church afraid of? Is an informed laity a threat? Is it a consensus that if these issues are removed from the public forum, they will no longer be discussed? Is that really realistic? Is quashing conversation going to attract and keep young people in the Church? Do they believe a muzzle is a tool for teaching or understand it is simply for control?

I believe that asking questions of ourselves and of our beliefs is how we strip our defenses, admit our vulnerabilities and achieve humility in our individual quest for spirituality. Defining and releasing our baggage is part of finding faith. It's hard as hell to do.

Practitioners of Catholicism must do it in increasing silence. A door to faith, in the form of intellectual discovery, has slammed shut.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Principles of Liberals

On May 6, 2005 Eric Alterman wrote:

I was watching a panel on foreign policy called "Are We Making the World Safe for Democracy?" at the L.A. Times Festival of Books on C-SPAN and a questioner asked “My conservative friends can enumerate four or five basic principles of what it means to be a conservative, but what are the principles of the liberals? I would really like to find out what are the basic principles of the liberal worldview… My liberal friends are not able to elucidate them for me. I’m serious…. For my conservative friends we can rattle off four or five principles, if you could just rattle off four or five things that are basic.”

Nobody wanted to answer. David Rieff said, “I think it’s a provocation this question. If anyone could argue for the ability to rattle off, as you say, four or five principles I would take issue with the seriousness of those principles.” Reiff is right, but the political problem is real and central. Anyone want to try and answer? If you solve it, I’ll credit you in the next book, and you will have made the world a better place.

Our Response???

Dear Eric;

Key principles gauntlet has been thrown and duly picked up by the Bring It On bloggers, a group of 10 who routinely analyze all things left. While somewhat incredulous that the questioner could not get an answer to his query, (have you ever been surrounded by a group of Democrats who didn't have an opinion?) six of us felt we could step up, enlighten, and Bring It On.

6 Bloggers Respond

There is a truly unique opportunity here for our party. These crossroads offer us a chance to renew American politics. We believe in the dignity of the individual. I think 3 key principles for liberals are Tolerance, Reform and Protection. Most issues can slide under these headers, and they are humanity embracing rather than humanity regulating principles.

Tolerance implies acceptance, a lack of judgment on others who are different. This does not imply a lack of respect for the law. It does indicate a lessening of hierarchy, i.e. class, race, haves/have nots. It is the base of seeing human society growing in a constant rate of improvement due to the offering of more opportunity to more people. It does not subscribe to the theory that protecting ones personal wealth by creating barriers to others betters society.

Reform means rooting out barriers that impede opportunity so growth continues. It means changing systems that are unfair. It means accountability to the people who suffer bias, and performance on the promise of equal opportunity.

Protection means caring for all within the community, searching out the needy and not turning our backs on their needs. We do this because we understand that we cannot grow and improve if we do not nurture.

Lastly, we need look no further than our founders for inspiration. What we seek is nothing less than the restoration of our public dignity. Dignity in how we see ourselves, our civic responsibilities and the role of our elected officials. As a party, we embrace Civic Virtues: Individual rights, Liberty, The public or common good, Self government, Equality, Diversity, Openness and free inquiry, Truth, and Patriotism -- Jet

The Progressive Agenda is to improve our society in such a way to make Life worth living for everyone regardless of class, race or religion and to assure our Freedom and Liberty are protected.

When you say reform, there are several things to reform. Economic reform maybe what you mean. Conservatives would claim that they want to reform government.I think that the overarching value is to reform society - in such a way to give more people access to opportunity.In the US Democrats encompass the Green Party ideals of Environmental Protection and the Labor ideals of jobs at a fair wage as well as fundamental progressive ideals.Getting society ready for a social change is just as important as the actual change itself. Many people react to change in a negative way. Advertising the reasons that things are in need of change makes liberal look like whiners. But the complaining is needed to expose the problem and the need for reform. -- Dr. Forbush

Liberal values are more than just catch phrases and easy slogans. Liberal values are not easily summed up with snappy one liners. Defining our values takes more effort because the real world is more complex than any conservative slogan. But here is my rough cut at it.Our values are based upon the idea that everyone deserves the chance for a quality life. Not the guarantee of success, but the opportunity to succeed.

We believe a person should be judged on their ability, not their background.
That the merit of the person is worth more than the parent of the person.
That a strong America requires widespread prosperity, not the widening disparity of income we see in our society today.
That government serves the people.
That public servants are supposed to serve the interests of the public, not the serve the public to special interest.
That not all tax cuts are good, and not all tax hikes are bad because building a prosperous America means investing in the welfare and well being of all citizens.

Or in short, we believe in Liberty, Equality, Diversity, Prosperity -- The Cranky Liberal

To ask a party to sum up what they are all about is nothing more than a catch 22. No matter what broad spectrum you choose to define a party, you will always alienate someone in the long run because you can't make everyone happy. There is an underlying reason that parties flip flop on issues over the ages, and that is because both parties chase the voter with the biggest pocket book. I would say that the true sense of democracy, and the Democratic party, lies in a government for the people and by the people. By this I mean you have to look past the pocket books, the special interests, the corporate welfare, (which by the way, they need us, just as much as we need them) and look at what tools the average Joe needs to protect his/her/their family, and in the end be a contributing factor to the success of this government for the people by the people.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the opportunities offered by this great nation of ours. You can't have life without liberty and you can't have liberty without life. Most of all, you can't pursue happiness unless you have both. You see, it's not guaranteed; it's just yours to pursue. How you achieve it is up to you. The governments only job is to make sure those rights are not violated in your pursuit for life and liberty.

So without writing a novel of what defines the Democratic party and the liberal agenda I'm gonna stick with Life and Liberty. How we achieve those two things is called politics. The world is too big to lock yourself into four or five basic principles. --
The Bastard

My world view consists of tolerance and open-mindedness. One person's right to swing his fist ends at the tip of another person's nose. This doesn't provide any good buzzwords or slogans that can be used for arguments. Try rousing millions of people with hot-button phrases about tolerance and having an open mind. Conservatives have the advantage in this department. They have a slogan for every occasion. They also react instantly to slogans and hot-button issues with no thought processes whatsoever - just a jerk of the knee and a rush of adrenaline. For smooth manipulators, it's a gold mine. Just yell out "gay marriage!" or "weapons of mass destruction!" and millions of drones snap to attention.Liberal ideas don't make good buzzwords or catch phrases. But liberals have an advantage: their ideas come from thinking things through; not from mindless reflexes. I can't imagine any slogan or catch phrase that would have millions of liberals snapping to attention, ready to carry out the work of Great Leader. -- Tom Harper

People say I have liberal values. I think my values are basic human values. I try to treat everybody as I want to be treated, with respect and dignity. I'm human and I make mistakes. But I own up to them. It's impossible sometimes not to judge another person, so I bitch and scream in words that I will then delete. Sometimes I bitch to my friends. Then I'm over it.

The people I respect and like the most tend not to judge other people; I have learned from example not to judge either.

I live in a crowded city. We tend to be loud; we tend to be argumentative. We tolerate each others eccentricities, weird (to others) views, and speeches, because we know that if we're tolerant we will find commonalities and ultimately an understanding. We don't have to agree on everything or anything but we have to respect what other people think if we're going to live together.

We listen to the arguments without closed ears; we learn from others and sometimes even change our opinion. When it comes to larger issues we read, talk, listen as much as we can, and might change our view five times before coming to a final decision. We're not wishy-washy; but we know that if we don't listen to others our mind will be closed, and that's not right.

We believe in justice, and believe that the principles The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights spell out and infer, are principles worth fighting for. We're a city that has more than 41 separate ethnic groups and dialects, every skin color and religion, yet somehow we manage to live together--and smile more than scream. Though we bitch and whine, we're more likely to come together than to attack from behind.

Tolerance, respect, dignity, justice, liberty, and freedom aren't just words to us. We all know people who have come from countries where those simple basic concepts don't exist. Many new New Yorkers have come from such countries. We're proud to be American. We don't have to scream the word patriotic. More than most American civilians we have shown our patriotism.

New Yorkers are best in emergencies--and in the last three and a half years have prove twice, to the world and each other, that if we stick together we can make it through the darkest of days. --
Pia Talks

There you have it. Liberty, tolerance, and reform lead the way, but it's a matter of overall preservation of dignity that defines this party. Dignity in both the personal sense of the word, encompassing principles that build up, provide equal footing for and encourage participation of the individual. Dignity in the public sense of the word, emphasizing the civic virtues that provide it. We know why we're a different choice. Having somebody say we don't is saying something that isn't so, then saying it so many times that people think it IS so. Got half truths? Got misleading statements? Got a network to spread them?

Bring It On!

While Dr. Alterman did not publish us, I wanted to share these thoughts with you. The hearts of the Democratic Party are people just like these bloggers. Regardless of the dithering you see on the top of the party, the base is getting it together. This is precisely what we need. A house built on a solid base will stand, regardless of the wind, in spite of the hardship.

Our house is strong and that's a good thing. We have thieves at the doors.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Don't let us get sick,
Don't let us get old,
Don't let us get stupid,

Just make us be brave,
And make us play nice,
And let us be together,
-- Warren Zevon

Lots of people say they don't pray, but let the boss start down cubicle row with a nasty project, and the air fills with little thoughts.

(No, no, no, not me, Smith's a jerk, make it be Smith, I hate Smith, give it to Smith, no, no, No, NO, NooOOOOO!)

What destination these thoughts? We fling them automatically. Ever been in a car wreck? Just try to keep those babies in.

(What the... watch it WATCH IT OH MY GOD! WATCH...) Uh oh.

We're hard-wired for prayer. Think about it. Wow.

I like this little song I quoted by Warren Zevon. It's a decent litany of hopes. Wellness, young spirits, Alzheimer's at bay, courage, tolerance and fellowship.

In a way, it reminds me of what I like about being a Democrat. We have the desire to see health become a priority, to see the elderly financially sustainable, to forward scientific research against crippling diseases and conditions, to use our strength and to appreciate it's value by not misusing it, to embrace, encourage and expect diversity and to shine the light on ethnic prejudice, and to be involved with our communities.

It resonates, doesn't it?

I'm one of those people who doesn't pray. A flinger of automatic thoughts? Big time. But something about actually ASKING God for something is not my cup of tea. I mean, who am I compared to God? What are my troubles compared to everyone else's? I try to be thankful and make an effort to wing appreciation out there, but so far, I haven't figured out exactly how to pray for something from God without feeling like it's not getting through. I think the problem is on my side. Too proud to ask? Maybe. Grateful I don't have to ask? Definitely.

So, since I don't have any personal troubles I consider truly threatening, no prayers (intentional ones, anyways) from me.

But I was thinking today about my last post, and the enormous amount of very scary reading I did before I wrote it. There was so much I couldn't include that opened my eyes to the political picture in this country. I'm worried. There are 6 high ranking Senators that vote 100% along dominion belief lines, and many others that vote in high percentages. We are closer to the abyss than we know.

So I decided, driving along today and listening to Zevon, that not being ready to pray for myself is OK. It's not a luxury I have for others though. So here is my prayer, for somebody I love very much and am afraid for. America.

God, I need your help.

My country has people in it who feel that they can use your name, manipulate your teachings and misrepresent facts in order to influence faithful people for their own ends.

They are bent on changing a nation. They say it is to bring the nation closer to you, but they are dividing people of faith and turning them against each other.

I can't fix this, so I have to give it to you.

Please help me write the truth, care enough to be brave, reform what I can, protect people who need it and find a way to bridge the gaps between people.

Please help us all find the strengths we need to heal our nation and root out those who would destroy her. Help us make her what she should be ... a battered but victorious symbol of the human endeavor.

Thank you for listening, and for all the good stuff in my life. Tell Warren we miss him.

Love, Jet

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Be Afraid, Be Very, Very Afraid

Several of you noticed that I post occasionally over at Bring It On. I'm one of ten desperados over there. I'm cross posting this here and there. I think this is a development worthy of LOTS of discussion.

I have been studying up on a new word I learned recently. The amount of information surrounding this word, and its ability to fill in some sizable gaps is amazing.

The word is Dominion.

Dominionism is frequently called “Christian Reconstructionism.” To the ordinary Christian believer such as myself, the doctrines of Dominionism are pretty scary. I imagine most Americans would think so. Frederick Clarkson wrote in 1994 that Dominionism “seeks to replace democracy with a theocratic elite that would govern by imposing their interpretation of ‘Biblical Law.’” The true motive of Dominionism is to eliminate “…labor unions, civil rights laws, and public schools.”

Dominionism began getting organized and building some steam about 25 years ago. Billy Graham exhorted viewers April 29, 1985 on Pat Robertson's 700 Club that the"... time has come when evangelicals are going to have to think about getting organized corporately….I’m for evangelicals running for public office and winning if possible and getting control of the Congress, getting control of the bureaucracy, getting control of the executive branch of government. I think if we leave it to the other side we’re going to be lost. I would like to see every true believer involved in politics in some way shape or form."

A new world was coming. To help the transition along, Pat Robertson, along with other pastors, evangelists and churchmen, founded schools, universities and colleges throughout the United States to train “Christians” how to run for office, how to win, and how to manage the affairs of government after they gained office. To get an idea of how successful the plan was, Robertson’s Regent University now has a $100 million endowment. After watching the Dominionists takeover the Republican Party and observing their ruthless methods, it is indeed apparent that Machiavellian principles are the fuel running their “How to Manual.”

Starting with a class of only twelve in 1985, Robertson began his
Journalism Department at CBN University where 800 other graduate students were earning Master degrees in a fully accredited institution. Later Robertson changed the name of CBN University to “Regent University”—based on Dominionism’s teaching that the national government of America and governments of the world will be ruled by Dominionists, who will act as regents on an interim basis, that is, until the true King—Jesus Christ—will return to earth again and gratefully accept His Kingdom from the hands of His faithful regents. -- Katherine

Approximately 35 million Americans subscribe to Dominionism. The TV evangelists and the churches have repetitiously indoctrinated the illusion of an outside enemy who is attacking Christianity very successfully, to the point these millions of member believe in an imaginary evil secular society that is part of a vast anti-Christian conspiracy.

Dominionism has roots it the Gospels, turning the concept of the invisible and spiritual “Kingdom of God” into a literal one; a political empire that could be taken by force. First stop, USA. That pesky original message of Jesus, you know, the one that said “My kingdom is not of this world,” needs not apply. These guys have a higher purpose: To boldly go (according to a Gospel designed to inspire), into the political arena and execute world domination so that Jesus could return to an earth prepared for his earthly rule by his faithful “regents.”

"What are we going to do tonight, Brain? Same thing we do every night, Jesus, TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!"

Thinking, nah, never happen? Think Jim Jones, who proved that the religious would follow. Way.Too.Far. That's a fact worthy of note by even the foggiest of politically minded preachers.

Let's talk courts, shall we?

Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court wrote in 2002, the Bible teaches and Christians believe “… that government …derives its moral authority from God. Government is the ‘minister of God’ with powers to ‘revenge,’ to ‘execute wrath,’ including even wrath by the sword…”

The neo-conservative created a judicial rule that requires a judge to determine the original intent of the writers of the Constitution. Scalia describes it, “The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead…It means today not what current society…thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted.” Think about it. He's saying that once the original thinking is determined, the constitution becomes enforceable as a document the in bound by that particular time frame.

What is really scary here is that so-called “crimes” like adultery, rebelliousness, homosexuality, witchcraft or effeminateness are territories the Dominionists would like see covered under the death penalty. This is why the entire judicial make up is so crucial to Dominionists, and they are very close to achieving this frightening goal. All they need to do is to appoint a majority of judges who will adhere to the “dead Constitution” construction rule of Scalia. When the Dominionist’s control the judiciary—that judiciary can roll back America’s body of legal jurisprudence to a century or more ago.

All a willing Dominionist Republican controlled congress need do to extend the death penalty to those people who practice witchcraft, adultery, homosexuality, heresy, etcetera, is to find those particular death penalty laws existing as of November 3, 1791, and re-instate them. No revolution is required. That’s why the battle over Bush’s judicial appointments is so crucial to the future of the America we know and love. And that’s why the clock is running out on freedom loving Americans.

Freedom is under siege. There is only one free major political party still left in America. I know the Democrats look chaotic, unfocused and generally unsmooth and thank God, unprogramed. Make no mistake, these plain ordinary
citizens are holding the candles that together form the great torch of liberty. For all their faults, they love America and they love freedom and they love the Bill of Rights. America’s independents, its true Conservatives, its sensible Republicans, and its Libertarians must join hands together with the homely Democrats and take back America for all Americans.-- Katherine

There's a great deal of information on this topic at Theocracy Watch, a public information project that tracks and documents the Religious Right. Regardless of your political or religious affiliation, you need to understand what is really being said and why. Please take a moment to envision how the country you love could be changed. If 35 million decide the fate of the nation with them as the exalted, we will be no better that Apartheid South Africa.

Think about the political situation of today. Think about who is where, and what they are saying.

Oh yeah. By the way, don't drink the Kool-Aid.