Re: Forget terrorists -- here's the real threat to this nation
- From: Captain Compassion <daranc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2007 21:28:04 -0700
On Mon, 02 Jul 2007 16:43:20 -0700, Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names
Tucked away a few miles off Interstate 40 just outside Asheville,What should be done about this?
N.C., the LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center provides Southern
Baptists with a remote place to facilitate the nurturing of "Biblical
Solutions for Life."
The sprawling 1,300-acre compound in the Blue Ridge Mountains is made
up of chapels, a book store, café, guest housing, drab-colored brick
buildings, fences topped with barbed wire and plenty of wooded grounds
for religious contemplation or recreation. It is not easily or quickly
located; its address cannot be found via a Google Maps search or
traced on a Global Positioning System (GPS).
Despite its isolated location, during the last week of May hundreds of
Religious Right activists and their families made their way there for
a four-day "Worldview Super Conference." They came to hear
fundamentalist Christian speakers rail about the nation's moral
confusion, claim the public schools are bastions of secular humanism
and warn that Christians, especially their type of Christians, are in
danger of being persecuted by America.
The gathering, dubbed "Preparing This Generation to Capture the
Future," was hosted by American Vision, a ministry that has been
toiling away since 1978 to "help Christians build a truly Biblical
worldview." In a conference handout, American Vision states that "By
God's grace, we will work together to make America a truly Christian
nation for our children's children."
Based in Powder Springs, Ga., American Vision also produces reams of
material that push Christian Reconstructionism, a form of
fundamentalism that argues for a re-writing of American history,
dismantling secular democracy and constructing an America governed by
"biblical law." Reconstructionists seek to impose the criminal code of
the Old Testament, applying the death penalty for homosexuals,
adulterers, fornicators, witches, incorrigible juvenile delinquents
and those who spread false religions.
Despite its overtly radical theocratic agenda, American Vision is
allied with some of the Religious Right's most powerful outfits. This
year's conference was cosponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund, a well-
funded Religious Right lawyers' outfit that James Dobson and other
religious broadcasters helped create; Michael Farris's Home School
Legal Defense Association; the late TV preacher Jerry Falwell's
Liberty University School of Law; and World Magazine, Marvin Olasky's
influential evangelical Christian periodical.
The event was promoted heavily by the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the
Traditional Values Coalition, and it was held in a facility owned by
the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest non-Catholic
denomination and a religious body closely aligned with the Bush
In an opening prayer, American Vision President Gary DeMar set the
stage for what would be a major theme running through the gathering:
restoring the sovereignty of God and God's people -- namely, folks
like those at the conference.
"We know," said DeMar, "that you are a sovereign and omniscient
God.... We know that you have called us to be responsible servants in
the advancement of your kingdom through the proclamation of the gospel
and the application of your word in every area of life."
Worldview speaker after speaker vacillated between decrying the nation
as wildly secular and ready for a radical makeover led by
One of the first speakers, Gary Cass, offered a dire picture of a
country that is doomed unless it embraces a rigid form of government
led by fundamentalist Christian edicts.
"We need a new American vision," said Cass, former head of TV preacher
D. James Kennedy's now-defunct Center for Reclaiming America for
Christ, "because we've lost our biblical heritage, our Christian
birthright, which has been given to us by our founders, we have
squandered for a poisonous bowl of atheistic humanism and political
"And now our culture is experiencing its deadly effects," he
continued. "The putrid stench of the culture of death fills our living
rooms, coming to us every night on the evening news. And this
Worldview weekend, I believe, is the antidote for the culture of
He continued, "By God's grace you are here to reclaim our godly
heritage and to reassert, without apology to the atheists and the neo-
pagans of our day, that this was and is a Christian nation, built on
Cass's stark call for a fundamentalist Christian takeover of America
was later followed by claims that the nation is increasingly hostile
to religious people. To some chuckles from the audience, he insisted
that the United States is in "great need of a Christian anti-
"Defamation," Cass argued, "is the precursor to persecution."
Defamation leads to marginalization, he continued, and marginalization
sets the "stage for discrimination," which inevitably leads to the
final stage of religious cleansing.
"Genocide being the ultimate expression," Cass declared, "the
deliberate, systematic extermination of a group of people." Kind of
like what is happening in Sudan's Darfur region, he added.
Other speakers brutally attacked the public school system and promoted
home schooling and private Christian education. The Ridgecrest
bookstore was full of materials offering curriculums for parents
interested in escaping the public schools.
On the conference's first day, attendees gathered in Ridgecrest's
Spilman Auditorium were treated to a lengthy rant against public
schools by a Baptist preacher from Texas.
The Rev. Voddie Baucham Jr., pastor at Grace Family Baptist Church in
Spring, Texas and founder of Voddie Baucham ministries, is indignant
that so many "blood-washed" Christians choose to send their children
to public schools. He boasted about his involvement in pushing a
resolution before the Southern Baptists' annual convention that calls
on church members to yank their kids from public schools.
"If we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education, we
need to stop being surprised when they come home as Romans," Baucham
Baucham encouraged the gathering to do what his family does, which is
to keep children at home and immerse them in religiosity. The towering
pastor -- virtually the only African-American at the conference --
noted that his son Trey travels with him full time.
"Trey travels everywhere with me," he said. "Trey is 14 years old; I
am his teacher. When our sons reach the age of 13, they go through a
rite of passage; they enter into manhood. And when they enter into
manhood, their mother closes up the books and hands them to me."
There are things that only a man can teach a man, Baucham said, though
he did not elaborate other than to say that his son is his assistant
All the railing against public schools and other state-supported
institutions has long been a focal point for Christian
Reconstructionists, whose goal is a society where their harsh version
of biblical law permeates everything. DeMar provided a platform for
some of the movement's most radical voices.
On the second day, Doug Phillips, oldest son of long-time right-wing
activist Howard Phillips, declared that God created the universe and
the Bible is a history book for understanding God's design.
Phillips heads up a San Antonio-based group called Vision Forum that
advocates for the "Biblical family." The organization is also a
staunch supporter of home schooling and families where the men take
"If we encourage our daughters to pursue a careerist philosophy," the
Vision Forum's mission statement reads, "if we fail to make our homes
economically vital, hospitable centers for love and learning, we are
Phillips spent the next hour railing against what he said was a plot
by secularists to write Christianity out of American history,
concluding that "those who control history define the culture." Like
other Worldview speakers, Phillips promoted removing kids from public
schools and immersing them in fundamentalist Christian training.
Later in the day, DeMar introduced Gary North to the attendees,
lauding him as "a mentor." North is a son-in-law of the late Rousas J.
Rushdoony, who is widely touted as the founder of Christian
Reconstructionism. North has written boatloads of books and articles
about the need to establish "Christendom."
His plentiful material has left a track record of extremism. North has
called for the death penalty, like Rushdoony did, for youngsters who
curse their parents, gays and others who violate his interpretation of
biblical law. He has argued that stoning is the preferred means of
capital punishment, noting that it is a communal activity and "the
implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no
cost." Writing for Reason magazine in 1998, Walter Olson observed that
Reconstructionists like North "provide the most enthusiastic
constituency for stoning since the Taliban seized Kabul."
North skipped stoning at his Worldview appearance and offered a
strident rant against secularism. According to North, the universe is
ordered by an all-powerful God who will ultimately dispose of all the
"covenant-breakers." The so-called "covenant-keepers," on the other
hand, will inherit the riches of the heavens.
Citing the Book of Genesis, North said, "In the beginning, God created
the heavens and the earth. Now, that establishes God as the absolute
authority, since he is the creator; since he is the creator, he is the
owner of all of creation. And, therefore, absolutely sovereign over
During his lengthy discussion, North conceded that his views have not
been embraced by the public yet.
"Most of the people in this room are fringe people," North claimed to
a hushed audience. "And not just 'kind of' fringe people, not just
'kind of' Christian evangelicals."
He added that the Worldview audience is on the fringe because it is in
the forefront of the war against "Darwinism" and the secular culture.
"We really are on the extreme fringe of society today," North
continued. "And that's our curse. And if we do our work well, and if
the grace of God is on us, in retrospect that will be our blessing."
Many of the speakers blasted civil liberties organizations for
supposedly waging an ongoing, aggressive effort to remove religion,
Christianity in particular, from the public square.
DeMar specifically targeted the ACLU and Americans United for
Separation of Church and State, claiming that if those groups had
their way God would be excised from "everything" in America. But
thankfully, DeMar maintained, "there's a new sheriff" in town.
"The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State,"
DeMar said, "really have a battle on their hands with organizations
like the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF)."
DeMar praised ADF, a $25 million operation based in Scottsdale, Ariz.,
for training young lawyers to fight for a "biblical worldview." Two
ADF representatives appeared before the Worldview audience and
promoted the group's work to bring the legal system under Christian
Ken Fletcher, an ADF development director, insisted that America was
"started on a biblical worldview," but has been wrenched from its
religious moorings by secularists and "activist courts."
"Our Christian liberties are under attack in our nation," Fletcher
maintained. "I guess back in the '60s it really got under attack,
where the secular agenda really started replacing the Christian
worldview that we had in our nation."
Besides home schooling and trying to convert people to their religious
principles, Fletcher argued that the courts "cannot be left out of the
equation." "The right to abort a baby came through the courts; prayer
and the Bible taken out of the public schools, that all came through
the courts," he maintained. "Homosexual marriage," Fletcher added also
came through the courts.
So in 1994, an array of powerful fundamentalist broadcasters, such as
James Dobson, D. James Kennedy and Bill Bright, got together to form
the ADF, he said, because "if we don't start showing up in the courts,
our religious liberty is going to be lost in this country."
The conference also heard from Janet Folger, a former executive
director of Kennedy's disbanded Center for Reclaiming America for
Christ. Folger, who now heads a Religious Right lobbying group dubbed
"Faith2Action," was especially ticked off at the new make-up of
Congress, blasting it for supporting hate-crimes legislation. She is
also seriously convinced that fundamentalist Christians are in danger
of persecution in America.
Folger, author of a book titled The Criminalization of Christianity,
repeatedly attacked the "homosexual agenda" as one of the main driving
forces against fundamentalist Christianity. Aping comments from
Kennedy, she tagged gays as plotting to criminalize the Christian
Folger said gays want to use hate-crimes legislation to "do away" with
terms applied to homosexuality such as "abomination," which she noted
is a word from Leviticus. The gays want to ban the Bible, according to
"If they can silence the truth," Folger said referring to gay lobbying
groups like the Human Rights Campaign, "make no mistake, they will
silence the gospel."
She then claimed that Canada, Sweden, England and France are already
persecuting Christians who cite Bible passages in demonizing gays.
America, she claimed, is following those nations' lead. (In fact, the
hate-crimes legislation pending in Congress specifically protects
speech and penalizes only hate-motivated violence.)
During her afternoon appearance, Folger said she sobbed and felt
almost defeated when the U.S. House of Representatives passed hate-
crimes legislation earlier this year.
We just need to bring "God back into this debate," Folger maintained.
She argued that when large numbers of fundamentalist Christians get to
the voting booth, good things will transpire and pointed to the
election and re-election of President George W. Bush as evidence.
Folger urged attendees to be especially politically active in 2008,
saying that they should not be lulled into believing that a "values
voter" candidate cannot retain control of the White House.
Lauding the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding a federal ban on so-
called "partial-birth" abortion, Folger maintained that Christians are
"so close to winning this thing, of overturning Roe v. Wade."
"We are one judge away," she said.
Concluding her afternoon talk with a prayer for President Bush and for
God to assert dominion over the land, she started to weep.
"I'm asking You how to take this land," she prayed, "and how to keep
it until You come."
ADF Senior Vice President Jeff Ventrella trumpeted the work of his
organization as one of the ways the nation can be returned to a
biblical foundation. Ventrella bemoaned the secularization of society,
claimed Christian children from coast to coast face harassment from
public school teachers and officials and that the legal system must be
used to fight back.
For over an hour, Ventrella blathered on about the Apostle Paul and
other characters from the Bible, declaring that "truth in the public
square has stumbled." At one point in his rambling, angry talk, he
warned that any "spies" amongst the Worldview gathering had better not
The ADF attorney claimed that his organization exists, in part, to "do
damage to evil. We must do damage to evil." Ventrella also asked the
afternoon gathering whether they wanted to "win the world for Christ.
We can't be on the sidelines," he said.
The evening featured one of the conference's oddest presentations.
Gary Bates, head of Creation Ministries International, spoke for well
over an hour about his recent book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the
In a nutshell, Bates contends that the UFOs some Americans claim to
see are not space aliens, but rather angels. Some of those angels are
good, he indicated, and some of them are bad. He said that Joseph
Smith, founder of Mormonism, and the Muslim prophet Mohammed had both
been visited by fallen angels.
The evening's biggest draw, however, was the debate between Americans
United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn and Herb Titus, a former dean
at TV preacher Pat Robertson's Regent University and former attorney
for disgraced Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. The two advocates
sparred over whether the First Amendment prevents "a Bibically-Based
The ADF's Ventrella served as moderator of the exchange and told the
audience that his role was to "be invisible." He apparently could not
contain himself, however. Throughout, he chided Lynn for not asking a
question of Titus quickly enough, said Lynn, not Titus, carried the
burden in the debate and gave his own opinion of the question at the
Lynn told the 800 conferees what they didn't particularly want to
"American public policy cannot be based," he said, "solely on the
Bible, any more than it could be based solely on the Koran or the
"The laws that govern our daily lives," Lynn continued, "need to be
based on commonly shared secular values, including those found in the
Bill of Rights. Lawmakers take an oath, sometimes on a holy book even,
to uphold the Constitution. They do not put their hand on the
Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.
"Political leaders represent all Americans, Christian and otherwise,"
he said, "so yes, to base public policy on one constituency's
religious text and, moreover, a particular interpretation of that
text, would fly directly in the face of the First Amendment's
guarantee that there will be no laws respecting, touching upon an
establishment of religion."
Lynn's comments were the only words in a four-day talk-a-thon that
promoted a free society.
The major theme of this year's Worldview conference was a call for an
ongoing push by Christian fundamentalists to tear down democracy and
replace it with theocracy. Far from being super, it was rather scary.
There may come a time when the CO2 police will wander the earth telling
the poor and the dispossed how many dung chips they can put on their
cook fires. -- Captain Compassion.
Wherever I go it will be well with me, for it was well with me here, not
on account of the place, but of my judgments which I shall carry away
with me, for no one can deprive me of these; on the contrary, they alone
are my property, and cannot be taken away, and to possess them suffices
me wherever I am or whatever I do. -- EPICTETUS
Celibacy in healthy human beings is a form of
insanity. -- Captain Compassion
"Civilization is the interval between Ice Ages." -- Will Durant.
Joseph R. Darancette
- Forget terrorists -- here's the real threat to this nation
- From: Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names
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