With the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans on the rise, the Religious Right is searching for a magic formula that will convert more people to fundamentalism. As far as two organizations are concerned, the solution lies in doubling down on the same old fiery, hateful rhetoric the Religious Right has employed for years.
A recent column by Michael Youssef on OneNewsNow, published by the American Family Association, carried an email subject line: “Who’s to blame for America’s moral decay?”
Talk about a loaded question! It assumes that there has been a moral decline; this is taken as a given.
Marriage equality is on the march in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case later this month that could extend same-sex marriage nationwide as early as the end of June.
Religious Right groups are in full-blown panic. They know they are likely running out of options to stem the marriage tide, and one of their few remaining ploys is to create hysteria with absurdist arguments that the legalization of same-sex marriage will result in war – and they mean that literally.
Americans United enjoyed a dubious distinction late in February: Within the space of a week, the organization was singled out for attack by two Religious Right groups.
First out of the gate was the Liberty Institute, a Religious Right legal group based in Texas. The Institute published an article titled “5 Dangerous Enemies Against Your Christian Faith” on the website Charisma News. Americans United was among the five.
Here’s what the country doesn’t need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.
Yet that’s what the country is getting.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to end his sponsorship and endorsement of an evangelistic Christian prayer rally, calling his behavior inappropriate and possibly illegal.
Jindal used official state letterhead to invite residents to “The Response-Louisiana,” a fundamentalist Christian event that, in Jindal’s words, promotes the idea that “Jesus Christ, Son of God and the Lord of Life, is America’s only hope.”
Perhaps you’ve heard of Bryan Fischer who, until recently, held a top spot at the American Family Association (AFA).
In fact, it’s slightly more likely you’ve heard of Fischer than you have his employer, at least by word of mouth. He likes to make an impact and in this endeavor he certainly succeeds. Right Wing Watch reports that just this week, he claimed on his radio broadcast that LGBTQ people have been “taken captive” by Satan himself.
Jim Inhofe, a Republican U.S. senator from Oklahoma, believes the making of public policy should be left to a higher power.
“[G]od’s still up there,” Inhofe, a Religious Right ally, opined in 2012. “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”
Another day, another phony outrage from the Religious Right. This time, the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA) are claiming that a U.S. Army chaplain was punished for simply sharing his faith at an official event. But as usual, these fundamentalists aren’t telling the whole story.
Last month, Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn, a captain and the official chaplain of the 5th Ranger Training Battalion, conducted a session on suicide prevention at Fort Benning in Georgia. Attendance at the event was mandatory, giving Lawhorn a large, captive audience.
Religious Right attorney Mat Staver doesn’t mince words when it comes to same-sex marriage.
“This is something that I believe is the beginning of the end of Western Civilization,” Staver told a conservative radio station in October. “You can’t simply redefine and pretend that ontological differences between men and women do not exist. This will have consequences.”
Staver, who until recently served as dean of Liberty University’s law school, insisted that acceptance of marriage equality will “make the society unstable.”