tagged w/ Evangelicals
Election 2012 was quite the milestone in American politics, in many different ways. I don’t think a lot of people realized just what a huge night it was, but the reality is starting to sink in. Particularly among conservatives and the religious right.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=45751Election 2012 was quite the milestone in American politics, in many different ways. I... more
We always knew this but now we know why.
The below article is the BEST explanation I have come upon so far that explains why the GOP/TP seems to exhibit such hate toward everything and everybody that does not share their warped opinion of reality. It is a must read if you seek help for the anquish that has built up in the brains of those of us who think. thinkingblue
PS: Notice the date is February 17, 2012, I never did get to blog this for some reason but it's too good to let stand idle in my blogging folder.
EXCERPT FROM :http://www.alternet.org/story/154194/a_conservative_explains_why_right-wingers_have_no_compassion
A Conservative Explains Why Right-Wingers Have No Compassion
A former Republican Senate Congressional staffer on why right-wingers think people without insurance deserve to die.
February 17, 2012 |
Although Mitt Romney used the word "conservative" 19 times in a short speech at the February 10, 2012, Conservative Political Action Conference, the audience he used this word to appeal to was not conservative by any traditional definition. It was right wing. Despite the common American practice of using "conservative" and "right wing" interchangeably, right wing is not a synonym for conservative and not even a true variant of conservatism - although the right wing will opportunistically borrow conservative themes as required.
Right-wingers have occasioned much recent comment. Their behavior in the Republican debates has caused even jaded observers to react like an Oxford don stumbling upon a tribe of headhunting cannibals. In those debates where the moderators did not enforce decorum, these right-wingers, the Republican base, behaved with a single lack of dignity. For a group that displays its supposed pro-life credentials like a neon sign, the biggest applause lines resulted from their hearing about executions or the prospect of someone dying without health insurance.
Who are these people and what motivates them? To answer, one must leave the field of conventional political theory and enter the realm of psychopathology. Three books may serve as field guides to the farther shores of American politics and the netherworld of the true believer.
Most estimates calculate the percentage of Republican voters who are religious fundamentalists at around 40 percent; in some key political contests, such as the Iowa caucuses, the percentage is closer to 60. Because of their social cohesion, ease of political mobilization and high election turnout, fundamentalists have political weight even beyond their raw numbers. An understanding of their leaders, infrastructure and political goals is warranted. Max Blumenthal has done the work in his book "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party." Blumenthal investigates politicized fundamentalism and provides capsule bios of such movement luminaries as James Dobson, Tony Perkins, John Hagee and Ted Haggard. The reader will conclude that these authority figures and the flocks they command are driven by a binary, Manichean vision of life and a hunger for conflict. Their minds appear to have no more give and take than that of a terrier staring down a rat hole.
Blumenthal examines the childhoods of these religious-right celebrities and reveals a significant quotient of physical and mental abuse suffered at the hands of parents. His analysis of the obvious sadomasochistic element in Mel Gibson's films - so lionized by the right wing - is enough to give one the creeps. But the book is by no means a uniformly depressing slog: the chapter titled "Satan in a Porsche," about fundamentalist attempts to ban pornography, approaches slapstick.
According to the author, the inner life of fundamentalist true believers is the farthest thing from that of a stuffily proper Goody Two Shoes. They seem tormented by demons that those in the reality-based community scarcely experience. That may explain their extraordinary latitude in absolving their political and ecclesiastical heroes of their sins: while most of us might regard George W. Bush as a dry drunk resentful of his father, Newt Gingrich as a sociopathic serial adulterer and Ted Haggard as a pathetic specimen in terminal denial, their followers on the right apparently believe that the greater the sin, the more impressive the salvation - so long as the magic words are uttered and the penitent sinner is washed in the Blood of the Lamb. This explains why people like Gingrich can attend "values voter" forums and both he and the audience manage to keep straight faces. Far from being a purpose-driven life, the existence of many true believers is a crisis-driven life that seeks release, as Blumenthal asserts, in an "escape from freedom."We always knew this but now we know why.
The below article is the BEST explanation... more
Can we say, Brainwashed? This is really upsetting.
My mom didn't tell me she was gay untill I was 13 because she was afraid I wouldn't love her. I'd like to help Sara learn something about what she is missing; a heart. The average 14 year old wants an iPod, iPhone, etc... what 14 year old actually cares about what government dictates about marriage? Makes me wonder what the parents have "homeschooled" her about different races. Clearly they are cowards to coach their child and hide behind her! WOW!Can we say, Brainwashed? This is really upsetting.
My mom didn't tell me she... more
Though by no means a climate change denier, Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work in nuclear and astrophysics is well known, had long been suspicious of some of the science underpinning the accepted catechism on global warming.
He wondered, for example, about the the potential for urban areas, which retain and generate inordinate amounts of heat, to distort data suggesting that things were getting warmer. He also questioned the reliability of surface temperature readings collected from aging and error-prone monitoring stations all over the planet.
Muller's desire to examine these issues -- along with a willingness to excoriate prominent climate scientists for what he considered bad behavior, and to cheer climate change skeptics for bucking received orthodoxies on the topic -- certainly made him something of an orphan in the ever-polarized climate wars. But to his mind, it didn't mean he rejected the basic mechanics of global warming.
Casual readers, perusing the headlines over the last two weeks, would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
After Muller's two-year-old Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project began publishing its findings on these and other questions late last month, numerous news outlets have portrayed him as a former skeptic whose research has led him back to the global warming fold.
In a nutshell, Muller and his team at Berkeley, which includes his daughter, Elizabeth, merged and analyzed a staggering amount of data collected from temperature monitoring stations the world over in order to address several complaints about climate research thus far. Skeptics, for example, have long argued -- legitimately, in Muller's view -- that climate researchers have relied on too small or too selective a sample of station data to definitively conclude that temperatures are rising; that many of the stations offer unreliable data, or are skewed upward by proximity to urban "heat islands"; or that researchers have made inappropriate adjustments in data to compensate for changes in measuring equipment and other local variables that crop up over decades of pulse-taking.
None of these concerns proved significant. "Our analysis of the complete data set showed that none of these four major concerns of the skeptics had biased the answer," Muller said.
In fact, the results closely matched most previous analyses showing a clear up-tick in temperature -- roughly 1 degree Celsius -- over the last half-century. And their estimate even exceeded the conservative estimate of a 0.64 degree increase promulgated by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Read the full article here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/03/its-science-not-skepticis_n_1072419.htmlThough by no means a climate change denier, Richard Muller, a physicist at the... more
"Formerly apolitical preachers in states like Iowa, backed by astute organizers and big donors, are mobilizing congregations for the election.""Formerly apolitical preachers in states like Iowa, backed by astute organizers... more
1 year ago
Texas governor and potential presidential candidate Rick Perry (R), who is hosting an August prayer event dominated by anti-gay pastors and organizations and has a long track record of being hostile towards LGBT rights, said on Friday that he was “fine” with New York’s decision to pass marriage equality. “Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me,” Perry said. “That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.”
http://tinyurl.com/3lb3kr4Texas governor and potential presidential candidate Rick Perry (R), who is hosting an... more
1 year ago
How taxpayers are funding the world's biggest Christian evangelical university.
June 29, 2011 |
One might think that a private, decidedly conservative, and totally evangelical Christian University, that was founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, who was openly critical of government programs, would spurn federal dollars.
Au contraire mon ami.
"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" - The Rev. Jerry Falwell, America Can Be Saved
This year, the 40th anniversary of Liberty University, Rev. Falwell's dream -- now being looked after by his son Jerry Jr. -- has become a reality thanks in large part to America's taxpayers.
Founded by Falwell in 1971, Liberty University, which according to its website is "the largest and fastest growing Christian Evangelical university in the world" and "the largest private university in Virginia," is "celebrating 40 Years of Training Champions for Christ."
Liberty U. receives massive government aid
During the last fiscal year alone, Liberty received about $445 million in federal financial aid money, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Over the past few years, Liberty University has raked in so much taxpayer money from the federal government that is now ranked among the top ten universities in the United States receiving federal dollars. It is also Virginia's top recipient of federal money.
In a 2009 piece for RH Reality Check titled, "Why is the Federal Government Supporting Evangelism?" Eleanor J. Bader pointed out that LU's [Jesse] Helms School of Government "crows that it turns out 'Christ-centered leaders, able to apply God's word in every area of life.' What's more, LU's webpage showcases its mission, promising students an 'action-oriented curriculum dedicated to world evangelism and repudiation of political correctness.'
"Not sure what that means? The site explains: 'A strong commitment to political conservatism, total rejection of socialism, and firm support for America's economic system of free enterprise.'"
Since it doesn't get much more religiously oriented than Liberty University, a fair question to ask is: Should a private sectarian institution be receiving federal funds?
"The short answer is that it would be difficult -- if not impossible -- to challenge the government grants going to Liberty students," Rob Boston, Senior Policy Analyst with Americans United, told me in an e-mail exchange. "This can be difficult area of the law. The Supreme Court has always been more lax on aid to religious colleges than it has been on aid to secondary schools. In years past, the court has held that tax aid cannot go to institutions deemed 'pervasively sectarian' but that such aid was permissible for those schools that were judged to be 'religiously affiliated.' This test has begun to erode at the high court, however, under the conservative majority. Complicating the matter is that the fact that many conservative legal scholars argue that Pell Grants are actually aid to the student, not the school -- an argument that has been embraced by the Supreme Court's conservative bloc."
"The rapid growth of Liberty's online program has fueled the increased reliance on federal aid dollars," said Robert Ritz, LU's executive director of financial aid Lynchburg, Virginia's The News & Advance recently reported. In addition to 12,000 students on campus, the University enrolled nearly 52,000 students online last year.
"It has ballooned," said Ritz of Liberty's financial aid volume. "In some categories, I've seen us rank no. 3 nationally, or in the top ten. It's because of our size and the growth." According to The News & Advance, "In the span of a year, Liberty's experienced about a 56 percent spike in federal student aid, from $284 million in 2008-2009 to $445 million in 2009-2010, according to Department of Education data compiled by The News & Advance. (LU calculates the total aid at $432 million and $277 million, still a 56 percent increase.)"
Read it all here
http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/151442/why_is_jerry_falwell%27s_evangelical_university_getting_filthy_rich_off_your_tax_moneyHow taxpayers are funding the world's biggest Christian evangelical university.... more
June 27th, 2011
06:09 PM ET
Michele Bachmann, evangelical feminist?
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - If Hillary Clinton, the woman who came closest to becoming a major party presidential nominee, is a feminist icon, could something similar be said of Michele Bachmann, who officially launched her presidential campaign on Monday?
Bachmann is seldom described in those terms; the conservative Minnesota congresswoman and Tea Party darling might cringe at the feminist label.
But some religion and politics experts say that she exemplifies an evangelical feminism that is producing more female leaders in Christian nonprofits, businesses, and education and politics, even as more traditional gender roles prevail in evangelical homes and churches.
“It’s not that evangelical feminism is entirely new,” says R. Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. “But this lack of fear going into top positions of power is new and astonishing and exciting for this segment of the population.”
Though evangelical women have long been involved in political activism, including helping to lead the temperance movement and campaigning for and against women's right to vote, seeking the White House is a more recent and dramatic step.
“It’s a trend that was started by Sarah Palin,” Griffith said, referring to the former Alaska governor, who was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008.
D. Michael Lindsay, a scholar who has studied evangelical leaders, says that evangelical feminism largely followed the trend in secular feminism, even if it was delayed by a decade or so.
“Evangelicals are not traditionally the innovators in gender roles, so they’re not going to be at the vanguard,” says Lindsay, who was recently appointed president at Gordon College and who wrote the book Faith in the Halls of Power. “But they also don’t trail too far behind.”
Lindsay says that evangelical feminism took off in the 1980s, pointing to Ronald Reagan tapping Elizabeth Dole, a Christian with strong connections in the evangelical world, to be his secretary of transportation as one example.
George W. Bush, meanwhile, appointed evangelical women to top roles in his presidential administration, including Karen Hughes as a top adviser and Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state.
At the same time, there are distinctions between evangelical and secular feminism. Many female evangelical leaders, for instance, talk of being called by God to pursue professional careers.
“This idea of women being out in the world when they’re doing God’s work – that’s the key,” says Griffith, who is author of God's Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission. “You have to be called.”
Bachmann, an evangelical Lutheran, has talked of being called to run for president.
“When I pray, I pray believing that God will speak to me and give me an answer to that prayer, and so that’s what a calling is,” she told CBS News on Sunday, explaining that she had prayed about her decision to seek the presidency. “If I pray, a calling means that I have a sense from God which direction I’m supposed to go.”
Another difference between some evangelical and secular feminists is a public emphasis on motherhood. Bachmann’s political identity is constructed largely around her role as a mother of five kids and her experience of taking in 23 foster children.
Palin, who was raised in the Pentecostal tradition, has also emphasized her role as mother, frequently discussing her children and famously using the term “mama grizzlies” to describe female political candidates for whom she campaigns.
Lindsay says that the motherhood angle could be refreshing to evangelical voters, who constitute a majority of the Republican electorate in early states like Iowa and South Carolina.
“A lot of male evangelical politicians have trumpeted family values, but we’ve seen time after time how many break their marriage vows and have tense relationships with their kids,” he says.
“When you’re the mother of four or five kids up there talking about how their commitment to politics stems from your commitment to kids, which is true for both Palin and Bachmann, that resonates with people who are skeptical of American politics.”
Though Bachmann is widely considered to be a long shot for the GOP nomination, a weekend poll from The Des Moines Register had her running second only to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among likely Republican caucus-goers, with 22% support.
Even as more evangelical women pursue top jobs in politics, there is little sign that they will be invited into similar roles in evangelical churches, which continue to be led by men, with some exceptions. Some evangelical denominations, including Southern Baptists, have recently moved to put more restrictions on women serving as pastors.
“It seems to me that most evangelical congregations make a sharp divide between the sacred and secular realms,” says Lindsay, “so that church is the last context where you’ll see women in ordained roles.”CNN...
June 27th, 2011
06:09 PM ET
Michele Bachmann, evangelical feminist?... more
June 16th, 2011
03:11 PM ET
My Take: On adoption, Christians should put up or shut up
Editor's Note: Jason Locy is co-author of Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society. He and his wife are adoptive parents and participants in Safe Families for Children, a voluntary alternative to foster care.
By Jason Locy, Special to CNN
When the Arkansas Supreme court struck down a voter-approved initiative that banned cohabitating straight and gay couples from adopting orphaned children, the Christian community predictably erupted.
Byron Babione of the Alliance Defense Fund, a coalition of Christian lawyers, attributed the April ruling to a “political movement afoot to undermine and destroy marriage.” Baptist Press, the publications arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, ran an article that quoted Babione as saying the ruling reflected “a campaign to place adult wants and desires over the best interests of children."
On one hand, these comments aren’t surprising. Conservative evangelicals have decried “the anti-family gay agenda” for decades. On the other, they underscore the way many Christians denounce a social problem that they have no plan for solving.
And the problem here is not ultimately gays adopting — the prevention of which, I believe, was the impetus behind the Arkansas initiative and behind adoption restrictions in various other states. The problem is a global orphan crisis involving tens of millions of children.
In the United States, there are approximately 116,000 foster children waiting to be adopted. That means a judge has either severed the rights of the original parents or the parents have voluntarily signed their children over to the government.
To put this into perspective, we might compare the number of American orphans to the purported 16 million Southern Baptists who attend more than 42,000 churches nationwide. Quick math reveals that there are roughly 138 Southern Baptists for every child in the American foster care system waiting to be adopted. To say it another way, this single denomination has an enormous opportunity to eradicate the orphan crisis in America.
If you’ve spent any time in church, you’ve probably heard a sermon on Noah or Moses or David. But how many sermons have you heard on the biblical mandate to care for orphans?
When was the last time you heard your pastor declare, “if you choose to adopt a child we will stand with you. We will provide respite care, financial help and do everything possible to meet the needs of that child?”
Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics — the Christian Church — can provide safe, loving, permanent homes for these kids. Our faith dictates that we fight for a better way in both words and deeds.
When Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, and Peter responded yes, Jesus didn’t tell him to picket the wolves. He told Peter to feed and tend his sheep.
Some churches and Christian groups are stepping up. Focus on the Family launched a Wait No More initiative in Colorado in 2008, forming partnerships between local churches, adoption agencies and the government in order to encourage families to adopt through the foster care system. As a result, the number of Colorado orphans waiting for a family has been cut in half.
Christianity Today ran a 2010 report headlined “Adoption is Everywhere,” illustrating the trend among churches and Christians who are giving “attention to orphans, adoption, the fatherless, and so on.”
Despite such efforts, the American orphan crisis remains. Too many churches still find it easier to stand behind a megaphone decrying the morality of laws than to stand beside a child in need.
Thousands of orphaned children in America need grandmas and grandpas, embarrassing uncles and crazy aunts. They need someone to teach them to fly a kite and throw a ball and read a book and tie their shoes. They need someone to call mom and dad.
In fairness, adopting a child is not easy and many of these children face difficult adjustments once they’re adopted. They have experienced pain, loss, hurt, confusion and misplaced trust. They have endured physical, emotional and sexual abuse — things most of us don’t even want to imagine.
In 2008, when my wife and I adopted through Bethany Christian Services, the organization educated us on the possible challenges of adopting a child. They informed us that even though our daughter was a baby when we brought her home, she would eventually ask tough questions, as would our friends and family.
But my wife and I know our faith demands action and that sometimes action takes us out of our comfort zone.
As a father of three — two biological children and an adopted child — and a host to a number of children that have needed a temporary home I can tell you these kids need less arguing over who should and should not be allowed to adopt and more families stepping up and saying, “we will adopt.”
It is time Christians decide to either step up or shut up. If a Christian group wants to wade into the discussion over who should adopt, it needs to put its money and manpower where its mouth is.
That means not only challenging families and churches to adopt from foster care (which costs virtually nothing financially) but also to adopt children resulting from unplanned pregnancies, children with special needs and children of mixed race or minority ethnicity.
If Christians’ only desire is to fight the culture wars and score political points, then they should continue to lean on empty rhetoric. But if they truly care about the family and the Bible, they’ll begin caring for children who desperately need a home.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jason Locy.CNN.....
June 16th, 2011
03:11 PM ET
My Take: On adoption, Christians should... more
When the word is appropriated and made into an expressly Christian word, though, it becomes a weapon of exclusion. If the tactic goes unchecked, before long only evangelicals have faith. Which shoves non-evangelicals a bit further over into the going-to-hell category. Which is demeaning, denigrating, insulting and dehumanizing. It’s a corrosive, hateful religious othering/outgrouping game that linguistically reinforces one person’s place on the side of the angels and the other person’s allegiance to the forces of evil.When the word is appropriated and made into an expressly Christian word, though, it... more
Liberty University, the evangelical private Christian school founded by dead apartheid-supporting bigot Jerry Falwell, received $445 million in federal financial aid money last year. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, by the way, received $420 million from the federal government.
That massive sum was thanks to the growth of Liberty's online program, which enrolled 52,000 students last year. The school is the number one recipient of Pell grant money in the state of Virginia. While it may seem like the federal government is basically subsidizing this formerly financially challenged ultra-conservative religious private school, LU's executive director of financial aid sees it differently:
For Ritz — a financial aid veteran who got his start at a small Bible college — Liberty’s use of federal financial aid does not run counter to the university’s conservative values. Liberty does not receive the federal money directly, Ritz said, but through students, who use it to pay for tuition, room and board and other expenses.
“These funds are authorized by Congress and Congress is elected by voters. . . I’ve always been in the position where I believe I’m a steward of those federal funds. I’m a steward of tax-payer money.”
And I'm sure ACORN, Planned Parenthood, and NPR feel the same way.
Liberty University -- where the biology department teaches Young Earth Creationism -- is, astoundingly, an accredited school of higher learning.
The school was broke and in debt until God killed Falwell for the insurance money.
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/04/05/liberty_university_federal_moneyLiberty University, the evangelical private Christian school founded by dead... more
2 years ago
The results from a recent poll published by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveal what social scientists have known for a long time: White Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to support politicians or policies that reflect the actual teachings of Jesus.
It is perhaps one of the strangest, most dumb-founding ironies in contemporary American culture. Evangelical Christians, who most fiercely proclaim to have a personal relationship with Christ, who most confidently declare their belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, who go to church on a regular basis, pray daily, listen to Christian music, and place God and His Only Begotten Son at the center of their lives, are simultaneously the very people most likely to reject his teachings and despise his radical message.
Jesus unambiguously preached mercy and forgiveness. These are supposed to be cardinal virtues of the Christian faith. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of the death penalty, draconian sentencing, punitive punishment over rehabilitation, and the governmental use of torture. Jesus exhorted humans to be loving, peaceful, and non-violent. And yet Evangelicals are the group of Americans most supportive of easy-access weaponry, little-to-no regulation of handgun and semi-automatic gun ownership, not to mention the violent military invasion of various countries around the world.
Jesus was very clear that the pursuit of wealth was inimical to the Kingdom of God, that the rich are to be condemned, and that to be a follower of Him means to give one’s money to the poor. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation’s poor — especially poor children. They hate anything that smacks of “socialism,” even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training — anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do.
In short, Evangelicals are that segment of America which is the most pro-militaristic, pro-gun, and pro-corporate, while simultaneously claiming to be most ardent lovers of the Prince of Peace. What’s the deal?The results from a recent poll published by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life... more
This week: infinte rectums, C-section Midge, Norwegina snot rockets, deep fried Nutella, Adopt-a-Terrorist, Mormons and fruit flies, Vagina burgers, the Congressman one the prowl for transgendered babes, PMS wristbands, King's Speech shot on a gay porn set, and more.This week: infinte rectums, C-section Midge, Norwegina snot rockets, deep fried... more
The story that best describes Haiti's last year is not from a slum, nor from a cholera clinic. It's not to be found in the rubble—but in a courtroom in Texas.
In November, 2010, Lewis Lucke, a former U.S. ambassador to Swaziland and former USAID official in Haiti, filed suit against Haiti Recovery Group Ltd. for some $500,000 in unpaid fees for the tens of millions of dollars in contracts Lucke secured for the group in the days after the earthquake. After leaving his USAID position, Lucke immediately signed a $30,000 a month "consulting" contract with the Haiti Recovery Group, a conglomerate formed by several American contractors with the specific goal of securing U.S. funding. Lucke used the contacts developed while at USAID to score the conglomerate over $20 million in contracts. Then it canned him. Sucker.
Lucke's take is typical of a Haiti that's become a massively swelled teat on which NGOs profitably suckle. Overall, Haiti has become one of the greatest money laundering operations in history, an island engine turning public funds into private profits.
What's more, U.S. taxpayer dollars are, against Presidential directive, being funneled from the United States Agency for International Development to Billy Graham's charities for use in Christian proselytizing—all while building Sarah Palin's 2012 campaign army.
"At that time, they were not open to the Gospel, and now they are," said "Festival of Hope" director Sherman Barnette, of the difference in Haiti before and after the earthquake. The festival was held on January 9, in Haiti's National Soccer Stadium. It was put on by Franklin Graham in cooperation with his Samaritan's Purse charity and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Franklin—William Franklin Graham III—has been head of the Association for ten years. He is the successor to his father, who is now 92, and who has appeared infrequently in public these last few years.
A month before the event, Sarah Palin had appeared in Haiti beside Graham, urging followers to help "those less fortunate" by contributing to Samaritan's Purse. "It is still here doing the tough work," Palin said. She was gone less than 48 hours later.
Exactly what the tough work Palin spoke of depends on who you're talking about. It could be raising millions more dollars that Haitians will never see. Or, in the case of Samaritan's Purse, whose Haiti work is being heavily funded by the taxpayer-funded USAID, it could be to “take back their country from voodoo, despair, and sin," one of the charity's stated goals for the "Festival of Hope." As Graham said of Haiti in his address at the Festival, "…the biggest need is the spiritual need." (Graham and his crew are especially obsessed with the elimination of voodoo, as it comes up again and again in Purse literature. A recent personal update on work in Haiti from Franklin Graham himself reads, "Through our partnership, the three original churches have been able to establish 28 more—including one in a village that was infamous for voodoo….") Video of the heavily promoted fundraising event has been erased from the Samaritan's Purse website as a result of our questions to USAID.
Somewhere around 10,000 NGOs now operate in Haiti, without any organization. Much of the money that was raised in the nation's name has not been spent. In some cases, it seems this is intentional.
The Disaster Accountability Project estimates that a year after nearly $11 billion was raised or pledged ("Text HAITI! to donate $10!), only half has been spent. In some cases, not even that. By November, Catholic Relief Charities had reported spending just 32 percent of the $192 million it raised for Haiti.
Many NGOs say the reason they are reluctant to spend more is that it may be wasted. But as DAP's Ben Smilowitz discovered in his investigation with the Red Cross, the organization is treating the interest generated on the $500+ million "trust fund" it raised (and has not yet spent) for Haiti relief as "unrestricted revenue."
A report on U.S. contracts for reconstruction found that only $1.60 of every $100 awarded goes to Haitian firms, essentially meaning that the brunt of Haiti funding actually functions as stimulus for economies elsewhere. An audit by USAID’s Inspector General found that 70% of the cash awarded to the two largest U.S. contractors was spent on equipment and materials (bought outside of Haiti), meaning just 8,000 Haitians a day were hired instead of the promised 25,000 a day.
Meanwhile, American corporations see the push to rejuvenate rural Haitian agriculture as a chance to, literally, sow the seeds of future profits. No matter that Haiti is broke, and will be broke for a long time. Monsanto has rigged it so that you, the taxpayer, will be underwriting those profits.
Monsanto donated tons of corn and vegetable seed to Haitian farmers and has committed to donating hundreds of tons more in the coming months. But these seeds are hybrids, engineered not only so that they cannot naturally reproduce, but to assure Haitian farmers remain in hock to Monsanto in the future. Of this donation, Monsanto had the unbelievable balls to claim “There are no contractual obligations between Haitian farmers and Monsanto since this is a donation." Responding to whether or not the donated seeds will force farmers to need "additional inputs" (i.e., trademarked Monsanto products), the company said "technically, it can be planted without any additional inputs."
Pressed about why Monsanto didn't just provide open pollinating seed, a spokesperson said, "Open pollinated seeds would be a great option if they produced as much crop as a hybrid seed." That's like saying, nobody should bother driving a Honda Civic because it doesn't perform like a Maserati.
But here's the best part. Monsanto added that it contacted NGOs in Haiti and that those organizations will "support farmers with recommendations and resources [including] helping farmers decide whether to use additional inputs (including fertilizer and herbicides)." Two of the NGOs Monsanto identified are the WINNER organization and World Vision, both heavily funded by USAID. This means your tax dollars will be used to purchase any "additional inputs" from Monsanto.
To understand where the Haitians are headed, just look to Malawi, which Monsanto itself points to as a goal for Haiti. In 2005, droughts devastated Malwai. Monsanto donated hybrid seeds. Today Malwai has achieved food security. But It turns out, what Malwai did was recreate the American model by subsidizing farmers to use Monsanto hybrid fertilized seeds. Malawi's farmers have now converted to a one-crop, undiversified, exporting agriculture model that is dependent on its government to subsidize production—by buying from Monsanto. Today Monsanto's market share in Malawi is 50%. No wonder it holds up Malwai when speaking of Haiti.
(Of course, Haiti needs to be a corn-producing nation now, since its former rice economy was obliterated by Bill Clinton, whose subsidies for U.S. rice farmers destroyed Haiti's rice industry. As an Oxfam report notes, the total of U.S. aid to Haiti is nearly $80 million less than the $434 million annual subsidies for U.S. rice production. That's rice that taxpayer-funded NGOs now buy to help feed starving Haitians, in what is maybe the darkest joke of all time following Clinton's appointment as co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.)
more at http://www.theawl.com/2011/01/our-government-funded-mission-to-make-haiti-christian-your-tax-dollars-billy-grahams-son-monsanto-and-sarah-palinThe story that best describes Haiti's last year is not from a slum, nor from a... more
Police: Gardener admits killing gay rights activist in Uganda
From Tom Walsh, For CNN
February 3, 2011 4:46 p.m. EST
Suspect Enock Nsubuga was paraded in front of journalists in Kampala, Uganda, on Thursday.
Kampala, Uganda (CNN) -- Ugandan police announced Thursday the arrest of a 22-year-old man who they say confessed to killing gay rights activist David Kato.
In a news conference at which suspect Enock Nsubuga was presented to the media, authorities said he admitted using a hammer to bludgeon Kato to death.
Nsubuga was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, though police said they'd been tracking him for several days.
The head of Uganda's national police, Kale Kayihura, said Thursday in the capital, Kampala, that Nsubuga was an ex-convict who had been working in Kato's garden at the time of the activist's death.
After being detained, Nsubuga admitted to killing Kato and explained why he did so, according to Kayihura.
According to the suspect, Kato, 46, promised to pay Nsubuga money for having sex with him. But Kato never followed through. An angered Nsubuga told police that he then took a hammer from the bathroom and fatally beat Kato.
Kayihura said he believes the attack was not a hate crime, as has been widely reported, but rather stemmed primarily from Nsubuga's desire to get money from Kato. The police chief denounced elements within the public, as well as the media, for reports that he claimed had fueled aggression against Uganda's homosexual community.
He specifically mentioned a report from Rolling Stone -- a Ugandan tabloid that is not affiliated with the iconic U.S. music magazine by the same name -- that published a list late last year of the African nation's "top 100 homosexuals" with their photos, addresses and a banner with the words "Hang Them." Kato's name and picture were on the list.
According to Kato's lawyer, the activist had feared for his safety prior to his death, even alerting police about his concerns.
Late last week, human rights activist Naomi Ruzindana said she did not believe the killing was a robbery gone wrong. "I don't think it's a coincidence that it happened ... he had got threats over and again," she said.
Nsubuga had a long criminal history, including being jailed recently for stealing a cell phone, police said.
According to neighbors, Nsubuga was last seen leaving the activist's house on Tuesday of last week. Kato was found dead the following day.
Chaos ensued at his funeral last Friday, after a pastor rebuked homosexuals at the service in Mukono, a small hillside village outside the capital. Mourners took away the man's microphone and police whisked him away from the angry crowds. A sympathetic Anglican bishop stepped in to finish the ceremony.
Homosexuality is illegal in most countries in Africa, where sodomy laws were introduced during colonialism. In Uganda, homosexual acts are punishable by 14 years to life in prison, according to rights activists.
Ugandan lawmakers shelved a controversial "anti-gay" proposal introduced in 2009 that would impose tough penalties against homosexuality, including life imprisonment and the death penalty.
Even with Nsubuga's arrest and alleged confession, as well as the earlier detainment of Kato's driver, the police chief said Thursday that the murder investigation is continuing.
Note: The photo above is of the alleged killer, not of the beloved David Kato.Police: Gardener admits killing gay rights activist in Uganda
From Tom Walsh, For... more
Mariana van Zeller is a correspondent for Vanguard. In 2010, she traveled to Uganda to report on the influence American evangelicals may have had on anti-gay legislation proposed in the country.
I was very sad to hear the news this week that David Kato, a Ugandan gay-rights activist, was beaten to death in his home in Kampala.
I went to Uganda last year to film “Missionaries of Hate,” a one-hour Vanguard documentary that examines whether the growing influence of American religious groups led to a movement that would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death in the African country.
I didn’t meet Kato, as he was traveling at the time, but I met many of his friends and colleagues. They spoke about him often and described him as being a brave and strong-minded man, determined to bring justice and equality to gays and lesbians in Uganda.
According to SMUG, a Ugandan LGBT advocacy organization that he worked for and that we profiled in our piece, Kato started receiving death threats after the country’s Rolling Stone newspaper (no relation to the American magazine) included his photo in a front page article titled “100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak,” alongside a yellow banner that read "Hang Them.”
After Kato’s death, fingers pointed towards Gile Muhame, the editor of the now defunct tabloid, who said this in his defense: "We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not the public to attack them.”
Not exactly soothing words.
Police officials in Kampala were quick to say that robbery was the motivation behind Kato’s murder. But members of Uganda’s LGBT community feel otherwise.
“David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. evangelicals in 2009,” Val Kalende, the chairwoman of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups, said in a statement. “The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood.”
It’s been nearly two years since American evangelicals attended a conference in Uganda to talk about how Africans can protect themselves from homosexuality. It’s been nearly two years since David Bahati, the Ugandan Member of Parliament, introduced the legislation that would make homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison or death. It’s been nearly two years since Uganda religious leaders began their campaign and rallies to have the law passed.
Must we wait for Kato’s murder to be solved before we can safely say that “men of God” and leaders of state are inciting hatred?Mariana van Zeller is a correspondent for Vanguard. In 2010, she traveled to Uganda to... more
Ugandan gay rights activist bludgeoned to death
From Tom Walsh, For CNN
January 27, 2011 9:17 p.m. EST
What happened to David Kato?
Kampala, Uganda (CNN) --
A Ugandan gay rights activist whose name was published on a list of the nation's "top homosexuals" was bludgeoned to death in his home near the capital, his lawyer said Thursday.
A neighbor found David Kato dead and notified authorities, according to the lawyer, John Onyango.
Kato's money and some clothes were missing after the attack, Onyango said.
It was unclear whether Kato's killing was linked to his gay rights activism or a front-page story in a Ugandan tabloid that reignited anti-gay sentiments late last year.
The story included a list of "top 100 homosexuals" with their photos, addresses and a banner with the words "Hang Them." Kato's name and picture were on the list.
Arrest warrants have been issued for two suspects: a taxi driver found near Kato's house and an ex-convict who was staying with Kato before the killing, Onyango said.
Ugandan editor speaks out
Kato told CNN last year that he feared for his life after the list was released. His lawyer said he had informed authorities in Mukono, the town where he lived, of his fears.
"The villagers want to set my house ablaze," he told CNN at the time. "They want to burn my house. ... (They say,) 'Can you go away before my house is burned?'"
Authorities in the Mukono criminal investigations department declined to comment pending further investigation.
Activists decried the attack, and urged authorities in the east African nation to investigate the killing. They called on the government to protect them from violence, and act on threats and hostility toward them.
"David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community. David had faced the increased threats to Ugandan LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people bravely and will be sorely missed," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
U.S. President Barack Obama said he was saddened by the death of Kato, whom he called a "powerful advocate for fairness and freedom."
"At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate," the president said in a written statement. "In the weeks preceding David Kato's murder in Uganda, five members of the LGBT community in Honduras were also murdered. It is essential that the governments of Uganda and Honduras investigate these killings and hold the perpetrators accountable."
Earlier this year, Kato and two activists won a case against the magazine that published the list. The court ruled that media in Uganda are barred from releasing details of known or potential homosexuals in the country.
The editor of the Rolling Stone, the tabloid that published the list, denounced the attacks and said he sympathized with the victim's family.
"When we called for hanging of gay people, we meant ... after they have gone through the legal process," said Giles Muhame. "I did not call for them to be killed in cold blood like he was."
The Rolling Stone tabloid is not affiliated with the iconic U.S. music magazine by the same name.
Homosexuality is illegal in most countries in Africa, where sodomy laws were introduced during colonialism. In Uganda, homosexual acts are punishable by 14 years to life in prison, according to rights activists.
The U.S. Mission in Kampala, Uganda, said, "David's courageous devotion to promoting the universal human rights of members of Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community improved the lives of minority populations in Uganda and throughout Africa, and his selfless dedication to defending human rights and speaking out against injustice served as inspiration to human rights defenders around the world."
CNN's David McKenzie contributed to this report.Ugandan gay rights activist bludgeoned to death
From Tom Walsh, For CNN
January 27,... more
In a new GQ profile, Rev. Ted Haggard addresses the continued assumptions that he's gay, following revelations years ago that the prominent evangelical had a drug-fueled sexual relationship with a gay male former escort: "I think that probably, if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual."
But, he told GQ's Kevin Roose: "I'm 54, with children, with a belief system, and I can have enforced boundaries in my life. Just like you're a heterosexual but you don't have sex with every woman that you're attracted to, so I can be who I am and exclusively have sex with my wife and be perfectly satisfied."
The profile provides a few other tidbits about Haggard, who resigned from the New Life Church and from his position as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after he admitted to the affair with his male meth dealer, who was also a prostitute.
When Haggard resigned, Roose reports, he signed a separation agreement, drafted by a board of overseers appointed by the church, which "required him to cut off all contact with members of the church, stay away from the media, perform no ministry-related work, and move his family out of Colorado." Haggard says he now finds the agreement "excessively harsh," and still has a score of bitterness toward the megachurch he founded, referring to it as the "old Soviet Union": "I used to think the church was the light of the world. But I've completely lost my faith in it."
"You've got to understand, Kevin, people are, at their cores, hateful," he told Roose. "I don't want to believe that, but the facts have prevailed over my idealism."
About former meth dealer and escort Mike Jones, Haggard says: "We never had sex sex. I bought drugs and a massage from him, and he masturbated me at the end of it. That's it."
He admitted to buying drugs "five or six times" from Jones, but adds: "Sometimes I'd throw it away. Other times, I'd go someplace and masturbate and use it. But it was for masturbation. And that's one of the reasons why I haven't been real clear. I don't want to stand up publicly and say, 'Hey, I'm a masturbation guy!"
"You know, that's really the core issue here," he added. "I bought the drugs to enhance masturbation. Because what crystal meth does--Mike taught me this--crystal meth makes it so you don't ejaculate soon. So you can watch porn and masturbate for a long time."
But there have been other allegations of misconduct:
Two years ago, a New Life volunteer named Grant Haas revealed that Ted had masturbated in front of him and offered him drugs on a church trip in 2006, when he was 22, and that New Life subsequently paid him $179,000 to keep quiet. New Life later confirmed having paid Haas but insisted that it wasn't meant as hush money. (Ted denies the drug offer but admits that he masturbated in the room they shared. "I thought he was asleep," he says.)
Haggard said in response: "And that's exactly why I haven't done youth programs at St. James," he said, referring to the new church he recently founded, "because here I was trying to help these guys, and now I've got people calling me a pedophile."
"Grant Haas will end up publicly repenting, Mike Jones will end up publicly repenting, and the overseers will end up publicly repenting, just like I did," Haggard says.
Back in June, Haggard gave a press conference with his family outside his Colorado Springs home, and announced that he was moving on and founding a new church, called St. James, which he said will welcome everyone, "gay, straight, bi, tall, short, whether you're an addict, a recovering addict, or you have an addict in your family." But, he added, no gay marriages will be performed at this new church.
Earlier this month he starred in a TLC special, showing him setting up the church: "Showing the world the new chapter of our lives will hopefully inspire others to find their own path to overcome their struggles and embrace the power of acceptance."
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/ted_haggard_im_probably_what_the_kids_call_bisexual.phpIn a new GQ profile, Rev. Ted Haggard addresses the continued assumptions that... more
Voices of the Shrill today as right-wing radio evangelist Dr. Burpo interviews Rep. James Utt over the commie-laced and porno infested SIECUS program in 1969.Voices of the Shrill today as right-wing radio evangelist Dr. Burpo interviews Rep.... more