God Nazis on the March

Religion

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has announced the ultimate pseudo-conservative project[*] — a program designed to destroy religious liberty in the name of saving it. Ladies and gentlemen, the First Freedom Project

The First Freedom Project includes a number of facets to ensure that this precious right, guaranteed by our laws and Constitution, is recognized and protected:

  • A commitment to continued expansion of enforcement of civil rights statutes protecting religious liberty.
  • Creation of a Department-wide Task Force on Religious Liberty, chaired by the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division, to review DOJ policies impacting religious liberty, coordinate religious liberty cases, and improve outreach to stakeholder communities.
  • Initiation of a series of regional seminars to be held around the country to educate religious, civil rights, and community leaders, attorneys, government officials, and other interested citizens about the laws protecting religious freedom enforced by the Department of Justice and how to file complaints.
  • Increased outreach to religious organizations, civil rights organizations, and other groups and individuals concerned with religious liberty issues through meetings, speaking engagements, and distribution of informational literature.
  • DonByrd of Talk to Action comments,

    Imagine if the religious right’s beloved “war on Christmas” was a year-round affair. Legions of lawyers ready to pounce on school and civic administrators, the persistent neon buzz of ACLU-paranoia in the air, Pat Robertson and the Bill O’Reilly Persecution Complex (nice band name…) pressuring corporate America to replace every “gesundheit” with a “God bless you.” Now, imagine if the leaders of the effort weren’t just the Jerry Falwell Admiration Society, but instead the full weight and force of the Department of Justice, training lawyers and enlisting supporters across the country ready to blow the whistle on any perceived slight to religion. Got the picture? It’s the DOJ’s new “First Freedoms Project” announced earlier this week by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, an effort to tout and enhance the Department’s pursuit of religious discimination claims through the Civil Rights Divison.

    Is there some outbreak of religious oppression I haven’t heard about? Or is Gonzales just trying to keep the culture wars going for politics’ sake? And why am I asking this question?

    See also (from 2004, but still true) — “Conservatives Try to Take Over Protestant Mainlines.”

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    [*] Definition of pseudo-conservative — “The pseudo conservative is a man who, in the name of upholding traditional American values and institutions and defending them against more or less fictitious dangers, consciously or unconsciously aims at their abolition.” — Theodore W. Adorno

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    5 Comments

    5 Comments

    1. Rev. Mike  •  Feb 22, 2007 @4:31 pm

      This could be a double-edged sword for TortureBoy. What if all those faiths marginalized by the Admins extremist brand of fundamentalism started using this new program to file complaints aginst those evangelicals that discriminate against them? The Governments ban on allowing Wiccan symbology on tombstones at Arlington comes to mind. I am sure there are a multitude of others.

    2. DoubleCinco  •  Feb 22, 2007 @6:43 pm

      A couple of years ago the two attorneys across the hall from my office gave a presentation to the local ministerial association about the “Church” being under attack (establishment clause related I presume) and cited a number of court cases where church boards, associations and other religious organizations were named defendants for a wide range of hoo-hah. My wife is clergy and was in attendance.

      As soon as their topic was clear to the group several mainstream clergy just got up and walked out. My wife was dumbfounded at the assertions of these two and endured their bile hoping to ask for clarification on some of their assumptions. Of course, these guys left no time to be questioned and/or challenged. It was no surprise when later I discovered that the younger one was alum of Liberty U., Falwell’s contribution to academia.

      I do think that school districts and other municipal entities have overreacted in the past to manger displays, or references to God and spend a great deal of energy to pursue the (mostly) trivial. Of course part of the fall-out of doing that includes the paranoiac machinations that presages the persecuted victim identity they seem so invested in.

      On the other hand, I think self-absorbed evangelicals hold and operate from the presumption of exclusive validity, such that when same is disregarded/challenged they go into self-righteous outrage and can do naught but go one-up and cry sinful foul. This also seems to feed their assumption that the devil is loose in secular America and that only They can put ol’ Satan back in the cage and keep America safe.

      The Dominionist/Reconstructionist movement sounds really scary, but I have no idea how much to take them seriously. Huston Smith said in his The Worlds Religions, that when he considers what Christianity could be compared to what it actually is [he feels loss].

      Finally, I found this graphic stumbling around the net that seems to fit pretty well in this issue:

      http://img254.imageshack.us/my.php?image=l494c05c18231d830b087a2ae2.gif

    3. Lynne  •  Feb 22, 2007 @6:57 pm

      Oh gag. Why do apparently otherwise intelligent people think that if others don’t agree with them, and they are not allowed to enforce their religious beliefs- at the same time offending all others, that they are being discriminated against? I am so tired of this whining. Gonzales is a disaster for this country.

    4. erinyes  •  Feb 22, 2007 @9:06 pm

      For some reason I get a feeling Gonzalez is a closet queen….
      Anyone else get this feeling?

    5. fshk  •  Feb 23, 2007 @1:10 pm

      If great violations of religious freedom are really a problem, I don’t suppose it would ever occur to Gonzales to, oh, I don’t know, not abridge religious freedom.