The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fundamentalists poised to push for marriage amendment

Ready for some insanity? There has been a flood of reports from around the country in the last two weeks about new initiatives proposed by reactionary Christian groups. My guess is that they're as nervous about Republican chances this fall as anyone else. And they're trying to cash in on their collateral 'political capital' before Bush squanders it all trying to convince the public that Iraq is a success and that he deserves the power to spy on, detain or search anyone he likes without oversight.

But the wacked-out fundamentalists should know better than anyone that the more visible their efforts are, the more opposition they'll create among the public at large. Which isn't to say that they should be allowed to demonstrate their madness without opposition-- but there's some hope that they'll be another albatross this fall around the necks of Bush Republicans seeking re-election.

Janet Parshall said she once asked God to send her to a foreign mission where she could put her Christian faith to work.

Her prayer was answered, she said.

"He sent me to Washington."

The conservative talk-radio host visited the World Harvest Church yesterday to rally pastors and lay people "to speak up for truth" and put heat on Congress to start the process this year to amend the Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman only. The Senate is scheduled to vote on such an amendment in June.

About 2,500 attended the Pastors’ and Christian Leaders’ Forum at World Harvest. It was sponsored by the Center for Moral Clarity, founded by the Rev. Rod Parsley, World Harvest’s pastor. (. . .)

"It’s the absolute truth, and I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Parshall said. "And here’s what this book says about marriage: God defined it as one man, one woman. ... That means every other form is anathema to God."

Christians "didn’t lose their free-speech rights when they came to the foot of the cross," she said, and they should fight to keep marriage heterosexual.

In the best tradition of insane religious ramblings, there's more ignorance in these two sentences than you'd think was possible. Free speech isn't exactly defined by 'the right to amend the Constitution to deny a group of Americans their civil rights.' Nowhere in the gospels does Jesus define marriage or condemn homosexuality. (Thanks to OD1 for the story.)

So they don't know American government, and they don't know scripture. Too bad they know how to count money, because the administration is funneling millions of taxpayer dollars their way:

Under the auspices of its religion-based initiatives and other federal programs, the administration has funneled at least $157 million in grants to organizations run by political and ideological allies, according to federal grant documents and interviews.

An example is Heritage Community Services in Charleston, S.C. A decade ago, Heritage was a tiny organization with deeply conservative social philosophy but not much muscle to promote it. An offshoot of an antiabortion pregnancy crisis center, Heritage promoted abstinence education at the county fair, local schools and the local Navy base. The budget was $51,288.

By 2004, Heritage Community Services had become a major player in the booming business of abstinence education. Its budget passed $3 million - much of it in federal grants distributed by Bush's Department of Health and Human Services - supporting programs for students in middle school and high school in South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.