As I contemplate the myriad divisions between religious folk, the strife and disharmony that threatens the fabric of society, I can look back to a simpler time, when Catholics and Protestants stood united, arm in arm on at least one issue. That would be their stern and righteous denunciation of the heresies of Galileo Galilei .
The early 1800’s were a time of religious upheaval in the fledgling United States, a time known as the Second Great Awakening that gave birth to a host of schisms, sects and whole new churches. The Baptists and the Methodist had a heyday, and even the staid Presbyterians and Anglicans saw their numbers swell.
Anticipating the second coming, Advent churches arose, such as the Advent Christians and the Seventh Day Adventists. It was into this swirl of Christian primitivism mixed with the folk lore and superstitions of the country folk that Joseph Smith Jr. was born.
The Discovery Institute was founded in 1990 by Bruce Chapman, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Organizations in Vienna, a Republican strategist, politician and ex Fellow of the arch conservative Hudson Institute.
The Philosophy of the Institute;
Mind, not matter, is the source and crown of creation, the wellspring of human achievement. Conceived by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks and Christians, and elaborated in the American Founding, Western culture has encouraged creativity, enabled discovery and upheld the uniqueness and dignity of human beings.
Linking religious, political, and economic liberty, the Judeo-Christian culture has established the rule of law, codified respect for human rights and conceived constitutional democracy. It has engendered development of science and technology, as well as economic creativity and innovation.
In contrast, the contemporary materialistic worldview denies the intrinsic dignity and freedom of human beings and enfeebles scientific creativity and technological innovation. Its vision of a closing circle of human possibilities on a planet of limited horizons summons instead the deadening ideologies of scarcity, conflict, mutual suspicion and despair.
William A. Dembski was born July 18, 1960 to William and Ursula Dembski. He showed a great deal of promise in his youth, finishing high school (an all male Catholic Prep School) a year early. On entering the University of Chicago, he ran into a wall both academically and personally, dropping out to work in his mother’s art business. It’s said that during this down period, he became fascinated with the Bible and Creationism.
Dembski eventually returned to school, garnering an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Masters Degrees in Statistics, Mathematics and Philosophy as well as Doctorates in Philosophy and Mathematics.
He went on to acquire a Master of Divinity in theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary. It was at the Seminary that Dembski was involved with the Charles Hodge Society, named for one of the founding fathers of the University, an arch conservative Calvinist and slave owner famed for his scathing criticism of Darwin and who is credited as the inspiration for modern fundamentalism. The society while Dembski was associated with it, worked to counter the ‘free swinging academic style’ and the ‘theological disarray’ of the Seminary. They also managed to be sued twice, facing everything from accusations of racism and sexism to threat s of funding cuts and curtailed academic careers. There were also rumored threats of a good old fashioned Christian ass kicking. Oh, those wacky Seminarians…
Donald E. Wildmon
Born Jan 18, 1938 in Dumas Mississippi
Education: Graduated 1960 from Milsaps College, spent two years in the US Army (1961-1963), he then earned a Masters in Divinity from Emory University's Candler School of Theology in 1965.
He worked as an Ordained Minister of the United Methodist Church from 1964 until 1977
In 1977, Wildmon moved his family to Tupelo Mississippi to fulfil his dream of foisting his narrow version of blue nose morality on the public at large. To this end, he founded the National Federation for Decency.
His first target was Sears, for sponsoring Charlie’s Angels, Three’s Company and All in the Family. Sears withdrew its sponsorship for the first two.
Is this a man motivated by a desire for a return to morality and family values, or is there another agenda?
Let’s let him speak for himself;
"Hollywood and the theater world is heavily influenced by Jewish people."
And he has consistently expressed his belief that there is a conspiracy among television network executives and advertisers which amounts to
"… a genuine hostility towards Christians and the Christian faith. This anti-Christian programming is intentional and by design."
Others have said;
Stand up comedian Kent Hovind is the Ed Wood of the creationist camp. Wood was known for his utterly sincere efforts at film making which gave us some of the worst cinematic moments of all time. Hovind is equally well known for his laughable and simpleminded notions about geology, biology, palaeontology, cosmology and of course, the US Tax Code.
Hovind is an embarrassment to the creationists, a crowd not known for being all that rational themselves. His ‘theories’ are a shining example of self refuting clap trap, and are used on the creationist site “Answers in Genesis” as an example of arguments creationists should NEVER use.
Like Ed Wood, Hovind has built a cult of personality around himself, a mythology in which he is the heroic, martyred protagonist tilting at the windmills of science, government and society itself.
He was born Kent E. Hovind in 1953. I can find no information on his parents. Hovind claims that he became a ‘born again’ Christian in 1969 at the age of 16. He did graduate from East Peoria Community High School. He then spent two years at Midwestern Baptist College where he obtained a “Bachelor of Religious Education”. Note that the school is NOT accredited, so his first claimed ‘degree’ is to be blunt, fake.
(According to the US Department of Education, unaccredited degrees and credits might not be acceptable to employers or other institutions, and use of degree titles may be restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions.)
Dobson was born to Myrtle and Traveling Evangelist, James Dobson Sr. in Shreveport, Louisiana on April 21, 1936. He is the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Church of the Nazarene ministers.
Education: He attended Pasadena College (now Point Loma Nazarene University) In 1967, Dobson received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Southern California and served in the faculty of the university's Keck School of Medicine for 14 years.
Dobson has been called one of the most influential evangelical leader and spokesman for conservative social positions in the country. He displays a Machiavellian ability to manipulate the political process, relishing his role as ‘king maker’.
Slate Magazine said
"Forget Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who in their dotage have marginalized themselves with gaffes... Dobson is now America's most influential evangelical leader, with a following reportedly greater than that of either Falwell or Robertson at his peak... Dobson may have delivered Bush his victories in Ohio and Florida."
Dobson entered the national consciousness in 1970 with his book “Dare to Discipline.” Which advocated a Skinnerian approach to child rearing tied to an evangelical Christian perspective. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” being the key concept.
Pat Robertson, even the man’s name is a lie. He chose the name ‘Pat’ because he felt ‘Marion’ was just ‘too effeminate’. He was born Marion Gordon Robertson in March of 1930 to Absalom Willis Robertson, a conservative Democratic United States Senator, and his wife Gladys Churchill.
Robertson has an issue with truthfulness. He can’t do it. For instance, He claims to have been elected Phi Beta Kappa. Robertson did graduate with Honors from his Prep School, The McCallie School in Chatanooga, and then enrolled in and subsequently graduated from Washington and Lee University majoring in History. Phi Beta Kappa keeps a registry and he’s not on it.
Robertson lied about his military service. This is what he says…
"I ended up at the headquarters command of the First Marine Division," says Robertson. "The Division was in combat in the hot and dusty, then bitterly cold portion of North Korea just above the 38th Parallel later identified as the 'Punchbowl' and 'Heartbreak Ridge.' For that service in the Korean War, the Marine Corps awarded me three battle stars for 'action against the enemy.'”
I woke up bright and early this morning and checked my newsfeeds and of course, what riveted my attention was the story about the passing of Christopher Hitchens. I wish I could say it was a shock and a surprise, but it’s been obvious for the last few months that his end was close. I won’t discuss his death, it’s unimportant. It’s his life that matters, and the indelible mark he has left on those of us left behind.
I first became aware of Hitch with his blistering expose’ of ‘Mother’ Teresa. I was awestruck at the sheer balls of the man in tearing into a ‘beloved’ icon with simple, readily available truth. He didn’t speak with temerity from the crowd, he grabbed a bullhorn and screamed out, the “Emperor is bloody naked!”.
From that point on, I tried to read everything he wrote, even the political things with which I must admit, I didn’t agree.
Hatred gets slick…
It’s a clean, professional website, I’ll give them that.
It’s an antiseptic cover for a cesspool of the vilest and most disgusting rhetoric possible. I’m speaking of course of the site known as www.Godhatesfags.com, which is the internet home of the Westboro Baptist Church, that gaggle of forty or so inbred cretins spawned by Fred Phelps.
The Church itself, ostensibly a mix of Primitive Baptist and Calvinist theology has been polluting the quiet residential neighbourhood in which it squats in Topeka, Kansas since 1955. But the odd and colourful career of Fred Waldron Phelps goes a bit further back.
“The June 11, 1951 issue of Time Magazine included a story on Phelps, then a Pasadena street preacher who lectured lunch-hour students about "sins committed on campus by students and teachers." The sins Phelps cited included promiscuous petting, evil language, profanity, cheating, teachers' filthy jokes in classrooms and pandering to the lusts of the flesh.”
The Transformation of Fred Phelps The Topeka Capital-Journal
By Joe Taschler and Steve Fry