Sunday, August 22, 2010

Republican Fear-Mongers Endanger Our Troops and America

Q: Unwrap the American political party that wraps itself in the flag and what do we find?

A: The Republican Party filled with rabidly anti-American hatred for our country masquerading as "patriotism." Or as Nicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times: "It is mind-boggling that so many Republicans are prepared to bolster the Al Qaeda narrative, and undermine the brave forces within Islam pushing for moderation."

Or as Frank Rich writes:

So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right... that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus's last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative. How do you win Muslim hearts and minds in Kandahar when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York?

You'd think that American hawks invested in the Afghanistan "surge" would not act against their own professed interests. But they couldn't stop themselves from placing cynical domestic politics over country. The ginned-up rage over the "ground zero mosque" was not motivated by a serious desire to protect America from the real threat of terrorists... but by the potential short-term rewards of winning votes by pandering to fear during an election season.

As a former Republican, father of a Marine who was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, as someone who's pro-military books John McCain once endorsed, a close personal friend of the late Jack Kemp, with famous evangelical leader parents who were visitors to several Republican presidents etc., I still consider myself a conservative. It is the Republican Party that has changed. It is now dangerous to America's well being. (I describe my journey out of the Republican fold in Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All -- or Almost All -- of It Back )

Republicans are no longer conservatives. They no longer even support the military. They are willing to risk American lives by ramping up anti-Islamic fear when this clearly plays into the hands of the people shooting at our sons and daughters.

Since when was true conservatism about stoking paranoia? Or as James Zogby put it so well on Huffington Post: "Seen in this context, the hysteria about the Muslim community center being planned near Ground Zero is not just a protest against a building and a place. It is rather the latest chapter in this evolving campaign that exploits fear by preying on uncertainty and insecurity."

Here's what todays' extremist anti-conservative Republicans "stand" for:

  • The needless killing of 4734 American service men and women in a bogus war in Iraq based on lies

  • Anti-Islamic rhetoric that makes our troops and all American citizens targets. You can bet that Republican "patriots" will be directly responsible for Americans in uniform being killed by terrorists recruited by clips of anti-Islam Republicans -- like Newt Gingrich -- spouting their venom

  • A torrent of lies - "he's not an American," is a "secret Muslim," wants "death panels..." etc., --- about our President

  • Working against the economic revival of America for political - "I hope Obama fails" - reasons

  • Outsourcing and "privatizing" more and more functions of our military, turning our once proud military into a mercenary army outnumbered by "contractors"

  • Leading the racist, xenophobic anti-immigrant charge

  • Trying to repeal the 14th Amendment in order to preserve white power and prevent the "wrong" sort of babies - read brown and black - from becoming citizens

  • Turning the Republican Party over to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the "Tea Party" rabble of professional xenophobes and haters of the "other"

  • Turning the Republican Party's "foreign policy" strategy over to people who believe that war in the Middle East is a good thing, a harbinger of the "return of Christ" (no kidding)

  • Uncritically linking American interests inexorably to the pro-illegal West Bank settlements far right in the State of Israel and thus keeping America on a permanent war footing with the entire Arab and Muslim world

  • Undermining environmental legislation

  • Turning our democracy over to corporate America by backing the (Republican appointed) Supreme Court's decision to allow corporate money to deform all future elections

  • Backing the fast food and other corporate interests as they invade our cash-strapped schools with advertisements and "sponsorship" programs in order to target children with their "message"

  • Backing the oil companies' rape of the earth

  • Undermining investment in new energy technologies

  • Undermining the renewal of infrastructure

  • Fighting to keep taxes on the rich low and taxes on the middle class high

  • De-funding public transport and setting America decades behind the rest of the world

  • Giving aid and comfort to religious extremists, bigots and racists

  • Selling out to the anti-family "family values" lobby

  • Discriminating against gay men and women even when it undermines the effectiveness of our military


Republicans say they "love America." Then why are they ready to aid and abet terrorists who are killing American soldiers by handing them a propaganda/recruiting victory?

What today's "Republicans" love is a white far right America that has less and less to do with the America most people here and around the world look to for hope for a better humanity. Limbaugh's America, Fox News' America, Tea Party America, is a cranky, oppressive, hate-filled "America" that is crushing the ideals of liberty, fairness, tolerance and community.

In today's morally bankrupt Palin/Gingrich/Fox/Murdoch Republican "America" men and women in uniform are being sacrificed to domestic politics because selling fear works, even when it is against our national interests.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back


Anon said...

Well said.
I know this and you know this,but how can we get the know-nothings to know this? They vote too.

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi Anon: lots of the know-nothings say they follow Jesus, maybe we ask them if that includes Fox "News" -- style lies and hate. Thanks for reading my blog. Best, Frank

Leonardo Ricardo said...

The whole bigot business is, yest today in Sunday Monitor of Kampala Uganda, MP David Bahati of the infomous ¨Kill the Gays¨ legislation that is tabled before Parliament in PRAISED! Tomorrow morning the African Anglican Bishops, 400+ strong, will meet at Entebbe, Uganda to DEMAND the Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (and Lord John of York) demure to their anti-lgbti schismatic THREATS...meanwhile, childwitchburings, civil war, vertical corruption and NEW OIL FINDS continue to pollute Uganda, Nigeria and other rotted political cultures in Africa. Unfortunately, Rowan Williams and many RC leaders don´t know how to confront and SPEAK OUT AGAINST WRONG (but they are very good at being cowards and perpetuating dishonety at every level of everyday life)--truly, with ¨religiouslike¨ leadership that ignores, or encourages, lies and hate, it is no wonder that most young, sane folk aren´t willing to swallow anymore ¨love thy neighbor¨ hypocrisy as preached by mad-dog bisops, cowards and thieves.

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi Leonardo: What a terrific post. I agree 100 percent. Same here in the USA as our fast food nation sells its young people to Macdonald's etc where they work for slave wages and drop out of high school while "Christians" worry about gay teachers! Our culture has betrayed young people to corporate America, our religious leadership worries about sexual morality while two year olds are targeted by corporations in adds to hook them on everything from fast food to soda and a lifetime of conditioning to buy junk and a false life. But opf course that is "free enterprise" which is "biblical" right?

Jerry Critter said...

The republicans are the American Taliban and American Al-Qaeda all rolled up into one.

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi Jerry: They are headed that way and with the far right/religious right and "reconstructionists" in their camp (not to mention the militia movement!) they have the makings.

Luke Gillespie said...

Excellent blog, Frank, and I echo strong agreement with Leonardo and Jerry. Another tragic irony to all the "anti-Islamic rhetoric" coming specifically from the religious right-wing (and not just the political right-wing) is that they are jeopardizing the lives of thousands of Christian missionaries (along with American troops) living in predominantly Muslim countries who are trying to share the very gospel of Christ that the religious right-wing allegedly wants to promote. Makes me realize that the religious right-wing is less concerned with true Christian faith/love/peace, and more concerned with measuring one's faith with (right-wing) political litmus tests. God help us if Christian Reconstructionists (the American Taliban of right-wing "churchianity" that wants to replace the US constitution with the Bible, or rather "faux-christian" sharia law) become the law of the land.

Frank Schaeffer said...

Luke: this is such an important point that you make and points out the total dysfunction and gross hypocrisy on the part of the religious right. Worse-- I'll bet that some well-meaning evangelicals yelling loudly on the "mosque issue" haven't even figured it out in terms of consequences. Thanks for posting this here. Best, Frank

The Bastardization of English in Print said...

Republican's 'love of America' is really Narcissism wrapped up in delusion- that's the lemming Republican's- not the leaders who love only themselves and perpetrate only what's good for them!

The Bastardization of English in Print said...

Hey Frank- need to figure out how to make this thing say it's me rather than an obsolete blog site I once had- will try later but it's Maribeth
Loved the post- take care, M

Cassandra Vert said...

Don't forget "encourage foreign leaders not to cooperate with the Obama administration"--a few Republicans did this on taxpayer-paid trips last year.

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi Maribeth: thanks for the note.


Good point Cassandra: The Republicans have taken policy disputes international.

Violeta said...

Have faith in America, Frank. Fear mongers can scream as much as they want, but they will not win. Good blog, though. Thanks.

tomandlou said...

Tom says~The American Taliban has been in operation for many years ! For instance , While involved with a Fundamentalist Church fifteen or so years ago I thought a sermon about the Jesabel mentality fit my Wife, "Short version" Is your wife out of control or worse is she in control!This was backed up with distorted Scripture!I actually said to my Wife you fit the description.As I think back it makes me sick.The reality is that I was always proud of the success they tried so hard to undermine.At that time in my life I was totally committed and blind to the real truth.

Frank Schaeffer said...

Tom: You and I share this "totally commited" phase. I often wonder now as i get emails from people who are where I used to be (who are angry at me for my change of heart) if they'll change too.

muldoon said...

Thank you so very much for another excellent post, Frank. It is for good reason the hucksters, grifters and con men have gravitated to the fundamentalist radical right-- the pickin's are easiest there. When it's wrong to question and faith alone is good, even a none too bright snake oil salesman can make a good living fleecing the marks.

One cannot help but wonder, does the radical right truly wish to live in the kind of country they want America to become? Which Christian religion should write the laws and enforce the rules? Should it be the Catholics? Mormons? Quakers? Baptists? Methinks there might a bit of disagreement there.

Kind'a like the differences between Sufi, Shia, Sunni and other sects and theological divisions that we lump together as Muslims.

muldoon said...

Mr. Schaeffer, I hope you can help me out on this: why do self-proclaimed Christians make up stories and then attempt to pass them off as "true accounts?" What I'm talking about here are those inspirational--dying girl/ atheist/ lonely, disenfranchised peron walking on beach/formerly evil person saved by Jesus--emails we get from "devoutly religious" relatives and acquaintances. Not to mention emails about the teacher/university professor, who asks idiotic questions, throws down totally inane challenges, and is rendered shamed and speechless by the brilliance of some first semester freshman, whose awesome knowledge of all things scientific amounts to a little toe's bone fragment of, oh, say, the Laws of thermodynamics.

Why do they do this? How do they justify this?

My other question is one of purely theological nature.

Why would an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God deliberately sire a son, predetermined to die a horrible death, in order to cancel out the sins of mankind?

`"For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son to die for it."

Please tell me on what planet this makes any sense?

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi Muldoon: thanks for the interest. As for Q 1, well, if one lives a non-fact-based life one grasps at anything to bolster one's inner claims -- including made up stories -- that seems to lend credence to one's beliefs that will be passed on and clung to and enlarged with each telling.

As to point 2, well, your question is based on the idea that the Bible is a reliable source of information. Is it? If there is a God, do you think the Bible can be trusted to describe Him.Her/It? So instead you should ask why the Bible "says" this or that. What it says may or may not represent anything true about God. Maybe the best witness to any real creator is in you not in a a book.

muldoon said...

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. Now I have a better understanding of why folks feel justified in cranking out and sending on those patently bogus "true" stories, as well as knowingly repeating rumors and lies.

I phrased my 2nd question poorly.

One can understand why a primative people might think it's a good idea to sacrifice a virgin or two in order to get the sun to return after a hard winter. Or to bleed-out the unlucky sod who finds a bean in his pudding, in order to ensure a good harvest. Might seem a little misguided to you and me, but we can understand the cause and effect thinking that went into it.

But a deity siring a son, with the intention of sacrificing that son in order to earn said deity's forgiveness of the sinful behavior of other folks, just baffles me. So, in essence, what I'm asking here is: In what way(s) does this make sense to religious folk?

Frank Schaeffer said...

Actually I think I understood the question, but I failed to say what I meant.

My point is that religious people (of a certain kind) say they "accept what the Bible says." Then they define that literally and within a theological framework. So then anything is okay (say Jesus being "sacrificed") because it is religious and special in a way they'd never accept in their own lives.

In this sense religious people who believe in paradox and mystery also know that the Bible "says" i.e. "correct" theology means nothing, because it "says" what people say it says.

What I meant is that if you apply normal rational thought to these issues then the choice is to reject what people say the Bible says or to reject the notion that we can really know anything about God as He's defined by dogma.

Of course the other alternative is to be an atheist, which makes sense too.

I happen to be religious but not committed to any one doctrine. But i understand why some people hang on to the insanity of "He was sacrificed for your sins" because it provides "certainty" albeit irrationally.

Best, Frank

John F. DeFelice said...

A good word Frank. I counldn't have said it better myself. Its very disturbing what's going on. IT's as though over 200 years fo religious liberty is being thrown to the wolves to score cheap political points!

muldoon said...

Many thanks, Frank, for clearing up something that has puzzled me for years.

Constantinople said...


Without any vitriol, don't you think it's important for you to publicly denounce your association with the Orthodox Church? Your statements, which of course are your right to make, have taken you far afield from your Christian Activist days. It seems that now is the right time to honestly declare you are no longer an Orthodox Christian. Just saying.

Janet said...

As a former Republican/Conservative, now Independent who relates more to the Left every day, I watched the Beck rally today and was horrified to see the Spiritual Abuse transforming before my very eyes. He used scripture, songs, tears and God Himself to further his agenda. Stating that money was sent to him unexpected and supernaturally to ensure that this event could go on was a misuse of the microphone. It reminded me of an evangelical revival tent meeting. The manipulation of the emotions of the people was appauling. This political climate has divided families, mine included. How do we stop this? I support my President, who happens to be beautiful Christian man. It hurts so much to see Christians hate him so much. All I can do is pray for him and our country. God have mercy on us. Thanks for listening. Janet.

Jerry Critter said...

Well, Janet, you are beginning to see the right for what they are. And as you do, you will continue to drift more and more to the left. The right is very good at manipulating your fears and emotions. But if you think about what they are saying and listen to how they manipulate and combine fear and faith, you will see who they really are and walk away.

John F. DeFelice said...

Leave Frank alone Constantinople. Last I heard you didn't own the Orthodox Church.

DavidD said...

Wow, this indictment of Republicans has more particulars than I'd have the stomach to work through. I agree.

Lately I've been wondering about Christian leaders like Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson saying that Islam is not a religion, not through some logical chain grounded in what a religion is, but just because they prefer a different label. It reminds me of my time in conservative churches listening to Mormons being called a cult because their God is not the speaker's God. I understand. Some people say that they are so certain of their beliefs that everyone who believes differently has forsaken logic, religion, anything wholesome for a cult, an ideology, a world system, whatever. Of course other people in the same religion may be much more tolerant about God coming to others in other ways. I think this phenomenon is more about whether an individual is prone to tolerance than whether a particular religion is. For me, I am committed that God is whoever and whatever God is, something I would think could be universally accepted, yet it's almost universally denied in favor of what some individual happens to believe.

Then there's the phenomenon of who winds up following men like Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson who are both certain in their own believes and willing to deny any legitimacy to Islam, among others. I've seen a lot of comments from their followers on reading articles about the Burlington Coat Factory Community Center, comments that simply state that Islam is not a religion, so everyone should act according to that.

If you make men your God, how long does it take for bad things to happen? How long until things are so bad that most people notice? I don't know. This process didn't start with Republicans and won't end with them. Maybe the most fundamental thing is that such troubles teach each one of us about who and what is best to follow. Meanwhile there will always be plenty of people who follow and mimic a leader who makes everything simple for them. If the latter gets the most votes, it's not that stupidity wins. It just signals another round in the lesson of how pride and stupidity are not good things.

Constantinople said...

John, F. Schaeffer does not need your protection -- he's a big boy who can take care of himself. Your characterization of what I said is laughable. Frank was a virulent supporter of the Orthodox one time. He published a newspaper entitled the Christian Activist. He made videos and audio tapes decrying other denominations as false. If he is no longer of the same opinion, it would seem sensible that he disown his association with the Orthodox Church. He has disowned his association with Republicans, the Pro Life Movement, his own parents -- why not the Orthodox Church as well?

grrranny said...

- Frank,
This discussion is not about religion, nor its temporal mutations. It is actually about personal responsibility, and the willingness of individuals to forgo accountability in return for a guarantee that someone else (God, Jesus, Allah, or any of the many deities we have worshiped over the ages) is ultimately accountable for all we do.

Lacking the need for personal accountability, most human beings are capable of anything, including the unthinkable. We have done laboratory experiments which prove this beyond any doubt. Religion, all by itself, precludes the need for personal responsibility.

In our modern society, this is absolutely deadly. It creates a chaotic atmosphere, one which allows no room for cooperation and civility. Factions argue with other factions, and each individual becomes their own faction, which will ultimately lend itself to cultural anarchy, and the destruction of civilization, as we know it. This is a process, and we are already far into it.

The actual difficulty is the fact that religions tend to discourage independent thinking, something which is vital if we expect members of our society to behave responsibly. Simply following orders, rules, and dogma will not accomplish a satisfactory ending to our current scenario.

It is rather unfortunate that so many otherwise intelligent people have CHOSEN to do the cowardly thing, and hide behind their beliefs, rather than facing reality on its own terms.

Thank you for your own honesty,
Marie Zarankevich

Wanna said...

Looks like you've got Obama propped in the corner with 'martyr' stamped on his forehead.
Listen, if the guy wasn't INFORMED..hello!.. about the state of the country and the world, and that many problems would 'land' on his desk as President, then HE SHOULD NOT HAVE RUN. Stop making excuses for him, he should not be President of this nation, maybe France...people need to realize the mistake they made by voting for his inexperience and his inability to differentiate between the reality of this country's needs and his own meglomaniacal drive to insert his agenda - despite all rhetoric to the contrary during the campaign. You appear to be so angry and bitchy - shiver up your leg get cold turn to a spasm?

02varvara said...

Dear Frank:

May I offer you my hand in support? "Constantinople" (who didn't have the guts to sign their name) is ignorant of what the Church teaches. They're probably a convert without facility in one of the Orthodox languages. Here's what Patriarch Kirill said about the economy, "The modern economy is built largely on fraud; it creates money out of thin air".

Here's a link to a post I made of translations of His Holiness' statements on the economy:

Be strong... you are fully within the "mind of the Church"... "Constantinople" is not.

May God Bless (бог благословит),
Barbara-Marie Drezhlo
Albany NY