Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events
Health Care & Environment

08.16 Planting the Seeds for Dramatic Changes in Agriculture [6:19 video]

08.16 Microplastics ‘significantly contaminating the air’, scientists warn

08.15 The rain in Spain: how an ancient Arabic technique saves Alicante from floods

08.15 40% of US honeybee colonies disappeared last year. This is what the world would look like without any bees at all.

08.15 Fracking Boom in US and Canada Largely to Blame for 'Massive' Rise of Global Methane Levels: Study [Will there be mass-murder criminal charges? With Trump-appointed judges allow criminal or civil-cases be fairly adjudicated?]

08.14 “Kochland” Examines the Koch Brothers’ Early, Crucial Role in Climate-Change Denial [For their gravestones, what best summarizes the vast death of life across the globe these two brothers have wrought?]

08.14 GM, VW Say They Won’t Build Hybrids Or Plug-in Hybrids, Only Battery Electric Cars

08.14 eHang Wants To Start An eVTOL Service In Guangzhou Soon [7:31 video]

08.14 Tesla Model 3 = 3rd Best Selling Vehicle In The Netherlands In July

08.14 China Is Leading The World To An Electric Future: Four Takeaways From My Recent Visit

08.14 India Approves Subsidy For 5,595 Electric Buses Across 64 Cities

08.14 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us

08.14 North Pole: multiple lightning strikes follow record-low sea ice levels

08.13 Tree-damaging pests pose ‘devastating’ threat to 40% of US forests

08.13 Playing Role of Pesticide 'Cheerleader,' EPA Rebukes Calif. With Ban on Warning Labels for Roundup

08.13 Regenerative Agriculture Is Key for a Sustainable Climate and Food System

08.12 Death toll from Indian floods reaches 147, thousands evacuated

08.12 Mexico City joins worldwide movement to ban single-use plastic

08.12 Australia will ban export of recyclable waste 'as soon as practicable', PM vows

08.12 Governments could become indifferent to climate disaster victims, expert warns [Especially those with sociopathic rulers, like Trump and Bolsonaro]

News Media Matters

08.15 Why Bernie Sanders Is Absolutely Correct About the Washington Post—and Corporate Media Overall [7:51 video]

08.11 Guess who said it: Tucker Carlson or a far-right shooter [How have Fox News and similar excretory news sources become such profitable engines of hate? They foment fear of people different than ‘you’ as the problem, and sell evisceration of ‘them’ as the solution. It’s all neatly packaged to make ‘you’ feel safer.]

08.09 'What Oligarchy Looks Like': Sanders Leads 140 Lawmakers in Condemning Trump Plan to Rip Food Stamps From 3 Million Americans [Why isn't this story covered in corporate media?]

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

08.16 As Warren and Sanders Swiftly Condemned Israel for Barring Congresswomen, Pelosi and Biden Hesitated [Corporate-Democrats caught wrong-footed again]

08.16 Steve King’s Views on Rape Are Inseparable From His Racism

08.16 Elizabeth Warren Sells Populism to Professionals

08.16 'Bees, not refugees': the environmentalist roots of anti-immigrant bigotry

08.15 American Taxpayers Forced to Pay For Don Jr.’s Sheep Hunting Vacation to Canada [Visit webpage to see the latest stone sheep he's 'proudly' killed.]

08.15 American unions have been decimated. No wonder inequality is skyrocking

08.15 Now Earning 278 Times More Than Average Worker, New Study Shows CEO Pay Has Grown More Than 1,000% Since 1978

08.14 To Stave Off 'Climate Disaster,' 29 States and Major Cities Sue Trump EPA Over 'Dirty Power' Rule

08.14 Indigenous and Green Groups Fighting Against Pipeline Urge 2020 Democrats to Take 'NoKXL Pledge'

Justice Matters

08.16 The FBI could fight far-right violence if they wanted to – but they don't

08.15 Fracking Boom in US and Canada Largely to Blame for 'Massive' Rise of Global Methane Levels: Study [Will there be mass-murder criminal charges? With Trump-appointed judges allow criminal or civil-cases be fairly adjudicated?]

08.09 Warning of 'Severe' Harm to Millions of People, UN Human Rights Chief Condemns Trump Embargo Against Venezuela

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

08.10 Turkey to annex northern Syria with US blessing [This unfairly favors Turkey—a dubious Russia-friendly ally—by allowing it to steal the Kurdish homeland it will expand and quicken the slow-motion genocide against the Kurdish people. What logic supports doing this to America's best ally for the last 16 years? How much was Trump bribed to support this?]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

08.15 Military Spending: Ignoring the $738 Billion Elephant in the Room

08.10 Why is it so difficult to stop your pension money making the climate crisis worse?

08.10 Neoliberalism Has Met Its Match in China

International & Futurism

08.15 US moves to block release of Iranian vessel in Gibraltar

08.13 The Museum Is the Refugee’s Home [Think about it: refugees—excluding bad criminal types—are naturally the best new citizens because they'll fight like hell for a better life.]

08.13 Hong Kong protests: airport suspends flights for second day [0:45 video]

08.11 Trump's influence is spreading like a virus

08.11 The very idea of a united kingdom is being torn apart by toxic nationalism

Google
This site Web
  House Passes, Considers Evangelical Resolutions
Newspaper logo

NEWS REPORT:

House Passes, Considers Evangelical Resolutions

by Jason Leopold

House Resolution 888 was introduced by Congressman Randy Forbes (R-Va.) on December 18, the last day Congress was in session before lawmakers left for their winter break.
Mon, 01/14/2008—A Republican congressman, who has spent the better part of the past two years on a mission to ensure Jesus Christ has a place in all aspects of federal government, has introduced a resolution to designate a week every year to honor the nation's "rich spiritual, and religious history."

House Resolution 888, sponsored by Congressman Randy Forbes (R-Virginia), is currently before a House committee and has 31 co-sponsors. It purports to be free from singling out a specific religion, yet contains dozens of proclamations with clear fundamentalist Christian overtones. Five pages of footnotes cite specific Bible passages, the Gospels, churches, and include Biblical references taken from historical monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial.

One such proclamation states, "Whereas in 1777, Congress, facing a National shortage of 'Bibles for our schools, and families, and for the public worship of God in our churches,' announced that they 'desired to have a Bible printed under their care & by their encouragement' and therefore ordered 20,000 copies of the Bible to be imported 'into the different ports of the States of the Union'."

Forbes, who in 2005 founded the Congressional Prayer Caucus in an effort to ensure Christianity's place in politics, told the Virginian Pilot he introduced his resolution to combat a "well-orchestrated movement" by "radicals" to keep Christianity and religion in general separate from government.

The resolution, which was first reported on the blog Talk2Action by Chris Rodda, author of the book Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History, and the senior research director at the government watchdog organization The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), was introduced by Forbes on December 18, the last day Congress was in session before lawmakers left for their winter break. Rodda first discovered the resolution after researching Congress's legislative web site for work she has been doing on behalf of MRFF.

"House Resolution 888 is perhaps the most disgraceful, shocking and tragic example yet of the pernicious and pervasive pattern and practice of the unconstitutional rape of our bedrock American citizens' religious freedoms by the fundamentalist Christian right," said Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of MRFF, a nonprofit watchdog group that aims to keep a close eye on the military to ensure it abides by the law mandating the separation between church and state. "Its myriad tortured and deliberate historical fictions, fused by its Congressional-member drafters into a sorry screed of fascistic Christian exceptionalism and triumphalism, clearly illuminate its private sector and legislative sponsors' unbridled lust to spare absolutely no effort to complete the transformation of our country into "The United Christian States of America."

Weinstein was a former White House counsel during the Reagan administration, former general counsel to Texas billionaire and two-time presidential candidate H. Ross Perot and a former Air Force Judge Advocate General.

The introduction of House Resolution 888 took place one week after Congress passed H. Res 847, supporting the "role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States..." and "expresses continued support for Christians in the United States."

That resolution, sponsored by Iowa Republican Steve King, passed the House with the help of 195 Democrats.

Rodda says Forbes has grossly misrepresented and distorted the historical record he references in the 75 proclamation of H. Res 888.

"This resolution, which purports to promote 'education on America's history of religious faith,' is packed with the same American history lies found on the Christian nationalist websites, and in the books of pseudo-historians like David Barton," Rodda wrote on the Talk2Action web site. "It lists a total of seventy-five 'Whereas,' leading up to four resolves, the third of which is particularly disturbing—that the U.S. House of Representatives 'rejects, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove, obscure, or purposely omit such history from our Nation's public buildings and educational resources,' a travesty of the highest magnitude, considering that most of the 'history' this resolve aims to promote in our public buildings and schools IS NOT REAL!"

One example, Rodda says, is the proclamation by Forbes that "Congress pursued a plan to print a Bible that would be 'a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools' and therefore approved the production of the first English language Bible printed in America that contained the congressional endorsement that the United States in Congress assembled ... recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States."

"Congress did not 'pursue a plan to print' this Bible, as Mr. Forbes claims, nor did they 'approve the production,' Rodda said. "Robert Aitken was already printing his Bibles as of January 21, 1781 when he petitioned Congress. All they did was grant one of several requests made by Aitken by having their chaplains examine his work, and allowing him to publish their resolution stating that, based on the chaplains' report, they were satisfied that his edition was accurate. The words 'a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools' are taken from a letter written by Aitken, not the resolution of Congress."

Forbes did not respond to a request for comment.

Congressman Forbes appears to be using the resolutions he's introduced to circumvent the constitutional provision mandating the separation of church and state. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights says Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion.

Separately, Forbes has also introduced two bills, one that would protect the rights of lawmakers to express "their religious beliefs through public prayer by removing all establishment clause cases involving prayer by public officials from federal court jurisdiction to the jurisdiction of state courts." The other legislation Forbes introduced "would bar judges from awarding legal fees to groups that sue municipalities for violating the Constitution's ban on government establishment of religion."

In late 2006, Forbes and two of his colleagues held up passage of the defense budget for several weeks over the removal of a military chaplain prayer provision that sought to authorize chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus Christ at military invocations.
In late 2006, Forbes and two of his colleagues held up passage of the defense budget for several weeks over the removal of a military chaplain prayer provision that sought to authorize chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus Christ at military invocations.

The guidelines were rewritten in 2005 after Weinstein exposed the religious intolerance and virulent anti-Semitism carried out by fundamentalist officers, staff and cadets against their comrades who refused to accept Jesus Christ as "their personal Lord and savior" at the nation's prestigious Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Weinstein wrote about the issue in his book With God On Our Side: One Man's War Against An Evangelical Coup in America's Military.

But Forbes, along with Republican congressmen Todd Akin of Missouri and Walter Jones of North Carolina, threatened to block passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007 unless Congress passed the bill with their proposal intact. Numerous fundamentalist Christian groups, including Focus on the Family, supported the proposal.

The proposal was eventually withdrawn, and in exchange, Forbes and his colleagues were handed a deal abrogating the Air Force and Navy guidelines on religious expression.

The compromise essentially gave evangelical military chaplains a loophole to proselytize, an issue Weinstein says he intends to fight in court.

Last year, MRFF filed a lawsuit in federal court against Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and US Army Maj. Freddy Welborn, on behalf of an Army soldier stationed in Iraq. The complaint, filed in US District Court in Kansas City, alleges Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist currently on active duty in Combat Operations Base Speicher, Iraq, had his First Amendment rights violated when Welborn threatened to retaliate against Hall and block his reenlistment in the Army because of Hall's atheist beliefs.


Jason Leopold is senior editor and reporter for Truthout. He received a Project Censored award in 2007 for his story on Halliburton's work in Iran.


Copyright © 2008 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on January 15, 2008.

 

Public Service Ads: