United for separation of church and state

Another reply to Wallis and Pinsky. (I like it when the objects of theist bullying fight back. Sue me.) This one is by Rob Boston of Americans United.

There are people in this country who belong to fundamentalist Christian religious groups and who believe that they have the right (and perhaps the duty) to run your life.

That is a fact. These people exist. I’ll be spending some time with them this weekend at the Family Research Council’s “Values Voter Summit.”

It’s also a fact that some folks would like to pretend that these people don’t exist, or that they are a fringe group that can be easily dismissed. Some evangelicals are embarrassed by the antics of politically active, extreme fundamentalists, but instead of standing up to them, they’ve decided instead to criticize those of us who write about the Religious Right.

It’s a classic “kill the messenger” scenario.

Our open letter sets the record straight. Those of us who write about the Religious Right are not overreacting. Nor do we, as Wallis and Pinsky seem to think, believe that all evangelicals are theocrats. Indeed, we know that the theocratic wing is a minority – but we also know that a minority can have influence far beyond its numbers.

We write about these things because we believe there are people out there who support church-state separation and maybe they’ll get involved in stopping the Religious Right – if they have the facts they need. So be assured that we’re not going to let two naysayers who can’t grasp what’s going on shout us down or intimidate us into silence. (In a USA Todaycolumn, Pinsky says that David Barton, a man whose phony “Christian nation” claptrap is considered gospel in fundamentalist churches all over America and who helped dumb-down social studies standards in Texas, is a marginal figure. Talk about clueless!)

As long as I have the power to turn on a computer or pick up a pen, I’m going to keep writing about the threat the Religious Right poses to American values and freedoms. And yes, I intend to call out the theocrats when it’s necessary.

Very well said.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … Talk about clueless!

    Where does it say that Major Media Pundits are supposed to have a clue?

  2. Stacy Kennedy says

    Right on.

    we also know that a minority can have influence far beyond its numbers

    Double right on.

    Dominionist types have been flying under the popular press’s radar for years. A few journalists take notice of them and immediately Wallis and Pinsky start boo-hooing that they’re being mean. What’s up with these idjits who think Christians in America are some hapless minority who need to be shielded from criticism?/rhetorical question

  3. Andrew B. says

    It’s also worth pointing out that many of our ideological opponents don’t want a theocracy per se, but want many of the trappings one would expect from one. They can maintain the illusion of democracy and secularism while coveting and lobbying for privileges, insisting upon the pollution of science and sex education, fighting to diminish availability of reproductive services, etc.

    Asking whether or not such people technically qualify as Dominionists misses the point. They constantly seek many of the objectionable aspects of a theocracy while denying the visibility, like creationists who repackage their dreck as intelligence design or anti-choice activists that push embryonic “person-hood” bills in order to essential outlaw abortion. They don’t mind wearing a secular mask if it suites their desires.

  4. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Indeed, we know that the theocratic wing is a minority – but we also know that a minority can have influence far beyond its numbers.

    Yes and in fact that was a point that Jeff Sharlet made in his book The Family. The Family often look to Hitler and the Nazi regime as inspiration, not because they agree with their positions or actions, but because the Nazi’s started out as a small group that managed to take over a nation.

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