Ed McAteer, a Southern Baptist who didn’t shirk from the label of “Godfather” of the Christian right died on Wednesday with not much more than a blip in the press outside Tennessee. The brief but best obit comes from the Associated Baptist Press’ Robert P. Marus, who succinctly explains the role McAteer played in launching the Moral Majority; Baptist Press, a less independent organ of the Southern Baptist Convention, spins rosy; and the Memphis Flyerremembers the one-time Golden Gloves champ’s fondness for the fights.
“And Then There Was the Time We Had the Boys Rape Some Nuns…” E. Howard Hunt on the Good Old Days
E. Howard Hunt, American spy and catalyst of the Guatemalan civil war that killed 200,000, blames it on a priest. “I had a few agents from Washington with me,” the 86-year-old Watergate crook tells Slate‘s Ann Louise Bardach, “and I had recruited a few others … [including] a young Catholic priest. So the priest came to me one time, and he said, ‘I’m sending down several young men to Guatemala to get a view of the situation there. It’s not good.’” That’d be “not good” as in “democratic,” so Hunt and his henchmen installed one of the hemisphere’s most murderous and genocidal regimes, a fact he’s still proud of. And don’t even get him started on how great it was that his buddies cut off Che Guevara’s hands… But enough of the memories! What’s relevant about this piece is that it looks at something most American journalists have never heard of or avoid like the plague: history. Hope we see more of it.
Gibson Suffers On
BBC News reports that Passion director Mel Gibson has taken out a restraining order against a homeless man who allegedly stalked him, demanding that they pray together.
Love Is a Many Splendored Thing
The American Academy of Religion’s Annual Meeting next month will feature several workshops on the religious themes of sadomasochism, transvestism, transsexualism and polyamory including “Ecstatic Communion: The Spiritual Dimensions of Leathersexuality,” and “‘You Seduced Me, You Overpowered Me, and You Prevailed’: Religious Experience and Homoerotic Sadomasochism in Jeremiah.” Pittsburgh Theological Seminary professor, Robert A. J. Gagnon, sees the conference topics as proof that accepting homosexuality into mainstream culture creates a “‘slippery slope’” that destroys societal norms — a horror he obviously believes speaks for itself. For others though, that may be the point: “creating a lens through which the rest of life is viewed…within the framework of a belief in the rights of individuals to erotic self-determination with other consenting adults, rather than apologetics for those practices and lives.”
Ali vs. wali: Gossip in Iraq
Bad news, indeed: Press fear of people in Iraq has reached the point that we must turn to theNew York Observer‘s media gossip pages for religion news from the war zone. In a piece on naughty reporters getting spanked by their employers for revealing their pessimistic appraisals in personal emails, we come across this, one such from freelancer Annia Ciezadlo: “I had just returned from Sadr City, where I’d been swallowed into an angry river of hundreds of men streaming out of a mosque and chanting Forgive us Ali, forgive us Ali, Moqtada is the wali—Sadr is the wali, inheritor of the Shiite martyr Ali. Basically, they were screaming that they love him so much they’re willing to blaspheme their own religion for him.”
Afropessimism Makes Baby Jesus Cry
Journalists of Ghana: be not vessels of destruction, but rather seek the word of God in your reporting, so to “publish and broadcast information that would unite Ghanaians to help maintain the good image of the country.” Ghanaian Methodist Bishop, Reverend Kwame Omane-Achamfour, puts a Godly spin on an old African debate: whether or not African journalists should report the often catastrophic situations in their countries with more “optimism.” It used to be sold as patriotic duty; now it’s divine.
Does “the Base” Swing?
“The Christian-Political, Pro-Life, Anti-Bush Argument”: “I recognize the conflict experienced when considering casting your vote for John Kerry when what you hold dear is your intrinsic faith and pro-life beliefs. George Bush has openly discussed his religious beliefs in forums designed to sway your opinion. Christian words ring hollow though without Christian actions to back them up.” Anthony Wade, a “Christian progressive,” addresses an open letter to “all those struggling between their faith and their vote” at OpEdNews.
Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy, leader of the progressive Interfaith Alliance, and Paul Weyrich, conservative CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and “father of the religious right,” have authored joint letters to presidential debate moderators Bob Schieffer and Charles Gibson, requesting that they include questions about the candidates’ religion and the influence faith has on their public policies. The suggested questions included: What role should faith play in creating public policy? What steps have they taken to show respect for all faiths? What shape should a president’s religious rhetoric take? And, how do you balance faith and a defense of the Constitution?
Christian Right Godfather Gone