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The Real Assault On The Church

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Liberal Oasis

April 21, 2005
The Real Assault On The Church
(posted April 21 2 AM ET)

As the nation gears up for Family Research Council's "Justice Sunday" Liberal Oasis would like to call attention to a nook of the Fringe Fundamentalist movement that gets only sporadic notice.

Organizers of "Justice Sunday," are trying to use the event to pit all "people of faith" against Democrats and liberals.

FRC's Tony Perkins, in his announcement of Sunday's event, equated being liberal with being "anti-Christian." Later, he told the NY Times that Democrats have "targeted people for reasons of their faith."

But it's standard practice for Religious Right leaders to pretend that they speak for Christianity, and any criticism of them or their views amounts to an attack on all religion.

Too often, the Washington press corps lets them get away with it, putting the onus on Dems to prove their religious bona fides, instead of giving voice to the millions of Christians whose views are not represented by the likes of the Perkins, Gary Bauer, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

What's interesting is that despite the attempts by the Fringe Fundamentalists to position themselves in the media as the spokespeople for all things Christian, there is an organization in their network that shows they know that's not true.

The Institute for Religion and Democracy .

IRD is a secularly funded group (including money from the right-wing Scaife foundations ) that attacks and smears clergy who voice interpretations of Christianity that it deems as insufficiently conservative.

(An Olin Foundation grant to IRD was once described as funding "Programs to counter the political influence of the Religious Left".)

One North Carolina pastor recently said, "It is my opinion (shared by many) that the institute's tacit agenda is to align mainline churches with the Republican Party."

The New Zion's Herald called IRD "the key organization involved in the assault on the church."

Blogger Chuck Currie called IRD "Just Another Right-Wing Group Working to Malign Christians Working For Peace and Justice"

And SF Weekly has reported on IRD's efforts to attack pastors who support marriage rights for gays.

IRD has created three "astroturf" front groups that focus on specific denominations: Episcopal Action, Presbyterian Action and UM Action (Methodist).

IRD uses those groups to give the impression that it is grassroots members within each denomination that are rising up in disgust, not the right-wing elite .

Now, if liberalism was really antithetical to Christianity and people of faith, would there even be a need for such an insidious organization to eradicate liberal voices in the church? Of course not.

Deep down, the Fringe Fundamentalists know they don't control all of Christianity.

They would like to. They created an entire organization to silence any Christian voices that get in their way and undermine their message.

But they have not succeeded yet. The voices are still out there.

"Justice Sunday" is not just about ending filibusters on judges.

It's another " smoke and mirrors" attempt to con the media into thinking the Fringe Fundamentalists own Jesus Christ, and can state which party He supports.

Last updated: April, 2005