The Fighting RevLynn vs Shameless Dobson

Ghost Fleet of Pamlico Sound
Amer. United Agrees with Pat Robertson
RevLynn vs. Dobson
A Crummy Slogan?
A Case History
One Guy's Opinions
The Villains
clickApr. 27, 2006 

The Flying RevLynn battles the evil ShamelessDobson

National Day Of Prayer' Events Politicize Religion, Divide Country, Says Americans United

Dobsons, Politicians Are Using Religion To Further Political Agenda, Church-State Watchdog Group Charges

Religious Right leaders and politicians are using the National Day of Prayer (NDP) to politicize religion and divide Americans, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The annual event, which takes place by federal law on the first Thursday of each May, gives Religious Right groups and their allies in public office a platform to push their political agenda, Americans United charges.

In recent years, religious broadcaster James Dobson and his wife Shirley have assumed a leadership role in promoting the observance. Dobson’s Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action are Religious Right organizations that oppose church-state separation and seek to impose a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint through government action.

“James Dobson has shamelessly exploited the National Day of Prayer to advance his divisive political agenda,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “This merger of religion and politics is exactly what our nation’s founding fathers hoped to avoid.”

Lynn noted that James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, said governmental prayer proclamations “certainly nourish the erroneous idea of a national religion” and warned that public officials would use such proclamations to advance their political agenda. Thomas Jefferson, as president, refused to issue prayer proclamations and said the Constitution forbids the federal government from “intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises.” 

Lynn added that most NDP activities are now coordinated by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a private group headed by Shirley Dobson. This year, as in years past, the NDP Task Force is distributing materials promoting an inaccurate “Christian nation” view of history and distorting federal court rulings upholding church-state separation.

Lynn noted that this year, Mrs. Dobson even boasts about her group sponsoring the “National Day of Prayer Official Website,” although she does not say who gave the group this designation.  (The Dobsons usually travel to the White House for an NDP observance there with President George W. Bush, although Bush has not given the NDP Task Force an official character.)

The NDP Task Force encourages local groups to exclude non-fundamentalist Christians from NDP events. The NDP Web site goes so far as to assert that only Christian groups that endorse the Lausanne Covenant, an evangelical statement from the 1970s, should be invited to take part.

“The Dobsons’ events are deeply divisive,” said Lynn. “They intentionally exclude millions of Americans who differ with the Religious Right’s narrow religious and political agenda.”

Continued Lynn, “Rather than make a big public display of piety, politicians would do better to use May 4 to rededicate themselves to the spirit of the First Amendment and oppose those forces that do not value religious diversity and religious liberty.”

(Note to News Media: An Americans United FAQ and other information about the National Day of Prayer are available on request.)

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

clickNational Day of Prayer Website   Excerpt from what that  deeply divisive site actually says:

"The National Day of Prayer Task Force calls the nation to prayer by creating awareness and urgency for intercession and providing the resources necessary to facilitate prayer growth in America.
"Official Policy Statement on Participation of Non-Judeo-Christian" groups in the National Day of Prayer: "The National Day of Prayer Task Force was a creation of the National Prayer Committee for the expressed purpose of organizing and promoting prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values. People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs. This diversity is what Congress intended when it designated the Day of Prayer, not that every faith and creed would be homogenized, but that all who sought to pray for this nation would be encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate. It is that broad invitation to the American people that led, in our case, to the creation of the Task Force and the Judeo-Christian principles on which it is based. .............."


It's Illegal to Hear Children's Prayers, says AU

You might get hauled into court! If you’re the parent of a public school student and you  see a group of students meeting together for prayer before school and you don’t cover your ears and face the other direction, you might be in big legal  trouble, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.


That organization’s website for Sep 19, 2007  refers to a letter sent nationwide by Jay Seculow, the attorney for evangelist Pat Robertson. The website says it's always been legal for students to pray together at school as long as prayers are voluntary and non-disruptive, and not organized or promoted by school staff. But Sekulow goes a step farther and says “If the event occurs during ‘non-contract time,’ teachers should be able to participate in the event without violating (the Constitution) so long as they make it clear that they are present in their roles as citizens rather than in their official capacities.”


But the Americans United website says otherwise: “allowing teachers, administrators and outside adults to engage in religious activities with public school students would raise a host of constitutional concerns.”


What are those concerns? And what do “outside adults” have to do with it? The website neglects to say.


It goes on to say “Public school officials need to be extremely wary of his unsolicited legal advice.”


What errors are in that advice? It neglects to say.

It goes on to say “For years, students have run these events and things have worked out pretty well,……Now Sekulow is trying to slip teachers, administrators and parents in under the radar and have them participate in prayers.”

But what law prohibits teachers, acting on their own and not representing the school, or let alone, parents not even employed by the schools, from praying with their students or children? It neglects to say.

It concludes with “Following Sekulow’s advice just might land you in court.” 

And when I land in court what might the officer have said after cuffing me and reading me Miranda? Maybe “I’m arresting you for the criminal act of witnessing a prayer meeting.”




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March 7, 2007 Americans United Website

Americans United Urges Florida TV Ministry To Disavow 'Loathsome' Remarks By Ann Coulter

Columnist Made Anti-Gay Slur, Condoned Murder Of Abortion Doctors At Christian Group's Ft. Lauderdale Event  

March 7, 2007 Americans United for Separation of Church and State today called on the Center for Reclaiming America to publicly disavow extreme statements made by Ann Coulter during a recent Center conference in Fort Lauderdale.

The Center, the political arm of TV preacher D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries, hosted Coulter during a “Reclaiming America for Christ Conference” March 2-3. During her March 3 remarks at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Coulter issued an anti-gay slur and excused the murder of doctors who perform abortions.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, sharply criticized Coulter’s incendiary rhetoric and called on Gary Cass, head of the Center for Reclaiming America, to publicly repudiate it.

“Ann Coulter’s statements can only be described as loathsome,” said Lynn. “It is astounding to me that this type of vitriol was unleashed before a religious organization that claims to be ‘reclaiming’ America for Christ. This rhetoric must be repudiated immediately.”

In her remarks, Coulter made light of the murder of abortion doctors and clinic personnel.

Noting that seven doctors and clinic personnel had been killed, Coulter said, “Those few abortionists were shot, or, depending on your point of view, had a procedure with a rifle performed on them. I’m not justifying it, but I do understand how it happened....The number of deaths attributed to Roe vs. Wade: about 40 million aborted babies and seven abortion clinic workers; 40 million to seven is also a pretty good measure of how the political debate is going.”

But whether her remarks were “loathsome” or not depends largely on one's definitions. Is a human fetus a pre-birth baby or just a lump of protoplasm? If the former then wouldn't it be even more"loathsome" for someone to say “I’d far rather see 40 million  babies killed than seven abortion clinic workers?” Was that  Rev. Lynn's implication?  Coulter didn't  justify the murder of the seven but put the murder of the babies in perspective.

And remember that this isn’t a First Amendment issue. Evangelical Christians can be anti-abortion but so can Jews. So can Atheists. (Columnist Nat Hentoff is a good example.)

And Coulter, in a humorous vein (I think) uttered the word "Fagot." It means a bundle of sticks for starting a fire but since about the 60's has been used to mean a homosexual. And it may or may not have a "slur" conotation.

I would have thought "queer" had a slur quality but obviously not when a TV show had that word in its name (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) and the show was proudly run by, well, queers.

And the word "gay" attained its present meaning at approximately the same time. Is it hate speech? And is it "incindiary" to call a female homosexual a "dyke?" Well, a group of lesbian motorcyclists are proud to call themselves Dykes on Bikes.

"That's not what we're about," said Soni Wolf, 56, longtime secretary for the Dykes on Bikes and a pride parade participant since the late 1970s. "That word has been used for years to tear us down. And we said, 'OK, we're going to take it back.' "

The women call themselves "dykes" for the same reason many gays have laid claim to "queer" -- to defang a word that has long been a slur."

Now, how did "fagot" attain its present meaning? Well, it might be from the Bible. Romans 1:27 says "And the men instead of having normal sex relationships with women, burned with lust for each other." And Amos 4:11 says (referring to two immoral cities punished by God) "I destroyed several of your cities as I did Sodom and Gomorrah; those left are like half burned firebrands snatched away from fire" (both from The Living Bible version). My dictionary defines "brand" as "a piece of burning or charred wood." Fagot (sticks used to start a fire) doesn't sound to me like hate speech as much as queer does. Nor does Ann Coulter sound more loathsome than Rev. Lynn.



from Agnosticism/Atheism Separation: One way Street or Two?




Is the Non-Establishment of Religion a Two way Street? That is, in protecting Religion from the Government does it also protect Government from Religion? The About Agnosticism/Atheism website thinks so. It says:

First Amendment Protects Church

Does the First Amendment of the Constitution exist solely to protect religion from government and not to protect the government from religion? There are quite a few people who think that - it's often referred to as the idea that the wall of separation between church and state only operates "one way," separating religion from government but not the government from religion.

A good example of someone advocating this idea can be found in a letter written by Emily Marino to The Day:

The First Amendment originally was intended to protect the church from the state and not the other way around. The reason the Pilgrims and many others fled England was because they wanted freedom in how they worshiped God, not which god they did or didn't worship.

There are a number of problems with this position. For one thing, it's simply incoherent - separation can't operate "one way." You can't have religion interfering with government without government returning the favor. For another, the argument above presumes that there is such a thing as "the church" - but that abstraction doesn't exist. In reality, there are many churches, many denominations, and many religions. If the government is protected from "the church," which "church" would that be? If only one (and people often assume their version of Christianity here), then that discriminates against all other groups. If all groups are included, then what you have are multiple organizations competing for government largesse on the basis for religion - but religion isn't supposed to become the basis of political division and strife. That's exactly what the First Amendment is supposed to prevent, and why it also protects the government from religion. If people don't have freedom in what god they worship, if any god at all, then the country isn't religiously free.

But do you notice the tricky word game being played above? 
The first paragraph begins with a question about the "First Amendment" and ends by talking about the "wall of separation," a phrase not in the First Amendment. It proceeds to state that "Separation" cannot be one way, which is probably true as far as I'm concerned; you can't separate water from oil without separating the oil from the water.
And who cares? If you're going to talk about what the First Amendment says why not read what the darn thing says? It's pure sophistry to suppose it says "The Congress shall not influence religion, and therefore the Congress hereby influences religion by limiting churches' freedom of speech and the press and petitioning of government." I'll defy anyone to write down the limitations the First Amendment  places on religion by implication or otherwise.
And in America, people MUST be able to influence their government. James Dobson has that right. Theologian Dietrich Bonhoffer did not, but that was Nazi Germany.

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Separation of Church & State = Freedom of Speech Except for Churches