Frank Schaeffer

The 'nurtured insanity' of a fundamentalist upbringing

There is a great exodus taking place in Christian circles. Can it be called a loss of faith? I don’t think so. It is rather a loss of confidence in everything at once. Christianity has always been about “the Word,” but these days, words don’t seem to matter. They’ve lost their power to describe and convince in the face of horrible deeds, from climate-change denial to the persecution of trans people to the wholesale abandonment of Christ’s teachings in favor of abusive meanness. The hard-right white evangelical voter gave us Trump. The church sat silent as industrial oligarchs ruined the earth.

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Gun Nut Madness at America's Top Campus for the Christian Right After San Bernardino Shooting

According to news reports in the Guardian newspaper and other sources, the president of Liberty University urged students, staff and faculty at the Christian school to carry concealed weapons on campus to counter any possible armed attack like the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. That didn't surprise me. His dad, Jerry Falwell Sr. once told me seriously that if he had a dog that did what "those homosexuals do, I'd shoot it."

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Beating Babies in the Name of Jesus? The Shady World of Right-Wing 'Discipline' Guides

There is a brutal movement in America that legitimizes child abuse in the name of God. In the evangelical alternative universe of the home school movement, tightly knit church communities and the following of a number of big-time leaders and authors, physical punishment of children has been glorified for years.

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I Helped Start the Religious Right: Here's How We Tried to Undermine Secular America -- and Build a Theocracy

As someone who participated in the rise of the religious right in the 1970s and 1980s, I can tell you that you can’t understand the modern Republican Party and its hatred of government unless you understand the evangelical home-school movement. Nor can the Democrats hope to defeat the GOP in 2016 unless they grasp what I’ll be explaining here: religious war carried on by other means.

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My Horrible Right-Wing Past: Confessions of a One-Time Religious Right Icon

I am a white, privileged, well-off, 61-year-old former Republican religious right-wing activist who changed his mind about religion and politics long ago. The New York Times profiled my change of heart, saying that to my former friends I’m considered a “traitorous prince” since my religious-right family was once thought of as “evangelical royalty.”

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Why Right-Wing Christians Believe GOP Lies

The Republican Party base is white evangelicals. So it's no wonder that GOP lies about the country, the economy and the president worked. The folks who base their lives on religious mythology have spent lifetimes being trained to believe lies. On Tuesday they won. Lies won.

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Why Jesus Wouldn't Cut It as a Pastor in Today's Evangelical Megachurches

Jesus never could have been the pastor of a contemporary evangelical church nor a conservative Roman Catholic bishop. Evangelicals and conservative Roman Catholics thrive on drawing distinctions between their "truth" and other people's failings. Jesus by contrast, set off an empathy time bomb that obliterates difference.

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Why Jesus Would Have Hated Most Modern Day Religion

The following is an excerpt from Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace by Frank Schaeffer. Click here to buy a copy. 

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Gun Control Agenda Is Launching White Paranoid Extremists to Prepare for Armed Revolution

The battle over gun control has exposed a truth the mainstream media is apparently too shy to mention: A bunch of far-right, white, mostly Southern, paranoid extremists are preparing for armed revolution and apocalypse. They speak treason: literally.

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America's White Male Problem

The American political process is being hijacked by a reckless, whining dangerous gang of psychologically damaged white men who are far-right ideologues. I used to be one of them. It's time to tell the truth about our white male problem.

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As America Mourned a Shooting Tragedy, Cynical Christian Right Leaders Tried to Cash in by Blaming Atheism

All that was needed to make the national tragedy of the killing of 20 children and 6 adults into an anti-God kick in Jesus' teeth fest was for the usual suspects who hate Jesus to step up to defame His Name again. Of course I'm talking about the "Christian" leaders who can be counted on to drag the name of Christ through the mud at every profitable fundraising importunity. Christian leaders say that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was the result of our national falling away from fundamentalist Protestant gullibility.

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1 Not-So-Simple, Pretty Funny Question for the 73% of White Evangelicals Who Will Apparently Be Voting for Romney

According to polls 73 percent of WHITE evangelicals will be voting for Mitt Romney.

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Neoconservative Jingoism Plus Mormon Delusion Equals Perpetual War

The danger to our military families posed by having a man in the White House whose knowledge of the world seems to only extend to avoiding military service, tax shelters, investing in Chinese sweat shops and a stint as a missionary in France, comes from the fact that to be a good Mormon one has to be jingoistic and combative about foreign policy. So if he's elected let's pray Romney isn't a good Mormon! Let's hope he's faking it!

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Beating Babies in the Name of Jesus? The Shady World of Right-Wing 'Discipline' Guides

There is a brutal movement in America that legitimizes child abuse in the name of God. Two stories recently converged to make us pay attention. Last week, a video went viral of a Texas judge brutally whipping his disabled daughter. And on Monday, the New York Times published a story about child deaths in homes that have embraced the teachings of To Train Up a Child, a book by Christian preacher Michael Pearl that advocates using a switch on children as young as six months old. 

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How Christian Fundamentalism Helped Empower the Top 1% to Exploit the 99%

As the Occupy Wall street movement spreads across the country and the world, we must bring attention to the enablers of the top 1 percent exploiting the 99. Fundamentalist religion made this exploitation possible.

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Are Michele Bachmann's Views About 'Christian Submission' Even More Extreme Than She's Letting On?

Michele Bachmann told a barefaced lie the other day. She was asked in the Republican candidates' debate with the other Republican contenders, “As president, would you be submissive to your husband?" 

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Michele Bachmann Was Inspired By My Dad and His Christian Reconstructionist Friends -- Here's Why That's Terrifying

As presidential candidate Michele Bachmann chews up scenery in the GOP primaries, the mainstream media is finally digging into her extremist beliefs in a serious way. In a profile published earlier this week, the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza talked about Bachmann's radical right-wing influences, which include the most extremist figures in the history of the religious right movement.

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Christian Jihad? Why We Should Worry About Right-Wing Terror Attacks Like Norway's in the US

The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a 32-year-old man, whom they identified as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing connections, over the bombing of a government center and a shooting attack on a nearby island that together left at least 91 people dead.

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Why Rupert Murdoch Love$ God: World's Biggest Sleaze Mogul Also Getting Rich from Christian Moralizers

Here's what you might not know about Rupert Murdoch: he’s one of the leading religion publishers in the world.

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How Fundamentalist Religion Is Destroying the World

 The earth bursts with life. Far right exclusionary religion bursts with death. If there is a creator of life He/She/It must hate fundamentalist religion.

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Insider: "The Christian Right is Aiming to Destroy All Things Public"

The following is an excerpt from Frank Schaeffer's new book, Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics -- and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway (Da Capo Press, 2011). Raised in Switzerland in l'Abri, a utopian community and spiritual school his evangelical parents founded, Schaeffer was restless and aware even at a young age that "my life was being defined by my parent's choices." Still, he took to "the family business" well, following his dad as he became one of the "best-known evangelical leaders in the U.S." on whirlwind speaking tours. While rubbing shoulders with Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell, Schaeffer witnessed the birth of the Christian anti-abortion movement, and became an evangelical writer, speaker and star in his own right.

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How Republicans and Their Big Business Allies Duped Tens of Millions of Evangelicals into Voting for a Corporate Agenda

Tens of millions of American voters got duped badly in the 2010 election. The bible-thumping white underclass thought they hit back at what they regarded as the nefarious forces trying to “take our country away.”

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Muslim 9/11 Debate Is off the Mark: The Real Problem Is Fundamentalism of Every Kind

Is Islam violent? Should there be a mosque at Ground Zero…. etc., etc…

Wrong questions-- bogus discussion!

Here's the real point: fundamentalist religion OF ALL KINDS - Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, whatever, is the enemy of peace and progress.

Islam per se isn't the problem. Belief in anything without a dose of nuance, paradox and mystery is the problem.

The supreme irony in the "mosque debate" is that the American Right/Republican Party Fox News et al is now indistinguishable from the Religious Right. And the Religious Right is literally the instigator of American-made Christian domestic terror groups.

Following the 2008 election it became clear that Americans were living in a country where tens of millions of so-called conservatives would rather embrace outright and absurdly paranoid lies, go bankrupt, fail as a nation, lose our place in history and saddle ourselves with virtually infinite debt than work constructively with a moderate, decent, smart, kind and honest black man.

The Republicans became the party of revolution not-so-subtly egging on its lunatic fringe to commit violence. They did this overtly (those Psalm 109 bumper stickers calling on people to pray for Obama's death, Dick Cheney's irresponsible remarks about Obama "not defending America" etc.,) or passively by their silence as the Republican leaders said nothing against outrages like white rubes carrying loaded assault weapons to political meetings to "make a point about the right to bear arms" while also carrying signs repeating what was on Timothy McVeigh famous T-shirt ("The tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants") the day he blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma city.

As a former religious right instigator I feel ashamed that I did my bit to contribute to this news story, albeit in the 1970s, when I helped start the Protestant anti-abortion movement that in years since morphed into a war on America from the right. I discuss this activity in my book CRAZY FOR GOD: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.

My dad's books denouncing America and comparing our country to Hitler's Germany --because of legal abortion in particular and a "slide" to humanism in general in "the schools" -- are still bestsellers in the Evangelical ghetto. And Dad is still hailed as a prophet by many Republican leaders even though his (and my) words set the stage for the murder of abortion doctors and the ongoing implicit threatened assassination of leaders of "the counterfeit state."

We helped set the stage for violence with our Christian fundamentalism. Fastforwardthirtyor so years and here is what was on the Hutaree Militia homepage as I checked it when I heard about the arrests on March 29, 2010.

It could have been lifted (with just a few changes) from the 70-million Left Behind series of novels favored by Evangelicals (about the return of Christ) and/or an al-Qaeda website.

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McChrystal Scandal Shows Us the Military No Longer Protects America -- It Guards Empire

The Obama/McChrystal debacle is symptomatic of a wider divide -- the widening estrangement between our civilian elites and our military. McChrystal deserved to be fired and has been. But this event is a symptom of a bigger problem.

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Christian Cowards: Why Don't Evangelical Leaders Condemn the Hate Spouted by Right-Wingers?

On Sunday, November 29, NBC's "Meet the Press" flunked their interview with Pastor Rick Warren, world famous author of "The Purpose Driven Life." They didn't ask the one burning question with historic implications of national importance they should have asked: Pastor Rick, why haven't you and other prominent evangelical leaders taken the lead in strongly condemning the hate directed at President Obama by the Religious Right and so many evangelical Christians who form the base of the Republican Party?

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Are the "New Atheists" As Bad as Christian Fundamentalists?

 My problem with the so-called New Atheist movement is that several of the most successful of the New Atheist leaders -- as judged by book sales and speaking fees -- say Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins -- remind me of the worst of my own fundamentalist evangelical background. They are as close minded as they seem to be almost pathologically certain of their beliefs. 

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Tea Party Movement Returns, This Time with Much More Dangerous and Explicit Rhetoric

According to the "Tea Party" Web site, Tea Party Express II: Countdown To Judgment Day" is underway. Here's how the Web site describes it:

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Why Republicans Are in the Grip of an Apocalyptic Rapture Cult Centered on Revenge and Vindication

The following is an excerpt from Frank Schaeffer's new book, Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism) (Da Capo Press, 2009) to be released at the end of this month.

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Right-Wing Hatemongering Fueled by Christianity?

Former president Jimmy Carter went on the record to point out that he believes that racism is at the heart of the great deal of the extreme animosity being leveled at President Obama  (NBC News September 15). Carter identified himself as a Southerner with an insider's understanding.  There's something he didn't mention however: the special culpability of his own religion -- Evangelical Christianity -- for the anti-Obama hyperventilating and furious reaction to our first black president. And that reaction has less to do with race and more to do with the ugliest side of religion.

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The Threat Is Real: Why Right-Wing Rage at Townhall Meetings Could Quickly Turn Deadly

From the Internet to Sarah Palin this strange claim is being made: President Barack Obama wants to kill the elderly and the infirm with his health care plan. Palin even said her Down syndrome child would be a target.

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Right-Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop on Why Conservatives Are Rampaging Town Halls

Editor's note: Stephen C. Webster writes for Raw Story the latest example of extreme right-wing demagoguery in Tampa on Thursday, this time inspired by right-wing Fox News's Glenn Beck: "In a stunning display of anger, Florida Republicans and fans of Fox editorialist Glenn Beck turned a Tampa healthcare forum into a “near riot,” one reporter said, as they attempted to enter the meeting hall and drown out a group of community organizers and a member of congress There were at least two reports of violence at the forum. “The meeting which was scheduled to begin at 6:00 at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County drew hundreds of people who quickly began to overwhelm staff and event organizers at the front entrance,” reported Tampa news station 10 Connects. ...

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