Frederick Clarkson

Don't let bigoted campaigns sour you to the revolutionary idea of religious freedom

On January 16 we celebrate Religious Freedom Day to commemorate what may be the most revolutionary and liberatory idea in the history of civilization. It was the reason many joined the American Revolution. It’s the first freedom in the First Amendment. But despite all this, we as a society have forgotten or taken its power for granted.

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Religious Freedom Is a Progressive Value and a Cornerstone of Our Democracy

(Editor's note: The following article is adapted from the author's speech at the New York Society for Ethical Culture and first appeared at

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This Hate Group That Rioted in Charlottesville Believes They Are Christian Crusaders for the South

Among the groups leading the recent Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, Virginia was the League of the South – an Alabama-based theocratic, neo-confederate group that has long advocated for southern secession.

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Religious Freedom Is a Progressive Value

To read press coverage about it, one might think that religious freedom is a concern only for religious and political conservatives, and not one of the most liberatory ideas in history. One would also think religious freedom and civil rights are at odds with one another. Indeed, U.S. history is filled with examples of such competing claims, as resistance to everything from African American civil rights to marriage equality have been cast as matters of religious freedom. But stepping back from the heat of our political moment, there is a different, more fully accurate, story to be told, one I think that as progressives, we need to know and be able to tell.

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A Dystrumpian Vision for LGBTQ People

Many are called but few are chosen during any presidential transition. That’s why it’s illuminating to consider who Donald Trump has chosen from the parade of possibilities for his transition team and senior administration appointments so far— and what they may portend for LGBTQ people.

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How One of the Most Extreme Groups Within the Religious Right Is Remaking the GOP Race for the Presidency

Historians may someday see the 2016 election season as the turning point in how our society understands the Dominionist movement that is seeking to recast society in its own image.  The herald of this new understanding is—ironically, as I will discuss below—a Washington Post commentary by historian John Fea, titled:  “Ted Cruz’s campaign is fueled by a dominionist vision for America.”  The Post’s publication of Fea’s piece follows years of both scholarly and journalistic tip-toeing around this elephant on the table of American public life – a dynamic modern theocratic religious and political movement that prior conventional wisdom notwithstanding is not fringe. 

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There's a Big Anniversary This January That the Christian Right Doesn't Want You to Know About

In the heat of our political moment, we sometimes don’t see how our future connects deeply to our past. But the Christian Right does — and they do not like what they see.

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Bombshell Report Blew Open Sex Abuse Scandal at Major Christian Right University -- Total Silence Ensued

One of the deep scandals of our time, and apparently times past, is that sex abuse, particularly of children, has been so tolerated and covered-up. What's more, it is clear that the problem is not limited to the Catholic Church, where the problem is of such extraordinary depth and breadth. It is deeply ingrained in more of society than most of us who were not affected by these things can easily believe. In the past year, I have written a bit about the difficulties the Southern Baptist Convention has had contending with its problems. (Here, here, and here.)

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GOP Sen. Candidate Todd Akin Arrested 8 Times for Anti-Abortion Extremism -- "Had to be Carried Out by Police"

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has become notorious for his comments about rape, but there are many other good reasons to consider him one of the most recklessly dangerous pols in the nation. Fresh revelations about his criminal record and his approval of proponents of anti-abortion violence  are now coming out almost daily. Josh Glassteter at People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch has come up with video that demonstrates how this is so.  The National Journal is now reporting that Akin was arrested at least 8 times in connection with anti-abortion protests in he 80s -- including an instance in which he was blocking access to a clinic, refused to leave and had to be  "carried out by police."

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Corporate Media's Go-To 'Expert' on Latino Evangelicals Actually a Right-Wing Political Operative

This article originally appeared at Public Eye, the Web site of Political Research Associates.

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