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Montgomery writes: "Televangelist James Robison recently declared that he's praying for a merger of the Tea Party and the religious right. Is he kidding? That merger is well underway. And it's getting a hefty push from a couple of billionaire brothers. No, not Charles and David Koch."

Dan and Farris Wilks. (photo: Forbes Magazine)
Dan and Farris Wilks. (photo: Forbes Magazine)


The New Koch Brothers

By Peter Montgomery, The National Memo

05 July 14

 

elevangelist James Robison recently declared that he’s praying for a merger of the Tea Party and the religious right. Is he kidding? That merger is well underway. And it’s getting a hefty push from a couple of billionaire brothers.

No, not Charles and David Koch. Brothers Farris and Dan Wilks, who reaped a fortune off the fracking gold rush and cashed in their Texas-based company a few years ago for more than $3 billion. In addition to buying up vast swaths of land in the West, they’re “using the riches that the Lord has blessed them with to back specific goals,” as Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody puts it.

What are those goals? They’ve embraced both the anti-government politics of the Koch brothers and the religious right’s anti-gay, anti-choice cultural warfare. The Wilks brothers belong to Pastors and Pews, an organization connected to Christian-nation extremist David Lane, who wants to make the Bible a primary public school textbook.

Dan Wilks told Brody that we need to “bring the Bible back into the school, and start teaching our kids at a younger age.” Adds brother Farris: “They’re being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world so we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, that’s not proper, it’s not right.”

The brothers and their wives have followed in the footsteps of other far-right funders and set up foundations. Together they’ve funded them to the tune of more than $200 million. In 2011 and 2012 they gave away millions, both to churches and to culture-war political groups. More than $5.5 million buttressed groups in the Koch brothers’ political networks.

Another $4 million or so funded leading organizations in the religious right political movement, Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Another big chunk — more than $4 million — enriched anti-abortion groups. The brothers support a network of “pregnancy centers” that refuse to talk to single women about contraception and require married women to check with their husbands and pastors before discussing birth control.

The Wilks family also backs conservative politicians. They made a splash in Montana, where they own a lot of land and gave more to Republican legislative candidates than anyone else in 2012. In Texas, they’ve backed both Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican aiming to replace him. At the federal level, the brothers and their wives together contributed $125,000 to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

The brothers’ worldview seems to draw heavily on the teachings of a church founded by their father, which combines Biblical literalism with a heavy emphasis on the Old Testament. According to church doctrine, abortion is “murder,” including when it ends pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. And homosexuality is “a serious crime — a very grievous sin.”

Farris is a pastor of the church. In his sermons, he decries “socialism” and argues that the Bible was grounded in the free market. He urges congregants not to vote for candidates who promise “free this, free that,” saying “Yahweh never intended for us as a people to be afraid and reliant on government.” He has suggested that the melting of the icecaps might be punishment for sin, and that President Barack Obama’s re-election may be a harbinger of the “end times.”

Since Obama’s election, conservative political strategists have made him a rallying point in their efforts to merge the energies of two wings of the conservative movement, the religious fundamentalist wing and the anti-government wing. Their success at bringing the Tea Party faithful and religious right movements together is embodied in funders like Farris and Dan Wilks as well as politicians like Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican elected in 2012.

The result is a more extreme, and more powerful, right-wing movement that threatens our nation’s well-being by seeking to undermine the separation of church and state, opposing equality under the law for all Americans, and limiting the ability of the federal government to regulate corporate behavior and promote the common good.

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+111 # Floe 2014-07-05 11:22
My the backward goers must be getting really desperate. Their world is fading into the past, they need to indoctrinate at a younger age. Good luck guys! Your world is sinking and sinking fast. For that I say, Alleluia!
 
 
-83 # Charlie Peters 2014-07-05 11:52
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) collects $billions$ using “Wallet Flushing” car tax. Is it time for CA AG Kamala Harris EPA GMO ethanol fuel waiver conversation?
 
 
+57 # economagic 2014-07-05 12:25
Dude! I think you may have the wrong number!
 
 
+3 # bmiluski 2014-07-07 14:38
Unfortunately, economagic, he knows exactly what he's doing. Racking up troll points.
 
 
+54 # ericlipps 2014-07-05 11:56
Of course "that merger is well underway." It's been underway since the 1970s and is now pretty nearly complete, except for a few outliers on both sides.
 
 
-157 # MidwesTom 2014-07-05 12:09
On this July 4th weekend, read the Declaration of Independence where it speaks of rights "endowed by our Creator" not 'as we evolved from monkeys'. Maybe these guys are onto something.
 
 
+91 # Buddha 2014-07-05 12:58
Thank you MWT for once again showing how out of touch with reality and scientific knowledge that conservatives are.
 
 
+23 # Kootenay Coyote 2014-07-05 16:26
Who ever, ever claimed Monkey Rights?
 
 
+1 # bmiluski 2014-07-07 14:39
Everytime I read your posts MIDWESTTOM....I wonder.......wh ich of the ape-like creatures are YOU.
 
 
-25 # Anonymot 2014-07-05 12:17
There's both symmetry and logic to their position. The Moslems learn the Koran from their very early age and the Jews learn the Torah. They all swing back and forth while reading it. The American Jews have mostly lost it, like the American Catholics, but elsewhere, the various forms of the "Good Book" is at the beginning of the learning process.

The problem is where they go from there.The extremists stop there. Then they pick up a gun. In America, that's why the Christian right is so gun crazy. That's why the American Jewish right is so Israeli-right aggressive. Here it's what psychologists call sublimation. Old fashioned extremisms care less about social acceptance than the namby-pamby new fangled products of our psycho-socially weakened minds. They say what they say, what they believe, and if you disagree and they don't shoot you, at least you are quarantined.

So the Wilks, Kochs and their preachers are in keeping with what was. Our problem is that nothing new has come to take its place. Obama talked a lot of new stuff that was going to change the world, but in the end he harkened back to his unacceptable extremist preacher/teache r- what's his name. That's why we liberals are so disappointed in him. That's why the Arkansas-traine d Clintons won't haul us out of the conservative mud, either. We've been following the false prophets of Psychology who have messed with our beliefs to the point that we're too weak and unstable to effectively confront/defeat conservatism.
 
 
+85 # Vardoz 2014-07-05 12:33
What does Liberal really mean? Not wanting the majority to suffer at the hands of abusive special interests and the 1% who don't give a damn about people or the nation as a whole. Us liberals are sick of corruption and being abused in everyway by the 1% and the corporations who are deciding our fates to favor them! They don't care about a social contract, a healthy economy, good schools, essential life saving safety nets, a healthy environment or planet- all they care about are their profits at any cost to everything and unless we regulate money in politics we the people will continue to get screwed. So far the American people seem incapable of organizing for a better society. As Robert Reich said, it does not have to be a zero sum game. The rich do not have to destroy our society or economy to stay rich. A healthy economy is good for them too.
 
 
+7 # Anonymot 2014-07-06 17:20
I find it a bit pitiful that most commentors don't seem to read anything longer than a twitter length slogan. I gave a bit of background and expanded on the subject at hand. Little, obvious platitudes on the rich opponents of whay liberals want get applause from knee-jerk responders.

What I'm saying is that if you don't know your enemy, if you don't understand him, he will win the war. And thanks to sloganism that's what the Koch and Wilks Bros are doing.

When you say, "So far the American people seem incapable of organizing for a better society." That's exactly what I'm talking about, but it isn't a quick knee-jerk idea.
 
 
+100 # Vardoz 2014-07-05 12:22
God help us. These predatory billionaires want to take over and they are impoverishing the majority along the way- They are not job creators, the are poverty creators.
 
 
+62 # Dust 2014-07-05 12:33
For a bunch of Old Testament prophet-in-thei r-own-image folks, apparently, they've not read the Old Testament very carefully. Numbers 5 contains instructions by which a husband who even suspects that his wife has been unfaithful and is pregnant may bring her before the High Priest who will give her, basically, a Divine Abortifact to drink. If she was unfaithful, the pregnancy would be Divinely terminated.

Apparently, abortion is "murder" only when not controlled by men.
 
 
+72 # Doll 2014-07-05 12:41
"Farris is a pastor of the church. In his sermons, he decries “socialism” and argues that the Bible was grounded in the free market."

Evidently this "pastor" never read the New Testament: In the book of Acts, Peter starts a very socialist community where everyone gives their wealth to the new church.
 
 
+71 # Dust 2014-07-05 12:44
Not to mention that in Leviticus, every 49th year all land reverts to the original owners and all indentured servants are freed.

Damn that Divine welfare!!
 
 
+69 # Buddha 2014-07-05 13:02
This is what happens when you mix the willful ignorance and religious dogmatic theocratic views of the Taliban, with the narcissism and Oligarchic greed of the GOP. And as we see, ultimately it leads to getting 5 Far Right ideologues in black dresses pushing Oligarchic Theocracy in our SCOTUS...
 
 
+55 # reiverpacific 2014-07-05 13:14
Just to cheer y'all up a bit, Richard Mellon Scaife was just "called to his maker". I'm not celebrating a death but a removal from the political arena of another mean-spirited right extremist: one down, so many more to go!
So the Bible is based on Capitalism eh? Well, my 'umble Sunday School memory seems to recall that scene in the precincts of the Temple where ol' J.C. finally gets pissed off at the moneylenders, crooks and the Sanhedrin who profited from them and scatters their money and tables all over the place.
Maybe these guys identify with the Sanhedrin, who were ultimately responsible for his crucifixion over the objections of Pilate.
And then there's the "Fire and Brimstone" Old Testament, their "Reality" in which their God is "A jealous God" and will kick the shit out of you if you form a collective.
My wife's elder brother became part of this crowd and we've been obliged to cut him out of our lives as a puritanical, judgmental, humorless, obedient and blinkered hopeless case and church elder who stole or "confiscated" a large part of her inheritance being trustee for their late father. Probably tithed a bunch of it to his church. He truly believes that we're living in "End Times"! I hope he has fun explaining his actions to HIS maker if they ever meet up.
As the late George Carlin said in his skit about God and Religion, "He's all-knowing, all-seeing, all being, all-wise -but he ALWAYS needs money -just can't seem to handle money" or words to that effect!
 
 
+36 # Shorey13 2014-07-05 13:15
Yes, Dust, the Jubilee Year, which Jesus evoked repeatedly in support of the poor and other marginalized folks. It was based on an ancient Mesopotamian practice learned by the Jews during the exile in Babylon. A couple of thousand years of semi-civilizati on had taught them that without a periodic re-distribution (all debts forgiven, lands returned to original owners and slaves manumitted) a few powerful, greedy people ended up owning everything, and society ceased to function. The Rabbis who created the Talmud decided that this idea was impracticable and dropped it.
We are suffocating in private and public debt. I have been calling for years for a Debt Forgiveness Day. Fat chance! So, I am praying for the Big Bankruptcy, which will make the Jubilee Year mandatory instead of voluntary. Anybody with me on this?
 
 
+8 # Billo 2014-07-06 13:50
Let's make sure we specify "personal debt" or else the corporations will feel free to ignore their bonded indebtedness.
 
 
+45 # danireland46 2014-07-05 13:39
Farris Wilks.."has suggested that the melting of the icecaps might be punishment for sin, and that President Barack Obama’s re-election may be a harbinger of the “end times.”

The mind of a self-righteous exploiter is exposed in this quote. His fracking is not only destroying Gaia; the fruit of fracking - fossil fuels, IS one of the main causes of global warming. In other words HE'S THE SINNER. And, saying Obama is a sign of the end of the world justifies his fracking, in that we're all going to die soon anyway. Monstrous logic.
 
 
-15 # harleysch 2014-07-05 14:17
Don't forget, President Obama is a big supporter of fracking!
 
 
+3 # Billo 2014-07-06 13:51
Quoting danireland46:
Farris Wilks.."has suggested that the melting of the icecaps might be punishment for sin, and that President Barack Obama’s re-election may be a harbinger of the “end times.”

The mind of a self-righteous exploiter is exposed in this quote. His fracking is not only destroying Gaia; the fruit of fracking - fossil fuels, IS one of the main causes of global warming. In other words HE'S THE SINNER. And, saying Obama is a sign of the end of the world justifies his fracking, in that we're all going to die soon anyway. Monstrous logic.


So you are saying that maybe Farris Wilks is actually the sign of the end times?
 
 
-22 # moafu@yahoo.com 2014-07-05 15:04
"The responsibility of a patriot is to protect his country from the government"
Thomas Paine

It is NOT the function of law to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our wills, our education, our opinions, our work, our trade, our talents, or our pleasures. The function of law is to protect the free exercise of these rights, and to prevent ANY PERSON (Leftist or Rightist) from interfering with the free exercise of these same rights by any other person (Leftist or Rightist). Frederick Bastiat
 
 
+13 # Billo 2014-07-06 13:53
Hey stupid! The function of law is to protect me from you...through regulation.
 
 
+31 # reiverpacific 2014-07-05 15:35
Quoting moafu@yahoo.com:
"The responsibility of a patriot is to protect his country from the government"
Thomas Paine

It is NOT the function of law to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our wills, our education, our opinions, our work, our trade, our talents, or our pleasures. The function of law is to protect the free exercise of these rights, and to prevent ANY PERSON (Leftist or Rightist) from interfering with the free exercise of these same rights by any other person (Leftist or Rightist). Frederick Bastiat

What the fuck has the Biblical precedent in government got to do with that.
If these looneys get their way, we'll be lookin' at another Civil War!
The current fragmentary socio-political climate is in a large part due to the over-use and abuse of the term "Patriot", starting with the "Patriot Act" or "You're either with us in going to war on anybody we please, or your against us"!
The Nazis and other Fascist regimes liked to beat their cowed citizens over the head with such cozy, introverted nationalistic slogans too.
 
 
+30 # Tigre1 2014-07-05 16:03
I pray God deliver us from these self-righteous a+&% holes. ASAP.
 
 
+13 # zahzee 2014-07-05 18:39
At least 2 of the Koch brothers insufferable are vile scum. Only a Hillbillary can allow billionaires to destroy democracy--now that the Ark hillbillies got theirs. Tx SlickWillie for pimping for & signing Glass–Steagall Act so that millions would struggle in 2008+ Great Recession. Go Eliz Warren~Keep hammering Wall St! Delete the Kochs NOW!
 
 
+9 # thehodges1 2014-07-05 21:42
Why does having lots of money make you stupid?
 
 
+8 # Allanfearn 2014-07-06 12:17
It doesn't. But it allows you to be able to afford what it costs.
 
 
+4 # Buda 2014-07-06 11:20
According to ANONYMOT: There's both symmetry and logic to their position. The Moslems learn the Koran from their very early age and the Jews learn the Torah. They all swing back and forth while reading it. The American Jews have mostly lost it, like the American Catholics, but elsewhere, the various forms of the "Good Book" is at the beginning of the learning process.

As a Catholic, I find your comment offensive. As someone who fervently believes in freedom of all religion, I find your comment bigoted. However, to paraphrase JFK: "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to way it."
 
 
+16 # socrates2 2014-07-06 12:25
To paraphrase something I read back in the 60's, "Truth is so strong it stands alone. Lies are so weak they need 100's of millions of dollars to support them..."
Be well.
 
 
+3 # chizables 2014-07-07 16:40
Please don't bother to give the trolls a thumbs down. It just gives them more attention. Just ignore them... if you can.
 
 
0 # LAellie33 2014-07-26 04:33
Hey there brothers Wilks - Rot in hell along with your twins the Koch brothers.
 

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