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Intro: "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."

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann greets supporters on the campus of Iowa State University after winning the Iowa Straw Poll, 08/13/11. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann greets supporters on the campus of Iowa State University after winning the Iowa Straw Poll, 08/13/11. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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+38 # mjc 2011-08-14 15:17
The article discusses how important the interpretation of the Bible is to the extreme stances of people like Bachman...and perhaps Perry. There are some Christian churches who encourage reading the Bible and discussing it and there are others who merely tell those in the congregation where to turn for their particular enlightenment. When you listen to Bachman you realize that she has taken whole judgments from her particular reading but doesn't seem to notice any other passages. The Bible should be taught as a unsubstantiated account of human growth and development, not some too holy to argue with diatribe.
+37 # GeeRob 2011-08-14 16:34
As I've said before, Bachmann is sincere in her extreme and dangerous beliefs; Perry is only prostituting for the vote, which makes him scarier than Bachmann. But both of these "big government haters" have collected lots of big government dollars. Bachmann's family gets subsidies, her husband gets medicaid funding and Perry has fed off of the government for 26 years.
+15 # GeoffreyT 2011-08-14 20:37
I disagree that Perry is 'scarier' because he's just a fraud whereas Bachmann really seems to be deluded by the Invisible Sky Wizard (who loves penis-snippings ... WTF?).

Turn the argument on its head: which would be scarier if they possessed nuclear weapons: the house of Saud who pretend to be pious but are a bunch of debauched libertines... or the Taleban, who are unambiguously sincere in their proclaimed dedication to the doctrine they espouse?

I can't recall who said it, or the precise quotation... but there is nothing scarier than a True Believer... if you genuinely believe an absurdity, you're stupid enough to commit atrocities to prevent that absurdity from being exposed.
+43 # CragJensen 2011-08-14 15:25
I have been aware of Christian Reconstructioni sm for years and the very real dangers it can bring and has, indeed, already begun to bring on American society. This article is not only a blessing to America but should be printed in every newspaper in America.

For further clarification regarding the relationship between Church & State please check out the following video: A Christian Nation?
+22 # Regina1959 2011-08-14 16:11
ONE WORD on this article: WOW!!
+40 # wrodwell 2011-08-14 16:24
The author didn't go far enough into the long and extensive history of Christianity's intolerance. Thanks to fanatical early Christian mobs, the great Library of Alexandria was destroyed. The Spanish Inquisition lasted centuries and was carried to the New World by Catholic priests who did all they could to eradicate indigenous Indian cultures by burning books and people. As governor, Columbus was a sadistic Christian fanatic who relished torturing Indians-and Spanish- for the slightest Biblical infractions. For this, he was hated by both Indians and his fellow Spaniards. In Florence, the monk Savonarola imposed a strict version of Christianity on all forms of human endeavor including the arts. When florentines finally tired of his nonsense, they rose up and killed him, seemingly the only effective way for societies to rid themselves of religious pollution. If mad-dog Christians get their way in the US, we'll be dragged back to the ignorance, intolerance and superstition of the Middle Ages the same way "radical" Islam wants to impose Sharia Law and strict interpretations of the Q'uran on everyone. All religions are fanatical by nature and design, simply by claiming their "holy" books as the inviolable "Word of God". So, why not get rid of both the Bible and the Q'uran? This would eliminate two types of cultural cancers that have infected and plagued humanity for far too long.
+18 # Bimbalina 2011-08-14 18:00
Hey wrodwell, thanks for the history lesson... a real eye opener! Though I'm not sure that all religions are inherently fanatical - just three of them. I can sympathize with your devilish suggestions, but violence is never the answer, even violence against books. And you could eliminate every religion on Earth, but ignorant, myopic and violent perspectives have infinite modes of expression. So, as I and a few others see it, the only counter balance is infinite love.
+14 # Neil 2011-08-14 21:24
Sharia Law actually is considered bad because it has strict rules for Usury. Basically charging interest on a loan is a sin. It leads to evil.

Weird huh? ;P
+8 # ec 2011-08-14 22:07
couldn't agree more, to trace the root of the problem one must go back,to the puritans who landed here first. I guess first. They were kicked out of England d an Holland before they came here, where there was nothing but a lot of savages. who were of course not people etc etc i dont need to repeat it. The main meme here is, slavery. Theo country was built on slavery and fundie religion provides that impetus.
-1 # ALinSTL 2011-08-14 23:48
And don't forget Christianity is based on INCEST...Adam & Eve were the 1ST humans...Right? And They had children...Righ t? SOOOOO the only people that the KIDS could procreate with was their BROTHERS & SISTERS....RIGH T????? So Christians like Bachmann & Perry champion INCEST...RIGHT! !!!!!!!!!!!!
+4 # mjc 2011-08-15 08:45
If you manage...and that is a big undertaking...t o eliminate religious "guides" like the Bible and the Koran, what you will have left is a bunch of fanatics with magical memories and no particular way to challenge THEIR interpretation of the religion's postulates.
-1 # Duster 2011-08-16 00:24
Oh, possibly a boot the head would work.
+20 # Elliot Hoffman 2011-08-14 17:03
All this has been going on for decades. A brilliant, well funded, strategic objective by the far right to take over America and steal our treasury, take over our public policy-making apparatus (aka Congress). The deal: the wealthy elite give money to those in Congress to stay in power. Those they give money to then write the laws that continue to steal our treasury (ever lower taxes for the wealthy), kill social security and medicare, etc. This all while progressives have been sleeping for decades, trying to hire people to "do God's work" for pennies, and now even the Dems are taking money from some of the same greedy bastards that the Rs do - except Dems get less.

They system is now fully corrupted, virtually none in Congress (except Bernie Saunders, Dennis Kucinich and a few others) tell the real truth. Just ask that model Dem from NY - Chuck Schumer - to raise the taxes on his billionaire buddies from Wall Street to the same 35% tax rate that their secretaries and chauffers pay. Watch his response.

Sick about the values of our nation being so corrupted in my short lifetime - what will our children say?

Elliot H.
+5 # Neil 2011-08-14 21:25
Council of 13 now. Not Congress. Congress gave up there power right?

I sorta am having Flashbacks of Starwars and the "Last vestiges of the republic" scene...
+13 # jon 2011-08-14 17:06
I understand that there are as many interpretations of the Bible as there are people, but I am forever amazed at how The Prince of Peace can be used as a tool to "bully women".

Ah, maybe that is IT !?! These people use it to subjugate their women - and so it, like most things, from selling cars to deodorants, revolves ultimately around sex.
+7 # charsjcca 2011-08-14 19:45
Jon: And the women who are subjugated continue to buy items that are petroleum based, items such as artificial finger nails and "so-called beauty aides."

This must be a nightmare? Is this real?
+17 # in deo veritas 2011-08-14 17:43
The quote that religion is the opiate of the masses seems to be coming true. These clowns refuse to realize that most of the bible was written by humans who gave their own spin to reality-speakin g for God when they had no right to. In the middle ages the church in Rome removed some of the books they did not agree with. Biblican scholars have even conjectured that Shakespeare wrote one of the psalms that went into the King James Version. Version is the key word to this whole situation. What Bachmann and her scurvy crew are trying to force upon us is their version of everything. Theocracy is the antithesis of democracy and the partner of dictatorship. We must remember that the most vicious atrocities in history have been committed in the name of radical religion. There is no difference between the "sharia law" that these characters condemn and the kind of Old Testament barbarism that they themselves espouse. There are basic codes of conduct found in all religions. Beyond that nothing further should be necessary to please our creator, no matter what name is used to describe Him. What can be more important than having a harmonious relationship with the One who made us all? Unfortunately this pales in importance to the power and wealth that these narcissistic nitwits crave. .
+11 # Huskred 2011-08-14 19:01
I agree with what you are saying, in deo veritas, but a bit puzzled by the statement that "most of the bible was written by humans." Who wrote the other parts?
+13 # lexx 2011-08-14 20:46
...but a bit puzzled by the statement that "most of the bible was written by humans." Who wrote the other parts?"

I seem to recall the Bible mentioning "asses" a lot.
+9 # Elizabeth 2011-08-14 20:47
There was much oral tradition that became paraphrased, and as it states in Exodus, some of the inspired writings were lost.

"Calvinism," or the idea that the rich are somehow blessed to be rich, was not invented by Calvin, but Augustine. This concept was considered anathema by many, and a throwback to non-Christian beliefs that Augustine had before his conversion. Augustine was trying to defend the idea that grace comes from God, but missed the mark. It would have been easier to say that grace comes from God, who blesses the poor (as the Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew and the Sermon on the Plain in St. Luke). Some Bishops picked up Augustine's ideas because they didn't like the fact that some poor monks were more educated than they were.
+2 # Duster 2011-08-16 00:31
Calvinist beliefs are in the main centered in the Pagan values of Northern Europe. Augustine does support an idea of the elect, but if you really compare Catholic vs. Calvinist values, you can where carry overs from parent pagan societies shaped both versions of xtianity. Islam, BTW is the same. Many practices of modern right-wing, fundamentalist Muslims heark back to pre-Islamic social practices and values. Judaism is the same as well.
+8 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2011-08-14 22:30
I'm being serious when I say that I don't think that religion is the opiate of the masses — I think SPORTS are, and religion is just another form of sport. "My god can kick your god's ass." Think about it.
+13 # billy bob 2011-08-14 18:00
Great article. It actually describes the thinking of many trolls we've run into on this site.
+16 # Interested Observer 2011-08-14 18:09
Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg 2006
ISBN 0393329763 PB, 0393060942 HC

This book has a detailed discussion of these roots of Christian Nationalism that complements this article.

It also has a discussion of the Griswold v. Connecticut decision (the basis for a right to privacy that overturned a state ban dating from 1879 on any form of contraception) that underlies Roe v. Wade and the implications of overturning Roe v. Wade by means of overturning Griswold.

Strange how the right wants government off our backs but into every bedroom but their own.
+8 # myungbluth 2011-08-14 19:06
Read "Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States" by Sara Diamond. A necessarily tedious history of how the evangelical right and the political right merged. Well footnoted, and not an easy read - but a necessary one to understand how America became so corrupted by the politico/religi ous right.
-8 # imp 2011-08-14 19:37
All well and good, but it's government imperialism that's killing people in the Middle East and it's government bailouts that's sustaining the banks as they foreclose on America.

So now all anti-government people are 'Christian Reconstructioni sts?' And if you question the validity of global warming, you're a religious fanatic?

Cops are tasering people to death every week and we're supposed to worry about abortion clinic protests? I just checked, in the last twenty years only seven people have been killed in anti-abortion violence. Bad, yes, but maybe government violence IS the bigger problem?

Suppose for a moment that dad and son Schaeffer are both working for the same people, just that one plays the conservative card and the other plays the liberal card. And the purpose of both is to divide and conquer the rest of us so that we don't organize against the bankster/govern ment continuum.
+1 # Duster 2011-08-16 00:44
First, all government derives from force and fear. Biblical and Kuranic words can be and are used to justify force, while fear is used to direct it.

Not all antigovernment people are right wing. I'm neither right wing, nor a Christian in any form, and I do think AGW is poppycock founded on really bad physics. I am libertarian and think the Bill of Rights needs to held up as the best statement of human rights that has ever been penned. You want to note that the right and the left between them would like to dismantle it all.

As regards cops and tasers, I would far rather be tasered than shot. You really, really want to consider the alternatives. Tasers aren't nonlethal, but they really are *less* lethal than a gun, and cause far, far less physical trauma.
+7 # Elizabeth 2011-08-14 20:39
A few comments: When a famine hit Cappadocia in the 4th century, St. Basil took his inheritance and spent every bit on his city. In the Bible, in the Book of Acts, Christians relieved others who were in trouble. But now? Frank Schaeffer hits the nail on the head. But this is more than a religious problem inherited from a greedy generation.
A son of (the very rich right-wing economist) Milton Friedman, also an "economist," David Friedman, wants everything to be free enterprise for profit, especially hospitals, etc. David Friedman also goes by the moniker "Cariadoc," a founder of the S.C.A., which re-enacts the period between 600 and 1600 A.D., but with no "Magna Carta" or member rights in their charter. The "S.C.A." thinks they are a private club, but they invite members and non-members alike to join them at events, which makes them public, and some events have more than 10,000 people. Although most members of the S.C.A. don't care about politics, that is almost the point: many of them are involved in the S.C.A. to the exclusion of participation in present-day political activities. Ever wonder what happened to former hippies that liked to dress up in Medieval clothes? Nor is this the only example: much larger is the Civil War re-enacters. The right-wing has managed to engulf and devour the left-wing. Drum circle anyone?
-16 # Hot Doggie 2011-08-14 21:11
The article proposes that it is against some humanistic and corporatistic doctrine that one should put into practice the true values expounded upon in the Holy Bible in so far as politics and big business goes. It may be assumed that it’s acceptable to live biblically in other professions as long as you are not in a position of influencing vast amounts of people. If you’re some little Mom-and-Pop outfit and more or less by yourself, then I guess it’s OK to practice religion. But if your job is as a political leader or CEO where you can influence much people, then you cannot practice religion and must succumb to the humanistic and the corporate doctrine of “It’s-not-perso nal-it’s-only-b usiness” where only profit is king and employees are expendable and where righteousness is determined by secular success.

This article is an example of Luke 8:7, KJV, “And some (the good seeds: the Word of God) fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and chocked it.” This article acts to choke the righteous Word of God. And it now places the decision before everyone reading this article as to who they are going to follow: God or man.
+8 # Rainphase 2011-08-15 06:15
That's not really what the article says. Actually, the issue is the the CEOs and political leaders who are the most bound to "Christian Reconstructioni sm" are precisely the ones who are the most avaricious and place the most value in corporate (secular) success. They ignore or often repudiate everything in the Bible that says Love They Neighbor As Thyself and condemn those who try to live their lives in accordance with charity and mercy. They are a brand of anti-Christian Christians.
+3 # Elizabeth 2011-08-15 18:30
I wish that every CEO and political leader did follow the real Bible, the one that says, "Blessed are the poor." And, that we should feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, heal the sick, free (or at least visit) the captives, give shelter to the stranger (i.e., immigrant or homeless), and clothe the naked (coats in winter, etc., and maybe heat in winter). That's in Matthew 25:32 on. But it seems to be utterly cut out of some Bibles, and that is the complaint. Yes, I want somebody who really cares to run for government, and I want them to really believe in helping people. This is not "humanistic," it is accepting that when God forbids the rich man to enter into heaven, but accepts the poor Lazarus, that means that grace is not bequeathed to the rich, but to the poor and to those that help them. That is religion, and anything against that is NOT fundamentalist, but fake.
+7 # Isar 2011-08-14 21:21
Religion really is the opiate of the masses, and we are seeing a growth in the opiate, aren't we? I don't know what to do about it except to continue arguing that this particular opium doesn't belong in government--no way--no how. This particular opium of the people will bring down this democracy, and Thomas Jefferson knew that. So did John Adams.
+1 # rtrues54 2011-08-15 14:36
This particular opium of the people will bring down this democracy

+8 # futhark 2011-08-14 21:26
Anyone who has read the Bible cover-to-cover, as I have, knows that it is filled with some of the worst kinds of racism, sexism, intolerance, imperialism, and genocide, mostly justified as the will of a Deity, somewhat described as an autocratic non-material entity that manifests His (Its?) will by visiting plagues and other calumnies on whole offending nations, guilty and innocent alike. This is no model for operating a 21st Century nation that prides itself on its traditions of popular government, tolerance, and respect for the rights of others.
+2 # Pedant 2011-08-15 05:41
Calamities (disasters) not calumnies (slanders).
0 # robertsgt40 2011-08-16 13:42
You're confusing God's word with what men do(they say) in the name of God. False teachers and false profits will always be with us. God said nothing about killing for Israel. I'm sure Bachmann would dispute this since she spent a year on a kibbutz in Israel in the 70s. The true God has been pushed aside. For those that don't believe in God, you will soon have a world without Him. Then, with YOUR superior reasoning, you can "fix" the world
+7 # angelfish 2011-08-14 21:27
What I'd like to know, is HOW these Ultra Conservative Religious NUT JOBS were able to insinuate themselves into our Government? Like the Taliban and Al Queda, the "C" Streeters believe they have been "chosen by God" because they were elected, and have become Very Powerful! Many are new recruits wreaking havoc in Congress because they think that only THEY know what is good for America! Others have walked the Halls of Congress for thirty or more years and are NOW a Powerful, DANGEROUS cabal that bears CLOSE scrutiny. They have their fingers deep into Leadership positions on important Decision and Policy making Committees. Sadly, the Right-Wing Poobahs have lost control of their Newbie Freshmen in the House, as evidenced by their refusal to raise the Debt Ceiling and holding the Country Hostage to their INSANE demands! Like Sarah Palin, they are dim witted, Un-educable "Loose Cannons" willing to take this Country DOWN in order to discredit this President! If THIS is "Christianity" Thanks, but NO THANKS!
+3 # David of Hawaii 2011-08-14 23:38
If you wish to say that the Bible is LITERAL, the only thing that makes sense is that there are at least several gods lumped under one term "God"

1. The Creator God, the Spirit/Essence of the Sentient Universe. Gen 1:1,25 Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in you all. Eph 4:6

2. The Gods who created Man in their own image, male and female created he them. Gen 1:26,27, 5:1,2

3. The God of Laws who told Moses; Thou shalt not kill, steal, bear false witness, covet anything that is thy neighbors. Ex 20.

4. The God of War, Hatred, and Greed who proscribed genocide, murder, covetousness and theft against their neighbors. Book or Joshua

5. The God of Peace. Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God

In an attempt to identify who is speaking, we recall that Jesus said: "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Matt 7:16
" their fruits ye shall know them." Matt 7:20

Unfortunately, many who believe that they are worshiping the Creator God, have instead been seduced into fulfilling the wishes of the God of War, Hatred and Greed, i.e. Satan,thereby often unknowing become His greatest advocates.
+7 # steve robertson 2011-08-15 03:06
Thank you Frank that is an amazing overview of what has led to this insane time in America. Sorry you had to be a midwife to the birth of 'modern Christian insanity', but thankfully you have a mind of your own still and have gifted us the insight of this article. What to do now? HOw do we stop this madness that led to the election of a 'boy idiot from Texas', the Iraq/Afghanista n Wars and the loss of millions of lives as well as massive environmental destruction.
+2 # kalpal 2011-08-15 06:05
The more extreme the group, the more impotent their god who it just so happens needs them to fabricate his will so as to be able to commit murder and mayhem on his behalf.

When your faith is no longer in a god almighty but in an automatic weapon almighty, you are a religious extremist who has plumbed the depths of god's innermost thoughts and deliberations.

Bah humbug!
+3 # foxtrottango 2011-08-15 09:11
The Republican Party has no choice but to dig the bottom of the barrel. After all, everything in that barrel is rotten to the core.

Bringin God into the picture is something that came out during the Dark Ages. History repeats itself, folks!

It's like Conservative Christianity in the USA is going postal!
-1 # Elizabeth 2011-08-15 18:36
I hate to say it, but you are right. But it isn't "conservative Christianity," but the newly minted "Evangelical" model that is causing the problem. In the history of religion, this is a very new one.
+1 # Duster 2011-08-16 00:55
Not really new at all. You want to look back on some of the movements that gave rise to the modern sects that are still with us, consider the mobs who gathered on hill tops in the 1830s waiting for the end of the world - many became Seventh Day Adventists. Consider old Joe Smith the conman who founded the Mormons, and worse, Brigham Young (look up Mountain Meadows massacre). Look at the heritage of the Puritans (Calvinists and Methodists), the English Civil War. The establishment of the state of modern Israel, supported mainly by Christians hoping to "immanentize the Eschaton." Nothing new at all.
+3 # Chris Connolly 2011-08-15 12:37
It seems the only thing that will cleanse us of these history keeps repeating itself religious-right -wing-zealots is environmental collapse. It probably won't be long now for those same blinded by their own righteousness to take us all down with them. Human religion is only about promoting itself for its own profit, everything else be damned.
+7 # Don Thomann 2011-08-15 13:01
It's too bad that this article and all the posted comments are not in the public media.
We are all preaching to the choir!
How do we get the word out to the dumbed-down, proudly-ignoran t and anti-government zealots?
+1 # soularddave 2011-08-16 20:37
I, for one, really appreciate the article, first, and the comments most. Being raised outside of any religious organization, much of this is new and confusing to me.

I might point out that our military, particularly Air Force cadets, Are infused with this "stuff". Considering how the tail wags the dog, sometimes, the whole military/congre ssional complex may be beyond control of anything other than corporations (thanks to the Supremes). We live in exceedingly dangerous times, when all we're used for is a *funding stream* to further the cause of EMPIRE.

The lifespan of the last few empires (Spain, France, England) has been 150 years, so we ought to be just about done by the 2030s. But can the planet sustain us for that long?
0 # undrgrndgirl 2011-08-16 19:00
so, basically you are saying this is all your fault.
+1 # Hot Doggie 2011-08-17 02:12
To be sure, I don’t want some religious bigot ruling the people or the corporations either. But all conflicts always come down to religion. The USA started because of religious persecution in Europe. The Pilgrims came here to escape that religious persecution. Please note that’s why we have the First Amendment. Our forefathers did not want government to make any law respecting the establishing of religion. Everyone was free to choose their own religion as they saw fit. But that doesn’t mean that a person has to be an atheist to hold public or corporate office. It just means that the politicians cannot make laws favoring one religion over the next. The corporations however, are a different animal.

Corporations are becoming the defacto government, especially the banks, and they have their own religious belief system. That belief system is money and control. The banks effectively say to the people, if you don’t do it our (their) way, then we’ll withhold money and then you don’t work and you don’t get food, shelter, or clothing. The banks not too subtly force themselves upon the people. And we’ve only had a few presidents, like Andrew Jackson and John F. Kennedy, fight back. And most of the other politicians must be on the dole to the corporations because they’re selling us out by making decisions favorable to the corporations to the hurt of the people.
-1 # Hot Doggie 2011-08-18 11:19
@ Futhark who said,

"Anyone who has read the Bible...knows that it is filled with some of the worst kinds of...intoleranc e...mostly justified as the will of a Deity...that manifests His...will by visiting plagues and other calumnies on...nations..."

Perhaps you views are from the eyes of someone who does not believe that God is God. If you think God is some man, then you'll have the view you have. But if you believed He's God, and that He made all things, including man, then you'll see His judgements as gleening the unbelievers from the fold. He offered peace and comfort to all who choose Him and oppression to those who don't. He gives us all a choice. Choose as you will.

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