Colson is, of course, not only a leech on the Washington Post, but a large and repulsive leech on the Republic itself, as his organization, the cultish evangelical prison fellowship, has tried ardently to produce a Christian gang out of prison inmates and, for their efforts, are shunted beaucoup government funding. As has been amply documented, Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministry operates by systematically denigrated any but the evangelical Christian faith, and does so while being supported by the monies collected from Catholic, jew, pagan and Buddhist. As so often, conservatism, here, has become another name for diverting government funds to some bloodsucker’s project or other. Luckily, there are organizations out there battling the bloodsuckers – notably the Americans united for separation of church and state, which won a battle against the funded fundies in Iowa last year. They have a blog, another one that I should put on my sadly neglected sidebar.
As the AU has pointed out, Colson is well known for attacking other religions. Recently he addressed the Southern Baptist convention in San Antonio, where before the prayer n lynchin’ meeting – always a favorite of the pastors, rousing their blood and all – he attacked Islam in the usual Foxfed terms:
Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Charles Colson recently addressed the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastors Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Ethics Daily.com reports that the speech was a no-holds-barred attack on Islam and atheism.
“Colson derided the former for spawning “Islamofacism,” a religion-political ideology that is “evil incarnate.” “Islam is a vicious evil,” he said. Comparing Christianity to Islam, Colson said “these are two completely different views of life and reality. Islam is a theocracy, which means that it is a church state.” On the other hand, he said, Christianity promotes “free will,” each person’s right to “make his own choices.”
Given Colson’s concern for free will and non-theocratic rule, you’d think he would support at least some distance between church and state. On the contrary, he immediately urged the audience to proactively install a Christian theocracy in the United States!
“What is our purpose in life?” he asked the pastors. “It is to restore the fallen culture to the glory of God. It’s to take command and dominion over every aspect of life, whether it’s music, science, law, politics, communities, families, to bring Christianity to bear in every single area of life”
Ah, we are but the ants in the antfarm, while Colson and his minions are the Far Side lunkheads, taking “dominion” over every aspect of our life. No wonder he is contributing to the Faith column at the WAPO! Perfect geneology – from the felonious side of the GOP – perfect rhetoric – nonsense and bluster – perfect coordination with the Christo-corporate mindmeld that is, I guess, what passes for the program of the Bush administration.
Now that we’ve got down that Islam is evil, time to roll up our sleaves and get back at Paganism – especially since the Pagans, not on the government payroll, have much more to say to prisoners than the funded fundies do. In the timetested manner of all rightwingers, Colson defends his attempt to achieve a government sanctioned monopoly by piously opining that paganism is no religion, and if it is a religion, the U.S., being all Judeo-Christian and shit, shouldn’t be using our tax dollars to support it! Gall itself would blanche at this mouthy Tartuffe.
Here he is:
“It is debatable whether paganism is a religion, per say (sic). It is generally defined as a pre-Christian state, but it takes a wide variety of forms—all the way from relatively benign New Age-style nature worship, to pantheism, to witchcraft, and even human sacrifice.
Those who publicly identify themselves as pagans are at best a marginal number and are basically no different from dozens of other cults.
I see no reason why Wiccans or pagans generally should have the services of taxpayer-paid chaplains. It is perfectly appropriate, if a group meets court tests for religion, that outside priest/ministers be allowed to come into federal facilities and minister. But historically, with standards that have been spelled out carefully by the courts, chaplains are appointed to represent mainline religions.”
A good butter wouldn't melt beginning, giving us a refreshing blast of ignorance about pagans and then giving us a false interpretation of court rulings, which have already accorded Wicca religious status, as is pointed out by one of his commenters. So much for the sane Colson – now onto the rabid Colson whose words come out of a strain of legitimism that is pretty big among the ultra-right Christers. They have reluctantly recognized the secularism of Jefferson – and have, of course, pretended Tom Paine never existed – and they have done battle for years with the separation of church and state:
“… it is very clear from reading the writings of our founding fathers that a sound adherence to the values of the Judeo-Christian tradition—or at the very least, deism—was essential as a basis of the moral law that would sustain a free society.
The writings of all the founders are clear on this. I would refer anyone interested particularly to Michael Novak’s book On Two Wings, in which he describes the influence of the Judeo-Christian tradition on one wing and the influence of the Enlightenment on the other. They were finally balanced in our founding. But everyone, devout believer or deist or otherwise, saw the necessity of a strong moral law which would provide self restraint. Without self restraint, free governments cannot succeed.
John Adams famously wrote, “We have no government, armed in power, capable of contending with human passion unbridled by morality and religion . . . our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” And George Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to a political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
Not being as familiar with paganism in its various forms, I do not wish to condemn it unfairly. But from what I know of it, I do not think it can provide the “indispensable supports” Washington wrote about.
So I would not appoint pagan chaplains, nor would I, as a personal decision but influenced greatly by the founders, vote for a pagan.”
I should give the On Faith section some credit, however. Although bringing this reprobate aboard as a regular commenter is offensive, at least they did spotlight the demo by Pagans on July 4. The military, which has a problem, actually, with a pretty active evangelical clique in places like the Air Force Academy, has been trying desperately not to hire any pagan chaplains, although it happens that there are thousands of troops – something like four thousand – who are pagans. Hire the chaplains, and purge the military of the small group of rabid evango-missionaries. Things on the national to do list that won’t get done anytime soon.