Daily Archives: April 5, 2010

President Obama Throws Out First Pitch

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama is congratulated by kids on the sidelines at Nationals Stadium moments after he threw out the first pitch before the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals on Opening Day at Nationals Park on April 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photos by Pool/Getty Images North America)

EUR~It went wide right, but at least President Obama’s ceremonial first pitch to launch the 2010 Major League Baseball season found the glove of Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman without taking a bounce.

Dressed in a red Nationals jacket and khakis, the president stopped to greet wounded veterans before walking out to the mound amid lots of cheers and some audible boos at Nationals Park today.

The left-hander then pulled out a White Sox cap to represent his home team, placed it firmly on his head and wound up for the pitch.

The wild throw was perhaps an over-compensation for the opening toss at last year’s All-Star game in St. Louis, when Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols saved him the embarrassment of a short hop by moving up to scoop the low pitch inches off the ground.

Obama, an avid basketball player who has said baseball does not come naturally to him, prepared for Monday’s opener by throwing practice pitches to aides at the White House.

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Obama! by Frank Rich

Posted by: TheLCster

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Columnist Frank Rich

NOT since Clark Kent changed in a phone booth has there been an instant image makeover to match Barack Obama’s in the aftermath of his health care victory. “He went from Jimmy Carter to F.D.R. in just a fortnight,” said one of the “Game Change” authors, Mark Halperin, on MSNBC. “Look at the steam in the man’s stride!” exclaimed Chris Matthews. “Is it just me, or does Barack Obama seem different since health care passed?” wrote Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast, which, like The Financial Times, ran an illustration portraying the gangly president as a newly bulked-up Superman.

What a difference winning makes — especially in America. Whatever did (or didn’t) get into Obama’s Wheaties, this much is certain: No one is talking about the clout of Scott Brown or Rahm Emanuel any more.

But has the man really changed — or is it just us? Fifteen months after arriving at the White House, Obama remains by far the most popular national politician in the country, even with a sub-50 percent approval rating. And yet he’s also the most enigmatic. While he is in our face more than any other figure in the world, we still aren’t entirely sure what to make of him.

Artwork by Barry Blitt

Depending on where you stand — or the given day — he is either an overintellectual, professorial wuss or a ruthless Chicago machine pol rivaling the original Boss Daley. He is either a socialist redistributing wealth to the undeserving poor or a tool of Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs elite. He is a terrorist-coddling, A.C.L.U.-tilting lawyer or a closet Cheneyite upholding the worst excesses of the Bush administration’s end run on the Constitution. He is a lightweight celebrity who’s clueless without a teleprompter or a Machiavellian mastermind who has ingeniously forged his Hawaiian birth certificate, covered up his ties to Islamic radicals and bamboozled the entire mainstream press. He is the reincarnation of J.F.K., L.B.J., F.D.R., Reagan, Hitler, Stalin, Adlai Stevenson or Nelson Mandela. (Funny how few people compared George W. Bush to anyone but Hitler and his parents.)

No wonder that eight major new Obama books are arriving in the coming months, as Howard Kurtz reported in The Washington Post last week. And that’s just counting those by real authors, like Bob Woodward and Jonathan Alter, not the countless anti-Obama diatribes. There’s a bottomless market for these volumes not just because their protagonist remains popular but also because we keep hoping that the Obama puzzle might be cracked once and for all, like the Da Vinci Code.

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The Obama Family Host the 2010 Easter Egg Roll

Posted by: Audiegrl

The First family are holding this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, April 5, 2010 with the theme of “Ready, Set, Go!” promoting health and wellness. Over 30,000 people from all 50 states and DC will visit the South Lawn of the White House this year. The event features live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and, of course, Easter egg rolling. All of the activities will encourage children to lead healthy and active lives and follow the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative, a national campaign to combat childhood obesity.

The 2010 White House Easter Egg Roll souvenir eggs are available for purchase online at the National Park Foundation website. Each wooden egg is expertly crafted, painted, and includes the signatures of the President and First Lady.

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The White House press office has announced the following performers and leaders in their field to participate in this year’s festivities:

  • Sara Bareilles, Justin Bieber, the cast of the television show Glee, Yo Gabba Gabba, Sesame Street, and Little Beat, The #1 Chinchilla and DJ Willy Wow! will perform on the Rock ‘n’ Egg Roll Stage
  • J.K. Rowling, Reese Witherspoon, Apolo Ohno, Mariska Hargitay, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, Elmo and Maria of Sesame Street and Betty DeGeneres will read on the Storytime Stage
  • Billy Jonas and Miss Amy will perform on the Ellipse
  • Chef Art Smith, Chef José Andrés, Chef Cliff Wharton, Chef Nora Poullion, Chef Robert Wiedmaier, Chef Susan Limb, Chef Victor Albisu, and the White House Chefs will prepare healthy eating demonstrations in the Play with your Food area.
  • Billie Jean King, Gigi Fernandez, Ilana Kloss, Delaney Rudd, Liezel Huber, Katrina Adams, Anna Rawson, Jane Geddes, Kris Tschetter, Martin Gramatica, Michele Smith, Al Bumbry and Earl Boykins will help organize games in the Sports Zones
  • NFL players will lead children in healthy activities as a part of the NFL Play 60 Movement. Those participating include Washington Redskins players Kevin Barnes, Alvin Bowen, Derrick Dockery, Reed Doughty, Chris Horton, Marko Mitchell, Will Robinson, Casey Rabach, Justin Tryon, Edwin Williams, Anthony Montgomery, Lorenzo Alexander, H.B. (Horatio Benedict) Blades, Doug Dutch as well as, Baltimore Ravens players Matt Lawrence and Sam Koch
  • Eggspress Yourself: Arts & crafts for the kids to enjoy
  • Music: The DC Youth Orchestra and the United States Marine Corps Band

Assistant Pastry Chef Susie Morrison puts the finishing touches on some marzipan chicks for an Easter Egg Village as the White prepares for the annual Easter Egg Roll, April 2, 2010. The White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that has spanned more than 130 years. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters, Sasha and Malia, attend Easter Sunday service at Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

All of the headliner music acts and Storytime Stage readers will have their performances broadcast live on www.whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll. A full schedule will be posted on the morning of April 5th so citizens from across the country can participate in the event.

A more ambitious and comprehensive approach to sustainability was taken to minimize the environmental impact of the 2010 Easter Egg Roll. Some of the highlights include: the “greenest” souvenir egg in Egg Roll history, crafted from Forest Stewardship Council certified U.S. hardwood; goody bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic; the use of organically grown fruits and vegetables at the Play with Your Food station; and increased recycling and composting capabilities on the day of the event.

The White House Easter Egg Roll is made possible by the hard work of close to 1,200 volunteers

Photos courtesy of Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obamafoodorama, Lynn Sweet/Chicago Sun-Times, Alex Wong/Getty Images North America, and Pete Souza/White House

The Mount Ennon Baptist Church Children’s Chorus from Clinton, Md., performs at the Easter Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House, April 6, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama (C) reads Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Suess, for a group of children and his family, first lady Michelle Obama (R) and daughters Malia Obama (L), 11, and Sasha Obama, 8, during the Easter Egg Roll at the White House April 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)


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2010 Easter Egg Roll Performances/Readings

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Filed under Change, Children, Easter, First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

History of the White House Easter Egg Roll

Posted by: Audiegrl

The public attends the Annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House grounds in 1954.


The Easter Egg Roll is an annual event, that is held on the White House lawn each Easter Monday for children and their parents. I’ve put together a list of little know historical facts about the Annual White House Easter Egg Roll. And to add some visual flava, there’s a slide show chronicling the party through history…Enjoy!

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  • The Easter Egg Roll is a White House tradition dating back to 1878 and President Rutherford B. Hayes, but there are records of informal egg rolling events even earlier. Dolley Madison, the wife of President James Madison, held a event in 1814 and hundreds of children brought their decorated eggs to join in games.
  • The White House Easter egg roll was originally in front of Capitol Hill. That site was closed off after President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill in 1876 banning egg-rolling because it caused too much wear and tear to the lawns. The law was so strictly enforced that the Capitol Police had to eject some die-hard rollers.
  • On Easter day in 1878, when the ban on egg rolling at the Capitol was enforced, some claim that President Hayes saw tearful children while riding by the Capitol Grounds in his carriage and invited them to play on the White House lawn
  • Grover Cleveland was the first President to join the egg roll. In 1885 a group of kids demanded a personal audience with the president after walking into the East Room of the White House (security clearly wasn’t as tight then). After that, the rollers weren’t allowed indoors.
  • Music was added to the party in 1889. The United States Marine Band, conducted by John Philip Sousa, was asked to play for the children. Sousa’s “Easter Monday on the White House Lawn” was composed in honor of the tradition. The Jonas Brothers, a favorite band of First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, played for the rollers in 2008.
  • By 1899, the White House Easter Egg Roll had become quite popular, with over 8,000 people in attendance. This year, 30,000 were invited to attend the event
  • First Lady Grace Coolidge was known for her love of pets, but none were more famous than her pet raccoon, Rebecca, who made an appearance at the White House Easter Egg Roll in the 1920’s
  • The White House instituted a one adult per child rule in the 1930s. The crowd got so sneaky about circumventing the rule that the Secret Service had to regulate at the gates. Crafty children would even charge adults to come in with them.
  • The Easter Egg Roll has been held at the White House every year except during World War I, World War II and the Truman Renovation of the White House, when it was moved to other Washington locations or canceled
  • President Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon were the first to include the White House Easter Bunny in the festivities. A member of Mrs. Nixon’s staff dressed up as the first human-sized bunny. Since then, life-sized bunnies and other animals have strolled the White House lawns during the event.
  • President Ronald Reagan was the first President to hide autographed eggs for children to find in the Egg Hunt
  • President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were the first to affix the signature of the President and First Lady to the commemorative egg
  • In 2009 the Obama administration allocated tickets for same-sex couples and their children to attend the Easter Egg Roll. In 2006, Conservative groups accused gay and lesbian parents attending the event of “crashing.” SMDH
  • In 2009, the Obamas chose a green egg as their souvenir. In the spirit of a greener White House, kids got an egg designed to be “the greenest egg in White House Easter Egg Roll History” that year.
  • In 2010, President Obama and First Lady Michelle had the packaging of the eggs, made from recyclable paperboard, designed to minimize waste and environmental impact, and include fruits and vegetables for the event that were organically grown. In addition, the goody bags included a brochure on healthy eating
  • In 2010, 250,000 tickets were requested through the online lottery, allowing residents from all 50 states to have a chance to attend. Of the 30,000 ticket winners, at least one family from all 50 states was successful in the lottery. In addition, 3,000 tickets were distributed to students of DC, MD and VA schools, and 4,000 tickets were distributed to military families

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle’s Schedule for the Week (04/05 thru 04/09)

Posted by: Audiegrl

The White House Press office released the official guidance for the week of April 5, 2010:

Monday, April 5
The First Family will attend the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. In the afternoon the President will throw out the first pitch at opening day at Nationals Park.

Tuesday, April 6
The President attends meetings at the White House.

Wednesday, April 7
During the day, the President attends meetings at the White House.

On Wednesday evening, the President will travel to Prague, arriving Thursday morning local time.

Thursday, April 8
In Prague, the President will attend a bilateral meeting with President Medvedev of Russia, followed by a signing ceremony and a press conference with Presidents Obama and Medvedev.

The President will then attend a ceremonial lunch with the three countries – the United States, Russia and the Czech Republic. On Thursday night, the President will attend a dinner with 11 heads of state and government from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Friday, April 9
On Friday morning, the President will attend a bilateral meeting with the President and the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, before returning to Washington and landing that night.

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Vice-President Joe Biden in Peoria, IL: The Fight to Stop Violence Against Women Continues

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Lynn Rosenthal

Vice President Joe Biden visits Peoria on March 31, 2010 to speak at the 16th annual Partners in Peace event hosted by the Center for Prevention of Abuse at the Peoria Civic Center. (Photo credit Fred Zwicky/Journal Star)

This week, the Vice President took his commitment to ending violence against women to Peoria, Illinois where he spoke at the Center for the Prevention of Abuse’s Partners in Peace awards.

The 1100 member audience was mesmerized by the Vice President’s story about his early efforts to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The first VAWA hearing was held on June 20, 1990, and over the next four years then-Senator Biden held moving hearings on domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

I found out that the problem was much deeper than I imagined,” Vice President Biden said, describing three obstacles that had to be overcome: the notion that domestic violence is a family matter; a culture that blames the victim; and the belief that if the woman didn’t report it, it must not have happened.

The Violence Against Women Act changed all that – sending resources to communities to improve the criminal justice response to abuse, creating tougher penalties for federal crimes, and bringing communities together to combat abuse. Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, domestic violence has dropped by 58%.

Vice President Joe Biden meets with local small business owners and workers Wednesday at the Spotted Cow during his visit to Peoria on March 31, 2010. The Vice President laughed as he learned that his ice cream was made just for him, a special flavor called Chip off the Old Biden. (Photo credit Fred Zwicky/Journal Star)

Despite the progress being made in reducing domestic violence across the country, the Vice President noted that there are still 2 million injuries and 1400 deaths to women each year. During the Vice President’s remarks on Wednesday, he said that the White House is stepping up its efforts in this arena, announcing an unprecedented $730 million in the President’s proposed FY2011 budget to shore up services, help victims find housing and legal assistance, and make sure every call for help is answered.

The Vice President pledged to continue his commitment to change attitudes and to “free women from the oppressive cultural norm that causes them in any way to feel they are responsible for or contributed to their own abuse.”

As one audience member said after the speech, the Vice President was “such a fitting representative for this issue.”

Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women
Photo credits Fred Zwicky/Journal Star

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Anti-Obama Billboards Spring Up in Atlanta

Posted by: BuellBoy

Eric Lach/TPM~Achieving an unlikely harmony between old and new media, an anonymous group of Atlanta business owners is using a website to crowdsource the funding of an anti-Obama billboard campaign.

The group — Billboards Against Obama — was formed several weeks ago, and has already put up several billboards in the Atlanta metro area, according to local news reports.

While the group plans to remain anonymous, they have asked life coach, motivational speaker, and New York Times bestselling author Tommy Newberry to act as their spokesman. Newberry told TPM that the group was united by a common frustration against Obama and a desire to do something with that feeling.

But why billboards?

“Where are the people? They’re out driving around,” Newberry told TPM in an interview.

On the group’s website, people can contribute money, sponsor new billboards, and even contribute new billboard designs. “Be seen — be heard — before it’s too late!” the site reads. “There is a war going on…a war for the future of America!”

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The Evangelical “Mainstream” Insanity Behind the Michigan “End Times” Militia

Posted by: Betsm

Written by Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer

NYT Best-selling Author Frank Schaeffer

A federal prosecutor in Michigan says authorities decided to arrest members of the Hutaree Christian militia after learning “they were prepared to kill.”

When I first learned of the news I went to the Hutaree Militia homepage and was struck by the fact that their site included links to a number of evangelical “End Times” sites like that of the Jack Van Impe ministries.

In the 1970s and 80s I appeared several times with Jack Van Impe on his TV program. His act was to predict the “imminent” return of Jesus. My act was to raise money for my latest far religious right effort to make abortion illegal.

As the son of well known evangelicals and far right leader Francis Schaeffer I was in the middle of the chain of events that led to the arrests of men prepared to kill cops for Jesus. The rhetoric we in the early pro-life movement unleashed combined, with the apocalyptic fantasies of the fundamentalist evangelicals, is a deadly brew.

As I describe in detail in my books Crazy For God and Patience With God this movement has a deep evangelical background. In fact I’ve been predicting violence from these people for years now, something I talk about in detail in Patience With God (from which I drew material for this article since I have a whole chapter there about the “Left Behind” cult).

My warnings have been largely ignored by the mainstream media who haven’t a clue as to the sort of religious paranoia boiling in the Tea Party and other movements.

Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series of sixteen novels (so far!) represents everything that is most deranged about religion. What happened with this militia group is that their paranoid, deranged fantasy jumped from the page into sick brains and was turned into action.

The Left Behind novels have sold 70 million of copies while spawning an “End Times” cult, or rather egging it on. People like Jack Van Impe have built whole TV empires pushing this cult. Combined with the Fox News fantasy take on Obama and the fact he is black, the pot just boiled over in Michigan.

Such products as Left Behind wall paper, screen savers, children’s books, and video games have become part of the ubiquitous American background noise. Less innocuous symptoms include people stocking up on assault rifles and ammunition, adopting “Christ-centered” home school curricula, fearing higher education, embracing rumor as fact, and learning to love hatred for the “other,” as exemplified by a revived anti-immigrant racism, the murder of doctors who do abortions, and even a killing in the Holocaust Museum. And now we have a cult/militia dedicated to the same idea.

Here is what’s on the Hutaree Militia homepage:

As Christians we all are a part of the Souls of the Body of Christ, the one true church of Christ… This is the belief of the Hutaree soldier, as should the belief of all followers in Christ be.

We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. All Christians must know this and prepare, just as Christ commanded. Luke 22:35-37…This clearly states the reason for the training and preparation of the Hutaree.

Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment. The only thing on earth to save the testimony and those who follow it, are the members of the testimony, til the return of Christ in the clouds…

The Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God wills it. We will reach out to those who are yet blind in the last days of the kingdoms of men and bring them to life in Christ. Daniel 11:32-35, “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33, “And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. 34, “Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join them by intrigue. 35 “And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.”

You can find the news we find in some of the places we have in the information sources section. Also you can get gear from some of the choice places we have on gear links…

No, I am not blaming Jenkins and LaHaye’s product line for the plot to murder cops or any other evil intent or result. What I am saying is that feeding the paranoid delusions of people on the fringe of the fringe contributes to a dangerous climate that may provoke violence in a few individuals.

A time-out for disclosure is in order.

I knew Jerry Jenkins quite well many years ago, and we worked on a baseball book project together, with me trying — and failing — to get his book made into a movie. I also have known Tim LaHaye for years, and some thirty years ago we shared the platform at several fundamentalist far right events. I’m betting that they mean well. It seems to me that they also have no idea what they have helped unleash. You can be very decent and very blind.

That said, the evangelical/fundamentalists — and hence, from the early 1980s until the election of President Obama in 2008, the Religious Right as it informed U.S. policy through the then dominant Republican Party — are in the grip of an apocalyptic Rapture cult centered on revenge and vindication. This End Times death wish is built on a literalist interpretation of the Book of Revelation.

Given that Revelation is now being hyped as the literal — even desired — roadmap to Armageddon, it’s worth pausing to note that it’s nothing more than a bizarre pastoral letter that was addressed to seven specific churches in Asia at the end of the first century by someone (maybe John or maybe not) who appears to have been far from well when he wrote it. In any case, the letter was not intended for use outside of its liturgical context, not to mention that it reads like Jesus on acid.

The Left Behind series is really just recycled evangelical/fundamentalist profit taking from scraps of “prophecy” left over from an earlier commercial effort to mine the vein of fearsome End Times gold. A book called The Late Great Planet Earth was the 1970s incarnation of this nonsense. It was written by Hal Lindsey, a “writer” who dropped by my parents’ ministry several times.

Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth interpreted Revelation for a generation of paranoid evangelicals who were terrified of the Soviet Union and communism and were convinced that the existence of the modern State of Israel was the sign that Jesus was on the way in our lifetimes, as Lindsey claimed.

After everything predicted in the book came to nothing, Lindsey rewrote and “updated” his “interpretations” in many sequels.

According to Jenkins and LaHaye, who have taken over the Hal Lindsey franchise of apocalypse-for-fun-and-profit and expanded it into a vast industry, the “chosen” will soon be airlifted to safety. The focus on the “signs” leading up to this hoped-for aeronautical excursion is understandably no longer the defunct U.S.S.R. but the ripped-from-the-headlines gift that keeps on giving: the Middle East. Check out the accused cop killer’s website and you’ll find a preoccupation with the Middle East.

The key to understanding the popularity of this series (and the whole host of other End Times “ministries” from the ever weirder Jack-the-Rapture-is-coming!-Van-Impe to the smoother but no less bizarre pages of Christianity Today magazine) isn’t some new or sudden interest in prophecy, but the deepening inferiority complex suffered by the evangelical/fundamentalist community.

The words left behind are ironically what the books are about, but not in the way their authors intended. The evangelical/fundamentalists, from their crudest egocentric celebrities to their “intellectuals” touring college campuses trying to make evangelicalism respectable, have been left behind by modernity. They won’t change their literalistic, anti-science, anti-education, anti-everything superstitions, so now they nurse a deep grievance against “the world.” This has led to a profound fear of the “other.”

Jenkins and LaHaye provide the ultimate revenge fantasy for the culturally left behind against the “elite.” They do theologically what Sarah Palin does politically: divide the world and America into “Them” and Us.”

The Left Behind franchise holds out hope for the self-disenfranchised that at last everyone will know “we” were right and “they” were wrong. They’ll know because Spaceship Jesus will come back and whisk us away, leaving everyone else to ponder just how very lost they are because they refused to say the words, “I accept Jesus as my personal savior” and join our side while there was still time! Even better: Jesus will kill all those smart-ass, Democrat-voting, over-educated people who have been mocking us!

All the folks in Michigan did was decide to start the killing a little early.

Knowingly or unknowingly, Jenkins and LaHaye cashed in on years of evangelical/fundamentalists’ imagined victim-hood — something that is now key to understanding the Tea Party movement.

I say imagined, because the born-agains had one of their very own, George W. Bush, in the White House for eight long, ruinous years and also dominated American politics for the better part of thirty years before that. Nevertheless, their sense of being a victimized minority is still very real — and very marketable. Whether they were winning politically or not, they nurtured a mythology of persecution by the “other.” Evangelical/fundamentalists believed that even though they were winning, somehow they had actually lost.

Most of that sense of lost battles is related to the so-called culture wars issues in which evangelical/fundamentalists did not fare so well, from the legalization of abortion to gay rights. But rather than admitting that they were often losing the arguments, or had come across as so mean (or plain dumb) that few outsiders wanted to be like them, they blamed everyone else, from the courts to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the New York Times, and the “left-wing media.” Just about any scapegoat would do to deny or disguise the simple fact that fewer Americans wanted to follow the evangelical/fundamentalist Church Ladies into their gloomy cave (and/or the never-never land of the Rapture) and park their brains there.

I used to be part of the self-pitying, whining, evangelical/fundamentalist chorus.

I remember going on the Today Show with host Jane Pauley back in the late 1970s (or early 1980s). I debated with the head of the American Library Association about my claim that our evangelical/fundamentalist books weren’t getting a fair shake from the “cultural elites.” We Schaeffers were selling millions of books, but the New York Times never reviewed them. I made the point that we were being ignored by the “media elite,” which was somewhat ironic, given that I had been invited to appear on Today to make that claim.

I dropped out of the evangelical/fundamentalist subculture soon after that Today appearance (years later I was back on Today in my secular writer incarnation, being interviewed about a book of mine on the military/civilian divide, but I decided not to mention that I’d been on the show about thirty years before in what seemed like either another lifetime or an out-of-body experience.

Others carried on where I left off, pushing the victimhood mythology to the next generation of evangelical/fundamentalists, and they have cultivated a following among the terminally aggrieved based on ceaselessly warning them about “the world.”

A host of evangelical/fundamentalist Cassandras tour college campuses reinforcing their followers’ perennial chip-on-the-shoulder attitude by telling fearful evangelical/fundamentalist students to hold fast against the secular onslaught.

Sometimes right-wing paranoia takes an ugly twist. A website maintained by James Von Brunn, an avowed racist and anti-Semite well known to the netherworld of white supremacy — and the assassin who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in June of 2009 — said that Brunn tried to carry out a “citizen’s arrest” in 1981 on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, whom he accused of “treason.” When he was arrested outside the room where the board was meeting, he was carrying a sawed-off shotgun, a revolver, and a knife. Police said he planned to take members of the Fed hostage.

“Mainstream” (in other words, slightly less nutty and less violent) religious-right Republicans have been saying the same thing as Brunn about the Fed for years, particularly the so-called “dominionists” who believe it’s their job to reestablish God’s dominion on earth. They preach Old Testament-style vengeance and loony gold-standard “economics” from many “respectable” pulpits. They also hate America (as it is), want a revolution in the name of God, and espouse “pro-life” beliefs, anti-gay hate, racism, and far-right Republican politics. They take the Republican anti-government propaganda to the next step and say that even paying taxes is “unconstitutional.” I know them well.

I knew the founders of the dominionist movement — people like the late Reverend Rousas John Rushdoony, the father of “Christian Reconstructionism” and the modern evangelical/fundamentalist home school movement. Rushdoony (whom I met and talked with several times) believed that interracial marriage, which he referred to as “unequal yoking,” should be made illegal. He also opposed “enforced integration,” referred to Southern slavery as “benevolent,” and said that “some people are by nature slaves.”

Many evangelical leaders deny holding Reconstructionist beliefs, but Beverly and Tim LaHaye (of Concerned Women for America and the co-author of the novels we’re talking about in this chapter), Donald Wildmon (of the American Family Association), and the late D. James Kennedy (of Coral Ridge Ministries and a friend of mine before I left the movement) served alongside Rushdoony on the secretive Coalition for Revival, a group formed in 1981 to “reclaim America for Christ.” I went to some of the early meetings.

Many evangelical/fundamentalists can’t get enough of this garbage.

They’ve been sucking it up since the early 1970s, and now, in the Left Behind books, the message has gone viral.

The expanding Left Behind entertainment empire also feeds the dangerous delusions of Christian Zionists, who are convinced that the world is heading to a final Battle of Armageddon and who see this as a good thing! Christian Zionists, led by many “respectable” mega-pastors — including Reverend John Hagee — believe that war in the Middle East is God’s will. In his book Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World, Hagee maintains that Russia and the Arabs will invade Israel and then will be destroyed by God. This will cause the Antichrist — the head of the European Union — to stir up a confrontation over Israel between China and the West.

Perhaps, in the era of Obama, Hagee will do a fast rewrite and say that President Obama is the Antichrist, because the same folks who are into Christian Zionism are also into the far, far loony right of the Republican Party represented by oddities like Sarah Palin. These are the same people who insist that President Obama is a “secret Muslim,” “not an American,” and/or “a communist,” “more European than American,” or whichever one of those contradictory things is worse — not like us anyway, that’s for sure.

Conclusion:

The truth is that the “crazies” in Michigan are just acting on what millions of evangelicals say they believe and I don’t only mean about the so called End Times. I also mean that these days the Tea Party movement is spouting a rhetoric of doom and extremism that holds that the American government and even the nation is no longer legitimate. Add in the theology and you have a self-fulfilling “prophecy” of Armageddon. Sadly we have not seen the last of such actions.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and the author of 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

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