Connect with us

When Right Doesn’t Mean Correct – Religious Influence On America. Part 1



“I promise you, beginning in 2012, truth and love will prevail.”

This week, David Badash posted an article in which he highlighted National Organization For Marriage (NOM) Chairman Maggie Gallagher’s above mentioned proclamation at a NOM rally fighting for marriage, or specifically heterosexual marriage defined by appropriate Christian faith. It is interesting that the same woman who refused (forgot perhaps) to testify before a Senate hearing addressing DOMA and most importantly in front of and to the American people, would include the word truth in her speech.

The goal of the National Organization for Marriage is “to develop political messaging, build its national grassroots…. and provide political intelligence…. with a focus on developing new strategies for increasing influence in the Northeast and West Coast, where marriage is most under threat.” A Senate hearing that is broadcast nationally and will affect the minds of U.S. Senators, who help to mold the laws within this country, would seem to be an ideal arena for the most recognizable and adamant advocate from their organization would testify. However, that didn’t happen which begs the questions what exactly is the goal of NOM and why are they shying away from proper avenues and platforms to effect change?

Late last month, Freedom to Marry, an organization whose steadfast purpose is to effectively bring about national marriage equality, held a press conference here in Washington, D.C., alongside Joel Benenson, President of Benenson Strategy and a leading Democratic pollster, and Dr. Jan van Lohuizen, President of Voter Consumer Research and a leading Republican pollster. They released a joint report commissioned by Freedom to Marry on the views of Americans surrounding same-sex marriage. (The full report is here.)

Findings showed a rise of 1% per year from 1996 to 2009. Remarkably in 2010 and 2011, support jumped 5% per year. Support from Americans is at 53%, with those under 40 (and in particular the Millennial generation) at an astounding 70%. With 15% support among seniors, 13% among independents, and 8% among Republicans there is a true trend emerging.

“The remarkable surge over the last two years can’t be explained by generational change alone,” says Republican pollster Dr. Jan van Lohuizen. “It suggests that people across the political spectrum are rethinking their positions—and deciding in favor of the freedom to marry.”

These findings, something that many believed was already the truth, show that we are not dealing with simply a small majority (53% is hardly a majority I would count on in politics) we are dealing with a new voting bloc emerging that overwhelmingly supports progressive ideals. Ideas that are progressive and inclusive are tantamount to a death threat for most religious leaders and groups. We simply need to look at Prop 8 which is the most obvious case of religious interference to avoid any shift that would bring about something they feel would threaten their coffers.

Millennials are realizing their voting power and their true ability to create change for a positive future. Smart politicians and in particular heads of religious groups know that they are fighting a changing tide and they are not necessarily strong enough to win. This has caused a change in the tactics from these organizations who are attempting to create a stop-loss. If you can’t change the current product you go to the next on the assembly line. None are more effective at this than Jehovah’s Witnesses. While many people do not know much about this religion or perhaps have partial understanding, they are an organization that has truly used to the full psychological warfare to its benefit and protection.

From a very young age, children growing up in “the truth” of Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught methods to speak, argue and target those of the “world” that need to turn to God’s way. As you develop and are appointed to varying positions you are taught greater and deeper tactics to use in your ministry to both the congregation and to those on the outside as you go door-to-door preaching. There are ongoing and specific education programs that you are able to attend. Each one comes with special appointments that elevate you in the eyes of the congregation and of course of Jehovah God.

Elders are a special class of men who are there to minister to the congregation and ultimately have responsibility within local congregations. They are taught to supposedly care for the “flock of god” and take care of the spiritual health of everyone. Responsibilities bestowed upon them include ensuring you are prepared for baptism, marriage and greater responsibility among the organization. Disciplining and removing errant members (termed “disfellowshipping,” see below,) also falls to them, with strict processes in place that are believed and expected to safeguard against the abuse of authority.

These men become experts in manipulation of reasoning, thought and ultimately behaviors. Congregants that leave or are dis-fellowshipped are spoken of as hard-headed and have turned their heart away from God. Prayers are given requesting that God soften their hearts and bring them back to the fold – essentially asking them to ignore the truths about life that they have learned and return to a state of ignorance that requires little independent thought or action.

Questions Young People Ask, Answers That Work is a book that has been used around the world primarily by Jehovah’s Witnesses in the instruction of their children and other families that are receptive. Due to its simplicity, easy to read nature and the fact that it has dealt with difficult issues and subjects it has been referenced and utilized by non-Jehovah’s Witness educators, religious and political groups and therapists. It answers many of the questions that we in fact do ask as teenagers. As of late they have continued to address the changing views in the world around them by fortifying, unsettling and keeping emotionally driven teenagers in a mental place that does not allow acceptance.

A recent article entitled, “Homosexuality – How Can I Avoid It?” is conversion/aversion therapy at its best (or worst). It asks, “With same-sex relationships being flaunted so openly, you may wonder: ‘Is homosexuality really bad? What if I’m attracted to someone of my sex? Does that mean I’m gay?’” These are questions that all LGBTQ persons ask of themselves. Imagine being raised in an atmosphere where you are taught that the only people you can trust, love, depend upon and will support you are those of the same faith and view homosexuality as a sin leading to death. Seeing in print propaganda that disguises itself as a lifeline, discussing the very questions you are being plagued by internally, but are too frightened and worried to ask out loud for fear of losing the only home and love you know, how would this affect you? Fortunately we don’t have to think because the article tells us:

“The world’s warped thinking affected my mind and added to my sexual confusion,” says Anna. “Now I steer clear of anything or anyone that promotes homosexuality.”

“Seek out a confidant, and talk to him or her about your thoughts. Olef, who sought the help of a Christian elder, recalls: “His counsel was very effective. I wished I had spoken to him a lot earlier.”

This method has worked in creating an environment among Jehovah’s Witnesses that not only works to keep homosexuality and the organizations death grip on their followers exactly where they want it. Lately, we have had the misfortune of seeing these same tactics being utilized by many differing groups. It is absolutely shocking, no matter how expected, that this is allowed to continue and that the battle for our rights has now been turned into a battle over shaping children’s thoughts by those with little care for the collateral damage.

This organization does not stop there. “The Bible’s Viewpoint – Does God Approve of Same Sex Marriage?” is a public article on their website that condenses many of the Watchtower articles over the years that discuss same-sex marriage. It utilizes subtle and mentally subversive messaging to create doubt about what God and the Bible truly says about marriage as well as creating a disbelief in your own religion.

DURING the church ceremony, the two men stand hand in hand before a renowned Episcopal bishop. They make a “covenant . . . before God and the church.” Clothed in ornate gold-and-white vestments, the bishop publicly blesses their union. Afterward the couple hug and kiss and are given a standing ovation. According to this bishop, such homosexual relationships “are holy and deserve to be blessed, . . . deserve to be called what they are: sacred.”

However, other religious leaders voice strong opposition to same-sex unions. “We are so disturbed by this [bishop’s] decision,” stated Cynthia Brust, spokesperson for the American Anglican Council, a group of conservative Episcopalians. “Same-sex blessings contradict the clear teaching on marriage and sexuality from the Bible,” she said, adding that “sexuality . . . is to be confined to a man and woman in holy matrimony.”

All of this truly would fall within the scope of the practices of many religions around the world. Instruct your members, preach and teach perspective followers and continually educate and maintain your congregation. I could accept this had they not broken their own rules and began to create politically charged narratives and discussions. Attacking not only political leaders and movements there is mention of civil rights movements.

The fire storm of controversy over this issue is not restricted to religion. Internationally, heated political debates are raging, since the social, political, and economic implications involving pensions, joint health care, and taxes are great.

Issues involving civil rights and legal recognition are often very complicated and divide public opinion. True Christians are careful to maintain neutrality by avoiding political debates. (John 17:16)* Still, some who respect the Bible find themselves confused regarding the subject of same-sex marriage and homosexuality.

Mentioning civil rights and legal recognition and the division of public opinion, they further polarize this debate. Maintaining neutrality and avoiding political debate is something that Jehovah’s Witnesses have clung to since their founding in the late 1800’s. By removing themselves on the surface from political debates, they get their followers to form a strong grass roots force that will never be shaken by properly defended ideas. Without debate and discussion how can anyone open their minds?

The pattern and tactics are becoming clear. Maggie Gallagher, along with many of the religious right are seeing the truth in the fact that political debate and lobbying isn’t necessarily the way to maintain and protect their “values.” NOM’s very purpose is to create grass root forces, pushing in smaller communities where influence has a greater effect and result. The Tea Party is a prime example of the indoctrination that is happening across this country.

Maybe they picked up something from GetEQUAL and ACT UP. Direct motivation of communities creates a larger dialogue that requires little potential of loss within your base. In fact, the actions around the country that GetEQUAL has supported have garnered news coverage that is astonishing. Playing off the lessons taught by the heroes of ACT UP and Stonewall, we have been able to change the minds of millions of people around the country. As a community we have inspired people to create organizations like AFER, It Gets Better and so many more to take up the fight and effectively continuing to change minds, views, perceptions and stereotypes – all the while winning victories big and small.

We are now at a precipice. Those who oppose progress and LGBT rights and equality are the same people who have been watching us carefully, seeing what works and what doesn’t. They know that going up and lobbying Barney Frank doesn’t necessarily move a bill forward and they have seen the same on Representatives and Senators on their side. What has worked is motivating and polarizing the American people. The Church of Latter Day Saints and the Catholic Church were caught manipulating the public during Prop 8. Jehovah’s Witnesses were not tainted at all during the Prop 8 debacle, yet they maintained and stepped up efforts to preach to all they could in California about what God truly wants.

Our enemies and the enemies of all open, thinking individuals have learned and are working off a religiously built base that is generations in the making. We cannot slip one step because they are watching like a hawk. Two of the persons who attended the press conference mentioned earlier were from the Family Research Council and took extensive notes. They could not argue with the amazing men and women from Freedom to Marry who stood there showing that we are equal and deserve to be in the minds of Americans. Taking our words back to their psychological war rooms and creating messaging that will twist and bend those results will create the effect they desire, a base of people scared of change because they don’t know where that fits in their lives.
We stand on the precipice where only one camp can leap and fly. The other will go the way of the proverbial Lemming, along with all who will follow.

“The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Definitions and Explanations:

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The group emerged from the Bible Student movement—founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell with the formation of Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society—with significant organizational and doctrinal changes under the leadership of Joseph Franklin Rutherford. The name Jehovah’s witnesses, based on Isaiah 43:10–12, was adopted in 1931 to clearly distinguish themselves from other Bible Student groups. The Watchtower, Bible and Tract Society is the official name for the worldwide organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Disfellowshipping – A person accused of a serious sin is informed of the allegations and invited to attend a judicial committee meeting. The individual is permitted to bring witnesses who can speak in their defense; observers are not allowed, and the hearing is held privately even if the accused individual requests that it be heard openly so all may witness the evidence. Recording devices are not permitted at the hearing. If the accused repeatedly fails to attend an arranged hearing, the committee will proceed but will not make a decision until evidence and testimony by witnesses are considered.

The committee takes the role of prosecutor, judge and jury when handling its cases. After the hearing is opened with a prayer, the accused is invited to make a personal statement. If there is no admission of guilt, the individual is informed of the source of the charges and witnesses are presented one at a time to give evidence. Witnesses do not remain present for the entire hearing. Once all the evidence is presented, the accused and all witnesses are dismissed and the committee reviews the evidence and the attitude of the accused.

The committee may determine that there was no “serious sin”, or that mitigating circumstances absolve the accused individual. The committee may then proceed with discipline such as is described for ‘non-judicial’ situations. Alternatively, the committee may decide that a serious sin was committed, in which case, the committee gives verbal admonitions and gauges the individual’s attitude and repentance. The committee then decides whether discipline will involve formal reproof or disfellowshipping.

The Truth: A term used to designate the teachings and general congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since they believe that they are the true religion and are the one bearers of the truth about Jesus Christ and the way to salvation the term has become common place among the congregation and is rarely used outside of Kingdom Halls, Assemblies and annual Conventions.

The World: Used to describe everyone who is under the influence of Satan. From the scripture that details Satan being removed from the heavens and thrown to the “vicinity of the earth” they have extrapolated the use of the terms truth and world to set them apart.

Jehovah or Jehovah God: The name given to God by translating the original Aramaic Yah’weh.


Growing up in Northern Ontario as a Jehovah’s Witness, Michael Talon experienced firsthand the struggle for equality. Now living in the U.S. with his partner, they work with advocates for federal equality, including immigration. Working side by side, Michael and his partner Brad, head of Luna Media Group, help to deliver messages for equality to the nation.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Republicans Are ‘Obstructing Justice’ and ‘Becoming Accessories’ to Trump’s ‘Crimes’: Former Prosecutor



In the wake of Donald Trump‘s numerous recent social media rants attacking various prosecutors investigating his possibly unlawful acts, and his claim over the weekend that he will be indicted on Tuesday, many House and Senate Republicans have been rushing to his defense, wrongly claiming he is the victim of a political prosecution.

At least two former federal prosecutors are blasting them, with one saying it is “illegal” to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation, and another warning Republicans are engaging in obstruction of justice and are becoming “accessories after the fact.”

On Saturday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy slammed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is expected this week to indict the former president.

“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” McCarthy wrongly told Americans. “I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”

READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis

McCarthy’s tweet was highly criticized, including by retired Democratic U.S. Congressman John Yarmouth of Kentucky.

“I may end being not fully accurate, but Kevin McCarthy may be implicitly endorsing falsifying business records, tax fraud, campaign finance crime, and more, including obstruction of justice, when undermining the justice system is exactly what his tweet does,” tweeted Yarmouth.

McCarthy didn’t stop there.

“Alvin Bragg is abusing his office to target President Trump while he’s reduced a majority of felonies, including violent crimes, to misdemeanors. He has different rules for political opponents,” McCarthy alleged on Sunday. “Republicans stopped the radical DC crime law, and we will investigate any use of federal funds that are used to facilitate the perversion of justice by Soros-backed DA’s across the country.”

Some Republicans injected what many see as the GOP’s increasing embrace of antisemitism into their attacks against Bragg.

U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) on Sunday tweeted: “Alvin Bragg is bought by George Soros. He allows violent criminals to walk the streets of New York City, but will prosecute the likely Republican nominee (and former president) on a baseless misdemeanor charge. These people are trying to turn America into a third-world country.”

Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the Chair of the House Republican Conference and an ultra-MAGA extremist, also used the Soros reference, which experts have said can be antisemitic: “The Soros-backed woke prosecutor Alvin Bragg must testify under oath before Congress.”

Attorney and writer David Lurie, pointing to both McCarthy’s and Vance’s tweets, wrote: “GOP politicians like McCarthy, Trump and JD Vance now routinely include antisemitic conspiracism in their political rhetoric.” He linked to this article he wrote at Public Notice.

“JD Vance is advancing a claim that a Jew ‘bought’ a respected prosecutor, who just happens to be Black,” Lurie added. “Double bigotry in just one tweet.”

U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) also engaged in the antisemitic “Soros-backed” reference.

READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime

Speaker McCarthy “is right,” Scott tweeted, “and I fully support his call for an investigation. No federal dollars should be used to prop up this radical, Soros-backed activist attorney or his gross political attacks.”

U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) on Sunday said District Attorney Bragg “should focus on the violent criminals terrorizing New York instead of pursuing politically motivated charges against” Donald Trump.

On Monday, a former federal prosecutor for 30 years, Glenn Kirschner, issued a warning for Republicans.

“In a very real sense, congressional Republicans who use their power & their office to thwart criminal prosecutions of Donald Trump are becoming accessories after the fact to Trump’s crimes. They are obstructing justice. And we can expect [it] to continue if it goes unaddressed.”

Kirschner was responding to this tweet from noted Harvard professor of law (retired) Laurence Tribe: “House Republicans are gathered at a luxury resort near Disney World where House Judiciary Chair JIM JORDAN (R-Ohio) & senior GOP leaders are preparing to demand testimony from members of Manhattan DA’s Office amid reports of an imminent Trump indictment.”

READ MORE: ‘This Man Is a Criminal’: George Conway Busts GOP’s ‘Completely Ridiculous’ Trump Defense

Monday afternoon Jordan and his colleagues did just that, sending a letter to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, demanding he hand over communications and testify before Congress to explain his prosecution of Trump.

“Was the Manhattan DA’s office in communication with DOJ about their investigation of President Trump?” Jordan tweeted. “Was the Manhattan DA’s office using federal funds to investigate President Trump? Alvin Bragg owes our committee answers.”

In response, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), an attorney and former military prosecutor with the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, called Jordan’s actions “illegal.”

“Dear @Jim_Jordan,” Lieu tweeted. “Local prosecutors, including DA Bragg, owe you nothing. In fact, it is illegal for you and @JudiciaryGOP to interfere in an ongoing criminal investigation, or a criminal trial (if there is one).”


Continue Reading


Jim Jordan Waging ‘Purely Political Attack’: Demands Bragg Testify Before Congress Over Expected Trump Indictment



In an unprecedented move House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan is demanding Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg testify before Congress over his expected indictment of Donald Trump. Bragg, officially the New York County District Attorney, is an elected official whose office was created under the New York State Constitution and does not answer to Congress.

Professor of law and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance quickly blasted Jordan’s move, saying: “what jurisdiction does Congress have over a DA elected by Manhattanites? Sure, Jordan will talk about fed’l funding, but this is a purely political attack on local gov’t.”

Earlier Monday, reacting to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s remarks, Vance said: “It’s not up to House Republicans to review Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s conduct. It’s up to Manhattan voters. If Trump is indicted, a jury will decide whether there’s sufficient evidence to convict. The GOP continues to undercut our democratic institutions to serve Trump.”

Jordan’s letter, he writes to Bragg: “In light of the serious consequences of your actions, we expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision,” according to a Fox Corp. article. The website also says it was signed by two other Republicans: House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer and House Committee on Administration Chair Brian Steil. None have any oversight authority on the Office of the Manhattan District Attorney.

READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis

“Jordan warned Bragg that if news reports of a possible Trump indictment are accurate, Bragg’s actions ‘will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the court of the 2024 presidential election,'” Fox adds.

“The legal theory underlying your reported prosecution appears to be tenuous and untested,” Jordan wrote. He also attacked former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has testified extensively in the case before the grand jury.

Just before leaving office Trump awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

According to former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who testified publicly and privately before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Jordan discussed pardons with the White House for Republican Members of Congress, although she says he did not ask for one himself. Jordan also defied a subpoena from the January 6 Select Committee.

In a Monday morning interview with Fox Corp.’s Harris Faulkner, Jordan falsely describes Trump’s hush money payment to adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels as “some alleged bookkeeping error.” The expected charges have neither been voted on by the grand jury nor announced.

“Charges in NY are expected to involve false business records created to conceal Trump’s payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels but there are possible charges involving manipulating property values for tax, loan & insurance advantages,” Vance also  said Monday.

READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime

Watch video of Jordan discussing the letter and see the letter itself below or at this link:



Continue Reading


Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis



Attorneys for Donald Trump Monday morning filed a sweeping 483-page legal motion asking a Georgia court to block any report from the Fulton County special grand jury and any evidence the grand jury may find, and to force District Attorney Fani Willis to recuse in the investigation into his unlawful attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in that state.

The Daily Beast’s Jose Pagliery first reported the filing. The Atlanta Journal Constitution also reports Trump’s attorneys have filed the motion.

Lawfare Blog’s Anna Bower, who has been covering the Fulton County case, calls the filing “mammoth.”

The news comes just hours after reports District Attorney Willis could be considering RICO, or conspiracy and racketeering charges against Trump.

READ MORE: ‘This Man Is a Criminal’: George Conway Busts GOP’s ‘Completely Ridiculous’ Trump Defense

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

Image via Shutterstock

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.