Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pat Robertson, Your State Of Corruption Is Showing: New Study Shows The Correlation We Always Knew!

A new study by State shows the level of corruption in state government. And while some states are very surprising (New Jersey came out almost squeaky clean - New Jersey?!?), perhaps the most jarring of the findings is how many sates noted for their adherence to religion came out looking shady or downright crooked. To see the comparison, look at a Gallup Poll on importance of religion in the individual states.

So now we have it: two of our most religious states - Georgia and Virginia - are also two of the most corrupt.

A succinct breakdown:

Most Corrupt and Most Religious (both within the top 20): Georgia, South Dakota, Virginia, South Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah

Fairly High in Corruption and Religious Categories: Texas, West Virginia, Florida

Least Corrupt but Very Religious: Mississippi, Tennessee, Kansas

Least Corrupt and Least Religious: California, Washington, Connecticut, Massachusetts

The correlation has always existed.

Corruption and self-righteousness have always coexisted hand in hand, simply because the self-righteous believe themselves to be above others and the law. Just recently, we saw how politicians with a religious bent pander to the corrupt with impunity: Rick Santorum admitted to paying for the Iowa endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats.*

Pat Robertson's Virginia

Virginia's history of corruption goes back to the Dixiecrats of 1880 and came to fruition with the Byrd Democrats from 1920 through 1965:

The Byrd Organization (usually known as just "the Organization") was a political machine led by former Governor and U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr.(1887–1966) that dominated Virginia politics for much of the middle portion of the 20th century. From the mid 1920s until the late 1960s, the Byrd Organization effectively controlled the politics of the state through a network of courthouse cliques of local constitutional officers in most of the state's counties.

Pat Robertson's father, Senator Absalom Willis Robertson was described as a Bryd Democrat who opposed civil rights vehemently, snubbing Lyndon Johnson in the process.** 

Robertson himself was involved in a bit of chicanery and corruption when it was found out that he was using Operation Blessing's airplanes to haul his own mining equipment, a stunt that almost landed him in jail. His political (and financial) ties to Virginia's politicians, however, came through. Robertson's close relationships with two African dictators, Mobuto Sese Seko and Charles Taylor were also scrutinized, but he weathered the subsequent controversies.

Robertson is an advocate of Christian Dominionism, a theology that particularly lends itself to corruption.

Th belief that Fundamentalist Christianity should rule all aspects of life, especially government (through a theocracy) is especially prone to corruption. Dominionists such as David Barton are attempting to rewrite history to achieve their goal: the replacement of the government with a theocracy run strictly by Biblical law. Machinations within the government and its Dominionist politicians have been trying to erase the separation between church and state, even saying that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is really unconstitutional: only freedom of Christian denominations exist and not of other religions per se. The recent controversy over the statements of Pastor Dennis Terry (to liberals and non-believers: "Get out!") demonstrates just how bold Dominionism has gotten in the last decade. 

Staggering Hypocrisy

The discovery that some of the most "religious" states are the most corrupt points out a hypocrisy of staggering proportions: in the world of the Christian Right, morality and ethics are not akin to each other, especially if ethics are looked upon as secular.…and corruption looked upon as a means for a particular end. Or in the words of Pastor Rick Warren:

“Whatever it takes.”

*It was, of course, to help pay for "promotion" of that endorsement and not the endorsement itself. Right.

** From wikipedia:
In retaliation, President Johnson personally recruited State Senator William B. Spong, Jr., a considerably more liberal Democrat, to run against him in the 1966 Democratic primary. By this time, even some Byrd Democrats were moving away from obstinate resistance to integration as espoused by Robertson and the Organization's patriarch, Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Spong defeated Robertson in the primary in one of the biggest upsets in Virginia political history—an event that is considered the beginning of the end of the Byrd Organization's long dominance of Virginia state politics. 

"We Hate Liberals, Buddhists And Muslims, But We Love Everyone!": Santorum Preacher Revises His Own "Get Out!" Diatribe

Barack Obama had his Jeremiah Wright. John McCain had his John Hagee (and Rod Parsley). Rick Perry had his... Rick Perry. Now Rick Santorum has his Dennis Terry.

In a diatribe against "liberals," Buddhists and Muslims (and by extension, all other political beliefs and religious faiths), Rev. Dennis Terry introduced Rick Santorum and told all of the imagined enemies of America to "Get out!" And while other religious leaders have voiced similar "Christian only" sentiments, it was Terry's vehemence that shook the country. It was a vehemence that laid raw hatred at everyone's feet.

Now Dennis Terry is trying to tell people that the video was "edited" and his comments "twisted." He is about love, after all, as all Christian are taught to love their brothers, even their enemies.


Just as David Barton revises American history to prove that America was founded as a totally Christian Nation, Terry is revising his own statements and actions right before our eyes (see both videos below). If it weren't so mind-numbingly disingenuous, his response to the blowback would be considered very low comedy.*

The hate-love back-peddling and specious reasoning is all around us, albeit in slightly different forms. Take, for example, Pastor Steven Anderson, who's strip mall church received national notoriety when he called for the death of Obama. When his Faithful Word Baptist Church was listed as a hate group by the SPLC (because of extreme homophobic sentiments), he retorted:

(Right Wing Watch)
"Am I all about hate? No I'm sure I'm more about love than I am hate," Anderson said. "I do hate homosexuals and if hating homosexuals makes our church a hate group then that's what we are."

The church leader, with a Bible in his hand during the interview, said he preaches his hatred for homosexuals and wishes death upon them.
Then there's classic Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association n the same subject: 
That’s the reason we oppose the normalization of homosexuality, it’s not because we don’t like homosexuals it’s because we love them. I mean listen to me, if you love people, if you care about people, if they matter to you, their well-being is important to you, do you want to encourage them, do you want to support a lifestyle, do you want to subsidize and reward and provide special legal protections for behavior that’s gonna make them more likely to experience depression, suicidal ideation, homelessness and domestic violence? 
Disseminating false information is one way to get you listed as a hate group by the SPLC: depression and suicide are caused by he pressures of moralizers like Bryan Fischer, homelessness exists mostly for gay teens kicked out of their homes and domestic violence in gay households is so far below the national average as to be comparatively non-existent. 

Assumptions, purposely skewed reasoning, and generalizations are the stock-in-trade of people like Anderson, Fischer...and Terry: 

1. People do not worship Buddha in the same sense they would worship God. Buddha is NOT a god. 
2.For all the pronouncements of David Barton, the America-was-founded-as-a-Christian-nation meme has never held water with reputable historians. 
3. Not all liberals are "naysayers" and unpatriotic. It has even been argued that people who criticize their own country are, in a sense, more patriotic than their flag-waving compatriots.
4. "Get Out!" means just that: Terry wants people to leave who disagree with him. 
5. Allah is the same God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That's why it is called an Abrahamic religion. Islam reveres the Old Testament of the Bible and Muslims are taught to respect Jesus as a prophet. 

Terry sounds as if he gets his material from the ridiculous Conservapedia.

In addition, Terry also negates the power of his own oratory: his apoplectic "Get Out!" fires hatred from ever pore. It is unqualified hatred, raw and primeval. He can discount his words, but not the tone. 

" 'Patriot' - The person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about."

- Mark Twain.

*Also worthy of note: Terry introduced Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in glowing terms: ""Tony Perkins is perhaps one of the godliest men I've ever known.". The FRC is listed as a hate group by the SPLC.