February 22, 2007
-- by Dave Johnson
Hoo-boy here's one to worry about. Attorney General launches religious freedom initiative at SBC meeting. (SBC means Southern Baptist Convention.)
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales met with Southern Baptist leaders Feb. 20 to unveil a new Department of Justice initiative aimed at educating Americans about their religious liberties and to ask for the Southern Baptist Convention’s help in identifying and reporting abuses of those liberties. [emphasis added]Great. The government working with the Southern Baptists to identify and report abuses of their religious liberties. And of course, the usual right-wing gibberish accompanies this new campaign,
“Why should it be permissible for an employee standing around the water cooler to declare that ‘Tiger Woods is God,’ but a firing offense for him to say ‘Jesus is Lord’?” he said to vocal affirmation from Executive Committee members. “These are the kinds of contradictions we are trying to address.”Has anyone, anywhere ever been fired for saying "Jesus is Lord?" Of course not.
So it looks like we are about to experience a massive wave of right-wing Christians screaming that they are being victimized every time a Jewish or Muslim person appears on TV or gets a job they wanted. Backed by the full resources of the government. Just great.
With the unveiling of the “First Freedom Project,” the Department of Justice is creating a department-wide Religious Freedom Task Force, the attorney general told Executive Committee members. Another component is the initiation of a program of public education to ensure that people know their rights. Gonzales said the justice department will hold a series of regional training seminars for leaders interested in religious liberty issues, starting in Kansas City, Mo., March 29.
Also, the department has launched a new website, firstfreedom.gov, with information on the laws they enforce and how to file a complaint. Justice officials will be distributing informational literature to religious organizations, civil rights groups and community leaders on how to file a complaint, Gonzales said.
Imagine if the religious right's beloved "war on Christmas" was a year-round affair. Legions of lawyers ready to pounce on school and civic administrators, the persistent neon buzz of ACLU-paranoia in the air, Pat Robertson and the Bill O'Reilly Persecution Complex (nice band name...) pressuring corporate America to replace every "gezundheit" with a "God bless you." Now, imagine if the leaders of the effort weren't just the Jerry Falwell Admiration Society, but instead the full weight and force of the Department of Justice...Watch your backs. Here it comes.
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