Thursday, May 04, 2006


I'm currently watching a very frightening video. I found it through Renee's blog on Street Prophets (Hi Renee, you old sislister). It's a PBS story on NOW called "God's Country?" It's about Republican political activities going on in Ohio churches, activities going on under the tax-free guise of religion. Makes me want to barf.

Pastor Russell Johnson is a pastor whose bully pulpit is one of those conservative megachurches where everyone sways to bad contemporary Christian music with their eyes closed and arms raised (ok, clearly that's not MY thang). He is co-currently running a quasi religious organization, the Ohio Restoration Project, that not so covertly backs a very conservative Ohio candidate for Governor, Ken Blackwell. The quasi religious organization is, of course, operating tax-free, per all religious groups. It is a "mission" of Pastor Johnson's church.

Thank God 31 pastors of more liberal Ohio churchs (led by a UCC pastor, thank you very much) brought this to the attention of the IRS. Their complaints include the fact that the Project has sponsored a number of events where the only candidate that appeared was Ken Blackwell. You can read more about the issues involved here. The IRS appears to be dragging its feet enforcing the law. Shocking. Simply shocking.

Johnson's rhetoric is typical pro-family (sic) conservative rhetoric, heavy on how all those nasty things like gay marriage are ruining the fabric of American culture. The most offensive schtick I heard was his cockeyed comparison of those liberals who would like to stop him from breaking the tax laws on separating churches from elections to the Germans who sang while Jewish Holocaust victims past their churches in trains on their way to Auschwitz.

I'm all for people of faith expressing that faith through their vote. Don't we all express our beliefs, our values, and our morality through our votes? We vote based on what we believe. And that's peachy. But don't you DARE use my tax dollars (or shelter your tax dollars) to promote hateful conservative quasi-Christian rhetoric (let alone laws) and the candidates who espouse them.

And don't you dare use God's name as though you, conservative quasi-Christian, have a patent on it. You don't. Last time I checked in with Her, God wasn't any too excited about spending billions on bombing people in the name of democracy while cutting education (and running stupidass programs like NCLB), allowing genocide in Darfur, allowing children to starve in India, and lining the pockets of corporate CEOs. If you actually READ the Bible, you'll note that it spends piddling amounts of time talking about sex and lots of time talking about how to care for the sick and needy.

Maybe Pastor Johnson needs to spend less time campaigning for Blackwell and more time reading his Bible. He might be surprised by what he finds there.



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