IFAS | Freedom Writer | February 1995 | update.html

Religious Right update

North stays in politics

Convicted felon Oliver North, who lost the hotly contested Senate race in Virginia, is continuing his political career. However, it may not be until the end of the year when North announces whether or not he intends to run again for public office.

North is expanding V-PAC, a political action committee he founded a few years ago. Now known as Team America, it supports conservative candidates. North also continues to support Freedom Alliance, a conservative policy group he founded in 1990.

North plans to influence the 1995 elections in Virginia. Every seat in both the State Senate and House of Delegates is up for grabs. North said he will work to achieve a Republican majority in both houses.

Meanwhile, North manages his company, Guardian Technologies International, Inc., a manufacturer of bullet-proof vests. Obviously, North knows a marketing opportunity when he sees one.

Foxman responds to evangelicals

Noting that the event would have never taken place if it were not for the Anti-Defamation League's book, The Religious Right: The Assault on Tolerance and Pluralism in America, Abraham Foxman praised the organizers of last November's Washington gathering of Christians and Jews.

According to Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, after the meeting Jerry Falwell said that he now understood the pain such terms as "Christian America," and "Christianizing the country," causes Jews.

"On the subject of prayer in schools, we pointed out to the Evangelicals," Foxman said, "that basic conservative doctrine points out that the state should not get involved in matters better left to the private sector because it discourages and drives out the appropriate private activity. We noted that never was this more relevant than in the matter of religion which belongs in the home, the religious institution, the family."

"At the same time," Foxman said, "we noted that there are a variety of opportunities for the individual student to express his or her religious beliefs in the school setting without violating constitutional norms." Foxman added that religion should not be imposed on students, which will isolate those in the minority and do nothing to enhance religious values.

"Where do we go from here?" Foxman asked rhetorically. "If we see threats to the wall of separation between church and state that has been so be vital to religious liberty and Jewish security, we will be out on the barricades. If we see continued efforts to demonize those who are different, we will speak up. If, however, there is tolerance, if there is a willingness to observe civility, if there are ways to cooperate without seeking to impose through the state a particular religious viewpoint, then we will eagerly do so."

Wildmon urges school prayer

The AFA Journal, the official publication of the Rev. Donald Wildmon's American Family Association, is circulating a petition calling for school prayer. "A petition to restore school prayer" states: "As a citizen of the United States of America, I support the effort to give back to our children their right to pray in school. I believe they should have the same religious freedom enjoyed by the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court. I oppose state-mandated, state-written prayer. But I support student-led, student-initiated, voluntary prayer."

Respondents are instructed to reproduce the petition, distribute it to others, and mail it to Rep. Newt Gingrich at the U.S. House of Representatives. Gingrich is on record supporting school prayer.

In writing about the days when organized school prayer was unchallenged, the AFA Journal says "prayer in school helped establish a national norm for conduct." Many ultra-conservative Christians see prayer as a simplistic solution to the complex problems facing today's schools.

Concerning school prayer, the truth is, students can individually pray in school anytime they desire. The U.S. Supreme Court properly prevents the state, or the majority of students from imposing their prayers upon the minority.

Grimstead's think tank

Jay Grimstead, head of the Coalition on Revival (COR), reports that the National Think Tank "seems to be advancing effortlessly as a wave whose time has come." The National Think Tank was launched in January of 1993 with 20 national Christian leaders. The Think Tank, according to Grimstead, "is not officially a COR project, nor is it organizationally or legally connected to COR." "However," he adds, "because I am its founder and chairman, and since its purpose includes the application of the COR documents to American society, there is an informal, relational, and philosophical connection to the COR doctrines and the COR network."

The Think Tank is attempting to create a generic 25-year plan to "rebuild America's civilization, then help give birth to local Think Tank teams in the 55 major population centers of the U.S. and other mid-sized cities." The local, self-governing Think Tank teams are to be composed of 10 committees each, exploring such areas as law, economics, health, education, communication and media, arts and entertainment, etc. The local teams will rewrite the 25-year plan to fit their local situation. According to Grimstead, the teams will then coordinate their efforts at the county and statewide level to "rebuild their cities and states on the principles of the Bible as our culture once was in the early centuries of our country."

"This is a large vision," Grimstead admits, "but we believe that any plan which is not as comprehensive, as long-term, or as Biblically based does not have a chance of successfully mobilizing the Body of Christ as it must be mobilized at this critical point in history." The National Think Tank is currently headquartered in Chattanooga, TN, and directed by Brian Joyce.

Dobson too late for Dahmer

Just before Ted Bundy's execution, James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, videotaped an interview he conducted with the notorious serial killer. During the interview, Bundy, an alcoholic who lied his way through life, blamed pornography for his inclination to murder young women. Dobson sold more than 38,000 copies of the tape, making a profit of $612,982. The money was donated to several anti-porn groups, including Don Wildmon's American Family Association and convicted felon Charles Keating's Children's Legal Foundation.

Hoping to make another killing, so to speak, Dobson made plans to interview murderer Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer, who had a taste for young men, confessed to killing and mutilating 17 people. Dahmer became a born-again Christian while serving multiple life sentences and was baptized in the prison whirlpool. Apparently unwilling to accept responsibility for his actions, Dahmer agreed to go on the record with Dobson and explain how his addiction to pornography fueled his perversions. Dobson's plans were dashed last November. Dahmer met his demise at the hands of a fellow inmate.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.