re: “Christian Right” (viewpoint) [cr-960102]


Craig A. Johnson


As you have read, Richard's node is down.  Henry Huang and I will be posting 
what we 
can until Richard is back,  but please expect the list traffic to 
be a little thin for the next few days.  


Craig A. Johnson
Cyber Rights Co-Leader

I sent the following message to Richard for posting evidently about 
the time his node went down.

Date: Thurs, 4 Jan 1996
Sender: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: "Christian Right" (viewpoint) [cr-951231]

On 1/02/96, rkm wrote:

> ~--<snip of quoted material>--~ (from Craig A. Johnson's message of 
> >Please...  There is a time for everything -- a time for "contact
> >and education" and a time for "opposition and derision."  Guess
> >which time it is now?
> It seems to me to be critical that we make this distinguish between
> the "the organized lobby of the Christian Coalition", and the people
> who are its supposed constituency.  This is a coalition that is led
> from the top, and a good part of the propaganda that binds it
> together is misinformation about who "we" are and what we're about.

Fine, but I would wager that 90+ percent of the constituency of the
Christian Coalition supports its position on imposing censorship on
the Net utilizing the "indecency" or even "harmful to minor" standard
on community-level bases.

There is no way (a) that I as a member of Cyber Rights can support any
scheme for "community standards" for the Internet and (b) will permit
my Constitutional rights to be abridged by a gang of smart-mouthed
lobbyists headed by Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson.  Richard, check out
the direct-mail contributions sent in my millions to the Christian
Coalition, before you assume a gap between the leadership and the

>I can understand why Craig calls Robert part of a "very slim 
> minority", but is that true?   And if so, does it have to stay that
> way?  Why assume that everyone with a conservative religious bent is
> unalterably attached to everything the CC centralized truth pundits
> put out?  

I don't assume "everyone with a conservative religious bent" agrees
with "everything the CC centralized truth pundits put out" but on
this issue, until I see evidence to the contrary, I assume that the
vast majority do agree.  There have been countless court cases in
communities on "indencency" issues which support my position.

> No, I wouldn't waste much time being conciliatory with
> that leadership clique either, but we need to be aware that certain
> ways of opposing it are playing directly into its hands.
> It _thrives_ on divisiveness, finding things to hate seems to be its
> primary paradigm of recruitment.  They _love_ it if our reaction is
> to ridicule Christianity.  

I did not ridicule Christianity and I don't assume the Christian
Coalition represents all Christians, but lately they have stepped up
their attacks on Catholics and Christians which do not hew to their
narrow parochial, repressive hallalulah vision.  It's in the news;
just look, you'll find it.

> That let's them perpetuate their GoodGuy
> vs. BadGuy myths, and puts us in the category of "not worth
> listening to -- satan speaking".  

I personally don't care what category the CC puts me in.

> If we try to win the game of who
> has the most powerful TrueBeliever group, we'll lose, and we are
> losing.  

We're not trying to win that game; we're trying to defend our 
constitutional rights, or, at least that is my motivation.

> That's the home battlefield of the mass media and those who
> have posting rights to it -- which includes the CC but not us.

Well, we may have more access than you give us credit for.

> If we're ever going to get anywhere with the kind of goals we talk
> about on this list, we need to find ways to seek allies and build
> coalitions on a much broader basis.  Not by making backroom deals 
> with CC lobbyists (as if we could), but by finding common ground at
>  a lower level, closer to the grass roots, with many diverse
> people and groups.

This is one thing on which we agree.  I welcome fundamentalists,
atheists, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and every
other religious/cultural representation into our group.  I would love
to work with people on a grass roots level. Two quick comments on
that:  (1) To what extend will people on a grass roots level allow us
to persuade them that parental empowerment is better than what their
church leaders are telling them (the party line on censorship and
"indecency"  from Washington that both local church leaders and some
community church activists get regularly) and (2) how can we do this?

Again, Richard, I think you're barking up the wrong tree on this one.
Most fundamentalists-evangelists-born-again Christians are decidedly
*not* on our side, and their policy strictures deserve condemnation,
and where possible systematic derision. 

 > Again, I commend Robert for seeking to identify unifying principles. 
>  He said "I know manyothers who hold the same view."  Perhaps he 
> could help open up some channel of dialog.

This I agree with 1000 percent.  Robert, can you help do this?  I
would be interested to find out how many fundamentalist Christians
would really support the Cox-Wyden parental empowerment approach
(emphasizing putting technology into the hands of parents and
authority figures to screen out objectionable content).  If there are
many, then surely their organized lobby in Washington is doing them a

But I and this campaign do not have the luxury of watching our rights
go down a Christian right-wing sink hole created by Ralph Reed and Pat
Robertson.  That is why I think CPSR as an organization should join
the ACLU suit challenging the "indecency" standard when the bill is

 > As Craig says, "There is a time for everything", and for us I'd say
 > the time for more imaginative collaborations is overdue.  

No problem; let's hear about them -- "imaginative collaborations" on
which we don't sell out of course.