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The witch hunt has started

Repent Amarillo. If you aren't the right kind of Christian, you should be shit scared. Meanwhile in Texas: "American Taliban" Isn't Hyperbole Anymore | Slog | The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper | by Dan Savage
Having successfully harassed a local and very discreet group for heterosexual swingers out of existence, Repent Amarillo's "warriors" are now planning to go after...
1. Gay pride events. 2. Earth worship events such as “Earth Day” 3. Pro-abortion events or places such as Planned Parenthood 4. Breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer. 5. Opening day of public schools to reach out to students. 6. Spring break events. 7. Demonically based concerts. 8. Halloween events. 9. Other events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.
They're also going after churches they believe to be insufficiently Christian (Episcopalians, Christian Scientists, Unitarians), palm readers, people who practice witchcraft, and anything and everything that might create a "demonic stronghold" in Amarillo. And they're not just threatening to pray for people: Repent Amarillo's "actions" include prayer, according to Repent Amarillo's website, "but [also] may involve more aggressive use of soldiers and prayer warriors."... Hello? Moderate and liberal Christians? In Texas and elsewhere? Now might be a good time to speak the fuck up. Maybe you could spit out a few press releases, organize a massive, anti-Phelps-style counter-protest, and come to the defense of the people and churches and artists and businesses being menaced by your co-religionists. This calls for something above and beyond mewling in comments threads on liberal blogs about how "we're not all like that." Don't tell us, tell them.

March 02, 2010

Former 'No Child Left Behind' Advocate Turns Critic

Former 'No Child Left Behind' Advocate Turns Critic : NPR
"I was known as a conservative advocate of many of these policies," Ravitch says. "But I've looked at the evidence and I've concluded they're wrong. They've put us on the wrong track. I feel passionately about the improvement of public education and I don't think any of this is going to improve public education." The Death and Life of the Great American School System Ravitch has written a book about what she sees as the failure of No Child Left Behind called The Death and Life of the Great American School System. She says one of her biggest concerns is the way the law requires school districts to use standardized testing. "The basic strategy is measuring and punishing," Ravitch says of No Child Left Behind. "And it turns out as a result of putting so much emphasis on the test scores, there's a lot of cheating going on, there's a lot of gaming the system. Instead of raising standards it's actually lowered standards because many states have 'dumbed down' their tests or changed the scoring of their tests to say that more kids are passing than actually are."

Prayer Warriors! or, "How I learned to stop worrying and love the witch hunt."

Heads Up: Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin Are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America | | AlterNet
Imagine a religious movement that makes geographic maps of where demons reside and claims among its adherents the Republican Party's most recent vice presidential nominee and whose leaders have presided over prayer sessions (one aimed at putting the kibosh on health-care reform) with a host of leading GOP figures. It's a movement whose followers played a significant role in the battle over Proposition 8, California's anti-same-sex marriage initiative, and Uganda's infamous proposed Anti-Homosexuality Law, more commonly associated with the Family, a religious network of elites drawn from the ranks of business and government throughout the world. But the movement we're imagining encompasses the humble and the elite alike, supporting a network of "prayer warriors” in all 50 states, within the ranks of the U.S. military, and at the far reaches of the globe -- all guided by an entire genre of books, texts, videos and other media. Imagine that, and you've just dreamed up the New Apostolic Reformation, the largest religious movement you've never heard of. NAR's videos, according to researcher Rachel Tabachnick, "demonstrate the taking control of communities and nations through large networks of 'prayer warriors' whose spiritual warfare is used to expel and destroy the demons that cause societal ills. Once the territorial demons, witches, and generational curses are removed, the 'born-again' Christians in the videos take control of society." ... Presidential campaign watchers got their first taste of the New Apostolic Reformation when it was revealed that Sarah Palin, while mayor of Wasilla, had been prayed over in a laying-on-of-hands by Rev. Thomas Muthee of Kenya, director of the NAR East Africa Spiritual Warfare Network, in a ceremony designed to protect Palin from witches and demons. Muthee, it turns out, is famous in his native land for driving out of town a woman he deemed a witch, a charge that had her neighbors calling for her stoning.