By Katherine Yurica
Excerpts – Katherine Yurica’s plenary address at the New York City Conference, Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right, April 29-April 30th, 2005, co-sponsored by the NY Open Center and CUNY Graduate Center Public Programs.
Today, it’s important to realize that those excluded are us—everyone else in America. We are labeled “corrupt” and “anti-Christian.” Thus Christianity is being defined by one’s political identity not one’s religious beliefs.
During the 1980’s I began taping and transcribing Pat Robertson’s 700 Club show because of the alarming anti-Christian political philosophy he was endorsing. He began a drum beat for drastic political and cultural changes to this country. Robertson’s guests did something I’d never seen before: they reversed the scriptures and called it immoral for the citizens to help the poor through taxation, which, by the way is expressly required in the Old Testament. The accusation was and is that taxation robbed the rich to help the poor. If you are interested in how the movement reversed Judeo-Christian standards, see Bloodguilty Churches (which is also available at Amazon.com).
Robertson slowly introduced the idea of an American empire; he attacked pluralism, and pleaded that the people of the U.S. “must speak with one voice.” (7/19/85) The idea of taking over and controlling the United States government began with a series of guest appearances:
On April 4, 1985, Billy Graham appeared on the show, and in a startling announcement said,
On September 25, 1985, Tim LaHaye, appeared in a film clip with Phyllis Schlafly on the show. In that clip, he laid out the plan to take over the government of the United States. He said:
What we are talking about here is the emergence of a powerful political/religious cult that incorporates neo-conservative philosophy, Machiavellian teachings and the triumph of political corporatism. It’s the story of the emergence of coercive politics, the promotion of scapegoatism, fear, paranoia, political propaganda, and the acceptance and praise of intellectual dishonesty. ...
To make their plan work, they had to take Jim Jones mainstream! I’m going to take a few minutes to show you how this was done. But first, be aware the leaders of this movement necessarily studied not only Machiavelli and Jim Jones, but important books like The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Wm. L. Shirer. They had to have read Hitler’s Mein Kampf. ...
Hitler did not appear to the people of Germany as a devil with horns and cloven hooves. On the contrary, he was “a man of the people,” and he successfully packaged himself that way. He thoroughly understood the perennial distrust the masses have for intellectuals. Therefore, the deeper his roots in the broad masses, the more he sounded like “one of them,” the less he represented a threat to them, the more followers he would gain. And the more blind people remained to his true nature.
A neighbor recalls observing the Rev. Jim Jones as a boy: I’m quoting the neighbor here: “He could preach a good sermon. I remember working about two hundred feet from the Jones’ place. He would have about ten youngsters in there, and he would put them through their paces...line them up and make them march. He’d hit them with a stick and they’d scream and cry.
“I used to say, ‘What’s wrong with those kids, putting up with it?’ But they’d come back to play with him the next day. He had some kind of magnetism.
Not only did Jim Jones demonstrate that the religious would follow their leader to their deaths, there is one other major contribution that Jim Jones made to the religious/political world of our times: He showed how the power of the churches could be used politically! Jones techniques have been literally incorporated into the religious right’s playbook:
1) Jones started his congregation on letter-writing blizzards to politicians and to the press. Later Pat Robertson began encouraging his viewers to blitz congress with phone calls and letters.
2) Jones started “Operation Breadbasket, a charity” Robertson started “Operation Blessing, a charity.”
3) Jones developed a technique to manipulate the press that included flattering reporters who wrote favorably about him, and excluding reporters who wrote negatively. A technique Mr. Bush uses.
4) Jones began publishing a 6-to-8 page newspaper called the Peoples Forum with a press run of 60,000. The paper combined political causes with church news! Later, Pat Robertson inserted a news bureau into his religious show.
5) Jones bought thirty minutes of broadcast time every Saturday from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. on station KFAX in San Francisco where he talked about the arms race, the causes of crime and discussed South Africa.
6) Jones began sending his followers on political missions—the kind where instant crowds were needed. Reporters wrote, “One Democratic party worker found herself caught short while preparing a Rosalynn Carter appearance in September 1976. A big crowd was needed in a hurry, so the organizer put a call in to Jones. The rally was due to start at 8:00 p.m. By 6:30 the Temple buses had dropped off 750 people at the Market Street rally site.
7) During the close race for mayor in December 1975, some eight hundred Peoples Temple members worked to get out the vote in precincts where winning candidate George Moscone received up to a 12 to 1 margin....
Let’s look at a Hitlerian technique:
Notice how Huebeck builds his attack: he spreads the idea that there is something wrong with our system of government or education, whether or not that is true. Truth is irrelevant to the propagandist. He then offers an alternative that if carried out would destroy public education—he opts for destruction, rather than offering to make a constructive change in the system. This is a picture of the entire Dominionist movement in a nutshell!
I have an awareness that one chooses to seek either truth or power. Not both. Our opponents have chosen power. We have chosen truth. What's the end result of that? Historically, does truth beat power? Hitler says NO! (But I hate leaving him to decide anything!) ...