Jery Falwell, recently, made a number of off the wall claims. His recent visit to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary provided the occassion for this. He spoke of his vision of schools where students never once in their entire educational career are exposed to "ungodly" ideas. This sounds like the behavior of a cult where people are separated so that they can be protected from the evil outside world, a world of different ideas, beliefs, activities than their our own.
He also spoke of the need for "fundamentalist" ministers to take over the leadership of moderate congregations to push them in a fundamentalist direction. He noted that sometimes it takes a full year before that church is who you are. So the goal is for congregations to be in the image of the minister? Is there ever a possibility where a congregation could impact the pastor? Let's just say that Falwell's vision for the church (and for society) is frighteningly authoritarian.
Alas Falwell was bypassed by the GOP convention when it came to speakers. But he is ok with this since Falwell noted that he has had many photo ops with the president. But while there won't be any famous religious right leaders on stage it doesn't mean that there won't be likeminded folks speaking at the event. Donnie McClurkin, for example, will speaking out against the "curse" of homosexuality at the convention. Apparently he has done some work organizing Christians against the "homosexual agenda" thus making him a perfect voice for the GOP this year.
As the GOP convention starts up, some other news items are worth keeping in mind. For the third year in a row poverty has gone up. If you are in the bottom 20% of Americans you saw your incomes go down as more folks ended up losing their health insurance. And now up to 6 million Americans are set to lose their overtime pay with the new rules set up by Bush's labor department. There will be much talk about family at this convention but the rhetoric won't be matching the record.