Re: Dance craze

From: Wade T.Smith (wade_smith@harvard.edu)
Date: Wed May 02 2001 - 23:36:09 BST

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    Subject: Re: Dance craze
    Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 18:36:09 -0400
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    Hi Douglas Brooker -

    >What trip? what pond? where? was he over here?
    >
    >oh Wade, tell us it isn't true
    >
    >hope he knows the difference between a question of fact and a question of
    >law.

    The (memetic) trip any rumor takes. The Atlantic Ocean. Over to your side
    from my side. I don't know. So far, it is not in evidence that people
    actually have to follow the rumors about them.

    I haven't heard such a thing, that Ashcroft was against dancing, although
    some of the things I have heard, being a resident of the People's
    Republik of Cambridge, have been pretty harrowing, let me tell you. But I
    ain't heard that.

    I just did a search of the Village Voice, a strident left-leaning
    newspaper that would spare no vitriol over our AG, and nowhere did I find
    a reference to a statement about dancing.

    But, I can see where such a fabrication could come from, as he does
    indeed sound quite proselytizing at times, witness this article-

    - Wade

    ***********

    Ashcroft to Christian Crowd: Use Government to Sell Jesus The Gospel
    According to the A.G.
    by Ward Harkavy

    http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0110/ridgeway.shtml

    In a speech that never surfaced during his confirmation hearing but
    reveals much about his agenda as attorney general, John Ashcroft clearly
    laid out his dream of government-sponsored social programs helping
    convert people to Jesus. Behind the scenes, his Justice Department is now
    helping make that possible.

    Government "gives only half a gift when it doesn't give the spirit of
    Christ," Ashcroft, then a Missouri senator, told the dinner crowd at the
    Washington Court Hotel on September 18, 1996, as he received the
    Christian Statesman of the Year Award. "It doesn't give the spirit of
    God, it doesn't give the spirit of forgiveness, it doesn't give the
    regeneration of healing with its gift."

    Those sentiments, captured on tape and obtained by the Voice, don't
    surprise Ashcroft's critics. "That is a statement saying the government
    must evangelize," said Barry Lynn, the liberal minister who's the head of
    Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "He views the goal
    of a politician to be an active agent of religious conversion."

    What threw Lynn and others was Ashcroft's insistence during the Senate
    hearings last January that he could keep his well-known religious beliefs
    from affecting his performance as the nation's top law enforcement
    officer. "In the past, unlike during the confirmation hearings, he
    couldn't separate the secular from the religious," said Lynn. "He never
    even suggested that he could. And I couldn't believe him when he told the
    Senate that he could."

    For good reason. In the summer of 1996, Ashcroft managed a last-minute
    insertion to a welfare "reform" bill that authorized the government to
    recognize "charitable choice." That key provision, Section 104,
    encouraged states to use faith-based organizations to serve the poor and
    needy, prying open a door that the religious right had always found
    closed.

    But the Justice Department under Janet Reno dragged its feet on writing
    regulations that were necessary to turn "charitable choice" into reality.
    With Ashcroft at the helm, however, the Justice Department, with no
    fanfare, is now writing those regulations for five major federal
    agencies, said Lynn, and activists are quietly, but vigorously, lobbying
    members of Congress to slow down the process.

    Ashcroft's critics brought up several of his past speeches during the
    confirmation hearings, including his 1999 statement at Bob Jones
    University that Jesus is "king" of the country. No one brought up this
    1996 speech, which minces no words in its basic criticism that government
    social programs don't work because they don't carry the message of Christ.

    "I think the nature of God is giving, the nature of God is sharing,"
    Ashcroft told the Washington crowd. "That's what the redemptive,
    forgiving, healing mission of Christ is, that he would share with us his
    nature. And when we turn the nature of God, which is our responsibility
    to respond to need, over to government and we say we put that behind us,
    and we contain it in a secular vessel and we expect government to do it,
    the giving isn't the same. The Bible says that if you give a cup of cold
    water in my name, it makes an eternal difference.

    "Water isn't just water. It needs the value with it; it needs the spirit
    with it."

    There was no doubt which "spirit" he was talking about. Ashcroft received
    the award from D. James Kennedy, who runs a worldwide evangelistic empire
    out of his Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
    Kennedy stated flatly in his introductory remarks that America is a
    Christian nation and approvingly quoted John Jay as saying that it was "a
    duty and a privilege of Christians in the Christian nation to vote for
    and prefer Christians as their rulers."

    The future A.G. couldn't have agreed more, effusively praising Kennedy
    and saying, "I want to thank all of you for your support of the concept
    and the understanding that we serve more than our fellow men when we
    serve in government. Government is indeed ordained of God, and Jesus came
    that people might have life and have it more abundantly."

    Unfortunately, he said, America is wallowing in sin and secularism and in
    what he called "governmentalism."

    "Yes, we are a Christian nation," he intoned, "but we are found wanting."

    The goal of faith-based welfare, said Ashcroft, is not just to get
    government off religion's back but to make government help evangelicals
    spread the Word. "We need to provide a basis for unleashing the community
    of faith to do what it does well, to share and manifest the love of
    Christ in all that we do and say."

    Reverend Lynn pointed out the seeming contradiction that Ashcroft "has
    contempt for government, yet he now wants to enmesh this 'corrupt'
    institution with churches."

    And not all faiths, but only an evangelical Christianity. Kennedy is well
    known by religious-liberty watchdogs for his strident preaching against
    homosexuality and abortion and for his active political involvement. His
    massive church features stacks of voter registration information,
    detailed instructions on how to lobby politicians, and brochures filled
    with tips on how to campaign for office. His connections with the
    Republican elite are solid. Among the buildings on his sprawling campus
    is the DeVos Chapel, named for Amway cofounder Rich DeVos, one of the
    biggest soft-money donors in the history of American politicsˇall of it
    going to Republicans. Ashcroft also counts DeVos as an ally, so the
    Missouri senator was all but preordained as Kennedy's first Christian
    Statesman of the Year. The list of politicians who have since been
    honored includes Kansas senator Sam Brownback and House Majority Leader
    Dick Armey.

    "It's one thing for Kennedy, a preacher, to talk about Christianity and
    government," said Lynn, "but it's another thing for an official to come
    down and be honored and to talk the way Ashcroft did. It ought to make
    people very nervous."

    And in fact, it did make Ashcroft's ex-colleagues skittish last January.
    Initially, the criticism of him as a potential attorney general was
    harsh. But as Lynn pointed out, "politicians are always nervous about
    bringing up religion. They don't want to be seen as making fun of a
    person's religion. And then the right started throwing around the phrase
    'religious profiling.' After that, the Senate just shut down. Members of
    Congress get terrified by the topic."

    Kennedy's propaganda machine, the Center for Reclaiming America, wants
    some credit for that. Incensed that Dubya's first three Cabinet nominees
    were pro-abortion, the center lit a "Grassfire Petition Drive" that it
    claims produced 20,000 petitions to Bush in just two weeks. As the
    Ashcroft nomination went forward, "anti-family forces wasted no time
    launching a smear campaign against him," according to the center's
    Christian Alert Bulletin. Kennedy's troops responded with a petition
    drive aimed at the Senate.

    "In a God-sized answer to our prayer," center director Janet Folger wrote
    in her Bulletin, "over 6000 petitions were submitted on the first day
    alone and were coming in at the rate of more than 600 petitions per hour.
    In just a few days, more than 60,000 new petitions were received, proving
    once again that, with God, all things are possible."

    Tell us what you think. editor@villagevoice.com

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