MRFF's Mikey Weinstein
portrayed in major theater production at Kirk Douglas
Theater in Los Angeles

September 21st - October 26th

MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein's Federal lawsuit against the United States Air Force in October 2005 was an igniting spark to uncover the unconstitutional religious infiltration of fundamentalist evangelism in the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.  This play features Mikey’s struggle as part of the larger tapestry of events occurring in and around Colorado Springs.

The Beautiful City Poster

A mesmerizing, fiercely intelligent portrait of Colorado Springs.

The Civilians, the OBIE-Award winning theatre company from New York City known for their boldly theatrical snapshots of the human psyche, brings its newest project to the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

In this new play with music, they tackle the fervor behind the Evangelical movement, the effect its growth had on its unofficial U.S. capital, Colorado Springs, and the confusion of a community in crisis following the scandalous fall of pastor Ted Haggard.

Created from interviews with actual persons and featuring music by the award-winning composer of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, This Beautiful City is a fiercely intelligent, explosive and ultimately sincere exploration of a uniquely American phenomenon and its passionate followers.

Co-produced with the Vineyard Theatre, New York.

The Beautiful City Photo

Click on the image above to watch a 1 minute promotional video for
The Civilians' This Beautiful City performed at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival of New American Plays in March 2008.

 


 

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OPINION: Fabricating a
GOP tyrant

Friday September 12, 2008

Opinion page editor: Wayne Laugesen

That Colorado Springs was one of the first stops for Sarah Palin and John McCain after the convention is no mystery. They could be regulars between now and Nov. 4.

Evangelical Christians are an essential part of the Republican base, and without their support Republicans might as well forfeit. Obvious characteristics make El Paso County an important GOP stump in this presidential race: It's the second-most populous county in a swing state, it is Colorado's hub of conservative evangelical Christianity, and some have called it the closest thing the world has to an evangelical Vatican (a stretch). Palin is an evangelical Christian, so she helps close a credibility gap McCain has had with the so-called religious right. From the perspective of policy wonks who advise candidates, if James Dobson is happy in the Springs, the Christian right is happy nationwide.

To the mainstream national press and a growing demographic increasingly known as the secularist left, Palin's appeal to Colorado Springs is something equal to a crime against the Constitution and a legal theory known as separation of church and state. A statement Palin made to her church has become fodder for alarmists, who seem to fear that bringing religious beliefs into the White House moves our country a giant step in the direction of becoming a Christian theocracy. A recent e-mail to The Gazette, from a local leader of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, warned of Palin with an opening sentence:

"Can you spell T-H-E-O-C-R-A-C-Y?"

"I'm not talking about any old Theocracy. I'm talking about the big one. I'm talking about the Christian Theocracy planned over decades by devious and well-funded Christian forces painstakingly infiltrating government and corporate bodies to form the ultimate Neo-Fascist Christianity we now know as the Dominion Christian Movement," the letter stated. "And what better way to introduce this Theocracy than a charismatic woman, totally dedicated in her mortal existence to her invisible savior Jesus Christ and devoted to the narrow doctrines of her beliefs?"

In her first national interview since accepting the nomination of vice presidential candidate, ABC anchor Charlie Gibson misquoted Palin and demanded she explain the statement. Here's what Palin really said to a group of students at her former church: "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, are sending (soldiers) out on a task that is from God. That is what we have to make sure that we are praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

That's benign stuff, praying that God has a plan and that we might do right by that plan. She doesn't claim, in this statement, even to know what God's plan might be.

The AP changed the statement, perhaps because it didn't reveal Palin as some kind of frightening Christian tyrant. Here's what AP distributed to the world's media: "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told ministry students at her former church that the United States sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on a ‘task that is from God.' " Then it mangled her quote: "Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God..."

No wonder the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is worried. Gibson further distorted the statement, asking her why she said "there is a plan and it is God's plan."

This is the dishonest marginalization of a candidate some members of the mainstream media simply do not like. If she won't marginalize herself with outrageous statements, some will pull them from thin air. Even if Palin were as bold about God as the media pretend, it wouldn't put her in odd company. Consider the following presidential quotes.

Certainly no one should feel inclined to agree with them, but if Palin is too religiously extreme for public office, how do we explain Washington, Kennedy, Carter, Clinton and Reagan?

"And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." - George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

"Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking his blessing and his help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own." - John F. Kennedy, inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1961

"Let us teach our children that the God of comfort is also the God of righteousness. Those who trouble their own house will inherit the wind. Justice will Prevail." - Bill Clinton, April 23, 1985, after the Oklahoma City bombing

"Those who are lost now belong to God. Some day we will be with them." - Clinton, April 23, 1985, Oklahoma City

"You can not divorce religious belief and public service. I've never detected a conflict between God's will and my political duty. If you violate one, you violate the other." - Jimmy Carter, Atlanta, June 16, 1978

"Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged." - Ronald Reagan

One can agree or disagree with any or all of the above statements about God, and a great many others that have been made by presidents since the beginning of the this republic. What's indisputable, however, is the fact that presidents - on the left and right - have a tradition of claiming partnerships with God as they've steered the executive branch.

Palin, by contrast, has merely spoken of prayers that God might have a plan. She has been nowhere near as boldly religious as the men who have governed us for 200-plus years. Perhaps standards are different for women.

 


 

Richard Baker's response to the editor

Sunday September 14, 2008

Mr. Laugesen,

Thank you for using part of my essay on Sarah Palin (Palintology) in your September 14 “Our View” editorial in the Gazette.

I had felt that it was worthy of publication in toto and although the context of the entire piece was compromised somewhat by the few brief passages you did print, any exposure of the frightening prospect of a burgeoning Dominion Christian presence in American government is well worth it.

The essence of many of your editorials is to deny the objectives of Dominion Christianity and to pooh pooh even the most obvious incursions by today’s militant Evangelical Christian organizations into government’s important function of preserving the constitution and freedom of religion for all. You dismiss these intrusions much as those who deny the Holocaust, the Christian Church’s awful child molestation scandal and the coercive Christian proselytizing of our young men and women in the armed forces and service academies are wont to do.

As a “local leader of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation,” I am grateful for any relief on behalf of those suffering under the hegemony of Dominionism.

Ms. Palin is, in fact, the quintessential Dominion Christian. It is not what narrow Christian doctrines she espouses that are bothersome, but her willingness to make these most repressive doctrines broadly applicable under civil law.

No amount of contextual bastardization will camouflage her intent to establish her God as the prime mover in American government and subordinate to him, through the lens of her stilted belief system, an unsuspecting American population. Her brief but chilling references to the Iraq War being a Task of God and soliciting prayer for an oil pipeline of which God was in favor along with her startling ecclesiastical pronouncements concerning the banning of books, criminalizing of abortion even in cases of incest and rape, and others, without question cast her in the same mold as Pat Robertson, James Dobson and other Christian extremists.

It becomes easier to understand how nearly an entire country’s population could fall under the thrall of a Charismatic leader, spouting Christian homilies, condemning dissent and casting aspersions on differing beliefs.

Hitler did this with the enthusiastic blessings and votes of the German people.

Let us hope that in our time Ms. Palin is recognized for precisely what she is before a similar fate befalls our faltering Democracy.

Richard Baker
Chapter President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

 


 

Gazette Reader Comments

 

"Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

In other words, pray that "god" hates and wants to kill the same people we do.....

 


 

Part of the greatness of the United States is related to the fact that, even before becoming a republic, we gave up on the dunking stool as an "investigative tool". You know -- to figure out who was a witch and who wasn't. Also we never tried to revive the belief that the Sun revolves around Earth. Darned good thing. The heliocentric view was, scientifically, a huge step for humankind. We had also stopped believing that fooling with electricity was a way of interfering with the will of you-know-who. Wow, that made a big difference!

Using those things for perspective, it's easy to see why the Founders were a bit wary of creating (yet another) nation with religious zealotry as its foundational principle.

The writer invokes the names of Washington, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton. I think we should ask the two of those four who are still alive two questions:

Do you believe the earth is billions of years old or only perhaps 7000 years old?

Do you believe there is a true controversy in the acknowledged scientific community regarding so-called intelligent design?

Even the whacked out religious right wouldn't try to convince people that Carter and Clinton would answer anything other than "billions" to the first question and "no" to the second question.

And you know what? I'm confident that Washington and Kennedy would have answered the same way, given the same evidence and circumstances.

 


 

"legal theory known as separation of church and state"??
So, the 1st amendment, which says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" is not a separation? Just a theory, and not law? An early draft of the constitution? (actually, the early draft used the term you love point out was not included in the final draft ("wall of separation") and it was done to appease the "witch" burning religious crazies of that era.
gemme a break.
You can do better than that tired old rebuttal.

"a task that is from God"??
Invasion, occupation, murder, hegemony, imperilaism, is a task from god?
...and she says we should pray that god's plan is what we have done? In retrospect? LIE, invade, occupy, kill anyone who doesn't want you there, destroy the economy and infrastructure and then pray that's what god meant for us to do, as an afterthought?

She's nuts, and it's a common mental illness around here!
god's plan, sentence 1, straight from Moses:
"thou shalt NOT kill".
period.
Paragraph.

 


 

"...presidents - on the left and right - have a tradition of claiming partnerships with God as they've steered the executive branch." Considering the number that fumbled in office those partnerships have not been too profitable.

As to claiming that the left is primarily secular that is a bunch of bunk for there are as many religious people on the left as in the right. Obviously the writer sees the world from the small parochial fundamentalist enclave that is Springs.

As to Palin believing that God may have a plan, considering that both Muslims and Christians believe in the same God, the God of Abraham, what is she implying that He wants the two parties to war against each other?

Nobody is trying to make Palin a GOP tyrant for should she choose to become one that would strictly be her choice. Personally I could care less if she believed that the world is almost at end, that she be a fundamentalist, or an atheist as long as she does not sell pancake boxes adorned with racially offensive caricatures as the Focus and other conservatives have done in the past week showing in effect that at the bottom line they are ignorant cross carrying racists.

 


 

The mind of the fundamentalist is like the pupil of the eye: the more light you pour on it, the more it will contract.

 


 

Wonderful comments today, gang. I guess I would have to echo some of the sentiments with my concerns about Gov Palin's fundamentalist views. No one would begrudge her those views in the slightest were there not some worry that they will affect the "rest of us" (the majority) who do NOT hold them.

The whole "end times" and eschatology discussion is clearly relevant as that worldview seems antithetical to making long-term decisions for the "rest of us". That dispensationalistic worldview alone should give more people pause. If she and others like her truly believe we are in some fictional "end times", then it impacts society as a whole because she will make decisions that trade off short term gain for longer term pain.

 


 


Mikey Weinstein and his family are featured
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