Friday, June 10, 2005

Christian Right Xenophobia Radio

The Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association, founded by United Methodist minister, Rev. Don Wildmon, has been a leading Christian Right organization for a generation.

In recent years, AFA has developed syndicated radio program, American Family Radio, which it claims airs on about 200 stations around the country.

Wildmon and some of his senior staff recently engaged in a xenophobic discussion of the recent election of Antonio Villaraigosa, according to an account of the program by Max Blumenthal of Media Matters for America. (The organization has, for some time, been monitoring the news and public affairs programs of Christian Right media outlets.) Among other things, American Family Radio's Fred Jackson claimed that the recent election of Antonio Villaraigosa as mayor of Los Angeles was "a direct result of... illegal immigration."

Jackson claimed that "that scenario... is going to repeat itself in communities across the United States." He went on to say that "...the problem is, like brother Don [Wildmon] said, we don't want to have two nations within our borders that can't communicate with one another and natural hostility will develop."

If there is a "natural hostility," it would appear to be emmanating from Jackson and Wilmon.

Incidentally, Wildmon's "ministry" is an excellent example of how some of the Christian Right is not part of explicitly conservative denominations. Historically, the Christian Right has had a significant and growing base in mainline Christianity as well. This has often resulted in the development of conservative and evangelical factions, (sometimes financed and egged on by outside agencies), that are at odds with the rest of the denomination, creating tension, division and gridlock.

[Crossposted at FrederickClarkson.com]

7 Comments:

Blogger Sunfell said...

This overt and hostile xenophobia seems to be another bastion of the Religious Right- a senator from my own state tried (and thankfully failed) to implement legislation hostile to illegal immigrants. Scary thing is that he's running for Lt. Governor.

On a different but related subject, someone needs to examine and address the overt takeover by religious radio stations of much of the AM spectrum, as well as hostile takeovers of repeater frequencies that carry Public Radio programming. The FCC seems to favor churches when they're applying for Low Power FM licenses, too. There are parts of the country where you cannot pick up anything but religious programming, and it is very prevalant on the shortwave bands, too.

10:03 PM  
Blogger IseFire said...

are these same xenophobes also inclined towards apocalypticism? I'm thinking about the point Chip Berlet often makes about the scape-goating common in apocalpyticism. xenophobia and scape-goating are closely related, of course. Certainly these xenophobes you're mentioning seem quick to blame ills (or at least what they consider to be ills) on the vaguely-defined and vaguely-ominous "Immigrant." (Echoes of the ubiquitous "Communist" supposedly so common in the U.S. in the 1950's, at least in the mind of Joe McCarthy.)

7:43 AM  
Blogger Sunfell said...

Oh, they're big time oriented towards apocalypticism. I think that part of their very bad behavior is their belief that Jesus is coming soon, so they can be as horrible as they want, because they'll be 'raptured' away.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Jerry Sloan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Jerry Sloan said...

"Incidentally, Wildmon's "ministry" is an excellent example of how some of the Christian Right is not part of explicitly conservative denominations. Historically, the Christian Right has had a significant and growing base in mainline Christianity as well. This has often resulted in the development of conservative and evangelical factions, (sometimes financed and egged on by outside agencies), that are at odds with the rest of the denomination, creating tension, division and gridlock."

This comment is correct about the growing influenc of "conservative and envangelical factions" which are causing great havoc in mainline Christianity but leaves out a pertinent fact and that is these factions are all Charismatic or to use the old fashion term Pentacostal. This means, particularly when it comes to politicans, that it is not enough to know they are Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, United Methodist, etc., one must ask an additional question to see if they are Charismatic because this changes their biblical and worldview and they no longer adhere to the traditional theology of their denomination. Often these Charismatics characterize themselfes as part of a "renewal" movement to bring their denomination back to a narrow interpretation of the Bible.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Frederick Clarkson said...

Well, a slight disagrement with my friend Jerry. While its true that the charismatic factions in the mainline denominations are part it, there are also plenty of non-charismatic conservative groups and individuals. This is particularly evident in the PCUSA, where there are a number of conservative factions, and most are not ostensibly charismatic.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Bruce Wilson said...

I'm interested in sunfell's point : that "There are parts of the country where you cannot pick up anything but religious programming".

It would be good to dramatize that situation - with a radio documentaries of example programing from such areas, I suppose - to help rouse people living in liberal bastions from their slumber.

Perhaps the assault on NPR will help out ? I'm not holding my breath.

7:30 AM  

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