Saturday, April 14, 2007


Loyal? To What?

"The infiltration of the federal government by large numbers of people seeking to impose a religious agenda — which is very different from simply being people of faith — is one of the most important stories of the last six years," writes New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. "It’s also a story that tends to go under reported, perhaps because journalists are afraid of sounding like conspiracy theorists."

We all know that Monica Goodling, a former aide to embattled Attorney General Roberto Gonzales, who resigned after advising Congress she would invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, is a graduate of Pat Robertson's Regent University.

We also know from Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone that many of the incompetents sent by Bush to staff the Coalition Provisional Authority were from the far-right religious fringe.

A not inconsiderable number of those who got us where we are in Iraq today shared a similar trajectory: home schooling followed by Christian University -- usually Regent or Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. -- and on to government employment.

And, as we've reported in the past, the nation's military institutions, such as the Air Force Academy, also harbor a disproportionate number of evangelical Christians in relation to the population as a whole. While a 2001 American Religious Identification Study reported that 76.7 percent of the adult population in the U.S. identify themselves as Christian, more than 90 percent of Air Force Academy's students say they are Christians.

Jews, who comprise 1.4 percent of the population, but only 1 percent of cadets, are underrepresented at the academy as are Seculars, the 14.2 percent who responded to the ARIS study that they had no religion or did not declare a religion. While Seculars constitute the second largest group in the survey they are virtually unrepresented at the academy.

Perhaps that explains why nearly 50 percent of non-Christian cadets said in 2004 that their classmates have "a low tolerance for those who do not 'follow a religion' or 'believe in a divine being.'"

Despite all that, we didn't know until we read it in Krugman's column that Kay Cole James, a former dean in Regent’s government school, was the federal government’s chief personnel officer from 2001 to 2005.

Regent's law school, which inherited its library from Oral Roberts, was ranked in the bottom tier by U.S. News and World Report, coming in tied for 136th place out of 170 schools surveyed. Just 61 percent of Regent students pass the bar exam on their first try. The state average in Virginia is 74 percent.

Despite its dismal reputation Regent grads have found a warm welcome in the Bush administration.

"We've had great placement," Jay Sekulow, who heads a non profit law firm based at Regent that files lawsuits aimed at lowering barriers between church and state, has told The Boston Globe. "We've had a lot of people in key positions."

Goodling and at least 150 other Regent graduates are known to be working for the Bush administration in some capacity. Are they following a 1981 injunction from Christian Reconstuctionist Gary North "to infiltrate the existing institutional order”?

Perhaps it's time that we found out where other Regent graduates are working in government and just what they're doing.

Goodling is gone, but Red State Rabble readers can help us ferret out other Regent grads who are funneling public money to the religious right organizations, rewriting the laws, weakening government regulations, silencing scientists, firing capable government workers to make room for politically connected incompetents, and otherwise breaking down the barriers between church and state.

Know of any other Regent or Liberty grads in government? Got a brilliant insight on how to search for them on the Internet? Let Red State Rabble know. We'll compile a list of our readers findings and publish them on the web for all to see.

Perhaps that can be the beginning of a process of finding out how far the infiltration of our government by the theocratic right has gone and what its effects have been.


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