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Religious Right Figures Signing Pro-war Statement Identified by ADL as Assaulting Tolerance and Pluralism

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by Michael Leon at MAL Contends

Madison, Wisconsin — Several major American religious right figures signing an anti-Iraqi withdrawal statement were previously identified by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as extremists assaulting tolerance and pluralism in America.

A group of 44 right-wing, extremist American leaders released a Declaration on Monday urging the continuation of American policy in Iraq and warning of catastrophic consequences if America withdrawals from Iraq.

The unique Forgotten American Coalition is composed of both Anti-Semitic and Christians-for-a-militaristic-Israel groups all of whom lean to the extreme right and expose authoritarian, militarist ideologies.

Several individuals signing the document were blasted in the ADL's 1994 publication, "The Religious Right: An Assault on Tolerance and Pluralism in America," that warned that "an exclusionist religious movement in this country has attempted to restore what it perceives as the ruins of a Christian nation by more closely seeking to unite its version of Christianity with state power."

The individuals who have espoused theologies using state power to attack pluralism in America (identified in the ADL's The Religious Right publication) and who signed the anti-Iraq Withdrawal statement: include: Lou Sheldon (Traditional Values Coalition), Gary Bauer (Chairman, Forgotten American Coalition), Don Wildmon (American Family Association), Pat Robertson (the 700 Club), Beverly LaHaye (Concerned Women for America),and Paul Weyrich (Free Congress Foundation).

The groups form the corp of the religious right in America, and the base of the contemporary Republican political coalition, and their anti-withdrawal statement echos Bush administration talking points on Iraq.

The Forgotten American Coalition's statement reads in part:

As leaders of the conservative movement and concerned citizens, the undersigned wish to make our fellow Americans aware of the tragic consequences of a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. ...

The Iraq War must be seen in the broader context of Islamo-fascism's war on America and Western Civilization. It is one front in a global conflict fought from Europe and the Middle East to Africa, the Balkans, the Indian Subcontinent and, finally, to the streets of our cities. ...

9/11 was in part precipitated by the perception of American weakness and lack of determination. An Iraq withdrawal before our mission is accomplished will convince the terrorists and their state-sponsors that we indeed are the proverbial paper tiger.

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Michael Leon is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His writing has appeared nationally in The Progressive, In These Times, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at
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