This Week in God

THIS WEEK IN GOD…. First up from the God Machine this week is a follow-up look at a story we started following about a month ago, with the religious right complaining about gay Republican groups being allowed to have a presence at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

A fairly new group called GOProud signed on as an official co-sponsor of CPAC, arguably the year’s largest far-right gathering, touting its opposition to health care reform and the estate tax. Some religious right groups, whose hatred for gays trumps every other policy concern, threatened to boycott the annual conservative event unless GOProud was excluded.

This week, a Virginia law school created by the late Jerry Falwell followed through on the threat.

CPAC has resisted the far right’s efforts to pressure it to drop GOProud as a co-sponsor of the popular conference, even though some groups have threatened to boycott the event. Last month, CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale told Hot Air that she was “satisfied” that GOProud “do not represent a ‘radical leftist agenda’ and thus “should not be rejected as a CPAC cosponsor. David Keene, the head of CPAC’s main organizing group, assured the far right that GOProud would not be allowed to have any speakers at the conference.

These concessions weren’t enough for Liberty University Law School. Last month, Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Liberty Law School Dean Mat Staver, joined by other conservative evangelical leaders, wrote a letter to Keene with their objections. Staver has now announced that since they never received a “formal response,” they are dropping their co-sponsorship.

It’s probably not too big a loss for CPAC — it’s not hurting for right-wing sponsors, and the Liberty University Law School isn’t exactly a powerhouse in the conservative movement — but it’s a reminder that for some in the religious right, a gay conservative ally is no ally at all.

Also from the God Machine this week:

* In Alabama, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bradley Byrne got himself into considerable trouble recently when he said publicly, “I believe there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be literally true and parts that are not.” This seemingly reasonable observation generated intense right-wing pushback, and threatened to derail his statewide campaign. Byrne has since backpedaled, assuring voters, “I believe the Bible is true. Every word of it.”

* The Vatican newspaper and radio station have denounced the film “Avatar,” accusing it of promoting “the worship of nature.”

* Malaysian officials hope to contain a spate of recent attacks on Christian churches.

* And a scholar on Vodou reflects on the faith tradition and this week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti. (thanks to reader A.C. for the tip)