This Week in God

First up from the God Machine this week is an impressive report on the organized anti-Muslim campaign, driven by several conservative foundations and their well-funded “experts.”

Following a six-month long investigative research project, the Center for American Progress released a 130-page report today (pdf) which reveals that more than $42 million from seven foundations over the past decade have helped fan the flames of anti-Muslim hate in America. The authors — Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and [Faiz Shakir] — worked to expose the Islamophobia network in depth, name the major players, connect the dots, and trace the genesis of anti-Muslim propaganda.

The report, titled “Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America,” lifts the veil behind the hate, follows the money, and identifies the names of foundations who have given money, how much they have given, and who they have given to.

It’s quite a report, detailing not only the right-wing voices who routinely push their message on major news outlets — Frank Gaffney is a Fox News regular, for example — but also the groups footing the bill. From the CAP report:

Spreading anti-Muslim hate in America depends on a well-developed right-wing media echo chamber to amplify a few marginal voices. The think tank misinformation experts and grassroots and religious-right organizations profiled in this report boast a symbiotic relationship with a loosely aligned, ideologically-akin group of right-wing blogs, magazines, radio stations, newspapers, and television news shows to spread their anti-Islam messages and myths. The media outlets, in turn, give members of this network the exposure needed to amplify their message, reach larger audiences, drive fundraising numbers, and grow their membership base.

It’s well worth checking out.

Also from the God Machine this week:

* The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston published a partial list this week of clergy members accused of sexual abuse. It includes 132 priests and two deacons, and while many are no longer with the church — some have already been convicted, some left the priesthood, and some are deceased — 22 of the priests are on administrative leave while their cases are investigated.

* Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, recently declared that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God.” Local clergy have spent two months trying to meet with the far-right congressman to discuss the issue; he’s still refusing to talk to them.

* The AP had a lengthy look this week on a secret team of New York Police Department intelligence officers who, with the help of the CIA, staged undercover operations and conducted extensive surveillance of Muslim-American neighborhoods. The efforts, the AP noted, “would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government.”

* Radical TV preacher Pat Robertson this week told viewers, “I don’t want to get weird on this,” before arguing that this week’s east-coast earthquake, which caused an inch-wide crack in the Washington Monument, may be “a sign from the Lord.”