3064 The Religious Right: More Intrusive Now Than Ever

Sponsor: HUUmanists Association

Speaker: Barry Lynn, HUUmanists Association

Prepared for UUA.org by Chris Sealy, Reporter; Margy Levine Young, Editor

Who says liberals don't have a sense of humor?

Certainly not Barry Lynn. The well-known author, civil liberties attorney, United Church of Christ minister, and executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State kept a workshop audience laughing as he listed "The Top Ten Reasons That the Religious Right Really Bugs Me." There were even a few outright guffaws.

Reason number one: The toys they give their children. People like us, Lynn said, give our children soft and cuddly toys, like Spongebob Squarepants. And the religious right? They give Ann Coulter talking action figures.

Reason number two: The books they give their children. People like us, Lynn continued, give Dr. Seuss or Harry Potter. Everyone knows the religious right doesn't approve of the Potter books. Instead, they give their children books such as Help, Mom, There Are Liberals Under My Bed .

Reason number three: The religious right wants to censor things, including things you can't really see. Some claim, for example, that the Disney animated version of Lion King has the word "sex" written in the clouds. The religious right even creates entire wars that don't exist, like the war against Christmas.

Barry Lynn's next reason: The religious right is hypocritical in a creepy sort of way, like the time in the 90s that they pushed for a sex education bill to teach that monogamy was the expected standard, just as a prominent Congressional leader was accused of having an affair with a staffer. (And yes, a certain president was accused of a similar indiscretion that decade, too.)

And on Lynn went. The religious right is inconsistent. They don't understand irony. They try to go around issues. They offer overly simple solutions. They want special privileges. And not only do they not like reality TV, they don't like reality!

The workshop was not all one-liners. Lynn informed the audience that the top ten religious right organizations in the United States raised $500 million last year, funding a powerful voice and presence in Washington . "We can't let these people walk all over us," Lynn says, "The future is not written in the stars, but it's written by what we do. Think about the fact that we are making progress, like defeating the federal marriage amendment, and we have a good chance of getting to the end zone and preserving the rights of all people."

Lynn 's parting words: "When someone tells you you can't make a difference, don't believe them." Not a single person laughed.