American Freedom Defense Initiative Co-Founder Calls for Killings, Mosque Burnings

Charles Johnson notes:

One of the groups founded by anti-Muslim demagogues Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer is called the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an “umbrella” group that provides cover for their other activities and funding for their anti-Muslim advertisements.

John Jay, one of the founding members of the board of AFDI and a very frequent commenter at Pamela Geller’s website, has posted a manifesto very reminiscent of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik’s — a deranged, violent fantasy of mass murder.

Jay’s post calls for the killing of “talking head media”, of “every self avowed socialist and communist in congress”, and of “the faculty senates at harvard, yale, columbia, nyu and university of california at santa barbara”. Also, Muslims immigrants should be deported, in “boxes or tourist, their choice”, and all mosques should be burned down.

Jay has now added a response:

apparently things are really very slow at little green footballs.  charles johnson, head pukka there, has responded to the little post herein-below breathlessly announcing that i am advocating mass murder.  the lizards of course, denounce me as deranged. 

[…] this is, of course, fairly ridiculous. and, utterly transparent.

charles johnson doesn’t give a whit or a fig for me, doesn’t care the weight of the proverbial mustard seed about me one way or the other.  no, the real purpose of his screed is to try and tar pamela geller by her association with me.  pamela geller is the target of the blog post at little green footballs, not i.  and, such is the measure of his worry over her prestige and influence, that he engages in this, … , i don’t know, … , empty polemic, … , nonsense, … , to try and harm her.  you come up with a phrase, i am chuckling too hard to think of a good one.

Yes, Jay has astutely worked out that the story here is his association with Geller and Spencer, rather than “random crank fantasies on the internet about killing people”.

Jay’s post includes some obviously fantastical elements: “draw and quarter the media, and shoot their remains from canons… boil bill ayers, bernie dorhn and angela davis in canola oil”. The strategy here is obvious – including a few jokes gives Jay a bit of distance from what he’s writing, and he probably thinks this means he doesn’t have to take proper responsibility for his sanguinary rhetoric. It should be recalled that when Jay’s fetish for violent fantasy was first noted last year, his defence (also used by Spencer) was simply to deny the plain and obvious meaning of his posts.

Nadine Dorries MP Asked Police to Use “Public Disorder Act” [sic] Against Bloggers

At Ministry of Truth, Unity discusses a letter which Nadine Dorries sent to the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police about critical bloggers. A redacted version of the letter was received by Tim Ireland following an Freedom of Information Request:

…I note that Tim was not the only blogger about whom Dorries complained in this letter – two other bloggers who have been openly critical of Dorries were also named in the letter, which concludes with a specific request that the now former Chief Constable ‘explore the provision available in section 5 of the Public Disorder [sic] Act and see if it can apply’. I can’t say which bloggers for the time being but, suffice to say, its pretty obvious who Dorries was complaining about even with though their names have been redacted by the police and the one thing they all obviously have in common is that they’ve all published blog posts which Dorries will have found  embarassing because they contain information which calls attention to Dorries’s lack of personal versimilitude.

The other two names are redacted, but from the context and the word-lengths of the deleted material it was easy to work out their identities; I can confirm that neither of them was me, despite my authorship of a number of critical posts about Dorries. As I’ve noted previously, Dorries uses the “stalker” smear to discourage critical investigation both of her political alliances and of her expenses. She has also previously boasted that the police “monitor” blogs that discuss her.

The upshot of the complaint was as follows: no action was taken against the two redacted bloggers (Dorries would have surely mentioned any), while Tim Ireland volunteered to give the police a full account of his dealings with Dorries. Given that police were at this point unsure whether a crime had occurred, the voluntary interview took place under caution. After a thorough discussion, it was determined that Tim had done nothing wrong, but that given the way that Dorries was choosing to portray their encounter, he was warned that any further contact would be unwise.

Dorries and her supporters then crowed that Tim had received a police warning, and they engaged in a malicious distortion of the word “caution”: Tim was interviewed under caution, which meant that the police made him aware that anything he said could be used in evidence. However, Dorries and her friends decided to suggest that Tim had received a police caution. This is a different matter entirely: a person who receives a police caution has acknowledged criminal conduct and has a criminal record.

This goes beyond political mud-slinging: Tim has also clashed with some self-styled activists against Islamic extremism, whose attempts to promote themselves through the media and MPs needed to come under investigation. As a result, Tim has been targeted for some actual harassment, including threats of violence and on-line smearing. Dorries’ lies and misrepresentations gave these individuals comfort: it provided them with a vigilante justification for going after Tim, and gave them a signal that any complaint made by Tim to the police would be unlikely to be taken seriously (These same individuals also target me, and one reason they give is that I’ve supported a supposed stalker).

Tim has further background on what happened next:

A man who I will not name was so caught up in Dorries’ late-May ‘caution’ lies that he made his own complaint to police in the days that followed, called on others to do the same, and then made a threat of violence against me and another man on his own site, under his own name, on the same day he had an appointment with police to discuss his (false) allegations.

Police have not acted on any previous complaint from this man, and they did not act on this latest complaint. But they did take the threat of violence seriously, which is what has led to the scheduled court appearance that makes it very difficult for me to expose Dorries as a liar without risk of prejudicing an upcoming trial.

Dorries, meanwhile, has been made aware that Tim has the letter; she has attempted to pre-empt its publication with a further attack on Tim on her blog, which for some weeks has consisted of little more than tirades against political opponents and hostile journalists:

…He targets others too, Including Iain Dale and Guido amongst many, just with not quite the same ferocity. Which leads me and others to think that maybe his special hatred is reserved for women.

Mail on Sunday Whips Up “BCE” Hysteria

As has been widely reported, the latest Mail on Sunday decided that the most important thing we all need to know about is the fact that parts of the BBC website use the dating terms “BCE” and “CE”, rather than the more old-fashioned “BC” and “AD”. While most of us don’t give this long-established academic convention a second thought, the story – by Chris Hastings – has managed to whip up some resentment against the BBC for turning “Its Back on the Year of the Lord”.

Tabloid Watch has a useful round-up of reactions: pundits on the bandwagon include Boris Johnson (who apparently has time on his hands now that London’s problems have all been solved and everything is ready for the Olympics); the repellent Melanie Phillips (who should win a humbug award for ranting on despite admitting that she herself prefers to use “BCE” and “CE”); and the absurd James Delingpole (who sees a “Marxist plot” inspired by Herbert Marcuse at work).

Religious figures have also waded in, such as Rev. Peter Mullen (more on him here), who railed against the “BBC’s undoubted loathing of our Christian heritage”. Tabloid Watch observes (links added):

Mullen’s rant was published at 6.27pm on Sunday night – less than an hour after BBC1 broadcast 30-minutes of hymns and tradition in Songs of Praise: 50 Amazing Years. Earlier in the day, BBC Radio 4 had broadcast Sunday Worship. Every weekday the same station broadcasts Prayer for the Day, Thought for the Day and the Daily Service. Is this the BBC’s ‘undoubted loathing of our Christian heritage’?

And let’s not forget Choral Evensong, which has been broadcast weekly from cathedrals across the country since 1926, and Bells on Sunday, which consists exclusively of the sound of church bells. On Sunday. There is also a dedicated religion news slot, Sunday, and if you keep a close eye on the schedules a decent amount of material about Christianity can be found in programmes on history or the arts, particularly on BBC Four or Radio 3. There has been a some decline in the amount of religious programming in recent years, but that’s as a result of processes of secularisation, rather than because secularists have taken over the media; that’s why the situation is far worse on commercial ITV than on the BBC.

But to return to the main point: Hastings’ article is simply untrue. The BBC has officially clarified that it does not have an editorial policy on “CE” vs “AD”, and that it leaves preferred usage to individual production teams. Tabloid Watch notes that references to “BC” and “AD” continue to appear on the BBC website and during BBC programmes.

The Mail has also run the article as an “Islamization” scare story: as Martin Robbins notes, it originally included a photo of the BBC’s head of religion, Aaqil Ahmed, with a caption telling us that “the Corporation say, bizarrely, the change has nothing to [do] with Mr Ahmed”. Later, the Mail decided it wasn’t quite so bizarre after all, and changed the caption simply to point out that Ahmed is a Muslim and that the BBC Religion and Ethics website is “littered” with references to “BCE” and “CE”. This fits with the narrative of an earlier Daily Mail attack on the BBC’s coverage of Christianity, which I blogged on in 2009 here.

It should be noted that Hastings has form when it comes to distorting facts. Back in January he wrote a Mail article claiming that the American broadcast of Downton Abbey would be cut “by two hours because American TV executives fear its intricate plot will baffle U.S. viewers”. Hastings had spoken to US television critic Jace Lacob, who went on to write a denunciation of Hastings’ journalistic integrity:

…despite the fact that I spelled out for Hastings that barely any cuts had been made to Downton Abbey, he wrote a now much-publicized piece for The Daily Mail in which he alleges, according to the hyperbolic lede, that “Downton downsized… by two hours because American TV executives fear its intricate plot will baffle U.S. viewers.”

To put it bluntly: it’s simply not true.

While I would be incensed about the article to begin with–given that Hastings took up my time on vacation, interrupted me incessantly while I was answering his questions, refused to listen to me, clearly had an agenda of his own, and then had the temerity to quote my review without proper attribution–I’m most angry about the fact that I actually did the math for Hastings during the interview, demonstrating in no uncertain terms that there weren’t two hours missing from the US broadcast of the series.

The only thing missing here are, in fact, the commercials themselves…

It appears that while Chris Hastings is very keen to defend “The Year of Our Lord”, he has less regard for the Ninth Commandment. I suspect the love of money has something to do with it.

World Public Forum Announces “Draft Agenda” for 2011 Conference

The World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” has announced the “draft agenda” for its 2011 meeting in Rhodes: plenary sessions and panels range from “The Future and Identity of Civilizations” and “Maintaining Family Values in the 21st Century” through to “Prospect and Possibilities of Dialogue in Russian-Ukrainian Economic Cooperation”, and, as in previous years, there’s a curious mix of international academics, officials, and religious  figures.

The WPF was co-founded by Vladimir Yakunin, the head of Russia’s railways and a man described by the Moscow Times as “the Kremlin’s model ‘Orthodox businessman'”; his wife, billed as chair of the “‘Sanctity of Motherhood’ Program”, is among those discussing “Preserving traditional values in (re)constructing social development”. Several of the topics to be discussed in Rhodes touch on Russia’s wider international role: these include “Russian civilizational alternative as ? practice of intercultural dialogue” and “‘Russian World’ as a civilizational project”. It should be recalled that back in March Yakunin presented a WFP award to Nursultan Nazarbayev ahead of elections in Kazakhstan; by happy co-incidence, this accorded with the interests of Russian diplomacy.

One intriguing aspect previous forums has been the presence of US Christian Right figures, despite the event’s generally mainline and inter-faith character. One of the WFP’s other co-founders is a businessman named Nicholas Papanicolaou, who is also involved with Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative; Papanicolaou brought Joyner and some other neo-Pentecostal Christian Right activists to a WFP event in 2009. However, Papanicolaou is not listed as involved this year, and the only US Christian Right activist who may be attending (he’s currently “TBC”) is professional prude and WorldNetDaily columnist Theodore Baehr (var “Ted Baehr”), of Movieguide fame – Baehr’s humbug pronouncements on the evils of Hollywood is a subject I’ve visited more than once (e.g. here and here).

I previously blogged on the 2006 forum, with some further background, here.

Another “Anti-Shariah” Conference

 Speakers include Christian Legal Centre’s Paul Diamond 

Good news for those who think there aren’t enough conflabs about how Islam is a threat to the values of USA:

Preserving Freedom Conference
Friday, November 11th, 2011 at 8:00am to 5:15pm (ET)
The Constitution or Sharia – Preserving Freedom Conference

The conference, which will be held at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville, is being organised by the “Sharia Awareness Action Network“, which is yet another vehicle for the same familiar faces and outfits:

The Sharia Action Awareness Network is a coalition of individuals and organizations who are engaged in educating the American citizenry about how Sharia Law stands in opposition to Constitutional Law, and why that poses a threat to our American way of life. While most of the initial coalition members have been engaged in this issue for quite some time, we had our first meeting to begin this coalition in the end of May 2011.

…Our entire coalition of prominent organizations involved will be continually added to. There are over 60 well known individuals that are playing a role. These include lawyers, educators, policy analysts, think-tanks and grassroots activists. Our steering committee consists of:

William J. Murray – Religious Freedom Coalition
Frank Gaffney – Center for Security Policy
Andrea Lafferty – Traditional Values Coalition
Elizabeth Farah – WorldNetDaily
Pamela Geller – Stop Islamization of America
Lou Ann Zelenik – Tennessee Freedom Coalition
Scott Cooper – Tea Party Activist
Don Feder – Project Coordinator

One wonders why Don Feder is placed discretely at the end, given that he’s only person on the list to be given a title that relates specifically to the running of the organisation. Surely as “Project Coordinator” he’s the one bringing everyone else together?

Inevitably, top billing for the conference goes to Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and the line-up also includes speakers from the American Center for Law and Justice, from Liberty Counsel,  and from the Virginia Anti-Sharia Task Force. Co-sponsors include GrassTops USA (“WAGE WEB WARFARE AGAINST THE LIBERAL ESTABLISHMENT”), Vision America (currently promoting Rick Scarborough’s book Mixing Church and State God’s Way), and STAND America (“Standing Up for the Judeo-Christian History and Value Which Make America Great”).

A few individuals are also listed, and one new name in particular caught my eye: “Barrister Paul Diamond, United Kingdom”. It’s strange that his affiliation is not listed, but he’s “Standing Counsel” to the Christian Legal Centre, which is the sister organisation of the UK Christian Right lobby group Christian Concern. The conference uses a couple of talking points which appear to have drifted across the Atlantic:

We recognize that in order to defeat the threat of Sharia Law in The United States, we must go beyond education and establish a coordinated effort that is proactive vs. the reactive model that we see taking place in Europe today, where for example we witness Sharia Courts standing alongside British courts and there are literally dozens of “no-go zones” in many European nations. 

Sharia courts in the UK (which do not in fact “stand alongside” British courts) are a subject I looked at here; the spectre of “no-go zones” in the UK was raised by the then-Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali at the start of 2008; Nazir-Ali works closely with Christian Concern.

Christian Concern is hostile to Islam, in particular promoting Sam Solomon‘s polemics; however, an alliance with the highly politicised and conspiracy-mongering US “anti-Jihad” movement, now known for its promotion of Birtherism and other excesses, can be seen as a qualitative jump.

Omar Tarazi Libel Case Dropped

Omar Tarazi, who acted as lawyer for Rifqa Bary’s parents in her 2009 custody case, has written about his legal dispute with Pamela Geller:

After a year of fighting, Pamela Geller finally caved in and agreed to permanently take down all of her defamatory posts regarding me to settle the lawsuit…  In the end, it was not worth wasting another two to three years fighting over the issue with Pamela Geller caving in and agreeing to take down the posts to settle the case today…

Tarazi’s spin on the outcome of his libel action is rather unconvincing: Geller’s website continues to carry numerous attacks on him, she has not issued any sort of correction regarding the material removed, no compensation has been paid, and Geller’s lawyer, David Yerushalmi, continues to assert dishonesty. Geller claims that Tarazi withdrew after receiving a “400+ page opposition” – this document has not been made publicly available.

Geller, unsurprisingly, is touting the outcome as a “historic free speech victory” and as the defeat of “litigation jihad” – something of a joke given that she and Yerushalmi both throw around libel threats of their own when it suits them (see here and here).

Back in August, it was reported that Tarazi had dropped an action against Bary’s legal representative in Florida following a confidential settlement:

Columbus lawyer Omar Tarazi had argued that Orlando attorney John Stemberger defamed him by calling him unqualified and also alleging in a 2009 TV interview that he has terrorist ties…

Tarazi and Stemberger agreed Tuesday that the complaint be dropped.

Tarazi had also made a grievance about Stemberger’s conduct to the Florida Bar; the case was dismissed in May.

Stemberger and Geller fell out with each other over Bary a while ago, with Geller denouncing Stemberger as a “svengali lawyer” and as a “clown”. Bary endorsed a “Stemberger Legal Defense Fund”, which was promoted by a number of high-profile Christian Right activists; she did not made any public statement about Geller.

Quilliam Foundation: Lies and Abuse

The Quilliam Foundation is a British Muslim anti-extremist think-tank which has been regarded with scepticism by some due to its past government funding and for a perceived affinity with neo-conservatism. Despite that, I take the view that anti-extremist efforts acting in good faith ought to be supported in general, and I’ve tended to agree with the view of one of Quilliam’s non-Muslim former advisers, Rev Giles Fraser:

Some have accused the new organisation of being a front for an anti-Islamic neo-conservative agenda… Of course, a number of conservative voices have been among its most active supporters, and some of its members have been harshly critical of multiculturalism. But what this organisation stands for is too important to hitch itself to any one political philosophy. And the leaders of the Quilliam Foundation agree.

However, I raised one concern about the Quilliam Foundation back in August, after an event involving two ex-EDL members was cancelled at short notice. One of the planned speakers, a man named Leighton Evans, announced on Facebook that although he was ex-EDL, he had objected to Quilliam’s billing of the event as an exposé of the EDL:

i refused to go along with what the quilliam wanted me to do which was renounce the edl. i wont do that and it was never on the agenda in my email exchanges with ghaffar hussain. he said i’d be asked why i joined, what i did, why i left and what i think know. he then released that load of old bollocks which i was never party to.

This could have been a good-faith misunderstanding, but there was a strange development a few days later when an article by Hugh Muir appeared in the Guardian claiming that the event had been cancelled due to threats against the speakers from the EDL. This was emphatically denied by Evans; it appears very much that the Quilliam Foundation decided to release a falsehood into the public domain as a damage limitation exercise. Whatever one’s views of the EDL, this is not acceptable.

Evans has a friend who boasts of links with the Quilliam Foundation: this is Charlie Flowers, a self-styled “activist” who spends much of his time stalking me on-line (see the notice on the top-right corner of this blog for details). It seems likely that he played a role in setting up the event, and its collapse should have been a bit awkward: on the one hand, Quilliam had been presented with an unsuitable speaker who was now abusing them (“fuckers” and “cunt” being Evans’ preferred descriptive terms); and on the other, Evans had been misrepresented as someone who was anti-EDL and who had been cowed by (non-existent) threats.

Flowers’ bizarre explanation to Evans (which I have no idea whether or not Evans believes) was that Muir must have got his misinformation from this blog rather than from Quilliam, even though I’d never suggested such a thing. Given that my name had been brought into the matter, I recently decided to write to Ghaffar Hussain at the Quilliam Foundation to ask for an explanation as to why the event had been cancelled and for Quilliam to correct Muir’s inaccurate report. I also pointed out that Flowers was lying about me, in this case apparently to divert Evans’ attention away from Quilliam.

Hussain declined to reply, although he forwarded my message to Flowers, who posted a response on Twitter claiming that I had “harassed” Quilliam and that I am (inevitably) a “cunt”.

This is a rather odd way for a supposedly serious organisation to carry on.

More on Poor-Quality Counter Terrorism Training at the FBI

Wired has published a follow-up to its July report on poor quality “counter-terrorism” training at the FBI:

At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”

…What’s more, the Islamic “insurgency” is all-encompassing and insidious. In addition to outright combat, its “techniques” include “immigration” and “law suits.” So if a Muslim wishes to become an American or sues the FBI for harassment, it’s all just part of the jihad.

The report in particular mentions one William Gawthrop; I discussed his limitations and misuse of sources here. Wired notes that before he started work with the FBI, he

had recently stepped down from a position with the Defense Department’s Counterintelligence Field Activity. That agency came under withering criticism during the Bush administration for keeping a database about threats to military bases that included reports on peaceful antiwar protesters and dovish Church groups.

Gawthrop is a faculty member at American Military University, and he worked as an assistant intelligence analyst in Northern Iraq in 1991. His role there was to make assessments about military capabilities, rather than to opine on the nature of Islam.

On Twitter, others who have encountered Gawthrop have made comments. Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, states:

In 2007, I saw Gawthrop present in Ankara to Turkish officers-a, um, step backward for US diplomacy.

Andrew Black, a former senior counterterrorism analyst who has worked “for a government contractor serving the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Department of Energy”, adds that:

Gawthrop led an IC / DOD working group in 2009 that was a major step back for planning efforts…was there c/o FBI

Meanwhile, the FBI has published a press release:

This particular training segment was conducted six months ago, one time only, at Quantico and was quickly discontinued. The instructor who conducted that training block no longer provides training on behalf of the FBI.

Policy changes have been underway to better ensure that all training is consistent with FBI standards. These changes will help develop appropriate training content for new agent training and continuing education for all employees, as well as introduce a consultative element from experts outside the FBI.

Will McCants, a former State CT advisor and an academic expert on Islamic extremism, adds on Twitter that:

2 be fair, FBI also invites lots good scholars of Islam 2 teach

Gawthrop will be speaking at the Ninth Conference of the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association in October – I blogged critically on the ICTOA here.

Improper counter-terrorism training is a subject that has come under increasing scrutiny over the past year: a critical article appeared in the Washington Post  last December, and there was a lengthy article in the Washington Monthly in March which prompted an expression of concern from Joe Lieberman, in his capacity as Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman, and from Ranking Member Susan Collins. A report by the progressive Political Research Associates also appeared in the spring, while the summer saw critical pieces on CNN and NPR, as well as Wired‘s first report.

Lieberman and Collins have also now expressed concern once again, writing to John Brennan (Obama’s Homeland Security assistant) on the subject:

An initial review by our staff revealed that agencies providing grants to state and local law enforcement lack meaningful standards for their counterterrorism curriculum and an adequate vetting process for individual trainers. For instance, the Department of Homeland Security’s review of training curriculum is performed by an outside contractor, rather than by the Department, and the Department refused to disclose the participants of the third-party curriculum review panels when asked by our staff in a request for voluntary production of the information.

In addition, state and local law enforcement often have little or no guidance from the federal government on what counterterrorism training should entail. The result has been cases of trainers spewing inaccurate or even bigoted information to state and local law enforcement personnel, stigmatizing Muslim-Americans generally, and in effect, lending support to the false narrative that we are “at war” with Islam. As we have stated in previous letters to this Administration, we have serious concerns that improper training may not be isolated occurrences and could be detrimental to our efforts to confront homegrown terrorism. Since Muslim-Americans are our main allies in the fight against violent Islamist extremism domestically, any training that implies otherwise is both inaccurate and counterproductive.

Agencies themselves must carefully vet and control the training curricula. If the Administration cannot develop criteria for training quickly, then we will consider drafting a legislative mandate or even imposing standards by statute.

Baptising Beck

Warren Throckmorton has the latest on David Barton and Glenn Beck:

David Barton is feeling the criticism from Worldview Weekend founder Brannon Howse. Today, Barton responded to some of those criticisms as he framed them.

Howse is particularly concerned that David Barton’s partnership with Glenn Beck leads Christians to believe that Beck is a Christian or that Mormonism is just a form of Christianity.

Barton’s approach was to call Beck a Christian because Beck says that Jesus is his savior and redeemer  and point to Beck’s deeds to validate his faith. You can read essentially what Barton claimed on the air here on his Facebook page.

Barton’s apologia also follows an attack by Marsha West in Renew America last week:

Why do evangelical leaders choose to team up with a Mormon? More specifically why did historian David Barton of Wall Builders, Attorney Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, Mike Evans of Jerusalem Prayer Team, and Pastor John Hagee join Glenn at the Restoring Courage rally?

California megachurch pastor Jim Garlow said, “I have interviewed persons who have talked specifically with Glenn about his personal salvation — persons extremely well known in Christianity — and they have affirmed (using language evangelicals understand), ‘Glenn is saved,'” Garlow reported. “He understands receiving Christ as savior.” (Online source)

David Barton stunned the audience when he went on Live TV and told host Randy Robison (here) that just because Beck attends a Mormon church “doesn’t say anything about his personal relationship with Jesus…. I have literally watched him pray and hear from the Lord and turn on a dime.”

One well-known Mormon practice is the vicarious baptism of non-Mormons into the LDS; this appears to be returning the gesture. I blogged on Beck’s alliance with Christian Right pastors – particularly John Hagee – here.

Of course, Barton has little regard for the ninth commandment, let alone the Nicene Creed, but it is interesting to see how a segment of the US Christian Right – known for its exclusivity and refusal to “compromise” with science or Biblical scholarship – appears to be accommodating a religious tradition which is obviously disconnected from historic Christianity. Beck supports Israel and promotes the USA’s “divine destiny”, and holds socio-economic views the Christian Right finds congenial. That is far more important than notions such as the Incarnation or the Trinity.

As I blogged here, there have also been attempts to incorporate Judaism into the Christian Right vision.

UPDATE: Warren Throckmorton has more:

The Moody Broadcast Network station in East Texas, KBJS-FM canceled David Barton’s Wallbuilders Live radio program during the  while Barton was discussing Glenn Beck’s religious beliefs. Randy Featherstone, KBJS manager, said the show was dropped due to Barton’s failure to distinguish between Mormon theology and Christianity.

Some Other Groups and the EDL

An item from 3 September posted at Demotix by a photographer named Peter Marshall has details of an “Alternative Action Anti-Sharia Protest in London”:

AA brings together a number of “patriot activist groups” which have previously demonstrated with the EDL but now want to dissociate themselves from the loutish behaviour, violence and racism that has attended many EDL protests. They include the English Nationalist Alliance, the British Patriotic Alliance, the Combined Ex Forces, the Ex EDL Association and the National League of Infidels.

The event involved only 20 or so persons, and centred on the Cenotaph:

This small protest was in marked contrast to the events taking place in the City of London, where later police arrested around 60 of the EDL. Here the protesters made their protest in a quiet and generally dignified manner, apart from one small incident where English Nationalist Alliance leader Bill Baker got out his megaphone to shout at the Syrians demonstrating opposite Downing St against the repression of dissent in Syria. Apparently under the misconception that they were Islamic extremists he told them to go back to Syria and make their protests in their own country.

Baker previously featured on this blog here.

Details about “Alternative Action” are scarce – there’s no designated website, although Baker’s ENA website has been rebranded as the organisation.

One group that isn’t involved is March for England, which on its Facebook page instead emphasises its “unity” with the EDL and its opposition to Baker. However, the ideological difference appears to be slight: browsing MfE’s picture album, it’s very clear that, despite the occasional positive reference to Iranian dissidents in London, the distinction it used to make between Islamic extremism and ordinary Muslims has collapsed.