1. GOOD-BYE BUCKEROO. Buck Owens has died. He was 76. I hated “Hee Haw” but I loved this man’s best songs. Check 'em out.
2. RELIGIOUS RADICALS’ FINANCIERS. About a year ago (Feb., 2005), Time Magazine ran a front-page story on the 25 most influential Evangelicals in the country (Most influential evangelicals).
Number 1 on the list was Rick Warren, “America’s New People’s Pastor.” Warren pastors a little church down the street from my house. Saddleback Church has 22,000 members, and it’s hard for me not to think that those people are confusing religion with football. I wonder if they show up wearin’ that stupid make-up and doin’ the Wave.
Number 2 is—you guessed it!—Orange County’s own Howard and Roberta Ahmanson. Near as I can tell, Howard is one of Tom Fuentes’ pals. (Also: he provided the seed money for the organization that brought us Don Wagner and Nancy Padberg.)
Here’s what Time had to say about the Ahmansons:
The Financiers: Money makes the Word go round, and this wealthy, conservative Republican couple takes a dizzyingly ecclectic approach to funding evangelism. The projects that savings-and-loan multimillionaires Howard and Roberta Ahmanson have paid for over the years through Fieldstead & Co., a private philanthropy in Irvine, Calif., form a cornucopia of faith-based activism, including an institute linked to the antievolution intelligent-design movement and a study of social endeavors by Third World Pentecostal churches. The couple have been accused over the years of having an extremist agenda, mostly because a onetime pet charity, the Chalcedon Foundation, advocates the Christian reconstructionist branch of theology that says gays and other biblical lawbreakers should be stoned. Howard distanced himself from those views and resigned from the foundation board years ago.
The couple, both 55, now are warning powerful conservative Christians about the pitfalls of hubris in the aftermath of their victories over liberals last November. Says Roberta: "Christlike humility and [improving] the lives of human beings should be the goals."
OK, so Howard and Roberta have backed off of the “stoning” idea. Maybe. But saying that somebody used to be on the board of Chalcedon is a bit like saying that they used to be Devil Worshippers. Check out Chalcedon and the rest of the Ahmansons’ “Christian Reconstructionist” crowd. It’ll curl your hair.
While you’re at it, check out the Claremont Institute (one of Fuentes’ haunts), the Discovery Institute (the Earth is 6,000 years old!), and other organizations that the Ahmansons still fund.
And don’t be thinkin’ that Howard gave up his wild talk long ago. According to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, in 1992, Howard explained that “My purpose is total integration of biblical law into our lives.”
Thank you, Howard, for the marvelously succinct statement of the Chalcedon project, aka Christian Reconstructionism.
This guy scares the shit out o' me. One of these days, I'll wake up and find out that I'm in deep doo-doo cuz I didn't go to the stupid church-mall down the road.
3. JARAMILLO POINTS TO CARONA. Did you see Peggy Lowe’s article in today’s Register about “Hometown Hero” and Fuentes star Mike Carona’s former assistant, George Jaramillo? Check it out. As I’m sure you know, Mike Carona is a devout Christian—you know, like Tom Fuentes.
Jaramillo says ex-boss Carona should be facing same charges
Outside court, fired assistant says sheriff misused department's copter.
SANTA ANA – Waving a manila envelope filled with what he said was evidence, fired Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo said Friday that Sheriff Mike Carona should be prosecuted for the same charges he is facing.
Jaramillo held court outside the courtroom after a routine hearing on the newest round of charges he faces, including perjury and misusing public resources. A grand jury found Jaramillo improperly used the Sheriff's Department helicopter for a ride to the airport with his wife in 2003.
Taking copies of Orange County Sheriff's Department logs from the envelope, Jaramillo accused Carona of using the helicopter up to 32 times for trips to an award ceremony, a ride to attend his son's soccer game and another trip with his "longtime mistress."
An Orange County Register investigation showed that the county's helicopters were used at least 16 times in 2002 to take Carona and others to award ceremonies, television interviews, the airport and a Lake Arrowhead retreat, costing taxpayers $26,000.
…Sheriff's officials have denied all of Jaramillo's claims as "outrageous lies."
Jaramillo has pleaded not guilty to all the charges he faces, which also include bribery and conflict of interest. His trial is set for September.
Why is it that the worst people I know are also the most pious? Explain that one to me, will you?