Rob Garver

Rob Garver is a freelance journalist living in Springfield, Va., and is currently studying at Georgetown Public Policy Institute.

Recent Articles

"Megachurch" Madness

History warns us that when large religious groups start imagining themselves to be oppressed by a pernicious and cunning minority, bad things can happen. So it was with a growing sourness in my stomach that I watched the luminaries of the Christian right take the stage at a Tennessee “megachurch” Sunday evening for “Justice Sunday II.” The ostensible purpose of the gathering (which I watched via webcast) was to muster support for the Bush administration's judicial appointees -- especially but not exclusively Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. But as speaker after speaker hammered on the theme of oppression of Christians by a shadowy liberal establishment, it became clear that, like many of the sermons, books, and articles written by leaders of the Christian right, the real purpose of “Justice Sunday II” was to reinforce a sense of victimhood among the broadest possible swath of American Christians. In the imaginary world painted by the leaders of “Justice Sunday II,” conservative...

A Liberal's Education

Dear Senator Santorum, Until I picked up your book It Takes A Family , I had never really recognized what it means to be a liberal. It turns out I've been going about things all wrong. I hadn't realized that I was supposed to be opposed to everything good, right, or true in America. I also hadn't realized that I'm supposed to be taking my ideological orders from a cabal of “village elders” made up of “the intellectual as well as practical leaders of the liberal movement in America.” The black helicopters that deliver The New York Times every morning must have skipped my street the day that was announced. So much is clear to me now that wasn't before you weighed in. Among other things, you have helped me understand some of the strange urges I've been having lately. Take last week, for instance. When packing my son off to Vacation Bible School each morning, I didn't understand why I suddenly felt compelled to whisper in his ear, “Don't believe anything they tell you. Good and evil are...

Leftward Christian Soldiers

Deep in the heart of the reddest county in a red state, a new grass-roots movement is taking shape that means to break the religious right's hold on the rhetoric of Christianity by developing a network of activists on the “Christian left” that can be mobilized to support progressive causes. Founded by Jacksonville, Florida, businessman Patrick Mrotek, the Christian Alliance for Progress (CAP) says its purpose is the “reclaim” the Christian faith from the extreme religious right. The Reverend Timothy F. Simpson, a Presbyterian minister and the group's director of religious affairs, said in an interview Wednesday that the Christian left has for too long allowed the Christian right to be the public face of his religion in America. “The language of our faith has been placed in the service of policy ends that don't reflect the Gospel, and we have become deeply troubled over that,” he said. The Christian right, he says, in the persons of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and James Dobson, has...

Darfur in Darkness

When President George W. Bush appeared at the White House on Monday, flanked by the presidents of five African nations, Brian McLaren -- the pastor of an evangelical Christian church in suburban Maryland -- expected to hear at least one reference to the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. He was disappointed, though not surprised, to see Bush deliver brief remarks that made no mention of what he regards as the world's most pressing humanitarian crisis and to see the five African presidents ushered from the stage without an opportunity to speak. McLaren is one of many evangelicals in the United States who are increasingly disillusioned by the disconnect between the Bush administration's public embrace of religion -- particularly evangelical Christianity -- and its failure to act on many issues that would appear to demand a response from anyone professing Christian beliefs. “Well over a year ago, I remember hearing conversations about Darfur, and the word ‘genocide' was used...

Allen Wretch

In late April, The Hotline , a widely read daily briefing paper for Capitol Hill insiders, polled 175 members of Congress and political strategists; they named Senator George Allen of Virginia as the most likely Republican candidate for the presidency in 2008. A former governor who happens to be the son and namesake of the legendary Washington Redskins football coach, Allen wasted no time giving political junkies more to speculate about. Four days after the poll was published, Allen traveled to the mecca of presidential hopefuls -- New Hampshire -- for a pair of political fundraisers, leading pundits of all stripes to note that he was following in the footsteps of many presidential contenders before him by getting an early start in the Granite State. Little noted, though, was Allen's participation in yet another tradition of Republican presidential aspirants: sucking up to the extreme religious right. Like John Ashcroft and George W. Bush before him, both of whom appeared at the...

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