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Family Heritage Alliance Promotes Theocracy with Fundraising Letter to City Official

A South Dakota city official sends me this solicitation from the Family Heritage Alliance. My friend in local government says our theocratic neighbors sent this fundraising letter to the official city office, not the official's home address.

Fundraising letter from Dale Bartscher, Family Heritage Alliance, to city official, December 4, 2013
Fundraising letter from Dale Bartscher, Family Heritage Alliance, to city official, December 4, 2013

Theocracy, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways...

  1. The FHA quotes Rep. Brian Gosch: "Dale Bartscher and the FHA help me, in the legislature, send a clear message that if you are looking for a liberal California lifestyle, you are NOT going to find it in South Dakota." Brian, I think anyone looking for a California lifestyle in South Dakota stopped at "polar vortex." But Gosch's quote exposes another facet of the FHA's un-Christian exclusivity.
  2. The FHA gives a vague reference to Senator Thune and Rep. Noem's approval, but no examples of what FHA has done to make Congress work better (but dang, I keep forgetting: the conservative theocrats don't want Congress to work!).
  3. The FHA stands with Mayor Kooiker to defend Rapid City's unconstitutional city council prayers, another practice through which FHA and theocrats say to some South Dakotans, "You're not welcome here."
  4. The FHA claims to be "protecting and promoting the values you cherish." Not if the city official receiving that letter values the Constitution and inclusivity.
  5. They offer to send this city official propaganda that lies about evolution, claiming that evolution is (a) wrong and (b) against God. This gift seems about as appropriate as sending a teacher a concrete mixer: in what execution of her or his official duties would a city official need to be versed in the theory of evolution and its religious implications?
  6. The FHA thanks the city official for "all you are doing in defense of faith, family, and freedom." Does the FHA mean that in anything other than an unconstitutional way? Are they really cheering any city official's efforts to avoid establishing any religion but supporting the rights of every citizen to profess Islam, Judaism, or Wicca? Are they really cheering city officials who would also defend the rights of those who profess no faith?

That the Family Heritage Alliance sent this letter to a city official at city hall indicates this letter is a political communication. The language of this Family Heritage letter suggests they are saying to an elected official, "We're Christian, we're powerful, and if you want to get things done in your city, you should heel to our Christian warriors! Promote Christian prayer in your office! Defend the One True Faith from those Californian infidels!"

Grrr—I hate theocracy.


  1. Joan 2014.01.08

    Darwinian evolution and the "worldview it supports" -- the connection here always eludes me. The "if you're not with us, you're against us" tone of this letter is creepy as well as extremely unhelpful to any real progress.

  2. Loren 2014.01.08

    Would it be inappropriate to comment on an article criticizing theocracy by saying, "Amen!?"

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.08

    Creepy, Joan? How about subtly intimidating?

    Inapprorpriate, Loren? How about amusingly ironic?

    Can I get an amen, brothers and sisters!

  4. Jamie Scarbrough 2014.01.08

    Dominionists are dangerous, power hungry, zealots. The fact that some people buy into this crap is scary, and everyone should be upset by it. American Taliban.

  5. mike from iowa 2014.01.08

    I didn't see where they blame the ACLU and godless Liberals for forcing god out of public schools,but that may have been an oversight on my part. Christians these wingnuts ain't.

  6. Rick 2014.01.08

    South Dakota's 20 percent crime rate hike leads the other states in our nation. That's another way to distinguish this state to "a liberal California lifestyle." I believe in giving credit where it's due. Using Dale Bartscher's premise and logic, I blame Dale Bartscher and the FHA for making South Dakota a haven for criminals.

  7. Joan 2014.01.08

    Well, Cory, I find intimidation, subtle or not, to be creepy

  8. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.08

    What is really creepy Joan, is that there are so many gullible people that buy into this crap and so many that are in leadership positions.

    Amen Cory! Let's give a hand clap for Cory!

  9. PNR 2014.01.08

    Jamie S. - Dominionists, while irksome and more than a little foolish (as well as unbiblical on several points), are hardly the equivalent of the Taliban. The effort to win votes - which this won't - is very different from murdering one's opponents, their children, and their cattle.

    But I'm all for not giving them the opportunity to put the force of government behind their folly. Publicizing letters like this will help, so from this Christian conservative....

    Amen, Cory.

  10. Jim in DC 2014.01.08

    Beyond creepy, follks!

    Not a whole lot gets to me. Heck, I have even been charged by a wild elephant and didn't completly lose it. But these family values groups give me a straight up chill. How does such ignorance grow so fast?

  11. mike from iowa 2014.01.08

    I suppose FHA is granted tax-exempt status and still meddles in politics. Religious entities made a deal with the devil to not pay taxes,in exchange they gave up the meddling in politics angle. Apparently you can't trust these so-called god-fearing peoples as far as you can toss a bobcat. But then they have one major political party irking them on,right rethugs?

  12. grainofsalt 2014.01.08

    What's so creepy is that it feels like "Crusades 2 extra light"

  13. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.01.08


  14. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.01.08

    hey Rick, You wrote, "South Dakota's 20 percent crime rate hike leads the other states in our nation."

    But I notice that none of the media was bragging on this one, "we're #1"

  15. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.08


    I blame Daugaard and Rounds for making South Dakota a haven for criminals.

    Oops!! They are criminals too, just haven't been captured yet.

  16. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.08

    AMEN! sisters and brothers!

    The only way to come up with the biblical claims they make is through Selective Literalism. They "say* they are True Bible Believers because they take the bible literally. No, they do not. Certain quotes, yes. Quotes which can be mated with pre-existing suppositions to support pre-existing choices.

    An Authentic Biblical Scholar commits years of research to biblical interpretation. (Interpretation is what every bible reader who ever existed does.)

    Not only will our scholar read most resources on the subject from earlier scholars, she will spend a great deal of time on personal examination. She will be exceptionally fluent in biblical Greek, Koininia, the language the original New Testament was written in; she will have just as high a skill level in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament. She will likely be quite comfortable with Latin, and perhaps 14th and 15th century German as spoken by the reformers who split from the Roman Catholic Church to create Protestant denominations. Thus she will be able to read the foundational documents herself, rather than relying on later interpretations.

    Our biblical scholar will go to Israel, Rome, Germany,Turkey, Syria (Not right now.), Egypt, etc. She will study in the libraries of antiquity and visit sites. She will study history to learn about the people. How did they live? What did they eat? What were their homes like? What was the social structure? What was their pre-Christian faith tradition?

    After gathering all that information, our scholar will write drafts of the proposal she has developed and submit them to her peers for critique.

    Based on this rigorous work, our scholar publishes her work in book form. It will undergo increased scrutiny by the public and inform later work. Top-notch scholars never set their work in unchanging stone. That is what makes them Authentic Biblical Scholars.

  17. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.01.08

    Perhaps, it is time to add some levity to this discussion of biblical interpretation with a joke I received recently.

    A new monk shows up at a monastery where the monks spend their time making copies of ancient books. The new monk goes to the basement of the monastery saying he wants to make copies of the originals rather than of others' copies so as to avoid duplicating errors they might have made. Several hours later the monks, wondering where their new friend is, find him crying in the basement. They ask him what is wrong and he says "the word is CELEBRATE, not CELIBATE!"

  18. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.08

    BOO HISS, Lanny!

  19. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.01.08

    Glad you liked it Roger.

  20. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.08

    I've searched for this extensively, and never have found it: The place in the bible which says a Christians god-given duty is to force his belief system on every government possible.

    I've never, Never seen it. Nor have I ever heard a citation from those who profess to believe that, despite frequent requests.

  21. grainofsalt 2014.01.09

    Deb, you've never seen it because it isn't there. A relationship with Christ is a loving invitation ("I stand at the door and knock") NOT "You damn well better open this door for me before I huff and puff and blow your house down"

  22. PNR 2014.01.09

    Yes, Doug. The trouble comes in discerning which things belong to which.

    Liberal Christians can be just as theocratic as conservatives - I regularly get "action alerts" from one of my own denomination's agencies telling me, in effect, that if I don't support/advocate leftist policies I'm not a true Christian. In fact, the whole welfare apparatus was pushed by many as a Christian requirement and thus part and parcel of being a "Christian nation."

    Efforts to use religious orthodoxy to motivate support for political views, as well as efforts to use government force to establish religious orthodoxy, are not unique to one particular political agenda or understanding of religious orthodoxy.

  23. interested party 2014.01.09

    Exactly, Doug: rendering unto god would be like dividing by zero.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.09

    Dang it, PNR: are you telling me that the only way to get the conserv ative theocrats to back off is to elect some liberal theocrats?

  25. PNR 2014.01.09

    I pray not, Cory.

    I merely point out that the theocratic tendency is not unique to a political ideology and we should not let the agenda a particular group of theocrats is pushing blind us to the danger they pose. They are a threat to the integrity of the left, too.

  26. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.10

    You've got a good point, PNR, but lacking in balance.

    Yes indeed, there are liberal theocrats, and significantly harder to find because they are significantly fewer in number. The liberal side has a much greater concentration of nonbelievers, nonChristians, nonreligious types than the rightwing theocrats. Liberals are much more likely to support the constitutionally-provided separation of church and state. Liberals are not in favor of a national religion, laws based on religion, clergy in positions of political power, etc.

    Surely you are aware of these things. Liberal Christians, except for a few, rare exceptions, are extremely dissimilar to rightwing theocrats.

  27. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.10

    Just what is a liberal theocracy?

    New one on me and I've been a liberal a long time.

  28. Deb Geelsdottir Post author | 2014.01.11

    Excellent question Roger! In my experience, a Liberal Theocrat is an invention of rightwing theocrats in an attempt to excuse their behavior.

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.11

    Roger may be aptly calling me on an oxymoron: can one be liberal but also be a theocrat?

  30. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.11

    Deb and Cory,

    Liberal theocracy in my opinion is a contradiction in terms.
    Given the diverse demographics of the Democratic Party it is nearly impossible to label any of them as divine followers of anything.

    The right wing manufacturers of this nonsense just want to be able to say "well, you guys do it too". It's a fantasy.

    The one thing about liberals is that you can get as many definitions of divinity as their are liberals.

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