'Star Trek,' Right-Wing Style

By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Star Trek" is back in theaters, and, as Mr. Spock might say, it's logical that the religious right would want to jump into the popular movie's transporter beam.

In the latest film, the Federation goes up against Nero the Romulan in the year 2387. In the religious conservatives' version, premiered yesterday at the National Press Club, a newly created group called the Freedom Federation turns its starfleet against Obama the Democrat in 2009.

"The Freedom Federation will stand as the first multi-ethnic transgenerational evangelical Christian federation in history," declared Sam Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

"This federation," agreed Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, "is bringing together the different voices, the different faces, that all believe in the same core principles."

"The federation begins to give voice," added Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council, to "folks who represent individual freedom."

Paramount Pictures tells us that the United Federation of Planets is an "interstellar union of advanced civilizations" devoted to "the principles of universal freedom, rights, and equality for all types of life." The founding statement of the Freedom Federation sounds oddly similar -- minus the references to Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites. The Christians' group is "a federation of individual, national, multi-ethnic and transgenerational organizations," the group's statement said, devoted to the common interests of "faith, moral values, and freedom," as well as the idea that "all men and women from every race and ethnicity are created equal."

"Some of us have Spock ears," volunteered Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition. "I've become a Trekkie since I joined the federation."

Mathew Staver of the group Liberty Counsel, who convened yesterday's federation meeting, said he wasn't trying to imitate the sci-fi film, which came out last month. He could have called it a coalition, but "that's a worn-out term," he reasoned. Still, Staver said he would not object to being called the Captain Kirk of the Freedom Federation ("you could if you want to"), and he certainly had assembled a wide variety of life forms on the bridge yesterday at this "urgent time in America and indeed around the world with some of these core values that are threatened."

There was Rodriguez, who spoke of the need to "secure our Judeo-Christian heritage," with emphasis on the latter. ("No other symbol incorporates passion and promise like the cross.") There was the representative from the prayer group Call to Action who offered the surprising "statistics" that 72 percent of young Americans are antiabortion and 84 percent of them line up against same-sex marriage.

Later came Concerned Woman Wright, who described her group as "the women's organization that likes men." And there was Rick Scarborough of Vision America, who said that "hate-crimes legislation is an infringement upon our freedom of religion" and expressed his support for the Supreme Court ruling that "vindicated white males."

While "we have no allegiance as a federation to either party," as Blackwell put it, federation politics are no secret. Among the many others signed on to the federation are Gary Bauer's Campaign for Working Families, which is at the moment working on a campaign to "stop Obama's socialism"; Lafferty's Traditional Values Coalition, which is trying to stop "Obamunists" from destroying private health care; Exodus International, which promises "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ"; Morning Star Ministries, which recently hosted the Spiritual Warfare Conference; and the American Family Association, which is promoting a boycott of Pepsi for supporting "homosexual activists."

But there is a trans-dimensional disturbance in the way of the federation's enterprise. It has no money. No offices. No staff. And no dues-paying members. What it does have is a "whole host of issues," Blackwell said, on which it will come up with federation policy communiques. On health care, for example, "if you asked me to give you a federation position, we are for portability, individual freedom and choice," he said.

On immigration, added Rodriguez, "you'll see coming with the federation not a compromise on core values but a fresh articulation of our biblical worldview."

The federation even has a founding document that it distributed at yesterday's meeting: "The Declaration of American Values." Among these are protections for the unborn, "embracing the union of one man and one woman as the sole form of legitimate marriage," and "freedom to acknowledge God through our public institutions." At the end, the federation founders write: "We hereby pledge our Names, our Lives and our Sacred Honor."

Who knows? From these humble beginnings the federation could live long and prosper -- assuming they don't get into trouble with the Borgs and the Klingons.

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