Posts Tagged “christian right”

Satan, as drawn by Gustave Doré, in John Milton's Paradise Lost.Rick Santorum is an agnostic blogger’s dream. Almost daily the guy trots out some insipid, moronic Christofascist comment or other. Among other things, he claims to be an expert on theology, and you may remember he once said the Crusades were not “aggression.” Well, he’s made news this week due to remarks he made — but four years ago, back in 2008. I’m not sure why they surfaced only just now (courtesy of the extreme Leftists at Right Wing Watch), but the mass media are now all abuzz about them, and that would include the folks at CBS News (WebCite cached version):

Santorum said in August 2008 that “Satan has his sights set” on the United States of America, adding that “the Father of Lies” is using vice to go after the nation’s great institutions.

“Satan [has been] attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition,” Santorum said at Ave Maria University in Florida in 2008. …

According to Santorum, academia was Satan’s first beachhead:

Santorum goes on to say that Satan has been “most successful and first successful” in attacking academia, saying Satan exploited the “pride of smart people.”

This, of course, is standard Religious Right anti-intellectual fare. Not too surprising — except for irony of him making this comment in the middle of a university. I expect a guy like Santorum to attack those evil communistic university-types, but he went on to attack a different target:

Then, he said, Satan went after the church, and now “we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.”

What makes this unfortunate for Santorum is that the Religious Right which makes or breaks GOP presidential candidates is made up primarily of Protestant evangelicals. I’m not sure how amenable they’ll be to the assertion that “mainline Protestantism … is in shambles.” Of course, if they like Santorum enough, they might very well just ignore it, or perhaps rationalize it away as his effort to pander to a Catholic school audience.

As I said, this has caused quite a stir in the news over the last few days, as though it’s somehow incredible or remarkable; but most of the tropes in this 2008 speech — especially the assertion that Satan has conquered universities — are just standard Religious Rightist fare. I wonder if the fact that I graduated from a public university would make Santorum think I’m a tool of Satan … ?

I’ll close this post with the portion of the speech that Right Wing Watch has made available via Youtube:

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Rick Santorum CPAC FL 2011Religious Rightists tend to view all of Christianity as being their Christianity … whichever version of it they belong to … and see no difference between its many varieties. What’s worse, they sometimes extend this even further, and view all religions has being their particular version of their particular religion (i.e. Christianity). In other words, they tend to ignore differences between denominations and sects, and even between religions. All things religious are, therefore, conflated within their minds.

This tendency leads them into all sorts of nonsensical territories. One of which is the all-too-common statement, “S/he isn’t a Christian because s/he doesn’t believe X,” where “X” is some theological point that person holds to, but which other Christians might disagree on.

As CNN reports, the ferocious Religious Rightist and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently used this type of reasoning to attack the incumbent president (WebCite cached article):

Rick Santorum drew applause from Ohio tea party voters – but perhaps raised some eyebrows, too – when he suggested Saturday that President Barack Obama leads based on a theology different from that in the Bible.

It left some wondering whether he was implying that Obama subscribes to a religion other than Christianity. …

“It’s not about your job. It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology,” Santorum said. “Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology. But no less a theology.”

Santorum is wrong on several counts. The most obvious of these is that lots of Christians have lots of different “theologies,” but each is no less of a Christian than the rest. And he must know this; after all, there are thousands of different Christian denominations in the world. More specifically, as a Catholic, Santorum must be aware that his Church has different “theology” than Protestant churches, which among other things refuse to acknowledge the Pope’s primacy and reject transubstantiation. Yet, I cannot imagine him complaining about the “different theology” of other Religious Rightists who happen to be Protestant.

Second, the many different theologies which the many Christian denominations hold, are all widely viewed as originating in the same Christian Bible. He can’t very well claim that Obama’s “theology” — whatever it is — can’t be based on the Bible, merely because it’s different from his own. History shows that devoted and sincere Christians can and do disagree on what their Bible tells them. Again, no Christian theology is appreciably less Christian or less scriptural than any other. They simply happen not to be identical.

Third, Santorum’s desire to conflate governance and theology directly contradicts the teachings of the founder of his own religion. Jesus Christ was very clear on the matter; three of the four evangelists report that he said the following:

  • Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s. (Mt 22:21b)
  • Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. (Mk 12:17b)
  • Render therefore to Caesar the things, that are Caesar’s: and to God the things that are God’s. (Lk 20:25b)

Jesus was very clearly apolitical and unconcerned with statecraft. He viewed government as being part of the physical realm and therefore of no importance; his preaching was about, instead, the spiritual realm, or the Kingdom of God. Santorum need only concern himself with this one lone theological point. No other “theology” ought to cross the mind — or the lips — of a dutiful Christian politician who claims to obey the words of his own Bible.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons.

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U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities OfficeSome militant Christianists in Congress are furious over changes that have been made to the logo of an Air Force unit. Specifically, “God” has been removed from it. The Washington Post On Faith blog reports that they find this absolutely intolerable (WebCite cached article):

Dozens of members of Congress are upset that the Air Force has removed the Latin word for “God” from the logo of an Air Force acquisitions office.

Led by Rep. J. Randy Forbes, co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, 36 lawmakers Monday (Feb. 6) sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz objecting to the removal of “God” from the logo of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO).

The logo was recently removed, according to Forbes, after objections by the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.

They claim it’s OK for the RCO’s logo to promote God, because God is found elsewhere in government, even where it shouldn’t be:

The letter argues that “courts consistently have upheld the constitutionality of our national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ despite the obvious mention of God.”

In other words, they’re saying, “We’ve gotten away with injecting ‘God’ into Americans’ lives for decades now and no one has stopped us … therefore it’s OK for us to keep doing it, wherever and whenever we want, forever.”

Here’s an open invitation to Randy Forbes and every other member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus: If you want this cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen to actually obey the U.S. motto and truly “trust” your God, then go right ahead and make me trust him. I dare you all to give it your best shot. If — as you claim — I’m required as an American to “trust” your God, then you have no reason to hold anything back. Come on … do your worst, and make me.

Photo credit: USAF RCO Fact Sheet.

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Toyota Super Bowl XLVI Ad (still), via (UK) Daily MailA group known as the Parents Television Council — which does not represent “parents” so much as it represents America’s militant Religious Right — is downright furious over this year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials. Being modern-day Puritans, they are enraged at the idea that Americans might see anything even remotely suggestive. The Religious Right’s house organ, Fox News, offers this story on their anger and fury (WebCite cached article):

This year’s commercials, which began airing at 6:30 pm, a time when millions of children could be tuning in, were racier and more sexually suggestive than ever, according to the Parents Television Council.

Among the offenders were a hypersexualized Teleflora ad promising your girlfriend will do anything you want if you just order her some flowers; a Toyota Camry ad featuring a couch made of lingerie clad models; and a Fiat commercial where a beautiful model seduces a man on the street, has foam from a drink dripped on her chest, and then turns into a car.

You see, the PTC believes that, because they object to anything risqué being shown on TV, that this means no one in the entire country should be able to see anything risqué on TV. In other words, they’re assuming their own subjective beliefs trump everyone else’s freedoms.

Nice, huh? Unfortunately this is rather routine Religious Right thinking … that they have certain beliefs, ergo, everyone is required to live by them, whether they want to or not.

As a way of “tweaking” these militant Puritans, I’m embedding some of these commercials right here. Enjoy!

To anyone in the Religious Right who might actually have the courage to read this far (I know some of you are out there, I’ve heard from you, after all!): Please take note of something called the Streisand effect; what you make a big deal of complaining about, you actually call attention to, thus spreading it even further than it would have gone, had you simply kept your whiny, juvenile little mouths shut. If you’d just fucking grow the hell up, all these things that so aggravate you would roll off your backs, and no one would be any the wiser.

Photo credit: Still from Toyota ad, via the (UK) Daily Mail.

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Bible / Ian Britton, via FreeFoto (ref no. 05-02-11)In a move that’s sure to warm the cockles of the Religious Right within the Commonwealth, WITF in Harrisburg reports that Pennsylvania’s House unamimously voted to declare 2012 “the Year of the Bible” (WebCite cached article):

With a unanimous vote last week, House members declared 2012 the “Year of the Bible.”

The resolution recognizes the book that has shaped the Commonwealth and the “national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures.”

The article gratuitously adds a little of the “Christian martyr complex”:

Sponsoring Republican Rep. Rick Saccone of Allegheny County said he’s been getting a bit of critical feedback on the measure.

Oh, the poor thing! How utterly horrible to be criticized for this! Why, it’s intolerable!

Ironically, while he’s defending the importance of the Commonwealth “recognizing” the Bible’s importance, Saccone dismisses his own measure as meaningless:

Saccone said it’s like many other largely symbolic pieces of legislation recognizing Girl Scout Week, honoring Jewish chaplains, or paying tribute to military veterans.

Believe me, the Religious Right will not view this declaration as “merely symbolic.” They will, instead, fallaciously use it as “evidence” of their “Christian nation” scenario … insisting that the entire country must revere the Bible exactly as they do, and must, by extension, be Christian just like them. Sorry to break it to them, but this is not a “Christian nation,” and little maneuvers like this one can never make it so.

As for the “national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures,” I question this in the strongest terms. The Bible contains a lot of “teachings” which no moral or ethical person should ever even contemplate doing, much less “apply” in their lives. Among them are the following:

  • All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. (Gen 7:21-23)
  • Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. (Ex 12:29)
  • He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. (Ex 21:17)
  • We utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women and children of every city. (Dt 3:6)
  • Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (Dt 19:21)
  • If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. (Dt 22:23-24)
  • They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. (Jo 6:21)
  • Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (1 Sm 15:2-3)
  • How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock. (Ps 137:9)
  • And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. (Rev 9:17-18)
  • And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Rev 20:9)

The above is but a minuscule sampling of the horrific teachings contained within the Bible; there are many more I could have picked from.

It’s true the Bible contains some good teachings, such as what one finds in the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain, which includes sayings such as “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God,” “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” and “whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” But really, how many Bible-venerating Christians obey those particular teachings? None that I know of.

As it turns out, all the signatories to this declaration may well have expressly violated one of the Bible’s teachings:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Mt 6:1)

I can’t think of any more noticeable and public a way of expressing one’s Christian faith than by voting for this measure; hence, I can’t see how this couldn’t possibly be disobeying Jesus himself!

Photo credit: Ian Britton, via FreeFoto.

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Rick Santorum by Gage SkidmoreReligious Rightists seem to lose their microscopic little minds when it comes to marriage … or more specifically, gay marriage. They hate it, and they don’t want gays to marry, but they have trouble articulating any rational reasons for their subjective distaste for it. The most recent example of their stupidity and ignorance about this subject, came when GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum — the new “darling” of the Republican primary now that he’s had a near-win in the Iowa caucuses — as reported by the Los Angeles Times tried to explain to a college audience why he thought gays should not be allowed to marry (WebCite cached article):

Santorum is an ardent, outspoken opponent of gay marriage, favoring an amendment to the Constitution that would define marriage as solely between a man and a woman. He received a rough welcome from a group of college Republicans in Concord — and it likely didn’t help matters when he compared a same-sex union to polygamy.

“Are we saying everyone should have the right to marry? So anyone can marry anyone else?” Santorum asked, according to a video by NBC News. “So anybody can marry several people?”

Video of Santorum’s idiocy can be seen courtesy of NBC News:

The logical (and legal) problem with equating gay marriage with polygamy is one I’ve pointed out before, and that is that a gay marriage is still a contract between two people (as is a current “standard” heterosexual marriage), whereas a polygamous marriage involves several people. They’re fundamentally different, with polygamous marriages being much more complicated. They are just not the same.

Although I’m pointing out that he said it, I must concede that Santorum’s “gay marriage equals polygamy” equation is not something he devised, it’s actually standard Religious Right rhetoric. However, when one couples this piece of stupidity with his claim 10 months ago that the Crusades were not Christian “aggression,” you clearly have a man who’s blithely unconcerned with facts of any kind and unburdened by rationality. On top of that, last weekend Santorum said he thought the US should be open about its covert operations in Iran (cached):

“We need to say very clearly that we will be conducting covert activity to do everything we can to stop their nuclear program.

I could be wrong, but last I knew, anything you were open and “clear” about cannot also remain “covert.” And if the infamous Stuxnet cyberattack hasn’t clued the world — and the Iranians, not to mention Mr Santorum — into the fact that the US is covertly trying to sabotage Iran’s nuclear-weapon efforts … well, then no amount of being “clear” about it is going to help.

Either Rick Santorum is one of the stupidest people on earth, or he’s acting as though he is, just to play up to Christofascist GOP primary voters; but neither of these conclusions is very comforting.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Map of Ottoman Empire in 1901Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker and current GOP candidate for president, is surging in the polls. Part of the reason is that he’s been cultivating the Religious Right, which largely ignores the fact that he’s been married three times, having cheated on two of his wives, including while he was trying to get Bill Clinton run out of the White House for having had an affair.* As part of his effort to build his reputation as a dutifully and devoutly Christian Rightist, the Newtster decided to court the Christian Zionist movement. Unfortunately, the way in which he chose to go about it, demonstrates conclusively that he’s a brazen ignoramus. CBS News reports on his idiotic spew (WebCite cached article):

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said this week that Palestinians are an “invented” people, a position that could be seen as putting him at odds with the U.S. push for a two-state solution in the Middle East.

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire,” Gingrich told the Jewish Channel, which posted portions of the interview online on Friday [cached]. “And I think that we’ve have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab community, and they had the chance to go many places.”

Here’s video of this part of the interview, courtesy of the Jewish Channel and Youtube:

His criterion for what makes the Palestinian people “invented” and therefore ineligible to have their own state — i.e. that their land once had been part of the Ottoman Empire — is more than a bit strange. After all, many countries that exist now, and have existed for a very long time, were also once part of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the Balkan states, for example, had once been under the Ottoman regime. The same goes for countries like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Armenia and even Hungary … just to name a few. By the standards the Newtster has laid down, these nations are all “invented peoples,” and none are entitled to statehood.

In spite of his error, Gingrich is far too ideologically-driven (and too desperate to hold onto Christian Zionist primary voters) to admit his error. He maintains he’s factually correct, even though quite obviously he’s not (cached).

Yes folks, even though he’s a history professor, Newt Gingrich doesn’t actually know anything about history. I only have a B.A. in the field, yet I know how catastrophically wrong the man is. His lie about the Palestinian situation places him in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.

One last thing: During the interview, Newt says:

And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel since the 1940s.

I have no idea who this “we” is that the Newtster claims has been waging a “war against Israel” all that time. Is he referring to the US? Somehow I doubt it, but I can’t imagine who else that “we” could possibly be.

Photo credit: Eliel.

* The R.R.’s fondness for hypocrisy is well-known, but is strange, considering the founder of their own religion clearly, explicitly, plainly and specifically forbid his followers to be hypocritical, ever.

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