Posts Tagged “christianists”

'You never want to let a serious crisis go to waste.' / PsiCop original graphic, based on quotation by Rahm Emanuel (see https://www.factcheck.org/2011/01/bum-rap-for-rahm/)By now, you’ve heard about the Parkland, FL school shooting, this past Wednesday (cached article). And if you’ve read my blog for more than a few months, you’d be able to predict Christianists would use it to promote their dour metaphysics. After all, what good is a terrible — and terrifying — event, if one can’t exploit it, in order to terrify others into believing something?

The overall phenomenon is something I’ve called (generally) “disaster theology,” and this case is part of a subset of that, called “massacre theology.” I have for your review two examples of this related to the Parkland massacre.

First, we have Fox News pundit and raging Christofascist Todd Starnes, who says this shooting was caused by the Devil, and abortions and other Christianist bogeymen (cached):

They kicked God out of the public marketplace, banned Bibles and prayer in school.

And the Devil smiled.

Tens of millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered in the name of choice.

And the Devil smiled.

His whole whiney diatribe is a parade of lies, such as that Bibles and prayer were outlawed in schools … that never actually happened. In truth, there are Bibles in public schools all over the country, and prayer takes place in them all the time (“Please God, help me pass this geometry test!”). And God has never been removed from “the public marketplace” … that too is a damned lie. If anything, the Religious Right has made sure their God remains firmly in control of “the public marketplace.”

The second example of “massacre theology” comes from Lucian Wintrich. (Who’s that, you say? He’s the White House beat reporter for a Right-wing blog called the Gateway Pundit. Yes, folks, Right-wing blogs now have White House beat reporters. Really.) As Right Wing Watch reports, this cretin says the massacre happened because Christianity has been “demonized” (cached):

“Part of it is the lack of community and the lack of the role of the church in modern American society. And I think that the way the left has disparaged that, what they’ve done—and it infuriates me what the left has done these days—is they have demonized Christianity, the church, Jesus Christ, who if you read his teachings, right, it was ‘We’re all brothers. Look out for one another.’”

While it’s true Jesus did teach those things, no one should forget that, since his time, Christians themselves have rejected those teachings; they tend to view only each other as “brothers,” and outsiders as vile creatures who need to be treated like garbage. So let’s be honest here: This “Christianity” that Wintrich thinks has been “demonized,” doesn’t actually exist, and hasn’t existed for nearly a couple millennia. Aside from this, Wintrich’s complaint is yet another manifestation of the Christian martyr complex. Yes, Lucian, Chrishuns are just soooooo persecuted, aren’t you, you preciously little snowflakes? Yawn.

Another yawner: Both Starnes and Wintrich also fell back on the Religious Right trope that there’s no morality without their Christianism. That’s not true, but it happens to be a very old complaint among their ilk. If they genuinely think I’m an amoral person because of my agnosticism, and that I need to become a Christian in order to have any morals, I invite both of them to track me down and make me convert to their Christianity. Go right ahead, guys. Lock and load! I’ll be ready for you. You won’t be able to convert me, even by force, but please, by all means, give it your best shot. OK?

I continue to marvel at how supposedly-devout people are so eager to exploit horrific events for their own aggrandizement and to advance their religion. I find that tactic despicable … but then, hey, what could some cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen possibly know about such important, sacred things? Right?

Photo credit: PsiCop graphic, based on Rahm Emanuel quotation.

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2015 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships - Vault - Claudia Fragapane 02By now my readers will have heard about the case of Dr Larry Nassar, physician for numerous gymnasts over the years, who’s pled guilty to sexual assaults of a number of them (Archive.Is cached article). It was inevitable, I suppose, that someone would blame the victims for these assaults. We live in a time when many people refuse to acknowledge there can ever be any such thing as a genuine crime “victim”; instead, they view everything that happens to people, no matter how terrible, as being somehow “deserved.” This is largely because they cannot, and will not, accept an unjust universe.

I bring this up because someone has done exactly this: Blamed Nassar’s victims for his sexual assaults. Christofascist pastor Kevin Swanson, about whom I’ve blogged already, made this claim, according to Right Wing Watch (cached):

On his radio program today, extremist anti-LGBTQ pastor Kevin Swanson attributed USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of more than 150 women and girls he treated, in part, to the fact that gymnastics encourages “a fair amount of immodesty.”

Citing a variety of supposed dangers, such as the use of open showers, Swanson warned Christian parents against allowing their children to participate in sports because “sports tend to focus on the body.”

“There is an infatuation with the body,” he said, “and, of course, the sexual aspects of the body as well. Some sports encourage immodesty, revealing large portions of the body and this happens in some sports. These are the risky sports. Here they are, what are the risky sports? Gymnastics. Gymnastics and swimming. These are the sports in which there is an added risk.”

I’m not sure how gymnasts are supposed to do what they do, in blousy, unrevealing clothing. Maybe Swanson would like them to wear burqas or something? (As an aside, the obsession with female modesty is a great example of how militant Christianism bears more than a passing resemblance to militant Islamism.)

Let me explain a very simple fact, here: Nothing a woman wears — or doesn’t wear — can ever possibly justify rape or molestation. Period. A woman or girl should be able to walk down the street stark naked and not be attacked by anyone. That’s just how it is. I know a lot of folks don’t accept that … but it’s not negotiable. No law I know of, in the US anyway, says that rape or molestation is justified if a woman is naked or wears revealing clothing. If that were true, no woman would be able to walk on a beach or beside a pool without being raped.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: Joe. My. God.

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LotusNearly eight years ago, I first blogged about Christianity and yoga — and how, supposedly, they’re at loggerheads. At that time, Southern Baptist theologian Al Mohler had come out against it as un-Christian. Since then, other Christians have made their opposition to the practice of yoga known, in a number of ways, including via lawsuits.

Well, this controversy has kicked up anew. A Catholic blogger declared it un-Christian on Twitter, and complained that he was criticized for having done so (Archive.Is cached article):

The cool kids on Twitter use the term “ratioed” to describe an event where someone sends a controversial tweet that garners far more replies than it does likes. According to Twitter logic, this is supposed to be an indication that you were wrong about whatever you said.…

Yet I have found that the ratio more often indicates the correctness of a statement than it does incorrectness. That does not always hold, of course, but I think it did this morning when I fell into another ratio because of a tweet about yoga [cached]. Here’s what I said: “It’s kind of amazing to see all of the Christians who think nothing of going to a yoga class. There are many excellent ways to get in shape that do not involve participating in Hindu worship.”

Most of Walsh’s article isn’t so much a condemnation of yoga as a “pagan spiritual practice,” but a self-serving, infantile, sniveling whine about the criticism that was leveled at him. As part of his diatribe, Walsh (a supposedly Catholic blogger) cites Mohler (a very Protestant theologian). I find that little bit of irony amusing, even if it’s almost beside the point.

What is important to know, here, is that Walsh misunderstands what yoga is, as it’s practiced in America. As I’ve noted each time I’ve commented on this, it’s absolutely true that yoga began over a couple millennia ago (or more) as a Hindu practice. It’s been practiced in numerous ways since it began in classical India, however. It migrated through various religious traditions, and as it’s practiced in the occidental world, has lost any connection to its religious origins, aside from the Hindi names of some of its positions.

To be clear, American yogis and yoginis are not worshipping any Hindu gods — no matter how vehemently Walsh, or Mohler or any other Christian critics of yoga, might insist they are. What’s more, meditative practices along the lines of yoga are part and parcel of Christianity, and have been for a very long time. Meditation is embedded in the monastic and mendicant movements.

It’s time for Christianists to grow up and deal with things that seem foreign (and therefore scary) to them, rather than dismiss and castigate them as “pagan.”

Photo credit: CEBImagery, via Flickr.

Hat tip: Vox.

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Photo from Highpoint Church event page, via their Web siteIt’s clear that things are, well, quite simply different among the good Christianist folk of the South. I mean, most of the time they disapprove of things like sexual assault. Such as when a former Democratic president has been accused of it, and his wife is running for president herself, and somehow they view that as disqualifying her from office. Yeah, they hate sexual assault so fucking much that they’d punish someone for it, who (herself) hadn’t even been accused of it.

But … it’s quite another story, when one of their own stands accused of it.

We saw this in the case of ex-Judge Roy “Decalogue” Moore who nearly won a Senate seat in Alabama despite allegations he’d had various rendezvous with teen girls while he was in his 30s. Many of the good Christianist folk of Alabamistan actually bought into the notion that these stories were “fake news,” or that it was no big deal for a very-adult Moore to troll habitually for teens in a mall, ’cause’n after all, y’all gots ta get to ’em while dey’re still young, ya see (Archive.Is cached article).

I’m not happy to report there’s been another example of this phenomenon — even though it confirms everything I’ve long known about American Christianism. Newsweek, among many other outlets, reports a congregation actually gave a standing ovation to a pastor who admitted sexual assault of a minor, years ago (WebCite cached article):

A Tennessee pastor who publicly confessed to having a “sexual incident” with a high school student in 1998 received a thunderous standing applause when he asked to be forgiven.

Before asking for forgiveness, Andy Savage, the megachurch pastor, sat on a wooden stool on the stage at Highpoint Church in Memphis on Sunday and admitted that he was guilty of sexual activity with a teen, according to video footage of the event.…

After his confession, the congregation congratulated the pastor for his honesty with loud cheers and a standing ovation.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with these people, but their raging hypocrisy is on display for all to see. Just check out video of it for yourself. This is, of course, a serious problem for Christians, because as everyone knows — or should know! — the founder of their religion explicitly and unambiguously forbid them ever to be hypocritical … at any time, or for any reason. Period. They very simply cannot be hypocrites. There are no caveats, no exceptions, and no wiggle-room.

P.S. This story should lift the hearts of all those Catholic apologists out there who keep pointing out that “it’s not just a Catholic problem!” I’ve never, ever said clerical sexual abuse was solely a Catholic problem — and this case further confirms it’s not — but I still keep getting a lot of kvetching about how supposedly I think it is.

Photo credit: Highpoint Church Web site.

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“Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7:23, New American Bible) / PsiCop original graphicReally, I wish this wasn’t the case. But I can’t say I didn’t expect this. It certainly appears Alabama’s fundagelicals managed to live down to all my expectations of them, in the wake of the possibility that former Judge Roy Moore — thunderous proponent of Ten Commandments worship — may have had relations with teen girls back when he was in his 30s. Newsweek reports that their support for him has actually increased since these allegations were reported (Archive.Is cached article):

Talk about loving the sinner!

Nearly 40 percent of Evangelical Christians in Alabama say they’re now more likely to vote for Roy Moore after multiple allegations that he molested children, even as voters across the historically red state now seem to be punishing Moore for his past actions, a new poll shows.

A plurality of evangelicals — 37 percent — described themselves as more likely to support Moore because of recent sexual assault allegations levied against him, while only 28 percent were less likely to do so. Thirty-four percent of the supposedly devout Christians said that the allegations reported last week in the Washington Post [cached] made no difference in their support for Moore.

Yes, that’s right, folks. More than 1/3 of Alabama’s Christianists actually have a higher regard for Moore, now, than they did before WaPo‘s takedown.

There are lots of rationales these folk can employ in order to justify this (cached). Many will dismiss the story as fiction, or “fake news,” merely because it comes from the insidiously liberal Washington Post, which cooked up vicious lies about their precious “Ten Commandments Judge” in order to deprive him of his deserved Senate seat. There are also no doubt others who don’t really see anything wrong with older men dating (or courting, or whatever they call it) teen girls (cached). There’s also, of course, the matter of consent (i.e. the girls didn’t object to whatever Moore did), but in at least some cases — especially that of the 14-year-old — “consent” is not relevant, since no one that age can consent to sex. And there’s the objection that statutory rape isn’t as bad as some other crimes, so what Moore did is OK. Yeah, one of his defenders actually said that (cached)!

Look, this is the very same crowd who chanted that Hillary Clinton should have been “locked up” over her private email server. I don’t point this out as a way of defending her on that … as an I.T. professional, I know that using a private email server to conduct public business was a profoundly bad idea and diminished transparency, which is necessary for office holders … but I am saying that these folk are willing to think the worst, and demand prosecution of, their ideological foes whenever they feel it appropriate. They just refuse to ask the same of their own, and are willing to give them license to do — well, whatever the fuck they feel like. Because they’re good Christians, of course. And as we all know, they’re not perfect, just forgiven. Right?

And there’s the matter of the decades that passed before this came to the nation’s attention. Moore and his defenders think that means the allegations can’t be true (cached). But Moore’s penchant for hitting up teen girls wasn’t exactly not known. Locals in Gadsden, AL were aware of his habits as long ago as the 1970s (cached and cached). As for why these women would have remained silent (beyond the Gadsden area), keep in mind that Moore was a county prosecutor and worked his way up Alabama’s judicial ladder after that. Taking on such a person is intimidating … and remained so even after his removals from office, due to his popularity as the “Ten Commandments Judge.”

At long last, we can now dispense with any pretense that any of these Religious Rightists are interested in promoting “family values.” They are not. For all their claimed high morals, they’re all just sex-obsessed deviants, who scream and rail against the “perversions” of others (e.g. homosexuals, transgenders, etc.), but they’re just as perverted, only in their own ways. They’re all just fucking hypocrites, in spite of the fact that their own Jesus Christ explicitly and unambiguously forbid them ever to be hypocritical … for any reason or at any time. It is, quite simply, not permitted them.

What these folk are really after is what Moore has promised to provide them: A Christocracy, in which they rule the country (as though they don’t already), in which their fundagelical version of Christianity is the national religion, in which their dour metaphysics is the law of the land, and non-Christians who insolently dare defy them by failing to convert are either jailed, exiled, or killed. They are, in a word, militants, and they’re going to stand by their Ten Commandments Judge no matter what, because of that.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic, based on Mt 7:23.

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Hypocrites Are Us (aka Hypocrites R Us)Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A sanctimoniously angry religionist who rails and fumes against the perceived “perversions” of others (e.g. gays), and who condemns the prevailing licentiousness of society generally, turns out to be just a tad less than the morally-unassailable, pure-as-the-driven-snow icon of ethical perfection s/he claims to be. Yeah, it’s not a new story. Like me, you’ve heard it a million times already. Jimmy Swaggart, George Alan Rekers, Jim Bakker, Marcus Lamb, Ted Haggard, are just a few of the many names that leap to mind in this regard. Well, today the Washington Post reported that Alabama’s most famous and most militant Christofascist might also be a pedophile (Archive.Is cached article):

Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.…

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.…

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

As if to fend off the inevitable Right-wing cry of “Fake news! Fake news!”, WaPo explains the ways in which they attempted to verify Corfman’s story. For instance, they checked court records to find that Corfman’s mother did, in fact, have a hearing at the time described. The paper also explains that neither she, nor the other three women mentioned, came forward with allegations against Moore on their own; they only coughed up their stories after multiple interviews. So none of them was motivated to “bring down” Moore.

Moore, of course, denies all of this and decried WaPo‘s story as fiction intended to destroy him. (Yeah, it’s that old Right-wing “Fake news!” mantra, coupled with the old standby “Left-wing bias” complaint. Yawn.) Still, that they checked out many details and have confirmed what they were able to, suggests this is anything but fiction.

Moore is, as one expects of furious Christofascists, angry and is resisting quitting Alabama’s Senate race. He has a lot of support in Alabamastan, even among folks who haven’t denied the encounters described might have taken place. For instance, state auditor Jim Ziegler has pointed out that Jesus’ mother Mary was a teenager when she was married (cached). They’re quite happy with their perpetually-outraged, militant Christianist “Ten Commandments” judge, and have no problem with him being — maybe! — a pedophile. All they care about is, once he’s in Washington, he can help force the entire country to worship the Ten Commandments right along with him.

That Moore would decry the sexual perversions of others, but engage in some of his own, makes him a brazen hypocrite. And hypocrisy, he may be interested to know, was explicitly and unambiguously forbidden him by the founder of his religion. But I guess Moore and his fanbois think it’s OK for him to disobey Jesus. After all, they’re doing it in his name. Right?

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

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‘The Christocrats are coming! The Christocrats are coming!’ / PsiCop modified graphic, based on 1940s illustration of Paul Revere’s ride / National Archives #535721, via Wikimedia Commons (url: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_Revere%27s_ride.jpg)The Religious Right has agitated against the Johnson Amendment — a decades-old regulation that prevents non-profit entities from endorsing political candidates — for many years now. It’s not as though its existence has prevented them from building a religious-political edifice of their own; but they think, somehow, that it has stifled them. They claim it hinders churches’ free speech, but that’s a lie. Right now, any church in the country can, in fact, endorse political candidates. All they need, in order to do it, is to forfeit their tax exemption. That seems a small price to pay to get true “freedom,” but they love their money more than they love their freedom, so they refuse, and bitch and whine about it.*

With the election of a Groper-in-Chief who’s promised to end the Johnson Amendment (Archive.Is cached article), they finally have someone in the White House who could make that reality. As the Associated Press reports via Yahoo News, the Religious Right-dominated House’s proposed tax plan will do exactly that (cached):

Churches would gain the right to endorse political candidates and still retain their tax-free status under a provision in the House GOP’s tax overhaul plan.

The bill would repeal a 63-year-old law credited to former President Lyndon Johnson when he served in the Senate.…

Campaign finance groups warned the change could have far-reaching implications, turning “churches into tools for secret campaign spending,” said Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United.

More to the point, though, it will turn churches into political engines in their own right and help them promote Christofascism even more than they already do. It will further open the door to increased Christocracy.

* Strangely enough, Jesus himself clearly ordered Christians never to be concerned with money. Among some of his more famous teachings:

  • “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:19-21, 24)
  • And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20)

But let’s be honest, Christians have vociferously ignored Jesus’ teachings for close to 2,000 years; at this point I don’t think the poor little things can help themselves any more.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic, based on original from Wikimedia Commons.

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