Posts Tagged “Christianity”
In my experience, Christians are hypersensitive to any mention of the Crusades (along with other glorious parts of Christianity’s history such as the Inquisitions, witch-hunts, and more). They just don’t want to hear about them … even if they’re actually part of the history of their religion. They petulantly refuse to acknowledge these events as examples of their religion’s history, and get their knickers in knots when anyone dares confront them with them.
Naturally, then, what President Barack Obama said last Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast has them in a towering rage (WebCite cached article). The Washington Post, among many other media outlets, reported on their anger and fury (cached):
President Obama has never been one to go easy on America.…
His latest challenge came Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone.
“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
These remarks kicked up so much sanctimonious outrage among the “Christian Nation” that NASA scientists probably picked up the sound of it from their New Horizons probe out by Pluto.
Some Republicans were outraged. “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore (R). “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”…
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called Obama’s comments about Christianity “an unfortunate attempt at a wrongheaded moral comparison.”
As someone who studied the Crusades in college — unlike all these outraged commentators — I think it’s time to clear up a lot of misconceptions about them:
- Christians these days think the Crusades were a legitimate military response to the military threat posed by Muslims. While it’s true that Muslims in the east did threaten Christians near them, and had been fighting the Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantium) for centuries, one must remember the Crusades were carried out by western Europeans … mostly of French origin. In the 11th century when the Crusades were launched, no Muslim was a threat to the French. Not even close! The Muslim advance into western Europe which began around the turn of the 8th century had been halted at the Battle of Tours in 733/4. In the over three centuries which followed, the Muslim state in Spain had been surrounded and eroded by its Christian neighbors. The Emirate of Granada did not, in any way, threaten any of the mostly-French lords who embarked on the First Crusade.
- While it’s true that the Byzantine Empire was engaged in fighting against Muslims — which was the reason its Emperor Alexius I Comnenus wrote to Pope Urban II to request assistance in 1095 — the First Crusaders ultimately ended up not helping shore up Byzantine defenses. Quite the opposite: They left the region near Constantinople in the dust and plunged straight through Anatolia (at a frightful cost in terms of lives lost, since they had no idea what they were doing and weren’t prepared for such a venture) and into the Levant as quickly as they could. Once there, and once they’d made some conquests (e.g. retaking Antioch), they didn’t restore those lands to the Byzantines; instead, they kept them for themselves.
- The Holy Land itself had been in Muslim hands since the early 7th century, but there were still Christians living there, and western Christians had been able to go on pilgrimages there pretty much the entire time. The Muslim rulers had allowed monks to tend to pilgrims there (most of them needed some assistance after their long journey). That Muslim overlords held the region hadn’t really put a dent in Christians’ ability to live and worship there.
- The main danger posed by Muslims to Christendom, at the time the Crusades began, was not in the Holy Land, and didn’t involve the French. The real danger was that the Seljuk Turks would overwhelm Byzantium and other Christian states near it. Had the French — who, living as they did at the western end of the Mediterranean and weren’t threatened by Muslims — really wanted to help defend Christendom, the proper strategy would have been for them to place themselves at the disposal of Alexius and work with the Byzantines to rebuild their state and reacquire their lost territory. Then they would have helped Byzantium maintain more defensible borders.
- In fact, a little over a century after the First Crusade embarked from western Europe, a subsequent expedition — the Fourth Crusade — didn’t even bother going to the Holy Land at all. Instead, its armies went after their fellow Christians, the Byzantines. They drove out two Emperors in succession, sacked Constantinople, made one of their own Emperor, and left the Eastern Roman Empire a shell of its former self. Byzantium later recovered somewhat, but it was never the same again, and entered into a long decline.
- The idea that the Crusaders were trying to defend Christianity is belied by the way in which they treated the eastern Christians they came across. In addition to fighting with the Byzantines more than they cooperated, they also seized Edessa, an Armenian Christian state. They drove out the local Orthodox hierarchy, including the Patriarch of Jerusalem, installing a replacement of their own who was loyal to the Pope. Overall, their relations with eastern Christians were never very good, and the Crusaders never actually acted like their guardians.
In sum, the idea that the Crusades were a rational and proper military response to a genuine military threat, is — quite simply — fucking laughably ridiculous. French armies had no legitimate business making a beeline through many hundreds of miles of territory and trying to home in on the Holy Land. Their expedition was hideously expensive — in terms of money, resources expended, and lives lost — and punctuated by atrocities like the massacre that took place when they captured Jerusalem in 1099. None of that contributed in the slightest to the defense of Christendom against Muslim expansion. Again, had this been the Crusaders’ true goal, they’d have assisted the Byzantines in rebuilding and refortifying their Empire.
It was also often said — particularly back in the ’80s when I was studying the subject in college — that the Crusades weren’t motivated by religion, but rather by a desire for new territory. But this makes little sense. Most of the princes who made up the First Crusade had been engaged in various military expeditions for years, before deciding to embark on their expedition to the Holy Land. Bohemond of Taranto, for example, had invaded the Balkans and fought the Byzantines there some 15 years prior, and he’d engaged in a few other minor wars and skirmishes. Had he stayed home, he’d have continued those same expeditions, and could well have won new lands that way. The same was true of Raymond of St Gilles, who had fought Muslims in Spain already, and could certainly have continued doing so, had he wished to, instead of crossing the Mediterranean. There’s quite simply no way these princes’ desire to reach and retake the Holy Land in particular makes any sense, unless they’d been at least partly motivated by religion.
Getting back to the main point: Obama’s mention of the Crusades as well as other things like slavery and Jim Crow, was not an “attack” on Christians or Christianity. They are an actual part of Christian history. To deny this is to be delusional. They happened … period. Maybe modern Christians would prefer not to hear about them, but too fucking bad. Complaining that the Crusades were “1,000 years ago” (they weren’t, if you recall they were a sequence of expeditions that began in the 1090s but ended with the fall of Acre in 1291) also isn’t going to help. “It’s history,” Obama’s self-righteous critics say. “They’re in the past. They’re over. So what?” It may be true that the Crusades and Inquisitions have been over for centuries, but they were only two of Obama’s examples of the use of religion to support immorality. The others (slavery and Jim Crow) are both much more recent. Witch-hunting, which Obama didn’t mention, happens to be a present-day pastime of African Christians.
Obama also didn’t “blame” modern Christians for the Crusades; that objection is just more delusional paranoia. He also didn’t say Christians are as bad as ISIS; that too is a childish fabrication which multiple Rightists have spewed.
The real lesson Obama had delivered — and which the “Christian Nation” refuses to hear, no matter how true it may be — is that any religion can be used to justify evil. Yes, even Christianity! It happened in the past — both in the distant past, and in more recent times — and it could, conceivably, happen again. That it offends Christians to be told this, only shows how childish they really are. It’s time for them to pull on their big-boy pants and act their ages instead of getting all bent out of shape because they like thinking that the president they despise, Barack HUSSEIN Obama, is “attacking” them for something.
P.S. I still don’t get how or why Christians find it necessary to host big splashy events like “national prayer breakfasts.” After all, the founder of their own religion explicitly and unambiguously ordered them never to express their piety publicly. So why do they insist on doing it? Why won’t they obey their own Jesus?
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: barack obama
, jim crow
, national prayer breakfast
, president barack obama
, public piety
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As I blogged a few days ago, Louisiana’s Christianist governor Bobby Jindal has essentially kicked off his campaign for the nation’s Preacher-in-Chief. As part of this campaign, he’s angling for the Neocrusader vote, which is a sizable chunk of the Republican party, and — one assumes — he hopes he can use to win the GOP nomination next year. At least, this is the only explanation for the depths of fact-deprived insanity to which he’s recently stooped.
Caught in a lie about the so-called “no-go zones” in Europe, in which Islamic shari’a law prevails rather than the law of the country, as CNN reports, he not only doubled down on this lie, he added to it by piling on another (WebCite cached article):
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday stood by his controversial comments about “no go zones” in European cities, insisting that some Muslim immigrants are trying to “colonize” European cities and “overtake the culture.”
And the United States could be next, warned Jindal, a Republican who is considering a 2016 presidential run.
“They may be second, third, fourth generation, they don’t consider themselves part of that country. They’re actually going in there to colonize, to overtake the culture,” Jindal said. “If people don’t want to come here to integrate and assimilate, what they’re really trying to do is … overturn our culture.”
Earlier, Jindal had talked about “no-go zones,” which do not, in fact, exist. That whole notion has been thoroughly debunked. Even the man responsible for this myth, Daniel Pipes, has acknowledged his error and said they don’t exist. The Bobster elaborated on his “invasion” lie, Buzzfeed reports, on a radio show run by his fellow Christianists at Focus on the Family (cached):
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential Republican candidate for president, warned in an interview Monday on the Family Research Council’s Washington Watch radio program of the possibility of so-called Muslim “no go zones” coming to America, focusing later on what he called a possible sharia “colonization” and “invasion” of America.
“If we’re not careful the same no-go zones you’re seeing now in Europe will come to America,” said Jindal singling out those in “academic” and “media elite” who he said “don’t want to proclaim American exceptionalism.”
I’m not going to get into the notion that Muslims have launched an “invasion” of the United States in order to overturn its government and force shari’a law on the country. It’s fucking obvious to anyone with half a brain and one working eyeball that it’s not happening. A mature man with integrity, caught in lies, will admit them and apologize — as Pipes and Fox News have already, where this issue is concerned — and move on already. But not the Bobster. He’s far too childish to make any such admission, and too caught up in his own crazy, disingenuous rhetoric to find something else to talk about so he can finally stop embarrassing himself.
Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Redux, via the Daily Beast.
Tags: 2016 republican primary
, bobby jindal
, christian right
, gov bobby jindal
, muslim invasion
, no-go zones
, religious right
, shari'a law
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Louisiana’s Republican governor Bobby Jindal — a fierce Religious Rightist, if not an outright Christofascist — led a prayer revival yesterday at Louisiana State University. As the Washington Post explains, it’s a strong indication that he plans to run for president in 2016 (WebCite cached article):
Skipping an Iowa event that drew a number of 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls in favor of a controversial Louisiana prayer rally, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) called for a national spiritual revival and urged event attendees to proselytize on behalf of their Christian beliefs.
Jindal had insisted the day-long evangelical event hosted by the American Family Association on the campus of Louisiana State University was a religious and not political gathering. And, indeed, his 15-minute long remarks to the group consisted entirely of a highly personal testimony about how he had come to his Catholic beliefs. Jindal was raised by Hindu parents but converted to Catholicism in high school.
But Jindal’s keynote address at the event came as he has been courting Christian conservatives in advance of a possible run for president, meeting with pastors in the early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Former Texas governor Rick Perry hosted the same event, known as “The Response,” in 2011, just before announcing he was running for president.
The Bobster’s revival meeting didn’t go unnoticed by others, as the Post reports:
The event drew protests outside the basketball arena where several hundred were gathered because of accusations that the American Family Association promotes discrimination against gays and is hostile to non-Christians. Jindal briefly referred to the protests in his appearance, asking the rally’s attendees to pray for the demonstrators.
Ah. The old “I’ll pray for you” thing hurled at those who refuse to believe. I’m sure he knows this is an insulting tactic, even if it sounds all compassionate and shit. Well played, Bobby! Well played.
The Bobster even included a gratuitous little story which likely reflects how he intends to inject his fierce, dogmatic religionism into government:
Jindal recalled a girl in high school who said she wanted to grow up to be a Supreme Court justice, so she could “save innocent human lives” from abortion.
He put these words in the mouth of someone else, but this tale illustrates how he views participating in government. And that’s not to uphold the laws that are written, as they’re written, but instead to wrench and manipulate them to coincide with the Almighty’s dictates, whatever he thinks those are, and without regard for what those laws actually say.
Not that the Bobster really cares much, but here’s my response to his “response”:
Gov Jindal, if you think the country needs more God, then start with this one American: Track me down and make me turn to your God. I dare you. If it’s mandatory for all Americans to do so, then what reason would you have not to do it? Go ahead. I invite you to try your best — if you dare. Should you not do this, to me or to any other insolent non-believer, then I must presume that Americans turning to your deity can’t actually be as imperative as you said it is. That would demonstrate your cowardice, not to mention your hypocrisy — which, for supposedly-dutiful Catholics such as yourself, was explicitly forbidden to you by the founder of your own religion.
One last observation: The irony of a Roman Catholic leading a Protestant-style prayer revival — sponsored by a Protestant group — is especially precious. By leading an event of this kind, the Bobster openly admits he needs to curry the favor of devout Protestants, especially of the evangelical variety. But in the end, they’re his ecclesiastical enemies, not his friends. Just as America’s Catholic bishops have done, he’s forging what, ultimately, can only be called an unholy alliance. Should he get elected and start bending the country toward the Christocracy he wants, eventually he and his fellow Catholics will end up in evangelicals’ crosshairs. Many of them consider Jindal’s Church “the Whore of Babylon” mentioned in Revelation. A lot of those evangelicals would happily throw “Mary-worshipping papists” like Jindal into the flames of eternal perdition, if ever given the chance. Just saying.
Photo credit: AP Photo / Jonathan Bachman, via the Washington Post.
Tags: 2016 presidential election
, 2016 republican primary
, american family association
, baton rouge LA
, bobby jindal
, christian right
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, i'll pray for you
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, spiritual revival
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Given what happened in Paris over the past week, it was inevitable, I suppose, that a bunch of angry Christofascists would respond with what amounts to an outcry of “More Jesus! More Bible! More Christianity!” Down in Mississippi, deep in the heart of the
Bible Belt Bobble Bay-elt, the AP reports via ABC News, plans are afoot to make the Bible the “state book” (WebCite cached article):
Mississippi is the birthplace of William Faulkner, Richard Wright and recent U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey. However, some lawmakers say they want to look beyond the secular literary world and designate the Bible as the state book.
At least two bills are being filed during this state election year to make the holy book a state symbol.
One is from Republican Rep. Tracy Arnold of Booneville, who is the pastor of a nondenominational Christian church. The other is from Democratic Reps. Tom Miles of Forest and Michael Evans of Preston, who say they have promises of bipartisan support from more than 20 colleagues.
Their intentions, of course, are perfectly noble, and not an effort to proselytize; we know this because … well … they pinky-swear:
Miles told The Associated Press on Monday he’s not trying to force religion — or even reading — on anyone.
“The Bible provides a good role model on how to treat people,” Miles said. “They could read in there about love and compassion.”
Enough already. I have to call bullshit on this. Not that there’s no love or compassion in the Bible … there is, some anyway. A little. Here and there. The problem with the Bible is that it has a far larger amount of cruelty, hatred, and violence. Horrific, cosmic-scale, raging cataclysm-type shit. Let’s have a look at just a small sampling of it, shall we?
- YHWH drowns every living thing on the planet (Gen 6-7), sparing only 2 of each animal and 8 human beings. All because of “the wickedness of man” (Gen 6:5) … which the reader is led to believe must have been pretty horrific, but since the nature of that “wickedness” is never mentioned, we have no way actually to know what it was. Such is YHWH’s “love,” I guess.
- YHWH later magically slew Er the son of Judah for (again!) unstated “evil”, then magically slew his brother Onan because “he wasted his seed on the ground” (Gen 38:7-10). Yeah, that’s “compassion” all right. Oh yeah.
- YHWH also staged one of the worst atrocities since the Great Flood when he afflicted Egypt with a series of devastating plagues, slaughtered all the first-born in the land, and then wiped out one of the largest armies in the ancient world (Gen 3-14). Yup, that’s “love.” No doubt.
- YHWH then tells the Hebrews to conquer Canaan — as an expression of his love for the Canaanites, I suppose. In the process he orders not just one (Ex 17:8-18:16) but two (1 Sam 15:1-9) genocides of the Amalekites. Definite “compassion” there, no?
OK, enough of this. I can’t take it any more. This is as far as I could get in relating stories of Biblical “love” and “compassion” without vomiting. Note, I left out of the above list the manner in which Sodom and Gomorrah were “loved” (Gen 19:1-29), not to mention Lot’s wife. Someone will, I’m sure, inform me that I left out “context;” for instance, Sodom & Gomorrah deserved to be wiped off the face of the earth and reduced to an ashen ruin because its citizens were “inhospitable,” and that the Amalekites were slaughtered to the last infant because they’d insolently fended off the Hebrew migration into their land. Sorry, but those defenses just don’t stack up to the sheer amount of violence perpetrated; if “inhospitability” were enough to raze cities in fiery holocausts, there would be none left anywhere, and a nation defending its territory is generally not considered a crime worthy of a genocide. And don’t even get me started on why Lot’s wife needed to be changed into a pillar of salt — because that whole thing is just ridiculous bullshit, period. So pardon me if I don’t buy the whole “context” protest. I’m nowhere near stupid enough to fall for any of that.
The only reason representatives Arnold, Miles, and Evans could plausibly say the Bible teaches only “love” and “compassion” is if they never actually read the thing. Which, of course, is probably the case, since as I explained long ago, nearly all Christians have never actually read it and haven’t a fucking clue what it truly says.
Needless to say, getting up in front of a legislature … and a state … to pronounce the Bible the “state book” could be construed as public piety, which is something Jesus clearly, specifically, and unambiguously forbid his followers ever to do. Not that these people are aware of that — even if that injunction is contained within the pages of the very Bible they want their state to venerate (Mt 6:1-6, 16-18)!
Photo credit: Ryk Neethling, via Flickr.
Hat tip: Raw Story.
Tags: 1 sam 15:1-9
, booneville MS
, christian bible
, christian right
, cruelty in the bible
, ex 17:8-18:16
, ex 3-14
, forest MS
, gen 38:7-10
, gen 6-7
, gen 6:5
, gen 9:1-29
, jackson MS
, michael evans
, mt 6:1-6
, mt 6:16-18
, preston MS
, public piety
, religious right
, state book
, tom miles
, tracy arnold
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I’m tagging this post “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” because … well … you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! It’s rare to see people do something so insanely stupid, publicly, and then proceed to double down on it, refusing to acknowledge an error which is absurdly blatant and for which there can be no rational excuse.
This December 15, not too far from me in Springfield, MA, the city held a menorah lighting in its famous Court Square. That city’s Republican newspaper reports on the raging idiocy one of the city’s councilors spewed (WebCite cached article):
Jaws dropped in Springfield’s Court Square Tuesday afternoon when Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams offered his take on the annual city menorah lighting ceremony.
“Jesus is the reason for the season,” Williams said during remarks at the ceremony that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Following short speeches by Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield and Mayor Domenic Sarno, who both touched on the history of religion in Springfield, Williams was handed the microphone and uttered the line that had people talking long after the ceremony ended.
What Williams apparently was unaware of, is that Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday and that Jews don’t worship Jesus. The article gives a brief sketch of what Hannukah is about, and links to Chabad.org’s FAQ page on the holiday. I suggest checking it out.
If you do, you will discover that Jesus had nothing to do with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (except, perhaps, assuming he lived, as a Jew himself, he may have celebrated it). It’s a Jewish holiday, as should be obvious, and Jews don’t revere or worship Jesus.
A lot of folks who said something this stupid would accept correction and apologize. But not Mr Williams. He was having none of it, and is not backing down as the Republican reported just a little later (cached):
[City Councilor Bud] Williams, a Baptist, made the remark during a Court Square event attended by Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal, city dignitaries, and leaders of the greater Springfield Jewish community, all of whom gathered at the downtown park to mark the Dec. 16 start of the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights.
“I thought it added something to the service, it didn’t take away,” Williams said Tuesday night.
The city councilor said he referenced Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated every Dec. 25 by Christians worldwide but not by Jews, after participants in the ceremony mentioned “the bright light” of 2,000 years ago — an allusion to Christ, according to Williams.
“They said it,” Williams said.
The councilor said his remark wasn’t meant as an expression of religious superiority or “dominance,” but rather as a simple reminder about the “reason for the season.”
Did you catch that? Williams blamed his stupidity on the rabbis, throwing them under the bus, as it were. “They said it,” he insists … ridiculously! In his mind, the rabbis’ mention of “‘the bright light’ of 2,000 years ago” could only have been Jesus, and cannot possibly have been a reference to the “miracle of lights” which the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates. Williams further engaged in his own variation of the “some of my best friends are Jewish” defense:
Williams said some people thanked him for his remarks. “A couple of the rabbis walked up to me and said, ‘Great comments, Mr. Williams.'”
The Republican notes, however, that they couldn’t verify this:
Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, who attended the ceremony, was asked Tuesday night for his reaction to Williams’ statement. “I’ll get back to you,” he said.
It’s safe to say that either these rabbis never said any such thing to Williams, or they did, but were just being nice to an assholish, mindless buffoon who clearly had no idea what he was talking about. In any event, Williams plainly hasn’t the slightest clue he said something he shouldn’t have said; thus, he isn’t about to apologize for it. Because, after all — as all the “war on Christmas” proponents have been railing for the past several years — Jesus “is the reason for the season” and anyone who says otherwise is trying to destroy Christianity and kill Christians. Or something like that.
Isn’t it time for Christians to just fucking grow the hell up already and get over themselves? Is it really necessary for them to presume everyone else on the planet sees everything the same way they do … even when they belong to non-Christian religions? Yes, references to “light” can mean Jesus … but they can also refer to other things within other religions, too.
Photo credit: shane_d_k, via Flickr.
Tags: bud williams
, chanukah menorah
, councilor bud williams
, court square
, hanukkah menorah
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Iowa’s Rep. Steve King is a faithful, devout Catholic — or so he says. He hews strictly to the RC hierarchs’ line on all things. One of those, is gays. You know, that class of human beings the hierarchs just a few days ago couldn’t stomach having to admit have any value as human beings (WebCite cached article) — even though Pope Francis had given them an opportunity to do so (cached). Like most of the bishops, Rep King also doesn’t think much of gays. As the Jefferson (IA) Herald reports, he made that very clear in an interview (cached):
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, suggests gays won’t make it to heaven.
What’s more, in an interview, King intimated that the divorced or cohabitators could be thwarted in the pursuit of eternal salvation as the Christian faith teaches it.
Those assessments from the conservative western Iowa congressman came during his forceful takes on a preliminary document released by a collection of Catholic bishops that calls for broader acceptance of homosexuals and people who are divorced or living together without being married.
“I would say that what was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today, and we need to stick to that principle,” King said in an interview with The Jefferson Herald.…
King declined to say whether he thought divorce or cohabitation are sins.
“I think that I’ll not comment on that part,” King said. “I’ll just say that what was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today, and people that were condemned to hell 2,000 years ago, I don’t expect to meet them should I make it to heaven. So let’s stick with that principle.”
Like a lot of Christians, King singles out gays for extra-special contempt, because — in Christians’ view — being gay is a “sin” and therefore gays are “sinners.” But it’s not clear how this actually makes gays appreciably worse than anyone else, because according to longstanding Christian doctrine — and as stated explicitly in holy scripture — all human beings are “sinners”:
… all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
So if King is saying he doesn’t expect to see any gays in heaven because they’re all “sinners” who will never get there, then he’s also saying he won’t see anyone there, since everyone is a “sinner.” In fact, that means he, himself, can’t possibly get to heaven in the first place; heaven will be empty and void (of humans, anyway). This whole thing about him condemning the “sins” of some (i.e. gays) while being a “sinner” himself, calls to mind another scriptural passage:
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him [Jesus], “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. 2 So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:3-7)
As for things that were “sins” 2,000 years ago being “sins” today … that’s questionable. For instance, the Bible says slaves should be obedient and work hard, lest Christians and their God look bad if they don’t:
Those who are under the yoke of slavery must regard their masters as worthy of full respect, so that the name of God and our teaching may not suffer abuse. (1 Timothy 6:1)
Elsewhere, slaves are enjoined to be obedient and happy with their state:
Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ … (Ephesians 6:5)
Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord. (Colossians 3:22)
Modern civilization has totally rejected the idea of slavery, and believe it to be a repulsive institution, so the idea that it’s “sin” for slaves not to be totally obedient and cooperative is, likewise, repulsive to us, almost 2,000 years after these words were penned.
King’s nasty, hateful remarks sparked a backlash, as one would expect. His reaction to the feedback is, in a word, bizarre. He’s simultaneously claiming never to have said them, and claiming to stand by them (cached):
In response, King simultaneously stood by what he said and claimed that the story was “false” and had been “fabricated.”
“What I said was it’s between them and God. And I said what was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today. That was what I said. And I stand on what I said, and they’ve manufactured this,” he insisted.
Typical asinine doublespeak. It’s true, as the Jefferson Herald reported in its story, that King did mention the part about it being “between them and God.” But that’s entirely beside the point. When he says of gays that he doesn’t “expect to meet them should I make it to heaven,” he’s not conceding that some might end up there because “it’s between them and God.” He’s saying God will never allow them in! Also, it’s illogical for him to “stand on what [he] said” but then say his words were “fabricated” and “manufactured” by others. It’s just nonsensical.
King’s claim that his own attested words were “fabricated” places him in my “lying liars for Jesus” club. I’m sure he’ll be very happy there.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Hat tip: Raw Story.
, christian right
, jefferson cty IA
, kiron IA
, religious right
, steve king
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I just blogged about some insane reactions to the Ebola outbreak. But now I’d like to comment on some Christianists using it as a promotional tool. This isn’t new for them, of course; their appeals to what I call “disaster theology” are old hat. There’s a reason they use this tactic: First, because people talk a lot about disasters and crises, and they’re well-covered in the media, so these guys hope to ride these stories to more attention than they’d have gotten otherwise; and second, because it’s a way of playing on fear, and fear is a way of hooking their audience, and — they hope! — reel in more donations.
The first example comes from Pastor John Hagee and is reported by Right Wing Watch with accompanying video (WebCite cached article):
“I want every American to hear this very clearly,” Hagee said, citing Joel 3 to warn that God will judge any nation that seeks to divide up Israel and declaring that “our president is dead set on dividing Jerusalem. God is watching and he will bring America into judgment.”
“There are grounds to say that judgment has already begun,” Hagee continued, “because he, the president, has been fighting to divide Jerusalem for years now.”
“We are now experiencing the crisis of Ebola,” he stated, as well as threats from Islamic radicals and even civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri all as a result of God’s judgment on America due to Obama’s policies
Hagee is a rabid Christian Zionist, one of those Christians who claims to love and support Israel, but what they’re really doing is agitating for that nation to (somehow) trigger Armageddon. (Specifically, what they hope is that Israel will do something to elicit a massive attack from “the kings of the east” as related in Revelation 16:12.)
Now, I have no idea why he thinks President Obama is “dividing up Israel.” My guess is he’s referring to the “two-state solution.” Unfortunately for the obnoxious little troll Hagee, that isn’t Obama’s invention. Not at all! It actually predates him by decades. In fact, it predates even the creation of Israel (and therefore predates Obama’s birth!). Its origins can be traced to the time of the British Mandate in Palestine, and the Peel Commission in 1937. Of course, that partition never happened, nor did the subsequent UN partition proposal which came along 10 years later. The current manifestation of the “two-state solution” began with the Oslo Accords in 1993; since then, it has been the policy of every US president — Democrat (Clinton, Obama) and Republican (the Younger Bush) — to pursue a two-state solution. It’s no more Obama’s policy than it was Bush’s or Clinton’s, nor is it (in principle, anyway) much different from any number of other plans that have been floated for the last few decades. (And I’ll leave alone the fact that Israel was “divided” in ancient times by the Hebrews themselves.) Why God would choose this particular moment to savage the country with Ebola, when Palestine-division plans had been tossed around for most of the 20th century and all of this one to date, isn’t really evident. At least, Hagee doesn’t bother to explain it.
The troll’s claims about Ebola being a pestilence sent due to “Obama’s” plan to divide Israel, conflict with what another pastor has said about it. A North Carolina pastor, Raw Story reports, says it’s because gay marriage is now legal, and the epidemic will grow worse as new states enact it (cached):
A Baptist pastor is warning that God will escalate the Ebola crisis when North Carolina begins performing same-sex marriages.
During his Sunday sermon following a series of court actions that effectively struck down North Carolina’s constitutional ban on marriage equality, Berean Baptist Church Pastor Pastor Ron Baity suggested that homosexuality was a sign of the End Times.
“So the book of the Revelation is about End Times events and what happens when this world is destroyed by fire, when the stars and the universe and the sun and the moon, like untimely figs cast from a tree, are just completely done away with and annihilated,” he said, telling his congregation to focus on what the Bible said would happen before that.
“Listen, folks, it’s on,” he announced. “You might as well get ready for it. It’s on. It’s just a matter of time when they’re going to say to the churches… It’s just a matter of time before our constitution in our churches will be overturned like our state constitution just been overturned this week. I mean, it’s coming.”…
“You think Ebola is bad now, just wait. If it’s not that, it’s going to be something else. My friends, I want you to understand, you can’t thumb your nose at God, and God turn his head away without God getting your attention.”
Of course, Baity threw into this sanctimoniously-outraged sermon the obligatory references to Sodom and Gomorrah, referring to the common Abrahamic-religious legend that YHWH incinerated those two cities because of homosexuality — even though this assumption isn’t really supported by the Bible itself. Like most Christofascists, little Ronnie is upset over the existence of gays and would rather they all went away so he wouldn’t have to deal with them or have to treat them like fellow human beings.
Expect more, not less, of this sort of thing as the Ebola crisis keeps getting the mass media’s attention. Fierce religionists aren’t going to turn up their noses at something that useful.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: barack obama
, berean baptist church
, disaster theology
, ebola epidemic
, ebola outbreak
, ebola outbreak 2014
, gay marriage
, john hagee
, pastor john hagee
, pastor ron baity
, president barack obama
, president obama
, ron baity
, san antonio TX
, winston-salem NC
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