Posts Tagged “christians”

Operation Upshot-Knothole - Badger 001There’s something about blood moons that seems to get people’s panties in knots. Blood moons aren’t common, but they’re also not that rare. So I have no idea why people would go all nuts over them, but they do.

The obnoxious Christian Zionist troll Pastor John Hagee penned a book about them, for instance (WebCite cached article). As he tells it, they have something to do with Biblical prophecy — but as I explain at length in a static page here on this blog, all Biblical prophecy is bullshit. Every last fucking word of it!

Hagee isn’t the only one who’s constructed a “prophecy” around blood moons. A Mormon named Julie Rowe has cooked up her own weird scenario. Even though the LDS Church has disavowed her nuttiness, as the Salt Lake Tribune reports, it seems a lot of Mormons are buying into it … and buying survival supplies (cached):

Mixing a brew of biblical prophecies, the Hebrew calendar, a volatile economy, world politics, a reported near-death experience and astronomical occurrences, hordes of Utahns have become convinced that calamitous events are imminent — maybe by month’s end — and are taking every precaution.

They are called “preppers” and are buying up food-storage kits, flashlights, blankets and tents. Some are even bracing to leave their homes — if need be.

At American Fork’s Thrive Life, which sells mostly freeze-dried food, sales have shot up by “500 percent or more in the past couple of months,” says customer- service representative Ricardo Aranda. “There is a sense of urgency, like something is up. A lot of people are mentioning things about September, like a financial collapse.”…

Here’s how the doomsday scenario plays out: History, some preppers believe, is divided into seven-year periods — like the Hebrew notion of “shemitah” or Sabbath. In 2008, seven years after 9/11, the stock market crashed, a harbinger of a devastating recession. It’s been seven years since then, and Wall Street has fluctuated wildly in recent weeks in the wake of China devaluing its currency.

Thus, they believe, starting Sept. 13, the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, there will be another, even larger financial crisis, based on the United States’ “wickedness.” That would launch the “days of tribulation” — as described in the Bible.They say Sept. 28 will see a full, red or “blood moon” and a major earthquake in or near Utah. Some anticipate an invasion by U.N. troops, technological disruptions and decline, chaos and hysteria.

The part about UN troops, of course, plays into fierce Rightist paranoid conspiracies about how Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his minions in the Muslim Brotherhood, who’ve infiltrated the federal government, plan to bring in UN “peacekeeping” troops to arrest all their enemies (i.e. Christians, conservatives, gun owners, whatever) and imprison them in the hundreds of FEMA concentration camps that Homeland Security has secretly scattered around the country.

In any event, it’s no surprise that the religion that launched the paranoid Christofascist career of Glenn Beck should yield something like this. I mean, as absurd as it is, it’s the sort of thing that appeals to people like that. I guess. I mean, it must, because they aren’t strangers to being told to stock up on food (cached) and survival supplies, as well as speculating in gold (cached). Obviously there has to be something about all this panicky chatter that gets them all worked up.

At any rate, it goes without saying that none of the thousands of “end of the world” predictions that have been made through history have even remotely come close to coming true. This one will fail, also. I have no doubt about that. Just as the late Harold Camping’s predictions failed, and so too did the New Agers’ putative Maya apocalypse.

But I have no doubt of several things: First, Ms Rowe will not concede she’d been wrong about anything; she might try to weasel out of her failed prediction by saying that her apocalypse did in fact happen, but we just can’t see it. (I’ll set aside that the word itself means “unveiling,” “revelation,” or “uncovering,” leading to a contradiction, so it’s semantically impossible to have an “unveiling” that remains invisible.) Second, she will probably move her date for the end of the world up to some future time, which she may or may not reveal (having learned the hard way not to make predictions that can be verifiably falsified). Third, she won’t apologize to anyone for having been wrong; she won’t take responsibility for having frightened people for no good reason. No doomsayer has ever done so, so why should she be the first? Third, no one will learn the lesson of her failed prediction … people will continue calling doom down on humanity even though they have no evidence to support it, and even though all prior predictions of cataclysm have failed. Each doomsayer will — arrogantly — think s/he’s the very first one who’s ever been right.

P.S. I reiterate, the LDS Church itself has not gone in for Ms Rowe’s apocalypse. This is not official Mormon teaching. Nonetheless, a lot of Mormons appear to believe it … so make of that what you will.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: Flunking Sainthood at Religion News Service.

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Rowan County, kentucky courthouseI’ve blogged several times about militant Christianist Rowan county clerk Kim Davis, who — after the Obergefell v. Hodges decision was handed down by the US Supreme Court — refuses to issue any marriage licenses at all, because she feared catching gay cooties by granting licenses to gay couples. She managed to turn her juvenile petulance into a Religious Right crusade, mainly by getting the Christofascist legal outfit Liberty Counsel to represent her. Having refused to obey a federal judge’s order to resume issuing licenses, she was jailed for contempt of court, but then released when said judge caved in to the Religious Right protests that erupted.

Today was Ms Davis’s first day back at work. As NPR reports, she’s as petulant and whiny as ever, although she hasn’t prevented her staff from handing out licenses (WebCite cached article):

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is back to work today — saying she will neither authorize such licenses nor stand in the way of her deputies if they wish to do so.

And, the first couple to apply for a license at the county clerk’s office Monday — Shannon Wampler and Carmen Collins — walked out the door with one.…

Her decision was clear, she said: “Effective immediately, and until an accommodation is provided, by those with the authority to provide it, any marriage license issued by my office will not be issued or authorized by me.”…

Davis said she had “great doubts” that such licenses could be considered valid.

I noted quite some time ago that Ms Davis and her lawyers have insisted any marriage licenses issued by anyone working for Rowan county won’t be valid, because she hasn’t authorized them. I expect something to come from this … but I have no idea what that could be (because I’m not sure what legal means exist which allows Ms Davis or her lawyers to contest the licenses that have been handed out). All I can say is, I don’t believe for one moment that they plan to just let the matter drop. Those couples had better have good attorneys of their own, because Liberty Counsel will come after them, if they can contrive any way to do so.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Christianity / License to Sin / 'You can't judge me, you're a sinner too!' / PsiCop original graphicI just added a static page about the Christian slogan, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” It’s a way that many Christians grant themselves license to do anything they want without having to suffer any repercussions over it. I recall having seen and heard it quite a bit back when I was a fundamentalist Christian (and yes — full disclosure — I probably said it a time or two, myself).

Now, a lot of my Christian readers out there (yes, even this cynical, cold-hearted godless agnostic heathen blogger has some!) may deny this is a Christian slogan, or that it’s commonly used. But it’s both. And Christians like it. They like it so much, they put in on bumper stickers, t-shirts, hats, etc. For those who need proof of how common it is, here you go:

Google Image search: 'christians aren't perfect just forgiven' / Screen shot (9/13/2015)

This is something American Christianity is going to have to address, whether it wants to or not, because the reasoning exposed by this slogan underlies a lot of what Christians say and do. It’s very common for Christians faced with wrongdoing to use this sort of thinking to justify having done it and to rationalize not doing anything about it, even after their wrongdoing was revealed. It’s a license for maliciousness, and it needs to fucking stop. Check out that page to find out more about why it’s a problem going back almost to Christianity’s origins.

Photo credit: Top, PsiCop original graphic; center, Google Image search screen shot.

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White FlagOne of the Religious Right’s main tactics is a very simple and direct one: Intimidation. They relentlessly bully their opposition at every turn. They never let up, not for any reason, until they get their way. Unfortunately, this is a tactic that works, all too often, because those opposing them typically lose their nerve at some point and drop the fight. This is precisely what just happened in the case of Rowan county KY clerk Kim Davis; as the New York Times reports, she was released from jail today (WebCite cached article):

Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed last week after she defied a court’s order that she issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was ordered released on Tuesday.…

[Federal district] Judge [David L.] Bunning ordered that Ms. Davis “shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.” He said any such action would be regarded as “a violation” of his release order.

That this would happen was virtually a given, once the R.R. — captained by the likes of Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Mat Staver, “Flip” Benham, and an assortment of other militant Christianist characters — had made the whole affair into a fucking circus (cached and cached). It was inevitable that Judge Bunning would bend over for this Christofascist mob. Yes, he ordered her not to interfere with the distribution of marriage licenses, but she doesn’t intend to obey him; her lawyer has said she plans to stop the granting of licenses (cached). And that, you may remember, has been her goal all along. Once she does so, she’ll have scored a victory. And on top of it all, she’ll have made herself a martyr, and will be able to milk that as a career, no matter how her tenure as a county clerk turns out.

At some point, people need to figure out how to “gird up their loins” (to use a Biblical phrase) and stand up to the R.R. consistently, without caving in all the time. Unfortunately, cowardice is far too deeply ingrained in human nature to allow that to happen. More’s the pity.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Refugee children from Syria at a clinic in Ramtha, northern Jordan (9613477263)Europe is in the throes of a migrant crisis — due to refugees fleeing the intractable morass of Syria’s long civil war — which doesn’t show any signs of letting up. I blogged a couple weeks ago about Slovakia refusing to accept any migrants who aren’t Christian (and updated that post today to note Hungary’s position is the same). But leave it to Pope Francis to lead in the opposite direction. As the New York Times reports, he instructed all the Catholics of Europe to take in the migrants (WebCite cached article):

Pope Francis on Sunday called on every parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary in Europe to shelter refugees fleeing “death from war and hunger,” adding that the Vatican’s two parishes would lead the way by taking in two families.

In a speech to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, the pope said it was not enough to say “have courage, hang in there” to those marching toward what he described as “life’s hope.”

Note that the Pope didn’t just give a blanket instruction to Catholics to embrace the migrants; he said that “every parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary” should do so. That’s remarkably specific … and remarkably clear. The various arms of the Catholic Church collectively have a tremendous presence in Europe and, I’m sure, could do a lot to assist the migrants. This is a great opportunity for it to put those resources to good use.

Slovakia — as I noted previously — is a majority-Catholic country. I wonder what they’ll make of their own Pope’s orders? Will they follow them? I have no idea.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Baby boy crying sad mad / Alice Keeler, via FlickrChristofascists are nothing if not consistent, as well as fiercely tenacious. When they get into a conflict over something, they don’t let go — ever. They just dig their heels in harder and jam their spikes into new turf, even as they’re being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Nothing that happens fazes them; they never relent for any reason.

A case in point is Mat Staver, who runs the Christianist legal outfit known as Liberty Counsel and attorney for Kim Davis, the Rowan county KY clerk who’s now in jail because she defied court orders to issue marriage licenses. This morning, without her present to prevent it, her assistants issued a license to a gay couple. I wondered then if Staver would say or do something about this. He’d previously said no one in her office had permission to issue them. Well, as the Washington Post reports — and true to the consistency inherent in his Christofascism — he ended up wading into the subject (WebCite cached article):

An attorney for jailed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis said that the marriage licenses issued Friday to a series of same-sex couples here are not valid.

“They are not worth the paper they’re written on,” Mat Staver said outside the Carter County Detention Center, where Davis is being held on a contempt charge.

“Our position and the position of the clerk of Rowan County is that those licenses are void,” Staver said at an afternoon news conference in Grayson, about 35 miles from the Rowan County Courthouse.

Staver said the licenses issued Friday aren’t valid because they were issued under the county clerk’s authority — but Davis hasn’t granted that authority.

This is exactly what I predicted would happen. It shows Staver and his client aren’t done fighting this battle. They’re furious that gay marriage is legal nationally and plan to pitch fits as long as that’s the case.

Oh, and just so we’re clear on it: As I’ve said many times, Staver’s group’s name is a misnomer. They don’t really want “liberty” for anyone except militant Christianists like themselves. Their goal is to force the entire country to have to live according to the terms of their own dour metaphysics.

Photo credit: Alice Keeler, via Flickr.

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Rainbow Flag / Karl Schultz, via FlickrUpdate: As it turns out, sanity might not be returning to Rowan county, yet. See the next blog post for more.

This is a brief follow-up to a few recent blog posts. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports a gay couple finally got a marriage license from the Rowan county clerk’s office in Kentucky (WebCite cached article):

William Smith and James Yates obtained a marriage license in Rowan County from Deputy Clerk Brian Mason around 8:15 a.m. Friday.

Some of the many folks standing by outside the office, supporting the couple, were actually Christians:

Marsha Moors-Charles, pastor of Bluegrass United Church of Christ, stood with gay-rights supporters and said she was willing to perform marriages if any couples asked. Across the walkway, other ministers shouted damnation.

While new civil rights are often slow to be accepted by some, she said, the “onslaught of bigotry and prejudice” that has followed the Supreme Court ruling has been “heartbreaking.”

This demonstrates the Religious Right is lying when it says gay marriage is an attack on “Christianity” and part of an atheistic effort to eradicate Christianity from the country. It’s not. It’s something some Christians — and perhaps even most Christians — oppose. But it’s not something all Christians oppose. SO the idea that gay marriage will wipe out Christianity is just plain fucking bullshit. A steaming load heaped straight out of the back of the barn.

Based on one of Mat Staver’s statements during the trial — that Ms Davis hadn’t granted any of her deputies permission to issue marriage licenses — I’d wondered yesterday if he might try to interfere, but it seems he didn’t. At least, he hasn’t yet. Time will tell, I suppose, if he somehow raises a legal objection.

Photo credit: Karl Schultz, via Flickr.

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