Posts Tagged “evangelical”

The End is NearAs I’ve said many times, one feature of fundamentalist religiosity — regardless of which overall religious tradition it’s in — is immaturity. They have a very powerful sense of how things should be, but are blissfully unaware of the fact that none of that is even remotely realistic. So they’re repeatedly thwarted by what they perceive as a hostile world around them … and they can’t handle it. It makes them become angry and resentful.

This is illustrated rather clearly in a New York Times article on the status of evangelical Christians in the US (WebCite cached article):

Now, a year later, [Betty and Dick Odgaard] and other conservative evangelicals interviewed in central Iowa say they feel as if they have been abandoned. Many say that they have no genuine champion in the presidential race and that the country has turned its back on them. Americans are leaving church, same-sex marriage is the law of the land, and the country has moved on to debating transgender rights. While other Americans are anxious about the economy, jobs and terrorism, conservative Christians say they fear for the nation’s very soul. Some worry that the nation has strayed so far that God’s punishment is imminent.…

The change in America seemed to happen so quickly that it felt like whiplash, the Odgaards said. One day, they felt comfortably situated in the American majority, as Christians with shared beliefs in God, family and the Bible. They had never even imagined that two people of the same sex could marry.

Overnight, it seemed, they discovered that even in small-town Iowa they were outnumbered, isolated and unpopular. Everyone they knew seemed to have a gay relative or friend. Mr. Odgaard’s daughter from his first marriage disavowed her father’s actions on Facebook, and his gay second cousin will not speak to him. Even their own Mennonite congregation put out a statement saying that while the denomination opposes gay marriage, “not every congregation” or Mennonite does. Mrs. Odgaard, 64, the daughter of a Mennonite minister, was devastated.

“It all flipped, so fast,” said Mr. Odgaard, a patrician 70-year-old who favors khakis and boat shoes. “Suddenly, we were in the minority. That was kind of a scary feeling. It makes you wonder where the Christians went.”

The Times continues explaining how alienated American fundagelicals like the Odgaards feel. The article focuses on recent societal changes, such as the advent of gay marriage, but things like that don’t entirely explain the reality of this alienation. At the Friendly Atheist I posted the following comment, based on my own experience as a fundie Christian:

As a former fundamentalist/evangelical Christian, I must point out something: Their sense of alienation has nothing to do with gay marriage. Not. One. F-ing. Thing. That’s just a convenient scapegoat.

No, the reason fundagelicals feel alienated, is because they’re fundagelicals. No matter what may (or may not) be going on around them, their beliefs define them as a downtrodden minority in what they perceive to be an overwhelmingly “worldly” society. And for them, “worldly” means “Satanic” (because they believe their deity has handed the Devil authority over “the world,” until the Apocalypse).

Fundagelicals believe themselves to be outnumbered and outgunned, constantly oppressed by profane “worldly” forces trying to wrench them away from their deity and deprive them of their sanctity.

For them, this perspective is definitional. As they see it, it’s laid out for them in scripture; they believe it, and that’s that. Everything that ever happens to them simply fits in with this view. Bad things happen to them because “the world” is out to destroy them because of their vaunted holiness. (Anything good that happens to them, of course, is because of said vaunted holiness.) Essentially it’s a rationale for their persecution complex (which, in turn, is the product of Christianity’s underlying psychopathology, going back nearly to its origins).

Sure, things like gay marriage play into, and perhaps even increase, fundagelicals’ prevailing sense of alienation. But those external factors did not create that sense of alienation, and if they were to vanish, would not make it go away. That alienation is ever-present in fundagelical Christianity and is part and parcel of it.

To be clear, this sense of alienation is something I experienced when I was a fundie, and that was during the early 80s. That was a time when gay rights weren’t being discussed very much, gay marriage wasn’t on the horizon, and for nearly everyone the word “transgender” didn’t even exist. Yet, that alienation was very real for those in my little faith community.

So … if fundagelicals feel alienated, too bad so sad for them. All they need to do is let go of the alienation, and it will be gone — because they’re manufacturing it, themselves, out of whole cloth. It’s not based on fact, but on their persecutorial metaphysics.

In sum, I don’t pity these folk one bit. They’ve created their own despair, having crafted it from their own delusions. Whatever anxiety they feel, is purely theirs. No one’s forcing it on them.

Photo credit: Scott Leslie, via Flickr.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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The Assumption of the Virgin (1612-17); Peter Paul RubensSomething I’ve long warned American Catholics about is their alliance with the Religious Right. This movement had grown out of the Southern Baptist Convention initially as pushback against segregation (WebCite cached article). And its membership remains primarily evangelical Protestant … even though the Roman Catholic bishops have joined ranks with them, and there are plenty of Catholic politicians (e.g. Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback, Newt Gingrich, and others) who are definitely part of the R.R. The reality of this Catholic/R.R. alliance is that it’s tenuous at best, predicated on only a few points in common, such as opposition to abortion and contraception. The reality is that they’ve been ecclesiastical rivals for centuries, and while they’re no longer at war with one another, each maintains its own distinct vision of Christ and Christianity.

What a lot of Catholics fail to understand — or even know about — is the degree of hatred a lot of their supposed allies in the R.R. have for them. They don’t often make a point of it, but there are occasions when evangelical Protestants find themselves unable to contain their contempt for those “saint-worshipping papists.” An example of this phenomenon emerged when TX gov. Greg Abbott — a Catholic — posted something recently to Facebook (cached):

Texaas Governor Greg Abbott (R) got a lesson in religious tolerance over the weekend after posting an image of the Virgin Mary accompanied by praise on his Facebook page, according to the San Antonio Express-News [cached].

On Saturday the governor, who is Catholic, posted an image of the mother of Jesus [cached] on his Texans for Abbott Facebook page, accompanied by the comment: “The Virgin Mary is exalted above the choirs of angels. Blessed is the Lord who has raised her up.” Saturday was the celebration of the Assumption; the day when the Holy Mother is believed to have been accepted into Heaven.

Responses from followers on Facebook were fast and furious, with many joining in with the governor and praising the Virgin Mary, while others less accepting of his Catholicism accused him of idolatry.

“So you’re Catholic Mr. Abbott? So what? You worship idols; not something I’d be telling everyone,” one commenter wrote, while another seconded the comment, writing: “This is nothing more than idol worship.”

Another pointed out that “Jesus is The Blessed and Holy One!!!” before asking “Were you hacked ?????”

Comments ran to over 900 as people of various faiths battled over whose religion was the most righteous, argued over Scripture, and even questioned the accuracy of the Bible and whether Jesus wrote it.

Honestly, I hadn’t known the Republican Abbott was Catholic. And I suppose a lot of folks (of the evangelical Protestant sort) even in Texas didn’t know it — which is why his Facebook post elicited so much sanctimonious outrage. Had his Catholicism been more widely known, the reaction probably wouldn’t have been as extensive or vitriolic as this, because those evangelical Protestants would already have been steeled to Abbott’s Catholicism and held their tongues.

At any rate, this should provide a lesson to any Catholics out there whose political leanings are toward the Religious Right. Pay attention: These people are not your friends. Many don’t even consider you to be Christians! They may not be up-front about it, or let it show very often, but the bottom line is that they hate Catholics almost as much as they hate Muslims and atheists. If they manage to seize control of the country and make it into the “Christian nation” they’ve been screaming for, once they’ve dispensed with both of those groups, Catholics — followed closely by Orthodox Christians — will be next on their hit list. They won’t give a shit that you helped them establish their Christocracy; they’ll persecute you mercilessly in spite of it, because you’re un-Christian idolaters, as they see it. And they’ll be happy to go after you with everything they’ve got.

So Catholics, be careful. Very, very careful.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Hoaxed photo of the Loch Ness monster from 21 April 1934.We’ve seen that Creationists will stop at nothing to indoctrinate school children with their irrational, non-factual, hyperreligious dogma. They’re ferociously angry at the idea that anyone might actually accept evolution (what they often call “Darwinism”*). That evolution is currently the only valid scientific explanation for the diversity of life on the planet, doesn’t matter to them. They’re still outraged that science has validated evolution. (“Science,” you see, in their minds is an insidious diabolical conspiracy designed to destroy them.)

An example of just how far these people will go in their sanctimonious effort to promote Creationism and discredit evolution, can be seen in this Scotsman report about a Louisiana outfit that claims the Loch Ness Monster refutes evolution (WebCite cached article):

Thousands of American school pupils are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real — in an attempt by religious teachers to disprove Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland’s most famous mythological beast is a living creature. …

One ACE [Accelerated Christian Education] textbook called Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc reads: “Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence.

“Have you heard of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”

Another claim taught is that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur.

These are lies, of course. The putative Loch Ness Monster has never been recorded by any imaging device, ever … not by sonar, and not even by photograph — for example, the famous “surgeon’s photo,” above, is a known hoax (cached). Over the last few decades, a number of expeditions have tried to locate and image “Nessie,” but all have failed to do so. If “Nessie” exists, then she’s done a remarkable job of hiding herself from all of these efforts. Maybe this is because she’s aware she’s being searched for and is purposely avoiding detection, specifically in order to deprive skeptics of evidence of her existence …!?

In short … one can’t possibly use “Nessie” as proof evolution isn’t true, because “Nessie” does not even exist!

It’s one thing for private Christianist schools to want to teach this nonsense to their children. They’re free to do so, even if what they’re teaching is wrong. The problem here, as The Scotsman explains, is that public funding is financing the education of some of the kids who’ll be indoctrinated this way:

Thousands of children are to receive publicly-funded vouchers enabling them to attend the [ACE] schools — which follow a strict fundamentalist curriculum.

So Louisiana taxpayers will be picking up the tab for some of this religious indoctrination. I’m sure Louisiana’s devoutly religionistic governor, Bobby Jindal, doesn’t view this a a problem, but those of us with brains know otherwise.

* Use of the term “Darwinism” as a label for evolution is a rather transparent — not to mention juvenile — attempt to discredit it. It implies that evolution is merely “the teachings of Darwin,” rather than a valid field of science. Calling a field of science by the name of the person who first brought it to light, is simply not done. We do not, for example, call relativity “Einsteinism,” nor do we call quantum mechanics “Planckism.” Nor is classical physics called “Newtonism.” Really, Creationists need to grow up already and put “Darwinism” to rest, ferfucksakes.

Hat tip: Skeptical Inquirer.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

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DSC00777Pastor John Hagee is the well-known pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. He’s a fire-&-brimstone megapreacher of the charismatic-fundamentalist sort. He also happens to be anti-Catholic, and despite being a vocal Christian Zionist, is also anti-Semitic. Yet, for reasons not well understood by observers of Christianity such as myself, he’s widely respected among the Religious Right, and Republican candidates fawn over him, knowing that R.R. voters will do whatever he tells them to without giving it a thought.

As one would expect, therefore, Hagee is also a militant Christianist, and a vehement and devoted Christian Nationer. Naturally, he subscribes to the idea that the United States exists only for Christians, and that others … especially atheists … need to leave. In fact, he stated this explicitly recently, as recorded on video and as reported by Right Wing Watch (WebCite cached version):

Tomorrow, June 6, will be the 68th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy and Pastor John Hagee used his sermon this past Sunday to reflect upon the sacrifices made on this day … and also to tell atheists to get out of America “if our belief in God offends you” because they are not wanted and won’t be missed while also calling on Congress to “outlaw the practice of witchcraft and Satanism in the US military, lest we offend the God of Heaven”

This video, in case you want to watch his ferocious sanctimonious delivery, is available on Youtube:

Oh how the poor little thing just can’t handle that those insidious and insolent atheists dare tread on his own personal and only-Christian domain, the United States! How awful it must be for him to have to put up with their presence … not to mention the presence of Satanists and witches in the military! Why, it’s an abomination that can’t be tolerated for one more second!!!!

Although I’m not a atheist, nor am I a Satanist or witch or warlock, I am nevertheless a committed non-believer, especially in Hagee’s dour, vicious and intolerant religion; so I’ll take Hagee up on his dare. Pastor Hagee, I dare you to come find me — the cold-hearted, skeptical, godless agnostic heathen that I am — and throw me out of your precious Christian country. If you are really as angry as you seem about the presence of atheists in your precious Christian nation, then you have absolutely no reason not to do so immediately. Come on. Do it. I won’t complain, and I won’t stop you. Just throw me out of your country.

If you refuse my challenge, that will only demonstrate you’re nothing but a pathetic, vile, cowardly little troll who can’t and won’t live up to his own stated ideals.

P.S. Again, I’m aware that RWW is an ideologically-driven site, but I’m using their story as a source since they provided primary-source material (i.e. the video).

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

Photo credit: The Jewish Agency for Israel, via Flickr.

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The young men are members of Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. They say Long abused his spiritual authority to seduce them with cars, money, clothes, jewelry, international trips and access to celebrities. Credit: CBS/The Early Show. Read more:’ve blogged before about “Bishop” Eddie Long, the head of a megachurch in suburban Atlanta who recently settled several child sex-abuse cases. Therefore, perhaps not surprisingly, WXIA-TV in Atlanta reports via USA Today that he’s taking a leave of absence (WebCite cached article):

The senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Eddie Long, announced to his congregation Sunday morning that he is taking time off to be with his family.

Long, who was accused last year of sexually abusing several men in Atlanta, built his 150-member congregation into a following of 25,000 people and a televangelist empire.

His church pointed out rather sternly that Long is not resigning from his position, conceding only that he’s taking time off, probably because an outright resignation would amount to an admission of guilt on his part, something he’s avoided in spite of the settlements (which are confidential).

But what’s strange is that he claims to be taking time off to be with his family, just at the moment when his wife is divorcing him:

On Thursday, Vanessa Long filed for divorce from her husband of 21-years. By Friday Mrs. Long had reversed direction and had decided not to dissolve her marriage. However, Friday evening she recanted and moved forward with the divorce proceeding.

So pardon me if I don’t swallow this particular line.

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: CBS News.

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Attention Lunatic AtheistsThe persistence of evangelical Christians to cross every line, and break every rule, in their continuous effort to force their Jesus on everyone, amazes me. Nevertheless, they do it constantly. Not all of them, to be sure, but some. And I suppose they can’t be blamed for it. After all, their Jesus ordered them to “go … and make disciples of all the nations,” without adding any caveats to that order. So they’re only doing what they were instructed to do by the founder of their religion.

Reuters reports that the sheriff of Polk County, Florida has been following this mandate as Jesus stated it, going after a vocal atheist in Lakeland (WebCite cached article):

An atheist and self-described member of the “most hated minority in America” has filed a lawsuit accusing a sheriff in Florida’s conservative Bible Belt of arresting her and trampling her constitutional rights because of her work to separate church and state.

EllenBeth Wachs, 48, said her suit against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, an evangelical Christian, puts her at “ground zero” in the struggle against religious intolerance. …

“Mr. Judd is actually using law enforcement to basically do a legal lynching of me,” Wachs told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

She was referring to having been arrested by Judd’s deputies three times since March — what she sees as a campaign of harassment and retaliation against her.

This began a while ago when Wachs insolently dared to inquire about something Judd had done:

Wachs first ran afoul of Judd around Christmas last year, when she filed several public-records requests to look into his decision to donate the Polk County jail’s basketball hoops and other equipment to local churches.

Ordinarily in cases like this, one expects the other party to deny the accusation, or to say something that implies the claims are something other than they appear to be. This time, though, silence has been the reply:

The sheriff’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Of course, there’s probably much more to this story than is in this article. I’m skeptical enough to know that Ms Wachs and her attorney are presenting this story in the best-possible light for their side. Even so, the Polk County sheriff’s department’s total silence suggests there’s at least a bit of merit in the suit. This contest has only just begun, and I expect there’s more to come. So stay tuned.

Oh, and if Sheriff Grady Judd is looking for force more people to his Jesus, I sincerely invite him to come here and make me a Christian. If he dares.

Photo credit: Chairman Meow.

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Veracicat has checked your facts and is not impressed with your lies.As a rule, people love to think they live in unusual times, and more often than not, they think the unusual things going on, are bad. Really bad. Historically-unprecedented bad. If you could ask anyone — at any point in history — if there are more catastrophes going on in his/her lifetime than ever before, s/he would most likely say, “Yes, of course!” It’s a kind of selective thinking, often backed up by confirmation bias, because the things we’re aware of and know about as they occur outweigh — in our minds — those we only find out about after-the-fact or hear about having happened historically. A natural ramification of this is that we tend to think that any kind of disaster is now more frequent than it ever was before.

This tendency — which is basic human nature and applies to almost everyone — is one that apocalypticists love to prey on, and they intentionally feed it. Thus we have something of a cottage industry of so-called “experts” on the putative “Maya apocalypse” who happily propagate the lie that the ancient Maya predicted the end of the universe on December 21, 2012. That we’re experiencing more catastrophes and wars, you see — according to them — is a “sign” that the End Of The Universe, which the Maya predicted, is coming.

As I’ve blogged before, this is all bullshit. Pure, unadulterated, unfiltered, stinking-to-high-heaven bull-fucking-shit. The Maya never predicted any such thing! Their ability to have predicted the future accurately is debunked absolutely, by their failure to predict the collapse of their own civilization, which happened around the turn of the 10th century CE. So no, the universe is not going to roll to a sudden, screeching halt in 2012.

But batshit crazy New Agers who claim to know what the Maya said without even knowing the Mayan language — thus, having zero knowledge of what the Maya truly thought — are certainly not the only folks who use this tendency. Christian “End Timers” play it up, too. To claim there are more earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, droughts, famines, wildfires, etc. and then claim these are harbingers of the Second Coming is a classic “End Time” proselytizing trick. “The Bible predicted this would happen!” they claim, and they can quickly spit out chapter and verse to show it.

The problem is, all of this is predicated on a lie. And it’s a lie that’s remarkably easy to debunk. Unfortunately, it’s not often debunked. Which is why I’m so glad to notice that FactCheck decided to look into the claims of one “End Time” apocalypticist, evangelical nutcase Franklin Graham, and their takedown isn’t pretty (WebCite cached article):

On ABC’s “This Week,” the Rev. Franklin Graham was wrong when he said that earthquakes, wars and famines are occurring “with more frequency and more intensity.”

The preacher, who is the son of the Rev. Billy Graham and president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, discussed [cached] the prophecy of Armageddon with host Christiane Amanpour during a special Easter edition of the Sunday talk show.

Graham, April 24: I believe we are in the latter days of this age. When I say “latter days,” could it be the last hundred years or the last thousand years or the last six months? I don’t know.

But the Bible, the things that the Bible predicts, earthquakes and famines, nation rising against nation, we see this happening with more frequency and more intensity.

On all three counts, the preacher is wrong. Today’s famines and armed conflicts are fewer and relatively smaller than those in the last century, and the frequency of major earthquakes has remained about the same.

The rest of the article shows how Graham is flat-out wrong on those three counts.

Given that FactCheck is dedicated mostly to checking politicians’ claims about their opponents, that makes this particular article out of character for them, and that will, no doubt, be used by Graham-like “End Timers” as a rationale to dismiss what it says. “FactCheck should stick with politics, and leave religion alone!” they will say. (Notwithstanding that they never listen to FactCheck’s political fact-corrections … fucking hypocrites!) That dismissal, of course, would be a kind of argumentum ad hominem, but fallacy is the favorite game of the vehement religionist, so it’s expected.

FactCheck’s demonstration that Franklin Graham is a liar, places him — again! — in my “lying liars for Jesus” club. Congratulations, Frankie, on your achievement. By all means, keep lying to everyone.

Photo credit: PsiCop, based on original from

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