Posts Tagged “gop”

St Stephen, first Christian martyr, by Giacomo CavedoneI’ve long said that most Christians like to view themselves as being persecuted for their religion. This tendency seems to be proportional to their devoutness: The more ardently they believe, the more firmly they’re convinced they’re being attacked because of their faith. It’s a desire that goes back almost to the very start of Christianity. After all, Christians are taught that the founder of their religion was persecuted and ultimately executed because of what he believed and taught, and so too were all of his apostles. It stands to reason that martyrdom is the highest aspiration for any Christian.

While it’s true that, at some points in history (and even in a few places right now) there are Christians who are being persecuted for their religion, reality is that no Christian anywhere in the occidental world is being persecuted for his/her beliefs. It just doesn’t happen. Christianity is still the dominant religion in the occidental world; it’s impossible for someone of a majority religion to be persecuted for belonging to it. Nevertheless, devout Christians still are psychopathologically driven to view themselves as being persecuted for Jesus. This means that, essentially, they cook up fictional scenarios in which they’re being attacked — essentially, they delude themselves into thinking they’re being harassed for Jesus. In fact, they aren’t, but to a religionist, facts don’t matter. All that matters to them is that feeling of being “attacked.” To them, it’s a very real sensation.

The latest example of this false martyrdom being called down is reported by the Dallas Morning News; Anita Perry, wife of GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry, complained that her husband is being “brutalized” by the media — and pretty much everyone else in the world (WebCite cached article):

Anita Perry, campaigning for husband Rick Perry in South Carolina , suggests he’s been “brutalized” by the media and the GOP because of his faith. …

“It’s been a rough month. We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press to where I need this today. We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party. So much of that is, I think, they look at him because of his faith. He is the only true conservative — well, there are some true conservatives. And they’re there for good reasons. And they may feel like God called them too. But I truly feel like we are here for that purpose.”

Mrs Perry either cannot or will not admit that maybe — just maybe! — her husband has come under fire because he’s a raging militant Christofascist, or because he lied about Social Security being a “Ponzi scheme,” or because one of his most prominent supporters claimed that Mormonism is a “cult” and that Mormons are not Christians.

Oh no. That couldn’t possibly be the case! Perry’s recent troubles can only be happening because he’s the only “‘Real’ Christian™” in the GOP field, so everyone on the planet is attacking him over it. Why, the poor man is being “brutalized” because of his religion!

I don’t know about you, but the verb “to brutalize” brings to mind someone who’s been pummeled and kicked and pounded into submission … not a politician who’s been merely criticized for his own excesses. It’s hard to know whether or not Mrs Perry is serious about this. After all, it’s not common to run into someone as thoroughly delusional as this … so one’s initial impulse is to wonder whether or not she’s making it up in order to draw sympathy. Even so, it’s not to their religion’s credit that militant Christians find such delusional sanctimony attractive.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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First Baptist Church of Dallas 1891 by Albert UllrichIt was inevitable, I suppose, that a religious-political movement such as the Religious Right is, would eventually show some sectarian cracks in its edifice. The R.R. was originally established by Southern Baptists — that wing of the American Baptists who, in the years leading up to the Civil War, accommodated and embraced slavery, whereas Baptists (and in fact, most Protestants generally) elsewhere in the country condemned it. Since its beginnings in the 1980s, other types of Christians have latched onto and made themselves part of the R.R. movement, but it basically remains in the control of evangelical Protestants of the Southern Baptist variety.

Among the consequences of this is the fact that Mormons, who were among the denominations that glommed onto the R.R., are finding themselves at odds with the rest of the movement. Initially one might be surprised at this. After all, Mormons are very, very conservative, and faithfully hew to the line of other “social conservatives.” That they would find themselves marginalized as part of the R.R., is because the S.B.C has never really cared for Mormons or the LDS church, and has a history of campaigning against them (WebCite cached version).

With former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a Mormon, a leader among the large rabble of Republican candidates for president in 2012, this rivalry has roared to the fore. A megachurch pastor and supporter of Romney’s rival, Texas governor Rick Perry, recently commented that “Mormonism is a cult” and said that Mormons are not Christians. He caught some flack over this, but as Reuters reports, he’s digging his heels in and has not given up on the matter (cached):

An unapologetic Pastor Robert Jeffress, who created a stir for calling Mormonism a “cult” at a political gathering, told hundreds of congregants at his Texas megachurch on Sunday that he welcomed the opportunity he’s had to warn people about a “false religion.”

“I have not changed my position,” Jeffress told the crowd of about 2,000 attending the early service at First Baptist Church of Dallas.

The TV evangelist and prominent religious leader spent the last two days defending statements he made to reporters at a conservative gathering on Friday in Washington DC, in which he called Mormonism a “cult” just minutes after introducing and endorsing Texas Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.

This should provide a warning to other elements of the R.R. who aren’t evangelical Protestants; you, too, could find yourselves excluded by sectarian sentiment. It’s not just Mormons who could be frozen out, Catholics — especially because the American bishops have hitched their political car to the R.R. train — might very well end up being denounced as idolators or “Mary-worshippers” in the same way that Mormons are condemned as being part of a “cult.”

The lesson is clear: Religious movements of any kind almost always break down along sectarian lines. It’s foolish to assume it cannot happen.

Lastly, there’s something that desperately needs to be cleared up, which many people aren’t aware of. Mormonism is most certainly a form of Christianity. As a religion, it reveres the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. In this regard the LDS Church is every bit as “Christian” as any other Christian denomination on earth. That the Mormons don’t view Jesus or God precisely as other types of Christians do, cannot and will never change this fact. It just means their form of Christianity is different from that of others. Nothing more than that.

Photo credit: Bryan Amann via Picasaweb.

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Syringe 5 With DropsThe recent “tea party” sponsored GOP presidential debate has kicked up some testiness within the Religious Right over the simple matter of a vaccine.

Yes, that’s right, a vaccine.

As the New York Times explains, this controversy concerns TX governor Rick Perry’s support for vaccinating all girls in his state against HPV or human papilloma virus (WebCite cached article):

An unlikely issue — whether to vaccinate preadolescent girls against a sexually transmitted virus — has become the latest flashpoint among Republican presidential candidates as they vie for the support of social conservatives and Tea Party members.

The issue exploded Monday night when Representative Michele Bachmann and former Senator Rick Santorum attacked Gov. Rick Perry of Texas during a debate for issuing an executive order requiring sixth-grade girls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, criticizing the order as an overreach of state power in a decision properly left to parents. Later, Sarah Palin, who has yet to announce her 2012 intentions, also found fault with Mr. Perry.

This particular controversy is multi-pronged, as the Times explains:

The issue pushes many buttons with conservatives: overreach of government in health care decisions, suspicion that sex education leads to promiscuity and even the belief — debunked by science — that childhood vaccinations may be linked to mental disorders.

The militant Ms Bachmann insisted that the problem was the “dangerous” nature of the vaccine, however, the HPV vaccine was approved a number of years ago and its safety is not at issue. Rather, from the time it was approved — as Time magazine reported then (cached) — it became a target of the Religious Right, having been tagged “the promiscuity vaccine.” They can claim concern with the vaccine’s “safety” all they want … but really, their sole concern is women’s health and depriving them of control over their own affairs. We already know that the Roman Catholic Church considers the lives of pregnant women forfeit and of no account; the mostly-Protestant Religious Right more or less agrees with this position.

Yes, it’s true: Christianists like Bachmann actually believe it’s better for women to contract illnesses caused by HPV, including deadly cancers, rather than innoculate them early in life, merely because they perceive that it grants girls license to be sexually active. The idea that an HPV virus does so, of course, is completely laughable; it prevents only HPV-borne illnesses, it has no effect on other STD’s, and it doesn’t prevent pregnancy.

It just goes to show that facts and reason don’t matter to the Religious Right, just their emotional assessments, irrational beliefs, and slavish devotion to laughable dogmas.

Lastly, I’d like to give Gov. Perry, whom I generally dislike, some credit here. In the name of promoting health and fighting cancer, he’s taking on his own co-religionists and seems rather determined about it. I only hope he doesn’t cave in to them.

Photo credit: ZaldyImg.

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Michelle BachmannDemonstrating that religionistic stupidity doesn’t have any gender boundaries, Congresswoman, GOP presidential candidate and religiofascist Michele Bachmann tossed out a little “disaster theology” at a rally in Sarasota, Florida. It was mentioned only near the end of a St Petersburg Times article on this event (WebCite cached article):

[Bachmann said] “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

Video of her statement comes from WSMV-TV in Nashville, via Mediaite (cached):

In Bachmann’s world, the Almighty — you see — can get the attention of politicians only by sending a deadly and destructive hurricane around. He has no other choice, apparently, and can’t come up with any other means of communication with them. He can only communicate by causing widespread devastation.

I guess. Somehow. I must have missed when “omnipotence” was redefined from “the power to do anything at all at any time” to “unable to do things except in one way” … ?

Bachmann’s office claims she had said it “in jest” in order to make a point (cached). I for one am nowhere near stupid enough to buy that little evasion. I don’t see the slightest bit of humor in her delivery, and no one in the crowd reacted as though they’d just heard a joke. Her office will have to look a little harder to find someone dumb enough to believe that sniveling excuse.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

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Tornado damage photo courtesy of NOAAThe militant and angry Christofascist Georgia state representative Bobby Franklin used Facebook as a platform to whine about the victims of recent tornadoes, as Georgia Politico reported recently: (WebCite cached article):

Georgia Republican State Representative Bobby Franklin today compared the victims of the massive super cell tornado system that ripped across the southern United States over the weekend to idolaters “praying to their god, FEMA”.

The article includes a screen shot of his whiney hyperreligious drivel:

GA state rep Bobby Franklin's Christofascist comment on Facebook (via Georgia Politico)

GA state rep Bobby Franklin's Christofascist comment on Facebook (via Georgia Politico)

Obviously this comment is insulting to the tornado victims — the majority of whom are, no doubt, Christians (seen as how the entire country is majority-Christian). Another problem here is that, in a way, FEMA constitutes a kind of insurance to which the victims have all contributed over the years, in the form of federal taxes they’ve paid. Would Franklin accuse someone of “praying” to an auto insurance company (for example) when s/he files an accident claim? People like Franklin likely object to this view since they see government disaster-coverage as coercive, as opposed to insurance which is a private contract. But the fact is that it’s not possible to purchase tornado coverage for one’s home or business … all insurance policies exclude “acts of God” (e.g. violent weather events). The private sector offers little opportunity to buy such coverage, because — quite simply — no private insurance company is large enough to absorb the losses it might have to accept, without pricing premiums so high that few can afford it. That’s a risk only government has the resources to handle.

Militant Christofascists like Franklin view government as somehow having “replaced” churches in the social order. What they want, is for churches to become — once again — the entity upon which everyone relies, when they’re in need. This will, in turn, grant churches a degree of power and control over people’s lives that they do not currently have.

To an extent, it’s true that churches once constituted the societal “safety net.” But there’s a reason FEMA exists … because not even churches are large enough to take on a risk of this size. Churches would not be able to rebuild all the homes and businesses lost to these tornadoes. They might be able to rebuild some of them … but they would have to choose whom to help and whom to leave to their own devices, and that would likely be based on the person’s beliefs. Only those most loyal to a church’s dogma would get that church’s aid.

That’s what this is all about folks … it’s nothing more than a play for power. Christofascists like Franklin want people to become serfs of the churches where they live, and use their control over them to bend them to their religious views. It’s despicable, of course, but that hardly matters to people who think they’re entitled to force everyone, willingly or not, to adopt their own religion because they believe they’re entitled to have the entire planet worship as they do.

Another Christofascist objection to the US government, of course, is that under the current Constitution, they’re not able to force their religion on Americans. The only way they can do that is to abolish it and create a new theocratic government. Hence their opposition to the current administration and anything that calls attention to it (e.g. FEMA’s recovery activities).

Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.

Photo credit: NOAA.

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The Stupid It Burns / plognarkIn an effort to appeal to his militant Christianist “peeps,” the former speaker of the US house — and raging hypocrite — Newt Gingrich recently spewed an idiotic, and demonstrably false, claim about the future of the US. Politico reports on something he said at Pastor John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX (WebCite cached article):

“I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

In his furious effort to conflate the two great enemies of his militant Christofascism, the Newtster equated “secular atheists” with “radical Islamists.” The problem here is that the two cannot be the same, and that’s by definition: “Secular atheists” are all areligious (or irreligious), while “radical Islamists” are all decidedly religious. Radical Islamists, in fact, hate “secular atheists” as much as militant Christians do.

What a fucking moron.

The article also mentions that Gingrich is now Roman Catholic, which makes his appearance at Pastor Hagee’s church strange indeed, since Hagee hasn’t had much good to say about Catholics or Catholicism — at least, that’s what Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, has said (cached).

Photo credit: plognark.

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Raised seal on Barack Obama's birth certificate/FactCheckAs I’ve blogged a number of times already, Birtherism is a delusion that simply will not die. A frequent mantra of Birthers is that Obama has never produced his birth certificate. That, however, is factually incorrect; he has done so, and did it prior to his election in 2008. See FactCheck and Politfact, cached here and here for the evidence. (Note, neither of these fact-checking sites is “biased” towards Obama and the Democrats; recently, for instance, FactCheck pointed out tall tales told by him and by his party, and Politifact has a running “Obameter” listing promises he’s made, and has not shied from listing some as broken.) Oh, and that Kenyan birth certificate you may have heard about? It’s a fake (cached).

Making this situation worse is that denial that Obama is a US citizen has become religionized, and inextricably linked to the claim that he’s a Muslim. So the delusion has taken on an added dimension and, essentially, doubled in scope. Yes, that’s been covered by FactCheck (cached) and Politifact (cached), too — but again, the deluded Right-wing Birthers don’t give a fuck about facts.

Birtherism among Rightists has become so strong and pervasive, that GOP leaders refuse to confront it any more. If anything, they make excuses for Birtherism and wink in its direction. A recent example is House Speaker John Boehner, who did exactly this during his appearance on Meet the Press yesterday (WebCite cached article). When host David Gregory asked about persistent Birtherism, he said:

David, it’s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people.

That’s an interesting claim on Boehner’s part, since he’s been telling Americans for the last couple of years that Obama is a vile, wicked socialist, and he hasn’t “listened” to any Americans outside of the extreme Right-wing. After having told us what we’re supposed to think about Obama and the Democrats all this time, suddenly he declares he’s unwilling to tell us what to think? What a fucking hypocrite! At any rate, he continued hedging:

Having said that, the state of Hawaii has said that he was born there. That’s good enough for me. The president says he’s a Christian. I accept him at his word.

That’s all well and good, but it’s hardly a dismissal of Birtherism. Then, having said that, he veered back toward his original position:

MR. GREGORY: But that kind of ignorance about whether he’s a Muslim doesn’t concern you?

SPEAKER BOEHNER: Listen, the American people have the right to think what they want to think. I can’t–it’s not my job to tell them.

So the Speaker slalomed from, “I’m not supposed to tell people what to think,” to “Obama said he’s a citizen and a Christian,” to “People have a right to be deluded.”

Well, Speaker, you’re correct in that Americans have a “right” to be deluded. No doubt about that. The right to be a fucking ignoramus is undeniable. But you — as a leader in your political party — have a moral and ethical obligation to inform them of the truth. Even if it’s not a convenient truth to tell, and — yes — even if they don’t want to hear it. This is not a question of anyone’s “rights.” This is a question of what the objective facts are and what his duty is, as the leader of the Republican party in Congress.

In other words, it’s a question of fortitude and leadership.

Boehner has purposely chosen to keep his party chock-full of childish, delusional, paranoiac imbeciles. Just because he’s too much of a sniveling coward to tell them to knock off their Birtherist bullshit and shut the fuck up about the President not being a citizen or a Christian.

Way to go, Speaker. What outstanding courage you’ve shown! Why, you’ve demonstrated perfectly the kind of character it takes to lead the Right in the US.

It’s time for everyone on the Right — starting with Speaker Bonehead and the rest of his sanctimonious Rightist rabble in the House — to grow the hell up, stop telling demonstrable lies, and move on to something else, fercryinoutloud.

Photo credit: FactCheck.

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