Archive for the “Christianity” Category

Christians and their religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: Joe. My. God.

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Magic wand / kalhh, via PixabayOne of the things many people don’t realize about fundagelical Christians is that they like to wave their Jesus around like a magical talisman. They view him as the ultimate tool … for any vexing task.

Take, for example, this winter’s particularly bad flu season (Archive.Is cached article). Yes, for fundagelicals, even the flu is no match for the magic of Jesus. All you need do — as Gloria Copeland (wife of megapastor Kenneth Copeland) says, according to Right Wing Watch — is drop Jesus’ name a few times, and poof! the flu magically goes away (cached):

You’d think that given past experience, Copeland’s Eagle Mountain International Church might have learned a lesson, but you’d be wrong, as yesterday a video was posted on the ministry’s Facebook page [cached] featuring Copeland’s wife, Gloria, telling people that there is no such thing as flu season and that they don’t need to get a flu shot because “Jesus himself gave us the flu shot.”

“Listen, partners, we don’t have a flu season,” Gloria Copeland said. “And don’t receive it when somebody threatens you with, ‘Everybody is getting the flu.’ We’ve already had our shot, He bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases. That’s what we stand on.”

Praying for those who may already have the flu, Copeland proclaimed, “Flu, I bind you off the people in the name of Jesus. Jesus himself gave us the flu shot, He redeemed us from the curse of flu.” Those who don’t have the flu, she promised, can protect themselves by simply declaring, “I’ll never have the flu.”

What’s ironic about this is that the very fundagelicals who’ll ward off the flu with mantras like, “Flu, I bind you off the people in the name of Jesus,” in the very next breath would condemn the performance of witchcraft or magic, as well as taking the name of the Lord in vain. What’s more, they’ll never admit this rather blatant hypocrisy … even though their own Jesus explicitly and unambiguously ordered them never to be hypocritical, ever, at any time or for any reason. They just don’t get that their own religion contradicts itself.

Not to mention, repeatedly blabbering Jesus’ name will never do anything to prevent or cure the flu. It just won’t.

One last note, for all readers: If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, go get one. Don’t buy into any of the bullshit you’ve heard to the contrary. Just do it, ferfucksakes. Now!

Photo credit: kalhh, via Pixabay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: CEBImagery, via Flickr.

Hat tip: Vox.

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Pope Francis marries flight attendants Carlos Ciuffardi, left, and Paola Podest, center, during a flight from Santiago, Chile, to Iquique, Chile, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Pope Francis celebrated the first-ever airborne papal wedding, marrying these two flight attendants from Chile’s flagship airline during the flight. The couple had been married civilly in 2010, however, they said they couldn’t follow-up with a church ceremony because of the 2010 earthquake that hit Chile. (Credit: L'Osservatore Romano Vatican Media/Pool Photo via AP.)For the second time in two days, I’m blogging about Pope Francis … the guy I’d once had hope for, but who clearly now supports abusive clergy and abuse-covering hierarchs. But while this story involves the Pope, it’s not really about him as it is about conservative Catholicism.

It seems that, while he was flying between cities in Chile, the Pope married two flight attendants aboard his plane. As Crux explains, many conservative Catholics are upset by that (Archive.Is cached article):

A day after Pope Francis grabbed headlines by pronouncing two flight attendants man and wife while flying 36,000 feet over Chile, the conservative Catholic commentariat on Friday questioned the legitimacy of the impromptu sacrament and warned it could cheapen the church’s marriage preparation down the line.

Their objections are all over the map — including questioning whether or not this was the impromptu affair it had first been reported to be, wherein the flight attendants had simply asked the Pope’s blessing for their coming marriage, only to have him marry them — but mainly involve the many preparation steps required of Catholic couples before they can marry. That includes verifying their baptisms or participation in what’s called “Pre-Cana” or pre-marital counseling required by the Church, which the Pope couldn’t have done in-flight.

I’m not sure this degree of alarm is reasonable. The Pope runs the Church and he can do what he wants … including marry people on-the-fly (both literally and figuratively). As Crux points out, the problem may be that these folk have been sensitized to this by some of the things Francis has done in the past:

Francis has caused controversy over his cautious opening to allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, so any issue related to marriage is particularly sensitive.

Really, though, these conservative Catholics need to fucking grow the hell up and stop whining already. Their fierce, unrelenting legalism is as bad as that of fundagelical Protestants.

Photo credit: L’Osservatore Romano Vatican Media/Pool Photo via AP & Crux.

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Conquest of Jeusalem (1099)I’ve blogged a lot about the movement I call “the Great Neocrusade” … an effort to remove Islam and Muslims from the US (and for many of its followers, to eradicate it from the planet after that). I’ve noted that, as of a couple years ago, it became an openly violent movement, with people being attacked over it (sometimes by mistake). Attacking people because they’re Muslims is, of course, not really new, but it did pick up a bit after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

Well, the anti-Muslim violence is still going on. As KOLD-TV reports, it manifested recently in Tuscon, AZ (Archive.Is cached article):

A man is in custody after allegedly attacking a group of Muslim women in Tucson, city police said.

The Tucson Police Department said Manuel Lewis, 44, was arrested Sunday, Jan. 14 at an incident outside of the Starbucks on University Boulevard.

This attack appears not to have been Lewis’s first ride on this rodeo:

We’ve been told this has happened before – that Lewis specifically shouted derogatory comments nearby at Sinbad’s Restaurant, a middle-eastern food establishment in the area.

As I’ve said pretty much every time one of these stories pops up: Look, I get it. There is such a thing as Islamist terror. Muslim extremists have done a lot of terrible things. Oh yeah. I know all about it. I definitely don’t dismiss it. But, with that said … violent rages against those who’re part of a religion whose extreme members have also been violent, just doesn’t make any fucking sense. It’s time for Americans to grow the fuck up already and stop lashing out at every Muslim they come across. Sure, Islamist terrorists are dangerous … but on average, Americans are in far greater danger from ordinary sociopaths, than they are from Islamist terrorists. As horrific as their attacks are, there are lots of other dangers that deserve much more attention.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Pope Francis in Prato (87)Over the last few years, Chile’s Catholic Church has been rocked by priestly pedophilia allegations. Many of them involve Fr Fernando Karadima, who was convicted in 2011 by the Church itself of having abused children (Archive.Is cached article). Karadima had been powerful and influential within Chile’s Church, having groomed many of its clergy. Among them is Juan Barros, whose elevation to bishop a few years ago was protested due to allegations he’d known about Karadima’s abuse but hadn’t tried to stop it (cached). There’s been acrimony in the Chilean Catholic Church ever since.

When it was announced that Pope Francis would visit Chile, it was widely assumed there’d be some drama. And sure enough … there was! His visit started out well enough, when he asked for forgiveness for “priestly pedophilia” (cached). I mean, it was an empty plea, but it was at least moderately conciliatory. But things went downhill from there, and as the Associated Press reports via RNS, the Pope left Chile on an unexpectedly harsh note (cached):

Pope Francis accused victims of Chile’s most notorious pedophile of slander, an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic Church its credibility in the country.

Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up the sex crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadimas [sic], such accusations against Barros are “all calumny.”

The pope’s remarks on Thursday (Jan. 18) drew shock from Chileans and immediate rebuke from victims and their advocates. They noted the accusers were deemed credible enough by the Vatican that it sentenced Karadima to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for his crimes in 2011.…

“As if I could have taken a selfie or a photo while Karadima abused me and others and Juan Barros stood by watching it all,” tweeted Barros’ most vocal accuser, Juan Carlos Cruz. “These people are truly crazy, and the pontiff talks about atonement to the victims. Nothing has changed, and his plea for forgiveness is empty.”

What childishness! While I’ve been disappointed with how Francis has dealt with this scandal, this kind of response is beyond the pale.

I’m not sure why Francis asked Chile’s priestly-pedophilia victims for their forgiveness, only to accuse them of slander a couple days later. It sure seems as though the Catholic Church’s handling of this scandal has been set back to the days when Pope John Paul II and his enforcer, who’d later become Pope Benedict XVI, were in charge, pathologically denying it all and desperately trying to keep it all quiet. That didn’t work out too well for them — but apparently Pope Francis never got the memo. Or he did, but decided to rip it up in the middle of his sojourn in Chile. What a fucking prick.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Highpoint Church Web site.

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