Archive for the “Christianity” Category

Christians and their religion

John McCain has pastor troubles of his own, which recently have been somewhat alleviated by the pastor himself:

Pastor Hagee apologizes for anti-Catholic remarks

John Hagee, an influential Texas televangelist who endorsed John McCain, apologized to Catholics Tuesday for his stinging criticism of the Roman Catholic Church and for having “emphasized the darkest chapters in the history of Catholic and Protestant relations with the Jews.”Hagee’s support for McCain has drawn cries of outrage from some Catholic leaders who have called on McCain to reject Hagee’s endorsement. The likely Republican nominee has said he does not agree with some of Hagee’s past comments, but did not reject his support.

In a letter to William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, Hagee wrote: “Out of a desire to advance a greater unity among Catholics and evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful.”

Donohue, one of Hagee’s sharpest critics, said he accepted the apology and planned to meet with Hagee Thursday in New York.

Note that this allows Donohue and his Catholic League, and Hagee as well, to line up behind McCain in November. This still leaves Hagee quite separate from other evangelical leaders who, as I’ve blogged about before, despise McCain and are willing to let Obama win in order to deny him the White House.

Having said all of this, and having endured the Obama/Wright affair … is anyone else as tired of the clerical politicking as I am? Isn’t it time for America’s presidential candidates to extricate themselves from the affairs of ardent pastors who’re often afflicted with that illness known as “diarrhea of the mouth”?

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It’s no secret that the Religious Right is downright furious that John McCain is the presumptive GOP nominee for president. He’s not nearly religious enough for them, even though over the last year he has veered often into theocratic territory. The reigning prince of the R.R., James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, has said he will not vote, if McCain is the nominee — and his word carries great weight among the nation’s fundamentalist masses. It appears that the R.R. has, indeed, decided follow through on Dobson’s threat to stay out of the 2008 presidential election and let Barack Obama win. According to Bob Novak of the Washington Post:

Some U.S. Christians are not reconciled to McCain’s candidacy but instead regard the prospective presidency of Barack Obama in the nature of a biblical plague visited upon a sinful people.

They plan to let the country be plagued by four years of an Obama administration, so as to ensure a Huckabee election in 2012. That’s right … better (in their minds) to lose the White House for 4 years, in order both to deny it to McCain and get Huckabee elected.

The logic of this strategem is so perverse as to be beyond description. Essentially these religio-Nazis prefer four years of a Democrat in office, to McCain. No one ever accused fundamentalists (of any religion) of being rational … once again, they manage to live down to all my expectations of them.

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This is one of those cases that almost speaks for itself. So I’ll start by citing the story:

Kids, mom lived with 90-year-old’s corpse for weeks in Wis.

Two children and their mother lived for about two months with the decaying body of a 90-year-old woman on the toilet of their home’s only bathroom, on the advice of a religious “superior” who claimed the corpse would come back to life, authorities said Friday.The children — a 15-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy — cried hysterically Wednesday after a deputy who came to their Necedah home looking for Magdeline Alvina Middlesworth ordered them out because of the stench from her body.

The children were in foster care Friday. Their mother, Tammy Lewis, and self-described “bishop” Alan Bushey remained in custody on felony counts of being a party to causing mental harm to a child. …

[Juneau County Sheriff Brent Oleson] described the one-story home in the town of Necedah as in decent repair, although the residents had been using “makeshift” toilet facilities because of the situation in the one bathroom.

The boy at the house told a detective he had considered running away because he was uncomfortable with the situation. He said Bushey told him that demons were trying to make it look as if Middlesworth wouldn’t come back to life, and that if she were to be discovered he and the girl would have to go to public school and get jobs because Middlesworth paid the bills.

That’s the terrible thing about demons … they seem to be very good at making it appear that people who die won’t come back to life. Tsk tsk tsk.

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I blogged earlier about the death of a girl at the hands of parents who knew she was sick but refused to get any medical care, hoping instead that prayer and faith would take care of her, and not really caring if she died. The good news: Today, authorities decided to charge her parents with reckless homicide.

The parents of an 11-year-old Wisconsin girl who prayed instead of seeking medical help for the diabetic child are facing homicide charges in connection with her death.

Dale and Leilani Neumann were charged with second-degree reckless homicide, Marathon County District Attorney Jill Falstad announced at a press conference today. If convicted, the couple could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

The Neumanns’ ignorance and obliviousness is downright sickening:

Dale Neumann, a former police officer, told The Associated Press at the time that he started to perform CPR on his daughter “as soon as the breath of life left.”

If this guy knows CPR, why didn’t he try it when it might have been useful — before the breath of his daughter’s life left? If he truly knew CPR then he knew it was too late, by that time!

In an interview with The Associated Press, the girl’s parents confirmed that they believe healing comes from God, but said that they did not want their child to die, that they are not zealots and that they do not have anything against doctors.

First, these people are definitely “zealots,” regardless of what they may claim. Second, they may not exactly have willed their daughter to die, but they certainly did absolutely nothing to prevent her death, and that’s functionally the same thing.

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In the US, blending religion with politics is typically a Right-wing affair. The Jeremiah Wright controversy, though, which involves liberal Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, has just gone from being a political squabble with religious overtones, to a religious one. The retired Reverend has decided that the furor over his remarks is an “attack” on black Christianity:

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s speech before the National Press Club this morning was not intended to be a political one. It was billed as the start of a religious gathering, and he came to talk about the black religious experience in America. …

“This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright. This is an attack on the black church,” he said. “This is not about Obama, McCain, Hillary, Bill, Chelsea.” He said he was not going to sit back and let his church — comparing it to his mamma and grandma — be attacked.

But at the same time he was defending black Christianity as a distinct entity, he downplayed differences between black Christianity and other forms of his religion:

“Being different does not mean one is deficient,” he said. “It is just different. Black preaching is just different from European and European-American preaching. It is not deficient. It is just different. It is not bombastic. It is not controversial. It is just different.”

I really don’t see how black Christianity could be different enough that it comes under attack, yet basically the same … but there you go. It’s clear — to me at least — that the Rev. Wright is out of control. He’s so arrogant that he interprets critiques of his own preaching as an attack on black Christianity as a whole. Wow.

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A raid on a Christian sect in Texas has made the news recently. The mass media generally report this as a raid on a “polygamist compound”; however, the compound in question is actually a religious commune of sorts, belonging to the “Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” (abbreviated “FLDS”). Calling them merely “polygamists” isn’t really a good identifier; they are, rather, an extreme wing of the Mormons who broke away from mainstream Mormonism (aka the LDS Church) when mainstream Mormons ended the practice of polygamy a century ago.

(Current mainstream Mormons go to great lengths to tell people the FLDS followers are not Mormons; but in fact, they are, since they derive their teachings from the same source as all other Mormons, i.e. the 19th century “prophet” Joseph Smith.)

It turns out that Texas authorities — far from being blindsided by discovery of polygamists in their midst — have actually known about these people for years:

The local sheriff today defended his decision not to intervene sooner at a West Texas polygamist compound, despite having a confidential informant who provided him with information over four years.The confidential informant told authorities days ago that beds in the group’s sacred temple at the Yearning for Zion Ranch were used by adult men to have sex with underage girls, according to court documents.

“It’s just like anything. If you have a meth lab on your property and you feel it’s there, you’re not going to (trample) their civil rights or treat them any differently until you get probable cause or information or an outcry,” said Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran.

The sheriff’s comparison to a meth-lab is weak; somehow I doubt he would have sat on a stream of inside information on the existence of a meth-lab and chose never to act on it, for over four years. It defies reason to think he was never alarmed by what he heard from his informant. Given that the sheriff’s excuse is a poor one and likely a lie, let’s face it, folks: Texas is the buckle of the Bible Belt (or should I call it, as they do, “the Bobble Bay-elt”)! Fundamentalist religious groups thrive there, and for a very good reason — authorities are loath to do anything to any of them.

Granted, the average Protestant fundamentalist in Texas isn’t likely to be too fond of Mormons (whether of the mainstream LDS or the splinter FLDS), but authorities nevertheless won’t be eager to set a precedent for interfering with such a group.

If you’re wondering why polygamy is a particular phenomenon among Mormons (whether present or past, mainstream or splinter-group), here’s the explanation: Mormons believe that women do not directly qualify for the highest level of salvation (i.e. to be resurrected and to become gods themselves, at the end of time); this privilege is reserved to men alone. Women achieve this status only by having been married (in what Mormons refer to as a “celestial marriage”), and the husband must then choose to elevate his wife to this status, when the time comes. Unmarried women are left out of the cosmic loop, if you will, at the end of time; therefore getting as many women as possible into celestial marriages was a theological necessity. Note that this theology also has the effect of forcing a Mormon wife to be obedient to her husband — since her chance at this level of salvation depends on his wanting to elevate her to that status.

It’s no wonder that so many FLDS women — raised since birth to believe in this convoluted sexist soteriology — would actually go along with polygamy.

Having said all of that, I have to wonder how long this sheriff in Texas planned to wait, before stopping these FLDS nut-jobs and their institutionalized statutory rape … ? Had a 16-year-old mother and victim of this pedophilic community not called an emergency help-line, what would he have done? Guesses, anyone?

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Two parents’ devout faith has cost the life of a girl … their own daughter:

Parents’ Faith Fails to Save Diabetic Girl

Cops Mull Charges After 11-Year-Old With Undiagnosed Disease Dies Easter Sunday

Wisconsin authorities will consider filing charges in the case of an 11-year-old girl who died on Easter Sunday of complications from diabetes that went untreated because police say her parents’ obscure religious beliefs do not allow medical intervention.“When you’re dealing with an 11-year-old child, your first thought is neglect,” Capt. Scott Sleeter, a spokesman for the Everest Metro Police Department in Wisconsin, told ABC News.

Madeline Kara Neumann, who went by the name Kara and was the youngest child of Leilani and Dale Neumann, died Sunday of “diabetic ketoacidosis,” according to a Marathon County autopsy report. Efforts were made to revive the little girl, whose diabetes had never been diagnosed, when she stopped breathing at the house, officials say.

We have, then, a girl who died of diabetes — which could have been prevented since the signs of its onset were not, in this case, instant — because her parents chose “faith” over medicine.

Yes, folks. Religion kills. It really can … it sometimes does … and in this case, it did.

What makes this case even worse is that the parents and the odd sect of whom they are part, are totally unrepentant about this. In their own statement on the matter, they said:

Sometimes we stumble because of lack of faith or repentance in an area but hopefully we correct this and get back up. ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ Those who do not know Jesus through being born of His Word think it is a terrible thing to die and it is for them.

You read that right: These people see absolutely nothing wrong with a child dying for lack of medical care. For them, this is “God’s way” and they’re quite happy with it. If their cold-blooded lack of concern for the life of a child doesn’t make you sick, there’s something wrong with you.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the extreme lunacy that “faith” sometimes drives people to!

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