Posts Tagged “convert”

Ergun CanerI blogged four years ago about lying preacher Ergun Caner, who lost his job as dean of theology at Liberty University but ended up skipping immediately off to another job in evangelical academia. He and his brother had built careers on the evangelical Christian circuit, telling everyone they’d once been Islamist extremists who’d seen the error of their ways and converted to Christianity. That whole thing turned out to have been a lie.

Well, it turns out Caner hasn’t been able to avoid problems. As Religion News Service reports, the school he now heads, has come under siege (WebCite cached article):

A small Baptist college now led by Ergun Caner, the outspoken evangelical who stirred controversy over his story of conversion from Islam, has lost its accreditation.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges recently voted to remove Brewton-Parker College in Georgia from membership one year after it placed the school on probation over finances.

RNS goes over the reasons Caner had been tossed out of Liberty University (which, as I’d explained in my blog post, never managed to actually fire him … rather, the school just sort of let him drift off on his own). Three years later, Brewton-Parker decided Caner’s lies and disingenuity were, in reality, a credential:

Brewton-Parker chose Caner in 2013 because of his past controversies, saying he has endured “relentless and pagan attacks.”

Ergun Caner finds himself in good company once again, as RNS explained, since his lying brother is also having problems at a different evangelical institution he’s currently running:

Caner’s brother and co-author, Emir Caner, has also weathered controversies at Truett-McConnell College, the sister college of Brewton-Parker. The school, also in Georgia, was named by Time magazine as one of the worst “dropout factories” in the U.S. The school graduates just 14 percent of its students within six years of enrollment, one of the lowest rates in its peer group.

I guess if Brewton-Parker and Truett-McConnell colleges want to hire known liars — and specifically because they are known liars — then I guess they have no one but themselves to blame if they find themselves falling apart.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on Lying Preacher Still Finds Ways To Get Himself In Trouble

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-06851, Mailand, Parade italienischer FrontkämpferBill Donohue, the Christofascist who heads the Catholic League, reached a new high in low, during an appearance on Fox News, wherein he made his position on Christmas — and on what everyone should believe, generally — crystal clear. News Hounds reports that what he said, is that non-Christians need to convert to Catholicism and worship Christmas along with him (WebCite cached article). He began with some remarks about reports that Christmas trees make some non-Christians uncomfortable:

Bill’s verbal pugilism escalated with “tell them to get over it.” He then did a litany of those who are “excluded,” including “mothers who feel excluded from father’s day” (WTF!) and said “too bad.”

What the fuck, indeed! I had no idea that any mothers felt “excluded” from Father’s Day. Where did the Billster pull that from?

Bill claimed that his Jewish friends (imaginary?) say this is ridiculous and that “everybody celebrates Christmas.”

Aha. The old “some of my best friends are Jewish” thing. Sorry Bill, but that you happen to know a few Jews who celebrate Christmas, tells us absofuckinglutely nothing about Jews as a group, or even about non-Christians generally. My guess, Bill, is that any Jewish friends you may have, are telling you what you want to hear because they know what a ferocious Christofascist you are. (That’s assuming you really have any Jewish “friends,” Bill … I find that claim to be non-credible.)

He then brayed that if people are made uncomfortable by Christmas displays — are ya ready for it — they should “convert to Catholicism.”

Yes, folks, that’s the Billster’s solution to the problem of religious inclusiveness … everyone should just convert en masse to his own religion, Roman Catholicism, and — voilà! — problem gone.

That, Gentle Reader, is the very definition of a religious militant, and now you see why I’ve been saying that the Billster is a Christofascist.

The really sad part about this is that a lot of religious folks are going to read what the Billster said, and agree with him, that everyone converting to the same religion would solve the problem of religious division. What all of Bill’s believer/defenders fail to understand is the truly hideous nature of this idea. Its horror would become clearer, if put in the mouths of others. They wouldn’t be too keen, for example, on al-Qaeda terrorists saying to them, “If you want us to stop trying to blow you up by the dozen, all you have to do is convert to our Wahhabi Islamism.” Its criminality becomes even more obvious if one puts it in the mouth of a robber: “All you need do is give me all your money, and I won’t be forced to attack you.”

At any rate, I have to wonder, though, how many of the Billster’s allies among the rest of the Religious Right — which is overwhelmingly evangelical Protestant and therefore opposed to Catholicism — are going to take his demand that everyone convert to Catholicism. My guess is that they secretly cringed when they heard that … but in the interest of militant-Christian solidarity against non-Christians, they likely would never openly admit it.

I hope any doubts as to the religiofascist goals of people like Bill Donohue have been dispelled. Now you understand why they make such an issue out of Christmas every year … for them, it’s a wedge issue they can use to push their demand that everyone in the world believe what they do.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on War On Christmas 2010, Part 11

Ergun Caner by Biglo at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia CommonsFor a few months now, questions have swirled around Ergun Caner, the dean of theology at Liberty University, a college founded by the late Rev Jerry Falwell. He claimed to have originally been a devout Muslim, but converted to evangelical Christianity. For this he became relatively famous in fundamentalist Christian circles, going on the fundie-church lecture circuit around the country, especially after September 11, 2001. The fundies, you see, just love hearing about people who go from being a devout {something-other-than-Christian} to a devout Christian.

In any event, the fundies in charge of Liberty University found they could no longer credibly ignore the controversy; they investigated Caner, and decided he’s out as head of their theology department. The AP via Google News reports on their decision (WebCite cached article):

A Baptist minister who toured the country to talk about his conversion from Islam to Christianity is no longer the dean of Liberty University’s theological seminary following allegations he fabricated or embellished facts about his past, the school said Friday.

The university founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell said that a board of trustees committee concluded Ergun Caner made contradictory statements. Although it didn’t find evidence that he was not a Muslim who converted as a teenager, it did discover problems with dates, names and places he says he lived, a statement said.

Caner will remain on the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary faculty, but won’t be dean when his term expires on June 30.

During the course of the controversy, when bloggers had just started discussing the conflicting and/or incorrect claims he’d made, Caner went around the Internet asking for information about him, or material by him, to be deleted. Unfortunately, covering one’s tracks on the Internet doesn’t work too well.

Note that — in spite of Caner’s documented lying and dissembling, LU still couldn’t summon the courage to fire Caner completely or concede he’d never been a Muslim; they said, in a statement (courtesy of WSET-13, Lynchburg VA; locally cached version):

However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence. … Dr. Caner will remain on the faculty of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary as a professor.

That’s the way it is with fundamentalist Christians … they may have their disagreements, and they may even have to admit wrongdoing on the part of one of their own, but — no matter what any of them might do — ultimately, they all stick together nonetheless.

This sorry episode makes Ergun Caner another member of my “lying liars for Jesus” club, and the directors of Liberty University gain honorary membership in it, for essentially being apologists for a lying liar for Jesus. Way to go guys!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Sarah PalinThe nation’s apparent religionist-in-chief has declared the United States “a Christian nation.” The Washington Post Under God blog reports on her claim (WebCite cached article):

In a speech last week, Sarah Palin promoted belief in God as a form of patriotism, dismissed notions that “America isn’t a Christian nation,” and denounced a federal judge’s ruling that it’s unconstitutional for government to declare a National Day of Prayer.

“God truly has shed his grace on thee — on this country. He’s blessed us, and we better not blow it. And that’s why I talk about politics,” Palin told the 16,000-member choir at a Women of Joy conference in Louisville, Ky., last Friday.

“Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our founding fathers, they were believers,” she continued. “Hearing any leader declare that America isn’t a Christian nation . . . It’s mind-boggling to see some of our nation’s actions recently, but politics truly is a topic for another day.”

Mrs Palin, of course, is alluding here to Barack Obama, who — as the Post explains — didn’t actually say what she suggests he said:

Palin’s reference to “any leader” was a clear reference to President Obama, who in a 2006 speech said, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation — at least not just — we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers.”

Those comments — especially the truncated sound bite “We are no longer a Christian nation” — were deployed across the Web to depict presidential candidate Obama as a non-Christian or an anti-Christian.

Once again Mrs Palin displays an astounding penchant for not letting facts get in the way of a sanctimonious diatribe.

The Religious Right’s continual mantra that “the U.S. is a Christian nation” has, of course, one ramification, if taken to its logical conclusion: That every American must be a Christian. To this, I say — to Mrs Palin and to any other ardent Christian who believes as she does — as the godless agnostic heathen that I am: Go ahead. Make me a Christian. Please. By all means, give it your best shot, and don’t hold anything back.

How Mrs Palin — or anyone else — goes about this, will tell me everything I need to know about Christianity. And if they refuse to attempt it, this means they’re just going to have to accept that I’m a godless agnostic heathen … and stop demanding that I become a Christian.

It really is that simple.

So, is this truly “a Christian nation”? Are Christians who think so, actually willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen? Time will tell.

P.S. It’s not as though Sarah Palin actually understands what it means to be “Christian” … her command of the teachings of Jesus himself is tenuous, if not non-existent, as I blogged just a little while ago.

Photo credit: Thomas Roche.

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