Posts Tagged “dallas TX”

U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) speaking at the 2015 Reagan Dinner for the Dallas County Republican PartyThe number of sanctimonious Religious Rightists using disasters like hurricanes to promote their dour messages — and framing them as messages from the Almighty — continues to grow. The latest example isn’t exactly the sort of disaster theology I’ve often blogged about, but as the (UK) Independent explains, it’s very, very close to that (Archive.Is cached article):

A Republican congressman has suggested that flooding in certain areas – exacerbated by two massive storms that recently hit the US – is God telling homeowners to move.

“We have these repetitive loss properties,” Representative Jeb Hensarling said. “For example, we have one property outside of Baton Rouge [Louisiana] that has a modest home worth about $60,000 that’s flooded over 40 times. The taxpayers have paid almost half a million dollars for it.”

He added: “At some point, God is telling you to move.”

While Hensarling is from Texas, which was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, he represents its 5th district, which includes a snippet of Dallas and a chunk of the area to its east and southeast. I’m not sure it had many Harvey-related problems. So he’s spewing standard Right-wing “all-government-spending-is-horrific-and-can’t-be-tolerated” rhetoric. Later, though, Hensarling (through a spokesman) tried to swerve out from under the foolishness of what he’d said:

A spokesperson for the House Financial Services Committee, of which Mr Hensarling is a member, told The Independent that the Congressman was not talking about hurricane victims – although he mentioned victims of Texas floods several times.

“The interview was about the committee’s efforts to reform the National Flood Insurance Program,” spokesman Jeff Emerson said. “…He’s discussing the need to reform the NFIP. He was not discussing disaster assistance.”…

Mr Hensarling’s proposed solution is to privatise flood insurance markets, and even buy out homes in flood-prone areas. Offering federal flood insurance, he said, “is encouraging people to live in harm’s way.”

I’m not sure what God supposedly telling people not to live somewhere has to do with the NFIP … unless it’s a roundabout way of rationalizing terminating the program altogether. (Which I’m sure a lot of Rightists would just love to do.)

As for privatizing flood insurance, that’s already been tried — and it failed. Once upon a time, ordinary property insurance covered flooding. In the 50s and 60s, though, due to the high cost of claims, insurance companies carved it out, making it separate, and then were unable to charge premiums ample enough to reimburse policy owners for flooding events. They started exiting the business altogether. The federal government essentially nationalized flood insurance in 1968, as a consequence. Private-sector insurance is not — contrary to what Hensarling and his fellow Rightists would like — going to re-enter that business. No fucking way. They’ve been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, and went home. It’s just not going to happen. Ending the NFIP is not an option. Perhaps making it mandatory for more people than are currently required to have it (i.e. mortgage-holders in certain flood zones), is one solution. But ending it? No.

As for getting everyone currently in a flood zone to move, that makes no sense economically. Let’s say the government forbids people living in certain zones. Their current properties — which for many are the bulk of their assets — would instantly cease to have any value. They’d be forced to rent or buy elsewhere, in places which are flood-proof, whose rent or purchase values will naturally shoot up. What’s more, they’d lose their jobs, and businesses in those zones would also be forced to close. They’d be left with no resources to pay for relocation; homeowners would have to scramble for new jobs, and businesses would have to find markets in new places. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea, is a brazen, fucking moron.

Put as simply as possible: Hensarling is a religionist, idiotic douchebag who has no idea what he’s talking about.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: PMeldrum at World Politics forum on Delphi Forums.

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Jesus with a gun, via Counterlight's Peculiars / Jesus Kicks Ass!I’ve blogged occasionally over the last few years about a ridiculous movement — primarily among evangelicals — that angles to get more guns into churches. For some reason, guns are sacred to Jesus. I guess. I mean, it’s not as though I’ve ever understood this notion. After all, wasn’t Jesus — who supposedly founded their religion — the one who told Christians to “turn the other cheek” and “hand over one’s shirt with one’s cloak”, and “whoever lives by the sword will die by the sword” and all of that? I guess the sacred nature of guns must escape me, cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen that I am. I’m just not special enough to be gifted with such holy insights. Or something.

Anyway, this “bring guns to church for Jesus” trope has wandered into Catholicism, in a very public way. After his state enacted an “open-carry” law, the bishop of Dallas declared that guns aren’t allowed in any Catholic facilities in his diocese, and penned a missive on his blog announcing his opposition to “open carry.” Well, as you can imagine, this being Texas and all, that didn’t go over well. The Dallas Morning News reports on the backlash, which will include Catholics marching into churches armed to the teeth (WebCite cached article):

Plenty of Texas gun rights advocates celebrated 2016 as the year open carry finally arrived. But for some conservative Catholics, it’s another reason to clash with Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell.

The Dallas Diocese forbids parishioners from bringing guns – openly carried or concealed – to their churches. A recent online column by Farrell [cached] – described by some as “strident” – has made the Bishop’s critics even more vocal.…

The column said the ban was a reflection of the church as a place of sanctuary.

The column also praised President Barack Obama’s new executive order attempting to crack down on gun sales that hadn’t previously required background checks.…

“It is absurd that terrorists, criminals, and mentally unbalanced people can freely and openly buy weapons not intended for sport, but designed to kill people,” Farrell wrote.

It goes without saying a lot of Texans are incensed over what Farrell said. Much of that has more to do with the bishop’s expression of support for President Obama’s recent actions, than it does with his forbidding guns in Dallas-diocese churches.

At least one sanctimoniously-enraged Catholic quoted in the story plans to disobey Farrell:

[Catholic gun-toter Charles] Cleaver said he’ll continue carrying a gun to Mass, no matter what Farrell decides.

Remembering a friend’s warning, Cleaver said: “What good would that [gun] do for you if you’re not carrying?”

That last sentence points to the flaw in the gun-lovers’ arguments about how great it would be if everyone ran around with guns. They love guns; they think they’re useful; because they’re useful, that means they’re always needed; so if you don’t have one with you at all times, you may as well not even own one in the first place; but you do, so you have to take it everywhere. Yes, that’s the kind of “logic” we’re dealing with, in this sort of person.

P.S. Yes, in spite of the new law, private entities in Texas still have the right to forbid guns on their property. So Farrell’s ban of guns on diocesan property will stand.

P.P.S. I really love how Farrell’s critics called his ban on guns on diocesan properties and statement of support for Obama “strident,” as though stomping around armed to the teeth somehow isn’t also “strident.” Hmm.

Photo credit: Counterlight’s Peculiars.

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89 - Cry Baby!The nation’s Christianists have been whining and fuming for the last 5 years about Barack Obama’s election as president. They’ve made numerous accusations about him … such as that he’s a Kenyan citizen and not American, he’s a Marxist, a “secret Muslim,” a minion of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that he’s the Antichrist.

Although some Religious Right figures are willing to make statements of this sort openly, a lot have been more circumspect about it. They prefer to wink in the direction of such ideas rather than espouse them explicitly. It’s a kind of triangulation that maintains their appeal among angry, militant Rightists who genuinely believe in one of those insane Obama hypotheses, without appearing nutty, themselves, to the rest of us.

One Religious Rightist who recently decided to engage in this sort of triangulation, as the Religion News Service reports, is famed Texas megapastor Robert Jeffress (WebCite cached article):

Already no stranger to controversy, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor, is coming out with a book that claims President Barack Obama is clearing the way for the Antichrist.

Jeffress, head of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, writes in his book “Perfect Ending” that he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, yet he links Obama’s support of gay marriage to the coming of the Antichrist. Many Christians believe Jesus’ Second Coming will feature a confrontation with an enemy called the Antichrist, based on interpretation of passages 1 John and 2 John.…

“While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God’s law and still win reelection by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God’s laws without any repercussions.”…

Jeffress wasn’t claiming that Obama is the Antichrist, and said he was not questioning the president’s faith. “But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.”

Jeffress’s crybaby gripes center around the two current bogeymen of the R.R.: gay marriage and the contraception mandate. While it’s true he explicitly said he doesn’t think Obama is the Antichrist, that he connected Obama with this terrifying figure out of Christian legend can only be a potential appeal to other hateful Christianists who view the president as being in league with Satan.

The RNS article mentions the word “antichrist” was coined by the author of the Johannine epistles (specifically, it’s found in 1 Jn 2:18, 22; 1 Jn 4:3; and 2 Jn 1:7). But it’s not clear it refers to a single person or spirit. 1 Jn 2:18 reads:

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

Clearly the Johannine author is saying there are many “antichrists”; but all the other mentions of “antichrist” are in the singular, and appear to refer only to a singular being. So which is it? Your guess is as good as mine. Although most fundamentalist Christians view “the Antichrist” as some future person, and connect him/her with “the Beast” of Revelation, the Bible itself makes no such connection, and 1 Jn 2:18 certainly contradicts that (since it mentions more than one Antichrist, contemporaneous with its author to boot).

The RNS story also mentions another stupid thing Jeffress said:

In his book, Jeffress makes his case that Christians should study prophecy more closely. “Evangelist Billy Graham once observed that ‘the most neglected teaching in the church today is the second coming of Jesus Christ,’” he said.

This is idiotic on two counts: First, because all Biblical prophecy — every last stinking bit of it — is pure, unfiltered, 100% grade-A bullshit. Simple as that. Second, that Biblical prophecy is somehow “neglected” is a flat-out lie. For the last few decades there’s been endless “End Times” talk streaming out of Christian fundamentalism. The success of the Left Behind publishing empire all by itself thoroughly disproves Jeffress’s (and by extension, Graham’s) contention that Christian prophecy is being ignored.

Photo credit: eyeliam, via Flickr.

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Comments Comments Off on A New Christofascist Riff On An Old Christofascist Whine

The End is Near sign at Sweet Melissa's, SavannahI’ve blogged a number of times about Bible scholar religionist crank Harold Camping of Family Radio and his wingnut prophecy that Jesus is going to return on May 21, 2011 (this Saturday! hallelujah!) and that the world will end five months later, in October. It’s obvious the guy’s theories are whacked. But what I find amusing are all the other Christians out there who are trying to angle away from Camping and his sheep. Just one example of this is Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who penned a whine for the CNN Belief blog about how Camping makes Christianity look bad (WebCite cached article):

What harm is there in an 89-year-old preacher making prognostications about the end of the world?

First, such predictions give non-Christians one more reason to discount the Bible.

There are plenty more examples I could cite, but this one is enough to make the point that a lot of evangelical and/or fundamentalist Christians are tripping over themselves trying to get away from the lunatic Camping and his “prediction.” The problem is that their religion is inherently predisposed to such predictions! Christians through the millennia have repeatedly predicted death, doom and destruction, based on any number of suppositions and extrapolations, only to be proven wrong eventually (cached). In fact, the founder of Christianity — none other than Jesus Christ himself! — made some very clear and explicit “End of the World” predictions, which likewise failed to come true:

“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Mt 16:28)

“But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Lk 9:27)

Those are not the only such predictions Jesus made, but they’re enough to make the point: No Christian can really be a Christian without believing in a Doomsday, and without believing in Doomsday predictions. To condemn Camping for making such a prediction, and triangulate away from him because he did so, is laughable. Selectively veering away from the more ridiculous aspects of their religion only makes Christians look like “fair weather” believers … eager to trumpet their metaphysics when they think it makes them look good to do so, but equally eager to get out of the way of the follies which are part and parcel of Christianity.

In case anyone isn’t already clear on the matter … all Biblical prophecy is bullshit. All of it. All the time. Forever and ever.

Photo credit: mmwm.

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Stephen BrodenPeriodically I’m accused of being paranoid or of lying, when I say that there are Christians in the US who want to dispense with the government we have, and establish a new, Christian-theocratic, one. Ordinarily I’d be one of the first to be skeptical about something so ridiculous and insane-sounding. However, the dominionist and Christian reconstructionist movements are all too real, and they are quite active in American politics. Of course, most of the time they’re circumspect about what they want, and they present an often-credible-seeming facade of reasonability.

But once in a while one of these Christofascists blurts out what it is they actually want … and this happened recently with a Republican Congressional candidate in (you guessed it!) Texas. Making this a bit worse is that the candidate in question is also a Christian minister, by vocation! The Dallas Morning News reports on his alarming but clear admission (WebCite cached article):

Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.

In a rambling exchange during a TV interview, Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising “is not the first option,” but it is “on the table.” …

In the interview, Brad Watson, political reporter for WFAA-TV (Channel 8), asked Broden about a tea party event last year in Fort Worth in which he described the nation’s government as tyrannical.

“We have a constitutional remedy,” Broden said then. “And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.” …

Watson asked if violence would be in option in 2010, under the current government.

“The option is on the table. I don’t think that we should remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms,” Broden said, without elaborating.

First of all, “revolution” is most certainly NOT a “constitutional” remedy. There is no description in the Constitution of how a revolution is to be conducted, and no procedure for beginning one. The possibility of “revolution” is not mentioned anywhere within it. Any “revolution,” then, can only be decidedly extra-constitutional. Second, that the Founders had to resort to revolution was because the regime under which the Colonies existed was not one that could be altered by any legal means. Our present Constitution, on the other hand, does provide a means for changing the government (via Constitutional amendment). So long as amendments are possible, revolution is unnecessary.

The local Republican party tried to distance themselves from Broden:

[Broden’s comments] drew a quick denunciation from the head of the Dallas County GOP, who called the remarks “inappropriate.”

That said, however, they haven’t truly disavowed the idea of revolution; instead they’re painting it as a “marginal” comment, nothing more:

Jonathan Neerman, head of the Dallas County Republican Party, said he’s never heard Broden or other local Republican candidates advocate violence against the government.

“It is a disappointing, isolated incident,” Neerman said. He said he plans to discuss the matter with Broden’s campaign.

Ken Emanuelson, a Broden supporter and leading tea party organizer in Dallas, said he did not disagree with the “philosophical point” that people had the right to resist a tyrannical government.

Clearly, Broden’s local GOP is triangulating here … appearing to denounce him just enough to make themselves not look like raging lunatics, but not really disavowing the principle he laid out.

Way to go people. It would be laughable, if not for the fact that these people are fascists who want to destroy the US government and remake it into a dour Christian theocracy. They’re against “tyranny,” except when they set themselves up as tyrants.

As for religious reactions, I haven’t yet seen any stories that mention any reaction from his congregants (at the Fair Park Bible Fellowship in Dallas), or from any of his fellow pastors. They’re running silent on the matter, it seems.

Update: KXAS-TV in Fort Worth, TX reports that Broden lost his bid to unseat incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson (cached article). I’m not sure that’s too good for the country, though, since Broden marches as a member of Glenn Beck’s “Black-Robed Regiment” of militant Christian pastors and theologians who are spoiling to go to war over their theocratic vision for America. That he won’t be doing this from inside the House of Representatives isn’t much comfort.

Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

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Flip Benham, Director of a group called Operation Save America, leads members in a prayer Friday August 6, 2010 on Clinton Avenue outside the Bridgeport Islamic Society following a protest against Islam. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut PostLast week a strange event occurred in my home state, the Land of Steady Habits. Perhaps inspired by the ridiculous Religious Right attacks on the Cordoba Center (a cultural center — not a mosque! — which will soon be built near — not at, or over! — the site of the World Trade Center in New York City), a bunch of militant Christians protested at a mosque in Bridgeport. The Connecticut Post reports on this protest (WebCite cached article):

About a dozen right-wing Christians, carrying placards and yelling “Islam is a lie,” angrily confronted worshippers outside a Fairfield Avenue mosque Friday.

“Jesus hates Muslims,” they screamed at worshippers arriving at the Masjid An-Noor mosque to prepare for the holy week of Ramadan. One protester shoved a placard at a group of young children leaving the mosque. “Murderers,” he shouted.

My first inclination, upon reading this, was to say, “Here? In Connecticut?” This is a relatively progressive state, compared to the rest of the country. OK, so we have a bit of a parochial streak, as evidenced by our remaining Puritan-era “blue laws,” and of course we have the same sort of “lunatic fringe” one might expect to find in a state of some 3 million people. And the Roman Catholic Church has staged some massive protests, when the Connecticut bishops needed to distract people and squirm out of having to take responsibility for the things they’ve done and so they could desperately cling to all their precious money. But really … this kind of brainless Christofascism, I thought, is something one is far more likely to find down in the Bible belt. Well, it turns out I was correct — these wingnuts aren’t even Nutmeggers:

Flip Benham, of Dallas, Texas, organizer of the protest, was yelling at the worshipers with a bullhorn.

“This is a war in America and we are taking it to the mosques around the country,” he said.

I’m not too sure how truly proud of themselves they were, however, since they didn’t really protest too long, and they packed up and left fairly quickly:

After about an hour the protesters packed up their placards and fliers into a couple of vans and drove off.

Good riddance, “Flip,” and all your militant religionist pals.

Just to see what kind of a freak show these people are, I went to their Web site, and took a look (cached version). They seem to have a problem with the CT Post‘s coverage, as you can see in this screen-shot:

Operation Save America's complaint about the Connecticut Post

So, they admit the CT Post covers this “protest” correctly, in every detail but one … i.e. the accusation that they’d screamed “Jesus hates Muslims.” As evidence they did not, they proudly link to a PDF file of the brochure they said they handed out there. Unfortunately for them, this brochure does nothing to make them seem less extreme. If anything, it shows how insane they are. It includes such enlightened gems of “the Religion of Love” such as:

WHAT DO ABORTION, HOMOSEXUALITY, AND ISLAM HAVE IN COMMON?
They are all inspired by the same liar who has come to the earth to rob, kill, and destroy. …

OUR FAILURE TO RIGHTLY REPRESENT CHRIST TO YOU
Unfortunately, Christianity in America has become so feminized, weak, and limp-wristed that these lies (abortion, homosexuality, and Islam) have come to prevail in a nation that was established and made great on the manly bedrock of biblical Christianity.

This brochure also claims the US was “founded on Christianity” — which is a lie, because it was not — a contention that they support using a quotation supposedly by Patrick Henry — which in fact, he never actually said.

Given the ferocious, irrational content of this brochure — capped by lies and fake quotations — on this matter, I find I must believe the CT Post over this delusional and militant crew.

Photo credit: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post.

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