Guy DeWhitney on Government by Heretics Crusaders

My ideal of government:
Un-self-consciously, individual humans that are raised to feel a profound duty to protect all aspects of seldom/individuality that neither “picks someone’s pocket nor breaks someone’s leg” and a profound respect for the notion that we are all one and what goes around not only comes around, it DIRECTLY affects us; i.e. “successful” assholery damages a psyche’s ability to make ‘good’ choices in the future.Guy DeWhitneys Heretics Crusade

Calling Yourself Liberal and Religious won’t MAKE You a Good Person

PartyPlayFairDemo

Today we have two re-writes of older articles that seem very relevant today:

First, we will take the “Liberals” as well as the “Conservatives” to task for partisan hypocrisy…

Nowadays the word Liberal is often used as a pejorative; I often use it that way myself for good reasons.

Yet I am a moderate, and probably spend about 40% of the time cursing the idiocy of the Left, and 60% of it complaining and worrying about the Right (It is too bad there are not more real conservative minds in the Conservative camp these days.). Of the two the Conservatives tend to scare me a bit more but the Leftists in total power would be/ have been worse. But the actions of the radicals on either side do not condemn entire schools of thought to a mature mind.  This should be remembered by pundits on both sides in this age of attack politics.

 Lately a radically Conservative group has taken over almost all the political voice of conservative American Christianity.  They have used their pulpit to propound, and pound in, their own view of history, and how Christianity has influenced the development of the United States as a nation.

 They are not actually lying about the influence of the churches. The problem is that they have forgotten from just where in the Church all that influence came.  Yes, it was those damn liberals every time!

 In American history, every time the religious culture has had a profound positive influence (as judged by successive generations) on changes in society those influences have their roots in the Liberal-to-Radical churches. They most certainly did not come from the Conservative ones!

 The Conservative Churches in every case have held the line with the status quo through history whether it was regarding the Revolution, slavery, child labor, workers rights, racial equality or now, gay rights.  Yet the Conservative Churches of today want to shine their halos with the contributions made for the most part by the Liberal Churches of the past.

This activity is not unique to Christianity by any means.  A Radical Conservative Jew will spend much energy telling you about Judaism’s amazing contributions to Western society, but will refuse to see that his brand of thinking never produced any of it.  Find a Conservative Imam, and you will find a man eager to convince you that Islam has been an enormously positive contributor to civilization over the centuries.  But if you remind him that blind faithfulness to Islam’s Conservative philosophy had nothing to do with the various periods of (heretically liberal) Islamic glory that he is polishing up for you to admire; he may even take offense.

  In every case where religious and political power intermingle the things that modern world civilization would call progress has only come when the dominant Church(s) is(are) liberal to the point of being heretical (to the parent dogmas and doctrines), tolerant and more focused on understanding, accepting and spreading the “love behind the Law” rather than promoting a zero-tolerance attitude regarding adherence to the “Letter of the Law.”

But only stagnation and decay ensue when the Churches are conservative and cling to a memory, or fictitious ideal, of “the way it should be.”

 It should be noted that Conservative religious thought can have a greatly positive influence on society but, that usually the effects remain chiefly negative.

 Witness: the defense of slavery, and the stances of “Godly” preachers and priests against child labor laws, and minority civil rights laws.

Witness: the attempts at forced, coerced and violent conversions directed at any people of another religion that are under the influence of a politicized religion (theocracies, inquisitions, shari’a states).

 We all admit that Conservatism is designed to be highly successful at keeping the wheels of a society turning. Who but a fool will deny that there is a true virtue most times in maintaining most of the status quo; Leftists take note of the qualifications and keep your straw men to yourselves – I am not Christian, and never have been a Republican, or supporter of either Bush.

 But, it also must be admitted that Conservative governments and organizations have a poor track record when attempting to grease those wheels, to make accommodation for the fact that seems “odd“, “weird“, “different” to the average mind; whether the ideas are good ones or not!

When the going gets rough or to be a creative inspiration for the people who bear the main burdens of pushing the cart of civilization further, faster and safer than our ancestors ever believed it could go Conservatives can be of more a drag chain when they should be acting like the regenerative brakes that go with a hybrid engine.

 Conservative ideology certainly does not allow real flaws in the basic social system to be changed without a protracted, and often ugly, fight with the liberal mindset who are busy finding things that are not really broken to make into really nasty situations with well-meaning new laws and more, and more, and more tension from enforcement, and less and less elbow room for the well-intentioned citizen just trying to get along and improve their lives.

 Without a Liberal element in society, one that has enough influence to smack the current bosses on the head now and then but, not enough to dominate society  a person lives in what is at best a well upholstered slave camp destined to fade into the dust of history.

And…

Without a Conservative element at the core to give perspective and balance a people will… well, just look at the aftermath of every single revolution in the past – the American revolution was actually a colony revolt – it was an independently evolving, functioning society that broke away from the parent nation/culture rather than an indigenous movement to topple all the central power structures and replace them ad hoc with unproven or dis-proven but, “much better” institutions; not long after they succeed the real bloodshed is just beginning!

 Who was it again that decreed with proven ‘Holy Authority‘ that all human problems can, and may, only be solved by a totally Left-wing or totally Right-wing ideology? When did admitting that your Party’s platform cannot solve all problems if followed by “good” people?

The voting public needs to take off their trendy, strait-jackets/sheep-outfits, grow up, and look at reality – of the real kind, rather than the oh-so-importantly-unimportant political sort – and then find the ideal solutions, not the solutions that serve your political tribe while walking over everyone else’s Lives’, Liberties, and frantic Pursuits of Happiness.

Who is Right vs. What is Right: Finding Solutions Instead of Being Part of the Problem

Heretics Crusade by Guy DeWhitney

I actually see a sea change happening in the West regarding Islamic aggressions. It will most certainly still be a long and twisted road but, I do think that it is inevitable that the Western ways will prevail.

The total flip-flop of governmental concerns regarding potential violence from Islam and Christianity in the eyes of the law is utterly insane. It only makes sense to formulate an objective, constitutionally sound, policy/strategy for identifying and dealing with all ideologically driven extremist groups that might pose a threat to anyone’s life, limb or property.

Unless we wish to dispose of the First Amendment we must always forbid to the government the ability to say “This is a real religion but, that one is false” or we will quickly find that one denomination/trend in theology has become dominant. I for one would rather keep my freedoms, even if it is a harder road.

The best test I have ever seen for identifying worrisome religious groups is

‘THE Advanced ISAAC BONEWITS’ CULT DANGER EVALUATION FRAME’

I have edited it a bit for space and clarity…

In order to utilize the frame, assign each item a value from 1 to 10 points, with 1 being “Low” and 10 being “High“. Religions with total scores towards the high end of the scale are more than likely un-healthy groups for anyone.

1. Internal Control:
Amount of internal political and social power exercised by leader(s) over members; lack of clearly defined organizational rights for members.

2. External Control:
Amount of external political and social influence desired or obtained; emphasis on directing members’ external political and social behavior.

3. Wisdom/Knowledge Claimed by leader(s):
Amount of infallibility declared or implied about decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations;…

4. Wisdom/Knowledge Credited to leader(s) by members:
Amount of trust in decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations made by leader(s); amount of hostility by members towards internal or external critics and/or towards verification efforts.

5. Dogma:
Rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility or “fundamentalism;” …

6. Recruiting:
Emphasis put on attracting new members; amount of proselytizing; requirement for all members to bring in new ones.

7. Front Groups:
Number of subsidiary groups using different names from that of main group, especially when connections are hidden.

8. Wealth:
Amount of money and/or property desired or obtained by group; emphasis on members’ donations; economic lifestyle of leader(s) compared to ordinary members.

9. Sexual Manipulation of members by leader(s):
Amount of control exercised over sexuality of members in terms of sexual orientation, behavior, and/or choice of partners.

10. Sexual Favoritism:
Advancement or preferential treatment dependent upon sexual activity with the leader(s).

11. Censorship:
Amount of control over members’ access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines or leader(s).

12. Isolation:
Amount of effort to keep members from communicating with non-members, including family, friends and lovers.

13. Dropout Control:
Intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts.

14.Violence:
Amount of approval when used by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s).

15. Paranoia:
Amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; exaggeration of perceived power of opponents; prevalence of conspiracy theories.

16. Grimness:
Amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).

17. Surrender of Will:
Amount of emphasis on members not having to be responsible for personal decisions; degree of individual disempowerment created by the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).

18. Hypocrisy:
amount of approval for actions which the group officially considers immoral or unethical, when done by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s); willingness to violate the group’s declared principles for political, psychological, social, economic, military, or other gain.

From the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (or ABCDEF) v2.6 © 1979, 2001 by Isaac Bonewits

As near as I can tell, with the most generous of judgment possible, normative Islam. scores 140!

With an objective test such as this it is possible for law enforcement to merely point to a high score when asked about why a certain religious community is being monitored for actual criminal activity; it worked it Ireland, the key is to enforce it strictly and enforce it strictly across the board!

http://hereticscrusade.com
Ideas instead of Ideologies!

 

Huffington Post’s Reverend Kimball Bears False Witness Against Christianity and Judaism

 Who would Jesus behead?

This, Virginia, is why I do not put any great weight on my own ordination; any fool can be ordained and seeking God has nothing to do with it; witness the blatant bearing of false witness to further a political agenda exercised by this so-called minister. Here a so called minister of God is even bearing false witness against his own religion, if you can believe it!

Here we have an analysis of the ranting’s of one Charles Kimball, the director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a Baptist minister regarding the culpability of Christians and Christianity for the Oslo massacre and bombing by mass murderer (alleged, I think we are supposed to say Virginia) Anders Breivik.

The horrific events in Norway this past weekend provide yet another powerful teachable moment in the ongoing and increasingly dangerous saga of religion becoming lethal.

I can’t imagine how. Unless the good reverend’s point is somehow that the actions of non-Christian religious folk caused Breivik to snap I don’t see the point.  Breivik very pointedly explained that he was not, would not be, and did not recommend being a religious Christian; to him “Christian” seems to be no more than a catch-all term for non-Muslim of European culture! He also never used Christian theology in his writings to base his actions upon.

Indeed it would be hard to find any Christian “church” today, anywhere, that would be able to propound a theology based in the teachings of Jesus that would support the killing of anyone merely to make a point, let alone try to justify the slaughter of children to make said point. Even Fred Phelps and his sad band of haters do not promote violence, other than making decent people wish for an excuse to righteously kick their asses. Sadly, Phelps and Co. have been too clever so far to give the rest of us an excuse to use our laws to put them away… This is the price you pay for freedom.

Reality aside, facts aside, respect for his own religion and co-religionists aside, the good Rev. wants to use this as a teaching moment. Such aggressive compassion surely must be a good thing, right, Virginia? Right?

The murderous rampage by Anders Behring Breivik brings several important lessons more clearly into view.

Indeed, it does, but not in the way you seem to feel, Sir!

First, religion is an extraordinarily powerful and pervasive force in human society. Throughout history, people within various religions have been motivated to their highest and noblest best actions. At the same time, some of the worst things human beings have done to one another have been done in the name of or justified by religion. Religion is a powerful force inspiring constructive and destructive behavior among believers.

Right, but what does this have to do with a man, Breivik, who justified his evil with secular arguments, and did not use any religion’s message or theology to base his horror upon?

Second, we live in a world with many weapons of mass destruction. Quite apart from the horrors associated with chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, we now know that a devious plan can utilize automatic weapons, fertilizer, box knives and commercial airplanes as weapons of mass destruction. Attacking a summer camp for youth vividly reminds us that there are many ways people bent on doing great harm can accomplish their goal.

As far as I can tell that last paragraph was no more than background music for an ongoing apologia for the “free speech is good, but it can go too far” crowd who equate free speech with inoffensive (to them) speech.

Third, we now know with certainty that it doesn’t take many people to wreak havoc on a wide scale. Breivik may have acted alone or within a small circle of cohorts, as did Timothy McVeigh. Nineteen men carried out the attacks of Sept. 11. Small numbers of zealots who are convinced they know what God wants for them and for everyone else are capable of almost anything.

Notice how the oh, so honest Revd. throws in McVeigh, another secular terrorist who explicitly rejected any theological grounds for his crimes against humanity to balance the unarguably theocratic 9/11 terrorists, among others too numerous to count. What this compulsion he shares with other Leftists, to beat his breast and declare “We are just as bad!” instead of solving the problems, is all about is simply beyond me.

I can’t think of any modern religious terror committed by other than lone madmen at all except for the Islamic kind… Even the Irish terrorists who divided on religious lines never used Christianity to justify what they did, nor did the clergy in any way justify or support them, in fact for the most part they were Marxists whom the local Catholic clergy would not trust any more than they would Protestants!! The same can be said about abortion clinic bombers, they are lone wolves and, are not backed up by mainstream theology or communities in any way.

Not surprisingly, many preachers and pundits who have spewed hateful rhetoric and fanned the flames of Islamophobia are now scrambling to disassociate themselves, their published statements about Islam and Muslims, and what some call “true” Christianity from the actions of Breivik.

No my dear wolf in minister’s clothing, you are the one who is scrambling to tar innocent people with the taint of Breivik’s evil in order to further your own agenda  That is the very epitome of bearing false witness against your neighbor! I highly doubt even one of the people you seek to demonize ever called for violence against Muslims in any way; certainly none of the “influential” ones have; they certainly did not promote violence against the enablers of Islamism, which seems to be what Breivik thought he was doing in the dark buzzing cloud pretending to be his soul. At the same time, others quoted by Breivik have promoted violent and totalitarian schemes… but they are never mentioned by the oh, so righteous Reverend.

But words matter. Examine the path taken by violent extremists claiming inspiration from Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism and you can trace connections with the fiery rhetoric of influential, sometimes self-appointed leaders in madrasas, in books, at religious rallies, on websites and the like. There are consequences when cocksure Christians or Muslim militants proclaim God’s truth while stoking fear of the “other” in the minds of their would-be followers.

Here “Rev.” Kimball is bending over backwards until his spine snaps to attempt to “level the playing field” between Islam and other religions when it comes to directly inspiring violence. He fails to make his case.  Show me the violent Christian, Jewish or Buddhist movement, in the lifetime of this nation, that was encouraged by “fiery rhetoric” from “influential” books, churches, synagogues and leaders? Can you think of any in the last two hundred years? I can’t, just a handful of nutjobs who are universally excoriated by their own co-religionists.  No-one complained about what kind of burial Jim Jones got, no Christian thought it important how a lunatic mass murderer should be buried!

Meanwhile, the good reverend goes back to his “free speech is bad in the wrong hands” theme. The wrong hands here of course being hands that are possessed by someone who disagrees with the enlightened view of Revd. Kimball.

While there are no easy answers or simple solutions, there are constructive ways to move forward in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world community. It begins with education.

Study programs in schools and colleges, churches, mosques and synagogues are essential. Interfaith dialogue and engagement with people of different religious and cultural backgrounds are invaluable ways to dispel generic fears and help humanize the “other.” All across the U.S., Christians, Muslims and Jews are working together to build Habitat for Humanity houses and work on common problems such as crime and drug abuse within their communities. These kinds of intentional efforts at education and cooperation are vital at the local, national and international level. We need more and more such endeavors in the U.S., not only for the well-being of our communities, but also as a way to model the kind of healthy religious pluralism our future requires.

The truly sad part about Kimball’s misguided view is that the above actions are not being done, and never will be done by the kinds of religious extremists he worries about; not the handful of Christian ones and, not the thousands upon thousands of Muslim ones. At most they will use such activities as a smokescreen while they pursue their theocratic agenda’s unmolested.  I can only assume that either Mr. Kimball’s seminary did not offer a real course in history or, that he flunked it.

He also seems to be guilty of the sin of Liberal Racism. To that mindset the “underclasses” of past racist philosophies have not vanished, they are poor, helpless children that must take under protection, for their own good.

Because they are “of the oppressed”, a state of permanent victimhood, their actions do not make a difference compared to the actions of the evil, dominant White Man from Europe and America that is Kimball’s real devil, and God.

He will never compare the fruit of Muslim and Christian fairly, because then he would be forced to speak of Islam (from the perspective of any devout Christian clergyman) as a religion that might stem from God but, that has been mired for most of its existence in a theo/political system of worldly evil.

The path to a more hopeful and healthy future also requires people of faith and goodwill to speak out clearly and directly against extremists of all stripes.

I can’t argue with that. That is what the Heretics Crusade is.

Although most of us were taught by our parents not to talk about religion or politics in public, the stakes today are far too high for deferential silence or casual indifference. Ignorance is not bliss; silence is proving deadly.

Once again, I agree, I don’t think anyone reasonable would try. But, that is not the pitch, that is just the windup with a lean to the left to imply a slider, this next bit is the pitch; a spitball, knuckleball covered in tar.

Just as many people continue to call on Muslims to speak out forcefully and unambiguously against violence and extremism, so too must Christians and Jews openly challenge those who advocate extremism and foster hatred in the name of religion. This means, for example, naming names and identifying the theological and political positions of Jewish fundamentalists and Muslim extremists who block potential paths to peace in Israel/Palestine.

The problem with this little gem is that the Jewish and Christian communities in this country as a whole have always stood against anyone who used violence and extremism to advance or defend their faiths! It has been held a virtual truth that to do so is to abrogate that faith entirely!

Just what more is it that they are supposed to do when the mainstream Islamic community complains about how Osama Bin Laden was buried after assuring us for years that he was not a “real Muslim”?

For me, as a follower of Jesus and a Christian minister, it means strongly disagreeing with TV preachers with political clout such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley. They have every right to espouse their religious and political worldviews. But their ill-informed and hateful rhetoric about Islam and Muslims, as well as their certainty that Jesus will be arriving in the next couple of weeks, has very real consequences.

That is nice Chuck, when are you going to do it? This whole piece reads like it is aimed against free speech and, to me, seems to be intended to gently brush Oslo/Breivik tar on anti-Jihadist bloggers and writers who have never propounded, or invoked, an ideology of violence; yet gives a pass to Breivik “inspiring” figures and writers (in his own words) who happen to be on your side of the war in your mind. You haven’t even given us a clear idea of just what they say that you oppose! If that last paragraph was really the point of your post then, I have to say I think your point fell flat.

The mind-boggling terrorism manifest in Norway will continue to provide hard but important lessons about the dangers all around us and the need to find more constructive ways to move forward in the 21st century. It is a stark reminder that we share a fragile planet where ignorance, hate and fear can link easily with religious worldviews and produce horrific consequences.

Yes Virginia, the world is a dangerous place, especially if you equate the evil acts of lone scumbags with the evil acts of organized and ideologically driven scumbags who are numerous and active instead of isolated and sporadic.

Slim pickings on the Right, but here is the cream of the crop

DENVER (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that a Ten Commandments monument outside Oklahoma’s Haskell County Courthouse “has the primary effect of endorsing religion.”

(HH here: O.K. that is a no brainer. Esp since this monument is a recent installation.)

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to federal Judge Ronald White so he could issue a new ruling consistent with theirs. White previously rejected arguments that the monument promotes Christianity at the expense of other religions.

(HH: He what? What is he smoking? There are at least three different versions, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. Obviously this monument has only ONE of those represented. Not by the furthest stretch of the imagination can this be seen as religion neutral.)

The latest ruling prompted Haskell County Commissioner Mitch Worsham to say, “Whoever was the judge in this, I feel sorry for him on Judgment Day.”

(HH:Which just confirms that the county’s intent was “primarialy religious”. Q.E.D. and slam dunk for the appeals court.)

Haskell County’s attorneys can now ask all the judges on the appellate court to review the panel’s decision, or appeal the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Worsham says, “We’re not going to take it down.”

(HH: Radical Muslim religious leaders send young men to kill and die for their ideology, the Christian version just pisses away the community’s money in legal fees as they beat their breasts about being oppressed. But both about about ignoring reality for their own fantasy world.)

Jesus Camp and the decline of Political Christianity in the U.S.

Lets take a big Heretical breath, hold it, now let it out. WOOOOSH! I just finished watching the entirety of “Jesus Camp” a 5 year old documentary about the results of the politicization of Conservative Christianity in the U.S.
The film takes us along with Becky Fischer and her ministry, Kids in Ministry International as she seeks to teach American Christian children to be as willing to die for Jesus as “Pakistani kids” are willing to die for Allah in Pakistan and Israel or where ever. She laments the apathy of Christians in the face of the, to her, clearly more “spiritual” faith of a suicide bomber and his children.
But there is a cleaner scent in the air today in 2009. According to a recent article on the SearchWarp.com writer’s community in the Home » Categories » Society » Christianity section Talks about Levi O’Brien and his brother and sister who are featured in Jesus Camp. Levi O Brien and his family remain Evangelicals but:
O Briens have absolutely no interest in turning the U.S.A. into a Christian theocracy. During the potluck after the service, Pastor Tim shared with me his views concerning the pursuit of earthly power to advance the Kingdom of God and referred me to other preachers who were also speaking out against the national and political idolatry often associated with the Christian right. Pastor Tim’s wife, Tracy, was even more forthright in her views. Given her comment in Jesus Camp, I was surprised to hear her say that she agreed with me on my points that much of what constitutes as American Civil religion is based on the founding myths of the early pilgrims who believed they were establishing the Kingdom of God by settling the New World. Tracy also shared with me how she has come to realize that the Constitution is not a religious document, that much of what she learned about American history as a child was candy-coated, and that the founders of America, though they were brilliant, were fallible just like the rest of us. To my surprise, Tracy went on to tell me that, although she loves politics and considers herself a conservative, she hasn’t considered herself a Republican in two and a half years!”
Can I get a witness!?!?
Just as the Tower of Babel was supposed to have reached mightily into the sky right up to the day it collapsed so the Christian Right built their castle in the sky. Starting in the Reagan years they forged bonds with and sold their souls to the Republican leadership. In the Clinton years the cancer metastasised under the Republicans fanatical quest to see the President brought down by means foul or fair. Under Bush junior it seemed the Political Christians had succeeded in capping their tower of power. Only time seemed to be standing between the U.S. and a more theocratic system.
But even as the temporary temporal power of the Christian Right peeked the moderate majority of the country were growing more and more disgusted with the new direction that seemed to be demanded of anyone who called themselves Christian. The last four years of the Bush dynasty have brought down many of the most vocal hypocrites of the new Christianity. Either through death or scandal brought on themselves many of the most virulent voices have been stilled.
Into that silence a new voice has been heard the last few years. This voice harks back the actual teachings of Jesus. This new voice asks what happened to “feed my sheep”. It asks where and when did Jesus command a political system be founded in his name?
The new face of American Christianity is not really new. It was always there but the loud, brash voices of those who had been willing to sacrifice the heart of their faith for temporal power drowned it out for a time.
Go and watch Jesus Camp
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3929535037535102662
And see how crazy our own folks can get but also note how far they have fallen in only a few years. Truly sometimes the best way to deal with hypocrites is to let them have the rope and the voice and hang themselves.