Forget Faith in Jesus or Mohammad – I Believe in Bugs Bunny

hypocrite_fish

One thing seems to be consistent about religions all through human history; faith in the literal truth of the religion’s doctrines and dogmas is strongest in the least educated and least widely experienced, while the “elite” tend to range from religious beliefs with agnostic admissions to full-blown, cynical atheism.  This aspect of societal religion tends to favor the more partisan of each camp; the “masses” are peer-pressured to “show faith” and not think too much, while the “elite” are pressured in the same way to deny ALL aspects of deity and belief and God(s).  For those of us to who seeking understanding of God in a REAL sense, as opposed to a political or emotional/security sense, this is a bit of a hindrance.

To try to avoid the almost inevitable miscommunication that occurs when attempting to discuss God let me define my own terms; belief is not the same as faith; faith is something that causes grief and only causes good by accident; belief is what built civilization as we know it.

Faith is defined in Western culture as belief in something unseen, unproven, un-EVIDENCED other than by conflicting scriptural testimonies; this is a fool’s game at best!

Pseudo-religion has taken over much of the world’s “Faithful” by taking advantage of the tendency of the masses to desire a simple creed with an un-questioned authority to follow – just so that they do not have to ponder things that they do not have the experience or education to ponder with any confidence.

It is not enough, their preachers say, to believe in the bridge over the canyon, you must have and prove absolute faith that it is there…

The next sound you hear is the sound of crunching bones at the bottom of the canyon; and if the snake-oiled social-system-from-perdition that they are selling fails the test in the real world they have an escape clause; it is the fault of the poor soul who failed to “show enough faith”; you know who I mean, they are most likely a victim of the situation for which they are receiving (divine sanctioned) blame!

As you can see Virginia, I have never completely gotten over my desire to seek God, and lead others to know God better! Mea culpa; I still care. But, at some point I recognized that all the “Organized Religions” have long since been co-opted by pirates, parasites and reactionaries – who are their own enemies as well as everyone else’s; never thinking, believing then acting – just fighting the others while stealing as much power over people’s souls as possible.

Oh, let me point out that yes, Atheism is a faith; it takes a lot of ego-based, un-founded faith to KNOW that “our reality contains no form of anything that might be called God, period, debate closed; it is not even possible you know, why even bring it up in ‘intelligent’ company?”

Belief on the other hand is based on facts and experience and even intuition, if that intuition has a good track record; if every time you had something very bad happen in your life, and you had ignored a strong, distinct feeling to avoid the situation, eventually you would “believe” enough to listen; even though for years you might not have the “faith” to gamble on your premonitions being something other than a coincidental case of indigestion!

I have beliefs, I have very little faith; I like it that way.

Faith has to be blind; the blind tend to step on things, including other people’s toes, property, pets and even bridges that are NOT over canyons.

Of course many of the things that can fall under either label are good, or useful!

In a documentary film about the life and death of comedian Andy Kaufman (Man on the Moon) there is a scene where he is waiting to undergo a faith healing in India with full belief, from things he has seen and read and experienced, that he would find healing given by an honest healer. But instead, he sees from where his stretcher is laid that the “healer” is faking the procedure, and his belief dies.

Of course, the proponents of “faith” will tell us that if he had continued to ‘have FAITH ™’, instead of merely believing, the placebo effect would have worked with a holy head-start, and he might have found healing; I do not disagree but, I find that level of blind faith an evil, black magic; one that is less a slippery slope than a swift escalator to horrific abuses ( ones that we have seen over and over again in history when people forget the reality of their fellow man, and treat them solely according to their “faith.” Q.E.D. Virginia, Q.E.D.!

The bottom line is that true lover’s of God are recognized despite their religion, not because of it; mostly everyone stays for their entire life in the religion that they were born into; in some religions it can be fatal to become an Agnostic let alone change your religion; so much for an honest quest for God.

Yet there are good, godly, devout people wherever you find human hearts and human tears.  You can’t avoid that simple, obvious truth; unless you cling to “faith” in the notion that God made a special effort to make sure that you were born in the faith that you “happen” to believe in – all just so you could be “saved“! Of course, anyone not so favored was chosen by the ‘Infinite Power and Mercy of Deity’ to be born in an “un-Godly cult” that destines them to almost certain “damnation”!

If you do believe that this is true, then there is a quote from the Christians’ Bible that I believe is appropriate: “Jesus Wept“!

The Partisan Destruction of America

UPDATED!

Guy DeWhitney at Heretics Crusade says democrat and republican partisan politics do not serve the people or the united states

I won’t try to pretend that when I was a child growing up in the 60’s and 70’s that I understood everything that was happening on my family’s TV screen.  But some  things were obvious as far back as I can remember.  I did not need to be told that the words and actions of many Southern whites were wrong, I could see that they were being mean.

To a child, nice people are nice,and bad people are bad, it is that simple.  I liked the Flower Power movement because they were nice.  I did not like the people who were angry and making other people upset and afraid (Ranting Righties and violent Lefties).  I always had this stubborn opinion that the one who started the fight were probably the bad guys.

My folks were conservative, but never discussed “grown up” stuff in front of my sister and I.  Somethings they did  speak out; about landing on the Moon, Munich, Apollo 13, raised fists at the Olympics.

I remember all of those, and my reactions even then were pretty much the same as now; Wow, ASSHOLES, why the negative message.

In the 70’s I never liked the Black Panthers, their anger and hatred and violence made me dislike them as much as I was drawn to the words of Martin Luther King.

I did like the way the fun stuff from the 60’s was being incorporated into daily culture (a la The 70’s Show).

The Nixon scandal was another case of the mean showing themselves to be mean; whatever brilliance Nixon had had he had sold it for a mess of politics.  To a youngster Gerald Ford was just amusing, but, the only good things I remember about the Carter administration were Schoolhouse Rock and a sincere attempt to put all that Miles/Feet/Pounds garbage behind us and get on with the Metric System. I wish that those two things had been kept; I hate the fact that I think miles feet in daily life but use metric for all real measurements that involve calculations, and my entire generation knows how a Bill becomes a Law and what a conjunction is. Can that be said of any generation since SR went off the air?

In the later 70’s people were starting to have a more positive attitude again after the post-Vietnam malaise; new trends, inventions, media and fashions caught people’s entrepreneurial spirit again after the Malaise of the crash and burn of the 60’s.  Then Disco and the Moral Majority showed up, and everything went to hell… at least on the cultural scene.

All the progress that had been made toward making nudity and sex things that were not evil in themselves, but just there turned into Madonna prostituting her body to bring attention for her otherwise adequate talents (for music fans, Madonna was the Anti-Kate Bush) and Falwell and his ilk trying to drag human bodies back under the blanket of a 1900’s “sex, what sex?” mentality.

Meanwhile both sides of the spectrum kept taking turns racheting up the partisanship; a major casualty – after 1974 the environmental movement was pretty much dead-  a zombie under the control of political Leftists who DID nothing while gathering as much poltical power as possible while “saving the Planet.”.

Leftists will tell you the 60’s were ruined by Right-wing bigots and Imperialistic greed; and in part they are right, they just do not tell the whole story – like who started most of the conflicts the Right-wingers handled badly (shades of McCarthy).

Right-wingers harp on the fact that the reins of control for the peace movement ran to Moscow, and how the violence and purges were just kept out of the public eye behind a wall of flowers. And they too are right; but they miss the fact that most of the *people* on the ground in the 60’s were, for the most part,  good hearted souls who just wanted everybody to stop FUCKING with others in cheap power that solved nothing – it is a hard stance to argue with, except that we live in a world where the other guy may decide he LIKES being mean and we have to get aggressive in defense of what we cherish.  It was naive but, it was sincere for the majority of them.

The 90’s were a pretty good time for most of the country. But, the wealth gap kept increasing and more and more people became more and more upset at the witch hunts by the Republicans against Clinton; Whitewater produced nothing after years, until the Revenge of Linda Tripp debuted in DC.. Partisanship ratcheted up one more notch, and axes were ground all across the Left.

We all remember the joy of the Bush Years; Liberalism in the US seemed to have fully morphed into Left-Wing attack politics; RIP Feminism, Race Relations, Environmentalism and Freedom of Religion being Liberal movements Rather than cynically deployed political tools.

At the same time those on the right took pride in stripping themselves of any perceived “Liberal” taint in their move to finally throw real Conservatives into the background of their Neo-Con, Right-Wing and often Theocratic power structure.

But Virginia, all is not lost! Even as their hubris takes the country to the brink we see that their very excesses have begun to waken the American voters to the truth of their anti—American partisanship.

Bush II began it, Religious Christians realized they had been used, and used badly in the election and began to withdraw much of their support for partisan politics from the pulpit.  Now Obama is working hard to put the final nails in the coffin of PC politics with HIS excesses and obfuscation.  Is there any group but the DADT opponents that he hasn’t betrayed? I hear his latest is to instruct the Fed to aggressively attack the Ca medical Marijuana situation… a 180 degree turn around from his election position.

I put my faith in the American Public, the fools on the radical ends are nothing but self-serving bags of hot air!

Click on the image below for the SOLUTION to the ongoing partisan destruction of American politics.Guy DeWhitney at Heretics Crusade says democrat and republican partisan politics do not serve the people or the united states

The Right too can be Wrong!

Conservative pundits, bloggers and humorists need to be cautious. The current bubble of Leftist gaffes and exposes coupled with President Obama’s delusion that he is a third world dictator makes finding juicy Leftist stories to comment upon like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel. It almost isn’t fair. We have Acorn, and Van Jones, and Aaron Hill, and Obama ignoring Afghanistan so he can waste time being humiliated trying to strong-arm the OIC, and fake nobel prizes and teh Gulf Spill and…whew; the moderates and conservatives are having a field day.

But all good things must come to an end, as this one someday surely shall. Right now though, it is hard to keep a moderate balance to this blog.

The Lefties who have lately dominated the Democrats are being caught with their hands in the political cookie jars left and right, and the Leftish blogs and pundits are looking very hard trying to find things to talk about without becoming…gasp…moderate in tone!!

We all know, of course, that for a partisan, Leftist or Rightist, to find fault with their own leaders is a sign of moral failure and a clear lack of loyalty to the “Right Thinking” side of the zero-sum game they call Life.

It is only the rest of us, those who think about issues instead of reacting to the actions of the opposition, that can look at our own team’s leaders from time to time and say “You are full of shit!” in public.

But, that is neither here nor there. I came here not to talk about general partisanship, but about the blatantly supremacist, if non-violent, mentality of those in America who claim to be patriots but “Just. Don’t Get. It.” on the Right.

As has been noted by several pundits recently, David Horowitz among them, partisans see the world in terms of absolute truth. Whether a person be an Islamist, or Marxist, or Radical Right-Wing Christian Dominionist, they all see theirTruth” as an integral part of reality.

It is something to be obeyed to obtain salvation; morality does not enter the equation until the last step, when the world is saved and all is made right for all time.

When a person of  this mindset sees someone who is not “of the Body” reagarding the agenda of “Truth” they are able to judge that person’s actions fairly accurately against the society’s secular legal and social framework.

But, when asked to judge a “True Believer“, someone who is acting for the same “Truth” that the observer holds dear, suddenly the mind cannot apply simple logic to laws OR customs.

When in the minority these folks known instinctively that the majority has no right to enforce a universal “code of customs” based blatantly on only one sect of one religion (not theirs); and thus Newt Gingrich is back influencing Conservatives, and an unapologetic William Ayers teaches at Harvard.

But, give them the majority and no matter the religion or political ideology the partisan mind sees black as white and white as green. Sins by leaders that would destroy an opposition leaders credibility in their minds is met with ambivalence and excuses. Take just a few examples: Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson, and on the Left we have half of the Hollywood Elite.

These people have managed to amass multiple, cross-confirmed reports of complete moral vacuity by many sources from all sides of the political divide. Yet all have been rehabilitated over and over; to stand beside decent people as leaders with trust and respect. HOW??

Group-think Virginia, Group-Think. The sad thing that happens when the only people you talk to tend to agree with you. You tend to get, slowly, bit by bit, just a little CRAZY! And the people you are talking to get crazy right along with you!

The main warning sign is an inability to address actual ideas when “arguing”. If the only arguments you have are personal attacks and arguments from authority and guilt by association etc. cetera. et. cetera. then you just might have a cranial-rectal inversion and not know it. Like this folks seem to have:

Bible verses banned from Ga. school football field

By DORIE TURNER
Associated Press Writer

FORT OGLETHORPE, Ga. (AP) — The Warriors of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High took the field on Friday night without any Bible verses written on the cheerleaders’ banner.

Instead, the football team ran through a banner that read “This is Big Red Country” before each bent on a knee to pray on the field of Tommy Cash Stadium.

Well, it starts off good, they have stopped using Bible verses for a public school event, but then they give the Constitution AND Jesus the finger by having a good old “look at us, we are so pious” anti-Christian prayer on the field. This is an issue I really don’t get.

There is bias against Gays (more or less) in Leviticus; respect for life shown by Jesus can get you the anti-abortion stance; now I don’t agree, but they have SOME excuse in the Christian scriptures.

This praying in public thing though is exactly what I see Jesus as having said was a “bad thing.”  To me, this is the tell-tale sign of the not-really-religious-but-love-the-moral-authoritycrowd. They get all up in your face about their rreligion but, the point being the display, not their own relationship with God.

So, we probably can guess the attitude of the locals to the change in the the school using Bible verses…

The spirited display comes after the school district banned the banners last week over concerns they were unconstitutional and could provoke a lawsuit, angering many in the deeply religious north Georgia town of Fort Oglethorpe.

This is the point that the partisan on either side just can’t get. In this case if there is ONE student who is not Christian or even an Agnostic leaning questioner of Christianity that student feels an outsider for no reason that is appropriate for a public school. If you could put each parent in the place of a student NOT of the majority for a week they would understand what our Founding Fathers did when they put the First Amendment in place along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. Yet these folks consider themselves patriotic.

“I’m just kind of unnerved about it,” said 18-year-old Cassandra Cooksey, a recent graduate who often prayed with her fellow marching band members before football games. “It seems like the majority of people in our community want this and they don’t have a problem with it, so I think they should be allowed to have the signs if they want to.”

Here we have the obligatory “But, it is the majority that wants it, and no one has ever been uppity enough to say they don’t like it before” argument.

If this was valid, any town that had one Muslim more than Christians would be able to have a Friday Prayer before the game, right Cassandra?

That is the same mentality as the “Christians” who used the courts to get Christian literature included in a local grammar school’s  “backpack mail” packets, along with the literature for the intended secular activities. But, when an Agnostic group put in a flyer about onew of their events the “Christians” went ballistic, and ended up dismantling the entire backpack mail program; just because they could not limit the religious material to their religion.

The move has galvanized the community. Hundreds of people attended a rally this week supporting the signs, which included messages such as: “Commit to the Lord, whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Many students attended class Friday wearing shirts with Bible verses and painted their cars with messages that read: “Warriors for Christ.”

Remember what I said about partisans seeing things all as zero-sum games? This is a good example. The “logic” is thus: “I am a dedicated Christian; I must at all times be seen as a dedicated Christian; If I do not attempt to make My Savior triumphant in all things, then I am not a dedicated Christian.

This kind of person does not even get to the point of applying their religion’s ethics or morality to an issue. They just act to make sure they “win” and that God sees them fighting the good fight. “Warriors for Christ“? Any parent who sees something like that on their kids car, no matter the religion, should have a long talk with them about forgetting their religion in their zeal to advance the Church.

During the game, several other messages were visible in the packed stadium. Some people stood with signs that read “You Can’t Silence Us” and some young men had Bible verses painted on their chests.

More misguided “patriots.” The fact that their signs, held by individuals attending the game, were an actual legal form of Free Speech, while the Bible verses banner held by cheerleaders in the past were not seems to have sailed right over their heads.

When you get a whole bunch of teenagers mad, this is what happens. We stand up for what believe in,” 16-year-old Shelby Rouse said over the roar of a pre-game pep rally.

Shelby, are you mad that you are not allowed to have your tribal religious rights as part of a U.S. Public School event? Do you think the Taliban thinks differently than you do. Why? Is it because you only want to dominate in the name of the “Truth“; rules are for those who do not see the “Truth” like you and your teenaged friends do.

Guess what Shelby, cutting off heads, or just giving people a headache, it’s all the same when it comes to totalitarian thought.

Cheerleader Taylor Guinn said she is disappointed about the banning of the signs on the football field and believed there was nothing wrong with displaying them.

It’s done good because it brought a lot of glory to God,” the 17-year-old senior said.

Here we have a completely naive argument; it being included shows up the agenda of the “News” reporter, one Ms. Turner. 

Note again the mindset that assumes the possession of a complete and irrefutable “Truth” that supersedes any allegiance to secular law, or customs, or even simple politeness; in the propagation of “The Faith” any mundane rule may be trespassed.

Taylor, I am sorry your teachers failed you, especially your history and civics teachers. In fact your pastor has failed you as well; Christianity has long rejected the idea that an act is allowed simply because it advances The Faith.

That has been found by all major schools of Christian thought to be a pitfall full of peril and heresy. The “means” is never sanctified by “The Ends“. In fact, the paradigm within Christianity is that a series of acts taken with total commitment to “walking the walk” humbly will be more likely to succeed than any Machiavellian scheme designed to ensure certain victory.

Frankly Taylor, if you like that paradigm better, you might want to look into converting to Islam.

Players at the 900-student school began running through the Biblical banners shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and school Principal Jerry Ransom said he enthusiastically supported it then. But Catoosa County schools Superintendent Denia Reese banned the practice after a parent complained.

Here is where we see that the school acted in a fashion that puts it completely across the line Constitutionally. Not only did they suddenly start using Bible verses, but they did it in an reaction to 9/11.

I am a Moderate. I am VERY critical of mainstream Islam, as well as the so called radicals. But, in my Moderate view, no acts of idiots justifies sensible folks in being idiots themselves.

To any non-Christians in town the sudden change would have been seen for what it was; a jingoistic declaration of hostility to any who are not seen as “one of us“.

In the U.S. that is not acceptable behaviour for a school district, period, end of discussion.

I they wanted to make a patriotic, as opposed to religious, statement that was not divisive and unconstitutional they could have used quotes from American heroes or the Constitution that conveyed their claimed message of solidarity in the face of adversity.

That would have been inclusive of any who want to be included as Americans (in my book you accept that when you move here), individual religions are by far another story though, and should never be made an integral part of secular social life by government bodies.

Reese said the school board’s attorney advised her the signs violated federal law because they were being displayed by the cheerleaders during a school-sponsored event.

I regret that the cheerleaders cannot display their signs in the football stadium without violating the First Amendment,” Reese said in a statement. “I rely on reading the Bible daily, and I would never deny our students the opportunity to express their religious beliefs.”

Notice that this man does not seem to see the difference between “denying his students the right blah blah” and imposing his own religion on students, and parents et. al.?

Right or Left, the mindset is easily identified once you realize that neither side of the “aisle” is truly sane when allowed by group-think to take things to extremes.

The Anti-Defamation League, a human rights group, sent a letter to Reese commending the ban.

There are legal ways for students to have religious observation in a school context and there are illegal ways, and we believe Reese is correct that the football game crosses a line,” said Bill Nigut, the group’s southeast regional director.

And I “believe” that if I kill someone I can be charged with murder. I “believe” that I have no more chance of winning the lottery than any other ticket holder. The scary part is that TEACHERS needed to told the sky is blue!

Tom Rogeberg, a spokesman of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, said he can understand banning cheerleaders on the field from displaying religious banners. But he said spectators in the stands must be able to continue expressing their beliefs freely as they did in Fort Oglethorpe on Friday.

It’s been long seen at sporting events with banners like John 3:16 being put up by fans,” Rogeberg said.

Just so he doesn’t sound totally stupid he puts in a defense of something no one has attacked, and that is actually legal; assuming any other kind of banners are allowed by spectators, then it is not legal to ban religious ones. Another no brainer pretending to be a profundity.

Guy DeWhitney on Partisanship, God and Such

Guy DeWhitneys Heretics Crusade

I have been asked a number of times about my religion/theology and my attachment or lack thereof to Christianity. Here are posts I have done that should answer all of those questions fully.

Enjoy.

http://hereticscrusade.com/2010/04/07/if-you-are-not-playing-fair-god-is-not-on-your-side-clergy-are-not-excused-from-honesty/

http://hereticscrusade.com/2010/03/24/tweaking-moral-noses-on-the-left-right-prison-reform/

http://hereticscrusade.com/2010/01/25/partisan-partisan-fly-away-home/

http://hereticscrusade.com/2009/10/04/why-do-i-call-myself-a-both-moderate-and-liberal/

http://hereticscrusade.com/2009/10/04/a-lesson-in-moderate-thought-also-known-as-critical-thinking-without-an-agenda/

http://hereticscrusade.com/2009/10/23/stepping-into-the-void-guy-dewhitney-on-abortion/

http://hereticscrusade.com/2010/05/26/limbamian-politics-101-2010-the-limbaugh-obama-mentality-takes-hold/

http://hereticscrusade.com/2009/12/29/why-are-conservatives-are-just-plain-boring/

http://hereticscrusade.com/2009/10/27/religious-organization-dedicated-to-subversion-invades-america/

http://hereticscrusade.com/2009/10/18/queering-our-schools-and-excercises-in-denouncing-gays-for-the-wrong-reasons/

 

 

If You are Not Playing Fair, God is Not on Your Side; Clergy are Not Excused from Honesty

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Today we have two examples, one from the Left and one from the Right, of people making blatantly self-serving attacks on their political opponents while attempting to cloak themselves in the sanctity of God.  This is partisanship at its most nauseating.

buddy_jesus

First let us examine the Leftist “religious” viewpoint:

Liberal Christians Give LESS to the Poor; Naturally We Must Expose The Conservative Reasons for Not Giving Enough! …HUNH?

I have often said that partisanship can make people believe anything about ANYTHING.  Here is a good example of someone so needy for rotten fruit to huck at his opponents that he “condemns” them for… what amounts to being BETTER at something than his own side!!!  To make matters worse he all but lies to do so, distorting basic facts and mixing and matching demographics at will to support his demonization of a group that has shown itself well able to expose its own demons; Conservative Christianity)  I just want to ask him one thing, who gored YOUR ox?

Richard T. Hughes

Why Conservative Christians So Often Fail the Common Good (Part 2)

In part 1 of this article, we posed this riddle: why do so many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians — people who clearly honor the Bible — so often disregard the two requirements that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God, namely peacemaking and justice for the poor?”

From the start this piece is off track, as Jesus preached to individuals and taught PEOPLE how He wanted them to live. He did not preach to nations or governments, He never left precepts for RULING a society.  The author actually seems to have bought into the heresy of the far-Right, Christian Identity folks; “Godly” society must be established BEFORE Jesus can return.

“Why Focus on “Conservative Christians”?

Some readers quite correctly pointed out that conservatives tend to be more generous toward the poor than liberals, but to frame the issue like that only muddles it. The Bible never suggests that we adequately fulfill our responsibilities through “generosity” toward the poor. Rather, the Bible summons Christians to radical solidarity with the poor and radical opposition to those demonic, systemic structures — what the Bible calls “the principalities and powers — that sustain the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and the dispossessed.”

Really? In my reality Jesus called for individuals to turn away from political structures and just GET ON WITH IT and feed the poor and live THEIR lives as their conscience commanded.   In fact He had harsh words for those who felt they could legislate morality into their “flock”!  He further advised in no uncertain terms that civil rebellion was NOT his way.

I also love the way the author dismisses out of hand the notion that actual ACTION to help REAL poor people, as opposed to working to create a government to force everyone to care for them, is somehow a lesser expression of Christian charity and Love.  You just Gotta love group-think Virginia!

“…Further, to claim (GDeW: You said before that it was correct, but now you call it a claim?) that conservatives are more generous than liberals sidesteps the fact that neither group is all that generous toward the poor to begin with.”

Are you following this Virginia? Conservative Christian give more to the poor but since neither Leftist nor Conservative Christians do enough in the author’s eyes, it is the CONSERVATIVES that must be brought to task…umm, yes, it is a bit silly. Lets see if our dear Mr. Hughes can pull it out at the end.

“It also sidesteps the fact that neither conservative Christians nor liberal Christians are called to compare themselves with one another.”

I was unaware of the fact that it called for them to ignore their own faults and attack the other! You seem to be of a different opinion Mr. Hughes.

“Instead, if Christians are serious about following Jesus, the only meaningful comparison is with Jesus’ picture of the kingdom of God, and when measured by that standard, American Christians across the board — liberals and conservatives alike — fall woefully short.”

As a student of history I am well aware that pretty much all Christians of this day and age fall short of what the fist generation of “Chrestians” recognized as their own brethren.  That said, I do not know of any major branch, original or modern, that promotes the idea of Jesus’ preaching that you must work for a GOVERNMENT to be formed in the image of the Jewish vision of a Messiah Ruled Society before a person could be considered a follower of His.

“Why, then, would I write a two-part article that singles out conservative rather than liberal Christians for a comparison with that biblical vision.”

Given that your vision is one that you made up instead of finding it in the words of Jesus, I would say that it is just so you can use God as a weapon in your ongoing partisan attacks against your fellow Christians.

“First, conservative Christians are typically far more adamant than liberals in their claims that they are “Bible-believing Christians” who take the Bible seriously at every point.”

The passage above is a great example of a man so eager to demonize the opposition he does not even realize he is insulting his own side!  He is trying to hard not to “look mean” by calling Biblical Literalists byname that he implies that Liberal Christians do not believe the Bible seriously AT ALL.  Kinda makes you wonder why they would BE Christians if Hughes has them pegged rightly, doesn’t it?  Somehow I think that the average “Liberal” Christian deserves a bit more respect than that!

“ It is therefore fair to ask how successfully they live out a theme that stands at the center of the biblical text — the biblical vision of the kingdom.”

First off,it is a central Biblical theme that you do not stand hypocritically on the Temple steps and denounce the sins of others before you have examined your own!  And you certainly do not do it by putting words in the mouth of the central figure of your supposed religion that support your political goals!

“The second consideration is perhaps even more important. For almost forty years, the most visible representatives of the Christian religion in the United States have been conservatives, not liberals. I have in mind the electronic evangelists — those leaders of the Christian Right like Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and a host of others — who have been extraordinarily vocal about their vision of the United States as a Christian nation. Not once have I heard any of those preachers define the Christian religion in terms of either (1) peacemaking or (2) justice for the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized, and those who suffer at the hands of the world’s elites — themes that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God.”

One wonders why Hughes doesn’t just do a piece on how televangelism corrupts preachers, given that he only lists the most controversial if not heretical of a class that polls have revealed to have about the same level of trustworthiness in the public eye as lawyers!  And even with that vetting for nuttiness I would bet that if you actually read their sermons you would find examples of these things; if you ignore Mr. Hughes’ fantasy about Jesus requiring His followers to build Socialist government institutions.

“To the contrary, these preachers have often gone out of their way to support the principalities and powers that oppress marginalized people. Various televangelists at various times, for example, have told the American people that God has chosen the United States for a destiny of dominance in the world, that Jesus’ followers should prosper and never be poor, and that Christians should rally to support America’s wars against the enemies of God. In a word, most televangelists of the Christian Right have preached a gospel that is radically antithetical to the biblical text, and by proclaiming this pseudo-gospel, they have discredited the Christian religion almost beyond belief. It is surely time to measure their preaching by the biblical vision of the kingdom of God!”

Am I confused Virginia, or did we start off this piece talking about how Conservative Christians giving more to poor folks really meant Liberal Christian were the cool ones? How did we get onto Televangelists? Many Televangelists are bad preachers = All Conservative Christians are failing their duty to God? Somehow, I do not think Mr. Hughes passed Logic 101.

“The Kingdom of God and the Common Good

… The kingdom of God is universal and those who promote that kingdom care deeply for every human being in every corner of the globe, regardless of race or nationality. But earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — embrace values that are inevitably nationalistic and tribal, caring especially for the welfare of those within their borders. And while the kingdom of God exalts the poor, the disenfranchised, and the dispossessed, earthly nations inevitably exalt the rich and powerful and hold them up as models to be emulated. In fact, in the context of earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — the poor seldom count for much at all.”

Which is probably why Jesus preached to people and not governments!!!  So intent on his political goal is he that even while describing it, Hughes misses the point of Not Of This World!

“In light of that comparison, it must be obvious that when I speak of the common good, I don’t have in mind the American dream of a chicken in every pot or three cars in every garage or the American notion that freedom ultimately means freedom to shop. In fact, I don’t have in mind anything uniquely American at all. Instead, when I speak of the common good, I have in mind what the Bible envisions for all humankind — life and not death. But when the principalities and powers define the common good, they typically mean the good life for some, and the good life for some invariably means poverty, hunger, nakedness, and finally death for all the others.”

And this is probably why the Bible envisions this perfect society needing DIRECT INTERVENTION by God to come about AFTER we have messed it all up for the last time (not MY view, but the Bible’s), not Mr. Hughes and his buddies legislating their version of “morality” upon everyone.

“One final introductory comment: several who commented on the first article also questioned the accuracy of my claim that the biblical vision of the kingdom of God is really all that central to the biblical text or, for that matter, to what Christians call “the gospel.” But the Christian gospel always has two central components — the unmerited grace that God extends to us and, in response, the unmerited grace that we should extend to others. I John makes this point as well as any other biblical text: “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (I Jn. 3:16) That is as clear a picture of the kingdom of God as one is likely to find.”

It is simply astonishing to see someone hold up a black book and declare it to obviously be white!  It is just sad when that person does it for personal glorification and to put down their opponents. It is simply disgusting when that person does it using God.

Where, Mr. Hughes, does the Bible tell us to legislate that grace so our neighbor is forced to dispense it in exactly the measure WE define as acceptable?  Pardon me while I go get reacquainted with my breakfast.  The fact that all that poison was just “introductory” to your “point” put my stomach over the top.

beat1 

Now let us move on to the Right-Wing side of the Pew and see how a “conservative Christian” shows his love by lying and distorting everything he can in order to “Save” his sheep:

Traditional Values Coalition Opinion Editorial For publication on or after Wednesday, October 31, 2001

New FBI Hate Crime Statistics Expose Homosexual Lies

By Rev. Louis P. Sheldon Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition

… This legislation begins with this somber comment: “The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem.”

This introduction to S. 625 is filled with lies and half-truths about the nature of hate crimes in America-yet this bill is being seriously debated-despite the facts. The recently released FBI hate crime statistics for 2000 shed new light on what Ted Kennedy alleges is a “serious national problem.””

And now Rev. Sheldon will put his own lies and half-truths on the table as a counter-balance!

“Most Americans are tolerant and compassionate individuals who do not wish anyone to be harmed. Unfortunately, homosexual activists have exploited this compassion in the promotion of the idea of “hate crime” legislation. A “hate crime” law typically includes enhanced penalties against an individual for his negative thoughts when he committed a crime against a person who is part of a protected class. For example, a common thug who mugs a lesbian for her purse will receive a higher penalty for his anti-homosexual thoughts or motivations than if he had mugged a woman simply for her money.”

I have my doubts about many, if not most, hate crime laws, however lying about them does not help! Claiming the label Reverend and then proceeding to lie is “just not done”!

A hate crime law does not criminalize the thoughts of the thug who HAPPENS to mug someone who is a lesbian, they only apply if the lesbian is attacked BECAUSE she is a lesbian. If a person mugs two women, one of whom is openly lesbian, and then verbally insults that woman for being gay and kicks her in the face, all the while not harming the “straight” lady, they HAVE committed a hate crime in addition to the “regular” crime.  I fail to see that the basic idea of making crimes that are committed ONLY because of prejudice a special class is wrong.

“Homosexuals have been successful in getting many states and communities to add “sexual orientation” as a protected category under hate crime laws. This creates what amounts to “thought crimes” and unequal justice under the law for those not given protected class status.”

I can’t see why, if you are gong to have a hate crime law, why ANY definable grouping should not be included.  The whole idea of “hate crime”is of a crime that WOULD NOT HAPPEN if the criminal did not see the victim as “acceptable to attack” because of their race,religion, politics, sexuality or WHATEVER. IF someone attacked and beat someone for being a street mime it should be classed a hate crime.  “Normal” crime is impersonal,it is about transferring money or property from one who has it to one who wants it but, hasn’t earned it.  Committing a crime not for financial gain, but solely to satisfy an inner need to dehumanize ANYONE, is what the hate crime ideology is all about at its core.

“The FBI’s newly released hate crime statistics should be welcomed news to homosexuals. The latest hate crime numbers have been posted on the FBI’s web site. …The FBI hate crime statistics show the following: In 2000, there were a total of 8,152 hate crimes reported involving a total of 9,524 distinct incidents. Out of a total of 8,144 single-bias incidents, for example, 5,206 were racially motivated and 1,568 were bias crimes against a person’s religion.

The FBI says the most common hate crime was that of “intimidation” with a total of 3,294 cases. A person who was “intimidated” was a victim of profanity, racial slurs, or verbal threats by another individual. In short, a third of these hate crimes were non-violent and amounted to name-calling.”

One wonders  if the good reverend has ever been seriously harassed or taunted or threatened in his life! He blithely dismisses as mere name calling things as serious as multiple, physically aggressive and verbally hateful people trailing someone down the street telling them in graphic terms just what they plan to do to that person, their family and anyone who is close to them…Remember, these statistics only refer to those verbal acts that were considered by the FBI to be CRIMES!

Virginia, what do you think of a reverend who thinks that a truck load of rednecks trailing a black schoolgirl and taunting her with rape and assault on her family is “name calling”? Good girl, I can’t fault your instincts. But, you should not use language like that in public. Ladies have better use of their vocabulary than that!  To be fair it should be noted that he also probably considers 15 Muslim youths chasing and screaming threats at a Jewish kid half their size to also be “name calling.” The Rev. only promotes Equal Opportunity Callousness I am sure!

“…Overall, there were only 1,517 hate crimes of bias committed because of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation in 2000. It is likely that at least a third of these were intimidation or name-calling. The FBI gathered these statistics from 11,691 law enforcement agencies encompassing a total of 237 million Americans-or 84.2% of the entire population.”

Here is a good example of how partisans use statistics dishonestly.  The number 1,517 is called “only’ and then several much larger,but irrelevant, numbers are listed to further diminish it in the reader’s mind. The good Rev obviously does not expect his audience to stop and THINK about the numbers he has revealed to be a veritable gospel for American homosexuals.

1,517 out of 8,144 means that more or less one out of every five incidents of ”single bias” against ANYONE was about that person’s sexual orientation!  Almost TWENTY PERCENT!  And this is measured against all the bias incidents against Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, women, men, old folks, young folks, Republicans, Democrats and whatever other groups you care to name!!!  TWENTY PERCENT of this type of crime is committed against gays?  And the Rev feels that gays should rejoice in this “Good News”?

“No compassionate American is in favor of someone being verbally or physically assaulted because of his sexual preferences, but neither should we be subjected to thought crime legislation that provides special legal protections to homosexuals not accorded other Americans. Criminalizing a person’s views on sexual behavior should not be a matter of federal law.”

I agree that EVERYONE should have protection against bias motivated crime. But, this does not give the morally-ambiguous Reverend the right to lie and say that criminalizing bias-based ACTIONS (that in themselves are criminal) is criminalizing a person’s VIEWS!!!

“Out of 11.6 million crimes committed against persons and property in 2000, only 1,517 were hate crimes directed at homosexuals-and a third of these were undoubtedly name-calling. This should be good news to homosexual activists, but it undercuts one of their primary objectives: The passage of federal hate crime legislation that will add homosexual behavior as a protected class status under federal civil rights laws.”

I guess that it is possible to admire the economy or language in the above passage, it is impossible to find morality in it. First the Rev pulls the TOTAL person and property crime number out (not the much smaller, but RELEVENT, single-bias number) and compares it to 1,517, next he applies his “name calling” dismissal to further reduce the importance of that number. Finally, he slaps homosexuals in the face by calling this number good news and uses the sum of his hypocrisy to “prove” that the numbers “undermine” the need for hate crime laws, ESPECIALLY regarding homosexuals!  Tums anyone?

“…The FBI’s recent statistics showing how few hate crimes were committed against homosexuals in 2000 are irritations that will undoubtedly be ignored by activists. The truth has undercut their claims of an epidemic of hate crimes against homosexuals, but that won’t stop them from attempting to gain special rights under federal law for their preferred sexual behavior.”

I guess the Rev follows the old “Big Lie” theory; tell it with a straight enough face and tell it often enough, and people will believe ANY nonsense!  Notice how he tosses in the gibe implying that gays CHOOSE to be as they are!

Left or Right, it does not really matter. Those who seek power for power’s sake will show themselves as morally empty,no matter what “God” they claim to follow.

 

Semantic Confusion: “The Religious Right”, Allies or Antagonists?

The Confusion of Tongues
or
What You Said Ain’t What They Heard

(Guy DeWhitney: This article was one I published a while back on David Horowitz’s NewsRealblog.com.  The commentary response was enormous and spirited, with the consensus agreeing with almost all of my proposal.)

I have noticed lately a serious impediment to any real communication across political lines. It is something that can affect anyone writing or speaking about politics in America today. The problem lies in the term “Religious Right”.

On the one hand Conservative Christians do not seem to understand that non-Christians, many just as conservative see the term as a negative if not a pejorative. On the other hand non-Christians, Moderates, Liberals and Leftists do not seem to “get it” that many sane, un-hypocritical Conservative Christians define themselves with that same term.

When used by the middle/left the term virtually NEVER seems to mean anything BUT a classic, Right-wing “I’m right because the Bible says so, you can’t be moral without Jesus, this is a Christian Nation and non-Christians should not be allowed to influence schools and government” hypocrite-in-Christian’s-clothing” sort of person.

To say that this confusion impedes communication, compassion and compromise would be an understatement of monumental proportions.

Because of this confusion we recently saw Chris Mathews of MSNBC using the term in one way and offending NRB Columnist Paul Cooper who uses it in another. Paul responded by light of his definition which caused me to misunderstand and I started to type a flaming reply. Then I found out what Paul really meant by it; “those to the Right of middle who are Christian”.

The end result was that we barely missed getting in an argument over nothing. Both of us would have felt attacked by and embittered toward someone who should be an ally on the subject.

This problem in definitions needs to be resolved in order for NewsReal Blog to have any chance of changing partisans into partners on issues that affect all of us.

The last few days I have been asking everyone I can who THEY think of when they hear the term “Religious Right”.

Overwhelmingly those that did not self describe as Conservative Christians seem to believe the term to mean “the folks who believe being Christian gives them a preferred political status and the right to impose an overtly Christian character on civil society”.

Not one person I talked to that described themselves as moderate or liberal (regardless of their religion) saw the term as referring to any other group. ONLY the Conservative Christians I spoke with felt that it meant the “Right side of the spectrum of all religious Christians in the U.S.”

It is pretty clear that this confusion cannot be allowed to go on. As a start I propose a poll. Not a “vote” for one definition by majority rule but simply a poll to make us aware of Whom thinks What means Which.

I self identify as:

a) Non-religious (Atheist, Agnostic, Don’t Care)

b) A Nominal Christian

c) A Devout Christian (Liberal Politics)

d) A Devout Christian (Conservative Politics)

e) Jewish (Conservative politics)

f) Jewish (Liberal politics)

g) A Conservative Christian or Jewish far to the Right of the ones the public calls conservative. (“They call me Nut-case but Jesus/G*d will bless me for it”)

h) A Nominal Muslim

i) A Devout Muslim

j) A Devout Muslim (“They call me Terrorist but Allah(pbuh) will bless me for it!”)

To Me “Religious Right” Means:

A) Conservative Religious persons; i.e. devout religious people of any faith that fall to the Right of Middle in politics

B) Religious hypocrites that believe the “unquestionable Truth” of their religion gives them a preferred position in the political process. (This description fits not only Christian chauvinists but also Islamic Supremacists etc.)

C) Conservative Christians who use their religion as a guide in life. Including politics.

D) Same as (B) but limited to Christians

E) Something Else

The information this poll provides may well prove very valuable but we still need to agree on what the term means here at NewsRealblog.

I feel that being understood accurately by the largest number of people is more important than being clear only to compatriots. I cannot see that preaching to the choir is very productive. Therefore I propose this array of definitions:

For (A) I think the term “Religious Conservative” would be less likely to be misunderstood.

The subset of people described by (B) can be called “Religious Radicals” or “Theocrats”.

For (C) I can see no reason not to simply use “Christian Conservative” since it is clear and self-explanatory.

We should try to refer to (D) as “The Religious Right”.

Being clear with how we use these terms may not solve all our differences but, it will certainly not hurt our efforts to  resolve them.

Language is Humanity Beating Broken Rhythms On a Pot With a Spoon While Believing We Make Music That Stirs the Heart of God