Scaring People to Christianity

 Culture, Featured, Religion  Comments Off on Scaring People to Christianity
Apr 072010
 

Easter Sunday afternoon me and Lay went to his parent’s farm down in Ruskin to hide Easter eggs and eat. At one point, I was running to a nearby Walgreens to pickup a couple of items. I was stopped at the traffic waiting to turn in and noticed a young man on the corner holding a large sign and his Bible.

He had a nice PVC frame and the sign must have been about five feet wide by four feet high. On it was a gruesome picture of a person in tattered and burned clothing standing in a pool of blood dripping from all over him. Sitting in the foreground of the picture on a raised seat was an image of Jesus, a stern look on his face with an outstretched finger pointed accusingly at the other figure.

There were, as you can imagine, some words about hell and damnation, but I can’t remember them specifically. Having grown up in the funeral business (and having been a funeral director in the past), I spent my fair share of time in churches of every description, and I’ve certainly heard hell-fire and brimstone sermons. I even remember some “revivals” in my day with some pretty strong and damning language.

For some reason I was really struck on this day by this man’s sign. I realized I felt sorry for him. Sorry that his experience was one where one becomes a Christian (is saved) out of fear…where Jesus is the Grand Inquisitor. Unfortunately, that is the experience of so many people, especially those on the extreme Christian right. If you listen to their theology and their sermons, and get them to admit their real reasons for professing Christianity, it’s not because they want to live a better life. It’s not because they believe it’s a way to help them be better more caring people. It’s because they have been scared into believing that not believing sends one to a hellish afterlife, sentenced by an angry God.

The Prophet MicahThey have this apocalyptic theology based primarily in the book of Revelation, but it is also in that book we find in Chapter 3 Verse 20 these words, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (New Living Translation) My personal favorite verse is Micah 6:8, “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” And this from a book in which the prophet warms of the wrath of God on the Jewish people.

Where was God’s anger directed in Micah? The prophet sums it up for us in chapter 3, verse 11: “Its heads [its rulers] give judgment for a bribe, its priests teach for hire, its prophets divine for money; {Mic 3:11a RSV}..” Throughout the Bible, God’s anger was directed at leaders who fail to care for their people, and see to their well-being. And his condemnation for the rest of us is directed at those of us who turn a blind eye to “the least of us.”

Read the two verses above. The angry God of the Old Testament invites us to walk with him, and the Jesus of the New Testament gently knocks, and asks to share a meal as a friend. This is not the God of the ultra-conservative right-wing Christians. They live in fear of God and possible condemnation, and soothe themselves not by caring and sharing, but by trying to make everyone else appear even less worthy than they.

What a sad state of affairs for those people, and what a sad state they create in our world with that view. Me, I prefer the idea of a Jesus who is a friend. Someone who cares about others, and calls us, as he did, to take care of one another. It is the piousness that usually brought about the wrath of God.

Fox News Pundit Says McCain Has to Bash Gays to Win

 Election, Gay Issues, Politics, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on Fox News Pundit Says McCain Has to Bash Gays to Win
Jul 072008
 

From the “comes as no surprise” category, Fox News Pundit Fred Barnes said Sunday that McCain would have to run a center/right (not sure what that actually looks like myself) in order to win the election. This would mean appealing to the far right wingnuts of the party by using the “gays in the military” and “gay marriage” issues. Barnes explicitly cites these issues.

First, on a point of clarification, Barnes is wrong is when he says about gays in the military, “This is not a popular issue.” A recent CNN poll finds that 79% of Americans believe that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly, and Zogby poll from 2006 finds that 73% of service members are comfortable with gays and lesbians. (These and other related poll results here.)

The left side of the blogosphere is all in an uproar over the comments. I don’t like that this happens to be a true statement, but it is true that McCain will win friends from the krazy kristian kooks by bashing gays. This has been a winning issue for Republicans for a while now (there’s yet no real price to pay for homophobia), and the recent California ruling can certainly be used to inflame that important Republican base. So the fact is, (while I don’t like it) it’s going to happen, and it’s just a matter of time.

On the other hand, Juan Williams makes a good point as he keeps asking, “who else are they going to vote for?” The fact is, McCain doesn’t have to play the GLBT card, as the krazy kristians certainly are not going to vote for Obama, and unlike what Barnes says, they are not going to sit home and allow a black man to move into the White House. They will come out and vote for McCain just because he’s already said once that he supports Arizona anti-gay marriage amendment…that’s all it takes.

"Christian Group" Now wants Desperate Housewives Off The Air

 Culture, Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on "Christian Group" Now wants Desperate Housewives Off The Air
Mar 012006
 

The radical religious right group, the American Family Association, has become the book burners of the new century. They don’t simply have a gripe with a few things in our culture, a few companies, a few TV shows. They want America to be forced to live under their warped, minority view of an extremist Biblical lifestyle that doesn’t even comport with the majority of mainstream American Christianity.

And now they’re trying to kill the hit show “Desperate Housewives.”

You’ll recall that this is the same group that “boycotted” Ford, then lost, after we exposed the organization as gay-hating, having a terrible record of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim writings, AND the fact that the AFA actually promotes the “Nazi Germany era” science of known hate groups on their Web site.

It’s hard to believe that any American company, or politician, would want to be associated with such fringe haters.

Let me share with you, and the folks who run Desperate Housewives, the exact message the American Family Association is promoting:? Continue reading »

It Takes A Village Idiot

 Religion, Right Wingnuts, Weather  Comments Off on It Takes A Village Idiot
Nov 082005
 

Did Pat Robertson really say on Sunday that the tornado in Indiana and Kentucky was God’s way of expressing His anger at the actor Warren Beatty and his wife, Annette Bening, for trying to disrput a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger?

I am told, on ‘The 700 Club’ show on 11/6, Pat said: ‘By choosing to disrupt this national event, these Hollywood elites have clearly invited God’s wrath. Is it any surprise that the Almighty chose to strike at a town on the opposite side of the country?’

Ok. Beatty, Bening, Arnold–all Hollywood elite. They have a minor incident in San Diego. So God throws thunderbolts at…..two Red States?

You Had To See This One Coming (Pun Intended)

 Religion, Right Wingnuts, Weather  Comments Off on You Had To See This One Coming (Pun Intended)
Oct 102005
 

Well, this should come as no surprise to anyone. Pat Robertson is now suggesting that the recent rash of natural disasters could be a signal of end times. Its always amazed me that the return of Christ to begin his thousand year reign of love and heavan on earth would be heralded by the death and destruction of millions of innocent individuals. Except of course all those heathen sinners in the French Quarter…oops, that was the only place not wiped out and flooded.

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Prominent US preacher Pat Robertson said that recent natural disasters around the world point to the end of the world and the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

"These things are starting to hit with amazing regularity," Robertson told CNN, remarking on the coincidence of a major earthquake that killed thousands in Asia Saturday and recent killer hurricanes slamming the United States.

Those disasters come less than a year after a massive tsunami levels huge portions of South Asia, killing more than 31,000 people and leaving some a million left homeless.

Devout Christians believe that the "last days" will be marked by political and geological upheaval, and Roberts said recent events show that those days might have arrived.

Citing scripture from the Bible, the conservative Christian broadcaster said the latter days would be marked by "the birth pangs of a new order, and for anybody who knows what it’s like to have a wife going in labor, you know how these labor pains begin to hit."

"What was called the Blessed Hope of the Bible is that one day Jesus Christ would come back again, start a whole new era, that this world order that we know would change into something that would be wonderful that we’d call the millennium," Robertson said.

"And before that good time comes there will be some difficult days and there will be likened to what a woman goes through in labor just before she brings forth a child."

Asked if the world was reaching this moment, Robertson said: "It’s possible. I don’t have any special revelation to say it is but the Bible does indicate such a time will happen in the end of time. And could this be it? It might be."

Hurricane Katrina has left more than 1,200 people dead in the United States, while nearly 20,000 people have died in the South Asian earthquake disaster this weekend.

As I noted….A God that needs to announce his return via death and destruction does not deserve our worship.