Nel's New Day

March 16, 2014

Religion Turning People Off

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:14 PM
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Over one-fifth of the people in the United States report that religion does not play an important role in their lives. The 21 percent is up 50 percent from the 14 percent in 1997, the first year that the poll asked this question. Least religious people tend to be males under the age of 35 with an income over $75,000 and living in the Northeast or West. Millennials, those born between 1977 and 1992, are the least religious, possibly because they are better at looking through the problems perceive around them.

Maybe some of the following stories turn younger, more thoughtful people off the religious fanaticism throughout the country. For example, religious fundamentalists have long fought popular culture for youths. The latest rant is the accusation that the new movie Frozen will cause young girls to be lesbian.

The film is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen about Anna, who tries to rescue the kingdom, and her sister, Queen Elsa, from a freeze. Catholic film blogger Steven Greydanus found a “gay” message because Elsa has no romantic longings. The blogger also found bestiality because the song Fixer-Upper lyrics state: “His [Kristoff’s] thing with the reindeer, that’s a little outside of nature’s laws!”  Greydanus also called the abominable snowman Marshmallow a transvestite because he put on Elsa’s tiara.  Kevin Swanson, a religious right talk show host, is convinced that Satan is using Frozen “to indoctrinate my 5-year-old to be a lesbian.” He also claims not to be a “tinfoil hat conspiratorialist.”

[I never cease to be amused by people who think that becoming LGBT can be done that easily!]

Criticizing children’s media is not unusual for conservatives. Fox network Eric Bolling was upset about the Muppets, Lou Dobbs was bothered by The Lorax, and Jerry Falwell hated Tinky Winky the Teletubby. Other groups attacked Shrek, Shark Tale, SpongeBob SquarePants, Happy Feet, and, of course, all the Harry Potter books and movies.

The same religion that thinks Satan causes lesbianism believes that God deliberately responds to people who believe in climate change. According to televangelist Pat Robertson, the high wind that shut down the exterior lights on the U.S. Capitol was to ridicule Democrats for their late night talk about climate change on the floor of the Senate.

In a belief that it is punishing LGBT people, the Kentucky Baptist Convention is purposely blocking funding to one charitable organization.  to punish LGBT people. As a result, Sunrise Children’s Services, which shelters and feeds more than 2,000 abused and neglected children every year, has a $7-million budget shortfall after Sunrise CEO Bill Smithwick suggested hiring LGBT people. He knew that discrimination could lose public funding, about 85 percent of Sunrise’s budget. In a fit of pique, the state’s Baptist community encouraged its affiliates to blacklist Sunrise until it re-established its policy of LGBT discrimination.

The board caved and shamed Smithwick into resigning after 17 years leading the organization. He has devoted his life to helping abused and neglected children. The Baptists told affiliate churches to once again donate, but it may be a case of too little, too late. And then there’s that taxpayer funding that requires no discrimination.

While Kentucky Baptists are willing to allow child abuse in the name of religion, Idaho lawmakers are willing to let religious groups kill their children, again in the name of religion. House Speaker Scott Bedke has refused to allow a bill on the floor that would protect children from deaths from faith healing. Oregon removed this protection after it found that the infant mortality in the religious groups was 26 times higher than in the general population. Children will continue to die in Idaho, however, because the state’s law permits Followers of Christ to reject medical assistance for their children. Idaho law sends people guilty of felony injury to a child—great bodily harm of death—to prison for about a decade, but believers in faith healing get a walk.  Oregon has a state law that removes religious belief as an affirmative defense for homicide. The United States needs the same law.

One way to get religious news out is through the New York Times bestseller list. That’s what Mark Driscoll, founding pastor of The Mars Hill Church in Seattle wants to do. Church funds of at least $210,000 in 2011 and 2012 went to getting Real Marriage, authored by Driscoll and his wife Grace, onto the list. It does make me look differently at the books considered “best sellers.”

Another form of Christian publicity is posting the Ten Commandments at state capitols, even if it’s unconstitutional. The latest state to order this is Georgia. I’m convinced that conservative legislators lie awake at night trying to figure out ways to waste taxpayer money through building the coffers of lawyers.

No matter how often religious conservatives are told that the constitution includes separation of church and state, they forget, ignore, or reject the facts.

 

  • Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay claims that God, instead of James Madison, wrote the U.S. Constitution.
  • David Barton, pseudo-historian revisionist, claims that the three branches of U.S. government were created in the Old Testament. That’s the document full of kings. The passage that Barton quotes as proof?  Isaiah 33:22: “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.”
  • Bryan Fischer wants to limit voting to property owners like the U.S. did in the 18th century. He claims that renters don’t care about their community.
  • Pat Robertson, like many others who want this country to be a theocracy under fundamentalist Christian control, says that there’s nothing in the Constitution about separation of church and state. With a law degree from Yale, Robertson claims that this concept comes from “the constitution of the communist Soviet Union.” He compares the “wall of separation between church and state”—a metaphor used by Thomas Jefferson—to the Berlin Wall.
  • Jay Sekulow, Robertson’s attorney, claims that the Ten Commandments symbolize American law, including the one that forbids worshipping “false gods,” to Sekulow any except the Trinity. There’s also no attempt by most people—even religious ones—to “keep holy the Sabbath. In a 2003 Alabama case, scholars provided that the Founding Fathers relied on English common and statutory law, Roman law, the civil law of continental Europe, and strains of international law. Nothing about the Ten Commandments.
  • Ben Carson, a surgeon who has shown a yen for being a presidential candidate, claims that divine intervention created America. Like most fundamentalist, Carson believes that God loves the United States best and will protect it against any other country. Like former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), Carson tells the false story of Benjamin Franklin leading the delegates in prayer.

 

The most bizarre religion story this month comes out of Edmond (OK). Dr. John Michael Lonergan, a former federal prison inmate convicted of mail fraud, tax evasion and insurance fraud in Ohio and debarred by that state, is now permitted to practice medicine under Oklahoma supervision, thanks to the Oklahoma Medical Board. According to a receptionist at the clinic where he works, Dr. Lonergan is injecting people with the “Jesus shot.” His employer, Barbie Schrick, doesn’t know what’s in the $300 injection which will supposedly take away pain for life.

One Oklahoma resident reported that Lonergan claims to be a Former Special Forces Doctor and developed a serum for the military called Jesus Juice that “cures any ailment.” She also stated that oilfield companies have allowed Lonergan to explain the shot to their workers and then charge them for injections. There’s no new news about Lonergan within the last ten days which may mean that he’s still shooting people up with Jesus Juice.

When it comes to religion, comments and actions from the faithful are stranger than fiction.

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