Nel's New Day

July 27, 2014

Christians Still Know What Jesus Wants

Fundamentalist Christians are still following what they think Jesus wants them to do—in one case fasting to protest legalized marriage equality before the Supreme Court can hear any cases in October.  “Jesus has issued a trumpet call and declared a holy fast to gather his people together for a time of consecration, to purify our way of thinking and cleanse our way of living,” wrote the Family Foundation in Virginia.

The Supreme Court hasn’t agreed to hear any of these cases, and in this fast people don’t have to stop eating.  This new twist to a “fast” is a diet that I could comfortably follow. The request is to join them “for 40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance for Marriage from August 27 through October 5, 2014.” The follow-up, however, is that “giving up physical food isn’t necessary.”

Although the mainstream GOP has worked hard to return its Tea Party pets to the store, the primaries have let a few of these escape, mostly because they have the support of mega-churches. Here are a few of the “winners”:

Jody Hice, the GOP candidate to replace Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) who also had serious issues of his own: Southern Baptist Pastor Hice believes that there is a homosexual plot to sodomize children and that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to Muslims. Hice, who compares abortion to Hitler’s holocaust is endorsed by Broun who claimed, “Evolution and embryology and the big Bang theory are all likes straight from the pit of Hell.”

Hice’s 2012 book, It’s Now or Never: A Call to Reclaim America, calls for the nation to  ban abortion, ban same-sex marriage, repeal hate-crime laws, and expose “radical Islam for the clear and present danger that it is.” In a 2004 article he stated that women should have to receive permission from their husbands before running for political office.

James Lankford (R-OK), the candidate to replace GOP Sen. Tom Coburn: A graduate of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lankford believes life begins at the moment of fertilization. His website states: “James Lankford is a strong conservative and servant leader who is committed to God, Family and the Constitution.” Evidently in that order.

Mark Walker, the GOP candidate who defeated the highly regarded son of one that state’s most powerful politicians by more than 6,000 votes in a GOP runoff:  The RNC said that Walker’s leadership role at Lawndale Baptist Church made him the winner. Even his Tea Party colleague and primary opponent called Walker a religious extremist.

Gary Palmer, the GOP candidate to replace Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL): “This entire campaign was built on prayer, sustained by prayer and tonight was delivered by prayer,” Palmer claimed.

The following Christians follow Jesus by interrupting people at their worship. Operation Save America, formerly Operation Rescue whose members are known for wounding and killing people who support pro-choice rights, held a protest at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans while they were having a time of silence to honor a church member who had died. The protesters’ rationale was to “present the truth of the Gospel in this synagogue of Satan” as part of their efforts “to defeat the culture of death.” Church members who could not preserve their silence changed to singing during the protest. Later, the Rev. Deanna Vandiver, speaker during Sunday’s service, said, “No one should invade the sanctuary of another’s faith to terrorize people as they worship.”

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has joined other governors that violate the constitutional separation of church and state with an official proclamation telling the state’s residents to pray and repent. In his April proclamation, he claimed to be modeling himself after George Washington. A revival at the Iowa statehouse on July 14 was one of several statehouse rallies. Christians named  “Prayer 7-14-14,” after 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Branstad is rewriting history: there is no evidence that Washington ever had an official prayer rally. In fact, the first president followed the beliefs of deism, although he referred to himself as an Anglican.

On its surface, the executive order signed by President Obama prohibiting federal contractors from discrimination against LGBT employees appears to follow Jesus’ directive. The usual suspects—fundamentalist Christians, Catholics, and Fox News—had meltdowns, accusing the president of being “hell-bent on forcing Christians to assimilate to the militant LGBT agenda.” The order lists no religious exceptions except those in George W. Bush’s 2002 executive order. The conservatives need to emerge from their meltdown to read the fine print.

Without the 2002 order overturned, religious companies can still discriminate. Contractors with religious affiliations can still favor workers of their own faith for religious roles. Twelve years ago, a senior administration official said that, according to the order, religion-based organizations “should be able to hire people that support their vision and mission” in a way consistent with previous court rulings on the issue. Bush’s order allows Catholic Charities to ask if applicants are Catholic.

A bit of humor to send you through the week:  Bert Farias, founder of Holy Fire Ministries, has the latest definitive answer to why people are gay:  fart demons. Engaging in “unclean demonic practices” of consensual sex with a person of the same gender causes possession by demons so “putrid-smelling” they can drive pigs to suicide. But gay people shouldn’t get upset with Farias’ explaining “the raw, naked truth about homosexuality.” He further explained to LGBT people, “[You] will see that I am actually trying to help you.” I’m waiting to see who tries to one-up that idea.

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