Nel's New Day

February 17, 2019

A Wall to Protect People from Religion?

If we used the same standards for religious figures that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tries to use for undocumented immigrants, the United States would build a wall between the country and all churches. Another former archbishop and cardinal has been defrocked for sexual abuse with no chance for appeal, Theodore McCarrick has been found guilty of “sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power” and “solicitation” during confession. A study completed in 2002 found almost 11,000 cases of sexual abuse by almost 5,000 priests. Far more have emerged in the past 17 years, including the uncovering of over 300 priests in just one state who abused over 1,000 children.

Catholics aren’t alone in sexual abuse by their leaders: at least 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced charges of sexual misconduct against over 700 victims in the past 20 years—more in Texas than any other state. The church urged many of the victims to forgive the offenders and for becoming pregnant. Sometimes churches shunned the victims. Some sexual abusers returned to their churches to preach. Southern Baptist Convention officials shielded the predators and refused any reforms.

The above are just two examples of denominations in which people are sexual abused by their religious leaders. The stories go into the tens of millions, unlike DDT’s concerns about undocumented immigrants.

The Roman Catholic diocese has exonerated the male white students from Covington (KY) who appeared to invade the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, D.C. after they attended an anti-choice March for Life. The bishop claimed that their students were being threatened can called their behavior “laudatory.” The opinion was based on online video and interviews with 43 students and 13 adult chaperones. No one from the Indigenous Peoples group was interviewed. All of them are quite pleased with themselves.

Wyoming has failed to repeal the death penalty, and state Sen. Lynn Hutchings (R-Cheyenne) is grateful because Jesus also got the death penalty. Without his execution, he could not have absolved the sins of mankind. Therefore, retaining the death penalty is vital. I’m a bit confused about her logic. Does she compare all executed people to Jesus? Self-identified on her FB as “your only true Conservative, Christian, Pro-Life Candidate,” she also made this argument for her homophobia while speaking to students from Cheyenne Central High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance:

“If my sexual orientation was to have sex with all of the men in there and I had sex with all of the women in there and then they brought their children and I had sex with all of them and then brought their dogs in and I had sex with them, should I be protected for my sexual orientation?”

Frustrated by two Muslim women in the newly-elected House, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) has accused her of being anti-Semitic because she pointed out that Israel gets its power with the U.S. government because of its donations to legislators. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is right in her claim, but she left out the money that anti-Semitic evangelicals donate to conservative legislators while lobbying them to support Israelis and destroy Palestinians. It all comes from the Christian belief that Christ must convert the Jews after he returns to Israel before the great millennium, the golden age, can begin. Thus their obsession with strengthening Israel for Jesus’s return. Eighty percent of evangelicals viewed Israel’s new state in 1948 as a vital piece of the Second Coming, and 52 percent say they support Israel because of its role in the End Times. VP Mike Pence is one of these people.

The Center for Religion and Civil Culture at the University of Southern California divides evangelical Christians into five different sects since DDT developed power:

Trump-vangelicals:  Primarily white with a few Latinx or black pastors; DDT’s base who want access to political power with the belief that God picked DDT to “make America great again.”

Neo-fundamentalists: DDT supporters who try to keep some Christian values and separate themselves from DDT’s “moral failings.”

iVangelicals: Conservative but pretend to be non-partisan; ministering in big churches to mostly white, financially well-off suburbanites.

Kingdom Christians: Separate from evangelicals but with similar beliefs; keep to smaller, urban churches, sometimes rented spaces.

Peace and justice evangelicals: The left-wing with origins in the 1973 “Chicago Declaration of Social Concern,” urging evangelicals away from prosperity gospel and toward the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A study published in the journal Neuropsychologia shows that religious fundamentalism comes from a functional impairment in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. Damage results in diminished cognitive flexibility and openness—a loss of curiosity, creativity, and open-mindedness. Religious beliefs, socially transmitted mental representations of supernatural events and entities assumed to be real, differ from empirical beliefs based on the appearance of the world and updated with new evidence and new theories. People with lesions in the prefrontal cortex rate radical political statements as more moderate than people without the damage possibly caused by brain trauma, psychological disorder, drug or alcohol addiction, or genetic profile. Although brain damage can lead to religious fundamentalism, the reverse can be true: extreme religious indoctrination can harm the development or functioning of the prefrontal brain areas.

Conservatism is connected with religious beliefs because they are not updated with new evidence or scientific explanations. Fixed, rigid beliefs promote predictability and rules of evidence in the person’s tribe. Religious fundamentalism discourages progressive thinking about religion and social issues—anything that challenges their beliefs. People can become aggressive toward others who are perceived because they don’t share their anti-science and supernatural beliefs.

Although brain damage can lead to religious fundamentalism, the reverse can be true: extreme religious indoctrination can harm the development or functioning of the prefrontal brain areas. Dr. Marlene Winell, daughter of Pentecostal missionaries and a human development consultant, addresses the problem of Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS) in her counseling and in her book Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving their Religion. She explains that emotional and mental treatment by authoritarian religious groups causes RTS from teachings such as eternal damnation, religious punishment and guilt, and neglect when people are denied information and opportunities. Indoctrination leads to fear and anxiety, and some people suffer from nightmares and panic attacks throughout their lives. The syndrome can also cause depression, cognitive problems, and difficulty in social functioning because the core message of fundamentalist Christianity is that people are wrong and deserve to die.

To control people, fundamentalists tell them that they are weak and dependent, keeping them from making decisions because they must follow the Christian leaders. Leaving can be almost impossible because of religious shunning if people don’t conform.  Departure from a church requires a complete change of one’s self of reality and belief systems. Traumas other than RTS are built into society because of an understanding about the horrors of domestic abuse and war-related PTSD. A person needed counseling because of issues related to RTS are sent back to religion.

One of the goals for fundamentalist Christians is to block marriage equality, and seven Kansas GOP legislators are using the concept of religion to accomplish their mission. Their proposed bill would eliminate all rights for sexual minorities because being LGBTQ is “a religion that does not fulfill any compelling state interest.” They maintain that secular humanism was recognized as a religion in the 1961 unanimous Supreme Court decision when the decision merely determined that the U.S. Constitution prohibits government prohibits a religious test for public office. The legislators’ proof is that the LGBTQ community is organized and has “a daily code by which members may guide their daily lives” along with its religious symbols, i.e., a rainbow-colored flag, and the creed of “love is love”—a shibboleth to oppress those outside their denomination.

Perhaps we need a wall to protect people.

August 5, 2018

Religion: Violence, Killing

Pope Francis has changed Catholic Church teaching to fully reject the death penalty, but Texas allows the bible to sentence someone to death. After a juror showed that his religious source recommends death for a person who kills someone with an instrument of iron, Khristian Oliver was sentenced to death and executed. Despite First Amendment separation of church and state, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Thirty-five other offenses qualify for the death penalty in the bible including these:

  • Cursing Parents
  • Striking Parents
  • Not Obeying Parents by Boys
  • Premarital Sex by Girls
  • Rebellion against Law
  • Worshipping Any God but Yahweh
  • Being a Witch
  • Loose Daughters of Clergy
  • Girls Raped within the City Limits
  • Blasphemers
  • Anyone Trying to Deconvert Yahweh Worshipers
  • Working on the Sabbath
  • Kidnapping
  • Men Lying with Men
  • Adulterers
  • Men Lying with Beasts and Beasts Lying with Men

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has surely committed at least five offenses that could lead to the biblical death penalty.

Former CIA intelligence official, Michael Scheuer, is best-selling author, historian, essayist, public speaker, TV commentator, Ron Paul’s adviser, secessionist advocate, Christian nationalist, Vladimir Putin apologist, and terrorism expert. He is also married to a senior intelligence official, Alfreda Frances Bikowsky who was referenced as “Queen of Torture” in 2014, and frequently appears on a radio program with close ties to DDT, his family, and his administration, a show directing people to Scheuer’s blog that calls for “well-armed citizens who voted for Trump” to “kill those seeking to impose tyranny.” That classification includes journalists, activists, pundits, abortion providers, Republican and Democratic elected officials, federal judges, law professors, FBI agents, intelligence officials and Justice Department officials, and “all who support them.” Scheuer calls them all “expendables.” To “end the tyranny of their elected representatives,” people should “eliminate” them by stockpiling guns and ammunition.

Scheuer appears often on John Fredericks Radio as either commentator or host—more than 25 times in 18 months– spreading the ultra far-right messages of justifying Putin’s seizure of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine, conspiracy theories about Robert Mueller’s investigation, the illegitimacy of the U.S. government, and NATO and Israel as “cancers.” John Fredericks, also CNN commentator and member of DDT’s 2020 presidential advisory board, has interviewed DDT eight times on his program, and many of DDT’s inner circle have done the same, one at least 23 times. DDT paid Fredericks’ company $34,000 for “placed media.”

From his home, Scheuer Skypes with the Russian state TV outlet RT and disparages the CIA as corrupt, incompetent and bloated with too many “immigrants, Hispanics, transgender people, and homosexuals.” In his view, too many members of the Jewish community support Israel. He shocked even Glenn Beck by calling for a “civil war” and the glorification of assassins, listing President Obama and then-British Prime Minister David Cameron as tyrants, ostensibly to be assassinated. Scheuer said, “At some point, when push comes to shove, you kill people and get them out of the way.” Georgetown University decided to not renew Scheuer’s two classes, despite his protests.

Designated for “elimination” on Scheuer’s list are TV journalists Shepard Smith, Jake Tapper, Jim Acosta, and Rachel Maddow and commentators Bill Kristol and Joe Scarborough. Other names are Attorneys General Jeff Sessions, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch; former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; special counsel Robert Mueller and prosecutors on his team; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former NSA Director Michael Hayden, current and former and current FBI directors James Comey and Christopher Wray; former CIA Director John Brennan; former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell; former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and other “work-a-day FBI agents,” as well as the staff of the U.S. Department of Justice. The list goes on with elected officials, former presidential aides, and various billionaires. It seems to be endless and he called on DDT to “slay the republic’s domestic enemies now.” Recently he wrote about the “sheer, nay, utter joy and satisfaction to be derived from beholding great piles of dead U.S.-citizen tyrants.”

Close associates of the U.S. president and senior members of his administration support and promote a man who call for mass murder by armed rebels. And white supremacists are planning a rally in Washington, D.C. on August 11-12 to celebrate the violence a year earlier at Charlottesville (VA).

Religious people like to claim that people require religion—preferably Christianity—to be moral. The world of DDT, however, is constantly proving this belief to be wrong. Fundamentalist Christians, dismayed by DDT’s immorality, say that they have to rationalize away some of his behavior and keep the parts that they want. The same is true with the contents of the bible.

Fundamentalists reject fantasy, calling it morally wrong. They often keeping their children from reading books about magic, but the bible is filled with magical occurrences. Most fundamentalists following the biblical interpretations of their clergy instead of reading the document themselves. Religious policies come from church leaders; i.e., not eating meat on Friday isn’t found in the bible. Instead it was developed as a political ploy by the church.

According to research, people have their personal moral compass and then find biblical passages that match their beliefs. If they change their mind about issues, they still claim that God agrees with them—like their acceptance of DDT’s adultery and sexual abuse. A study indicates that the part of a person’s brain activated by personal beliefs is the same as thinking about their perception of God’s beliefs. Thinking about other people’s beliefs activates another part of the brain.

The source of individual morals is complicated, probably a blend of genetics and acculturalization. Atheists get their morals from the same place as Christians—heredity and cultural influence. That’s why atheists don’t score differently than religious people in solving moral dilemmas. Religion is a system of faith and worship of a supernatural power, separate from the moral difference between right and wrong. Christians can easily murder, operate in a corrupt fashion, beat their wives, or commit other crimes. If they don’t break the law themselves, they justify others who do.

Professors Rodney Hessinger and Kristen Toby have an explanation of why fundamentalist Christians support DDT. The preservation of patriarchy that he exhibits has its background in biblical male dominance and superiority that was rooted in the South. Evangelicals have long overlooked the crossing of moral lines as women were forced to ignore their culture’s adultery and acceptance of slavery. Even now, fundamentalist women justify slavery by claiming that slaves were fed, housed, and given health care. With their persecution complex, fundamentalists identify with DDT because he is the “outcast,” the “outsider,” as they believe themselves to be. They believe that all criticisms of DDT are also criticisms of themselves. Fundamentalist religious leaders continually commit adultery, but followers accept this as part of their religion with many leaders keeping their positions.

Thus evangelicals will continue to follow DDT with their violence and patriarchy, believing in the cry to “Make America Great Again,” working for that mythical white nation of centuries ago when immigrants from Europe openly committed genocide.

December 23, 2017

The Christian War on Christmas

For centuries, fundamentalist Christians avoided any involvement in politics. During Ronald Reagan’s campaign, however, Republicans decided to use evangelicals to get their candidate elected, and these Christians have increasingly left their biblical religion to move to a political religion. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has raised this avoidance of traditional Christian values to a high. This year, he and other Republicans spread the lies about the use of “Merry Christmas,” telling people that it had been banned and that President Obama never used the term. Videos prove them wrong, but facts don’t dissuade fundamentalist Christian beliefs, especially because the Fox seasonal message began with the term “War on Christmas.”

The politicization of Christmas, as shown by this billboard, is in keeping with the rest of the Republicans. More confirmation of the GOP lie comes from the political group America First Policies that is spending $1 million for a pro-DDT A pro-Trump nonprofit says it is spending $1 million to air a new pro-Trump ad concluding with a little girl saying, “Thank you President Trump for letting us say ‘Merry Christmas’ again!” The ad also thank DDT for “reminding us to stand for our national anthem.”

DDT goes beyond politics to capitalism with his baseball cap, embroidered with colored lights on “Make America Great Again” and “Merry Christmas” on the back. Selling for $45, the cap is all sold out, but you can still get one from eBay for $150.

Six years ago, DDT tweeted the lie, “What a convenient mistake: @BarackObama issued a statement for Kwanza [sic] but failed to issue one for Christmas.” Tweeting about Kwanzaa did not preclude President Obama from also sending his last Merry Christmas message with the image below.

 

 

“The best part of the holidays is the time we share with those we love. On behalf of Michelle, Malia, and Sasha, Merry Christmas everyone.”

Chris Hayes has put together a number of video clips showing President Obama saying “Merry Christmas.” (Check out the last minute for this montage.) Meanwhile, tweets from Ivanka Trump and her brother Eric trumpet “Happy Holidays!” (And yes, Ivanka Trump is Jewish.)  Despite DDT’s concentration on the word “Christmas,” the invitations for the White House parties called the event a “Holiday Reception.”

Christmas celebrations for DDT’s first term were similar in style to those of past years but less in substance. DDT’s events were also less attended as shown by this visual from the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. It’s like the difference between inaugurations for President Obama and DDT. As you might guess, DDT’s ceremony is on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The White House decorations for DDT were sometimes a bit bizarre. The library had a “booktree” although DDT doesn’t read books. The books were purchased with a focus on the color green instead of the books’ contents, indicated by such titles as World of Golf, Tainted Evidence, and Ronin: A Marine Scout-Sniper Platoon in Iraq.” Another that may be a precursor to DDT’s term is American Mourning, how public mourning shapes politics and our future outcomes. Last year’s library decorations used the theme “Let Girls Learn” for the First Lady’s education program.

This year Melania Trump chose the theme “Time-Honored Tradition. The spooky trees in the White House East Colonnade (below left) produced a variety of humorous tweets complete with photoshopping. Tim Teeman wrote:

“Melania Trump, with what looks like the help of Tim Burton, has designed an anti-Christmas wonderland of white branches set stark against the wall and casting creepy shadows on the ceiling…. The only thing missing is a dragon breathing fire, intent on stopping you getting your hands on a magic amulet.”

In contrast is the East Colonnade decorated at Christmas in the time of President Obama.

DDT dropped his obsession with Christmas by spending his first day of that vacation at Mar-a-Lago talking about problems in North Korea and the Middle East as well as lambasting FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who he had appointed as acting FBI director after he fired James Comey. That was after he skipped over the majority of his supporters to give a massive Christmas gift to the wealthy through the tax bill that he signed yesterday.

Although fundamentalist Christians perceive DDT’s occasional fixation with saying “Merry Christmas” as a form of religious liberty, all other religions are downplayed or eliminated from notice. People who have watched politics the past year might see that there is no “War on Christmas,” but there is a war on Jews—as shown by the white supremacists marching against them—and a war on Muslims, made clear by DDT’s travel bans. People are really demanding Christian beliefs.

To feel the Christmas cheer, remember how Barack and Michelle Obama celebrate it with children. Below is President Obama a week ago taking a bag of gifts to 50 children  of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

Happy Holidays!

June 28, 2015

‘Christian’ Opposition to LGBT Rights, Healthcare with Love for Confederate Flag

The white, entitled male, Christian fundamentalists were traumatized last week with important events negating their view of how the United States should benefit only them and their beliefs. Their reactions show that they are close to insanity.

On legalized marriage equality:

American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer covered the complaint waterfront by comparing the ruling to the attacks on the U.S. on 9/11 and Pearl Harbor with a nod to Sodom and Gomorrah, “From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is the new 9/11 because it was on this day that five justices of the United States Supreme Court became moral jihadists.” He continued by saying that June 26, 2015 is “a date which will live in infamy. On this day, the United States became Sodom and Gomorrah.”

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee predicts that Christians will fight same-sex marriage just as Dr. Martin Luther King fought racial discrimination. He called on conservative Christians to participate in his “Biblical disobedience” campaign against the “false god of judicial supremacy” before he compared the ruling to the Dred Scott case upholding the Fugitive Slave Act returning slaves to their “owners.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) believes that God won’t protect the United States any more because the court “violates the law in order to destroy the foundational building block for society provided by Nature and Nature’s God—that was stated as divine law by Moses and Jesus.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who signed an executive order to discriminate against LGBT people in the name of “religious freedom,” said, “If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.” Jindal declared himself a GOP presidential candidate last week.

On Breitbart, John Nolte wrote about the need to take down the “fascist, anti-Christian gay-pride flag” because it fosters hate and intolerance against Christians.

A growing movement in conservative states to eliminate same-sex marriage is to eliminate all marriages.

  • Utah Republicans are drafting a bill to “end government agencies’ involvement in issuing marriage licenses.” (Rep. Jake Anderegg, a supporter of the bill, admitted that it had problems because of the laws including probate, inheritance and other benefits tied to marriage. Mr. Anderegg, that was the reason that LGBT people went to court for marriage rights!)
  • Michigan is working on legislation requiring all marriages be “ordained” by clergy, who are not required to perform ceremonies against their “firmly held religious beliefs.”
  • Alabama probate judge Wes Allen of Pike County has declared that he will protest the marriage equality ruling by no longer issuing any marriage licenses, and Geneva County Probate Judge Fred Hamic said he plans to permanently close his office’s marriage license bureau. Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore also says he will resist the ruling.
  • Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said the decision is not effective in the state until the 5th Circuit Court lifts its stay, and State House Judiciary Chairman Andy Gipson suggested that Mississippi follow other states in no longer issuing marriage licenses.
  • Louisiana Attorney Gen. Buddy Caldwell said his office is not immediately enforcing the ruling because there wasn’t a specific mandate in the decision for Louisiana to issue marriage licenses.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated that the SCOTUS marriage equality ruling will “embolden” people to abuse Christians because “an increasingly-activist [sic] judiciary” takes away First Amendment rights, which Paxton thinks are there to abuse anyone who doesn’t follow Paxton’s religion.

Pastor Rick Scarborough has decided not to set himself on fire, despite his promise that he would do this if the U.S. enshrined marriage equality. He said that “we will burn” really means that “we will accept any sanction from the government for resisting today’s Supreme Court decision. We do not support any violence or physical harm.” In the same discussion about burning, Scarborough encouraged pastors to say “shoot me first” if bakeries, and florists are “persecuted” for refusing service to LGBT individuals. No follow-up for that statement, but he didn’t ask anyone to shoot him—just recommended that they shoot other pastors.

On keeping healthcare subsidies for low-income people:

Huckabee complained about the Supreme Court rulings being made by “five unelected lawyers … who decided they knew better than the legislators who actually get to make law.” (I don’t remember his complaining about the five unelected lawyers who took contraception for millions of women in the United States.) He also used the usual term “judicial tyranny” to describe court decisions that he hates.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told Elizabeth Prann on Fox network yesterday that Obamacare is “a malignant tumor that is metastasizing, and feeding on God-given American liberty.” He concluded by saying that people “were fine before they met Obamacare, and will get along fine without Obamacare.”

On the killings in the Charleston (SC) church and the pleas to remove the Confederate flag from government property:

South Carolina State Rep. William Chumley blamed his colleague, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, and eight other people in the church for being killed. Echoing the NRA claimed, Chumley said that there would be “less funerals” if the people hadn’t “sat in there [and] waited their turn to be shot.”

Pat Boone knows that Satan caused the Charleston murders and criticizes President Obama for connecting the killings with racism. According to Boone, the killer “was carefully prepared and led by the Devil himself to kill as many Christians as he could. The fact that they were black was an excuse more than a reason.”

Tennessee State Sen. John Stevens compared the suggestion of renaming the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park to the actions of ISIS. Forrest was a terrorist member of the KKK.

Pundit Ann Coulter accused Nikki Haley of not understanding “America’s history” because she is “an immigrant” because the governor of South Carolina suggested that the Confederate flag be removed from state grounds. As a self-identified “student of American history,” Coulter should remember that the Confederacy attacked the United States of America and caused 620,000 deaths. She did remember that it was a “battle flag” but said that “anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.”

Bill O’Reilly told Juan Willians on the Fox network that the Confederate Flag “represents bravery.”

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said he totally “disregarded” a report that white supremacists, anti-government extremists, and others have killed nearly twice as many people as radical Muslims since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Instead, he talked about organized attacks by Muslim extremists, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Huckabee, who has something to say about everything, says that the cure for racism is Christianity—the same religion that still has members who want “separate but equal” for blacks and whites.

Usually, disasters bring out the prejudice against the LGBT community. That position is transitioning to hatred primarily for transgender people. On Red State, Erick Erickson blamed Caitlyn Jenner for the killings as did Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America.

Alabama GOP Gov. Robert Bentley ordered the Confederate flag be removed from the state Capitol grounds so that it won’t be a “major distraction” for the budget talks. At the same time, South Carolina refused to remove the flag or even lower it when one of the slain people at the Charleston church, state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was taken to the capitol for public viewing by hundreds of people. Rep. James Clyburn, the elder statesman of South Carolina politics, requested that they take it down just for the viewing, but the legislators refused. State Sen. J. Thomas McElveen III spoke for millions of people in the United States when he said, “I am troubled that the flag a murderer waved as a banner of hatred flies as his body lies in repose.

bree newsomeEarly yesterday morning, Bree Newsome climbed the 30-foot flag pole on the South Carolina capitol grounds to tear down the Confederate flag. The protest was shortlived; a black state employee was ordered to return the flag. The action needed to be fast because of the “Confederate flag pride” rally scheduled that morning where white people waved dozens of Confederate flags. The black man who told them that the flag represents a time of black slavery and the war fought to keep them in bondage was told to “go back to where you came from.” He responded, “I am where I came from.”

Since the killings, nighttime fires have damaged or destroyed at least six predominantly black churches in four southern states in the past week. At least three of them were from arson. The first one was at a Tennessee Seventh Day Adventist Church last Monday, followed by a fire at God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon (GA) and another in North Carolina.

Last week saw remarkable advances for people in this country, but we have a long way to go to overcome the strong sense of entitlement by people like the shooter and the white fundamentalist Christians who think that they own the United States.

November 30, 2014

Wacky Christian Beliefs

As Christians seem to gain more control over the United States, their beliefs appear to grow closer to the edge of insanity. Here are a few examples:

Fundamentalist Christians are always fond of interpreting a constitution written by men who believed in separation of church and state. This month, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer wrote that the First Amendment applies only to Christians, giving states the right to persecute other religions. His ire was specifically directed toward the Orange County School District where the Satanic Temple decided to hand out its own religious materials because conservative Christians were distributing Bibles and other Christian materials. The school decided to keep all religious groups from passing out their information. According to Fischer, “the purpose of the First Amendment… was only to protect the free exercise of the Christian faith.”

Christians are convinced that all support of homeless and hungry people should be through religious groups. This is the way that one of them operates. The City Union Mission shelter in Kansas City (MO) refuses to allow same-sex families to stay together and requires transgender people to dress according to their sex at birth rather than their gender identification.

For at least one Houston church, it’s all about the money. Pastor Walter F. Houston refused to provide a funeral for 93-year-old Olivia Blair, whose wish has always been to be buried by A member of the Fourth Missionary Baptist Church for 50 years, Blair failed to tithe during the last two years because she had been in a nursing home or hospital for the past two years. She was in a coma for the past few months.

Moses is white, according to Fox’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ridley Scott’s version of the flight from Egypt. Almost every other main cast member is also very white. Stars include Christian Bale as Moses, Joel Edgerton, Arron Paul, John Turturro,  Ben Kingsley, and Sigourney Weaver. The blacks in the film are slaves or servants. Director Scott defended his choice of characters by saying that he couldn’t get funding for the film if he said “that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such.” CEO of 21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch, didn’t even bother to assume that the casting might have been wrong. He tweeted, “Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are.”

Pat Robertson has repeated his claim that Ouija boards are dangerous. The televangelist said:

“The spirit is causing that little needle — it goes around to letters and spells out words and so you feel like [it’s] some dead person, but actually it is communicating with demonic spirits. It is a dangerous thing and I strongly urge people not to get involved in it.”

In the past he had referred to chants as “prayers in Sanskrit to various Hindu Gods who are in turn demons, and you are saying something you don’t understand when in essence you are praying to a devil to come to you.”

An Oklahoma man has a solution for anyone involved in witchcraft. Isaiah Marin said that his “strong Christian beliefs” made him stop anyone from practicing “magic”; that’s why he stabbed and almost decapitated 21-year-old Jacob Andrew Crockett with a large black sword. Marin’s brother, Samuel, described Isaiah as a “religious zealot” and “heavy drug user.”

Killing is also on the mind of Donnie Swaggart, evangelical pastor and son of disgraced televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. On a program called Frances & Friends, he claimed that LGBT activists are like ISIS because they both want to chop off the heads of Christians. After Right Wing Watch posted the video on YouTube, Swaggart forced them to remove it, but the video is still available here. Two years ago, Rick Santorum accused President Obama of changing the United States into France during the French Revolution, warning that Christians would be sent one by one to the guillotine.

Bryan Fischer, a leader of the American Family Association, does suggest that ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples in the Americas was appropriate because god was punishing them for their sins. He compared it to the “rules of warfare in Deuteronomy when God commanded t he Israelites to kill, enslave, and rape “the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.” According to Fischer, God wanted the Native Americans to be killed “to exercise his sovereign control over this land” because of “the immorality of those nations that were exercising sovereign control at the time.”

Cindy Jacobs has the answer for indigenous people: they should renounce “any animus [sic] … and repent for the generational iniquity” before they can deal with the “Leviathan spirit” that brings division and strife. Evidently all Native Americans need to do to be happy is to reject the past. Jacobs also believes that listening to God will make your shoes last a long time as proof that God provides “supernatural provisions.”

Christian belief is the reason that David Van Vleet of Tacoma (WA) gave for requesting full names and addresses of all the strippers in his area. When he filed for the information under the state’s Public Records Act,” he said, “I would pray for those dancers by name. I’m a Christian. . . . We have a right to pray for people.” Although a federal judge blocked the request, he might still get the information because current law is not clear on this matter.

Halloween is also a Christian holiday, according to former Growing Pains star, Kirk Cameron. He maintains that early Christians dressed up in devil, goblin, and witch costumes to show that Jesus had vanquished these evils. “The costumes poke fun at the fact that the devil and other evils were publicly humiliated by Christ at his resurrection.” Real anthropologists, however, believe the holiday’s pagan origins are connected to harvest festivals.

Robertson also has a distorted view of history. On the 700 Club, he connected  LGBT activists, “radicals and … extremists,” with terrorists and the Spanish Inquisition. “No Christian in his right mind would ever try to enforce somebody against their belief or else suffer jail. They did that during the Inquisition, it was horrible, it was a black mark on our history, but it isn’t being done now.” He also said, “If the gays want to go out and do their gay sex, that’s one thing, but if they want to force you to accept and solemnify it by marriage, that’s another matter….” So Robertson thinks that gay sex is okay?

People are entitled to their beliefs, no matter how wacky. The problem with fundamental Christians, however, is that they can destroy the lives of their children with their narrow, inflexible approach to thinking and they try to destroy the lives of everyone else in the country. The far-right Christians will control Congress for the next two years; let’s see how successful they are.

April 6, 2014

Christians Want a U.S. Theocracy

Eight-year-olds are smarter than legislators, as Olivia McConnell from South Carolina proves. She wants a state fossil to go along with all the other state stuff such as tree, flower, bird, stone, fish, fruit, dog, opera, etc. The third-grader at Carolina Academy (Lake City) wrote her state lawmakers, Rep. Robert Ridgeway and Sen. Kevin Johnson, asking them sponsor a bill to make the woolly mammoth the official state fossil. She gave them three reasons:

  • One of the first discoveries of a vertebrae fossil in North America was on an S.C. plantation when slaves dug up wooly mammoth teeth from a swamp in 1725.
  • All but seven states have an official state fossil.
  • “Fossils tell us about our past.”

McConnell’s representatives  introduced bills on her behalf, and the state House passed it by 94 to 3. State Sen. Kevin Bryant (R), however, demanded an amendment with terminology from Genesis to give “the creator” credit for creating woolly mammoths and everything else.  Ruled out of order, he insisted that the bill explain that the mammoth was “created on the Sixth Day with the beasts of the field.”

Another GOP state senator who represents the district with Bob Jones University put a hold on the legislation. National attention forced the majority leader to bring the resolution to the floor without the “creator” reference but with the “sixth day” reference. The bill passed unanimously. The United States has officially become a theocracy.

Arizona may have backed down on a state law allowing discrimination in the state using the excuse of religious beliefs, but Mississippi’s Gov. Phil Byrant (R) has signed a similar bill for his state. According to the law, people’s “right to the exercise of religion” should not suffer a burden, which is defined as “any action that … compels any action contrary to a person’s exercise of religion.”  That term “includes, but is not limited to, the ability to act or the refusal to act in a manner that is substantially motivated by one’s sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.” In other words, people can deny goods, services, medical care, etc. to anyone and ignore civil rights legislation if they claim “exercise of religion.”

Other Christian claims from the last couple of weeks:

  • World Vision: “If we cannot love one another, how will we show Christ’s love to the world?” That was what President Richard Stearns said when one of the world’s biggest Christian charities decided to hire LGBT people who are either married or abstinent. The love lasted for only two days after Christians objected. The reversal of the former policy has now been reversed.
  • Pat Buchanan: God is on the side of Vladimir Putin because he is “planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity.” Putin was also right in annexing Crimea, and the decline of the U.S. began with declaring “[t]hat women and men are equal” and “[t]hat all races, religions and ethnic groups are equal.” Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s grandson, agrees that Putin is right about LGBT people because he’s “taken a stand to protect his nation’s children.”
  • Pat Robertson: Signing up for a health insurance plan will make personal information readily available, and the Affordable Care Act is “killing people.” That’s what Robertson said on air before he announced a safe telephone number for people to enroll in a private health insurance plan. The number goes to healthcare.gov.
  • Robertson asked Daniel Lapin, “What is it about Jewish people that make them prosper financially? You almost never find Jews tinkering with their cars on the weekends or mowing their lawns. That’s what Daniel Lapin says and there’s a very good reason for that, and it lies within the business secrets of the Bible.” Robertson added that Jews are “polishing diamonds, not fixing cars.” The far-right rabbi agreed and said that paying for such services is all about “taking care of God’s other children.”
  • In Robertson’s world, Jesus would not have had to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding because the bible calls for gay couples to be stoned to death. He seems to miss the good old times when he said, “But we don’t have that in this country here so that’s the way it is.” And atheists are possibly possessed by demons or survivors of rape or other abuse.
  • Pastor Steven Anderson (Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, AZ): Women are to be silent in church so that men can teach them their place during “learning time.” Chatting before the service and singing praises to God are okay. No “amens” out of them. A year ago, he preached about how women should not choose what they read or wear. They should also be banned from having sex, speaking in public, and leaving their homes. He probably agrees with Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson who thinks that women should not be allowed to vote.
  • The American Decency Association/One Million Moms of the American Family Association: These two groups are boycotting Honey Maid graham crackers because its “This Is Wholesome” ad includes a same-sex couple with children. ADA’s Steve Huston claims that the ad is part of Satan’s “attack on God’s design.”
  • Ralph Reed: It is becoming too easy for women with children to get a divorce from their husbands. The Faith and Freedom Coalition founder also said that the national debt is related to the decline in the nation’s morality.

Gay Crazy:

  • News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch: The News Corp chairman urged “all Irish” to boycott Guinness because they chose not to sponsor the discriminatory St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston.
  • Lt. Colonel Oliver North: The man arrested for illegal sales of arms to Iran said that the GOP must ban marriage equality just as the abolitionists fought to end slavery.
  • Bobby Jindal: The Louisiana governor claims that efforts to overturn bans on marriage equality are a war.
  • Ted Cruz: The GOP Texas senator who called on Congress to shut down the government calls the current administration’s support for LGBT equal right is an “abuse of power and lawlessness” and calls on a defense against this equality.
  • Fox News, the Christian Right, and the GOP: The far-right equates the “horror” of a business being required to sell a wedding cake to same-sex couples with the religious discrimination of the Holocaust and the Shia versus Sunni violence in Iraq.

Sex Ed Classes in the South:

  • Oxford (MS): Teachers asked students to take a piece of chocolate out of its wrapper and then pass it around the classroom. The message is that girls having sex are just as dirty as the candy becomes after it has been touched by all the class members. In that state, 76 percent of teenagers will have sex before they leave high school.
  • Texas: A school district told teachers to compare sex to used toothbrushes or chewed gum. No one wants either of these after they have been used; they just get thrown away.

U.S. Catholics:

  • Wilton Gregory, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta, apologized for his building a new $2.2 million home and may sell it. After parishioners protested, Gregory wrote: “I failed to consider the impact on the families throughout the Archdiocese who, though struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, tuition and other bills, faithfully respond year after year to my pleas to assist with funding our ministries and services.” Not all parishioners are convinced that he will leave his mansion.
  • Sister Jane Dominic Laurel told students that divorce and masturbation make guys gay, according to a the Dominican nun’s speech at a Charlotte Catholic High School (NC) assembly. After parents protested, her subsequent lectures were cancelled and she has requested a sabbatical.

Question of the Week:  Bible literalists claim that their good book opposes abortion, birth control, LGBTs, etc. Yet many verses in the book support the belief in a flat earth. Why don’t fundamentalist Christians oppose the belief in a round earth and boycott airplanes?

The God Finale: Almost a year ago when Colorado floods killed at least 8 people, Roy Ortiz lived because North Metro Rescue first responders saved him from drowning in a creek. Ortiz thinks that God saved him so he’s suing a fire district, four cities, a dive team member, and two Boulder County sheriff’s deputies for not closing the road. He wants $500,000 in damages from taxpayers. There are several questions about Ortiz’s actions, including the fact that he called his wife before he called 911 when he went into the water.

October 13, 2013

Day Thirteen of the GOP Government Shutdown: No Movement, GOP in Fantasyland

With the GOP holding the country hostage, one person is in control—Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). Late September 30, the House Rules Committee changed the standing House rules. Normally any member trying to address a disagreement between the House and the Senate would have the “privilege” to make a motion to bring the Senate bill to the floor of the House. The rules change just before the actual shutdown applies only to the CR keeping the government running.  that could keep the functioning of the federal government.

New rule: any motion to take up the Senate bill “may be offered only by the majority Leader or his designee.” That designee is Cantor, making him the only person in the 532 people currently serving in Congress who can break the deadlock. “I’ve never heard of anything like that before,” Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said.

The rules change may have led to an heated exchange on the House floor between Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Cantor’s floor director, Chris Vieson, after Democrats made requests for a vote for a clean CR. To avoid media attention—and make sure that members got their flights home—Vieson yelled that they were shutting down the debate and pulling the bill. Crowley asked Vieson if a staffer was shutting down democracy, and Vieson said, “That’s right.” Crowley told him that he was behaving in an inappropriate way. Cantor’s spokesman said that Crowley poked Vieson with an index finger; Crowley denied doing it. 

Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) said, “This is what happens in the public process when we stymie opposition, when we cut off debate, and when we continue to tilt on disaster by manufactured crises. It is time for us to reopen the government.” House members did manage to escape on Friday, planning to return tomorrow.

At this time, there is no movement toward opening the government, and Cantor and GOP members of Congress claim that there would not no problem if the debt ceiling is not raised in less than 72 hours. Reasonable people are horrified by their lack of concern. Why aren’t they afraid of what Businessweek, called “a financial apocalypse” that would cause a worldwide economic depression? 

Most of the Tea Party base, especially the leadership, are fundamentalist Christians whose religion controls their worldview. This is not a secularist movement interested primarily in promoting “fiscal conservatism.” Tea Partiers are people guided by magical thinking and belief. Pew Research shows that Tea Party members are likely to cite religious belief as the prime motivation for their political views. This latest power play from the GOP is simply a repetition of white fundamentalists to assert their “right” to control the country even if their politicians aren’t in power.

A movement controlled by fundamentalist Christians ignores any real dangers that their actions cause. Fundamentalist religion convinces followers to be more afraid of imaginary threats than real ones. People who believe that the Lord’s work is forcing the government into default in an attempt to eliminate Obamacare cannot see the real, negative effects of their beliefs. They simply continue to believe that the president is an agent of the devil and the world will devolve into mayhem and apocalypse if he is not stopped. 

With no reason, Christian conservatives such as Ellis Washington are convincing people that the ACA  will lead to “the systematic genocide of the weak, minorities, enfeebled, the elderly and political enemies of the God-state.” Twenty percent of Republicans believe Obama is the Antichrist.  Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner argued that President Obama is using health care legislation to promote “the destruction of the family, Christian culture” and demanded that Christians “engage in peaceful civil disobedience against President Obama’s signature health care law.” 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops joined the evangelicals with their demand that the GOP shut down the government rather than let Obamacare go into effect. The excuse was their objection to the requirement that insurance make contraception available without a copayment, saying ending this requirement matters more than “serving their own employees or the neediest Americans.”

Pat Necerato of the Christian News Network accused the supporters of the law of committing idolatry and accused people who want health care of being covetous. The Christian Post approvingly reported various Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, saying things like the health care law is “a profound attack on our liberties” and repeating “today is the day I will tell my grandchildren about when they ask me what happened to freedom in America.”

Rick Phillips, writing for Christianity.com, hinted that Obamacare might be predicted in Revelations, resulting in the End Times. Others went beyond hinting by falsely proclaiming a conspiracy theory of Obamacare requiring microchips planted in all citizens, the “mark of the beast” predicted in Revelations that portends the return of Christ and the end of the world. 

To people who believe in fire and brimstone, worldwide economic depression is no problem. Fundamentalist Christians minimize the problems of the real world while inventing imaginary ones. To these deniers, climate change doesn’t exist because they are more worried about abortion and LGBT rights. 

The far-right have become obsessed with the End Times; one-third of people in the U.S. believes that the Syrian conflict portends the end of the world. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed this is true because President Obama is intentionally sending arms to terrorists which tells her that“the leaf is on the fig tree.” 

Even more horrifying than her mythical approach to politics, however, is her delight in a worldwide war that would kill millions. “Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand,” Bachmann claimed. And most horrifying is that she has access to the nation’s most sensitive and highly classified materials because of her membership on the House Intelligence Committee. 

Three-fourths of the evangelicals who foresee God’s mass murder and hellfire believe they will escape any difficulties because the Rapture will whisk them off to a heaven before anything bad happens. This 19th-century invention took off in the late 20th century after pop culture products like the Left Behind series. The world’s end is also important to evangelicals because it proves they are right—they will have won the argument. There’s nothing like a fiery apocalypse to let people say, “I told you so!” That way they would see the non-believers punished and evangelicals would be instated as the rightful rules of all humanity.

Even Senate Chaplain Barry Black is fed up with Congressional stupidity. His opening prayers for Senate sessions have demonstrated increasing frustration. By today, he said in a Fox network interview that there’s a level of “insanity”  in the current government shutdown and ending the impasse will “take humility.”

When the shutdown seemed eminent, Black prayed, “Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis, empowering us to be responsible stewards of your bounty. May they remember that all that is necessary for unintended catastrophic consequences is for good people to do nothing.” Early in the shutdown, he said, “Unless you empower our lawmakers, they can comprehend their duty but not perform it.” On Day Two, he continued, “Save us from the madness.” 

By the fourth day of the shutdown, Black became even more direct: “Remove from them that stubborn pride. Forgive them for the blunders they have committed… the collateral damage of this government shutdown, transforming negatives into positives as you work for the good of those who love you.” He also said, “Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.” 

On Day Nine with the delay of benefits for military families, Black said, “Lord, when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on far-away battlefields, it’s time for our lawmakers to say enough is enough. Cover our shame with the robe of your righteousness.” By Day Eleven, Black called on the Lord to “give our lawmakers the wisdom to distinguish between truth and error. Give them a hatred of all hypocrisy, deceit and shame as they seek to replace them with gentleness, patience and truth.”

The looming disaster is caused by a small cabal of hard-right legislators and back-benchers pushing the entire GOP into a radically extremist position regarding the Affordable Care Act and other laws. Take a look at this interactive description of 20 people behind the conservative groups with the ability to make the lives of Republicans who seek compromise very, very difficult. 

It’s Sunday night. Black will return to pray tomorrow, and members of Congress are still being paid despite the government shutdown. 

November 25, 2012

Religion Struggling with Its Government Takeover

I find religion to be a peculiar belief because it rules most of the world, including parts of the United States, and yet people have such vast diversity in beliefs. People don’t even know how often they attend a religious institution. According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, 79 percent of Americans identify with an organized faith group, making the people in this nation more deeply religious than in many other countries including those in Europe. But are people in the U.S. as religious as they say? NPR’s science correspondent Shankar Vedantam looked into this theory.

Although 45 percent of the people say that they regularly attend a church or other religious service, Philip Brenner’s study of their activities through a self-reported diary indicates that only 24 percent of the people actually do this. Perhaps they want to represent themselves as religious. This almost double over-reporting of regular attendance is in sharp contrast to very little over-reporting among people in Western Europe.

Perhaps because they want to look religious, many people in the United States tolerate the intrusion of religion into government matters, similar to the stocks in Puritan New England. States that diligently pass laws preventing the Sharia, the Islam moral code, in their law, are comfortable using Christianity in laws preventing abortion and marriage equality and in sentencing convicted felons.

Judge Mike Norman (Muskogee County, OK) sentenced 17-year-old Tyler Alred to church attendance for ten years—nothing more. Alred was convicted of manslaughter after he killed the passenger in his car when it collided with a tree. Although Alred’s blood alcohol level was under the legal limit, by law he was driving under the influence because he was a minor.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles (Rock Hill, SC) did send Cassandra Tolley to prison after her conviction, but he added a provision to the eight-year sentence: mandatory bible study and a summary of the Book of Job. Tolley drove down the wrong side of a road and hit a car head on, seriously injuring two men. Her blood alcohol content was over four times the legal limit.

Fortunately, Gordon Klingenschmitt is no longer a Navy chaplain, especially after “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed. His claim is that that people who vote to support same-sex marriage are like those who wanted to crucify Jesus Christ. When asked if the election shows a movement toward “enlightenment” and that Jesus might approve of marriage equality, the chaplain responded that the interviewer confused “the Holy Spirit with a demonic spirit.”

In quoting Romans 1:32, Klingenschmitt said, “‘Knowing the judgment of God that those who commit such things, homosexual acts, for example, are not only worthy of death, not only for those who do them, but for those who have pleasure in those who do them.’” None of the 18 most common versions of this verse mentions homosexuality. In fact, that word does not appear in the bible.

The former chaplain also practices exorcism and has a new book—self-published—called The Demons of Barack H. Obama. When reminded that people in the military are supposed to support elections and democracy, Klingenschmitt said, “The only election in the New Testament was the election to crucify Jesus and let Barnabas go.”

With the winter holidays bearing down on us, the fundamentalist Christians are again lamenting the loss of Christmas. Pat Robertson got a head start when he said, “Christmas all over again. The Grinch is trying to steal our holiday. It’s been so beautiful. The nation comes together. We sing Christmas carols, we give gifts to each other. We have lighted trees and it’s just a beautiful thing. Atheists don’t like our happiness, they don’t want you to be happy, they want you to be miserable. They’re miserable so they want you to be miserable.”

Like Karl Rove, Robertson was stunned when President Obama won re-election. Last January he said that God had told him who the winner would be, but there seemed to be static in that communication. In talking about his confusion, Robertson said, “So many of us miss God, I won’t get into great detail about elections but I sure did miss it, I thought I heard from God, I thought I had heard clearly from God, what happened? You ask God, how did I miss it? Well, we all do and I have a lot of practice.”

The fundamentalist Christians have had a hard year. First they couldn’t get the candidate they wanted. Texas Gov. Rick Perry looked good back in the summer when he participated in a big rally in his state, but his odd behavior led them to conservative Catholic Rick Santorum who equally alienated most people. Mitt Romney survived only because he said very little and shifted with the wind.

The fundamentalists also failed to get any of the Catholics except the bishops riled after the free contraception kerfuffle. The “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign against President Obama was overshadowed by the “Nuns on the Bus” that showed the hypocrisy of Paul Ryan and the bishop leadership. In the end, 50 percent of Catholics voted for President Obama over the 48 percent that chose Romney.

During the crucial last month, fundamentalist candidates openly and frequently showed their ignorance. Senate Republican candidates Richard Mourdock (IN) and Rep. Todd  Akin (R-MO) helped people understand how extreme the conservative radical theology is. The candidates not only lost but most likely took others down with them.

In addition, fundamentalist Christians failed to turn out for this election, possibly because of the confident rhetoric from conservative pundits on Fox and other stations proclaiming Mitt Romney as a shoe-in for the presidency. Despite Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition that sent illegal voter guides to Ohio churches, the president improved his standing by three points with white evangelicals in that state over the 71 percent to 27 percent margin John McCain won four years ago.

The final blows for fundamentalist Christians were the loss of the presidency and the Senate and the wins for marriage equality in three states. Minnesota was a fourth state that refused to further legitimize bigotry. Even the massive “Vote Biblical Values” ad campaign from famed evangelist Billy Graham failed to stop the groundswells of support among other religious groups for marriage equality.

Far-right religious figures had earlier understood that they were losing the war against marriage equality. Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, reiterated this position when he said that the Religious Right should focus less on abortion and gay marriage and more on issues such as immigration reform, poverty, and increasing adoptions and foster care opportunities. We’ll wait to see if they go so far as to allow same-sex couples to participate in their grand schemes.

Meanwhile, the Church of England is having trouble with its own war on women after its laity rejected women bishops. Although the action was approved by the synod’s houses of bishops and clergy, only 324 synod members in the House of Laity voted to approve the ordination of women bishops, six short of the required two-thirds majority. As Williams said, “We have, to put it bluntly, a lot of explaining to do.” The next vote will probably not come until 2015.

 

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