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.

July 20, 2014

‘What Would Jesus Do?’ – Christians Claim to Know

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:46 PM
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Prionda C. Hill, 25, ran over motorcyclist Anthony Oliveri and blamed God. She was behind the wheel of a car in Fort Wayne (IN) “when God told her He would take it from here.” The “accident” broke all Oliveri’s ribs on the left side, damaged his spleen, bruised his kidney, and gave him road rash over most of his back and limbs. Fortunately—according to Oliveri—God saved his life, perhaps in apology for being a bad driver.

In Orange County, elementary teacher Thomas Hammer, 58, testified that God told him to attack a skateboarder—for the second time.

That’s just a bit of information sent from on high as people ask for Jesus’ advice, including what kind of assault rifle they should buy.

Jesus would build a fence to keep  unaccompanied minors from Central America out of the United States, according to Texas megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress. He said that it’s “the most compassionate thing to do” because the lack of a fence is “enticing  children and mothers to make this dangerous journey.”

Jesus would oppose universal health care, according to over three-fourths of Republicans in a YouGov poll. The GOP scripture reads:

“You were hungry and thirsty, so I eliminated funding for Meals on Wheels and food banks. You were a stranger, so I vilified you and demanded you be deported. You were naked, so I called you an evil liberal who hates conservative family values. You were sick, so I repealed your only hope for health care. You were in prison, so I tortured you.”

Jesus would oppose stricter gun laws, according to the same survey, although Jesus didn’t face guns.

A woman called on Jesus—and then Pat Robertson–for advice after her son heard sounds sending shock waves through his body and then felt as if someone had hit him hard in the stomach. Jesus didn’t answer, but Pat Robertson diagnosed the problem as demonic possession.  He advised the mother to get “somebody with you that understands the spiritual dimension and spiritual warfare…. you don’t want some quack in there that’s casting out nonexistent demons!”  She should also think about her family: “Do you have anybody involved in the occult, somebody in witchcraft or tarot cards or psychic things?”

On his 700 Club, Robertson also claimed that watching the show can cure asthma and rebuking deafness will heal the disorder. When this didn’t work for the caller, Robertson blamed her for not doing the rebuking correctly.

Because Christians rule in the United States, the entire populace is largely forced to abide by their beliefs. The fundamentalists’ persecution complex has made them even stronger in their belief that they must force their beliefs on everyone:

Oppose protections and rights for children: The U.S. stands alone with Somalia in failing to ratify  the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Christian justification is that the Bible tells parents to hit their children. Parents own children and can be killed in accordance with the father’s religious beliefs and other priorities.

Denying youth accurate information about their bodies: Christians mandated that the federal government spend one billion dollars during the past decade on abstinence-only education programs–which failed–because fundamentalists think that virginity is next to godliness and teaching prohibition works. Over one-fourth of girls become pregnant before they are 20 years old, and half the girls who give birth in high school drop out of education. Only two percent of them graduate from college.

Demean and subjugate women: Christians refuse to believe in the dignity and equality of women, starting with the rejection of females in church leadership. Even female GOP legislators believe that women are not smart enough to understand the GOP platform.

Prevent intentional childbearing: Martin Luther wrote, “If a woman dies in [child]bearing, let her die; she is there to do it.” That’s the current belief of legislators who prevent women from family planning by closing women’s clinics and blocking contraception. Last month, Christians in the U.S. Congress voted to slash family planning aid by 25 percent, and the five Catholic men on the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the “religious freedom” of corporations is more important than the right of working women to care for their health and their families.

Undermine science: Valerie Tarico writes, “We know now that the Genesis creation story is myth, neurotransmitters rather than demons cause mental illness, mandrake roots and dove blood don’t improve female fertility or cure skin diseases, and the cognitive structures of the human mind predispose us to certain kinds of religious belief.” In fighting solutions to climate change, resource depletion, and growing health problems, Christians follow their centuries-old history: their personal ends justifies the means.

Promote holy war: In the current debate on Israel actions toward the Palestinians in Gaza, fundamentalist Christians cheering Israelis because “it is written in the scripture.” Tarico describes the conversation with Evangelical relatives about the Iraq war that led to her epiphany to reject Bible worshop:

“From the vantage of my relatives and my childhood church ‘family,’ George Bush needed no diplomatic or cultural expertise; he was Born Again. He didn’t need to seek input from his earthly father about the invasion, because he asked his Heavenly Father. Besides, Jesus is coming soon and war in the Middle East is predicted in the Bible. That makes it not only inevitable, but—in a manner of speaking—desirable.”

Abuse and kill LGBTQ people: Christian missionaries cause African and Latin American LGBTQ people to live with the threat of violent death. Oppression in Uganda, Nigeria, and Russia comes from U.S. Christians who moved their homophobic message to these countries after failing in the United States.

Destroy the earth for future generations: The Bible promotes the belief that humans are more important than any other being and that this world is only prelude to the streets of gold, leading Christians to the belief that humans should do anything, no matter how destructive, and there is no need to care for future generations on the earth.

Heritage Academy in Mesa (AZ) is a prime example of how Christians distort history to promote their agenda. Required reading in the charter school, supported financially by taxpayers, is Cleon Skousen’s The 5,000 Year Leap and The Making of America which teach the lies that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and that blacks were better off under slavery than they are as a free people.

According to Fred Albert Shannon’s essay:

“If [black children] ran naked it was generally from choice, and when the white boys had to put on shoes and go away to school they were likely to envy the freedom of their colored playmates.”

After Americans United for Separation of Church and State brought the teachings of the Heritage Academy to light, Glenn Beck gave a sales pitch for Skousen’s book: “Teach it to your children. Read it to them at night. Bring it to the dinner table. It will be the only chance they have to actually learn American history.”

On his Facebook page, GOP candidate Jim Brown for the Arizona 2nd Congressional District wrote in a post that slavery was good for blacks because slave owners took care of their livestock. Two years earlier, an Arkansas Republican called slavery a “blessing in disguise.” The Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) defended slavery in 2013, and the same year a Nevada Republican said he would vote to bring slavery back if his constituents wanted him to do so.

Christians who want to believe in the myths of the Bible should have the right to do this. They should not, however, have the right to foist their arrogant control on everyone else. The Bible comes from “a time of incredible brutality—tribalism, warfare, destitution, disease, murder, misogyny, sexual slavery and superstition of biblical proportions.” We should not have to go back to those times because Christians lead our country.

Jesus would probably not want this to happen.

January 3, 2012

What Would Jesus Think of the Candidates?

Every day all the Republican presidential candidates fall over each other trying to move farther to the right (although it seems impossible to go farther!) and convince the fundamental religious people that each one of them is the most religious. But What Would Jesus Think? From the stories published about him in the bible, he would be pretty disgusted. These candidates and their followers are people who think that the United States should be a theocracy. It’s pretty evident that Jesus does not play into their belief that God should run the country.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”—Jesus

By this rule about 1 percent of the people in the United States aren’t going to get into that kingdom, but they are graciously making sure that the other 99 percent will go. Rick Perry lauds his state’s tax system in which the poorest 20 percent of Texans generally pay more than four times in state and local taxes of their overall income than the richest 1 percent of the people in the state. That’s because Texas counts on sales and excise taxes for income gathering. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan would have saved $1.4 million a year for the taxpayers in the top 0.1 percent making more than $2.7 million. (Yes, I know Cain is gone, but his ideas aren’t.)

Mitt Romney’s tax plan would save Koch Bros up to $8.7 billion each. Romney’s philosophy of curing the foreclosure problem, according to one debate, was to “let it run its course, to hit the bottom and let investors buy the home.” Michelle Bachmann likes the China approach because they let their poor people rot and die in the streets.

The candidates missed the story about Jesus’s socialist action of throwing the money changers out of the temple.

“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”—Jesus

Candidates and their followers who support this guideline must be totally sinless. The cheering at debates for Perry’s execution of 234 death-row inmates during his term and Ron Paul’s response to a question that he would let someone without health insurance just die have become infamous. Cain also got cheers for possibly killing immigrants trying to come into the country from Mexico.

Paul also has support from a religious leader who wants to kill the gays. Perry is milder about LGBT people: he just wants to jail them.

“Peacemakers” are “blessed” and would be considered “sons of God.”—Jesus

Most of the candidates defend waterboarding, torture that used against terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay. (Note the word “suspects.”) Those who think that waterboarding is not that uncomfortable haven’t had it used on them. Perry said he would defend the use of torture techniques “until the day I die.”

Except for Libertarian Paul, the candidates unanimously endorsed invading and bombing other countries. Newt Gingrich was very specific, delighting in “taking out their scientists” and “breaking up their systems, all of it covertly, all of it deniable.” Rick Santorum believes in long-term wars; he thinks that our Good versus Evil Battle against Muslamonazism will be “1000 years long.”

Any man who “looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”—Jesus

Gingrich went much farther than lusting; he acted on his impulses and then lied about his first wife wanting a divorce. The lies were after he said that he cheated on his wife because he was “driven by how passionately I felt about this country” and thus “worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”  When the religious right wanted to vote for him (remember those two weeks?), they forgave him because he had repented.

More recently than Gingrich’s peccadilloes were Cain’s affairs which the religious folk declared were either lies on the part of the women or just the women’s fault. As customary in our society, the advantage goes to the poor abused male.

A look at the candidates shows that Rick Santorum’s statement about Romney four years ago is still accurate: “Sometimes the best isn’t that great, but it’s the best.” Speaking of Santorum, he’s finally getting his brief day in the sun at the Iowa caucus. With about half the “votes” in, he’s a few votes ahead of Romney. Sometimes the best isn’t that great ….

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