Nel's New Day

December 25, 2019

Christmas by DDT, GOP

The purpose of Christmas, December 25, is to commemorate the birth of Christ—although he was likely born in spring. (December doesn’t have any lambs.) Those who celebrate the birth of Jesus glorify a refugee family of color fleeing fear of persecution as described in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew about the “flight into Egypt” from Bethlehem (Mt 2:12-15) to escape the infant’s slaughter by King Herod.  Later Jesus said that welcoming the stranger means welcoming Jesus (Matt. 25), a religious superseding of any laws designed to hinder, prevent, or outlaw care and compassion for refugees and migrants. He also told people to feed the hungry, sell possessions, and give the money to the poor while treating people with the love, generosity, and kindness that he modeled.

Oliver Willis with Media Matters tweeted:

“If only we had a seasonally appropriate story about middle eastern people seeking refuge being turned away by the heartless.”

[Check out Jesus and refugees on the internet to see conservatives blowing up at the very mention of this connection!]

On Christmas Day 2019, some people celebrate the refugee family, others the day’s culture of exchanging gifts and eating large meals. Yet millions of people in the United States lack the privileges of secure housing, food, and employment. Those who are safe might think of the disadvantages and misery caused by GOP lawmakers for almost two decades.

 

GOP policies have two major characteristics: give to the rich and take from anyone else because they are considered sub-human.

Adam Serwer’s 2018 essay “The Cruelty Is the Point,” published in The Atlantic, uses photographs of lynchings to illustrate shared pleasure from other people’s suffering. White men surrounding the hanging people enjoyed what they saw, just as lawmakers are pleased with their own cruelty from punitive laws toward those they view as “others.” People who don’t receive aid often resent those on programs such as food stamps, accusing them of being lazy and weak. The U.S. saves only $1.1 billion a year with the new rules taking food stamps from hungry people compared to the $1.3542 trillion expenditure for the military. has a minimal cost, compared to the wealth accruing to the top percentage of people in the U.S. from the tax cuts.

The first year that the tax cut for the wealthy and big business went into effect, businesses spent over $1 trillion in stock buybacks and dividend payment, more than one-hundred times the savings from making people go hungry. The explosive budget deficit from these tax cuts makes GOP lawmakers complicit with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to take even more from the poor with the excuse of balancing the budget.

On the southern border, the federal government tear gasses refugees and drives them back to Mexico to be raped and killed. Before the courts prevented family separation, the government separated families with no records of how to reunite them and put children in cages where they might be sexually assaulted. These are refugees like Jesus and his parents.

Because the conservatives on the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion from the Affordable Care Act optional for states, they can reject the provision that gave 90 percent of the expansion funding to states from the federal government. ACA funding allows states to reduce aid to hospitals for uncompensated costs and raises state tax revenues from a boosted economy. Yet 14 GOP-controlled states, several of them the poorest in the nation, turned down the neutral or even net positive expansion. Some of these states want to limit Medicaid even more with stringent work requirements, another action costing states money. The goal isn’t to make money; it’s to punish people by making their lives worse.

GOP lawmakers want to take Medicaid from everyone and cause others to lose health care—at least 20 million people by eliminating the ACA. People who lose health care can lose their work because of poor health and then their homes from bankruptcies through unreasonable expenses, causing less tax revenue. Without the ACA, older people will pay far more for prescriptions and health care premiums. Part of the ACA is to eliminate fraud and corruption in Medicare and Medicaid–$4 billion in its first year of 2011—but GOP lawmakers want continued corruption to benefit their big business donors.

DDT’s open hatred makes cruelty more acceptable. He doesn’t like Puerto Rico so his followers accept his refusal to send them aid appropriated by Congress. He wants the money sent instead to Texas and Florida, states that added to his electoral college total. DDT wants to support Russia, who interferes in U.S. elections on the part of Republicans so he threatens Ukraine by withholding military aid that would help Ukraine fight Russia. His followers echo DDT’s lying excuse of fighting “corruption” while accepting the massive corruption that DDT has brought to the federal government.  

DDT accepts indiscriminate killing and violence, whether in the U.S. or foreign countries. He refused to criticize Saudi Arabia for torturing and dismembering a U.S. resident and journalist and pardoned war criminals to use on his campaign trail. In his speeches and tweets, he encourages violence against his opposition, pretending surprise when his supporters carry out the violence and killing.

In its incessant worship of mammon, a greedy search for gain, DDT’s government kills people by eliminating regulations for greedy big businesses. Developed by the Nazis as a nerve gas, the pesticide chlorpyrifos causes brain damage in children, Parkinson’s disease, and forms of cancer.  Yet the EPA allows the chemical on fruits and vegetables, a chemical also dangerous for farmworkers and rural communities. Judges ordered a ban on chlorpyrifos in 2018, but chemical companies have EPA permission to keep making it—and money—as long as the case is in the courts. Actions from other agencies in favor of big business are equally destructive for humanity.

DDT not only rejects any thought of fighting climate change but also ridicules children who want to save the world for their future. He and his followers have been particularly vicious about the protests of Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old leader who ignores the GOP lawmakers’ push to give to the rich at any cost to everyone else.

Well-known for ridiculing disabled people, DDT mocks them at his rallies, and his sycophants follow suit. Highly religious Sarah Huckabee Sanders, hoping to be Arkansas’ governor, made fun of Joe Biden when he tried to explain the suffering of people who stutter. A GOP proposed rule change would take disability benefits from hundreds of thousands of people through further complicating Social Security eligibility payments. Ronald Reagan’s similar benefit cut took earned benefits from 200,000 people; he reversed the attack after public outcry protesting human suffering and death. The addition of a fourth disability category affecting 4.4 million recipients, many of them children and people 50-65 with poor health and no income, requires reviews every two years although health issues worsen with age.  

Throughout his almost three years, DDT has turned on LGBTQ people, literally making them sick. A meta-analysis of 300 scientific studies in the U.S. shows overwhelming evidence that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity damages the health of LGBTQ people. Mental health problems include depression, anxiety, suicide, and PTSD while physical problems include substance use, heart disease, and high blood pressure. In states implementing “license to discriminate” laws, “the proportion of sexual minority adults reporting mental distress increased by 10.1 percentage points.” These effects are “compounded” for LGBTQ people of color, queer youth, and transgender people. Again, poor health takes from tax revenue and adds to costs for care. Poor health from discrimination will also affect immigrants, people of color, the poor, and everyone else suffering from discrimination.

Laughter at cruelty is rampant among DDT’s followers—his mocking Puerto Rican accents after thousands were killed by Hurricane Maria, women talking about sexual abuse, calls to “lock her up,” ridicule of opponents’ Christian faith—there seems to be no low bar for DDT’s abuse of humanity and his supporters admiration of his cruelty. Cruelty is the new norm for DDT’s supporters.

People who defend DDT worship him because “he tells it like it is.” On Christmas Day 2019, this is “like it is.” It’s Christmas Day: Jesus was an immigrant refugee and person of color who wouldn’t like the way that Republicans are running the United States. As DDT’s acting chief of staff would say, “Get over it.” And maybe try to do better.

In Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge had an epiphany after visits from the ghost of his former business partner and three spirits—Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. On Christmas 2019, we can only hope for a similar epiphany in 2020.

 

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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