Nel's New Day

May 14, 2017

DDT: Religion, Mother’s Day

Evangelicals may not be as supportive of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) as in the past, but the far right Christian nationalists (aka white supremacists) are still clinging to him. Their heritage is creating an extensive private school system after Brown v. Board of Education (1954) ordered desegregation. Because of that, Jerry Falwell, Sr. developed his fame in founding and defending the “segregation academies.” When the federal government blocked tax-exempt status for private segregated schools in 1971, religious schools burgeoned throughout the South with the sole goal of preventing racial mixing. At the same time, the evangelicals fought to keep sex discrimination by opposing the ERA and then developed a strong political stance against legal abortion, sex education, and contraceptive access. Collaboration of corporations, that wanted a government that gave them money, and religion, that oppose civil and voting rights, made a strong voting bloc. The evangelicals ignored DDT’s sexual assaults and multiple divorces as long he used virulent racist rhetoric.

Another evangelical argument in support of DDT is their belief in the rapture. DDT believes in chaos, and evangelicals think that he is God’s weapon to bring the righteous closer to the event that will destroy the world and raise the believers to Heaven. They began to worship DDT when he pushed the conspiracy theory that President Obama was born in a foreign country and that he is secretly a Muslim. An international capitalist with investments in over 20 countries, DDT became a symbol for anti-globalism to conspiracy theorists. As a result, DDT is in the center of racist, anti-woman conspiracy theorists. He alone can make the United States into an all-white nation. Their solution is to burn down the country, and DDT is willing to carry out their plans.

As Valerie Tarico  points out, DDT supporters view him as a kind of god, with great similarity to the one in the Old Testament. He incessantly tries to prove his power to people, even rigging his microphone so that his voice sounds powerful. As an insatiable attention seeker, he displays the same characteristics that the bible demands that people grovel before him and prove their loyalty, just like DDT demanded of former FBI Director James Comey before he fired him. Like the Old Testament god, DDT is cruel and sadistic as well as racist and prejudiced. They both reject the handicapped and demean women. Revenge is also a strong characteristic of both DDT and the evangelical god, and the bible is as contradictory as DDT. Science in the bible is garbage, but both of them promise riches for following them. Biologist Richard Dawkins summed up Jehovah in a sentence: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Yup, that’s DDT. Except for the fiction.

Evangelicals have used the bible to justify DDT’s actions such as extreme vetting. A panel at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference was titled: “If Heaven Has a Gate, a Wall, and Extreme Vetting, Why Can’t America?” In The Guardian, Arwa Mahdawi provided other suggestions for following the bible:

  • Marry your rib: Conservatives used the myth of Adam marrying Eve, made from Adam’s rib, to prevent marriage equality so they could take the story to its logical conclusion.
  • Pay taxes with magic fish: Peter did it after Jesus told him to catch a fish that would have money for taxes in its mouth. 
  • Offer up virgin daughters to be raped as in Sodom: Enough said.

Today Mother’s Day is celebrated in 40 countries around the world. Most people see the day as just another commercial enterprise and don’t realize that it began in the 1850s when a women formed clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination. During the Civil War commemorated the day to mourn their fallen soldiers. They also tended wounded soldiers and worked for peace. In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, composer of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” issued a widely read “Mother’s Day Proclamation” calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.  [More history here.]

Before speaking at great length about football during his graduation address at the evangelical Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell and now operated by his son, DDT spoke briefly about today’s celebration:

“And especially this weekend, let’s make sure we give a really extra special thanks to the moms. But in all of this excitement don’t forget that tomorrow is Mother’s Day, right? I had a great mother, she’s looking down, now but I had a great mother. I always loved Mother’s Day.”

The man of family values, representing the party of family values, didn’t see his wife, the mother of his son, or his son on Mother’s Day. DDT was busy golfing with his buddies at the Trump National Golf Course in Virginia, four states away from his wife and son, on his 21st golf excursion in 112 days since he was inaugurated. He did tweet:

 

“Wishing @FLOTUS Melania and all of the great mothers out there a wonderful day ahead with family and friends!”

He picked “friends” over family.

Melania Trump tweeted this photo of her and Barron, her son with DDT, with the message: Happy Mother’s Day!

April 20, 2014

Fox Declares War on Religious Freedom amid Easter, Passover Celebrations

Several religious celebrations—or at least commemorations—took place during the past week.

Exodus_MapPassover began last Monday and lasts until Tuesday night, also Earth Day. The festival, which always begins on the night of the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (about March 21), is a remembrance of the Jewish liberation in ancient Egypt over 3,300 years ago when God delivered the Jews from the Pharohs. According to the story, Moses led his people across the desert for 40 years before they came to the Promised Land.

Last Tuesday, I was privileged to attend a Seder with six other women. This structured event includes eating proscribed foods and retelling the story of the exodus. The focus of a Seder is the Jewish freedom from slavery, but our leader added the dimensions of feminism, humanism, and Buddhism with a large dash of humor. We read aloud the Haggadah that she had prepared, answering the four questions addressing the issue of what sets apart that night and talking about other rituals connected with the Seder.

I have no Jewish heritage, but the meaning of the Seder applies to all peoples. As our leader wrote:

“In modern times, the Passover Seder is again imbued with fresh meaning, in which we are called to consider the plight of all oppressed beings, human and non-human of the world and to reconfirm our commitment to make their struggles our own….

“In Judaism, there is a concept of tikkum olam, which means healing the world, which is one approach to bringing about an Age of Peace. It’s about each person’s responsibility to do what we can to help make the world a better place. We can do that by trying to be loving and kind and contributing some of our time, talent, and treasure toward helping out where we find the opportunity. We hope we can leave the world a little better than it was when we came to it.”

Sharing this tribute to an ancient story that still rings true today has made me more thoughtful about life’s connections and richer in my experiences.

Holy Week this year occurred at almost the same time as Passover. This last week of Lent, including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, leads up to Easter.

Easter, like Passover,is based on the Hebrew lunar calendar. The date is always the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Spring Equinox. Both Passover and Easter are taken from Pagan celebrations surrounding the return of light in spring. Early Christians took the philosophy that Pagans would be more likely to accept the new religion if it kept their Pagan practices.

The name Easter comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, Ostera or Eostre, who was annually celebrated for thousands of years before the birth of Christ. Colored eggs represent the light of spring. Egyptians, Persians, and Chinese all had customs of coloring eggs, and a Babylonian legend refers to the “queen of heaven” coming from a giant egg that fell from the sky. Pope Paul V (1605-16021) referred to the “wholesome sustenance” of the egg “in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Bunnies, another Easter symbol, represent fertility. Somehow, Easter celebrates the rabbit, which births live young, supposedly produces Easter eggs. Thus a Pagan symbol for new life is somehow tied to the resurrection of Jesus and a story about a bunny laying eggs.

The Unholy War on Easter is a conservative celebration during the time before Easter. Not satisfied with declaring that progressives have declared wars on Halloween and Christmas, Fox network devoted ten segments to what Bill O’Reilly called the continued “war on Judeo-Christian tradition.” Fox’s accusations:

  • O’Reilly said, “The goal is to marginalize religious opposition to secular programs.” His complaint was that President Obama and the White House empowered “secular progressives” to pressure school districts around the country to eliminate terms like “Easter bunny” and “Easter egg.”
  • Fox & Friends First replayed O’Reilly’s ranting, and co-host Heather Nauert asked, “What the heck is a Spring egg anyway?”
  • Fox & Friends Sunday guest co-host Jesse Watters echoed O’Reilly’s remarks and accused people who want to remove the word Easter from school activities of causing pain to most people.
  • The Fox Five co-host Eric Bolling declared an attack on Easter when the principal of an Alabama middle school directed her school to not call an egg hunt an “Easter egg” hunt in order to respect others’ religion.
  • Six segments appeared on March 27 about the Alabama school’s decision twice, asking for audience opinion and ridiculing the way that the principal talked.
  • Gretchen Carlson said that that the last week had only two religious celebrations, Passover and Easter. She said the problem would be solved if both of them were included. She missed these.

April 13-16: Water Festivals – Buddhism (a cleansing ritual to welcome the new year)
April 14: Baisakhi New Year – Sikh
April 15: Lord’s Evening Meal – Jehovah’s Witness (memorial of Christ’s death)
April 15: Hanuman Jayanti – Hindu (a celebration of the birth of Hanuman, the Vanara god)
April 21: First Day of Ridvan  – Bahá’í (the commencement of Bahá’u’lláh’s prophethood)
April 22: Ardavisht – Zoroastrian (the day to pay tribute to Fire or other sources that illuminate)

  • Father of the war against Easter, Bill O’Reilly, concluded the week’s war with stating that “Christianity is on the run in this country,” and “You rarely see those kinds of assaults against Jews or Muslims.” He also claimed that “the 10 percent who would be upset by the Easter bunny, they should be institutionalized, by the way.”

jesusIn protest against the lack of separation of church and state, the Freedom from Religion Foundation first posted an anti-Easter sign in the Wisconsin state capital and then put up two eight-foot banners featuring Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

5x8-Thomas-Jefferson-banner_proof2 left

freedom from religion

 

 

 

The display countered the Jesus in Daley Plaza with a 10-food image of the deity and a 19-foot cross. Fox network says that expressing a position other Christianity in the public square is an “unholy” attack on Christianity; the founding fathers would certainly disagree.

Warren (MI) Mayor Jim Fouts believes so much in freedom of religion that he let a Christian group put a “Prayer Station” inside City Hall. When Freedom from Religion asked to have a “Reason Station” to promote separation of church and state with secular thought, reason, and logic, Fouts explained that only the Christian station is protected under the First Amendment. He said, “I emphasize one thing. The government cannot restrict an individual’s freedom of speech, but an individual cannot restrict the government’s freedom of speech.” Maybe the government, like corporations, will become persons.

One final comment about the gorgeous “blood moon” on the first night of Passover. At least one Christian is making a lot of money on it by promoting fear among fundamentalist Christians who reject scientific reasons for natural phenomena. Pastor John Hagee, has released a book, bringing his total to over 30, to explain how this event signifies the coming of the Rapture that sweeps all god-fearing Christians off to the heavens while the rest of us stay here to burn. Author of books such as Earth’s Final Moments and Jerusalem Countdown, Hagee heads up San Antonio’s mega-church Cornerstone Church and a multi-million-dollar media empire. His money, that he gets from both the rich and the poor, helps him control GOP politics and funded the largest pro-Israel religious-based lobbying group in the world.

His founding of the 1.3 million member Christians United for Israel (CUFI) has made him one of 50 people having the greatest influence over the GOP’s foreign policy, according to Foreign Policy magazine. His hawkish approach supports a war-like opposition to Iran if Israel should decide to act aggressively toward the country. Researcher and writer Rachel Tabachnick described Hagee’s philosophy:

“Christian Zionists view themselves as ‘fishers’ who must befriend and persuade Jews to move to Israel before the ‘time of the hunters.’ Hunters are those who will violently force the remaining Jews around the world to leave their respective nations and flee to Israel.”

Hagee’s new book, Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change, points out that all four eclipses during this 18-month period occur within Jewish celebrations. April 15, 2014 and April 4, 2015 are during Passover, and October 8, 2014 and September 28, 2015 take place during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. His conclusion is “that a rapture will occur where Christians will be taken to heaven, Israel will go to war in a great battle called Armageddon, and Jesus will return to earth.” Something will happen in the Middle East within the next two years that will change history.

As proof of his theory, Hagee cites Acts 2:19-20: “And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.” His book is #4 on the New York Times best-seller list in the “how to” section, and he won’t be proved wrong in his prophecies because he has no specific timeline. He just gets to keep raking in money from the ignorant.

While fundamentalist Christian leaders bilk their followers out of billions without paying their fair share of taxes, we’ll look forward to see what the coming year brings. I prefer the Seder approach of moving toward freedom and peace.

AGR Daily News Service

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