Tag Archives: religion

Random religion-related links

“hat’s where this weird little story gets really interesting and challenging. Because Abraham is a righteous man. And what does the righteous man do? The righteous man pleads for Sodom.“‘

No, Biden’s state department defending the rights of non-Christians around the world is not the same as promoting atheism. But lies that liberals and Democrats hate God — even with lifelong Catholic Biden at the helm — are a Republican reflex.

And here’s another reflex, Lauren Boebert blaming her husband’s indecent exposure arrest was the woman’s fault.

Newt Gingrich claims liberals are the real theocrats: “it’s a cult of environmentalism, it’s a cult of transgenderism. It’s a cult of income redistribution. You’ve got a whole list of things. It’s a cult of anti-white racism.” Gingrich became an irrelevant loudmouth when he left office, but it seems were stuck with him.

“The defendants were also accused of trying to illegally break away from the denomination to keep Stocker in the pulpit.”

Jesse Lee Peters, a right-wing misogynist preacher who condemned Brett Kavanaugh for having too many daughters, is virulently anti-gay. At least publicly.

Another day, another Christian minister groomer. Another grooming pastor has won $2 million in a lawsuit over guards beating him up in prison. Depressingly it seems he was on the right side in that case.

Senator James Lankford used to direct youth programming at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center. After a statutory rape case there some years back, he claimed that 13 year olds such as the victim can be consensual sex partners. Um, no.

Some pastors and church officials accused of assault or harassment have a simple solution: sue the accuser.

“They encountered a climate more like Lord of the Flies, where staff were given free rein to restrain and beat students, and where some kids were emotionally and sexually abused. They claim Agapé has functioned like a “cult” and “Christian torture compound” for decades, allowing adults to manhandle teenagers and withhold food, water, and proper clothing.

“The priest had gotten my home phone and talked to my dad prior to me getting home and telling him what was going on,” Pfisterer said. “And I got beat for lying to him. And so, I never said another word to anyone.” — one of the stories coming out now that California has temporarily suspended the statute of limitations in sex-abuse cases.

Anti-gay activist Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council has now registered as a church: it’s “no longer required to file a public tax return, known as a Form 990, revealing key staffer salaries, the names of board members and related organizations, large payments to independent contractors and grants the organization has made. Unlike with other charities, IRS investigators can’t initiate an audit on a church unless a high-level Treasury Department official has approved the investigation.”

“‘Preying on the poor is Bad’ is not a shared moral premise and won’t be received as one” because for right-wing Christians the Golden Rule isn’t enough.

So if Arizona Republican candidate Jerome Davison truly believes his claims the Democrats are giving birth to Antichrist, what does he imagine he can do about it? If the prophecies in the Book of Revelation are coming to pass, electing him or re-electing Trump ain’t going to do squat against the will of God that the end times begin. I’d never suggest a religious man is lying to get votes from suckers, but — okay, I’d totally suggest that.

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Undead Sexist Cliche: It’s not hypocrisy, men and women are just different!

As I’ve mentioned before, some conservatives and non-conservative dupes are insisting that with Roe overturned, right-to-lifers will now happily set up government programs that will make life easier for the pregnant woman. Which they’ve failed to do at the federal or state level prior to Dobbs because, um, reasons?

Writing in the NYT, Jamelle Bouie explains why it’s never going to happen: “”This distance — between the rhetoric of “life” and the reality of conservative Republican governance — only looks like hypocrisy. In truth, it is perfectly consistent. That’s because the Republican ideal of a “pro-family” agenda is girded on traditional hierarchies. Reproductive autonomy, up to and including the right to get an abortion, weakens hierarchies of gender. And the social safety net — especially one that extends directly to mothers and children — undermines the preferred conservative social order of isolated, atomized households kept in line through market discipline.

If the goal of abortion opponents and politicians is to encourage life and promote families, then, yes, their interests and priorities are at odds with their actions. But if the goal is a more rigid and hierarchical world of untrammeled patriarchal authority, then, well, things are pretty much going according to plan.”

Bingo. From the point of view that men and women are just different, with women on the bottom, a lot of things make perfect sense. For example, right-wing misogynist (and Confederacy nostalgist) Douglas Wilson admits that religious conservatives don’t slut shame men the way they do women, but that’s because “A key that opens a hundred locks can claim to be a master key. A lock that opens to a hundred keys can only claim to be pretty much worthless.” And he’s totally not saying that it’s cool when guys sleep around … even though he is. Of course this is the same guy who’s view of sex is that “the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party [never trust anyone who says ‘egalitarian’ as a bad thing]. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.” It’s just a fact of life, so suck it up, ladies (Wilson also thinks it’s unfair to keep pedophiles away from children).

In case you’re wondering, Wilson’s views put him solidly in the right-wing mainstream. They give lip service to male chastity but “boys will be boys” — there’s no real shame if a guy doesn’t give his bide the gift of his virginity on their wedding night.

As I’ve said before, religious conservative policies are the fruit of a poisonous tree, completely tainted by their theological misogyny. I doubt they’re at all troubled that some pharmacists and doctors are refusing to prescribe methotrexate for women — it’s a medical abortion drug that also treats arthritis and lupus pain — but men can get it prescribed just fine.

Liberal evangelical Fred Clark has often pointed out that being anti-abortion is often used as an excuse to justify — well, pretty much anything. Sure, they’re not doing anything to help rape victims forced to bear a child, but you support murdering babies! They have the moral high ground! And that also excludes things like lying about a 10-year-old rape victim having to leave Ohio to get an abortion — she doesn’t exist, liberals made her up! Oh, she exists and the guy pled guilty? Of course they’re not apologizing for being wrong! The rapist was an illegal immigrant, that’s what matters! And Ohio totally has a rape exception in its abortion laws! No, it doesn’t. Besides, the abortion isn’t a real abortion.

The state’s anti-abortion AG (who claimed the crime didn’t happen) says that the life and health of the mother exemption would totally have covered this, but I can understand why a doctor wouldn’t want to bet on that interpretation. And while one columnist objected that the only source for the original newspaper story was the abortion doctor, and she’s “an activist” so she’s biased! As Nieman Lab says, ” If performing or receiving an abortion now counts as activism, well, then journalists will need to be okay quoting “activists,” unless they only want to tell the anti-abortion movement’s side.” Which is heavy on the lying — as noted in this twitter thread, a woman now insisting right-wingers completely support lifesaving medical abortions also claims abortions are never necessary to save lives.

(Side note: the law says abortion information doctors have to give women is no longer vetted by the state ob/gyns’ association but by “independent health experts.” I presume that means bullshit warnings backed up by religious conservative lies).

As Michelle Goldberg says, if the forced-birthers such as the AG really believe a 10-year-old rape victim (and at that age, it’s always rape — 10 year olds can’t legally consent) is entitled to an abortion, they could write that into the law. They won’t because a large part of the movement would object (maybe the politicians would too): forced-birth attorney James Bopp says that under the model legislation he’s written “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child.” She’s 10. There is no damn benefit to a 10-year-old bearing a child.

Don’t get me wrong, they don’t care when members of Team Conservative are caught being hypocrites. But from their point of view, a lot of what looks like hypocrisy isn’t.

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Like a prayer

” Madonna has been involved in satanism from the very beginning. For reasons I have yet to figure out, the global elite are still intent on using this now fifty-something woman concerning their end time agenda. “— One religious conservative’s paranoia about Madonna, which Fred Clark puts under scrutiny. Among other points, he notes that the writer considers her views about secret conspiracies to be unremarkable, mainstream Christianity.

As you may have heard, it looks like an upcoming Supreme Court case will bring back school prayer. Which won’t stop evangelical conservatives whining about how they’re persecuted. Or one Fox host arguing opposition to school prayer justifies shutting down public education. Or refusing to name a court building after an honored judge who made the right ruling in a prayer case

Plenty of conservatives, such as Newt Gingrich, would like to go beyond school prayer and impose a national Christian religion. But as Clark says again (I’m linking to a whole bunch of his posts today) — which sect, Newt? Which of the many flavors of Christianity do they intend to pick? Is speaking of tongues Satanic? Will Mormons and Catholics be accepted as Christians (I know plenty of Protestants who say No! to both)? We should challenge people on this point as often as possible.

Bigotry is the antidote to education.

“The core belief of hegemonic religion is that religion cannot be freely exercised unless it is also established in law.”

Back in the 1990s and early 21st century, there was an effort at racial reconciliation in the evangelical community. It died with Trayvon Martin.

A conservative Christian pastor argues George Washington’s slaveowning wasn’t inconsistent with his Christian faith because he was a compassionate slaveowner. As noted at the link, bullshit. But I can see why conservatives flinch from teaching accurate history of racism if this is what they want to believe.

I’ve never bought the idea that it’s somehow a moral compromise to provide wedding licenses or services for a wedding you personally disapprove of. But the battle goes on. Happily Virginia rejected a bill that would have given religious groups the freedom to discriminate.

“This is the great fear of all religious hegemons and it arose, then as now, from the great incomprehension of such believers. They could not conceive of the world that Roger Williams imagined and advocated — a world in which religious belief is voluntary. ” — Clark on the horror of many Americans when they learned the new national constitution didn’t impose a state religion.

Wannabe Georgia Senator Herschel Walker brings up the old argument that monkeys can’t have evolved into humans because monkeys are still here. Apparently he thinks (or pretends to) that it was some magic transformation rather than a multi-generational thing.

One thing about religious conservatives, they have no problem ignoring the Bible’s prohibition on bearing false witness against others.

Here’s a bit of doubletalk: Oklahoma insists banning nonbinary birth certificates is based on science, yet the governor openly admits it’s based on his Christian faith.

Lots of Christians (myself included) have taken the covid vaccines. But Rep. Matt Gaetz pretends military vaccine mandates are meant to drive Christians out of the military.

Unsurprisingly, some Christian adoption agencies that discriminate against gay would-be parents are also willing to discriminate against Jews,.

Christian opposition to LGBTQ book displays has led to the library not only having no exhibits about relationships or gender but banning the romance book club. In Florida, Walton County (near my former home) has banned a cute book on babies.

And meanwhile the right-wing pretense they’re serving God by fighting pedophiles continues. After all, it’s an excuse to ask for money. Of course, as Clark says, this kind of thing has a long history. And yet, somehow, we won’t see the same outcry against Robert Fenton, a pastor who allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old when he was in his thirties. The pastor of the church they both attended says Fenton compared the relationship to Joseph marrying a much younger Mary — not the first time I’ve heard that excuse.

Some Christians are big on spiritual warfare — which somehow always equates to protecting straight white male power.

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It’s not about winning (and other religious links)

As Jack Kirby once observed, humans are really bad at living by their ideals. It’s much easier to turn them into flags, then go and kill everyone carrying a different flag. The idea that our religion, for instance, is about something bigger than “our side wins!” is a difficult one.

Case in point, Donald Trump Jr. informs young conservatives that they’re playing too nice: We’ve turned the other cheek  … I understand the mentality but it’s gotten us nothing,” he complained. “OK? It’s gotten us nothing while we’ve ceded ground in every major institution.” Dude, it’s not about getting us something in this world, it’s about acting in the way God requests. Of course, I doubt Junior cares — I’m sure his Christianity is ass nonexistent as his father’s — other than convincing his audience to support The Former Guy when he tries to overthrow the government again.

I have similar thoughts about Melissa Crabtree, an Oklahoma Trump voter and conservative Christian who says she’s angry at being ridiculed for opposing mask mandates: “Why people are choosing to shame others, I don’t know.” Given she’s also angry over men not being masculine enough, gender blurring and teaching kids racism is bad, I suspect she’s fine with shaming people — just not people who think like her (I could be wrong).

An old Slacktivist post looks at the right-wing bullshit that women should give birth without drugs because, the Bible!

And of course we have right-wing bullshitter Charlie Kirk comparing Kyle Rittenhouse to Jesus.

The pandemic has stressed out clergy just like laity.

Militant Islam is on the rise in Pakistan. Not that our religious right here wouldn’t be just as bad once off the leash.

I’m an admirer of Beth Allison Barr and Kristen Kobes Du Mez but to patriarchalist ministers and Christian leaders they’re false teachers and wolves. As the article at the link says, the problems are “not the fault of those asking the questions; the problem is building a take-it-or-leave-it worldview on premises that don’t hold up to scrutiny made in good faith.”

A Christian in Virginia is outraged that a banned books display includes the Bible.

Even some of The Former Guy’s evangelical allies are upset with his cussing out Israeli leaders — how dare Netanhayu call and congratulate Biden? I suspect they’ll still vote for TFG when time comes though.

Conservatives love to blame sexual harassment and predators like Harvey Weinstein on liberal sexual values. But then we get conservative Christians like like Pennsylvania DA Bill Higgins, a Very Moral Man who goes easy on female defendants in return for sex. He was later convicted.

Christian finance guru Dave Ramsey has been sued by an employee, Brad Amos, for religious discrimination. Amos says his religious beliefs require him to mask and take other steps to avoid spreading Covid; Ramsey is anti-covid restrictions and allegedly fired Amos. I’m sure all the Republicans so outraged about vaccine mandates will raly to Amos’ cause … I’ll come in again.

And now some Christmas links:

“An escaped camel sent police scrambling in a Kansas City suburb this past weekend. The dromedary in question escaped a Nativity scene in Bonner Springs, Kansas.

Learning history from It’s a Wonderful Life. Caution, it’s not always a good teacher. It’s a better teacher in matters of faith.

“Christmas hope may well fall in the psychological category of wish fulfillment. But that does not disprove the possibility of actually fulfilled wishes. On Christmas, we consider the disorienting, vivid evidence that hope wins.” — Michael Gerson on not giving in to despair (pitched to fellow believers, but I am one).

“Most evangelical posturing on covid mandates is really syncretism, a merging of unrelated beliefs — in this case, the substitution of libertarianism for Christian ethics. In this distorted form of faith, evangelical Christians are generally known as people who loudly defend their own rights.” — Gerson again.

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Give us that old-time religion! Some links

Slacktivist blogger Fred Clark has been discussing for years the degree to which racism is part and parcel of white evangelical theology. Case in point, the Southern Baptist Seminary decided not to remove slave-owning Southern Baptist names from buildings on campus: after all, we’re all sinners, right? Clark: “This is where we flinch, quaver, and look away. It’s almost impossible not to. Al Mohler’s inability or refusal to cast more than a passing glance at such horror is perfectly understandable. But if we do not make ourselves look, we will never come to see.” Clark also discusses and ponders how slaveowning shaped the SBC founders’ theology. “There is work to be done. For all of us. And it won’t be easy, or simple, or pleasant. But it is necessary.”

“For many white evangelicals, the 2016 election represented a last-ditch effort at preserving a way of life that seemed to be coming to an end.” Which may be why one legal effort claims supporting Black Lives Matter violates conservative Christians’ freedom of religion. As Fred Clark says, this is what happens when powerful people imagine they’re the persecuted ones.

“Andy Stanley reminds me a lot of Earl Stallings. Stallings fretted about Bull Connor the same way that Stanley frets about Donald Trump. He wanted to make sure people understood that he did not approve of that sort of thing. Not that he actually condemned it, mind you, but that he did not approve of it at all. Like Stanley, Stallings lived “in a time of intense political anger” and so his attempts to “put faith before politics” involved “grasping uncertainly at the line between speaking prophetically and making everybody mad.”

Some Trump advocates insist the Bible requires Trump’s enemies to pray for him. At the link, Libby Anne points out the Bible says the opposite in some places.

“White Southern Christians argued that any unbiased reading of the Bible proved that slavery was as legitimate a domestic relationship as marriage and parenthood.” As Frederick Douglass once said, “There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.

Libby Anne also argues that when you deny reality enough to embrace creationism, it’s only a short step to conspiracy thinking.

Republicans say it’s wrong to attack religious faith — until they go after Democrats. No surprise: the fundamental tenet of right-wing American Christiniaty is that they have the right to punch down, but nobody has the right to punch back up.

Most of us are not exceptionally virtuous and heroic. Recognizing that is the first step in learning to become better, learning to speak out on behalf of others before it is too late for them or for us.”

“There’s so much potent, culture-shifting wokeness afoot, they complain. Democrats have no choice but to…reject it?”

A city uneasily decides it can’t win a First Amendment fight over a white supremacist church.

“This performance of piety in the face of evil is empty, because it does not deal with the core issue: white evangelicalism’s own racism.”

A false prophet insists as he and his ilk prophesied Trump would win, it must be true.

“I have never seen so much mobilized prayer in my life. If prayer was going to do it, Trump would be president until he was 90.”

“Public opinion surveys reveal a more deeply disturbing truth: that the lie of white supremacy — that white people’s lives are more important than those of others — continues to be one of the primary ties that bind Trump and the white evangelical world.” And evangelical support for Trump’s attempted coup suggests that instead of changing society by changing hearts and minds, they just want to win.

Others see the pandemic as an opportunity to sell their extremist views.

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