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Televangelist Eddie Long has some ‘spaining to do. I think I’ll let the Good Book handle this one:

For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

12These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

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A dog returns to its vomit and a preacher returns to its pulpit.

Without offering any specifics on the allegations against him, Haggard said his counselors told him he is heterosexual but that his behavior was influenced by a childhood incident when he was molested by an adult male.

Haggard said he takes responsibility for his actions as an adult and does not mean to use the molestation as an excuse. He also said he did not want to imply that homosexuality was caused by childhood trauma.

“I don’t know what goes on with the homosexual and what makes a homosexual a homosexual. I don’t know dynamics there and I don’t judge it,” he said.

He said counseling helped him reduce the emotional impact of the childhood encounter.

“I remember all of that. I just don’t have compulsive thoughts or actions because of it,” he said.

Haggard told the AP that after his downfall, he doesn’t feel qualified or entitled to return to the ministry, but that he feels compelled to do so by love for others. He cited conversations he had this week with a woman fighting drugs and with an unmarried couple expecting their second child.

“I’m certainly not going to say no to people (who need help) because of my personal shame. I’ve got to overcome my personal shame and be willing to help somebody that knocks on our door,” he said.

Haggard said the new church won’t compete with others in Colorado Springs, noting that many people in the city of 375,000 don’t attend any church.

You know how the GOP religiously courts the white evangelical? You know how Dubya prided himself at “connecting” with this group? Well if this chart is to be believed, white evangelicals are less entrenched in the world of politics than we have been led to think. Black Protestants and white Catholics are another story.

More jibs from the Jab. Enjoy.

Oral Roberts saw a 900-ft Jesus (he stepped it off himself) and received a new medical wing for his school. Which is odd, considering he could heal with the touch of his hand. (Okay, maybe a dental center given his name was Oral.) But he is now dead, which is odd, considering he and his minions raised people from the dead. The Daily Beast steps off the faith-healer’s dubious achievements:

As one of the first televangelists, Roberts brought Pentecostalism, a demonstrative, magic-filled kind of Christianity that often involves speaking in tongues, faith healing, and prophesy, into the mainstream. He deserves a good part of the credit for the fact that today, Pentecostalism is the world’s fastest-growing denomination. (According to the scholar Philip Jenkins, by 2050 there will likely be more than a billion believers worldwide.) As Roberts’ biographer David Edwin Harrell, Jr. wrote in 1985, “In his nearly four decades of healing evangelism, Oral Roberts has personally touched over a million human beings; several million more have answered his call to ‘accept Christ;’ tens of millions more have heard him preach and pray on radio, television, and in films; hundreds of millions of pieces of literature have been mailed to every corner of the globe from his headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma… a generation of students has been trained at Oral Roberts University.”

Roberts tied Pentecostalism to fundraising in a way that continues to echo worldwide. In the 1950s, in a gambit that’s become common for prosperity preachers, he promised radio listeners that God would repay every dollar they sent to him seven times over. His genius was to market faith like an investment, one that would pay predictable dividends to true believers. Thus wealth became a sign of piety, and poverty a spiritual, rather than a material, condition. This theology has done as much to bolster conservative ideology as the naked politicking of Falwell and Robertson. It’s also ruined a lot of lives.

A recent study reveals that people’s views of God are simply a bigger version of themselves.

[Nicholas Epley at the University of Chicago] found that when people contemplated God’s opinions, their brains activated similarly to when they were contemplating their own opinions — the same was not true when they contemplated the opinions of other people.

The exception, of course, are people who believe in a revealed religion where a wrathful God often makes them a bit uncomfortable.

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Today is Halloween. Of course, a good Christian should have nothing to do with this sick, wicked holiday. After all it’s Satan’s day. So let’s all get up a petition to get the day renamed “Harvest Ween” or something less demonic-sounding. At the very least we should provide an alternate venue for our children. Something healthy and wholesome in the church gymn-atorium with costumes of Bible characters. And we should remember to pray for all those lax parents who need to wake up and be very afraid of this day. After all, I heard that covens of witches perform human sacrifices of children they nab on this most wicked of nights. ( I know it’s not an urban myth because I heard it on Christian radio.) Okay. Time out. Maybe right-wing talk radio’s fear mongering  needs to do a little fact-checking.  Like the fact that Halloween IS a Christian holiday. It goes back to the 1500s. The day was the Hallowed Eve (by the way, hallow means holy). It was the night before All Saints’ Day. Young, Christian boys would dress up to mock the devil. Martin Luther had it right. “The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him.”  Or as the Bible says, “Greater who is He who in us, than he who is in the world.” So let’s all take a break. Take a pitchfork to Old Harry. Study a little church history and stop trying to muck with a Christian Hallowed day.

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It was the shot heard round the world. A cheap shot at Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old’s expense. Something from which young Willow should have been spared. But that goes at the bottom of an already long list of unfortunate things this young teen has had to endure over the past year. Add this to a mother who ambitiously accepts a nomination that would bring your older sister’s premarital shame into the limelight. Or the ridicule that results from a clueless parent trying to bluff her way through questions about world affairs. Or having siblings with first names that sound like moving parts in a Chevy engine  (Willow definitely got the best of those freakshow monikers). Or the embarrassment of every dumb thing your parents do being broadcasted to the planet. Remember how embarrassed you were to be seen with your parents at 14? Multiply that times a gazillion. Oh, and by the way, snarky cheap shots, tasteless jokes and lame non sequiturs have always been Dave Letterman’s brand of humor. Kinda surprised people are just noticing it.

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If you can snatch the pebble from my hand, you can say so long to David Carradine. R.I.P.

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The Russian newspaper Pravda doesn’t think Obama is a socialist. They think he is a commie. Apparently, it all started with public education and televangelists.

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas than the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their “right” to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our “democracy”. Pride blind the foolish.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different “branches and denominations” were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the “winning” side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the “winning” side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama.

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Does abortion terminate a life? Without question. Does a woman’s right to privacy trump an embryo’s right to live. Sadly, it seems to. At least, it always has. That’s right. Always. Roe v. Wade made it legal, but abortion has always been available. Late term abortions, in particular. In fact, leaving unwanted babies to die by exposure was once the state of the art. A grizzly procedure that makes partial-birth abortion look almost humane. Which brings us to the big question. If  abortion stops a heart beat, is it then murder? If we look at the Bible, I’m afraid I would have to say “no.” At least, the God of the Old Testament––who instituted capital punishment for everything from killing a man to dishonoring your parents–– didn’t require the taking of the life of someone responsible for the death of a child in utero (Exodus 21). Which, at the very least, makes me reluctant to call our President a baby killer. Or abortion murder. However, most pro-life Christians are not nearly as reluctant to pull their punches. Some even pull the trigger. Which is how an abortionist came to die this Sunday. At his church. As he worshipped his Savior. As his wife watched on from the church choir loft. Murder. Plain and simple. And the saddest part of all? People who call themselves followers of Jesus are reading this and smiling.

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Being a disciple of Jesus means different things in different denominations. For Methodists it’s performing good works and regular church attendance. For Pentecostals its having a special prayer language and a gold-leafed baby grand. For Presbyterians it is possessing a large library, a iPhone with a ESV Bible app and a micro brewery. For the Baptist students at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University it is having a burden for the lost. That’s why every Spring Break they send a busload of smiling, clean-cut kids to Daytona Beach for mass evangelism. Last year, one of these tract-pushing, Bible-thumping, soul winners happened to be a unregenerate, left-leaning non-believer named Kevin Roose. He describes his baptism in Christian witnessing in his new book, The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University:

Around 11:00 pm, the Jesusmobile pulls up to Razzle’s. Razzle’s is a Wal-Mart-size nightclub with a squadron of earpieced bouncers manning the velvet rope and a set of revolving laser lights that overflow onto the sidewalk. We won’t be going inside, Scott says, but we’ll stand just outside the rope, witnessing to people waiting in line.

The first surprise is that there are at least two other groups of Christian evangelists here. One group, a youth team from a Florida church, has set up a shaved-ice machine on the sidewalk. They’re making sno-cones for the Razzle’s patrons, which almost seems like cheating. (Some Christians call this “gastro-evangelism.”) The other group, which is affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ, has done something truly brilliant. A well-funded national organization, Campus Crusade rented the ballroom at a hotel next to Razzle’s and set up a fake party inside, complete with strobe lights, a security team, and attractive models paid to stand outside the hotel and gossip loudly about the great party inside. When would-be clubbers enter the room, they quickly realize they’ve been duped — instead of bar specials and trance music, they get gospel tracts and a salvation message.

Our group has no such Trojan horse, just the same Way of the Master routine we used on the beach. Witnessing at Razzle’s, where everyone we meet is either drunk or well on the way, makes communication a little harder.

“Excuse me, sir. Would you help me with an opinion poll?” I ask.

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Who is the greatest person you know?”

“Hmm … gayest person I know … I’d have to say Richard Simmons.”

Roose recently shared with NPR how his semester at Liberty opened his eyes to the sincerity and compassion of these young Christians. Roose never did open his heart to Jesus. But the experience opened something else. His mind. Funny how so many liberals can have such closed ones. There’s irony.

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The Scienitologists are having a tough week. First, the French legal system put them through the wringer, now Wikipedia is barring them from editing their Wikipedia article. All’s left now is for the paparazzi to catch John Travolta kissing Tom Cruise.

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The Brits look at Ned Flanders and the Evangelical survival of the fittest:

The great battle has to do with religion and modernity. Ever since the Enlightenment, intellectuals have predicted that religion – and particularly the effusive brand of religion now practised by evangelicals – would be doomed by modernity. The high priests of the Enlightenment mocked Christianity as a refuge for superstitious freaks. Edward Gibbon was never happier than when chronicling the absurd activities of the likes of Saint Simeon Stylites, who for more than 30 years lived on top of a pillar 21m (70ft) high and 1m square. In his novel La Religieuse Diderot mocked the religious for their psychological oddities and deviant pastimes, not least flagellation.

The founders of modern sociology, Max Weber and Émile Durkheim, predicted the secularisation of the world. Ned’s fellow moustache-wearer, Friedrich Nietzsche, loudly announced God’s death. Marx cursed the opium of the people. Freud saw religion as a mere neurosis. Ever since Darwin, educated European thought has viewed religion as a dying cult – the refuge of the ignorant, the superstitious and a few guilt-ridden Catholic novelists such as Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh.

The land of Ned and Homer, of course, has always been different. While the French slaughtered priests during their revolution, seeing religion as a bulwark of the ancien régime, America’s Founding Fathers separated Church from State, in large part to protect the former from the latter. The First Amendment set off a fierce competition between America’s “multiplicity of sects”, with a succession of evangelising religions vying for people’s attentions: the Methodists converted an eighth of the country within a generation of the revolution. While Europe’s state-sponsored religions shrivelled, America’s free market kept faith alive.