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Category Archives: Religious Right

Apparently, bird-flipping bad boy Rick Perry has gotten religion. Or maybe he is just hoping to increase his political capital with the Religious Right in anticipation of a presidential bid. Not to suggest a politician would be that cynical and  calculating, but courting the born-again wing of the GOP certainly helped our last Texas Governor trade up to an oval-shaped office. The details:

Texas governor and potential presidential candidate Rick Perry is organizing a national prayer rally.

The day-long prayer and fasting event, called “The Response,” is scheduled for Aug. 6 in Houston, Texas.

Gov. Perry said Americans must call on Jesus to guide them through the “unprecedented struggles” the nation is facing.

“Right now, America is in crisis. We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism and a multitude of natural disasters,” Perry said on the event’s website.

“Some problems are beyond our power to solve… this historic hour demands a historic response,” he said.

Governors across the country are invited to participate in the prayer rally.

Some have criticized the event saying Perry shouldn’t use his office to promote a religious gathering.

The prayer rally will be held at Reliant Stadium.

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Jesus had an excellent stone throwing policy. He who is without sin is the only one permitted on the pitcher’s mound. Unfortunately, Christians are not the best at using these essential ground rules. That’s why our self-styled version of the sport is rarely mistaken for true Christianity. Unlike Christ’s apostles the sins we speak out against are hardly ever our own. Now would be an excellent time to start to focus on hating our own sins instead of letting our little light shine in other people’s hearts. Maybe Grant Storms will take this moment to reconsider his ministry’s emphasis:

Rev. Grant Storms, a renowned anti-gay Christian pastor from Louisiana, was arrested last week for masturbating at a public park, in the vicinity of a carousel and playground where children were present.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, one woman saw Storms parked in his van “looking at the playground area that contained children playing, with his zipper down…,” the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office report read. After judging that Storms was masturbating, the woman and another mother who witnessed the event both alerted deputies.

After being apprehended by authorities, Storms claimed that he had been urinating into a bottle. He was then booked for obscenity — charges that he denied — and then released due to overcrowding in the jail.

The pastor appeared less willing to discuss the matter at a press conference on Tuesday, during which he blamed “pornography” for the incident.

“Pornography is destructive and it can ruin a person’s life, and it ruined my life,” he said at the conference, admitting that he had his hands in his pants, but maintaining that he wasn’t masturbating. “Do I have problems? Yes. Did I do something wrong? Yes.”

The birthers have long questioned whether Obama’s presidency isn’t breaking the law of the land. Now Wendy Wright is floating the idea that Obama’s new health care law is breaking all ten commandments. After all, doesn’t it promote coveting? She writes: “As with many bills, politicians sold ObamaCare by stoking envy.”  Well, whatever was stoked, providing those without with what they are without likely decreases coveting. Right? Am I missing the point? Or does Ms. Wright not understand the sin of coveting? Next, she addresses bearing false witness. Again, her accusation has nothing to do with the health care law itself, only with some of the over-the-top examples of people’s health needs. Like those “thousand points of light” the President resorted to rhetorical hyperbole. Then comes “Thou shalt not steal.” This is where the right wing consistently confuses taxation with governmental stealing. My Savior took the position that we should render unto Washington that which is Washington’s. So I think we can move on. My Jesus trumps her Moses. ObamaCare, according to Ms. Wright apparently also encourages adultery. Finally, she deals with the actual law. Apparently, sex education provisions will lead to greater fornication. All we have to do is look at the rate of out of wedlock births in the Bible Belt to know that sexual immorality is rampant even where sex education is not provided. “Thou shall not kill” is next. This of course, focuses on the subject of “government funding of abortions.” Of course, there is no tax-payer funding of abortions in the health care law that was passed thanks to pro-life Democrats. So again Wright is off the mark. And shouldn’t the life of the child be considered in the high rate on infant fatalities that we currently have because of inadequate health care available to the poor? “Honor your father and mother.” Children should decide a parent’s health care. Here again, Wright, bears false witness: “Under ObamaCare, that privilege will be stripped from us and given to unaccountable bureaucrats. They will ultimately decide what health care our parents can get.” This is more of that death panel nonsense that the right spews out with abandon. Simply untrue. Okay this one is a stretch; “Keep the Sabbath holy.” The final health care vote happened on a Sunday. I guess Joe Lieberman thought that Saturday was the Sabbath.”You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.” Another real stretch. She writes:“President Obama gave a pen with which he signed ObamaCare to Sister Carol Keehan, the nun who runs the Catholic Health Association. Why? Her seal of approval appeared to give a Catholic blessing to a bill that her superiors, the bishops, rejected.“  Still don’t know what this has to do with honoring Yahweh. “No graven images.” The thought here is that health care is an idol to the left. You know, like “lower taxes” and “school vouchers” are to the idolatrous right? Idolatry has no party affiliation. ”The Lord your God is One.” Wright concludes with this scathing indictment: ”ObamaCare sets up government as the one who will supply our needs and provide for our health.” Well, considering that the new health care law requires me to buy insurance coverage from the private sector, I am not sure how government becomes my great Jehovah-jireh. It is God who provides and He provides through various means: doctors, hospitals, drug companies and pastoral counselors. And yes, He even provides, occasionally, through the government. He is that big.

Sure, this has been edited for effect. Sure, there are probably other people that could have been interviewed that wouldn’t make the Tea Party come off sounding so stupid. However, for this Glenn Beck-sponsored rally, I’ve got to believe this is pretty representative of the crowd. Why do I say that? Because, everything these flag-waving solid citizens are saying I’ve heard before. On the Glenn Beck show.

It’s the obvious next step after reclaiming America’s honor. Glenn Beck has launched his very own Huffington Post. Apparently, he believes that there is a Tea Party subculture out there that can actually read. So he is doing what he does best: bending the news to have an Armageddon-Four-Horseman-of-the-Apocalypse-Doomsday flavor to it. So I guess his Million Minions March on Washington was not just a flash in the pan. It was a Blaze.

There is certainly a lot of talk about the American Constitution these days. Obama, of course, has throw it out the window, according to the Tea Party. The illegal aliens are abusing it according to conservative Republicans. And California’s Proposition 8 tramples it, according to the district  judge who just overruled this democratically established law. Of course, these same constitutional villians have the temerity to appeal to this very Constitution for their side’s views, as well. The rightwing has the tendency to argue that because of our “representative” form of  government that governance should match the weekly Gallup pole rather than the results of the last election. If the majority of the country, according to polling  data, oppose Obamacare, then no Obamacare. It is so obvious! The Religious Right agree (depending on the issue) but add that this is a “Christian nation” and therefore biblical standards are implied in our founding documents. There’s a lot of wishful thinking in this argument, to be sure. So, they argue, if homosexuality is an sin according to the Good Book, then no marriage for gays. Black and white. Right? Of course, I don’t hear a lot of support for stoning heterosexuals who commit adultery, a much more clear biblical mandate. The Religious Left have their “constitutional” arguments as well. While they are very happy to marry two men in a Christian ceremony, this is not the issue, they insist. The issue is civil marriage, they point out. Separation of church and state and all that. Why, it’s the very governing principle that our Protestant founders hard-wired into the Constitution. Shouldn’t gays and lesbians have the same right to the pursuit of happiness as the straight community? And isn’t it the role of government to protect the liberties of the minorities against the prejudices of the majority? It’s stage two of the civils rights movement! It is all so self-evident––to quote one of these devout founding fathers. So this constitution of ours must be a pretty broad document for it to be interpreted in so differently, huh? And that’s  the thing about our beloved constitution that some of us love. And the rest of us, cannot stand.

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.

Sarah Palin was on the attack last week. She is mad at all those wicked secularists and God haters who are trying to rewrite American history. And she’s right to be mad. They are clearly trying to rewrite history. But the big bad secularists are not nearly as guilty of trying to rewrite American history as the…uhm… Christians. Take, for instance, Sarah Palin. She would have us believe that all of our founding fathers were Christians with a profound respect for the Bible. Like, say, Thomas Jefferson who stayed up all night with scissors attempting to remove every one of Christ’s miracles from the gospels. He’s a role model, huh, Sarah? She also thinks that the U.S. Constitution promotes the God of the Bible and speaks of “unalienable rights” that where endowed by our Creator. Two problems with that 1) God/ Maker/Creator is never once mentioned in the Constitution, only the concept that religion should not be proscribed or curtailed by the State. 2) That unalienable rights bit is actually from the Declaration of Independence penned by the man who liked to slice the Resurrection out of the Good Book to make it more “reasonable”. Also, “In God we trust”is not our “national motto.” It’s not even part of our founding documents, unless you count the one dollar bill among them. It is just something that is indeed a part of our history, just like the banning prayer in schools. Unfortunately, for Ms. Palin, our country has always been much more of a mixed bag than she would like to admit. It is probably one of the reasons our churches are so full and those with a state religion like France, England and Germany are so empty. Finally, it is worth mentioning that Jesus came to “seek and save that which is lost”( atheists, secularists, and the like). The righteous and the religious have never been his cup of tea. You can look that up in your Bible (even the Jeffersonian version).

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.

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.

Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert joins the garbled Bible thumping that is so popular among the Christian Right. Taxation=Stealing.

“Now, after someone dies and someone comes in and steals from them, we consider that in most society reprehensible. … But when the government comes in, because we have the power to pass laws and legalize theft that otherwise would be considered reprehensible, it’s okay. But it is not okay. … Jesus never advocated the government go steal. He said ‘you do it. Do it with your own money, don’t steal it from somebody else.’ And that is why this should not pass,” – Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), opposing a 45% tax on estates valued at more than $3.5 million ($7 million for a couple).

If only Jesus had addressed the topic of taxation. Oh, I forgot, he did.

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The Daily Beast outlines how pro-life Democrats and a fairly moderate President Obama have been promising a Health Care Reform that would avoid using public money to fund abortions all along. So why are pro-choice Democrats so shocked? Maybe they were listening to the distortions of Glenn Beck and the Tea Party crowd.

In a July interview with Katie Couric and on the floor of Congress in September, President Obama promised there would be no public financing of abortion in health reform, meaning the procedure would not be available to women who opt in to any potential new public insurance plan. That pushed the goalposts closer to the pro-life position.

Others are pointing at the pro-choice groups themselves. Jane Hamsher, who runs the Netroots blog Firedoglake, says the organizations have gotten too cozy with the Democratic Party establishment, which often seeks to avoid public discussion of abortion. In the health-reform fight, NARAL and Planned Parenthood were less effective in advocating for their agenda than were proponents of the public insurance option, Hamsher said. “We went out and got commitments from members of the House to vote against any bill that doesn’t have a public option,” Hamsher told The Daily Beast. “They weren’t doing the same thing.”

Richards, of Planned Parenthood, said she wasn’t aware of any efforts, before Saturday’s vote, to extract promises from legislators to vote against a health bill that restricts abortion access. “Frankly, this issue came out Friday night,” she said. Yet Stupak has been on the warpath since July, when he released a letter signed by 19 Democrats demanding a ban on abortion coverage in the exchanges.

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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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The Holy Scriptures warn us of false messiahs promising “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. However, the Good Book says precious little about folks who receive Nobel Peace prizes when they have no peace accomplishments to merit it. President Obama has been awarded this honor after a mere nine months on the job, with America embroiled in two land wars and, most recently, having just bombed the moon. The event is rich with irony. But our President accepted the award with appropriate humility and understood it as a reminder of what he has yet to be accomplished, rather than a metric of  “mission accomplished” achievements to quote his Nobel-prizeless predecessor. Whether Obama’s over-the-top apologetic rhetoric on foreign soil has emboldened terrorists remains to be seen. What is certain is his turning sabre-rattling into multilateral cooperation has at least emboldened our European allies. Which after the last eight years , is worth, at least, an honorable mention.