Voices from Russia

Sunday, 19 March 2017

It’s Time to Start Calling Evangelicals What They Are: The American Taliban

Religion has no place in the public school. As a member of a “minority” faith (Russian Orthodox Christianity), I wouldn’t want our kids contaminated with Evangelical goo. We have a secular state… let’s keep it that way.

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Editor:

The following is prime read n’ heed… it needs no commentary from me.

BMD

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The Council For National Policy is a Conservative Think Tank, made up of a Who’s Who of prominent conservatives… Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Reince Priebus, Tim LaHaye, Bobby Jindal, John McCain… the list goes on… This article, published by the Washington Post, but reported elsewhere, lays out the group’s plan to “restore education in America”, by bringing God into classrooms.

I have said for years and years, the Christian Right is really seeking to establish a theocracy in the USA… at least regionally, throughout the Deep South. This latest effort by the so-called Council for National Policy lays further proof to that claim. The Constitution does NOT support this effort… in spite of what many “Christian” leaders sayThe First Amendment of the Constitution strictly prohibits any Establishment of Religion. This Amendment also guarantees Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. This “Separation of Church and State” has two intentions:

  • It protects religious freedom for everyone
  • It prevents the tyranny of any one religion

However, this fact won’t stop many Southern Christians, who feel it is their duty… as Christians… to make the USA “a godly nation” in their eyes. Moreover, they’ll cite the numerous biblical passages in which God exhorts all nations to be faithful to him and condemns those nations who aren’t, as the basis for this duty… that they feel is their right. I grew up in this world, so I know what I’m talking about. As a kid, during the 1970’s, I attended churches in Atlanta with my devout grandmother. I heard Jerry Falwell speak numerous times at First Baptist on Peachtree. A fiery minister in Smyrna indoctrinated me into the Evangelical way of thinking. I studied my “King James” Bible. I feverishly read Ernest Angley’s book about the “end times” that depicted Christians being boiled alive by the Antichrist. I loved The Omen movies, wholly believing they portended something real. Trust me. I’ve been there. Fortunately, I had the sense to give it up. By age 15, at the peak of my adolescent sexual curiosity, I realised that any religion that demanded giving up my basic humanity was nuts.

Of course, not all Christian Evangelicals share this extreme view. Nevertheless, the extremists always give themselves away with their trademark refrain, “I’ll pray for you”, as if you’re possessed by demons and in need of an exorcism. They seem completely unaware of how this statement makes them appear; that they alone understand “truth”, that everyone else is “ungodly” and in need of “redemption”, as they see it; by being “born again,” and baptised, and accepting their world view. This self-righteous arrogant presumption is at the root of all religious extremism. Evangelicals in churches and state houses across the country support laws and political systems that brutalize and imprison MILLIONS of African-Americans, that deny equal rights and protections to LGBT people and tacitly support violence toward them, and seek to deny women the right to govern their own bodies, often with threats or outright acts of physical violence. They seem hell-bent on ejecting science from education and replacing it with their own creationist ideas.

In doing these things, Evangelicals are advocating a religious extremism that is no different from Muslim extremism, which projects religious authority over all people in their domain, which limits the rights of women, controls and limits education, and enforces strict adherence to a moral code, which naturally rejects and punishes all forms of “decadence”, including “deviant sexuality”, science, reason, and any questioning of authority. Christian fundamentalists, if given the power, will do the same things.

Evangelical Christians in the USA condemn Muslim extremism as a threat to the country and their way of life, while clearly endorsing their own form of extreme religious authoritarianism. This form of religion establishes a tribally divisive “us” versus “them” mentality, which places “our” rights and prerogatives above the needs of any other group. Moreover, they use it repeatedly as the basis for denying other people’s rights… particularly, their freedom to choose and even their right to exist. It’s worth pointing out that in the South religion buttressed this tribal mentality to force a separation between whites and blacks, who they see/saw as inferior. White suburban Christian thinking has this tribalism as a deeply embedded dynamic. They accept it without question. I shouldn’t have to point out that, in the end, this isn’t Christian at all.

Religious extremism is religious extremism. Using words like “righteousness” or “faith” or “Christ-given mission”, and hiding behind ideas like “tradition” and “heritage” and “family values” won’t cover up this fact. It’s up to every freedom-loving person, who prefers freedom of choice, freedom of worship, who cares about protecting women’s rights and equality for all, and advancing reason and scientific knowledge, to be aware and oppose it. I don’t suggest that Evangelicals should give up their faith. However, I strongly suggest they shouldn’t trample on other people’s religious beliefs or insist that people should conform themselves with the Evangelical worldview.

If Evangelicals hate tyranny, they should be very wary of becoming tyrants. Nevertheless, Evangelicals will never see themselves as tyrants, because their faith commands them to be “missionaries for Christ”. This mandate engages them in a zero-sum game to convert the country, indeed the whole world, to their faith. Moreover, over the decades they’ve increasingly reached for more and more political power to achieve this goal. This is exactly what ISIS proposes, by trying to establish a global Muslim caliphate. The goal of religious extremists, regardless of faith, is always the same… Dominion.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the foul of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

Genesis 1.28

Evangelicals are the American Taliban. To many, that seems a garish and inconceivable statement. The entire purpose of this article is to point out that religious extremism also exists in America as it does in other parts of the world, and not just radical Muslims are extreme, it’s also radical Christians… and that religious extremism can start with something as simple as, “I’ll pray for you”.

24 February 2017

J C Weatherby

Church and State

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2017/03/its-time-to-start-calling-evangelicals-what-they-are-the-american-taliban/

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

24 May 2016. They Call Themselves “Christians”…

00 wolf in sheeps cloting ranevskaya 200815

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The atheist staring from his attic window is often nearer to God than the believer caught up in his own false image of God.

Martin Buber

Read this.

Read it? Good… these people consider themselves “Christian”… indeed, they see themselves as better “Christians” than the rest of us are (a rather common “Evangelical” conceit). This means that if there were a gay family member, this school could (and would!) expel non-gay family members because the gay family member contaminates the whole family. I find this abominable and reprehensible… I’m not alone. This is why so many reject Christianity. Yet, our official Church stands silent in the face of such vileness (in fact, many ungrounded ignorant konvertsy applaud it). That makes us accomplices for refusing to speak up. I am NOT a homosexual nor am I part of that milieu, but I find such obsessions pathological and without cause. Our Lord Christ would NOT have acted this way. It’s one thing to demand certain behaviour of someone enrolled in an institution or some social organisation… it’s quite another to punish them for another’s actions. THAT stinks to high heaven… I’m not alone in thinking that way.

BMD

Friday, 6 February 2015

Pope Francisco Declares Oscar Romero a “Martyr”

00 Juana Alicia. Monsenor Oscar Romero. 1996

Monseñor Óscar Romero

Juana Alicia

1996 

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This week, Pope Francisco Bergoglio declared Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez a “martyr” for the Catholic faith, the last major step on the road to becoming a saint. Almost thirty-five years ago, on 24 March 1980, American-trained and -backed death-squader Roberto d’Aubuisson ordered Romero’s assassination. The National Catholic Reporter wrote that there was unease with Romero’s case for sainthood amongst high-ranking prelates, including Benedict XVI Ratzinger, “because of Romero’s embrace of liberation theology, a type of Christian theology that posits that Christ didn’t just seek liberation from sin, but from every type of oppression”. In fact, the Vatican had a ban on Romero’s beatification, which the pope lifted with his declaration.

Liberation theology, which originated in Latin America, was a powerful force within the Catholic Church, aligning the church with the poor and condemning American-backed militarism. In Empire’s Workshop, I made the case that liberation theology posed an existential threat for the rising New Right, both its secular and religious versions. In many ways, it was the first “political religion” that united post–Vietnam War conservatives, before they moved on to Islam. Liberation theology’s threat was primal, since it represented a reformed and progressive version of Christianity that emphasised inherent rights… only not the kind of inherent rights our libertarian Mullahs emphasize (i.e., property rights). Liberation theologians had a vision of individual dignity based on social solidarity and earthly economic justice. In the 1970s, both respected conservative theologians like Michael Novak and fringe Bible-thumpers set their sights on liberation theology as an evil that they had to be doctrinally defeat and institutionally eradicate. It’s in this context that Oscar Romero being cleared for beatification (by a pope from Latin America who has his own complicated relationship to liberation theology) is important, which progressives should see as a rearguard battle in the culture wars, which are political wars, which are economic wars, which in Central America were real life-and-death wars.

5 February 2015

Greg Gindin

The Nation

http://www.thenation.com/blog/197073/pope-francis-declares-oscar-romero-martyr-faith-whose-faith

Editor:

This points up the inherent contradiction at the heart of the so-called “Pro-Life” movement. You can see that in a website called “Consistent Life”… they try to square support for rabid rightwing neoliberalism and American exceptionalism with “Pro-Life” rhetoric. It falls entirely flat, as they’re trying to combine inherently opposite concepts. If you were Pro-Life… you’d oppose capital punishment… but the Republican Party is all for it. If you were Pro-Life, you’d be for a vigorous social safety net (as both Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francisco support)… but the Republican Party is against it in its support of unbridled greed and cupidity. If you were Pro-Life, you’d oppose American aggression in foreign parts… but the Republican Party is all for it, as it profits its big donors. In short, Consistent Life spits on Archbishop Romero’s legacy by supporting a political faction that spat (and still spits) on what he held near and dear. Consistent Life supports the godless and theomachistic Republican Party… ergo, they’re hypocrites of the most noisome sort. On the one hand, you have Archbishop Romero, who died for his beliefs… on the other, you have Consistent Life, which spits on those beliefs by supporting the Republicans who killed him (and who continue to press for a godless Crapitalist Corporate Hegemony over the world). You can honour one or the other… they’re mutually exclusive. I know where I stand. What about you?

BMD

Saturday, 29 June 2013

29 June 2013. Oppose the Right-Wing Media With all Your Talents and Powers… It’s Your DUTY Before Almighty God and Before Human Justice

Unknown Artist. Don't Be A Sucker. Don't Fall for Rush's Lies. 2012

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It’s time to  take action against the rightwing propaganda disguised as “news”. Before the time of Slobberin’ Ronnie, such was forbidden by the Fairness Doctrine. That is, if you gave X amount of time to Side A, you had to give an equivalent amount to Side B. That meant that the moneybags were stymied… they wanted to buy airtime, but if they did, the stations would have to give an equivalent amount of time to their opposition. That kept the worst of the rightwingers off the airwaves. Unfortunately, Slobberin’ Ronnie’s junta cancelled this wise rule in 1987. It led to Rush Limbaugh… to Glenn Beck… to the Moral Majority (neither moral nor a majority)… to Sarah Palin.

Why do white men disproportionately attend to such obviously-lying bullshit? For one, the oligarchs have been able to displace the anger of white men hurt by rightwing voodo-economics policies from the policies (and politicians) that’ve actually hurt them to homosexuals, blacks, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans who haven’t. It’s easy enough to stir up hate… it’s harder to build consensus. The message is simple and seductive… “You haven’t gotten ahead because of governmental policies favouring women, minorities, and faggots. You don’t owe anything to bloodsuckers”. It’s repeated over and over, in many different guises. It’s why there was a 12 percent difference in the preference of white men and white women in the last election. It doesn’t speak well for the intelligence of white men… much of the lying drivel put out by the righties is obvious rubbish… you should listen to their rants and screams. Any decent person finds it repellent, ugly, and patently-false.

Firstly, we should attend to the dupes in our own ranks. In the car park at the St T‘s Memorial Day Pilgrimage, I’m glad to say that I saw many Obama bumper stickers… and NOT ONE bumper sticker in favour of Wet Willy Romney and the Republican milk snatchers. In short, the REAL Orthodox people oppose the righties. In fact, one of the Cabinet told me that the people who worship with them are all anti-righties. The only people who favour the righties amongst us are many of the converts… what I call konvertsy… and some of the woollier ROCOR anti-commies. If you remember Jordanville prior to 2001, you’ll know that they (and most of the ROCOR First Families) supported the most-questionable Far Right nutters in American politics. You must oppose Victor Potapov… James Paffhausen… John Whiteford… Michael DahulichRod Dreher… Lyonyo Kishkovsky… and all of their fellow travellers.

HH opposes the bourgeois Affluent EffluentPope Francisco opposes the bourgeois Affluent Effluent… whom do you wish to follow? Do you wish to follow REAL religious leaders or do you want to follow phonies, many of whom take the US government‘s shilling (don’t forget, Lebedeff defended Jordanville’s taking Langley‘s pieces of silver and Potapov works (or worked) directly for a well-known Langley front-organisation)? There’s one way to take a solid step in the direction of Christ‘s Truth. Don’t attend to the rightwing media in any way, shape, or form. Our Lord Christ is TRUTH… ergo, He has nothing in common with LIES. We know who the Father of Lies is, don’t we? That’s who you listen to when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or any other of the rightwing nutters. Ponder that…

BMD

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