Thursday, October 15, 2009

Truly Scary, Part II: Religious Violence Predicted

When a blogger like me warns of Christofascist violence, people think I'm just a leftist crackpot. However, when a former VIP (and son of a founder) to Christofascists warns people...

From The Raw Story:
"The bestselling status of the Left Behind novels proves that, not unlike Islamist terrorists who behead their enemies, many evangelical/fundamentalist readers relish the prospect of God doing lots of messy killing for them as they watch in comfort from on high," he added. "They want revenge on all people not like them -- forever."

"The scary thing is that there are a number of pastors on record as saying they are praying for the President’s death. Can you imagine what some gun-toting paranoid who hears that in a sermon is thinking and might do? And to them the fact that 'the world' likes this black man is reason enough to hate him. You wait. The reaction to Obama winning the Nobel Prize will be entirely negative from the far Religious Right. 'See the world, all those socialists like him that just proves he’s a -- fill in the blank -- communist, secret Muslim, the Antichrist, whatever.'"

Frank Schaeffer was the son of Francis Schaeffer, one of THE men who helped shape The Moral Majority and The Christian Coalition. Thanks to Francis (and Frank, to a certain extent) we've got people like Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Rick Warren, Ralph Reed, Ken Copeland, James Hagee and Rod Parsley trying to gain the political upper hand in America. The title of Frank Schaeffer's first book says quite a lot:

Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back

On Obama's controversial Chicago Pastor:
"[W]hen my late father -- Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer -- denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr."
To Senator McCain during the '08 Presidential race:

"If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters ... history will hold you responsible for all that follows."

Violence is almost never attributed to the church. Christendom has never had to atone for the (approximately) 140,000,000 deaths committed by "Good Christians." It was, in fact, Mark Twain who pointed out that "Christians are the most efficient killers in the history of the world. (The Mysterious Stranger.)" In microcosm: it has never atoned for the miserable lives it took advantage of in the Magdalene Laundries* nor the children kept as science experiments in the Canadian orphanages (now termed The Duplessis Orphans).*

Yes, the Duplessis example was a more direct in its intolerance for life. Frank Schaffer gives us indirect, cause and effect violence. So what would be worse: if a minister told his flock that there were "evil doers out there" who should be punished and one (or several) person went out and shot someone, or if a minister takes it upon himself to shoot people "in the name of God"?

Three years ago, in the wake of Katrina, I wrote a piece called "God's Ambulence Chasers." It dealt with people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who seemed to relish disasters and plagues so that they could rain Bibles down on people. And indeed, with these disasters Christofascists get two benefits: a) they can point out their enemies as the cause and b) they can take advantage of a dire situation to proselytize to huge captive audiences consisting of the most desperate people imaginable.

Guns, bigotry, manipulation, rhetoric, proselytizing, paranoia, revenge.

There are all sorts of ways to kill people and the Christofascist Right knows them all. They are armed and dangerous.

*The Magdalene Laundries
*The Duplessis Orphans

Both of the above institutions were among the world's worst child abuse cases involving tens of thousands of children and young adults. Both were built by the Catholic Church to shelter or "reform" children.

Truly Scary, Part III: Leviticus and Sad Puppy Dog Eyes

When You Use The Bible As A Weapon - Someone's Gonna Get Hurt,

And It Won't Be The Pulpit Pimp!

Michael Jones,

Last weekend, two men beat up Jack Price in his neighborhood of Queens, NY. They crushed his lungs, broke his ribs and his jaw and lacerated his spleen. After he was rushed to the hospital, he was put into a medically induced coma in order to treat him. Jack Price is gay.

So, BFD. Happens all the time. But this time was made different by his assailants' adherence to the Bible's Book Of Leviticus. It was a hate crime spurred on by the admonitions of "The Good Book."
In an interview at the scene:

"I don't want no man blowing me a kiss either. I mean things happen," said Marcel Gelmi, a friend of one of the attackers. "I've been beat up like that too, but you don't see me on the news and my family crying and this and that. Wounds heal."

After that statement, Glemi showed the reporters the tattoo he had on his arm:

"Leviticus. You should not lay with a man as one does with a woman. It's an abomination."

A tattoo. Not of a flag, not of a snake, not of any emblem, but a specific passage from scripture enlisted by homophobes everywhere. So how extreme in your homophobia do you have to be to wear it proudly on your arm? Are there Christfascist gangs out there?

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown summed up this beating pretty damn well: "This is probably the most vicious and brutal incident that I've seen, captured as it was on videotape."

Truly Scary, Part IV: When Christofascists Turn On Themselves

It's A Study In Mind-Boggling Bigotry And Idiocy!

Most of my readers know how I feel about book burning. The first massive, intentional book burning occurred in 391 at the Great Library of Alexandria (housed in The Serapeum - a former temple) when close to 400,000 scrolls went up in flames. The Christian Emperor Theodocius decreed that all pagan temples were to be destroyed and possession of pagan literature a criminal offense. Ceasing upon this decree, a mob burned The Serapeum and the books/scrolls in it. Later, owning anything considered "heretical" was also made a criminal offense. One speculation about why the Gnostic Gospels were hidden in a large jar stationed in a remote cave was that the nearby monastery knew that it was illegal to possess of such material and instead of burning the books, chose to hide them.

Some old habits, however, die hard: we've seen and heard of book burnings within the last century. The most famous book burning took place in Nazi Germany where thousands of books were consigned to flames. The latest one, however, is notable for its truly audacious stupidity:

Right Wing Watch

Celebrate Halloween With A Good Old Fashioned Book Burning

Via Raw Story we see that the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina church will be "hosting a 'Halloween book burning' to purge the area of 'Satan's' works, which include all non-King James versions of the Bible, popular books by many religious authors and even country music."

What is especially exciting about this particular book burning is the list of authors who will see their books being burned includes Rick Warren, James Dobson, Tim LaHaye, Chuck Colson, Mother Teresa, and even The Pope:

Come to our Halloween book burning. We are burning Satan's bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, ect. These are perversions of God's Word the King James Bible.

We will also be burning Satan's music such as country , rap , rock , pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, southern gospel , contempory [sic] Christian , jazz, soul, oldies but goldies, etc.

We will also be burning Satan's popular books written by heretics like Westcott & Hort , Bruce Metzger, Billy Graham , Rick Warren , Bill Hybels , John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll , John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driskol, Franklin Graham , Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn , Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa , The Pope , Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning, William Young, etc.

The video below is almost cartoonish in the presentation of the church pastor, bib overhauls and all, and the news station gets in a jibe with the "14 members but growing" statement. (Think of it - if, in one year they grow to 28 members they'll be able to say that they have had a growth rate of 100%). But make no mistake about it: these people are serious in their inanity.

And serious in their hatred. After all of the derogatory coverage, you have to wonder, is there anything besides the KJV Bible the good pastor doesn't hate?
Does he know what kind of impression he's giving to the camera, to the country, to the world? Does he know what a biblical scholar is?

The Amazing Grace Baptist Church Website statement of beliefs mirrors its abject ignorance.