Friday, June 4, 2010

Necessary Segue: Would You Want Milk From This Guy's Dairy?

While I have always championed the humane treatment of animals, I 've never really considered myself an animal rights activist. This video, would change anyone into an ardent activist. Bar none. When I saw it, I knew that everyone I knew should see it as well. PLEASE keep in mind, it's brutality of the most vicious and mindless and not for the faint of heart.

Soon after the Conklin Dairy Farm video release, authorities arrested Billy Joe Gregg, 25, a Conklin employee, on 12 counts of animal cruelty and he is being held at the Tri-County Jail in Mechanicsburg, Ohio on $100,000 bond.

Fascism in America Will Be Wrapped In A Flag, Carrying A Cross and Have a VERY Raspy Voice!

Is Lou Engle The Most Dangerous Man In America?

In 1996, editor (AU magazine) and writer Rob Boston wrote The Most Dangerous Man In America? Pat Robertson And The Rise Of The Christian Coalition. I've read the book and appreciated its straightforward take on Robertson's hypocritical form of Christofascism. I recently perused some of the reviews of the book on
But the man [Robertson] is fringe. He's dumped his own personal fortune into his misguided ambitions. His movement is fading. At worst, all he did was channel folks who would have otherwise supported Pat Buchanan or third parties behind the established Republican candidate. His "Family Channel" - his main cash cow - is long gone, and the 700 Club will be off the air when the Disney Acquisition of the Fox Family Channel is complete.
Pat Robertson is history, not the bogeyman.

That review was written in 2002. "The 700 Club" is still broadcasting specious stories of "inspiration" and "decadence" and Pat Robertson is still broadcasting his talks "with God" and somewhere in America a little old lady in a rest home or a trailer park still touches the screen when Robertson appears hoping that he'll manage to cure her hemorrhoids. Yes, Pat Robertson is still with us, but his bloviations about Katrina, Haiti, Hugo Chavez, Ariel Sharon and all things gay have chipped away at the man's charisma. Many people think that senility has finally settled in Robertson's brain.

The problem is that Robertson still gets recognition. At 80, Robertson has a bigger political base than his father (Senator Absolom Willis Robertson) ever achieved. He has the ability to get attention wherever he is.  And he uses that recognition with wild abandon.

But is he still the "Most Dangerous" in America's all-male political elite?Or has raspy-voiced evangelical Lou Engle taken over that role? Fiery preachers have come and gone, but Engle's violent speech is in league all its own:
My son, Jesse, he's nineteen years old. God has given him dreams, to go to San Francisco to launch a house of prayer - one block frpom the Castro District - where homosexuals boast the dominion of darkness. He's going there with weeping in his heart. With a dream that prayer is stronger than the dominion of that spirit.

...he's starting to cast out homosexual spirits out of our new converts. Its scary as hell... but fathers are to send their sons into the darkest places. ...St. Francis - Francis means 'free man'. San Francisco is the City of the Free Man.!
This last pronouncement I looked up. "Franciscus" means Frenchman. And while Francis, in some etymologies, means "free," Francis does not necessarily mean "Free man!" BTW: interestingly, the nickname "Francis" was given to Giovanni ("John") di Bardone by his father who was, at the time, an Italian cloth merchant enamored of all things French.

O.K., so that's a little picky, but expand Engle's half-truth into an hour-long sermon. Throw in some quotations from one Bible translation, then from another. Keep on demonizing, demonizing, demonizing until people think that a place like San Francisco has everyone practicing Satanism on the streets. Make people think that walking near 18th and Castro is an act of foolhardiness or extreme courage for anyone who is righteous. Make them think that everyone they see will automatically go to hell if they do not listen to your message. Make them think they may be coerced into homosexual acts in order to obtain dominion over a person's soul.

Engle uses pre-teens and teens in an indiscriminate, manipulative, and destructive way: both he and his son use Fundamentalist Biblical buzz-words constantly and never, ever let up. From start to finish, they never give the teenage mind a chance to question, a chance to think. The teenager is bombarded, pummeled with  confusing sentiments:
TheCall belief and intent has never been about promoting hatred toward the homosexual community as a whole or towards individuals who identify as LGBT. We have always sought to offer a message of love and redemption to those with same-sex attractions, though at times our communication could have been expressed more effectively and graciously.
Considering the vehemous condemnation of an entire group of people as being possessed by demons, any statement of the sort is disingenuous at least, or an ugly lie at most. I've tried to figure out exactly how teens have gotten hooked on his sermons: he has no more charisma than any other street preacher who screams redundant word after redundant word. In a sermon given to "Holywood", Los Angeles in 2007 during a pre-TheCall rally, (and during the most virulently anti-gay portion), Engle refers to "God" 44 times, himself ("I") 31 times, "Dream" 15 times, "Mel" or "Gibson" 10 times, "Jesus" 6 times, and "Christ" 4 times. "Love" is never mentioned. 

Like Rod Parsley, Engle's rhetoric is somewhat military in tone, but "blood" is given a more commanding presence. Like other firebrand preachers, the frequent mention of "God" is the vengeful, jealous, self-righteous God of the Old Testament.

Engle, along with Scott Lively and a small band of other preachers/lawyers were very instrumental in encouraging Uganda on its "Kill the Gays" bill. It would be unnecessary to say more, but to the politically and morally obtuse: Lou Engle bad - tolerance good.

The Second Original Sin

An Obscure Biblical Doctrine 
Spread By Today's Christian Right

I was born in an infant asylum. OK, a orphanage.* A Catholic orphanage.** I was a bastard. OK, to be more PC:  illegitimate. It was only by the grace of Edna Gladney*** that "Illegitimate" was not stamped on my birth certificate, but that's another story. I then went on to a Catholic grade school that took pleasure in immediately informing us kids that we were born in sin. Original Sin. Two strikes against me? I was born in a mess of bastards in addition to a blot on my "permanent record"?

The guilt set in early.

Later on, I found out that the guy who founded and fostered the idea of Original Sin, Saint Augustine of Hippo, had an Oedipus complex and such massive guilt about it that he figured everyone should share in the pain. Nice work, Augustine. You set the stage for Western Civilization's cockeyed world view: everyone's born with a black mark against them. "We're ALL sinners" has been used to soften the blows from street preachers and pulpit pimps the world over. It sounds more egalitarian than just pointing the finger and casting the first stone.
In Augustine's view (termed "Realism"), all of humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all have sinned. Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all humans inherit. As sinners, humans are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace.
But (horrors!) what if there is more than one Original Sin? What if a certain sin could be passed on from one person to the next - like a cold?

I think there is such a sin, and it is so bad that its effects can be horrific. However, the reason we don't hear about it from our pulpits is because of the method of contagion: for the method is just as bad as the sin itself.

The Second Original Sin is like the First for it is found at birth. Second birth, that is. It is the Original Sin peculiar to the Born Again Christian. I am writing of course, about the sin of Intolerance.

"But not all Born Agains are intolerant!!"  No, they are not. But that is simply because some are de-programmed not to be so later on. Intolerance is born along with the Born Again. Simple, but true. I suppose some people might argue that a Born Again chooses to be intolerant, but that would be counter-intuitive to a Christian. No, it's a simple fact that all Born Agains are born with the black mark of intolerance until they can prove otherwise.

Think of it: a Born Again does not think, but KNOWS that he is saved by Jesus Christ the son of the One True God. The Born Again also KNOWS that others have not been saved. The Born Again is flush with the knowledge that God loves him and counts him as a true Christian: the insufferably righteous phrase "It's the Christian Thing To Do" is proffered every time, everywhere. The Born Again KNOWS that his distinct spiritual philosophy is true and others are false and evil. The  Born Again is always on the lookout for sinners in every nook and cranny with the hope that he can save them, thereby chalking up one more saved soul on their spiritual scorecard. The Born Again avoids people who have shunned his offer of salvation or dares to counter his divine reasoning. The Born Again is a novice at demonizing, but an eager pupil: the sin of Intolerance does not need much encouragement. Under the guise of "love" a Born Again is allowed to bludgeon a person's life and loves with impunity. The duty of the Born Again is to make you feel as shameful and guilty as possible.

And along with that grave sin of Intolerance come its sister sins of righteousness: righteous arrogance, righteous indignation, and righteous stupidity****

The ministers who hang every sermon, every word on John 3:5 are the conductors of the Original Sin of Intolerance, passing it on ... no ... BESTOWING it as a great gift to the Born Agains. The most obvious and vocal example is Lou Engle who manages to make Intolerance sound very virtuous and very righteous:

In speaking of the legalization of same-sex marriage in California, Engle has alleged that "What happened to California will release a spirit that is more demonic than Islam, a spirit of lawlessness and anarchy. And a sexual insanity will be unleashed into the Earth." Lou Engle has also said: The most "dangerous terrorist" is not Islam but God. One of God's names is the avenger of blood. Have you worshipped that God yet."
Born Agains (especially Born Again ministers) like Lou Engle will always be tainted with the sin of Intolerance because they embrace it and consider the sin to be a badge of honor. Of course, we call it Intolerance, while they call it Righteousness.

And it is not, as some people think, easy to be saved from the sin of Intolerance. Salvation involves opening the mind that the ministers and mentors closed. It involves looking at others without being judgmental in any way. It involves honoring the right of individual thinking. It involves pure love. 

I know that sounds naive: salvation from Intolerance can't win against Engle's imagery of blood, war and martyrdom. Maybe it is.

But it's the only way of erasing the black mark of the Second Original Sin.

Just a thought.

* The sobriquet "asylum" was not always paired with "insane," although some of the orphans may have differed. 

** I popped out of my mother's womb into the arms of a big, strapping nun. I know I screamed "PUT ME BACK!!" after I saw her, but not having mastered sounds much less the English language, it came out as a cry the ancient nurse/nun ignored.

*** Edna Gladney's life was immortalized by actress/diva Greer Garson in the movie Blossoms in the Dust." Gladney looked nothing like Greer Garson, but was able somehow to get the disgustingly boorish and "conservative" legislators of her state to remove the word of shame. The state was Texas, of course.

****There is also an obscure sin of righteous halitosis that effects some Born Agains who become ministers and people who hang around water-coolers.