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Why Are Some American Christians So Bloodthirsty?

It's been going on for years now. Almost daily we read that another child, another parent.. is killed in Afghanistan or Iraq by U.S. weaponry in Mr. Bush's "war on terror." Sometimes it's a wedding party, or a bunch of kids, or a family of six.. who may even be killed on camera in real time for all the world to see and hear.

But no matter how bad it gets, nothing seems to change.. among Christian supporters of the Bush administration. "Stuff happens in a war zone.".. I've been reassured by countless pro-war Christians that, as long as civilians aren't intentionally targeted, taking their lives is okay, maybe even predestined, God's will...

Two kinds of American Christians
.. many Christians in America will blindly support whichever war their president promotes, with the assumption that his much-advertised praying guarantees us that God approves of all those bombs and missiles, and even the inevitable collateral damage... [But not] all Christians in the U.S. find civilian deaths an acceptable price to for Mr. Bush's ultimate goals.. (1)

Which bible do Bushies read ?
As Lutheran Church member Naate Aaseng mentions, they must be reading from a different Gospel
One can't help but notice that many of the Christian right's core issues are issues that Jesus never addressed specifically (homosexual rights), never addressed at all (whether life begins at conception) or could not conceivably have advocated (the right to bear semiautomatic weapons).

On the other hand, many of the policies for which Jesus spoke passionately, such as income redistribution (Luke 18:22), rejection of the death penalty (John 8:7), and nonviolent resolution of disputes (Matt 26:52), are vigorously opposed by the Christian right.

when a group claiming the mantle of the Christian party champions issues that Jesus did not champion and opposes issues Jesus did champion, it's fair to question whether they are trying to manipulate the sincere faith of believers to use God to advance their own agendas.(2)

Washing away Christian Compassion
.. [As for] the Christians; most of them are nice people on a personal basis.. they certainly don't go around saying they hope a lot more civilians are killed by US... They've been trained to deny it's happening or downplay its importance..

Failure to Care: How it Happens
The reasons for blindness or indifference toward civilian casualties are several. Many if not most pro-war Christians, particularly those in the southern and midwestern states:

  1. rarely see news accounts of civilian casualties

  2. have been immunized against thinking for themselves or doubting the Bush administration with certain Bible verses (Paul, not Matthew)

  3. are told not to worry, when they do hear of civilian casualties, that life in the flesh is less important than life eternal..

  4. feel they dare not oppose this or any war because talking about peace, objecting to war's human cost, or even referring to the United Nations has become associated in their minds with the Antichrist and eternal damnation, thanks to fictional works based on Thessalonians such as the Left Behind books and video..

  5. have been convinced by right-wing preachers, authors and radio hosts.. to shift their allegiance away from Jesus' teachings about merciful behavior .. to the more pro-violence, pro-war values espoused by various non-Gospel biblical writers.

Moral Relativism: In War, Anything Goes
But most importantly, conservative Christianity in the U.S. has succumbed to that which it has, in decades past, most rigorously warned against: moral relativism. By restricting any discussion of morality to sexual behavior, right-wing politicians have obliterated the once-central Christian teaching[s].. Cleverly "working the room," pro-war politicians have infiltrated churches to such a degree that killings and torture are no longer within the province of morality. When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.(1)

Paul, not Matthew
As Steve Erickson reminds us in his LA Weekly article,
When George W. Bush found Jesus in the mid-'80s ..he was most electrified by the story of Paul's conversion en route to Damascus, as told in the Book of Acts. Formerly a persecutor of Christians, Paul had a vision and became a prosecutor for Christianity. As pointed out by essayist and novelist Michael Ventura, American Christian fundamentalism is based largely on Paul's epistles and the books of Revelation and John, from which the president quoted in his address to the nation on the evening of September 11, 2001 ("And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it"). John offers a harsher, more unforgiving portrait of Jesus than is found in the other Gospels. While in the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus turns the other cheek and says on the Mount, "Judge not, that ye be not judged," it's in the Book of John that Jesus suggests that anyone who doesn't believe in him is doomed. Most conspicuous about the letters of Paul that so affected Bush is that, in them, Jesus and his actual teachings barely appear at all.. "Paul constantly insists on his own righteousness," Ventura explains, "and constantly questions the righteousness of anyone who disagrees with him, as well as twisting the earlier scriptures to suit his views."..

[Hence] the evangelical Army general who is its deputy undersecretary of defense, William Boykin [says that] ours is "an army of God, in the house of God," and that George Bush is in the White House "because God put him there,"..

To secularists, including those who believe in God and attend church or synagogue or mosque on a more or less regular basis, the revelation of a CIA operative's identity by someone in the government as a form of political retribution seems beyond the pale, particularly in an era of terror.. But in the theocratic view of power, national security and political self-interest are inseparable when both are factors in a presidential power that's in the service of Divine Will. From the vantage point of the theocratic psyche, a divinely interpreted national interest overwhelms narrow ideas of security as held by [others] The theocratic rationale for the Iraq war and the United States' subsequent presence in Iraq exists far above petty secular anxieties about justifying either..

[To Bushies, the public war reasoning - i.e. DSM] couldn't be more beside the point.
 It was never a matter of reasons justifying the war. Rather, the war justifies the reasoning. Some might suggest that the president's case for the war was made in bad faith, but there is no "bad" in the president's perception of faith... That Iraq had nothing to do with those who attacked America almost two and a half years ago is only a distracting detour in moral reasoning, fine print for those whom God hasn't called.. (3)

Update [2005-6-23 16:13:33 by lawnorder]: Further reading:
  • Whiskey Bar: The Grand Delusion [Billmon] Working [his] way through Shadia Drury’s book: Leo Strauss and the American Right .. What strikes me most about the Straussians – and by extension, the neocons – is that they’ve pushed the traditional liberal/conservative dichotomy of American politics back about 150 years, and moved it roughly 4,000 miles to the east, to the far side of the Rhine River. Their grand existential struggle isn’t with the likes of Teddy Kennedy or even Franklin D. Roosevelt, it’s with the liberalism of Voltaire, John Locke and John Stuart Mill – not to mention the author of the Declaration of the Independence... One of the Straussians’ most important innovations has been to reconcile their brand of elite conservatism with Southern fried demagogic populism ala Huey Long and George Wallace. That’s a pretty radical concession for a movement with its mind (or at least its heart) planted firmly in the fifth century BC. But it's solved the traditional dilemma of old-style conservatives in America: How to win power in a society that has no landed gentry, no nobility, no established church – none of Europe’s archaic feudal institutions and loyalties..
  • pdxleft: Who Is Leo Strauss and Why Should We Care?We were listening to Newt Gingrich smarmily intone about God and family values on CSPAN and my brother turned to me and said, "They want to repeal the enlightenment."...
  • On the Eve of the Millennium: The Future of Democracy Through an Age of Unreason - A prescient 1994 book describes "the mounting attacks on Enlightenment values that jeopardize the very survival of the democratic institutions they inspired. "All my life," writes Conor Cruise O'Brien, "I have been fascinated and puzzled by nationalism and religion; by the interaction of the two forces, sometimes in unison, sometimes antagonistic." In these wide-ranging and penetrating essays, O'Brien examines how throughout the world today these age-old forces are once again threatening democracy, the rule of law, and freedom of expression -- particularly in the United States, the nation founded on Enlightenment values. He weaves together beautifully written discussions on these and other timely, related topics. Enlivening his grim predictions with dry wit, he nevertheless conveys an apocalyptic sense of the threats facing democracy as we approach the third millennium.
  • The millennial struggle continues a few words in defense of the Enlightenment, that hard-won legacy of human thought that remains under continuing assault by the forces of intellectual darkness. For instance, at a time when human beings have developed powers of scientific observation that were once unimaginable, it is amazing that society is still besieged by a "religious right" which insists on teaching children such notions as the literal truth of the Bible.. Ironically, the fundamentalists do not hesitate to employ the means of science -- including computers, modern weaponry and mass communications -- in their crusade to suppress reason. They possess the confidence of their militant ignorance, while the rest of us are hobbled by the doubts that are inherent to rationality.

Originally posted to lawnorder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 02:19 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips / Donations collection basket (4.00)
    Pass it around

    When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

    by lawnorder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 02:18:50 AM PDT

    •  Excellent work (4.00)
      The embrace of irrationality on the right is breathtaking.

      The fundies really did rewrite the Bible.  My sis-in-law's sister is a born again fundie, & while house sitting, I found her gift paperback fundie bible on the dining room table.  I was shocked to read the passages of a beligerant JC.  They have re-written the Bible.  I suggest we all prowl their websites & read their version of the Bible. We need to arm ourselves & know what they are embracing.

      This is a subtle, insidious, fascist movement, & we are duty bound to expose it.

      Thank you, Lawnorder.  Keep it coming.

      Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. Buddha

      by x on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 02:44:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What their said doesn't matter (4.00)
        Simply read exactly what Jesus taught.  They are in violation of nearly every aspect of it. (pacifism, non-judgemental, vanity, greed,love thy neighbor, etc.)  The rest is nearly irrelevant as they are just a collection of historic/symbolic stories to prove a point.

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. -Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Closet VB Coder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:47:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is cultural (4.00)
          All religion is, ultimately, an expression of culture.  Hence, you get a kider, gentler Christianity in Scandanavia and Canada, and an angry, judgmental God in the US and parts of Africa and Asia.

          "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

          by fishhead on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:50:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What a load of crap (none)
            You can't slap one label on 300,000,000 people just because they live in the US.

            Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. ~Louis Hector Berlioz

            by Turquine on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 11:00:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I cop to the charge (none)
              of gross generalization - my apologies to you and others who were offended.

              Having said that, the largest Protestant denomination in Canada is the United Church of Canad, a liberal denomination that blesses same-sex unions.  The largest Protestant denomination in the US?  The Southern Baptist Convention.

              Generalizations are unfair, but they do conceal a grain of truth.

              "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

              by fishhead on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 12:05:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  What Bible??? (none)
        While I know in their minds and rhetoric they have "rewritten the bible", I've not heard of them literally "re-writing" the bible.

        What exactly was the book you saw?

        •  Many new translations (4.00)
          Have been written in a tone that I personally consider a "radical revisionist" tone.  Instead of working from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek sources, many of these new translations are simply reworks of the King James version.  As a result many words which are unclear in meaning in Greek become even more incindiary in these new translations.  An example of this is the story of Lot, when God sends the two angels to find 5 righteous people in Sodom, the crime of the people is not anything perpetrated sexually, rather it is the inhospility towards the guests which is the real crime.  Newer translations tend to only focus on the sexual angle.
          •  Language is culture (none)
            Stick to the Hebrew/Greek - accept no substitutions!

            "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

            by fishhead on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:51:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Rather than sticking to any bible (none)
              I'd suggest that truth seekers look elsewhere.

              The source seems corrupted to me, if one needs such a fine tooth comb to pick through the rubble of the book.

              My two cents...your mileage may vary.

              •  Fine-toothed combs (4.00)
                Tend to yield treasures otherwise passed over too easily and quickly.  I like a sacred text that makes you think.  But, hey, that's what they pay me for! (I'm an Anglican priest)

                "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

                by fishhead on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:10:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Many of the newer bibles (4.00)
            are adjusted for size.
            Several of them have additional passages and notes which pretty much tell the reader what to think and how to behave.
            Different professions have different verions. Google the word  BIBLE with another word such as FIREFIGHTER  or MARINE or POLICEMAN.
            Recently the US military offered a contract for a SPECIAL OPS bible.  It was to have a different cover and they DoD appeared to already have prepared any other adjutments or alterations ready for printing.
            All these versions are different from the regular civilian bible and the names behind this whole marketing ploy are very heavy hitters in Republican circles.
            •  you won't get this joke unless (none)
    're from the south, so read it twice and I will provide the key in a comment.

              In a small Southern town there was a nativity scene that indicated great skill and talent in its creation. One small feature bothered me though. The three wise men were wearing firemen's helmets.

              Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left. At a "Quik Stop" on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, "You darn Yankees never do read the Bible!"

              I assured her that I did, but simply couldn't recall anything about firemen in the Bible. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a particular passage.

              Sticking it in my face she said, "See, it says right here, 'The three wise men came from afar.'"

              When you buy the Washington Post, you support George W. Bush.

              by seesdifferent on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 02:24:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Fascism is Irrational...but so is religion. (3.42)
        there is no reason to it -- it's pure emotion that is manipulated by symbols and propaganda.

        This is why I'm not surprised fundamentalist religion easily falls into a theocratic form of fascism. They really are very similar.

        Religion is not about reason, it is about faith. Its leaders must necessarily stoke emotional passions periodically to renew the faith and keep their flocks in the pews. Usually religions fall "victim" to institutionalization -- i.e. they go from being outsider sects to established faiths and, in so doing, tend to attract different type of individuals as clergy -- reasonable, scholarly types that attempt to sqaure religious doctrine with reason. This necessarily makes the faith less zealous, but it also lessens the average person support for their religion. Instead of being new and exciting the religion becomes scholarly and boring. No more fire and brimstone, but scholarly papers on this or that point of theology.

        Southern Baptists and the Methodists, for example, both started out as barnstorming, preaching sects, but eventually they grew so large that they became defacto established faiths between 1850 and 1900. The Methodists then went down the "scholarly" path and began to decline. The Baptists, however, didn't and continued to grow.

        The problem with the Fundie Baptists is that they are effectively established, "mainline" faiths in the sense they are a major player on the US religious scene, but to keep the faith growing they have to keep the emotional fires burning...which is much more difficult an endeavor when the faith is so huge. It is easier to keep a small number of devoted people motivated emotionally, much harder to so when one is working with tens of millions of individuals.

        Little wonder then that the Baptists have found "enemies" -- liberals, gays, secularists, "science" -- to focus their members emotions on, or that they use modern propaganda techniques to communicate with their members.

        The hate leveled against us by the members of the far Christian right isn't about us at all -- it is about the leaders of these groups attempting, above all, to maintain the growth of their flocks while still maintaining control. If it wasn't us, they would find some other enemy to focus their members' emotions on.  

        Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

        by Benito on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:15:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  hmmmm (3.85)
          Through the Baptist church, I was raised liberal.  I was taught of MLK and a long haired peacenik named Jesus.  I never once heard how old the earth was, when exactly life started, or that homosexuals were any worse than anyone else on this earth.  And was specifically told to never persecute another human being.  And I was also taught that caring for the earth is our responsibility.  Most importantly, I was taught to be cautious of power and greed, and that these things can corrupt even the most well meaning person.

          Almost 180 from some of today's representation of religion.  I chalk it up to power and greed seizing the ruling class and religion being nothing but their excuse to persecute others, but I am usually wrong.  Imagine my amazement to find my peaceful religion commiting atrocities.

          When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. -Martin Luther King Jr.

          by Closet VB Coder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:32:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  wow (none)
            I was raised Church of Christ and I was taught nothing of the sort. It was all fire and brimstone, all the time. Everything remotely pleasurable is bad. Anybody who was not a member of the Church of Christ is going to hell (especially Baptists). Women keep your silence in the church. Faith without works is dead. Dancing is a sin. No instruments in worship. Abortion is murder, but capital punishment and war is justice. Yadda yadda.
            I rejected all that nonsense and I guess I'm now considered a heathen by Church of Christ standards. But I don't care, they're not judge and jury. They have no right to play God.
            It's nice to hear, though, that some people were taught the truth.

            "People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

            by rioduran on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:47:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Puritanism (none)
              Puritanism: the fear that someone somewhere might be happy.
            •  I was amazed (none)
              when I was introduced to Jerry Falwell's and Pat Robertson's work.  The first time I read a Jerry Falwell article I remember asking myself "Wow, this guy is out of his freaking mind!  What cult does he belong to?"  After finding out he was Baptist and had a significant following, I have been a bit shy in admitting my own upbringing.

              As for Robertson, I had never heard of Zionism.  When I found out what the actual goal is (to bring about the end of time), I was basically speechless.  That was the moment I really felt that the seperation of church and state must be absolute, unconditional, and one of our highest priorities.

              I say believe what you are inclined to believe and respect the right of others to do the same (as long as you/they don't hurt anyone else in the process of carrying out that belief).

              When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. -Martin Luther King Jr.

              by Closet VB Coder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:42:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Methodists (4.00)

          Do the Baptists perceive the Methodists as their enemy???

          Anecdotally, I know there seems to be no love lost between Baptists and Jews and Baptists and Catholics....

          Actually, I have met a bunch of Baptists that appear to be downright not appreciative of anything else other than their own ilk.

          But then again, I have seen these new non-denominational super-churches that look more like a super right-wing Christian cult than they do the more mainstream stuff I grew up with.

          sometimes I wonder...

          me? I am one of those silent Methodists...I go to church, (about once or twice a month on a regular basis...and in my opinion probably not enough). I contribute, and help out in any way I can.

          I have a bunch of Jewish friends, (mostly reform, but a few orthodox). I also have a bunch of friends ranging from Atheists, Catholics, yes a couple of Baptists, Muslim, Buddhists and others to name a few.

          Actually, from what I have seen, (now I mentioned Atheists)...I capitalized Atheist, because in a sense Atheism, (to me anyhow), looks very much like a philosophy...that borders on religion.


          I have been condemned, by other people, many times because of my steadfast refusal to close my mind. In my view, if God decides that I am unfit to enter heaven, and must go to Hell...well that is not for me, nor any man or woman to decide!

          I really resent others attempting to pass judgement on me...and attempting to pass judgement on anyone for that matter!

          No more gooper LITE!

          by krwada on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:35:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ay, there's the rub (none)
            for the disillusioned flocks.  Your last sentence hits the nail on the head - as has been noted above, one of the main tenets of Jesus' teachings (at least as far as I remember them, raised Methodist) is summed up: "judge not lest ye be judged".
        •  Dissagree (none)
          there is no reason to it -- it's pure emotion that is manipulated by symbols and propaganda.

          Just because there are some people that mainline faith, does not mean that all faith is without reason.  I follow an eclectic spiritual followign myself.. but in Zen there are what's called the "Three Pillars of Wisdom." which is strong Faith, strong Doubt, and Strong determination.  Strong faith to know the correct path... strong doubt in that you are ever vigilant against picking out one static answer and never changing it, lest you begin to follow the wrong path.. and strong determination to see your path through in the face of doubt, etc.

          Thi sis Zen..but in my own experience -wise- practictioners of any relegion pretty much follow the same rules as the pillars have outlined.

          In fact, one of my college profs (a relgious historian) once told us that Christianity is a religion of either a. the very stupid, or b. a religion of profound thought... with little in between. hehe .. that was his opinion.. but he had plenty of examples of Christianity applied thoughtlessly AND thoughtfully.

          My point here is that to say, with sweeping generality, that Religion is always irrational is counter productive. Religion.. if treated like a process of growth.. or a path.. is invaluable.. but it's tool that can be misused.

          Hermaphrodite with attitude!

          by Willadene on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 11:25:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The point I'm making (none)
            is that religions that grow and succeed, at least in America, tend to be of the more theologically conservative, fire-and-brimestone variety.

            Check out Stark and Finke's The Churching of America, 1776-2005: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy for a good discussion of this. One way to stir up passions is to find an enemy. Not all Christians do this, nor do all religions, but I think it's pretty clear that SOME have done so..particularly fundie christians here in America and fundie Muslims in the Middle East.

            Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

            by Benito on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 12:44:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting but (none)
          Within Evangelical circles, there are right wing Evangelicals and there are moderate Evangelicals. For instance, my mother is a Moderate Evangelical who voted for and volunteered for Kerry with enthusiasm. She thinks Bush and right wingers are hypocritical Christians as their words do not match their actions.
          Then I have a sibling who is a right wing Evangelical and a Bush supporter. Her beliefs and actions vs. My mother's are quite different.

          I have noticed with right wing Evangelicals that they seem angry a great deal and I see less compassion and sensitivity, at least among those I know personally. They seem to be telling me that because Bush is a Christian that they would support him no matter what he does. I even met this lady who said Bush is a Divine Messenger of God on a Mission, a Holy War. So that might explain why they turn a blind eye to the death and destruction of War, they expect it. They think the End Times are Near and they go with that scripture, " there will be wars and rumors of war".

          But if Clinton had declared War, they would go ballistic because they would see him as as a war monger. Remember it is the Party, the position, the faith, of the candidate that determines their allegiance to policies.

          But yes, right wing religious people tend to be obsessed with Sex. I even saw a segment on CNN where Southern Evangelical women are NOW the biggest buyers of Sex Toys and have more Sex Toy/Sex Aid parties than most demographics. But the woman who runs True Romance and the subscribers say it is Sex Aids only for married couples and not just for the woman's enjoyment. Single Women are never invited to these parties.
          And here is the thing that got me, " we do not want the women just to enjoy our products but they ARE intended to be shared with the husband."
          AND this ticked me off, these women go to these parties and these classes about Sex so that their husbands do not stray. As a psychologist, I got news for them, affairs happen in every demographic and men do not stray just for Sex. Most men or women who stray are having good sex at home but there is something else missing. These religious wackos need to wake up to communication being key in all their relationships and to get off their high horse of being judgmental and mean.
          The divorce rate is high among right wing religious couples.

          Anyway, I notice the moderate Christians being loving, kind, compassionate, sensitive and acting on their beliefs by volunteering in soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Visit one in your area and the people of faith and ministers and priests volunteering there are often moderate and often Democrats.

          Right wingers would rather see in church and spend time within the confines of the church or their home and not let the sinful world interfere.

          We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

          by wishingwell on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 01:19:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I am so glad you brought this up (none)
        The bible is most definitely being "tweaked."
        At present the biggest publisher of the-Holy-Book-in-English, appears to be a company known as Zondervan.
        The most popular and most highly promoted version is something called the NIV - new International Version and the copyright to this is owned by the International Bible Society. The NIV is constantly being altered.
        Politically-aware Bible-readers are aware that Zondervan is a subsidiary of HarperCollins and also that HarperCollins is owned outright by Rupert Mudorch who also owns Fox News and  now employs a  Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark.
        Wesley Clark ran for the presidency of the US in the last election and appears to be in the running right now. The General is running as a Democrat.
        But that last fact doesn't have anything to do with bible translation.
        Incidentally, even the King James Bible has been adjusted within the past century. therefore, unless one is highly committed to biblical research, the average English speaker is forced to walk by faith when it comes to reading the-Holy-Book-in-English.
        The Muslims have bypassed this problem by insisting that adherents to Islam make a concerted attempt to learn Arabic, so that they can read the words for themselves. Also, every translation has Arabic on one page and the other language on the fage facing it so that one can compare and contrast. Whenever errors are made in translation, they are taken VERY SERIOUSLY.
      •  I'd love to know which edition, which press (none)
        it was that your sister was given.  Is it a standard rewritten version that is bought by the bulk for just such occasions, by these fundie megachurches, who then hand them out like candy?

        I wonder if anyone out there knows more about this particular version of the bible that was rewritten?

    •  Nice (4.00)
      Great job linking American militarism and Christian religious fundamentalism.  

      "There is no limit to what you can do if you have the power to change the rules." via Josh Marshall

      by grollen on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:23:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It has nothing to do with religion, (4.00)
      religion is their tool.

      Biblical interpretations are used to justify the violence, what doesn't support that world view is ignored. I don't know much about it but the concept is illustrated in the right's interpretation of Proverbs13:24

      He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

      When read in context the interpertation that God is telling believers to love and lead their children, those who hate their children offer no guidence. The rod represented leadership or it may even have represented God, either way that quote doesn't seem to mention beating the kids. A fimilar example of the rod as sympol of leadership is found in Psalm 23 which in pertentant part reads:

      Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
           I will fear no evil; for thou art with me:
           Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

      Either way, the New Testement superseeded all of this for a believing Christian, a fact usually ignored. The answer as to why they hate and are violent is not in their Christianity, they hate because that is who they are, they then use their religion to justify it.

      •  They hate because they fear... (4.00)
        most of all what is in themselves.

        What they fear in themselves, they project onto other people, and attack it there.

      •  Misinformation (3.80)
        Sadly, the spare the rod, spoil the child crowd are having quite a resurgance in the rural south, with several cases of child abuse being dismissed under the 1st amendment claims of freedom of religion.
      •  Religion (4.00)
         (Disclaimer: I am not a Christian) I can't speak with any authority on matters of faith. On religion in general I think that there is an unspoken agreement among some believers to hand over authority to an interpreter of the bible, rather than interpret themselves. This makes them both vulnerable to that person and secure in their own ignorance.

         Many years ago I read a book by Robert Graves, (the man who wrote I Claudius) called the White Goddess. He talked about the origans of religion. The first religions seemed to be female based. Pagan. All those little fat bellied, big breasted, headless carvings found in Europe. The religious rituals revolved around the moon, (the white goddess), changings seasons, and fetility. He talked about the mysterys of reproduction as a driving force. As people became more knowledgable about how babies really got here the gender roles began to shift. Men realized that to get power they had to control the whole sex thing. This gave rise to the sun gods. Ra. What we like to call the cradle of civilization was the birth place of male centered religion.

         Jehovah is the ultimate sun god. In the bible (he) acknowedges other gods, can't have them before him, He is the lord, the one. All of the sun gods use physical power to assert their control. It isn't about magic and mystery. It's about fighting and battles. That, and control of sexuality. You have to make sure that the women are pregnant with your child, not someone elses. As long as your followers are under your control you have to convince them that sex can hurt them if it isn't done right.

         I could go on, but I bet you wish I wouldn't. Anyway, think about it. Why are Christians blood thirsty and sexually repressed? Hmmmm?

      •  excellent commentary... (none)
        especially for anyone who has known anyone they cared for go off the deep end; it's painful to witness, and I'm reminded of Jonestown, people blindly following, in denial and committing incomprehensible violence and suicide. It's haunting, painful, and deeply disturbing...a twisted product of ignorance and self-serving manipulation, especially dangerous because like the rise of totalitarian fascism in the 1930s it is so insideous and violently turns to extreme measures and takes action to control, distort and deny the dissemination of information to its public citizenry and gradually, then systematically denies rights of individuals using inhumane aggression and hostility. Like religious, ideological struggles or ethnic/racial intolerance over the decades and centuries of history, it is an absolutist ethnocentrism of the first order, the root of much hubris, nationalism, war and genocide. Our republic, the United States of America, is a democratic society founded on tolerance and inclusion to protect individual and civil liberties and freedoms in response to religious persecution. We need to remember this and ensure that dream stays alive today.
    •  Two Christianities (none)
      The right-wingers have just as valid an interpretation of Christianity as the left. For example:

      LUKE 3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 3:17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor,   and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

      MARK 6:10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. 6:11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment , than for that city.

      MATTHEW 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. 25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink.

      See also:

      Matthew 7:13-14
      Jesus says most people will go to hell.

      Matthew 8:12
      "the children of the kingdom [the Jews] shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

      Matthew 10:28
      Jesus says that we should fear God who is willing and "able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

      Matthew 11:20-24
      Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn't care for his preaching.

      Acts 3:23
      Peter wrongly claims that Dt.18:18-19 refers to Jesus, saying that those who refuse to follow him (all nonchristians) must be killed.

      Acts 5:1-20
      Peter and God scare Ananias and his wife to death for not forking over all of the money that they made when selling their land.

      John 5:16, 18
      John, with his usual anti-Semitism, says that the Jews persecuted Jesus and "sought to slay him."

      Acts 3:14-15
      Peter blames the Jews for the death of Jesus.

      Acts 7:51-52
      Stephen blames the Jews for persecuting the prophets and murdering Jesus.

      My point is that one can find the foundations for kindness and charity, and the foundations for the intolerance and the Holocaust in the New Testament. It's no accident that Hitler and all his henchmen were raised in devoutly Christian households. The Holy Week tradition in Catholicism (and perhaps in other versions of Christianity) to re-enact the condemnation of Christ by having the parishoners play the role of the Jews who condemn Jesus to death is pure POISON. How can this not feed anti-Semitism? The biological instinct to identify outsiders is exploited by the Church to identify Jews as the enemy.

      •  Torah, Qu'ran, Bible, they all have it (none)
        The xenophobia. The "kill a gentile" or "all infidels must die". And don't get me started about Shiva & Kali...

        That's why the "cafeteria style" religion is so poisonous... Some pick compassion, others pick genocide

        When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

        by lawnorder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:12:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gay hatred (4.00)
    If you ask a Christian what is the justification for their jihad on homosexuality, when Christ himself never once addressed the subject, they will always cite Paul.

    I'm not sure what Paul wrote on this subject, but it seems to be the only source in the New Testament declaring gay sex a sin. And that is enough for them. In other words, they subjugate Christ to Paul.

    •  What Paul wrote (4.00)
      was that God has punished people who don't acknowledge Him by turning them over to their own foolishness and depravity, including, "Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persosn the due penalty for their errors."

      The entire context is Romans 1:18-32.

      Some scholars believe that Paui himself was a repressed gay man, and identified what he hated most about himself as God's punishment, perhaps for his persecution of Christians before his own conversion or perhaps just for his sin in general.

      Fundamentalists can seize on this passage as reasons to discriminate against gays, and with that "due penalty" phrase, to rationalize doing nothing to prevent or treat AIDS. The Bible is complex, self-contradictory and malleable enough that you can pretty much justify any kind of prejudice with it if you try hard enough.

      •  asdf (none)
        I don't think you even have to try all that hard.

        Whip me, beat me, make me eat brussels sprouts!

        by arkylib on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:45:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What I would like to know (4.00)
        is what price should I ask for my daughter when I sell her into slavery, as clearly condoned in Exodus 21:7?

        is why W didn't read this week's Torah portion, which includes this passage, clearly warning not to invade lands without the a just and righteous purpose?:

        40. They arose early in the morning and ascended to the mountain top, saying, "We are ready to go up to the place of which the Lord spoke, for we have sinned. " 41. Moses said, "Why do you transgress the word of the Lord? It will not succeed. 42. Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, [so that] you will not be beaten by your enemies. 43. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you will fall by the sword. For you have turned away from the Lord, and the Lord will not be with you. 44. They defiantly ascended to the mountain top, but the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord and Moses did not move from the camp. 45. The Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived on the mountain came down and smote them and crushed them [pursuing them] until Hormah.

        Numbers 14:40-44

        "To love G-d is to love justice." - Paul Wellstone

        by JK Minnesota on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:10:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Missing the point (none)
          BushCo says they DID invade with a just and righteous purpose.

          There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

          by ThirstyGator on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:22:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  not missing the point (4.00)
          the point being the moral relativism of selective use of the Bible.

          I wonder how many old testament christians (southern baptist and other cults) have heard this preached from the book of numbers since March of 2003?

          Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

          by Upstream Review on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:30:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Lincoln' reference (none)
          Abe had probably internalized that passage when he responded to the question as to whether or not he prayed for God to be on "our" side and he replied no, but he prayed that we are on God's side.

          If the children ask you why so many died, tell them, because their fathers lied." Rudyard Kipling

          by TexDem on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:36:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Romans (3.90)
        "Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persosn the due penalty for their errors."

        You can take this verse to mean pretty much whatever you want it to. My mom has popped this on me when I've pointed out the inconsistencies with the verses in the OT that supposedly condemn homosexuality (cue President Bartlet).

        But you could read this verse any way you want. What is an "unnatural" relation? Lesbianism? Doggy-style? Abstinence?

        Also, "committing shameless acts with men" -- what does that mean? I'm a straight guy who's had no homosexual experiences and I guarantee you I've committed some shameless acts with men. There was that one time some buddies of mine and I streaked through the football stadium, there was that other time when we got drunk and got into a fight in a bar......

        Again, you can make the Bible "say" whatever you want it to.

        Blog this! Visit me at K Street Blues. It will change your life.

        by AggieDemocrat on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:38:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Idolatry (4.00)
        Paul had a very conventional view (for his time) of the link between what is natural and what is customary - hence his view that long hair on a man is dishonourable because this is something that "even nature teaches."  People who exchange (i.e., choose - Paul had no concept of orientation) their natural sexual behaviour for "unnatural" are acting consistently with their idolatry, which is also unnatural, since God is revealed in nature.

        We don't have to accept Paul's anthropology or cosmology to be faithful Christians.  His actual ethical foundation is far simpler and more permissive.  It's summed up in Rom 12:1-2 which stands at the beginning of a lengthy ethical section that takes up almost the rest of the letter to the Romans - "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds, so that you may discern the will of God."

        "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

        by fishhead on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:55:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Paul: Long Hair & Samson (none)
          Hmmm...Paul's views on long hair on male's apparently conflicts with other Biblical teachings.  

          The story of Samson is pretty well known. This Longhaired Mighty Man of God, had a secret source of strength (as given by God) his long hair.  

          Once it was cut by a beguiling female (faithful to the ruling/oppressing class) he was weakened to mere mortal status and was taken prisoner and blinded.  Nazarene's and priests were not to cut their hair or beards.  Of course, Samson's imprisoners forget to monitor his hair regrowth.  He nuked their magnificent palace and the nasty ruling class oppressors and liberated Israel in his sacrificial death, which he deserved for consorting with a evil pagan woman--it was sort of like he stoned himself.

          "I'd rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian." -Martin Luther.

          by antirove on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:48:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just goes to show (none)
            Paul was no Biblical literalist.  He was willing to adapt his beliefs to the culture of his times, as he believed God was revealed in that culture.  Fundies could learn a lot from Paul's felxibility.

            "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

            by fishhead on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:09:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It is important to know who Paul was speaking to (4.00)
      His letters were to the Romans.  They practiced Pederasty and the practice was pretty decadent even by todays standards. It is one thing for homosexuals to have relationships, it is a completely different matter for the whole social order to be built on otherwise straight men taking young boys as lovers to introduce them to society.

      Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

      by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:59:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was the Greeks (none)
        who practiced pederasty, but your point stands...

        The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

        by pastordan on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:57:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Fundamentalists (4.00)
        You're exactly right about the cultural context of Paul's letters.

        But if you try to introduce cultural context to an interpretation of the (very few) anti-homosexuality verses in the Bible, fundies will scream at you for "picking and choosing." Then you try to point out the obvious fact that they are picking and choosing -- why did they decide that verses against homosexuality still applied, but not verses against divorce, or greed, or mixed fibers?

        The argument degenerates from there.

        Their very name, "fundamentalists," is a dirty lie.

        •  They Are Cafeteria Christians (4.00)
          picking and choosing.

          As are we all.

          Christ said that the law and the prophets could be reduced to 2 requirements:

          Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy strength and with all thy mind

          and thy neighbor as thyself

          When asked who your neighbor was, he told the story of the good Samaritan, which implies that as a nice mainstream Northern Protestant, even Southern Evangelicals are my neighbor.

          And vice versa.

          •  Exactly (none)
            My father used to say they pick and choose. He said some should just tear out the pages they disagree with. He said some fundies would have a pretty small Bible by the time they were down tearing pages out.

            I choose to think the apostle,  Paul was referring to pedophilia instead of homosexuality. As remember in that time, it was not unusual for young teens to marry and the kids grew up much faster. I think perhaps he was also talking about rape. But Right wingers will never believe that, they choose to believe it is all about Homosexuality between adults.

            Also, my mother wonders if Paul was not also speaking of wild, drunken orgies ,group sex where forced sex occurs. That is an interesting concept too.

            We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

            by wishingwell on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 01:31:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  When I was a child. . . (4.00)
      . . . my mother (who had converted from Protestantism to Catholicism to avoid hassles), told me the following:
      Darling, the Bible was written by a bunch of old men, and St. Paul liked little boys.
      I think that colored my view of the Bible quite a bit.

      When I was in college, and finally got around to reading the Gospels straight through (as a Catholic, I'd only gotten them a paragraph at a time), I was amazed at the wonderful stuff in there. If you concentrate on what Jesus is reported as saying, you could, well, start a whole new religion based on it! ; )

      To none will we sell, to none deny or delay, right or justice. Magna Carta 1215

      by Robespierrette on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:23:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then I've got a treat for you... (none)
        Pick up a copy of the Jefferson Bible.  It's recently been re-released.  Jefferson hated what Christianity had done to Jesus.  He set out to remove the witchcraft from the Bible, and did a pretty decent job.  Jefferson viewed Jesus as the greatest, and really the only philosopher that addressed man's relationship with man, and not man's relationship with the state.  And it was only upon that basis where he viewed himself a Christian.

        You can also read the Jefferson Bible on-line.

  •  Recommend this diary (none)
    Lawnorder, I only regret that you posted this on the late nite cycle.  It's the sure to scroll off shift.  (That's why I post mine late lol!)

    It's a great diary.  I went thru a ration of diaries today, & this is the one that deserves to be reco'd.

    I hope it makes it.

    Crosspost it on Booman & Demblogger.

    It's important.

    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. Buddha

    by x on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:06:27 AM PDT

    •  Feel free to do a Cut & paste (none)
      To anywhere you want.

      I'm having very little time to post lately so it would be hard for me to do it myself. Go ahead and post it if you like it. It will make me very proud someone liked it!

      When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

      by lawnorder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:47:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  that's the thing with having the religious backing (4.00)
    and i say religious purposely...  there are Christians, and then there are the religious...  the christian reich.  if you have them, they will follow you no matter what anyone says.  if they are told the sky is green, they believe it.  and no matter how much you show them a blue sky, they will only see green.  they part with their money and seem fine with what its used for, unless they are told to be mad.  

    i know i may sound beligerent or like i am generaliing.  i am very specifically speaking to the extremists and those who don't even question any aspect of the bible.  there are discrepencies all over the place... contradictions...  and they don't even think to wonder why.  i personally believe that one must question before they can actually have true belief... and that is true for anything.

    •  Christiopaths (4.00)
      is a term coined by Driftglass and it might have been in the comments to the post linked below. Regardless, this post is a masterpiece about the different "OS" that runs on fundamentalist brains.

      "The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it." R. Diesel, 1911

      by nuttymango on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:32:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On a tear (4.00)
        Most of these people are not Nazis, but they are the perfect raw material for our own, homegrown American Rightwing Demagogues; obedient, stupid, bigoted and easily frightened.

        Gilliard is on a lyrical tear in that piece.  Oooo he hates the fundies.

        His whole article reminds me of a particular Texas Christian woman who, for me, embodies everything I can't stand about the type.  Drags God into everything she says or is said to her, typically wihing for a divine "hedge of protection" placed around the object of her prayer, appears unable or unwilling to question anything, insists that Jesus was pro-death penalty, loves how W looks and thinks, cheered her 30-something brother as he marched off to Iraq, because he volunteered to do Christian work over there in the Iraq theater . . . God, she is just too goddamn dumb to live, as Vonnegut might put it.

      •  Doubt is their Hell, Democracy is doubt (none)
        Very perceptive post... I loved this part:
        Security and Enforced Orderliness is their idea Heaven and Doubt is their Hell, which is why they swarm like mayflies towards simple-minded sloganeering instead of actual, y'know, thinking...and why many of them fall madly in love with Fundamentalism. It's this anti-Faustian bargain where they get the perfect peace of mind that comes from absolute, swaggering certainty that they are completely right about every single thing. And thrown in at no extra charge, they get Paradise after they die, with the promise that they'll get to see my sorry ass screaming in agony in a lake of fire on Basic Cable for all eternity.

        But in exchange for all of this wonderfulness, they have to hand over their souls to truly evil men.

        They must agree that they will never, ever, ever question Their Master's Commands. To blindly obey and to never do the math and never read the fine print. In other words, to tear from their own body and slaughter of their own volition and with their own hands the one capacity that actually makes them fully human: their capacity for free and independent thought.

        It agrees so much with Steve Erickson's essay on Bush's theocracy (2):
        Whether it's Christian or Islamic, an uncompromising religious vision can't recognize the legitimacy of democracy without betraying itself. Democracy insists on a pluralism that entertains the possibility that one's religious beliefs might be wrong and another's might be right, and that all religious beliefs may be varying degrees of wrong or right -- what traditionalists despise as "relativism." Almost by definition, democracy is at least a little bit blasphemous. ... Doubt is a critical component of both democracy and its leadership. In the eyes of democracy, doubt is not just moral but necessary.. The Bill of Rights and the First Amendment in particular are monuments to the right to doubt, and to the right of one person to doubt the rightness of 200 million. In contrast, the psychology of theocracy not only denies doubt but views it as a cancer on the congregation, prideful temerity in the face of divine righteousness as it's communicated by God to the leaders of the state.

        When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

        by lawnorder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 12:05:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Theofascists use a religion to get bums in seats (4.00)
      ... and use them to seize earthly power and material gain (money, political pull, big honkin' cars.) Feeding the poor? Modulating one's own material appetites to save the planet? Easing the suffering of the destitute? Mmmm, not so much.

      Theofascists talk others into killing and dying for a religious cause, whether a Crusade to "save" civilization or suicide bombers joining a Jihad. (The latter is opposed to the personal jihad -- "struggle" -- to live modestly and compassionately on a daily basis.)

      Funny how the theofascist elites lathering up the impressionable youth of their particular tradition to die die die, kill kill kill to get to heaven sooner seem awfully reluctant to head that way themselves -- in every sense of the idea. (It's usually a bunch of old men, too. Hmmm.)

  •  Excellent work, but I have some questions. (4.00)
    Who suppresses reports on civilian casualties?  I can see why someone would do it, but what is it in their makeup that gives them the idea and then the nerve to do it?

    Who immunizes the Christian mass against thinking for themselves?  I can see why someone would do it, but where do they get the internal moral authority to do it?

    Who tells Christians not to worry about civilian casualties?  I can see why someone would do it, but what drives them to do it?  How do they organize and buttress their arguments?

    Who tells Christians that peace and the United Nations are part and parcel of the antiChrist?  Where do they get the internal rationalization to proffer such an argument in the first place?  What is it that is in them that makes them act so?

    What is it about right wing preachers, authors and radio hosts that enables them to advance such horrid arguments?  I mean this seriously: are they insane?  If not, what are they?  Are they normal or abnormal?  Do they truly reflect the Christians they influence, or do they truly have undue influence over them?  Do the Christians who agree with these disgusting views really embrace them or are they simply dupes?

    •  yes, they are insane. (4.00)
      all of them.

      let's take inventory:

      • base beliefs on crappily-written, 2000-year-old, mistranslated book

      • belief in a big tuff god who zaps people into pillars of salt for looking the wrong direction at the moment

      • believe in people living 300, 600, 900 years (Noah must've gotten lots of xmas presents...)

      • believe that they're all gonna get sucked up into heaven in a big cosmic vacuum cleaner while the rest of us get tortured by their "righteous" deity & subsequently sent to a lake o' fire

      • believe in that "virgin birth" twaddle

      • believe in the dead-then-resurrected hooglety-pooglety

      • and then there's all the crap about the earth being only 6,000 years old, 'bout demonic possession, 'bout arks fulla animals...

      SHEEEIITTT, any comic book is more credible than the piffle these sheeple trumpet.

      Hey, I have no problem with most of their ten commandments - not stealing and killing and lying being generally good ideas. And once in a while they happen on a reasonably sound idea, like loving one's neighbor. And hell, I can't claim absolute knowledge about the nature of the whole universe - maybe there is a "god" or "force" or "it" or whatever out there, running things from some big central galactic office. How would I know? But come on, let's get serious: We're in the 21st century now. Let's leave the fairy stories to children already.

      The sound of no hands clapping

      by RabidNation on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:52:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmmmm (3.83)
        I admire a priest I know a great deal and have tried to be a good christian.  Episcopalian.

        None of the stuff on your list has any relevance to her teachings or her church.  It doesn't have anything to do with being a Christian, which is to lead a self-examined life and to spread the good word by example.

        I left.  My priest would not critisize Bush because she could not tell the Bishop she lost any parishoners over political statements.

        I understand, and still quit.  The one time we had to be political christians we failed horribly.  I want nothing to do with such weak, fearful, timid weenie christians who just sit there as thugs and monsters run the country.  Shameful and embarrassing.

        Sound like any opther political group we know?

        •  Did you expect this bush bashing (none)
          to come from the pulpit?  Do you see the pulpit as the correct place for politics?

          Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

          by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:05:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I had no expectations (4.00)
            I wandered into my priest's orbit for reason totally, completely unrelated reasons to politics.  For a long time it never occurred to me priests should be political; my mind was on other things.

            I have no idea if the pulpit is the correct place for politics.  Martin Luther King Jr. and the priests in El Salvador seem to set a good example to me, but I don't know.

            All I know is that as Christians we sat there on fearful, jelly-spined fat asses while charlatans lied and spread hate in Jesus' name, only to start horrifying war of great evil.  They still sit there.

            Reverend King said a great evil of his time was the silent aquiescence to the status quo of all the good white people in the South.

            I do not aquiesce to it.  I have nothing to do with any group or organization that does so.  I'm sure you can understand why I'm so contemptuous of the demcoratic party and the inner conflicts I have tolerating bankruptcy-bill-voting -war-felon-confirm-to-cabinet fuckups.

            I have truly nowhere else to go.  The fuckers who sneer at me for having masturbatory fantasies on this board would be well to realize the politcal party they so fervently back deserves no fucking respect from me, and I would never be here if there was a viable alternative.

            Peace be with you, ma'am.  Good to see you as always.

            •  Paradox (none)
              have you checked out the Interfaith alliance?  I find it a good outlet for my desire to make my faith  interconnect with the  political world.  IMO they are doing some important work.

              Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

              by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:17:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  check out-All Saints Episcopal Church Pasadena CA (none)
              Very concerned, engaged and active on social issues, has historically been noted to be one of the first churches to speak out against the Vietnam war, nuclear proliferation, hunger and social injustice, AIDS, they do a lot of charitable work feeding the poor, one of first churches to ordain women as priests, supports gender issues. I was very moved by a Martin Luther King service years ago and someone described it as the 'Peace and Freedom' version of the Episcopal church." Very special place, they're really awesome. They have a Peace and Justice ministry. Here's the link:
              Take care, Peace.
        •  There Are Churches Who Are Politically Progressive (none)
          I can feel your pain.  I know there are churches who are politically progressive and have been for years: They were one of the first to become "open and affirming" meaning they accept gays as ministers and members as equals, marching against the wars in Iraq, Viet Nam,and the several proxie wars such as El Salvador, and Nicaruagua, a church who took stands in the 90's against sanctions in Iraq by defying them and brought medical supplies to the people, who helped El Salvadorian refugees when they were being persecuted by our American-trained thugs, who spoke out against nuclear proliferation in the '80's, and who stood with civil rights leaders in the '60s.  This is the United Church of Christ, not to be confused with the Church of Christ (opposites in their theology). They were the ones some corporate media and others recently banned for wanting to air an ad for their inclusive philosophy.  

          You might seek out a church in your area.  They are mainstream and they are liberal. I have been a thirty-five year member and I know we would love an Episcopalian in our midst, as well as Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and others who could no longer stand the silence. We even share special spiritual services with Muslem and Jewish and other non-christians or at least the ones in my community does....also the Quakers are very openly progressive ~ but the UCC is from the same historial branch as they are, as well as the the Congregationalists.  The great James Forbes of the Riverside Church in NY is out of this philosophy.  Social justice as the center of their theology....

          Just an FYI...

          Cat In Seattle

      •  Spot on. (4.00)
        Literal interpretation of things like a virgin conceiving a child, Jesus dying then coming back to life, demonstrate an inability to deal with the uncertainty about human life and our place in the universe.

        I betcha there were a few Native Americans back in the day who believed that the world was literally supported on the back of a turtle -- the fundamentalists of their day.

        "The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it." R. Diesel, 1911

        by nuttymango on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:55:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree with literal interpretations (3.80)
          in general but I have no trouble accepting supernatural events caused by Jesus if he is/was God. Why wouldn't God be able to suspend the natural laws in his own creation?

          You cannot argue against miracles from the premise that the universe is a closed system, i.e. without God. That argument is simply circular.

          Hillary. Wrong on the issues. Wrong elitist image. Wrong for Democrats. Brian Schweitzer 2008

          by Joe B on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:23:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My point about religious mythology (none)
            is that it is not, and never was (in my opinion), meant to be taken literally. It is a pointer to reality that transcends human understanding and uses language and images foreign to our workaday experience to guide us to higher truths.

            Some myths are the result of the common tendency of storytellers to embellish.

            "The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it." R. Diesel, 1911

            by nuttymango on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:57:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  But it's turtles all the way down! (none)
              A well known scientist has just finished a public lecture on cosmology, describing how the Earth orbits the Sun, the Moon orbits the Earth, and even the sun itself orbits around the galactic center along with billions of other stars which constitute our galaxy. At the end of the lecture an old woman in the back stands up and says, "What you've told us is rubbish! I happen to know the world is a flat plate resting on the back of four gigantic elephants!"

              "And what do the elephants stand on?" says the scientist, thinking to foil her.

              She crows back, "Why, on the back of an even larger turtle, of course!"

              "And what does the turtle stand on?" he continues, sure he has her now.

              "On the back of another turtle!"

              "And what does that turtle stand on?" asks the scientist, now growing exasperated.

              "It's no use, young man," the old woman replies brightly, "it's turtles all the way down!"

          -- unknown Internet wit

          Spread the memes: Californians, vote NO Nov. 8th. Borrow-and-Binge Republicans.

          by MamasGun on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:24:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Virgin Birth (none)
        Just wanted to say that not all Christians believe in the Virgin Birth.  If I am not mistaken that belief is primarily Catholic.  Maybe Greek and Eastern Orthodox believe it as well but Protestants do not.


        •  The virgin birth was real... (none)
          that is what was taught in the required New Testament class at Baylor University in the 60's.  I am sure that most Baptists believe it.
          •  not a matter of faith in a real sense (none)
            Faith is a motive for action.  There is no way on earth that a belief such as "Jesus was born of a virgin" could have anything to do with an act of faith in the here and now.

            It is impossible "to go out on a limb" in a faith-act of courage with respect to a mere belief in an historical record regarding the circumstances of someone's birth, life, death.

            Whereas it is entirely possible to make such a leap of faith with respect to a belief in the present power of Christ's Spirit.

            "Faith" is not a term descriptive of the set of all beliefs.  If a belief cannot be acted upon it is not in the category of faith.

            This in no way guarantees that any act qua act is sanctioned by the Spirit.  Only that it has to be an act - has to be more than an idea - if it is to be a matter of faith.

            Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

            by Upstream Review on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:57:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Protestant theology does include the virgin birth (none)
          The virgin birth is a key part of both the gospels of Matthew and, more prominently, of Luke.

          In fact, in the first chapter of Luke is the announcement to Mary of her preganancy, because she is favored by God.

          Her song in response, the Magnificat, is absolutely wonderful and a celebration of God's favor on the marginalized.

          "My soul magnifies the Lord...for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden...
          ...he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty." (from Luke 1.46-56, RSV.)

          What is not included in Protestant theology but is part of Roman Catholicism (I can't speak to Eastern Orthodox faith) is that Mary herself was born of a virgin, so she was born without original sin herself. This is extra-cannonical but I don't remember where it developed.

          •  Right.... (none)
            Catholicism holds that Mary was born free from sin.  

            Catholicism also claims (although it appears nowhere in the Bible) that Mary never died but was instead "assumed" up to Heaven.

            "I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright

            by gsbadj on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:47:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  A correction (none)
            Roman Catholics do not believe that Mary's mother was a virgin.  What we believe, and what may be the source of the confusion here, is that she was immaculately conceived, that is, that she was not only born without original sin, but also conceived without it.  (As a side note, I think John the Baptist is held to have been born without sin, but definitely not conceived without it.)

            People may have heard "Protestants don't believe in the Immaculate Conception" (which i think is a true statement, for the most part, although there may be exceptions), and because of the common misconception (pun not intended, but noted) about what "Immaculate Conception" refers to, thought that it meant they don't believe in the virgin birth.

        •  umm Greeks ARE Eastern Orthodox (3.50)
          Orthodox Churches are those in Communion with Ecumenical Patriarch in "Constantinople"  aka Istanbul.  There are a whole batch of "autocephalous"  (= self-headed or self-governoning) churches  --  besides the Ecumenical Partiarch who presides over the slums of Istanbul, some Greek islands, Mounth Athos (somewhat, techincally they are  a self-governing Republic under international law from the 1920's, but litrugically the Phanar in istanbul has some control), and all Greeks in the diaspora (not in Greece, and thus all those in N and S America), there are the Churhces of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Russia, Bulgaria Romania, St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai (yeah, I know that sounds ridiculous but it has been basically independent since ), ... this list is NOT intended to be complete, but you can see that the orgzanization is largely in E Europe and the E edn of the mediterranean.  There are also independent churches based in Prague, Helsinki, Warsaw, and there is the Orthodox Church of America which was spun off in 1970 by the Patriachate of Moscow.

          Besides these, there are Eastern Rite Churches that split from the Orthodox in the 5th century that are usually called non-Chalcedonian and/or Oriental Orthodox.   These include the Armenian Orthodox, the Nesotrian Church, The Coptic Church in Egypt, and Ethiopian Orthodox Church, etc.  They are officially not in communion with the Orthodox Churches, but there has been significant closing of differences over the past 20 years, largely through conferences organzied under the aupsices of hte World Council of Churches.

          All of the foregoing believe in the Virgin Birth.  All accept the original formulation of the Nicene-Constantinopal Creed, although the Orinetals do not accept the addition at the Council of Chalcedon of the creedal definition of the two natures...  hey, this gets complicated I know

          there is a Greek expression aiparthenos (sorry if my transliteration is bad) which is applied to the Theotokos (=god bearer, the normal title in the E chruches for Mary the mother of Jesus), aiparthenos meaning "ever-virgin" .   If one accepts the old Roman idea of lex orandi, lex credendi, that how one prays is how one believes, than something over 1/4 of a billion Orthodox and Oriental Christians believe Jesus was born of a Virgin.  BTW, they see a precdent for this in the Old Testament, in Exodus, when Moses encounters the Burning Bush.   The hymography makes this parallel explicit:

          How can a bush burn without being consumed?
          How can a Virgin give birth yet remain a Virgin?

          Okay, enough didactism on my part.  Let me note in passing that the person whose comment started this subthread may choose if he wants to reject the beliefs of others, but that was not a reason for being so nasty.

          As to the comment to which I am replying.   In saying that not all Christians believe in the Virgin birth, you are talking in fact about a minority, since to begin with over 1/2 of Christians are Catholic for whom it is dogmatic.  If the total number of Christians in the world is about 2 billion, between RC, Orthodox and Oriental, you ahve something betweenm 2/3 and 3/4 of the World's Christians.  Also, of the millions of those in the Aglican communion around the world, you'd be surprised how many, particularly in Africa, believe in the Virgin birth.  Be careful that your experience of American forms of Protestantism do not distort you perceptions of what Christians as a whole believe.

          Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

          by teacherken on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:09:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Virgin Birth redux (none)
            Good exposition on Eastern Orthodox. Thanks.

            See my post above yours.

            You have mentioned the Nicene Creed, and pointed out that it is repeated in Anglican churches.

            In my own denomination, as well as other protestant denominations, we repeat the Apostle's Creed, which also has a statement of belief in the virgin birth.

            Now, the greater question of whether a doctrinal statement leads to personal belief remains to be answered....

          •  To add a little more (none)
            The Orthodox do not believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine of Mary's Immaculate Conception. There is a belief, based on a legend that dates back perhaps as far as 100 AD, that Mary died and was then resurrected into Heaven afterwards, and this is celebrated as the Feast of the Domrition on Aug 15 (same date as the RC Assumption feast), but this is not a formal dogma as the Assumption is for Catholics.
          •  TK are you eastern orthodox? (none)
            If so you might enjoy this:


            I am not but I sing this music and it is brilliant.   These are composers that the western world does not know except for Rachmaninoff and Tchiakovsky.  IT is a long download.

            Yes I am a classical eastern European composer pusher.

            Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

            by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:11:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  not currently (none)
              was a member of Orthodox Churhc in America for 14 years, during which time I was twice a parish president, served as officer of diocesan assembly, was a member of national audit committee (alternate, but did two audits) and National Deprtment of Stewardship as well as chiar of diocesan department of Stewardship.  Leaves on the Current (who is still OCA) and I were married in an Orthodox Chruch on Dec 29, 1985.  I was a regular participant in choirs, and also was a choir director for about half of that time.

              I also jade 3 trips to Mount Athos, the longest being a one month stay.  For about 10 years my personal spiritual father was the abbot of Simona Petra on Mount Athos.

              I am quite aware of the riches of the Orthodox musical traditions.  Too  bad others are not.

              BTW -- remember that I have also taught comparative religion.  On my own I have done a fair amount of study about religion.  

              Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

              by teacherken on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:17:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bortniansky (none)
                is my current musical semi-God.
                Good to know more about you.  I don't always remember the details of other people's stoies, but I will now since we have had this exchange.  = )

                Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

                by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:08:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  mixed attitude towards Dmitry Bortniansky (none)
                  thre are other composer in the Russian tradition who I feel do a far better job of integrating traditional materials, including things like Znammeny chant.    Bortniansky is highly skilled, but I think at times is overly influenced by the Western "classical" tradition.  

                  That said, also in the Russian tradition there are terrific works by Tschaicovsky, ,Grechaninoff, Arkhangelskii, and I am especially fond of the Theotokion by Balakirev that gets done in the Paschal season.

                  Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

                  by teacherken on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:53:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks -- I hadn't been insulted yet this AM (4.00)
        Now, I know as a Christian I should turn the other cheek and just move on with my day, and I'm trying to live up to that standard, but some days I just can't do it.

        So let me just say screw you.  YOU, RabidNation, are the reason we lose elections. I -- and I'm guessing all the other Christians who check in here at Kos on a daily basis -- don't appreciate being called "insane."

        You know what else?  If someone posted a comment here that said all those of the Muslim faith were "insane," their comments would be zeroed into oblivion.  

        There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

        by ThirstyGator on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:31:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why should any (none)
          religion be sacred here at DailyKos? His(RN's) point is equally,if not more, valid for Muslims as it is for Christians. These religions are dragging their believers down and us , the non-believers , with them.
          •  No one is saying (none)
            that anyone should hold a religion in which he does not believe. However this is a politics forum, not a theology forum. A certain basic respect for others should not be beyond the participant's skills. And making blanket statements about any religion (especially religions as vast as Christianity and Islam) is a foirm of bigotry. tarring all Christians with the misdeeds of a few is as wrong as tarring all African-Americans (or Jews, or whites, or men, or gays etc.) with the crimes and failures of members of that group.
            •  Wrong Analogy. (none)
              Christians (or muslims or...) are being criticized for following a theology AND insisting that their way be imposed on others. This is not the same as indefensible bigotry aimed at African-Americans and others.
              •  nonsense (none)
                First why criticize someone for following their faith?  There is no reason to be so critical of something just because youy don't believe it. Secound I am not trying to get anyone to follow my faith and I am not insane.

                Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

                by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:14:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Why should (none)
                  your faith be above criticism? Give me one good reason. I call it like I see it. Get your fellow theists to stop attacking those who disagree with them and only then you can convince me to not criticize their faith.
                  •  Intolerance (none)
                    Some of us reject it. For instance I have no desire or motivation to criticize you for what you beleive.  I also don't assign you to control the behavior of others who might believe part of what you believe.

                    Tolerance and mutual works for everyone.

                    Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

                    by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:58:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It is a Cop-Out (none)
                      I don't respect Klansmen, who incidentally were off-shoots of Baptist churches. I don't respect Christians(almost all of them at one point in history and I say almost because black christians didn't respect Klansmen at any time in history) who tolerated and mutually respected the Klansmen. I don't respect Christians who want to subvert scientific inquiry in support of some backass theology. I don't respect Christian who tolerate and respect these subversives. I don't tolerate or respect Christians who are intolerant of homosexuality and privacy. I don't respect Christians who give the aforementioned christians a free pass. I do not tolerate Muslim fundamentalists who are screwing up their societies. And I DON'T respect muslims(almost all of them) who gives these fundamentalists a free pass.
                      •  Comparing Christians to Klansmen (none)
                        that says it all pursewalden.

                        Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

                        by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:09:41 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  PS.... I don't respect pedofiles (none)
                          but I do respect your right to believe as you do.

                          How are the two connected?  I don't know...some pedofiles have no belief in God?  That's as good a connection as the one you are making between Christians and Klansmen.

                          Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

                          by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:12:35 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Klansmen were (none)
                          Christians.All.Of.Them. Klan chapters were offshoots of Southern Baptist churches. Most Klan wizards were preachers first and foremost. Read any history books, Teresa?
                          •  Gosh, pursewarden, you sure are smart (none)
                            But I wonder where you get your resources?  What "history book" told you that ALL klan chapters were offshoots of Southern Baptist churches?  Did you write it yourself or did you pick it up from an web site of indeterminate origin?

                            And the item downstream about Martin Luther being the author of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion -- what "history book" did you get that from?  Or again, whose website did you pull it from?  'Cause it's a lie.  

                            The more of your stuff I read, the more I think you might be the insanse one here.  We've already proved that you're among the least tolerant members of this community.

                            There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

                            by ThirstyGator on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:38:26 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  In that case (none)
                            you need to read my posts again. I'll make it easier for you , here you go.

                            1. I didn't say Protocols was written by Martin Luther. The book that the commenter referenced to was written by Martin Luther because Protocols was a racist not a religious screed. Protocols was aimed at people of jewish descent- a race in the industrialized Europe of the time- than at a religion. Martin Luther's book on the other hand dealt with jews as a religious group.

                            2. Klan grew out of Southern Baptist convention and do you have any bloody idea why there is a Southern Baptist Church? If you don't I recommend that you read a few relevant history books to actually understand the nature of your religious philosophy. Come back and then we'll discuss who is smart,insane,tolerant and who isn't.
                          •  Error (none)
                            convention Church.
                          •  The Klan did not grow (none)
                            out of the Southern Baptists Covnention. The Ku Klux Klan began as a Confederate veterans fraternity in Jan of 1866, somewhere in Tennessee (Pulaski?) It was not in any sense restricted to Baptists, even when it became a terrorist organization (as it very speedily did) it was quite ecumenical as far as being open to all Southerbn Protestant white men.
                          •  Please (none)
                            see my correction. Klan didn't grow out of the convention but it sprouted out of the Church. The first version of KKK was mostly Southern Baptist, the second version (which followed first world war) was more WASPy with catholics and jews among their most hated enemies. Most Klan wizards until very recently were Protestant preachers.
                          •  What correction? (none)
                            It's simply a fact that the Klan had no hard and fast connection with the Baptist church.  If you want to claim that many of its members were Baptists, that of course is another matter and quite true. What I posted about the KKK is the accurate history: it started as a Confederate veterans fraternity which very rapidly turned terrorist. It was not affiliated with any church.
                            As an aside, it's little wonder that we have so much friction in this country these days. Somehow all sorts of disinformation has gotten loose, and not just harmless errors, but outright prejudicial slanders. The Left does it no less than the Right, inventing slur facts against its enemies. Now, I am not accusing you of having done this, I am willing to believe you are simply repetaing someone else's calumny here, but please everyone, can we at least start with honest facts in our discussions?
                          •  The correction (none)
                            I erroneously said convention when I should've said Church. Southern Baptist Church was founded on the disagreements between north and south on slavery. KKK was the militant wing of Southern Baptist Churches. Almost all KKK wizards were Baptist ministers of the time. THIS IS HISTORY. These are the facts. That confederate veterans formed Klan is incidental as the fuel for racism ,slavery and segregation came from the Church itself. Learn your history first before accusing someone of distortion and engaging in apologia.
                          •  Troll-rating (none)
                            You troll-rated me below for what? Just because you failed to understand my point , you troll-rated me ..Eh thirstygator? Or is this one of your trademark Christian tolerance at display here? Cannot argue with someone so silence them. Typical behavior.
                  •  I would have to say there (none)
                    is difference between argueable criticizm and malicious insult.  The poster had valid points, then wandered into insult charachter attack.

                    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. -Martin Luther King Jr.

                    by Closet VB Coder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:52:56 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  You need to schange that (none)
                to say SOME Christains and SOME Muslims. Then I would agree. Claiming that all one billion Christians or all one billion Muslims believe in the same theology and that they are all trying to impose it on you is paranoid bigotry, it's as indefensible as anything the KKK ever preached, and it needs to stop NOW. Thank you.
                •  No. (none)
                  Some are actively doing it and others don't give a crap which makes them complicit. Anyway, my original point had nothing to do with what you or your mother have done to harm me. My point is that these theologies are useless for all practical purposes and people who adhere to these aren't exactly the brightest bulbs around.Meaning, I don't trust these theological foundations and it follows they are neither sacred nor above criticism. So there.
                  •  In the 19th (none)
                    century people with your attitude about one religion wrote a book detailing their fears about the religion and how it was a danger to the world and how it was trying to take over and corrupt everything. That book was called "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion."
                    Bigotry is never pretty, dude. No matter where it comes from.
                    •  Wrong Again. (none)
                      The book in question was written by the great Christian reformer Martin Luther, ya know the father of Protestantism, and it was called "On Jews and their Lies". Protocols, on the other hand, was a vile, racist screed and it wasn't a religious document. You know analogies are cute and they are cuter when they don't fit. You want to discuss Christianity , Islam and other such backward theologies I'm right here.If you want me to sympathize with the religions and their followers focussed on propagating their "value"-systems and sacrificng reason in the due process, you are getting nothing but contempt in return.
                      •  good luck with that point of view (none)
                        It puts you in the minorty in the world, in the US and in the political left.  Intolerance and bigotry will rightfully cause your words to be discounted by people serious about solving the question of how we all live together in peace and tolerance.

                        Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

                        by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:03:34 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Get back to me (none)
                          when you really want peace and tolerance. You don't make peace with those who are intolerant and virulently bigots. You don't make peace with those who are willing to forego and ignore the excesses of their fellow travellers as long as they themselves are not impacted.
                        •  Minority (none)
                           So opinions only count if you have a majority behind you? Religion teaches that there is only one truth. Theirs. Those of us who don't believe are maligned because of this. It amazes me how upset believers become when that belief is questioned, even when, as you say, you are the majority.
                      •  The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (none)
                        was written in Russia in the 19th century. We don't know exactly who write it; it purports to be a Jewish "how-to" manual for taking over the world of course so its pretense it that it was written by, well, those "Learned Elders". Most likely it was written by some Tsarist provocateur hack seeking to inflame public passions against the Jews in order to deflect criticism of the Tsar.
                        Now, Luther to be sure, was a vicious anti-Semite who wrote some prtetty stomach-churning stuff against the Jews (and anyone else he disliked, from the Pope to Henry VIII to the German peasants). But the Protocols is not one of his works.
                        •  The point is (none)
                          that Protocols more than anything is an attack on a race in an imperial and xenophobic Europe. Martin Luther's screed ,on the other hand, is an attack of religion, something you were accusing me of. I didn't say that Martin Luther wrote protocols, did I? Actually I mentioned the name of the book that he wrote "On jews and their lies" and I told you why that book,instead of protocols, should fit in with your absurd analogy.
            •  Big difference. (none)
              Race is skin tone.
              Religion is mind tone.

              Big difference.

              "Salvation is by way of the truth, not by way of the fatherland" -- Chaadaev

              by sagesource on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:10:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  YOU, ThirstyGator, (4.00)
          are then, in turn, the reason humanity doesn't evolve from its hopeless, hapless addiction to mythologies, and the resultant death and damage that ensue. Like moths to flames, lemmings to cliffs, and Repiglicans to Bush, humanity as a whole has always had this need to develop pillars of piffle in order to make the whole reality thing tolerable. Gotta, gotta, gotta have a LEADER, whether the Great Dictator or the Infallible Pope or the Mullah or the Psychic Friends Network. Yeah, humanity comes up with all kinds of dingbat bullshit; anything to avoid dealing with reality, and to avoid assuming responsibility.

          But reality has this way of intruding. Sometimes in the form of science, sometimes in the form of logic. Suddenly, the earth stops being flat. Suddenly it ceases to be the center of the universe. We stop stoning "witches" once we figure out what schizophrenia and epilepsy are. The old myths shrivel away, bit by bit, loudly and painfully, and the believed is replaced by the known. Might take a hundred years or a thousand, but yeah, all the claptrap that is "the world's great religions" is being reduced to rubble, and the day will come when people look back at the present era with the same incredulity and bemusement that we feel when reading about human sacrifices on aztec temples.

          Hey, I didn't INVENT reality; I'm just acknowledging it.

          The sound of no hands clapping

          by RabidNation on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:55:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Logic is no substitute for Respect (4.00)
            If you like the Rolling Stones and I don't, I'll respect your choice/ taste. And I will not post derogatory remarks about your choice... We're all in the same side her. Let's respect each other, shall we ?

            When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

            by lawnorder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 12:14:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  sorry. (none)
              reality is not optional. reality IS.

              whether one likes the strolling bones or not is a matter of taste (and yes, there is a strong logical argument to be made that jagger/richards & co. belong in an ossuary rather than a concert hall these days), not of fact.

              I can respect your fondness for tunes by geriatric '60s relics two decades past their sell-by date as simply being one of those nifty little differences that keep life interesting, just as you in turn can respect my enjoyment of tuneless blips and squawks made by nerdy untutored computer "musicians" with space-age logos rather than names. vive la difference.

              but I can't respect the peddling of an obvious lie, and yeah, Christianity - at least as it has self-defined so far - is a glaring, obvious LIE. and what's more, a murderous one (see: crusades). there AIN'T NO ARK. the J-man AIN'T coming back. No seas parted, no way nohow. Pillar o' salt - didn't happen. It's nice 'n' "tolerant" and all to  pay lip service to all kinds of bullshit that people believe - ghosts, fairies, black helicopters, aliens o'er Pasadena - but it doesn't change its underlying essence: Bullshit.

              Look. Everyone's entitled to believe what they want; my personal theology might encompass a spectral donut-eating leprechaun in the sky who's marked me and all other green-eyed people as his Chosen Ones. That's every bit as rational as mainstream christianity, and a good bit moreso than some varieties. But I'd argue that such a belief system would effectively disqualify me from being considered capable to participate in the guidance of public policy...not to mention calling into question my acumen as, say, a hostage negotiator or air traffic controller or an effective parent to children.

              seems to me that humanity has experienced enough war, slaughter, and misery formulated/executed by "good christians" over the last two millennia to effectively exclude them from leadership. Believe what you want - but don't expect to be taken seriously; from the spanish inquisition through the children's crusades to african missionary movement and onward into the new "crusade" in the middle east, Christianity's "good works" are measurable in mounds of dead bodies. I might respect you as a person, and I certainly respect your right to believe - but respect WHAT you believe? uh-uh.

              The sound of no hands clapping

              by RabidNation on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 01:00:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Religion and Government can't mix (none)
                I agree with you Everyone's entitled to believe what they want.. But I'd argue that such a belief system would effectively disqualify me from being considered capable to participate in the guidance of public policy..
                Would you be surprised to hear that my favorite fiction book, the bible, has Jesus making the same point ?

                When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

                by lawnorder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 01:41:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I have a leader (none)
            Gotta, gotta, gotta have a LEADER

            I do happen to believe that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was a great leader and that I can learn from his example.  Am I insane?  A war mongering bigot?  If another like him came along, I'd follow.  Some people have great courage and conviction that inspires us to do great things that we alone do not have the courage to do.  You imply that I would follow anyone who claims their own greatness, which I would not.  I'd say you are a bit fond of over-reaching generalizations.  And if following true greatness and courage is a crime, I'd gladly be guilty if such a leader were to appear again.  Unfortunately, I know of only 2 in modern history worthy of such following.

            When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. -Martin Luther King Jr.

            by Closet VB Coder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:07:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Noah's in the Old Testament (none)
        so no Christmas presents <snark>.

        Probably got some Mithros presents though.

      •  some of us are insane and some are assholes (none)
        viva la difference

        Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

        by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:59:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Inconsistencies aren't necessarily stupidiities (none)
        Most holy books from the "big" religions have many authors, and the various passages deal with what the group/tribe needs to survive for the long haul.

        Therefore there's spiritual inspiration, tribal history, advice for daily living that's good for the mind, body and soul, encouragement not to behave like an asshole towards others -- everything any ordinary human being needs to become a slightly better human being and help the community stay strong and prosperous.

        More ancient expressions like virgin birth (Yule) have roots in calendrical and agrarian mnemonics, intended to help people monitor the seasonal changes for planting and harvest.

        (Just wrote about that in my diary, mentioned in my sig.)

      •  Gee, thanks (4.00)
        For proving that non-Christians can be just as intolerant as fundamentalists.

        If you misidentify the problem as "all religious people of any stripe are functionally insane" then you have just put most of the human race on the opposite side.

        The metaphysics of fundamentalist beliefs aren't any wackier than the metaphysics of new-age beliefs -- but nobody here is complaining about new-agers, because they are not trying to impose their personal philosophies on all of us by way of the government.

        •  Christianism (none)
          A distinction neesd tyo be made between "Christianity" and "Christianism" (ust as we ought differentiate between "Islam" and "Islamism") The former is no threat or danger to anyone. It's apolitical and focused on its own other-worldly goals (which at most tarnslate into morally virtuous and charitable conduct among its adherents). The latter is a political ideology masquerading as something holy. By all means let us oppose the "isms" but that should not (must not) entail bashing everyone who holds to the religons themselves. After all, we would not, I hope, bash all English speakers or all believers in republican (small "r") governance simply because a certain English speaking republic is behaving badly these days.
    •  i'll answer two (4.00)
      Who immunizes the Christian mass against thinking for themselves?  I can see why someone would do it, but where do they get the internal moral authority to do it?

      They do it themselves. Remember, a majority of this crowd believes the Bible is 100% true, word for word, the word of God, literal, etc. So one surrenders one's free thinking to that Word. And they let their pastors tell them how to think.

      Who tells Christians that peace and the United Nations are part and parcel of the antiChrist?  Where do they get the internal rationalization to proffer such an argument in the first place?  What is it that is in them that makes them act so?

      People like the authors of the Left Behind series; their pastors, etc. I used to go to a Southern Baptist church when I was in junior high (I'll never forgive my parents for that one -- well, I guess I will, being a Christian and all ;) ), and it was drilled into you about how in the "End Times" there'd be all these people saying that there is peace! peace!

      Plus, I recall this whole rigamarole about a "one-world government" and its being a precursor to the Antichrist. So the UN hatred is because they see the UN as said "one-world government."

      (Some people even freaked out when Daddy Bush used the phrase "new world order" -- they thought he was talking about setting this stuff up)

      Blog this! Visit me at K Street Blues. It will change your life.

      by AggieDemocrat on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:42:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  more on the first one (none)
        on the first question I addressed. I think it's also a willful blind spot. Human nature -- they honestly believe Bush is 'a man of God' or a 'strong Christian' or whatever, and wilfully ignore evidence to the contrary ... e.g., he never goes to church, his policies are completely counter to Christian teaching, is attitude is vindictive and mocking (cf. Karla Faye Tucker), etc.

        Blog this! Visit me at K Street Blues. It will change your life.

        by AggieDemocrat on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:47:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And remember.... (none)
          ...the whiney begging that Bush put into Tucker's mouth was entirely his own invention. She never grovelled, and her clemency petition was supported by some very conservative Christians. But frat-brat just had to show how tough he is, even if he had to invent a speech by her to do it.

          "Salvation is by way of the truth, not by way of the fatherland" -- Chaadaev

          by sagesource on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:08:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Okay (3.66)
      "Who suppresses reports on civilian casualties?"

      Mainstream media under pressure from the Bush administration.

      "Who immunizes the Christian mass against thinking for themselves?"

      Well, most people don't think for themselves. They absorb their attitudes from the culture around them. So let's say that you have been going to church for the last thirty years. You went in the 70s when churches were still politically liberal. Over the years you have continued to go to church because you never stopped being a Christian. But over those thirty years, the right wing has been aggressively targeting your church and the people in it. The culture has been poisoned. But it was poisoned gradually over time, so many of the people have built up a resistance to the poison.

      Now let's say that you have just woken up to the fact that you are being spiritually poisoned. You might go looking for another church that isn't poisoned yet. But more likely, you will just leave the church entirely. Decide that maybe you're not a Christian anymore, if that's what being a Christian means.

      It's runaway selection in a social setting.

      "Who tells Christians not to worry about civilian casualties?"

      Poisoned preachers. Direct-mail campaigners. Rush Limbaugh et. al.

      "Who tells Christians that peace and the United Nations are part and parcel of the antiChrist?"

      Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey, other false prophets. The really peculiar thing here is that those guys aren't really theologians -- their theories are only tangentally related to the Bible. They are a lot more like the founders of offshoot religions, like Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh Day Adventists.

      Essentially, what we have here is a splinter religion that has managed to infect the mainstream to the extent that it is no longer recognized as a splinter group.

      "What is it about right wing preachers, authors and radio hosts that enables them to advance such horrid arguments?"

      Would you believe demon possession? No?

      Seriously, those guys are possessed by very real, very human demons: hatred, arrogance, greed. They have warped the religion they profess to believe until it reflects their own evil nature. They have convinced themselves that God hates exactly what they hate and loves...nothing, really.

      Why don't more people call them on it? See runaway selection point above.

  •  So how do we welcome moral Christians (none)
    So how do we welcome moral Christians? How do we invite those Republicans who read  Jim Wallis' "God's Politics" and find that the Republican Party is no longer a comfortable home for them? Can both secular humanists and moral Christians find common ground?

    In Georgia, a group has been tasked to initiate discussions to build a base that goes beyond secularism. Any suggestions on how to begin?

    The Democratic Party: Making work, work for working people!"

    by mperloe on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:24:32 AM PDT

    •  In a word.. (none)

      Which is really unfortunate, but it's still a big fat no. It's just human nature. I used to think that the seculars were really inbetween the traditional Catholic/Protestant divide. I was wrong. Seculars are the extremists. (And I say that being a secular myself).

      You have on the far end, your fundimentalist, who believes that faith and only faith determines your worth. On the other far end, you have the seculars who believe that only works determine your worth. Then you have all the people in the middle.

      The problem, is that it's human nature for people to want to feel special about themselves. And because of that, people who put any sort of focus on faith itself, will always feel uncomfortable about people who don't. And vice versa really.

      The problem is the only way really to go about this, is to get this out in the open, to explain this to people. To break down the moral shield that the GOP uses to break souls. But they won't do it. Because that's attacking religion, and it's attacking their own beliefs (even if it is such a small portion)

      This is our story...

      by Karmakin on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:13:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  'Seculars' don't lack moral ordering principle (4.00)
        Nor are people who follow a religion necessarily better morally (as we've seen in the diary).

        I think it's a matter of using brains and heart together whether you're part of an organized religion or not.

        Also, 'secularists', agnostics or athiests who don't follow a religious tradition aren't immune from irrational, fanatical attachment to belief systems.

        Look at therapy fanatics who claim to be reality based because they don't follow a religion, but can be as irrational, judgmental and evangelical as the hardcore rabid Republican Nat'l Faith about what people should be feeling, doing and thinking in every given time or situation.

        Intolerance is not granting others the same time/space one has to follow their own path and do what's right for self and others. It's not like time/space are in short supply, being infinite and all.

    •  Hmmm (3.75)
      Well, first of all, Democrats should not be afraid to express their faith. Sure, we're Big Tent and we don't want to offend, but if it's your faith, it's a big part of your life and it also informs your politics.

      We should be talking about what Jesus talks about -- compassion for the poor, tolerance, peace, love, etc. But we have to speak their language. (Cynically, we have to spin it well.)

      We have to stand up both as Christians and as Democrats. I think it has opened some of my family's eyes when I "came out" as a Democrat (I'm the only one in a family of Hillary haters) ... that someone they loved and respected, who they raised to follow Christ, was a Democrat. And every time I see my parents, without getting too much into politics, I try to demonstrate that the reason I'm a Democrat is because I feel that we stand more closely to what Jesus taught -- those very things.

      On a macro scale, it's gonna take a sea change in the party and probably some years to get it done.

      Blog this! Visit me at K Street Blues. It will change your life.

      by AggieDemocrat on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:46:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Read their book! (none)
      James 3:17 & 18 "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, uwavering, without hypocrisy.  And the seed whose fruit is rightesousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."  I know that I have known Christians who live by such passages in the bible - the trick is to find them, the ones with enough courage to go against the flow of most of their churches!  Maybe pastordan has some advice.
  •  Excellent diary. (4.00)
    Paul's views of women have also had tremendous influence on fundies and Catholic church teachings.  It ought to embarrass the hell out of them (I'm a no longer practicing Catholic, fed up with the twisted mess my church has made of sexuality) that they have  drawn some of their more hateful doctrines from someone who never knew Jesus personally, never walked or talked with him, and claimed to have been knocked off his horse and blinded by him -- a likely story.  
    •  Paul's views on women (none)
      are grossly mischaracterized (on both sides of this debate) by people who rely on a couple of stray passages and ignore evidence to the contrary. We need to remenverwhen reading the Epsitles that paul was responding to specific questionsor probnlems that had been brough to him for his advise. One cannot  read a general and universal rule into his answers (especially when we may not know what the question or situtaion was). For example, the infamous "women be silent on church " verse actually does contain a hint at its context: Paul was aressing a problem where women (new to Christian rites) were interrupting things to ask questions, something that would be appropriate in a solemn service even today. But this cannot be blown up into universal command for women never to utter a word of any sort in church. Also, recall that Paul's writings contain the verse "In Christ there is neither male nor female, slave nor free, Jew nor Greek" which is about the most radically egalitarian statement found in any culture in antiquity. And elsewhere too Paul commends women church leaders (some addressed specially by title, "deaconness") for their work. So the charge of Paul's misogyny is at least disputable I would say.
      •  There are a number of interpretations (none)
        and contextual possibilities that have been raised regarding Paul's statement about women being silent in churches according to my Google search, but I have not found any suggesting that he was addressing rookie churchgoing women who were interrupting the services to ask questions. Do you have a link?
        •  read the text itself (none)
          It very specifically says that the women should wait until later and ask their husbands anything they are curious about. Also, the Greek verb Paul actually uses (lalein) is a word used for ordinary conversational chit-chat, not the verb for formal, rhetorical speechifying, so the idea that this verse forbade women from taking any verbal, liturgical role in Christianity is flat out wrong.
          •  "lalein" simply means (none)
            to speak or talk.  In classical antiquity one of its meanings was prattle or chit-chat, but it certainly was not limited to that meaning and by New Testament times generally meant speak or talk.

            I read the verse repeatedly before my previous reply and could not, still cannot find any grounds for your interpretation, including your latest one that women ask their husbands anything they are "curious" about.  The verse says "if they would learn anything."

    •  Bishop Spong has wondered... (none)
      if Paul was homosexual and overcompensating.

      (Spong is a liberal Episcopalian bishop who has written many books against narrowly interpreted scripture.)

      "This is how liberty dies -- to thunderous applause." - Padme Amidala

      by marjo on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:53:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lets not forget. It isn't just what bible they are (4.00)
    reading, but the effects of the Nicean Council when THEY decided what books were divinely inspired and which were not. They are the one who chose what went into the "bible" at that time and many of their decisions then we are living with today.

    Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. (Paraphrasing B. Franklin)

    by p a roberson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:44:11 AM PDT

    •  Good point, (3.50)
      I believe that there was a dispute about wether the Gospel of John, or the Gospel of Thomas should make it in and John was chosen. What kind of Christianity would we have if Thomas had been chosen instead?

      We are all wearing the blue dress now.

      by PLS on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:04:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly.... (4.00)
        According to Thomas: Jesus said: If those who lead you say to you: See, the kingdom is in heaven, then the birds of the heaven will go before you; if they say to you: It is in the sea, then the fish will go before you. But the kingdom is within you, and it is outside of you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will know that you are the sons of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you are in poverty, and you are poverty.

        Then Robertson, Falwell, Roberts and the rest would not have any church. If the Kingdom is within you, then why do you need these men to tell you what Jesus thinks.

        Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. (Paraphrasing B. Franklin)

        by p a roberson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:00:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If they actually READ John ... (none)
          They'd be in trouble as well.  All that "love" stuff ...

          There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

          by ThirstyGator on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:33:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Love is for Wussies... (4.00)
            I want a God that smites.  <g>

            Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. (Paraphrasing B. Franklin)

            by p a roberson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:50:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah but... (3.80)
            ... it's more than just reading and picking and choosing.

            Things haven't changed much in the past 2,000 years.  We still have our modern-day Pharisees who are more concerned with observing every last little subsection of the law (as they interpret it).  They champion obedience to the rules as opposed to recognizing the purpose and underlying spirit behind all the rules.

            That spirit calls you to love other people, especially those that cause pain in your life.  It wasn't easy then and it isn't easy now.

            It's a heck of a lot easier to follow the earthly rules and then figure that your ticket to Heaven is going to get punched because you showed up and put $10 a week in the basket.  It's far more difficult to be loving to those who are different from you and who make you uncomfortable.

            But ultimately, if you want to be freed from carrying around your fears, you have to deal with them.  And the only way to do that is via love.

            Fundies have always struck me as good people, trying their best on their journey through life, but who often don't see the forest for the trees.  

            But I think that their focus on the trees is largely the cause of their eyes being misdirected by the ministers that have popped up on television.  You need only to look at solicitations to donate to political campaigns to see how effective the "it's-us-against-the-world" appeal is in shaking money free from loose pockets.

            When people hear that sort of appeal EVERY DAY, it gets reinforced to the point that listeners believe it and eventually become more radically insistent on its truth.  And the purveyors aren't going to change it lest they lose their flock.

            "I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright

            by gsbadj on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:14:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Much of the stuff they use comes later (3.80)
      While reading Milton and Dante I remember thinking "so that's where my fundy friends got that idea." No wonder they couldn't find it in the Bible. BECAUSE IT'S NOT THERE!

      Seriously, if you read Dante's Inferno or Milton's Paradise Lost, you find a lot of the ideas of heaven and hell come from those books instead of the Bible.

      Just goes to show you how misinformed they are about the Bible

      The moral values crowd is a bunch of lazy people who deep down in their hearts want the government to do their job as parents.

      by phinky on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:08:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (4.00)
        and a lot of others, too.

        For example, much of the whole rigamarole about original sin came from Augustine (who had a wild life himself) and Jerome.

        Much of Catholic theology is developed after the Bible, and remember that until after the reformation, Catholics were effectively forbidden from reading the Bible. Many Catholics still do not. (This is not a criticism of Catholics, please keep in mind.)

        The reformation came along, with the idea (in the minds of some) to get back to the Bible. Of course they were 'corrupted' by some of the later theologians, and also developed some of their own theology that could be considered to have stretched in its development from the Bible.

        And after the New Testament, there are really no significant women theologians who developed the early theology. Patristic is a key word.

        Of course, there were female martyrs - Teresa of Avila, others - but in the minds of the early church, that's really all they were good for.

        •  Umm, no. (none)
          Teresa of Avila was not a martyr, but a Enlightenment-era mystic and writer.

          And while their writings may have been lost for quite some time, there were early mothers of the church who made significant contributions.

          The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

          by pastordan on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:17:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The Christian problem with Paradise Lost (4.00)
        is that Milton made Satan a remorseful figure - as he looks at the fallen angels with him, he feels remorse for where he has gotten them.  Christians then and now find this completely offensive, and I have some fundamental students who refuse to read it.

        "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

        by adigal on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:34:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Muslims have a very similar take... (3.50)
          According to Joseph Campbell (I'll find a cite if you really want it), the Muslim version was that Satan was God's most devoted angel.

          However, when God made man, God instructed the angels to serve and love man.  Satan said no, he wasn't serving or loving anyone but God.

          For that reason, he was cast out from Heaven and forced to endure eternity apart from He who Satan loved most.  The separation from his beloved is what truly made it Hell for him.

          "I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright

          by gsbadj on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:32:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Nicean council (4.00)
      In its' great wisdom accepted those books that enabled them to build a top down hierarchical structure in their church. The decisions made were about power for those who would have others believe that they spoke for god.

      The other book that the fundies worship is the book of revelations. My personal theory is that it was written by someone suffering from schizophrenia. When people today believe that god is sending them visions and telling them to do things they are taken to a doctor.

      Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

      by BMarshall on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:13:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  dont assume that to be the case (3.66)
        "When people today believe that god is sending them visions and telling them to do things they are taken to a doctor."

        Ever been to a southern charismatic church when they fall to the ground speaking in tongues and the whole congregation watches or drops to do their own spiritual horizontal belly dance?

        There is plenty of room in these churches for the hysterical and way-un-rational.

        The SM-62 Snark was a USAF intercontinental nuclear cruise missile that was operational in 1960-1961.

        by nika7k on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:35:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When I was a little boy in the 40's we (none)
          used to stand outside the window of one of the local charismatic churches in my hometown just to watch all the commotion.  We called them "holy rollers" in those days and, to us small children, it was a hoot.
    •  the Nicean Council (3.80)
      may be responsible for the make up of the accepted Bible, but in terms of the current political situation, I'm gonna put a little more blame on the Dobsonites than the Niceans.
    •  The Nicean Council (none)
      made no comment on the divine inspiration of the books, only that they were in accord with the Christian faith as they knew it.

      Inspiration is not a concern until after the Enlightenment.

      The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

      by pastordan on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:04:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. (4.00)
          The Bible is nothing more than a theological readers digest put together by the Nicean council (prodded by Constantine, who wanted a state religion) in the forth century. It is a book put together by committee, and we all know how committee's work.

           Instead of spending so much time understanding old theological texts, we need to spend more time understanding the circumstances that led to the creation of those books. We may not be able to justify gay bashing that way, but we'd have a better understanding of the world. That certainly couldn't hurt.

    •  The Council of Nicaea (none)
      did NOT determine which books were scriptural. I'm not sure why this error has become so common, but it can be corrected by even a cursory reading of any accurate history. Nicaea was called to resolve the Arian dispute, Arius having posited that Christ was not God the Son, but was a sort of a super-angel (something which the JWs believe to this day). The Council also dealt with the question of the dating of Easter (AKA, Pascha), and some other minor organizational issues. By the time of the Council there was only a limited dispute as to what books were Scriptural. The OT Septuagint (the Greek text of Alexandria)  was accepted in its entirety. As were the four Gospels, Acts, and most of the Epistles. Disputed were Revelations, Hebrews, James, II Peter, and several others not eventually accepted (the Diadache, the Sheprherd of Hermas the Protoevangelium, the Epistles of Clement). A later council dealt with this question.
      •  I am glad that my ignorance has (none)
        initiated this debate.

        I had thought that in addition to getting everyone on the same sheet of music so to speak that the council also determined what was in keeping with the Church's teachings and the texts that were floating around at the time were discussed, evaluated and included or excluded based upon how they fit within the Church. And that is why the Gospel of Thomas was not included but the others were.

        I admit I may have gotten this all wrong. I'm a simple man and I like to keep it that way. But I do want to learn along the way too.

        My thanks for pastordan's comments in this thread as well. I don't think anyone would want me to repeat this down in the thread, so I will let this stand as it is here.

        Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. (Paraphrasing B. Franklin)

        by p a roberson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:26:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tell Them They are the Predicted False Preachers (4.00)
    Jesus warned that there would be false preachers who claimed to speak in his name, but do not know him.

    He suggested an easy way to tell the real from the false Christian preachers:

    By their fruits, ye shall know them.

    Jesus was right.  We can easily see the fruits of these churches.  They were the churches using the Bible to defend slavery and segregation.  They are the churches using the Bible to defend war, woman hating, and gay hating.

    If the fruit of a church is hate instead of love, I would submit that it's easy to know they are False.

    And it's fun to tell them so, too.

    •  but they... (4.00)
      ..wont hear you.  

      They cant because if they did they would have to admit to throwing potatoes over the wall of the concentration camp as the white smoke drifts overhead and the moans of starving terrorized people pass by their deaf ears as it rises in a futile lament to heaven.

      You can not expect these christianists to have an epiphany, have the scales fall from their eyes, have their hearts opened.  

      They have been sold a monumental bill of goods (willingly) and they will never admit to their foolishness.

      Nope, its the idiotic death spiral, the hand basket to hell for them and, like as not, for us as well.

      The SM-62 Snark was a USAF intercontinental nuclear cruise missile that was operational in 1960-1961.

      by nika7k on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:30:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Amen, amen, amen and what the heck one more (none)
      amen! By their fruits, ye shall know them

      Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. (Paraphrasing B. Franklin)

      by p a roberson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:18:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  a total lack of empathy (4.00)
    I have a brother who is fundamentalist.

    What I find about him is a total lack of empathy for others.  Once I sent him a picture of a dead Iraqi child with half her legs blown away, being carried by her father who was overcome with grief.
    His response is just as you say "We can not be swayed by these images... war will always result in  innocent life being lost... its just the cost you have to pay..."

    He has other such attitude that I summarize with the phrase "tough luck for them."  This is a phrase I've actually heard him use often.  

    Its all about winning and losing with my brother  (and alwayse has been since we were little).  He has to win games we play, from cards to ping pong.  He even has to win when he plays games with his own children, no matter how young.  Its truly astounding.

    Then there is the ultimate win/lose situation.  He is sure he has won his salvation, and tough luck for others who don't believe in Jesus the way he does.  That's what it is all about for this brand of religion, as far as I can tell.  Its all about them, their salvation, and most of all being right and winning the game.  Tough luck for the rest of us.


    "I don't want to name names, but they know themselves." Koffi Annan

    by Sue in NH on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:25:59 AM PDT

    •  I'm no pyschobabble-ologist but (none)
      I get the sense there's a kind of twisted sublimation going on in such a fundy's mind. The more pain is heaped the more gain is reaped.  A shocking image of a mangled child from a war zone simply ups the catharsis premium if you will, which replaces this untenable shock with some bang! of redemptive affirmation.  Seems to be an endless cycle of innoculation?...
      •  sacrifice (3.77)
        The fundies worship not the Jesus who shared, who taught, who tried to uplift people, but the Jesus who was tortured.  Their holiest image is not of love but of murder.  

        When the foundation of religious passion is sacrifice, suffering itself becomes holy.  In some sense, to a fundie, an Iraqi girl with her legs blown off is a good thing, because she resembles their Jesus.  

        The Spaniards once raped America with a bible in one hand.  It was considered a good work to convert and/or murder the natives because it would bring their souls to heaven.  To the fundies, our war in Iraq is a similar holy crusade, and the bombs might as well be filled with holy water. To the fundie, an Iraqi child killed in this holy war is a good work.  The war is Iraq's baptism in blood.

        •  Crusade is an absolutely key word (3.87)
          and it hasn't been mentioned by others that I've read, (so far) so I'll bring it up.

          Bush got a lot of criticism for using the word "crusade" with regard to the attacks on the Taliban and Afghanistan. Later spokespeople said he 'misspoke.' Bush doesn't misspeak unless there's a political gain to be had.

          Fact is this, sorry to say: for many right-wing Christians this current war is a crusade. They are fighting the infidels because God and their preachers told them to. For some of them, the war on terrorism IS a war on Islam. And the points you make, Gareth, about going into America with a Bible in one hand is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan as well.

          For these folks, this is a religious war. I have heard people say it, because their preachers say it (and this is happening in the bluest city in a very blue state!) and it is a big part of the so-called 'religious revival' that has NOT gotten enough coverage in the press.

          What I also find troubling, as well, is that there is limited criticism of the war among many nominally liberal clergy. Jim Wallis is the exception, not the rule. I don't understand the reasons for their silence.

        •  re: sacrifice (4.00)
          my wife and often talk about how fundamentalists tend to look at Jesus as simply a "life-preserver" rather than as a teacher or mentor who provides an example by which to model their behavior.

          If more people who profesed to be "Christian" actually too the time to consider what Jesus had to say while he lived, rather than simply as an object to be sacrificed for their personal benefit, the world would be a much more pleasant place.

    •  Being right and winning the game ... (4.00)
      And it's easier to convince yourself you've done so if you have more people telling you that it's true, hence the unquenchable thirst for converts. At least that's how I see it.

      "The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it." R. Diesel, 1911

      by nuttymango on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:00:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Translation (4.00)
      its just the cost you have to pay...

      This, of course, actually means "It's just the cost that someone else will have to pay"

    •  And that lies the problem.. (none)
      See, that's a good example of what's going on (and bringing society to shit, to be honest). You have all these fundimentalist churches, which exist for one and one reason only. To give salvation to people  so they can not have any sort of moral judgement themselves.

      I'm sorry if I offend you, but your brother is just an immoral person. He's what they'd call a sociopath. Don't worry. He's not in the minority. I believe a recent study had that 60% of Americans are sociopaths? Yikes! But to be honest, that's all religion really. Religion gives the cover for people to basically be jerks and not care about anybody but themselves.

      This is our story...

      by Karmakin on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:18:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No offense taken (none)
        There is a lot I don't understand about my brother.  How could we have turned out so differently, raised in the same home (which was a good one as well)?

        Sociopath... maybe that's a bit extreme, but there certainly is something very wrong with the idea you can be OK with blown up kids, because Dubya is right and the armies of compassion are on the march.

        I just don't get it.  Its like he's been brainwashed.

        Those of you talking about fear I think have also hit on something.  I see my brother as very afraid of his own sexual drives and he chooses to keep them under control with his set of Biblical rules.

        "I don't want to name names, but they know themselves." Koffi Annan

        by Sue in NH on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:26:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You Nailed It. Empathy. (4.00)
       I've -- for the past several years -- boiled down religion and politics and social intercourse down into two fundamental schools of thought, schools of psychology:  the empathetic and the non-empathetic.

       Of course, this is a virtually infinite continuum.  But, if you do something like this:

           |                    |                        |
      Empathy 0%                       Empathy 100%

       . . . then you're going to get true Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Progressives, Democrats, bunching up on the left (ha, ha) side of the scale, and Right Wingnuts, sociopaths, Falwell and Dobsonites, Halliburton Executives and today's GOP bunching up on the right side of the scale.  

       I think that this is self-evident, but that a test, like an MMPI -type of thing, could bear this out emperically.

       I want an acknowledgement, some credit, when someone does a bang-up dissertation on this!


      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:32:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry... (4.00)
      Sue, it seems we are related!  You are describing my brother, which makes you my sister!

      I saw my brother recently and he was talking about a player on one of the Little League teams he used to coach who had made good and was now playing Triple A somewhere.  He was so proud of that guy he was going to fly cross-country to see him play ball.

      Then the subject turned to another player, one who didn't go on to a baseball career.  My brother contemptuously said, "Oh, Ed -- if you want to see him just drive by his mother's place, he'll be up on the balcony getting high."  His tone implied he had absolutely no use for Ed and held him in the lowest possible esteem.

      Because the guy has obviously run into some kind of hard times, he's beneath contempt.  Not an object of sympathy, not someone to reach out to with a kind "I knew you when" word of encouragement.  Just a shit-pile mucking up my brother's view on his way to work.

      The funny thing is that when we were growing up, my brother was the weed dealer for the GM plant in Van Nuys.  That was a LOT of pot he was turning people on to and supplying.  Somehow he's been absolved of his own sins, but Ed's chances aren't looking so good.  That guy on the balcony?  That's my brother's Shadow.  He doesn't have to empathize with Ed, or integrate his own propensities into a fully human picture of himself, because he's projected all that Badness outward.  That's how torture becomes possible -- we remove all Goodness from the other, and imbue them with all our Badness, and by god they deserve a good beating!

      •  You're on to something "fundamental" (4.00)
        Like I noticed, when I quit smoking cigarettes, for about 2 years I was feeling quite angry with my fellow humans who were smokers.

        Ironicaly, these were the very people for whom I ought to have shared the greatest sympathy and understanding.

        As I ceased to feel any need whatsoever for smoking, I gradually stopped "condemning" them.

        I am inclined to believe that someone who, for example, is shamed into becoming "ex-gay," will perhaps be subject to a similar anger.

        Except, since homosexuality is not a "choice" but a natural orientation, he will never be free of his anger (nor will he ever find happiness in his choice to go against his natural orientation.

        If he gets into a position of power, look out.

        .. in my humble opinion (I am neither gay nor ex-gay, my only credential here is as an ex-smoker).

        Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

        by Upstream Review on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:02:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is by design (4.00)
    The past thirty to forty years have brought to light the intentional Republican takeover of the Christian religion. The Straussian contingent of the US right wing, as one example, want to return to classical political philosophy. One of the most overlooked aspects of classical political philosophy is the role that the ancients reserved for religion: the noble lie that serves only to unite the people and control the uneducable masses. Consider what such an approach would like today. Just how different from what is happening in Evangelical and Fundamentalist circles would it be?

    This point is buttressed by the (relatively speaking) recent adoption of politics by US Christians as religion. Look at the way that the Christian Coalition points to tax cuts as a Christian value. Some Evangelical circles have been degraded to the point where members of congregations are being told that voting Democratic imperils their immortal soul. This isn't the penetration of the Republican party by religious fanatics. This is the penetration of the Christian religion by the Republican party.

    •  Off Topic (none)
      Lee, are you from Dayton Ohio?

      The Republican Party: Redefining Oppression for the 21st Century

      by daveriegel on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:47:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a mutual deal between -- (4.00)

       -- two devils.  Ironies abound.


      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:22:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lee, I disagree with your assertion : (4.00)
      "This isn't the penetration of the Republican party by religious fanatics. This is the penetration of the Christian religion by the Republican party."

      While in a sense true, your statement above omits an entire chapter of recent political history.

      So, "This isn't the penetration of the GOP by "religious fanatics" " holds true on the technicality that the takeover you refer to is now largely over. It is a fait accompli : the takeover of the GOP, from within, by Christian religious supremacists is a done deal.

      Secularist, Goldwater Republicans were largely displaced from and hounded out of the GOP in the 1990's, state by state.

      Now, the GOP is the religious supremacist right, and vice-versa. They are largely indistinguishable. Dissenting, secularist voices have been silenced.

      This was written about, quite extensively back in the 1990's, while that takeover was underway.

      [ From Joe Conason's March 1993 article for Plaboy Magazine, With God as their co-pilot ] "The rich Republicans of San Antonio's Bexar County consider themselves very conservative.  And they are.  But the politics of this new crowd gave them a bad scare.  Not long after the Christian rightists staged their coup, the president of the Alamo City Republican Women's club just gave up and quit.
          "The so-called Christian activists have finally gained control," she explained in her resignation letter, "and the Grand Old Party is more religious cult than political organization."

          Next came the Pennsylvania primary ... the shock came the next day, when the votes for obscure Republican state committee positions were tallied.  From nowhere, conservative Christians had grabbed dozens of seats.  The militant newcomers are now close to controlling the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, too.

          In June, in the San Diego County towns of Lemon Grove and El Cajon, a slate of "pro-family" Christian right activists financed by a group of conservative businessmen swept the Republican primary for all of the open council seats, along with a slew of state assembly seats.  On the same day, several hundred miles to the north in Santa Clara Country, another slate of "biblically oriented" candidates--committed to the death penalty for such sins as homosexuality and abortion--captured 14 of 20 seats on the Republican county central committee.  The GOP apparatus in the nation's most populous state is within a few votes of being absolutely controlled by the Christian right.

          Across the nation, in primary after primary, stunned Republican leaders echoed the lament of one longtime party activist in Texas, a personal friend of Barbara Bush, who suddenly found herself ousted by the fundamentalists.  "They organized and we didn't," she said.  "I didn't think it was going to be this bad."

      [ From "The GOP's Religious War", by Joan Lowey of Scripps-Howard News Service ] "Until last spring, Jo Martin was a relatively non­political Houston housewife. Today she's on the front lines of a religious war that has fractured the Republican Party. Martin, a 52-year-old mother of three, and her husband David, a stockbroker, are lifelong Republicans but hadn't been active in party politics for many years until they happened to attend a local GOP meeting last spring.

          They were appalled by what they found. The party apparatus had been taken over by religious activists intent on bringing "biblical principles" to government: outlawing abortion, ostracizing homosexuals and teaching creationism in public schools, among other things. "We honest to goodness felt like we had fallen through a time warp into a Nazi brown-shirt meeting," Martin said.

      See: Taking over the Republican Party, for a wealth of supporting articles.

      •  Great exposition (4.00)
        But the problem, Troutfishing, is that while the old-guard Republicans ('Mods,' according to Thomas Frank's parlance) are no longer active in party politics, the old guard continues to VOTE Republican.

        They may despise these reliopoliticos, but they support them with their vote.

        This is the flip side of Tom Frank's argument about how the fundies vote to end abortion but wind up giving the rich a tax cut. Now the rich are voting for the tax cut and getting criminalization of abortion and restrictions on free speech.

        It's a horribly destructive bottom-feeding parasitic interdependence. And, by God, it works. And it's killing the rest of us.

        •  Some of the "old guard" Republicans.... (none)
          Are actually bailing out, though I can't produce any stats as to numbers.

          At the recent NYC/CUNY conference on Dominionism there was a fellow there, a venture capitalist who bought companies typically for the low 10s of millions and sold them later for much more, who was a recent apostate from the GOP. He had been someone who could arrange, back in the late 60's, meetings with Nixon. Now, he wants to work against the ( would be ) theocrats.

          A goal for the left might be to reach out to more such potential converts. Many of the "old-guard" bloc who still vote GOP just don't know how extreme the GOP has become. When they do, they often leave.

      •  To paraphrase a candy commercial (4.00)
        "You got Christianity in my Republican Party!"

        "You got the Republican Party in my Christianity!"

        Two great tastes that don't go so well together.  If you add salt to water, not only does the water get salty, the salt gets wet.  For example, for ages, many Christians have opposed anything that even looks vaguely like the "mark of the beast".  But now these same groups are all in favor of a national ID card, because they have sold out.

        Now, the Christian Right is waging war against the rest of Christianity, and it is likely to get worse.

        •  I just call them the Republican Nat'l Faith (none)
          To distinguish between authentic conservatives and old-school Republicans, and this weird toxic meld that wants untrammeled political power, has limitless greed, and expects no accountability for destroying lives.

          There's also that disturbing tendency to treat people outside the narrow agenda like insects to be crushed fast and hard under the heel of the jackboot.

          (And when did the Constitution become some kind of satanic document? Liberals/Dems a plague on the political landscape? WTF???)

      •  the totalitarian blend goes both ways (none)
        I think Lee is right about what happened in 1930s Germany, where a rogue political party acquired legitimacy by co-opting the language of ultimate concern - via its infiltration of the heirarchy of German state protestantism (accomplished by 1935, I think).

        But troutfishing has the American scenario more correctly pegged, in my view.

        Here it is a rogue religious cult that has acquired legitimacy for its agenda by infilrating the heirarchy of a US political party.

        Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

        by Upstream Review on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:22:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, I think you are entirely correct (none)
        I just think that you're only presenting a partial picture. We've been down this road before. I'd like to see a reply to the questions I asked:

        ``The religious right took over the GOP from within. They started in Texas first. This has been written about extensively, including by secular members of the GOP who were hounded out of the party.''
        You mean to tell me that secular Republicans like Cheney, McCain, Scwartzenhager, and Guliani have no place to stand in the Republican party? I don't buy that.

        ``The new ( christian right dominated ) GOP would make Barry Goldwater roll over in his grave.''

        But that begs the question of whether today's GOP would make Goldwater roll over in his grave because of the GOP's alleged Christianity or because of its strange mix of neo-conservativism and hyper-libertarianism. The GOP has shifted enormously since the presidency of Nixon and not all of those shifts, or even a majority of those shifts, have been on religious grounds.

        ``Nationalism and free market ideology have been incorporated into the ideology of the religious supremacist right.''

        In other words, a certain faction of the Republican party has successfully infiltrated certain Christian sects. Consider, for a moment, the idea that the conservative Christian sects in the US have may have changed more in the past twenty years with regards to adopting Republican stances than the GOP has in the same amount of time with regards to adopting Christian stances.



        •  Lee, Thanks for your reply.... (none)
          On the first count, those three GOP pols are not especially representative. There are a few secularist or at least less overtly theocratic Republicans around here and there. Yes. Cheney may be closer to the religious right than you think. In any event, Theocracy Watch ( ) has some excellent graphical representations of the extent to which GOP Senators now vote in almost perfect accord with the voting recommendations of the Christian Coalition.

          As for Goldwater - he actually publicly expressed his dismay, shortly before his death, at the rise of the religious right in the GOP.

          On your last point : I would disagree with that characterization. I'd have to consult someone with superior historical knowledge of this, but my sense is that elements of American Christianity which already  had free-market inclinations were given support rather than "infiltrated". In other words, we are looking at a nativist movement. And, many of the now most powerful leaders of the religious right - Pat Robertson, for example - needed no conversion to the Gospel of Free Market Jesus. Robertson started out there, pretty much.

          But as I mentioned in my last paragraph there, I actually am interested in getting the opinions, on this, of those who have studied the movement in far more detail than I.

          In other words, I'm going to refrain from saying that I think you're wrong on that count - I don't yet have the authority to make that determination.

          Thanks for the conversation.  

    •  Objection to term "Straussian" (none)
      However useful this term may seem , I'm convinced that it creates a false perspective.
      Prof. Strauss died in 1973, and even though a number of of his former students may be annoyingly influential right-wing ideologues right now, there is no real evidence that he is their "guru," or an uber-architect of the corrupt regime which has been looting our country since the 2000 elections.
      These men represent less than even one percent of the students he taught. I believe that using Strauss' name as some kind of shorthand for these living thieves and liars acts as another diversion from the work at hand -- discrediting them and their works.
      I am completely on the side of his daughter, Jenny Strauss Clay, who wrote in the NY Times in 2003:
      Recent news articles have portrayed my father, Leo Strauss, as the mastermind behind the neoconservative ideologues who control United States foreign policy. He reaches out from his 30-year-old grave, we are told, to direct a `cabal' (a word with distinct anti-Semitic overtones) of Bush administration figures hoping to subject the American people to rule by a ruthless elite. I do not recognize the Leo Strauss presented in these articles ... He believed in and defended liberal democracy, although he was not blind to its flaws. He felt it was the best form of government that could be realize, `the last best hope.' He was an enemy of any regime that aspired to global domination. He despised utopianism, in our time Nazism and communism, which is predicated on a denial of a fundamental and even noble feature of human nature, love of one's own. His heroes were Churchill and Lincoln ... The fact is that Leo Strauss also recognized a multiplicity of readers, but he had enough faith in his author to assume that they, too, recognized that they would have a diverse readership. Some of their readers, the ancients realized, would want only to find their own views and prejudices confirmed. Others might be willing to open themselves to new, perhaps unconventional or unpopular, ideas. I personally think my father's rediscovery of the art of writing for different kinds of readers will be his most lasting legacy.
      Well, the NeoCONS sure studied how to write propaganda for certain kinds of Radio/TV listeners -- they even put the ideas of Socialist writers Michelle Foucalt and George Orwell into play by their shameless use of 'doublespeak' on one hand, while contemptuously dismissing them, and other contemporaries on the other. I could even make a convincing case linking Jacques Derrida's Deconstructionism to many NeoCON perversions of discourse, but that would not make them "Derridaians."
      I tend to blame people like Goebbels or Stalin for examples of successful, but hideous, ideological manipulation of communication media, rather than head-scratching academics like Leo Strauss.

      Why do people insist on following that damn chicken across that bloody road?

      by MT Spaces on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 11:11:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have you read Strauss? (none)
        I'm using the word ``Straussian'' in a very Straussian way, as a technical philosophical term to mean reading philosophy in a specific fashion. Which part of my post do you think Strauss would object to, my characterization of classical political philosophy with regard to the noble lie or the suggestion that Strauss would have liked to see a return to classical political philosophy over modern political philosophy?
        •  "Bloomian," perhaps? (none)
          I read a few Strauss paragraphs about Plato and Aristotle when I was barely twenty, but I was an art major, and it was thirty years ago -- let's lighten up a little!
          I can't even fathom what HE might object to in your post, but I doubt that he'd enjoy seeing his name turned into a pronoun, or having it used as a whole order of classification for gross, unethical opportunists masking themselves as classical political philosophers.
          I'll stick up for this dead guy when I can, because I think he's been ill-served this way.
          Strauss' ex-colleague, the late Allan Bloom, who became notorious for closing the american mind, often sang pseudo-Platonic praises to his personal version of a so-called 'Western Canon,' and referred to long-gone Strauss as an inspiration. Bloom was exactly the kind of guy who'd bait-and-switch his own philosophy under someone else's name too.
          Yeah -- after all, who'd be awestruck by "the Bloomian contingent of the US right wing?"

          Why do people insist on following that damn chicken across that bloody road?

          by MT Spaces on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 12:31:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What a fucking straw man (none)
            For the longest time I couldn't figure out what your complaint was. I suggested that some right wing politicians were strongly influenced by Leo Strauss and you objected, despite being mostly unfamiliar with Strauss's work, to my reading while conceding that you had no idea as to whether my major points were a fair reading of Strauss.

            And then it hit me. You apparently don't believe that anyone on the right can think critically. Therefore, whatever it is that Strauss taught and wrote, you hold that right wing politicians can't possibly understand it, let alone subscribe to his philosophy.

            This theory is cemented by your criticism of Allan Bloom. While Bloom may be notorious for a rather peculiar type of bigotry, he is also a scholar of first rank. His translation of Plato's Republic is the standard by which all subsequent translations are measured and his interpretive essay in said work is highly influential in the field. Consequently, to be Bloomian can only be a pejorative in your mind. It takes one aspect of Bloom's ideas and runs with them as if that aspect were the only aspect of his ideas that were uniquely his.

            Isn't that exactly what you're accusing people of doing with Leo Strauss? WTF?

            The reality is that Bush's administration has some very bright people and some of those people have been very strongly influenced by the writings of Leo Strauss. I certainly disagree with most of these people in a very fundamental way as I'm not anywhere close to being a Straussian. But I'm not about to write them off entirely as gross, unethical opportunists. Certainly, there are some members of the present administration that I would categorize as gross, unethical and opportunistic. But those descriptors certainly don't extend to everyone in Bush's administration.
  •  Tim Lahaye, and the CNP (none)
    They are a who's who of military industrial complex and christian right cultists. They are manipulating christians to accept war through a weird theology called dispensationalism.

    Stop the war! Draft Bush voters!

    by NoAlternative on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:29:26 AM PDT

  •  Some Christians (4.00)
    don't necessarily have anything to do with the teachings of Christ. The ones who do follow the gospel, it seems are the least likely to trumpet their beliefs in this way, let alone launch a crusade...the type of Christians you reference, to me, are like all those "Ray's Pizza" places in New York City; they all share the name, but there just not the real, original, famous Ray's.

    No, YOU need to mow the lawn.

    by PBJ Diddy on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:34:29 AM PDT

    •  Antichristians (3.85)
      I call these people Antichristians.

      They don't worship the living Jesus, only a dead, tortured body on a cross.  They hate the work Jesus did on this earth, and hate anybody else who tries to do similar work - healing the sick, feeding the hungry, uplifiting the downtrodden.

      What they work for is not peace but Armageddon, the destruction of the earth and the coming of the Antichrist.  Talk to them some time.  Say "Things are looking bad."  They'll reply "These are the End Times."  And their hearts will be glad, because they believe that soon they will see the Antichrist, the true object of their veneration.

      •  The nth End Times (none)
        As long as there have been Christians there have been people who think that the "End Times" are the time in which they live(d). And we're still here. So this current end-time hysteria too shall pass.

        A friend of mine made an interesting point about the end of the world. He shares the Buddhist belief that souls continue to be reincarnated until they reach enlightenment, at which point they go to eternal rest and cease to exist. His point was that it would be absolutely impossible for all of the souls in the world to reach enlightenment at the same time and therefore there is no way that the end of the world (theologically speaking, not geologically speaking) is about to happen any time soon.

        The current adminstration in the US government alone contains so many souls so far from enlightenment that they could be single-handedly guaranteeing that the world will be around for a very long time. Unless of course they blow it up first, which is another topic entirely.

        You can't live without making a footprint, but you can choose the shape of the shoe.

        by angelama on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:32:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's that underlying (none)
        "I'm saved, and you're not. Nyeah, Nyeah!" attitude that drives me crazy.

        "Help us to save free conscience from the paw -- Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw." --John Milton

        by ohiolibrarian on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:28:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Half-Christian" would be better I think (none)
        and would pose more of a challenge to them.

        The theopolitik cults can be prophesied against if the Spirit of God-in-Christ is enlisted.  They do really know on some level who their master is in truth.

        Their fellow Christians must take the battle to them on grounds that are mutually "sacred."

        An opportunity was lost against Hostettler recently when the protesting Democrat was so inarticulate in his protest.  The party needs people who can take it to these heretics in their own language, and expose their errors one-by-one and on-the-ground.

        Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

        by Upstream Review on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:30:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone .... (4.00)
    can call themselves a Christian.  
  •  Righties have serious problems with text (4.00)
    Fundamentalism is marked by an incredibly simplistic, reductive, and unsophisticated reading of text.  

    Look, any one of us on this site knows a little bit about how to interpret text.  We know about metaphor, about allegory, about irony.  We understand how to use context to analyze a statement.  

    Fundies throw all of their subtle reading skills out the window when reading the bible.  The see text as literal, or when it is metaphorical, it is metaphorical in only the most superficial and obvious ways.  They refuse to acknowledge that reading is a meaning making exercise.  They pretend that the meaning in a text is self-evident.  Of course, since meaning is NOT self-evident, it is incumbent upon the Jerry Falwells of the world to tell the flock what the bible means.  And according to them, the bible has a very clear world view that supports reactionary right wing politics.

    Curious.  Protestantism began as a way of empowering believers to interpret scripture on their own.  Now it seems we are back to the hierarchical powers in the evangelical movement telling the rest of us how to read.  Back to the Middle Ages.

    It's important for us to keep reminding people that the Right doesn't speak for ALL Christians.  

    The Republican Party: Redefining Oppression for the 21st Century

    by daveriegel on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:43:15 AM PDT

    •  I've thought the same thing.. (none)
      ..we've come full circle.  I guess it's just too hard to read the Bible and try to understand the complex underlying meanings.  Reading it literally is easy, and having someone else do it for you is easiest.

      "Strength and wisdom are not opposing values" - Bill Clinton.

      by RAST on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:49:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I attended bible study... (none)
        for a few weeks once.  I found it a really mind-numbing exercise.  I found myself continually saying, "But it doesn't say that!!!"

        When they told me I was going to hell for living with my girlfriend (to whom I was engaged!) I decided I had had enough.

        The Republican Party: Redefining Oppression for the 21st Century

        by daveriegel on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:53:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But Bible study doesn't have to be that way (4.00)
          I used to go to a Bible study at my liberal church and we sat down and wrestled with the text each week. We talked about it's meaning in terms of our own experiences and in the greater world. We read theologians and interpretations but mainly worked on what it meant for us to experience our faith. It was by no means indoctrination.

          It REALLY was study. It was a great experience.

          •  You are right.... (none)
            there is a difference in reading the words in the bible and stopping with that and there is reading the words in the bible, applying some critical thought and attempting to analyze what those words mean to you.

            Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. (Paraphrasing B. Franklin)

            by p a roberson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:16:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  internalizing Scripture (none)
            A simple technique such as translating the word "enemy" as something akin to "my selfish ego" can open up the Bible to a whole life of spiritual progression.  Especially in the Prophets and Psalms.

            But it should be done in freedom.  I would not wish to publish a Bible with the word enemy translated thusly.

            Be all that you can be: Work for peace - - Jesus (Mt.5:9)

            by Upstream Review on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:07:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You were living with a woman... (4.00)

  whom you were engaged???  What?!  You trying to be like Joseph and Mary or something???!!


          . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

          by BenGoshi on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:17:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, Bub! If English was good -- (4.00)

       -- enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for us!


      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:20:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ain't jes English, bo (none)
        It's Suthurn English, and that's da Gawspel Trewth. :)

        Why, just the other day...

        I saw a doctor perform a medical miracle.

        He saved a man choking on a chicken bone by taking out a pen knife and performing a trigonometry, right on the spot!

        Torture is bad, even when Republicans do it.

        by cskendrick on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:01:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tolstoy (4.00)
    The Kingdom of God is Within You, by Leo Tolstoy, is a detailed work criticizing an aggressive, war-mongering christianity in favor of the things Christ actually said.  It had an huge effect on a fellow named Ghandi, and should be required reading for anybody claiming to follow Christ.

    Groop I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes.

    by dhonig on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:38:52 AM PDT

  •  Luther's small catechism (none)
    justifies war and the death penalty, as carried out by a "Just Government".  The argument goes that without government, there would be chaos.

    So who defines a "Just Government"?  Who thinks war is not chaos?

    Pretty ironic huh?

    •  A "Third Way" (none)
      not all Christians subscribe to the Just War idea.  Many of my spiritual and biological ancestors were chased around Europe as well as killed for daring to think Christ called his followers to live peacefully.  Today, they are known as Mennonites, Amish, Brethren, etc.  

      I am ashamed that so many who say they follow this path have bought into the whole right wing agenda and belief.  A large reason for this is they tried to do the correct thing and listen to "Christian" radio.  They have been exposed to Dobson, et al, and now are what I call "AINOS" Anabaptists in name only!

      All is not lost, there are still many Anabaptist who see Christ's Sermon on the Mount as being the guide for living.  Treating others well, helping the hurting (no matter who they are) and working for peace.

      May God have mercy on us all

  •  It's cultural, not religious (4.00)
    These are people who have been brought up to believe that beating children is necessary to discipline them. I can't go into all of it here, but violence against children is reflected throughout later life in violence toward others and acceptance of violence as a proper means of control.

    If you are interested in reading more about how children are damaged to produce good consumers, workers, police and soldiers please write to me at jules_siegel [at] and I will arrange for you to receive a free PDF of my current work in progress, The Human Robot, Understanding the Emotional Effects of Industrialism.

    All I ask in return is that you send me any comments you might have after reading the book. It's not complete, but there's more than enough there to give you a full view of my thesis. News and issues for journalists.

    by Jules Siegel on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:45:01 AM PDT

  •  Flavor of the moment? (none)

    Hasn't this base of people, and I'm referring to the intolerant, hard-right Christian set, always been there, and always been the "size" that it is? How many millions of Americans would proudly identify themselves with this group?

    What's drawing so much attention to them? Are the Dobsons et al so much better now than before at self-marketing, and grabbing the media's attention? Is the media infatuated, perhaps out of some unease, with the concept of this group weilding great political clout, or are they simply the flavor of the year (decade?)?

    •  I think that your question is very important. (3.66)
      It is possible that this base of people is actually growing.  It is possible that they have brains that have evolved in a way to enable them to swallow whole the insanity that others of their ilk preach -- such as Dobson.  I mean this to be taken in a serious evolutionary-biological sense.  Our brains are evolving from generation to generation and the degree of change may be substantial -- even from one generation to the next.  

      It may be possible to link people holding certain beliefs to their ancestors.  In other words the extremism of the South may well be genetic.  Breeding/cultural patterns reflect this, it seems to me, very clearly.  The culture grows out of the genes and the culture reinforces acceptable norms of behavior that are irrational.  People of this basic group may seem irrational to me, but I, to them, am irrational.  This is very alarming to me and could be cataclysmically disastrous during the lives of my grandchildren.

      If one looks at the dictatorial behavior of these extremists, wherein they not only tell you how you should conduct your life, but they will use law and force to make you live your life the way they want you to, one can see that some of these people can be classified as mentally ill.  The classification of diseases used by medical science contains patterns of behavior which fellows like Fallwell, Liddy, Limbaugh, etal exhibit.  These men can be rightfully called mentally ill.  

      One of the requirements that must be met before the state can seize control of a mentally ill person is that the person must be dangerous to himself or others or both.  Limbaugh, through his drug addiction has proved that he was dangerous to himself.  His extremist preaching of incendiary doctrines marks him as dangerous to others -- for some, far nuttier than he, can be moved to action by his words.

      So, to my layman's mind, many of the leaders of the radical religious right are truly insane -- in a truly medical sense.  Contrast their preachings with those of Gandhi -- he was sane, Falwell and Robertson, by clear contrast, are insane.

      The world must pay attention.  Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Tojo were all insane.  We can not let insane people become leaders, or, at the very least, we must not let them have power.

      In short, there is absolutely no guarantee that our brains will evolve in a rational way, and that is a very grave danger.  There must be some sort of common agreement as to what constitutes rationality and it must be codified in our law and our culture.  Religious faith, by defintion, is irrational and when that faith begins to control the world in irrational world it can destroy us all.  We must enter a mode of conscious evolution, controlled by our rational minds, or we can slip back into the brutality of the early part of the last century or even back into the barbarism of the time of Jesus.


  •  Old testament (none)
    I have wondered how much emphasis is placed on the old testament vs the new testament amongst the more fundemental evangelists.

    The old testament reflects a much more bloodthirsty and vengeful god than the new testament.

    •  Ezekial (none)
      Yup, Jehovah (actually, there were many different names in the oroginal texts - possibly many different gods - it was the King James edition that translated them all to "Jehovah" as being more monotheist-like) was about as bloodthirsty as Kali.

      There are basically two types of evangelicals: those who reject the Old Testament on the interpretation that Jesus brought a new Dispensation, and those who only see continuity between the Old Testament books and Revelations, prefering to take from Jesus only the passage about having "come with a sword."

      The first group are our friends. The second it is politically incorrect to call unalloyed evil, because their texts are largely shared with Jews - who clearly aren't. But they read those text very differently; few Jews are literalists, and the ones who are are the fascists in the settlements.

      Between large parts of the Old Testament and Revelations, the Bible serves well as a Satanic instrument. If you just focus on the Gospels and the more poetic parts of the older books, it's quite a more beautiful thing.

    •  Yes, except (none)
      that the New Testament God required the death of His Son for our sins.

      Same bloodthirsty, vengeful god, if you ask me.

  •  One word sums it up: Fear (3.50)
    They are deathly afraid of the "God" they believe in. In turn, they will do anything to appease him. They recognizes that "God" is a truly vindictive and capricious bastard, because that's what he is (if you read the WHOLE bible, not just the liberal's bible). They know it's impossible to know what God wants, except belief, but if you piss off God, you not only die, you get tortured for eternity. Fear of that and the cognitive dissonance of an illogical belief system makes fundamentalist xians lose their minds, and a "loving" God that does such things opens up doors where it's okay for them to do similar things here on earth.

    Basically, life is a video game for them, if anyone gets killed they're not really dead.

    Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by racerx on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:08:14 AM PDT

  •  it ain't just the christians (none)
    I would be interested in knowing the percentage of right wingnut jews who look to Bush as the Messiah.
  •  Again, the bumper sticker for '06, '08 (4.00)


           BEFORE YOU VOTE.

    It'll drive the Wingnuts nuts.


    . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:15:38 AM PDT

  •  Arrogance (4.00)
    In a word - these people are driven by vanity and arrogance.  Their belief that they are superior and better than all others drives their every move.

    They will be the ones taken to heaven during the rapture for everlasting life while everyone else is tortured down below

    Their marriage is special and unique and so cannot be sullied by having others they consider unclean be given similar rights.

    They live in the "freest nation on earth", despite the fact that numerous other countries grant their citizens far more individual freedoms than Americans enjoy.

    They need to be disabused of these notions before anything starts getting sane in this country again.  In a perfect world, the horrific event of 9/11 may have caused introspection on how we could improve how we treat each other here in the US as well as how our policies effect people throughout the globe.

    But no, we're special and always right, so we exported hate and death in response to hate and death.

    I mourn for America.  I'm rapidly reaching the conclusion that the life we knew is quickly fading away and being replaced with a Christian/Corporate version of Saudi Arabia.  

    •  If you give up hope... (4.00)
      Then all is hopeless.

      But, let's be analytical about this :

      The Christian religious supremacist right constitutes, probably, between 15-20 percent of the American electorate. Perhaps, even, as little as 15%.

      They have taken over the GOP with that relatively small but very disciplined faction. The 15% solution. Within the GOP, another block of 6-11% votes with the religious supremacist right ( while not agreeing with or even understanding all of the supremacist objectives ). Thus, the religious supremacists were able to take over the GOP, at the state and local level. From that base, they ascended to national politics.

      But, they are still very much a minority.

      Hence, "the 15% solution" :

      The formula they've concocted has been called the "15 per cent solution" by the Christian Coalition. Even in a well-attended presidential election, only 15 per cent of eligible voters determine the outcome. Her's the simple math: about 60 per cent of the qualified electorate is registered, and only half of them vote. Half again of that 30 per cent determines the outcome, hence the all-powerful 15 percent.

      "We don't have to worry about convincing a majority of Americans to agree with us," Guy Rodgers, the Christan Coalition's national field director declared at the 1991 Raod to visttory conference. Most of them are staying home and watching Falcon Crest."

      So, can't the left mobilize an equivalent activist 15% - or more ? I think it can.

      Defeat is NOT an option.

      •  Yeah but.... (none)
        ...since these people have gone about dismantling democracy as rapidly as they can these past 10 years, you're describing operating within a parameter in which you cannot win.

        Diebold?  Katharine Harris/Jeb Bush?  Ohio?  Swift Boat?  Fox News?

        A perfect storm of greed and idiocy capitalizing on a national tragedy.  

        Look at all we've already lost.  We have no free press.  Elections are being rigged and voters are being disenfranchised.  Illegal wars are being waged.

        And nobody fucking cares.

        I don't think any fascist government throughout history has had support of the majority of the people.  Its always been the fringe lunatics that have brought these people to power.  That never stopped them from reigning terror on their subjugated peoples.

        Stick around and wait for it?  I don't think so.  My brain and talents would be better served elsewhere.

        2006 is the benchmark - if we can't make gains in taking this country back that will have been our final chance.  Don't think these bastards don't know it either.  Look for even more blatant third world style vote rigging and campaign slander in about a year.

        We're going to make the Saudi elections look legitimate by the time these fuckers are done.

        •  Gee, I wouldn't want you on my team... (none)
          With that attitude ! Go find a cave, by all means, but this conflict will likely reach you despite your best efforts.

          Now, there is no magic to the rise of the religious supremacist movement. To point towards its dirty tricks, though accurate, distracts from the main route to power of this movement : nuts and bolts ground level political work. The RR got organized.

          Do you have no personal power in the current equation ? I would suggest that you read Milton Mayer's classic "They thought they were free".

          •  Don't be an ass (none)
            As a gay man I see full well the potential for this to turn REAL ugly and frankly I see no reason to wait this out desperately hoping things get better until they drag my partner and I away a la Anne Frank.

            This country doesn't DESERVE smart erudite hard working people who think for themselves.  Let the white trash Jesus freaks roam through the Corporate theocracy they've created.  My "cave" will consist of a nice house in Canada or Europe making a contribution to a society that gives back to me rather than using me as a scapegoat for all their hatres and irrationality.

            I'll keep fighting the "good fight" until 2006, but if the system is so far gone at that point and election fraud so rampant that we find these people even further entrenched, I have an obligation to myself and my loved ones to get the hell out while I still can.

            I suggest everyone on this board at least consider this possibility as well.  There is nothing noble in giving your time, energy, money or even your life to an evil and corrupt empire (if it actually comes to that).

            •  An ass ? (none)
              Yeah, I know this could turn ugly - and I wouldn't blame you for leaving. But your words could also be very discouraging to those who stay and fight.

              Also, I've been posting on the potentially ugly dimensions of the rise of the religious supremacist right for over a year now. I know it could turn ugly.

  •  The Anti-Christ (4.00)
    Would be, literally, the diametric opposite of Christ.  Where Christ preached love, the Anti-Christ would preach hate.  Where Christ preached forgiveness, the Anti-Christ would preach vengence.  Where Christ preached peace, the Anti-Christ would preach war.  Where Christ healed the sick and raised the dead,  the Anti-Christ would wound the healthy and kill the living.  Where Christ preached humility, the Anti-Christ would preach arrogance.  Where Christ preached generosity, the Anti-Christ would preach miserliness and greed.

    I'm begining to think that maybe there is something to this whole anti-Christ business, just that it may not be who the fundies beleive it to be...

    "Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it." --Mark Twain

    by bhurt on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:26:58 AM PDT

  •  Part of Overall Southern Culture (none)
    If you look at the culture of the South, where Fundamentalist Christianity came from, it's probably the most militarized part of the country. I grew up in a fundie church here in Michigan, most of whose orginals members were Southerners. Their kids grow up around it just like me. But, unlike myself, they adopt the same mindset. And of course there is a lot of "God is on our side" stuff that goes on. I don't think it's relgion alone about religion mixed in with the overall cutlure.
  •  Been there... (4.00)
    Having been born in 40, and raised in a small town culture totally controlled by the same kind of religious extremists who are trying their best to take over America now, I promise you all, you do not want this.

    For girls and women, it was a world of socially/religiously sanctioned slavery and servitude.  For men, it was a straitjacket of rules that allowed no room for human attirbutes such as love, compassion or empathy, and placed a heavy yoke of full responsibility for everything around their shoulders.  

    But as is always so, those with power over others come to revel in it, and will fight to the death to keep it, because it feels so good.  Powerlessness, on the other hand does not.  

    By the way, I got kicked out of Sunday school back them, for daring to ask questions about what the Bible says. That was the job of the religious men, to interpret it FOR us. To question them was a sacriledge.

    Watching the rise of the extreme religious right into our government today, and seeing that so many do not have one clue as to how dangerous this truly is, makes me alternately want to drop out and go live by a pond somewhere with no electricity, when I am not wanting to grab my lance and go riding into the fray, one more time.

    Silence is Complicity

    by scribe on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:30:24 AM PDT

  •  Because they follow the anti-christ (4.00)
    As was noted earlier, they are following false teachers (by their fruits you shall know them), but the problem with that is thinking the "anti-christ" is limited to a single individual.

    I have come to believe that the "anti-christ" is really a configuration, a group thought process, that confuses the human mind with mixed messages that really are teachings against the teachings of christ.  They are calling what they do "christian" and they by are following Christ.

    With that, you can justify war, the demonsration of no compassion, passing judgement on other, torture and everything that Christ taught against.

    •  And behind it all (4.00)
      is an arrogant disdain for reason, logic and science. For the Christian Right, believing is the same as knowing.

      The thought that the populace might actually make moves to own and direct their own destiny must make the politicians' blood run cold. As thoughtful persons, we need to ensure that their fears are realized.
      We need to reach out to one person at a time. Behind all the rhetoric and glitz, the people know that something is very wrong. We must be patient and point it out. It is a mistake to think that we must take huge steps and that as individuals we are entitled to see the end result. No, our task is to love the earth, plant seeds and confront wrong. As Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote:

      "Water the earth with your tears of joy and love those tears."

      Think about it.  

      Evil MUST look like it's winning.
      Evil must promise immediate rewards.  

  •  Excellent article by Dr. Whitehurst (none)
    ...thanks for posting.

    Just one is easy to see the rationale for the administration's policy of not permitting photos of returning soldier coffins.  For a good read on the power of war photographs, try "Regarding the Pain of Others" by Susan Sontag.

  •  why ? (none)
    Because they're not really Christians, they just claim the title. Someone who walks in the path of Christ is not bloodthirsty, or strives not to be.

    Describing someone as a Christian has become almost meaningless, just like calling someone a Socialist. I mean if Zapatero of Spain and Baathists can both be described as having a socialist ideology, it doesn't illustrate much. Same with comparing Randall Terry and MLK.

    •  But in the rhetorical wars... (none)
      To call the multitudes on the religious supremacist right "non-christian" will lose every time.

      Vilify the leaders, fine. But why not call the faithful "misguided" ?

      That approach will win favor with those Americans who voted for George W. Bush but are unaware of how politically extreme the Christian religious supremacy movement really is.

      Challenges to the faith of a wide swath of Americans on the supremacist right will - I can almost guarantee - be looked upon with considerable distaste by those voters the Democrats need to persuade away from the GOP.

  •  cognitive dissonance (4.00)
    People wonder how theoretically compassionate Christians can rationalize the hateful agenda of the religious right. Let me offer an explanation that would be, I think, Occam's favorite. It comes down to cognitive dissonance.

    Here's the condensed teachings of Jesus:

    1. Love God more than anything else.
    2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Implicit in #1 is giving up all your attachments to earthly things, like money. In America, we call people who don't care about money Communists (godless Communists, even). Thus American Christianity has spawned atrocities like prosperity ministries who manage to turn Jesus-- famous for throwing the money-changers out of the temple-- into a self-help financial guru. But generally, the "Greed is Good" philosophy, that accepted common wisdom in this country, doesn't jibe well with Jesus.

    Implicit in #2 is when someone else needs help, you help them. This runs exactly counter to the notion of American independance/pull yourself up by your bootstraps-ism. Jesus says, when someone arrives on your doorstep looking for a handout, you help a brother out. Uncle Sam says, call the cops. Jesus says forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces in the universe; Uncle Sam is pro-death penalty.

    So if you identify yourself as American (independent materialist) Christian (communal spiritualist), and you don't deal well with gray areas and complexity, you've got a lot of cognitive dissonance going on. Something's gotta give. And if someone in a position of authority-- a pastor, or a political leader-- comes along and offers an easy answer ("Look-- don't worry about all that compassion and money stuff-- just hate the gays and you'll get into heaven"), people just eat that up.

    So my point is, resolving the cognitive dissonance of some people dying in a war you heard about on TV is a piece of cake compared with resolving the cognitive dissonance of getting up every day and enjoying your life as one of the richest people in the world. The guy down the street, like an unimaginably large number of people all over the world, is starving and suffering. Your Christian self is saying "Take the shirt off of your back and ease that person's suffering" and your American self is saying "Should I have a croissant this morning? No! I should have a bran muffin! I'm gonna be strong!"

    •  Wow, great (none)
      Fantastic explanation, and succinct, too.

      If you have read American theologians from the last 75 or so years, this has been for some a serious quandary. H. Richard Niebuhr wrote extensively on the issue. More recently, perhaps the most prominent person to attack this subject is Stanley Hauerwas.

      In fact, his book with William Willimon, "Resident Aliens" and the follow-up, "Where Resident Aliens Live" (I admit I've not read the latter) attempt to address this very discomfort.

    •  Beautiful (none)
      I think you've got it. So now what do we do about it?
      •  I don't know (none)
        But I think talking about helping the poor as a moral issue is probably a good way to start.
        •  Absolutely (none)
          One word I cannot believe (heh) that the Republicans have control over is 'compassion.'

          It's sort of like the last bit of that NYT article on gay marriage, where the angry anti-gay activist spits verbal venom on the "blond lesbian" and then hugs her??!? That's compassionate?

          The left MUST reclaim the word compassion. And it requires not just words but also action.

          So talk about helping the poor. But also DO it.

    •  No Way :-) (none)
      "your American self is saying "Should I have a croissant this morning?"

      Not a chance, a croissant is French! And no bran muffin either. That's what hippies eat. Instead it will be a 'blueberry' muffin made with specks of blue stuff that sort of look like blueberrys in a pastry that's essentially the recipe for Wonder Bread but with lots of extra sugar. Now that's American! Manly too.

      visit - home of "girlsong"

      by jabney on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:55:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Their reasoning... (none)
    God is silent so we must be doing the right thing, right?  It's his way of approving because if we were wrong he'd come down here and let us know.

    (of course if we do everything right we get the rapture, but that's another story.)

  •  Christian vs. Fundamentalist Christian (4.00)
    Once again we're buying into their frame.  The Fundamentalist Southern Evangelical Protestant churches are co-opting the word "Christian" which used to mean any follower of Jesus Christ, from moderate Catholics to hardline Baptists to progressive Lutherans or Presbyterians or Greek Orthodox, etc...

    By equating Christian with the narrow-minded literalist fundamentalists, the hard religious right corrupts the name of a religion that has progressed from gentle to fierce to gentle again.

    Don't buy into the meme.  Christians are not our problem - Fundamentalists and Literalists are.

    This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around.

    by nightsweat on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:00:04 AM PDT

  •  Dean's compassionate christianity (4.00)
    Howard Dean did a terrific job last night in his interview with Gwen Ifill. In particular, he took back the christian values argument from Bush's evangelical frothers. He cogently argued that the Democratic party stands for the majority of christian values such as helping the poor, exhibiting compassion, promoting tolerance and improving the quality of life of others. In other words, the democratic party stands for "doing unto others"...etc.
    I'm an evolutionary biologist, and an athiest, but even I was moved by, and didn't mind, the christian rhetoric in his statements. Good job Howard and all hail the REAL christians!
  •  Ok, enough (3.66)
    I think the author of the diary was trying to dig into the overall mindset of this subculture, but most here only seem to be interested in calling names.

    I'm no more happy with Christians being so bloodthirsty, but I think the time and energy of typing could be put to better use putting the puzzle together instead of throwing insults.

    As I wrote earlier, I think be chief reason is the culture of the South where it all began:

    1. Militarism
    2. Irrational reverence to those who have more
       money and (in those days) more land.
    3. Education systems that tend to lag behind the
       rest of the country,making people more apt to
       follow others, especially religious leaders  
       who love power.
    4. Culture of "masculenity" that encourages
       service in combat and preying upon those who
       don't display it the right way (ie gays).
  •  You ask (none)
    why American Christians are so bloodthirsty?  Well, first of all, please don't group all of us Christians into the same perverted cabal.  As a Catholic, I speak from experience that American Catholics run the whole gamut of theological/political/social beliefs.  And that includes Catholics I consider to be "fundamentalists" of a sort.  These Catholic fundamentalists hold the beliefs that they do because they suffer from some kind of mental or emotional imbalance.

    The President of the Catholic college where I teach is a perfect example of these disturbed people.  Like most fundamentalist Catholics, he has a mania for sexual purity of some sort.  He actually distributed an article to the faculty that claimed that birth control causes women to lust after men other than their own husbands and that homosexuality, along with AIDs, could be overcome with the grace of God.  I almost threw up.  By the way, he has nine kids (so far) so I guess he doesn't worry about his wife lusting after other men.

    "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." - my dad

    by blueinnc on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:08:59 AM PDT

    •  has he had them all DNA tested..those kids? (none)
      I had to laugh at the idea that birthcontrol makes women lust after other men besides their husband.

      I can almost garauntee that women lust after men who treat them decently.  Maybe someone should write that article and give it to your President.  

      Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

      by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:28:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am so tired of the religious right (4.00)
    I haven't been to church in 4 years.

    The reason?  I got so sick of hearing things like
    "if we have national health care all these single
    women will be going to the doctor all the time."

    and "the state gives welfare to these heathen indians who live on reservations in northern Minnesota with no hope of salvation."

    and "why do we have a united negro college fund?
    I think we need to invent a white college fund."

    I could go on and on. They are obsessed with gays
    and abortion, but care nothing about health care,
    decent wages, or the enviornment.

    Health Care For All!

    by erich398 on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:11:05 AM PDT

  •  Jesus' teachings are a hard standard (3.83)
    to follow.  So far Martin Luther King and the non-violent civil rights movement and Ghandi and his non-violent revolution have pretty much nailed it.

    Rather than do the work and take the punishment of a non-violent life in service to equality and respect among all people, the right(ironically, could not be more wrong) have made their own rules.  They have tried to justify themselves by using questionable interpretations of irrelevant versus.  When compared to the teachings of Jesus, their arguement is quickly obliterated.  Why then do so many follow this brand?

    For the same reason so many shop at WalMart.  It's quick, easy, cheap, and convenient.  One hour on Sunday and you can do no wrong.  You don't have to actually challenge yourself or help anyone, you just need to support one person that suposedly does do the work.  This is supposed to be Bush, I guess.

    It is Christianity twisted into a vehicle by political power.  It is the Enron of religion.  A fraudulent teaching fabricated by those that wish to assume more power through it.  The sheeple that follow?  Lazy, unthinking.  Real Christianity requires too much work.  Feeding and housing the poor, bringing peace and equality to all people through kindness and understanding, who has time for that when you can just go to Christian WalMart and pay your 10% to get your get out of hell free card.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. -Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Closet VB Coder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:13:10 AM PDT

  •  How amazing... (4.00)
    "When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation"

    Don't they know that sex is a metaphor for life?  Why do Fundamentalist Christians hate life?

  •  Your analysis very cogently and correctly (3.75)
    sets forth what is driving GOP policy, at any rate, many of the worst parts of it.

    The implication of this analysis is pretty clear:  If we are to take back this country, we need to win people over culturally.  We have to find ways that will cause people to reject the fundamentalist view of Christianity of a sham.  We have to get people to change their worldviews.

    It isn't just a matter of finding like minded voters and getting them to the polls.  It isn't just a matter of counting votes properly or running the right ad campaign in the months before the election.  Ultimately, if we are going to get this country back on the right track, we have to convince millions of people who wish to remain Christians to start listening to Jesus in preference to Paul, to start listening to the New Testament in preference to the Old, to start listening to American Baptist preachers instead of Southern Baptist preachers.

    Unless, we can get people to wake up and see that there are fundamental problems with their sense of right and wrong we will get the government our nation deserves, one that a misguided electorate chooses.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

    by ohwilleke on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:15:52 AM PDT

  •  We Jews are Just As Bad (3.75)
    I'm a Jew and let me tell you, fundamentalist Jews are no different than their Christian counterparts.
    Look at Israel and the crazy right settler minority.
    Then there are the Islamic headchopping fundamentalists, the Hindus who set trains on fire in India and kill all the passengers.
    ALL religious extremists are intolerant murderous bigots.
    It's not Christianity...or Judaism, or Islam, etc.
    It's the extremist nationalist fundamentalist minority.
  •  Couldn't have said it better myself. (none)
    I'm a former fundamentalist.  I know their language.  This post hits the nail right on the head.  If we could keep dairy posts on a "permanent recommend" list, I would nominate this to be the top one.
  •  Great diary. (4.00)
    As a back-sliding Baptist, I thought I had developed a pretty good sense of the Bible through my first 20 years of living.

    But I missed a big point:  Paul was an asshole.  This explains much.

    I don't necessarily think the Bushman is modeling himself on Paul though. I think the Bushman arrived quite independently and honestly at his personal asshole status. He was born into it.

    •  Paul was not an asshole (none)
      contrary to pop internet theology.  He was like most people a mixed bag of good and bad, smart and stupid, inspired and banal:

      This is also Paul:

          Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

          Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

        Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. On the contrary:
         "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
            if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
         In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

      Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

      by TeresaInPa on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:45:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Paul destroyed Christianity (3.50)
      It is Paul, whose influence is greatest in shaping the modern Catholic Church (and the thousands of Protestant churches which have sprung from it), who is most responsible for Christ's own teachings being subjugated to other priorities.

      Most probably Paul was the ancient equivalent of Pat Roberston or Jerry Falwell...someone who saw Christianity as an opportunity to further his own ends.

      •  In Defense of Paul (4.00)
        Most of what Paul wrote (or was credited with writing) was pretty righteous, and most of what is latched onto by fundamentalists is taken radically out of context.
        •  Biggest problem... (4.00)
          with the Pauline Doctrines is the insistence on faith in Christ as your personal savior being the most important aspect of being a Christian (vs. following what he teached).

          This has allowed generations of "Christians" to commit horrendous acts that are in 100% contradiction to Christ's teachings, but still feel that they are true Christians because they accept Jesus as their savior.

          •  Oh thank you for this (none)
            I wish I could give you a boatload of fours.

            Like others on the list I am so sick and tired of trying to get away from people who want to convert me. I tell them I go to church, and they ask:

            "But are you SAVED?"

            Forget EVERYTHING else Jesus taught, you can't tell them anything about that.

            And after years of reading theology, can someone please explain salvation to me anyway? I'm still lost (heh.)

            •  Explain salvation? (none)
              My take:  Salvation is not something you achieve or find - it is realizing that Grace is out there all the time.  Always has been, always will be. And it is there for all of Creation.  In the Christian Bible, we never learn just how bad were the crimes of the so-called Thief on the Cross.  But it was never too late for him to accept that Grace.  Even when he didn't have another day to "witness" to anyone or commit any worthy acts.

              My God is the one who wants us to love Him/Her and love our fellow man without limits.  

              No instructions on who we should hate or persecute.

              The truth always matters.

              by texasmom on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:27:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The Problem with Paul (vis a vis Fundamentalists) (none)
          Is that they don't belive his letters were written by Paul.  The epistles are "God's Word," channeled through Paul, and, as such, Paul's predjudices and quirks are grafted onto God.
    •  All teachers go through evolution (none)
      Every religious teacher that is human and achieves divinity/prophet status -- Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad, Moses, etc. -- goes through personal evolutions (the being human part).

      Anyone who lives a full live on earth has plenty of embarrassing (sinful/assholish) incidents. IMO that's the lesson of the divine made flesh; EVERYONE has to make conscious decisions and effort to get beyond one's own assholery and it's  hard, even for the VIPs.

      So yeah, Paul was a mixed bag.

  •  They are also going for an Air Force of God (4.00)
    From the NY Times editorial page today
    A Pentagon inquiry's finding of no overt religious discrimination at the Air Force Academy strains credibility, considering the academy superintendent has already acknowledged it will take years to undo the damage from evangelical zealots on campus. Indeed, amid its thicket of bureaucratese, the report by an Air Force investigative panel goes on for page after page describing cases of obvious and overt religious bias. But it tosses all of these off as "perceived bias," as if the blame lies with the victims and not the offenders, and throws up a fog of implausible excuses, like "a lack of awareness" of what is impermissible behavior by military officers.

    It seems that the Dobson evangelical 5th column has not only infected the Air Force Academy but has also neutralized the Air Force itself.

    Dobson's radioactive Focus on the Family has proven unstoppable in their Colorado Springs base of operations.  And now, the Air Force itself, with their inimitable way of whitewashing any "scandal" (as they proved in the case of the "rape" scandals) is doing it again giving the militant christianists a pass.

    The logic by which they justify violence seems to be "for the greater good" (I heard this by evangelicals on TV and radio).  The logic by which they justify their proselitism at the Air Force Academy is; "we can't help ourselves, our religion requiires that we try to convert everyone around us".

    We are in a hot cultural war, we better start acting accordingly.; an oasis of truth.

    by Shockwave on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:35:12 AM PDT

  •  that's an easy question. FEAR (3.75)
    their "faith" is based on fearing God, not loving God.  It's based on being afraid of what God will do if they don't obey.

    Because they are fear-based, they are afraid of life, afraid of uncertainty, afraid of "terrorists" and anyone who is not afraid of the same things they are.

    Fear means bomb first, ask questions later.

    Fear means torture first, ask questions...never.

    Fear means blind faith that someone else is in control.

    Fear means no faith in human reason, human conscience, human choice, unconditional love.  Control is imposed from outside, not from within.

    Fear means don't tell me, I don't want to know.  Too much information confuses me.

    Fear means, I wouldn't trust myself to act without fear, so I will assume the worst of others.

    Fear is irrational.  Fear is the anti-morality.

    "This is how liberty dies -- to thunderous applause." - Padme Amidala

    by marjo on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:39:41 AM PDT

  •  Change the title immediately or take this down (3.33)
    This diary is horrible.  Frankly, it lost me at the title. I don't care what the content is, but when the purpose of a diary is to frame a debate about "Why are some American Christians so bloodthirsty," it isn't worthy of serious discussion.

    Here are my problems with that frame:

    1. It gives the John Hostetlets and other psychos of the world ammo to say that liberals denigrate Chirstians.  The blogosphere has influence and we must be careful on our phrasing (and it's the phrasing I have a problem with, as I'll describe below).

    2. You have the right to say whatever you want, but what if we started seeing similarly offensive diaries with titles like, "Why are some American blacks so lazy?" or "Why are some French people so smelly?" or "Why are some American Jews so cheap".  That "some are..." construction is a very dangerous slope.  Bigots have long hid behind the qualifying word "some" to say they aren't making generalizations, just talking about some within a group.

    3. At best, the "some Christians are..." construction makes the diary pointless. When a wingnut says something like "why are some blacks so lazy" and we attack them, they come back and say crap like, "I'm not saying all blacks, just some.  It's a fact."  Well, OK, it's a fact (some people of every race are lazy), but so what?  If the statement "some American Christians are so bloodthirsty" is not in truth supposed to be a generalization and is a completely inocuous, irrelevant statement of fact, then what's the point?

    4. The biggest problem here is the conflation of American Chirstians with right-wing fundamentalists.  Until we learn to stop lumping all Christians in with the nut-jobs, the wingnuts will have ammo to club us with for being anti-Christian.  More importantly, it will be increasingly tougher for us to win elections if we don't use language that reflects an understanding that: A) the wingnut fundamentalists may call themselves Christian, but they most decidedly are not in practice ; and B) true Christians are not bloodthirsty or intolerant, but actually have values much more in line with the Democratic party.  The title of this diary simply fails to show an understanding of both.
    •  That is why... (none)
      ...the author used the word "some" Christians. Now, maybe s/he should've written "pseudo-Christians," but based on the title, I would imagine that the author's intent is not to lump all Christians.

      Ariel in Dallas

      Why does Dick Cheney hate Vermont?

      by Ari Mistral on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:25:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shouldn't this (4.00)
        be the job of christians and other theists to de-lump(or is it un-lump ) themselves from their fundamentalists? Diarist is absolutely correct.
      •  But that's my point (3.50)
        Who cares about "some Christians" being bloodthirsty any more than we should care about "some Jews" being cheap or "some blacks" being lazy?

        If there's no broader point here, why make it at all?

        The second part of the lead in the article frames it completely differently (and appropriately).  That second part says, "Understanding pro-war Christians indifference to civilian deaths".

        Not only do I have no problem with that title/frame, I actually think it's an important topic for discussion.  

        But why, then, the need to title this with a generalization about Christians (or with the meaningless constuction, "some Christians...)?

        Why not just title it, "Understanding pro-war Christians indifference to civilian deaths?  

        Why change the very specific "pro-war Christians" to the broad generalization "some American Christians" when the two have such different connotations?

        Why change "indifference to civilian deaths" to the inflammatory, "so bloodthirsty".

        I mean, those changes are very significant.  I can only assume the title was thrown up specicially to be inflammatory to get the article some attention.

        But I think changing conflating "why are some Christians so bloodthirsty" with "why are pro-war Christians indifferent to civilian deaths" is horrible.

        •  Ah, I concede... (none)
          ...your points are well-taken.

          Ariel in Dallas

          Why does Dick Cheney hate Vermont?

          by Ari Mistral on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:10:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You Ask... (none)
          ..."Why not just title it, "Understanding pro-war Christians indifference to civilian deaths?"

          Because then only a handful of people would have read it. I shudder to think of the number of great diaries that have slipped away into oblivion on dkos.

          visit - home of "girlsong"

          by jabney on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:12:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Weak reason (none)
            1. I doubt that's true.  I think that title would have garnered significant attention.

            2. Getting attention is no reason for borderline bigotry.  If someone wanted to write a diary explaining why parenal involvement in schools is lower among some poor african-americans than in the population at large, would it be OK to use the title, "Why some American blacks are stupid" just to get attention?  

            No.  You might have a legitimate topic (the cultural influences that lead a minoirity of African-Americans to place less emphasis on their involvement in their kids education than the population at large, particularly as it relates to how to solve the problem), but the inflammatory title -- written just for the sake of getting attention -- would change the whole debate and make the diary worthless.
            •  I didn't mean to offend (none)
              I get your point, I even agree with it: Your framing is much better.

              I titled the diary according to the first article I linked, the one who caught my attention. No bigotry intended.

              I am not going to change the title, though, because by now we have a lot of comments and because this is how we are viewed from abroad. If you read my link  (1) you will see the extent of damage those fundies are doing to our reputation, Christians or non-Christians alike.  I think it is important to highlight that. The stains brought upon America by Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Schiavo won't go away with political correctness. It is time to call a spade a spade. Besides, I think I did a good job of explaining that not all American Christians are bloodthirsty.

              When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

              by lawnorder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:44:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  There is a connection (none)
          First, it's about more than indifference to civilian deaths.  It's also an eagerness to start wars, a reluctance to finish them, an eagerness for death sentences even for plausibly innocent people, etc.

          Second, the point is that there is high rate of "bloodthirstyness" amongst fundies and further  Blacks aren't lazier but fundies are much more eager to engage in violence.  And, as this discussion brings out, it isn't just a coincidence; rather, it's directly related to how they cherry-pick from Scripture.  It's more like asking why 1930's Germans were more likely to be antiSemitic.

          Finally, it's just bizarre that those who supposedly follow a pacifist are so eager to support violence.

    •  Isn't it up to Christians (none)
      who aren't wingnuts to start becoming just as vocal and strident as their mutant brothers in Christ?

      Condemning those who attempt to condemn fundamentalists is off target, in my opinion. If you really hope to make headway, you need to start from a standpoint of "I agree, fundamentalists are awful" and then proceed from there.

      Lots of folks are angry about the distortion of Christianity which is taking place virtually unopposed in our culture. Inflammatory diary titles are part of that well placed anger, and those who find it discomfitting might be reminded to turn the other cheeck a bit.

      •  He's not attemtpting to condemn fundamentalists (none)
        or if he is, his title is extremely clumsy (which is my point).  If you want to condemn fundamentalists, you say, "fundamentalist American Christians", not "some American Christians".

        And I'll turn the other cheek to this diary title no more than I would one titled, "Why are some American blacks so lazy."

        •  False (offensive) analogy (none)
          This diary is in no way the equivalent of some kind of racist commentary. You have repeated the "lazy Blacks" thing several times now, and I find that to be offensive.

          Some Christians are fundamentalists. They profess to be Christians and don't act that way. They are a blight on American Christianity. The proper analogy would be a diary entitled "Why are Blacks Republicans?" since it contains a sweeping generalization, when in fact, relatively few African-Americans vote Republican.

          Stop with the "lazy Blacks." I understand (obliquely) what you are getting at, but it's just ugly.

          •  That makes no sense (none)
            1. The title of the diary, too, is just ugly.  I completley agree that "some blacks are lazy" is just ugly. But it 100% analogous, which is what I'm trying to show.

            2. As you point out, some Christians are fundamentalists.  That is true. But it's also completely and totall irrelevant.  The diary isn't titled "Why some Christians are fundamentalists," it's titled "Why some American Christians are so blood thirsty."  That's a fundamental difference (no pun intended).

            3. I agree that fundamentalists are a blight on Christianity.  But if that's the point of the diary, that ought to be the title.

            4. "Why are blacks Republican" is completley non-analagous.  While being Republican may be a sign of stupidity to us, it's not broadly considered a negative, character attack the way calling someone "bloodthirsty".  So let's just substitute black for Christians --- what if the diary were titled, "why are some blacks so bloodthirsty?"  That would be more analogous.  And it would be offensive to blacks because it would suggest a broad generalization about blacks.  I doubt people here would be down with a diary titled "why are some blacks so bloodthirsty" the same way they are with substituting Christians for blacks. Honestly, if there was a Freeper diary called "why are some blacks so bloodthirsty" and it sought to "explain" increased crime in urban ares, don't you think we'd go beserk on them?  
            •  Grousing about irreverence (none)
              gets nobody anywhere. It is the diarists right to stake out irreverent ground. He/she feels no need to regard the subject of Christianity with reverence. That is hardly offensive.

              A brief look into the history of religious war, prosecuted through the ages by Christian states and institutions, among others, renders "bloodthirsty" a completely legitimate word to use when examining certain tendencies among the actions, and beliefs, of "Christians."

              They were bloodthirsty then (after all, drinking of Christ's blood from a cup happens millions of time around the globe every Sunday), some of them are bloodthirsty today.

              •  That's totally unproductive (none)
                Comparing the symbolic drinking of Christ's blook to "bloodthirsty" as in wanting to kill people -- that's just offensive.  

                Further, just becuase you consider calling Christians bloodthirsty "irreverant" rather than offensive doesn't make it not offensive.  

                It's the same with gay bashers -- they say stuff like, "some gays are promiscuous" or "some gays are pedophiles".  Then, when someone calls them on it, they say, "oh, we're just being irreverant" or they say they are trying to call attention to the issue of pedephilia among a certain segment of the gay population.  When non gay-bashers compare the struggle for civil rights of the GLBT community to civil rights for African-Americans, they claim it's not analogous, that this time it's different (just like you have claimed that inaccurate generalizations about Christians aren't analogous to inaccurate generalizations about blacks).

                They are wrong. And you are wrong.

                I agree that fundamentalists are a mortal threat to America and liberty.  I agree that the indifference of pro-war Christians to civilian caasualties in Iraq is an important topic worthy of discussion.  

                But I don't agree that it's OK to frame this thing: Christian = bloodthirsty.  

                It's not a productive place from which to start a discussion.  It's counter-productive to our goal, beating back the theocratic march in America at the ballot box.  And it's just plain stupid.

                •  Nobody is framing it that way (none)
                  Contrary to your exercised exhortations, people who are angry at religious hypocrisy have a right to frame the subject any way they see fit. You're insistance that the diary should be pulled or the title changed is just as counterproductive. Why don't you start focusing on ways to attract people to your point of view without the stridency and phony urgency?

                  You say "bloodthirsty" is a slam, I pointed out that there is also an interpretation that is equally valid, based on the practice of metaphorically drinking blood. Same word, 2 possible perceptions. I know how the diarist meant it, I was just trying to be provacative, but your tirades do nothing to distract from the bloody, violent history of world religion, Christianity being one of the bloodiest over time.

                  •  Even worse, (none)
                    those who believe in transubstantiation don't think they're metaphorically drinking human blood (and eating flesh).  They believe they're really drinking blood and eating flesh.
              •  Curious (none)
                What if some right wing General called Islam a "bloodthirsty religion".  

                Would that be legitimate or offensive to you?

  •  How about the good news from Iraq? (none)
    Like the number of insurgents killed! Doesn't it make you feel good when we can add to the body count by taking out a bunch of rag heads?

    Thank god they all wear their "I'm an Iraqi Insurgent" dayglo T-shirts when they fight, otherwise we might be left wondering if those dead insurgent numbers weren't possibly innocent civilian casualties.

    After all, at the end of the day, war is about feeling good about yourself.

  •  Confusion (none)
    A tip jar? For posting other peoples' writings?

    Anything by Loudon Wainwright III

    by Earl on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:51:44 AM PDT

  •  Attack of the Nathis (3.87)
    What you say is absolutely true.  I would like to read more investigations into the underpinnings of the theocratic psyche -- people don't become Born Again for no reason.  What causes this?

    First of all, atheists are much more common than people would like to consider.  Sorry if my HTML is limited to boldface, italics, and links:

    A 1995 survey [14] attributed to the Encyclopedia Britannica indicates that non-religious are about 14.7% of the world's population, and atheists around 3.8%.
    In the 2001 Australian Census [15] 15.5% of respondents ticked 'no religion' and a further 11.7% either did not state their religion or were deemed to have described it inadequately (there was a popular and successful campaign at the time to have people describe themselves as Jedi).
    The 2001 New Zealand census [16] showed that 40% of the respondents claimed 'no religion'.
    A 2002 survey by [17] estimates the proportion of the world's people who are "secular, non-religious, agnostics and atheists" as about 14%.
    In a 2003 poll in France, 54% of those polled identified themselves as "faithful", 33% as atheist, 14% as agnostic, and 26% as "indifferent". [18]
    A 2004 survey by the BBC [19] in 10 countries showed the proportion of the population "who don't believe in God nor in a higher power" varying between 0% and 30%, with an average close to 10% in the countries surveyed. About 8% of the respondents stated specifically that they consider themselves to be atheists.
    A 2004 survey by the CIA in the World Factbook [20] estimates about 12.5% of the world's population is non-religious, and about 2.4% are atheists.
    A 2004 survey by the Pew Research Center [21] showed that in the United States, 12% of people under 30 and 6% of people over 30 could be characterized as non-religious.
    A 2005 poll by AP/Ipsos [22] surveyed 10 countries. Of the developed nations, people in the United States had most certainty about the existence of god or a higher power (2% atheist, 4% agnostic) while France had the most skeptics (19% atheist, 16% agnostic). On the religion question South Korea had the greatest percentage without a religion (41%) while Italy had the smallest (5%).

    . . . so.  These are some dry numbers, but as the link mentions there is some difficulty in catagorizing people's thought systems.  I would argue this is because belief systems operate at a level "behind" linguistic systems, and there are many more kinds of belief systems (currently 6 billion and counting) than there are ways to describe them.  There are more genes for your brain than there are words, thus more combinations . . .

    Aaaaanyway.  The bottom line is there are a lot of people who have doubts about their spiritual beileifs, and whether you consider this atheism or not (I would tend to), the distinction we should be looking at is between people of faith and people of doubt.  I'm not advocating this is black and white, but just trying to peer into this at the right lattitude.  

    Many people who hold sincere faith in their religion but do have their doubts about specifics are capable of an entirely different kind of reasoning than those who have NO doubts:

    (Can someone Photoshop a joint in-between his fingers for me?)

    Thus: considering the issue on this plane -- ability to doubt vs. no ability whatsoever to doubt -- we do indeed have a serious problem on our hands in this country.  There are now millions of people in America who are VERY wrapped up in this Theist Nationalism, whether expressly so or not.  Tacitus, a self-professed "imperialist", would appear to fall into this camp, despite his clear non-idiot and non-fundamentalist nature.  Because, you see, we shouldn't be looking at the problem on the level of intellect, culture, or even religion; there are people who are capable of summoning forth faith that cannot be doubted (ie. that GW is sincere in promoting democracy in the Middle East, despite any and all evidence to the contrary), and there are people that cannot.  I would call these theists and atheists, but terminology is unimportant.  The distinction is there, it has been cultivated into a distinct political camp, much broader than merely the Fundamentalist base, and it is this distinction that must inform our attacks.

    And yes, I say attacks.  This is a destructive force that is contrary to the very fundaments of Americanism, and the Democrats are the only people on Earth who can possibly stop it.  If I were a moralist, I wouls say it is a force of evil, but, more plainly, it is really the dreaded force we call Ignorance.  (We talk about fascism, but ignorance, willful or otherwise, is the roots of fascism, and after all we all know we're talking about "where this is heading" when we use that "F" word, right?)  You cannot defeat ignorance passively; you cannot hope to vanquish it by merely defending against it.  You must stab it in the heart.

    So here's what to do:

    Those who question should question vocally and without doubt.  George Bush is a war criminal.  This is not a disputable fact, and if you believe it, act like it.  Don't be argumentative.  If someone disagrees, don't argue your point; you will win these people over by believing what you say, not by expressing doubt by entering into debate.  If you think that it's debatable, you obviously don't believe it -- in their way of believing.  Yes, I personally don't consider a belief valid if I haven't questioned and approved it through at least an attempt at reasoning (this ol' noggin ain't whut it used ta be).  But they don't think like this.  Act like, you know, you believe in what you say.  George Bush has lied to your face about this war, and he should resign.  Then quitely fill your cup from the water cooler and return to your cubicle; repeat daily.  There are enough people who think these things but don't speak their minds because they want to avoid personal conflicts, but there are more important things in this world than our relationships with our peers -- and anyway, they will come around if you act like you know what you're talking about.  After all, that's how they got herded into voting for Bush last year to begin with.  Show similar leadership, and at the very least you will sleep better at night for it.

    You see, they are not like this because of who leads them; those who lead them are merely taking advantage of these peoples' natural inclinations.  The willful ignorant (Republicans) and the just plain dumb-shits (the half of the country who chooses not to vote or even be informed) have been around forever, and this country was founded on the premise that enlightened thought could create a paradise on Earth.  A revolutionary idea, one that Theists disdain to the depths of their black little withered hearts.  

    Their belief in America is not a belief in Americanism -- a distinctly secular -ism -- but a belief in Nation that is equivalent to their belief in God: unquestioned, indeed unquestionable.  Certainly it is rooted in the fact that they identify with the President, so the effect is amplified, but they are certainly willing to absolutely loath a President if he is not a proper Theist (eg. Carter and Clinton, both deeply spiritual people, neither of whom I would consider Theistic in any way, despite their cultural seating of their values, eg. Christianity) -- a National Theist?  Nathis?

    At any rate, whatever our political approach may be, there is one thing we should remember about these people regardless of the ebb and flow of histroy and the number of political posts either side happens to hold at any given time: people who don't question everything are full of crap.  It doesn't matter what the subject is, but if they don't question then they haven't used their reason, and this is the one thing a human can do that I would consider a SIN.  It matters not a whit that they consider themselves the epitome of goodness and enlightenment; they are deluded, and we are not.

    And besides, the best part of Star Wars were the episodes with the Rebellion fighting the Empire.  This is an uphill struggle, it's hard, but there's a lot of action scenes (Conyers at the gates), explosions (Iraq), a Death Star (the "nuclear option"), a Hero encased in carbonite (Bill Clinton), and even a wookie (Howard Dean).  R2 has something stuck on his neck joint, can't get it off . . . ung!  What's this?  A hologram of the Downing Street Minutes?!

    Well, that's how I cope, anyway.  This is how it feels to be in an epic struggle of life and death and Empire, after all . . .

  •  Are there any non-fundies left? (none)
    You really have to search for a non-fundamentalist, non-radical viewpoint anymore. More cable channels seem to be coming up all of the time and there isn't  much to the diversity of Christianity that they are advertising.

    I know that there must be more moderate voices out there, but if there are, they are either silent or they are now very much in the minority.

    •  Yes! But I think (none)
      the non-fundie mainstream Christian groups are not wasting their money on cable evangelism.  I think you may find more of their funds invested in local community outreach - food banks, shelters, job training and such. And of course, support for mission programs.  Some folks actually choose to minister to people in other countries rather than condemn them.  

      That said, it DOES seem time for the mainstream churches to take on a more public voice.  It is just a big decision to take the limited funds away from the outreach programs.  

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:38:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I know that I'm in the minority here ... (4.00)
    but I've always felt that fundamentalism was the real "Christianity Lite". Most sects allow their believers to avoid any kind of soul searching and personal responsibility while, of course insisting upon the personal responsibility of others.

    It's a purely consumerist religious phenomena: you don't have to feel guilty about your bogotries, lifestyle, overconsumption of cars, oil, food, natural resources et al, since it's not a "Christianity" that would inconvenience one in any way. You do have to repent and "fess up" to "sins" but that just makes the sins all the more fun. And those church meetings are sure entertaining. "Fluff" religion. "Religion for Dummies", if you'll forgive me my condescension.

    As for the founders of those "Churches": it's a tax-free meal ticket for anyone who has an iota of charisma at all: the more charisma the more potential for money and power. It's flim-flam religion complete with a "music man" (who ofttimes is in the closet).

    I think that the "John Birchers" and the "Aimee Semple McPhersons" just got together and found synergy.

    "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

    by Glinda on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:30:54 AM PDT

  •  Perhaps (none)
    Perhaps it's because their holy book - what they consider to be the word of their god - is replete with gems such as:

    O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

    Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

  •  If I were a Christian I'd Be Mad (4.00)
    How the American wingnuts have discredited the teaching of Christ. They have co-opted the cover of the Bible without the words of the New Testament inside. They are stuck in Leviticus and never get to Matthew. They have filled the temple full of moneychangers and corrupt lenders.

    If I were inclined to become a Christian, I'd take one look at these folks and take a hard turn and run away.

    Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

    by easong on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:18:31 AM PDT

  •  I think this is badly done and hateful (none)
    Your characterization of "their" Christianity is nearly as bad as their characterization of Christianity.  You've added nothing to the conversation, only over-the-top stereotypes of what you see as the evildoers.  In short, you are doing what they do.  That so many kossacks are so anxious to pile on is very dispiriting.

    The Axis of Evil runs somewhere between K Street and Constitution Avenue.

    by DanielMN on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:33:56 AM PDT

    •  I'm sorry, but I disagree with you (none)
      and with dcs, although I think some of the above comments had some merit.

      I've been reading on this diary since early this morning and have come back to it throughout the day. Why?

      While the title may have been 'designed' to catch attention (it worked) it also caught me because I find myself asking the same questions all the time. How does my religion get used in the service of this kind of action?

      And here's the rub, for me: the right-wing has determined that THEIRS is the true Christianity, pure and simple (as has been outlined in this diary.) So, as a progressive, when I tell people that I am a Christian and they look at me like I have three heads (oops, that's greek, isn't it) I have to go into a long exposition of why I'm not one of THOSE Christians.

      So then they ask, well, why do Christians believe the kinds of things the diarist writes about? Or, more correctly, why do 'some' Christians believe it, and why don't you believe that?

      I have learned a lot from the original diary about possibly how to better answer such questions, and to hear from the comments the diversity of opinions out there on these issues.

      I have been amazed all day long at the great variety of posts on the topic, from a variety and spectrum of beliefs. Some have been intolerant and insulting, unfortunately, but many have been well-written and express the vast diversity of religious and other expression I see often (not always) on this site.

      I think it's a very good diary and a fascinating discussion. I'm sorry you don't feel that way.

  •  Boykin: significance, context (none)
    For the record: Boykin's famous inflammatory remarks were made at Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring, OR.

    The significance of this lies in the fact that GSCC is an archetypal exurban Evangelical mega-church.

    Started in a home basement in 1980, GSCC used the cell-groups model to grow to 4,000 members, not a staggering number -- even for the area - but the members are a disciplined group and politically active.

    An "authoritarian father" institution, it's a personality cult built around former Green Beret Stu Weber whose speaking engagements make him an almost absentee father as he funds his opulent country club house with book deals, cashing in on the "release your inner warrior" craze.

    Oregon liberals may recognize him from his outspoken support of 2004's Measure 36, the same-sex marriage ban. Gender roles fill a distinct part of his psyche:

    A man was made to be a provider, protector, and care-giver. Nothing is more pitiful than a man forfeiting his masculinity or a woman her femininity by transgressing the created order.
    Since men are the leaders and the ones responsible for the family, if men will fulfill their proper roles, women will follow and respond according to their created role. Many problems in society and in the family today can be directly traced to men who have not fulfilled their responsibilities.
    Tender Warrior (Multnomah, 1993), 92 Emphasis his.

    Boykin spoke at GSCC, in uniform, at the behest of a personal friend. That his comments were leaked from this strong pro-war base shows there are cracks in the wall.

    I apologize if this is an off-topic diatribe, but it's important that we include some context to Boykin's comments. They are even more offensive when you realize they were made from the pulpit to a loyal group of "fellow warriors".

    "what could possibly go wrong?"

    by maskedand on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:52:28 AM PDT

  •  I don't think that (3.50)
    most "fundamentalists" are actually Biblical literalists; many of them don't know the Bible at all.  What their core belief is, is that you have to accept that Jesus is Lord.  It's not about his teachings, or his sacrifice, or his death, or martyrdom, or resurrection.  It's about accepting him as Lord.  That's why John 3:16 is so important to them.  And that's why they're conservatives: it's the strict father model, in spades.  It's also why they see non-fundamentalists as so perverse, because there's really nothing to calling oneself a Christian, it's completely faith-based and not works-based, so why not do it?

    Put on your jumping shoes, which are intellect and love--Meister Eckhart

    by smusher on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 11:07:48 AM PDT

  •  It's Obvious, Isn't It??? (2.50)
    The Religious Right is the party of the anti-Christ.
  •  Wooo-hooo, top 10 diary! (none)
    What a great surprise :)

    Thanks all for reading & commenting!

    When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

    by lawnorder on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 11:34:33 AM PDT

  •  Because they are antichristians not christians n/t (none)

    I'm a linguist, licensed to use words any way I want to!

    by MakeChessNotWar on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 11:38:48 AM PDT

  •  My fantasy (none)
    I'm not opposed to organized religion, not at all. But I do hope that someday, history will view Bush and his followers with such cynicism that this sort of "Christianity" will be forever discredited.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mohandas Gandhi

    by trueblue illinois on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 01:28:42 PM PDT

  •  As a Christian... (none)
    I'm shocked by the political views of some.

    We are to value life. We are to avoid conflict whenever possible. We are to promote peace. And we're not supposed to radically change government to suit our own interpretations of scripture.

    Outside the box solutions at low, low prices!

    by Jonathan4Dean on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:19:51 PM PDT

  •  Is it just me... (none)
    or does anyone else see this as a battle royale between the Aristotelians and the Platonists?

    Am having flashbacks to my comp exam question that asked me to trace the paths of Aristotelian and Platonic thought...and discuss the debate of ideas that went on where the two paths crossed.

    One instance was the Enlightenment. Aristotle won that one hands down.

    "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

    by kredwyn on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:22:24 PM PDT

    •  No he didn't. (none)
      Read Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightment, and find out why. :-)
      •  Hmmm... (none)
        maybe I missed something. <g>

        But I have to say that 6 page, single spaced reading list for my comps was daunting enough without wandering further off the path in the last 3 months of my endeavours.

        I think there was one Platonist in the department. And she was no where near my comps committee...for  which I was eternally happy.

        Gotta love departments where they will sit you down and say, "Okay. If you want me on your committee, you need to realise that I will not work with this person and this person and this person...ever"

        "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

        by kredwyn on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:54:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  the tone of prophecy.... (none)
    I'm coming to this pretty late, and I confess I've only skimmed through many of the preceding comments, so apologies if this was referenced earlier.

    A minister I know sent this to me (for the 2nd time!) a few days ago.

    It's an unsigned NewDonkey post about the prophetic tone of the religious Right, and the causes and consequences of this shift in tone, written from a religious and tolerant perspective. (And because ND is sometimes seen here as a tad soft and a tad moderate, I'll mention that as a non-Christian pragmatic liberal, I completely concur with it.)

    I disagree that the title of this diary is inflammatory. I think it is a zealous, but reasoned, conclusion, and the ND post demonstrates why. The religious rhetoric of the Right is heavily dependent on fear and fervency, absolutism, and self-righteousness.

    I don't want to subject my minister friend to a lot of spam, so I'm not going to post a link to his sermons here. I'm pretty new to DKos, hope I'm not being over-cautious. But there does seem to be a lot of serious concern about this rhetoric within the clergy, and it is probably time to consider means of "loudening up" religious liberalism. Where are our televangelists? How do we get the congregations' blood flowing?

  •  Bloody Bush and Bloody Bitch (none)

    " admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

    King Lear

    by Norwell on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 07:30:39 PM PDT

  •  Oddly enough (none)
    I was driving back home today from the Atlanta area, and listening to public radio as I went though Jacksonville, Florida, (which is easily an area controlled by the religious right, in fact, one major Southern Baptist Church in the city controls the entire government), when I heard a local story where another minister of chruches in the area is leading an organization to challenge the power of the reliious right in that city, and have begun a campaign to oppose anything that the religious right does politically in the area which attempts to use Christianity to justify a politically conservative agenda. The minister leading this new group has stated that the group does not support any particular political party, but wants to oppose the position taken by the religious right which asserts that Christianity must support conservative, and not progressive values.

    This minister is not in any way radical, but is a respected member of the local religious community, and is also an Evangelical. He openly asserted that much of the gospel is more suited to lean towards politically progressive platforms, rather than conservative ones, and today he declared what would amount to war on the religious right for its politicval agenda. Oddly enough, he had more supoport today than anyone in that city. the "buckle of the bible belt" anticipated, and he gave his speech today from the steps of that baptist church that is the center of the religious right in Jacksonville. I was stunned to see this happen.

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