Dark Christianity
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dogemperor [userpic]
Bishop Spong blasts theocrats (and their worship of the Bible)


I really like Spong. He tells it like it is. This Daily Kos post talks about Spong's latest comments about the misuse of the Bible by the religious supremacists.

Political pulpit: The Bible as weapon in the culture war

By John Shelby Spong

May 15, 2005

In recent years the Bible has emerged as a major force in the political arena.

For example, devotees of the Scriptures have quoted this sacred source to justify religious support for the war in Iraq. In fundamentalist Christian communities this war is seen as bringing peace to the Middle East and securing Israel's establishment, which they believe are the conditions for the coming of "the rapture" and thus the end of the world.

It is worth noting that part of the code language used by these millenarians is that in the rapture "no child is left behind!"

The Bible regularly is quoted by conservative Christians to argue that what they call "the homosexual lifestyle" is contrary to Scripture. Politically this takes the form of seeking to amend the Constitution to discriminate against our citizens who are gay or lesbian.

In this basic charter nearly every previous attempt at amendment has been to expand freedom. Now these Bible quoters want to reverse that trend, failing to see that if today's majority can amend the Constitution to discriminate, then no one is safe from tomorrow's majority.Read more... )

I want to highlight something he said in the body of this essay, something that reflects the purpose of this, and many other boards that are starting to turn up online:

Theocracies always turn demonic because they justify everything in the name of God.

Non-religious people and people whose religious tradition is different from the prevailing point of view should be alarmed at these trends, especially when their voices, raised in protest, are dismissed as anti-Christian.

That is why I urge those who like myself are Christians, steeped in this religious tradition that we love, to speak publicly in powerful opposition to this current use of religious power.

Varied religious voices need to remind the leaders of this nation that no single person speaks for and no single perspective captures the ultimate truth of God.

If we do not remind them about this, and if we do not act to halt their steamrolling over our rights, they will take over. They are a minority. We must remember that. But they have systematically climbed into power, using deliberately deceptive means to get good Christians to ride along and fund them, and to disguise their real goals- until now. Their triumphalism has revealed their hand. Are we going to let them walk in and destroy what we've had for 229 years? It's up to us, and others like us, to say, "Wait a minute! Your vision is not mine!" Do we have the courage to stand up to them and their fear and hate? They might listen to fellow Christians before they listen to a Jew or a Pagan. Let's get the word out.

dogemperor [userpic]
Baptist Church kicks out Democratic members


This sounds like some sort of hoax, but it's for real.

Yesterday, on the National Day of Prayer, we learned that the East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina essentially kicked out its Democratic members. Nine members were "excommunicated" and 40 other members of the 405 member church resigned in protest.

Lots of interesting action items, dialogue, and the original post with lots(!) of interesting comments, too.

dogemperor [userpic]
More from BeliefNet

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]meta4life)

Apparently our various appearances on the "Loose Canon" miniboard at Beliefnet.com has had an effect -- Ms. Hayes has run to some pretty safe and unchallenging sources (for her, anyway) in an attempt to get informed:

Loose Canon is trying to fathom why the fixation on the religious right is more intense than ever. I hope it's a primal scream: Democrats are beginning to realize they need the votes of "these people;" but they still find them unspeakably tacky. But the intensity and irrationality of the hatred directed at the religious right is distressing.

Read more here...


dogemperor [userpic]
Prayer Breakfasts have a history of excluding other faiths.


From Oregon:

Guest Viewpoint: Prayer breakfasts have a history of excluding faiths

By Matthew Dennis
For The Register-Guard

Since the beginning of the republic itself, the role of religion in American life has been controversial - even as the United States supposedly became a more secular society, and even in Oregon, statistically the least churched state in the union.

A case in point is the annual Eugene-Springfield Mayors' Prayer Breakfast, the subject of an April 10 column by Rabbi Yitzhak Husbands-Hankin. The local event is an example of a larger phenomenon, which includes annual mayors', governors' and even presidential prayer breakfasts. Many occur on the official National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday in May. This year that falls on May 5 and competes with an altogether different occasion, Cinco de Mayo, a celebration of diversity.

Something billed as "The Mayors' Prayer Breakfast" raises questions. Is it a public, official event, sponsored by an elected mayor and, by implication, the city he or she represents? If it features prayer, whose prayers are featured? Is it inclusive, or is it exclusive, both of non-Christian faiths and of nonreligious Americans? Might it violate First Amendment requirements for the separation of church and state? Or is it simply an exercise of religious freedom, guaranteed by that same First Amendment?

The roots of the Mayors' Prayer Breakfast go back to the early 1950s, in the context of the Cold War, when a joint resolution of Congress, signed by President Harry Truman, declared an annual National Day of Prayer. This was the era in which "under God" was spliced into the Pledge of Allegiance. In 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower presided over the first National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Soon prayer breakfasts multiplied and became fixtures in state capitals and other communities across the country, sometimes set for the National Day of Prayer and sometimes held on other dates.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
A Spiritual Olive Branch for the Far Right


Here's the first editorial about the Open Center conference I attended this past weekend:

A spiritual olive branch for the far-right faithful
Ellis Henican

May 1, 2005

Chip Berlet isn't the devil. He doesn't even look the part.

He's a big, burly guy in suspenders and a sport shirt who was raised Presbyterian in northern New Jersey. He's spent most of his adult life at the intersection of journalism and community activism - in Colorado, Chicago and Boston. Over the years, he's become one of America's leading experts on the steady rise of conservative Christianity and its growing role in political life. He was onto this long before George W. Bush came into the White House.

These days, Berlet thinks of himself as an organizer, a researcher and a radical left-wing Christian. Yet he counts among his friends quite a few people whom his other friends consider whacked-out right-wing religious zealots.

"Actually," Berlet was saying on Friday afternoon, "I don't like those labels at all, calling people 'religious extremists' or 'radical religious right.' You can't have a conversation when you start that way. I want to talk to these people. I want to engage them. ... I want to have a real discourse about religion and politics."

Welcome to backlash against the latest scary rise of America's Religious Right.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Wow! A Cool Grand!

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]britzkrieg)

The Geocentrism Challenge!

Please, tell me this is not the next theocon hurdle we'll have to deal with. Please.

dogemperor [userpic]
Emperor Palpatine or Randall Terry?


Now, you may think this one is easy, but it's harder than it looks.

Results posted this time tommorrow.

Good luck.

"Intolerance is a beautiful thing..."

"You will pay the price for your lack of vision."

"If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed."

"I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good"

dogemperor [userpic]
A Peculiar People

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]hummingwolf)

Slacktivist has a post today about the tendency of some evangelical Christians to demonize their neighbors.

Unlike so many following those topics this community discusses, Slacktivist actually knows the subculture--and is generally good at explaining the peculiarities to those less familiar with it. (If you'd like to follow the syndicated feed on LJ, you can add [info]slacktivist to your friends list.)

dogemperor [userpic]
What he said...


Tolerance is a two-way street (Ganked from [info]_snn_- thanks, [info]seshen!)

One of the great joys of language is ambiguity. When I read the headline on Henry M. Bowles III's column Monday, "Intolerance of religion is tragedy" I thought, "Yeah, the way so many religious zealots are intolerant is indeed tragic." Then Bowles proceeded to argue that the intolerance in question is directed toward people of faith. As one Southern Baptist of my acquaintance used to put it, I didn't know whether to shit or go blind. Bowles's claim that "the most intransigent atheist to the most Roman of Catholics ... deserve respect, not derision" is sheer nonsense.

I do not have to respect anyone's religious beliefs. You believe that wives should be subservient to their husbands? Or that menstruating women are spiritually unclean? Or that women should be veiled head-to-toe in burqas and should neither vote nor drive a car? Or that eating pork is against God's law? Or that the end of the world will come when the Fenris Wolf is unleashed? Fine, believe it -- but I don't have to respect your beliefs.

As a citizen of a pluralistic democracy, however, I do have to tolerate you and your religion.

To tolerate does not mean to respect. It means "to endure," or "to put up with." I do not and will not "respect" religion as widely practiced in contemporary American politics.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Somehow I am not shocked at this

Basic Training in Religious Tolerance

(NYT link; it was snagged from a site at Telecom Digest that is meant to fix the whole password issue, if it does not, use Bugmenot extension on Firefox or go to the Telecom Digest direct link)

Of special notes to dominionism-watchers:

a) This is in Colorado Springs, one of a few cities that is a de facto national headquarters of the Religious Right (I actually recall reading somewhere that upwards of 40-something separate and distinct dominionist or Religious Right groups are headquartered in Colorado Springs)

b) Most of the reports of religious intolerance are in regards to the Air Force Academy; Sunfell has, in particular, posted before on how several dominionist groups (including the AoG) have pretty much almost entirely hijacked the chaplain system in the military. (Sunfell, if you could post the link, that might give people some more background)

(As an aside--in many dominionist denominations, there is little or no formal training one has to go through to even be certified a minister, and some dominionist groups actively are against requiring someone to go through at least a *little* of the training most seminary students have to go through. Many dominionist ministers have no formal theological training at all; in the vast majority of states, if you can show proof you are *associated* with a large enough denomination one can get a ministerial license (for example, in KY the magic number is fifty individuals or being associated with a denomination or sect with over fifty individuals.) I am not certain what the legal requirements are in the military for chaplaincy, but I expect they are probably similar if not *looser* than the legal standard for me to be able to officiate marriages.

(As another aside--I cannot speak for other denominations, but the particular group I walked away from not only has all of seventeen seminaries *worldwide* (for a denomination of over *two million* or more members) but also does not ordain women at *all*; in fact, I'd dare say the vast majority of "ministers" in the denomination have had no formal training whatsoever in theology other than Bible-school courses at the church)

c) One of the particular highlights in the article:

"People were doing and saying things that would not be tolerated at any Air Force base we've ever been at," said Col. Debra Gray, vice commandant of cadets at the academy, which plans to begin mandatory religious sensitivity sessions in February for cadets as well as faculty and staff members.

Some cadets were offended when fliers for the film "Passion of the Christ" were left around campus. Others have complained of being told by other cadets to march in a "heathen flight" if they did not participate in religious services during basic training. One Jewish cadet reported being called a "Christ killer." Atheists have expressed problems with God's being invoked in public academy statements.

(Bolded text my emphasis)

Yes, they were actively *trying to run those who were not dominionists out of the university*. (And so much for "Passion of the Christ" *not* encouraging people to think Jewish people killed Christ :P)

dogemperor [userpic]
Zero Tolerance


This interesting essay by the Plaid Adder talks about the overt phobia of tolerance and diversity displayed by the Religous Right.

Is the We Are Family Foundation some kind of gay rights organization in disguise, as Dobson charges? If they are, it's a pretty good disguise. The "About Us" section of WeAreFamilyFoundation.org indicates that the organization was founded in the weeks after September 11, 2001 - when, if you will recall, there was a mini-epidemic of hate crimes against Muslims, Arab-Americans, and people who were mistakenly identified by their hysterical attackers as Muslim and/or Arab-American. The original writers of the disco hit "We Are Family" thought their song might be useful as a way of counteracting this by "promoting our common humanity and the vision of a global family."

So... how do you get a pro-homosexual agenda out of this? Simple. You turn to a different right-wing organization, the Family Research Council, which was good enough to explain the logic to a baffled reporter at the National Business Review:

A "homosexuality detection expert" at the similarly conservative Family Research Council told the NY Times that words like "tolerance" and "diversity" are part of a "coded language that is regularly used by the homosexual community."

In other words, the very concept of tolerance - the idea that we should all try to live together in peace and harmony instead of being constantly at war with each other - is now obnoxious to the religious right. Tolerance is a bad thing. Tolerance, in fact, will make your children gay. And since being gay is absolutely the worst thing in the world that could possibly happen to them, we must all fight tolerance anywhere it lurks - on the beaches, in the hills, in the streets, and of course in big yellow pineapples under the sea. We must never be misled into tolerating tolerance where it encroaches on our families, our schools, or the public airwaves. We must work ceaselessly and with constant vigilance toward that glorious day when we can say, finally, that we have achieved zero tolerance.
Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
An evangelical speaks


In this article, an evangelical talks about what evangelicism is really about, and why we need to be concerned with the 'unholy alliance between the free-market and religious fundamentalism.

Well worth a read.


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