Dark Christianity
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dogemperor [userpic]
Great Op-Ed


This Op-Ed column in today's LA Times says some interesting things about the sport of 'Christian bashing':

The connection between Christianity and political power is enough to make this believer hang her head. And yet to attack this Christianity as all of Christianity is, of course, an error. It ignores the fact that medieval Christianity was reformed — by Martin Luther and the Church of England, among others. But most of all, it neglects a history that includes someone such as the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who organized the Confessing Church to resist Nazi exclusion laws, joined the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler and paid for it with his life.

Bonhoeffer believed that the heart of what it meant to be a Christian was to act on behalf of the marginalized — the helpless, the sick, the poor, the friendless. He distinguished between what he called "cheap grace," that form of lip service I think we can all identify with, and "costly grace," meaning the kind that gets you into trouble.

If I think of costly grace, I remember the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks; the abolitionists; the Christians of Jubilee 2000 who successfully pressured Britain and the United States to forgive the developing world's crippling debt; the Quakers who protect and advise pacifists; the women and men who work daily in soup kitchens, for living-wage ordinances, against torture at Guantanamo Bay. None of us have done enough, and that is partly why so many people only know about the Christianity that cozies up to power.

dogemperor [userpic]
The is long but worth the time...

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]mizliz) An excellent article from Philip Pullman, who has done more to reframe a rational cosmology with his "Dark Materials" books (ostensibly for children) than anyone I know. 

This is worth the reading, I promise.

dogemperor [userpic]
People like this kind of disgust me . . .

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

CNN interviewed Brian Welch )

. . . Giving it some consideration, I think it's cool that he managed to clean up his act and it's fine if religion was his means to do that, but that other stuff . . . well, people like him kind of disgust me, in a way. You know what I'm saying?

dogemperor [userpic]


Excellent Metaphor.

dogemperor [userpic]
oh my

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

Someone got nice and sarcastic in the Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN) Letters to the Editor section today. Kudos to you, Mike Sloothaak.

The story of pi and intelligent design

I wish to congratulate House Speaker Brian Bosma and Indiana Republicans for pushing intelligent design in our state. This is a great act of Christian faith and responsibility.

But Indiana's Christians must challenge our representatives to even greater faith. 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2 makes clear that what the Eastern liberal establishment, the American Civil Liberties Union and activist judges insist on calling "pi" is actually, simply 3. Do our Republicans in Indianapolis have the faith necessary to defy the liberals, embrace biblical truths and legislate that in Indiana "pi" will officially be equal to 3? Our great state will be blessed materially if we embrace that level of faith.

First, many technical calculations would be simplified, so science and engineering firms will flock to Indiana to do business, creating many new jobs. Second, our children will be spared the burden of memorizing a pagan Greek symbol in their mathematical formulas and can focus on other matters more fitting with the Christian values we so cherish.

God made ones, twos and threes, not pi, square roots and "e's." Even the mathematicians themselves doubt their own monstrous creations, or else why would they refer to the latter as irrational numbers?

Intelligent design is only the first step in a long journey to bring timeless biblical truths back to Indiana. Let's pray that a majority of our politicians are up to this task.

Mike Sloothaak
West Lafayette

dogemperor [userpic]
Random food for thought

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

Apologies if this is OT, if so, please feel free to delete (or let me know and I'll delete it). Just some random thoughts I had today...

Today is Halloween. Many of us will be enjoying all the flotsam and jetsam that comes with such a 'holiday'. Be you religious or not, everyone has their own way of having fun, and candy doesn't even have to be involved.

Except for, of course, the religious zealots who seem to wholeheartedly *embrace* evil by using what should be an innocent holiday for kids (and the kid in all of us) to dwell on horrors, and instill fear and misery in their hearts, with such niceties like "Hell Houses" and the like. Suffering = good. Happiness = bad. That's pretty sad.

When I was a little kid, I used to think that if I made a little 'shrine' to tornadoes (being that I live in the Midwest, I'm well used to the weather) it would please some tornado god or something, somewhere, and then maybe we wouldn't get so many severe storms. And it makes me think: each of us has or had our own little weird childhood 'rituals' that, by Dominionist standards, would be considered Evil or Satanic. How many of us would have been brutally abused (be it verbally or physically), or have already been (you know who you are), in Dominionist households, for such simple childhood trappings? Kids are naturally prone to imagination; they don't necessarily intend to start worshipping devils or whatnot just by indulging in Halloween festivities, or drawing tornado pictures, or reading mythology books, or anything else.

Ultimately, what determines whether or not a child will grow up to be a decent adult is based on two things: 1) how the parent(s)/guardian(s) raises that child, and 2) how that child/adult conducts his or her own choices in life. Halloween alone does not a demon make.

That's why religious zealotry - of *all* stripes - must stop. Zealotry sucks all the fun and joy out of life, and turns it into a depressing eternity of misery - and remember, misery loves company.

Besides, if God didn't want us to have chocolate, He wouldn't have made so damn much of it. XD ;)

May you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

dogemperor [userpic]
Boston Globe Editorial: "All God, All the Time"

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

From the Boston Globe:

When they told us in Sunday School that God is everywhere, they could have been talking about the recent news cycle. With Harriet Miers, we see that God lives in the politics of the US Supreme Court nomination process. In a culture defined by the separation of church and state, President Bush and his allies have mastered the use of religious affirmation as a deflection not only of criticism, but of critical thought. God is thus a trump card, a free pass. If the president, senators, and members of Congress can justify their decisions by appeals to God, why not judges?

...In the argument between creationists and scientists, those aiming to defend God make absolute claims about mysteries of the deep past as if they themselves were there. Air Force flyers have thought of God as their co-pilot in the past, but in today's Air Force, God sits atop the chain-of-command. At the US Air Force Academy, which was rocked by sex scandals not long ago, God is now the designated dean of discipline, but this jeopardizes infidel careers. Unit cohesion requires conversion. Indeed, displays of faith can be a prerequisite for promotion throughout a government where the White House itself is a House of God. In Iraq, meanwhile, someone will turn his body into a bomb today, killing others by blowing himself up while saying, "God is great!"

Full Editorial

dogemperor [userpic]
Rescuing Jesus


Article from Salon.com:

Rescuing Jesus
Bush & Co. have hijacked Jesus, using him as the poster child for their callous worldview. It's time to rescue Christ from his kidnappers.

By Alessandro Camon

Oct. 07, 2005 | Harriet Miers, should she be confirmed to the Supreme Court, will be the resident evangelical Christian. She shares her religious background with George W. Bush, whose claim to have chosen her based on "knowing her heart" has as much to do with the born-again faith he shares with her as with her long service in his inner circle. This choice might have left secular conservatives perplexed or downright dissatisfied, but is an obvious crowd-pleaser with the Christian right. Above all, it reflects the importance of Christianity for Bush, widely described as the most devout president in history.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Blog Rant of the Day


'"...stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal and execution is carried out automatically and without pity." Robert Heinlein – "Time Enough for Love"

'This, in one tragic nutshell, is what is so wrong and incredibly dangerous about True Believers, and why they should never, ever be allowed anywhere near the levers of power...'

dogemperor [userpic]
Religion strangling US rights


This editorial article from the Arizone Republic makes some interesting points:

Religion, holy ones strangling U.S. rights

By Linda Valdez
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 18, 2005 12:00 AM

An extraterrestrial sent to study the United States would look at the headlines about John Roberts' confirmation hearings and think the biggest issue facing the nation is abortion.

E.T. would be wrong.

The issue is religion, not abortion.

Questions from Democrats about Roberts' views about the right to privacy were code for: Hey, America! Religion has a stranglehold on your government.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Bill Moyers on the dangers of the Dominionists

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

"The notion of spiritual freedom is at risk, and the fourth observance of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 is an appropriate time to think about it."

I love Bill Moyers, and he makes many excellent points in this article. (located via [info]alobar)

dogemperor [userpic]
Some words from Tim Wise


I found this very insightful essay at CounterPunch. Warning: it gets pretty wicked.

"Those Looters Should be Shot, Praise the Lord, and Pass the Guacamole!"
A God with Whom I am not Familiar


This is an open letter to the man sitting behind me at La Paz today, in Nashville, at lunchtime, with the Brooks Brothers shirt:

You don't know me. But I know you.

I watched you as you held hands with your tablemates at the restaurant where we both ate this afternoon. I listened as you prayed, and thanked God for the food you were about to eat, and for your own safety, several hundred miles away from the unfolding catastrophe in New Orleans.

You blessed your chimichanga in the name of Jesus Christ, and then proceeded to spend the better part of your meal--and mine, since I was too near your table to avoid hearing every word--morally scolding the people of that devastated city, heaping scorn on them for not heeding the warnings to leave before disaster struck. Then you attacked them--all of them, without distinction it seemed--for the behavior of a relative handful: those who have looted items like guns, or big screen TVs.

I heard you ask, amid the din of your colleagues "Amens," why it was that instead of pitching in to help their fellow Americans, the people of New Orleans instead--again, all of them in your mind--chose to steal and shoot at relief helicopters.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Intriguing Analysis


"What I see in America, on the religious right, is a paradox I've
never observed before, at least on a mass level, in the US.

"For the first time I can recall in US history, a sizeable number of
otherwise rational people have divorced themselves from the American
dream---in a very specific way, but a conscious divorce nonetheless.

"Millions of people now believe God, not themselves, is the prime
mover of will and event in their lives.

"This strikes me as unprecedented, not least because the voices of the
centre and centre-left---you have no social democratic consensus in
the US as we know it in Canada or Europe---have little grounding to
identify the reasons for this.

"As a lapsed Catholic from a very conservative Irish immigrant family,
I think what I see is what I see, if you know what I mean. The
irrational is in the ascendance, just as it was in the late 1920s in
both the US and, far more evilly, in Germany, having been well set
loose in Russia

"The implications are huge: the rugged American individualist
philosophy of pragmatism and utilitarianism and the Horatio Alger
myth no longer seem to apply. The notion of social mobility itself
may well be in peril in this culture of 'inshallah'---'God wills it'."

dogemperor [userpic]
Fundamentalist Radicals at Home are Just as Scary as Those Abroad

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

by G. Jefferson Price III

The similarities among the radical wings of religious fundamentalism are striking and frightening.

In Iran, for example, the mullahs issue fatwas, the exhortations to assassinate people they don't like. The most notorious of these in recent times was the fatwa issued in 1989 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against the Indian-born author Salman Rushdie. The ayatollah was incensed because Mr. Rushdie's novel Satanic Verses seemed to insult Islam.

We have our own religious nuts here in America. They issue their own fatwas. The latest example of this came last week from one of the nuttiest of them all, the so-called Rev. Pat Robertson, who urged the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

It gets scarier. )

dogemperor [userpic]
op-ed: Design for Confusion


An excellent Op-Ed column from the NYT:

Design for Confusion

I'd like to nominate Irving Kristol, the neoconservative former editor of The Public Interest, as the father of "intelligent design." No, he didn't play any role in developing the doctrine. But he is the father of the political strategy that lies behind the intelligent design movement - a strategy that has been used with great success by the economic right and has now been adopted by the religious right.

Back in 1978 Mr. Kristol urged corporations to make "philanthropic contributions to scholars and institutions who are likely to advocate preservation of a strong private sector." That was delicately worded, but the clear implication was that corporations that didn't like the results of academic research, however valid, should support people willing to say something more to their liking.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
It's all happening at the Tulsa Zoo


From the NYT Op-Ed page:

It's All Happening at the Tulsa Zoo

Christian creationists won too much of a victory for their own good in Tulsa, where the local zoo was ordered to balance its evolution science exhibit with a display extolling the Genesis account of God's creating the universe from nothing in six days. A determined creationist somehow talked three of the four zoo directors, including Mayor Bill LaFortune, into the addition by arguing that a statue of the elephant-headed god Ganesh at the elephant house amounted to an anti-Christian bias toward Hinduism.

After the inevitable backlash from bewildered taxpayers warning that Tulsa would be dismissed as a science backwater, the directors "clarified" their vote to say they intended no monopoly for the Adam and Eve tale but rather wanted "six or seven" creation myths afforded equal time. There was the rub: there are hundreds of creation tales properly honored by the world's multifarious cultures, starting with the American Indian tribes around Tulsa.

You want creationism? How about the Cherokee buzzard that gouged the valleys and mountains? And why should Chinese-Americans tolerate neglect of P'an Ku and the cosmic egg at the zoo, or Norse descendants not speak up for Audhumla, the giant cow?

The futility of this exercise was emphatically made clear last week when a crowd of critics demanded reconsideration. With the speed of the Mayan jaguar sun god, zoo directors reversed themselves, realizing they had opened a Pandora's box (which see). In stumbling upon so many worthy cosmogonies, Tulsa did us all a favor by underlining how truly singular the evolution explanation is, rooted firmly in scientific demonstration.

Second thoughts are a creative characteristic of Homo sapiens, and the Tulsa Zoo directors did well by theirs. They were fortunate to have Ganesh, known to true believers as the remover of obstacles and the god of harmony, on the grounds.

Cheeky and to the point!

dogemperor [userpic]
Obfuscating Intolerance


This NYT Op-ed talks about the recent inquiry in the USAF Academy religious case:

Obfuscating Intolerance

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.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Congress Assaults the Courts, Again


From the NYT Op-ed pages:The theocrats continue to chip away at the courts...

Congress Assaults the Courts, Again
June 18, 2005

The House of Representatives took a little- noticed but dangerous swipe at the power of the courts this week. It passed an amendment to a budget bill that would bar money from being spent to enforce a federal court ruling regarding the Ten Commandments. The vote threatens the judiciary's long-acknowledged position as the final arbiter of the Constitution. It is important that this amendment be removed before the bill becomes law.

During consideration of an appropriations bill for the Departments of State, Justice and Commerce, Representative John Hostettler, Republican of Indiana, introduced an amendment to prohibit any funds from being used to enforce Russelburg v. Gibson County. In that case, a federal court ruled that a courthouse Ten Commandments display violated the First Amendment and had to be removed. Mr. Hostettler declared that the ruling was unconstitutional, and inconsistent with "the Christian heritage of the United States."[emphasis mine- ed]Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers


This NYT op-ed reminds us that there's a sleeping giant of moderate Christians who are stirring awake:

Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers
June 17, 2005

St. Louis

IT would be an oversimplification to say that America's culture wars are now between people of faith and nonbelievers. People of faith are not of one mind, whether on specific issues like stem cell research and government intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, or the more general issue of how religion relates to politics. In recent years, conservative Christians have presented themselves as representing the one authentic Christian perspective on politics. With due respect for our conservative friends, equally devout Christians come to very different conclusions.

It is important for those of us who are sometimes called moderates to make the case that we, too, have strongly held Christian convictions, that we speak from the depths of our beliefs, and that our approach to politics is at least as faithful as that of those who are more conservative. Our difference concerns the extent to which government should, or even can, translate religious beliefs into the laws of the state.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
The new blacklist


Put all that censorship together and you get... )

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