Angst in Religiosity

Angst in Religiosity

Moral Superiority:
In American religious culture, there is a fair to midland sized section that is attempting to redefine the essence of what it means to be Christian. America without doubt is predominately Christian, but that wholly does not mean it is not without those that belong to other religions and even with a growing population that claims no religion or deity. These folk are just as American as the Christian is; maybe even more so, for they don’t attempt to claim sole possession as extreme right-wing Christians do.

Oh I just s’pose culture is like walking where one doesn’t even have to think about it, but certainly will recognize it if it vanishes. We all attach ourselves to the culture we grew up in, but while relishing only upon its points of self-aggrandizement we totally ignore the changes needed in its exclusivity shunning out others in sharing that piece of apple pie. This is the current scourge of the moral majority right-wing which is basically white Christians and their brush stroke is not utilizing a bright color when ya consider a democracy. True democracies must change to weed out its faults and fallacies…in other words…a democracy is a constant evolving portal and not a revolving door. All sectors must share in the benefits or there will be failure. 

For the most part, a white person growing up in cultural Americana felt a sense of privilege and for sure did not deal in his or her daily life as to what it is like to live under an umbrella of racism. Unfortunately, ethnic races and other religions besides Christian denominations have had to. In fact this has been so prevalent that the moral majority right is currently complaining of being prejudiced against when they don’t even know what the word prejudice represents or truly is when being the oppressed. The true reaction of the religious right is strictly displaying a knee-jerk effect to a loss of perceived privilege, authority and thus power. Let’s have a look and go at it shall we…

For those that claim America as manifest destiny, I got news for ya…Christians slaughtered 12-16 million Native Americans in the process as they displaced the original American in their relentless quest to gain control of country lands. From the eastern shores to the western shores and from the southern Mexican border to the Canadian northern border, Christians felt it their ordained right to take away.

American Christians changed their own savior’s teachings to accommodate their will over his. For it has been told in Matthew 25:40 that Jesus preached, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren; ye have done it unto me.” For the current layman, in other words Jesus spoke that whatever you do to someone else, whether it is good or bad, you do the same to him.

Actually, the founding fathers of the newly formed nation they called the United States wanted nothing to do with religion in government; they wanted it to be permanently kept secular, but yet protect individual freedoms to all religions, denominations and sects. In writing the constitution, this is why Thomas Jefferson included separation of church and state and was insistent on religion having no governing powers long before.

As Virginia governor in 1779, Jefferson wrote up a bill expressively guaranteeing legal equality for all citizens to practice any religion they wanted to, or even a freedom in lack of no religion. In defense of the bill Jefferson wrote, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

James Madison, the father of the American Constitution wrote a fifteen point declaration titled, ‘Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments’ that argued the nation’s government had no business in supporting Christianity.

In the 15 points one states, “The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an inalienable right.”

Madison defended his declaration insisting, “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?”

In 1790, George Washington as president addressed in a letter to Jewish members from America’s oldest synagogue, Newport, Rhode Island’s ‘Touro Synagogue’ that, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunity of citizenship...For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens.”

In his closing of the address, he also includes the small population of Muslims as well in stating, “May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants, while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Yes, the first colonists came to America’s shores to escape religious persecutions, but only to set up their own form of religious intolerances. A for instance is in the very first European bloodbath spoiling American soil was due to guess what…religious intolerance and nothing else.

In 1564, French Huguenots landed in what is now Florida and established Fort Caroline to escape the whip of established Catholicism in France. But their freedom was short lived only to be hanged and have a sword run through their bellies by Spanish Catholics that landed there in 1565 because they resented the Huguenot’s Lutheran doctrine.

The Pilgrims and Puritans came to America’s untapped tolerant shores a little over half a century later, not to countenance religious tolerance themselves, but in opposing all other Christian views setting up a theocracy that demanded no religious dissent from theirs. Folks were banished or even worse…executed if they strayed from the Puritan teachings.

Between 1659-1661, four Quakers were hanged in Boston in standing up for their religious beliefs. Least we should not forget is the Salem witch trials of colonial Massachusetts in 1692.

Catholics have always been anathema to American Protestants. In New York’s original state constitution, Catholics were banned from holding public office, while Jews had no civil rights in Maryland.    

But ya might say to me, ya might say, but B.J. we can ignore or even nix this period of early American Christian history right, for that was then…not now. Well now just hold onto yore horse’s reins a little tighter, because the ride ain’t over with yet. Not for a longshot, for that belief of God’s favorite and preferred Christian is still prevalent.

During the Bible Riots of 1844, Protestants rioted attacking Catholics while burning down their churches in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and its surrounding towns. The rioting was brought down by the military, but the anti-Catholicism and religious intolerance was imprinted coursing its way even into the 21st Century. Today one is hard pressed to convince a moral majority fundamentalist that Catholics are even Christian.  Fact is though, Catholics founded the first Christian churches and sacrificed their lives for Christianity to endure surviving the hostilities during its infancy.

Just before and right after the Iraqi invasion, evangelical pastors defended W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq insisting it was an act ordained by God himself.

Jerry Falwell insisted in a sermon to his congregation that, “President Bush declared war on Iraq to defend an innocent people. This is a worthy pursuit. In fact, Proverbs 21:15 tells us, ‘It is a joy to the just to judgment, but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.’ One of the primary purposes of the church is to stop the spread of evil, even at the cost of human lives. If we do not stop the spread of evil, many innocent lives will be lost and the Kingdom of God suffers.”

Among others, Preacher Charles Stanley of the ‘First Baptist Church of Atlanta’ declared in a sermon, “The government is ordained by God with the right to promote good and restrain evil. God battles with people who oppose him, who fight against him and his followers.”

With all this pushing by God to go to war sermons, even W. Bush himself begins repeating it. While attempting to elicit his favor in invading Iraq, Bush told then French president, Jacques Chirac that, “The Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and how they must be defeated. In further lobbying of Chirac, Bush adds that the fight in the Middle East was “willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.” Chirac was so confused on what he considered gibberish, he sent W. on his merry way without France’s blessing on the invasion.

Heck, for that matter the Theologian-in-Chief in a private meeting with Palestinian leaders told them flat out, “God told me to invade Iraq.” Yeah well that may be, but so did the tons of corporate dollars to be made which most likely had W’s best ear’s attention.

To put the icing on this prophesied upside down cake, then defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld used biblical passages to justify the Iraq invasion in his briefings to promote the evangelical cause. One was Ephesians 6:11 which states, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”          

The coined term by the W. Bush administration, ‘Axis of Evil’ was fully intended to give a religious edge. In convincing right-wing Christians when considering the nations of Iraq, Iran and North Korea that godly American righteousness is threatened by these countries, our faith dictates through war we are duty-bound by God to exterminate these evil scourges. 

Perhaps the W. administration’s haste to be a “war administration,” the zeal to appear Jesus-like tossed and kicked the hypocrisy around like a hacky sack. For the true Christian would know Matthew 5:9 where Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Concerning the animosity by the right of an Islamic site to be constructed near 911’s ground zero in New York City, President Obama in 2010 declared, “This is America. Our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.”

Despite Obama’s efforts and the fact that the mosque was also to be a multicultural religious site with a Jewish synagogue and Christian church included while teaching religious tolerance and respect to all, right-wing Christians came out full force against it.

Sarah Palin opines on her Facebook page that, “To build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks.”

Newt Gingrich a few days later adds, “There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. It is simply grotesque to erect a mosque at the site of the most visible and powerful symbol of the horrible consequences of radical Islamist ideology.”

To gain political brownie points from the right-wing Christian, GOP frontrunner for New York governor back then, Rick Lazio in a press conference claimed that it was a threat to New Yorker’s “personal security and safety.”

In many red states, red right-wing politicians have been trying to pass fetal heartbeat bans on their ongoing battles against abortion. None have passed. Due to the failures to pass legislation, Janet Porter of ‘Faith2Action’ who was clever enough to come up with the tugs at your emotions ‘fetus heartbeat’ scenario (although the brain has months more to go before it fully develops way past birth), has finally resigned her legal battles and is bringing God into her quest.

Porter confesses, “We’ve called. We’ve rallied. We’ve lobbied. On September 17th, we’re going over their heads! Pastors from around the state will lead us as we go over the heads of the elected officials with an Appeal to Heaven!” In their praying, so far God has not been respondent either.    

There were a lot of political/religious parallels here, but for good reason; the religious right is essentially a GOP base known collectively as the Tea Party. In the Tea Party’s illogic…religious freedoms for the moral majority only applies to right-white Christians which leads us into the next fold.

Groundless Bane & Willful Blindness:
To be Christian is not in name only…to be truly Christian means to follow Jesus and adhere devoutly to his teachings. But alas, we have those who claim to be Christian but act in only using Christ as a sounding board in a means to their own biased self-serving ends.

Take for instance, the frothing anti-Islam sermons of Gary Cass, the founder of the ‘Christian Anti-Defamation Commission’. On 09/04/14, he posted a piece on his website calling for all good Christians to rigorously prepare for a Holy War against Islam. In it he foretells to, “face the harsh truth that Islam has no place in civilized society,” therefore there must be launched an “overwhelming Christian just war” by arming even Christian children into “small cells” that will “crush the vicious seed of Ishmael in Jesus’ name.”

Cass further elaborates on three self-righteous points to convert the few Moslems that will accept Christ, Depart All Muslims Now (D.A.M.N.) and violence as sanctioned by the Old Testament and carried out by Christians throughout history.   

Any American that has any common sense and knows the U.S. Constitution, where the very First Amendment guarantees the freedom to exercise any religion would laugh Cass off as a looney bin. Unfortunately, conservative Christians are taking him to heart.

Apparently to the conservative Christian, freedoms of religion may only apply to their un-Christian ways. In other words, where apparently a cryptic conundrum of Jews, Christians and Muslims praying to the same God in knowing he loves them, the Christian Right feels yeah maybe, but God really, really, really does love me. A puzzling brain-teaser if there ever was one when all three religions adjuring to the one god for deliverance and apparent delivery as well.

In Kennesaw, Georgia, Christian protesters demanding the freedom to worship freely, were nonetheless holding signs stating that American Moslems have no rights to freely express their religious rights.

Recently, a neighborhood Islamic group wanted to rent out a retail space for prayer and worship due to the fact that most mosques were a far piece in distance from their homes. The local town folk didn’t take much of a liking to that and became very boisterous in their protests holding up anti-Islamic signs. So the city board voted 4-1 to bar the Moslems from worshipping there.

Excuses flowed concerning the barring by the mayor, Mark Matthews from that it would increase traffic flow to “This was the first time the city had been asked to provide worship space in a retail center,” even though city records prove that it was not. Christian denominations have indeed been allowed to worship in this very same retail center by the city council.

One protester claimed, “To me [the mosque] is a threat to my freedom, my liberties, and everything I own,” in her explanation to the local ‘11 Alive’ station.

The only council member to vote in allowing Moslems to worship was Cris Eaton-Welsh who stated, “This is 100 percent, bar none, a First Amendment issue.” Since her home address and even her children’s names have been posted online by the Christian protesters, Mrs. Eaton-Welsh and her children have to be escorted around by police while guarded in home at night.

Another example that lists attacking perceived threats through religion is the reverenced ‘Faithful Word Baptist Church’ sermons of Pastor, Steve Anderson. Hailing from Tempe, Arizona, Anderson has proclaimed that for women to even so much as utter an “amen” in church is a sin, for they are to be subservient without voice or thought. He has also declared upon his bully pulpit that, “Christ-rejecting Jews are children of the devil.”

His latest foray considers the LGBT community and his solution to AIDS. On his November 30, 2014 sermon his quick-fix to getting rid of gays and the disease is to kill off all the “homos.” Watch the video below and find out… 

Chaplin, Gordon Klingenschmitt who claims gays are “unhuman” ( as if he doesn’t know the word is ‘inhuman’) and once performed an exorcism long distance for Obama since according to Klingenschmitt, Obama was possessed by a “demonic spirit of tyranny” has actually been elected by the right-wing to Colorado’s 15th House district.

‘The Chaps’, as Klingenschmitt is so affectionately called by liberals, even states that Obamacare causes cancer. In his defense in being anti-Obamacare watch the video below, where he is trounced on by Big Ed and John Fugelsang for his mythical representation.

There is so much baloney in Klingenschmitt’s baseless arguing. First off, his numbers are fictitious, secondly his argument that Obamacare allows abortion was overruled by Obama’s executive order as pointed out by Schultz and thirdly where he misquotes the Bible.

In Mark 15, although he gives no verses, there is nowhere found in the book’s chapter where it discusses Jesus saying that a rebellious child should be executed as Klingenschmitt pretends. The whole of Mark 15 pertains solely to Jesus’ crucifixion. That Klingenschmitt reference is found only in the Old Testament under Exodus 21:17, Deuteronomy 21:18-21 and as Fugelsang pointed out under Leviticus 20:9.

It’s kind of shameful when a comedian knows the biblical word more than a preacher.          

Getting Rich off the Lord:
All the above in the opening sections, simply points to a definitive usage of religion as merely a means to promote one’s beliefs, ideology, prejudices and ends; it has nothing to do in truly following a deified being and serving out his goodness.

In living by a religious guidance of a deity or in contrast, utilizing that religion in molding it to conform to an ideologue; both are considered worshiping, but the prior is to give where the post is to take. One is spurred by inclusive fellowship reasoning while the other is exclusive greed beliefs.    

There is a new and evolving concept coming from the conservative Christian that has absolutely nothing to do with serving their Savior, Jesus Christ and it is known as the ‘Prosperity Gospel’.

This new movement functions under the guise of its title, ‘Prosperity Gospel’ and under that cloak, TV evangelicals and well known preachers against Jesus’ sayings are telling their listeners and congregations it is quite OK to get rich off the Lord. That is their justification in insisting their lonely and poor parishes send them their weekly checks while God will bless them for doing so.

Due to this, these preachers now live a lavish lifestyle with multiple multi-million dollar homes equipped with yachts and chauffeured limousines. The devastating reality to all this is that the elderly and poor parishioners are sending all their money to these swindler preachers that are undoing the very religion that was founded on what Jesus Christ taught.

Never minding the scores of teachings and examples Jesus said to follow in giving to the poor, the distraught, the famished, the hungry, the minority and even the destitute…it is now hunky-dory to forego that and add your money to the rich preachers coffers.

Jesus once said in 1 John 3:17, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” How can the Christian Right read this passage and continue supporting these rich preachers while ignoring the down trodden or vote for the politician that cuts the wealth’s taxes while the common folk are taxed more to compensate?

In Matthew 9:35, it is also told, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”  Jesus never asked a “leper for a co-pay,” so how is it that it is the Christian Right spearheading in the streets the opposition to Obamacare for the less fortunate?

But for these rich preachers Jesus finally has this to directly say in Matthew 23:28, “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” The passage is straight from the Christian’s Savior’s lips. How can these preachers pretend not and their adherents be so gullible? Both ends should smite thereupon unto themselves.

As of late there have been a multitude of preachers coming under federal investigations and not for getting rich off the ignorant poor and elderly, but for taking advantage of non-profit status and tax evasion.

Televangelist Kenneth Copeland is one. Living in a mansion the size of a hotel, Copeland refused to cooperate with court investigators. He claimed his riches are not theirs to obtain or even to inquire of, for he claims, “It’s God’s and you’re not going to get it and that’s something I’ll go to prison over. So, just get over it.”

Copeland claims his followers will prosper. Apparently that is true, for as reported by the Associated Press (AP), his brother-in-law has a lucrative deal brokering Copeland’s TV time. His son, John inherited church owned land enhancing his ranching business while church board members are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking at church events. So far though, no donating congregant has come into big money.

Benny Hinn, another preacher who faith heals is also under senate investigation. While living a lavish lifestyle in a $10 million mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean compliments of his donors’ tithing, he claims he once resurrected a man from the dead. In other words, he appears to be the equivalent to Jesus.

One more is Joyce Meyer. Living out of five homes with one having an eight car garage, she has been under federal investigation numerous times for violating nonprofit laws.

Others who have made millions off the Lord are Randy and Paula Wright who have since divorced under irreconcilable differences, Creflo Dollar who refuses to give over financial records to the court because he professes he’s concerned about the privacy of his donors and Eddie Long who claims “Jesus wasn’t broke.”

My, oh my…what a wonderful world of religion it is to profit on the backs of others in the name of Jesus Christ the Savior of riches…

Just Passing Through on an Opinionated Yak:
Ya know, I never really understood that blend of God ‘n’ Guns thing going on with the Christian Right. Well maybe with the Old Testament warring god, but surely not with the love and peace Jesus represented. In referring back to our little buddy, Gary Cass who once was an executive committee member of San Diego’s Republican Party before he became a preacher, demanded at the ‘Upper Room Church’ in Keller, Texas that, “You can’t be a Christian if you don’t own a gun. You have not just a right to bear arms, you have a duty.”

Now think a moment about that. How can you say you’re a Christian preacher following Jesus’ example of mercy and turning the other cheek while out promoting guns to shoot and kill?

When has oppressing gays become more important than aiding the homeless, which are on an ever increasing rise in America? The moral majority supports Republican efforts in cutting social programs for the homeless and poor while still attempting to deny the LGBT community equal rights as an American.

No gay marriage. I’ve become a bit tired of the moral rights lame excuse in thinking so by simply repeating biblical passages and saying they believe in the Bible’s traditional marriage. Oh they do, do they? If it’s biblical marriage traditions they want then let’s give a Hail Mary for polygamy, for in the Bible that was the traditional marriage, but for men only. If a woman decided to do so, it was a sin and merited a good stoning to death.

As if eighteen wives plus another ten concubines weren’t enough God said in 2 Samuel 12:7-8 that he would have given David even more women if he so desired.

Actually, if this is not enough in biblical scriptures, the religions based on the old Jewish god are nothing but male dominance and female subjugation. In accordance, women do not have the right to question religion, but just to obey. Men, throughout the course of these religions’ histories have held onto this behavior steadfastly.

It’s a wonder why there are any faithful Jewish, Christian and Islamic females, for they never get to play the game in always sitting the bench.

We all know how Creationism is creeping into classrooms replacing scientific fact in evolution with a belief and faith system. With delegated words coming from the likes of Pastor Joel Osteen, founder and preacher of the Lakewood megachurch in Houston Texas, who tweets… “The facts may tell you one thing. But, God is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts,” then self-inflicted ignorance must be a blessed tribute.

The Christian Right in America has been ever infiltrating our schools, but as of late it’s kind of backfiring. With the Christian Right gaining more and more political lobbying power, religious legislation is sneaking into American laws that are a direct contradiction to the First Amendment of the Constitution. To refresh, the United States form of federal government is secular not to intervene or have faith or lack of it over any religion or their denominations.

Insisting that a copy of the Bible should be in every Florida, Orange County school classroom, the board members thought that would be a good thing, but was it really fair…no it was not.

Fair is in allowing one religion in, you then must allow in all the rest. America is a democracy right? Of course the proper Christian Right didn’t think so and when the Raelians, a UFO religious group who believe humanity came from extraterrestrials and even atheists wanted their pamphlets and literature to also be distributed amongst the students, Christians began to balk, thinking that maybe separation of church and state might not be too bad a thing after all.

If only one religion’s opinion is instilled to influence the minds of young students, the domination simply becomes a tool for propaganda.  

When the current conservative Supreme Court sided with the moral majority that Christian symbols could be placed on public government grounds, Christian nativity scenes began popping up on state capitol lawns. Soon after however, Satanists after threatening a lawsuit they would legally win, the Florida government allowed the devil worshipers to set up their own satanic scenes such as a fallen angel being engulfed by the fires of Hell.

Satanists didn’t stop there. In Oklahoma, on the capitol grounds where a permanent Ten Commandments is on display, they erected a horned beast and could so due to the Supreme Court’s decision no matter how incensed fundamentalists became.

Actually the Satanists could care less in erecting monuments or passing out school literature; they simply did it to address the ridiculousness in religion encroaching into government dogma. Lucien Greaves, the Florida Satanic Temple spokesman said that, “We would never seek to establish a precedent of disseminating our religious materials in public schools because we believe our constitutional values are better served by respecting a strong separation of Church and State.”

Tucker Carlson of Fox News stressed over the airwaves this weekend that a Satanist holiday should be banned because Christian nativity scenes are reality. Oh really, if a Christian’s god is real then most assuredly the Satanist’s devil is as well.

Religious beliefs are a force with a proxy deity, but I contend no beliefs or opinion are needed concerning a fact. With the Ferguson incident and all the rash of other unarmed blacks being killed by white cops, in instantly defending the excessive force by cops, the Religious Right is not only dividing this nation into red and blue; they’re also successfully dividing it into white and black.

Even Republicans feel they’ve steered off course when it comes to religion. In an ‘I Side With’ poll taken in 2013, the one question to be asked was, “If Jesus suddenly came back to earth today, would he approve or disapprove of modern Christianity?” 76% of Republicans said their Messiah would disapprove.  

How one treats others defines who you are more than belonging to any religion. I get a little irritated when arguing with an extreme right-wing Christian. Once their bickering becomes a losing cause, they simply end it by saying, “I’ll pray for you.” What is that? What does that mean?

It’s irritating, perhaps even a little nauseating. It’s as if they’re saying I don’t know how to properly debate you, so I’ll merely pray for you as if something is wrong with you since one’s thoughts are in direct contrast to theirs. So they pray in hopes that their deity will guide you back towards the ignorant flock since they failed in doing so. They’re taking it upon themselves to correct me through a higher power they’ve never seen to chip at the higher thoughts they couldn’t reckon with.

God is clearly unconstitutional through the blind beliefs of the Christian Right, for His zero tolerance in Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit smack of authoritarianism in direct contrast to the U.S. Constitution…and they call themselves a patriot.

In Religious Right self-opportunism and pomp, I don’t need; I need a religious script that won’t make me feel guilty, fearful or the need to make a life decision that steers me from the life decisions I have felt most comfortable with.

Besides, sometimes this God of theirs makes mistakes; I mean what is the deal in having some black folk wear freckles?


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