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Thu

28

May

2009

This is what’s wrong with “religion” and politicians who pander to it…
Thursday, 28 May 2009 02:58
by Mel Seesholtz

No matter what the time period, no matter what the culture, dogmatic religious fundamentalists have preached intolerance and hate. They still do:
I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good... Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.
Randall Terry, who said of his gay son, “He is no longer welcome in my home.” (So much for those much touted “family values…)
An architect of America’s Christian fundamentalists, the late D. James Kennedy, was blunt at a Reclaiming America for Christ conference in February, 2005: “Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors – in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”

The ultra-dogmatic leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, during a 2006 speech atGermany’s Regensburg University quoted Emperor Manuel II: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

More recently, Benedict XVI stuck his other Italian leather clad shoe in his mouth:
Pope Says Condoms Make AIDS Worse March 17, 2009By Neal Broverman Pope Benedict XVI has declared that condom use, far from slowing the spread of HIV, actually makes the pandemic worse. “You can’t resolve [AIDS] with the distribution of condoms,” the pope told reporters on Tuesday aboard a plane [his private jet] headed to Africa, a continent ravaged by AIDS. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”
Telling people not to use something that has been scientifically and medically proven to reduce the spread of a deadly virus is blatantly immoral.

No. Condom use will not “resolve,” as the pope put it, the AIDS pandemic. But their use can save some lives “His Holiness” seems quite willing to sacrifice in the name of anti-human dogma concocted by an institution that covered up decades of child abuse by its priests. Some of that abuse, according to the Philadelphia Grand Jury’s report, included:
— An 11-year old girl who was raped by her priest and became pregnant. The priest took her in for an abortion. — A fifth-grader who was molested inside a confessional booth. — A 12-year-old who, raped and sodomized by his priest, tried to commit suicide and remains in a mental hospital as an adult. — A 12-year-old, repeatedly raped by his priest, was told by that priest that his mother had approved of the abuse.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He gives Randall Terry, D. James Kennedy and Benedict XVI a run for their money when it comes to feeding bigotry and hate.

On March 2, 2007, Mohler published an article titled “Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?”


Mohler implicitly acknowledged that sexual orientation has a genetic component and/or is hormonally determined prior to birth, but he looks forward to the day when medical science can change that:
If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin…
In Mohler’s twisted thinking homosexuality is God’s punishment – selectively applied – for “original sin.” So he wants to use the sciences of genetic engineering and hormone therapy to repent for the “sin” of the mythical characters of Adam and Eve.

Myth and science are not good bedfellows: if God created only Adam and Eve then, using Mohler’s literal reading of Genesis, brothers and sisters must have procreated with each other. Not a good idea, genetically speaking. Meanwhile, science has dismissed – absolutely – the possibility that the same two people could possibly have provided the genetic diversity necessary to account for Earth’s human population.

Moreover, biblical literalists and dogmatic fundamentalists have repeatedly argued againstany pre-natal meddling with a fetus, claiming that whatever the fetus was, was its God-given birthright. Funny how that thinking changes so radically when it comes to gay people. Mohler’s “genetic cleansing” proposal is nothing less than a twenty-first century theofascist program of eugenics which, if history serves as a guide, would not be limited to eliminating gays and lesbians. To wit…

On May 14, 2009 Mr. Mohler published another article. It was republished “by permission” on May 19, 2009 on Don Wildmon’s American Family Association’s propaganda organ, OneNewsNow: “Should Christians ‘respect’ other religions?” Mohler’s answer:
… any belief system that pulls persons away from the Gospel of Christ, denies and subverts Christian truth, and blinds sinners from seeing Christ as the only hope of salvation is, by biblical definition, a way that leads to destruction. Islam, like every other rival to the Christian gospel, takes persons captive and is devoid of genuine hope for salvation. Thus, evangelical Christians may respect the sincerity with which Muslims hold their beliefs, but we cannot respect the beliefs themselves. … we cannot respect a belief system that denies the truth of the gospel, insists that Jesus was not God’s Son, and takes millions of souls captive.
Overt religious bigotry. A self-righteous call to see others as “inferiors” and, therefore, worthy of suspicion and discrimination. And let’s not forget Mr. Mohler’s incestuous “logic”: those parts of the Bible we want to be true are true because we say they are, and what those other people believe isn’t true because we and those “useful” parts of the Bible say they aren’t.

But then again, “religious” leaders such as Mr. Mohler have a vested interest in propagating divisiveness. It’s how they make their living. Perhaps they really don’t know the difference between mythos and logos. Perhaps they do, but the power is just too intoxicating. And the key to that power is the scare tactic known as “salvation.” It feeds the Christian Right’s cash cow, from fighting gays to fighting science.

According to the popular “Christian” mythology, an angry warrior sky “God” who created and set up the first humans in the Garden of Eden and then, after they “sinned” – which He knew they would since He’s all-knowing – He punished all humans and eventually all life on planet earth by drowning it in a global flood… well, all life except for Noah, his family, and the relatively few land animals known to Middle Eastern Bronze Age mythmakers. Incest again became “God’s” Rule of the Day for Noah and his family in order to repopulate the earth, just as incest had been the Rule of the Day in Eden with Adam and Eve and their kids. But then, after a trial run in which “God” demanded that Abraham kill his beloved son, this “loving” Father-“God” relented a bit and just demanded the bloody torture and death of His “only begotten Son,” the followers of whom commemorate the event in a cannibalistic ritual – often followed by the singing of “Onward Christian Soldiers” – and then pray and pay for their salvation in order to be with this filicidalFather-God and his resurrected Son-God.

Can true Divinity be found inany of that?

But as a means of social and political control, the salvation ruse was a stroke of dogmatic genius. The promise of eternal life proved to be a very effective means to establishing and maintaining social and political control. Do as the Church and your religious leaders say or it’s excommunication and eternal damnation for you.

Mohler’s “explanation” underlined the reason Christian fundamentalists and biblical literalists must cling to the preposterous notion of Creation as recorded in Genesis. If life evolved from single cells into complex self-conscious creatures called “humans,” then there was no perfection from which to fall, no fall into sin, no need for a divine rescue, and no capacity to be restored to something we have never been. Clergy on Sunday mornings could no longer address “fallen sinners,” and the mantra “Jesus died for your sins” would be even more meaningless.

People are free to believe whatever Bronze Age myths and Common Era fairy tales they want, but when they use those myths and fairy tales as a means to hurt other people – people they don’t even know – then there’s a problem.

When they use their myths and fairy tales as weapons to coerce public servants and define civil rights, there’s a problem.

When they use their myths and fairy tales as weapons to corrupt the nature of academic discourse and stifle the free exchange of ideas, there’s a problem:
Liberty Univ. Bans Democrats By Amita Parashar May 22, 2009 Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., will no longer recognize its Democratic Party club, saying it opposes the school's fundamentalist Baptist mission and "promotes the LGBT agenda." The club's leaders were notified on May 15 in an e-mail from Mark Hine, vice president of student affairs, that was obtained by the Lynchburg paper The News & Advance.
Part of Hine’s e-mail read, “The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine (supports abortion, federal funding of abortion, advocates repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, promotes the 'LGBT' agenda, hate crimes, which include sexual orientation and gender identity, socialism, etc.)” Consider the history of interracial marriage which, according to earlier Bible-thumpers, was anti-biblical and against “God’s design.” By the early 1960 they had convinced the voters and legislatures in forty-one states to pass anti-miscegenation statutes.
“Legislation prohibiting racial inter-marriage was justified as unbending tradition rooted in received natural law.”“Miscegenation violates God’s Law(natural Law) of reproduction… This inter-mingling is unknown to all other species. It is only man who interferes with God’s law. It has been proven that if the horse mates with a zebra, it will produce offspring with zebra stripes for generations to come. The lion will not mate with the tiger, unless man forces it to. In many cases of artificial, or forced interbreeding, as between a horse and a donkey, the offspring becomes incapable of reproduction.” …
A Georgia court wrote that such unions are “not only unnatural, but … always productive of deplorable results,” such as increased effeminate behavior in the population. “They are productive of evil, and evil only, without any corresponding good … (in accordance with) the God of nature.”
Similarly, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that:
“…moral or social equality between the different races…does not in fact exist, and never can. The God of nature made it otherwise, and no human law can produce it, and no human tribunal can enforce it. There are gradations and classes throughout the universe. From the tallest archangel in Heaven, down to the meanest reptile on earth, moral and social inequalities exist, and must continue to exist throughout all eternity.”
This type of legal marriage must be forbidden, said a Republican senator from Wisconsin, “simply because natural instinct revolts at it as wrong.” But in 1967, those nasty “activist judges” of the United States Supreme Court – in a unanimous decision – struck down all such laws and declared marriage was “one of the basic civil rights of man,” and the freedom to marry was “essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness” (Loving v. Virginia). Many of the same arguments the “righteous” used in railing against interracial marriage are the same being used today to argue against same-sex marriage. When contemporary courts began striking down laws against such unions, the righteous screeched “legislatures should decide!” When contemporary state legislatures began legalizing same-sex marriage, the righteous – and their GOP sycophants – screeched “the people should decide!

That sounds “democratic,” but Tocqueville was right: there is a worm in the American apple. A 1968 Gallup poll showed 72 percent of Americans opposed interracial marriage and thought it should be recriminalized. Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin put it most succinctly when he asserted that civil rights are not a popularity contest.

“The people” can be misled by propaganda campaigns that use distortions, misrepresentations, scare tactics, and outright lies. That was made abundantly clear by the “Yes on 8” campaign in California, as well as by the National Organization for Marriage’s fear-mongering TV and internet ads.

Over a century ago, Professor James H. Leuba of Bryn Mawr College in suburban Philadelphia stated the obvious: “God is not known, he is not understood; he is used.” Today’s “religious leaders” such as Randall Terry, Albert Mohler, and Benedict XVI bear witness to the truth of that statement. What they advocate is nothing less than theofascism, a hallmark of which is silencing opposition and other points of view. Liberty University took that step.

The founder of Liberty University and one of the other architects of America’s theofascist movement, the late Jerry Falwell, once proclaimed, “The Bible is the inerrant...word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc.”

If the Bible is “infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice,” then why aren’t the self-righteous stoning people who wear clothing made of two different threads or work on the Sabbath? They should be holding religious ceremonies – at least every week – to stone to death non-virgin brides. And surely they should be railing against and damning divorcees. But that would definitely cut into the number of sheeple they control.

On September 8, 2004 – during the height of that year’s pre-election campaign to “save traditional marriage” – the Barna Group, a Christian marketing-research organization, issued a report titled “Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians.” It documented that “among married born again Christians, 35% have experienced a divorce. That figure is identical to the outcome among married adults who are not born again: 35%.” Barna also documented that “nearly one-quarter of the married ‘born agains’ (23%) get divorced two or more times.” No doubt more than a few of those multiple divorces among born-again Christians reported by the Barna Group involved adultery.

As for the Bible being “absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to … geography, science, history,” you’d have to be brain-dead to believe that.

Spirituality should be a means toward transcendence: to take us beyond petty differences. “Religion,” as espoused by Terry, Mohler, and Benedict XVI, does just the opposite. It seeks to divide and build walls between people.
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