Category Archives: Bible

No Homosexual Lifestyle???

In August of last year, the darling of the progressive Christian world, John Pavlovitz, wrote a post titled Repeat After Me: “There is No Such Thing as a “Homosexual Lifestyle.”  What?!? No homosexual lifestyle? I find that hard to believe. I mean, if there’s no “homosexual lifestyle”, that means I’ve been an asshole for absolutely no reason whatsoever. That is a turn of events I just cannot accept.

Look, there are numerous places where the Bible plainly states homosexuality is a sin. Here are a few of those places:

  • In Leviticus 18:22, God told Moses that men shouldn’t lie with men as they do with women because that is an abomination. Of course, a few chapters earlier, God also told Moses that the people shouldn’t eat pork and shrimp. But, I love pork and shrimp, so I ignore that part. Thank you, God, for the miracle of proof-texting!
  • In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul said that “homosexuals” won’t “inherit the kingdom of God”. Yes, I know the word “homosexual” doesn’t appear in the Bible until the middle of the 20th century. But, the words that have been rendered as “homosexual” are slang terms and we really don’t know what they mean. But, hey, if we don’t know what Paul meant, what’s wrong with interpreting it in a way that benefits us “normal”, straight folks?
  • In Romans 1:26-28, Paul tells us that men and women gave up natural, God-ordained relations and defiled themselves with icky, same-sex shenanigans and were promptly punished for it. Sure, in the very next chapter, Paul tells us that God condemns the kind of judgement he just threw out, but that doesn’t help my case, so I’m ignoring it.

Seriously, is this man, this “pastor”, trying to tell me that my deeply held religious belief about the homosexuals, based on a Bible verses that have been few proof-texted and cherry-picked within an inch of their life, is wrong? Really?

According to Pavlovitz, “We all have a gender identity and a sexual orientation and these things all fall along a vast and complicated continuum. It is this specific combination of both how we see ourselves and who we are drawn to that form this essential part of who we are.” Oh, come on, “gender identity” and “sexual orientation”? Everyone knows God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. And, Eve was always Eve, not Steve who decided he was Eve. No less an authority than the Southern Baptist Convention backs this up in their resolution “On Transgender Identity”. How could that many Baptists be wrong about something like this?

He also says that the Christians are holding onto “the prejudices and fears our faith inherited 3500 years ago when we didn’t know what we know now” and is “deliberately choosing to not know now; preferring religion to reality”. Well, of course we are. Otherwise we might have to change. And, if there’s one thing we don’t do very well, it’s change.

Look, the bottom line is that accepting homosexuality as innate and not a “lifestyle” is just another step onto the slippery slope that will ultimately lead Christians to live by the teachings of Jesus and start loving our neighbor and turning the other cheek. God only knows where that could lead.

Making Jesus Great Again

Now, that’s my kind of savior!

Since we elected Donald Trump to make America great again, I think we need to take some steps to make Christianity great, too. Now, most of you probably believe that Christianity is already great. I mean, God did answer the prayers of hundreds of thousands of Christians in giving the election to Donald Trump and all, but you have to admit, there are areas of Christianity that could use some work. Like all that non-violence talk and the stuff about money that libtards yammer on about. But, the starting point for all this has to be giving Jesus a makeover. And, boy, does he need it.

What, you don’t think we need a new Jesus? Boy, have you got your head in the sand. I mean seriously, turn the other cheek and love your neighbor? What a cuck. No, if we’re going to make this religion (and this country) great again, we need to follow a real manly man, a jacked Jesus, if you will. I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to follow some little pussy who won’t even fight back.

To accomplish this makeover, we’re going to have tip over a few sacred cows. Like, for instance, the Bible. That will probably be the biggest obstacle in branding our new and improved alt-savior. Yes, I know the Bible is the pure, unadulterated Word of God and every syllable is literally true and needs no interpretation. But, seriously, we’ve been furtively working the Good Book to our benefit for centuries, what with all the proof-texting and cherry picking. All I’m saying is we stop sneaking and come out in the open.

Our most common weapon should be to just ignore the verses we don’t like and focus hard on the ones we do. Like, we just omit all those inconvenient calls to non-violence that Jesus issued and concentrate on the one that goes, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Easy peasy, right? Like I said, we’ve been doing this shit for years. And, the ones we can’t ignore just need a little tweaking; you know, sort of like Andy Schlafly did with his Conservative Bible project.

Take that “turn the other cheek” bullshit. In Matthew 5:38-39, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” With just a little work, it becomes “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But, I tell you do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, pop that motherfucker in the face.” Now, that’s a guy I can respect!

I’m telling you, this won’t be that difficult. I mean, we already elected a thrice-divorced casino owner who has committed adultery on numerous occasions, made multiple semi-incestuous comments about his daughter and appeared on the cover of Playboy, and cited our faith for doing so. All this new movement will require is selling what’s left of our souls and giving up the few principles we have left. How hard can that be?

__________________________

Special thanks to Alaina Cobb for the inspiration and revised Bible verse. I couldn’t have done it without you, friend!

The Spray-Tanned, Tiny Handed Devil

"See, not so short!"
“See, not so short!”

Over the weekend, I offered space here on “The Progressive Redneck” to anyone who is a member of the groups worried about their future under a Donald Trump presidency. The first person to take me up on that offer is my friend, Joshua Allen. I first met Josh when I was volunteering at Love Wins Ministries and he was a intern from the Campbell Divinity School. So you’ll know where he’s coming from, I share this bio he sent me:

Joshua Allen is a graduate of Campbell University Divinity School that spends his days playing with Japanese kids and teaching Japanese teenagers, and his nights musing about life while in the Japanese countryside of Aomori Prefecture. When he isn’t begging his students to try to speak English during class, he is jogging, exercising, or youtubing to pass the time. He spends his weekends doing disaster relief volunteer work.

He was born and raised in the sleepy town of Dunn, North Carolina and spent most of his life somewhere in North Carolina. Because of his mixed heritage, his father is a Salvadoran immigrant, he was often bullied by white kids as a “half-breed.” He channeled that anger into a college education and fight for those marginalized by society. He hopes to continue that fight, even in the countryside of rural Japan.

He was once a hard-line fundamentalist, but after college and subsequently graduate school, he now rails against the dangers of fundamentalism from the perspective of one that used to be in the thick of things.

As you can see, he offers a unique perspective on what’s happening in the U. S. these days. His contribution is a little long, but well worth the time it will take to read it:

There is no hiding it. This election cycle and the results have been devastating. Not only for many Latinos, LGBT, African-Americans, and Muslims but for me especially as the son of a Salvadoran immigrant and as an American who believes that without reservation the words of our forefathers that all men were created equal. Because I’m in the Japanese countryside I won’t experience much of the hate that my fellow Americans are experiencing now (even as I write this, Trump has had to tell his followers to stop harassing minorities). But I still feel afraid. Both for all the marginalized groups in America and my family.

I have a lot to say to my fellow Americans about what has transpired but I first want to address the Evangelicals and the Christians that voted for Trump. If you aren’t or if you are but you voted for Trump for non-religious reasons, this is not for you. You can scroll past. To those left I say this:

If you honestly believe that you are doing ‘God’s work’ and ‘God is in control,’ or you thought that Trump was the Christian candidate, you have sold your souls to the devil. Only this time, the demon didn’t take the form of red imp with a pitchfork. He is manifested as a red spray tanned white man with bobby pinned hair and tiny hands. Your hypocrisy has never been on more fully on display. How so? I’m glad you asked:

You all have embraced a man that called for a shutdown of refugees entering the USA when your own Bible says that we should welcome the alien into our homes and treat them as a native

LEVITICUS 19:34

You have embraced a man that proposed building a wall to keep out ‘rapists’ (even though evidence indicates that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than their native-born counterparts) when your own Bible calls for you to be welcoming of the outsider.

DEUTERONOMY 10:18

You have embraced a man that has demeaned women all throughout his life, bragged vociferously about his sexual accomplishments and that has been married three times, and if that weren’t enough, has been featured in Playboy when your own Bible, the supposed “Word of God,” demands sexual purity.

1 CORINTHIANS 6:18

You have embraced a man that mocked a disabled reporter just because he wrote something mean about him, when your Bible demands that you take care of the crippled!!

EZEKIEL 34: 3-5

You have embraced a man that has bragged enthusiastically about how much money he has when your own Bible states that a man of God is to be humble.

ROMANS 12:13

You have embraced a man that boasted that he never asked God for forgiveness and bragged on twitter about how he believed that he was perfect when your religion commands that we seek repentance and that we are most certainly not perfect

LUKE 18:14

You have embraced a man that actually attacked women that accused former Fox News Chair Roger Ailes of sexual harassment when your religion commands that you identify with the oppressed

PSALMS 82:3

You have embraced a man that has lied about so many things: his lack of support for the Iraq War, his donations, his tax returns, his feud with John Oliver, about meeting Vladimir Putin, and many others, the list goes on and on when your religion stresses truth telling.

PROVERBS 26:28 AND EPHESIANS 4:15

Do you understand your hypocrisy? Not yet?! Okay I’ll continue

You all have actually embraced as your representative and as the man that you want as your leader of a “Christian Nation” a man who has proposed racial profiling when your religion says that ALL are one in Christ

GALATIANS 3:28

You all have embraced a man as your righteous one, a man that has suggested that there be ideological certifications for immigrants when not only is that what radical Islam does in other countries, but the history of your own religion is rife with stories about how well that worked out for you all.

You have actually embraced a man that has claimed to love the Bible, but couldn’t even name a single damn verse when pressed and couldn’t even pronounce the name of a book correctly (And before you even ask, mine are Ecclesiastes 1:1, Matthew 5:43, and Luke 9:25) when your freaking Bible says that the Word of God is supposed to be in our hearts and in our minds!!!

PSALMS 119:11

You all are willing to elect a man, that has proposed jailing his political opponent over some emails when your religion says that we are to love our enemy

MATTHEW 5:43

You all have embraced a man that ran a scam/bogus university with a manual that contained directions to its staff on what to do if the attorney general shows up, and who plagiarized portions of that university’s manual when one of the founding tenants of your faith is “Thou shalt not steal”

DO I EVEN NEED TO CITE THAT….

You all have embraced a man who stiffed foreign workers on his worksites, when your religious text says, plainly and without any need for contextual explanation, that a worker deserves his wages

LUKE 10:7 AND 1 TIMOTHY 5:18

You all have sold your religion, your characters, your ideals, your beliefs, your history, your churches, and your souls to a pompous, bombastic, malevolent, puerile, bacchanalian, acrimonious, pedantic, disputatious bully!

Congratulations! You all have lost every last bit of propriety to say that you represent Christianity in the political realm. You all have been exposed for the lying, hypocritical, living political satire that you all became years ago when you sold your souls to the Republican Party and while doing so have further alienated and marginalized the very citizens that you share the country with and those that Jesus demands we identify with.

The Biblical And Moral Case For Trump?

This is the man that evangelical Christians are lining up behind. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.
Is there a moral or biblical imperative to vote for this man?

Like a lot of folks this election season, evangelicals are struggling with the “lesser of two evils” argument. Interestingly, many of them are reacting the same way as progressives: contemplating either a third-party vote or not voting at all. Today, I want to address a couple of  articles advising evangelical and fundamentalist Christians on how they should vote by laying out a biblical or moral case for Donald Trump.

The first is from Wayne Grudem, titled “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice“. The second is “To The “Never Trumper”- A Biblical Case For Trump” (no author credited). Perhaps the most interesting thing about these two articles is that neither present anything particularly biblical or moral about Trump. I wondered why that might be and began comparing some of Trump’s actions and words with scripture and found that much of what The Donald has said, done or proposed flies in the face of almost everything Chirstians stand for. Here are a few examples:

  • “I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There’s a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we’re not allowed punch back anymore. … I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.”_  “But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well.” Matthew 5:39
  • “It’s a horrible thing. They’re using them as shields. But we’re fighting a very politically correct war. And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families.” _ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you, so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44-45
  • “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,”_ “I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:36 (Not a direct quote, but a policy position)
  • “(Cruz’s) father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right, prior to his being shot? And nobody even brings it up…, What was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.” _ “The Lord detests false lips; he favors those who do what is true.” Proverbs 12:22 (So many Trump statements have been proven false, it is not feasible to list them all here. I chose this one as a representative sample because it’s one of the most outrageous.)
  • “I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.” _ “Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
  • “My entire life, I’ve watched politicians bragging about how poor they are, how they came from nothing, how poor their parents and grandparents were. And I said to myself, if they can stay so poor for so many generations, maybe this isn’t the kind of person we want to be electing to higher office. How smart can they be? They’re morons.” _ “But if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God remain in him?” 1 John 3:17

These are just a few of the things that I found and I believe that they, along with the scripture references provided, conclusively debunk the idea that there is a biblical or moral context to vote for Donald Trump. You can vote for the man if you want, but you probably shouldn’t use the Bible to justify it. Because it just doesn’t hold up.

Unicorns and Dinosaurs and Bears! Oh My!

Coming soon? Shit, they're already here!
Coming soon? Shit, they’re already here!

You may not know this, but Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter opened last week. You probably didn’t know because there wasn’t much fanfare outside of evangelical/fundamentalist circles. Well, that is unless you count the people pissed off about the fact that a privately owned, overtly religious theme park got an $18 million dollar tax break even though Kentucky is one of the poorest and hungriest states in the nation. Isn’t that nice?

Now, I’m not going to go on a tear about how this tax break violates the 1st Amendment, even though it does. And, I’m not going to talk about how much the whole thing cost ($100 million) and how Answers in Genesis could have better spent that money. Instead, I’ll just talk about the Ark and let you work the rest out for yourself.

The Ark Encounter, and its sister attraction the Creation museum, are both the brain children of Answers in Genesis. AiG is a Young Earth group headed up by the aforementioned, Ken Ham, aka America’s leading creationist . You probably remember him from his debate with Bill Nye (everyone’s favorite Science Guy) about the origins of the universe a couple of years ago.

Those of us who believe the earth is older than Ham and his associates claim thought that Nye won the debate. But, that may not be so. Ham contends that the debate helped stimulate fund-raising for the Ark Park. Man, talk about getting bit in the ass.

So, what hath Ken Ham wrought in the hinterlands of Kentucky? According to the park’s website, it is “a full-size Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old.”

Modern engineering marvel? Dude, there are a lot of things in this world more marvelous than your “ark”. Unless you built it with Stone Age (or possibly very early Bronze Age) tools, that is. Otherwise, it’s just a big-ass building.

I don’t know if you picked up on it or not, but the fine folks at AiG have built a boat that won’t float. As my friend (not to mention, faithful reader) Suzanne asked, “How is a boat that won’t float supposed to inspire awe and reverence?” How indeed.

Here’s the thing: it’s never been about inspiring awe and reverence. It’s about soaking the rubes. You see, admission to the Ark is $40 and from what I’ve seen, everywhere you turn, there’s something else to separate people from their hard-earned cash. 

 But, before I get all cynical, let’s talk about what’s on Kenny’s ark.  For the record, the following observations are drawn from a video posted on the Friendly Atheist site. There appear to be animatronic displays of Noah and his family engaged in various activities, cages of small “animals” (nothing in them except an audio player to generate animal sounds), models of larger ones and “educational” displays about how Noah might have pulled off this amazing feat.
Among those larger animals are…, wait for it: unicorns and dinosaurs. That’s right, my friends, Ham’s Ark contains both mythical animals and creatures who died out millions of years before humans existed in any form; not just our current modern iteration, but any  form.  Holy shit.
I really don’t know what to say about that. It takes some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to believe that either type of animal was on the ark Or, in the case of unicorns, even fucking existed.
Of course, we are talking about people who reject the massive weight of scientific evidence that the world is over 4 billion years old in favor of an idea from some preacher who “calculated” the age of the Earth from Old Testament stories.  When that’s your frame of reference, I guess unicorns aren’t that big a deal.
Remember what I said about “separating people from their hard-earned cash”? Well, according to the correspondent from TFA, the entire first floor is basically one big store. AiG’s money-grubbing and avarice are on full display with the Ark Encounter and I think they have a lot of nerve calling themselves “Christians”.
Unfortunately, as long as Americans are gullible enough to believe this bullshit and line up to fill Ham’s coffers, they’ll keep pimping their fucked up view of the Gospel. In case it’s not obvious, I’m not very happy about that.

 

 

In Praise of the Anti-hero

I think this the logo for a skateboard company. But it's so cool, I just have to use it.
I think this the logo for a skateboard company. But it’s so cool, I just have to use it.

Regular readers here at the Progressive Redneck are probably aware that I’m a bit of a nerd. Not necessarily a classical nerd; I was never a member of the Pocket Protector Alliance and the endless arguments over the best gaming system don’t interest me in the least. If I had to categorize myself, I’d have to say I’m a book nerd. I love the written word; every bit of it, from Shakespeare to the most ridiculous science fiction novel. And, that includes comic books

When I was a kid, after every doctor visit, my mom would stop at the drug store in Pleasant Garden, NC to fill whatever prescription the doctor had written. Every time we walked in the door, I would make a beeline for the comic books and spent the entire visit perusing the selection. This inspection was crucial because, as a reward for not being too much of a pain in the ass, Mama would allow me to pick out one book. I haven’t been in that store for 40 years or more, but this memory is just as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

Comic books have changed since I was kid; they’re darker and more complex. But, a lot of the heroes I remember from those days are still around: Batman, Superman, Captain American, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, etc. Growing up, Batman was probably my favorite, something about a guy who dressed like a bat to operate as a vigilante appealed to me. I’ve never cared much for Superman; he’s too perfect. Even with all that teen angst bullshit, Spiderman was way more interesting to me.

You may have figured this out already, but I like my heroes just a little…, broken. I guess that’s why I’ve always preferred Marvel over DC, Batman over Superman. In fact, I believe one of the best comic book series ever published is Vertigo’s Hellblazer featuring John Constantine. A sorcerer with a smart mouth and a rather ambiguous moral code, Constantine is the essential anti-hero. And, one of the most interesting characters put to ink in a long time.

I feel the same way about biblical heroes, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jesus and all that, but I can’t really relate to the guy. With all the bullshit he had to contend with, he only got mad twice. TWICE. If I had to put up with all the bullshit he did, I’d have been in a constant homocidal rage. Fortunately, there are other characters that are more on my level. Like David, for instance.

David is one of the most human characters in the Bible. He constantly fucks up, from allying with his people’s most implacable enemy, the Philistines, to raping Bathsheba and murdering her husband; we’re talking about one fucked up dude. But, it’s that brokenness makes him so relatable. Every time I read David’s story, I think, “Hey, if this guy can stay in God’s good graces, maybe there’s hope for me.”

Then, there’s Jacob, who could’ve been the model for Deadpool. The guy is an aggravating smart ass with an over developed sense of self-worth and a very flexible morality. He cheated his brother out of his inheritance and skipped town hours ahead of a monumental ass-kicking. Then, he cheated his father-in-law, Laban, on several deals over livestock (to be fair, Laban was just as crooked). But, for some reason, God chose him as patriarch of God’s Chosen People.

Lest you think all the screw ups are in the Old Testament, allow me to present Peter, the disciple who, in the words of my friend, Michael Usey, “starts fast and finishes last”. Peter went from believing that he could walk on water because his rabbi said he could, to denying that he even knew Jesus when the chips were down. But, eventually, he came around. And, it only took his head catching on fire for it to happen.

Iconic heroes are boring. I mean, you always know that Superman is going to do the right thing and save the day. And, guys like Tony Stark/Ironman and Deadpool will, too…, eventually. But, their path won’t be anywhere near as straight as Superman’s. And, it will probably fuck a lot of stuff up. But, I guarantee you, it will be much, much more interesting. And, if we have to go there anyway, why not be entertained along the way?

What Does “Alice in Wonderland” Have to Do With HB 2?

AAIWLast year, in a moment of what can only be called “insanity”, I decided that continuing my education would be a nice thing to do with all the time on my hands since retiring. While it has been…, let’s say, challenging, at some points, at others, it has been incredibly interesting. Take, for instance, the banned book essay I’ve been working on the last couple of days. I mean, who knew “Alice in Wonderland” had ever been banned? And, the reasons? Oh, you wouldn’t believe some of the reasons. Like the one I’m going to tell you about today.

It seems that, in 1900, Woodville High School in Haverhill, New Hampshire “suspended” Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” from classroom use. That’s what the sources say, not banned, but “suspended from classroom use” (not sure what the difference is, but it’s very specific about that). Why did they do this? Because they claimed it contained “expletives,sexual content and derogatory characterizations of a teachers and of religious ceremonies”. Well, okay then.

If you’re like me, you’re wondering “Where might these sexual references be found? In the caucus race? The Tea party? Maybe they’re in the Mock Turtle’s story or the Knave of Heart’s trial.” Who knows? Before you start looking for your copy of “Alice” to see if these accusations are true, let me save you the trouble: they are not. I just finished it a couple of weeks ago and I can’t think of anything even remotely sexual in the entire book.

Documentation for Woodsville’s claims is, evidently, lost to posterity; that’s if it even existed in the first place. One of my librarian friends (fyi, you know you’re a nerd if you have more than one friend who’s a librarian. I have two…, that I know of) told me that, quite often, the reasons books are banned hasn’t always been made clear or even given; at least not in writing, anyway. So, we are left with this odd little blurb that casts a less-than-wholesome light on one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. Weird, huh?

Okay, I know that was a lot of background, but I had tell you all that so I could tell you this:  Banning “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” for non-existent “expletives and sexual content” makes about as much sense as forcing trans people into bathrooms where they’re likely to be harassed because you’re afraid of mythical bathroom predators.

Just as I have to wonder what kind of mind can find sexual references in “Alice”, I also have to wonder what kind of mind can justify discriminating against people because they’re a minority, or they’re different, or they’re “scary”, or whatever, all in the name of protecting women and children from a non-existent threat. Especially when that means means exposing someone else’s children to a very real one.

That so many people who support HB 2 (and other similar laws) claim the name of “Christian” blows my mind. How the hell can you claim to follow a man who hung out with hookers, lepers and tax collectors and told his followers to love everyone and then turn around and dump on the most marginalized people in society (duh, trans folks) with laws that push them even further to margins? If you don’t think this kind of thing makes Jesus cry, you don’t know Jesus. At all.

The Bible Is Literally True?

Bible literalismOne of my most fertile fields for developing blog posts is in the car. Driving requires just enough concentration to quell the manic mental activity brought on by my ADHD and allows me to spend enough time on one subject to put together a coherent thought. Recently, while tooling around town, I thought about all the truly weird shit that’s in the Bible. Then, I thought, “Why would any thinking person believe these insane things actually happened?” (See “Biblical literalism”) My next thought was that maybe these “thinking people” hadn’t actually done a lot of…, well, thinking on this subject. So, I decided to toss out a few nuggets for them to mull over.

  • When you say you believe the Bible is literally true, you’re saying you believe a donkey actually talked to Balaam. That’s right, a talking donkey. Like in Shrek, although not as funny.  And, what did Balaam do when his donkey spoke to him? Why, he had a conversation with it. Like it was the most normal thing in the world. Which, I suppose, could be true if you’re drugs are good enough.
  • When you say you believe the Bible is literally true, you’re saying you believe God sent bears to maul 42 kids for making fun of ElishaYes, you read that right: the God that Christians continually refer to as a “loving father” sent a couple of bears to maul some kids after Elisha “cursed them in the Lord’s name” for calling him “Baldy”. Well, that’s a little embarassing.
  • When you say you believe the Bible is literally true, you’re saying you believe we should stone smart-alecky kidsThat’s right, beloved, the “Good Book” says that if your child is consistently stubborn and rebellious, they should be stoned. And, not in the good way, either. To be fair, though, after raising a couple of teenagers, I can see where this one was coming from.
  • When you say you believe the Bible is literally true, you’re saying you believe Moses actually saw God’s assYep, Moses got a look at God’s butt. Oh sure, it says “back parts”. But, where I come from, that’s “ass” all day long.
  • When you say you believe the Bible is literally true, you’re saying you believe that sheep looking at striped sticks while mating will give birth to striped, speckled, and spotted  babies. . Who knew you could genetically engineer livestock with a few sticks? I’ll bet all those egghead scientists feel pretty stupid when they read this one.
  • When you say you believe the Bible is literally true, you’re saying you believe that God gave the Philistines hemorrhoids for taking the Ark of the Covenant. That’s right, bitches, fuck with God (or even God’s people) and you get hemorrhoids. Been there, done that and, frankly, I’d rather be mauled by bears.

So, do I think this will sway any biblical literalists from their belief that not only can we take the Bible literally, we must take it literally? Sadly, no, I do not. But, it was fun to write and, I hope, fun for you to read. And, who knows, maybe there’s a lone fundamentalist out there, on the verge of breaking through to a new way of looking at the Bible. If so, this will probably drive them right back into the fold. Oh well.

Be Sure To Get Your Lesbian Abortion Cookies

The conservative vision of Girl Scouts?
The conservative vision of Girl Scouts?

Well, friends, it’s that time of year again. It seems that, yet again, conservative Christians have their knickers in a twist over Girl Scout cookies. Yesterday, Franklin Graham took to Facebook to let us know that he’s not buying any this year, because these tasty treats raise funds for the Girl Scouts’ secular humanist, America-wrecking agenda. Fortunately, there is one man standing strong against these feminazi’s in miniature, St. Louis archbishop Robert Carlson.

According to Graham, the archbishop “isn’t worried about being politically correct in letting people know about (the GSA’s agenda) either”, telling his flock that the Girl Scouts’ values run counter to the teachings of the Church. And, why might that be? Because, the GSA welcomes and affirms all girls, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity may be. Oh, the horror!

In what may be the most unintentionally ironic statement ever, Bishop Carlson wrote, “While Catholics are called to treat all people with compassion and mercy, we must at the same time be mindful of whom we allow to teach and form our youth and the messages they present.” I’m not making that up, you guys; a Catholic priest actually said we should be careful about who is allowed to teach our young people. Just let that sink in for a minute.

Of course, it’s not just the GSA’s embrace of kids who are LGBTQ that has Carlson’s panties in a wad; he’s also unhappy with their “continued promotion of contraception and ‘abortion rights’ on behalf of its girl members, the majority of whom are minors”. Yes, we wouldn’t want girls to grow up with the idea they could be anything more than barefoot and pregnant, would we? And, what’s this “girl members” bullshit? Isn’t being a girl, like, the primary requirement for being a Girl Scout? Of course, for a closed-minded douchebag like Carlson, the primary requirement for being a girl is internal plumbing. Or, “having a vagina” in case that’s not clear enough.

If that’s not bad enough, Carlson gave fuller voice to his opposition in a post on the diocese’s website. There, he called into question the GSA’s internal policies that supposedly say that “some parents and troop leaders should not be informed if there is a transgender child in their troop”. Where was this concern when the church was heavily involved in covering up the fact that some of their priests were raping young boys? I guess trans girls are way more dangerous than pedophile priests,

Graham, however, thinks Carlson’s stand is the bee’s knees, saying “Archbishop Carlson is exactly right—the “ways of the world” are incompatible with biblical values.” That’s interesting, since both Carlson and Graham are Christians, which means they follow Jesus and the “biblical values” they espouse must be ones that He set out Let’s look at the one that sums up what Jesus cared most about: John 13:34-35,

“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”

Now, I’m not a biblical scholar, but I’m pretty sure ostracizing and marginalizing some of the most vulnerable among us doesn’t measure up to that commandment. Maybe these two “men of God” (read with al possible sarcasm) should think about that.

 

 

 

What Keeps Me Awake At Night

staying-up-at-nightIn a recent sermon at College Park Baptist Church, pastor Michael Usey asked “What keeps you awake at night?” Then, he had us write those thoughts down on Post it notes and stick them on the wall. Afterwards, the notes were gathered and compiled for a word cloud that showed up on the following Sunday’s bulletin. I participated, scribbling down something about “poverty”, “homelessness” or some other socially acceptable topic. And, while those things are on my mind, they aren’t the only things. Hell, sometimes, they aren’t even the most pressing things (In case you didn’t know, I’m nowhere as deep as I make out). Most of time, what goes in my head is…, well, a little weird. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

  • When Noah got hammered.  After the flood was over and things were settling down, Noah planted a vineyard and made some wine. Then, he got drunk and passed out naked in his tent.  While he was sleeping it off, Ham walked in, “saw his father’s nakedness” and went told his brothers about it.  Shem and Japheth took a robe, walked in backward and covered Noah up.  When he woke up and found what had happened, Noah cursed Ham and set his brothers over him.  All that for seeing him naked? Seems a little harsh to me. I’ve gotta think something else was going on here.
  •  Did Moses drop the F-bomb when he found out he wasn’t getting into the Promised Land?   Think about that one for a minute.  The guy busts his ass for over 40 years, leading a bunch whiny complainers who were never satisfied with anything he did and then, just because he screwed up once (at Meribah), all he gets to do is look at the Promised Land from Mount Nebo.  And, that’s after he gave the Israelites some parting directions and pronounced a blessing on them.  Seriously? I’d have kicked dirt all over God’s shoes and told everyone else to kiss my ass.
  • The story of Elisha and the smart-alecky kids  One day, the prophet Elisha was walking along, minding his own business when a bunch of kids came along and started making fun of his bald head.  Elisha cursed them and they ran off.  As they did, a couple of bears came along and mauled all 42 of the little assholes.  Okay, there’s nothing I’m wondering about here, I just wanted a reason to include this picture:

elishabears

  • Why were the disciples so thick-headed?  These dudes spent almost every waking moment with Jesus for 3 years and they didn’t get what he was talking about until Pentecost? Really? There’s also a follow-up question, here: How did Jesus keep from smacking shit out of them?
  • What happened after Jesus raised Lazarus?  The Bible says that when Jesus got to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for days.  Four days. In the Middle East.  You know he was rank by then.  Did Jesus have to put in any extra work to make Lazarus presentable?  I think he must have, because you can’t take enough showers to fix that kind of stink.
  • Would Paul have mellowed out if he’d gotten some action?  And, if he did, what would that have done to Christianity?  Think about this for a minute: if Paul was getting it on the regular, would he have had the drive to spread the faith the way he did?  I suppose it’s possible, but in my experience, once you crack the seal on sex, it pretty much takes over. Which means Christianity might not be as big a deal as it is now, but we would be able to knock boots without so much guilt. And, would that be such a bad thing?

So, there you go; just a few of the things that keep me awake at night.