Category Archives: cognitive dissonance

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!

Radical Islam? How About Radical Christianity?

radical islamIt’s been almost two weeks since “He who shall not be named” walked into an Orlando nightclub and perpetrated the worst mass shooting in American history. And, as you might expect, the bullshit is flying hot and heavy. Perhaps the heaviest is the Republican’s refusal to even acknowledge that this was a hate crime. I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it all pretty goddamned tedious.

So, if the shooter wasn’t motivated by hatred for people who are LGBTQ, why did he do it? The Republican answer? “Radical Islam”, of course. And, they are pulling out all the stops to deflect attention from any other option. Unfortunately for them, it’s not really working, what with all the news coverage of the Senate filibuster and House sit-in.

This inability to control the narrative is causing some desperation on the part of the GOP, leading to events like Louie Gohmert jumping up in the middle of the House Democrat’s sit-in and screaming, “Radical Islam killed these people!” The whole thing might be funny if it wasn’t because of 49 dead folks.

But, Republican temper tantrums aside, there is a “radical” element behind what happened in Orlando and it is part of an Abrahamic religion. It is not, however, the one founded by Mohammed. It’s the one that’s responsible for every shitty act committed against people who are LGBTQ: Christianity.

Why would I say such a thing? Well, let’s take a look at this term, “radical Islam”, and see what it means. If you leave out sites that have an obvious axe to grind, there’s not much on the internet concerning its meaning. I could find only one unbiased option, The Free Dictionary, which defines it as, “An Islamic revivalist movement, often characterized by moral conservatism, literalism, and the attempt to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life.” 

So, is there a strain of Christianity in America that could be characterized by “moral conservatism, literalism, and the attempt to implement (its) values in all spheres of life”? Maybe a group that constantly shouts about “religious freedom” because people they’ve spent years demonizing and pushing to the margins is now beginning to be treated as equal citizens? Or, even human beings, for that matter.  The answer is, of course, yes. And, you don’t have to look very far to find it.

Within hours of the news, a number of “Christian pastors” publicly celebrated what happened in that nightclub. In several cases, their message was almost identical, referring to the victims as “predators”, “pedophiles” and “sodomites” and saying that Orlando was safer with these people gone. Yes, beloved, you read that right: men who claim to be ministers of the Gospel praised the deaths of 49 children of God.

By any stretch of the imagination, what these preachers have said is no different from the words of Muslim fundamentalists who say that LGBT people should be put to death. One of these “radical Islamists”, Farrokh Sekaleshfar, said, “We have to have that compassion for people. With homosexuals, it’s the same. Out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now.” So, if men like Sekaleshfar “radical Islamists”, why aren’t Christians who praise the death of so many people who are LGBTQ “radical Christians”?

Maybe it’s because the phrase “radical Islam” really means “Islam in general”. All too many people in this country have a skewed view of Islam and it’s not good. Mention “peace” and “Islam” in the same breath around some folks and you’ll get an earful. More than likely, they won’t bother with the qualifier “radical”. And, let’s not forget that old stand by, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims.” (hint: they aren’t)

But, I can understand the Republican’s desperation to make Orlando about “radical Islam” even though we can’t find any link to ISIS. Times are changing and this kind of rabid anti-LGBT sentiment is quickly becoming a millstone around the neck of anyone running for office. But, unfortunately for the GOP, what happened in Orlando isn’t about Islam, radical or otherwise. No, it can only be laid squarely at the feet of Christianity. And, if we’re being honest, not just the “radical” kind.

Stop Bullying NC!

Bet you can't guess which one of these guys is a bully.
Bet you can’t guess which one of these guys is a bully.

In the days since North Carolina’s “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” (aka, House Bill 2), its backers have used no small amount of time, energy and effort to assure us it will not hurt our state’s economy. As HB 2 has been law for almost 3 weeks, I thought I’d take a look at how that notion is holding up.

First, a little background. Two days after he signed HB 2 into law, Governor McCrory’s office issued a press release that said the law would have no effect on NC’s ability to create or recruit new jobs. That same day, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest told the Hollywood Reporter that “Businesses will continue to move here, and the businesses that are complaining right now will continue to do business in this great state.” And, on April 8th, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), told reporters at the ribbon cutting of a new VA center in Charlotte that he didn’t think HB 2 would keep businesses from moving here. Well, okay then.

So, how do things stand now? Well, a few days after Gov. McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law, Lionsgate and A & E, both filming productions here, declared that once those projects are finished, they won’t be back until the law is repealed. Then, on April 5th, PayPal announced that they were backing out of major expansion plans in the Charlotte area, costing that city at least 400 new jobs. And, on April 8th, Bruce Springsteen canceled his show  at the Greensboro Auditorium, resulting in a loss of $100,000 in revenue.

Now, I want to point out something to you. Notice the date of Burr’s comment I mentioned in an earlier paragraph. Now, look at the dates of the companies in the previous one. Do you see it? Our senior senator said that he didn’t think HB 2 would keep businesses from moving here. after multiple businesses had already stated their intent to leave NC. Or, not come here in the first place. Holy shit, y’all.

Now, lesser politicians would be deterred by this avalanche of bad news and scramble to amend the offending statute, hopefully keeping our state from going completely off the rails economically. But, not our Governor and his partners in crime colleagues. No, these stalwart defenders of women and children stood firm against this onslaught of LGBT oppression, decrying it as…, bullying.

You read that right, beloved; white, Christian cisgender people are complaining that they’re being “bullied”. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) said that he considered Springsteen’s cancellation “a bully tactic” and compared The Boss to a kid who takes his ball and goes home when he doesn’t get his way. Walker also said that Justin Bieber was scheduled to perform in Greensboro and that he might attend. Wait, we’ve sent a Belieber to Congress? Shit.

Walker isn’t the only Republican who feels bullied by LGBT activists; Michelle Nix, vice chair of the NC GOP, denounced PayPal’s action as “corporate hypocrisy and bullying” because the company has done business in countries with less than stellar human rights records, especially concerning LGBT issues. Yes, Michelle, pointing out PayPal’s ethical shortcomings is the perfect way to convince them to stay in North Carolina.

What might persuade PayPal and all the other companies who said they’ll pass us by for less backward (and discriminatory) pastures? I’m thinking that if the Republicans who passed HB 2 would stop whining about our state suffering the consequences of their stupidity and repeal this abomination of a law, it might just do the trick. Of course, that would be the smart thing to do, so I’m not holding my breath until it happens.

Christians For Trump Pt II

This is the man that evangelical Christians are lining up behind. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.
This is the man behind whom more and more evangelical Christians are lining up. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.

On a recent episode of “Last Week Tonight“, John Oliver said, “Donald Trump is America’s back mole. It may have seemed harmless a year ago. But, now that it got frighteningly bigger, it is no longer wise to ignore it.” And, much as I wish he wasn’t, he is absolutely right. Especially since Trump is starting to pick up endorsements. The political ones, like Chris Christie or Jeff Sessions, don’t bother me a whole lot. Christie’s performance in the primaries shows that Americans think he’s a tool and Sessions has only to open his mouth for people to figure that out. No, it’s the religious leaders jumping on the Trump bandwagon that are most disconcerting to me.

Yes, beloved, I said “religious leaders”. Amazingly, The Donald is picking up a good deal of support among evangelical Christians. The list of endorsements from that quarter reads like a Who’s Who of the Religious Right. There’s

  • Jerry Falwell, Jr.
  • Kenneth and Gloria Copeland
  • David Jeremiah
  • Jan Crouch
  • Paula White
  • Robert Jeffress

This list is not exhaustive, it only includes the ones I could verify this morning.

There is one endorsement that I feel deserves more than a mere mention in a list and it comes from James David Manning, “pastor” of ATLAH World Ministries. In the past, Manning has claimed that Starbucks uses semen to make their lattes “even more flavorful” and that gay men would “carry babies in the testicles for nine months and then gestate them out of their assholes” before the City of New York foreclosed on his church for non-payment of water bills. Understand that if you’re backing Trump, you agree with this psycho. Chew on that for a minute.

Of course, Manning isn’t the only “controversial” figure who has come out in support of The Donald; there’s a group with views even more disgusting than Manning’s who are lining up behind Trump: white supremacists. And, he’s cool with that.

Okay, given his comments about Islam and immigration, it’s really no surprise that Ku Klux Klan chiefs like Rachel  Pendergraft (national organizer for the Knights Party, a KKK standard-bearer) and former Grand Wizard David Duke like what they hear. But, it is more than a little shocking that, in 2016, a candidate for the highest office in the land refuses to disavow their support. This is not a joke, people. Trump actually refused, on national television, to condemn an endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan.

Yesterday, on CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper gave The Donald multiple chances to distance himself from these people. Tapper brought up Duke’s message to white people that voting against Trump would be “treason to your heritage” and Trump…, well,  you just have to watch it for yourself:

Well, that’s “problematic” (and yes, I realize that is an understatement of massive proportions). But, even more problematic is the fact that it doesn’t seem to bother the Christians who are flocking to his campaign. You’d think the last thing people who follow Jesus would want is to be allied with representatives of what may be the most odious organization in American history (the GOP is coming on strong). But, I guess not. There’s no outrage, no calls for a boycott of all things Trump. Basically, there’s just silence. So far, all I’ve seen is Robert Jeffress’ answer to The Daily Beast’s request for a comment:  “Thanks but I think I’ll pass on this one!”

Siding with the Klan is right where you want to be as a Christian, isn’t it? You know, it’s one thing to watch Trump bullshit his way through hard questions (which are “hard” because he can’t answer the way he should for fear alienating a large part of his base), but it’s another to see a Christian run from the opportunity to call Trump out for not rejecting the support of such an awful group. It’s called “speaking truth to power” and it used to be a thing in Christianity. But, these days? Not so much, it seems.

Don’t Do It, Charlotte? Too Late, They Done Did It

satire def
^^^Because some people are irony-impaired.^^^

So, the Charlotte city council recently voted to allow transgenders to use whatever bathroom they damn well please. Well, beloved, if you need a sign of the moral degeneration currently taking place in the United States, here it is. I mean, we’re seriously going to let men use women’s bathrooms just because they claim to “feel like a woman”? If it’s not immediately struck down, we’re headed for a disaster of biblical proportions! Complete with human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria.

You may think that response is a little over the top, but you’d be oh so wrong. You see, in the two days since Charlotte passed this abomination, some of North Carolina’s most God-fearing leaders have begun shouting from the mountain tops to alert the citizens that the dreaded “gay agenda” is attempting to take over our fair state.

As I told you a couple of weeks ago, Franklin Graham spoke up about the menace to our children represented in this legal anathema. And, right before the vote, Governor Pat McCrory emailed the two conservative stalwarts on the council to inform them that passage would “most likely cause immediate state legislative intervention.” Yesterday, Speaker of the NC House Tim Moore released a statement that legislators are planning a bill to block not only Charlotte’s ordinance, but also in any other similar laws passed in the state. Thank you, God, for men such as these.

Make no mistake, brothers and sisters, this is the moral crisis of our generation and we need to stand strong. Oh sure, several NC communities are all over lists of the hungriest cities in the nation and, a list of municipalities where poverty is growing the fastest includes the four largest cities in the state, but who cares about a bunch of deadbeats now that the government has decided to take up for the gays? Even worse, they want to protect a bunch of she-males? There’s a word for those people and we all know what it is (it starts with “pr” and ends with “edator”).

Is there any basis for the fear that child molesters will use this “bathroom bill” as a way to find little girls for their nefarious purposes? Of course not. Are there, in fact, multiple places where such ordinances have been on the books for several years and haven’t resulted in an increase in sexual assault or rape? Absolutely (see above link). Stop clouding the issue with facts, damn it!

Look, I know that persecuting gays and trannies seems to fly in the face of Christianity since Christians suffered awful persecution in the days of the early church and we follow a man who taught to us love and accept everyone, not just people who look like us. And, a Republican-controlled legislature passing laws to subvert a city council’s decision seems utterly absurd, as they constantly remind us that the GOP is the party of small government. But, seriously, none of that matters. Things are changing and, as a straight, white, cisgender (and by “cisgender”, I mean “normal”) man, I am terrified that gays and the transgenders might  treat me as bad as I’ve treated them. I’m not sure I could stand that.

Franklin Graham Does It Again.

Evidently, this is what keeps Franklin Graham awake at night.
Evidently, this is what keeps Franklin Graham awake at night.

In the past, I’ve referred to Franklin Graham and his colleagues as the gift that keeps on giving. But, honestly, this is one gift I could do without. So, what has uber-knob political activist Reverend Franklin Graham done to warrant my attention this time? Well, he’s on his soapbox about Charlotte’s proposed non-discrimination ordinance.  Again (he did this same shit, last year).

That’s right, beloved, a man who calls himself a Christian pastor has his panties in a wad over a law that would prevent people from being discriminated against. I repeat: a Christian pastor has his panties in a wad over a law that would prevent people from being discriminated against. I’ll pause for minute to let that sink in.

Why is Graham so upset about this ordinance? Because it adds protection for people who are LGBTQ, that’s why. Now, you’d think someone who claims to follow the way of Jesus, a man who stood up for the marginalized and oppressed to the point of dying on a cross, would embrace a law that protects a group of people who are the current poster children for being marginalized and oppressed in America. If you do, you’re probably from outer space, because that almost never happens. Or, at least not anywhere near as often as it should.

Graham is riled up because “the proposed ordinance has wording to include ‘gender identity’”, which would allow any man to say “they feel like a woman that day and enter the women’s restroom at any public facility or the showers at public gyms by mandate of law” because “Gender identity is what an individual “feels” their gender is regardless of the biological reality.” I’m not making any of this up. What you see here are direct quotes from Graham’s Facebook status on matter.

Normally, we’re told that bathroom laws like this one open the door to predators looking for sweet, innocent girls to snatch up (a “moral panic” that has about as much basis in reality as the Satanic child abduction epidemic of the 80’s). But, Graham’s main concern is, get this: Christian persecution.

Yes, friends, this “man of God” opposes an ordinance that guarantees protections for people on the margins of society who are actually persecuted and oppressed because of some imaginary persecution and oppression that might be inflicted on people who have persecuted and oppressed the people this ordinance will help because it will prevent them from, well, persecuting and oppressing people. If that seems hard to follow, it should. Graham’s whole argument is just ridiculous.

Graham also says, “LGBT activists are trying to hook their caboose to the ‘freedom train’ and drag their immoral agenda into our communities by claiming that this is a civil rights issue. Civil rights issues are very real and important — but don’t be fooled, this isn’t one of them. I heard one African-American minister say recently that ‘the freedom train doesn’t stop at Sodom and Gomorrah.'” And, that is certainly true, Unfortunately, neither Graham nor his colleague seem to understand what the sin of Sodom actually was.

You see, in the book of Ezekiel, the prophet said:

This is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were proud, had plenty to eat, and enjoyed peace and prosperity; but she didn’t help the poor and the needy.

Now, I’m not a biblical scholar (neither is Graham, as he never went to seminary), but from what I can see, the “Sodom and Gomorrah” reference is more applicable to Graham’s words than a law meant to help people in need.

If I could sit down and have a little chat with Franklin, I’d tell him, “Look, if you want to say ugly things about folks, or even promote morally bankrupt ideas like the one that says non-discrimination ordinances oppress Christians by not allowing them to persecute people who are LGBTQ, I can’t stop you. But, I really, really wish you wouldn’t say you’re doing it in the name of God. because God doesn’t have a damn thing to do with that kind of crap. Frankly, God’s getting as tired of your bullshit as the rest of us and wishes you’d just shut the hell up.”

Ted Cruz And The Religious Right: A Match Made In Heaven(?)

Ted Cruz Declares Holy War

To say that this Republican primary season has been a 3-ring circus is like saying George W. Bush wasn’t a very good president: true, but an understatement of mind-boggling proportions. Most of that circus atmosphere is a result of one candidate: human hair ball Donald Trump.

As if the mere fact that this online-comments-section-come-to-life is dominating an actual political party’s primaries wasn’t bad enough, things on got even worse when self-professed “Mama Grizzly” Sarah Palin endorsed Trump in a speech that was breath-taking in its abuse of reason, the English language and pretty much anything else that comes to mind.

Of course, the media and the hosts of certain late-night TV shows are ecstatic at this developement. Many of us, however, recoil in disgust at whatever incendiary statement crosses the Donald’s lips (and generally scratch our heads at whatever spills out of Palin in her bizarre stream-of-consciousness romps). Progressives, in particular, lose their minds when Trump’s latest repellant pronouncement comes across their social media feeds (because let’s face it, no good progressive actually watches television anymore).

There’s a problem with all that outrage: it’s misdirected. Consulting the Google provides ample evidence that Trump is nothing more than an opportunistic attention whore (maybe that’s why Palin decided to endorse him; birds of a feather, and all). If hell were to freeze over and the man was actually elected president, the chances that he would enact any of the asinine policies he’s put forth aren’t all that great. Whatever else Trump might be, he’s a businessman at his core and doing any of that shit wouldn’t be good for business. So, if Trump isn’t the conservative boogie-man we’ve made him out to be, who is? That’s easy: Ted Cruz.

Yes, Ted Cruz. Aka, the man who, back in December, successfully won the support of James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and one of the nation’s most influential evangelicals. That endorsement came on the heels of others from  the Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats, the National Organization for Marriage, and GOP activist/direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie.  In other words, the Religious Right has anointed Cruz as their man. But, why?

Now, I could list the Tea Party darling’s socially conservative bona fides, like his hatred of Planned Parenthood or never meeting an anti-LGBTQ pastor/activist he didn’t like, but that’s been done so many times, it’s not funny anymore. Besides, there are other candidates who have championed these issues far longer than Cruz without getting a fraction of the attention this gynotician has amassed in his 4 years on the national stage.

Take Rick Santorum, for instance. Santorum holds views that are just as reactionary/batshit crazy as anything Tailgunner Ted has said and he can’t get arrested on the campaign trail. That probably has something to do with the fact that he’s Catholic, but still. And, then, there’s Mike Huckabee. Hell, Huckabee was a preacher and had a show on Fox News. You’d think that would make him a sure thing for the religious right’s support. But, nope. Both Santorum and the Huckster dropped out after dismal showings in Iowa.

So, what is Cruz’s secret? What is the magic recipe this “dirty syrup guzzler” has cooked up to woo social conservatives in a way that no one has done since George W. Bush captured their hearts 16 years ago? I belive it’s not what he’s saying, it’s the way he’s saying it.

In the lead up to the Iowa Caucuses, Cruz urged his supporters to  “Strap on the full armor of God” and claimed his campaign has sparked “a spirit of revival” leading “the body of Christ rise up to pull us back from the abyss.” If you want to woo evangelicals, you  can’t do better than draping your message in Jesus and the Bible, no matter how antithetical to either of those it might be.

Cruz’s uncompromising support of socially conservative positions (which, along with a repellent personality, has earned him the title of “most hated man in the Senate”) and his sermonizing political speeches combine to make him the religious right’s (wet) dream candidate. Whether that turns out to be a blessing or curse for the Texas Tosser remains to be seen. Me? I’m hoping for “curse”.

Zombies In The Crèche?

Think this is a nice, peaceful nativity scene? Look a little closer.
Think this is a nice, peaceful nativity scene? Look a little closer.

As the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. And, that’s true…, as long as you color within the lines. But, if your approach to celebrating Christmas falls outside the norm, it is so not “the hap-hap-happiest season of all”. Don’t believe me? Just ask Jasen and Amanda Dixon of Sycamore, Ohio.

Like many people this time of year, the Dixon’s put up a life-size nativity scene. Unlike many people, their nativity scene is pissing people off. Why? Because everyone in this particular crèche, the baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the shepherds and the wise men, are zombies. Yes, beloved, you read that right: zombies. As in the undead, walkers, ghouls, zeds…, well, I think you get my point. And, that’s not sitting well with some folks.

If you’re thinking that those folks are religious, you’d be right. Last year, when Dixon first put up his zombie-themed nativity scene, a Baptist pastor from Indiana took to the internet, saying “The blasphemy that’s going on. The blasphemy!” And, this year, some other Baptists left a pamphlet that said “GOD FROWNS UPON THIS MANGER SCENE”. Someone needs to tell these people they are not helping the brand.

Now, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the Divine’s panties are not in a wad over a manger scene in a small, central Ohio town. In reality, there are much bigger fish to fry than one man’s twisted representation of Jesus’ birth. Like, say, the fact that too many people in this world don’t have any fish to fry.

Of course, it’s not just the religious community that’s having a hissy fit over the Dixons’ holiday decorating choices; Sycamore town officials are not pleased. Not, they say, because his crèche is offensive to Christians, but because it violates zoning regulations. Yeah, that’s the ticket. I’m sure none of the council members are God-fearing church folks who are offended by the display and are using their position to defend their faith (and by “defend their faith”, I mean “shit on others”). Christians just don’t roll that way. Right?

The town isn’t playing around, either. Last year, officials let things slide and dropped the charges. But, this time around, they’re a little less forgiving. They rejected Dixon’s permit application and are threatening to fine the couple $500 a day as long as the scene stays up. Repeated attempts to contact the zoning office have not met with success.

While I, personally, think the Dixons’ crèche is pretty fucking awesome, I can see where it might not be someone else’s cup of tea. But, here’s the thing: if you don’t like it, don’t look at it. I have a feeling that people who are expending so much effort to control how the Dixon’s decorate for Christmas are the same ones who cite infringement of their religious freedom when someone tells them they can’t treat others like shit. I also have a feeling that they see no conflict between those two things.

You know, if your faith can’t handle a relatively easy tweak of the nose like a zombie nativity scene, then maybe you need to rethink that faith. Otherwise, you’re going to spend a lot of time being pissed off. And, I’m pretty sure that’s not what the Gospel is all about.

Modern-day Pharisees

IslamicChristians_thumb[110]It’s a well-known fact that conservative Christians are the modern-day equivalent of those legalistic, New Testament buzzkills known as the Pharisees. From their obsession with sex to their penchant for out-of-context quotation of the Bible, conservatives are doing their level best to live out H. L. Mencken’s definition of puritanism: “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” (because progressive obsessions [political correctness, gun control, non-violence, etc] are so much fun).

Take that Kim Davis woman, for instance. Where does she get off claiming “God’s authority” in denying others their legal right to marry when she’s been married 4 times herself. Someone needs to tell this woman that Jesus didn’t say anything about being gay, but he had plenty to say about infidelity and divorce (He also had a lot to say about not judging others and loving our neighbor, but let’s not muddy up the waters with such inconvenient passages). And, now she has a  book deal? Seriously? (Actually, she doesn’t. But, again, why wast time considering things that contradict what we want to believe?) And, what’s up with that hair? If she wasn’t so shitty to gay people, maybe she could find someone to take care of that for her. (Yes, because “the gays” are all about doing some hair.)

I just don’t get all this bigotry against people who are LGBTQQIP2SAA (explanatory link included for all the troglodytes who can’t keep up with this ever-changing acronym. And, I include myself in that category). Why, oh why can’t they be as Christ-like as we progressives are and join us in this march toward justice for all? I realize this shakes the foundations of everything they’ve been taught, but if they’d join us in the 21st century (and by “join us in the 21st century”, I mean “acknowledge that we’re right and they’re awful people”), things would be so much easier better.

As much as I don’t get their anti-gay stance, the political beliefs of conservative Christians baffle me even more. I mean, these people support Donald Trump, for God’s sake! Think about that for a minute; followers of Jesus, a man who preached radical inclusion and eschewed wealth and all its trappings, are losing their minds over a narcissistic money-hoarding billionaire with a xenophobic streak a mile wide (yes, progressive politicians, like Hillary “I love Wall Street” Clinton are pure as the driven snow). Honestly, though, my biggest issue is their mixing of faith and politics (something progressives would never do themselves). Okay, so maybe we do allow our faith to influence our political beliefs, but our intentions are good (and we know what road those have paved).

Isn’t it great to be a progressive Christian? I mean, what other belief allows you to fill social media with posts pointing out (to God and everyone else) all the ways you’re not like those bigoted, narrow-minded conservatives? 

The Man We Thought We Knew

Go Set a Watchman #gsaw #livro #book #harperlee

The long-awaited sequel/prequel/draft/who-the-hell-knows-what-it-is to Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill A Mockingbird” hit the shelves yesterday. Titled “Go Set A Watchman“, the novel has some folks stirred up. Why? Because, in this story, Atticus Finch (aka the greatest literary character ever) turns out to be a racist and a segregationist. That’s a bit awkward, isn’t it?

Now, before we go any further, let’s acknowledge that this a “white people” problem. Seriously, do you think minority folks are worried that some white people have their knickers in a twist because a character in a god-damned book turned out to be kind of assy? Of course not, they’re too busy busting their ass to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads to spend time on something like this. But, that doesn’t mean this is an issue we should ignore.

So, what’s the big deal? Basically, a lot of people can’t seem to reconcile the Atticus of “Watchman” with the one they know and love from “Mockingbird”. In “To Kill A Mockingbird”, Atticus is an infinitely wise man of integrity and a stalwart civil rights warrior. In “Go Set A Watchman”, however, he is a man of his times: a racist and a segregationist. In other words, the exact opposite of who we thought him to be.

In truth, we only thought Atticus was a good man. Why? Because that idea made us feel better, especially us southerners. Growing up in a region populated by men like Bob Jones and George Wallace, we desperately wished for a hero Atticus, one that was everything we wished we were, but weren’t. It’s possible, however, that our idealized version of Atticus set us on the path to becoming that person. “Watchman” is disconcerting because it reveals that our role model has feet of clay and that rocks the foundations of our conviction and faith. I mean, shit, if Atticus is a racist, what does that make me?

The real problem here is that we are applying 21st century values to a character whose entire existence occurred in a time where segregation and overt racism was the norm. Looked at in the context of his time, Atticus Finch was the good man we thought he was. Atticus kept Tom from being lynched and provided the best defense possible in the climate of a Deep South town in the 1930’s. And, he treated Cordelia and the Robinson’s with kindness and a certain level of respect. None of those actions are at odds with the ideas Atticus expresses in “Watchman”. It is possible to do all those things and still believe that people who are black aren’t equal to ones who are white. As you can see, in the context of that time, it didn’t take much to be a “good man”.

In my mind, Atticus’ racism humanizes him in way nothing else could. Someone who came of age in the south of the early 20th century would have no problem doing all the things Atticus does in “Mockingbird” and yet be horrified at the very idea of integration and equal rights. My own grandfather was the same way. I could tell you many stories about how he went out of his way to help black coworkers or neighbors. This same man also told racist jokes and was furious when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record (because “no n*****r should ever break the Babe’s record”). Race is a funny thing in the South and people who aren’t from here don’t really understand it. To be fair, though, most of the people who are from here don’t get it either.

In a conversation about “Watchman”, a friend said that we are “all flawed with, hopefully, moments of greatness.” That describes the Atticus of both novels to a tee. She also said, “I will take joy in sinful people doing amazing things.” And, maybe that’s how we can reconcile these two seemingly disparate images of the man we thought we knew.