Category Archives: evangelical

10 Things You Can’t Do And Call Yourself A Progressive Christian

onedoesnotsimplyprovideevidencememe
An example of #3

The Progressive Edition

A certain popular progressive Christian blogger has made a name for himself with a series of posts titled “10 Things You Can’t _________”. These lists make some really good points, but I have a slight problem with them: they’re all directed at conservative, evangelical and/or fundamentalist Christians. That’s a problem for me  because it smacks of the “Not all Christians” thing. God knows progressive Christians aren’t saints, however much we’d like to think otherwise. So, I came up with my own list. And, I’ll go ahead and say you probably aren’t going to like it.

  1. You can’t call Trump supporters “deplorables”. Or “racists”, or “ignorant”, or any of the other epithets that get thrown at them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. Jesus told us to love our neighbors and I’m pretty sure telling someone that they’re “deplorable” isn’t what he’d consider “loving”.
  2. You can’t tell everyone “I can’t vote for him/her. I’m voting my conscience.” Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying you can’t vote your conscience, just that you can’t be a condescending ass about it. Because, no matter what you think you think, that’s the way you come across when you say this. The same goes for “Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.”
  3. You can’t call people out for taking advantage of “white privilege” while doing the same thing yourself. See #2 above.
  4.  You can’t pontificate on what you’d do if ________. What I’m talking about here is something I wrote about last week. I’ve seen several progressive bloggers write about what they’d do if one of their kids turned out to LGBTQ. It’s the “if” that’s the problem here. If you don’t have a gay kid (or have any kids at all), shut the fuck up and let people who actually live this reality talk about it.
  5. You can’t put words in people’s mouths. Or thoughts, or ideas, or pretty much anything else. It’s wrong. Don’t think progressives do this? Tell you what, google “progressive Christian memes” and then we’ll talk.
  6. You can’t marginalize people because of they lack the “proper” educational credentials. Don’t think this is happening? Take a look at the roster of speakers at any progressive Christian event. I can almost guarantee you won’t find anyone who doesn’t at least have a masters degree. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m not against education. Hell, I’m going into some serious debt right now because I believe in it so much. But, progressive Christianity has to open it’s eyes and see that there are people out here who have important things to say that are being ignored because they don’t have any letters after their name.
  7. You can’t attack everything a person believes in. This is less about the message than the way you present it. Granted, some of the things Christians believe need to be challenged because they are, to put bluntly, fucked up. But, going all “scorched earth” on a conservative Christian’s belief that “the homosexual lifestyle” is a sin won’t get you where you want to go. Unless where you want to go is making yourself feel superior to “those people”. If that’s the case, you are definitely on the right track.
  8. You can’t block people on social media because you don’t like what they say. It goes back to that “love your neighbor” bit. Is it hard? God damn right it is. But, I think that’s what Jesus was talking about when he said “Take up your cross and follow me.”
  9. You can’t be a condescending douche. If you’re thinking most of the items on this list are covered in this point, you’re right. This attitude of theological and moral superiority (that borders on arrogance) may be progressive Christianity’s greatest sin. Don’t you think it’s about time we started working on it.
  10. And, last, you can’t make lists telling people what they can and can’t do as a Christian. This pretty much negates everything I’ve said up to now and that’s the point. I don’t think we get to be the arbiter of what is “Christian” and what isn’t. It really gets on my nerves when some hard-core conservative tells me that I’m not a Christian because I believe in full inclusion, reject the idea of Hell, that I’m “pro-life”, etc. Doing the same thing to them seems kind of shitty.

Me, Jack and The Devil

haw-haw-hawSo, Jack Chick died last week. You may not know who he was and, if that’s true, you should probably count yourself lucky. If you are that fortunate, let me give a little background. Chick was a cartoonist and publisher best known something called “Chick tracts”: tiny, little fundamentalist/evangelical comic books that attempted to scare people into getting “saved” and almost always featured Satan at the end. Subtly may not have been Chick’s forte, but he was a master at scaring the shit out of me. That son-of-a-bitch was the author of many of my nightmares as a gullible, evangelical kid.

You see, from the ages 10 to 16,  my family was part of a hyper-religious, charismatic, evangelical group that witnessed to anyone, in any place, at any time and in any situation. No matter where we were, we were never without a supply of evangelizing material and Chick tracts were a huge part of our arsenal. They weren’t handed out in person; usually,  they got stashed away some place where an unsuspecting heathen would accidentally stumble across them and BAM! They got ambushed with the fear love of Satan God. We were masters of passive-aggressive evangelism.

Because we always had a ready stash of these fucked up little comic books (and because I love a comic books), I was inevitably drawn to them. I also don’t think my parents wanted me to see them because they were never offered up for my brother or I to read. In fact, I really don’t remember being handed one to pass out on my own; they were just there. In fact, they were held back just enough to make them seem like forbidden fruit, thus making them all the more attractive to me.

I can remember almost every Chick tract I ever saw, which is really no big feat because they’re basically all the same. Oh, they may have different characters or evils to rail against, but the theme, the dialogue, the mood were identical. But, the most enduring image is the Devil that was at the end of every pamphlet. That motherfucker creeped me out like you wouldn’t believe.

It wasn’t just Chick tracts, though. As a kid growing up in the weird quasi-Pentecostal world of Charismatic Christianity of the late 60’s and early 70’s, I was exposed to multiple exorcisms, for others and myself (at the time, some crazy-ass cult leader said my ADHD was actually an “evil spirit of laziness”) and”facts” like Ouija boards being a doorway for demonic possession. To this day, I can’t watch “The Exorcist” (the first one. No one can watch the sequels) and I avert my eyes or change the channel when trailers for that damn Ouija board movie show up on television. Yes, beloved, I was in on the ground floor of the great “Satanic Panic” that gripped the 80’s. And, it was just as fucked up as it sounds.

As I said at the beginning of this piece, Chick died last week and a week is an eternity in the blogosphere. But, with all the baggage surrounding this subject, it’s taken me that long to process my feelings on the matter. And, even now, I’m not really sure how I feel about it, other than to say I hope “Haw, haw, haw”, was the first fucking thing the old bastard heard when he awoke in whatever afterlife situation in which he landed. Not only that, I hope they were uttered by that creepy-ass Devil he took such glee in rendering. I know that’s not very Christian, but it’s about all the grace I can muster, right now. Sayonara, Jack. You won’t be missed. Not by me, anyway.

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.

Christians For Trump Pt…, Oh, Who Cares

This is the man that evangelical Christians are lining up behind. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.
Evangelical Christians are enthusiastically supporting this man. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.

Since the beginning of the year, I have written several pieces about the tangerine-hued hairball the Republican Party has hacked up on our political rug, aka Donald Trump. Most of them have focused on my bewilderment at evangelical Christians support of Trump and the fact that, no matter what he says or does, the man’s popularity continues to grow.

According to a report from the Pew Research Center, Seventy-eight percent of evangelical Christians support 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 Playboy. Wait, what? Isn’t this stuff on their laundry list of mortal sins? I am so confused.

In part, this groundswell of support may be due to the fact that evangelical leaders absolutely love them some Trump. (Is it just me or that sound vaguely sexual?) From Jerry Falwell Jr. to Pat Robertson to James Dobson and more, the big names on the Religious Right are falling all over themselves to endorse this baby-handed fucktrumpet. You have no idea how much I wish I was making this up, but I…Am…Not.

First up there’s Liberty University president and first-born son of Jerry Falwell, religious right icon and founder of the Moral Majority. Falwell has endorsed Trump offered up his university as a forum for this unhinged Oompa Loompa. Trump may have appeared on a Playboy cover, but he was never in a gay cartoon. And, isn’t that what really matters?

Then there’s James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, who has personally vouched for Trump’s evangelical bona fides. Recently, at a meeting with Trump and evangelical leaders, Dobson said that Donald had “found” Jesus. (He was hiding behind the couch the whole time.) Obviously, Dobson and I have very different ideas about what it means to be a Christian.

Finally, there’s Pat Robertson, the televangelist’s televangelist. Pat is famous for his gaffes and crazy talk and his interview with The Donald was no exception. At one point, he tells Trump “You inspire us all”. Inspire us all? To do what? Shit on immigrants? Dump on veterans? Relentlessly attack anyone who is remotely critical of anything you say or do? If you’re a Christian and Donald Trump inspires you to do anything other than vomit, I’m pretty sure you’re doing Christianity wrong.

This love is filtering down to the masses, too. Check out this report from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:

Did you get that? If not, starting at the 1:17 mark, an evangelical Trump supporter says, “I believe, truly, that Trump is appointed by God to lead this nation back in the direction it needs to go.” Another states that “Donald Trump is the answer to our prayers.” But, perhaps most chillingly, is this remark from a young (possibly pre-teen) man: “We know that he is a godly man.” Holy Shitballs, you guys!

Someone, somewhere, may read this and think, “Yeah, but what about Hillary? She’s no paragon of Christian virtue.” Yes, you are correct. Clinton’s embrace of Wall Street and support of the use of force overseas should cause any Christian worth their salt no small amount of distress. But, there are two “yooge” differences: 1) Clinton hasn’t attempted to make her faith part of her brand the way Trump has and 2) she isn’t receiving the same, hypocritical praise that is falling on the Donald.

In a recent Facebook discussion with some of my friends who support Trump, one said that “we do not have a true Christian option for president.” I responded that, given all the compromises one has to make to even run for President, I’m not sure a true Christian option is possible and he agreed. So, why don’t we drop all the bullshit about a candidate’s faith and judge this solely on the basis of who will do the best job? Yeah, don’t bother responding; I already know the answer.

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.

One Million Moms: “The Real O’Neals” Makes Jesus Cry

Even this picture has certain Christians in a tizzy. Can you guess why?
Even this picture has certain Christians in a tizzy. Can you guess why?

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but everyone’s favorite blue noses are at it again. Yes, it’s the One Million Moms and, now they have a new target for their ire: ABC’s latest sitcom, “The Real O’Neals”. And, why do they have their knickers in a twist over this show? Their website says it “ridicules Jesus and Christianity”. Maybe, but I have a feeling that the real problem is the fact that one of the characters is gay.

That character would be Kenny O’Neal, a 16-year-old who comes out to his Irish-Catholic family in the first episode. That, along with the fact that Kenny is played by Noah Galvin, who is openly gay, and that Dan Savage is on board as a producer (the show is also loosely based on his life) makes the show, in the words of D’Anne Witkowski, “a gay trifecta” and possibly “a sign of End Times”. If I hadn’t already watched it, that description alone would be enough for it to land on my list.

It’s not just the “gay” thing, though; there are a few other items that have also gotten under the Moms’ skin. Things like Jesus jokes (seen here, beginning at 0:03), the daughter’s “attempts to prove” (their quotes, not mine) that there is no God as a science fair project, and Eileen (Kenny’s mom) making Jesus-shaped pancakes to guilt trip the anorexic older brother into eating. I think their problem with that last one is less about offending Jesus and more about giving away trade secrets.

Of course, the Moms aren’t the only ones with their drawers in a knot. Google “The Real O’Neals Christian” and you’ll find a plethora of pissed off Christians, all incensed over the show’s take on “The One True Faith”. Do the same search on YouTube and you’ll find several videos lambasting ABC and the show for the same basic reason. The best is one titled, “The Real O’Neals TV Show on ABC Mocks Mocks God! (Satanic TeLIEvision EXPOSED)”. Why is it the best? Did you not see the words “Satanic TeLIEvision EXPOSED” in the title?!? Oh, it also ties the show to “an End Times deception”: “acceptance of homosexuality”. That’s right, boys and girls, accepting “homosexuality” (aka treating people who are LGBTQ like fellow human beings) is a sign that Jesus is coming back any day now! Wow, just…, wow.

Of course, all these other dissenters are mostly copying and pasting the information on OMM’s website (or, just reading it out loud on the videos). I guess they’re so upset about gays and Jesus jokes appearing in the same show that coming up with some original content is beyond their capability. I cannot imagine how tiring maintaining this level of outrage must be. Geez, relax people.

If ever a group needed to “Netflix and chill”, it’s this bunch. A nice bottle of wine, a blunt the size of my thumb and some quality television (by “quality television”, I mean, “vigorous boot-knocking”) would be the perfect way for these oh so tightly wound wowsers to de-stress a little. If they tried it, they might find that shows like “The Real O’Neals” aren’t all that bad. I’m not holding my breath until it happens, though.

The Gay Borg

The Gay Borg
Hugh will be assimilated

Boy, the Girl Scouts are really taking it on the chin, lately. First, Archbishop Robert Carlson or the Catholic Church’s St. Louis diocese has encouraged churches and parishioners under his care to move away from the GSA because that organization’s values are incompatible with that of the church. That’s a fair assessment: the GSA is steadfastly against child rape and marginalization of women and people who are LGBTQ.

Next, Franklin Graham said he wasn’t buying any cookies this year because, “The Girl Scouts organization sure isn’t what it used to be”. Why does he say that? Well, it seems they allow girls who are trans to be members and agree with the Supreme Court ruling on marriage. In other words, they are accepting of all girls. Horror of horrors! And, as if that weren’t enough, this week, they caught it again. This time from Reverend Kevin Swanson.

You may remember Swanson as the preacher who said people who are LGBTQ are “worthy of death”. He is also an ardent supporter Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. In fact, he made his “worthy of death” comment at a rally in Iowa where Cruz was speaking back in November. But, this isn’t about Ted; it’s about the latest batshit crazy to fall out of Swanson’s face hole.

Right Wing Watch claims that, on his radio show last week,  Swanson called for Girl Scout leaders to be drowned with a millstone around their neck for leading young girls into an “unbiblical lifestyle”.  That is pretty fucking crazy, huh? Unfortunately, I think they’re stretching it a bit. It sounded to me like Swanson was referring to Matthew 18:6 in the metaphorical sense; as in, what the GSA is doing is really, really bad.

Of course, he’s full of shit, because what the GSA is not really, really bad. Specifically, it does not turn girls into lesbians and it doesn’t give them abortifacients and contraceptives (he actually said both of those things). They do, however, train them to feminists; which is not the horrific thing Swanson seems to think. But, like a lot of conservative evangelicals, Kevin appears to believe in keeping women barefoot and pregnant, so I can see how that would upset him.

But, the best part of the broadcast came a little later, when Swanson was congratulating Franklin Graham for finally getting on board the anti-Girl Scout bandwagon (Swanson’s been beating this dead horse of a couple of years, apparently), saying “there are two pastors in America that stood out against the Girl Scouts on the issue of their supporting lesbianism, abortion, other things. And now, Franklin Graham stepped out and he’s taking a courageous stand. And, of course, now he’s being persecuted by the ‘Gay Borg’…” Wait a minute, the “Gay Borg”? Is that even a thing?

Evidently, it is and Swanson isn’t the only person talking about it. Scott Lively, who stands accused of  violating international law by conspiring to persecute the LGBT community in Uganda, used the phrase in an article on Barbwire last year, claiming that “any dissent from outside the Collective attracts the entire body of Borg-like drones — like a swarm of hornets — in the single-minded quest to seek and either assimilate or destroy whatever person or entity has been foolish enough to challenge it.” Oh my.

The earliest use I can find of the term (in this context, at least) dates back to 2014. In article on Herman Cain’s website about Mozilla’s CEO stepping down over a contribution to a group fighting same-sex marriage, Dan Calabrese wrote, “The gay movement understands something. They understand that in order for their movement to ultimately succeed, they need to turn the entire culture into a mindless army of obedient adherents like the Borg on Star Trek.” You know, I’m seeing a trend here: the people who like to use this expression are kind of douchey.

This brings up a few questions. Like are all gay people part of the Collective? If not, how do we tell the difference? I mean, on Star Trek, the Borg have all those nifty cybernetic attachments to set them apart. I know quite a few a folks who are LGBT and they don’t have anything like that…, well, anything visible, that is (insert your own punchline, pervs). And, does having gay friends mean I’m more vulnerable? Oh shit, what if I’ve already been assimilated don’t even know it?!?

We are the Gay Borg. Resistance is not only futile, it’s fabulous.

Adult Coloring Books = Tool Of Satan

adult coloring books mandala
Evidently, this is the gateway to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks.

As you probably  know, adult coloring books are a thing these days. Not for me, though. I hate coloring. In fact, I have always hated coloring. Why? Mostly because my ADHD makes staying inside the lines a real challenge. Now, you might be thinking, “So what? Color outside the lines. Nobody cares.” Unfortunately, I’m also have a slight case of OCD (part of the wonderful package deal that comes with ADHD), which means coloring outside the lines drives me absolutely crazy. But, it turns out that coloring isn’t just irritating, it’s also spiritually dangerous.

A couple of days ago, l stumbled across Melanie Tubbs’ article “A Southern Pastor: The Evils Of Adult Coloring Books” on Liberal America. Ms. Tubbs, a UMC pastor, writes about the penchant of some conservative Christians to ascribe any pop culture phenomenon they don’t like/understand to Satan, bringing up things like Disney’s “Pocahontas” (worshiping nature) and Harry Potter (witchcraft!). Finally, she got around to the main event and linked to a blog called The Last Hiker and a post titled, “Adult Coloring Books and Mandalas, A Warning For Christians“. And, that’s where I found out these coloring books are how the Devil gets in.

I don’t know the Hiker’s name as it’s not listed anywhere on his site, so I’ll just refer to him as LH. Now, according to LH, The problem is not so much the act of coloring, as it is what you’re coloring. And, if you’re coloring mandalas, which most of these adult coloring books are filled with, well…, you’re probably going to hell. And, not alone either.  You’ll be taking the trip with a full complement of demons leading you by the hand.

A mandala, as LH so helpfully points out, is a “beautiful circle pattern that looks like it would be impossible to draw free hand”. Mandalas are also “spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, representing the universe.  In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.” Nice, huh?

Well, not so much, because LH also informs us that tantric Buddhists also use them as aids in meditation. In his words, “They believe that you can merge with the deity by meditating on the mandala. ‘A mandala is also visualized (dhyana) by the yogin whose aim it is to merge with the deity’….Focusing on mandalas is a spiritual practice where you merge with ‘deities’–this practice opens the door to demons.” I’m just guessing, but if LH gets this bent out of shape over a coloring book, he probably isn’t a big fan of yoga or contemplative prayer, either.

Isn’t it funny how evangelicals and fundamentalists are so frightened by eastern religions like Buddhism or Hinduism since Christianity is, itself, an eastern religion? Oh sure,  western Christianity bears about as much resemblance to faith practiced by those early followers of Jesus as the current American political system does to what was set up by the founding fathers 200 years ago, but that’s where it came from. People like LH just need to take a chill pill and relax. A good yoga session and coloring book should do the trick quite nicely.

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.

Christians For Trump Pt III

"See, not so short!"
“See, not so short!” said the short-fingered vulgarian

In the past month or so, I have written a couple of posts about Donald Trump’s appeal to evangelical Christians. And, guess what? I’m doing it again! I keep returning to this topic because I find it fascinating. Besides, I wouldn’t be a very good curmudgeon if I didn’t salivate at the idea of Christians following a narcissistic, money-hoarding billionaire with a xenophobic streak a mile wide.

One of things that makes The Donald’s campaign so interesting is that no matter what bat shit crazy offensiveness falls out of his face hole, his numbers go up. As I told you Monday, he was…, reluctant, to disavow endorsements from David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. Now, you would think something like that would be political suicide. But, guess what happened on the next poll? If you said he picked up 8 percentage points from the previous one, you are correct. Holy shitballs.

Today, I had every intention of writing about Phyllis Schlafly, who endorsed Trump back in December as “the last hope for America“, and her latest brain fart (basically, she said that baseball was better back in the 40’s, before all those brown people started playing). But, that shit is out the window after last night’s Republican debate.

Before we dive into that cesspool, you’ll need a little background. When Spy magazine was still relatively new on the scene, they wanted to make a name for themselves. To do this, they started making fun of Trump because his well-documented inability to let a slight pass  was sure to get them some much-needed attention. They hit the jackpot in 1988 when they referred to him as a “short fingered vulgarian“. For some reason, this phrase gets under Trump’s skin worse than any other insult hurled at him. The only thing close is questioning his net worth.

Interestingly, it wasn’t being called a “vulgarian” (an unrefined person, especially one with newly acquired power or wealth) that upset Trump, it was the idea that his fingers aren’t “long and beautiful”. We know this because, in  2015, Spy founder (and current editor of Vanity Fair) Graydon Carter wrote that he still gets occasional notes from Trump with pictures of his hands circled in gold Sharpie, the use of which Jon Oliver says is “so quintessentially Donald Trump: something that gives the passing  appearance of wealth, but is actually just a cheap tool.”

Now, fast forward to Sunday, February 28th at Roanoke College in Virginia. During a rally there, candidate Marco Rubio took off the gloves and said, “I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5’2. Have you seen his hands? They’re like this. And you know what they say about men with small hands?” He paused for dramatic effect, then added, “You can’t trust them.” Damn, this is the most interesting presidential campaign since 1800, when Thomas Jefferson called John Adams a hermaphrodite.

That brings us up to last night, when a debate between candidates for the highest office in the land turned into a dick measuring contest. When asked about Rubio’s personal attacks (in addition to the comment about his hands, Marco went after The Donald’s “spray tan”), Trump, true to form, responded, “Look at those hands. Are they small hands? And he referred to my hands — if they’re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there’s no problem, I guarantee.” I cannot stop laughing at all this. Between bouts of sheer terror at the possibility this human hair ball might actually be President, of course.

I’m wondering if we’re now at a turning point. Sure, Trump’s evangelical supporters have stood by him while he’s touted his unabashed greed, displayed an astounding ignorance of the Bible with his “Two Corinthians” quote (I always want to add, “walk into a bar” when I say that), and torn up the Gospel with his comments on immigrants and Muslims (Matthew 25:34-46). But, now sex is in the picture, and we all know how they feel about that. So, what’s it going to be, evangelicals? This man has trashed everything you claim to hold dear. Are you going to stick by him? But, don’t worry, there’s no pressure. Only the whole world is watching.