Category Archives: Fundamentalism

Donald Trump is the Messiah???

If you’re thinking “What the fuck?” right about now, I don’t blame you. When I heard that shit, I was stunned myself. But, it’s true; Donald Trump is the messiah…, or, more likely, the harbinger of the messiah, a la John the Baptist. Well, according to end times nut case author and lecturer, Thomas Horn, he is.

Horn bases most of his claims about Trump on the words of some Orthodox Zionist rabbis who have reconstituted the Sanhedrin and are pushing to rebuild the Temple. I’m guessing these rabbis view Horn and compatriots as useful idiots who will help them reach that end. Which probably is okay with Horn and his end times believing pals because they think the rabbis are all dirty Jews who will be cast into the lake of fire when Jesus comes back. It’s what you might call a weird evangelical/Orthodox mutual contempt society.

This insanity is way to convoluted to get into with any depth here. Basically, it sounds a lot like this clip of Cartman explaining the 9/11 attacks from South Park’s “Mystery of the Urinal Deuce” episode:

Like I said, a bit much for a blog post. But, here are a few highlights:

  • The End of Days will come sometime next year. This goes back to Daniel’s “time, times, and a half a time” comment. According to an obscure 17th century interpretation of that passage, the messiah will appear and the end times will begin before September 30, 2017 (the end of the year 5777 in the Jewish calendar). Guess Jesus was just kidding with all that “thief in the night” business. What a joker.
  • Horn even goes so far as to say that, in gematria (Jewish numerology), Trump’s name actually means “messiah”. And, I guess it does, if you go down a rabbit hole that makes Alex Jones’ wildest conspiracy theories seem positively sane. If you’re a glutton for punishment and want to read the actual article, here’s a link.
  • He presents 3 bullet points that he feels point to Donald Trump, not as the messiah himself, but as John the Baptist. But, he does say that there is an ongoing effort to research Trump’s genealogy and show that he is a descendant of David. No joke on this point. I don’t think it needs one.
  • Of course, Horn tells us that this messiah the rabbis are saying is about to appear is a false messiah, the Anti-Christ. And, that he believes that Trump isn’t the Anti-Christ. Why? I’m assuming because he thinks a white, American man can’t be the Anti-Christ.
  • Trump is “God’s messenger”. What the hell kind of message God would send through an asshole like Trump, I don’t know. And, what kind of God would choose a semi-sentient hairball for their messenger doesn’t bear contemplation in my opinion.

All things considered, Horn’s pronouncements are not bad. It’s all bullshit, of course, but still not bad; for entertainment value, that is. Horn has some game in this arena, but even with all his “Trump is the messiah” talk, he’s still no William Tapley, the self-proclaimed Third Eagle of the Apocalypse and Co-prophet of the End Times. But then, who is, beloved? Who…, is.

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.

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.

Christians For Tru…, Aw, F**k It

Christians for Trump
Should probably add “misogynistic predator” to the list

This is the first Monday I’ve sat down to write (here on the blog, at least) since school started back in August. I have this opportunity because it’s Fall break this week and I’m on vacation. As we normally do this time of year, Diana and I are spending a week in the semi-tropical paradise of Baillie’s Bluff on the Gulf Coast of Florida. But, getting here wasn’t exactly easy this time.

 If you live in the southeastern United States, you probably have an inkling why things were so tough. If not, I can sum it up in two words: Hurricane Matthew. Between worrying whether we would even be able to get here (we usually come down I-95), to almost getting trapped by flood waters in at Diana’s house Saturday (roads all around us flooding), to a 14 hour trip with traffic that varied from a virtual standstill to almost clear sailing, it has been an interesting four days. But, we’re here and I’m writing this from one of favorite spots on the planet: the fabulous screen porch at D’s family house in Holiday.
What, you might be thinking, could pressing enough to drag me to a computer when I could be soaking up the last bit of sun and fun for the year? First of all, time on my hands. When we’re vacationing, Diana likes to sleep in, while I couldn’t sleep past 8 o’clock unless I was coming off a 3 day coke bender. When I have time on my hands, I think about things. And, this morning, what I’m thinking about is Donald Trump and the repulsive shit that spewed from his face hole in 2005.
 As awful as those words are, there is something worse: people who call themselves Christians making excuses for them or, in some cases, saying they just don’t care. What the fuck? How can you say that shit? Do you really want a man like this running the country where the women you claim to care about live? Because, if you do, I’m not so sure you care about them all that much.
The first time I heard that shit, my response was, “I’m not sure what to say to that.” It’s taken a few days, but I think I’ve finally come up with an appropriate response.
To pastors and Christian “leaders” who make excuses (it happened before he had “spiritual influences” in his life) or dismissing it altogether (Christians don’t really care about this), you should turn in any credentials you might hold and stop calling yourself a pastor, because you aren’t. The one constant in Jesus’ teachings (remember him? The guy you claim to follow?) is love. Love your neighbor, love one another, love your enemy. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t consider treating women as conquests to be gloated over “love”.
To those of you who say you don’t care, I say “Are you fucking kidding me?” Do me a favor, if your mother is still with us, go look her the eye and say “Mama, Donald Trump’s comments don’t bother me in the least. In fact, I firmly believe that a man who brags about assaulting women is the best person available to lead our country.” Then, come back and tell me how it went.
Let me make this perfectly clear: if you overlook, gloss over, ignore or do anything but condemn Donald Trump’s treatment of women, you should either fall to your knees and ask the Almighty for forgiveness or abandon any pretense of being a Christian. It’s just that fucking simple.

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.

 

 

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.

“Targeting” Our Daughters?

Last month, the American Family Association kicked off their #BoycottTarget campaign, which aims to push Target into changing its trans-inclusive bathroom/dressing room policy. Recently, Faith2Action joined in this effort with their “Don’t Target Our Daughters Day” protests scheduled for June 4th. As Enid Strict would say:

To promote their protest, the group has put out a video. Perfectly attuned to its target audience, it ends with an appeal to sign up “before there’s another victim”. followed by footage of a man running out of what or may not be a Target store for an undetermined crime, chased by a woman shouting, “Stop this guy! Call the cops on him!” Boy, that is some top-notch dog whistling, right there.

So, what’s the point of this special day? According to the organizers, it’s a “moment to stand together” and alert the public to the retail giant’s decision to allow “predators and sex offenders” to enter women’s restrooms and dressing rooms. What, do they think the rest of us don’t know about Target’s bathroom policy? Believe me, we know. Mostly because its opponents won’t shut the fuck up.

I have to admit, I’m a little confused about the whole thing. Especially the fitting rooms. Are the ones in Target’s ladies department set up differently from the men’s?  In the mens dressing rooms, you take your items into a private little cubicle, close the door and try on your clothes. And, those doors have locks on them.

So, what, the women’s dressing room just a big open space where your junk is on display for everyone to see? Because that’s about the only way I could see this being a problem. And, even if that was the case, wouldn’t a guy just hanging around, waiting for tasty morsel to show up kind of…, oh, I don’t know, stand out?

And, as for bathrooms, who in their right mind believes anything sexual is happening in a public bathroom? Have you been in one of those things lately? Maybe women’s restrooms are different, but a lot of men’s rooms are about two steps away from being classified as a toxic waster dump. I don’t know about you, but that’s not an atmosphere I find conducive to sexy time.

Look, even the cleanest public bathroom has an undercurrent of revulsion.  Because, even if it was so clean you could eat off the floor, you’re still surrounded by strangers taking care of disgusting (albeit necessary) bodily functions. I don’t like being around my own…, well,  you know. I sure as hell don’t care to experience the same from someone I don’t even know.

And, I have a question for the folks at Faith2Action: Why wasn’t this “bathroom predator” thing a problem until it was your daughters who were “at risk”? Are you somehow under the impression that boys don’t get molested? Because they do (not quite as often as girls, but still…). I don’t know, maybe you believe your 7-year-old son, simply by virtue of his maleness, can somehow fight off the advances of a determined adult with less than pure intentions. Because that’s such a realistic assumption.

It’s interesting to me that many people who call themselves “Christian” find trans folks icky.  I mean, we’re talking about people who follow a man that embraced the most marginalized people in his society and they’re dumping all over what is arguably the most marginalized group in our society. And, they’re using children to do it. Fuck.

You know, this is one of those times I wished I still believed in a physical Hell. Because I’d love to say there’s a special place there for anyone who does this kind of shit. You people should be ashamed of yourselves.

 

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.