Category Archives: Sin

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

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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.

Be Sure To Get Your Lesbian Abortion Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

One Million Moms Is At It Again

SAM_s1_G+_CoverAt the risk of sounding like a broken record, One Million Moms is at it again. And, by “at it again”, I mean they’re upset about another TV show they haven’t seen. This time, it’s Samantha Bee’s upcoming series, Full Frontal. This time, however, there’s a new wrinkle: they’re wound up over the title of the show. Yes, beloved, you read that right: the title.

Last week, the Moms posted a new petition blasting Bee’s new show because, and I quote, “The title of this show alone is unacceptable. Even though airing later in the evening since it is a late night show, the name will appear in the TV lineup of programs scheduled and previews will air earlier during the day.” Really? I hate to break to these blue noses, but your kids hear a hell of a lot worse things than “full frontal” at school. Maybe even at home.

What, exactly, is so wrong with the term, “full frontal”? I suppose the problem comes from its origins: it was first used to describe depictions of nudity. As the Oxford Dictionary puts it, “with full exposure of the front of the body.” But, the phrase has picked up another meaning along the way: nothing concealed or held back, direct, hard-hitting, etc. Hell, even the Urban Dictionary, a publication that never misses a chance to be magnificently crude, defines “full-frontal” as “thoroughly, completely and totally (from full frontal nudity).” Of course, another definition says, “when a celebrity shows more than just their bum in a film (ie: their penis or bush). This is usually for artistic reasons but clearly some serial full frontalists just like taking their kit off for the camera!” But, still…

Of course, OMM has other issues with the show, including things like “vile content and language” and…, well, that’s about it. They don’t really mention anything else because they can’t; there’s not much out there because Bee and her husband, Jason Jones, only started working on scripts back in May. Do you know what that means? The Moms are pissed about episodes that haven’t even been written yet. Holy shit.

In previous posts about the Moms and their desire to control everyone else’s viewing habits crusade against indecency in pop cultureI’ve said that before they ask, nay, demand, that a network pull a show from its line-up, they might want to actually watch it. Getting worked up over something that’s still being written is a bit over the top even for a group like OMM. Which makes me wonder if there’s another problem with “Full Frontal”. Like maybe Bee, herself.

What’s so bad about Samantha Bee, you ask? Well, for one, she’s a Daily Show alumnus and you know how conservatives feel about that (hint, they don’t like it). But, the real problem may be found in an  article from the Advocate: Bee is “a longtime LGBT ally who specializes in finding the funny in feminism.” An ally and a feminist? Now, things make a little more sense.

To be fair, however, the teasers for Bee’s show do lend a certain credence to the Moms concern about content and language. Like this clip:

And, like most comedians these days, Bee does have a well-deserved reputation for pushing the envelope. But, so does Larry the Cable Guy and I don’t see any petitions about keeping him off the air. I wonder why that might be?

Conservatives love to talk about “personal responsiblity”, but only when it suits them. When it comes to things they don’t like,  they have no problem making decisions for the rest of us. They need to remember that every television is equipped with both a channel selector and an on/off switch. And, that no one is forcing anybody to watch this stuff. In other words, the Moms need to worry about their house and let me worry about mine. I mean, this is America, after all.

Good Christian Sex

Sex ed for ChristiansYou know, after the walk down Creepy Street I took while researching Monday’s post about purity culture, I didn’t think I could find something worse. But, I did; much, much worse. A few hours after writing that post, I stumbled across a new site called Biblical Gender Roles. With a name like that, you know anything you find there will be great (and by “great”, I mean “really fucked up”). Today, I want to tell you about one of the articles I found there.

On Stephanie Drury’s “Stuff Christian Culture Likes” Facebook page I found a link to an article titled “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” and thought, “Oh, this will be good”. And, Stephanie did not fail me: Within first few paragraphs, the author stated that he is constantly accused of condoning rape and says, in red highlighted text, that “I have not, nor would I EVER advocate for a husband to force himself physically upon his wife or to physically abuse her in any fashion.”  In fact, he has written a post just for all the “Rape Accusers”, titled “The Frustrated Feminist Wife” (why, that’s not condescending at all). Maybe it’s just me, but I think if you’re getting accused of something so much you have to write articles and post disclaimers saying you aren’t doing that, it may be time to rethink your message.

So, what is it that has people crying “RAPE”? According the author, one Larry Solomon (a pseudonym. We’ll get to that in a minute), husbands have a “right” to sex with their wives. . According to Solomon, a wife cannot flatly refuse her husband because that is a sin against God. But, not only should a fellow coerce his wife into giving up the goods whenever he wants , he shouldn’t feel bad about doing so: “A husband ought not to feel guilty for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood if she yields, even grudgingly.” Don’t you love how he throws in that “if she yields” bit? It makes his words seem so much less rape-y.

Never fear, ladies, Brother Larry is also thinking about your needs because he discusses possibility that a husband might refuse to tickle his wife’s fancy. In fact, Solomon is so concerned about them that he dedicates a whopping 197 of the 4306 words of his article to this possibility. Of course, he says he’ll more fully explore the topic in a series on being a “godly” wife. Oh, I can’t wait.

In the past, I have rebutted posts like this point by point, but I’m going to have save that for another time. Mostly because I need a shower after reading the lead in; if I spend anymore time in the disgusting pool that passes for marital relations in Solomon’s world, I might never feel clean again. Suffice it to say, this list could serve as the definitive guide for being a manipulative, controlling asshole.

As I said earlier, “Larry Solomon” is a pseudonym. Why? I’ll let him explain:

“The reason I do not use my real name is the same reason that Christ hid himself from Jews: “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” – John 8:59 (KJV) It was not Christ’s time to die and it’s not my time to go public.”

After reading this article, I can understand why he hides his identity. If he showed his face in public after posting this shit, a good stoning would be getting off easy.

 

An Open Letter To Parents Of Transgender Kids

openletter

Dear Conservative Christian Parents of kids who are transgender;

You probably don’t know me, but I know you. I’ve been where you are and I know what you’re going through, right now. Well, not exactly; while I have been a Christian most of my life, I’ve never really been a conservative one. But, I am the father of a transgender child. I say that so you’ll know I’m not some expert sitting in my ivory tower, telling you how to parent or live your faith; I’m a down-in-the-trenches dad who’s going through the same stuff you are.

You see, I know it’s hard to be the parent of someone whose identity doesn’t match their assigned sex. Heck, it’s hard enough to be a parent when everything goes “right”; throw in a hitch like this “trans” thing and it’s even gets really hard. And, a lot of the messages coming from certain pulpits just add to that difficulty. They aren’t good and most of them aren’t biblical. At best, they have a nodding acquaintance with scripture, but are twisted and taken out of context to further an agenda that is harmful to your child. Let me break a few of them down for you.

  • “God doesn’t make mistakes”
    True, God doesn’t make mistakes. Your child is a beautiful gift from God and was born they way they were for a reason. I don’t know what that reason might be, but it’s out there and it’s up to all of us to work together and find it.
  • “Why would a loving God create someone who would have endure the persecution that trans people deal with?” 
    Okay, this one isn’t one I’ve seen a lot, but it is a question that I spent a lot of time wrestling with. And, here’s what I came up with: God isn’t the problem here, we are. The last commandment Jesus gave his followers was to love one another and the way we treat people who are trans falls so far short of that, it’s pathetic. Last year, 21 people who are transgender have been murdered and as much 40% of the homeless youth population is either gay or trans. Statistics like these make me want to cry. I hope they do the same to you.
  • “It’s okay to reject your kids”
    Not only is it “okay” to reject your kids, in some circles, it’s required. This is one of those ideas that isn’t biblical. 1 Timothy 5:8 says “But if someone doesn’t provide for their own family, and especially for a member of their household, they have denied the faith. They are worse than those who have no faith.” Understand this isn’t just about kicking your kid out because you feel that they’ve rejected God by their lifestyle choice; “providing” for your family goes beyond the mere physical (housing, food, etc.), it includes the love and support that only a parent can supply.
  • “The Bible is clear about transgenderism: it’s a sin.”
    Actually, the Bible is anything but clear on this subject because it doesn’t really talk about it. There are a few passages in the Old Testament that can be twisted, cherry-picked or tortured into sounding like they do, but when you look at them in context, it all falls apart. Jesus never mentioned anything about it and, while Paul gets trotted out when this comes up…, well, Paul’s a little problematic on the issue. The ending of Romans 1 (a common passage when any LGBT issues are discussed) isn’t about trans people, he’s talking about what, today, we would call pedophiles. 1 Corinthians 6:9 is another bit of text that is often used to condemn people who are trans. But, here’s the thing: the word that’s responsible for all that, malakoi, is a slang term and no one really knows what Paul meant by it. The best scholars have come up with is “soft men”. What the heck is a “soft man”? When I asked my pastor that question, he said “Me, after visiting Donut World” (FYI, Donut World is the most awesome donut shop in the world and is located in Greensboro, NC). Like I said, the Bible is anything but clear on this.

Now, let’s talk about a few realities parenting a transgender child.

  • Being a parent to a transgender child can be scary.
    As I said in an earlier point, people who are transgender are much more susceptible to violence than people who are cisgender (i.e. what most folks consider “normal”). They are also more likely to suffer discrimination. I know these are frightening things for a parent to contemplate. But, they are real and you need to know about them in order to help your child survive to become the person God create them to be.
  • “One way or another, you’re going to lose your child unless you learn to accept them for who they are.”
    This one comes from a counselor I spoke to recently and it’s right on the money. What it means is that, if you don’t accept the fact that your child’s identity and their biologically assigned sex don’t match up, one of two things is going to happen: 1) they will walk out of your life and have little or nothing to do with you or 2) the strain of being forced to deny their true selves will drive them to suicide or other self-destructive behaviors. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true and you need to hear it.
  • Your reluctance is to accept your child’s identity is selfish.
    Think about it for a minute: if you gave birth to a girl who later realizes that (s)he is actually a boy, what damage does it do to you to accept that and love them for who they are? On the other hand, denying their identity can cause terrible damage (see previous point). Which option should a good parent choose?

I’ll end this with a personal story. A couple of years ago, my son came  out as transgender and began to transition in the past year. Prior to that, he suffered from anxiety and depression so crippling that, many days, he couldn’t function. Counseling and medication helped a little, but I worried that he would be confined to some terrible half life and never reach his full potential. In the months since he began transition, he is a new person. He has job, he’s working on getting his driver’s license and the counseling and meds for his other conditions are finally having the desired effect. I credit this to having the weight of living a false life lifted off his shoulders. If that’s a sin, I’ll take a boatload.

 

Of Frogs, Pants and “Promoting Sin”

A couple of months ago, I pretty much swore off stories about Franklin Graham. The guy is a broken record, bitching about the “gays”, the “muslims” and President Obama and I was approaching burnout where he’s concerned. That all changed this morning when I read this Facebook status he posted yesterday:

FG Muppets

Yes, beloved, the Muppets are “promoting sin to a younger and younger audience” and Franklin is joining One Million Moms (don’t worry, we’ll get them in a minute) in “urging parents to call on ABC to take it off the air. Okay, then.

So, One Million Moms. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this organization, here’s a little background on them: Basically, they’re the email/fundraising arm of the lovely American Family Association, one of the more despicable anti-LBGT hate groups out there. They’re also one of the crazier ones, promoting such ideas as Christians are now just as oppressed as black folks were prior to the Civil Rights movement, equating people who are LGBT allies to Nazi’s, that the President hates white Americans because he authorized changing the name back to Denali and other insane rantings. But, their latest petition leaves all that (and Graham’s puny Facebook condemnation) in the dust: “The Muppets” is not suitable family fare because “…Kermit doesn’t wear pants”. I’ll pause for a minute and let you try to absorb that statement.

Okay, now that you have your brain wrapped around the fact that a group of adults who want to be taken seriously have their knickers in a twist because a puppet is not wearing pants (well, as much as you can, anyway), let’s look a little deeper into this insanity. Citing the fact that Kermit isn’t wearing any pants as part of the reason that the show isn’t fit for kids is…, let’s say “interesting”, since Kermit has never worn pants! Okay, so he did in a couple of movies and the occasional bit on the TV show, but the frog’s default setting is most definitely sans pants. Especially on Sesame Street. Guess that means one of the most revered kids shows of all time isn’t “suitable for family viewing.”

There are other complaints besides Kermit’s attire (or lack thereof): according to 1MM, “Miss Piggy came out as a pro-choice feminist during an MSNBC interview” which means “The puppet characters loved by kids in the 1970s and 1980s and beyond are now weighing in on abortion and promiscuity”. I suspect these two issues are more of a problem than Kermit’s pants. To be fair, though, the pants comment was probably an attempt at humor on the part of 1MM and, while it definitely succeeded, I don’t think the resultant laughs were the kind they were shooting for.

The Moms also ask “How many parents want to explain the punchline of sexually charged jokes to young children?” Which is a bit odd because Parker and I watched the first show last night and neither of us can remember anything “sexually charged” in the episode.  It’s almost as if they were watching an entirely different show. Oh wait, they didn’t watch it at all before weighing in. Seems to me actually viewing a show might be something you’d want to do before calling for its cancellation.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the entire thing is the lack of outrage at “interspecies relationships” (though it does get a mention in Graham’s FB tirade). Seriously, you’re torqued about a frog not wearing pants, but his thing for pigs isn’t a problem? Let me get this straight, Kermit’s relationship with Miss Piggy and Gonzo’s creepy chicken fetish were both “family friendly” and wouldn’t bring up uncomfortable questions, but jokes about where a bear might take a dump or Animal’s reluctance to go on the road with Imagine Dragons (“Too many women, too many towns“) cross the line? That’s one weird-ass line.

Both Graham and One Million Moms make a mistake that many of us have for quite a while:we see the Muppets and their shows/movies as children’s fare. That’s not been true since Kermit and company started working outside Sesame Street back in the 70’s. Oh sure, there have always been elements of the Muppets that kids enjoyed, but the humor was aimed squarely at adults. This new show drops all the pretenses and goes after its targeted audience directly. Considering that most young kids today have almost no connection to these characters, that’s actually pretty smart.

In their zeal to “protect” kids from such awful things as sex, bodily functions and actual issues facing us today, Graham and 1MM fail to live up to their calling: protecting kids from things they actually need to be protected from. You know, abuse, hunger, homelessness, poverty, etc. If these people want to get your panties in a wad about things that aren’t “family friendly”, seems like those might be a good place to start.

NC’s Own Westboro Baptist Church?

Yesterday, after a great worship service and breakfast with my friends, I walked out of church to this:20150823_104834

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, beloved, these people are protesting my church. Why? I’m not really sure; I wanted to ask, but they wouldn’t stop preaching at me long enough for me to get a word in. So, I just took the picture, laughed and went on my way.

You might think that this would end there and it probably should. But I’ve never been the object of a protest before and I’ll admit, it left me a little rattled. I mean, it’s one thing to see these jokers on television, or even to drive by them while they spew their bile at whoever they happen to hate at any given moment. But, it’s a little different when it’s you they’re calling “filth” and a “stench in God’s nostrils”. I spent most of yesterday trying to process this before I remembered something Chris Hardwick said: “Comedians make jokes about horrible things because, as humans, this our defense mechanism for trying to process those horrible things and gain power over them.” Now, calling me a comedian might be stretching things a bit and I don’t have a show like Hardwick to work this stuff out.  On the other hand, I am a smart ass with a blog. So, let’s get processing!

A little earlier, I said I didn’t know why these douche canoes decided to picket our church, but that’s not exactly true. Sure, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise when I first saw them, but one look at their sign told me exactly what their problem might be: We’re a welcoming and affirming Baptist church. Really? That’s the best you’ve got? Hell, it’s no secret that we’re cool with folks who are LGBT+; it’s plastered all over our website and we held an anti-Amendment 1 rally a few years ago. Seriously, if you going to go to all the trouble protest someone, do your homework. There are so many other things we do and/or believe that would drive these guys crazy. Like the fact that we don’t use the KJV exclusively, teach from books other than Bible now and then, “encourage” doubt by allowing members to ask questions, occasionally have secular music during service and, perhaps worst of all, allow women in positions of leadership. I’m sorry, fellows, but this was just lazy activism.

I’m not sure exactly who they are or where they’re from because, when I finally got a chance to talk to them, they wouldn’t say. All they’d cop to was that they weren’t local. Whether that’s because they’ve been threatened with violence or are afraid someone might show up and protest at their church (as so many people have done to those trolls at Westboro Baptist Church), I couldn’t say. But, it seems to me that if this is the case, you might want to reconsider your message.

Interestingly, these folks staged their “protest” right beside a sign that reads, “Where loving God means loving people.” And, when I say “right beside”, I mean that literally: they were like 10 feet away from it. So, let me get this straight, you’re spewing hate in God’s name while standing next to a sign that references a passage from the Bible? Sadly, the irony of it all seemed to be lost on them. Of course, that reference wasn’t taken directly from the Authorized King James Version of 1611, so maybe they were confused.

Their sign lists Hebrews 12:8 as a reference for their claim that people who are LGBT+ are nothing but bastards. But, let’s look at that passage and see what it says:But if you don’t experience discipline, which happens to all children, then you are illegitimate and not real sons and daughters.” Hmm, nothing about gay folks in there at all. To be fair, though, when I finally got a chance to have a bit of conversation with our visitors, one of them said that they weren’t just talking about homosexuality, but “all sin”: fornicators, liars, thieves, porn watchers like he “used to be”(that’s what he said, I’m not questioning his honesty there), etc. In other words, we’re all bastards. And, while this does seem to echo Will Campbell’s “Gospel in 7 words“, he forgets the most important part: yes, we are all bastards, but God loves us anyway.

I have to say, however, that just talking to these guys was exhausting because they couldn’t say three words in row without it turning into a sermon. And, the hostility? It came off of them in waves. But, I’m proud of my church family, because they didn’t let those ugly signs and the toxic theology get to them. Our pastor invited them in for breakfast and offered them some water (for a heathenous false teacher leading us all straight to hell, he’s not a bad guy).  And, one of the ladies who prepared breakfast took some food and water out to them; they wouldn’t touch it, though. Maybe they were afraid some “gay” might’ve gotten on it, I don’t know. Of course, it probably didn’t help that when she took out to them, she tipped her head at one of them and sweetly asked the other, “Is he your partner?”

I find it interesting that these people were quoting the Bible and “calling out sin”, but seemed to be completely ignorant of Matthew 7:1-2. You  know the one that says, “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you.” Or, James 4:12, who said “There is only one lawgiver and judge, and he is able to save and to destroy. But you who judge your neighbor, who are you?” Funny how that works, huh?

I’m not sure what their endgame was, but I suspect that, on some level, they hoped that all their preaching, sign-holding and Bible-waving would cause us all to see the error of our ways and we’d fall to our knees and ask God’s forgiveness. Or, failing that, maybe some college student would hear their “message” and turn from the life of depravity that they had been living. Yes, because nothing brings a person to God quicker than the knowledge that God “hates” them and wants them to burn in Hell for living the life God created them to live in the first place. That is such a compelling argument.

Okay, this thing is getting a little out of hand, so I’ll close with something my son, Parker, had to say about the whole thing: “If you have protesters outside your church, completely unprovoked, you must be doing something right.” That’s the way I’m looking at it, anyway.

Is The Double Standard Crumbling?

Airport Mommy Porn, in German

 

Sometime in the last year or so, I started getting email notifications from Relevant magazine with links to current stories appearing in the print version. You’re probably wondering why a somewhat progressive, curmudgeonly old fart like me hasn’t unsubscribed from a Christian magazine aimed at millenials; especially one that has ties to Strang Communications, publisher of Charisma magazine. There are two reasons for that. The first is that some of the articles are actually interesting and, at times, even helpful. The second? Well, the second is that, every now and then, they provide excellent blog fodder. Like today, for instance.

Recently, I was going through my inbox and one those “Relevant” emails popped up. I took one look and a thrill of anticipation ran through me because the lead story was an article by Debra Fileta (Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in Relationship and Marital issues) titled “Porn Is Not Just a Man’s Problem“. I’d like to say I was excited because I thought the article might tackle the huge double standard that surrounds Christians and porn. I’d like to, but I can’t; I was excited because any article from an evangelical publication about porn is usually hilarious (they’re also kind of sad, but that’s beside the point). Interestingly, it did take on the aforementioned double standard. Just not in the way I wanted.

As I started reading, the article came off as an even-handed discussion of the sexualization of our society. The author says that this phenomenon isn’t confined to movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Magic Mike XXL”, it has “been slowly seeping into popular books, television shows and even commercials for quite some time now.” And, she’s right; if you’re doubt, watch a Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. commercial and you’ll see what she’s talking about. But, that doesn’t last long, as the piece quickly devolves into yet the standard evangelical idea about sex; i.e. that it’s really, really bad and women shouldn’t even acknowledge their sexuality, much less explore and enjoy it. Except, of course, within the confines of a marriage that is traditional and church-approved. And, by “a traditional and church-approved”, I mean “to a dude”.

Every time an evangelical author writes about sex, the word “lust” is bound to come up. And, make no mistake, it’s not in a good way. For these folks, “lust” is about the worst possible thing on the face of the earth. I’m not exactly sure why, because without lust, none of us would be here. I mean, think about it, one of the definitions for “lust” is “intense sexual desire or appetite”. Now, without sexual desire, no one’s going to get busy and if no one’s getting busy…, well, that’s math even I can handle. But, according to Fileta, women “struggle” with lust just like men. Unfortunately, she doesn’t really explain how either sex does so other than pointing to an article showing that a lot of women are looking at porn, too. Of course, she also claims to be inundated by emails from women suffering from porn addiction, so there’s that. 

It’s not a total loss, however, because she does talk about objectification. Unfortunately, Fileta seems to think that couple of movies, some racy commercials and television programs that show a guy’s butt now and then are somehow equal to the years that women have sexually objectified. Seriously? That doesn’t even begin to take into account the misogyny that permeates the porn industry (one director, without a trace of irony, consistently refers to women as “animals”) or the fact that the objectification of men is relatively new phenomenon, while we’ve been reducing women to the sum of the private parts for millenia. But, hey, at least we’re talking about it, right?

But, the real problem is that this article tries to sound like an even-handed discussion about the double-standard so ingrained in our attitudes about sex (see description offered two paragraphs ago), but it actually perpetuates it. The entire thrust of the piece is that women are still the same sinful creatures that brought about The Fall. You know, that whole Eve feeding Adam the “apple” thing. Right, because men wouldn’t give a shit about sex if women weren’t always hanging around, being all tempting and shit.

So, to answer the question posed in the title of this post, is the sexual double standard crumbling? No, it’s not. In all too many quarters, it’s still alive and kicking.

You’re Making The Rest Of Us Look Bad

Between the craziness about the flag and the way conservative Christians have lost their fucking minds over the Court’s ruling on marriage, it’s an interesting time to be a progressive blogger with a snarky, sarcastic side. We’ve all seen the crap coming from Tony Perkins, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and a host of others.  But, the most consistent purveyor of bat-crap crazy has got to be Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. In a field of frothing-at-the-mouth nitwits, Fischer manages to rise head and shoulders above all the others with utterances like this:

Bryan Fischer back of the bus
Image courtesy of Dan Arel’s danothropolgy blog on Patheos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, beloved, you can believe your eyes: a white guy just compared the imagined persecution of a bunch of (mostly) white people to the Civil Rights movement. Funny, I haven’t seen the cops turning fire hoses and attack dogs on conservative Christians because they’re protesting the recognition of someone else’s rights. My god, the irony in that statement is almost as palpable as Fischer’s cluelessness.

Sadly, that’s not the only demented thing he has to say on the subject; it was just another post in a Twitter rant that’s still going on. So far, Fischer has called the Supreme Court “rainbow jihadists”; said that Justice Kennedy “killed” the 1st Amendment; compared people who are LGBT+ to Nazi’s (aka “the Gay Gestapo”); claimed that SCOTUS released the ruling when they did in order to “turbo-charge gay pride parades” and said (this may be favorite) that the “Supreme Court makes it harder to go to heaven”. You know, Fischer’s ranting is almost as imaginative as that of Antonin Scalia. Were these two separated at birth or something?

As I said earlier, Fischer isn’t the only one saying this kind of stuff, he’s just the most…, let’s say, “interesting”. Now, most of these assholes have an agenda to push: Huckabee and Santorum are trying to whip their supporters into a frenzy that they hope will result in votes; Perkins and some others are attempting to scare people into sending them more money; a few, like certain people on Fox (I’m looking at you, Bill O’Reilly), are attention whores who desperately hope their comments translate into higher ratings. Almost none of these people actually believe the crap they’re putting out; it’s just a means to an end. Only a few, like Fischer, are “true believers” and are throughly convinced of the rightness (and, righteousness) of their message. But, that doesn’t make what they say any less stupid or damaging.

If the propagators of this bullshit were just sleazy politicians pandering for votes and attention whores trolling for ratings, it would be one thing. But, it’s not; almost all the ugly things being said about same-sex marriage, affordable health care, racism, income inequality and a host of other important issues are coming from people who claim to be followers of Christ. What…the…actual…fuck? Seriously, almost everything these people say is in direct opposition to what Jesus taught. What, you don’t believe me? Well, let’s a take a quick look:

  • Same-sex marriage _  this is a tough one, because Jesus didn’t say much about marriage in general and nothing at all about same-sex marriage. In fact, the only thing he did say on the subject concerned  divorce. While some folks try to say that passage somehow speaks to what Jesus thought about same-sex marriage or sexual orientation (concepts that didn’t even exist when this was said), that’s a stretch, at best. And, disingenuous at worst.
  • Affordable health care _ Again, we’re faced with a dilemma because, like LGBT+ issues, this wasn’t even a thing is the 1st century. And, again, Jesus never said anything about it. But, considering that most of the miracles he performed were healings, I have a sneaking suspicion that he’d be cool with the idea.
  • Income Inequality _ Finally some solid ground! What’s that you say? Jesus would never condone redistribution of wealth? Au contraire, mon frere. He specifically did so in Mark 10 (aka the story of the rich young man). So, yeah.
  • Racism _ Now, the J-man didn’t specifically speak about racism, but he did tell his followers to love each other. Losing your shit when we just talk about removing a flag that symbolizes racism and oppression to a lot of people in this country isn’t exactly what I’d call loving. Come on y’all, it’s not that god-damned hard to figure out.

Don’t get me wrong, though; I’m not saying you can’t agree with Fischer on these and other subjects. Hell, I’m not even saying that you can’t call yourself a Christian if you do. As proponent of free will, I believe you can do and say anything you want. But, if you decide to keep this up, I really wish you’d find another name for yourselves. You’re making the rest of us look bad.

Worthy Of Death?

So, it seems that Milledgeville’s Ten Commandments “Church” has put up this sign in front of their building:

Pastor-Robert-Lee-Milledgeville-Georgia-Sign-x400[7]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I could tell you this is from one of those church sign generator sites or has been photo-shopped, but I can’t. Well, I suppose I could, but I’d be lying my ass off because it’s real.

Just so you know, there will be several terms I’ll use rather loosely in this piece (Helpful hint: look for quotation marks around a word or phrase); starting with “church” in the leading sentence because, to steal a line from Jon Stewart, Ten Commandants is no more a church than Church’s Fried Chicken. Yes, I realize it’s not very nice to the fine folks at Church’s, but I’m sure they understand that sometimes, you gotta take one for the team.

In an interview on a local news program, “Pastor” Robert Lee said he didn’t see anything wrong with the sign, claiming that he is “just quoting the Bible” (Leviticus, you know). Yes, “Pastor” Lee, Leviticuas does say that. And, Jesus backed it up by repeatedly condemning people who are LGBT to hell along with Paul, who taught that we are still bound by the law (you can’t see it, but I’m face-palming right now). It looks like Lee could teach a master’s course in missing the point when it comes to following Jesus.

Now, some folks say we should ignore groups like this and not give them any publicity. Sometimes, I agree with those people. Other times (like when I can get a blog post out of it) not so much. And, sometimes, I’ll write about something when I hear a lot of people repeating ridiculous bullshit. This is one of those times. However, instead of a point-by-point refutation of the “theology” inherent in this view, I thought I’d point out a few other offenses Leviticus 20 specifies as punishable by death:

  • Cursing your mother or father _ In verse 9, we are told that anyone who curses their parents must be executed. By that standard, no teenager would survive to adulthood.
  • Adultery _  Next, it specifies that both parties in an adulterous relationship should be put to death. Upholding this one could have a slightly detrimental effect on church attendance. And, by “slightly detrimental effect”, I mean there would be a lot of empty churches on Sunday morning.
  • Knocking boots with your father’s wife or your daughter-in-law _ All I can about this one is the Israelites were some kinky fuckers. Literally.
  • Marrying a woman and her mother as well _ This one says that all three involved should be “burned with fire”. Not only is that oddly specific, it’s not really much of a punishment. Getting burned alive would be a piece of cake compared to living with your mother-in-law for the rest of your life.
  • Having sex with animals _ Okay, bestiality is like a 1000 on the “icky” scale, so I can sort of understand the ancients being creeped out enough to kill people who engaged in the practice. But, killing the animals, too? What, did they think the sheep was asking for it?
  • Sex with relatives _  I do not understand the need for a law against incest. Why the hell would you want to marry a person who has spent their entire life to irritating the shit out of you?

Except for marrying a woman and her mother, people still commit each and every one of these sins, but I don’t hear Lee and his compatriots calling them a “death worthy crime”. I wonder why.