Tag Archives: Bible

Making Jesus Great Again

Now, that’s my kind of savior!

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

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

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

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

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

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

__________________________

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

The Biblical And Moral Case For Trump?

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

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

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

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

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

Unicorns and Dinosaurs and Bears! Oh My!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Am I Still A Christian?

Doubt TillichOver the years, I’ve had people ask me, “How can you call yourself a Christian with some of the things you believe?” It’s a fair question, seeing as I don’t put much stock in a lot of orthodox beliefs anymore. The short (smartass) answer comes in two parts: 1) I’m a progressive Christian, which means I’m not hung up on a lot the stuff Christians have traditionally worried about: sex, drugs, rock and roll, etc. 2) I’m not really that good of a Christian.

But, a better question is “Why do I still call myself a Christian?” I think the answer to that will make more sense if I tell what I do and don’t believe these days.

  • The Biblical creation story _ I don’t believe the story told in Genesis is a historical, factual account of the world’s creation. The evidence presented by science about the Big Bang and evolution is overwhelming and to believe otherwise is to be willfully ignorant. That is not to say that I think the Genesis story should be tossed out. For me, it exists as myth or allegory and has to do with why we’re here, not how we got here.
  • That the Bible is the literal, inerrant Word of God _ I gave this one up a long time ago, if I ever really believed in the first place. That was only reinforced by the fact that, for me, learning the history of the Bible was a lot like watching sausage being made: it wasn’t pretty. The Bible has a place in my life, to be sure. But, it’s not the be all, end all of things.
  • The Virgin Birth _  I no longer believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived. That’s just not how biology works. Besides, the whole thing is based on a mistranslation of one word. In my opinion, the virgin birth story was a literary device that, like several other historically questionable events in the birth narratives, was meant to show that Jesus was special. Personally, I prefer to spend my time working on living the way he taught than how he was conceived.
  • An actual physical resurrection _ A few years ago, there was a bit of a dust-up between Tony Jones and Marcus Borg about whether the resurrection was physical or spiritual, with Jones arguing for physical. As I followed this discussion (between Jones and his detractors. Marcus was smart enough not to get down in the mud with them), I began to realize I had trouble accepting that Jesus’ body was reanimated and he walked around in it. The best I can do with this one is to believe that something happened in that tomb that inspired his followers to carry on, even in the face of persecution, oppression and death at the hands of the state.
  • The Trinity _ Actually, saying I don’t believe in the Trinity isn’t accurate. A better way to put it would be that I don’t really give a shit. Like the preceding items on this list, I don’t see how spending any time on it makes me a better follower of Jesus, so why bother?
  • Whether God even exists _ I suppose this makes me more of agnostic than anything else. I say this because I’ve never had that moment that some people talk about where God knocked me to my knees. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt the presence of God at any point in my life. At least, not in the way others have spoken of.

So, in light of all this, why do I still call myself a Christian? Because the way Jesus taught us to live is a pretty damn decent one. It  definitely makes makes me a better person. And, understand when I say “the way Jesus taught us to live”, I’m not talking about the perversion that is American Christianity, I mean what he actually said: love your neighbor, turn the other cheek, forgive those who treat you badly, don’t hoard your wealth, share with those who have less…, you get the picture.

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.

What Keeps Me Awake At Night

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

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

elishabears

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

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

The Real Christian Candidate?

Vote Jesus Christ

In country whose founding fathers swore wasn’t based on any religion, Christianity plays a humongous role in American political life. To get any traction in a political campaign, it’s pretty much a given that a candidate has to lay out their faith credentials for all to see. And, it’s also pretty much a given that those credentials had better be of the Christian variety if said candidate wants to get elected to anything, down to and including dog catcher (or whatever the lowest possible elected office is these days). There are, of course, exceptions like Keith Ellison, who’s a Muslim, or Pete Stark and Barney Frank, both atheists. Interestingly, Frank didn’t mention his non-believer status until after he retired, but had no problem coming out as gay while still in office, 25 years ago. If that doesn’t speak to America’s obsession with Christianity, I don’t know what does.

This religious fetish is…, let’s say problematic, for most progressives (not to mention infuriating for atheists), but it does exist. However, since this is the way things are, why don’t we see who the real Christian candidate is in the race for president? Now, don’t get bent out of shape when I say “the real Christian candidate”; I’m not talking about who adheres to the twisted evangelical/fundamentalist version that prevails in this country today. I mean which candidate’s policies most closely follow the words and teachings of Jesus. You know, the guy we Christians claim to follow? Since we have to have a way to determine this, I’ll use following scriptures: Luke 4:18-19, Matthew 5-7, Mark 10:17-27,  Matthew 25:31-42 and John 13:34, as they capture what I believe is the essence of Jesus’ message.

So, weighed against these passages, who is the most Christian of all the candidates running for the highest office in the land? Strangely enough, it’s a non-religious Jewish guy named Bernie Sanders. Even a cursory look at his campaign’s website shows that Sanders’ policies (especially those concerning economic and justice issues) hit more of the points addressed in these scriptures than anyone else in the race, Republican or Democrat. Oh sure, there are places where other candidates may come closer, but taken as a whole, Sanders is most Christian of all the people running for president this time out. Well, except for that whole “not being a Christian” thing.

But wait, you say, Bernie’s a socialist! How can a socialist be a Christian? While we can’t say that Jesus was actually a socialist (mostly because that label didn’t exist in the 1st century), I’d have to say he was closer to that than a capitalist. And, the early church (as described in Acts 2:42-47) was the quintessential commune. And, that’s “commune” in the communist sense, not just a bunch of people living together. The truth is, the actual Kingdom of Heaven as described by Jesus sounds a lot more like a Israeli kibbutz than anything you’ll find in Atlas Shrugged (a book that holds at least as much sway in conservative circles as the Bible these days). I know that’s hard on the American ear, what with our mania for individualism, but it’s the truth.

Now, some of you might accuse me of stumping for Bernie and maybe I am. But, the fact is, I won’t be voting for any candidate until the general election because I’m an independent (North Carolina doesn’t allow us indies to vote in primaries).That means I’m about as close to a disinterested party as you’re going to find these days. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that if i could vote, I’d probably pull the lever for Bernie (at least in part because I really don’t like Hillary). So, what was the point of all this? Basically, I find it interesting that a) the candidate whose platform most closely follows Christian tenets isn’t even a member of that religion and b) that man’s platform is considered by most Christians as “socialist”, as if that’s a bad thing. Only in America, my friends. Only in America.

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.

 

You’re Making Jesus Cry, Anne

Anne Graham Lotz recently wrote on her website that “Jesus is soon to return to take all of His followers to Heaven with Him in what is referred to as The Rapture.” She followed that gem up with this:

“While this will be deliverance for His people, can you imagine the impact on our nation, let alone the world, when suddenly every single authentic Christian disappears?

Institutions will collapse. Banks will close. The Stock Market will plunge. Planes will fall out of the sky. Cars will crash on the road. Government in America at every level will disintegrate. Families will be torn apart. In the unprecedented turmoil, our nation will be vulnerable for our enemies to seize the moment and attack us. There will be mass chaos, confusion, fear, grief, despair, anger, threats, danger… judgment.”

Don’t you just love it when Christian celebrities try to evangelize by scaring the shit out of people.

There’s just one little hitch with Annie’s idea of the Apocalypse: it’s not in the Bible. What’s that you say? It is in the Bible? Really? Would you mind looking it up and showing us where it says that “every single authentic Christian” will disappear. Don’t worry, we’ll wait. And, while you do that, the rest of us will check out this cool video:

Didn’t find it? Yeah, I was pretty sure you wouldn’t. Like I said, it’s not in there. Oh, there are a few things that have been twisted around and made to fit that story, but the idea that Jesus will come back and suck all his people up to Heaven while everyone else goes through hell on Earth is…not…there. It gets worse, though: Michele Bachmann is a big believer in the Rapture. And, when you agree with Michele Bachmann on something, maybe it’s time to take a look at what you believe.

This current conception of “The Rapture” started about 180 years ago when John Nelson Darby attempted to interpret St. John the Divine’s fever dream (aka, the Book of Revelation). Ease up, theology nerds; I know it’s eschatological literature and, once you understand the symbolism, it’s not all that weird. But, even the most hardcore among you have to admit that, taken literally, it would make a great sci-fi/fantasy read. Unfortunately, all we have on that front is the “Left Behind” series. Let’s be honest, those books aren’t even good Christian fiction. And, yes, that bar is set just as low as you think it is.

I figure Billy Graham pretty much has to be incapacitated.  As a father, I feel sure if he could still lift his arms, he’d beat both his kid’s asses for the way they’ve destroyed the ministry he worked so hard to build. I mean, seriously, between Anne hanging out (ideologically, at least) with people like Michele Bachmann and Kirk Cameron and Franklin’s Islamophobia/Obama Derangement Syndrome, the BGEA‘s credibility is taking some massive hits. Well, outside of fundamentalist/evangelical circles, that is; in that insular world, they’re probably celebrated for “fighting the good fight” and standing up against the “moral relativism” and subsequent decline of this “shining city on a hill”. Give me a fucking break, will you?

Look, if you want to believe some crazy-ass idea that has absolutely no biblical backing whatsoever, that’s your business. But, scaring the shit out of people so they’ll join your failing club is another story. You really, really need to stop that shit. It makes Jesus cry.

 

Good Job, Florida

Good job
Oh, Florida. It was nice while it lasted, though.

Recently, The Daily Show aired a piece about the fact that in many states, women do not have the option to terminate the parental rights of their attacker if they become pregnant as a result of rape. Yes, beloved, in 21 states of this great nation, it’s possible that a woman could have to co-parent with her rapist. That’s just fucked up. Interestingly, one of the states that does have legislation to prevent this is Florida. Good job, guys. And, as Daily Show correspondent Sam Bee pointed out, that’s not something you get say very often.

If that has you worried that the apocalypse is upon us, rest easy; Florida returned to its true form this week when their House of Representatives passed HB 7111. Titled “Conscience Protection for Actions of Private Child-Placing Agencies”, this bill protects private child-placement organizations from prosecution and civil suits if they refuse to place a child in a home that “would violate agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies”. So much for that “Good job, guys”.

Of course, this bill says that agencies won’t have consider any home they feel violates their “written religious or moral convictions or policies”, but we know who they’re really talking about: the “gays”. Yes, because all gay people in the world have but one desire: to corrupt children with the idea that everyone should be able to love and live with the person that makes them happy. What an insidious idea.

Interestingly, unlike legislators in other states, the conservative proponents of Florida HB 7111 don’t make any bones about the bill’s purpose: discrimination. House Democrats tried multiple times to attach nondiscrimination amendments, but were rebuffed at every turn. One, that would have prevented the state from funding organizations that engaged in discriminatory practices, was met with this comment from sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jason Brodeur (R): “This amendment does the exact opposite of the entire bill. I would ask that you vote it down.” You have to admire his honesty, even if you hate what he’s being honest about.

Now, almost all of the current bills/laws centered around “religious freedom could very easily  come back and bite the proponents in the ass because it’s unconstitutional to make them applicable only to Christians. That means they could be used by Jews, Sikhs, Hindu’s and Muslims(?!?) to deny service to good, Christian folks. But, the Florida law has another apparently unforeseen consequence: it could open the door for discrimination against groups other than the dreaded “gay menace”. And, while in all too many parts of the United States, it’s perfectly okay to shit on people who are LGBTQ, it’s much less socially acceptable (not mention illegal) to discriminate against African-Americans, women (of the single, straight variety; lesbians, of course, are fair game) and other minorities. I wonder what would happen if a religiously conservative child-placement agency  refuses to place a child with a mixed-race family because they consider “miscegenation” a sin (these sects still exist).

One of the founding principles of this country is religious freedom. It was so important to our founding fathers that they included language guaranteeing it in the U. S. Constitution. I am fully in favor of the idea that every individual in this nation should be able to practice the belief of their choice in the way they see fit. What I’m not in favor of is people using freedom of religion to treat others like shit for whatever stupid ass reason they can come up with. If you want to be a fucking bigot, be one openly and don’t use God and the Bible to escape responsibility for your actions. That’s despicable.