Tag Archives: Christianity

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!

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.

RNC Follies

During a recent Facebook Live prayer event, Franklin Graham said that our country “is in trouble”. He even went so far as to say, “We’re on the precipice of anarchy.” And, I agree with him 100%. Why would I ever agree with anything Franklin says? Simple, I’ve been following the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. And, if what went down in Cleveland last week is any indicator, anarchy is what we’re in for if we elect this Roald Dahl villian come to life.

Starting with a speech which turned out to have portions lifted from that of another First Lady and ending with an address that had everyone who heard it shitting their pants, this year’s RNC was a “five-alarm dumpster fire”. I realize that’s a little unkind to dumpster fires, but it is an apt description. Why would I say that? Check out the following observations:

  • Monday night, we were treated to a speech from Melania Trump. By now, the plagiarism angle is old news. But, there is something I haven’t heard brought up: Melania’s speechwriters decided to steal from Michelle Obama, someone Republicans have spent  the last 8 years belittling and demeaning. So, Michelle is a joke of a First Lady until you need some words for cour candidate’s Barbie doll wife to say during her first public outing? Why that makes perfect sense!
  • Then, there’s Rudy Giuliani, who contributed to the fear-mongering spoke on “Make America Safe Again” night (also Monday). Filled with the usual half-truths and empty rhetoric that characterizes any Republican speech about Hillary, Rudy’s address was notable for two reasons: Giuliani took the “angry white man” shtick to another level and, amazingly, he didn’t mention “9-11” one single time. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who uses that phrase as punctuation.
  • Tuesday’s theme was “Make America Work Again” . Now, one might expect a night with such a title  to be about jobs and such.  Instead, it was a Hillary Hatefest. including a  mock trial of Hillary Clinton conducted by Michelin Man impersonator, Chris Christie. Evidently, the only jobs Republicans are interested in are Fox News pundit or Unhinged Right Wing Talk Radio Host.
  • Wednesday night, Ted Cruz spoke and, well, it was awesome! Cruz, in an act of defiance, refused to endorse Trump, instead telling the crowd to vote their conscience. The crowd’s response? They booed. I mean, really booed. You know, if someone tells you to ” vote your conscience” instead of blindly endorsing your candidate and you boo them off the stage, what does that say about your candidate?
  • Of course, we have to talk about The Donald’s acceptance speech.  Like Giuliani and all the other speakers who did their level best to scare the living shit out of anyone within earshot, The Donald pulled out all the stops. The America in his speech made the desert hellscape of “Mad Max: Fury Road” look like a utopian paradise. It makes sense, though., since Trump probably has more in common with Immortan Joe than a U. S. president.
  • But, perhaps the most interesting thing about this little shindig was the absence of anything remotely related to Jesus and what he taught. That’s a little funny don’t you think? I mean, the Republicans have told us for years that they own Christianity and yet, from what I saw, Christianity was pretty much absent from their convention. Jesus (you know, the guy the Christian faith is based on?) told his followers not to fear, to love their neighbors, to welcome the stranger, to care for the poor and more. In other words, pretty much the polar opposite of everything said in Cleveland last week.

After watching this shit show unfold, I have reached an unavoidable conclusion: If you aren’t horrified by what we’ve seen the last few days and driven to do whatever it takes to keep this deranged Oompa-Loompa out of the White House, you are no longer in touch with reality. Trump should be polling behind a fucking sweet potato. Instead, he’s neck and neck with Hillary. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like what that says about America right now.

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.

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.

Stupid Thoughts

stupid thoughtsI don’t think anyone will disagree with me when I say we have been treated to some truly awful shit of late. Then, to have it capped off by what happened in Orlando last weekend is just too…fucking…much. Now, when things get rough, my response is to look for some bit of humor, something to laugh about. Why?  Well, as comedian Chris Hardwick said in his latest Comedy Central special, “Comedy is armor that protects us from the horrible shit-witch of life.” And, as the parent of someone who’s LGBT, I need that armor now, more than ever.

So, where does one find comedy in this horrific shitstorm? Fuck if I know. But, I feel the need to write something funny (well, funny to me, anyway), so here are a few of the stupid thoughts that pass through my brain on a daily basis. With a little luck, maybe you’ll laugh and, for a few minutes, forget how fucked up things are right now.

  • A few years before he died, I found out my dad…, didn’t need Viagra. I know this because he told me so. On hearing this “news”, I was immediately torn. On one hand, I thought, “Oh god, I can’t know that.” On the other, I was like, “Well, at least I come from good genes.”
  • People have asked me, “How can you call yourself a Christian with some of the things you believe?” There are two reasons for that: one, I’m a progressive Christian which means I’m not hung up on a lot the stuff Christians have traditionally worried about: sex, drugs, alcohol, rock and roll, etc. and two, I’m not a very good Christian.
  • Why does every commercial aimed at folks my age seem to be about boner pills and adult diapers? If I need diapers, boner pills probably aren’t going to be necessary.
  • I think I’m going to start referring to myself as a religious satirist. I used to say I was a smart ass with a blog, but that brand is kind of a hard sell.
  • Why does sexy never equal comfortable? Like sweatpants, for example. We know sweatpants aren’t sexy because they don’t sell them at Victoria’s Secret. (Yes, in my mind, Victoria is the arbiter of sexy clothing. It is a step up, though; I used think it was Frederick’s of Hollywood). I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen someone wearing sweatpants and thought, “Damn, I gotta get me some of that.” Probably because of what’s usually worn with sweatpants: t-shirt with stains and non-strategically placed holes, ratty-ass sneakers/sandals and socks (the sexiest of all footwear) and a full-blown case of bed head. Basically, wearing sweatpants in public is like holding up a sign that says, “I don’t fucking care anymore.” I suppose this look does take confidence and confidence is sexy. But, I’m guessing this crosses the line.
  • How can Christians look down on fringe beliefs like Scientology as “crazy”? The Scientology space opera isn’t any more absurd than believing that a Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree?

This is the first time I’ve tried a post like this, so if you like it, let me know. With a comment. In the comment section. If you don’t…? Well, my first inclination to say “Fuck you”, but that’s probably not the best way to handle criticism. So, I guess you can comment, too. Whatever.

Diddling For Demons?

graphic_contentToday, my friends, we’re going down the dark, creepy rabbit hole that is fundamentalist Christian sexual concepts. The one we’re looking at today involves demons; which should tell you just how fucked up things are in that realm. If reading something that makes you feel like you’ll never be clean again isn’t your bag, you may want to skip this one. Consider that last sentence your trigger warning/NSFW tag, because it’s the only one you’re getting. Okay, still here? Excellent, let’s get busy.

As I’ve said on more than one occasion, every now and then, the Internet gives you a gift. Yesterday, that gift came in the form of a Huffington Post article titled “Christian Author Mack Major Says Female Masturbation Is ‘Direct Path To Satan’“. I’ll pause for a minute to let you soak in all that delicious lunacy.

Okay, so a couple of days ago, it seems that “Christian author Mack Major” busted this nut:

masturbation

That’s right, ladies; buttering your muffin is how the Devil gets in.

But, wait; it gets better! On the blog post this status linked to, he wrote, “Many of you who are reading this have sex toys in your possession right now. And whether you want to accept it as fact or not: those sex toys are an open portal between the demonic realm and your own life.” He said, “open portal”. Huh, huh, huh.

As much as I enjoyed the unintentional “open portal” pun, perhaps my favorite thing in the whole article is the idea that masturbation can summon a sex demon and if one of those things jumps on you, all you’ll want to do is rub one out. In fact, it “will drive you to masturbate, even when you don’t want to. You’ll be hit with urges to play with yourself so powerful that only an orgasm will allow you some temporary relief.” Damn, Major just described my life from the age of 12 till…, well, now actually. Guess I have a sex demon. Or, maybe I’m a normal human being with a healthy sex drive. Who knows?

Speaking of sex demons,  if you do a Google image search for that phrase, you’ll find some weird shit. You’ll also find pictures of Miley Cyrus. That seems a bit harsh, when I think about it. Don’t get me wrong, no one was calling her a sex demon, they were saying she was possessed by a sex demon. What, the only way a woman could possibly take control of her sexuality after spending years having it suppressed in order to sell a bunch of crap to little girls is if she’s possessed by demons? Okay, then.

But, the real problem is the double standard that’s at work here. And, I am not happy about that. Considering that most of my readers are fine, progressive people like myself, I’m sure you feel the same. I mean, it’s just not right when one group gets singled out this way while the other is ignored. Seriously, how is it in any way  fair that when women masturbate, they call up the devil but when men do some handiwork, all they get is hair in the palm of their hand and blindness? That’s not right and someone needs to do something about it. Not me, though. Something’s just come up and I need to go take care of it.

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.

I’m A Christian, But, I’m Not…

Mollie Hemingway recently wrote an article for “The Federalist” titled “5 Most Cringeworthy Problems With Buzzfeed’s Viral ‘I’m a Christian, But I’m Not’, Video” (shown at the top of this page) and she wasn’t exactly what you’d call “complementary”. Now, If I’m being honest, I have to agree that the clip is a little douchey. Not in the evangelical/fundamentalist “I’m saved, but you’re all going to hell” way; more like the NALT project, which is just a little reminiscent of Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector. According to Hemingway, the video “was easily the most unintentionally hilarious, if shockingly bigoted, BuzzFeed video ever produced.” After watching it, I’m left wondering if Hemingway actually understands what “bigoted” really means. Or, “shockingly” either, for that matter.

I say that because the statement in question follows an extremely condescending dismissal of everything the people in the clip say. Displaying the (possibly) unwitting arrogance that seems to permeate conservative Christianity, she attempts to minimize the participants words with quotation marks, a strikeout and, that particulraly odious tool of rejection, ridiculing a person’s spelling/choice of words. Then, she lists the 5 most egregious things in the video. So, let’s take a look at what Ms. Hemingway considers cringeworthy:

  1. No Mention of Jesus
    Hemingway claims, after referencing its text, that the video contains “Not a single mention of Jesus, the author and finisher of the Christian faith.” That’s not exactly true. Sure, no one mentions Jesus by name, but the J-man is all over this thing. Most notably in the statement, “love is the most important thing.” If I could talk to Hemingway (and the young woman who shared this and was a member of the youth group I worked with in the past), I’d tell her that Jesus isn’t constantly smacking us on the ass, yelling “Say my name, bitch!”
  2. No Diversity
    Now, you may be wondering how a video about Christians that features people of color, people who are LGBT+ or who depart from the Church’s view on sex isn’t diverse (I know I was). But, here’s Hemingway’s problem: there are no “conservatives” in the cast. She even breaks it down by percentage, saying “At least 33 percent of those interviewed are LGBT (roughly 10 times the national average) and at least 50 percent are feminist (only 18 percent of Americans actually identify as feminist).” In other words, she’s arguing that the video isn’t “politically correct”; a concept she has a history of criticizing. Talk about “unintentionally hilarious”!
  3. Wow, Was It Bigoted 
    As I said earlier, I’m not sure if Hemingway knows what “bigoted” actually means. According to Merriam-Webster, it is an adjective for “bigot”, which is defined as ” a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” Does the video display some condescension? Absolutely. Does that condescension rise to the level of hate or intolerance? No, it doesn’t. Not once in this video does anyone claim that their belief is the right one, that everyone else is wrong, or show that they are “intolerantly devoted” to anything. They didn’t, as Hemingway infers, say that people who disagree with them are “homophobic, holier-than-thou, close-minded, unaccepting, uneducated, judgmental, conservative ignoramuses.” But, you know what they say; “A hit dog always howls.”
  4. Christianity Offends 
    Yes, it does. Hell, I’m a Christian and it offends me. Okay, to be more accurate, what currently passes for orthodox Christianity offends me. Why? Because it took a way of life based on unconditional love and turned it into a belief system incorporating a set of arbitrary rules designed to separate and control people. The real problem with the video is that it talks about a Christianity that’s radical and countercultural. And, that scares the shit out of people like Hemingway, a middle class white woman who is heavily invested in maintaining the status quo.
  5. It’s a Pharisee Prayer
    In this item, we finally get to down Hemingway’s real issue with the video: sex. Yes, beloved, after all that other bullshit, it boils down when and with whom you choose to knock boots. I say that because, of all the issues she lists in her article, she uses sex to make her point, saying “The media wrongly think that any time you articulate Christian doctrine on sexuality—which is exacting and more or less completely contradictory to the way of the world—you’re putting yourself on a pedestal. That’s a childish reading of such articulation. And it completely ignores the point of Christianity, which is that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Two problems here: 1) Why do conservatives have such an obsession with sex? 2) The point of Christianity is “that while we were still sinners Christ died for us“? Shit, all this time,  I thought it was “Love one another.” Boy, is my face red.

In her closing paragraph, Hemingway says “Let us all beware of smug complacency and measuring ourselves against others.” That may be the most clueless sentence in human history, because she writes it after spending over 1,800 words doing just that. If there’s any doubt, the last two sentences should clear things up: “Let’s join the tax collector and cry out, “God be merciful to me, a sinner! And forgive BuzzFeed while you’re at it—particularly when it comes to religious content, they could use your prayers.” I guess, as a “real” (i.e. conservative) Christian, Hemingway is in possession of the Truth and we should all listen to her. Especially those heathens at BuzzFeed.

The Dumbest Thing On The Internet

I’m thinking about starting a new feature called “Dumbest Thing On The Internet”. If that happens, this will most likely be the inaugural piece. 

citizenship-oath

It appears that some folks are a little upset over a recent change in the United States Oath of Allegiance. claiming it was done to comply with Sharia law. According to the latest from the tinfoil hat crowd, this is a problem because “Islamic supremacists” (that’s a new one) could “feign loyalty to non-Muslim “infidel” authorities”. These new changes will allow them to carry on their pretense without fear of having to live up to their oath. Yes, because that makes so much sense.

Wherever did I find this jewel of a conspiracy theory? In an article from the Breaking Israel News website, titled “Obama Alters U.S. Oath of Allegiance in Compliance with Islamic Law“, that’s where. You might think something this crazy sounding would be a one-off, only showing up on that one site. If so, you really don’t know the internet. Google that shit and you’ll get page after page of unfiltered, batcrap crazy.

Before we get into all that nuttery, let’s take a look at these changes to the oath. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

A candidate may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection. The new guidance clarifies that a candidate:

  • May be eligible for modifications based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.
  • Is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief, or to have had religious training in order to qualify.
  • May submit, but is not required to provide, an attestation from a religious or other type of organization, as well as other evidence to establish eligibility.

That’s pretty much it.  As you can see, it’s not a sinister plot to help Muslims bring about an American caliphate, just a change that reinforces new citizens’ right to conscientiously object the same as natural-born ones. I’m not sure how this morphed into Obama instituting Sharia law. I guess it comes with the territory when you’ve lost your god-damned mind due to Obama Derangement Syndrome.

As I read this article, I was thinking, “Holy shit, this is some whacked out stuff”, but I didn’t really see a way to use it here at The Progressive Redneck. Then, I found it: the first item in the criteria says that a candidate may request a modification based religious belief or conscientious objection “arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.” Hmm, I thought, that sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before? Oh yeah, in all those damn “religious freedom” laws conservatives have been shoving down our throats in the last couple of years. We all knew this “religious freedom” was just for Christians, but now it looks like it doesn’t have jack shit to do with actual freedom either.

Why do I say that? Because the same conservatives who demand we acquiesce to their temper tantrum respect people’s “deeply held religious beliefs” on marriage are pissed off because the oath of allegiance now includes a couple of changes that actually respect the “deeply held religious beliefs” of some of this country’s newest citizens; who, incidentally, might not be Christian. That is some Grade A hypocrisy, right there.

Am I being a little hard on folks who believe this shit? Maybe. Okay, probably. But, I’m a little short-tempered because we’re 7 years into Obama’s presidency and people still believe he’s a secret Muslim. Seriously? Okay, so maybe he doesn’t wave his faith in everyone’s face like some of our leaders have (I’m looking at you, G. W.), but he doesn’t hide it either. Of course, this disconnect on the president’s faith most likely arises from two sources: 1) while he may be a Christian, he’s a progressive one. And, we all know that progressive Christians aren’t really Christians. 2) “Muslim” is a code word. And, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you what for.

So, yeah, I’ve been a little harsh and dismissive of people who believe some things I find ridiculous. And, believe it or not, that does bother me. I’ve spent hours struggling over this post, worrying that it’s too mean, doesn’t adequately respect the beliefs of others, etc. I don’t like being an asshole (although that does seem to be my default setting) and try to avoid it as much as I can. Okay, saying I don’t like being an overt asshole is probably closer to the truth, but shit like this riles me up. I console myself with the fact that when Jesus got riled up, he could be an asshole, too.