Tag Archives: David

2016: The Year In Review

This has been my mantra for the year.

Well, beloved, we’ve come to the end of another year, which means we’re about to be inundated with “Year in Review” posts/articles/programs. And, yes, I’m doing one, too. “Year in Review” posts aren’t what you’d call a regular feature here. Unlike my annual Thanksgiving posts, I haven’t written one of these since 2012. I’m not exactly sure why, it’s not like the past four years have been uneventful or anything. In fact, I’m not sure why I’m writing this one. Probably because I figure a post about 2016 will get some views and, like all writers, I’m a bit of an attention whore.

The consensus view seems to be that 2016 has been a rather shitty year. After all, it’s seen:

  • An orange-hued shit demon take advantage of the pain and fear of a large swath of the country to become President of the United States,
  • A bunch of idiotic yahoos in my home state of North Carolina pass an obviously discriminatory law and then commit political suicide by standing behind it in the face of overwhelming opposition both in the state and abroad,
  • The most deadly mass shooting in U. S. history, in which 49 people were killed because of their sexual orientation and/or gender expression.
  • Unarmed black men shot down by the police, mostly for the crime of just being black (that’s not new, but it was a big part of this past year).
  • An election that may have hacked by the Russians. At the very least, they influenced the voting toward the candidate they preferred.
  • And the death of a beloved celebrity every time we turned around.

Not exactly the best year on record, huh?

Still, it hasn’t been all bad. 2016 has also seen:

  • Working class people find a new (unlikely) champion in a 78 year old Jewish socialist. Now, if the Democratic Party (who likes to think of itself as “the party of the people”) would just get on board.
  • An announcement that Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman would be replacing former president (and slaveholder) Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. This is good because not only was Jackson was a slave owner, he was an asshole.
  • Jabba the Hut stunt double, Roger Ailes, resign as chairman and CEO of FoxNews. Ailes did so amidst a hail of accusations that he has a proclivity for making lewd remarks and/or advances to his female employees. And, punishing them when they reject him.
  • Pat McCrory lose his job as Governor of North Carolina to Roy Cooper. The best part is that McCrory engineered his own downfall with the hated HB 2, which was actually supposed to hurt his opponent, Cooper. Ain’t karma a bitch?
  • Samantha Bee debut her most excellent show, Full Frontal, on TBS. Bee, smart woman that she is, blew off the industry standard  live interview portion of the news parody format and stuck with her strength, scathing, intelligent satire. And, the television world is better for it.
  • A new Star Wars movie come out. It’s called “Rogue  One” if you’ve been living under a rock. I’m going to see this weekend and I can’t think of a better way to ring out this year.

Do these things offset losing David Bowie and Carrie Fisher in the same year? Probably not, but you’ve got to accentuate the positive. Even when the positive is not all that great.

It’s been said that 2016 has been the worst year ever. But, the truth is, it hasn’t. Not by a long shot. We’re not engaged in a global conflagration, an entire race isn’t in the process of being exterminated, there isn’t a plague killing off a significant portion of humanity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s been fun and I’d like to do it again. Just that it’s not been that bad. Hey, most of us even survived it. I’m not giving odds on 2017, though. I have a feeling it’s going to be a motherfucker.

In Praise of the Anti-hero

I think this the logo for a skateboard company. But it's so cool, I just have to use it.
I think this the logo for a skateboard company. But it’s so cool, I just have to use it.

Regular readers here at the Progressive Redneck are probably aware that I’m a bit of a nerd. Not necessarily a classical nerd; I was never a member of the Pocket Protector Alliance and the endless arguments over the best gaming system don’t interest me in the least. If I had to categorize myself, I’d have to say I’m a book nerd. I love the written word; every bit of it, from Shakespeare to the most ridiculous science fiction novel. And, that includes comic books

When I was a kid, after every doctor visit, my mom would stop at the drug store in Pleasant Garden, NC to fill whatever prescription the doctor had written. Every time we walked in the door, I would make a beeline for the comic books and spent the entire visit perusing the selection. This inspection was crucial because, as a reward for not being too much of a pain in the ass, Mama would allow me to pick out one book. I haven’t been in that store for 40 years or more, but this memory is just as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

Comic books have changed since I was kid; they’re darker and more complex. But, a lot of the heroes I remember from those days are still around: Batman, Superman, Captain American, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, etc. Growing up, Batman was probably my favorite, something about a guy who dressed like a bat to operate as a vigilante appealed to me. I’ve never cared much for Superman; he’s too perfect. Even with all that teen angst bullshit, Spiderman was way more interesting to me.

You may have figured this out already, but I like my heroes just a little…, broken. I guess that’s why I’ve always preferred Marvel over DC, Batman over Superman. In fact, I believe one of the best comic book series ever published is Vertigo’s Hellblazer featuring John Constantine. A sorcerer with a smart mouth and a rather ambiguous moral code, Constantine is the essential anti-hero. And, one of the most interesting characters put to ink in a long time.

I feel the same way about biblical heroes, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jesus and all that, but I can’t really relate to the guy. With all the bullshit he had to contend with, he only got mad twice. TWICE. If I had to put up with all the bullshit he did, I’d have been in a constant homocidal rage. Fortunately, there are other characters that are more on my level. Like David, for instance.

David is one of the most human characters in the Bible. He constantly fucks up, from allying with his people’s most implacable enemy, the Philistines, to raping Bathsheba and murdering her husband; we’re talking about one fucked up dude. But, it’s that brokenness makes him so relatable. Every time I read David’s story, I think, “Hey, if this guy can stay in God’s good graces, maybe there’s hope for me.”

Then, there’s Jacob, who could’ve been the model for Deadpool. The guy is an aggravating smart ass with an over developed sense of self-worth and a very flexible morality. He cheated his brother out of his inheritance and skipped town hours ahead of a monumental ass-kicking. Then, he cheated his father-in-law, Laban, on several deals over livestock (to be fair, Laban was just as crooked). But, for some reason, God chose him as patriarch of God’s Chosen People.

Lest you think all the screw ups are in the Old Testament, allow me to present Peter, the disciple who, in the words of my friend, Michael Usey, “starts fast and finishes last”. Peter went from believing that he could walk on water because his rabbi said he could, to denying that he even knew Jesus when the chips were down. But, eventually, he came around. And, it only took his head catching on fire for it to happen.

Iconic heroes are boring. I mean, you always know that Superman is going to do the right thing and save the day. And, guys like Tony Stark/Ironman and Deadpool will, too…, eventually. But, their path won’t be anywhere near as straight as Superman’s. And, it will probably fuck a lot of stuff up. But, I guarantee you, it will be much, much more interesting. And, if we have to go there anyway, why not be entertained along the way?

Christians For Trump Pt III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Christians For Trump Pt II

This is the man that evangelical Christians are lining up behind. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.
This is the man behind whom more and more evangelical Christians are lining up. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.

On a recent episode of “Last Week Tonight“, John Oliver said, “Donald Trump is America’s back mole. It may have seemed harmless a year ago. But, now that it got frighteningly bigger, it is no longer wise to ignore it.” And, much as I wish he wasn’t, he is absolutely right. Especially since Trump is starting to pick up endorsements. The political ones, like Chris Christie or Jeff Sessions, don’t bother me a whole lot. Christie’s performance in the primaries shows that Americans think he’s a tool and Sessions has only to open his mouth for people to figure that out. No, it’s the religious leaders jumping on the Trump bandwagon that are most disconcerting to me.

Yes, beloved, I said “religious leaders”. Amazingly, The Donald is picking up a good deal of support among evangelical Christians. The list of endorsements from that quarter reads like a Who’s Who of the Religious Right. There’s

  • Jerry Falwell, Jr.
  • Kenneth and Gloria Copeland
  • David Jeremiah
  • Jan Crouch
  • Paula White
  • Robert Jeffress

This list is not exhaustive, it only includes the ones I could verify this morning.

There is one endorsement that I feel deserves more than a mere mention in a list and it comes from James David Manning, “pastor” of ATLAH World Ministries. In the past, Manning has claimed that Starbucks uses semen to make their lattes “even more flavorful” and that gay men would “carry babies in the testicles for nine months and then gestate them out of their assholes” before the City of New York foreclosed on his church for non-payment of water bills. Understand that if you’re backing Trump, you agree with this psycho. Chew on that for a minute.

Of course, Manning isn’t the only “controversial” figure who has come out in support of The Donald; there’s a group with views even more disgusting than Manning’s who are lining up behind Trump: white supremacists. And, he’s cool with that.

Okay, given his comments about Islam and immigration, it’s really no surprise that Ku Klux Klan chiefs like Rachel  Pendergraft (national organizer for the Knights Party, a KKK standard-bearer) and former Grand Wizard David Duke like what they hear. But, it is more than a little shocking that, in 2016, a candidate for the highest office in the land refuses to disavow their support. This is not a joke, people. Trump actually refused, on national television, to condemn an endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan.

Yesterday, on CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper gave The Donald multiple chances to distance himself from these people. Tapper brought up Duke’s message to white people that voting against Trump would be “treason to your heritage” and Trump…, well,  you just have to watch it for yourself:

Well, that’s “problematic” (and yes, I realize that is an understatement of massive proportions). But, even more problematic is the fact that it doesn’t seem to bother the Christians who are flocking to his campaign. You’d think the last thing people who follow Jesus would want is to be allied with representatives of what may be the most odious organization in American history (the GOP is coming on strong). But, I guess not. There’s no outrage, no calls for a boycott of all things Trump. Basically, there’s just silence. So far, all I’ve seen is Robert Jeffress’ answer to The Daily Beast’s request for a comment:  “Thanks but I think I’ll pass on this one!”

Siding with the Klan is right where you want to be as a Christian, isn’t it? You know, it’s one thing to watch Trump bullshit his way through hard questions (which are “hard” because he can’t answer the way he should for fear alienating a large part of his base), but it’s another to see a Christian run from the opportunity to call Trump out for not rejecting the support of such an awful group. It’s called “speaking truth to power” and it used to be a thing in Christianity. But, these days? Not so much, it seems.

You’re Not Being Persecuted Pt II

The latest face of Christian persecution in America?
The latest face of Christian persecution in America?

Monday, I talked about writing articles with real-time connections and how it was a boom and bust proposition. I also told you I was in a boom period right now, saying it felt like I have been deluged with topics lately. I’m digging my way out of that and, in the process, I give you the latest entry in the “How To Suck At Being A Christian” sweepstakes: the Benham Brothers.

You may have heard of these fellows; they were all set to star in HGTV’s latest house-flipping epic, Flip It Forward. Unfortunately, we’ll never see that small-screen masterpiece because it was cancelled before it aired. And, why was that? Because the Benham’s have some less-than-complimentary views of the LGBTQ community and HGTV isn’t stupid. They know that community makes up a significant part of their audience and giving these yahoos a platform wouldn’t be good for their business. Of course, the Benham’s don’t see it that way: they believe they’re being persecuted by the LGBTQ community because, as Franklin Graham said, “they stood up for biblical truth“.

How did they stand up for “biblical truth”? By saying homosexuality is”demonic” and “attacking the nation” By working to pass Amendment One, a law that codified discrimination in the N. C. state constitution . By calling an Islamic center “a den of iniquity” and referring to Muslims as “the enemy attacking” America and saying they are “slaves” to their religion. By comparing the fight against marriage equality to the fight against Nazi Germany and saying marriage equality “erodes the moral fabric of our society” and “threaten[s] future generations”. That’s biblical truth? I’m not sure what Bible Franklin has been reading, but it’s certainly not the same one I have. 

The brothers are on record proclaiming their love for all people (even gays!), saying “my brother and I would never discriminate. Never have we — never would we,” They also issued a statement, saying “The first and last thought on our minds as we begin and end each day is; have we shined Christ’s light today?” Much like Graham’s idea of “biblical truth”, the words in the previous paragraph have me wondering about their idea of love and the light of Christ. But, I digress.

Once again, we are subjected to conservatives confusing persecution with consequences. Look, it’s not persecution if you lose a job for saying assy stuff, it’s just the way the world works. If, however, you are prevented from saying assy stuff, are put in jail, physically attacked or even killed for saying assy stuff, then you might have a case.  But, none of that’s happening, is it?

Don’t ge me wrong, I love evangelicals and I’m trying to feel their pain. It’s got to be hard watching everything you’ve worked for all these years go the way of the dodo. Of course, feeling that pain would be easier if what they’ve worked for all these years wasn’t so douchey. This temper tantrum about persecution isn’t helping their case, either. I hate to say it, but claims of Christian persecution in America hold about as much water as Ku Klux Klan assertions about the persecution of white folks. In other words, not a whole lot. The bottom line is this: not being allowed to dump on groups that are different from you does not constitute persecution. And, considering that the Gospel is a call to stand with those groups, claiming that is goes against the grain of pretty much everything Jesus ever taught.

It’s About Time

Just to make sure everyone understands this for what it is.
Just to make sure everyone understands this for what it is.

 

conservative bibleI truly admire Andy Schlafly. I would say I love him, but I might sound like a gay (not that there’s anything wrong that). I admire him because he’s fighting the good fight, just like his mom, Phyllis, has all these years. Andy is the owner of Conservapedia, a wiki site he founded to combat the liberal bias of Wikipedia. That alone is enough to earn him a place in the conservative pantheon, but Schlafly is not one to rest on his laurels. A few years ago, he started a project “to render God’s word into modern English without liberal translation distortions”. All I can say is, it’s about time.

To do this, Conservapedia has thrown open the door to “the best of the public“. While you may not have heard this phrase before, it relies on the idea that “extraordinary achievements are attained by ordinary people.” Especially since ordinary people don’t have all that pesky book-learning to get in their way. Don’t believe me? Look at David Barton; he’s no expert in history or constitutional law (he has a BA in Religious Ed from ORU), but that hasn’t kept him from attempting to redress the historical inaccuracies our children are taught about the Founding Fathers and the First Amendment (like Ben, George and Tom were evangelical Christians and America is a Christian nation). Schlafly believes his project needs more people like Barton and fewer eggheads with all their highfalutin’ knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, not to mention historical context (because none of that is really necessary to understand a book written in another language for a foreign culture 2000 years ago).

As I said earlier, Conservedia says that current versions of the Bible are beset by translation errors, namely in these three areas:

  • lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts introduced by Christ
  • lack of precision in modern language
  • translation bias, mainly of the liberal kind, in converting the original language to the modern one.

While the first two can’t be helped, the third one is a different story. It is also the most insidious, as it has allowed liberal bias into the sacred text. This has allowed liberals to twist and distort the holy word of God to suit their own socialist, America-destroying agenda. How do they do that? By using gender-inclusive language, promoting non-violence and forgiveness (because there’s no way Jesus actually meant “turn the other cheek” and “love your enemies”) and including stories that make it seem like the early church was some kind of hippie commune (like living together and sharing everything?). But, Schlafly and Conservapedia are going to fix all that.

The Conservative Bible Project has already completed a first draft of the New Testament which, I think, is great. In the Beatitudes, they’ve changed “Blessed are the meek” to “Blessed are the God-fearing” which is not so touchy-feely (because Jesus was not that kind of guy). The story of Jesus confronting the men about to stone a fallen woman? Gone, because it may not have happened (you mean like the Gospel of John?). In the Savior’s words at the end of the story of the rich young ruler, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven”, it has been recommended that the word “rich” be changed to “fully fed and entertained” or “idle miser” because, well, the original can make our wealthy brothers feel bad (we wouldn’t want their deep pockets to get shallow). “Peace be with you” gets changed to “Peace of mind be with you” (who wants to follow a wimpy, pacifist Jesus?).

I know all this might seem odd in light of conservatives’ insistence that the Bible is the inerrant word of God that must be taken literally (as long as it fits our agenda, of course). Don’t worry, it still is; this project just offers a few tweaks that get rid of some the more troublesome aspects like loving your neighbor (Sure, providing they’re just like me), turning the other cheek (seriously?) and not hoarding wealth (everyone knows Jesus was a capitalist). The stuff that applies to the gays and other people we don’t like? No problem there, it’s cool as it 

Um, Really?

confused-faceUnless you live under a rock, you know the Boy Scouts of America recently allowed gay kids to be in their club. Or, as Jesse Berney said in The Guardian, “There have always been gay children in the Boy Scouts. What changed yesterday is that they won’t kick you out if you tell people you’re gay.” Now, I’m not here to talk about the rightness or wrongness of what the Boy Scouts have done (it is right, though), I want to ask a question about something I read in Berney’s article. Erick Erickson of RedState.com tweeted “Yes, Christ is love, but he is also wrath, vengeance, and redemption. The modern emo Christ is a fiction. Christ could throw a punch.” Jesus could throw a punch? Where the hell did that come from?

Erickson’s not the first person I’ve heard say this. Preacher Mark Driscoll (I refuse to call him “Pastor” because what this guy does is anything but pastoral) once said of Jesus, his disciples and other men of the Bible “I’ve gotta think these guys [David, Paul, John the Baptist] were dudes. Heterosexual, win a fight, punch you in the nose dudes”. Now, with David, he may have had a point. Anyone who collects 100 Phillistine foreskins  has more than a nodding acquaintance with violence. And, Peter did cut off that dude’s ear. But, Jesus? Really? I’m no Bible scholar, but I’m pretty sure there’s no mention of the Christ punching someone in the throat (0r anywhere else for that matter).

Is that really the case, though? Let’s take a look at the Bible and see what Jesus had to say about violence. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the crowd “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you” and “If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well”. In the story of his arrest, we hear “When those around him recognized what was about to happen, they said, “Lord, should we fight with our swords?” One of them struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Jesus responded, “Stop! No more of this!” He touched the slave’s ear and healed him”. Doesn’t really sound like a guy who would throw a punch, huh?

The only time in the Gospels that Jesus even came close to actual violence was when he ran the money changers out of the Temple. And, even then, they never say that he actually hit anyone. There are a lot of things the Bible doesn’t mention, but if Jesus popped somebody, you’d think that would make the book.

Look, I know a Jesus that would knock the crap out of anyone that pissed him off is attractive to some people. He would certainly be easier to follow than the peace-loving dude the Bible portrays, if only because there are plenty of people in this world that might benefit from a punch in the throat. But, that’s not the model we were left with. Maybe it’s about time we tried following it.

A Preview Part Deux

Earlier this month, I told you about the book I’m writing and teased you with the promise of more excerpts.  Never being one to go back on my word (okay, “never” is a bit strong), here is a little more:

On on the title of the book:

“I’ve wanted to write a book for quite a while, but to say it’s a daunting task is a
massive understatement.  When I decided to do this, I thought “I’ve written a blog for a year and a half, how hard can it be?”  Can you say famous last words?  It took
me over two weeks to start and over 6 months to finish.  It’s hard to pinpoint the actual genesis for this book; it wasn’t a specific incident that triggered it, things never work out that way for me.  No, the ideas here came together over a span of time; months, maybe years.  Take the title, for example.  It’s a mash-up of two quotations I really like.
I found the first one the way I find a lot of things, wandering the interwebs.  This happened far enough back in the mists of time that I don’t remember what I was looking for or where I found it, just that I found it: “Love God, love your neighbor.  Nothing else
matters”.  The second half comes from ethicist and theologian Stanley Hauerwas.  While being interviewed about his book Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir, the reporter asked him to sum up what his all books have been about.  Hauerwas thought for minute, and then answered “Jesus is Lord and everything else is bullshit.” I know that’s strong language coming from a man of God, but the good Dr. Hauerwas is known for that.   While
we’re on the subject of language, it’s a good thing that you were exposed to that kind of talk early on; when I feel it’s necessary to make a point, I’ll use similar language.  If that’s
a deal-breaker, maybe this book won’t be for you.  I hope you’ll look beyond it, though…”

On weird stuff in the Bible:

If weirdness is your thing, there’s always Balaam’s talking donkey.  I’m not sure what’s more odd, the fact that the donkey talks or that Balaam doesn’t blink when it does and
even carries on a conversation with it.  I don’t know about you, but if a donkey struck up a conversation with me, I’d be more than a little freaked out. Makes you wonder if old Balaam was smoking the good stuff, doesn’t it? If that’s not weird enough for you, there’s Saul’s bride price to David for his daughter Michal:  100 Philistine foreskins.  Of course,
Saul is trying to get rid of David because he realizes the boy is a threat to his power, figuring that, in the process of gathering the foreskins, the Philistines will kill him. But, David, ever the overachiever, goes him one better and brings back 200 foreskins. And, of course, my twisted mind wonders who had to collect the foreskins after David killed all
those Philistines?  That’s a detail that makes KP look like a day at the park.”

On American Christianity:

We live in a Christian nation where 1% of the population holds almost 40% of the wealth; a Christian nation that spends 30% of its annual budget, $1,372 billion, on defense while working to cut social programs that benefit the poor.  A religion founded on peace, love and helping those in need has morphed into the Church of FuckyouImkeepingmyshit.
Some of the people arguing the hardest in favor of this situation do so from not just from “bully pulpits”, but actual pulpits in real churches.  Listen to me because I want you to understand this: leaders of the faith founded by Jesus, who told his followers to feed the hungry, clothe naked, care for the sick, visit the prisoner and welcome the stranger stand before their congregation and say “Screw the poor!  Let the lazy bastards get jobs and work like the rest of us!”  They say “Don’t expect me to sacrifice any of my security so your family can have basic medical care.  That’s not my responsibility.”  They say “Damn criminals.  They’re getting just what they deserve.”  They say “Illegal immigrants are
ruining this country and their rights don’t matter.  We need to ship them all back where they came from!”  Granted they don’t say quite that way, but the message is the same.  Shane Claiborne once said”Christianity is at its best when it is peculiar,
marginalized, suffering, and it is at its worst when it is popular, credible,
triumphal, and powerful
” and we prove the truth of this statement everyday

I’m hoping to have it ready for publishing by the middle of February.  In the meantime, I have to decide whether to submit it to a publisher or self-publish.  I’ll keep you posted on further developements.