Thursday, October 30, 2008

You cannot be a Christian and vote for Obama

I recently read this editorial: You cannot be a Christian and vote for Obama by Janet Porter on

Normally, I don't respond to hate speech. But sometimes, I just can't get past the idea that unchallenged is I sent her the following email.

I'd like to share it with you.


I’d suggest that by imposing a religious litmus test, you can’t be an American, but then I’d be as foolish as you seem to be with this article about who God wants me to vote for and still be able not to consider myself a heretic.

I suppose you are either not representative of a 501c3 corporation or don't care about the prohibitions regarding not-for-profit status and candidate endorsement. This too has been a troubling trend for democracy of late.

Regardless, I’d like to suggest that Jesus wants me to vote for the person whom I believe will most likely feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, give assistance to the poor, and turn the other cheek, praise the meek, be slow to anger, and make every effort to make peace.

That seems like Barak Obama, and it seems as though the Sermon on the Mount embodies far more planks from the Democratic Party platform than that of the Republican.

I’d also like to remind you that John McCain is the one who is divorced, married now to a woman whose fortune comes from the sale of alcohol, and who advocates an aggressive war-like foreign policy including the decidedly un-Christian notion of pre-emptive warfare.

I don’t really see how you can call into question other people’s Christianity based on their participation in Democracy. After all, Jesus is the King of Kings, not the President of Presidents.

I do agree with you about one thing, though, it is by our actions that we will be known. Crying heretic and casting stones, steeping oneself in hypocrisy, those are actions that to me indicate something other than you profess to believe.

As an American, however, I would be willing to fight to the death to protect your right to say any hateful, hurtful, awful thing you want to.

That’s what makes this country so great. Pity that people like you are working so hard to take that freedom from us. But, judging by the fruit of your tree, you aren’t as interested in democracy as you are theocracy. I hope you don’t win. And I say that fervently as both a Christian and as an American.

Please bear in mind that there is more to our presumably shared religious faith than your feeling that you are justified in your hatred and persecution of homosexuals, protection of the unborn regardless of the circumstances of their conception and threat to the mother's health, or the strident efforts to legislate morality.

There is forgiveness. There is the final commandment given by Jesus before he was taken to the cross--Love One Another.

Show me more of that fruit and I'll be tempted to believe in your tree.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jesus Christ was a Community Organizer

Pontius Pilate was a Governor.

You do the math.

To those who say that Jesus wasn't a Community you know what a Community Organizer does? Do you really know what Jesus said and stood for?

Try reading the Sermon on the Mount and then claim that Jesus isn't a Community Organizer...and compare What Jesus Said He Would Do (and you SHOULD do) to what you are actually doing. Then tell me you're really a Christian.

And for those of you Christians who base your idea of what Fundamental Christian Values are on the dictates of the OLD COVENANT (Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Exodus in particular) so that you can justify legislating your own hatreds and bigotries on "Christian Values" please explain to me why you are not calling for Todd Palin to stone to death his daughter who is obviously guilty of fornication out of wedlock.

Come on, you Literal Truthers, if you REALLY believe, then do unto this girl what GOD has said you should do in Deuteronomy 22:21.

"Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you."

For those of you who can't translate "play the whore in her father's house", that means sex before marriage. But perhaps these neo-con Biblical Scholars would parse the passage as saying Bristol should not be stoned to death because the fornication did not occur in the Palin home, but elsewhere. With Republicans, accountability and responsibility are not long suits. They think simply being Christian means you're "sin proof" and have nothing to confess. After all, everything they do is just exactly what God told them to do, or they wouldn't have done it.

WWJD? Well, What I Did, Obviously.

Perhaps someone should start a campaign to point up their hypocrisy.

Call it "Old Testement Christians for the God's Prescribed Punishment of Bristol."

Or, maybe if these folks who are so intolerant of everyone else are going to show compassion and forgiveness to Republican children, they might start showing love and forgiveness to everyone else's children...and turn the other cheek instead of adopt a doctrine of pre-emption. Clothe the naked. Heal the sick. Feed the hungry. You know, Christ-y stuff like that.

It might take a slightly more liberal view...and a modicum of community organizing, but I honestly think it is What Jesus Would Do.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Don't Be A Sucker

Don't Be a Sucker is a film made in 1947, when even that close to the Nazi era Americans still needed to be reminded not to fall for the kind of scam that would rob America of what makes it America.

Watch it, and forward it to Virgil Goode, George Bush, Karl Rove, Jerry Falwell, and any right wing talk show host you can think of.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Does Virgil Goode Represent the America that Represents FREEDOM?

I live in Virignia, home of the Evangelical Theocratic Elite power players. Just up the road from me is Liberty University.

One of our recently re-elected theocrats, Virgil Goode, says he got a flood of emails from constituents complaining that newly elected Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison would use the Koran, not the Bible, when being sworn into Congress next month. Ellison is a Muslim, so their thinking his taking an oath on the Bible would be more appropriate than a book the new congressman actually regards as holy only speaks to the state of mental accumen among Goode's loyal voting base here in the Old Dominion.

In response to the complaints, Goode sent out a letter. He appears to have accidentally sent it to some people who were not, as they say down here, "like minded." One such person was John Cruickshank, of Charlottesville. He turned the letter over the the C-Ville Weekly who promptly published it. I reproduce it here:

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-4605

December 7, 2006

Mr. John Cruickshank
7—— S—————————— Dr.
Earlysville, VA 22936

Dear Mr. Cruickshank:

Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.

The Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, “As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office.” Thank you again for your email and thoughts.

Sincerely yours,
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 East Court Street
Suite 215
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151

When questioned about the letter, Goode replied "I wrote the letter. I think it speaks for itself."

Indeed it does, sir. Indeed it does. And what it says is repugnant, hateful, and so contrary to the spirit, mission, and purpose of this nation that I can't believe you have not been pulled from your office and treated to good old conservative tar and feathers, and a trip out of Washington tied to a rail.

This is why the founding fathers put into the Constitution the Establishment Clause, and I ask you, sir, how it is that you can take an oath to defend the Constitution so seriously that you demand that oath be taken upon your holiest book, and yet refuse to apply those constitutional principles evenly, and fairly to all those whom you represent and who are protected by them?

Radical Religious Extremism and hate mongering disguised as partiotism are the tools of the enemy we are supposedly fighting against. I am ashamed of you, Virgil Goode, you are an embarrassment and a danger to all that this country stands for. If you cannot do the job to which you were elected, if you cannot fulfil your oath to protect and preserve the Constitution and the principles it was designed to ensure, you should resign and never more seek public office.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Prove You're Not Muslim, Jewish, or Liberal Day!

(I try not to duplicate posts on my two blogs, but this one was very relevant to both audiences, so I'm breaking my own rule.)
And the war rages on...not the war in Iraq, not the War on Terror, but the War on Christmas. This week, here in Roanoke, we were treated to Bill O'Reilly staging another insurgent attack on those who would occupy his holiday.

"The far left has become completely unhinged over losing the Christmas controversy. And the most hysterical item we've come across comes from the Roanoke Virginia Times. Editorial page editor Dan Radmacher, a far left ideologue, whining, saying fewer people are saying 'Happy Holidays'. Dan doesn't like that and then levels personal attacks against me and others for believing it is wrong to prevent people - to prevent people - from saying 'Merry Christmas'. Radmacher's column was disgraceful, and upon researching this loon, we found he uses personal attacks all the time. So we called his publisher, Wendy Zomparelli, but she's hiding under her desk."

Here's the thing. One of the most effective tools employed by the Nazi party in the years during which it rose to and maintained its power, was the "Hitler Greeting." If I walked up to you and greeted you with "Heil, Hitler!" and you replied with, "Hello, good morning" I knew immediately that we were ideological opposites, because in my world view as a Nazi party member, anyone who was not also a party member would be an ideological opposite.

We're not at the point yet where conservatives greet each other with "Freedom!" or some other slogan which sets them apart from the dangerous others they are seeking to rid themselves of, but if you consider the flag lapel pin a replacement for the armband and the W sticker on Republican rear windows a replacement for the swastika...along with the feeling that as a liberal you are not entitled to fly the flag or even consider yourself a get a little feeling for life in the Weimar Republic.

In fact, as I've said for years now, the rhetoric of the conservative pundits and the Nazi propaganda machine are frighteningly similar. Try this experiment. Spend one day listening to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Michael Reagan, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly. Then take any speech from a Nazi party official or read Mein Kampf but do the following:

  • Replace "JEW" with "Muslim"
  • Replace "COMMUNIST" with "Liberal"
  • Replace "FATHERLAND" with "Homeland"
  • Replace "GERMANY" with "America"

If you do, I'm sure you'll be astonished by how familiar it all sounds. Seriously. Try it. I beg you.

Christmas, however, presents a unique opportunity for these Radical Neo-Cons to test something very like that "Hitler Greeting". All of conservative radio at this time of year is aflame with encouragement to proudly proclaim your Christianity by greeting everyone--regardless of their own faith or persuasion-- with Merry Christmas in order to antagonize all those out to prevent Christians from celebrating their holiest holiday. They also call upon the "faithful" to boycott shops that don't say "Merry Christmas" on their signs and avoid shops where you are greeted with "Happy Holidays" instead of an overt proclamation of Christian faith.

It isn't technically the same as saying don't patronize the shops of liberals, Jews or Muslims but a difference that makes no difference is no difference. It isn't about defending Christmas, it is about making life difficult for everyone who isn't exactly like you. Is that a message Jesus would want to be associated with?

I am, in fact, a Christian, and I believe that the spirit of the holiday encourages me to spread love and unity, and to respond with kindness and love of all men, as per the final commandment Jesus gave his followers before his exectution. I don't believe that I am called to identify and persecute those who are not of the same faith or political persuasion. I don't want my expression of Christmas wishes for a happy holiday season, of goodwill, and desire for peace to be a means of division, seperation, and hurtfulness. I don't think Jesus would either.

I know that Jesus said not to think he came to bring peace on Earth but to bring a sword. But he also said by our fruit shall we be known, and he knows if you are using His name to spread hate or to spread love. He knows if you seek his grace to allow you to forgive or if you are abusing his grace to justify angry retribution. And as a Christian I deeply resent the efforts of our President to use the season of giving to justify calling on Americans to do more shopping. Today in his press conference he stood there in the guise of a Christian and called upon the nation not to love one another or do more giving, but to do more shopping. I resent that the season of giving has become the season of last minute economic recovery.

What I wish for Christmas is that Christians will live as Jesus lived, that they will turn the other cheek, forgive, and prove their faith by demonstration in works. And that in so doing, that their eyes will be opened to the hypocrisy of those with political power who build their kingdoms on earth by misleading the hearts of men. But most of all, I wish and pray that the War On Christmas is not a successful war against all that is not Radical Fundamentalist Christian Ideology.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Choosing between God and Country

I want to say a public thank you to Rev. Gregory A. Boyd, pastor of a conservative mega church in Minnesota.

When his flock continued to pester him to take political stands from the pulpit, to denounce gay marriage in sermons, introduce Republican candidates at service, have anti-abortion tables at the church, proclaim America a Christian Nation, and display an American flag next to the cross--he said no.

1,000 of his 5,000 member congregation left his church because of that stand.

What made them so angry wasn't just his refusal to bow to their political will, but that he practiced what he preached and preached what Jesus taught. Six times he preached a sermon called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

Don't get the idea that Rev. Boyd is some activist liberal. He is not. He doesn't believe that God condones homosexuality and is opposed to abortion. He simply understands that Jesus meant what he said about being distracted by things of the world instead of matters of the spirit.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

Why should that be controversial among Christians who claim to love Jesus and to follow his teachings? Where in the Bible does Jesus call for regime change through violence, bloodshed, torture, and the other means our born again president employs?

Where is it written, except in Republican propoganda, that the best proof of faith in Jesus is support for this president, his war, and his policies?

How can anyone read their bible and then believe that Christianity is in any way connected to American Nationalism and Republican politics?

They should remember that the thing that most angers their savior is hypocrisy. They should remember Christ's passion for peace, pacifism, forgiveness, and committment to avoid wealth in favor of giving aid to the poor, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick.

These are the things Rev. Boyd was called to preach.

And because he did, he was accused of disrespecting the President and the troops, soft on abortion, and of telling them not to vote. Isn't it more important to them that he was telling them to respect Jesus, honor those who put into action the teachings of Christ, be forgiving, and to avoid the temptation to put the things of the world before the things of the spirit?

He is right to point out that for many Christians in this country, their passion for politics and patriotism has become a form of idolotry.

I am reminded of Galations 4:16.

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

Find your way back to Jesus, people, and stop putting your faith in George W. Bush.


Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock, By LAURIE GOODSTEIN, The New York Times, 7, 30, 2006

Evangelicals militant when it comes to Israel, End of Days, By Zev Chafets, Contra Costa Times, 7,30, 2006

How far should Christian tolerance of other faiths go? The Rev. Robert Lee Hill of Community Christian Church, Kansas City Star, 7, 29, 2006

The Lure of Theocracy: As we flee decadence, we must watch where we step. By Philip Yancey, Christianity Today, 07/10/2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

Know Thy Neighbor

Was watching CNN this morning (what my friend Ray Holloway used to call "the swirling eddies of the coming apocolypse") and caught an interview Miles O'Brian did with pastor Gary DeBusk of Christ Church of Peace.

This is a church in Florida which is networking with an organization called Know Thy Neigbor. They have launched an effort to use information freely available to the public to post on-line the names and addresses of people who have signed petitions supporting a ban on gay marriages.

The people on these petitions are outraged, and Miles (as a bona fide member of the mainstream media with his obvious liberal bias) was taking Pastor DeBusk to task for this terror tactic.

Pastor DeBusk replied that this was all information freely available to the public and that he found it rather odd that people who would so strongly support a change to the Constitutions of their states or the nation would prefer to do so under the cover of darkness and in secrecy.

Miles asked him if, by using this tactic, he also was in favor of websites which post the names and addresses of doctors who perform abortions.

Way to stick it to the conservatives, Miles, you ultra-liberal mouthpiece.

This clearly flummoxed the pastor, who could immediately see that Miles was infering that highly organized groups of militant gays might start killing these good theocrats who innocently signed these petitions, just as abortion doctors have been killed by fanatic fundamentalist anti-abortion advocates.

His stammering undermined his credibility...and then Miles went in for the kill with, "Is this website something that Jesus would do?"

Pastor DeBusk was shocked to be placed so squarely on the defensive and then said, "I wouldn't presume to say what Jesus would do." A fair answer, but since he is a minister, one might suspect he'd be in a unique position to make those presumptions.

I realize that sitting here at my keybord it is easy to armchair quarterback the interview. I might have lost my temper and done even worse. But here is what I wish Pastor DeBusk might have said to Miles.

I wish he'd said, "Miles, isn't it ironic that the very same people who so strongly advocated their right to post information identifying the people who performed actions they disapproved of are now so outraged when the same tactic is used to identify them? It lets you clearly see why of all the things which angered Jesus, hypocrisy topped the list."

I wish he'd said, "Miles, I can't say for certain what kind of website Jesus might put online, however I can say with absolute certainty what Jesus said, because it is written in the Bible. As the people who signed these hateful petitions surely know, for they believe the bible is the literal truth, Jesus commanded us to love one another, he asked us to forgive, not to hate, to pay our full share of taxes, to avoid accumulation of wealth, to heal the sick, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked. I'd like to ask the conservative base of the Republican party who claim to be Christians how they can so consistently take political positions which are polar opposites of the postions Christ so strongly advocated in his teachings."

The thing which makes me so angry is how the so-called conservative Christians in this nation, whom I call the Theocratic Elite and other call the American Taliban, have effectively linked advocating redistribution of wealth, anti-poverty work, universal health care, forgiveness rather than retribution, anti-hunger efforts, and other positions clearly advocated by Christ as linked to Communism. Because they have successfully done this, actually doing What Jesus Would Do is seen by them as both Anti-Christian and Anti-American.

That old devil sure does good work.

Know they neighbor, examine their fruit, and be wary of those who would work in secret to limit the freedoms of others.

Another website to list gay-marriage foes: Mass. critic assails tactic's use in Florida, By Lisa Wangsness, The Boston Globe, June 12, 2006