I'm pretty harsh on Christianity, along with every other faith-based religion that asks us to believe in things unseen and a god unknown.
But it takes a Christian to really reveal the dark side of Christianity—a true believer whose world view is so blinded by an egocentric conviction that he's got all the answers, he doesn't see how deep is the moral morass into which he's sunk.
Such a man is Rick Scarborough of Vision America, an organization that claims to be "restoring the original American vision." This supposedly includes the right to discriminate against, hate, and vilify people who are different from you.
The House of Representatives has passed a federal Hate Crimes Act that would expand the definition of hate crimes to include attacks against homosexuals and transgendered people. On Fox News I heard Scarborough inveighing about this threat to hatred.
Religious freedom is about to be dealt a mortal blow, and religious tolerance is about to become history if this legislation becomes the law of the land.
Huh? Hard to understand what the hell he's getting at, but a Fox reporter explained.
Some religious groups fear prosecution and intimidation of pastors whose sermons against homosexuality inadvertently inspire a hate crime.
Oh, poor pastors. They're demanding that society tolerate their spouting of hatred toward homosexuals, even if it leads to violence, while basking in the hate crimes protection already offered (for attacks based on race, religion, or national origin).
Consider the delicious irony. And bullshit. Christianity, a religion that supposedly is founded on love, is up in arms at the prospect of hate crime legislation being passed. If this isn't enough to make you an atheist, or at least an agnostic, what is?
Yes, not all Christians are anti-gay. But an awful lot are. In fact, it's difficult to come up with anything but a religious reason for abhorring homosexuality.
This is why Vision America screams "the hate crimes bill would criminalize Christianity." Fine with me. Criminalize away. If you can't practice your religion without discriminating against other people, you don't deserve to enjoy unfettered religious freedom.
It's good to see a counterpoint to the Christian right prejudicial mindset. A "Call to Courage" campaign has set out to urge believers not to be taken in by the anti-gay wing of Christianity. Motto:
Religious-based bigotry…Let's end it now and forever
Amen to that.
It deeply disturbs me to read letters to the editor like the one that appeared in our local newspaper today. It was written by Angela Makarenko, a 13 year old who, sadly, has already been sucked into the hate-filled whirlpool that passes for mainstream Christianity these days.
I know Salem legislators are deciding laws regarding gay rights, and I'm against that. Since the day I was born, I went to church called Slavic Christian Church of Salem.
I'm Christian, and my parents taught me that God created Adam and Eve – one man and one woman.
Most people say that they were born gay. You can't be born gay, you choose to be gay – it's your lifestyle.
I have three nieces, and by the time they go to school, teachers are going to be teaching them that it's OK to be gay. I don't want that to happen.
Please, no gay rights.
Angela, sometime you're going to Google your name and find this blog post. I hope so much that by the time you do, you've opened your mind and heart to a more compassionate philosophy of life.
You're confined in a small fundamentalist pasture right now. Jump over the fence. Head for the horizon.
There's a lot more joy and love out there than you'll ever find in the Slavic Christian Church of Salem.
Actually, I don't think any of the groups you mentioned here are fundamental enough for my tastes.
I like PURE unadultarated hatred and bigotry.
My vote goes to:
A nicer bunch of people you will never meet.
Amen to that.
Posted by: Manjit | May 07, 2007 at 04:10 PM
I am beginning to think that indeed God does in fact hate America.
At least half of mainstream Americans are a bunch of fat, stupid, lazy, selfish, arrogant, bigoted bastards that don't have a damn clue even if you paid them.
They wander around in a mental fog with video cell-phones glued to their ears, going to Walmart, to Burger King, or to some mega shopping center or sports arena in their gas guzzling SUVs or huge 10 ton pick-up trucks, or just mindlessly watching 200 plus channels of Cable TV... all the while their country is being sprayed by toxic poison chem-trails and progressively sucked down the toilet right in front of their eyes by nazi facist nwo neo-cons and slimey liberal socialists in the government, corparations, and media.
So I would not blame God if she took a dim view towards America at this point.
Although I still have some faith that the populace will have their fat asses kicked enough to wake them up before its too late. However, that hour approaches ever so quickly.
Problem is: If America goes down, the whole world will follow suit.
Posted by: tao | May 07, 2007 at 08:12 PM
Christianity, a religion that supposedly is founded on love, is up in arms at the prospect of hate crime legislation being passed. If this isn't enough to make you an atheist, or at least an agnostic, what is?
Actually, I've been going that way since all Christian churches these days (at least the ones that I'm aware of) have been crazy drunk lusting after temporal power. The more they get, the more difficult they make it for people who aren't on the same team. It's been especially ugly since they've started to consume each other.
It's funny. I felt estranged from my own Catholic Church for years; a couple of years back I decided to try some sort of rapprochement. Then I saw what the Catholic Church was for doing to gays and got estranged again; I'm of the opinion that if the instructions you think God's giving you is causing misery in the forced march toward a pious society, then maybe you misread the rules–or didn't get it that the rulebook might not be completely accurate.
Before this time I felt despair at not being connected to my mother Church. These days, I don't feel so much like I've left the Church as the Church has left me.
And that sense just deepens every time I see a modern Christian open their mouth in public.
Posted by: Samuel John Klein | May 08, 2007 at 03:08 AM
In regard to Samuel's comment: It is interesting that those who leave various churches often do so out of a greater sense of ethics than the churches themselves display. I think humanity would do just fine without religion.
At McKenna (sp?) beach on Maui it is hazzardous to walk barefoot due to extensive growth of non-native bushes that drop large thorns. I was told these were planted by missionaries to keep the "natives" from going barefoot which was believed to be sinful and uncivilized.
Posted by: Tucson Bob | May 08, 2007 at 08:56 AM
"If this isn't enough to make you an atheist, or at least an agnostic, what is?"
They do seem to be losing their saltiness, don't they?
Posted by: Brendan | May 08, 2007 at 09:50 AM
May I also show that not all Catholics are regarded by some others as quite godly enough to be acceptable: http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/.
Robert Paul Howard
Posted by: Robert Paul Howard | May 08, 2007 at 11:57 AM
Robert, thanks for the Catholic link. I took a look at the site. Saw mention of the mortal sins that doom you to hell and decided to learn more.
Not good news for me. I read:
"Mortal sins include: murder, fornication (i.e. sexual acts outside of marriage or acts leading up to sex outside of marriage), lying, drunkenness, consenting to impure thoughts, masturbation, looking at pornography, adultery, cheating, taking God’s name in vain, birth control (NFP) or artificial contraception, assisting the propagation of heresy, funding heretics, dishonoring the Sabbath, breaking the commandments, etc."
I've hit most of those--certainly enough to qualify as a mortal sinner. See:
It cheered me up a bit, though, to read further and find that few are saved and most are damned (even Catholics). So at least I'll have a lot of company in hell. See:
Posted by: Brian | May 08, 2007 at 02:08 PM
Keep in mind that the original Christian vision for this continent was Puritan. Not known for tolerance, their influence has never receded very far away from the national conscience.
I don't spend a lot of time thinking about homophobia, or hate, or intolerance. When I read a post like this one, or hear stories via other media, I am forced to face the consciousness conundrum: recognition of these ills may amount to apprehension of them as having power.
As a participating human, I know that there is a tendancy for me to be intolerant, (even call it a temptation.) I organize my life to best avoid back-sliding into lazy and immature, (some say sinful,) ways. But when I acknowledge that these events and attitudes actually exist, I let them rent space in my head.
I can not imagine how hell-bent crazed and lonely it would be to find myself in the position of having to write the stuff that is in the links that are posted here. To be in this frame of mind, I'd need to be on powerful drugs or painfully demented.
Or possessed by...something: an archetype, a daemon, a cruelty beyond my own volition. Since there is no separation among the beings in the world, such a one has suffering that begs for compassion.
Posted by: Edward | May 08, 2007 at 02:08 PM
Love one another,love one another,love one another.
Love is the most powerfulLove the purest of emotions
Love is the sound of peaceLove is the light of all knowledge,
We are all here to learn to love that is the message St John,Buddha
Kabir,Rongomai o Te Whiti,Native Americans,Aborigials all enlightenned human beings-as Jesus said 2000 years ago-love one another so it is now.A so called fundamentalist,a radical a so called terrorist all have the same divine spark within-love is the natural antidote against hatred.Let us try loving, its all too easy to get angry and blame somebody else,Try loving yourself,your neighbour
your boss,workmate,stranger ,state-country ,world,universe-by starting with self love and recognising love as the sole energy of all humanity-then decisions can be reached.We can't change others we can be as Maharaj Charan Singh says in The Master Answers-we have to change ourselves,become a living example
of love and the true teachings of all masters,mystics ansd saints
indeed all the former and the present and latter-are all based on LOVE,America is a haven of Love-and will become more so in years to come.The prediction was made between 1903 and 1948
that America played a dual purpose-in basically promoting the teachings of the Saints-who preached Love as their currency compassion their wine,morality without violent censure-again Love-as espoused by Great Master-Sawan Singh-in his Philosophy of the Masters series 2 chapter 3=173 pages of the most uplifting sentences.T the thoughts of a truly loving mind
This has an effect on our environment when we all choose love
over anything else-most people already know all of this it is a god given emotion to be in homeostasis with the creation-what is love but a desire to be in harmony with the creation with the creator-and to remember Him with our Love in meditation,prayer or worship of our choosing.Let us love as ALL the saints would want us to-and one day through love and his grace-we will become what we love. Please love one another.
Posted by: Fu'e Fu'e Jesus Ruhari Heather Foulkes | May 08, 2007 at 02:55 PM
Everybody now...let's sing Kumbaya with F'ue F'ue.
Posted by: Tucson Bob | May 08, 2007 at 11:59 PM
"Keep in mind that the original Christian vision for this continent was Puritan. Not known for tolerance, their influence has never receded very far away from the national conscience."
They were looking for a place where'd they'd finally have the freedom to practice intolerance in peace.
Posted by: Brendan | May 09, 2007 at 08:33 AM
To Fu'e Fu'e Jesus Ruhari Heather Foulkes:
Blabber is cheap.
You talk the talk, but do you walk tht walk?
Posted by: tao | May 09, 2007 at 04:24 PM
There's already a clear, solid consensus in America: live and let live. The vast majority of us believe that everyone should be left alone to do as they please, to live as they wish, think as they wish, speak as the wish, as long as they don't prevent others from doing the same.
Most of us feel that if a gay couple wants to live together as spouses, let them. And if a preacher wants to say that that's a sin, let him also.
This consensus already exists. It's threatened on one side by religious extremists who'd, for example, criminalize sodomy. That's is a tiny fringe, and it doesn't threaten to become anything more.
On the other side, the "live and let live" consensus is threatened by people who, for example, believe in the equality of gay and straight relationships... and want to force everyone else to believe the same way! Y'know, people who would say, "Criminalize away" at religious institutions that preach against hate crime legislation. This is a larger slice of the population than the religious fringe, and for that reason is more dangerous.
Posted by: Stuart | May 09, 2007 at 04:43 PM
"On the other side, the "live and let live" consensus is threatened by people who, for example, believe in the equality of gay and straight relationships... and want to force everyone else to believe the same way!"
The issue there is just as much the opposite. A group believes in judging others as evil based on their subjective religious faith and opposes extending equal legal rights to others on that basis and restricting their ability to fully live and make their own choices about what they believe is right and wrong.
That's hardly "live and let live," and it is garnering an almost equally irrational response in the form of thought crime laws. Sad, but nevertheless the entirely predictable response to the reactionary religious fear that opposes basic human rights for gays and lesbians based on subjective "faith".
Posted by: Brendan | May 10, 2007 at 05:55 AM
> A group believes in judging others as evil
> based on their subjective religious faith
In a live and let live society, everyone is free to judge anyone as evil. They just can't force them to change. In live and let live society, you must ultimately allow everyone their own beliefs about what's good and evil.
> and opposes extending equal legal rights
> to others on that basis and restricting
> their ability to fully live and make their
> own choices about what they believe is
> right and wrong.
Among the great consensus majority of the country, there's no conflict on this point. Everyone already wants everyone to live fully and make their own choices, as long as they don't force anything on others.
The only conflict is between a tiny fringe on the right, which would for instance enact sodomy laws, and a larger minority on the left, which would for instance enact laws that force everyone to treat gay and straight marriages equally.
> the entirely predictable response to the
> reactionary religious fear that opposes
> basic human rights for gays and lesbians
> based on subjective "faith".
If two (or more!) people want to live together as spouses, do whatever they please in private, and make any sort of legally-binding vows to each other, the majority of Americans consider that a basic human right.
If people bring in the government to force everyone else to honor their definition of marriage (since bringing in the government and enacting laws is ALWAYS a matter of using force)... the majority no longer considers that to be a basic human right.
Posted by: Stuart | May 13, 2007 at 02:20 PM
Rick Scarborough and Vision America are pitiful examples of Christians. Hatemongering narrow minded tragic people collecting millions of dollars from their flock of idiots to spread hate against gay and lesbian Americans.
Posted by: christian pelham | June 14, 2007 at 02:01 PM