Thursday, June 30, 2011

God works in mysterious ways…Then again, he can be entirely obvious.

      With evangelical Christian Michele Bachmann now a leading GOP contender for president, it’s been pointed out that the two most “sane, mainstream” choices for the nomination are Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman—both Mormons. Well, let’s explore that religion for a moment and judge just how sane an adult believer in this faith could actually be.
      Back in 1826, in upstate New York, an ambitious young man of twenty-one went on trial for “moneydigging.” He confessed to conning farmers into phony treasure hunts by claiming he had skills in folk magic and the use of “seer stones.” His name was Joseph Smith.  
      By 1830, he was on to a much more promising gig—publishing the Book of Mormon. He claimed an angel/prophet named Moroni visited him back in 1823, and the angel guided him to a burial mound near his home in the woods of western New York, where he found plates of gold bearing an alleged history of ancient America.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Time for the Churches to Render unto Caesar

    With the U.S. debt at $14 trillion and change, Republicans have chosen to balance the budget much like the medieval kings and their priestly partners financed their crusades—shaking down the peasants with threats of hellfire. Or death. In modern terms, this means shutting down government services, busting unions, and eliminating Medicare. What neither medieval monarchs nor medievalist Republicans dare do is tax the guys who make the most money without contributing to the kitty—the churches. It’s time for that to change.

    In Matthew 22:21, Jesus was asked if Jews should pay taxes to the pagan government of Rome, and he famously answered, “Render therefore unto Caesar that which Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.” In other words: Yes! Pay up! Send your taxes to Rome, commit your soul to God, keep those priorities straight, and you’ll be in good stead with the Lord come the day when all shall hit the fan.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

G.O.P. is the party of G.O.D. Be Afraid

    Republican Congressman Peter King is getting a lot of flack for his plan to lead a congressional investigation into the “radicalization of Islam in the United States.” He might get less static if he thought about investigating the radicalization of the Republican Party. Their fundamentalist supporters are forcing them so far to the right that they’re starting to go medieval on us. Call it the New Feudalism. It’s a bigger threat than Sharia law because Republican religious extremism actually has a shot at becoming law.

    At a conservative confab in Iowa this week, five GOP presidential hopefuls fell over each other trying to violate Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution, which says that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the United States.” Their speeches glutted with evangelical dog whistles about abortion funding and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Republican candidates (Gingrich, Pawlenty, Santorum, Roemer, Cain) are all determined to out-Christian each other.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Newt Gingrich Fears Sharia Law, and Maybe Klingons, too

   Who else could so easily top the slanderous rhetoric of the latest pants-wetting by Glenn Beck than the Republican candidate for Mr. überconservative, Newt Gingrich? At the so-called Values Voter Summit this weekend (and I’m not sure who values these voters), Newt went medieval on Islam by proposing legislation to ban sharia law (think Saudi Arabia) from being recognized by any U.S. court, warning that our terrorist enemies are out to subject America to theocratic rule. Obviously, for Newt, that’s a job for the Christian Right.

   Gingrich is cravenly milking the Bush Administration myth that, before September 11, we Americans were just sittin’ around, bein’ free, minding our own business…when all of the sudden these barbarians attacked us because they were bugged to distraction over our happiness. (U.S tanks crawling over their holy lands for a decade apparently made no impression.)

   But Newt does Bush one better by claiming their ultimate plan is to subject all of America to strict Muslim rule—never mind that they live in caves on the other side of the world and had to hijack four of our own planes to do any serious damage. Exactly how do they intend to impose this Islamic Dark Age? They build a community center in New York and half the country gets revved up for Crusades 2.0. Meanwhile, the children of their elites can’t wait to go clubbing whenever they head West. Honestly, in a conflict of civilizations that pits the seductive power of their faith against our strippers, we win every time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Brief History of Book Burning

A book-burning in 2010? Well, it’s nice to know there are some religious traditions that are still alive and well.

   At a time when America seems to be losing ground, we’ve found a contest we can win: religious crazies. For years, we’ve assumed the world’s loopiest extremists came from the Middle East. But with Pastor Terry Jones’ threat to burn a pile of Qurans on September 11, America is back. Our religious crazies are every bit as loopy as their religious crazies! This guy is so ready to rumble, even a military fetishist like Sarah Palin couldn’t sign on with him…and this is a woman whose own pastor (Pastor Muthee) persecuted a “witch” back in his home country of Kenya for causing a rise in traffic accidents. That’s a whole lot of crazy. Even Newt Gingrich, who is so ripe for a war with Islam he’s ready to resurrect the Templar Knights, has denounced the stunt. (Too obvious, I guess.) But Pastor Jones and his single-digit congregation have topped them both. 

   Of course, book-burning is hardly limited to religious wingnuts like the Florida pastor. Plenty of secular book-burners litter our history—Chinese Emperor Shih Huang Ti, Caligula, Robespierre, Stalin, and of course the Nazis. But book-burning has a particularly religious ring to it, and for no small reason. “The will of God” is one of history’s most frequent rationales for using literature as a fuel source. Sadly, burning Qurans fits right in with a couple thousand years of religious tradition. Check the chronology below. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

God Claims Stephen Hawking Does Not Exist

   God Almighty has weighed in on Stephen Hawking’s new book, The Grand Design, in which the world-famous physicist claims there is no need for a god in order to explain the existence of the universe.

   “The truth is, there is no need for the existence of Stephen Hawking,” said Yahweh. “Creation doesn’t need explaining. I did it. I was there. It’s this Hawking guy I can’t believe is for real. I mean, what are the chances of evolution producing a mind that could figure all that out? Get real.”

   When asked for evidence of his claim of being the author of existence, Jehovah insisted that it’s easy to credit him with the creation of the universe—if you have faith. “All you have to do is believe me. Read Genesis and just roll with it. I don’t see how I can make it any simpler. You can buy it wholesale. You don’t even have to think. How great is that?”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remembering 9/11: A Christian Family Book Burning

   The Dove World Outreach Center, a Florida church, has launched a campaign promoting International Burn a Koran Day on September 11. The burning is to take place on their property. 

   But there’s a problem. Gainesville fire ordinances don’t allow an open book-burning without a burn permit, and city officials have denied the permit to the church. Gainesville Fire Chief Gene Prince said the church will be fined if it stages the book-burning. Mayor Craig Lowe says, “I support and respect the decision.” No friend of the church, the mayor has called Dove World Outreach a “tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community.” In Florida, that’s saying something. 

   The church’s response to all this? An email notice declaring, "City of Gainesville denies burn permit – BUT WE WILL STILL BURN KORANS." His will be done.