Posted tagged ‘evangelicals’

Astonishing News

December 22, 2018

The Vatican made the headlines again today.  Sources speaking on behalf of Pope Francis expressed his anguish over more revelation of Catholic Church hierarchy impeding investigations or covering up sexual harassment allegations.  The Pope reportedly called for civilian authorities to actively investigate and hold criminally responsible any priests credibly charged.  Sources claim the Pope’s new conviction stems from worrying that the revelations and the coverups are hurting church attendance.  Hmmm.

No Sh*t.

As a large and prosperous business, the Catholic Church has been showing all the signs of a once highly regarded institution imploding.  The all male organization has been peddling dogma which is out of touch with modern life, have been slow to recognize the emerging gay life styles as normal, and have cruelly insisted on “offering their way or the highway” with respect to women’s reproductive health.  But swamping these hypocrisies was the long standing preference for protecting priest pedophiles and sexual abusers.  And the underlying rationale for this protection was to protect and not sully the good name of the church.  What good name?

No Sh*t.

In the US, evangelical and fundamentalist christian churches have been unashamed supporters of the Ten Commandments, that is until it comes to President Trump. These so-called Christians denounced former President Obama and former Democrat Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over their positions on gay rights and women’s reproductive health.  I guess some of the Commandments are just more important than others.

I am wondering whether the “hypocrisy” problem lies not singularly with the Catholic Church, but rather with the “business of religion”?

The Real Kavanaugh Story

September 22, 2018

The news media was widely reporting today that Republican Congressional leaders have been warned that the “Evangelical” community will stay home this November if Judge Kavanaugh is not confirmed to the Supreme Court.  In other words, even if Kavanaugh had groped and tried to sexually molest a 15 year old, all is forgiven.  Why would that be?

The answer appears to be the expectation that Kavanaugh will work to unravel Roe v Wade and side with the religious freedom advocates, who espouse discrimination against members of the LGBT communities, once he is seated.  Astonishingly, Americans claiming to hold deep Christian faith have found it expedient to “make a deal with the devil” to gain something they think they want.  Hmmm.

One must ask which of the founding fathers’ values supports favoring religious dogma over individual rights assuming the individual right, in and of itself, does not injure others?

In an evenly divided Senate, Judge Kavenaugh would not be confirmed.  Kavanaugh is bright enough but stands far to the right and out of the mainstream.  In the current Senate (small Republican advantage), however, the prospect of a Kavanaugh rejection is still possible and especially so, should Ms Blasey Ford testify credibly.  

The evangelical movement recognizes that possibility and has tried to put the hammer down.  Kavanaugh gets approved or we do not vote Republican this fall.  Hmmm. 

Gandhi Lessons

March 4, 2018

The movie “Gandhi” (starring Ben Kingsley) reminded me of the ever present contradiction with which most of us live among. Gandhi inspired fellow Indians (both Hindu and Muslim) to convince England to grant India independence. His vision entailed a multi-religious country where each Indian could worship their god freely.

In the end, however, fears between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority lead to independence of two separate countries, Pakistan and India.

The fears were not some detached, esoteric feelings, but rather ones supported by mob violence examples. Fear and divisive language amplified the anxiety rampant in the poor Indian sub-continent. The birth of India (and Pakistan) traveled a bumpy road. Through out this process, Gandhi counseled for non-violence and peaceful co-existence.

Sadly, Gandhi’s life ended at the hands of an assassin. The assassin was not a Muslim, but a radical Hindu extremist who felt Gandhi’s influence was slanted too much towards Pakistan (and against Hindu values).

The assassin killed Gandhi for reasons connected with protecting his religion, his god, and his “deeply held religious views”. Not seeing a common humanity amongst all Indians, the assassin deemed Gandhi a threat and one that needed to be eliminated.

From the earliest records, the power released by dividing masses into groups and then setting one group against the other is well known. When organized religions arose, they saw selfish opportunity in pitting one against another.   Over centuries, religious groups  gained wealth and power making tacit (or even explicit) deals with political leaders.

Gandhi was killed by someone who was extreme in his “deeply held” Hindu views.
Over the past few years, under much different economic times, America has been living a precursor-like period to Gandhi times.

Deeply held religious views have been accepted by American courts and legislatures as justification to deny social services, personal dignity, and individual human rights to some other fellow Americans.

  • Because one person, with deeply held religious views, does not condone certain birth control means, and is not required to use them, that person feels the right to deny others using them.  Reference Hobby Lobby.
  • In another well publicized case, deeply held views around homosexuality has lead to merchants denying service to members of the LBGT community. Again no one is asking anyone to live a gay lifestyle but on what basis is it just to deny gays the same dignity of others. Reference Masterpiece Cake Shop.
  • And without a doubt, the most difficult to understand and probably the most religiously hypocritical is the expression of deeply held religious views that only a man and a woman can marry. Similar deeply held views felt self confident if not sanctimonious that marriage could only be between a white man and a white woman or a black man and a black woman. What type of god teaches that?

Gandhi was killed by someone who was serving the teachings of his Hindu sect as best he could understand it. His religious leaders, for what ever the reasons, professed views which encouraged objectification. Some objects were dangerous or of no value, and these objects needed to be cast off.  Gandhi became one of those objects

Too many American evangelicals and fundamentalists see the world similarly. They pick and choose from the bible what will populate their “deeply held” religious views.  These religious leaders seem to possess no counterbalancing cohesive view of all humanity.

This “deeply held” crowd seem unable to separate what is a choice of others to what is required of them. And most pointedly, the “deeply held” members appear unable to see the inherant contradiction between all their “deeply held views”.

Listening to these evangelical and fundamentalist spokespersons, “Love thy neighbor is wonderful, but one does not need to make him/her a cake”.  Isn’t this the sign of a neurosis which has the potential to grow into a psychosis?

I Wish, I Wish, I Won’t

April 2, 2013

Republican political leaders are undergoing a soul searching time.  Having lost the 2012 Presidential election with demographics that point to a repeat in 2016 unless the GOP changes, these leaders are caught in a conflict between “wishing” and “reality”.  You can almost hear some leaders saying, “I wish, I wish things were different, but I won’t change”.

To the subject of same sex marriage, more and more GOP political heads are coming to realize the inevitability of marriage equality and the penalties of still speaking against it.  To most of these politicians, the issue is about votes.  They may personally oppose marriage equality or they may in fact be neutral.  The overwhelming factor is the same sex couple’s vote.  These leaders will hold their nose, look the other way, and vote in favor.

The evangelical GOP wing are still leading the “I wish, I wish, I won’t” campaign.  Lead by former Governor Mike Huckabee and former Senator Rick Santorum, these two are saying (in so many words) “I wish this issue would go away because I want your votes, but I won’t change my public position that same sex marriage is wrong”.

That type of public position is not so wrong if that is their belief and they use this belief to guide their own private lives.  Two problems arise from their public statements.

  • They apparently miss the point that homosexuality is a natural occurrence and in no way represents a mislead life.  Under our laws and customs, all citizens are to be treated the same.
  • Just as dangerous is the acting out of personal (unscientific) religious views, and hoping to force those views on others.  Again the Constitution is clear that government laws can not establish a state religion.

“I wish, I wish, I won’t” fortunately will lead to political extinction for those who follow it.  For those GOP members who have held in the past these views (for politically expedient purposes), the quandary of what to do with evangelicals just got more difficult.


A Coin Has Two Sides

February 18, 2012

The recent polls which show Rick Santorum ahead of Mitt Romney in many of the rust belt States is puzzling.  Since the GOP Presidential nomination marathon began early last year, Mitt Romney has been at the top of polls.  Rick Santorum has for most of this time been an overlooked feature of the field.  Now it is Santorum’s time in the sun.

The question most asked is why?  Why Santorum?  Why now?

The first question is easier to answer.  Ron Paul can’t win and Newt Gingrich’s ship is sinking with no chance of making the finish line.  So if it isn’t Romney, then only Santorum remains.

The second question is much harder.  This is the same Rick Santorum today as it was last August.  This is the same Santorum before Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry rose and then dropped from view.  Why didn’t Rick catch people’s attention much sooner?

Only time will answer that question but today we can speculate that Santorum was little known and that his consistent conservative message took time finally break through.  That may be over gracious, and, it may be more that ABR is prevailing.

Anybody but Romney is itself an enigma.  What so wrong about him as a GOP candidate.  He says all the right things.  He has a lot of experience as an executive and as a business person.  He should be able to field a competent White House staff (if elected).  He seems vigorous and up for the grueling years as President.  So what’s wrong with Mitt?

To be blunt, two things.

First, the economy is finally showing real signs of improving. Romney has spoken often about how he would fix the economy and now it may not need too much fixing.  People do not see the urgency to mess with the economy (both stimulating and fighting the debt/deficit) as they did just 6 months ago.  This lessens the inherent advantage Romney should hold over his GOP opponents.

Second, Romney is just not part of the club.  He is a mormon, and a mormon is not an evangelical/conservative catholic or protestant.  He just isn’t one of them.

So, Rick Santorum is their current last hope.   Santorum supporters want some GOP candidate who will fight their holy battle when elected.  Santorum will take away (if he can) a woman’s right to choose.  He will slam the door on same sex marriages.  He will stop the handouts to the non-working poor (and in the process teach them to get back to work).  Santorum will shine as an example of how an American family should be.  Wow, why did the religious right have to wait so long to find their man?

Here in lies the real GOP problem.  No all Americans think that way.  Romney’s 30% are not going to abandon him and there may not be 51% of the rest to put Santorum over the top for the nomination.

It is looking more and more that the current GOP field has four wounded ducks.  None of them could win the general election.  The advantage of a late entrant, say at the convention, is that this person will not have to pander to the religious right.  He or she can project a vision of a better America, fiscally and militarily strong, boasting a growing economy and bounding with opportunity for all.  Maybe by then the Santorum-ites and the Romney-ites will be so tired of bickering that they will unite around the new candidate.  If so, this will be the strongest GOP opponent and probably offer the best chance to unseat President Obama.

My Conscience Or Your Rights

February 8, 2012

The media has been flooded in the last few days with opinions on the Department of Health and Human Services decision to require all employers to provide health care coverage which includes birth control methods.  I have been surprised to see so many pundits take up the defense of the Catholic Church citing the potential grievous injury the consciences of catholic leaders.  Their arguments are always couched, “how can we make these leaders violate the tenants of their faith?”

Before trying to answer that question, please consider Minnesota Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt.  Last October he wrote a letter to all the catholic priests in Minnesota requesting them to form “ad hoc” committees in their parishes.  The purpose of these committees was to organize resistance to any Minnesota legislative attempt to legalize gay marriage.  For Nienstedt, this was issue number one.  The Catholic Church he said held that marriage could only be between one man and one woman.

A couple of years ago, California passed a ballot initiative (lead by the Mormon Church and other evangelical groups) which banned gay marriage.  Yesterday, the Federal 9th Circuit District Court agreed that the ballot initiative was unconstitutional under California law because it discriminated against a class or group of people.

The HHS decision requires no one to use birth control.  The California decision requires no one to marry another person of the same sex.  Evangelicals, Mormons, and Catholics are still free to believe what they like about birth control or same sex marriage.    No one is disadvantaged.

It just seems a little strange that the media is not pointing out that honoring ones conscience at the expense of the rights of others is itself an ethical dilemma.


Picking On Cain

October 31, 2011

Over the weekend, Politico reported that Herman Cain had been accused by two women years ago of unwanted sexual advances.  Politico claimed that a settlement had been made with the two women for a 5 figure amounts in return for their departure and their silence.  Welcome to the clean world of GOP politics.

It is hard to say which candidate would have leaked this type of information to Politico.  The purpose of the leak is less hard to discern.  Cain is getting too close to leader Mit Romney and is crowding out the lesser candidates in the upcoming Iowa caucuses.

There is a charming irony in these charges.  In Iowa, the GOP candidates all seem willing to grovel for the evangelical vote.  There cannot be enough references to god or the evils of abortion for the GOP candidates to make.  Immigration, abortion, the USA is a christian country, and school vouchers all sell well in Iowa.

The charge of unwanted sexual advances, at this point, is just that.  A charge.  Even if true, there is a thin line between unwanted sexual advances and seeking a date.  Seduction is as old as the oldest profession.  So again, who threw the first stone?

There is always the chance that Cain’s staff is the source of these rumors.  The theory is that it would solidify his position with these same evangelicals who fear the gay and lesbian movement more than a seducer.  A seducer or a gay man, which one is the least bad?

If I had to guess, however, which candidate might have planted this “Lee Atwater” type rumor, I would go with Rick Perry.  The Perry campaign is eating a lot of dust languishing a distant third or fourth behind Perry and Cain, and sometimes Paul or Gingrich.

In the end, it will be how Herman Cain deals with these charges that will determine the degree of damage.  So far he has been very successful in shedding criticism.  We will see whether these charges fall off Cain’s back too.