Category Archives: Religion

West Shied Story- RichWoodsblog

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death;
their blood will be on their own heads. -Leviticus 20:13

There is one particular Dominionist bedfellow which has created a revulsion within the GOP…. to the point where it’s like they’ve awoken to a regrettable romantic interlude after a rough night drinking.

On a public relations front, sometimes a political message can become inadvertently equated with an undesired element. Unintentional socio/economic associations –when made by the public– can be embarrassing when one is trying to create a winning political brand. Still, “image” comparisons between political brands are often easy enough to make when there is a distinct similarity in tone, and terminology.

On a public relations front, sometimes a political message can become inadvertently equated with an undesired element. Unintentional socio/economic associations –when made by the public– can be embarrassing when one is trying to create a winning political brand. Still, “image” comparisons between political brands are often easy enough to make when there is a distinct similarity in tone, and terminology.

However despite a few semantic discrepancies, or one’s willingness to employ discretionary vernacular, the evangelical-fundamentalist-Christian message is synonymous with the GOP brand. Which is why throughout the conservative lexicon, it is rare when the moral imperatives of Christianity are debated within the Republican party. Routinely those who reside on the political right support one another when assigning biblical precedence while legislating. Fearing “moral” retribution amidst their own party, no one of political significance in the TEA/GOP differs with those who espouse Christian fundamentalism.

But there is one, hilarious exception.

Unless you’ve recently arisen from cryogenic stasis, you might have heard of a delightful group of good Christian folks whose tiny church resides on the West side of Topeka, Kansas. Founded by a grandfather like fella, the late Pastor Fred Phelps –and presently led by his charming daughter, the ever engaging Shirley Phelps-Roper– this church and it’s members are dedicated to bringing the message of divine superintendence through a literal interpretation of the bible. Better known as the Westboro Baptist Church, they have become famous for their firebrand method of saving Christian souls, morality, and patriotism. And en mass, the GOP rebukes the WBC for all the wrong reasons.

The across the board castigation of the Westboro Baptist Church from the political/Christian right is moral hypocrisy at its side splitting best. Although evangelicals, Republicans, and conservative media denounce the Westboro Baptist Church for their acerbic hate speech, or for picketing of tragic events (as a means to express Yahweh’s anger at America for allowing secularism) the overall Christian message is virtually the same. Sure, the folks who made “God Hates Fags” so right-wing chic are more vitriolic in their speech than most biblical purists. But if it weren’t for Fred and Shirley’s unwillingness to be tempered by political correctness, and the lack of diplomacy they use when speaking their minds, the majority of the things that they say, and the twenty-first century GOP says, are otherwise identical.

“The way to prove you love thy neighbor is to warn them they’re committing sin, I’m the only one who loves the fags.” -Pastor Fred Phelps

“Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and
of nature’s God upon  which this Nation and our laws are predicated.”
– Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy “makes Fred Phelps seem tolerant” Moore

From the literal interpretation of the bible, to the condemnation of gays, to the irrational disdain for President Obama, to blaming tragedies on divine retribution, to the denial of science in favor of what the bible says, the WBC and the TEA/GOP have no moral departure from one another. But the good folks at the Westboro Baptist Church won’t play according to the rules of American politics. They don’t bother to mask their hate speech with conservative code. Neither do they make overtures to regard the crazy and stupid moral assertions that blab from their vapid traps.

So the TEA/GOP mustn’t allow their voting base to make the legitimate correlation between themselves, and the WBC. Because it might allow the more Christian-casual members of the Republican body politic to realize that they’ve been voting for xenophobes and lunatics. Indeed, the Westboro Baptist Church has unwittingly exposed how crazy and stupid one has to be in order to reference the bible for science, history, or morality. And doing so has become part of the TEA/GOP platform.

But in a way you gotta love the Westboro Baptist Church –via an unintentional satire of the fundamentalist Christian TEA/GOP– they have managed to shed a light on the psychosis of twenty-first century conservative politics.

Republican Puppeteers

A while back, the Republican party decided that it was in their best interests to court the voting sensibilities of Americans who fill stadiums to hear obscenely wealthy evangelical preachers speak the word of god. Short term, it was a good idea. Long term, who knows? But now, the craziest of the Christian crazies not only lobby the White House in order to erode the wall of separation between church and state, conservative politicians are forced to lobby evangelical preachers for their endorsements. The relationship between the GOP and the evangelical lobby has gotten so turned upside-down that it’s become like a parent asking their spoiled child for approval before making a decision. It’s nuts.

Although there have most probably always been Christian fundamentalists trying to impose their will on our nation, in the twenty-first century, evangelists are exerting more political influence over Republican legislators than ever before. The evangelical beast has become too big for the GOP to control. Sure, there are ratings to be had on conservative TV and radio, regional elections to be won by touting Christian platitudes, and donations to be pocketed from the fearful Christian proletariat… but the political cost has been that the according irrationality and incomprehension have become impossible to contain.

Now the lunatics on the pulpit make and break party leaders. To be a twenty-first century Republican politician, one is not only forbade to speak of science, neither are they permitted to exhibit a modality of conscience. Rather they are confined to the twisted version of “morality” demanded by the evangelical lobby. For it is not the morals of new testament Jesus that steer the conscience of the GOP, but rather the economics of theocrats, the business of religion, and the disproportionate division of wealth and power it accords.

Big money preachers are now the driving force behind how the GOP legislates.

But the Republican electorate seem blind to this, as they’ve had the very concept of morals distorted so as to abide their own biases. Christian Americans are provided with biblical sound bites to help them justify very “un-Christian”-like behavior. For even if one is so inclined to excuse the socio/economic nonsense that pours from the pie-holes of Christian lunatics like Scott Walker or Ted Cruz as “political conservatism”… or from Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity as “fair and balanced” journalism … they’d still have to downshift their cognitive Edsels into an entirely new delusional gear in order to rationalize the psychotic ravings from multi-millionaire evangelical preachers. Yet that’s what the cycle of conservative psychosis has yielded.

The Christian Dominionist rhetoric from both the political and church pulpits are virtually identical. The religious and political doctrines have little, if any departure from one another. Yet the cognitive dissonance of Republican voters rarely makes that correlation.

For most Republican voters do realize that evangelical preachers are (at best) insincere, yet when it comes time to pulling the voting lever, most ignore the similarities between Republican politicians, and televangelist shysters. As such, Dominionists no longer have to pretend that their political goal is anything less than totalitarian. Those predisposed to their agenda are not inclined to consider the consequences.

“Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives.” -Barry Goldwater

Senator Goldwater warned the Republican party about the very political dynamic of the fundamentalist Christian theocrats taking over the party of Lincoln. Now the GOP is being dictated to by crucifix wearing racketeers who demand that anyone who runs for office with an (R) in front of their name must be willing to deny basic history and science. That they must claim –in the name of “morality”– to believe that the Earth was created by Yahweh in six days, approximately six thousand years ago. Just as historical and scientific reality is not what evangelical Christians say it is, neither are their morals, or their economics.

Indeed, if conservative media and politicians are intertwined in reciprocal cycle of fact deficient, irrational socio/economic assertions, the Christian evangelical lobby is the source from whence the crazy and stupid came.

Fox Hole Christians

From the time we were children and old enough to comprehend, most of us have been taught to believe in an afterlife. We’ve been conditioned to believe that if we adhere to specific behavioral paradigms and sacrifice critical thought in this lifetime that we’ll be rewarded in the next one. We were told of an eternal paradise that could only be had via whatever religion we were geographically fortunate enough to be born into. As such, many have invested in a guilt driven, earthbound proprietal savings account that they hope will bear interest after they die. In doing so, many pass on life’s opportunities. And many resent those who aren’t afflicted with the fear of a post life consequence.

It is with this in mind that a recent interaction with a delightful, albeit imaginatively banal Christian fella whose “if I can’t have fun than neither should you” resentment towards anything libertine was so blatantly transparent that it would not take much of a suspension of disbelief to surmise that his secret porn stash probably contained some pretty freaky stuff, allowed for several vapid, nonsensical Christian platitudes to be blathered in my direction. Among them was that “There are no Atheists in fox holes”. This meant to infer that my disbelief in a deity would fade in the face of desperation.

Perhaps.

But what that anemic logic fails to acknowledge is that the same can be said of one who claims to believe that their faith will grant them entrance to an ethereal utopia. Sure, there are non-believers who –when faced with the proposition of their life ending– grasp at cognitive straws. Even atheists yell “Oh God” when they’re having sex. But what makes a Christian cowering in fear in the very same fox hole, and who believes they are bound for heaven, so afraid?

For if the faith is pure and the war just, and if God is truly on your side, then why not perform daring acts of heroism in his name? Why not jump from the fox hole where the Atheist is mentally juxtaposing mortality and oblivion and show your devotion to God? Your Christian options are either doing Yahweh’s earthly bidding, or being called home to paradise. Sounds like a win-win to me. So what the hell are Christians doing crapping themselves in the same fox holes as Atheists? For that matter, why dig the fox hole in the first place?

I will maintain that deep down, sane people understand how silly the entire notion is. Christians don’t want to die any more than Atheists do because on some intellectual level, we all understand that death is the end. Moreover, the “heaven” Christians describe –to quote Christopher Hitchens– is more like a “Celestial North Korea” where the inhabitants must pay constant homage to their ethereal dictator, lest they be tortured for eternity in a fiery pit of hell. The things most of us enjoy are not permitted in heaven. Unless your idea of fun is sitting in detention with your hands folded, then the Christian heaven sucks. Actually, by comparison, North Korea sounds like an improvement.

The thing is, a lot of people say they believe in “God”, but what they actually believe in is a version of a supreme being who’s interests and bigotry are eerily similar to their own, and which allows them to tap into the darker parts of their nature when they have the desire to impose their will on others. If Christians truly believed in God the way the claim to, then he will either protect you if it is not your time to die, or he will take you if it is. At least the Islamic suicide bomber puts his faith where his mouth is. So regarding atheists and foxholes, I will maintain that there are actually no Christians in foxholes, either. There are just a bunch of scared men and women fearing the end of their existence.