Christian and Biblical Law, the “Sharia” of the United States

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Franklin Graham: It wasn’t Russians who intervened in election, ‘it was God’

God-talking professionals have a stake in right wing political correctness. It is principally for that reason that they look the other way when the Christian version of Sharia Law rears its ugly head into our politics.

Government based on Religion
Women with less rights than men
Gays persecuted, and physically attacked
Science rejected religious doctrine pushed
No separation between church and state

The God-talking professionals who do it for the money owe us their silence. They owe us the respect of our right to choose without their opinion of God’s opinion shoved in our faces.

God-talking professionals would have us believe God is a scorekeeping obsessor with piety and holy self-righteous intolerance – no matter what any dissenter says.

God-talking professionals claim communion is with God interceded by them.

God-talking professionals insist that the very heart of our Christian way of life includes an understanding that Jesus, from the unseen world of spirit, is a commanding presence whose commands must be interpreted and enforced by clerical authority. In their world Jesus can only be a presence who commands Christians what to think, when to think it and who to support.

God-talking professionals have convinced many U.S. citizens that Jesus is a Republican  Conservative, long on cruelty, obsessed with a house of laws and orders, obsessed with human sexuality in general and women’s bodies in particular.

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God-talking professionals seek a pattern of blind obedience to pretended ecclesiastical authority. Spiritual-minded people do not have some Christian duty to blindly consent when someone in prominence announces that the Almighty has chosen or inspired him to lead.

God-talking professionals often proclaim that America has an obligation to impose freedom around the world as The Almighty’s Gift. If we conclude that such a crusade is not our national obligation, we run the risk of stepping outside the dominion of mobs who insist that God takes life, causes suffering, refuses to recognized specific marriages and parenthood and approves of separation of families.

Professional God-talkers encourage that we judgmentally condemn one another, show intolerance to different opinions – particularly spiritual opinions – and ignore political and economic collateral damage. Many professional God-talkers would have us believe we have to choose between a party  of Righteousness and a Party of Evil.

Professional God-talkers go to great lengths to reconcile our government’s catering to the wealthiest in this country at the expense of the poorest; expect us to believe that policies which favor corporate interests that negatively impact employment, poverty and the environment are biblical and/or the will of God. The commandment to replenish the earth does not mean a commandment to exploit it to death by a permanent draining and destruction of natural resources.

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A contrast exists here and we need to address it. Philosophic and economic theories conflict with Jesus’ own words and actions and we ought to be aware of when that happens and when professional God-talkers avoid telling us.

Believing Christians must exercise their own internal wisdom in this regard. Lazy Christians must stop voting according to some prominent personality who, for example, declares that it is God’s will is that the poor will always be with us so we can take their plight with a large grain of political salt. The dumber professional believers will – in their broadcast God-talk – even push the idea that economic prosperity is the direct result of personal conservative, Republican, free-market capitalist piety. They call it Prosperity Theology and take as their model every religious bigot who ever avoided the wounded traveler on the highway.

Active Christians ought to honestly ask themselves,
“If Jesus went out of his way to heal the poor, how is it we continue to stumble along in this country distracted by who marries who, creationism versus evolution, and why a military crusade to force peace on the world are all more important than our own sick and poor.”

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Reverend Jerry Falwell

Is not such behavior a selfish and self-centered hypocrisy?

National security is one of our most critical concerns but it is not the only concern. I  would prefer a president inspired by God who is unafraid to acknowledge his spiritual beliefs or lack of belief and then apply what he sincerely believes to be right (even if Franklin Graham disagrees) with a healthy dose of ethics as opposed to a self-serving claim of personal morality.

I do not want or need a president who espouses and effectively acts on his own personal interpretation of what God wants for me as a citizen of my country.

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Jesus never intended that kind of leadership approach. We do not need a Christian  in the White House as the spiritually overbearing commander of American troops.

We do not need politicians or professional God-talkers as God’s economic idealogues.

Today it is time for our passions to speak. In the absence of our own passions, we are passively allowing our society to slide toward being told by others the correct answer to “What does it mean to be Christian in America.

Bigoted Christians preach  discrimination as part of being “fearful” of God in a way that recognizes God’s capacity for wrath and punishment to those who stray, backslide and slip into immorality. The Deity of the God-talking professionals is perfectly capable of destroying the innocent with the guilty as evidenced during the 9/11 attacks and the “godly” fist of Katrina expressing His displeasure with an entire city that had supposedly mocked God for too long.

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This is the stuff of which an American Christian society deteriorates into the shallow and murderous morality of the Taliban. If I were a God-talking professional I sure as hell would not want to wind up on the list God is going to read when He decides which unrighteous Christian bigots are headed for the Dante woodshed.

 

 

My nomination for this week’s required reading. In fact, John’s blog out to be required reading every time he publishes.

God bless America Yall

The Heresy of Christian Nationalism

Excerpt:

“God loved the world.
God is in the world-loving business—not the America-blessing business.

You remember the world, don’t you; that massive, spinning sphere of 7.6 billion disparate human beings: brown people, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, Atheists, shithole countries—and lots and lots of non-English speaking, non-Americans?

Check out the Old and New Testaments again.
Read through the Gospels a few times.
Use any translation you’d like:
No America First.
No Making America Great Again (or at all.)
No flags or national anthems to pledge allegiance to.

A few other bits of news from the Scriptures:
Jesus was born in the Middle East.
He didn’t speak English.
He wasn’t white.
He wasn’t Southern Baptist.
He wasn’t a Republican.
Heck, he wasn’t even Christian.”

A change in attitude and behavior is necessary in order for Christianity to maintain a strong and positive influence in the world. Though not in agreement with Bishop Spong who stated that “Christianity must change or die,” I am in harmony with his understanding that literalist Christians may very well literalize themselves into inconsequential roles, or worse, becoming the cause of highly negative consequential events.

A preacher who labors based on an innerant Bible ends up, as Watts wrote, attempting to “tell God what to do and the people how to behave.”

For a long time the second part of that phrase had more impact than the first. However, attempting to tell God what to do because the Bible is inerrant reveals itself more and more as faulty doctrine.

Part of perception is that the interpretation of what we perceive is primarily driven by what we expect to see, i.e. our own internal assumptions. The assumption that the Bible is inerrant then drives the expectations one has as to what God does or will say, what God actually wills, and what God deems as important.

The logic of this is inescapable. If God were to somehow make known a concept not found in the Bible (and I’m not talking about a concept contrary to something in the Bible, but, for example a concept more apropos to 21st century living), how would a culture totally based on an inerrant Bible be ever able to accept it?

“Dogmatic” for me consists of rigidity and inflexibility. I am dogmatic when it comes to my perception of the Bible as something more than a law book limited to its literal statements. I am dogmatic when it comes to viewing the Bible as but one of many powerful means of achieving on-going communion with God.

A church full of Bibles is not a stable full of animals all wearing one harness. It is a place where each person has an individual relationship via his or her personal scripture with the source of the scripture. Otherwise we reduce the Bible to a course in Religion 101, denying ourselves the advanced knowledge to be gained through experientially living religion 201, 301, 401, 100001 and more.

Why would we deliberately remain in shallow water where only splashing is allowed when we can venture into deeper waters, learn to swim and discover the ocean?

What is true is that all religions conflict with each other. In the end, all we have are religions that some claim yes to a thing, and others claim no to a thing and so on and so forth. God cannot be and then not be. He either is or He is not. Therefore by definition, multiple religions mean multiple paths to God.

Literalists are left in an either/or world defined in black and white terms by an inerrant Bible and specific assumptions that cannot be proven. In this circumstance the human mind – where the Holy Spirit is truly sensed and experienced – remains tragically closed.

Discussion of politics and religion is taboo? Sure it is.

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Peaceful people reluctant to quarrel
with neighbors or co-workers
about faith and politics
hide, afraid – until the day comes
when moderates,
liberals, and non-Christians
meet consequences
intolerably unpleasant.

Speak out as you are able.
Oppose a conspiracy
against people of faith
by preachers
who want to protect
all people of all faith
by whining about judges
marriage and women’s rights.

Unpleasant consequences
portrayed through emotion,
imagined senses of offended-ness,
victimization
and indignation
fueled by cynics
and rash pretenses
of outrage.

Rapture Road: The freeway to political and civic ruination.

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Fundamentalism… making sure than actions of mortals have not violated the rules by which heaven and earth are governed … a performance-based religion.

The fundamentalist “cosmology” of heaven has always included an “exclusive-club-with-rules” assumption.  In God’s fundamentalist kingdom, there is some sort of administrative code from which, by which and through which God works his mysteries. God is assisted by note-taking angels making sure than actions of mortals have not violated the rules by which heaven and earth are governed. It’s this supposed administrative code that is the basis for most conformity-driven theology.

When a significant block of such literal-minded religious voters sway an election, what are the consequences by which all citizens must accept? The answer is a life that to a certain degree requires submission to the notion that God is anal-retentive and overly invested in the most minute details of conformity. Such a God is not unlike the leader of a group of ten-year-olds who formed a club and made him president and rule watcher.
Rapture Event

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Truth be told, the divine autocrat beloved of authoritarians is not real. Whatever the great beyond and higher existence looks like, it ain’t that. Churches that encourage belief that heaven is the destiny and reward toward which one directs a life of accumulated accomplishments are known as performance-based religions.

I will tell you why the wisest vote will and should be opposed to candidates and programs espoused by performance-based religions. These believers incorrectly assume that God is in fact a respecter of persons, has favorites and will demonstrate a punitive divine righteousness in support of those who support the tyrant.

In America it is okay that you live by the Constitution and your civic understanding of an organized society. One does not place one’s hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.

Thomas Paine said, “my mind is my own church.” He was opposed by the preachers and authorities of organized religion who refused to accept the notion that a man’s supposedly unorganized mind constituted a better place to worship the Divine than the temples and churches decorated with the accoutrements of someone else’s magic masquerading as true religion.

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The fundamentalist Christian equivalent of the non-religious American Constitution is nothing more than systematic theologies, doctrines and programs that pattern a way of imagining god and god’s reality. Although entirely lacking proof in any physical or spiritual form of such a realm organized after the pattern of 19th-century reality,  a host of early American prophets, evangelists and circuit-riding preachers asserted in creatively imagined and described forms the notion that the ultimate truthfulness of the spirit world is based on performance and worthiness.

This imagined reality, consistently asserted over more than the past two centuries,  is why most believing biblical literalists easily and perhaps without much critical thought –  buy into Church legalism.

It becomes almost second nature to accept the idea of an over-controlling detail-obsessed God who seems much after the pattern of a controlling parent or lover. Uncritically, as an act of faith, devotion and obedience, many sincere believers interact within their circle of belief that humans are so imperfect that God created religion by which that Male Patriarch could – in a loving but domineering manner – thrust into our lives guidelines for living. Such guidelines almost casually become laws or, better said, doctrines “irrevocably decreed” which the children of said God are expected to follow.

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The god-talk reflected the chosen circle as well as the rest of the world imagines a god of guidelines; a deity who demands strict adherence to doctrines and the notion that obedience is elevated at the expense of agency and that the highest spiritual approval in life is nothing more than an experiential pat on the head for being an obedient child.

Almost casually, most believers apparently see no reason to challenge the idea that the God and Father of Obedience placed humanity on the garden earth with something uglier and meaner than a mere request that the children eat no fruit of the wrong tree.

The God and Father of Obedience created a world abundant with the fruits of creative activity. Let’s make a brief and incomplete list of the performances – or in some cases, negative performances – that the children of God are expected to do … or not do …

A performance based religion puts bans on what are perceived to be inappropriate things. These bans become “laws of the Church” which by implication become “Laws of God” which are viewed than as Irrevocably Decreed and upon which a worthiness- obsessed God grants rewards.

In a performance-based-religion, members are banned from inappropriate music, television, movies, books and other literature. Freedom of expression in art, music, and other forms of entertainment are seen as risks that may cause the Father to stop attending the disobedient.

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In a performance-based-religion certain food and drink products are banned and seen as the causes of risks that the Father will stop attending the disobedient.

In a performance-based-religion the Father wands strict adherence to dress and personal appearance codes the rejection of which creates a risk that the Father will stop attending the disobedient.

In a performance-based-religion scriptures become the means and tool that can be utilized to effectively stand in for a lack of contemporary legitimate on-going revelation from the God who started everything eons ago by speaking directly to his children. Scripture then becomes the weapon that confronts those who challenge would-be prophets.

“Pick up the sacred books of your religion, look for passages supporting your values, and adapt them a little to your liking. Then highlight their importance in the overall balance of the religion, and conveniently forget all those other unsavory passages that either downright contradict your values or support behaviors and attitudes that don’t fit with your inclinations. 

Rather than having the guts to admit what they are doing and openly defend their right to pick and choose the passages they want to live their lives by, most people prefer hiding under the fable that their particular take on religion is the only correct one. All other people who put the accent on different messages and values contained in the same scriptures, they claim, are heretics who are twisting the essence of the religion. If this strikes you as intellectually dishonest, it’s because it is.”  -Daniele Bolelli, Alternet

In a performance-based-religion, the very Father of Obedience – who has become in fact a Father of Conformity – does not speak to His church except through the voices of those who declare that the same silent Father has established in this  performance-based-religion the only right means to salvation.

The Father of Conformity either refuses or is unwilling to justify or explain how such an exclusive-means-to-salvation system and circumstance is equally fair and just to every other human being on the planet.

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In a performance-based-religion the Father of Conformity has authorized the use of emotional guilt, intimidation, thought control and coercion to keep members in line. He is also seen as justifying guilt-ridden sermons and lessons designed to push believers into submitting to the authority of the leadership without question or criticism. Failure to respect the leadership creates a risk that the Father will stop attending the disobedient.

In a performance-based-religion the Father of Conformity has authorized the use of the theory that people should spend long hours at the Church and do work in the Church in order to gain rewards in heaven. A bureaucracy has been created at all levels in order to engender, monitor and “lovingly” coerce this sort of working participation which then becomes the standard by which member spirituality is measured and recognized.

The same bureaucracy becomes then a powerful instrument for limiting criticism and dissention through emotional and spiritual abuse by perceived authority and endorsement by the Father of Conformity.

One can make a case the some of those driven off are at least temporarily not prepared to deal with life and society in a manner that is free from long-internalized judgmental and narrow notions.

The gentle but rigid church programming involves and in fact revolves around forms of guilt and coercion. Within the church as well as among those driven off there is a danger of low self-esteem that causes essentially unreasonable reactions to the church itself.

Repentance becomes much more than returning to God, it involves returning to the mind set  from which one has fled in desperation. This is not unlike a battered-wives syndrome where one consciously returns to a life at home with a mean and unrepentant drunk who will continue business as usual.

There is a genuine tragedy when one feels driven off from the clan or out of the tribe  because like an enormous and ominous dark tower, the church rises in the background or even the actual center of the tribal village,  thrusting itself with impunity into the middle of family relationships to which it has no moral or God given right to interfere.

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Members are forced to choose between church and family. The Father of Conformity has said nothing about why this circumstance is a positive fruit by which that Father is known among the children of men. The either-or attitude may only be a perception of those driven off when the rest of the family remains inside the righteous but unseen walls of church conformity, but the church does little or nothing to address that very  family estrangement of which the church and it’s self presentation is the principle cause.

Limited serenity that comes from separation from the direct and immediate sources of emotional pain still feels like something much better than the rigidly inflexible  cauldron of conformity whose principal legacy is misery.

… and of course a false god …

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Finally! A church on the right and righteous side of a political issue.

 

Episcopal diocese joins federal lawsuit against Trump travel ban

A church in Washington state is suing the federal government for preventing it from practicing its faith. The Episcopal diocese says the refugee ban stops them from welcoming strangers in need.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A church is suing the Trump administration, claiming it can’t perform one of its religious duties. That duty is resettling refugees, and the suit comes from the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia in Washington state. Will James of member station KNKX reports.

I am for SOCIAL JUSTICE!! … and if ever there should be justice in this particular venue, THIS IS IT … This is TRULY about family values.

Marzian

Want Viagra? Not without a note from wife

“I want to protect these men from themselves,” said Marzian, a nurse.

HB 396 also specifies that only married men may obtain the drug and requires “a man to make a sworn statement with his hand on a Bible that he will only use a prescription for a drug for erectile dysfunction when having sexual relations with his current spouse.”

“This is about family values,” Marzian said.