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188 posts categorized "Religion"

July 01, 2008

American Family Association: "Tyson Homosexual" bound for Olympic games

The radical clerics at the American Family Association have software that automatically substitutes the word "homosexual" for the word "gay" in wire stories published on their website.

Hilarity ensues....

The American Family Association obviously didn't foresee the problems that might arise with its strict policy to always replace the word "gay" with "homosexual" on the Web site of its Christian news outlet, OneNewsNow. The group's automated system for changing the forbidden word wound up publishing a story about a world-class sprinter named "Tyson Homosexual" who qualified this week for the Beijing Olympics.

The problem: Tyson's real last name is Gay. Therefore, OneNewsNow's reliable software changed the Associated Press story about Tyson Gay's amazing Olympic qualifying trial to read this way:

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

"It means a lot to me," the 25-year-old Homosexual said. "I'm glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me." [WaPo]

June 12, 2008

Can exorcist Bobby Jindal cure melanoma?

Bobby Jindal, the 36-year-old governor of Louisiana, is rumored to be on John McCain's VP shortlist.

Eric Kleefeld and Kate Klonick of TPM broke the story that Jindal's extensive CV includes one highly unusual qualification: exorcist.

Jindal's 1994 essay, "Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare," appeared in the New Oxford Review, an orthodox Catholic magazine published by a California non-profit. The full article is behind a subscription wall, but Kleefeld and Klonick obtained the full text. Here's a sample passage:

The students, led by Susan's sister and Louise, a member of a charismatic church, engaged in loud and desperate prayers while holding Susan with one hand. Kneeling on the ground, my friends were chanting, "Satan, I command you to leave this woman." Others exhorted all "demons to leave in the name of Christ." It is no exaggeration to note the tears and sweat among those assembled. Susan lashed out at the assembled students with verbal assaults...

Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me. It was as if something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe. . . Though I could find no cause for my chest pains, I was very scared of what was happening to me and Susan. I began to think that the demon would only attack me if I tried to pray or fight back; thus, I resigned myself to leaving it alone in an attempt to find peace for myself.

Jindal claims that the rite freed his friend Susan of the demon and may even have cured her skin cancer.

Conventional wisdom has it that the young, "diverse" (sic) Jindal would round out the Republican ticket by allaying voter's misgivings about electing an ancient white guy like John McCain.

Now we learn that this obscure Southern governor can also cure skin cancer. Surely, this is a sign. Jindal should be a shoo in.

Beyerstein interviews Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family

My interview with Jeff Sharlet, author of the new book, The Family, is the top story on AlterNet today. Check it out!

The Family is the unauthorized history of the 70-year-old fundamentalist cabal that runs the National Prayer Breakfast. Jeff Sharlet infiltrated a group home run by the group and saw first hand the influence they have in Washington and beyond.

You can read more about The Family on Jeff's blog, Call Me Ishmael and on his website, The Revealer.

May 23, 2008

Problem pastor purge: John McCain rejects Parsley and Hagee

John McCain has rejected the support of mega-church pastor and Ohio Republican power broker Rod Parsley. McCain was for Parsley before he was against him. McCain praised Parsley stage at a Cincinnati campaign rally as a moral compass, a spiritual guide, and one of the greatest leaders in America.

Brave New Films and Mother Jones deserve the credit for McCain's reversal. They co-produced this wildly popular video juxtaposing John McCain's effusive praise for Parsley with footage of Parsley calling for war on Islam.

McCain's rejection of Parsley is a big deal. McCain sought him out in the first place because he's a big political player in Ohio.

McCain also kicked Pastor John Hagee to the curb this week as part of his ongoing purge of prejudiced pastors. McCain aggressively courted the endorsement of the high-profile homophobe, prominent anti-Semite, and noted Catholic-basher. McCain would probably still be basking in Hagee's selective Christian love if the news hadn't come out that Hagee had praised the Holocaust and Hitler.

Not to be outdone, Pastor Hagee withdrew his endorsement of McCain.

May 09, 2008

McCain's spiritual guide wants war on Islam (video)

Brave New Films released a remarkable video of Ohio mega-church pastor and faith-healer Rod Parsley preaching about how the Founding Fathers intended America to fight the anti-Christ, demon-inspired religion of Islam. (I'm not making this up.) Interspersed with the Parsley segments is footage of Sen. John McCain effusively praising Parsley on stage at a campaign rally in Cincinatti. McCain introduces Parsley as "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, [and] a spiritual guide." The Republican presidential candidate thanks pastor Parsley for his leadership and his guidance.

And here's Pastor Parsley railing against the Supreme Court's legalization of "the perverted act of sodomy":

More words of wisdom from John McCain's moral compass Rod Parsley. (Check out the stuff about the prayer cloth and the love of money.)

April 22, 2008

Photog-kicking State Rep. calls guest workers "illiterate peasants"

Charming fellow...

Antitax crusader Douglas Bruce kicked a newspaper photographer and was then sworn in as a state representative on Monday, but not while the House was in session, as he had demanded. Bruce later said he wouldn't apologize and said the photographer should be the one to say he's sorry.

Bruce, a Republican, backed down in his standoff with Democratic House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and members of his own party over Bruce's insistence that the full House attend when he was sworn in to fill a vacant seat.

He settled for a smaller ceremony when the House was not in session, which is standard practice for midterm appointees.

Carrying a family Bible, Bruce went to the House floor Monday morning as a guest of Rep. Kent Lambert, a fellow Colorado Springs Republican.

When Rocky Mountain News photographer Javier Manzano took his photo during the traditional morning prayer, Bruce, who was standing, brought the sole of his shoe down hard on the photographer's bent knee. A CBS4 News videographer saw Bruce make a kicking motion, but didn't see the actual contact.

"Don't do that again," Bruce told Manzano.

Later, Bruce refused to apologize.

"I think that's the most offensive thing I've seen a photographer do in 21 years," he said. "If people are going to cause a disruption during a public prayer, they should be called for it. He owes an apology to the House and the public." [cbs4denver, Jan 14, 2008]

ThinkProgress reports that Douglas Bruce is back in the news. This time, for referring to 5000 proposed legal guest workers as "illiterate peasants." (Video)

April 17, 2008

Man kicked off plane for refusing to interrupt prayers for takeoff

A man was kicked off a plane in New York for refusing to return to his seat for takeoff. He was praying and didn't want to be disturbed.

According to friends who witnessed the incident, the man ignored the flight attendant's instructions because he feared theological blue balls:

When flight attendants urged the man, who was carrying a religious book, to take his seat, he ignored them, Brafman said. Two friends, who were seated, tried to tell the attendants that the man couldn't stop until his prayers were over in about 2 minutes, he said.

"He doesn't respond to them, but his friends explain that once you start praying you can't stop," said Brafman, who was seated three rows away. [AP]

It's usually difficult to tell from these kinds of "dramatic official reaction" stories whether the response was proportional, or whether the situation could been defused more adeptly.

Still, I appreciate United Airlines' stance: One guy's ritual should not take precedence over the timely departure of a flight; and, passengers must obey the instructions of the flight crew, as required law, whether they're praying or not.

April 08, 2008

State Rep: Atheist has no right to testify before state assembly

An Illinois State Representative says that its dangerous for children to learn that atheism exists. Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) excoriated atheist activist Rob Sherman as he testified in the state assembly last Wednesday.

Davis told Sherman that he had "no right to be here." It's not clear whether she meant the legislature or the state of Illinois generally.

"I am fed up! Get out of that seat!" she barked at the witness:

Davis: I don’t know what you have against God, but some of us don’t have much against him. We look forward to him and his blessings. And it’s really a tragedy -- it’s tragic -- when a person who is engaged in anything related to God, they want to fight. They want to fight prayer in school.

I don’t see you (Sherman) fighting guns in school. You know?

I’m trying to understand the philosophy that you want to spread in the state of Illinois. This is the Land of Lincoln. This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children.… What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous--

Sherman: What’s dangerous, ma’am?

Davis: It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists! Now you will go to court to fight kids to have the opportunity to be quiet for a minute. But damn if you’ll go to [court] to fight for them to keep guns out of their hands. I am fed up! Get out of that seat!

Sherman:Thank you for sharing your perspective with me, and I’m sure that if this matter does go to court--

Davis: You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon. [Chicago Tribune]


HT: Crooks and Liars.

January 15, 2008

Huckabee wants to rewrite the US constitution

Radical cleric and Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee wants to rewrite the constitution:

The United States Constitution never uses the word "God" or makes mention of any religion, drawing its sole authority from "We the People." However, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee thinks it's time to put an end to that.

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

When Willie Geist reported Huckabee's opinion on MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski was almost speechless, and even Joe Scarborough couldn't immediately find much to say beyond calling it "interesting." [Raw Story]

For starters, Huckabee (may have) supported a proposal to rewrite the 14th Amendment to deny citizenship to children born on US soil to undocumented immigrant parents. Huckabee is the only presidential candidate to have called for the elimination of birthright citizenship.

Correction: Earlier I wrote that Huckabee opposed birthright citizenship. Actually, it's more complicated and interesting than that. Huckabee's ally Jim Gilchrist of the Minuteman Project reported on January 8th that Huckabee promised to oppose birthright citizenship, but on January 9th Huckabee contradicted Gilchrist saying he'd made no such promise:

Mike Huckabee yesterday contradicted his own top immigration surrogate, announcing he will not support a constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to illegal aliens.

It was a stark reversal after The Washington Times reported that James Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, said Mr. Huckabee promised to pursue an amendment to the Constitution.

In an article in yesterday's editions, Mr. Huckabee's spokeswoman did not challenge the former Arkansas governor's statements to Mr. Gilchrist and said the two men shared the same goals on immigration.

But by yesterday afternoon, Mr. Huckabee had backed away from that position."I do not support an amendment to the Constitution that would prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens. I have no intention of supporting a constitutional amendment to deny birthright citizenship," Mr. Huckabee said in a statement posted on his campaign Web site. [WT]

I'll leave it to you to decide who's more credible, Jim Gilchrist or Mike Huckabee...



January 11, 2008

Huckabee calls for wifely submission

Gov. Mike Huckabee reaffirmed that a wife should submit to her husband during last night's Republican debate in South Carolina.

Huckabee tried to soften the blow by saying that the Bible commands husbands and wives to give to each other 100%. He endorsed a far more radical position in 1998 when he endorsed the Southern Baptist Convention's amended statement on the family in a national advertising campaign.

The Southern Baptist Convention revised its core statement of belief in June of 1998 to include an explicit dictate for wives to submit to their husbands. Mike Huckabee and his wife Janet were among the 131 prominent Baptists signed a statement telling the SBC: "You Are Right" about the new family code.

Here's what Huckabee said the SBC was right about:

XVIII. The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society.

It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. [The Baptist Faith and Message]

Am I the only one disturbed from the segue from "the family" to "sexual expression" to "submission"?  If family the forum for Christian sexual expression, and wives are supposed to submit to men on "family" matters...

Marie Griffith and Paul Harvey wrote approvingly of the SBC family resolution in 1998. Their article in Christian Century Magazine notes that SBC's changes were even more radical than the views espoused by leading Christian conservative groups at the time:

The SBC's concern about gender roles is not unlike that displayed by such organizations as the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the Promise Keepers. But the unequivocal proclamation on wifely submission moves the denomination well beyond the ambiguous and frequently conflicting statements on marital relationships made by these other groups.

Griffith and Harvey explain that "submission" in modern-day America doesn't mean that wives must unquestioningly obey orders from their husbands at all time. They reassure us that wives are still allowed to make suggestions and manipulate their husbands into giving them their way:

The meaning of "submission," of course, has changed significantly over time, despite the convention's claim that its resolution exalts the "unchanging Christ." Even among religious conservatives the word does not suggest blind obedience so much as pliant cooperation and acceptance of familial obligations. Research by sociologists, historians and ethnographers has dearly shown that the language of female submission in recent U.S. history has often been intertwined with the language of egalitarianism and, more important, that many women and men who claim to believe in female submission do not actually practice that belief with the literalness that outsiders might suppose.

In most everyday cases, the doctrine of submission entails consulting one's husband in areas that affect the family; it does not prevent attempts at persuasion, influence or even outright manipulation. Such techniques allow women who lack certain forms of social power or authority to get what they want without, it is hoped, seeming overly aggressive, unfeminine or "feminist." While such methods are not directly advocated by the doctrine's supporters, Southern Baptists and everyone else know that they go on all the time in real life.

Huckabee's dodge about mutual submission doesn't fit the SBC code that he endorsed.

If a wife's relationship to her husband is analogous to a man's relationship to God, it seems that "gracious submission" can't be mutual. After all, godfearing Baptist men aren't told to offer advice to God, nor manipulate the Almighty to get their own way. They're just supposed to accept that God knows best, even if His dictates seem ridiculous.

For example, Mike Huckabee's God tells him that he's not a primate, and Huck doesn't give the Good Lord any guff.