Sunday, April 08, 2007

Get Thee Behind Me, Christian

Dear shop keeps, checkout lads, bus drivers, bartenders, wait staff, and other christianistas:

Please keep your pathological mythology out of my face, my government, my life.

This time of year, the arrogance of the christianista is patent . . . . everyone passing through the checkout line, swiping a passcard, swilling a Manhattan (up), wolfing down a chicken cesear, is assumed to be a fellow traveller. This display is tempered only by those who chirp "happy holiday" when one takes one's leave, instead of "happy easter". (Oh, I know that passover is coincident with easter this year. But that's only convenient cover for them -- if passover were last week, the bag boys would not have been commanding shoppers to 'enjoy the holiday'.)

The truth assumed by these chirping retail clerks is that everyone passing their way shares the same demented beliefs. Depending on mood (or Manhattans swilled) I alternate between head-patting sympathy and screaming resentment.

But when the religionistas inflict themselves on my society, on my government, what I feel welling up is more of a nose-crunching swing. Over the last decade, the question of the religious beliefs of politicians has moved from the subtle, whispered observations, mainly launched to disqualify non-christians, to overt examination in the popular press. Along with trend comes the candidate anxious to get earn their religious street cred.

I watched the '68 race pretty closely -- watched Nixon roll over his primary challengers, which included several-term Michigan Governor George Romney. George being Mitt's father, the current Governor Romney seeking the current Republican nomination. If, during the '68 campaign, I learned that G. Romney was a mormon, it is a fact I long ago forgot. (What I didn't forget was that G.Romney was born in Mexico. Does that make Mitt . . . .?)

I need to work before I can take seriously a candidate -- particularly one who wants to be President -- who is a devout anything. Any person who professes belief in an invisible man in the sky, who insists that their personal morality is dictated by fairly convoluted scribblings jotted during imagined conversations with the invisible man millennia ago, and who truly believes that the only best purpose of "earthly" existence is to grease the slide for the "real" life on the "other side", is not, to me, someone I want, with a pious finger on the button, leading the greatest (if declining) military and economic power in the world.

Give me Presidents like Washington, Lincoln or Jefferson, who joined no cult of mythology, or even Adams, who thought the most sacred beliefs of christians pretty silly and had a somewhat Machiavellian view of religion's utility on controlling the mob. But spare me the politician anxious to prove their ignorance and thoughtless supplication to this evolutionary byproduct.

Get thee behind me, christian. And get out of my government.

Adams might have been right, although I have my doubts, that religious beliefs are useful for controlling the passions of the mob. But religions increasing role in my government has no salutary upside. The current regime has successfully created an office dedicated to funnelling money to prop up religion, has outlawed support for legitimate scientific inquiry based purely on religious dogma, and has even created the absurd situation where park rangers at the Grand Canyon have to avoid denying that the canyon was created by Noah's flood.

When irrational belief informs public policy, and devotion to irrational belief is a de facto requirement to run for President, we are all fucked.

Nero, play on.


Additional Reading:

First Freedom First
Blog Against Theocracy
Blue Wren: The golden rule . . .
Progressive Historians: These Are the Fruits of Theocracy
Culture Kitchen: Warren Chisum and Women Who "Try Things on Their Own"
Bring It On!: What Would the Prince of Peace Think of the Price of War?
Bring it On!: Theocratci Street Gangs
NYTimes: Darwin's God
Hullabaloo: God's Law, Never Man's
Pandagon: The tightrope of keeping religion out of politics
Blue Gal: A memo to non-believers
Pew Forum: Religion and Politics




4 comments:

bot said...

Could Mitt Romney be more "Christian" than Evangelicals? Protestants and Catholics subscribe to the Nicene creed, which was initiated by the Emperor Constantine in the Fourth Century to rid Scriptures of the Apocrypha, which made reference to the oral traditions of Jewish and early Christian temple worship.

First Century Christian churches, in fact, continued the Jewish temple worship traditions:
1) Baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family
2) Lay clergy
3) Anointing with holy oil after baptism
4) Then clothing in white clothing

Just check with the Israeli Museum to verify. And read Exodus Ch 29 for Aaron and his sons” ordinances. Jewish Temple practices were continued by Christians prior to Constantine”s corruption (see St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) Lecture XXI). Early Christians were persecuted for keeping their practices sacred, and not allowing non-Christians to witness them

A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ being separate beings, united in purpose. To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and to whom was he speaking on the Mount of Transfiguration?

The Nicene Creed”s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity, which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: "There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one."
Scribes later added "the Father, the Word and the Spirit," and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) have concern for their ancestors” spiritual welfare, so they practice proxy baptism. (1 Corinthians 15:29 & Malachi 4:5-6).

Only members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continue these practices of First Century Christians. But Mormons don”t term Catholics and Protestants “non-Christian”. The dictionary definition of a Christian is “of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”:. All of the above denominations are followers of Christ, and consider him the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament.

It”s important to understand the difference between Reformation and Restoration when we consider who might be the more authentic Christian. If Mitt Romney is a member of a denomination which embraces early Christian theology, he is likely more “Christian” than his detractors.

* * *

And the National Study of Youth and Religion done by UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005 found that Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) youth (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to exhibit these Christian characteristics than Evangelicals (the next most observant group):
LDS Evangelical
Attend Religious Services weekly 71% 55%
Importance of Religious Faith in shaping daily life –
extremely important 52 28
Believes in life after death 76 62
Believes in psychics or fortune-tellers 0 5
Has taught religious education classes 42 28
Has fasted or denied something as spiritual discipline 68 22
Sabbath Observance 67 40
Shared religious faith with someone not of their faith 72 56
Family talks about God, scriptures, prayer daily 50 19
Supportiveness of church for parent in trying to raise teen
(very supportive) 65 26
Church congregation has done an excellent job in helping
Teens better understand their own sexuality and sexual morality 84 35

A Big Fat Slob said...

If you are talking about "literal" readings of the bible and who is the more "authentic" christian, then I haven't made my point very clearly.

Or was it that you were just aching to find a place to publish this screed regardless of context?

Claire Celsi said...

Oh my gosh. I am in love with a Bog Fat Slob. Thanks for your wonderful, insightful writing and plentiful resources!

A Big Fat Slob said...

Oh migosh, I am blushing. Thanks so much for the kind words.