Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Michael Rowe: No More Mr. Nice Gay

Michael Rowe: No More Mr. Nice Gay

"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression." -- Thomas Jefferson

As hard as I try to find another way to say this, yesterday's California Supreme Court decision makes this unattractive concept abundantly clear: gays and lesbians are now the only minority in America against whom discrimination is not only legal, but in many cases, encouraged. California has become the first state in U.S. history to amend its constitution to deprive a minority of a right that they had been legally granted.

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The American Patriot's Bible

As it is my duty to bring to your attention items that will make you vomit, I present this new work: The American Patriot's Bible.

According to the blurb: THE ONE BIBLE THAT SHOWS HOW 'A LIGHT FROM ABOVE' SHAPED OUR NATION. Never has a version of the Bible targeted the spiritual needs of those who love our country more than The American Patriot's Bible. This extremely unique Bible shows how the history of the United States connects the people and events of the Bible to our lives in a modern world. The story of the United States is wonderfully woven into the teachings of the Bible and includes a beautiful full-color family record section [LDS alert - are they the target audience?], memorable images from our nation's history and hundreds of enlightening articles which complement the New King James Version Bible text.

But really, nobody can say it much better than this 5-star reviewer, RG from east texas:

Finally a Bible for the American Conservative Evangelical! With this Bible we can finally stop apologizing for the genocide of 20 million Native Americans and the enslavement of millions of African Americans. These events, along with the theft of Northern Mexico (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and California) can be rightly seen as the manifest destiny of God's chosen people. The waterboarding of hundreds and the deaths of over 100,000 Filipinos can be seen as the ethnic cleansing required to spread the gospel of democracy during the Spanish American War. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki can forever be seen as the necessary prevention of the deaths of millions and the beliefs of General Eisenhower and many others that it was merely America's way of proving our moral and military superiority to Russia and the rest of the world can be laid to rest. The blood of our soldiers and our Savior should be seen as equally important and efficacious.

The constant and consistent oppresive and imperialistic actions of the United States are not only forgivable but are manifestations of God's will when scriptures are properly applied. This Bible will help anyone understand these truths. It would have been nice if Thomas Nelson had performed a Jeffersonian edit and removed all the New Testament references about loving one's enemies and overcoming evil with good, but in reality these truths have been so long ignored in the United Satates that I have little doubt they will continue to be ignored by North American Christians. A disturbing thought occasionaly creeps in - What if Jesus were really serious about loving one's enemies?. With this Bible those questions, undoubtedly planted by Satan, can easily be dismissed.

No need to read the "revisionist" history of atheists such as Howard Zinn in A Peoples History of the United States or James Loewen in Lies My Teacher Told Me. These pagans do not know Jesus so what can they know of love and truth? Sometimes killing someone is the most loving thing you can do and besides, wherein loving one's enemies does it say not to kill them? Remember the bumper stickers from the Vietnam era? - Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out!
It is my hope that this Bible becomes the standard of every conservative evangelical pulpit in North America. Maybe it can be the straw that breaks the camel's back on books such as Greg Boyd's Myth of a Christian Nation. History has proven time and time again that theocracies are the most effective means of disseminating religion so the sooner we enforce a Christian theocracy the sooner Jesus will return. If only we could follow the radical Muslim pattern of a Taliban government and thereby insure that we are not left behind. The [...] that is Nationalism and Christianity may finally make that a reality.

Ah, even at my most virulent, I don't think I could have said it better. Bravo.

And while we're at it, let's take a moment to thank Obama for butting out of the church's business by not holding an official White House ceremony to commemorate the National Day of Prayer. It's almost as if he recognizes that you can be American and not believe in God!

A few links

When (if?) I ever have a free moment I'll fill you in on the exciting events of my week, which so far have included a visit to the California Academy of Sciences, an interview for a campus ministry job at UC Santa Cruz, and an appointment with Kaiser's pelvic pain center (tmi?). But for now I only have a sec, so I'm going to lean on my colleagues and invite you to read these two wonderful reflections on the torture poll from Pew that I posted last week.

Hugo Schwyzer
David Gushee

Friday, May 01, 2009



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey.

The more I see things like this, the more I wonder who are these people, what Bible are they reading, and which Jesus exactly do they think they belong to? Or, more accurately perhaps, belongs to them? (I've got Jesus in my heart)

I remember when J was teaching an ethics class at Biola University. He actually had to fight the students to convince them that they were supposed to try to be like Jesus. See, they had somehow gotten the idea (from their churches? or, yikes, theology/bible classes?) that Jesus' only job was to die, not to teach us how to live, and besides, he was God and sinless, so we couldn't possibly be like him anyway.

The stuff in the epistles about becoming perfect (and the Sermon on the Mount, for that matter) notwithstanding, this had somehow been translated into a totally different standard for the followers of Jesus than, well, anything he taught. I'm not sure where this other standard came from, exactly, but I know it includes a healthy dose of human ego and a decent amount of self-righteousness.

Anyway, I don't get it one bit. Here's a link to the study itself. I guess I'm just a totally different kind of churchgoer. Actually, one blogger said that "pew-sitters" were more likely to support torture - so maybe the trick is sitting in chairs instead of pews!

It's not surprising that we mainliners were the religious group most likely to say torture is never justified. But I find it really interesting that a quarter of the "religiously unaffiliated" said it never is. That means that more of the "religiously unaffiliated" understand and follow Jesus' teachings than do the majority of Christians!

It brings up an interesting question about morality, too: as in, where do the "godless" get their moral superiority? Hmmmm. Actually, J taught a whole class on that, too. Maybe I'll see if I can get him to blog about it. :)