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SueInCa On March - 15 - 2010

The Christian Right is a convoluted mixture of social, and religious based beliefs and they believe the way to solve the issues they deem to be important is to rule politically. They are Dominionist in nature and their belief system is centered on the idea they must control the world. They possess an “authoritarian” mindset that permeates all of their activities. In understanding them, you must understand that the basis of their particular brand of religion/social/political activity is basically a good v. evil philosophy. While they may not subscribe to it, they are what some modern scholars have suggested is Manichaean in their belief and social structure, but again not in the purest sense of the religion. In fact when Christians first encountered Manichaeism they deemed it as heresy. It had developed in a heavily Gnostic area of the Persian Empire, however Roman Emperor Theodosius I issued a decree of death for Macichaeans in AD382, declaring that Christianity was the only legitimate religion for the Roman Empire. Augustine of Hippo converted to Christianity in AD387 however Manichaean ways of thinking did influence some of his ideas such as the nature of good and evil, the existence of hell, the separation of groups into the elect, the hearers, and of course the sinners. Hostility to the flesh and sexual activity were added in to align with the Roman Empire religious philosophy. In these principles you can find the basis for attaching the title, Manichaean, to the Christian Right.The modern day Christian Right believe there are good forces constantly doing battle with evil forces and the battle will not end until all evil has been eradicated. Some would say, but hey isn’t that a good thing? Sure if you believe their rendition of Good and Evil is correct. The problem is their viewpoint is based on their own interpretation of scripture, mostly from the Old Testament. And is based on the idea that they are the ones who need to be in power to eradicate the evil. George W Bush was constantly reminding us of the utter evil in the world and based on the day of the week, any country could be included in his “axis of evil”. If you did not go along with his way of thinking(and the Christian Right) you were labeled as non-patriotic, subversive or a traitor. Paul Weyrich described evil in the following comment at a conference of Christian Right leaders in 1995:

“The real enemy is the secular humanist mindset which seeks to destroy everything that is good in this society. The fight that we are fighting, the battle we have joined, is one that encompasses our entire life span”

My question in response to that statement is: does becoming a Christian make you a better person than the secular person or does it just make you meaner?

And Pat Robertson:

“It’s going to be a spiritual battle. There will be Satanic forces…. We are not going to be coming up just against human beings, to beat them in elections. We’re going to be coming up against spiritual warfare.”

Their activity, religious, political and societial, adheres to the authoritarian mindset and they are fanatical in all aspects. Erich Seligmann Fromm, a German social psychologist, humanistic philosopher and democratic socialist referred to fanaticism as any right wing authoritarian movement, usually a hothouse of dysfunction.  He wrote:

“Those who cannot endure the vertiginous new social, political and personal freedoms of the modern age, those who crave security and a feeling of belonging and of being rooted somewhere, might be susceptible to the siren song of fascism.”

This description provides an eerie but accurate look at the Christian Right and consequently, the Republican Party. Their Jesus is the exact opposite of the Prince of Peace most Christians believe in. Their Jesus is a stern, manly, overtly masculine patriarch charging into the fray with his sword drawn against secular foes.  Their Jesus would not feed the poor and the Beatutides were never written because a Jesus who performs in the manner theirs does would certainly not put the people first.  Their Jesus is going to come back to earth and miraculously take them all up to heaven where they will sit on the “right hand of the father” and watch as the rest of us secularists are tortured in the most horrendous ways imaginable.  It does not matter that some of us are Christians as well, we are just not the right kind of Christian.  In fact it was not until the early 1820’s when the “Rapture” fairytale was established. Prior to that time, there is no mention in history of this story. The person who is credited with generating the story reportedly said that he was reading Revelations and although had read it many times, this time the scripture and interpretation just “jumped off the page” at him. That interpretation has proven to be their “cash cow” in convincing millions of people to convert to their brand of religion. It is more like a grim fairytale, than a believable story for those of us who feel a higher power is a kind individual who wants the best for the entire universe.  However, millions of people across the world have fallen into the belief that this story is real and will assure you it is real based on their “interpretation” of scripture. They claim that they have taken this fairytale straight from scripture, however prior to the 19th century there is no mention of this story in their history.

If you try to reason with them and cite your reasoning on the basis of facts, you might as well be talking to the “hear no evil monkey” because you are talking to someone with their hands over their ears. Their facts are the only facts and once again they will bombard you with their “interpretation” of the scripture, or simply dismiss you outright. Faith-based decision makers will accept input only from those who share the faith and will ignore or expel those who challenge or contest their truth.  That creates a perception by their followers of a reality that is fictitious.  And these facts lead back to the idea that Christians should rule. They believe they should rule because as Christians they are assured that they alone will be saved by God and spend eternity in heaven. They have the widsom and grace of God through Jesus and thus can discern what God wants for humanity and what is best for everyone. The Facts, if they listened to them, just might blow up that thinking like Bush’s proverbial “mushroom cloud”.  Pat Robertson was quoted as saying :

‘There will never be world peace until God’s house and God’s people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world.”

So, in his mind’s eye the only way there can be world peace is if the Christian Right usher it in and the way they will do that is to be in a leadership position or to have dominion over the world.

Another of the central organizing features of conservative evangelical Christianity is the perceived need for absolute standards of social order. They see all around them dangers to the social structure which uphold democracy, liberty, and especially Christianity. Whatever appears to threaten social stability and order is thus an offspring of Satan. Abortion, Gays, The Woman’s Movement, Separation of Church and State, radical Islam(alhtough some leaders have been known to use the term Islam alone)are all evils to be conquered or proselytized to. Now the financial collapse has provided them additional demons to chase. With the financial collapse a whole new world of trauma has opened up to them to be exploited. Now they have more desperate and embittered followers to manipulate and they are injecting a renewed anti-government resentment.  America’s Christian Right is often characterized as a reactionary movement because it is reacting to modern developments and seeks to restore older, more traditional social structures. Although the Christian Right has much to say about religion and morality, a lot of its social and political programs can be explained by reference to what they are against rather than what they are in favor of. Most of what they are against has become fundamental to the modern way of life. And no matter what the majority thinks, it must be dealt with, preferably reversed 40 years or more.

Our entire system of government was based upon the idea that many things matter besides merely protecting ourselves against threats and we are willing to take risks in order to secure the other value of our society.  From the early days of our government, the United States has rejected the worldview of prioritizing physical safety above everything else.  Such a mentality leads to an impoverished and empty civic life.  America has always imposed limitations on government power because it is necessary to secure liberty and avoid tyranny, not to mention the fact it is written into the United States Constitution.  This is what has made America free.  During the Bush presidency, while the nation was in shock from the attack on 9/11, the Bush administration pushed for unprecedented passage of The Patriot Act that  took away some of our freedoms and surely damaged our rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments.  After all, according to Bush the constitution was just “a piece of paper”.  Then in 2006, the Republican controlled congress passed the Military Commissions Act** which gave unprecedented power to the Executive Office, namely the President.  This is authoritarian rule and how tyranny is established in a government.  Then the references to God’s will, fighting a crusade etc probably brought untold comfort to the Christian Right, however was looked upon bysecularists as at the very least strange and at worst an abomination.  To people in the Middle East and Europe the mention of Crusades could conjure absolute terror based on their historical significance to these people. All of this was done with the Christian Right’s approval and possibly at their will. In a speech at Oklahoma University, Dr. Robin Meyers said:
“When you start a war on false pretenses and then act as if your deceptions are justified because you are doing God’s will and that your critics are either unpatriotic or lacking in faith, there are some of us who have given our lives to teaching and preaching the faith who believe that this is not only not moral, but immoral”
Yet, the Christian Right will always claim the high road when it comes to morality and faith. Their “Family Values” tradition has been a failure over and over because even they cannot live up to the terms, yet they still cling to their ideas and will not enter into a civil dialogue with the rest of the nation. It is sad and that is the reason we must all remain vigilant. They are not going away, they will use tricks and deception to move their agendas forward. Be vigilant and I leave you with these words from Dr. Robin Meyers:

“It’s our country to take back, all of our citizens’ country. Don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t back down when your friends begin to tell you that the cause is righteous and that the flag should be wrapped around the cross, while the rest of us keep our mouths shut. Real Christians take chances for peace. So do real Jews, and real Muslims, and real Hindus, and real Buddhists–so do all the faith traditions of the world at their heart believe one thing: life is precious.”

P.S. I would add real Atheists and real Agnostics to that equation, but that is just me.

Part three is coming up and it will cover the players on the Christian Right, their organizations and their prominent leaders. Suggested Reading Material and Websites to follow:

Clint Willis/Nate Hardcastle – Jesus is Not a Republican, The Religious Right’s War on America

Linda Kintz and Julia Lesage – Media Culture and the Religious Right

Esther Kaplan – With God On Their Side

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/5/114652/6239

http://www.religiondispatches.org/

** It should be noted that the Congress amended the Military Commissions Act of 2006 in 2009, however I have not found any information that the Presidential power was affected.

Categories: Society

Written by SueInCa

I am a soon to be 59 Nana to Anthony who is 11. I live in Benicia CA with my husband and Shih Tsu. I worked in Banking and the Financial Industry for 24 years in Fraud, Risk Management, Account Management, Program Management, Project Management and Customer Service. I was a Fraud Investigator for Credit Card and Merchant Business and investigated internal fraud and responded to Bank robberies. I was also management in most of these positions. Now I am content to find a part time job where I am just a worker bee, no more corporate BS for this gal. I also make jewelry. I can spend hours in a bead shop just touching all the fine baubles. Only another beader would understand that one.

94 Responses so far.

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  1. javaz says:

    Sue, have you seen the latest from Glenn Beck and Steve King?

    With this morning

    • SueInCa says:

      Javaz
      I will say what I said to Pence awhile ago on Dylan

      Blah blah blah blah blah, I can’t hear you Pence

      Those damn ungodly Democrat Socialists

      Better to be a fascist Republican

    • bitohistory says:

      I was just reading that, J’avaz. Beat me to it! :-)
      The part I liked was the last line:

      On Palm Sunday in 2005, the Republican-controlled Senate passed a controversial bill to allow a federal court to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo. The House passed the same bill shortly after midnight on Monday morning.

      OOPS! guess they don’t bother to fact check, just gets in the way. 😆

      (have to get ready to go to the CC, later)

      • SueInCa says:

        Javaz and Bito
        But the Terry Schiavo thing was a holy thing, saving a life that had not been conscious for what 10 years? They used Schiavo to further their political agenda with the “holy man” DeLay leading the way. Shortly after he was under indictment(and still is) for campaign fraud……………….love those religious right evangelicals

      • javaz says:

        Take care, b’ito, and hope to see you later.

  2. bitohistory says:

    Sue, you may have already read this.
    “Beck’s War Against Social Justice”
    Seems that Beck stepped a little bit too deep into his own excrement. Jim Wallis of Sojourners wants to debate Beck. Is that even fair?

    http://pr.thinkprogress.org/

    • SueInCa says:

      As to the debate, he will make mincemeat out of Beck, yes it is fair. If you cannot debate a subject, you should not be spouting off on it like you know it all.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Sue, here’s where I disagree. There are winners and losers in a debate only when both parties are playing by the same debate rules, e.g., logic, facts, etc.

        Beck will always win any debate to his followers. If consistency, logic and truth were important to them, Beckerwood would still be a rodeo clown. I wouldn’t legitimize his lunacy by debating him-- no different than debating someone walking down the street talking to themselves from my POV.

    • SueInCa says:

      Bito
      Funny you should mention Jim Wallis. I am reading his book, A Great Awakening and I had not gotten 10 pages into it when I realized he would drive Beck up the wall. I also wonder if Wallis’s message about believers being involved in social justice causes might be causing some consternation for Beck and the RR. Basically he is saying they have hijacked the public discourse on social justice with their brand of narrow social issues mixed with politics.

      I tend to want to believe Wallis as he, although an evangelical, is deeply involved in social justice worldwide and believes we need to take our political conscience(sp?) in a new direction away from the narrow focus of the RR. It might also be telling that Dobson was forced our of FOF for the same reason. The CEO and President Jim Daly has said he wants a kinder more gentle view for FOF.

      Check out Wallis’s website, I believe he could be the right kind of leader for a new century in Christian circles as well as spiritual but not religious persons. He wants to join the two in a common cause for social justice and spiritual renewal, not necessarily “church” based but inclusive for all. Choice Lady might have some insight into him. We can ask when she is online.

      http://www.sojo.net/

      • SueInCa says:

        One thing I might point out, though, is he seems to have ties to Rick Warren of Saddleback and Warren’s mentor in Seminary was C Peter Wagnor, a definite 7 Mountains guy. Not sure I can trust Warren based on that connection.

  3. kesmarn says:

    Sue, thanks once more for another wonderful segment in this important series. You may be concerned about being too focussed on this issue, but I’m not! I think it’s almost impossible to overestimate how much this group of deluded and/or morally bankrupt people have damaged American freedom. To put it succinctly: they are bullies. More power to you!

    My extended family has two families who are into the RR lock, stock and barrel. They’re the families of two daughters who grew up in an incredibly dysfunctional household. There were fairly serious mental health issues with both parents. Dad was a chronically unemployed arrested adolescent and Mom was a screaming, slapping tyrant. Both girls were ultra-rebellious teens who indulged in early drinking, drugs and sex.

    Then in their twenties, they got religion. Not the healthy kind either. Now they wear long skirts, never cut their hair (which is worn in Christian-lady buns), don’t use make-up and take their kids to the “Creation Museum” near Cincinnati for family vacations. They pray for and pity the rest of us poor, damned-to-hell liberal Catholics, and consistently vote Republican, even though they will swear up and down that they are “independents.” (Side note: how independent can a voter be when she takes her marching orders from the pastor?)

    They have contempt for mainline Protestant groups (“lukewarm” is the phrase they use), Muslims, Hindus, the poor (“just don’t want to work’), government, and--of course--Democrats (what with the President being the anti-Christ and all).

    As Cher mentioned, it’s virtually impossible to have a dialogue with them. In our case, when even mildly controversial issues come up, the one sister, self-appointed censor of all conversation, says: “We are simply not going to discuss this.” If there’s any further attempt at conversation she says: “Get your coats on, kids. We’re leaving.” And they do. Very open minded. 😉

    Normally, most of us would have a sort of “whatever….” reaction to this, but these people vote!! And when they do, they ruin lives.

    I wish there were a way to enlighten them. I’m thinking about getting several copies of Frank Schaeffer’s “Crazy For God” and leaving them around the house….?

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Kes, you probably already know that I would advise against an attempt to enlighten them as being futile. Their need for denial is so crucial, they cannot afford to question even the tiniest fraction of their world-view, or else the whole structure would come tumbling down. And that would leave them emotionally defenseless. On some deep level, they know this, and that’s why the sister must grab the coats and run!

      • kesmarn says:

        Sad but true, Cher and Sue.

        It leaves the people who love them with the most incredibly helpless feeling, though, doesn’t it? Like watching someone drifting away from you, out to sea, and knowing that you can’t pull them back to shore because they refuse the lifeline.

        Now I know how people feel when they lose family members to cults. I held both of them in my arms as newborns and have always felt a bond. But now their eyes are either wary and mistrustful, or pitying, over my future fate of spending eternity in hell (in their view of things). I want my “girls” back! :-(

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Kes, I think you are truly onto something when you mentioned cults!

          From Wiki-- hardly a good source for this, but still..

          Studies performed by those who believe that some religious groups do practice mind control have identified a number of key steps in coercive persuasion:

          1. People are put in physically or emotionally distressing situations;
          2. Their problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized;
          3. They receive unconditional love, acceptance, and attention from a charismatic leader;
          4. They get a new identity based on the group;
          5. They are subject to entrapment (isolation from friends, relatives, and the mainstream culture) and their access to information is severely controlled.

          Zablocki defines a cult here as an ideological organization held together by charismatic relationships and that demands total commitment.

          Under the “psychodynamic model,” popular with some mental health professionals, individuals choose to join for fulfillment of subconscious psychological needs.

          • kesmarn says:

            That rings true, Cher. Also I think they feel that if the left now, they would lose their entire social context. Would have to start over, in a sense. And they would have to (they feel) admit that we were right and they were wrong. This isn’t how the family sees it, but I think--to them--it’s that black and white.

            Sigh…now I have to head on in to work. Got the dreaded phone call…bleagh~! Hope to catch up later!

    • SueInCa says:

      You could do that, another that is a bit of an easier read is Why The Christian Right is Wrong. You can just black out Why the and is wrong. They will pick it up and read it not knowing they are reading from that “lukewarm” side of the controversy. But Crazy for God would surely fool them. The one problem you have with that is as soon as they run across a paragraph they do not subscribe to, they would do like you said, “we are not going to discuss this” and throw the book away.

      That they grew up in dysfunction is directly related back to the authoritarian rule that Erich Fromm spoke of………people like that are drawn to fascism/social order.

      • Khirad says:

        One of the oldest stories in the book. The Stephen Baldwin syndrome. My aunt did this. Caught me watching MTV once -- I couldn’t understand the reaction. Only when I grew up was I told what she and her husband at the time were like when they were younger.

        Seriously, they should be ashamed of themselves for being a clich

  4. Chernynkaya says:

    Great work, Sue! These people are pathological-- and I mean that literally. They have the urgent need for authoritarianism and live in a state of brittle belief. They cannot dare to question for fear that their entire belief system will collapse. That’s what make them and any demagogues so dangerous.

    Demagogues thrive on inconsistency and simplistic answers to complex questions because they fear questions. They need everything to be one-dimensional. Along with a demagogue

    • Khirad says:

      And they of course, are the elect few, who are righteous in their cause. They can rationalize any criticism further that ‘WE’ don’t know the “TRUTH” and they are valiantly carrying the banner of “light” in a dark, uncertain time of forces aligned against them. They are further “purified” in every battle by the fire of their zealotry. Every set back is the persecution in the past and, of course, the future. Since past is present, and future.

      The forces of Mordor are marching forth and yet rather than the Fellowship of the Ring, they are the Gollums.

      It’s always been a dark, uncertain time. And the world has been in the End Times for 2,000 years, without Jesus returning yet. It didn’t come in 1000, or 1666, or 2000, nor will it come in 2012 (a pagan omen of those confused by the deceiver, no doubt).

    • SueInCa says:

      Cher
      On your comments, I could not add anymore, because you have said pretty much what I think. Invariably in writing posts, we will always leave something out, which is why comments sections are so valuable.

      I could write a book 1000 pages long and not cover all of their dastardly deeds. The most recent I am looking at is vouchers paid for by state funds to direct kids to private christian schools. I am not sure where they are coming from it is all so hypocritical. “Government stay out of my life” unless of course I can benefit monetarily or for my cause, in that interference.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Sue, I just abhor these people! They are everything I can’t stand about the human race. I know you could easily write many thousands of pages about them and their deeds, but you have certainly hit on the main themes, and I expect the rest of the series (can’t wait!) to touch on much more. I also find it hard not to stop railing against them.

        • SueInCa says:

          Then we are the “party of at least two” and in good company if I say so myself. I can see where Choice Lady(she could be considered the third) might just be wringing her hands on a daily basis having to deal with these freaks and their “not based in reality” ideas.

  5. Khirad says:

    *Khirad jumping up and down clapping like a little shoolgirl*

    Yay!!! Manichaeism as it influenced Christianity! The roots, are of course, much deeper than Augustine -- after all, it rivaled Christianity at the time for dominance. Augustine’s role was to institutionalize some of its core precepts (while writing polemics against his former religion!).

    The Prophet Mani, by the way, is said to have been crucified, by Bahram I. Before one finds this odd or just an imitation of Christ, consider that Herodotus ascribed the origin of crucifixion to Persia (though it was fairly universal), with Darius I having said to have crucified 3,000 Babylonians who opposed the Shahenshah. Also consider that Manichaeism was itself a synthesis and Christianity itself already bore the mark of Persian dualism via the Babylonian Captivity (in more than proximity, and intercultural diffusion -- many Jews stayed after Cyrus freed them).

    Where Manichaeism differs, also seen in its influence upon Gnosticism, is in the doctrine of Light being formless, of spirit, -- Good. The Dark is the material world. It is inherently corrupted by evil, our bodies sinful, and we must break free of This World. In essence, it is a very life-negating worldview (though laymen were not required to practice celibacy). Sound familiar?

    Some lighter introductory recommendations of my own in reference to Manichaeans and their effect on Gnostic “heretical” sects and, ironically, the Church itself. I’ll only do two:

    • SueInCa says:

      Khirad
      The Manichaean piece of it was so detailed in its history that I did not feel qualified to report on it, except where I could see it translated into modern day Christianity. I have read where some people say the RR is manichaean but I don’t feel the Manichaean should be bastardized like that. In truth some of their practices sound very “enlightening”, none of the RR’s practices sound enlightening to me.

  6. escribacat says:

    Thanks for the interesting article Sue. I didn’t know the rapture stuff wasn’t invented until 1820. I do find these extremists to be more frightening than the Al Qaeda’s of the world, because they have the ears of our political leaders. That’s what makes them so dangerous (the C Streeters and such). A majority of Americans consider themselves Christians. Most are probably not as radical as these folks, but they are “open” to harmful suggestions, in my mind. I’m a lapsed “Jesus freak,” and I learned first hand what self-programming is all about. I know why they can’t listen or hear anything else — because it’s the “devil” talking.

    • SueInCa says:

      You are right. And I am going to start using the term Religious Right instead of Christian because I think there are alot of Christians out there that do not fit this bill. I know the term Right kind of puts them into the republican side but even in that sense, I know there are republicans who do not subscribe to their theology. The next in the series is about their organizations with a heavy emphasis on the Family. It seems they are the group where everyone mixes.

  7. Blues Tiger says:

    Hey javaz, I thought I should clarify a couple of things after reading some comments… The 144,000 doesn’t refer to the # getting to heaven, it is the # chosen to escape the 7 seals and the rest of the bad stuff in Revelations… As far as I can remember only the Jehovah Witness consider that the actual # entering heaven,but I could be mistaken… You might consider that # is derived from the # 12 which has significance in numerous areas of the Bible and other religions…
    It may be of note that in Revelations the 144,00 are referenced to as chaste “Men”, not defiled by women…
    I always considered Revelations to be the most “Catholic” of all the New Testament books for several reasons… It has little connection to any other books, gospels or person in the Bible, it is where Heaven and Hell are defined and it ends with the World being ruled by a perfected Christian state completely replacing Judaism…Anyhow I just wanted to clarify the 144,000 #…

  8. KQuark says:

    Sue another superb addition to your series.

    This passage you wrote summed up the “Age of Enlightenment” principles American was founded on and should be in every American civics book.

    “Our entire system of government was based upon the idea that many things matter besides merely protecting ourselves against threats and we are willing to take risks in order to secure the other value of our society. From the early days of our government, the United States has rejected the worldview of prioritizing physical safety above everything else. Such a mentality leads to an impoverished and empty civic life. America has always imposed limitations on government power because it is necessary to secure liberty and avoid tyranny, not to mention the fact it is written into the United States Constitution. This is what has made America free.

    Unfortunately the right bastardizes and tries to own what the concepts of tyranny and freedom means as well. The right favors social tyranny as long as it’s by the religion they choose and the ethnic group they choose. They also conflate freedom with being unfettered capitalism which is actually the biggest entity enslaving people today in the form of corporate domination.

    The country was also founded to endow it’s citizens with inalienable rights which obviously are civil rights but not so obviously means government promotes the general welfare of it’s individual citizens, so it’s not suppose to be neutral when individual needs are not being met. These individual rights require shared responsibility and sacrifice as well.

    • SueInCa says:

      KQ
      If you want to see how bastardized their idea of social giving is, read up on the Office of Faith Based Iniatives. The Shrub gave them a license to steal our money to use for their religious based programs. They would like us to believe it was used for homeless, drug addiction and such but in all cases I read about, there was a heavy dose of “saving” or proselytizing going on and probably is because I don’t believe Obama has closed the Office. They want it both ways until it is a government program that is for all Americans, then it is bad, like HCR

      • KQuark says:

        Frankly besides knowing that Obama changed the mission to a more policy approach instead of a field leveling approach like Bush and formed a counsel with more religious disciplines added I don’t know how things have changed on the ground. Choicelady might know more.

  9. javaz says:

    Another story --

    My husband and I were lapsed Catholics for the longest time, and once my mother died, I decided it was time to go back.

    My father had died 5 years before my mom, and on my father’s death bed, he asked me to go back to the church, because he was worried about me and I wasn’t raised that way.

    I assured him that I still believed, and promised him that I would go back, so I guess that I lied, since I didn’t go back until I lost my mom.

    And went back we did, and we did full force, and we were lucky that we found a Catholic Church in our area that had a very liberal priest.

    We joined the choir, and we play guitar, so we volunteered for masses and catechism classes.

    We went through the classes to get married in the church, and we did the confession thing for that to happen.

    It was all good, for awhile, and then we saw firsthand the machinations within a parish.

    It turned me off, because aren’t we as religious people supposed to be open minded and loving to others, but that wasn’t the case.

    So, we stopped going, and then sadly, and this is sad, but our parish priest who we dearly loved was defrocked for being a liberal, and maybe gay.

    Let me go back a moment to say that when we married -- my husband’s uncle is a priest, too, and we were married in his uncle’s parish in downtown Phoenix -- St. Mary Basilica -- and that is the church in the valley where the pope did a mass, so it was a big deal.

    And my husband comes from a family of 8, yet we are the only people in my husband’s family to marry in the Catholic church, and by his uncle, so the wedding mass was quite moving on several levels.

    Our parish priest came to our wedding along with 2 other priests, and that brought laughs to my family, especially my oldest brother since he’s still the most Catholic, and in fact, was going to be a priest and went to the seminary when he was in 8th grade.

    My oldest brother told me before I married my husband that the church would never allow me back into the Catholic Church, because hell yes, I am a sinner, so fool him or fool me, but we did it!

    And it had nothing to do with my husband’s uncle, but it was because I’m not that big of a sinner.

    Oh god.

    I’m sorry that our parish priest was defrocked, even though I’ve googled him and he got his priest thing back, but he was forced to retire, and now he teaches at ASU.

    It’s a damn shame that Fr. John was forced to leave the church, as he was one of the only reasons that my husband and I returned, and were so active in the church.

    Religion can be a blessing, but more than not, it can also be a curse.

    I still believe, but the religion that I was raised hurt me more times than not.

    There is no room for disagreement or questions.

    You’re either with them, or against them.

    I guess that I am against.

    • KQuark says:

      That’s so sad to hear javaz.

      I’ve had good experiences with our very liberal home parish as well. One of our parish priests would even tell people that were close to him like our family was that he did not agree with the Pope on some issues. I never really found a church after my home parish that was ever liberal enough for me. The closest thing was a Catholic church where I went to college that was not too bad. After college I just never found the need for religion myself.

  10. whatsthatsound says:

    The thing that is so frustrating is how immune to critique they are, as you say. Their pastors are there to admonish the faithful that the devil can be very ingenious when it comes to deceiving them. If something sounds logical and irrefutable, BUT is at odds with what they believe, that’s their chance to say, “Get thee away from me, ye satan!” and go back to the comforts of their absurdities. Quite a firewall their leaders have placed around them.

  11. Kalima says:

    Thank you again Sue for a very informative post. I feel as if I’m learning something at last. My years on HP and the odd Google check just left me more confused. I’m very grateful that you have done such a great job of putting all this research and information in one place so that I don’t get distracted.

    I’m getting ready to keep an appointment with my “body repair” shop and will read it all again but more slowly when I return later this afternoon.

    Cheers Sue!

    • SueInCa says:

      Thanks Kalima. That is all I want to do is to share the knowledge and it is better to put it into posts than to try to impart the information via comments. Good luck with the “body shop”. Earthquakes can be frightening. We live in a free zone in CA. Never had an earthquake here. We experienced the Joshua Tree one in 1992 or 3. We were in Carpenteria and left there in a hurry to get to San Diego. As we were driving we realized we were driving into the epicenter of the quake. It was a nervous week we spent in San Diego. You could be watching the news and they would report an aftershock and a few seconds later we would feel it. It was eerie. We had a brand new car and it was parked in the hotel’s underground garage……..

    • bitohistory says:

      Hello Kalima, Have “fun” at your body shop. Remember, they could have poked, probed, stuck, scanned you some more, they just didn’t think of it. 😆

      • Kalima says:

        Afternoon bito. Have fun? 😆 At least they have a Starbucks on the grounds, don’t like their coffee but the sanis are good.

        Oh and we just had another earthquake, I’m glad I wasn’t in the bath yet. I’m all shook up!!

    • javaz says:

      Hope all goes well with your appointment and hope to see you later, Kalima.

  12. javaz says:

    I have to share this story because it’s unusual.

    An elderly woman years ago that I knew, she wasn’t the richest of people, but she gathered funds to buy and donate an organ to a local Catholic Church that had burned down and was rebuilt.

    Upon her generous gift, she actually received a papal blessing that promised her entry into heaven!

    That woman was a very, very good woman and did deserve entrance into heaven regardless, but wouldn’t it be awesome if it were that easy to get to heaven?
    To be able to buy your way in?

    I think in the Godfather III, wasn’t there a part in that movie where Michael Corleone tried to buy his way into heaven and forgiveness for killing so many, especially Fredo?

    I do believe you can still buy papal blessings, but not sure if you can still buy the one that grants you entrance into heaven.

    • Kalima says:

      Nice story javaz. I’m not sure that there are many rich people nice enough to want to share heaven with unless they made their money the honest way by hard work.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        ha ha! That’s a good point!
        Maybe they get a separate heaven, with Rolls Royces and yachts and Rolex watches and all the stuff they spend their money HERE on!

        • bitohistory says:

          Well I have decided! Since I an not a member of any of “the tribes” and certainly not amongst the 144,000, I am going to give away my material possessions!
          Please sign up here:
          1:
          2:
          3:

  13. choicelady says:

    Wonderful analysis, Sue!

    You know, I could buy into Pat Baby’s “there will never be world peace…” quotation if only Pat understood that “God’s people” are, well, everybody? NO exceptions!

    A friend of mine is a Methodist minister who survived torture under da Silva in Brazil back in the 70s for being a radical minister caring for those whom the Brazilian ruling classes wished to exploit and crush. He told a wonderful story about sectarian mindsets. He said that if you think about your neighborhood, city, state, nation, continents, other continents, the entire globe, then about our solar system, galaxies, all other galaxies, and the universe, it’s a little bit hard to think that God is a Methodist.

    The Religious Right thinks God is merely a tribal leader, and they are the tribe. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, based on an obscure Biblical verse, that Heaven has room for only 144,000. The bigwigs in the RR think it’s not much more than that (but will, of course, exclude all Jehovah’s Witnesses.)

    The very fact that a human being can project a universe of kindness, cooperation, sharing, equality -- if our minds can think of all that -- how can our conception of God be so petty?

    Because those who like that kind of God think they are the chosen, the ones who should rule the world.

    And that, I think, says it all.

    • SueInCa says:

      Thanks CC. I think as you do, that all people are worthy of a God’s good will, not just the RR.
      I am sure that Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus are not included in their 144k

      • choicelady says:

        Mercy me, NO! Nor any non-JW. ONLY JWs go to JW heaven.

        The other RR folks also have a narrow participation. It’s kinda fun to be at a demonstration where there is a group of Pentecostals and Catholics more or less on the same side. Just ask them, especially when they’re standing next to each other, which ones will go to Heaven?

        Oy.

    • bitohistory says:

      C’Lady, did you sit under that tree with that Siddhartha Gautama fellow?

      • choicelady says:

        No, but in the wonderful novel, “Lamb” by Christopher Moore, Jesus DID.

        “Lam” is supposed to be a writing of the “missing gospels” of Christ’s life by his best friend, Biff. It’s well worth pondering because a good bit of it could be true -- in the years from 13 to adulthood, where WAS Jesus, and whom did he meet? What did he learn? His revolutionary inclusive universality was not only powerful for his time but pretty much at odds with every partisan effort waged in his name.

        Moore also deals well with the weird stuff about Jesus who as a youth was totally snotty and intolerant but who matures into this amazing being with regard for everyone, including (revolutionary for the time indeed) the poor, women, the alien, anyone. And he is no dwelling on “personal salvation” at all but about our capacity to bring about “paradise on earth” -- he says to his rather dim disciples, that God is of the LIVING not the dead.

        Falwell, Robertson, et al. are about exclusion, tribalism, afterlife, and using religion to control wealth for themselves. So what would Jesus do? Here, today, I think he’d revert to his youth and turn the moneychangers out of the temple, that’s what.

      • SueInCa says:

        I did, in Berkely up at a quiet little park. Just me and my Sidhartha book at lunchtime.

    • javaz says:

      Holy Moley!

      Only 144,000 people allowed into heaven?

      Where do they come up with that number?

      And why would anyone want to convert knowing that the space in heaven is limited to a certain number?

      Oh well, looks like I’ll have lots and lots of company in that other place!

      And really, if their version of heaven is anything like they preach on earth, I think that other place might be preferable!

      😈

      • FrankenPC says:

        144,000 is as high as they can count. Take pity on them.

      • Kalima says:

        Made me LOL, it certainly won’t be any of them. They should know that no one has a direct line to heaven and there will be a judgement day not a rapture for any of them. They haven’t followed the teachings of Jesus, they desecrated the Bible, they have made a mockery of the 10 commandments, why on earth would he let them in?

        • javaz says:

          Hey Kalima!

          Are you on early today or does this have something to do with daylight savings time?

          Good to see you!
          It’s 2:30 in the afternoon here.

          I am appreciating this series by Sue because religion is one of my favorite topics that I cannot discuss with many, but it’s a subject that fascinates me in my quest for understanding.

          But I never realized that the RR have such wacky ideas and it’s hard to fathom so many people believing them all.

          I’m starting to wonder if it’s because most who say they are a part of the RR don’t understand it all.

          • Kalima says:

            Afternoon javaz, I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep.

            I normally don’t discuss religion or my beliefs unless someone asks me. My grandmother always told me never to get in an argument about religion or politics because no one ever really wins.

            In my lifetime very few people have ever asked what my religion is, that’s fine with me.

            The more I read about the mishmash of beliefs of the RR, the more my hair stands on end. They can believe whatever they want, but are so very wrong to force their beliefs on others, for example about a woman’s right to chose or homosexuality, and their beliefs have no business in politics or the shaping of laws.

            • javaz says:

              I agree with you about separation of church and state, but I think it was b’ito that found our Arizona legislature is influenced by CAP -- Center for Arizona Policy -- which is a right wing fundie christian group and part of focus on the family.

              CAP has been writing most of our bills and now that Napolitano is gone and the Republicans rule, they are getting most, if not all, of their moral legislation passed.

              I am very careful discussing religion, and it’s not an argument that I’m seeking, but enlightenment.

              Cher is a great member, imho, to discuss religion as she has taught me much about hers and she’s very open-minded and intelligent.

              I like to hear of other’s beliefs and on the Planet, we’ve had many discussions about religion and I just love that as it helps me.

            • Kalima says:

              Ok javaz, just making sure, thanks. :)

              Yes, I know what you mean. Life is a work in progress for all of us.

            • javaz says:

              😆 Kalima!

              I didn’t take your comment that way -- that you were talking about me!

              I do agree with you on talking about religion in that sense, as it is a personal thing, but the thing is, I’m still working on it or rather ‘the meaning of life’, if you know what I mean.

            • Kalima says:

              Oh gosh javaz, I wasn’t talking about you when I mentioned arguments, I meant as a rule, I don’t get involved when in the past out to dinner with friends, the topic turned to religion.

              I prefer to talk about other things and feel my beliefs are private so I feel no need to defend them or discuss them out in the open.

      • Blues Tiger says:

        It’s a # in Revelations… Refers to the Tribes of Israel…

        Revelation 7:3-8
        3saying, “)Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”

        The 144,000
        4And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
        5from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,

        6from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,

        7from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,

        8from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.

        • bitohistory says:

          Well, not being a member of any of those tribes, to hell with it. 😆

        • choicelady says:

          Thank you, Blues Tiger -- I NEVER can find that! Keep forgetting it’s in the least reliably ‘gospel’ part of the Bible.

          And is it not funny that they believe NO ONE who is actually FROM the tribes of Israel will go?

        • javaz says:

          Okay, so it’s 144,000 from each tribe?

          Did I read that right?

          BT, you really do know a lot about this topic and thanks for sharing your knowledge.

          • Blues Tiger says:

            Nope . read it again… It is 12,000 from the 12 tribes and thank you , yes I do know a bit about some of this stuff…

            • javaz says:

              Oh, thanks for pointing that out.

              For a minute there I thought I might have a chance!

              😆

            • javaz says:

              As far as I know, only one man without sin ever walked this earth and look what happened to him!

            • Blues Tiger says:

              Sorry sinner your gonna be “Left Behind” to suffer the Tribulation… 👿

      • SueInCa says:

        Javaz, I think that is another scare tactic by religious groups to scare people. Although I do refer to it quite frequently, I really don’t think there is such a place as hell. I just cannot believe a God would be that cruel, I hope I am right because in the RR’s mind that is where I am going as well.

        • choicelady says:

          javaz and Sue -- that figure of 144,000 is from some obscure passage in the Bible. I can’t ever find it, but they believe it entirely.

          Someone once asked me why anyone would embrace a religious view that is so based on fear and so hopeless.

          Only think I can see is that it gathers in people for whom personal judgment over the years has been less than successful. Rules and rites are very comforting to those whose lives have totally screwed up through lousy choices. Rules provide certainty in an uncertain world.

          Those of us who are willing to live with uncertainty and the diversity that usually accompanies that, are probably healthier and more in touch with the joy of being. But those who’ve messed up big time do find stability in those rules.

          I also don’t believe in hell as a place “after”. If you think of what humans can and have done to one another, why do you need hell? Control. Again. But think of genocides, holocaust, torture, slavery -- why would you not think we already were there?

          I repeat my favorite line: “Religion is for people who are afraid of hell. Faith is for those who’ve already been there.”

        • javaz says:

          I’m in full agreement with you, Sue, because I believe in Karma or what-comes-around-goes-around and believe we live our hell on earth.

  14. javaz says:

    Well done again, Sue, in explaining the RW agenda and warning us to be vigilant.

    The thing that will defeat these people again, as in the past, is science.

    Yesterday in the East Valley Tribune was a warning written by a Conservative Republican that warned about the greatest threat to our country economically was our education system.

    We cannot compete globally with other countries that have better education and that produce better scientists and engineers.

    The RW can try to spread their word, but unlike the good old days, Europeans and Asians simply do not buy into their crusade, and are developing faster than we in the USA when it comes to technology, medicine and science.

    How many scientists left the US when Bush was president, especially after Bush placed stipulations that hindered stem-cell research?

    Israel outdoes us when it comes to stem-cell research and treatments for certain types of cancers and auto-immune diseases.

    Religious fanaticism is regressive and how low are we going to sink before the people of this country wake up?

    Thank you for another great article and I look forward to your next installment.

    Great job!

    • SueInCa says:

      Thanks Javaz. I sometimes think I am getting to be a fanatic in my own right but I just cannot let all of this pass me by. I have experienced their religion first hand and it is not a forgiving religion. I just hope that if and when I go over the top here, people will be kind enough to bring me back down to reality. It may sound strange but I don’t want to overdo it on the obsession.

      • choicelady says:

        Dear Sue -- you can’t go over the top. They already did. You are just the observer.

        I am terribly sorry you’ve experienced all this yourself. I as well, and it is scary bad stuff. You’re doing a HUGE services laying this all out.

        Thank you!

        • SueInCa says:

          Not me CC because I never really believed it. We had to go to one church service a week when I was growing up. When I got old enough, 8th grade, my mom let us choose our own church. I went to a diff one than her and I would go for a bit then sneak out. Just so if she asked I could tell her something, then I would go to Case’s or Bunny’s in town and spend my offering money on candy or bubble gum. But some stories I could tell…………

      • javaz says:

        I’m glad that you are paying attention and are interested in following the RWs.

        They are scary and they are not done by far in trying to destroy our country.

        I’m resigned to Roe v Wade being overturned and preparing for more regulations for divorce, in vitro, marriage, adoption, etc.

        These people want less government, except for legislation on morality.

        They are an embarrassment for our country.

        These people really give Americans a bad name in leading people in other countries to believe that we’re all religious nutjobs.

        Science will save us, but will we live long enough to see it?

        Obsession with the RWs is not a bad thing, since they are obsessed with those of us who are not like them.


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