The Christian Right is Brainwashing People I Love

Currently, one of my favorite blogs is the progressive Christian pastor John Pavlovitz’ blog Stuff That Needs to Be Said.     There have been so many times I’ve wanted to reblog his wonderful, very readable articles, but alas, his blog features no reblog button.   Therefore, I will just provide the link to his latest.

There is so much truth in his posts.  Every time I read them, I find myself nodding vigorously in agreement.  There is so much I can relate to in them.

The Christian Right has indeed become quite terrifying, as they have weaponized a religion that was intended by its founder to be peaceful and based on love in order to achieve an evil and heartless political agenda based on power and greed.    It has become more like a cult than a religion, but sadly, a lot of people are buying it.

The Christian Right Is Radicalizing White People I Love

Advertisements

The Hurtful Church of Jesus-less Christians

republicanjesus

I love John Pavlovitz’ blog.   He’s a Christian pastor, but the kind that’s tragically rare in America: a pastor who actually believes in the compassionate, loving Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount, a Jesus whose table included all types of people and always had room for one more.   This Jesus isn’t the Jesus of the prosperity gospel, dominionist, and right wing evangelical churches,  whose preachers seem to completely ignore the inclusive, loving Jesus in favor of their abusive and constantly angry God who gaslights his flock, holds them to endless harsh rules, constantly threatens Hell and punishment, shames and silences women and tells them they must tolerate abuse from their husbands and pastors (because as women, they must be doing something wrong to deserve the abuse of their “betters”), makes excuses as to why keeping children in cages and separating families is “godly,”  and tells poor people their poverty is due to their own moral failings and that if they were pleasing to God, they’d be rich.

Their God is forever changing the goalposts and is impossible to please.   Moreover, their God has “anointed” certain chosen people as “prophets” or “apostles,” people we are to obey without question and never criticize just because their God has elevated them above the rest of us (that’s where the “Trump is anointed by God” rhetoric comes from).    Their religion, so unlike the real Christ, is merely a cover for greed, hatred, exclusion, and fascism, and is used by sociopaths and narcissists as a means to control people.

They have created a God in their own image: their God is a sociopath or least a pathological narcissist, and good, decent people with a conscience and empathy want nothing to do with him.    But in America, unfortunately he is the loudest and most visible God.   The term Christianity itself is acquiring a bad name lately (this trend has increased since Trump was elected) because good people are associating it with authoritarianism, hatred, condemnation, elitism, American exceptionalism, misogyny, white male privilege, and harsh punishment.  No wonder so many good people are turning to atheism or non-Christian religions instead.

I too am finding the term Christianity offputting lately.  When someone tells me they’re a Christian, I automatically become wary and distance myself, assuming they follow the authoritarian, far right God that’s so prevalent in America today.    Theirs is a predatory, heartless religion that behaves more like a cult than a proper religion, and hurts millions more than it helps (mainly enriching its wealthy pastors and billionaire donors).

John Pavlovitz speaks for the rest of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, who reject the authoritarian American God, but who wish to emulate the Jesus of the Gospels.  Such Christians, to circumvent the recent negative connotations associated with “Christian,” have been calling themselves Christ Followers.   I kind of like that!

Here is another insightful and important article from John Pavlovitz’ “Stuff That Needs to Be Said” blog.

The Hurtful Church of Jesus-less Christians 

How Evangelical Christianity’s brand is all used up.

Dinosaur-Jesus

Here is an insightful article from Raw Story that describes how Evangelical Christianity became so tied up with the Trumpian Republican Party, and how right wing political policies have damaged the reputation (“brand”) of evangelical Christianity in general.

In fact, many Christian leaders, even from conservative denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention, are divorcing themselves from the term “evangelical” because of  negative associations with the worst human traits, which have only become worse since Trump was elected and has shamelessly pandered to the Christian right in spite of his debauched lifestyle (which he has never repented for) and evil policies.

How Evangelical Christianity’s Brand is All Used Up

Hypermasculinity and Trumpism.

hypermasculinity

Credit: N/A

I’ve been noticing a huge and (to me) obvious difference between Trump supporters and those who oppose him.  Much has been said about the tendency of Trump supporters to have more authoritarian personalities than the norm, and that is true, but why is authoritarianism so attractive to them?  Why do they hate democracy?  Don’t they want to think for themselves?  Don’t they want to live in a free and inclusive society that values empathy for others and the Golden Rule (which we were all taught in kindergarten)?

The other day I was following a Twitter convo between some Trump supporters talking about Matt Whitaker, Trump’s new Acting Attorney General.  They were all talking about how Whitaker looked like a guy who wouldn’t take crap from anyone, and would rule with an iron fist. They admired Whitaker’s pumped up, hypermasculine physique, his cold, expressionless features, and were almost reverently comparing him to Mr. Clean (who would, of course, clean up “the swamp”).

The kind of people I observed conversing on Twitter, like all Trump admirers, don’t seem to care about the lack of checks and balances and the deep corruption in Trump’s administration.  In fact, they love the idea of Trump having as much power as he desires (which is unlimited as his need for power and adulation is insatiable), so he can push through his cruel and destructive agenda.  In Whitaker they see a tough, merciless enforcer. And yes, they actually used the word “enforcer.”

This same group was making fun of Rod Rosenstein, Jeff Sessions’ deputy Attorney General (who seems to have been demoted since Sessions was fired and Whitaker came on the scene) for his “girlish, wimpy” appearance.  One of the group even posted a meme of Rosenstein as a 90 lb weakling getting sand kicked in his face by (you guessed it) an exaggeratedly muscled Whitaker who looked like he was pumped up on massive doses of steroids.  This group was not all males.  In fact the person who posted the meme was a woman.

proudboys

Far right paramilitary groups like the Proud Boys embody Trumpist hypermasculinity.

Trump supporters see the exaggerated stereotype of the “macho man” as what a “real” man should be.  Someone like Rosenstein (or any man who believes in doing the right thing, has empathy or humility, or who opposes Trump for lacking those qualities), they see as weak and  feminine, an affront to patriarchy.   Trump supporters believe a real man shows no “soft” emotions, never apologizes, is never at fault (or at least never admits fault), can break the law or do cruel things to other people as long as they get away with it or it’s a means to an end they believe is “good,” and dominates everyone who they perceive as beneath them, which is just about everyone.

In a leader, Trump supporters regard “soft” traits such as empathy or mercy, as undesirable because they are stereotypically “womanly” traits, and women are believed to be inferior to men.  I suspect most Trumpers had authoritarian fathers who demanded girls act like girls and boys act like boys.  That would explain Trump/Whitaker’s appeal among right wing evangelicals, who celebrate authoritarianism and patriarchy.   This same mindset also explains the hard right’s obsession with guns, and the primacy of the Second Amendment over all other rights bestowed to Americans in the Bill of Rights and Constitution.

Trump supporters seem to find nothing wrong with Trump’s bullying, cruel insults and namecalling and in fact seem to think it’s a plus.   Yesterday, in one of his increasingly unhinged tweets, Trump deliberately mangled Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) last name into a profanity (no need to repeat the word since I think it’s pretty obvious).   Another Trump fan tweeted this in response:

Some might say this isn’t becoming of a President. That’s ok…I didn’t vote for him because of his impeccable decorum skills. Give me a Commander in Chief that cuts thru the bull, gets things done, has a backbone, is a Patriot thru and thru, & actually keeps his word anyday [sic].

You’re not imagining things.  Trump’s followers are actually praising Trump for his puerile butchering of Schiff’s last name. They find ways to spin his worst traits and most immature, childish, and cruel actions and statements into actual virtues and good deeds.  It’s really rather remarkable the way they can so glibly make excuses for his worst behaviors.

My conclusion is this:  the values of Trump supporters involve a deep admiration, even worship, of “strongmen” figures:  hypermasculine, even abusive, men; physically pumped up, emotionless, violent, without mercy, dictatorial, punishing, and bullying.  They don’t want a president of the people, a president who brings us together as Americans;  they want a president who “sticks it to the libs” and others they don’t like. Trump shares their hates and fears, and they love him for it, even if he destroys the country we all share in the process.

“Republican Jesus.”

republicanjesus

Related to the above, I’ve often seen Trump supporting evangelicals talk about “Christ as a warrior,” rather than a compassionate friend. The “Republican Jesus” memes are, unfortunately, not exaggerations.  Dominionist and far right evangelicals depict Jesus Christ not as a loving figure of grace and forgiveness, but as an angry warrior out to avenge sin using the most terrifying and violent methods imaginable.  He is especially enraged by sexual sins like abortion and homosexuality (strangely, rape and adultery don’t seem to be issues, given “chosen one” Trump’s immoral sexual behavior and failure to repent or humble himself before God).  Of course, the sins of greed, wrath, exploitation, cruelty and indifference to the “least of these,” destruction of the earth, and bearing false witness are all considered fine since they are just a means to an end (establishing God’s kingdom on earth, a heretical teaching which doesn’t even appear in the Bible they’re always thumping).

Their hyper-Calvinist God favors his “elect” who apparently can do no wrong, and as a reward, he showers them with wealth and power.   For the rest of us, God exists only to mete out punishment and condemn us to eternal hellfire.   Even Jesus is seen as a violent, warlike, avenging figure, and this explains extremist evangelicals’ infatuation with Old Testament legalism and punishment over the Gospels.   The caring, compassionate Jesus of the New Testament isn’t an appealing figure for them.  A few weeks ago, at a “Religious Liberty” meeting full of extremist evangelical Republicans, a Christian preacher was taken out in handcuffs for quoting New Testament scripture (specifically, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ most important and famous sermon).

Trump supporting evangelicals believe both Trump and Whitaker were sent by God to do his holy bidding (at least according to the group I observed on Twitter, who said they believed Whitaker, like Trump, was anointed by God).  The goal is to destroy all of “the liberal establishment” and by logical progression, all liberals (who I think are hated not so much because of what they believe, but because they are associated with softness and all traits they regard as “feminine” and also include a great many more women leaders and nonwhite people).

5 Essentials for Defeating Trump.

Here’s an extremely sobering article about the Trump regime’s true diabolical agenda: an unholy merging of white male privilege and authoritarian religion disguised as evangelical Christianity (also known as Dominionism).   What this regime isn’t telling anyone is they are working in the shadows toward an intolerant, legally enforced, violent, misogynistic theocracy very similar to radical Islam in everything but the specific religion it’s using to disguise itself.  In fact, this movement isn’t a true religion at all; it’s a religious cover for a fascist political agenda, and is the opposite of anything Christ ever stood for.

Dominionist Christianity is an unholy mix of the prosperity gospel and forced sexual conformity (especially for women).  It tends to attract the selfish and the uncompassionate; the smug, self righteous, and sanctimonious; the greedy, the abusive, the sociopathic, and those who need, due to their own narcissism, to feel superior to others based on their white heritage, their false piety, or their personal wealth.

Qualities like compassion and empathy are seen as weaknesses that need to be eliminated.   Financial wealth and the power that comes with that is seen as the only true measure of God’s approval.   Misfortune, illness, and poverty is inflicted only on those who God does not approve of.    Human beings are regarded as useful objects to achieve one’s aims or exploit for financial gain, rather than as individuals with needs (slavery is acceptable).   The desire for human rights and to be treated with dignity are considered to be the work of Satan.  The end always justifies the means, so evil acts and cruelty are all acceptable as long as they help to bring about the endgame, which is a theocracy based on Old Testament Law and unfettered (unregulated) capitalism where the wealthy and privileged can rule like feudal kings over the hordes of serfs and slaves under their rule.  Adherents believe God has given certain people (modern day prophets and apostles) license to force their will on others to achieve the movement’s agenda.   Dominionist Christianity is a sociopathic, violent, religiopolitical movement and is eating America like metastatic cancer.

I have already written a number of posts about dominionism, so I won’t list sources here, but a quick Google search will direct you to them. This isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s absolutely real.

Trump is the key this Christofascist movement is using to open the Pandora’s box of horror and suffering they have kept under wraps for years and are just now beginning to unleash in all its ugliness and hypocrisy, the intention being to inflict it on anyone who can’t or won’t conform.   Many Trump supporters aren’t aware of the regime’s real agenda,  and can’t be convinced they have become part of a cult of personality that in many cases, will do them or their loved ones harm or even kill them.   But as in Hitler’s Germany, by the time they finally realize the danger they are in, it will be too late.

Trump, though apparently not religious himself (and definitely unrepentant of his past sins) is helping this diabolical movement realize their fascist agenda (which is why its adherents insist he is anointed by God) in return for their support of him. That’s why there are so many dominionists in his cabinet and why they seem to think of Trump as a kind of savior.

To save America and the world (because it’s their intention to eventually take over the planet), their dark agenda must be exposed and brought into the light.  Author Chris Kratzer outlines how this can be done in this terrifying (but also hopeful) article.

5 Essentials for Defeating Trump 

 

False prophets.

fakechristianscartoon

I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.

– 2 Corinthians 11:3-15

 

If Doug Jones does this, he will win Alabama.

moorejones1

I’ve been very worried about the far-right religious demagogue and pedophile Roy Moore winning Alabama.   He and his Democratic opposition, Doug Jones, have been running neck and neck, and even after 9 women spoke up about Moore molesting them (in one case the woman was 14 years old when she was assaulted) and other complaints that Moore stalked teenagers at the mall, Roy Moore still has a better than good chance of winning in his state.  The reason he may still win, even though he is a horrible human being who preys on children, is because of where Roy Moore stands on abortion.

Even though I don’t live in Alabama (thank God), I’m worried about Moore winning because that will mean he’ll be in the Senate, and have greater influence and power.  We do not need religious extremists and unrepentant sexual predators (please don’t bring up Al Franken, because at least he apologized and took responsibility for his actions) like Moore in the US Senate or anywhere close to the federal government.

So I had a kind of brainstorm this morning.    Because so many Alabamans care so much about abortion, and vote on that one issue (even over homosexuality), Doug Jones needs to run on the abortion issue, and it doesn’t matter that he happens to be pro-choice.     He can make an excellent case why he’d be the better pro-life candidate (and why the Democratic Party is also the more pro-life party at the end of the day).

As it stands now, religious Alabamans will vote for Roy Moore because they believe Doug Jones is soft on abortion and therefore against God.  It doesn’t matter to them that Moore is himself an immoral man who preys on children and blasphemes Jesus when he justifies his molestation of a 14 year old by saying that Mary was only 14 when she was impregnated by Joseph (whatever happened to their belief in the Virgin Birth?).  No, they will still vote for Moore because of his anti-choice stance.

But here’s something to ponder.  It is a statistical fact that 50% — HALF! — of all births in America are paid for by Medicaid, which also covers children’s healthcare after they are born.  That’s a lot of babies that might have been aborted without Medicaid (and other support programs for mothers and their children).   Republicans like Roy Moore want to cut Medicaid or eliminate it altogether, as well as cut or eliminate other services that make it possible for poor women to have and raise their children.

If a poor woman loses or cannot access Medicaid, food stamps, and other services that help her and her unborn baby, both during pregnancy and after, do you think she is going to have the baby anyway without medical and other support?  No!  She is most likely going to choose abortion.  Most abortions in the US are done for financial reasons. Most women having abortions aren’t married middle or upper class women — they’re usually poor or very young women who have no health coverage and no support system in which they can raise their child.   If you refuse her Medicaid and support services, is she just going to say, “Hey, well, ok, I guess I’ll just give birth at home in my bathtub!”   Of course not.  This isn’t 1700.

Sure, there are a few women who can afford a child and have abortions because they just don’t want another child (or any at all), but they are in the minority. Even if abortion was outlawed, rich women would “take a trip to Europe” just like they did in the 1950s.

Facing an unplanned pregnancy is scary enough as it is.  If you have no money to afford prenatal care, labor and delivery, and medical care for the baby, and there is no support system that can help you, that’s even more terrifying.  Again, half of all births are funded by Medicaid. So if that is taken away or cut, most if not all of those poor women are NOT going to decide to have their babies in the bathtub.  It’s a lot easier to come up with $600 or $800 or so for an abortion than find the money for hospital care.  Even the poorest woman can usually get that kind of money in a pinch, even if she has to borrow it or use a payday lender.

Abortion rates have ALWAYS gone up during GOP administrations, when services like food stamps, Medicaid and family planning are cut.   Most women, when faced with other alternatives to abortion and given support, will choose to have their baby.  Cut off their support system and access to healthcare, more abortions.   It makes perfect sense.

Even though most Democrats are “pro-choice,” there are fewer abortions under Democratic administrations when access to family planning and healthcare and other services are more available.  This has been proven statistically.  Railing on about abortion being evil and then offering no alternatives to a desperate pregnant woman, especially if she’s poor, does absolutely nothing except shame and traumatize her.

Even if abortion were outlawed, desperate pregnant women who can’t afford a sudden “European vacation” would go to back alley butchers just like they did in the 1950s.  Illegal abortionists would pop up like mushrooms after a storm.   Women who are desperate are still going to get abortions even if they’re illegal, if no other support is given.

I really think if Doug Jones runs on this platform, and stresses the fact that abortions increase under GOP policies and decrease under Democratic policies, I think he could win over some if not most of the pro-life Christians.  Let’s face it.   Doug Jones seems like a good man and a nice person and unlike Roy Moore, I believe he actually cares about the people of Alabama, and he cares about women and children.    If pro-life Christians, many who vote on the abortion issue alone, could realize that Jones is actually the much more pro-life candidate at the end of the day, I definitely think they would vote for him  over an extremist, dishonest sexual predator like Roy Moore.

I’m actually going to send the link to this article to Doug Jones and urge him to address this issue in his campaign, because I think he’d win.  It’s important he wins so we don’t get someone like Roy Moore in the Senate.

Trump’s tax bill: we are in deep trouble.

fascisminamerica

Holy cow.   Trump’s tax bill is bad enough for the average person who isn’t a corporation or a billionaire, as well as threatening the ACA (by removing the individual mandate), but look what else is hidden inside it.

Every American needs to be aware of this.   There’s all kinds of horrible things (many which I’m sure I’m not even aware of) hidden inside the tax bill, but this is probably the most dangerous and scary thing I’ve heard yet.    The plan, if this bill passes, is to remove any remaining separation between church and state, allowing a free and uncontrolled flow of dark money between the evangelical right wing churches and the government.

I wonder if many of the Senators who are going to be voting on this bill are even aware of this hidden clause.  The GOP seems to do just about everything in secrecy and darkness, without transparency (typical of authoritarian regimes).

The intent is to establish a “state religion” (remaking America as a “Christian nation”), which will result in the marginalization (and maybe worse) of anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their brand of toxic Christianity, which has nothing to do with actual Christianity and is really a political movement disguised as “Christianity.”

This is straight up authoritarianism & a great danger to democracy. These evangelical Christofascists are using Trump to carry out their wishes, and it’s all about money and power.   I wish this was just fake news, but I can tell you with confidence that this is real.

Hidden in GOP Tax Bill:  A Plan to Turn Churches into Dark Money Spigots

If you’re not freaking out about this, you’re either not paying attention or are part of the problem.  We cannot allow this to happen.  We are not Saudi Arabia.

Call your senators.  They may not be aware what they are about to vote for. 

Here’s another article, from Mother Jones.

Republicans Are Sneaking Right-Wing Social Policies Into Their Corporate Tax Cut. 

notaxbill

There is no bottom to the stupidity of Fox News.

starbuckscups

Two years ago, right wing Fox News loudmouth and conspiracy theorist Sean Hannity (or maybe it was Bill O’Reilly — what’s the difference?) started foaming at the mouth about a fictional “war on Christmas” because Starbucks decided to use plain red coffee cups instead of cups having printed Christmas decorations on them.   Oh, the horror!   Red coffee cups!  No snowflakes or Christmas trees (as if those things have anything to do with Christmas anyway, because they are actually pagan symbols of the Winter Solstice).  Sweet Baby Jesus, Christians are being persecuted!   What’s next, will the libruls start throwing Christians to the lions, like Nero did?

Oh, but the Red Cup Heresy was NOTHING compared to the horrors Starbucks is forcing upon far right evangelical Christians in 2017.  No, now they’re promoting (drum roll, please) The Gay Agenda!    Oh dear God in Heaven, Starbucks is the right hand of Satan!   What will we tell the children?   This is an attack on the Traditional Family!  The Deep State (with George Soros providing the funds) is behind this ungodly propaganda, and the next step is One World Government.   

Now at first glance Starbucks seems to be going overboard making up for those offending red coffee cups of two years ago, because of the excessive busy-ness of this year’s holiday oops, Christmas cups.  They have so many decorations on them that even Santa’s elves might have epileptic seizures.   The most offensive thing about them is that they are tacky.

hannity

But no, tackiness isn’t the problem for these Fox News mainlining, MAGA-hat-wearing, Birther conspiracy believing, Roy-Moore-is-Not-a Pedophile-Well-OK-Maybe-He-Is-But-We’re-Supporting-Him-Anyway-Because-He’s-A-Righteous-Dude group of evangelicals — a group of extremists who see whatever they want to see, even if that thing does not exist.  See, the problem here isn’t tackiness or pagan symbols or the lack of pagan symbols (plain red) on a throwaway coffee cup.  No, it’s the two clasped hands on the upper part of the cup.  Oh Dear God!  Those are lesbian hands!  Starbucks is promoting The Gay Agenda by printing a picture of lesbians holding hands!

Let’s use some critical thinking here (something the types of people screaming about hidden Gay Agenda on Starbucks cups are not too familiar with).  Look very closely at those two clasped hands.   It’s a stretch, in my humble opinion, thinking they even look like two female hands. One or both could be male. One is bigger than the other, after all.  The hand on the left appears to be wearing bangle bracelets, while the hand on the right (the bigger one) is wearing no jewelry.  Even if it is two women, why do they have to be lesbians? Maybe they’re just BFFs. Or mom and daughter.  Or sisters.

Conclusion:  There is no Gay Agenda hidden in Starbucks coffee cups.  It’s nothing more than another stupid distraction so Fox News need not address the real and serious issues our country is facing.

I swear these numbskulls LOOK for this shit.  It’s ridiculous.

starbuckssatan

Is this what they see on a Starbucks cup?

Further reading:

10 Reasons Why The War on Christmas is Bogus 

 

 

5 Ways Christian Patriarchy Harms Men

One of my favorite Christian bloggers talks about the ways patriarchal Christianity actually harms men.

Please comment under the original post.

Jesus Without Baggage

It is easy to understand how Christian patriarchy harms women, but it might not be so clear how patriarchy harms men. Patriarchy is a religious belief in which women must submit to their husbands, who are heads of their homes, earn the money, and make all the decisions—while their wives support and submit to them. In effect the husband is boss.

Patriarchy believes God created men and women with rigid gender roles and that the Bible describes those specific roles (see arguments against patriarchy in the links at the bottom of this page).

Patriarchy puts men in charge at home and church. Men are empowered while women are disempowered. So, with such privilege, how can patriarchy HARM MEN? There are at least 5 ways, and I am sure there are more. During this series, a number of both men and women readers addressed this issue. Some of their anonymous contributions…

View original post 971 more words