…Romney’s new ad above, “Be Not Afraid”, which questions President Obama’s ‘beliefs’ and the now familiar conservative theme of “us and him” separation — the dog-whistling racist implication of the “otherness” of Obama and how he doesn’t share “our values,” how Obama has declared a “war on religion” with health care reform…
The question is: if elected, can Mitt Romney separate his religious beliefs from his secular duties in the office of President? Can he protect our country’s principle of ‘freedom of religion’ — meaning everyone has a right to their beliefs, even if their beliefs are not similar to Romney’s — meaning the government cannot tell you to worship God if you don’t or, if you do, how to worship God. The government cannot mandate you be a Sikh, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic, or Mormon — the government cannot legislate you to believe that Jesus will return to rural Missouri, that you’ll get your own planet in the afterlife, or that wearing underwear marked with freemasonry symbols will protect you from the evils of the world (and the “others”).
If Romney wants to pretend that a mandate in the Affordable Care Act to include birth control in insurance plans (with the caveat that Churches in opposition do not have to pay for the mandate) is a “threat to religious freedom,” then I think it’s fair to wonder if that opinion is based in Republican political ideology or in Romney’s personal religious beliefs. And IF it’s based in his religious beliefs, what else might he impose on the rest of us from the Book of Mormon?
President Obama’s religious beliefs have been a major issue for teagelicals for over three years now. Raw Story reports that one in five Republicans believe the president is a Muslim: “18 percent of Republicans believed Obama was Muslim, even though the President is a church-going Christian. Both Obama’s religion and his birthplace have been points of controversy in his public career, Gallup noted. These data show that in terms of his religion, most Americans do not adhere to the belief that he is a Muslim. However, the fact that almost one in five Republicans do hold this belief suggests the potential for continuing controversy on this issue in the months ahead.”
North Carolina pastor: Send LGBT people to concentration camps to die— Pastor Charles Worley of the Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina recently told his congregation that LGBT individuals should be rounded up and detained in camps until they’re all dead. […] “…Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out, feed em, and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…” — Raw Story
Because of things like Red-State RWNJ Political-Christianity (also known as the laughable Teaparty fiction of a Republican-Atlas-Shrugged Jesus figurehead) combined with the worldwide sordid and hypocritical displays of modern “Christianity,” like the Catholic Church attempting to conceal systemic child molestation by its priests for decades (if not centuries), what we know as organized religion is dying a very slow but well-deserved death.
Newsweek: This week’s cover features a very average-looking Jesus Christ, whose cover line urges we follow him—and ditch the church. The cover story is written by Andrew Sullivan, who who argues that Christianity in America is “in crisis,” as political issues like contraception, health care, and abortion have been usurped by religious thinking, and the kind of Christianity that is most essential and pure has been lost.
Here’s an excerpt (full story online and on newsstands tomorrow AM):
It seems no accident to me that so many Christians now embrace materialist self-help rather than ascetic self-denial—or that most Catholics, even regular churchgoers, have tuned out the hierarchy in embarrassment or disgust. Given this crisis, it is no surprise that the fastest-growing segment of belief among the young is atheism, which has leapt in popularity in the new millennium. Nor is it a shock that so many have turned away from organized Christianity and toward “spirituality,” co-opting or adapting the practices of meditation or yoga, or wandering as lapsed Catholics in an inquisitive spiritual desert. The thirst for God is still there. How could it not be, when the profoundest human questions—Why does the universe exist rather than nothing? How did humanity come to be on this remote blue speck of a planet? What happens to us after death?—remain as pressing and mysterious as they’ve always been? That’s why polls show a huge majority of Americans still believing in a Higher Power. But the need for new questioning—of Christian institutions as well as ideas and priorities—is as real as the crisis is deep.
All organized Christian institutions today are based on The Council Of Nicea, which met to “define” Christianity and Jesus Christ in 325 AD, and which involved exactly zero women (because the common thread between the ancient Abrahamic-based religions — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — is that women are second-class citizens who don’t seem to have independent or valuable souls). The reality of modern Christianity is that the final biblical canon was chosen by and for rich and powerful men — likely for as many political and social reasons as for religious purposes. Kind of sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And it’s interesting that the New Testament that was chosen by this group of powerful men left out more than they put in. What did they accomplish? — what we have today when we think of organized religion.
“In Florida, the law says if you raise a claim of self defense after killing someone in public, you can’t even be arrested,” he added. “It’s why prosecutors and police hated this law. It sabotaged our justice system. All this discussion we’ve heard — What did Zimmerman do? What did Trayvon do? — Juries are supposed to figure that out. The Florida law destroys that American system.”
“There is such irony about this,” Dowd agreed. “Most of the states that have passed this including Florida and the ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws and the expanded gun-ownership laws where you can carry a concealed weapon are also the same states and the same legislatures and the same governors who sort of pushed for prayer in the school.”
Dowd continued: “To me, there is such an irony here, that we want to be a Christian nation and we want to act in a Christian manner, but oh, by the way, we don’t believe in the turn your other cheek and we don’t believe in love your enemy. We believe in loading citizens and basically giving them an opportunity to shoot people.”
Texas federal Judge Fred Biery is a key villain in GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s narrative about why federal judges are out of control and must be intimidated into submission. Gingrich routinely cites a previous decision by Biery holding that the Constitution does not permit a public school district to sponsor a student-led prayer at graduation to justify eliminating courts that displease Gingrich […] In his order approving the settlement, Biery includes an unusual “personal statement” directed at the many lawmakers who, like Gingrich, have painted him as some kind of enemy of religion:
To the United States Marshal Service and local police who have provided heightened security: Thank you.
To those Christians who have venomously and vomitously cursed the Court family and threatened bodily harm and assassination: In His name, I forgive you.
To those who have prayed for my death: Your prayers will someday be answered, as inevitably trumps probability.
To those in the executive and legislative branches of government who have demagogued this case for their own political goals: You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Biery also includes a clever dig at the many Christian right groups that have attacked him:
“Any American can pray, silently or verbally, seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, in private as Jesus taught or in large public events as Mohammed instructed.”
Family and friends were stunned by the loss of a West Virginia man who died while shopping on Black Friday as fellow bargain hunters reportedly walked around — and even over — the man’s body.
Family members told WSAZ-TV that 61-year-old Walter Vance of Logan County, W. Va., had become ill and collapsed while shopping for Christmas decorations inside Target in South Charleston. He later died after being taken to the hospital, family said.
Witnesses told the NBC News affiliate in Charleston, W. Wa., that shoppers walked around and even over Vance’s body.
Can you imagine walking by, around, or OVER someone who had collapsed to the floor, clearly in distress? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?