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Holy Terror July 14, 2012


“Becoming an activist is simply a matter of putting love into action.”

Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells Us to Deny Gay Equality
– Mel White
———–

Essential Reading!
This is another “I-wish-I-could-make-everyone-read-it” book.

“Holy Terror” contains vital recent past history, chronicling  and exposing the war on America by the religious right.  The material here isn’t conjecture, or hyped partial-truths.  This book is written by an “insider.”
Mr. White was a significant player in fundamentalist evangelical circles.  And for a time, he bought into the lies.
He knew, and worked with people like Billy Graham,  Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, and Pat Robertson.

Mel White knows of what he speaks!  And what he speaks of is some very, very scary stuff!
We learn of secret meetings, political agendas, manipulation of the masses, and very “un-Christ-like” power-plays of this sect that wishes to control and conform the entirety of America into their own image.

There’s a story of how Mel was hired to ghost-write a book for Pat Roberston, and Pat wouldn’t even take the time to read it. Yet, there he was at a book signing, autographing a book with his name on it, not knowing what was actually in it.

There’s also information about how President Bush actually sought approval from James Dobson on who to appoint to office!!

Part of the book descriptions have this to say:

—-
“The Reverend Mel White, a deeply religious man who sees fundamentalism as “evangelical Christian orthodoxy gone cultic,” believes that it is not a stretch to say that the true goal of today’s fundamentalists is to break down the wall that separates church and state, superimpose their “moral values” on the U.S. Constitution, replace democracy with theocratic rule, and ultimately create a new “Christian America” in their image. White’s new book, Holy Terror, is a wake-up call to all of us to take heed.

White is singularly qualified to write this exposé of the Christian Right because he himself was a true believer who served the evangelical movement as pastor, professor, filmmaker, television producer, author, and ghostwriter. As he writes, “These are not just Neocons dressed in religious drag. These men see themselves as gurus called by God to rescue America from unrighteousness. They believe this is a Christian nation that must be returned forcibly to its Christian roots.”
—-

The section “Idolatry:  The Religion Of Fundamentalism”  should be a “must-read” for Christians everywhere.
It covers “God As Idol” (some GREAT insights here), “The Bible As Idol” (which I’ve covered in a number of other posts), “The Family As Idol” (focus on the Dobson), and “The Nation As Idol” (also see “The Myth of a Christian Nation).

Later we look at “Fascism: The Politics Of Fundamentalism.”  We’re shown the frightening similarities between what’s going on in America, and the way religion and the Bible were used by Hitler to deceive the masses and rally the troops. The “14 identifying characteristics of fascism” are disturbingly similar to fundamentalist Christianity!

Then, in Part Four of the book, we discuss ways to resist fundamentalism. Chapter’s 8 and 9 analyze how to reclaim our progressive political and moral values.
In the section on moral values, we look at the Old Testament prophets and the teachings of Jesus. There’s lots of scripture in this section. We see again how fundamentalists, like the Pharisees, major on the minors, while ignoring or dismissing the real meat of the Bible and of Jesus’ teachings.
While fundamentalists want to “reclaim America,” what’s really needed is to reclaim Christianity from the fundamentalists.

Finally, there’s “Discovering Soul Force.” We look at the examples of Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi as we discover the power of non-violent resistance (also known as “Christian Love”) which Jesus taught and lived. It can be, or rather is, very hard to not hate the haters. I see a lot of hater hating these days. It is understandable. But this portion of Mel’s book really helped me remember that love conquers hate. We also see that loving one’s enemies doesn’t mean rolling over and playing dead. It’s not violence or passivity. It is a third way.
[In relationship to that, check out the last paragraph of this previous post: Click HERE. ]

As a gay Christian, Mr. White does focus on the dangers of the religious right in their war against homosexuals, BUT these dangers are a threat to us ALL! History has has shown us the horrific results of the marriage between church and state.
The torture.
The intimidation.
The outright murder.
All in the name of God. That is the direction to which many fundamentalists are trying to take us.
As the famous phrase goes, “The Christian right is often neither.”

The original version of this book came out (pun intended) in 2006, and we’ve seen this disease of religious control and manipulation spread even more since the book was written. Some of our current politicians think that their interpretation of the Bible should be the literal rule of the land for all of our blessedly diverse culture.

I echo the previous statement that this book sounds the alarm, and should be a wake-up call for those who value all American’s rights.

– df

[“Holy Terror is the paperback version of the previously released hard-cover “Religion Gone Bad.”  This book does have some new material, and is a great book to buy multiple copies of, and pass on to others!]

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

Check out the organization SOULFORCE. Click HERE.

—-

Read another review at Canyonwalker Connections. Click HERE.

“I strongly encourage Christians who are befuddled as to why we seem to have lost the message of the Gospel and have witnessed the Good News twisted into a Declaration of War to read ‘Holy Terror.’”
– Kathy Baldock

“Many anti-gay Christians I know are good people. But too often good people do bad things. I think in the end we are in a fast-moving world. Just read Mel White’s “Holy Terror” and you’ll get a quick, full understanding what is really going on under the sugar coated veneers of the Tony Perkins/Maggie Gallagher’s smiles.”
– Mitchell Gold

“I think this may be one of the most important books I have ever read.”
– Sharon

“A demanding and documented account of what happens when fanatical religion and fascistic politics merge an provide religion that simply can only be called terrorism.”
– Ric

—-


QUOTES FROM “HOLY TERROR”:

– The Bible is not a book of magic. It’s a book of mystery. You can’t just quote verses that support your prejudices or guarantee your health, wealth, and happiness and demand that God “follow through” as promised. God is not limited to the words of Scripture. God is still speaking.

– Fundamentalist Christians are my sisters and brothers, my family and friends, my oldest colleagues and coworkers. But I fear their love for the nation has become an obsession to reshape it in their own image.

– Like the people of Israel who created a golden calf to represent God while Moses was away, fundamentalist Christians have built their own idols to represent God until Jesus returns.
The religion of fundamentalism is idolatry.
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– Fundamentalist Christianity is not just a threat to lesbians and gays, but to all Americans who cherish democracy and the rights and protections guaranteed us by the U.S. constitution.

– When Sally Williams asked her son Matthew why he killed “the two homos,” his answer was recorded by prison officials: “I had to obey God’s law rather than man’s law. I didn’t want to do this. I have followed a higher law. [I was] cleansing a sick society. I just plan to defend myself from the Scriptures.”

– “Fundamentalists are not happy when facts challenge their understanding. For biblical literalists, there is always an enemy to be defeated in mortal combat.” – John Shelby Spong [Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalists]

– Jerry Falwell turned gay bashing into a very successful art form. [He is] the first fundamentalist to exploit the fear and loathing of homosexuals to raise hundreds of millions of dollars and add millions of new donors to his mailing list.

– It’s beginning to feel like there is no room in America for anyone who is not a fundamentalist Christian.
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– Although He is regularly asked to do so, God does not take sides in American politics.” – Senator George Mitchell

– Gary Nixon and I have had a loving, committed, faithful relationship for twenty-five years (now over 30) yet we are denied more than a thousand rights and protections that go automatically with marriage.

– It would be catastrophic if one day these fundamentalists Christians gain enough political power to enforce their literal understanding of Mosaic Law.

– The Roman Catholic Church is without doubt the original source of suffering for gay and lesbian people.

– Because of their excessive commitment to a literal Bible, fundamentalist Christians have fallen into the trap of biblioltry.
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– Doing justice, loving mercy, seeking truth…these are the issues [the Bible] is clear on.

– There were families made up of Jewish soldiers and female prisoners of war; female rape victims forced by law to marry their attackers; and male slaves assigned to female slaves by their master. Jesus condemned divorce but did not condemn any of the family types common to his day.

– I am convinced that Christian fundamentalism is a far greater threat to this country than Muslim terrorists could ever be.

– “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”
[Article 11. Treaty of Tripoli. Signed into law by President John Adams. 1797.]

– The words “God is love” conclude a biblical warning, not a warm and fuzzy slogan. “He who doesn’t love [his neighbor] doesn’t love God, for God is love.”
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– My commitment to the Bible [is my] source of progressive values.

– Although I claim to be a Christian, I live at a moment in time when the Christian faith is being defined by fundamentalists who have dishonored Christ and are in the process of destroying His church. I refuse to wear the “Christian” label without redefining it.

– Without faith in God, man can have faith neither in himself nor in others. The finite cannot be understood unless we know it is rooted in the Infinite. – Gandhi

– When you stand with the outcasts, you stand with Jesus, and when you despise the outcast, you despise Jesus, as well. Becoming an activist is simply a matter of putting love into action.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

Check out the organization SOULFORCE. Click HERE.

And be sure to check out Al Franken’s book,
“Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.” Click HERE.

 

Sick May 15, 2012

Some people are “sick” of hearing about marriage equality.

I imagine it would have been easy to say “I’m sick of hearing about freeing the slaves.”
Unless, of course, you were a slave.

It would have been easy to say “I’m sick of hearing about women getting the vote.”
Unless you were a woman.

Agree to disagree?
Sure.  I do that all the time.
But I can’t accept inequality and injustice under the guise of “loving those who disagree.”
Can I love them?
Of course I can.  But I believe the clear choice is that I must stand with the oppressed.
Not with the oppressor.
I truly believe that is the way of Christ.
Things can, though, get very strange when both the oppressed and the oppressors are your brothers and sisters.

You may be sick of any minority taking a stand for rights that you take for granted.
Tough!
They’re sick of having to fight for the rights denied them.

If you need to be sick of something, there’s plenty to be sick of.

It’s time to be sick of centuries of religious oppression in the name of God.
It’s time to be sick of blaming your hate on Jesus, when there are plenty of
God-fearing Jesus lovers who don’t hold your views.
It’s time to be sick of hearing “It’s not me.  It’s the Bible” when there are almost
forty-thousand  Christian denominations who disagree with each other, while
all claiming the Bible as their authority.
It’s time to be sick of people being bullied, tortured, and even killed because of their orientation.

I recently read something to the effect of
“You are free to have a gun.
You are not free to use it against whomever you please.
You are free to have a religion.
You are not free to impose your religious views on the rest of the country.”
If you believe it’s a sin (as some do) to drink beer, then don’t drink beer!
But don’t for one minute presume to inflict that belief on those who wish to drink beer.
You don’t believe in same-sex marriage?  Don’t marry someone of the same sex!

To borrow from a popular ad:
“That was easy.”
Why is it so hard to see that following your convictions is about how YOU act, and
not about controlling others?!?!?! (Of course, control and manipulation are major characteristics of religion in the first place.)

So, your’re sick of hearing about marriage equality.
Well, I guess the first step to recovery is to admit you’re sick.
Please get well soon.

– df

[Also see: FOOTNOTE.]

 

Calling Evil Good February 21, 2012

I’m still amazed, amazingly, at how ones approach to scripture can flavor, alter, or completely reverse the meaning of a given passage.  I’ve heard countless sermons in institutional churches quoting scripture to defend the very religious system those verses were intended to condemn.  An instance that recently came to mind is Isaiah 5:20.

“Doom to you who call evil good and good evil, Who put darkness in place of light and light in place of darkness, Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

Usually, I’ve heard this applied in a general “church vs. the world” context.  Reading the entire passage from a Christ-centered perspective we can begin to see how once again, the love of God has been perverted by religion.  True, this section does address “carousing.”

But its stronger focus is on spiritual insensitivity and social injustice.  Many often scoff at issues of social injustice, implying them to be of worldly concern.  In fact, as I’ve previously stated, these concerns are the gospel.  At least they are a large part of Jesus’ focus.


Back to calling “evil” good.
Could it be that once again our Western-world fundamentalist mind-set has clouded our vision?  Could it be that the ones condemning the world for calling evil good are those in fact guilty of this crime?

Consider these options:
– When we know that we are God’s house, could referencing any brick-and-mortar building as “God’s house” (something not done in the New Testament) be calling evil good?
– Isn’t emphasizing the avoidance of things like smoking and cussing, instead of focusing on how we treat others a form of calling evil good, and good evil?
– Is it possible that the very concept of a “just war” is calling evil good?
– And when we kill our enemies in the name of God and country, might that be calling  evil good?  Hey, I’m just asking you to consider the possibility.
– Are all the intensely “grace-a-phobic” religious people calling evil good when they relish in the idea that those who don’t see things their way are “going to hell”? (Don’t tell me you don’t know these people.  They’re very fond of believing that “They’ll get theirs someday!”)

– If the hate-filled, sign-carrying protesters constantly ignore the fact that, according to Ezekiel 16:49, the true sin of Sodom was the social injustice of ignoring the poor and the needy, are not they the ones actually calling evil good, and good evil, as they oppress our gay brothers and sisters in the Lord?
– Could insisting that old covenant tithing be observed by those under grace be calling evil good?


What other cherished teachings of religious institutions may share this unholy distortion?

I remember when I thought the term “fallen from grace” meant someone was involved in some kind of “gross sin.”  It was quite the revelation when I finally understood that, according to Galatians 5:4,  “falling from grace” meant living by the law!
Truly, that perversion of the good-news is calling “good” evil.

Like I indicated at the beginning, our preconceived notions bear heavy weight on what “we say ‘God says.'”
Once we begin the journey out of that religiously induced fog of legalism, we are free to start re-thinking our beliefs from a “Christ-centric” approach.

I can guarantee, that as we do this God’s grace will give new birth to our spirits, and new understanding as to what it means to “call evil good.”

–df

 

Religion Gone Bad February 16, 2012


“Becoming an activist is simply a matter of putting love into action.”

Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers Of The Christian Right
– Mel White
———–

My WordPress stats tell me this is my 200th blog post.
I’m glad it’s dedicated to reviewing a book of this much importance.

While this book seems a bit dated in spots, it remains essential.

[This book has been re-released in paperback with new material. The new version is called “Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells Us to Deny Gay Equality.”
Check out the full review: Click HERE.

 

Lincoln’s Anguish February 11, 2012

You can feel Lincoln’s anguish as he describes the irony of soldiers from North and South killing one another.
“Both read the same Bible,” he said, “and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.”

Nothing has changed. The culture war being waged at this very moment is a war between Americans who pray to the same God and invoke God’s aid against the other. The fundamentalist Christians pray daily that they will succeed in superimposing their liter biblical view of homosexuality on the nation.
I pray daily that they will fail.

President Lincoln fought that terrible civil war to make things equal for those who suffered inequality; to end bigotry, intolerance, and discrimination.

Have we learned nothing? Will it take another civil war to guarantee the civil rights of all Americans? It will unless we decide that fundamentalist Christianity is a real threat to this democracy and that the only way we can confront that threat without bloodshed, resolve our differences, and reconcile with our fundamentalist neighbors is to rediscover the power of relentless nonviolent resistance demonstrated in the the twentieth century by Gandhi in south African and India and by Martin Luther King, Jr., in America.

[Taken from “Religion Gone Bad” by Mel White. Book review coming later.]

 

God As Idol February 5, 2012



Like the people of Israel who created a golden calf to represent God while Moses way away, fundamentalist Christians have built their own idols to represent God until Jesus returns.  The religion of fundamentalism is idolatry.

The god [they call] to bless [their] antigay campaign is an idol that [they] have created from a string of unrelated biblical verses read literally to sanction their prejudice and consolidate their power.

We’ve seen this demigod before.  The Roman Catholic Church called upon him to bless their bloody inquisitions and crusades.  Fiery frontier preachers called upon him to bless their war against Native Americans.  White Southern Christians called upon him to bless their efforts to preserve slavery and segregation.  White Northern Christians called upon him to bless their efforts to prevent women’s suffrage and obstruct child labor laws.

These same fundamentalists who persecute my brothers and sisters wear bracelets that read “What Would Jesus Do?”  If only they would take that question seriously.
A Christian understands who God is by looking closely at Jesus.  Any lesser god is an idol, and anyone who worships that lesser god is an idolater in God’s eyes.

[Taken from “Religion Gone Bad” by Mel White.]

 

It’s Time November 25, 2011

I present to you an absolutely stunning, stunning ad from Australia.
It is to the point, universal, and says it all.
(And you don’t even really need to have the sound up.)

 

 
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