Ah, Easter Sunday.
No better day (except Christmas, perhaps) to discuss religion.
The Los Angeles Times’ website had two interesting headlines this past week. The first, posted Thursday, was “Sen. Hatch Predicts Obama Campaign to ‘Throw Mormon Church’ at Romney.” It begins:
In a prediction of underhanded campaign tactics to come, [Mormon U.S.] Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told GOP delegates Tuesday that he foresees that President [Barack] Obama’s campaign will try to use Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith against him.
“You watch, they’re going to throw the Mormon church at him like you can’t believe it,” Hatch said.
He later reiterated his point on Wednesday in Draper, Utah.
“For them to say they aren’t going to smear Mitt Romney is bologna. It’s way out of bounds, but that’s what is going to happen.”
Hatch, also a Mormon, and seeking re-election in a state with more than 60 percent of the population following the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [the Mormon cult], specifically pointed his finger toward Obama’s campaign adviser David Axelrod and White House aide David Plouffe.
“Let me tell you something. The Obama people have some of the best political consultants in the country and they don’t get there because they’re always wonderful people. They’re very tough,” Hatch said. “I’ve met with Axelrod, he’s the best there is in the business. Plouffe, you’ve got to say he’s one of the best. And there is nothing they won’t do.” …
Yesterday, the L.A. Times ran another story, authored by someone else, with the headline “Obama Praised – and Pummeled – on Matters of Faith.”
Indeed, as the story points out:
… Few presidents have spoken about their religious faith as often, as deeply or as eloquently as Obama. “We worship an awesome God in the blue states,” he declared at the 2004 Democratic convention, and he has sought since then to rebuild ties between the Democratic Party and the world of faith.
Yet no president has faced such sustained hostility over issues of faith, including Republican charges that he is waging a “war on religion,” widespread suspicion about the sincerity of his Christian faith, and the persistent legend that he is a practicing Muslim. … [Emphasis mine.]
Indeed, Barack Obama’s having tossed some bones to the believers in God as A Super-Duper Wish-Granting and Punishment-Doling Big Santa Claus in the Sky on Crack — He’s making a list and checking it twice; he’s going to find out who’s naughty and nice! He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! — always has unsettled me, someone whose views on religion decidedly do not follow those of the pack of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
However, I’ve lived with Obama’s occasional God crap because (1) I’ve pretty much had no choice, and (2) I’ve never had the sense that he would govern the nation theocratically — and certainly not as a Muslim!
The problem that the “Christo”fascists have with Obama is not that he has waged an actual “war on religion.” He has not. He has not ordered that any churches or any church publications be burned or banned, that any religious leaders be burned at the stake or crucified or even just exiled.
Shit, the Obama administration allows “Christo”fascist organizations to, as I understand it, blatantly violate their tax-exempt status by openly participating in politics and in political campaigns, such as in the “Christo”fascists’ jihad against women, non-heterosexuals, non-whites, non-“Christo”fascists, et. al.
(Disclosure: I never will forgive the Mormon and Catholic cults for their hateful, mean-spirited, anti-Christian support of the incredibly hateful, mean-spirited, anti-Christian Proposition 8, which wrote the hatred of and the discrimination against an historically oppressed minority group into the state’s constitution here in California.)
It has been business as usual for the “Christo”fascist churches under President Obama*, and any drop-off in church membership can be attributed to the fact that the backasswards, anti-science and anti-reality “Christo”fascism, which picks certain groups out for continued persecution and subjugation, in direct violation of the actual teachings of Jesus Christ — I need only point to the “Christo”fascists’ ongoing war on women, in which both Catholic Prick Santorum and Mormon Mittens Romney are active, bomb-lobbing enemy combatants — doesn’t fucking work in 2012, if it ever worked at all (it did not).
But the right-wing fascists love to blame everything, even their own miserable failings — perhaps especially their own miserable failings — on the nation’s first black president.
The problem that the “Christo”fascists have with Obama is not that he is waging some “war on religion,” but that he is not giving favored status to the stupid white men — like the cabals of stupid, old, evil white men who lead the Mormon cult and the Catholic cult, who would love to get their hands on the White House via Mormon Mittens Romney or Catholic Prick Santorum — stupid, evil white men who use the names of God and Jesus to try to advance their own personal lust for power and money.
Historically there have been two broad visions of Christianity.** The historically dominant one is the one supported by the likes of Prick Santorum and Mittens Romney, the one in which certain power-grubbing men have all of the power and the only way to God and Jesus and “salvation” is through these men — which is awfully convenient for these men, but not so great for the rest of us. They have the monopoly on God and Jesus and “salvation,” you see, and they will defend this monopoly because no one with a ridiculous amount of power and money will part with it without a fight.
The other vision of Christianity is a minority vision. It views spirituality as a personal matter that the individual must cultivate within herself or himself. Indeed, under this vision some gargantuan “Christian” institution cannot somehow magically “save” the individual merely by the individual’s identification with or membership of the institution. The individual has to do the work of “salvation.” No one else can do it for her or him.
Indeed, Jesus himself is recorded to have said, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5 and 6:6)
I see no other way to interpret that than that Jesus was saying that prayer is an intensely personal, not a public, matter, yet the “Christo”fascists are all about prayer in public, even in our public schools, although Jesus himself clearly called such practitioners and advocates “hypocrites.”
Jesus also had choice words about rich people, such as “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
Hmmm. Is multi-millionaire Mittens Romney going to heaven?
If his millions have bought him a method of shrinking himself so that he can squeeze through the eye of a needle, then sure.
But seriously, here is “Christo”fascist Mormon tool Orrin Hatch insinuating that all discussion of Mittens Romney’s Mormonism should be off limits, yet it’s been wide open fucking season on Barack Obama’s religious beliefs since before he took office. How conveniently convenient it is for the Mormon cult that we should be able to discuss Barack Obama’s religious beliefs (or supposed lack thereof) ad nauseam, but that to discuss Mittens’ religious beliefs is, according to Mormon cult spokesnake Sen. Orrin Hatch, “way out of bounds.”
This is the rank hypocrisy that Hatch and his “Christo”fascist ilk have been so steeped in for so long now that they apparently can’t even see it; they take it for granted like a fish takes water for granted.
Whatever Barack Obama does or does not actually believe about God and/or Jesus, I don’t much care, as long as he doesn’t try to govern the nation theocratically. In a nation of diverse believers and non-believers, to govern theocratically is to govern only for some and not for all. The only way to govern for all is to govern secularly.
I, for one American, don’t want theocracy. I want secular democracy. I have good reason to believe that Mittens Romney would take marching orders from the cabal of stupid, old, evil white men in Salt Lake City. Every Mormon is expected to obey and to answer to the cabal in Salt Lake City, which is to have the supreme authority in Mormons’ lives. Mormons ultimately don’t answer to their country. They answer to the cabal in Salt Lake City. I lived among Mormons in Arizona. I know.
Nor do I want Pope Palapatine’s puppet, Prick Santorum, in the Oval Office. I don’t have to worry about him being elected president, since he has a snowball’s chance in hell of that ever happening, but I’m not OK with him being vice president any more than I was OK with Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away from the highest political office in the land.
On this Easter Sunday, I want to tell the “Christo”fascists of the world: Fuck you. For centuries you have been calling the shots and persecuting your detractors in the names of God and Jesus Christ, using rank hypocrisy as your main weapon of choice. Your anti-Christian reign is ending. You know it, which is why you are in your death throes — and better, the rest of us who for centuries have been your victims know it.
*Indeed, as the L.A. Times notes:
Obama gets generally high marks from faith organizations for maintaining, and in some ways strengthening, the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships begun by [former “President”] George W. Bush. Obama faced pressure from secular liberals to scuttle the office, which was seen as blurring the line between church and state. Instead, he used it to reach out to faith groups across a broad spectrum of theology and politics.
“The president was very bold in deciding not just to drop something that a lot of people who supported him thought was not a great idea,” said Stanley Carlson-Thies, who served under Bush in what was then called the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.
Under Joshua Dubois, a Pentecostal minister Obama appointed to head the office, it has expanded its focus from primarily funneling government contracts to faith-based groups to also engaging religious organizations as volunteers. It has, for instance, trained churches and other religious organizations in disaster preparedness and response. It also enlisted more than 1,000 churches in a Job Clubs program to help the unemployed.
A rather different message has emerged from the Republican presidential contest. “This president is attacking religion, and is putting in place a secular agenda that our forefounders would not recognize,” his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has said. …
**For more on this, see the writings of Elaine Pagels, perhaps especially her seminal The Gnostic Gospels.
She begins her conclusion of that work with this paragraph:
It is the winners who write history — their way. No wonder, then, that the viewpoint of the successful majority has dominated all traditional accounts of the origin of Christianity. Ecclesiastical Christians first defined the terms (naming themselves “orthodox” and their opponents “heretics”); then they proceed to demonstrate — at least to their own satisfaction — that their triumph was historically inevitable, or, in religious terms, “guided by the Holy Spirit.”
In her work, Pagels chronicles how Christianity, quite early on, was hijacked by power-hungry, ruthless men who wished to mangle the message of Jesus Christ into something that no longer freed people, all people, as it was intended to do, but into something that instead enslaved people and that served these power-mad men and their own selfish, ultimately petty interests.
This bastardization of the teachings of Jesus Christ began as early as with Bishop Irenaeus, who within the two centuries after the death of the historical Jesus determined which early Christian gospels (there were many of them, not just four of them) would become official and “true” and which would be deemed apocryphal and “heretical.” Irenaeus advocated for a rigid, all-male hierarchy that decided all matters, against the early gnostic Christians’ belief that spirituality is an individual practice, not an institutional or hierarchal practice, and that this is what Jesus Christ taught.
Once the early patriarchal/hierarchal “Christian” church gained the military strength of the Roman empire under Roman Emperor Constantine about a century after Irenaeus, this bastardized vision of Christianity as a rigid patriarchy that could persecute — even slaughter — others in the names of God and Jesus became the dominant form of “Christianity” that we know today.
The early gnostic Christians — the true Christians, in my book — who by definition opposed hierarchy and militarism, were no match against the unholy alliance between the early patriarchal/hierarchal “Christians” and the militaristic Roman empire. They were, in essence, crucified, and their teachings, including the gnostic gospels, deemed “heretical” by the early patriarchal/hierarchal “Christian” church, were lost. (Many of the gnostic gospels later were discovered, however, especially the find in Egypt in 1945, as Pagels chronicles in her books on the topic.)
Bringing this true Christianity back would be, symbolically, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that, in my book, is the real message of Easter today.