Tag Archives: Easter

YES, Mittens’ Mormonism MATTERS (and other heretical thoughts on this Easter Sunday)

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.

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Easter celebration or a ‘tea party’?

I was looking at Salon.com’s little slide show titled “Holy Week around the world” when I saw some interesting Reuters images from Brazil and Spain. Boy, did I do a double-take.

Apparently, Brazil celebrates a “Procession of the Torches” in which the participants wear conical headdresses and carry torches

Photos:

Penitents attend the Procession of the Torches during Holy Week ...

Hooded penitents take part in the Procissao do Fogareu (the ...

Penitents attend the Procession of the Torches during Holy Week ...

Reuters and Associated Press photos

Jesus H. Christ — Easter or “Mississippi Burning”?

Anyway, even the Brazilian kiddies get involved in the festivities:

A girl dressed as a penitent prepares before a procession during ...

Young penitents take part in a Holy Week youth procession in ...

Children dressed as penitents prepare for a procession during ...

Associated Press and Reuters photos

Looks kinda like the Teletubbies meet the Ku Klux Klan to me…

And what’s this? A prototype of a “Star Wars”-inspired imperial guard for the increasingly embattled Pope Palpatine?

Penitents take part in the Santo Cepulcro procession during ...

Reuters photo

(Actually, the photo’s caption reads: “Penitents take part in the Santo Sepulcro procession during Holy Week in [La Paz, Bolivia, on] April 2, 2010.”) Also in La Paz:

A hooded penitent attends a Holy Week mass on Good Friday in ...

Associated Press photo

Y en El Salvador:

Penitents carry a statue of Jesus Christ as part of the Via ...

Reuters photo

Not to be outdone by Latin America, Spaniards also don pointy hats this time of year:

Devotees take part in the La Soledad procession during Holy ...

A young girl plays surrounded by Penitents taking part in the ...

Penitents take part in the procession of the 'Jesus Yacente' ...

Reuters, AFP and Associated Press photos

That photo above reminds me of “Logan’s Run” and I find it a bit chilling, actually… 

And even my neighbor Mexico gets in on the pointy-hat act:

Silent procession : Penitents on the procession of silence, ...

AFP photo

It’s all a bit sKKKary, and I think that my Easter has been ruined…

But seriously, why haven’t I seen this before? I’d thought that I’d already seen it all…

Can the pointy hats and the torches be a coincidence? Was the KKK influenced by Spanish and/or Latin American culture?

I just can’t see images like that and think, “Oh, Easter!” I tend to think: “Oh, a lynching!”

At least in their Holy Week celebrations in Spain and Latin America they don’t actually burn big wooden crosses, though — right?

Anyway, I pick on Spain and Latin America (I love them, or I wouldn’t have learned Spanish), but if you are interested in the topic, Yahoo! News has a much larger slide show of Holy Week celebrations from around the world here, including plenty of pictures — like this one:

A Filipino penitent has his feet nailed to a cross during yearly ...

Associated Press photo

— of “penitents” in the Philippines volunteering to have nails driven through their hands and feet (one phenomenon that I have been aware of for many years now).

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This ain’t Jesus. Get over it.

BIG REVEAL: Information

This computer-generated image purports to be what the historical Jesus Christ looked like shortly after his death — as though it really matters what the historical Jesus looked like. (But still, wouldn’t Jesus’ loved ones have washed the blood off of his body?)

Every Easter, the Jesus crap gets trotted out and retreaded.

I remember when “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson’s sick and twisted Jesus Christ snuff film (in which Satan is portrayed as an androgyne or a gay man or a lesbian or something…), came out just in time for Easter 2004, and the “Christian” world acted as though the film was the Second Coming of Christ himself, and that to get your sinful ass to a movie theater and watch it was tantamount to being saved.

The film’s influence on the “Christian” world was such that a co-worker of mine remarked, in all seriousness, that the bit in which Satan is portrayed not as a heterosexual male but as an androgyne or a gay man or something not quite heterosexually male or female is biblically accurate. Um, no, it’s not, and we non-heterosexuals didn’t need to be blamed by Mel Gibson for having killed Jesus. (After all, everyone knows that it was the Jews who did that. [I kid! Ha ha!])

But I digress.

This year we don’t have a prequel to “The Passion of the Christ,” but we do have The History Channel’s “The Real Face of Jesus?” — a sensationalistic program that more or less asserts that 3-D images generated from the Shroud of Turin by computer geeks are an accurate depiction of the actual face of the historical Jesus Christ. (The History Channel so very helpfully has a DVD of the show available for $24.95. Buy it today so that you, too, aren’t left behind!)

Of course The History Channel hasn’t unveiled a depiction of the face of the historical Jesus, since the Shroud of Turin was carbon dated by scientists to have originated more than 1,000 years after the death of the historical Jesus. (Google it.)

But facts never get in the way of “faith.”

True believers in the shroud assert that the portion of the cloth that was carbon dated by three different labs that all reached the same conclusion must have been a patch that was added to shroud some centuries later.

Riiight…

Well, let’s do more tests, then! (Something tells me that the Catholick church won’t allow that, since the shroud is a great dupe magnet.)

What I don’t get is why it fucking matters what Jesus Christ looked like. We can assume that he looked like the Jews of his time and place, of course, and not like the ridiculously Anglicized versions of him. Beyond that, what do we really need to know about the historical Jesus’ physical appearance?

Let’s say that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. (Of course it isn’t, and the carbon dating aside, what would the chances be that such an artifact would have been preserved for two millenia after the death of a man who at the time of his death was pretty much a peasant? Sure, the remains and relics of royalty were preserved, such as in Egypt, but Jesus wasn’t royalty, so to speak, until well after his death.)

What good would it do anyone to know what Jesus Christ looked like?

Similarly, the pointless obsession with Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus’ crucifixion in and of itself isn’t helpful to anyone. Wallowing in recreated crucifixion gore, such as watching “The Passion of the Christ” or even witnessing or even participating in the reenactments of the crucifixion that take place this time of year around the world (with actual nailings of Jesus reenactors in the Philippines), certainly isn’t going to make someone a better person.

Actually following Jesus’ teachings, however, might actually make someone a better person. But we can’t have that!

Better to wallow in the myth and superstition surrounding Jesus, and to simply state that one “believes” and thus is “saved,” than to do the hard work of improving ourselves, the work that Jesus is quoted in the New Testament of having called on us to do.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus taught.

Perfection.

Yikes!

Much easier to just watch “The Passion of the Christ” or “The Real Face of Jesus?” (or better, both), proclaim oneself “saved” and be done with it!

Also this Easter, not only do we have the “real face” of Jesus (available on DVD for the low price of $24.95), but we have the continuing implosion of the Catholick church.

You know that the Catholick church is in some pretty deep shit when it insinuates that the criticism leveled at it for having permitted the sexual abuse of children for decades is akin to what the Jews went through in the Holocaust.

Look, it’s bad enough when Jews who never suffered in the Holocaust hide behind the Holocaust, such as to justify Israel’s Nazi-like treatment of the Palestinians and the other Arabs it slaughters with U.S. military and financial aid. But Catholicks using the H card?

With apologies to Bill Maher (whose “Religulous” I recommend):

New rule: If you aren’t at least Jewish, you may not hide behind the Holocaust; you may not use the H card as your “Get out of jail free” card.

The collapse of the Catholick church would be a good thing. Where it comes to spirituality, no one needs an intermediary, especially a pedophilic behemoth dinosaur like the Catholick church.

You want to know about the “real Jesus”?

Read the New Testament, especially Matthew and Mark, the two gospels that biblical scholars believe are the most accurate of the four canonized gospels (with John, the canonized gospel most quoted by the institutionalized “Christian” churches, being the least accurate, according to the scholars).

Better yet, read the Gospel of Thomas, which predates the four canonized gospels and contains only Jesus’ moral teachings. Obviously, the crap about Jesus’ “virgin birth” and “resurrection” and “miracles” was added in the years long after Jesus’ death, and for centuries this fabricated, ridiculous mythology has allowed the unscrupulous, such as the evil men who historically have filled the Catholick church, up to and including Pope Palpatine, to brainwash and to oppress millions and millions of others.

The historical Jesus Christ essentially taught one thing: Love.

“Salvation” is through love — not through believing, against logic and reason and factual evidence, such fabricated myths as virgin births, resurrections and other assorted miracles.

And no one religion or creed has a monopoly on love.

It is the birthright of all of us.

Happy Easter.

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Thoughts on Dead Jesus Day

Updated on Monday, April 13, 2009 (see below)

This controverial-of-course 1999 U.K. church poster mixed the iconography of the revolutionary Jesus Christ and the revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

So while the rest of my fellow Americans concern themselves over what Pope “Condoms Are for Sissies” Palpatine is doing and what church President Barack Obama and his family decided to attend on this Easter Day, I’m going to go see the long-ass commie-themed film “Che.”

Pope Palpatine (a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI), in case you were wondering, according to The Associated Press

…sought to give a message of hope on Easter Sunday to victims of wars, poverty and financial turmoil, saying it was urgently needed to overcome the miseries that are plaguing Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the globe.

Benedict delivered his “Urbi et Orbi” message — Latin for “to the city and the world” — after celebrating Easter Mass before tens of thousands of people who packed St. Peter’s Square and the boulevard leading up to it.

The piazza, decorated with yellow tulips, azaleas, apple blossoms and other spring flowers, overflowed with the faithful celebrating the most joyous and important day in the Christian church calendar, Christ’s resurrection.

In his speech, Benedict said hope was urgently needed around the globe, despite mounting reasons for despair….

This is the very same person who opposes the use of condoms, the use of which results in a lower population (and thus less poverty and hunger and suffering) and which results in lower incidence of HIV and other STD transmission (and thus less pain and suffering and misery).

I guess that Pope Palpatine wants to ensure that there is still plenty of suffering so that he can give the same Easter address about poverty and pain and suffering and misery every fucking year.

Palpatine also still asserts that women don’t have a right to control their own bodies and he still opposes equal human and civil rights for me because I am not heterosexual.

And since so much of today’s warfare is over religion, we can thank the pope in (large) part for keeping religious differences — and thus warfare — alive by his support of the Catholic church.  

I’m just waiting for Pope Palpatine to finally kick off. The best thing that we can say about the pope is that he will die someday — and that, given his age, he should die sooner rather than later.

And then there is the obsession over which church the Obamas picked for Easter. Reports The Associated Press today:

President Barack Obama and his family took communion [today] as they celebrated Easter at St. John’s Church in their first public worship service since the inauguration.

As congregants went to the altar for communion, several stopped at the president’s pew and wished Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters a happy Easter.

Located across from the White House, St. John’s is popular with presidents. President George W. Bush often attended services, and church history contends that every president since James Madison, the nation’s fourth chief executive, has visited. …

There was no indication from White House officialsthat Obama was seeking membership at St. John’s. The president and his family attended a private service there on Inauguration Day, a tradition for those about to become president.

Where a president worships — and whether he goes to church at all — tends to draw political as well as social significance. For Obama, his place of worship has been of keen interest because of the role his religion played in the 2008 presidential campaign….

“Christians” don’t give a flying fuck about following the teachings of Jesus Christ. The interest in which church the Obama family attends is only so that the judgment can be made as to whether the Obama family attends the “right” church.

And, of course, it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t: If you don’t go to church at all, you are then a heathen or a devil worshipper or the like, but if you do go to church, then you are going to the wrong one.

Fuck these miserable “Christians.”

These “Christians,” as the news story hints, also have been critical that the Obama family doesn’t attend church often enough — because look how much more warm and loving and more intelligent regular churchgoing has made these critical “Christians”!

If I could go anywhere on this Easter Day, it would be to go see the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco (a.k.a. Sodom By the Sea). The Sisters, with such things as their Hunky Jesus Contest on this Easter Day, are reviled by those “loving” “Christians” who are familiar with them.

Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, the Sisters, fulfilling the important but usually hated archetypal role of the trickster, expose the hypocrisy and ignorance and fearfulness and hatred and bigotry and intolerance of the “Christian” muggles; the Sisters remind the “Christians” that the “Christians” are light years away from actually following the actual teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Sisters, rather than being the blasphmemers that they would be called by the vast majority of “Christians,” get Jesus Christ’s teachings much more than do the “Christians.” The Sisters’ spots in heaven (so to speak) are assured.

Anyway, I once saw the Sisters perform during a Christmas choral production at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. I wish that I could have been at Sodom by the Sea today for the Sisters and their Hunky Jesus Contest. 

Instead, I will go see director Steven Soderbergh’s “Che,” which stars Benicio Del Toro as Che Guevara. The film is getting mixed reviews, but my guess is that most of the reviewers who are dissing it are capitalist sympathizers who don’t even know what little-“c” communism even is. The capitalists control the dialogue in this nation, and so of course they don’t want the bleating masses to get the idea that a viable alternative economic system is even a remote possibility.

But interestingly, the principles of communism and socialism are much more in line with what Jesus Christ actually taught than is the self-interest at the expense of others that capitalism espouses.

Jesus Christ was not a Repugnican, a stupid white man who (in no certain order) hated gays, believed in the oppression of women, thought that greed was good and that the poor deserved their lot, and loved guns and wars.

Nor was Jesus the gentle sissy that so many conceive him to have been. J.C. is quoted in the New Testament as having said:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it.”

That is the speech of a radical, and by “my” and “me” I do not believe that Jesus literally means himself, but means what it is that he stands for: truth and love, the rejection of the ignorance and the fear and the hatred that are the very stuff of today’s “Christianity.”

The “cross” that Jesus refers to is not his literal cross, but is the burden of standing up against the masses who embrace fear and ignorance and hatred, which are the exact opposite of what Jesus actually taught. The “cross” is the burden of being different, the burden of being a “witch” burned at the stake by the “good” “Christians” (literally or figuratively).

Those who, in their ignorance and fear, support the toxic status quo in order to save their lives — who go along to get along — paradoxically will lose their lives, and those who, out of courage and wisdom and love, fight against the toxic status quo, even at the risk of losing their lives, will save their lives. That’s how it works, and that’s what Jesus was saying.   

Ah, I don’t know. You get it or you don’t, and if you don’t get it by now, you most likely never will.

Happy fucking Easter.

P.S. Signs of “Christianity’s” rather imminent collapse abound.

The news story from above about the Obama family’s Easter service notes:

In his sermon, the Rev. Luis Leon welcomed believers and nonbelievers alike and called Easter an event based on faith, not logic.

“I can’t explain Easter to anyone. It just can’t be done. It’s like a professor trying to explain one of e.e. cummings’ poems,” he said. He added: “It takes time to be a believer. … Faith cannot be forced and faith cannot be coerced.” …

Mmm hmmmmm. A system that cannot hold up to the test of logic is doomed, is going to go the way of the dinosaurs. There are some things that are unknowable, to be sure, but about those things you just admit, “I don’t know.” But what it is that you claim to know should be rational and logical. “Faith,” as the good reverend defines it, is insanity.

And the news story from above about Pope Palpatine notes:

And in the earthquake-ravaged central Italian city of L’Aquila, survivors gathered in makeshift chapels set up in tent cities that are housing some of the 55,000 people driven from their homes by Monday’s 6.3-magnitude temblor.

“We are all a little bit angry with God because we never expected a tragedy this big,” L’Aquila Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari told the faithful gathered in a tent. “But even anger toward God is a sign of faith.”

God, as the “Christians” portray God — just like the Greeks’ Zeus, a gigantic, omnipotent, unpredictably alternately loving and violent male entity in the sky that causes such things as earthquakes — just can’t lose, can he?

Watching people like the Rev. Luis Leon and Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari still defending a dying, indefensible “Christianity” in this modern age is like watching soon-to-be-extinct dinosaurs writhing in tar pits.

You feel at least a bit sorry for them, but at the same time you know that they are dying out because they never adapted, and that something more evolved will follow them.

Update (Monday, April 13, 2009):

OK, so you’re dying to know what I think of “Che.”

“Che,” not entirely unlike “Kill Bill,” is broken into parts one and two, only with “Che” you get the opportunity to see both at one visit to the theater.

It was great to get the old-school 20-minute intermission between parts one and two of “Che,” and I’ll gladly watch a four-hour-plus film if it’s worth it. I’m not so sure, however, that “Che” is entirely worth it.

Part one of “Che,” which chronicles Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s part in the 1959 Cuban Revolution, is worth watching, while part two — well, not so much. Part two of “Che” chronicles Guevara’s ill-fated attempt to bring a similar revolution to Bolivia.

It’s not that Guevara not only fails to bring a revolution to Bolivia but then dies a rather anti-climactic death that makes part two of “Che” not so great. Part one of “Che” isn’t better than part two only because Guevara wins in his quest in part one but loses (and dies) in part two.

Part two suffers because director Soderbergh does a good job in chronicling the biographical and historical elements of Guevara’s life, but what is missing from “Che,” especially in part two, is the spirit that must have inspired Che Guevara in the first place.

I mean, you don’t spend months and months in the jungle engaged in guerilla warfare unless you are driven by something much larger than yourself, and Soderbergh doesn’t capture what it was that must have driven Guevara — not enough for four-plus hours’ worth of film on Guevara’s life, anyway.

Sure, in “Che” we see here and there peasants being treated of their medical maladies, but we still don’t get nearly as strong a sense of Guevara’s driving passions that we should. Instead, we get details. Lots and lots of details.

The 2004 film “The Motorcycle Diaries,” which chronicles Guevara’s life before he was involved in the Cuban Revolution, gave us a good sense of Guevara’s driving passions. Why couldn’t “Che”?

So if you want to get a good sense of Che Guevara’s life, watch “Motorcyle Diaries” first and then watch part one of “Che.” You can skip part two.

I give “Che” a B-. (I give part one an A- and part two a C, which is why the B- overall.) 

“Che” sure is timely, though. The Associated Press reports today:

President Barack Obama directed his administration [today] to allow unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba, and to take other steps to ease U.S. restrictions on the island, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

The formal announcement was being made at the White House [this] afternoon, during presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs’ daily briefing with reporters. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to upstage the president’s announcement.

With the changes, Obama aims to create new space for the Cuban people in their quest for political freedom and a democratic government, in part by making them less dependent on the Castro regime, the official said.

Other steps taken [today] include allowing gift parcels to be sent to Cuba, and issuing licenses to increase communications among and to the Cuban people. About 1.5 million Americans have relatives in Cuba.

Obama had promised to take these steps as a presidential candidate. It has been known for over a week that he would announce them in advance of his attended this weekend of a Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

“There are no better ambassadors for freedom than Cuban Americans,” Obama said in a campaign speech last May in Miami, the heart of the U.S. Cuban-American community. “It’s time to let Cuban Americans see their mothers and fathers, their sisters and brothers. It’s time to let Cuban American money make their families less dependent upon the Castro regime.”

Sending money to senior government officials and Communist Party members remains prohibited. Restrictions imposed by the Bush administration had limited Cuban travel by Americans to just two weeks every three years. Visits also were confined to immediate family members….

Some [U.S.] lawmakers, backed by business and farm groups seeing new opportunities in Cuba, are advocating wider revisions in the trade and travel bans imposed after Fidel Castro took power in Havana in 1959.

But Obama is keeping the decades-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba in place, arguing that that policy provides leverage to pressure the regime to free all political prisoners as one step toward normalized relations with the U.S.

While there is much to disagree with Fidel Castro over, it is my deepest hope that Cuba does not become what it was before the Cuban Revolution, which was a capitalist playground for rich Americans exploiting and further impoverishing the Cuban people.

I don’t see that the Cuban people will be “free” as wage slaves to American corporations. At least under Castro their basic human needs, such as education and medical care, are met. (These basic human needs are not even met in the United States of America.)

The Cuban people will fare worse under unbridled American capitalist/corporate exploitation than they have under Fidel Castro.

Yes, Cuba should be free.

But I think that Iraq is a wonderful recent demonstration of the American idea of “freedom” for another nation’s people.

All of those American corporations that are just can’t wait to get their greedy grubbies back on Cuba should be kept waiting indefinitely.

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