Tag Archives: religion

Fox News Host Opens a Can of Worms

Reblogged from EmancipationConversation…

Film provocateur, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is temporarily a right-wing martyr to free speech, though when it all sorts out might turn out to be more hustler than hero. Still, the picture of him covering his face as he leaves his house under the protection of police officers makes a good visual…

Nakoula is reportedly fearful for his life after the film generated widespread outrage in the Middle East and has prompted anti-American violence in numerous countries. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last week.

Deputies picked up Nakoula at his Cerritos home on behalf of federal probation officials shortly after midnight on Saturday. Nakoula was whisked away by a waiting car, his identity shrouded by a white scarf covering his face. He wore a heavy winter coat and kept his hands in his pockets.

A U.S. Courts spokeswoman said Friday that federal probation officials were reviewing whether Nakoula, who was convicted on bank fraud charges, violated terms of his probation in relation to the video and its uploading onto the Internet.

Fox News got into it, and host Eric Bolling tried to change President Obama’s religion for him. They’re always doing that. They haven’t figured out yet that the liberal Christians of the United Church of Christ are way scarier than Muslims. Dare to attend their Coffee Hour and you will know what I’m talking about…

BOLLING (co-host): Can we throw that picture up of the filmmaker again? When he’s all, like, in disguise and the cops are leading him out? To me, America changed. I –

DANA PERINO (co-host): Yeah, I agree.

GRED GUTFELD (co-host): Yeah.

BOLLING: Someone emailed that picture la– Mark Levin, actually, sent it to me. He goes, “Take a look at this.” America changed at that moment. To use a — what is being called a flimsy ploy to bring this guy in for questioning –

PERINO: What next?

BOLLING: — proves that the Obama administration, through all this appeasement and apologizing, answers to the Quran first and to the Constitution second.

I’d love to see a reporter ask Mitt Romney if he answers to the Book of Mormon first and the Constitution second. I’d love to see that type of question put to all our politicians. I think President Obama would be able to say that he answers to the Constitution in his service as President and the Bible in his personal religious convictions. It’s called separation of church and state.

I wonder how many of the politicians who use God to get votes would be able to handle that without stuttering? I once saw Sen.Harold Metts testify in the State House against marriage equality with a Bible in his hand. He was waving it. Really. This was a pretty clear message that he has no problem with using his office to promote his religion, and if you don’t follow his religion you can just move out of his district.

Come to think of it, that’s why there’s a Rhode Island. The Puritans told Roger Williams not to let the door hit him on the way out. History shows that when a state establishes an official religion, the religious start purging and persecuting dissidents among their own. It may have something to do with power politics and human nature.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula threw gasoline on a fire from the safety of his home in the USA, not caring who got hurt. He gave cover to violent anti-US extremists so they could carry out their political attacks under the cover of religion. Free speech doesn’t mean a free pass from criticism for lack of responsibility. Or for that matter, gratuitous insult.

I was raised Catholic, back when nuns wore habits. They told us stories about priests who ran into burning churches to save the Holy Host. To profane this little white wafer would be a sin unthinkable. But heretics and evil-doers were everywhere, so each of us must be prepared to defend the Faith, with our lives if need be.

Different religions have symbols they hold in reverence. From a humanistic perspective, I would not disrespect anyone’s religious practices. Or tell anyone their grand kid was funny-looking. Why be needlessly hurtful and offensive? This is bad policy in social relations.

In Democracy our elected representatives should be fair to all and favor none. So I’d love to see Fox ask each one of them if they serve the Constitution, or their religion first. Those who serve their religion should abandon politics and follow their true calling as clergy.

Art

Maybe the virtue of Art is that it is transgressive. It jumps over the fence but lands in exactly the right place.

Leonard Cohen’s hit song ‘Hallelulia’ should have been sucked dry of all meaning by now. In fact, the old guy has got a lot of nerve to still be rocking. I played ‘Suzanne’ with three chords and a voice that never would be trained in 1976. We all thought he was blessing our own various religions. Leonard Cohen was no spring chicken even then.

I posted a clip of him singing about a month ago and thought it was the definitive version. Darned if he didn’t have other amazing performances. Here’s the one my minister,Rev. James Ford, placed on Monkey Mind Online.

Last Refuge

If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, religion must be the recycling bin into which you can toss your sinful nature and be given back… well, who knows where that stuff ends up? At least it’s out of our house, right?

Huffington Post says that television personality Brit Hume has some advice for Tiger Woods…

“The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith,” Hume said. “He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger would, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

It seems to me that Brit Hume is advising Tiger Woods to take advantage of the Prosperity Gospel–a religion that lets disgraced celebrities recycled their reputations into something less toxic. I doubt that Jesus lived his life and suffered his death to provide an easy out for rich men whose private life has caused public embarrassment.

I’m sorry that Tiger Woods is putting his wife and small children through all this pain. I won’t think more of him if he recycles Jim Bakker weeping on camera.

And just for the record, Buddhism does not condone addiction, infidelity, or breaking vows. When I want to see real practitioners of any religion, I look to the ordinary people. They lead, celebrities follow.

UPDATE: Brit Hume elaborates that Tiger Woods needs something that Christianity ‘especially provides’. Would that be political cover and damage control? Jesus was not really supportive of public professions of faith for the purpose of self-aggrandizement. But the Conservative Bible may have re-written those troublesome passages.

I still don’t get the fuss. Tiger Woods owes a huge apology to his wife. And his fans, too, I guess, for behaving in a way he would not own up to. His plan to get away for awhile to work things out is much more sensible, and even graceful, than running around the talk shows claiming that Jesus wiped his sins and everyone should join him in a prayer circle.

Christianity is too old, and practiced by too many saints over the centuries to be undone by the Brit Humes of the world. Some of my best friends are Christians, and they pray even when no one’s watching.

UPDATE: Pat Buchanan, who knows a lot about the uses to which religion can be put agrees that Tiger Woods should convert.

UPDATE: Brit Hume isn’t waiting to be awarded his martyr’s crown, he claimed it for himself this news cycle.

Dog Whistle

So up in Vermont I was searching for the well-modulated voice of NPR when I caught part of a right-wing radio show. One caller, who sounded old enough to qualify for Medicare, said that health care reform would lead to total government control–

“They’ll plant microchips in our hands, or our foreheads, and no one who doesn’t have one will be able to see a doctor.”

A ‘dog whistle’ is a signal to a constituency that is couched in language that the faithful will recognize, but unbelievers will miss.

The concerned caller was quoting from the Bible, the Book of Revelations. Ever since the ink dried on that document, people have been applying it to their current political miseries. The End Is Near. It’s always near.

I recommend that any of our readers who want to understand our cultural roots read the Bible. It’s said that the Devil can quote scripture, and current politics shows the Word is true. A wise witch said that the challenge of our time is to integrate the rational and the mystical. She didn’t mention the irrational and fanatical, but that is the spirit of fundamentalism, of all brands.

A Better Type of Scandal

Some years ago Dale O’ Leary wrote a column for the Journal’s ‘Face of Religion’ page. She covered the Catholic child abuse scandals, and best I can recall, claimed that critics of the Church were gloating over the stream of accusations and revelations.

Not this critic. Parents have to trust others to care for their children at some point, even if they live on a compound in Idaho. Reading about the betrayal of children and parents made me heartsick, and frightened.

When it comes to Catholic sex scandals, I much prefer this kind, which I’ll admit is amusing–

MIAMI – A popular Miami priest nicknamed “Father Oprah” was set to give his first sermon Sunday since leaving the Roman Catholic Church after photographs surfaced of him kissing his girlfriend on the beach.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie will preach at his new church, the Episcopal Church of The Resurrection. The church allows its priests to marry, unlike the Catholic Church.

Yes, he was caught in an affectionate moment with an adult woman as they enjoyed a day at the beach. It takes a Jesuit to explain why that is more immoral than some of the nonsense the Church lets go by. The priest shortage just got a little worse. Catholic’s loss, Episcopal’s gain.

God Needs a Loan

No, of course not. God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. She isn’t waiting for the next paycheck to come in.

But some souls who really can’t afford it are making a preacher rich by sending him money, believing that God will pay it back with interest.

As Easter approached, the ad ran repeatedly on the Inspiration Network: David Cerullo, clutching a Bible, told viewers they, too, could receive prosperity, physical healing and other blessings God gave the ancient Israelites.

All they had to do, the televangelist said, was send $200 or more.

“Go to your phone,” he said. “Sow your Passover offering and watch God do what he said he would … Call now.”

So who would fall for this? Maybe someone extremely vulnerable…

Rebecca Mills, 54, of north Mississippi, gave about $400 two years ago. Money was tight. But it was a time when she was recovering from breast cancer and trying to get closer to God.

The more she read the Bible, the more she wondered why she’d written those checks: “I could just … tell that what they were saying wasn’t right.”

Unitarians don’t particularly believe in Hell, but if there is a Hell, there must be a special place for con men who prey on poor people when they are sick and alone.

And in a lovely example of taxpayer support for ‘faith-based’ organizations (otherwise know as ‘churches’), even atheists get to contribute to the ‘reverend’ and help expand his reach…

Much of the money sent by people like Mills is now funding the City of Light, a 93-acre campus in northern Lancaster County, S.C., where the network’s plans include a sophisticated training and broadcast center.

Taxpayers are also helping to pay for it. Eager to bring jobs to a county with 19 percent unemployment, South Carolina offered the network incentives worth up to $26 million to land the campus – a deal that has been questioned by economic development experts.

Maybe they didn’t want the voters to think they were Godless, like in that book.

But if you need to have faith in something, I have a deal for you. Comment on Kmareka. If you do, the god Mercury will strap on his winged sandals and wave his caduceus over your blog, causing thousands of hits to appear on your site meter every day. Just believe. Faith is a good thing. Don’t make me call down the wrath of Saturn on your hard drive. Comment today.

Mr. President, Why Can’t You Just Fake It?

G.W. knew how to get the most out of the National Day of Prayer, but President Obama is letting this great photo-op pass him by…

[White House Press Secretary] Gibbs said Obama prays privately and his plan for the day was in line with those of past presidents. Still, Obama drew a rebuke from the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a private group that promotes prayer events around the country.

“We are disappointed in the lack of participation by the Obama Administration,” said task force chairwoman Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. “At this time in our country’s history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer.”

The first thing the President needs to recognize is that you get zero political capital out of praying privately. Even ‘Joe the Plumber’ gives the press updates on what God is telling him to do. If Sam Wurtzelbacher runs for office, you can be sure he has the God endorsement in his pocket.

Mr. Obama can learn a lot from reading the Bible. Jesus made some reckless remark to the effect that God liked the silent prayer of a tax collector better than public piety (Luke 18:9-14) , and later compared some very distinguished clergy to whitewashed graves.( Matthew 23:27)

And look what they did to Him!

Of course, Jesus was executed for blasphemy by a collusion of church and state–could never happen here. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is worried about having a National Day of Prayer at all, but the occasion has been observed since 1952 and has given so many politicians a chance to display their profound and sincere spirituality that it would be mean to deprive them.

Praying into a microphone in front of a cheering crowd seems kind of bizarre when you consider that God is omniscient. And prayer seems kind of intimate, really. But public baring of the soul is very popular with some constituencies. You wonder why the President can’t make an appearance and, you know, fake it. But maybe the Obamas, with their busy schedule, needed some time to focus on their own family. We the people can rest assured that James and Shirley Dobson are focusing on ours. Make sure you pull the shades down.

Annullment?

I have absolutely no moral authority to be asking this question, because:

1. I think people’s marriages are their own business
2. I’m an ex-Catholic

But what the heck? Newt Gingrich has converted to Catholicism, some say because his wife is Catholic and he wants to share her faith.

Where does that leave the status of former wives #1 and #2?

Is he now living in sin with #3, or does he have to get the first ones annulled? Will the exes cooperate? Does that affect the legitimacy of the children of the first marriage?

Or do converting politicians get a free pass? It’s all too esoteric for me, but a guy who makes a career out of telling us whose family is more valuable and what virtues we lack will have no trouble being sanctimonious. He can go to Mass with Tony Blair now, and maybe they’ll write a book about the Just War.

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