Why Scott Walker is so, so wrong about his providential call to be President

Governor_of_Wisconsin_Scott_Walker_08-645x325_900x600-640x427Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is now officially running for President of the United States, and he wants everyone to know that it was not his choice alone to run.

This is what he wrote in an email to his supporters:

“Here’s why: I needed to be certain that running was God’s calling – not just man’s calling. I am certain: This is God’s plan for me and I am humbled to be a candidate for President of the United States.”

As documented on the website FMLgoneviral.com, Walker had more to say about his mission to be President as well. “Our U.S. Constitution calls for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion,” he said. “The founders of this exceptional country took religious freedom very seriously and we must redouble our efforts to protect these freedoms today.”

Freedom from religion

Actually, Scott. You’re wrong about that. The Constitution clearly states that the United States government shall make no law pertaining to the establishment of religion. It absolutely guarantees that United States citizens can enjoy freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion. If people want to live in the United States and choose not to believe in God, they can do so with full support of the Constitution and the law it represents.

But you, Scott Walker, want to believe differently. You want to essentially ignore the very clear definitions of religious freedom outlined in the Constitution and impose a half-true, narrow-minded version of the law upon the land. And that, as such, disqualifies you to be President. If you do not understand the most basic aspects of the Constitution and why the laws were written to protect our freedoms, then you don’t have what it takes to be President.

Do what Jesus did

Plus, this stuff about talking to God and being told that you are providentially destined to become President. And then insinuating all that in public? That means you don’t even understand your own faith that well either.

Because if you recall that when Jesus commenced his ministry he was inclined to let his actions speak for themselves. Rather than bragging on the front end that God was on his side, Jesus proved by example that he taught and acted with authority from God.

His preaching was not about his own glory and a kingly position here on earth. In fact Jesus carefully avoided any pretense toward replacing the rulers or religion or politics in his day. The most political act Jesus Christ ever did was to allow himself to be crucified by earthly authorities and rulers.

God Complexes

So this notion that God wants to install you as President is not only absurd and unbiblical at every level, it is a sign of a sociopathic personality with a God Complex going on beneath that thick little skull.

2016possiblegopcontenders101God may have indeed called certain leaders in history to be powerful and reign as kings. But God also warned his people that the ultimate rule of authority should come from God alone. God suggested that if people simply abided by his laws, he would provide them with protection against all foes, and prosperity. Yet his people still demanded kings, and God again tried to warn them that installing people into power would only produce more pain and imbalance. But the people insisted nevertheless, and when those kings dealt out all kinds of bad policy and abuse, leading to wars and other earthly difficulties, God was left shaking his head in sadness and regret.

Which makes us wonder how many other potential rulers with a God complex are out there claiming God as their keeper when God actually wants something far, far simpler from the human race. Love your neighbor as yourself. Stop discriminating and persecuting the weak or needy. Love one another. That is trust in action.

Healthy suspicions

The God you’re claiming to represent apparently has you doing everything the opposite of that, Scott Walker. Which means that listening to men like you claim that God has deigned you to be President makes many of us suspicious and concerned for your very soul. We think you’d better go have another heart-to-heart conversation with God. And when you come back, put on some sackcloth and ask forgiveness for being such an arrogant, selfish, ungodly prick of a political candidate. You’ve clearly already sold your soul and made choices that have absolutely nothing to do with God and everything with imposing your chosen will and borrowed ideology on everyone under the sun.

But we see right through you, Scott Walker, and especially your desperate attempt to suck up to all those people seeking to use religion to accomplish earthly gains. It’s a sickness of mind, Scott Walker, and a clear warning that you are not fit for office, or even a seat in the pews.

An evolutionary look at race, religion and class warfare

Toward the end of a seven-mile run in a prairie park in Wisconsin, my companion and I passed a group of soccer players engaged in a pickup match on a small mowed field. They wore the jerseys of teams from Mexico, Central America and Europe. Soccer is the world’s game, you see.

Earlier on the run we’d seen a group of women and children walking the gravel path together. These were the wives and children of the soccer players, for they all gathered together under a shade tree when the match was done.

I’d turned to my companion and said to her, “Just think, their descendants came to this continent from the other side of Pacific.”

Routes-oF-Ancient-Americas-migrationsScience and genetics tell us the people who settled the North American and South American continent came over the land bridge to Alaska. Through human evolution and adaptation to environment these post-Asian peoples populated a highly diverse and unknown world. In many cases their skin evolved toward a brown or red color in response to hot, sunny climates. In that small way they were evolving back towards the dark-skinned origins of the African past from which we all came.

Civilization

These tales of massive emigration provide important foundations for discussion of the human race and the racism that drives much of its self-perception. We know that highly evolved civilisations in Egypt and Asia emerged from the original migration out of Africa. Their mathematics, arts and sciences represented a Renaissance of importance to all of civilization. Even through dark times in history and wars of slaughter over tribe, race and wealth, it was this belief in self and the theater of the mind that remained most important in sustaining human life and progress. In the wake of all this movement were structures representing the human desire to reach for the sky and deities. The pyramids of Egypt and the temples of the Aztecs evolved as the highest expression of human culture on earth.

Behind the Eight Ball

8-Ball Wallpaper 1024x768Back in Israel and the Middle East the concurrent battles over worldview were taking place a little later than the Asian and Central American pursuit of self-realization. Yet the events that took place there in the sands and hills around Jerusalem were telling in their net results.

The Romans had long tried to impose their values and their religion through force, but ultimately what emerged triumphant in that society was a faith supposedly architected for peace. The Eight Ball of fortune and force turned out to be wrong.

Christianity was embraced as the official religion of the state through Constantine, but its message of tolerance and brotherly was ultimately subverted for a focus on triumph of holy will. Because as Europe was settled, the warlike aspects of a largely white race of human beings found tremendous and convenient mobility in the history of the religion they embraced. Once the Jewish temples had been razed a few times over, faith become mobile. Canonized in a Bible, The Word superseded the traditional anchor of capitol and place.

Of course the Jewish Torah tried to accomplish the same thing, but that story took a different path. Blamed for the sacrifice of Christ, the Jews became targets for violence rather than partners in history. Just as they had experienced before in history, the Jewish people were left without a home. So they too used their wits, replacing capitol (city or state) with capital (money and negotiation) as a means to survive.

Where once the Judeo-Christian culture knew its place in the temples of Jerusalem, and capitol was where God could be found, the culture actually reversed course (or was forced yet again) to become a nomadic people all over again. Capitol was traded for pursuit of capital, and anyone that stood in the way of that pursuit became the enemy. But this adaptation became a parallel point of competition between Christians and Jews, who were in turn doubly ostracized and persecuted for being better capitalists than their Christian brethren. We hate in others what we find most lacking in ourselves.

Nomads

arkThe Jews had many times before been a nomadic people, migrating “out of Egypt” to assume lands that God ostensibly bequeathed to them. This history conveniently (yet ironically) supplied the motivation and belief that God was on the side of all those who supposedly followed His way. Essentially this providence was stolen by those with a willingness to ignore the obligation to faith and honor of God’s law that came with it.

The Ark of the Covenant originally represented by Judeo-Christian tradition as a symbol of God’s promise instead became a possession as much as a promise. People embraced this materialistic version of faith because it resolved the guilt over being both rich and favored by God.

Made in God’s image?

For powerful Christians, there was still the issue of painting over the notion that Christianity had diverse origins in terms of race and culture. White Christians painted pictures of Jesus in their own image, and built tremendous cathedrals as signposts of its journey to world domination. Pagan traditions were folded into the faith as recruitment tools and these became (as Christmas did) signs that devotion to the faith was complete.  This cultlike triumphalism burst across the European landscape backed by religious fervor and an increasingly inventive ability to kill in the name of God.

Gustave_dore_crusades_entry_of_the_crusaders_into_constantinopleThis restless, almost unhinged worldview was held at bay by civilizations to the East that could resist its restless and warlike tendencies. Surely the Crusades were an attempt to “take back” the so-called Holy Land, but it never really stuck. That is still the case today. Another religion that shares the Abrahamic storyline simply won’t give in to Western pressures. That would be Islam, whose principle zealots hate both Jews and Christians alike.

Truth be told, no one really knows who was made in God’s image, or what lands and nations were bequeathed to whom. So the fight continues to this day.

Commerce and conquest

Fortunately, as civilizations grew and trade evolved, necessary compromises emerged. But even those promise continue to be broke by those too greedy to realize that sustainability is a foundational value in God’s kingdom.

Instead, the world is still being ruled by a desperate need for extraction based on the early Genesis belief that God ceded all the earth to a chosen people. Of course these folks miss the fact that their ancestors repeatedly engaged in behavior that invoked God’s wrath. So remains that this faulty history is a legacy that makes it convenient to go out and kill in the name of God, then beg forgiveness as if the carnage never happened. After all, that was how it was done in the Bible.

slaveBut even warlike Christians can’t conquer all. Stifled by resistance from the East, the now largely white races of human beings embracing God as their witness looked to expand their Empire in other directions. Africa was close enough, and a known quantity, but somehow it did not capture the imagination of Christians whose search for gold and conquests across the ocean still beckoned.

So the white migration embarked on its trans-Atlantic conquests, murdering and enslaving people as they arrived on the islands of the Caribbean, all along the Gulf of Mexico and up into North America. Cortez and his ilk had no mercy. It was kill and extract resources in the name of Kings and Queens and God.

Second wave

Then warlike whites flowed over through North America and the real conquest of the New World was begun. Once it got rolling and Manifest Destiny was invoked to justify the killing, there was no reason to slow down and consider what was truly going on. It was genocide all over again, and in biblical proportions.

Love your enemies, to death

FlagWaiverWhen it came to world expansion and domination, the whole “love your enemies” aspect of Christian tradition became an inverse equation. “We love our enemies because we bring them the message of God,” was the essential justification for taking over entire nations. Religion became confused with patriotism. Missionaries ran in the company of killers. It was either convert or die. Such is most of human history.

So the true meaning of “love your enemies” was beaten with a religious stick and cast aside out of convenience. It has never gotten completely out of the ditch into which it was self-righteously thrown. But like the Good Samaritan of old, there are Christians now seeking to right these wrongs and bring back the notion of loving our enemies in its full meaning. Likewise, these believers abhor use of indefensible discrimination by race and culture as tools of political manipulation and domination.

Foxy thinkers

The capitalistic Christians are fighting back hard. They treasure their supposed triumphs and value the social and political position it has bestowed upon them. They give it names like American Exceptionalism to justify the seeming victory of capital over loving our neighbors

But God knows better and always has. God does not like the calculated erection of euphemisms any more than the construction of a Golden Calf. These all represent efforts to circumvent the covenant of love and trust that is supposed to ride at the heart of all faith.

Violent defense of racism

It is both fascinating and disturbing to witness the often violent defense of racism as if it were an expression of God’s will. Of course it isn’t, but it reflects a conveniently perverted narrative of faith that embraces racial warfare as a sign of providential progress. Such was the case when a certain class of moneyed Christians tried to justify the use of slavery to prop up the economy of the American South. They even advocated secession from the Union as a tool of protest against their racist, stringently capitalistic worldview. Ultimately this effort failed, and yet their are millions who still abide by its philosophy and fly a Confederate flag as a sign that they have not yet evolved in their thinking.

Media wars

When you throw a dose of class warfare into this mix and enough money to broadcast the message through modern media and even news outlets, it can be hard to hold the line against the emergent brand of capitalistic faith.

Yet God and Christ said the meek shall inherit the earth, so we have that on our side. But it’s hard to watch the social and political carnage that takes place as a result of evil at work in the world. It has always been that way. Psalms and Lamentations have been written about why God allows evil to triumph. Perhaps it’s all one big godly big joke, and the Second Coming is the cosmic punchline.

Lacking that eventuality, we must look to the present for signs that balance can and will return. Of course evolution has an answer. It always does. We know that 99% of all living things that ever existed on the earth are now extinct. And despite the Judeo-Christian belief that God will provide a New Earth, there is biblical justification for thinking God has less of a sense of humor than we like to believe. The metaphor of the Noachian flood alone parallels God’s willingness to wipe out every living thing on earth in order to make things right again.

Noah’s Real Ark

Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1613

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings that I have created––people together with the animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.

Who were these people God regretted? Were they the people who according to his word loved their neighbors as themselves? Or were they full of capitalistic fervor and conquering, warlike ways? Were they racists as well, bickering over the color of skin and the nations of origin? These were the evils God abhorred in human beings, for they lead to violence against any or all that they encounter and judge to be inferior.

And what does Noah represent? He represents those that hold out against such capitalistic fervor and the rank behaviors (the love of money is the root of all evil…) that come with it. The real ark of Noah is this commitment to hold out against violence, racism, discrimination and exploitation of others through war, commerce and prejudice. The real Noah recognizes that preserving aspects of God’s creation is paramount to faith.

Evolution and salvation

How interesting that it turns out our capitalistic ways of extraction and unhindered appetites for resources are similarly violent toward the very earth upon which we depend for survival? Indeed, we depend upon the earth even for salvation, yet capitalistic Christians defy laws that protect the environment on grounds that human beings should have the right to exploit the earth’s resources any way they see fit. This is based on the idea that the Genesis-driven notion of a literal “dominion” over the earth excuses all behaviors.

Yet what more potent symbol is there for salvation than protecting the earth, God’s creation? It’s almost as if evolution and God were conspiring to produce the same result as foretold in the story of Noah.

“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence,” the Bible says. “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them with all the earth.”

Notice that God’s massive anger is not about sex, or gay marriage or Mexicans working jobs that other Americans won’t take. God is angry about violence, especially capitalistic (exploitative) violence based on the unhinged belief that God bequeaths all the earth to a single race of people.

Sickness of mind

Donald Trump's proposed golf courseIt’s a sickness of mind that ignores the lessons of both evolution and God. Yet here we are, with news outlets and political parties proving every day that the real lessons of Sodom and Gomorrah were never learned. Those violent men at the door of Lot were not there for sex, but for violent, aggressive purposes of dominance and exploitation. That is why God destroyed those cities as well. The aggression and assumptive behaviors of people who thought strangers were their property to abuse was the real tipping point for God.

Those same people stand at the doors of society today, threatening and cajoling innocent citizens with their demands for wealth and power. They beg for our votes and hate the very government to which they get elected. They are conflicted, angry and violent men (and women in some cases) willing to take a nation to war as a means to further exploit the world and its resources.

And are you really going to believe what these types of people have to say when God clearly hates the violence and greed of their ways? One should hope not.

Why Donald Trump so perfectly represents today’s Republican Party

Donald Trump's proposed golf courseDonald Trump is leading the polls among Republican candidates for President of the United States. The man needs no introduction of course. His bloviating style and grandiose gestures are all too familiar in the public sphere. Which makes him the perfect Republican candidate by today’s standards in the ostensibly conservative political party in America.

Bankrupt ideology

There’s really nothing conservative about Donald Trump at all. Not if you analyze it. But that’s precisely aligned with today’s Republican Party, which is comprised of politicians whose claims of fiscal responsibility, profound religiosity and commitment to smaller government and individual freedoms have all proven to be lies over the last 30 years.

  • The Bush era fiscal policies nearly bankrupted America with an economic crash
  • Today’s conservative religious leaders primarily concern themselves with the role of faith in gaining votes and winning approval with single-issue voters on abortion, teaching of science and discrimination against gays
  • The vow of smaller government is belied by regular intrusions of conservative policies on individual freedoms pertaining to women’s rights, gender orientation, corporate versus individual citizenship and money in politics.

In other words, the supposed priorities of conservative policies are, at their very heart, a bankrupted ideology of hypocrisy, euphemism and bully politics disguised as friendly attempts to represent the interests of a supposed minority. That would be the 1% of richest Americans.

And into this void walks Donald Trump, who almost perfectly represents the shallow and bankrupted ideology of so-called conservative politics.

It makes perfect sense. Trump built his empire, if you want to call it that, on a series of business bankruptcies. So he’s rather a good symbol for Republican policymaking, which demands that you walk away from past mistakes and never admit they happened. That was the entire philosophy of the Republican policy in the wake of a disastrous eight years under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

The economy was wrecked. Two Republican-led wars dragged on without a purpose or goal in the Middle East. Terrorism had spread and grown. The middle class was suffering. Policies of discrimination against women, minorities and Muslims, to name just a few, were being blindly rubber stamped by Republicans in both the House and Senate.

The country was a mess after Bush, but Republicans refused to accept any responsibility for their trashing of the economy or American foreign policy. Instead they flatly pledged to block or defeat any Obama initiative that came along. Once again, this was a morally and ethically bankrupt way for any political party to behave, but Republicans embraced the goal to make Obama a “one-term President,” to quote Mitch McConnell.

A mile wide and an inch deep

2016possiblegopcontenders101The Republican Party has proven itself to be a mile wide and an inch deep when it comes to the flow of American life and commerce. That’s why there are so many candidates necessary to cover all the shallow concepts upon which Republicans are set to run. There appears to be no emotional, intellectual or spiritual depth among any of these candidates. Several have criticized the Pope for actually advocating the actual teachings of Christ. Others like Bobby Jindal are playing strange racial games with their personal brand. Claiming allegiance with the Confederacy despite the birth heritage of his parents in India, Jindal demonstrates the shallowness by which appeals to Republican voters are being made.

Bad reality

The GOP is like a bad reality show with its strange assortment of half-realized characters running for President. We have the sick repeats like Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. Then Chris-Christie-in-a-baseball-uniform-7there are the cartoon characters like Chris Christie (what a perfect reality show name…) and the timeworn specter of Jeb Bush, who doesn’t even use his family name in his campaign logo. It’s just Jeb! because using the Bush name is a blanket admission that his father and his brother were both royal screwups at the job of President.

In walks The Donald

Against this backdrop of fools and scoundrels, Donald Trump steps forward like the point guard on a perpetually losing basketball team that still has a fan base of diehards. And we mean that term to be taken literally. The Republican fan base of elderly white men, who typically tend to be very angry and threatened by change, is now dying fast.

But Donald Trump is the phoenix of all phoenixes. He represents the eternal flame of anger that has driven the party whose entire political approach has been to discriminate, divide and drive deals behind the scenes (anyone recall the 2000 election and the Supreme Court) in order to gain and keep power. This is the most deeply respected tradition among all for the GOP. Win first, and worry about the details later. That’s how Mitt Romney ran, and fortunately lost. He almost ran again in 2016, then thought better of it. Pretending you have depth gets old after a while.

Happy to be shallow

Donald doesn’t even think he needs all that. His tone deaf slams of Mexican people proves that he cares not who he offends. Even GOP caretaker Reince Preibus is freaked out that Trump is so blatantly exposing the understanding among Republicans that the tried and true method of Republican election appeal is to pit social groups against one another by posing the idea that one group is a threat to another. That’s how Republicans win. There can be no other explanation.

It’s the dog-whistle racism that calls Republican bigots to the voting booth. It’s the idea that women must be controlled and put in their place, and that gays cannot possibly be allowed to have a seat at the table that drives patriarchal voters and the fearfullly religious to the polls. That’s the Republican base, as it were. A mile wide and an inch deep.

Trump exposes all that ugly truth like it was bare wire exposed to the sun for the first time. And as such, he’s the perfectly imperfect candidate for the GOP at this time in history. It has the GOP absolutely freaked out that Trump walked in and took 15% of the polling, higher than any other shallow candidate on the block. He’s making waves in the shallow Republican River, in other words.

So let’s just hope they go with The Donald. At least that would be both entertaining and honest. The rest of them are liars and power mongers disguised as candidates, so why pay attention to their so-called “debates” which will actually be held on a level that an 8th grade political science class could top.

But if there fans in the room, The Donald’s hair will stand up like a flag of desperation amongst those otherwise racially airbrushed and economically strafed political candidates. The Donald for President. At least he’s honest about his dishonesties.

The Confederate flag is the perfect symbol for angry losers and selfish winners

confederate-flag-1-1024x768Some people in the American South seem to think the Confederate Flag stands for freedom and the will to put up a fight in the face of tyranny. They also conveniently like to ignore the fact that the Confederate Flag came to represent the interests of people who happily enslaved other human beings to get cheap labor and enrich themselves.

It’s a rather disgusting fact that the Confederate flag has continued to hang over states in the South.

But it makes a perverse kind of sense. What other flag has been used to celebrate getting your ass kicked in a war? Well, from that perspective perhaps the Confederate flag does have more in common with the United States Stars and Stripes. America’s track record since World War II is decidedly mixed when it comes to winning and losing wars.

Vietnam was arguably a disaster in terms of lives lost and public relations for the United States. Fears over communism drove the war, but so did an obsession with world dominance that has bled into wars in Iraq a couple times. And let’s not even talk about Afghanistan. We’re still over there shooting at people in an act of presiding over a Civil War in a nation that has nothing to do with our real national interests. We could have pulled out of there the weekend after we “missed” getting Osama bin Laden and the world would not be any worse off than it is now.

America missed warnings about terrorist strikes, then tried to make up the difference by bombing and torturing people that had very little to do with the real reason why we got hit in the first place. Which was sticking our nose into the business of Middle East. Our devotion to Israel stems from moneyed interests that further want to protect a Confederate country formed from political actions back in the 1950s. Don’t believe me that Israel is a Confederate state?

confederate
ADJECTIVE
[ kənˈfedərət ] joined by an agreement or treaty:
NOUN
  1. a person one works with, especially in something secret or illegal; an accomplice:
VERB (confederated)
[ -ˌrāt ] bring (states or groups of people) into an alliance:
Israel flagWe don’t traditionally think of Israel as a Confederate state because the Judeo-Christian tradition refuses to accept that anything other than nationhood is acceptable for the Jewish state. But let’s not forget that Israel got is ass kicked several times by other forces in the Middle East. God apparently approved or let these things happen. The temple in Jerusalem got leveled a few times if Bible memories serve.
To be frank, Israel was reformed as a nation out of human will and in response, in some measure, to the outright massacre of millions of Jews during World War II. The argument over whether re-establishing Israel as a state or nation has raged ever since. Millions of Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East wish they could put an end to Israel. Its confederated status flies in the face of a history in which Israel appeared and disappeared over the course of history. As a result, key cities such as Jerusalem clearly share multiple roots in faith and tradition. The Crusades never really settled anything. They basically acted as a combined religious and civil war over jurisdiction of the region. The installation of the Israeli confederacy has resulted in permanent civil war in the region. 
Home bound
If America had accepted or enacted a similar outcome on its own soil, the Confederacy would still exist. The Confederate flag would fly in place of the stars and stripes.
And some people might like it that way. Had history taken a different course, the Confederacy might have been able to permanently refuse equal rights to black slaves in the South. After all, in the wake of the Civil War the South still enacted virtual slavery with Jim Crow laws enforced by lynchings, torture and discrimination.
Groups such as the Klu Klux Klan, which still claims to be a Christian organization focused on purity of the white race, played a major role in the ugly drama of the Old South.
Slowly these forces lost primary influence in the South. The Confederacy lost the Civil War. Civil rights movements struck down racist laws and granted black citizens of the United States full rights.
The Confederacy lives on
FlagWaiverYet the determined spirit of the Confederacy refused, in many respects, to die. The allegiances that drove the original Confederacy live on in full relief. The defiant response to America’s first black President in Barack Obama was in full evidence with statements by leading southern politicians such as Mitch McConnell, who vowed behind a white veil of innocence to make Obama a “one term President.”
It’s all the same stupid, confused logic of the Confederacy reborn. In the name of freedom the neo-Confederates ignore the history of the racist roots of the Confederacy and all its claims to “states rights” and “less government.” But really there is no logic behind the claim that less government equals better government. Because the less our government stands for human equality and opportunity, the more egregious the offenses become against those whose status is less than white or privileged by law in some other respect. We’ve already witnessed the greatest transfer of wealth in American history from the middle class to the richest 1%. That happens to be the same percentage of slaveholders in the South. Do you see the picture now? The neo-confederacy would prefer to make slaves of us all. That is why the Confederate Flag should offend every one of us.
We’ve seen the actions of racists for more than 200 years. We’ve seen corporate interests ignore the impact that pollution has on the environment. We’ve watched discrimination according to sexism and sexual orientation. We’ve seen all this falsely supported by claims that the Bible supports such views, and that God favors a political party that claims to represent freedom even as it works tirelessly to limit or remove the freedoms of others.
john-boehner2-1024x780We’ve even watched the neo-Confederacy try to tie all this to national and individual prosperity, all while protesting social programs such as Social Security and Medicaid that clearly leverage the nation’s collective wealth to protect the elderly and sick in times of needs.
But the neo-Confederacy seeks to secede from a nation dedicated to helping others. Because just like the conservative causes that claimed to protest the second World War while secretly funding the Nazis with weapons in acts of clear war profiteering, and like the neo-Confederates who leveraged the Iraq War into a mercenary profit machine, the neo-Confederacy is a mean-spirited movement to divide America and reap profits from its hulking corpse.
Symbols of ignorance

All this seems to be lost on those who believe the Confederate flag stands for anything other than fighting for the cause of selfish interests and ignorance. And as for the battle to keep Israel afloat in a sea of resistance, the only true solution lies in recognition of other culture’s claims to the same historical claims of territory.

That’s how the United States converted from a Union and Confederacy to a single nation. Rather than the divisions of ignorance, race and selfish interests, it was respect born of mutual needs that ultimately brought reconciliation and peace.

You can wave all the flags you want, but in the end it is the white flag of peace that truly matters.

The long trail of sad excuses uttered by gun zealots

FIREARMYou’ve heard them say it before. It’s the slogan treasured by NRA members and politicians sucking the smoking hot barrels of the gun industry.

“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”

And isn’t that nice? That’s about the best excuse for lack of responsibility ever conceived. It’s in line with a long line of propagandistic utterances used to justify killing in the past.

Manifest Destiny

Let’s consider another trite little phrase used to justify selfish behavior that led to the death of millions. That would be manifest destiny. According to the website United States History, the phrase Manifest Destiny was first recorded in a magazine titled United States Magazine and Democratic Review. That’s where it appeared in this context: “our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our multiplying millions.”

That sounds much like the justification for the establishment of Concealed Carry laws in the United States. And isn’t it fascinating how the supposed freedoms allotted one segment of society is accorded so much favoritism over the rights, and very survival, of another?

Providential perversions

Notice the injection of God into the formula for Manifest Destiny. Always a desperate ploy for approval, the practice of invoking religion (more specifically that of Providence) is designed to raise doubts in the minds of those whose reasons for objecting to the obvious force of will behind a selfish motive. When there is no moral excuse for what you are about to propose, such as killing lots of people to protect your own interests, it is always and forever convenient to claim that God (and country) are truly on your side.

But of course Manifest Destiny was never amounted to more than an excuse for bad behavior disguised as good intentions. It was not a fully actualized ideology in any sense. With its beginnings as a justification and instrument for war, Manifest Destiny kept that purpose alive in the very event of resistance to the practices of primarily white and powerful politicians and their minions.

Hidden agendas

Nature and eternity are foundations of the BibleTo be sure, there were some noble aspirations lurking at the core of Manifest Destiny. There was the belief that the American experiment was indeed exceptional, even vital to the spread of Republican Democracy in the world. “We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand….”

Those were the words of Thomas Paine. But take special note of his reference to Noah, the biblical character whose ostensible contribution to world history came on the heels of a worldwide genocide by none other than God.

Sorry, Thomas. That less than oblique reference exposes the deep pathology behind the supposed march to freedom invoked in Manifest Destiny. Because when that sort of thinking is combined with any sort of racist or triumphal sense that God is on your side, then things can get warped and dangerous pretty quickly.

Wipeout

So it was that Manifest Destiny served at least as a backdrop for genocide of Native Americans on the North American continent. It was a flood of white settlers this time that wiped out the populations of all those who stood in the way. Our nation has hardly shed a tear for those who died or were displaced by people assuming their supposed natural rights to the land.

It was superior weapons that won the day. The white man’s guns were far better than the weapons of the Native Americans. But that’s where the interesting junctions of past history and current propaganda converge. If we simply take the modern phrase “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and apply it to the execution of Manifest Destiny against the millions of people slaughtered in the forests and plains of North America, then our nation began its history with thick layers of blood on its hands.

Cowboys and Indians

Indeed, the entire “cowboys and Indians” mantra rests deep in the psychology of all those abide by our nation’s oral and visual history. The days of the Wild West where gunman roamed free with handguns to engage in gunfights on the streets is also rife with symbolism. These were supposedly “free and independent” gunslingers. Yet their nobility essentially constituted martial law, or worse yet, vigilante justice.

We even had a “cowboy President” in George W. Bush who hailed from Texas whose idea of foreign policy was to shoot first and ask questions later. The Iraqis were the Indians according to this narrative, so we went in with guns blazing.

The real Wild West

How convenient then that America has begun its evolution back toward the day when people walked around with guns strapped to their hips on holsters. But wait a minute! The real history of guns in the Wild West is something entirely different. Many towns had strict laws about checking your guns before you could walk around freely. it simply was not true that everyone walked around all the time carrying weapons concealed or openly. Civilization and our Constitution demanded an entirely different dynamic.

FlagSolarSee, the Second Amendment recognizes the importance of civility first, gun rights second. It reads like this. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

As the Old West vitally recognized, the phrasing of the Second Amendment does not specifically guarantee the right to bear arms at all times. It guarantees the right to own guns. And it guarantees to bear Arms as needed. But it does not guarantee the right to willfully impose those purposes in all circumstances. The term “shall not be infringed” has been interpreted as an unhindered right to keep, show and use weapons in any circumstance.

Unhinged beliefs

The term “shall not be infringed” has been interpreted by gun zealots as an unhindered right to keep, show and use weapons in any circumstance. But our own history from none other than the Wild West shows that wielding weapons outright was not originally encouraged or tolerated. That entire notion is unhinged from reality. Gun control is the key basis for salvation for one good

Gun control is the key basis for salvation for one good reasons. Guns are designed for one purpose, and that is killing. Their presence presages violence and actions that would not occur in circumstances where guns freely carried were not present. The unhinged claim that guns actually “prevent” violence is a sociopathic response to the reality that people do indeed kill people.

Extremes

Gun proponents will call this definition extreme, but the trail of excuses used to define unhinged gun laws is a form of sociopathy. Sociopathy is defined as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocialoften criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.”

Extreme? Hardly. Let’s look at this claim in reverse to understand how accurate a term sociopathy really is for gun proponents who will not listen to reason on the issue of gun control.

306523_3795453241128_1825138197_nFirst, gun proponents love to claim that it is only criminals that abuse guns. But of course, the first time any person abuses the use of their gun in acts of violence, aggression or calculated murder, they instantly jump over to the condition of criminality. Let’s not forget that pet slogan of gun proponents: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It defines the quick-trigger mentality gun proponents love to claim as a potential prevention measure against gun violence.

Thin veneer

We instantly begin to see that the defense of guns as a mode of protection is a very thin veneer. The excuse to defend supposedly “law-abiding” gun owners turns out to be a paper-thin and fragile excuse for the concept of unrestricted gun ownership. If you do not consider the instability of society in general, then the idea that all gun owners will obey the laws is an acceptable defense of the right to keep and bear arms at all times. But that is demanding that we consider our gun laws in a void, absent of human frailty and obsessive characteristics that we know exist not only in criminals, but in all of society.

If you study ancient and modern societies with any sort of objective assessment, you note that our world is comprised of a competitive, often dismissive lack of order.

And, if we do our moral duty as Christians and actually read the Bible to consider the impact of all the discord, lies and sins that constitute evil, it should be evident that guns are not the ultimate solution to human conflict. In fact they contribute to the problem in massive ways. More than 10,000 people in America die each year from gun violence. Many more are wounded or maimed.

Quite the opposite

Guns are not the solution to society’s problems. That would be forgiveness and love. The Bible does not mince words about this. The Bible does not encourage us all to take up arms in the event that we’re confronted by evil.

jesus-blackConsider Psalm 121: 7-8 for starters: “The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

Jesus was even more succinct on the issue: Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. …”
Lo and behold, the supposed right to keep and bear arms looks like an extreme denial of faith in the context of scripture. Because if you do not trust the Lord to keep you from all harm, and you do not find capacity to love your neighbor and your enemy, then you are living a lie in the face of God’s commands. Guns are actually a denial of God’s power and authority in this world.
The problem with the lie that guns are the solution to violence and social problems is that this meme has been disturbingly confused with the call to patriotism and national protection. But again, at the heart of this claim there is deceit as well.
We know from a long line of public statements by radical groups on the Right and the Left that mistrust of the government is a key reason why so many people want to keep and own guns. At the heart of all this is fear. The Second Amendment has been interpreted by many to mean that keeping guns is necessary to keep the powers of our own government in check.
Thus wildly formed “militias” project their own worst fears on the national interest. They contend that the government is indeed coming to “take their guns” and that it is the right to bear arms that keeps our country free and independent. Some have even claimed that the reason nations like China would never invade America is that there are so many guns they could never accomplish the task of going door to door killing its citizens.
Wild West in the Middle East
abu-ghraibOne could argue that point well enough given the Wild West state of Middle Eastern countries in which martial law and terrorist groups reign with impunity. Yet when the United States invaded Iraq without direct cause in 2003, it was to overthrow a dictator and install order in a country where it was feared terrorism already existed. Instead we drew very well-armed and creative terrorists to a nation where they now rule the day.
So that’s the model upon which gun proponents in America want to base our Republican democracy. They would rather have their guns and act like terrorists against their own country than work to establish a reasonably balanced right to bear arms in which people are not at constant threat of being murdered by citizens with perverse motivations and weapons to match.
Mass murderers
Because that’s where we stand today. The shootings and mass murder keep adding up. When the white supremacist gun owner with a vendetta against black people sat in church for an hour before opening fire and killing nine innocent worshippers, apparently no one noticed that he was carrying a gun. So much for the claimed value of Concealed Carry laws. And had the other worshippers all been carrying guns, would any one of them been capable of pistol-whipping the shooter there on the spot? In church? With God present?
The ultimate cynic might now claim that it was obvious God had no reason to protect those people from evil. There is still such deep racism toward black people in America that there are those who likely welcomed the attacks. Just as ugly were the attempts to politicize and claim those murders were not an attack on people of color, but were instead an attack on Christianity itself. That’s the big Talking Point these days for Meta-Christians seeking to own the authority of Christianity for political purpose.
Just as ugly were the attempts to politicize the event through claims those murders were not an attack on people of color, but were instead an attack on Christianity itself. That’s the big Talking Point these days for Meta-Christians seeking to own the authority of Christianity for political purposes.
An unholy alliance
How desperately sick it is that the very people willing to politicize these murders tend to be the very people who side with gun zealots to get elected. If ever there was a case where phony Christians had blood on their hands. this was it. Those politicians that refuse to engage in reasonable discussion of gun controls, who claim cynically that “more guns” would have prevented these murders, are directly responsible for the deaths of those killed by sociopath who shot people dead at close range.
If you are one of those people who engage in sick excuses and propaganda such as “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” then the blood of all those murdered by handgun and other gun violence is on your hands as well. Don’t you get it? It idoes not matter if
Don’t you get it? It does not matter if your own gun habits are law-abiding or not. If you support a falsely romantic vision of a Wild West for the New Age, you are part of the problem. Your politics are corrupt. Your religion is confused and perverse. Your notion of patriotism has more in common with terrorism than national pride. You are part of the long trail of sad excuses uttered by gun zealots.
And you have blood on your hands to show for it.

The apocalypse of the anti-Millennials

Nature can help us look beyond our earthly perspectives

For millennia people have looked skyward for signs of God. But sometimes it is better to look at the ground under their feet to find examples of God’s creative powers.

I was once a Millennial. So were you. So were all of us.

We all passed through our 20s and 30s in some fashion. It really does not matter what that fashion truly is–– 70s or 80s, 90s or 2000s. Being twenty-something and searching for your true self is a rite of passage we all go through.

So it is disturbing to listen to members of my generation and a little younger than the Baby Boomer complain that today’s Millennial generation somehow lacks initiative and/or the life skills necessary to make it in this world. “They don’t want to work a job that isn’t perfect,” the complainers says. Or, “They don’t want to pay their dues.”

Paying dues my ass

You know what? I worked more than a couple jobs that were less than perfect. You know what it taught me? That a shitty job is just that. It’s shitty. And the people who worked there? They were shitty and cruel and inconsiderate. In some cases they were backstabbing bastards and bitches who would do anything to go home on a given day feeling like they’d somehow “won the battle.”

That was true in the blue collar factory jobs I worked as a summer job. It was also true working a supposedly moral organization such as the Boy Scouts of America. There are shitty people everywhere. It often doesn’t pay to stick around waiting for some of these people to get better. Because they won’t.

A whole lot better

I’m not being negative here. I’m being positive. The minute I left those shitty jobs life got a whole lot better. In fact the reason I took those shitty jobs in the first place was by taking the so-called “safe” advice of others rather than sticking it out to find work more suited to my mind and skills.

That summer I worked in the paint factory… loading cans and sucking up blue fumes of turpentine… and dealing with the jerks who purposely shot sponges through the cleaning tubes while I held a hose into a barrel… so that it would soak me with dangerous chemicals from head to toe? All so they could have a laugh.

That was not paying “dues,” as so many people like to claim. That was being the victim of abuse. Accepting that job in the first place was a product of listening to my mother telling me I needed to take a job earning $4.50 an hour rather than selling five or six of my paintings for $250 as I had done that past winter.

The “safe” advice turned out to be a tragic and awful choice. That summer job trashed my self-esteem and my health. I was a wreck going into my junior year in college and fell into an undiagnosed pattern of depression and struggled with my schoolwork and running. Was $4.50 an hour and paying my dues worth it? Not on your life.

This is good for you? 

DeerCrowrevSome might insist that it was a good experience. “Well, you need that kind of experience to appreciate what real work is all about.”

I say Bull Shit. I was a Millennial then. I could recognize shitty work and shitty people for what they were. The people with whom I worked in those positions and several more were small-minded assholes who took perverse pride in hauling people down to their own level.

Later in life if you’re fortunate enough to climb the ladder a bit and work either a better blue collar or white collar job, you just might get to appreciate that not everyone treats each other in such a shitty manner. Yet even in those circumstances, we are all often forced to deal with complete jerks in our work life. Either our co-workers or our customers can turn our lives in a living hell. You wake up wondering “What the hell happened? Why am I so goddamned unhappy?”

You think back a bit to figure out why life went to hell and almost always you can point to one or two people who were either jealous or so blatantly coarse in their worldview that no one can deal with them. Some of those people become bosses through their sheer belligerence. Then the workplace becomes toxic from their ignorance and

Some of those people become bosses through their sheer belligerence. Then the workplace becomes toxic from their ignorant bullying. Yet somehow the company lauds their bottom line success even when twenty people around or under their management know that the company could make twice as much if that person were removed from their job. That’s because companies also often take the “safe” advice and settle for shitty-assed managers who leave skid marks on their reputation as well as their accounting books.

Thinking outside the knocks

Yet companies keep barking about “thinking outside the box” when the very people who do are are considered impractical troublemakers.

If that’s the case, the whole culture can become an insular, crappy place to work. All those “safe” and seemingly productive people are threatened by those who come in the door with a whiff of new productivity about them. That’s why companies hire so-called “change agents.” When management gets safety fever and can’t think their way to the next level of good, “just good enough.” Which is the path to dissolution of course. What companies actually need to do is “think outside the knocks.” That is, work to create a culture that is based on respect, not knocking each other around.

dscn9203.jpgIt’s true. Even entirely successful companies can come to believe that only those raised in their carefully coiffed culture are indoctrinated enough for roles in the firm.

Entire industries can get that way. “Oh,” you hear the recruiter say. “You don’t have five years of health care industry experience? We really don’t have a place for you.”

During the economic downturn in the United States, some companies were heard to claim, “We can’t hire anyone that has been out of work for more than six months.” Talk about an evil, cruel and sick brand of insularism.

With that mindset we can wind up with entire industries whose insular practices and values come to represent the opposite of goodness. For example, we still hear stories about how pharmaceutical companies push drugs on doctors who prescribe them to patients that don’t even need said drugs. In some cases those drugs are even harmful or fatal to the wrong patient.

Yet the profits made from the drug-pusher system typically cover legal costs of malpractice and even wrongful death. It’s all part of “the system” if you’re on the side taking pay for practice.

Spiral effects

So the cycle grows even larger. More people die and medical practices become pawns of the pharma companies and their outrageous costs. Medical costs skyrocket as a result, and insurance companies jack their rates to keep pace. The upward spiral puts the cost of medicine completely out of reach for millions of people. Yet when someone comes along to try to make a correction the pleading cry is to “not mess with the system!”

This is a really shitty way to do business. Yet it happens all the time. Health care is not alone in its push and pull shittiness. Speculative bidding and holdbacks on demand push gas prices up and drive entire nations to war. All so that a very few wealthy people can enrich themselves at the expense of others.

Into this world wades a new generation of young people who question these stupid tactics along with the shitty work ethic of those who seem to think it’s funny to demand that Millennials “pay their dues” at the hands of a system that is clearly fucked up.

Insane purposes

John-Lennon-john-lennon-34078983-1024-768We can turn to none other than John Lennon (no Saint, but wise…) for perspective on this fucked up “system” into which Millennials now wade. Lennon was perhaps the original model for a pissed off hipster Millennial if there ever was one. Here’s what Lennon had to say about the way the world works, and has worked for quite a long time:

Here’s what Lennon had to say about the way the world really works, and has worked for quite a long time:

“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

The tactics of such insane people have become ever more evident with the advent of social media. Now we can see, in real time, the quotations of politicians claiming that rape is not really rape, and that the principles of so-called “less government” strategists are include imposing laws dictating what a woman can and can’t do with her own reproductive organs.

We see slogans such as “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” when the only reason guns were ever invented was to kill. We see Presidents lying to take our countries into war for ideological purposes and both sides of the political aisle blaming the other for why the system doesn’t work. But it’s simple. Everyone is in it for themselves. That’s how we get war profiteering. Human lives become expendable.

Human capital

Global companies come to view “human capital” only in terms of dollars and cents, and are willing to completely gut the economy of a nation such as America if the company can make more profit for the shareholders. Those harmed by this lack of loyalty are simply categorized as collateral damage.

Then the very same political and business idealogues who execute said rape and pillage (of person and economy) set to work to pass laws that categorize corporations as “people too.” The entire notion of personhood is thus turned into a perverse euphemism. All that remains is a system that benefits the few and trumps all other priorities.

The devaluation of human capital by granting corporate personhood to impersonal entities is the huge weight on one end of the delicate balance that props up the ugly system on which conservatives have labored for 40 years or more to bring to fruition. Starting with Ronald Reagan smashing the air traffic controller unions, conservatives with an appetite for debasing labor in the name of unmitigated profits has gone through all kinds of transmogrifications. But the end result is the same. Disempower the common man so that there is no resistance to profit-taking.

The newest euphemism for stealing labor is the so-called “right to work” movement. This unfairly grants companies the ability to ignore principles enacted through law that have protected worker wages for decades. Republicans also have fought the minimum wage increase over the years, claiming it would bankrupt businesses. That has never happened. But workers have not kept up with the cost of living while corporations and their executives grab ever more of the economic pie. The transfer of wealth has been massive, almost deadly to the economy as a whole.

This has been abetted and further perverted by investment companies that have invented more efficient ways to transfer wealth and call it freedom of choice. The entire movement to privatize programs such as Social Security are nothing more than a blatant grab at billions of otherwise protected, safe money that will be there for the workingman’s retirement.

The love of money is the root of all evil. And these are evil times indeed.

In the name of religion

To make things even creepier however, the people who run this system are all to happy to recruit the name of Jesus Christ to justify it all. It’s their way of normalizing insanity and maniacal behavior. This is the approach of a sociopathic society. It is a fascist worldview that confuses nation with God, or profit with personhood. Jesus did not come to bring any of that to the earth. Human beings bring that upon themselves through selfishness, greed, avarice and lust for money.

The environment becomes yet another victim in all this extractive and exploitative behavior. Then, if people gather to protect and conserve nature for its own sake, they are branded “tree-huggers” as if that were a negative connotation. Religion is again dragged into the mix with people claiming that God gave human beings “dominion” over the earth as if that were enough reason to excuse rape and pillage of all creation with no consequences or obligations.

A better way

angelsThere is a better way of course. Business is not by itself an evil entity. Nor are corporations. There are many organizations that conduct business in good conscience. Some become leaders in the movement to enhance people’s lives through their profession. These companies encourage employees within the organization to treat each other with respect.

So we should not settle for the idea that Millennials are wrong about the world and just need to grow up. It may in fact be quite the opposite. It may well be that it is those embittered Baby Boomers and other social critics that have ceased trying to change the world for the better. These may be the true and complicit evil at work in culture and the work world. That goes for all those entrenched in anachronistic religions that place fundamentalism and literalism ahead of practical human knowledge. If you don’t join their team they try to beat you any way they can.

Shitting the bench

Because if you’re a nutter on a basketball team when a star freshman shows up for practice who threatens to show you all up, it is not in good conscience to convince them they are better off sitting the bench with the rest of the miserable scrubs that have quit trying to improve. And worse yet, don’t try to call them “bitter” or “spoiled” if they ignore you and go about the difficult process of actualizing their own abilities. Some would rather quit the team and try something else rather than put up with a bunch of selfish ball hogs and nutters.

That goes for religion and politics too. We’re far past the point where churches full of small-minded creationists and bigots should get the chance to represent themselves as the face of God. If this entire essay seems a bit harsh and impatient it is because there are many who are sick of the crazy-assed conservative, supposedly “safe” bullshit of being told what to do and how to do it by people who claim to know how the “world really works” when it’s clear the only they know is how it works for them.

That’s not good enough. Nor is it fair and right to all those people trying to create sane and considerate policy against a veritable tsunami of idiotic, selfish, Fox News-driven demagoguery and bully pulpit enculturation.

Just stop with that crap. Millennials of all ages are sick of it. No, I can’t pretend to speak in fullness or insight for all people in the so-called Millennial generation. But I can speak against the prejudicial accusations of people who seem to so poorly grasp what anyone is about, much less people wise to the world before their years, and willing to deny the bullshit that stems from it.

Modern apocalypse

The dynamic that impoverishes the intellect while gutting the culture for insanely selfish purposes is backed by powerful interests.

Yet we can also recognize that the worldview also recruits believers on basis of fear and creating conflict between sectors of society.

That can be a highly popular way to draw followers. Yet their net methodology requires that we all adopt a worldview intellectually equivalent to ignorant children. They juvenilize the political and culture progress of the nation by seeking to ban science and intellectualism as a foundation for public discourse and education.

They also treat women as inferiors through legislative action and in speeches rife with dog-whistle threats and controlling behavior. They speak out against equal and civil rights for blacks, gays, minorities, immigrants and anyone else that does not fit their typically white, male mold. Even the lone 2016 GOP black presidential candidate Ben Carson is tone deaf on the rights of other minorities.

This is cognitive dissonance at its worst. There’s not an exception among the bunch to these methods of disaffection used to gain electoral support. The Tea Party was a similarly astroturfed attempt to rally anger and disillusionment into a political whole. But the fractiousness and contradictory nature of political, social, economic and religious conservatism denies its verity at the core. Plus all four defy the foundations of the United States Constitution, which by definition is a liberal document.

Divide and die

We can be assured of the ultimate apocalypse of this worldview because it ultimately depends on isolating one group against the other. Certainly that has been a recruitment method for a cabal of loud-mouthed idealogues barking about how persecuted they are because their prejudices and jingoistic view of God and Country no longer hold water under rational inspection. Yet one by one these embittered souls are going under. The formerly powerful Rush Limbaugh has already begun to dig his own grave through falling ratings and stations abandoning his sick brand of dishonesty. Sean Hannity won’t be far behind, and Bill O’Reilly has recently spun himself into the ground over his many lies and spins about his own journalistic integrity.

The days of these so-called “realistis” are numbered in an apocalyptic sense. The world can no longer afford to sustain such dangerous ideas and anachronistic woes. The apocalypse of the anti-Millennial is already here.

The Genesis Fix: A Repair Manual for Faith in the Modern Age

The Genesis Fix: A Repair Manual for Faith in the Modern Age

The painful truth of why some Christians feel persecuted

SoftballThe game of softball is a wonderful American past time. Even more than baseball perhaps, softball is played by teams of men and women for camaraderie and fun. Yet many players take their softball quite seriously. Bars and other businesses sponsor teams, providing uniforms and league fees in return for recognition and community support.

Powerhouses

A powerhouse softball team can dominate a softball league for many years. The reputation of a dynastic softball team can go a long way toward defeating opponents before the games even begin. One such team led the softball league in our city for several years before our newspaper-sponsored band of former baseball players and other athletes signed up to play together. That first year we ran head on into the powerhouse team in the quarterfinals and got knocked out. We had not built our roster completely and the home run hitters on the powerhouse team overwhelmed our run production capability.

Humble efforts

But the next year we added a couple more former college baseball players and the results of that year’s schedule and championship were entirely different. Our team still looked like the rag tag liberals in the league. We wore sweatpants and old stained hats to play. Our team shirts were nothing special for sure. But we played the game of softball with the practical flair of hit and run offense and great gloves on defense. We lost but two games all season, one to the powerhouse team in the league. The other game we lost because we were shorthanded due to family obligations.

The powerhouse team was still sure they would wipe us out in the championship round. They came to the park as they always did, full of loud voices and swagger. Their crisp new uniforms shone in the sun. Every at-bat they cheered and yelled intimidations at us in the field.

Yet midway through the third inning we had racked up 8 runs to their single home run in the second inning. Suddenly they came to the realization that their brand of intimidation and domination had worn off on us. We were catching their potential home runs, for one thing, and making plays on their other hitters as well. When we came to bat, we moved runners around the bases with hits and speed. They began screaming at each other for missing line drives and grounders that always seemed just out of reach. Their voices changed from a tone of domination to desperation.

Turning tables

For the next eight seasons in a row, our lowly-looking team of fundamentally sound softball players beat that team of blowhards during the regular season and for the championship too. No amount of muscle they added to their lineup really changed things.

They did complain to the umpires a lot more. Apparently they felt persecuted by the fact that the rules of play were not tipped somehow in their favor. They had bigger players and more home run hitters than us. They flexed their arms in the sun and they looked like winners in their uniforms. Yet we beat them year after year.

Spiteful congratulations

Finally, after the eighth season of getting tromped in the finals, one of them turned to me after the awards ceremony and pointed at the baseball glove trophy we’d received and said, with a dripping tone of cynicism in his voice, “Congratulations. All that thing will ever do is gather dust on your dresser.”

And he was right. But he was also so wrong. Because we’d accomplished what his team of perceived dominance could not do. We played by our own conscience and methods, and we won.

You could perhaps have argued that the powerhouse team with its pretty uniforms was a better representation of the sport of softball. Admittedly our team received more than one insult about our pragmatic mode of dress and lack of complete uniforms. Our response was always the same: What matters is how well you play the game.

That apparently felt like an insult in some way to our better-dressed competitors. Yet they never seemed to focus on the practical reasons why they continued to lose. The more home run hitters they added, the fewer runs they produced because fewer men ever got on base. As a result, they seemed to feel persecuted in their annual pursuit of overcoming their own flaws.

Hard lessons and loud fans

In sports and life and in business, the most critical aspect of improvement is grasping your weaknesses and understanding your strengths. That is key to making competitive adjustments in this world. It almost doesn’t matter what scale or what cultural meme to which you apply these standards, you either figure out why you’re losing or you keep on losing. Just ask the Cubs, but don’t blame a goat or a black cat. And remember that the team with the loudest fans does not always win.

The loud protestations by conservatives that Christianity is being “persecuted” and “attacked” by liberals is an often-heard meme across the media spectrum. Yet it does more to expose the rightly fallen status of fundamental Christianity as the once dominant religion in America. The plain and simple fact is that it is weaknesses in conservative theology that have done the most to persecute conservative Christianity. Biblical scholarship that does not commence with broad assumptions about the order and process New Testament dogma has done more to undermine fundamentalism as a worldview than secular liberalism could ever do. Yet everyday Christians with a commitment to social justice also find themselves divorced from fundamental Christianity with its often prejudicial treatment of women, people of color, gays and a whole host of other social targets pulled into the mix by conservative Christianity’s alliance with fiscal conservatives as well.

Now there has arisen a new brand of Protestantism of a Progressive brand seeking to reconcile social justice and the Bible. This new progressivism happens to align perfectly with the fundamental tenets of the United States Constitution and its call for equal rights. by contrast conservative Christianity seems perpetually engaged in denying equal rights to anyone judged to stand outside its often literal interpretations of scripture.

Conservative Christianity has long had it troubles with key elements of the social revolution. Inclusiveness proved difficult for people convinced that Christianity was the divine province of relatively wealthy and white people. Then when hippies starting calling on the Lord by name through very liberal productions such as Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar, conservatives felt they had enough and decided sometime in the 1960s to take their softball and go home.

But they couldn’t stay away from the political sandlot for long. They came back bellowing through the lungs of Jerry Falwell and for a few years looked like they might just win a season or two of political softball. The Moral Majority wrapped itself in flags and claimed that conservative Christianity owned the roots of the Constitution itself.

Sticking to what works

Truth be told however, it was liberalism with all its ties to Constitutional justice, equal rights and freedom from religion that was sticking closer to the Constitution.

Conservative Christians backed by political allies accused liberals and Democrats of cheating the political system handing out favors in the form of Social Security and Medicare in exchange for voting approval on the so-called Liberal Agenda.

There was only one problem with this storyline. Those social programs happen to align very closely with the fundamental tenets of true Christianity. Caring for the poor and sick is exactly what the Bible (and Jesus) calls on us to do. Our government basically started an insurance program back in the 1930s to keep people from becoming destitute in their retirement years of when they are elderly, sick and need the most help. That’s not a handout. That’s responsible management that happens to reflect true Christian values.

The abortion debate

That was not the only cognitive dissonance from the Right. Because beyond having failed in making a connection with the American people on compassionate social programs, the Christian Right elected to take issue with other trends they considered social ills. The right to abortion was one of those issues.

The problem with abortion as an issue of Christian concern is that its simple and preventative solutions such as prescribing birth control and delivering sex education have both been branded as liberal, not moral, solutions to the prevalence of abortions. Even the Catholic church with its so-called rhythm method of birth control could not fool its own constituents. This theologically twisted (and often flawed) advice has been ignored en masse by Catholic families, 97% of whom use conventional methods of birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Wrong again and again on science

Conservative Christianity has executed similarly bold yet spectacularly wrongheaded campaigns against science and evolution as ell. The entire creationist ideology that depends on literal interpretation of the Bible is nothing more than a ‘science of denial.’ Not a single scientific discovery has ever been directed or proven through the lens of creationism. The same goes for the euphemistic Intelligent Design movement that chooses to openly ignore the fact modern medicine and all our sciences depend upon evolutionary theory as a foundational method for proposing and testing scientific facts. The ID movement predictably labels this brand of science a tautology, but again, not a single scientific fact or theory has, or ever can be, tested through ID. The reason is simple. No one can test for the presence or absence of God in a natural or organic process. Therefore it is not a science. It is a religion.

Loud losers

With all these profound losses of credibility and practicality on its ledger, it is no wonder conservative Christianity feels persecuted. If you’re going to stand in center field and yell about how your opposition sucks when the score is 20-1 against your team, that’s a choice some people seem happy and determined to make.

But to hedge its bets and counter these massive losses of credibility over the years, conservative Christianity is taking an entirely different approach to imposing its will on America. It has decided that rather than try to win the game fairly, it is better to simply buy up all the teams and even try to own the league itself.

That’s what the new conservative strategy is all about. If you outright own the league (or the Senate and House that govern it) it doesn’t much matter how good or right your opponent truly is about the Constitution or any other subject. This strategy is abetted by the convenient and persistent transfer of wealth from the middle class, which tends to vote for pragmatically liberal issues and social justice, to the wealthiest Americans in bed with equally conservative Christians.

This strategy is harrowlingly abetted by the convenient and persistent transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest Americans in bed with equally conservative Christians. This further removes power from proponents of pragmatical liberal issues and social justice. The Citizens United ruling rubber stamped by a conservative Supreme Court helped usher in a new age corporate ownership of the political process.

The tortured truth of Fox News

The Christian Right even owns its own broadcast team so that fans of the Home Team never hear any criticism of conservative Christianity and its political or business allies. Fox loves the use of strongarm tactics and bullying to get its way. It even cheered and supported ex-VP Dick Cheney when he spoke out in defense of torturing Iraqis. It is hard to believe that Jesus would support such a viewpoint. After all, it could not have been pleasant being scourged by his Roman captors and spat upon, or forced to carry a piece of heavy timber to the place where soldiers nailed his wrists to the wood and let him expire from stress and bleeding. But Fox News and its conservative alliance thought it was fine to torture and persecute often innocent citizens in search of information about a war that America started as a retaliation against a country that wasn’t involved in the 9/11 attacks.

How very Christian of us 

But Fox News with its team of mostly white male and female hack cheerleaders loudly proclaims that Christians are the ones being persecuted. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly love this approach to gaining complicity. It makes them tons of money beckoning to the jingoistic fervor of conservatives who seem to love to have an enemy at which to point their rage.

There is just one problem with this last grasp for victory. Jesus himself told us to love our enemies, not persecute them or claim to be persecuted by others. Turn the other cheek, remember? Or at the very least shake the dust from your sandals (or softball shoes) and move on to make your point in another town.

But even Jesus said to make sure you got the message right before you go shaking the dust off anything. Even his own disciples missed the metaphorical foundations of his teaching, asking him why he was so liberal with his organic symbolism rather than just “telling it straight.”

“Are you so dull?” he challenged his disciples. Or, “Are you also without understanding?’

See, the disciples of Jesus felt a bit persecuted by the fact that more people did not accept what Jesus was teaching. But Jesus had them stop and think about what they were actually saying. “If you can’t understand my message,” he admonished them (and I paraphrase) “then how can you be trusted to share it with others?”

Indeed the disciples never got the whole message until Jesus gave himself over to be killed. In that single act, designed to both liberate and liberalize the faith of the Jewish and the Gentiles alike, he was sending a message that you cannot be persecuted in his name unless you bring it upon yourself and make it so.