Trump and the evangelicals focused on making converts in Israel

melania-trump-donald-trump-020380f2-6db7-4202-b16c-b737c623c9e2A December 2017 CNN story carried news about Donald Trump’s ‘promised’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by moving the US Embassy there. The article quoted evangelical leaders who were “ecstatic” about the decision.
The article outlined the reasons why: “Paula White, a Florida megachurch pastor who is close to Trump, likewise said the President has fulfilled a campaign promise. “Once again, President Trump has shown the world what I have always known — he is a leader who is willing to do what is right however loud the voices are of the skeptics and the critics. Evangelicals are ecstatic, for Israel is to us a sacred place and the Jewish people are our dearest friends.”
Not a friendly faith
While calling the Jewish people “friends,” White ignores the fact that much of the evangelical world views the Jewish faith as a flawed and incomplete version of the Christian religion.
Don’t believe it? This excerpt from the iPost, a pro-Christian website, outlines it in rather stark detail. “Most evangelical Christians believe that the Bible teaches that the Jews will convert to Christianity by accepting Jesus as their Messiah when Christ returns at the end of the Great Tribulation. Well, it will come as a shock to you, but the Bible actually says in direct language, that they must convert before Christ will return. Yes, it really says it.There are actually three verses that make such a reference. The first one is Jesus himself saying, that before the Jews will see him again, they will say, “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Here is the whole verse: “you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matt. 23:39). This means they will not see Christ until they convert. The common belief is that they will not convert until they see Christ; this is the exact opposite of what Christ literally said. This is also seen in a prophecy by Hosea:

I [Jesus] will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.” (Hosea 5:15)”

Contingencies

So the supposed “friendship” between Christian evangelicals and the Jewish people is based on some contingencies. But it really comes down to a nihilistic belief that conservative evangelicals hold over the head of everyone they encounter: Either convert or die.

Thus the move by Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem is a latter-day brand of Christian Crusade. This is no different from the days of olde, when it was hoped that each new crusade would convert the Jews and sweep up a batch of Muslims in the process.

So we can be quite sure that the call to confess will be issued yet again to those targeted by Trump’s move of the embassy to Jerusalem: “Either convert, or die.”

George W. Bush issued a similar ultimatum: “You’re either for us or against us.” And he was an evangelical too. Code language works best for zealots, mind you. The Book of Revelation is the ultimate guide to code language for revenge.

Not much of a Christian

Trump is not much of a Christian, if he is one at all. He’s never publicly admitted any flaw or humbly confessed any of his well-documented sins of lust, greed and murderous threats. In fact, he refuses to repent of anything. Thus he is no Christian.

But he is a conveniently powerful tool of the evangelical community with its militaristic desires to see the advent of Armageddon. Their hope is that something Trump does can force the return of Jesus who can make all the paybacks they’ve so eager to exact on those who question their perverse form of orthodox faith.

Yet it is the outright failure by Christian orthodoxy to convince rational people of its merits that makes the zealots so goddamned crazy to prove themselves. Thus it is the age-old tool of failing leadership that is now stoking up the winds of war because they’re feeling like the time is now or else the cause is nearly lost.

Wagging the Dog

It’s called Wagging the Dog, which is what Trump and the evangelical warmongers want to do right now across the board. Whether it’s war at home over saying Merry Christmas or war abroad to convert Jews and Muslim to bring on the apocalypse, it is a game of forced hands. Plus both parties are wanton opportunists who think like that zealot Oliver North that their personal interpretation of God’s Will trumps all other forms of law. It’s a sickness of mind, and an actual sociopathy, yet they pitch the storyline that they’re acting on behalf of God and Jesus. They are really good liars.

So it’s no surprise that Donald Trump is carrying out their orders. He was powerless to get elected without the evangelical vote. Now he’s bound by duty to suckle on the secretly anti-Semitic breasts of his sycophantic admirers. It’s what sadly fearful men do when threatened, cling to the bosom of their motherly protectors.

It’s a common theme. All bullies act the same. His current wife seems to fear him and his prior wives characterize him as a near-rapist. He seldom shows Melania any respect, much less affection. Yet he’s more than willing to sexually assault women he does not even know because, in his own words, that is where he draws comfort in this world.

  • “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”
  • “I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
  • “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
  • “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

These are the words of a man that feels patently rejected, yet feels entitled to abuse others to make himself feel better. He has suffered no consequences and has in fact been rewarded for his outright sins and aggressions by evangelicals claiming that he was installed by God in this position of power.

While Trump runs free, other politicians and high-ranking media people are being fired right and left on mere accusations that have not yet been proven. Yet America continues allowing Trump to operate with impunity.  This is what the twisted power of religious authority can do. King David once paid a price for his lust, and God denied him the right to build a temple in his honor because the onetime king “had too much blood on his hands.”

So we likely must be patient to see what God really thinks of Trump. But we should not be surprised if he were to be found dead on the floor in the Oval Office, smitten by the Lord himself in a fit of disgusted fury.

Ugly loyalties

But while he’s living high on the hog, Trump will claim he’s trying to make friends with Israel, but this is a man who trusts no one and truly seems to have no real friends. To be sure, he demands a certain brand of loyalty in exchange for his favor, but that does not constitute real friendship. Even that spotty partner Stephen Bannon got dumped by Trump. Anyone who refuses to fawn over him always does. Donald Trump is both vain and possessed by a pissed off brand of senility that borders on syphilitic rage.

Evangelicals are no different in their alternately pious claims and distinctly pissy rants of persecution and complaint that everyone is out to get them. So they project these fears on others. And it’s a perverse thing to claim people as friends (like the Jews) even as you secretly want to see them destroyed if they don’t abide by your philosophy or theology. That’s been the ebb and flaw of history for 2000 years, should we think it any different today?

So we can easily see why both Trump and the evangelical community are so severely aligned. It’s all about the power to persecute rather than be questioned over any aspect of the belief system. It’s better known as having it all because you’re supposedly on the side of Jesus. It’s a polite form of rape and pillage, with a bit of self flagellation thrown in for good measure.

The iPost story goes on to say:

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, . . . and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you— even Jesus. (Acts 3:19-20)

Did you see it? Peter urged the Jews to convert so that God will send the Messiah! Even though I read this verse while writing my book, Discoveries in Bible Prophecy, I did not see what it says until the book was nearly published. I had to add it in at the last minute. When it dawned on me what it says, it was like, “slap me in the face!” Whack! Whack!”

Like I said. They people are raw opportunists and thus the evangelicals and Trump deserve each other. The question is whether the rest of the world deserves the both of them working together on issues like these. Trump has stated that “he’s the only one that matters” when it comes to national security and diplomacy. He doesn’t think that he has to answer to anyone. His Tweets prove that. But philosophically invading Israel just as Bush invaded Iraq will prove just as disastrous. These are men with no sense of perspective or justice. They reek of ideology like the stench of death itself.

Let’s not forget that Jesus predicted that the end of the world would come much sooner than it turned out.

(Matthew 24:34) Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

Whoops. That never happened. But the “Day of Judgment” mentality has since been handed down through generations along with the belief that the Jews are the lost generation holding everything up. That’s what evangelicals believe about biblical prophecy.

So we know full well that America is not going to Israel to make friends. Trump and the evangelicals are only interested in making converts. That’s what starts wars. History has proven it time and again.

 

 

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The most frightening fact of the world may be how fake it is

0826-shooter-video-2Like anyone with a social media news feed, I clicked through to find out what the shooting of the Virginia news reporter was all about. And upon first viewing of the video with the gunman extending his arm with gun in hand, my thoughts turned inside out.

“This is fake,” I thought to myself.

And then the video showed shots being fired. And there was no blood, even at close range. Nothing. The manner in which the reporter ran away did not even look real. One has to believe that a heavy pistol like that makes an impact on the body when bullets are fired. Especially multiple bullets. Yet she ran away like nothing was happening. Screams of apparent fear yes, but pain? It just did not sound like that.

And from what anyone could tell, the cameraman did not even make a sound. Nor the woman being interviewed. After the initial scream, we don’t hear a word from her. Not a “Don’t shoot me!” or anything.

So the entire enterprise feels like a fake.

And why so fake?

Virtual realities

There are a ton of agendas potentially linked to this “story” emanating from a seemingly peaceful scene. But that was suspect too. The aerial photos showed the cameraman slumped on the wooden deck, again with no blood around him, in a place isolated from all other public interference. There was no blood to be seen anywhere on the decking at the “murder scene.”

clip-shootingFrankly, it all had the look of a video game.

There have been other shootings in American history that were fake in other ways, but with real consequences. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy comes to mind. The story the American people were fed was obviously fake. Millions of words have since been spilled about that incident, and one conclusion has not been reached. But there is considerable consensus that there was more than one shooter, perhaps as many as four. In other words, it was a conspiracy to kill.

So there are conspiracies to fake a killing, and conspiracies to cover up actual killings. And why should that be?

Who killed JFK?

Let’s consider the Kennedy assassination first. There were plenty of people with motives, who hated Kennedy and all that he stood for. The Mob didn’t like him. That’s a bad start for a peaceful ending. The CIA didn’t like him, and didn’t differ that much from the Mob in many respects. Kennedy was planning to eradicate the CIA and go after the Mob. But take notice that forms of both the Mob and the CIA still survive while Kennedy and his brother are long dead.

There was Lyndon Johnson, who by many counts was a pretty evil character and a political assassin at the very least. Tons of people around the career of LBJ were shot and killed, including his own sister. Yet he lived to become President even though Kennedy was shot. JFK did not like or trust LBJ. The feeling was mutual.

John_F_KennedySo the Kennedy tale holds all sorts of conspiracies withing in. And before she passed away, even Jackie Kennedy whispered some things about what she thought happened, yet the family records remain sealed away.

Perhaps there are people who think America can’t really handle the truth. Some would hate to think that the government or the people associated with it (the two can be very different) are capable of such murderous intents.

It’s the government

Yet there are plenty of people who hate and distrust the government as an entire worldview. Some fantasize the government is going to impose martial law and come take their guns away. That’s a favorite meme of the radical fringe, is it not? There are militias formed in all corners of the country, practicing just in case the troops come to take over the land.

Then there are people who think that it’s the gun nuts who are the real danger, and that guns are the real problem in America.

Convergence of craziness

These stories all converge in one place when a shooting occurs like the apparent murder of a news reporter in Virginia. It was all bundled together with headlines about an angry black man shooting a pretty white reporter. These conveniently serve as a potential conflagration to the race war going on in the United States and also an indictment of the gun violence afflicting black culture and society as a whole.

Should we now mention that America has a black president and an election coming up in 2016? Truly, from the moment Obama was elected there has been thinly disguised racist opposition to his position in life. And is there now a coincidence to the idea that a fair-skinned black man assailed a pretty white reporter, and that the response from family and friends all feels like very bad acting? It all feels calculated to enrage the radical fringe in some way or another.

In fact there’s a whole meme surrounding “false flag” events. It can seem like craziness. But it’s all about confusing agendas on purpose.

Confusing agendas

There are some who conspire to suggest that stories such as the Virginia news reporter slaying are designed to do two things; raise ire against black citizens and simultaneously push for more gun control. It all gets confusing pretty fast, to the point where it can be difficult to tell the real news from the fake.

Then we have CNN and FOX and MSNBC all chiming in with their angles and spins, and pretty soon the temptation is to just turn off the “news” and see what the hell happens next. Yet the nearly fake incidents just seem to keep coming, all smacking of psychological operations staged by someone to accomplish some agenda, or confuse that of their opposition.

Point blank

If the recent shooting was real, there are still some patently suspicious elements to it construction. The gunman’s cell phone footage and the seeming lack of awareness by the cameraman and the two people doing the interview is incredulous. That scene in which the shooter holds out the pistol with his cell phone perfectly composed behind it feels completely bogus yet calculated to create fear. He stands there forever, pointing and muttering the word “bitch.” Frankly it feels like a badly made B movie scene. If this were stocked on the shelves of the former Blockbuster video rental chain, it would have been on a back shelf for sure.

Scope and scale 

Admit it, the events of the last 15 years alone have stretched your credulity on every front. But because so much of our reality comes to us through video screens, at the same scope and scale, it is hard to discern what feels real or not.

The unreal scope and scale of events on 9/11 floored the American populace and the silence of the skies for days afterward felt weird and unreal. We were fed the story about Al Qaeda hijackers, and heard the tale of “Let’s roll” chronicling heroes on board the plane that ditched into the Pennsylvania field. Again, it all felt constructed to rally Americans in a war against the unknown enemy, especially Muslims.

For effect, even the Pentagon itself was struck, and no military planes were sent out to intercept a jetliner from striking the main building of our national security. Is our country really that inept? Does our mighty military suck so badly we can’t even protect our own Pentagon?

The more the “facts” rolled in, the more they seemed staged to create an effect. But of course America then rolled off to war in Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the events of 9/11, and the news media cheerleaded all the way.

Skeptics

FlagWaiverExcept there were some of us who sat back and wondered what was really happening with 9/11. We might be the same group of people who don’t buy the line we were given on the Kennedy assassination. Either way, it adds up to a worldview that is really chilling. The most frightening fact about the world may be how fake it really is.

Think about Nazi Germany. From inside that country people had little idea there were millions of Jews being massacred within their nation’s borders. The signs of such murderous intents were all there, with Hitler’s Mein Kampf with its anti-this and anti-that rhetoric. The man had major compensatory issues going on, and perhaps an evil dose of self-denial at some level. Some call him the anti-Christ. Well, if so, the anti-Christ is dead.

At least we think so. Where’s the body?

World orders

Hitler was no stupid form of crazy. He knew how to manipulate people, or at least hire people to do it for him. From such conspiratorial desires to rule the world emanate powerful and savage attempts to control people and eradicate others.

If one man was capable of such fury in history, why not others? Why not believe there are people just as willing to “sacrifice” a few lives in order to corner the market on political power? After all, while Hitler was ravaging Europe, Stalin was no bargain either. Nor Mussolini. All were fascists of a sort, and throw Japan into the mix at the time as well. Hitler was not alone in history with his conspiratorial rage against others. There were plenty of Roman Emperors that were just as powerfully devious and evil as evil can be. We do ourselves a disservice by even branding Hitler the worst of all villains. It diminishes our ability to conceive the nature of the evil still in operation to this day.

Every major country has its own ugly history of imperialism and international manipulation to account for. America prided itself on rescuing the Jews in World War II, yet our own nation’s history includes a massive genocide on Native Americans. Such is the fakery of American Exceptionalism. We also embraced slavery for a time. So it’s no surprise that we act like savages in the greater world as well.

Tortured souls

Look at our behavior after we took over the nation of Iraq. We tortured people in the very same jails used by Saddam Hussein to torture his perceived enemies. We did it indiscriminately as well, with soldiers mocking those they tortured, stacking bodies like abu2cord wood and forcing sexual humiliation upon them. The excuse our government gave at the time was that our torturous ways were the result of a few “bad apples” who got going and could not be stopped.

But we know better, don’t we? With a surly man like Dick Cheney in charge with his “anything goes” approach to governance, we know that they knew back in Washington what was going on. When the photos emerged and it was obvious they were not fakes, the best the boys in DC could do was to claim that the release of those photos was a threat to our national security and the safety of troops overseas. Talk about your ultimate cynical response.

Money talks

There’s just one major problem with that storyline. While we were torturing Iraqis, we were also in the process of privatizing much of the war in Iraq. That meant Dick Cheney’s real issue with the threat to America’s interests was more focused on the outcome of his 141208_fallon_cheneylies_apinvestments with Halliburton, the private mercenary company with which Cheney was long associated. Halliburton made more than $39B on the war in Iraq. Cheney was simply trying to take care of his friends. And his money.

So the war crimes we committed were essentially privatized as well. The war we were fighting in Iraq was a fake from the beginning, constructed from the whole cloth of a pre-existing doctrine for control and manipulation of the Middle East for oil, and more.

Yes, the “fake” war had real consequences, and many people including American soldiers gave their lives to that war. Thousands more were maimed and damaged by the war. Our Congress was fed hurried lies and exaggerations on which to make the decision to support the war, but people with an agenda and without conscience do that without guilt. And for what?

War machines

So that people could make money off the war, which was simply an extension or exploitation of the events on 9/11. The entire enterprise, and that is a word that describes it well, was the ultimate illustration of how fake reasons drive the way the world operates the way it does.

King Romney appears angry with his subjects

It’s all a very old construct in a new set of Emperor’s clothes. Machiavellian intrigue has never abated in this world. The New York Times characterized that fact with this description of Machiavelli’s book “The Prince”… is a manual for those who wish to win and keep power. The Renaissance was awash in such how-to guides, but Machiavelli’s was different. To be sure, he counsels a prince on how to act toward his enemies, using force and fraud in war.”

It goes on to describe how these arts operate: Yet Machiavelli teaches that in a world where so many are not good, you must learn to be able to not be good. The virtues taught in our secular and religious schools are incompatible with the virtues one must practice to safeguard those same institutions. The power of the lion and the cleverness of the fox: These are the qualities a leader must harness to preserve the republic.

And so we see that there are many willing “to be able to not be good.” They pride themselves on employing both the power of the lion and the cleverness of the fox. One thinks of Oliver North orchestrating the sale of arms to Iran to generate money for Contras in Nicaragua. It was a scandal, and yet Oliver North is a star on Fox TV and wanders around the United States giving lectures (including at churches) as if he were a hero for breaching America’s values with his own set of corrupt ideals. These were Machiavellian actions if there ever were such a thing. It was his intent to bend the will of the people to succumb to false truths, even at the expense of the lives of others.

And if such corruption at an international scale can carried out and then admired, why is it unimaginable that similar forces could not conceive and execute the events on 9/11? It is not unimaginable. Nor is it unimaginable that someone could fake a live murder of a news reporter to push gun control, or promote racism, or both at the same time?

At some point it’s not mere conspiracy theory to consider such possibilities, it’s common sense. Evil is one tricky bastard to identify and reveal. It takes courage and conviction in the face of corrupted power to do so.

Power brokers and breakers

Some people will simply do anything to achieve and maintain power. If there’s money to be gained in the process, all the better.

DeerCrowrevSo we must be aware that not everything we see in this world is what it appears to be. There are people who spend all day and all night planning psychological operations to frighten or convince you the world is what they want you to see. It happens from all sides of the political spectrum because that is how all wars of perception proceed. Sometimes people even create chaos against the very thing they would seem to value most, just to paint their enemies in an awful light.

It is also a weapon of misinformation to turn perceptions on the strengths of others into perceived weaknesses. That’s what happened to John Kerry with the Swiftboating treatment he received relative to his service in the military. The goal is to turn the hero into a scarecrow, then knock them down.

Apparent cause

Hence we even find an economic crash caused by the world’s largest financial institutions, only to find none of its perpetrators going to jail or suffer any consequence at all for their actions. In fact all the major financial institutions that caused the crash of 2008 got money thrown at them because they were, to borrow a phrase, “too big to fail.” Talk about your unilateral political euphemism!

The policies favored by President Bush contributed to the recession, and then Bush passed a bill to turn around and bail them out. Then Obama turned his head away from prosecution. Cause and effect? Or just cause and cause?

Cause they can. Cause they will. Cause they do. Cause it makes them even richer. Someone’s laughing all the way to the bank, that’s for sure.

Fake battles with real consequences

On the social front, society is constantly pitted against itself according to categories of race, region and culture. The forces behind all this rancor capitalize on the distraction of the conspiratorial entertainment these hot button issues provide.

jesus-blackOften, when left to their own devices, people of all colors eventually get along fine. Does it matter in the end if Jesus was black or white or Jewish or any color? It doesn’t, yet for centuries the church faked the appearance of Jesus as a principally white man, often with blonde or brown hair because that fit the image of those whom the church favored.

And so, we are seldom if ever left to our own devices. As a result, the American Civil War is still being fought as a clash of races and class. Or the lack of it.

Don’t you see? It’s no coincidence that Lincoln was assassinated after the war was won. Pretty much every time the forces of good seem to have won, including John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., or even Ronald Reagan, for God’s sake––the seemingly good people get shot or killed. But is it really just crazy people doing the shooting? Or are we simply led to believe that is the case?

You’d have to be crazy to believe that

How convenient it is to just write it all off as madness. Then the gun lobby gets to claim that it is only crazy people who kill. Never mind the idea that it may be guns themselves that make people have crazy thoughts, and give them the ability to act on them. That’s just crazy talk, right?

590868Granted, people with mental illness owning guns is never a good idea. But the gun lobby refuses to recognize even one gram of complicity in the fact that guns empower everyday, otherwise normal people to have crazy thoughts of power, vengeance and control.

It’s a fact: Guns were designed for killing. What do you think people are going to imagine when they take one in their hands? Target practice. Right.

It’s “just a sport.” Right. But if that’s the case, what is a target? The idea that guns exist just for sport or self-defense is a perverse fantasy. That’s like saying rocket ships are just for joy-riding.

Our culture simply does not reflect that reality. Guns are used all the time in movies and on television programs to kill, and kill righteously. They are presented as a solution to problems that cannot be solved by diplomacy or discussion. They make people into heroes and make heroes into legends. Guns are depicted as an extension of the soul, as if firing a weapon were part of a creed or brotherhood. And indeed, that is how the gun culture behaves.

A religion of guns

Guns have become a religion in America, and we all know that religions are all too happy to kill in order to protect their authority and the social order that sustains them. The National Rifle Association is the church. The NRA is its people.

The gun culture has a creed, and that is the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which reads, “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.”

FIREARMBut the religion of the gun culture in America chooses to ignore the first part of the creed in order to focus on the second half of the statement.  That is, the gun culture hates the part that begins “A well regulated militia…” so that it can lobby for the more selfish aspect of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

There is thus an entirely relativistic conclusion to which so many Americans have now come. They pretend the first part of the Second Amendment does not exist in order to abide by the powerful, yet still relativistic nature of the ‘right of the people to keep and bear arms.’ This is rather like insisting that Jesus is more important than God, and that God has to take a background seat.

That would be a fake religion indeed. And thus we have a fake devotion in America to the real nature of the Second Amendment, which says that guns shall be well regulated.

Infringed

And what about this word, “infringed?” Does that mean no laws at all pertaining to guns, and that people can own what they want, and use them at will?

Well the word “infringe” is defined as follows: actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.)

But the term infringed by itself does not define the nature of the law. It only corresponds to the terms laid out by the government as such laws pertain to guns. Which means, if the government determines that “well regulated” means stricter gun laws, then the second half of the Second Amendment and the right of the people to bear arms is not infringed. Case closed.

You can hear the gun nuts screaming from the rafters of Congress right now. Their reality is however constructed manifestly around an unreality. They’re fakers, in other words, manipulating our Constitution to their own selfish desires.

Top down control

john-boehner-gaveljpg-6706b1f02a6d1dabBut it’s not just gun nuts who push for false interpretations of our Constitution. Crazy thoughts emanate from the top down as well. In fact that’s where so many of them start, because where there’s profit and control to be had, people do crazy things and teach crazy ideologies to get other people to fall in line with their thinking.

In fact that’s how people come to ignore the very real separation of church and state demanded by the Constitution (freedom from religion is guaranteed just like freedom of religion) and call America a Christian nation.

But let’s examine that claim.

We have a right to be suspicious of a Christian following that takes the original goodness of “love your neighbor and help the poor” and turns it into money-making machines for the many false prophets and televangelists who manipulate, cajole and steal (even) from the poor to enrich themselves. Then these wealthy “Christians” invest in politicians that promulgate their power-based ideology, often overriding the personal liberaties of othters in the process. It amounts to a state religion or theocracy at that point, which is the exact opposite to why the national was formed in the first place.

So when these same groups turn around and become political, even to the point of calling America a Christian nation, it is time to call them out as fake on many levels. The non-profit and tax-free status granted churches demands as much, or else they should lose their tax-free status. That is based on clarity of purpose. A church that is faking it as a non-profit, or acting as political entity must be called to account.

Fakes and bakes

gettyimages-461656522-e1436299461791There are so many fakes in the world it can be difficult to tell at all what is real. And if you spend your entire day sorting through the insanity of all that we’re fed, and social media has made it even worse, you can go crazy just trying to figure it out.

The only thing you can do is be on guard and not take the next “news” item at face value. And be careful what you hear a politician say, because they are in the business of manipulating your emotions to gain your vote. Do not accept that everything your government on the right or the left is going to be true, or real, or honest. Because it’s not. Fakery is baked into the manner in which people communicate. It’s like flour in the cake. Or maybe it’s the sugar. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

From the dawn of time

6-SerpentPeople apparently can’t afford not to lie. None of us. From the moment in the Bible when Adam blamed Eve for making him eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, there have been men willing to shift blame and try to get off easy for the crimes they have committed or are about to commit.

And whether you believe the Garden of Eden was a literal place or more likely a symbol of innocence, it is gone forever. God made sure of that, and warned that life was going to be difficult, dangerous, deceptive and tough for the human race. Let us not forget that God literally branded us a bunch of fakers and liars. That’s called Original Sin.

But of course some people think God is a fake as well, and with some good reason. It’s pretty hard to reconcile the harsh events from early scripture with all its genocides and warlike character to that of Jesus Christ, whose anger was more righteous and targeted toward a specific group such as the Pharisees. But Jesus was never genocidal like the God of the so-called Old Testament. Jesus never murdered anyone, but was depicted doing miracles of healing instead. Jesus and God feel like two different entities. Who knows what the other member of the Holy Trinity wants? For a religion supposedly based on One God, it seems like Christianity is faking it too. Let’s not even discuss worship of the Virgin Mary. Did she have to fake an orgasm when Jesus was ostensibly conceived by the Holy Spirit?

Critical thinking

All this miraculous stuff begot some skepticism from intelligent people. Even Thomas Jefferson could not bring himself to believe in the miraculous nature of Jesus. He obviously considered all those miracles a bit of fakery. Jefferson went through the Bible cutting out the parts he considered too fake to abide. Yet he did admire the personal philosophy of Jesus and respected the apparent (eventual?) goodness of God. So it is not some flaw of character to apply a bit of skepticism or doubt to all that we encounter in this world.

A culture of euphemism

1images-Walt_Palmer_433576075Certainly even the news is subject to fakery, and even seemingly “real” events can be staged to deceive, or else events quickly get blown out of proportion as well. It’s all in the packaging.

But people don’t seem to care! Why else would people willingly become a fan of ‘professional wrestling’ which is all a deception, an act, and a fake? Even our so-called “reality shows” are staged to encapsulate and leverage drama for entertainment.

Reality comes home to roost

Now we actually have a reality show star in Donald Trump running for the office of President. We’ve already had an actor like Ronald Reagan take the world stage. Honestly, no one can tell the difference between the statements these men make for effect from those in which they truly believe.

NewsYes, the most frightening fact of the world may be how fake it is. And as a result, we’ve evolved a culture of euphemism, in which it is considered an acceptable method of communication to make false statements simply because they feel like they could be true. All it takes to escape consequence is to parse the statement with a disclaimer, “That’s not what I really meant to say” or “You took my words out of context.”

The worst fakers don’t even pretend to care about the truth. They all such inquiries “gotcha” questions simply because they are never prepared to answer in honest fashion.

And when that doesn’t work, they conspire to create their own realities even to the point of faking events and taking lives. Because if that’s what it takes to win, they’re going to do it. If it gets captured on live TV for the world to see, all the better.

Because fake reality is often even better than the real thing when it comes to winning a war.

Of Christians and lions and the death of Cecil

christiansYou may recall that in ancient Rome it was reputed that certain Emperors enjoyed feeding Christians to the lions. Actually the straight facts about that practice are a little difficult to discern. Roman games often employed animals or “beasts” as dramatic forms of death for prisoners or other hapless victims. The Romans also pitted beast against beast for curiosity’s sake.

Despite the prurient allure of such violent contests, the flair often wore off after a while. The website The Straight Dope addresses the problem thusly:

“You have to think the killing of animals might have eventually gotten dull as well — it’s estimated that 9,000 beasts were slain during the inaugural games of the Colosseum alone (possibly an exaggeration; another source says 3,500 during 26 events). Over time more exotic animals were introduced to hold the crowd’s interest: lions and panthers turned up in 186 BC, bears and elephants in 169 BC, hippos and crocodiles in 58 BC. Pompey brought rhinos to Rome; Caesar wowed ’em with giraffes. The ever-growing number and variety of animals required put a considerable burden on the supply chain. In his Natural History, Pliny the Elder tells us lions were originally hard to catch (the idea was to chase them into covered pits), but later it was discovered they could be subdued by throwing a cloak over their heads. Elephants were captured and tamed by beatings and starvation. A major source of animals was the Roman army, which had a special rank (venator immunis) for those in charge of animal procurement.”

So there’s always been this morbid (and often inhumane) fascination with killing exotic creatures in dramatic fashion. The very fact that the Roman army was chartered to bring home wild beasts for purposes of slaughter signifies the human capacity for cruelty and carnage.

Of course Christians were just one of the targets of torture and death for entertainment. People were killed to send political messages as well. Thousands of people from commoners to gladiators were sacrificed in the Colosseum and on thousands more nailed to raw stakes of wood by crucifixion.

But the raw thought of being tossed to lions that could tear apart flesh and break bones with massive teeth captured the imagination of history. So the concept of Christians being thrown to the lions has persisted as an iconic expression of political power out of control.

That also contributes in some way to the idea that killing a lion is considered an act of bravery in this world. Same goes for tigers or leopards or any number of giant cats. That leads some people to the idea that killing such creatures is a mark of personal virtue. In fact trophy hunters around the world pay tons of money for the opportunity to shoot lions, tigers and polar bears, to name a few favorite targets. Then they cut off the heads of their victims and save the pelts of these wild animals as souvenirs of their acts.

It is remarkable that throwing Christians to the lions is can be considered a sign of human depravity, yet killing lions for sport is considered by some a worthy use of time.

2AC68FD400000578-3171875-image-a-29_1437646780726It is only when a lion such as Cecil is killed that the juncture of depravity and human ego are so clearly illustrated. The fact that the lion had a name and was a favorite of many visitors to a park has much to do with why the dentist who shot Cecil is being so reviled. Typically the human race needs to anthropomorphize animals in order to relate to their plight. Even gorilla genius Jane Goodall relied on a certain amount of name-calling to make her science appeal to the masses. The fact that Cecil had a human name brings the murder of this lion close to home.

Think about this for a moment: the work of Christian author and apologist C.S. Lewis included a seminal series of children’s books called the Chronicles of Narnia. The lead character in the books was a lion called Aslan who symbolized the virtues of none other than Jesus Christ. At one point in the books the lion gives himself over to a wild pack of beasts and a wicked Queen who tie down their victim and stab him to death on a slab of stone.

Aslan emerges as a spiritual influence for the rest of the book series. His presence for the children who live to become kings and queens in the land of Narnia is one of strength and virtue.

There is a parallel character to the death of one Cecil the Lion, whose presence in Africa represented the best of creation. The hunter that paid more than $50,000 for the right to shoot and kill a lion with a bow and arrow has been depicted as something of an evil wizard for his actions. His guides reputedly used trickery by hanging dead animals on their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park and in range for a shot with a bow and arrow. But that did not kill the lion, and 40 hours later the beast was dispatched by means of a gun.

Some might consider this last act merciful. In fact many hunters fail to kill their targets on the first shot. No matter what weapons a person chooses to use in a hunt, there are drawbacks. One can fail by aim or by strength of ammunition. Good hunters try to answer these questions before they go out into the field. There are also those that contend these risks are the thrill of a good hunt. In the “us versus them” version of modern day hunting, it is the contention that animals such as Cecil are still dangerous enough to kill. In the minds of trophy hunters worldwide, that makes it a challenge to hunt them.

There remains the question as to whether trophy hunting is not simply an echo of the Roman era when wild animals were considered curiosities to be sacrificed for human entertainment.

As a kid I used guns to hunt some. We shot everything we could find. But the day that a sparrow was erased at close range by a shotgun made me wonder exactly what the purpose was. Then I picked up a stone one afternoon, and with deadly aim took out a robin off the top of a fencepost, killing it with one throw.

dscn9203.jpgWalking over to the songbird, I leaned down and watched the last flicker of life go out of the bird’s eyes. That was far from a proud moment. The same held true when I was a somewhat tortured kid being teased by friends at school about being too skinny. I took out my anger by tossing stones at some feral rabbits in our neighbor’s yard and killed one of them too. It howled in pain at first. I was forced to put it out of its misery.

They say that torturing small animals is a sign of a disturbed and potentially dangerous mind. I am glad to say that the emotional wounds that drove me to hurt animals were ultimately healed.

I am not anti-hunting per se, and do not purport to link all hunters to disturbed states of mind. Certainly a day shooting pheasants in the fields of South Dakota may be a pleasant enough occupation. Those birds are a renewable resource for the most part. But I do question hunters that retreat to a fenced in range to shoot wild boars. The sport simply gets strange at that point.

And hunting where baiting is involved? Can’t really justify that very well either. Among birdwatchers it is even considered bad form to bait birds in for photgraphs.

Ultimately, one must consider seriously the position of creatures like lions in the scheme of creation. Certainly they once were fearsome and dangerous creatures and a threat to human beings. Now that we’ve essentially conquered the world and in many cases eradicated or reduced species of big cats to fragmented populations, there is no need to go around shooting them.

1images-Walt_Palmer_433576075A bored dentist in Minnesota is no better in that respect than a bored soldier in the Roman army all those years ago. This idea that you require stimulation from killing other things in order to feel powerful and alive is antiquated, stupid and dumb.

And if you don’t believe me, you can ask Aslan. Yes, he’s a fictional creature who only symbolizes the figure of Christ in relation to mankind. Then again, Christ symbolizes the commitment to act in good conscience and with respect to the grace of God. In many respects, if you kill a lion for no good purpose other than to make yourself feel more gratified and powerful, you have put a bullet right through the heart of God. Going around killing lions is, therefore, a rather stupid and shortsighted thing to do. It does not enlighten or raise one’s conscience to accomplish such a feat.

We muse on the significance of Christians once being thrown to the lions and shudder at the thought of such violence. Yet we typically ignore the real meaning of the act. It’s not the lion’s fault, you see. They’re just doing what their instincts tell them to do. We human beings are supposed to know better.

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.

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 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

How to stop being a sociopath

Sociopath: a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

The Internet and social media are a wonderful thing. Usually. But the capacity for using the Internet to also socialize anger, fears or repressed emotions is a seemingly new phenomenon in human history.

All it takes, given ready access to content or material that reflects the anger, fear or repressed emotions of an anti-social society is a platform to receive and share affirmation of one’s most harmful beliefs and sociopathy can propagate itself completely at will.

Drug TestingOrganizations and individuals that understand the need of fellow sociopaths to share their angst-ridden and aggressive feelings quickly learn to produce memes and other dog-whistle messaging to propagate the hate. At left is just one example.

Notice that this meme starts off with an invitation to anger. It appears to be aimed at people that would disagree with all that follows. But really, it is a meme designed to cultivate anger in all those that would agree with the nasty claims to follow.

The supposed meaning behind this meme is to hold welfare recipients accountable when it comes to using illegal drugs. The general implication here is that welfare recipients are too lazy to work for themselves and sit around using drugs all day. It’s interesting to

Source: Statisticbrain.com

Source: Statisticbrain.com

note from the statistics shown that the number of Americans on welfare is only a little greater than Americans that are unemployed. The number of Americans on food stamps is the more interesting statistic, with more than 41M receiving that form of government aid. What these statistics more accurately reveal is a society struggling to make ends meet in a culture where income inequality has grown progressively worse over the last few decades. Income inequality

The transfer of wealth from the earning potential of the middle class that once consisted of labor union families and other good jobs has produced a nation where there literally is no money available to a large percentage of its citizens. The reasons for this are manifold, but at least one notable factor has been the export of manufacturing and industrial jobs overseas. This migration of capital out of the United States has included a disinvestment in infrastructure maintenance, another source of good jobs and income for millions of Americans.

So it should be no real surprise that people have turned to government help in response to the almost aggressive and often ignorant removal of income sources from much of the population.

The ironic consequence is that the people who have been victimized by these trends seek explanations in the wrong places, resulting in perverse alliances and even greater anger that builds on itself.

Wage-earners that still make a decent living express anger at paying taxes for those who seem to live “on the dole.” These include welfare and food stamp recipients. A new target for anger emerged as well as a product of Obamacare, in which government-drawn subsidies are offered to help pay for health care. The determining factor is how much an individual makes. At a level of income below $41,000 or so, subsidies become available.

This feeds the idea that wealthier citizens are paying for the subsistence of millions of other people. The conservative meme on this topic is that people ought to fend for themselves. Programs such as Social Security (actually an insurance program to which people pay premiums) and Medicaid are other favorite targets. As part of the New Deal, the Roosevelt-era response to the Great Depression, these programs have galled the Right for more than 70 years. It’s all part of the perception that government has turned into a nursemaid for America.

Symptoms of a greater problem

But these programs are more symptomatic than causal purposes of government debt and spending. When a nation refuses to consider that its economic policies have transferred wealth in outrageous ways to a very small percentage of the populace who happen to be exempted in many cases from paying into social programs, it’s no wonder things have gotten out of balance.

So it takes a sociopath to ignore the reality of income equality and project anger on those victimized by economic policies that reduce living wage, eliminate jobs and foster age and racial discrimination.

This sociopathy evidenced itself during the most recent economic downtown when a number of companies announced (rather proudly it seemed) that they would not hire anyone that had been out of work more than six months. And the predominant advice for all those over the age of fifty years old is that when seeking a job one should hide their age.

Worshipping money

All this is evidence of the dog-eat-dog sociopathy that civilized culture is supposed to avoid. It is now abetted by a brand of so-called Christianity that worships money and prosperity as signs that God favors one person over another. That same brand of Christianity is closely aligned with political allies who favor trickle-down economics and other disproven claims that making the wealthy even wealthier will provide prosperity for all.

The lead sociopaths in America today include one Paul Ryan, the ultimately conflicted conservative Christian who also claims to worship Ayn Rand as well. His anger and contradictory beliefs are evident in everything the man does. Every budget the man conceives is based on cuts to social programs. He can’t seem to imagine any other form of governance.

Dog whistle racism

There is also a dog-whistle racist tone to the meme that poor black people are the foundation of all of America’s problems. Those statistics we reviewed about welfare show a different picture, with just as many whites on social aid as blacks. And those nasty immigrant Mexicans that sociopathic Americans love to hate? Well only half as many use welfare as both blacks and whites.

The only way to stop being a sociopath is to stop relying on what you’re told about the source of America’s problems and get a real grip on what’s happening in the economy. America is being raped by corporatization of its laws, its rights and its morality. That is not to say corporations are bad, or that free market capitalism is bad either. But when those economic tools are used to exploit people, resources and society, then they deserve to be held accountable.

One can only stop being a sociopath by moving beyond this dynamic that gives the appearance of prosperity while impoverishing so many. A certain Jesus Christ warned against the tendency to worship the pursuit and gain of money as a sign of moral insight. Perhaps he recognized that sociopathy finds both a purpose and an expression in economic inequality. And he was right.

So stop being a sociopath. Feed the poor and hungry. Help the disadvantaged. Defend the meek. Love your enemy. And love your neighbor as your self.

That’s what’s really golden.

How the Republican Party will blame liberals for climate change

FlagWaiverIt seems almost impossible to think about. Yet one day soon all those who spend time denying the fact of man-made climate change will embrace it as a way to blame liberals for ruining the world.

Here’s how it will go down. There will be a conference somewhere amongst all those that have spent the last 10 years hating Al Gore for stating the inconvenient truth. And the financiers of phonily constructed research that denies the existence of global climate change will suddenly find ways to fund credible science because it serves an all new, entirely political purpose.

That purpose will be to blame liberals, especially environmentalists, for anthropogenic climate change.

There will still be an anti-science motive behind the science climate change deniers use to suddenly reverse positions on the idea that humans can effect climatologically disastrous levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

That motive will be to bring religion to the forefront of the so-called argument over climate change. Religious conservatives will contend that it is the policies of environmentalists that have gone against the will of God. They will claim that it is the arrogance of all those seeking to outsmart the Creator by imposing manmade laws and environmental regulations that has led to our pending climate disaster.

Predictable outcomes

Playing righteousness for political favors and power is how conservatives always operate in this world. It doesn’t matter that there is no logic behind the argument that conservation laws and international governmental agreements to reduce carbon emissions are the cause of global warming.

What matters to conservatives is framing the argument under terminology they can control. That’s where religion comes in so handy. They will point to passages from the bible where people defying the will of God have suffered punishment. The exile of Israeli people to Egypt and to Babylonia will likely serve as the apocryphal bludgeon used by conservatives to illustrate how God punishes those who try to think for themselves and “fall out of worship” with God.

Falling away from God

That means conservatives will rally all the talking points they use to assail what they call liberalism. Which is in fact nothing more than guaranteeing basic human rights. But that has never gone over well with conservatives. For a long time it was persecution of black people that occupied their attention. Then came the 1960s and social revolution. Then women’s rights became the enemy. Now tolerance of gays will be cited as a sign that America, which conservatives brand a Christian nation, has fallen away from the ways of God. For sure there will be a bit of apocalyptic fervor and imagery thrown in for good measure. Just to appeal to the frantically preoccupied base that believes the end of the world is coming about anyway. Nothing like a bit of threat and lost hope to motivate those who see the Bible as a set of bookends with Genesis and Revelation providing the sudden beginning and end of the world. How very convenient it all fits together.

Murderous ways

Never mind that our endless wars of choice and murderous habits of the CIA and other secretive organizations within government do far more evil and murderous things in the world. None of that matters because, in the minds of those who believe in American exceptionalism, none of that comes home to roost. We’re trying to change the world for the better, the argument goes. A few eggs are going to get broken in the process. Some of those “eggs” might have included the killing of JFK or even the complicit design of 9/11 as an excuse to attack Iraq for oil and influence. People lose their lives to these murderous schemes. But what matters more to conservatives is that someone might lose a little profit due to environmental regulations? Talk about skewed priorities.

Shame and blame

So the calculatedly blameless core of the religious and political right will have absolutely no problem blaming liberals for anthropogenic climate change. The sin of trying to act like God by invoking environmental protection laws is to blame for God’s swift justice on this earth. God is changing the climate to punish us all, they will say.

And it won’t be very long before this narrative comes to the forefront of American and world politics. The pressure to recognize this reality is soon going to force conservatives to admit they were wrong. But that just means they need to find someone to blame for their own egregious behaviors.

Need proof? Look at how quickly the religious and political right concocted the narrative that George W. Bush and Republican policies had nothing to do with the economic recession. Or that Bush and Company somehow screwed things up in the Middle East. No, there was no responsibility there on the part of the GOP or worse, the operatives that carry out the will of the corporatocracy.

Because that’s how it all really works. The confusing mix of business, religion and politics all mix together in the netherworld of people who want to own it all and accept no blame for the consequences of their actions. God comes in handy in those circumstances. All you have to do is claim you’re on God’s side and people find it hard to argue with you.

You heard it here first. It shouldn’t be long now. In fact they’ll probably steal the idea from this blog. We can only hope the Pope speaks out against the plot of the new Pharisees.

Let’s hear it for religious liberty, or what’s really eating Jesus

FlagWaiverBack in 1968 or so, Catholic and Lutheran theologians got together to discuss the religious rite of communion in which Christian believers are invited to gather at the altar to partake in the bread and wine. The ceremony is conducted in keeping with a practice established during what the Christian faith calls the Last Supper.

Both Lutherans and Catholics at the time agreed that the Eucharist, as communion is called, means that Christ is literally “present wholly and entirely, in his body and blood, under the signs of bread and wine.”

So far, so food. Symbolic acts of faith are a big part of religious tradition and ritual. You gotta take this stuff seriously or it doesn’t mean a thing.

But Catholics took the meaning of the Eucharist ritual a bit farther, and a whole lot more literally. They confabulated the term “transubstantiation” to describe the religious “fact” that the wine and bread served during communion is literally changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ.

Whoa. By that definition, Christians literally become cannibals when they eat the bread (the body) and drink the wine (or blood) of Christ. Isn’t that against the law? 

Yes, it is. Which means that transubstantiation is all a bit of hocus pocus in which the wine and bread remain the same in substance, appearance, taste and smell. But still, according to the Catholic definition of transubstantiation, you’re literally eating Jesus when you ingest the bread and wine.

Oh, that’s all overblown you might think. Catholics don’t really believe that. Yet there are plenty of churches that require that no bread or wine be tossed down the sink or into the trash. People literally serve the role of eating the remainder of the bread as surrogate cannibals. The wine is consumer too, or else poured down a designated spot and back to the earth as a kind of faux burial.

Strange questions

This raises some really strange questions, such as: Does wine used in a service and discarded down a well to the earth need to be resurrected to be present at the next serving of communion?

See, the interpretation of religious beliefs is inconsistent and, when taken literally, often a bizarre, macabre mix of hookum spookum designed to scare people into behaviors deemed important by those in control of the religious narrative.

Jesus had a lot of problems with that kid of mind control. He fought the religious leaders of his day for setting up rituals in which people essentially were forced to buy sacrificial critters in order to earn the good graces of the church. Later on in history some branches of the Catholic Church started little “pay for play” scam to pay for things the church wanted to do. In other words, there is no such thing as a standard system by which Christianity has always behaved.

Religious liberty

FlagSolarOf course the big issue in America right now is whether the government is impinging on religious liberty by creating laws that require people with certain religious beliefs to carry out functions that they see as contradictory to their personal value system. The idea of being required to create a wedding cake for a gay couple is, for example, anathema to certain breeds of so-called Christian believers.

But we could just as easily turn around and condemn the practices and belief systems of many Christians to be abhorrent according to common law. The idea that Christians are wantonly and avidly conducting cannibalism by eating the actual and real body of Christ?That’s disgusting. And who is to say, if we socially abide that belief, that someone could not form a faith around actual cannibalism under the claim that their religious beliefs are being impinged by a government that discourages eating other people?

Trumping religious prejudice

In all cases, protection of personal liberties under the banner or the United States Constitution is the first and foremost responsibility of the government. The nation has blocked religious practices such as polygamy on grounds that it is immoral under common law. Yet the nation has moved to protect the rights of gays to marry or create civil unions, also under common law. The fact that certain religious “liberties” are impinged by the spectrum of these decisions is in essence immaterial. Laws are established based on a common understanding of individual rights.

Some people might go their deathbeds claiming that they ate the real Jesus during Catholic Communion. We protect the right to believe that. But we don’t protect the right to impose that believe on all other citizens. That is freedom from religion. It is equally guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

Hard for some to grasp

306523_3795453241128_1825138197_nIt’s hard for some people to grasp the difference between being free to believe what you want and not being free to impose those religious beliefs indiscriminately because it inconveniences your worldview to serve a gay person, a black person, a woman, or Mexican or Muslim. All those choices to refuse service are discriminatory. We can’t run a civil society if a vigilante panoply of religious belief systems is engaged as the law of the land.

What’s really eating Jesus these days is the lack of understanding among people who speak on his behalf that it is not the law of the faith that matters, but the love. Because that’s what lacking in Indiana and other states committed to prejudicial faith as a matter of practice. It’s not about Christianity at all. It’s about selfish fears and hollow pride in controlling the social narrative.

And to that Jesus might just say, “Eat me.” Now that’s a truly liberating thought. 

The Advent of Meta Christianity

IMG_8609META referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential.

Somewhere in the long arc of its transformation from a religious belief system to a political movement, Christianity lost a big chunk of its soul to a social phenomenon more concerned with owning the public dialogue over proving its theological merits in actual practice.

This was the advent of Meta Christianity, in which confessional language and dog-whistle politics contrive to take over society. 

Big Dogs

It’s not hard to point out the cast of characters that borrowed the authority of a well-respected religion as a means to self-empowerment. They are all famous names with whom we are all familiar. The process was slow at first, with social and religious conservatives frustrated by democratic rulings on issues such as abortion. But then the movement toward a more political form of Christianity formed around the likes of Jerry Falwell, a televangelist who formed the so-called Moral Majority in collusion with equally conservative politicians that found it quite convenient to borrow the authority of Christianity for their personal objectives of getting elected. Again. And again.

Voting blocs

Courting the so-called Christian voting blog translated into power for conservatives willing to say all the right things to convince conservative voters their morals were in the right place. The power conferred by the Christian voting bloc further converted the forrmely faith-based ideals of Christianity into a brand focused on social and political authority. The word Christian came to mean something entirely different than it once did, taking on a form that willingly confused God with Country. To achieve this aim the new form of old-time Christianity needed to ignore the very plain language in the United States Constitution Establishment Clause which says  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”

And that was the advent of Meta Christianity. No longer was conservative Christianity going to bother abiding by its tradition of self-examinative remorse, repentance and reformation.Meta Christianity said the hell with that. The former introspective faith in the model of Christ would now be replaced by a self-referential new order focused on never admitting you’re wrong and asking people to join along because it’s the right thing to do. The Meta Christian takes a new vow: “We’re more interested in gaining power and getting our way than explaining ourselves to people who don’t get what we’re doing.”

Conventions

By these methods Meta Christians began by definition to refer to itself and its conventions as a genre outside the realm of normal social criticism. Using the age-old methods of requiring “proof texts” from the Bible to engage in any criticism of its objectives, Meta Christianity has endeavored to remove itself from any form of social criticism at all. It does the same with its politics, especially by claiming loudly and often that America was founded as a Christian nation. 

Manifestos

These tactics extend to the view of America both as a nation of destiny and as a tool for the End Times. Fundamental Christians love to claim the mantle of God’s Chosen people. The thin veil of the former worldview known as Manifest Destiny is thus torn away and worn all over again like a new garment. The Meta version of its racial overtones embrace age-old prejudicial values against people of color and origin, lambasting emigrants and Muslims and anyone that Meta Christians choose to see as an enemy. This is all based on the Meta-Christian’s perceived state of privilege by providence. 

End Times

Meanwhile some Meta Christians seem eager to hurry along the end of time any way they can. When George W. Bush first attacked Iraq in 2003, there was some hope in some deeply religious (but apparently not patriotic) quarters that a magical key was being turned in the Mideast that would bring on Armageddon and drag Christ back to earth for Judgment Day.

Even analysis from within the Christian faith has no effect on Meta Christians. Progressive Biblical scholars such as Marcus Borg, John Crossan and Rev.John Shelby Spong easily point out the contradictions inherent in Meta Fundamental Christianity by documenting the many ways in which the Bible is not infallibly composed. Bart D. Ehrman in his book Misquoting Jesus (Harper/San Francisco) documents how scribes who copied scripture sometimes changed it either intentionally or unintentionally. In so doing he points out the foibles of taking any section of scripture literally, and demonstrates the danger of those foibles at play in the modern context. Typically these include persecution of those who are made targets by literal interpretations of scripture. These include women, gays, Jews, blacks or anyone that gets casually or pointedly mentioned in the Bible as a transgressor of some sort. There is no distinctive virtue in these methods except that it provides a convenient way to define “the other” and thus give Meta Christianity the enemies it needs to rally troops to membership and shared power. 

Science of denial

But Meta Christianity turns a purposely deaf ear on such erudite analysis of its beliefs. It also lovingly ignores the findings of science, flirting happily instead with the science of denial constituted by contrived theories such as creationism and intelligent design. As a result, some 30% of Meta Christians in America claim not to trust science, especially the theory of evolution. That’s one out of two people under the influence of Meta Christianity, which uses its reputation as protectors of the truth to fuel doubts and fears of intellectual pursuits in its constituents.

Rightward ho!

Thus the advent of self-referential and self-evidencing religion of power over biblical substance continues to evolve. When challenged over this assumed position of authority in society, Meta Christianity has simply moved farther to the Right as a means to insulate itself from any brand of secular analysis. Of course Meta Christian politicians love that kind of voter. It saves them lots of work trying to convince people they are indeed “voting their values.”

Dead Ends

There’s just one problem with all this Meta Christianity. It’s a literal and physical dead end when it comes to addressing the problems of the present and future. The Meta Christian relationship with End Times theology is problem enough when considering what to do about foreign relations and plans for dealing with global climate change. Meta Christians are prone to the disturbing claim that the end is coming soon and there’s nothing we can do about it anyway. No wonder Meta Christians fall in line with the radical political right on the idea that government is the problem, not a solution to human problems or needs. If the most radical brands of Meta Christians had their way, America would simply dump its entire governmental system and trust God to solve all problems in the home of the brave and the land of the free.

F the Establishment Clause

That’s definitely not what the Founding Fathers set out to do in forming a more perfect union or writing the United States Constitution. The Establishment Clause exists for a reason. It protects the freedoms of all citizens, not just those who claim to curry favor with God. Meta Christianity sees that as an obstacle, not the law of the land. We will be wise to keep an eye on protecting the Constitution from those who would redefine its purpose in a self-referential way.

Misquoting Jesus: http://www.amazon.com/Misquoting-Jesus-Story-Behind-Changed/dp/0060859512, Bart D. Ehrman, Harper San Francisco,