Sunday, April 22, 2012

How do Christians wrestle back their religion from the hands of the Right Wing extremists?

Courtesy of The New Republic:

A 78-percent majority of Americans is Christian. Only about a third of them self-identify as evangelical, which is a very rough proxy for the Christian conservative minority that increasingly insists on being called, simply, “Christian.” Such totum pro parte synecdoche de-legitimizes mainline Protestantism, historically black Protestantism, and Catholicism, which account, combined, for most of the other two-thirds of all Christians. The de-legitimization is why Christian conservatives favor it. Mainstream news organizations like the New York Times, ever-fearful of being branded anti-religious, have allowed themselves to be bullied into accepting the Christian right’s implicit suggestion that the only true Christian is a Christian conservative member of an evangelical or fundamentalist congregation.

Now speaking from the vantage point of a non-religious political blogger this argument presents a rather interesting, and possibly insurmountable challenge.

How do I write about the damage that Right Wing extremists are doing to our country, using Christianity as a bludgeon, without attacking their weapon of choice as well?

As many of you have made VERY clear, you resent my attempts to reveal the inherent faults that are contained within the Bible, or to dismiss religious faith in and of itself as a potentially dangerous mindset which allows trusting people to be more easily manipulated.

And I get that, I do.  But I have to ask you, since I feel very strongly that public education, science, and the ability to love and live as we choose, is actively under attack by people who hide behind the shield of Christianity, what choice do I have?

Christian blogger Fred Clark further defines the problem:

This is a deliberate, intentional attempt by a politicized faction of American evangelicals to do two things: 1) redefine “Christian” to mean “white evangelical Protestant,” and 2) redefine “evangelical Protestant” to mean “conservative Republican.” 

This is inaccurate. And uncivil. 

It’s deliberately insulting to every Christian who is not a white evangelical Protestant and to every white evangelical Protestant who is not a conservative Republican. The latter group is not a small category. Millions of white evangelical Protestants voted for Barack Obama in 2008. 

Millions of them. Millions of us. More than the combined total populations of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, the Dakotas, Vermont, Wyoming, Rhode Island and West Virginia. But for the most part, the fundraisers and vote-herders of the religious right have succeeded in getting the media to play along with the weird idea that these millions of people do not exist.

You see my quandary.

I personally have NEVER had a problem with religion, or Christianity in particular, as long as it was not something which negatively impacted my life.

But when I witness people using it to vilify and attack ANYBODY who does not march in lockstep with THEIR version of religion, then what am I to do? Must I remain quiet for fear of injuring the feelings of those not actively involved with that extreme point of view?

I leave this as an open question to my many readers, ESPECIALLY those of you who have expressed frustration at my posts about religion.  What would you suggest as the best alternative to dealing ONLY with those who are using your religion as a both a shield and a weapon to strip away the rights of women, the non-religious, the gay community, and anybody else who is not part of their religious clique?

And let's make an attempt to keep this discussion positive shall we? Expressing frustration at one or both sides is allowed, but let's NOT simply devolve into name calling.

(H/T to Andrew Sullivan)


  1. Anonymous11:31 AM

    To what you say I say Amen brother, Amen. Too much of this "If you do not think like the religious right then you are neither a real christian nor a real American", will destroy our country .

  2. Anonymous11:37 AM

    I understand and sympathize, Gryphen.

    Unless and until the majority of mainstream Christians reclaim their own voices and put the far-right evangelical zealots in their realistic place - the minority, it is difficult to attack those zealots, particularly if you do not share the same faith.

    Which is why, Rove and other Republican strategists thought embracing the far-right evangelicals would be ideal in helping them regain and solidify power. They could clothe themselves in religious respectability and seemingly speak for all those silent Christians who are the majority, who live the faith without shouting it or demanding everyone else conform or else.

    Unfortunately, they forgot they are dealing with zealotry, blind hate-filled zealotry and it is backfiring on them.

    The GOP is no longer the GOP of a decade ago, even though they had begun integrating extreme evangelicals before then. Only when they thought they had a chance at permanent power and it was threatened by Hillary and Barack, did they panic and let the zealots surge into more powerful positions.

    But it won't be just the GOP that suffers. Our entire nation is at the brink of being duped into an extreme theocracy if apathy or antipathy win the day.

    We have to ensure a strong mainstream turnout. Former Republicans, even those who are just beginning to realize their party has abandoned them, disillusioned progressives who wanted single payer healthcare, gay marriage nationwide and cutting-edge environmental regs and moderates of all stripes - we all must come together with mainstream Democrats to ensure that Romney, the new GOP and the ever-divisive naive Tea Party don't take the House again, don't regain the Senate or the Presidency.

    For those of us who want a moderate, well-governed America respecting and tolerating diversity and helping those who cannot help themselves against Big Business or greed, we must come together and work together before November.

    However, the mainstream Christians must come forward now to reclaim their faith and give hope to the nation that tolerance and cooperation is the primary grace in healing this country. Without a strong voice from mainstream Christians, the hate-filled rhetoric of zealots may prevail.

    -- ks sunflower

    1. Anonymous1:56 PM

      I couldn't agree more! I was about to sit down and write pretty much what you just did and you said it very, very well. The crux is the politicians (and the rich corporations behind them) as you said "Which is why, Rove and other Republican strategists thought embracing the far-right evangelicals would be ideal in helping them regain and solidify power."

      I believe many mainstream christians who are diverse religions are truly embarrassed by the extreme evangelicals. Yes they must speak out somehow. I've seen Catholics speak out in the media about helping those who are less fortunate. Many religions are quietly continuing "the good work" unnoticed by the media in helping the hungry, poor, sick, jobless, children, women etc.

      The media is at fault too of course because they would rather report on whether Lindsay Lohan is going to jail or not than important issues of the day. And who helps the media do this? We do. WE drive the media and it has to stop. No wonder the saying came about, "Only in America......" and the world laughs.

      Everyone should click on the left God's Own Party blog and read the article about Romney's relationship with Bibi. It's very eye opening and then please check out the rest of the website. It may especially help out the christians who are offended by some of Gryph's views and please do investigate there and you will see why people lose respect for christian religions. Money, power and greed are behind politicians stirring up those religious unconscious fearful sheeple for their own purposes. Mixing religion with politics is dangerous and political Teapublicans know this & use it to their advantage. It's no wonder they are anti-education, they don't want most of all, for people to think for themselves.


    2. Thank you, KS Sunflower. You spoke to much of our frustration. I would add that getting the moderate voice heard is getting harder and harder. The Media won't report it. Also many of us are, as you said, quiet, unassuming folk who are focused on helping others without making a big deal of it.

    3. Anita Winecooler7:17 PM

      Thanks to all on this particular thread. KSSunflower's comment went to the heart of the problem, especially what has become of what used to be the GOP, and what this hard swing to the right has done in politics in general.

      Anonymous, God's Own Party IS my go to blog about religion and politics. (And that says a lot, considering I'm a non believer) Leah Burton brings clarity and sense to so many questions and observations I have had over the years.

    4. Anonymous4:27 PM

      KS Sunflower - you have always been eloquent in expressing your faith and delineating how true Christianity is different from evangelicalism. I am areligious, but I've always appreciated your nuanced approach to religion and respected your right to name it. I think a lot of us have said more than once, "if only all Christians were like her."

  3. onething11:40 AM

    Well, Gryphen, it seems to me that the problem is extremism. Any religion can be poisoned by it. Of course they are loud and aggressive - that goes with the territory. Like you said, they are bullies. The only way to handle a bully is to stand up to them.

    Yes, your question is a very good one and it really is time for people to start taking some territory back. Certainly there are some good arguments to be made. Such as, it is inappropriate for Christian leaders to influence their congregations politically. Morally, yes, but politically no. Jesus dismissed attempts to pull him into a political discussion by saying "Render unto Cesar what is Cesar's, and render unto God what is God's." He also said his kingdom is not of this world.

    There is absolutely no reason to take the new kid on the block as the quintessential Christianity, just because they say so. It is in fact the mark of cultish behavior.

    It's interesting that I have seen the criticism of all Muslims that they do not publicly take a stand against the extremists, known as fundamentalists. And yet, now, we are beginning to have the same problem with Christian fundamentalists in this country, and you are calling upon temperate Christians to call them out, and you are right.

    Some of them want to institute Biblical law, which is just as horrific as Sharia law.

    1. Anonymous3:08 PM

      You're right, the extremist Christians are bullies, and just like bullies, they're quick to scream and carry on that THEY'RE the victim when anyone stands up to them. Mainstream Christians need to take their part calling out this behavior with non-Christians; non-Christians have been carrying the load alone long enough.

  4. Anonymous11:43 AM

    I differentiate between them by calling them either Xtians, the AmeriTaliban, or Dominionists. It's amazing the number of people who were previously unaware of the difference but are now easily using the terms and recognizing the difference. The more knowledge we supply at every opportunity, the more people will realize & reject these fanatics.

    We can't forget to include the Mormons in this. They have had a political agenda since their inception and Mitt has been groomed, as a 7th generation direct descendent of one of Joseph Smith's first 12 apostles, to finally bring the government under to the "Kingdom of God, under Zion." I recommend everyone do research into them and spread the word. VoMitt won't talk about his religion at all because they don't want the world to know what their real agenda is. It's like how the Dominionists started with their "stealth" candidates. They've been white washing their public views especially this time around. You may have seen recent articles about them "softening" their views about their anti-gay stance. They haven't.

    Here's one link to get you started.

    1. Yep. I wouldn't vote for a Mormon. Their "lying for Jesus" is a mockery. That's why Mitt finds lying so easy. Their Book of Mormon tells them that it's okay. And that Book of Mormon is considered AS Holy as the Bible. That's Blasphemy.
      They aren't Christians. They are nothing more than a Joseph Smith Cult.

    2. Randall3:40 PM

      Patti - I agree about the Joseph Smith cult part...
      But I just finished reading the Book of Mormon, (literally just a couple of days ago) and I'm not sure where the Book of Mormon tells them that it's okay to lie.

      could you point me to chapter and verse, please?

      No joke, no snark.

    3. Anonymous7:27 PM

      Randall- here is a link to an post written by Ken Clark, a former Mormon bishop and educator, on the topic.

      Youtube by the same person on the topic.

      "Ken Clark, a former LDS CES Institute Director for 27 years illustrates how the Mormon Church utilizes deceptions and out right lies to maintain control over members and potential converts to Mormonism."

    4. Anonymous7:31 PM

      Anyone with questions about the Mormon Church and/or Mitt Romney needs to familiarize themselves with the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

      The Mountain Meadows Massacre occurred on September 11, 1857. The Mormon Church began to lie about it's involvement in the murders of men, women and children just as soon as the crime was committed.

      The seizure and reburial of remains discovered in 1999 means the coverup continues to this day.

      The one man convicted and executed (with the cooperation of the church and an all mormon jury at his second trial) was John D. Lee (in 1877). Lee was a close associate of Brigham Young. In 1960 Lee was reinstated to the church with his temple rights restored.

    5. Anonymous7:44 PM

      I just posted the link to the Youtube Lying for the Lord. There are 10 parts to the video, but it is full of information. Many references are visible on the screen Clark used in his presentation. You can pause the youtube and find the actual references.

      If you want to know about the subject of Mormon deception, this is the best single source I know of.

      Some of the material is applicable to understanding the use of deception by other groups.

      A religion that believes it is ok to deceive non believers is a religion that believes it is ok to deceive it's followers.

    6. Anonymous6:44 AM

      Great link! Here's another link that's very informative.

    7. Anonymous4:36 PM

      I think it's interesting that one of your terms was the title of Markos Moulitsas' book, "The American Taliban." He took a LOT of flak for the title and some reviewers didn't even read the book, just expounded on the title. If you haven't read it,I'd recommend it. Markos doesn't hold back on exposing the influence of the Talibangelicals on public discourse.

  5. Religions, ALL religions. are started by ruthless people to control other people. Especially their sex lives. And, most especially, their money.

    Religion has nothing to do with spirituality or God. Especially God. God is only a vehicle used by these cynics as a means to an end: money and power. Or, power and money.

  6. Thanks for opening up an important dialogue, Gryphen. I don't have the answers, but hope someone will. One thing that the "Christian" right is not confronted with and forced to answer for is: What is the basis for their claiming to be Christian? Christians follow the teachings of Christ and try to be Christ like. These extremists are nothing but vicious hypocrites. They should be labeled pseudo Christians or antiChrists.

    1. I call them 'x-tians'.

      My my grandmother was a true Christian in that she would pray for her family's well-being AND for the well-being of people who were rude to her in the gift shop where she worked :)

    2. Anonymous4:40 PM

      They are really Old-Testamenters. They do not espouse or follow the Christ of the New Testament. Notice that when questioned, they almost always cite an Old-Testament verse and resent it when one quotes back a New Testament revision to the old ways. So in that sense, they are not Christians at all.

  7. Anonymous12:02 PM

    I submit that "true" Christianity supersedes organized religion ~ and the feigned religiosity practiced by Palin and her ilk.

    God will not be mocked . . .


  8. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Gryph you are creating a problem that does not exist.

    Main stream Christians, like myself, as your article acknowledges, have no problem criticizing the TeePeers misuse of the teachings of the Gospel and of their retro reliance on the use of the bad examples given in the Old Testament.

    If you want to use your criticism as a platform to proselytize for you belief, that is your choice, and it is your blog, but in doing so you weaken whatever argument you want to make, when you attack any believer in a faith, even those who do live by the kinder tenets of that faith.

    TeePeers can be criticized on may levels, logic, sexism, racism, misuse of Biblical teachings, rampant stupidity, mean spiritedness and on and on.

    As a Christian I do not criticize them as an avenue to selling my version of my faith but because I think their behavior and arguments and acts are destructive.

    That is what this blog used to do,and very successfully.

    Just FYI I have two degrees in Biology and work in a laboratory. I find no conflict between my faith and science or logic, (nor did most of the scientists who we studied about in our science classes, most of whom were devout Catholics, many being men of the cloth) and there is nothing in the Bible that says believers have to leave their brains in the parking lot when they enter their place of worship.

    God gave us a brain, it can be presumed that we are intended to us it.

    1. Anonymous1:03 PM

      No, Gryphen is NOT creating a problem that does not exist. This problem really exists. To those outside of mainstream Christianity or religion in general, it has seriously begun to look as if Christianity is totally whacked. Is that what you want people to think of Christianity? Whether you realize it or not, Christianity is getting a bad reputation from the pronouncements/antics of these super-fundy idiots. Maybe you can't see if from your perspective, but it's happening.

    2. Anonymous2:07 PM

      And yet I have not heard one christian leader speak out against cuts to programs that help the least of us. Where are these socalled christian leaders? I am waiting, I am waiting as a christian leader that has lived by the bible yet had to turn my back against organized religion to do so. Where are these "christlike " leaders? Where are the congregations flooding the streets defending the poor and the elderly?
      I have only seen hate eminating from any church hierachery in decades.

    3. Anonymous6:41 PM

      The Catholic bishops have condemed Ryan's budget for taking money away from the poor.

    4. Right, anonymous 7:41. I'm not Catholic, but from what I read when Santorum was still in the race, he was at odds with many things various leaders of his church had to say about poverty, health care for all, the wars, etc. The nuns have certainly been vocal in speaking for those in need. And, anonymous 3:07, those congregations working for the poor and elderly are all over the country. Can't imagine how you could be so blind.

    5. Anonymous6:51 AM

      The Catholic Office of the Inquisition (Vatican) has just attacked the largest association of Nuns in America for the "radical feminism" and are investigating them for standing up for and speaking out about the Church's need to work for and support "for the neediest among us."

      Needless to say, the Nuns were/are flabbergasted by the charges. They're not going to back down, and good for them. They're doing the real work of the church. It'll be interesting to watch how that plays out. The Vatican is totally owned & operated by its RW extremists.

  9. Calling the far-Right, Tea Party racists "Christian," is like calling Ted Nugent a "rock star." I know MANY people who identify themselves as Christian who are appalled by the hate on the Right -- especially toward our President. And I know you asked that we not call names, but I must point out that misogynistic/racist/anti-science/homophobes who say they are Christians are no different than the Taliban. I'm with Gandhi who said "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." And though I steer clear of organized religion, I know some really wonderful Christians. I also know some really wonderful Muslims, Jews, Wiccans and Atheists. My husband identifies himself as a Buddhist, which is not a religion, but a Philosophy. As one who was raised in a religious cult -- Mormonism -- I now try to look for the GOOD (God/Goddess?) in all things. After all, we're one planet, one life and one Human family. And let's all remember that "Love unites, fear divides."

    And, BTW, America was NOT founded by Evangelical Christians -- who are now trying to co-opt this part of history. In fact, they were fleeing from the repression of religion and that's why they made a big deal about "separation of church and state."

    Peace, All. And ...

    Remember, remember, the sixth of November! Let's give our real Christian President the Democratic LANDSLIDE he deserves!!

  10. Anonymous12:28 PM

    onethingApr 22, 2012 12:40 PM

    "Jesus dismissed attempts to pull him into a political discussion by saying "Render unto Cesar what is Cesar's, and render unto God what is God's." He also said his kingdom is not of this world."

    Looks like you have the same take on that statement that I do. "Ceasar" was a term that was used to refer to many if not most of Rome's leaders after the time of Julius. (Our terms Tsar and Kaiser, Czar all are derived form that term)

    So Rendering unto Ceasar just means essentially the reverse of separation of church and state. Churches need to stay out of politics.

    The Catholics used it to screw money out of people for over a thousand years,and the bastardization of it has allowed the Church to mess with politics while playing victim if politics is messing with them.

  11. Paraphrasing the Dali Lama... I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.

    I agree with the Dali Lama. This is not the Christianity I grew up with. These are hateful, judgmental people who are not Christ-like.

    1. That was Mahatma Ghandi who (first) said it.

    2. Thank you. I knew it wasn't Pat Robertson!!!

  12. of course the fault is religion itself and every person claiming to be part of a religion is obviously part of the problem.

    and thats the reason we live with these problems because stupidity rules the day.

    but its important to also realize that these religious issues DO NOT EXIST for the elites.
    outside of manipulation wealth and power have no need of organized religion or its fanatics(which ALL so called religious people ARE).

    so I hope the dummies realize that.

    but, this right wing segment represent not a brand of religion but an extreme of charector.

    they are the real racists motivated by hate who act against their own interests and their children's interests.

    palin speaks to this group and so does virtually every republican politician.
    this segment is responsible for hate talk radio and the success of fox news and both speak directly to them.

    they are also the ones who take pride in their ignorance and lack of education.
    they disdain science believing the bible the literal word of a god who they cant explain beyond faith and belief.

    they are the real anti-semites requiring(HOPING) israel and its peoples to be destroyed before their god can "return".

    in fact they have not a singular charectoristic endearing themselves to society.

    they are the true misfits the losers the pretenders and they all belong to the republican party where they are welcomed.

    and because of their votes they will never be addressed as the hate filled vile creatures they are.

    and while religion itself does not create these cancers of humanity its the pronouncement that they are of the SAME god that gives them the same immunity that ALL who practice are just as guilty of.

    and THAT is ultimately why they exist.
    you cant expose them without exposing yourself.

    1. Anonymous6:57 AM

      Here's another great article by Leah Burton, concerning the connection between Romney & "Bibi N" the RW leader of Israel and the reason the AmeriTaliban, including Mormons, are so hot & heavy to invade Iran. These fanatics are beyond insane.

  13. Irishgirl12:45 PM

    A prominent US Catholic nuns' group has said it is "stunned" that the Vatican reprimanded it for spending too much time on poverty and social justice concerns and not enough on abortion and gay marriage.

    The Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had been "silent on the right to life".

    It also said the group had failed to make the "Biblical view of family life and human sexuality" a central plank in its agenda.

    It further reprimanded US nuns for expressing positions on political issues that differed, at times, from views held by US bishops.

    1. Just shows how totally out of touch with real life the Vatican is. Those nuns know what is important to those they love, and it isn't the Vatican's latest pronouncement.

    2. Anonymous7:37 AM

      Absolutely disgusting.

      Totally disgraceful.

      I will not let strange men speak for me anymore.

  14. Anonymous12:48 PM

    Well, seeing as I haven't set foot in a church in decades, I'm not too sure my comment has any merit. But it seems to me the congregations of these temperate places of worship should impress upon their pastors/preachers/clergy to bring this issue up in sermon. Tolerance is an important christian value and doesn't get ANY airplay in these current political times. One of the major turn offs to modern religion for me was the absolute hypocrisy spouted by those that claim to espouse christian values.
    Church would be a more welcoming place if this apparent majority would assert themselves and preach tolerance and cooperation. In fact, I know many self identifying Christians that don't attend church because they think church has fallen out of step with them and modern times.

    1. Funny thing, it was the subject of today's sermon at my church.

  15. WakeUpAmerica12:50 PM

    That kind of "Christianity" is anything but Christian. It should be labeled and treated as a cult because that's what it is. So perhaps if you would address it as such or as "Evangelicals are ...." then the rest of us wouldn't feel we were being painted with one brush. Most Christians that I know, prefer a clear separation of church and state. If evangelicals are so hell bent on a theocracy, let them immigrate to Iran.

  16. Anonymous12:52 PM

    I have been screaming about this for years. This is NOT the "Christianity" I was raised in, and even though I no longer call myself Christian, I take offense at these nutjobs hijacking the name.

    What these Conservative Christians are practicing is a "knock-off" -- a NEW religion -- based on their selective and very literal interpretations of various pieces & parts of the Bible, randomly mixing bits of Old and New Testaments as if they had all been written at the same time, cohesively, like a novel or something -- and using Jesus as their centerpiece. Its values and principles are not to be confused with the values and principles taught by Jesus himself.

    I think the only way that holds any hope of separating them out from traditional Christianity is for all of the mainstream churches to call them out loudly and publically.

    I, personally, had an incident where I had to call out a young man (whom I've known since he was a kid), involved in this New religion, who was emphatically stating to a bunch of us that Jesus had been a capitalist and that Christians were under no injunction to care for the poor and needy. Amazing....

    1. Spot on analysis; I myself have noticed how in recent years these Xtians insist that theirs is the OneTrueRightAndOnlyWay and other Christians/denominations reflect 'false teachings' in some way to a one.

  17. Anonymous12:53 PM

    The Religious Right wing of the Republican party does not practice what Christ preached. Christ healed the sick many times, and he never asked if they had insurance nor did he demand payment. Christ practiced free medical care. Christ fed the hungry, multiplying loaves and fishes, an early soup kitchen.

    1. I knew it! He was a radical commie pinko socialist! (Just like YouKnowWho.)

    2. Anonymous7:39 AM

      Pontius Pilate was a Governor,

      Jesus was a community organizer.

      **One of my Favs from 2008! :) *

  18. Smirnonn1:07 PM

    This is a very serious issue, to be sure. The basic precepts that are common to most religions are basically good. Do unto others, don't kill, help each other, etc. They're decent, common sense guidelines to a stable, healthy society.

    Problems arise, however, when fundamentalists allow their beliefs to inform their world view and actions. I self identify as agnostic but I've no problem with people who believe - AS LONG AS THEY KEEP IT PERSONAL. Don't force your agenda or faith/political beliefs on society. Believe whatever the hell you want but PLEASE act in a reasonable, responsible manner. Case in point - those who believe that that armageddon will bring the second coming of Christ which changes how they view politics, especially Middle Eastern politics. I've met dominionists who actually believe that if we were to instigate a nuclear confrontation in the MidEast Christ would return and all the believers would go to heaven. NO! NO! NO! That's NOT how to approach international relations!!

    Faith/religion and the secular world CAN co-exist IF there are boundaries. Problem is that's a pretty big "if" as evangelism is a major factor in many religions. But without boundaries we end up with people flying planes into buildings and the like.

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”


  19. Anonymous2:12 PM


    Does Lifetime lead toward Christian programming?


    Documentary filmmaker Lee Storey has emerged victorious in an IRS dispute over production-related tax deductions for expenses that allowed her to write off losses at the same time she earned substantial income as a lawyer, according to a Forbes magazine post.

  20. honeybabe2:18 PM

    jesus said to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. any organization that treats people badly and would not want that same treatment returned do not fit the definition of my opinion.

  21. It's similar to the fringers who call themselves "real" patriots. The rest of us who love our country, well, we are not only heathens, but Communists & Socialist or whathaveyou.

    I think it's best to call them what they are. The Fringe. Or religious fringe. Or radical conservatives. Or Evangelicals. Or Dominions, or whatever.

    Last week listening to Ted Nuggent call himself & his ilk patriots made me sick. Was he patriotic when his country needed him? Was he patriotic when he crapped his way out of the military while his fellow countrymen died in service? Is he patriotic to be a bigot, or a pedophile? Is it patriotic to place guns & be illogical before your nation's well being?

    Those same questions could be asked of the religious fringe. One thing, though, they don't walk the walk Jesus taught us. Loving, forgiving, warm, giving, kind, gentle, intelligent.

    I'm rambling, I know. I think I understand how you feel. They will never show respect for the rest of us, no matter what we think or feel. They are bullies & bully so well, it has everyone on the defense.

    I've got stage IV cancer, I'm at the point where I don't give a shit what they think. They sure don't care what I think or feel. I wish the media didn't care either. I wish they'd ignore them.

    The media legitimized the teabaggers & it made life in America worse. It's time to not legitimize them with publicity or news stories. It's time for America stand up against the likes of West in Florida, Sarah Palin, Bachmann, Newt, so on & so forth.

    They are what makes our country the laughing stock in this world, & we've allowed it without realizing what they were doing. Now we know, & we need to find ways to send America's backwash (thanks Colbert) back to their little obscure caves.

    1. I hope "Obamacare" is caring for you, Denise. You can bet Romney, Ryan, et al don't and won't.

    2. Gasman4:13 PM

      During my recent trip to DC I attended a tea bagger protest on the steps of the Supreme Court. I got into a bit of an argument with one especially stupid specimen who in response to my saying, "lady, out here, we are ALL equal" said - my hand to God this is an EXACT quote: "yes, but some of us are more equal than others."

      These assholes were without a doubt the greatest collection of mental Lilliputians that I have ever seen. I have spent 32 years in higher education, either as a student, staff, or faculty member, so I am accustomed to being around people who value learning and the pursuit of knowledge. The teabaggers are definitely NOT those people.

      These morons would accept ANY absurdity, no matter how insane, improbable, impossible, or just plain batshit crazy if it confirmed their narrow minded preconceived worldview and their obdurate racist hatred for President Obama.

    3. And people who believe absurdities will commit atrocities.

    4. Anonymous8:55 PM

      hrh @ 7:58:

      Wow, is THAT ever a historically-proven truth! And a very creepy truth, at that.

    5. Anonymous4:17 AM

      Am so sorry you have stage 4 cancer, I am a survivor of a stage three A Ovarian cancer,then a breast cancer. One of the medications I was on caused heart problems.( had open heart surgery)
      I know what you feel and are going through. Sometimes the treatment is worse then the cancer, isn't it

      It's been twelve years now, and I am still here. During the time of treatment(eight chemos)consisting of Taxol,cisplatin from which I was very sick. I am 5ft six and weighed less then 100 lbs. Thought many times, I was not going to make it, as did the people around me. There is one Women I meet in public at times who still tells me. she thought the same.
      So I guess my thought for you today is, remember there are others who have gone through the same and are walking around today.

      In my cancer support group, we have women who have been stage four also. They still have faith and hope and are Women who others look too for support with great admiration. These are the ones I think deserve to be called survivors.
      Don't give up even when life stinks.

  22. Replies
    1. Anita Winecooler8:03 PM

      Thanks ;o) Can't get more positive than that!

  23. Anonymous3:29 PM

    For those of us with no religious affiliation, it is very difficult to not tar all Christians with the same broad brush. Reason being, we see no push-back from those who actually do try to follow the teachings of Christ.

    What we do see are con men and grifters posing a Christian religious leaders on the telly. We see the Butler clan and the nutjob in Florida, who thought burning the Koran was a great idea. We see the U.S. Catholic Bishops teaming up with Republican operatives, like Chuck Colson, to create a fiction of friction between Christians and President Obama.

    What we do not see are "good" Christians calling them out for their egregious behavior.

    And, unfortunately for many wonderful, caring Christians, to many of us beyond the religious perimeters, that silence is interpreted as being in agreement.

    1. LisaB259511:32 AM

      I fail to see how getting in a pissing match with idiots is going to reflect well. You can't win.

      However, there are plenty of Christians out there trying to put forth a different message. Maybe you're looking in the wrong place. Or not looking at all.

  24. Anonymous3:48 PM

    I think many of us agree that the life and teachings of the real historical Jesus are well-worth emulating, and that the horrible behavior we are seeing is in no way Christian, but in fact an insult to God, the Scriptures, and all that true Christianity (and Judaism as well) stands for.

    Beyond that, this form of of right-wingism is a literal cult: it moves in lock-step, demands complete conformity, insists that brains be parked at the door, is founded on (and thrives as a result of) deliberately-promoted fear, and exists to promote the power bases of the mighty men benefiting from it. The misplaced, ginned-up theological fear is then spilled over into the political arena by highly-paid charlatans, who use it to create a civic atmosphere that Ed Schultz describes as 'psycho-babble'. Thus, the cult poisons both the religious and political arenas.

    Love is the antithesis of fear. The day when the American church decides to apply the Scripture to itself and become a God-loving institution (proving by their works and words that they, "love their neighbor as themselves") is the day when this evil pathology will start to dwindle, and the church will start to regain some semblance of legitimacy – but legitimacy can not be ascribed to them until then.

    Meanwhile, we call it for what it is: x-tianity (in part, because the people may have once been christians, but are now – unknowingly – EX-christians, due to their behavior), teavangelicals (because they are driven first and foremost by political ideology, and not by theology – and their title should reflect that), Dominionists (because, having no control over their own behavior, they will not rest until they can be in control of everything and everyone else), or (a recent term I find amusing), chrislam.

    We can spot the true from the fake, but people who are in the midst of deception by definition can not spot it. Most of all, they can not detect it in themselves. The fact that they are the farthest thing in the world from what the Scriptures teach is a tragedy for them, for us, and for what might become of American civilization as we know or remember it.

  25. Gasman4:04 PM

    Tarring and feathering all Christians because of the actions of the cousin humping fundagelicals is as morally reprehensible as trying to smear all Muslims for the actions of the murderous terrorists.

    Let's be very clear in acknowledging the indisputable fact that our nation's history is replete with MANY examples of prominent Christians and Christian denominations that have been stalwart foes of injustice and oppression and have fought tirelessly for full equality for all citizens. Don't smear the reputation of patriot humanitarian Christians simply because the toothless goobers claim to own the rights to the concept of Christianity. They do not.

    I am one of but a growing chorus of Christians who will tell you that the loud mouthed, vindictive, arrogant, mean spirited brand of Christianity preached and practiced by the cousin humps is foreign to us.

    It's easy to distinguish between the fundagelicals and the other 2/3s of Christianity. The fundies are the ones with more toes than teeth and they also have to dismount their sisters or cousins before leaving their front yard. They also seem to be preternaturally obsessed with bullshit memes like birtherism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, and any other crackpot idea.

    As a Christian, I am no more responsible for Sarah Palin and those of her ilk than anybody else. I nor any other Christian should have to offer up any apologies on her behalf. I am also a white male, but I don't feel any real need to apologize for the behavior of all the asshole white males in the GOP.

  26. Anonymous4:38 PM

    You are so funny, Gryphen. You are disingenuous when you pretend you have no problem with Christianity or the Bible, or that your relentless protest against them supposedly solely stems from your concern that Right Wing religious fundamentalists have a portion of political power in this country and have attempted to influence public education curricula.

    None of us have disagreed with that, so there is no conflict there.

    The truth is, it's quite obvious you do have a personal problem with religion in general. Funny you are pretending innocence on this. Just be honest about it.

    And when you come to think of it, if these wingnuts have somehow achieved a seat at the table, so to speak, then that is Democracy, whether we like it or not, no?

    I am a progressive Christian, like our President, and I feel comfortable that he has a seat at the table ;-). Everything he does is informed by his religious conviction, and yet he doesn't advertise that or try to impose his beliefs on everyone else. Are you going to complain about his activities too?

    If the Republicans have stupidly associated themselves with one religious perspective, that is their problem. The rest of us can fight and keep these A*^holes out, and that's good enough.

    Saying we mainstream Christians must eradicate Christian Conservatism altogether is simply not a reasonable request, any more than I could ask you to shut obnoxious Atheists up.

    It's a Democracy. Deal with it.

    1. Gasman8:47 PM

      It's democracy when citizens achieve their place honestly. The fundagelicals are liars. In their arrogance and supercilious contempt for the rest of us, they feel totally justified in lying to us apostates.

      If they can win over their fellow citizens with the strength of their ideas, I say more power to them. However, they don't. They lie, they bully, they intimidate, they shout down and they engage in the most loathsome acts of bigotry and hatespeak. These cousin humps are the same ones that fought to keep segregation and Jim Crow legal.

      In their actions these assholes bear less resemblance to Jesus than they do to Bull Connor, Orval Faubus, Lester Maddox, or even Hitler.

      You want to explain how their rise to power is an expression of democracy?

    2. Anonymous7:45 AM

      Orval Faubus?

      Is he related to REINCE PREIBUS??

      Why do these men sound like DISEASES?

  27. Anita Winecooler7:05 PM

    I agree with you, Gryphen. There are four "brands" of Christianity (Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Calvanist based Born Again Christian Mega Theater/Stadium Evangelical) and one family of Atheists (Mine) in my family and from what I can surmise, as long as any of them proclaim they are "Pro Life", it's perfectly o.k. to be considered part of the extreme right evangelical Christian group, as long as their "brand" isn't directly attacked, it's perfectly acceptable to remain silent, and by that silence, they lend credence and complicity to the extremists.
    As long as dogma isn't brought up, we all get along pretty well.

    1. Gasman8:50 PM

      You gotta be more than Pro-Life to be a "real" Christian. You also have to be a raging homophobe. By those standards, as a Presbyterian I'm ridin' the hot rails to hell.

  28. Anonymous11:15 PM

    My recent observation is that it is quite noticeable that many who claim to be of the "true religion" act in a very desperate way, whenever anyone shows the slightest evidence of not fully and completely agreeing with them.

    What this reveals is that their opinion of their own "faith" is so pathetically weak, that having anyone show such non-compliance, has them flying into a rage.

    When you are comfortably convinced of anything, if another person claims you are wrong, your reaction is to chuckle with disdain...even pity.

    NOT to lose control and spit and curse as if demon possessed.

    Next time you encounter one of these, "Believe exactly as 'WE' do--or we will KILL YOU" types who hide behind a completely phony brand of religion, calmly remind them that they should really work on solidifying their faith, as it is painfully obvious they don't truly believe what they claim to believe.

  29. Anonymous7:29 AM


    Ask "those" people to show you where CHRIST (ya know, Jesus),


    that supports these oppressive acts.

    They can't.

    They may point to something in the Bible,

    But it won't be the words of JESUS.

    And that's all you need to say.

    Sarah vs. Sarah

  30. Not What You Want to Hear5:11 AM

    I’m late to this post; been out of town for several days. Gryphen, I’m glad you’re asking these kinds of questions; just by raising them helps spark a conversation that is long overdue in this country.

    My personal opinion on how to reclaim the true principles of Christianity: well, you don’t fight fire with fire. You fight it with water. And so you don’t fight hate and anger with more hate and anger, you fight it with profound demonstrations of love and compassion. In short, those of us who are appalled by the rightwing’s menacing interpretation of Christianity need to just go out in the world (and our own communities) and radically practice the chief tenets of Jesus’s teachings: love, humility, and mercy.

    Of course, a lot of us already are doing that, but it gets zero media coverage. So we have a separate problem there. How do we solve it? This is a bit tricky, because the Bible tells us not to trumpet our good works; this smacks of the hypocrite who prays ostentatiously to show the world what a good pious Christian he/she is.

    But I personally believe that it is imperative for Christians to start urging the media to cover these efforts more, and to especially stop lumping all Christians in with the frightening rightwing fundamentalists. People would be surprised what one letter to an editor, one phone call to a newsroom can accomplish.

    And there is so much that could be covered by the media that people would find interesting and hopeful, and be very surprised to learn have the backing of countless Christians. Some examples can be found here: and

    One more thing: just as the media should stop lumping all Christians in with intolerant fundamentalists, some people on this thread need to stop judging all Christians as intolerant fundamentalists if they don’t always perfectly align with your political beliefs. The Catholic Bishops are a good example. Yes, they came out against mandates for conception coverage, but they also just condemned the federal budget that cuts spending on the poor. In fact, they recommend LESS military spending, and MORE spending on helping the least among us:

  31. This struggle of moderate christians seeking a way to moderate the extremists is a beautiful thing to see!

  32. Anonymous6:04 AM

    "totum pro parte synecdoche" isn't this redundant? and wouldn't you reach a wider audience by speaking "crear engrish"?

    Other than that, I couldn't agree with you more.

  33. For years I have considered this very question, and even wrote a book about it. I am not a christian and have found myself to be angry at the main-line Christians, just as much as the Religious Right, however for very different reasons.

    I think it is the responsibility of those within the faith to moderate their own. It should not have to come from atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or pagans to tell the Religious Right to sit down and shut-up.

    Unfortunately for Main-line Christians they must do two things to accomplish what you wish. They must first agree to stop being polite to the members of the religious right. This includes family and friends who self-identify with religious right. The second is to actually do something when they see or hear a member of the religious right spouting their ignorance.

    Muslims are doing it to their extremists. The occupy movement is doing it to the banks. It's the bread and butter of the Feminist movement.

    Mainline Christians...grow a pair, stand your ground, and wag your finger with "shame, shame, shame."

    All viral movements start with family and friends.

    1. Not What You Want to Hear8:19 AM

      I basically agree with the main thing you're saying here, which is that Mainline Christians...the ones that are appalled by the Religious Right, anyway...need to speak out. However, I draw the line at getting into fights with my own flesh and blood. That is not the answer. Not for me, anyway, because they aren't yelling at me for my views. And sometimes out of the blue, they surprise me by actually agreeing with something I say.

  34. Anonymous7:25 AM

    This is their excuse.
    it's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think and act like me.......
    It's just that GOD does.

  35. Anonymous7:27 AM

    It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think and act like me.........
    It's just that GOD does!

  36. Anonymous3:37 PM

    Im glad and hopeful to see so many Americans see the falseness and bigoted, hateful politics of so-called Christians. I work with a few self-proclaimed "good" Christians who are the most intolerant, bigoted, sexist idiots on the planet. So many folks in this country are just like them. They interpret the Bible to suit their own personal lives and beliefs and all others are going straight to hell. The far religious right is destroying the Republican Party. I once was a Republican but now I consider them no better than the Taliban. White, Anglo-Saxon males who want us to return to the 1950s and no rights for anyone else. Pretty sad state for this country. And there is so much racist hatred for Obama (I dont mind good debate on the issues) but when folks I know call him racist slang makes me sick. Is there any hope out there for the moderates who dont want the theocrats running this country?

  37. Anonymous4:43 AM

    Catholics are not blameless on this, Gryphen. During the papacies of JP2 and Benedict, right-wing Catholics were encouraged and allowed to define what being Catholic means, and anyone who did not fall lockstep with them wasn't "a good Catholic." Thankfully, Francis is genuinely engaged in what is now an uphill battle to broaden the Catholic Church to the less hateful, more inclusive net it was when I was a teenager in the 1970s. Those kind days seem so long gone. It's an uphill battle because JP2 and Benedict installed so many right-wing bishops over the past 35 years. They are pretty much law in their diocese, and they encourage local right wingers while more moderate Catholics increasing felt the church was either too focused on sex and excluding gays and people who use birth control and just distanced themselves from a church that no longer reflected what they grew up understanding Catholicism to be about at it's core. Francis has beem moving things back to a more inclusive tent, and it's working. But he's been careful to be inclusive of the right wingers too. That's good. We don't want to exclude them the way they tried to exclude us. I don't consider them "bad Catholics," even though they dubbed us such. But i hope Francis is able to appoint more normal, inclusive bishops pretty fast and start moving the church into a kinder space. JP2's and Benedicts policies have caused more distance between Catholics and the church than the child abuse scandals did--and that's saying as lot!


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