It’s Lonely Here…

Please recall that the KKK claims to be a Christian organization.

Please recall that the KKK claims to be a Christian organization.

…but it is getting better on the Theocracy Beat. Brother Charlie Pierce’s cohort and writing pal at Esquire Robert Bateman has noticed what we’ve spent nearly a decade screaming about: the slow, creeping theocracy of the Republican Party:

No, you know what? When I see Christian Fundamentalists beheading people whom they believe “God Told Them To Kill”, right here in the states, I’m thinking that perhaps Mr. Huckabee’s rabble-rousing motivation and encouragement to more Christian Fundamentalists to become even more extreme might not be good for the nation. One begins to wonder how directly the zealot political leaders like Huckabee may be culpable.

…and then he goes into the detail of one Xristian Xrazie who killed someone. It seems the Xrazie was watching YouTube videos from (maybe?) Huckabee and his ilk and decided to kill a friend of his brother’s who was playing cards. We covered the story months ago, but it doesn’t matter much to me: Esquire is a huge platform.

The greatest threat to our Democracy isn’t terrorism, it’s theocracy and probably Xristian theocracy is a greater threat to most of us than any other sort.

Welcome to the beat, Esquire. It is really good to have you with us.

Want Fries With Your Stupid?

What was once billed as a Catholic event can no longer be called such,” Barber tells OneNewsNow. “They are openly allowing a sin-based organization to march in their parade and to effectively put their stamp of approval on what the Bible unequivocally calls sinful behavior.”

Faith-based organizations that want to remain loyal to the Bible have a decision to make as to whether to participate. Barber offers a suggestion.

“Some faith-based organizations could carry banners and so forth exclaiming the truths of scripture relative to homosexual sin,” he suggests. “[They could] use the opportunity to denounce what the New York City St. Patrick’s Parade organization has done here and to take them to task for casting aside the truths of scripture and disobeying the teachings of Christ.”

Matt Barber, the man who thinks about hot, sweaty man-on-man sex with thighs like pistons that can pump all night, suggests how to respond to gay groups who will (finally) be allowed to march in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. (One News Now)

The MPS Magic Quadrant Guide to Theocracy vs. Democracy

Tengrain — and if you think I was going to put my usual signature somewhere in those four quadrants, you’re crazier than I am!

In my line of work, we get these sorts of “magic quadrant” analysis of where our products are compared to the competition. Some people find them useful.

UPDATE: According to Theocracy Watch, the theocratic governments of the world are Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vatican City.


(This post comes to us from our great friend and Scissorhead Jimmy Dean’s Fucked-up Cousin Clyde. JD’s etc. has been a long time supporter of the Blog Against Theocracy and always contributes a thought-provoking and creative post. He did it again for us in 2009! Rgds, T.G.)

Who rules in religion?

The God or Gods do.

God is The ruler. And the people are subservient to God’s laws.

Most religions follow this template. Granted, spiritualism has as many manifestations as possibly there are devotees, so there is not only one pattern which describes all, but… most organized religions follow this basic one of God the Ruling Force Of The Universe, God The Superior, Man Inferior (this is not a sexual position, unless you count the Missionary One, then . . . maybe, but probably only in the context of a patriarchy), God The All Powerful, etc.

God, as we understand the philosophical entity, may exist in either a state of formlessness—-an omnipresent Spirit, at once the eternal background matrix for all arising manifestations in the material world and equally distinct from those manifestations much as the sky is only a canvas (green screen, modern parlance) for the movie of the clouds, or as the existent manifestations themselves —-inseparably creation itself, in every form imaginable.

God as the ruler is either then a remote lawgiver, one beautifully likened in 16th Century-think to the clockmaker who has built the clock and who winds it but who is also busy with other projects somewhere else in the shop, or the craftsman and the clock and the shop and the winding all in a package.

There is a wee problem here.

IF God is remotely a creator, then the physical laws are ones pertinent to the creation. Indeed, this has been the explorational busy work of the physicists and chemists and mathematicians as long as we know such thinkers to have existed. The discovery of these laws and the refinement of the search to the least minutiae goes on at this moment. These boundary-defining statutes establish what can and cannot occur. Since they apply to the physical material realm they lend themselves to testing and proofs. Bit by bit, these laws are being revealed to man.

But IF God is the creation itself, everything changes. It is no longer simply a discovery of the laws by which creation manifests, but the creation itself revealing itself to itself, God singing “Getting To Know Me.”

The wee problem is this:

Laws created by politicians are not laws governing the material workings of the cosmos. (I will acknowledge that the State policeman with the radar gun who is waving at me as I sail past him at 75 in a 55 zone does have a beatific appearance . . . but maybe it is only oxygen deprivation since I stopped breathing when I saw him too late).

They are not laws governing physics, but people’s actions. And they are not God’s laws, but laws of people, issued by people, for people. God doesn’t make these laws anymore than people make the laws of electromagnetism.

But this is not clear to everyone.

Let me say it again: people make the laws governing people, and God makes the laws governing the physical universe.

Let me flip this one more time so it is painfully clear how wrong it is when Believers become (rulers) legislators and confuse who and what they are:

  • GOD makes the laws governing people,
    and PEOPLE make the laws governing the physical universe.
  • GOD says who can vote,
    and PEOPLE say what gravity ought to be.
  • GOD says what tariffs there should be on foreign steel,
    and PEOPLE say what the binding force between water molecules should be.
  • GOD says who can marry,
    and PEOPLE say what ultraviolet radiation should be.
  • GOD says how much the states can tax the use of tobacco,
    and PEOPLE say how galaxies rotate about an axis.
  • GOD says what boundaries exist between adjoining nations,
    and People allow a plant to grow from a seed.
  • GOD says what the speed limit in rural Ohio should be,
    and PEOPLE say how fast or how slow universe expansion should be.

When God and people become used interchangeably, it’s a theocracy, or rule by GOD/PEOPLE, and the limits separating religion and government no longer exist.

No longer is it clear what laws are laws affecting the physical workings of the universe, and what laws are laws made by people affecting other people.

No longer clear is it what belief is, and what knowledge is.

The boundaries between science and dogma become hazy and uncertain.

No one knows what’s real, and what isn’t. And the rulers can justify anything they do, with the claim they have the divine right.

Rulers love this.

Finally tonight!

I know, I know, I know… but imagine if the news shows filled up a few minutes here and there with sightings of Mohammed, or Buddah. Why is it always Jesus’ image on the stain in the news?

You see, it’s not just the three branches of government we need to be vigilant about, the fourth estate is already well on the way to being a theocratic media.

About the 2009 Blog Against Theocracy Logo

Via email, I’ve been asked to explain myself, how I could “perverse” such an iconic image as the Rosenthal photograph of the planting of the flag on Iwo Jima. The writer suggest a few things I could do with the flag pole, but I’ll save that for another time.

When Blue Gal and I were plotting and planning this year’s blog swarm, she asked me to do something with the Rainbow Flag. We agreed that this year, the theocrats were targeting gays, what with fights all over the country on same sex marriage, and gay civil rights in general. One of us said it was like a war on gays.

And then the image dawned on me. You see, the Marines who fought so bravely in the South Pacific in World War II (Hi Dad!) fought for all of us, not just some of us. Their heroism is not limited to just one group of Americans over another group. They did not fight and die to preserve and protect the US Constitution only to have theocrats come in and destroy it in the name of their god.

So here’s the way I see things: just as the Marines fought for all of us, we have to fight to preserve and protect our Constitution from the theocrats who would replace it with a Bible, and we have to fight for all of our citizens to be equal. Religion has no place in our governance.



Blog Against Theocracy 2009 – The Toxic Mix of Church and State, 2000 years of It

(Cross-posted for my favorite religious lady and friend, FranIAm, who proves to me daily that you can be a Christian and cool. Rgds, T.G)

(Despite my calls for action for Blog Against Theocracy weekend (Also available at MockPaperScissors) I seem to have run out of time without writing a post. To that end I am submitting and posting this post from my blog, from early March. The post was about the film Constantine’s Sword and is interwoven with a case of campus proselytizing of the worst sort a the Air Force Academy. I was inspired to do this by the fine posting I just read at Happy Jihad’s House of Pancakes written by the inimitable Bing McGhandi.

For those who read this at Ten’s or at BG’s BAT site and do not know me… I am a very religious person who is deeply committed to keeping church and state separate. As a person of deep faith I do not want to tell you what to do or how to believe, nor do I want to be forced into anyone else’s ways of being. Peaceful coexistence is my goal.

I have not been utilizing my Netflix subscription very much lately that I recently sent a movie back after meaning to write about for weeks and then not doing so! I am so out of touch with my queue that I did not know what would arrive next.

As I am studying church history this semester and have been obsessed with Constantine (not in a good way), I hit the Netflix/Grad school jackpot when Constantine’s Sword arrived a few days later.

Currently I am immersed in church history as that is what I am studying this semester. And I am really struggling with how and why Christianity and government/power got intertwined by Constantine’s declaration that Christianity would be the religion of the Empire. “In hoc signo vinces” (“in this sign you shall conquer,”) or the IHS you often see above Jesus’ head on crucifixes.

And this film – Constantine’s Sword, uses that point in history to explore parallels between church, state and military that exist to this day.

I really liked the film; it was not the greatest, but it was interesting. It did a good job of pulling together the story more quickly, but be warned it is without all the historical detail and data the book offers. If you don’t know the history, it might not be as clear.

As a former Catholic priest, Carroll does have a bit of an axe to grind. However, make no mistake – Carroll has clearly called out the truth about anti-Semitism and the Roman Catholic Church, which needs to be called out and called out loudly and clearly.

Especially lately.

(Not to go too far afield, but many of you have heard me say this on the phone, I do not think that I have said it here… It is NO excuse for any of the awful things of late – especially the SSPX situation, but I do not believe that Pope Benedict is a Nazi or a virulent anti-semite. He is many things, but not that, as I see it. Want to talk with me (or fight with me) about that? To discuss it, email me please. I would be curious about your viewpoint and willing to share mine, but I will not likely blog about it. That said, B16’s words and actions inspire those who do reject the Jews.)

Back to the film… It does an excellent job of exploring not only the anti-semitism fueled by the RC Church, but it truly brings forth and weaves the relationship between ultra-right conservative Christianity, the US government and also the military. The real focus for this is the Air Force family of Mikey Weinstein and how Weinstein pushed back hard against the proselytizing at the US Air Force Academy.

You are likely aware that Colorado Springs is the home of this place and this place and this place. (i feel dirty just googling and publishing those links. ick… On a former business travel related note, I used to go to Colo Springs all the time. I always found the place physically beautiful, but slightly creepy… I used to say it was Apt Pupil meets Red Dawn. *shudder*)

Anyway, the movie goes back and forth between the relationship between Constantine’s toxic mix of war, power and faith and the current similarities. Now this film was released in 2007, that sick era of Bush-shit.

Especially creepy were scenes where Carroll interviews Ted Haggard, like this one. (it is only 21 creepy seconds long…)

(Is that smile insincere and soul-chilling or what???)

This movie covers a lot of historical ground as it encapsulates the history of the church and the toxic mix of church and state that began with Constantine in 312 and mentioned above. Prior to this, the religion of the empire was pagan. The question will always remain – did Constantine really convert or was this his evil exercise of unifying power? I always tend towards the latter on this.

So you go from what was once the counter-cultural group of outsiders, that is those who followed Christ, to the forced religion of the empire. Add to that the struggles already extant in the growing Christian faith, many of whom never thought of themselves as anything other than messianic Jews. There were already forces at work in the various communities of that time that were sowing seeds of anti-Semitism.

Bring that into the context of the war against Iraq (think GWB and the use of the word “crusade”) and the power of the religious right in this country during his presidency.

Carroll’s own history matters here too… His parents were of Irish descent and working class at that. Yet his father became a General and played a major role in government. Carroll lived a privileged life and became a Catholic priest in the Vatican II era. He embraced peace and social justice only to discover how conflicted his work was.

Carroll was vehemently anti-war and an activist priest during the Vietnam era… and his father worked at the Pentagon.

Church, state and war are always an intoxicating mix for those who love power and domination. This is why they should never go together, but always do.

This movie is worth a watch just to see how ugly it can all get. I realize that for a 90 minute movie, there is so much to write about and I have barely captured any of it.

Let it suffice to say that Carroll travels to Colorado Springs and to Rome; he journeys to Krakow and Auschwitz as well. He does a good job of presenting the sometimes complicated role of the Catholic Church and some very dark chapters of history with clarity. His segments on the Jewish community of Rome were especially excellent.

I recommend this film if you have an interest in this history… and in how dangerous it is for the forces of the military, the government and religion to mix.

It’s Not Over

(Our good friend and Scissorhead, Travelling Man, submitted this post by email – we are very glad and proud to present it here at Mock, Paper, Scissors. Rgds, T.G.)

With the election of Barack Obama, the influence of the Religious Right may have diminished, but it has not disappeared.

Those of us who are committed to retaining the separation of Church and State must continue to be vigilant against the encroachment on our freedoms by those who would subvert the Constitution and replace it with a system of laws founded on various religious texts. Just recently, a new advertisement for the “defense of marriage” advises us that there is a “gathering storm”. At the inauguration of President Obama, The Christian Defense Coalition and others anointed the doorposts through which the then President Elect would pass on his way to being sworn in to office. The Obama administration continues to fund Faith Based Initiatives begun in the Bush administration.

None of these examples should be construed as being somehow opposed to Christianity. There are instances of the encroachment by ultra-conservative members of other faiths to restrict freedom ranging from Muslim taxi drivers refusing to carry passengers carrying alcohol, to a Jewish group that supported California’s Proposition 8 to restrict the rights of homosexuals to marry.

What none of these groups can understand, or will understand, (which is an entirely different matter), is that while they have every right to adopt restrictions on their behavior according to their religious beliefs, they do not have the right to force those restrictions on others. That is the basis of this blogswarm. These groups refuse to acknowledge that others are free to live their lives as they see fit as long as that lifestyle does not impinge on the rights of others. Those of us who wholeheartedly support the separation of Church and State do not wish to stop others from living according to the dictates of their conscience. We merely wish to be accorded that same right without them shoving their religious agenda down our throats.

Since the change in administrations this year, conservative religious groups do not have the same access to the corridors of power that they once did. This doesn’t mean that the struggle to maintain our freedom is over. Far from it. Now, these groups have adopted the language of their opponents and accuse others of being intolerant. Somehow, not giving them special permission to dictate what we drink, who we love, and how we worship or do not worship is being “intolerant”. They adopt the language of the victim while victimizing others. This is the new paradigm and we should develop effective means of countering that specious argument.

First and foremost, we need to remind them that none of the ideas we advocate deny them the right to live as they choose. We deny them the right to dictate how others should live and that is a true defense of freedom. Perhaps we should also remind them that if their Deity is as omnipotent as they claim, said Deity can effect the changes they seek with no help from them whatsoever.

I would like to close with a quotation from Robert Ingersoll from 1879:

“Churches are becoming political organizations….
It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.
All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining and punishing blasphemy — making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men. An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment. It strikes me that God might write a book that would not necessarily excite the laughter of his children. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that a real God could produce a work that would excite the admiration of mankind. Surely politicians could be better employed than in passing laws to protect the literary reputation of the Jewish God.”

Those are the stakes. The Radical Religious Right isn’t going away.

But then, neither are we.

Traveling Man

Arguing with the theocrats…

…is like arguing with teh crazy.

These are actors, by the way, they are reciting actual words that the fundies have said. I have to admire them for not breaking character as they say some of these things.

The lighter side of theocracy…

…can be found at Wee Mousie’s most excellent Cinema Burlesque. I laughed, I cried, it is the feel-good Friday post of, well, Good Friday.