Politics

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Vote for Donald Trump by John Hagee

john hagee

This is the forty-second installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a clip from an endorsement video by John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. While Hagee does not mention Trump by name, it is clear that he is endorsing The Donald.

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The Sounds of Fundamentalism: I Want More Influence than Oprah by Janet Porter

janet porter

This is the thirty-seventh installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a clip of a prayer by Ohioan Janet Porter, director of Faith2Action.

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The Sounds of Fundamentalism: You Might be a Liberal by Phil Kidd

phil kidd

This is the twenty-seventh installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a clip taken from a sermon preached by Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Evangelist Phil Kidd.

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If Salvation is by Grace and Not by Works

salvation by works

I recently wrote a post about Evangelical outrage over Montel Williams suggesting that the heart of Christianity is good works. Countless Evangelicals schooled Williams about salvation, reminding him that good works play no part in salvation. According to these Evangelicals, salvation is by grace — God bestowing his unmerited favor upon sinners. Are these Evangelicals right? It depends on which Bible verses you read. For example, Ephesians 2:8,9 says: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast. Seems to the settle the question right? Salvation is by “grace through faith and not by works.” However in the very next verse the Bible says: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. This verse seems quite clear, well as clear as any Bible verse can be; that those whom God saves are ordained (chosen) by God to have lives that demonstrate good works. There are numerous ways one can argue this issue, but anyone with even a modicum of understanding about the New Testament certainly knows that the Bible makes a clear connection between salvation and good works. People who claim to be Christians yet live in ways contrary to the teachings of the Bible are, at best, Christian in name only. The Jesus who said Follow me surely expects his followers to believe and obey the teachings of the Bible. After all, according to Evangelicals, the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible word. It’s God’s blueprint for life, a sure road map for the journey between birth and eternity. Why then, all the Evangelical outrage over Williams’ comment?

A large number of Evangelicals believe that salvation is some sort of  magic pill or eternal fire insurance. At some point in their lives they have had some sort of “experience” with God and now they are Christians. For these Evangelicals, all that matters is believing the right things. And in recent years, believing the right things has come to mean having the right political beliefs. Williams’ comment was in response to Evangelical outrage over transgendered people using the wrong bathroom. Williams rightly pointed out that Evangelical hatred and bigotry towards transgenders was un-Christian. How dare Williams suggest hateful, bigoted Evangelicals aren’t being very Christian! These Evangelicals can recite John 3:16 and parrot “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation,” and that is all that matters. They might believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but fuck those perverts who want to use what Evangelicals consider the wrong bathroom.

These Evangelicals are being quite hypocritical, are they not? If salvation is NOT by good works, how dare they expect or demand people to live by the teachings of the Bible? Aren’t these the same Evangelicals who oppose homosexuality, same-sex marriage, premarital sex, or any other form of sexual expression except a monogamous married heterosexual couple having sex via the missionary position, yet commit the very sexual sins they condemn?  And aren’t these the very same people who make all sorts of moral demands that they themselves are unable to keep? Why should any of us — transgenders included  — follow ANY of the teachings of the Bible? If Evangelicals can’t practice what they preach, aren’t they being hypocritical? Of course they are.

These Evangelicals (and I say these because some Evangelicals do think good works are essential to Christian faith) are the worst that Christianity has to offer. They demand that everyone submit to their religion’s teachings, yet they are ignorant of those very teachings. They expect everyone to obey their interpretations of the Bible, yet they exempt themselves from doing the same. When questioned about the disconnect between what they say they believe and how their live their lives, these Evangelicals remind their critics that they are works in progress or that they are resting on the promises of God. These Evangelicals are ignorant of much of what the Apostle Paul had to say about behavior, choosing to focus on God’s super-duper grace-filled plan for their lives — grace that Dietrich Bonhoeffer called cheap. All that matters to them is where they will spend eternity when they die — heaven. Well that and making sure that there are no transgenders using the wrong bathroom.

You see, these Evangelicals actually DO believe in salvation by works. Every Evangelical has internalized some sort of moral code by which they, in theory, govern their lives. They think that this moral code comes straight from the mouth of God. And if it comes from God, shouldn’t everyone behave the same way? These Evangelicals, despite what they told Montel Williams, believe that there ARE certain behaviors that preclude people from being Christians. Will there be any LGBT people in heaven? Not according to these Evangelicals. In fact, their list of people who will not be in heaven is quite long. These Evangelicals speak out of both sides of their mouth, decrying anyone who says salvation is by works, yet at the same time saying that there are certain behaviors that will land people in hell (and most of these behaviors are sexual in nature). Quite frankly, if THESE Evangelicals will be in heaven, I am quite happy to spend eternity in hell with  Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Prince, homosexuals, Christopher Hitchens, transgenders, same-sex couples, liberals, abortionists, and Barack Obama. According to these Evangelicals, Dennis Hastert and countless other Christian perverts get a free pass because they told God, sorry, and promised to never, ever sexually molest children again. Yet, when Catholic priests diddle young boys and later ask God’s forgiveness, they still go to hell when they die. Why? Because Catholics worship the wrong Christian God. And around and around the Evangelical merry-go-round goes.

 

 

Here’s the Reason Many Evangelicals are Hateful Bigots

truth is hate

Spend any time swimming in the septic tank called Evangelical Christianity and you will likely come in contact with hateful bigots. Why are so many Evangelicals so nasty? While the reasons are many, one major reason for their hatefulness is that they believe that being a Christian is all about BELIEVING the right things, not DOING the right things. Let me illustrate this point with a few comments from Megyn Kelly’s Facebook page —The Kelly File. Last Friday, Montel Williams appeared on Kelly’s show and had this to say about Evangelical outrage over Transgender bathroom laws:

“What is the basic premise of every religion on this planet? You get judged by what you do for the least of us when you pass on. How dare you try to judge them now… and claim to be a Christian.”

Here’s how some of Kelly’s followers responded:
megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page megyn kelly facebook page
As you can clearly see, these Evangelicals see no connection between Christian salvation and good works. And this is the reason why many Americans now consider Evangelicals hateful bigots. Evidently, these verses are missing from the bibles Evangelicals dust off and carry to church on Sunday:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:8-26)

Self-righteous Evangelicals will say that these verses don’t mention Transgenders, so there! Other Evangelicals will say these verses only apply to their treatment of fellow believers, so there! Fine, I say. Please share how and to what degree you are helping fellow Evangelicals who are in need. *silence* That’s what I thought. You see, what the Transgender bathroom issue reveals is Evangelical hatred for anyone who doesn’t bow to their moral (and political) demands. Transgenders are just the latest in a long line of people Evangelicals hate: liberals, mainline Christians, atheists, secularists, agnostics, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, undocumented workers, Barack Obama, abortion doctors, and gays, to name a few. Evangelicals need to stop preaching love, joy, and peace, when all  people can see is hatred and bigotry.

If you have your hip waders on, I encourage you to check out the comments on The Kelly File’s Montel Williams segment (April 29, 2016). Be prepared to be sickened by what Evangelicals say in the name of their God. Even if I believed in the existence of the Christian God, there’s no way in heaven or hell that I would ever want to go to church with people who think like many of Kelly’s Evangelical followers. Their words betray who and what they really are.

 

Letter to the Editor: Evangelical Hysteria Over Transgender Bathroom Use

evangelicals transgender

This cartoon correctly shows how many Evangelicals perceive the Transgender/bathroom issue. Their perceptions, however, are categorically wrong.

Letter to the Editor submitted to The Bryan Times on April 22, 2016 (never printed) Resubmitted to the Defiance Crescent-News on May 19, 2016

Dear Editor,

Recent news stories have highlighted Evangelical outrage and hysteria over Transgenders using public restrooms. I suspect most Americans at one time or another have taken care of business while in proximity to someone whose sexual identity or orientation is different from theirs. Why all the outrage now over such a banal issue as who and where someone pees?

At the heart of this issue lies Evangelical hatred and disgust, not only for Transgenders, but also for anyone who dares to be different from the God-approved, heterosexual-only, virginal, monogamous-sex-only-within-the-bonds-of-marriage Evangelical belief concerning sexuality. As a Baptist teenager, I vividly remember sermons and admonitions warning teens of the dire consequences of fornication and masturbation. All the scare-tactic preaching did was make us feel guilty when we acted upon normal, healthy human sexual desire.

Evangelicalism is now widely considered a hateful religion by many Americans. Why is this? In the 1970s, Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich birthed The Moral Majority — an Evangelical group dedicated to reclaiming America for the Christian God. Along the way new groups such as Focus on the Family and the American Family Association joined with the Moral Majority to fight the war against what they perceived to be the takeover of America by Godless liberals, Satanic secularists, atheists, and humanists. In the 1980s these culture warriors sold their souls to the Republican Party, joining church and state and producing the ugly monster now on display for all to see.

During this same time frame, secularists, their numbers increasing thanks to a growing number of Americans who no longer are interested in organized religion, began to push back at Evangelicalism’s message of hate and bigotry. Atheist groups such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists began challenging governmental preferential treatment given to Evangelicals. Now, thanks to a rising swell of secularism, Evangelicals feel threatened. No longer are they given special treatment. No longer are their blatant assaults on the First Amendment ignored. The more Evangelicals are marginalized, the greater their outrage.

Evangelicals must accept the fact that progress has brought us to place of inclusion and acceptance of those who are different from us. Evangelical preachers are certainly free to keep preaching against what they believe are sinful behaviors. But they might want to notice that many Americans — particularly millennials — are no longer listening.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Should Women be Prosecuted if They Have an Abortion?

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A sign near our home in rural Northwest Ohio

Imagine for a moment a banker, automobile dealer, racecar driver, and a career criminal get together to plan a bank robbery. The banker will provide blueprints for the bank and the combination for the safe. The automobile dealer will provide a fast getaway car. The racecar driver, putting his NASCAR skills to work, will drive the getaway car. The career criminal will be responsible for actually robbing the bank. Is only the career criminal culpable for the bank robbery? Or does material participation in this criminal enterprise make each participant guilty of the crime? I think all of us would agree that every person who played a part in the crime is criminally liable.

Evangelicals believe that abortion is murder. From the moment of conception, according to pro-lifers, that which grows in the womb of the mother is a human being who deserves complete protection under the law. Imagine my surprise then, to hear Evangelicals distance themselves from Donald Trump’s recent statement that women who have abortions should be punished. Granted, Trump later walked this comment back, but his first comment accurately reflects taking pro-life dogma to its logical conclusion.

If abortion is murder, then every person who materially participates in the killing of the zygote/fetus is equally culpable. Pro-lifers are quite willing to use the force of law to prosecute doctors who perform abortions. Some Evangelicals even go so far as to say that performing an abortion is a capital crime worthy of the death penalty. In past years pro-life zealots have murdered abortion doctors. Many within the pro-life movement think that such murders are justifiable homicide. In 2005, Polly and I attended a church where one of the church members wanted to have a moment of silence on the February 6th birthday of pro-life hero Paul Hill. You may remember that Hill murdered abortion doctor John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett. He was executed by the state of Florida on September 3, 2003. According to pro-lifers, abortion doctors are no different from the Nazi or Japanese doctors who experimented on prisoners of war during World War II. Abortion doctors are no better than serial killers, men and women who — according to pro-lifers — place no value on human life.

But what about abortion clinic staff? Are the nurses who materially participate in abortion procedures criminally liable? How are they in any way different from the banker, automobile dealer, and racecar driver in the story above? And surely the woman having the abortion is the bank robber in the story above. She is the one who decides to abort her fetus. She is the one who makes the appointment, goes to the clinic, takes off her clothes, puts on a hospital gown, lies on a table, and allows the abortion doctor — with his nurse assisting — to terminate the pregnancy. Surely the woman is criminally responsible for the murder of her unborn child.

Why all the Evangelical angst and dancing around the issue when asked if women should be punished for having abortions? This issue seems quite clear to me. If life begins at conception and abortion is murder, then the women making choices to kill their babies — regardless of whether they take abortion-inducing drugs or have surgical procedures — are guilty of premeditated homicide. Some Evangelicals try to avoid the logical conclusions of their abortion equals murder beliefs by suggesting that women having abortions are in some way or the other mentally or emotionally incapable of understanding what they are doing. I think most women who have abortions would be quite offended by such false assertions. While certainly deciding to have an abortion can be and often is a difficult decision for women to make, to suggest that women are somehow unable to rationally make this decision is ludicrous. For whatever reason, women choose to have abortions. It is their legal right to do so. Our law recognizes that women have a fundamental right to control what happens to their bodies — even though that right is currently under vicious attack by pro-life zealots.

It is time for pro-lifers to own their beliefs. The last 10 years have seen an unprecedented assault on women’s rights. Realizing that it is unlikely that they will ever overturn Roe V Wade, pro-lifers have turned to the states to advance their draconian anti-abortion laws. These new laws have been so successful that in some states it is almost impossible for women to find an abortion provider. Pro-lifers will not rest until fertilized eggs are granted the same constitutional rights as 30-year-old women. I do not think for a moment — once they successfully outlawed abortion — that they will continue to view women who have back alley abortions as victims. As has been clear over the past 25 years — at least to me — many Evangelicals will not rest until they have turned the United States into a Christian theocracy. Once they have gained this power, they will use it just as ruthlessly as ISIS and other violent theocratic groups. Quite frankly, Evangelicals cannot be trusted with our civil liberties. Bound by the Bible and its teachings, they have no recourse but to push God’s laws into every aspect of American life. It is for this reason that people who value secularism, humanism, and freedom must oppose theocratic Evangelicals at every turn.