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Songs of Sacrilege: God Was Never on Your Side by Motorhead

This is the thirty-sixth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is God Was Never on Your Side by Motorhead.

Video Link

Lyrics

If the stars fall down on me
And the sun refuse to shine
Then may the shackles be undone,
And all the old words, cease to rhyme.
If the skies, turn into stone,
It will matter not at all,
For there is no heaven in the sky,
Hell does not wait for our downfall,

Let the voice of reason shine,
Let the pious vanish for all times,
God’s face is, hidden, all unseen,
You can’t ask him what it all means
He was never on your side,
God was never on your side
Let right or wrong, alone decide,
God was never on your side.

See the ten thousand ministries,
See the holy righteous dogs,
They claim to heal
but all they do is steal,
Abuse your faith, cheat & rob.
If god is wise, why is he still,
When these false prophets
call him friends,
Why is he silent, is he blind,
Are we abandoned in the end?

Let the sword of reason shine,
Let us be free of prayer & shrine
God’s face is hidden, turned away
He never has a word to say
He was never on your side
God was never on your side
Let right or wrong, alone decide,
God was never on your side.
(No, No, No)

He was never on your side,
God was never on your side
Never, Never, Never, Never,
Never on your side [x2]
God was never on your side,
Never on your side.

Songs of Sacrilege: Stand Up For Judas by Dick Gaughan

This is the thirty-fifth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Stand Up for Jesus by Dick Gaughan, a Scottish musician.

Video Link

Lyrics

The Romans were the masters
When Jesus walked the land
In Judea and in Galilee
They ruled with an iron hand
The poor were sick with hunger
And the rich were clothed in splendour
And the rebels, whipped and crucified
Hung rotting as a warning
And Jesus knew the answer –
“Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”
Said, “Love your enemies”
But Judas was a Zealot and he
Wanted to be free
“Resist”, he said, “the Romans’ tyranny”

Chorus:
So stand up, stand up for Judas
And the cause that Judas served
It was Jesus who betrayed the poor with his word

Now Jesus was a conjuror,
Miracles were his game
He fed the hungry thousands
And they glorified his name
He cured the lame and leper
He calmed the wind and the weather
And the wretched flocked to touch him
So their troubles would be taken
And Jesus knew the answer –
“All you who labour, all you who suffer
Only believe in me”
But Judas sought a world where no-one
Starved or begged for bread
“The poor are always with us”, Jesus said

Now Jesus sowed division
Where none had been before
Not the slave against the master
But the poor against the poor
Caused son to rise up against father
And brother to fight against brother
For “He that is not with me
Is against me” was his teaching
Said Jesus, “I am the answer
You unbelievers shall burn forever
Shall die in your sins”
“Not sheep or goats” said Judas but
“Together we may dare
Shake off the chains of tyranny we share”

Jesus stood upon the mountain
With a distance in his eyes
“I am the Way, the Life” he cried
“The Light that never dies
So renounce all earthly treasures
And pray to your heavenly father”
And he pacified the hopeless
With the hope of life eternal
Said Jesus, “I am the answer
And you who hunger only remember
Your reward’s in heaven”
So Jesus preached the other world
But Judas wanted this
And he betrayed his master with a kiss

By sword and gun and crucifix
Christ’s gospel has been spread
And two thousand cruel years have shown
The way that Jesus led
The heretics burned and tortured
And the butchering bloody Crusaders
The bombs and rockets sanctified
That rain down death from heaven
They followed Jesus, they knew the answer
All unbelievers must be believers
Or else be broken
“So place no trust in saviours”
Judas said, “for everyone
Must be to his or her own self a sun”

Some Glencoe, Alabama Christians Upset City Took Down Christian Flag

glencoe rally for the flag

Recently, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) demanded the city of Glencoe, Alabama remove the Christian flag flying outside the local police department. Andrew Seidel, staff attorney for the FFRF wrote:

…”It is unconstitutional for a government entity to fly a flag with a patently religious symbol and meaning on its grounds,You must take immediate action and refrain from hoisting this flag up the flagpole at the city hall building.”…

…“The display of this patently religious symbol on city property confers government endorsement of Christianity, a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause. The cross on the flag pole of Glencoe’s city hall building unabashedly creates the perception of government endorsement of Christianity.”…

…“It conveys the message to the twenty-six percent of the U.S. population who are not Christians that they are not ‘favored members of the political community,’”…

Fearing a lawsuit, Glencoe mayor Charles Gilchrist had the flag taken down. His action infuriated local Bible thumpers, leading to a protest last week outside of Glencoe city hall. Christian News Network reports:

Gilchrist said that the threat of a suit is what ultimately resulted in the removal of the flag.

“That would just about ruin us,” Gilchrist stated. “I have to look out for the best interests of the city.”

He said that he believes that the threat of suit is how the group strong-arms cities into compliance with their wishes.

“That’s what they do, they pick on these smaller towns that can’t defend ourselves,” Gilchrist said, noting that he personally did not want to remove the flag.

It was later given to local restaurant owner Jeff Word, who raised the flag outside of Big Chief Restaurant.

The Etowah County Chapter of First Responders for Christ soon decided to organized a rally in support of the flag’s original presence at Glencoe City Hall. Approximately 100 people turned out for the event on Saturday, which featured Rep. Mack Butler and state Sen. Phil Williams, as well as Thom Harrison, pastor of North Glencoe Baptist Church.

“We weren’t called to sit back and watch and not say a word. We’re called to go out and proclaim the gospel among all nations,” Williams declared.

Williams pointed to the Christian heritage of the nation, such as the daily presence of a Congressional chaplain since 1789 and the motto “In God We Trust,” first printed on currency in the 1800’s.

“This country and our laws were founded on Judeo-Christian principles that are literally written in stone at our nation’s Capitol, and that history cannot be overlooked or undone,” organizer Samuel Lowe told the Christian Post. “They can remove the flag from the pole, but the Christian roots of our nation’s origin can never be denied.”

“On the surface, the flag removal appears to be a battle over the fictitious separation of church and state,” he said, “but the underlying reason the flag was removed was due to the separation between God and man because of the sin that’s in man’s heart.”

big chief drive in christian flag

I am at a loss about why Christians have a hard time understanding the establishment clause and the separation of church and state. Jeff Word, the owner of Big Chief Drive-In and the man who took ownership of the flag, understands, in part, that there is a difference between government endorsement and private freedom. Word stated:

“I think our freedoms are leaving us gradually, as we once knew them. It was one person that took prayer out of school. I felt like I needed to be that ‘one person’ in this case. I feel like I’m a private businessman and it’s my right to fly the flag.”

rally for the flag glencoe

Correct, as a PRIVATE citizen, any American may fly any flag they wish, including the Christian or Communist flag.  The protestors, standing on a public sidewalk, the freest piece of real estate in America, have every right to protest and wave the Christian flag. No one stopped them from exercising their constitutional right to freedom of religion. What Christians in Glencoe find upsetting is that they no longer have a seat at the head of the cultural table.  They pine for the 1950’s, failing to realize that most Americans have moved on.

One hundred people showed up for the Rally for the Flag.  ONE HUNDRED  out of 5,000 Glencoe residents. Thom Harrison, pastor of North Glencoe Baptist Church was there, yet most of his church members didn’t show up. What’s clear is that, even in the middle of Baptist country, Evangelicals no longer draw large numbers of people to their cause; especially when it has to do with a sectarian flag illegally flying in front of a government building. While several Republican state politicians showed up for the rally, I highly doubt either of them will be offering up legislation any time soon “legalizing” the flying of the sectarian Christian flag on government property. Such an attempt would be quickly ruled unconstitutional by the courts. I suspect  Representative Mack Butler and Senator Phil Williams attended the rally because of the optics and both are up for election in 2016 and 2018. Both Butler and Williams are Baptist.

Tim Wildmon Says Satan Hates the United States

satan hates americaTim Wildmon, president of American Family Association, had this to say yesterday on the Point of View radio program:

“God made a special carve-out, if you will, in the late 1700s to create this new country called the United States of America. It was all birthed out of biblical values or, as my dad calls it, the mind of Christ [for the purpose of spreading] the Christian Gospel all over North America and then we spread the Christian Gospel all over the world. And by ‘we,’ I mean American Christians.” “This is a spiritual war for America and I think Satan hates America because America has spread the Gospel around the world and we still have a majority Christian nation. That’s my view. I can’t prove it but I think that’s why we’re so engaged and we see so much going on for our country’s future.”

First, I find it interesting that Wildmon ignores the first hundred years of American history. Why is that? Perhaps he  wants to steer clear of the genocide perpetrated by America’s first settlers on Native Americans. Or perhaps he wants to distance himself from the fact that commerce and trade were the primary reason settlers migrated to America.

Second, there is little to no evidence for the United States being “birthed out of biblical values.”  Wildmon is taking his fundamentalist beliefs and attempting to read them back into history. He, like David Barton, scours history for evidence to bolster his claim. So far, the evidence is scant and I don’t expect any to be forthcoming. Certainly, some of the founders of the United States were Christians, but I seriously doubt that any of them were Evangelical. Many of them were deists.

Third, commerce and control of taxation were the primary reasons for the founding of the United States. The tea thrown into Boston Harbor was not tossed overboard because of a lack of religious freedom.

Fourth, America has not spread the gospel all around the world. The vast majority of world citizens are NOT Christian.  And those who are belong to sects that Wildmon likely thinks preach a false gospel. (i.e. Roman Catholicism) According to a 2012 Pew Research report:

  • There are 2.2 billion Christians in the world (32%)
  • About 50% of Christians are Catholic
  • About 37% of Christians are Protestant (this includes Evangelicals, Anglicans)
  • About 12% of Christians are Greek/Russian Orthodox

According to Wikipedia:

There are an estimated 285,480,000 Evangelicals, corresponding to 13.1% of the Christian population and 4.1% of the total world population. The Americas, Africa and Asia are home to the majority of Evangelicals. The United States has the largest concentration of Evangelicals.Evangelicalism is gaining popularity both in and outside the English-speaking world, especially in Latin America and the developing world.

According to Operation World, there are about 550 million Evangelicals in the world. Regardless of which number is used, Evangelicals are 4-8% of the world’s population. So much for “spreading” the good news of the gospel. The true gospel of the United States is capitalism. When IN GOD WE TRUST was put on our money they left a word out. It should have said In THIS God we Trust.

Fifth, the United States is a Christian nation in name only. Surely, Wildmon would agree that one of the marks of being a Christian is regularly attending a Christian church. Yet, the vast majority of Americans never, rarely, or infrequently attend church. 63% of Evangelicals attend church weekly, but the same cannot be said for other Christian sects. Like many Evangelical zealots, I suspect Wildmon conflates Evangelical Christianity with generic Christianity.  At best, the United States has a cultural form of Christianity, and if we want to see what future awaits us, all we need to do is look at Europe, especially England.

Sacrilegious Humor: Religion by Jim Jefferies

This is the eighteenth installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

Today’s bit is Religion by Jim Jefferies.

Warning, many of the comedy bits in this series will contain profanity. You have been warned.

Video Link

Armchair Evangelical Psychologists

armchair psychologist 2When I started blogging in 2007, I made the decision to use my real name as I attempted to tell my story. I also decided that I would not protect the guilty. Since Evangelical churches, pastors, parachurch groups and the college I attended are a part of my storyline, I decided their names should be part of my story. Doing this has upset a lot of people, especially when a web search for their name, church, or group brings up my blog on the first page.

My writing is also prominently featured on the No Longer Quivering site, along with a handful of other sites I’ve either written a guest post for or participated in an interview. (I recently did an interview with Scott Lohman on Atheists Talk) I also write 8-12 letters a year to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News.

If you take time to search for websites mentioning my name, you will find sites with articles deconstructing my life. You will also find my name and articles mentioned on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Free Jinger, Reddit, and a number of public/private sites.

Since I write using my real name and I am the only Bruce Gerencser in the world, it is not hard to find a wealth of information, positive and negative. I knew when I started blogging that I would open myself up to scrutiny. I knew that people would lie about me, distort my story, and try to besmirch my character. This is the price I pay for being a public figure.

Those of you who have read this blog for years know I stopped blogging when the emotional and mental stress became too much. I think, thanks to my seeing a counselor on a regular basis, that I have learned to handle the stress that comes from having a public blog that is widely read. This doesn’t mean that I plan on blogging until Jesus comes again, but I hope I have enough mental and emotional wherewithal to withstand the pressures that come my way. If anything puts an end to my writing career it will be chronic illness and pain.

Recently, a man by the name of Steve Ransom sent me an email that I shared with readers in a post titled Steve Ransom Lays Down a Challenge to Bruce and His Fellow Atheists. He purported to have a new argument that he was sure would set me back on the right path to God. All he really had was a deconstruction of my life and how I had followed a false God. There was a time such a deconstruction would cause me mental and emotional angst. Not any more.

When I started blogging I thought if I just told my story people would understand, even if they disagreed with me. I thought if I just explained myself that my critics would at least understand my viewpoint. I know, quite naïve of me.

This subject came up one day during counseling. I expressed my dismay over Evangelicals not being willing to accept my explanation of my life. Who knows my life better than me, right? My counselor told me:

Bruce, you think they care what you think? They don’t give a shit about what you think.

And he is right. I know that those who tear into my life aren’t interested in anything I have to say. They have read a handful of posts, maybe even 25 or 30, and they are now ready to render judgment, and render they do. It’s happened uncounted times over the years, and it will happen in future. Evangelicals can’t help themselves, so I let them have one opportunity to say whatever is on their mind. One comment, that’s it.

There was a time when I engaged every Evangelical commenter. I thought if I just explained myself they would understand. I now know better. Now that I know they don’t give a shit, neither do I.

112116

Evangelical Culture Warriors Find New Enemy

slide into modernism

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex-marriage, handing Evangelical culture warriors a bitter defeat. Unless they can figure out how to remove several Supreme Court justices or amend the U.S. Constitution, Evangelicals must live with the fact that same-sex marriage is legal.

The culture war pits Evangelicalism, along with Mormonism and conservative Catholicism,  against any societal ill considered by Evangelicals to be a sin against God or a move away from Christian nationalism. Now that they have lost the homosexual/same-sex marriage battle, Evangelicals must find another enemy to fight against. According to Think Progress writer Jack Jenkins,  the new enemy is liberal/progressive Christianity: (link no longer active)

For decades, conservative Christians who oppose LGBT equality have singled out the federal government or secular atheists as their preferred enemy in public settings, blasting both groups for supposedly attacking “traditional marriage” or infringing on their religious liberty. Yet in the months surrounding the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country, right-wing Christians have become increasingly willing to cast blame — seemingly hypocritically — on a group they have often dismissed or outright ignored: Progressive Christians, especially those who support marriage equality.

The first hints of a growing front against liberal Christians came in May, when a coalition of conservative churches in Fountain Hills, Arizona publicly ganged up on a local progressive Methodist community. Unhappy with the church’s teachings, eight congregations launched a campaign entitled “Progressive Christianity: Fact or Fiction?,” a coordinated teaching and preaching series that included op-eds, a half-page advertisement in a local newspaper, and a massive banner with “progressive” written in jagged red letters and hemmed in quotation marks.

“The progressives are at it again, and for a small fee you can join the primary proponent of this apostate religious movement to get answers,” Tony Pierce, a pastor of First Baptist Church of Fountain Hills and one of the participants in the effort, wrote in a letter to the editor. “The good thing about the progressive movement is it gives people a clear choice. The ironic thing about progressive Christianity is that it is neither!”

The source of their outrage? Rev. David Felten, the left-leaning pastor of Fountains United Methodist Church. He reportedly stoked ire by preaching a variety of progressive concepts to his parishioners, such as theological support for interfaith dialogue, scientific discovery, and, of course, LGBT equality.

Felten, like many progressive Christians, was used to criticism for his views — he has even published a book about progressive Christianity. But the intensity of the local attack — which included churches from denominations that are generally more liberal than his own United Methodist Church — caught him off guard.

This same sentiment reemerged in June in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, which was gleefully celebrated by a host of progressive faith groups. Just a few days after the decision, Kevin DeYoung, a pastor in East Lansing, Michigan, published a blog post at the Gospel Coalition entitled “40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags” that quickFor decades, conservative Christians who oppose LGBT equality have singled out the federal government or secular atheists as their preferred enemy in public settings, blasting both groups for supposedly attacking “traditional marriage” or infringing on their religious liberty. Yet in the months surrounding the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country, right-wing Christians have become increasingly willing to cast blame — seemingly hypocritically — on a group they have often dismissed or outright ignored: Progressive Christians, especially those who support marriage equality.

The first hints of a growing front against liberal Christians came in May, when a coalition of conservative churches in Fountain Hills, Arizona publicly ganged up on a local progressive Methodist community. Unhappy with the church’s teachings, eight congregations launched a campaign entitled “Progressive Christianity: Fact or Fiction?,” a coordinated teaching and preaching series that included op-eds, a half-page advertisement in a local newspaper, and a massive banner with “progressive” written in jagged red letters and hemmed in quotation marks.

“The progressives are at it again, and for a small fee you can join the primary proponent of this apostate religious movement to get answers,” Tony Pierce, a pastor of First Baptist Church of Fountain Hills and one of the participants in the effort, wrote in a letter to the editor. “The good thing about the progressive movement is it gives people a clear choice. The ironic thing about progressive Christianity is that it is neither!”
The source of their outrage? Rev. David Felten, the left-leaning pastor of Fountains United Methodist Church. He reportedly stoked ire by preaching a variety of progressive concepts to his parishioners, such as theological support for interfaith dialogue, scientific discovery, and, of course, LGBT equality.

Felten, like many progressive Christians, was used to criticism for his views — he has even published a book about progressive Christianity. But the intensity of the local attack — which included churches from denominations that are generally more liberal than his own United Methodist Church — caught him off guard.

This same sentiment reemerged in June in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, which was gleefully celebrated by a host of progressive faith groups. Just a few days after the decision, Kevin DeYoung, a pastor in East Lansing, Michigan, published a blog post at the Gospel Coalition entitled “40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags” that quicly spread through conservative and progressive Christian circles. Many of the inquiries were phrased in an accusatory manner, harping on old tropes that LGBT parents harm children and that supporters of marriage equality also support polygamy: “Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?” question 14 asked, followed by, “Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?” and “On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?”

The post launched a heated war of words between progressive and conservative Christians, including LGBT evangelical Protestants such as Matthew Vines, who published his own list of 40 counter-questions in response. It, predictably, triggered spirited retorts from traditionalist conservatives.

But while DeYoung’s post was at least framed as an attempt at theological dialogue, other subsequent critiques of progressive faith have abandoned conversation for castigation. In mid-July, Peter Leithart, a Reformed theologian and head of the right-leaning Theopolis Institute, penned a piece in First Things that bemoaned the Court’s decision and explicitly asked conservatives to condemn LGBT-affirming Christians.

“Most important is what happens in the churches,” Leithart writes. “Even before Obergefell, some churches were making peace with same-sex marriage. Now that same-sex marriage is law, the tribe of ‘Good Churches’ will increase, and the division in the churches over sexual morality will sharpen. Many leaders, churches, and denominations have condemned the Court’s decision, and more will; but others support it, and we have no trans-denominational mechanism to adjudicate between them.”

Saying what’s right is necessary, but it’s not enough. Pastors need to be willing to say that other churches [that support marriage equality] are wrong, and dangerously so.”

Granted, conservative Christian denunciation of people who hold different beliefs than they do isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Organizations such as the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which has spent years lobbying against LGBT equality from within several Christian denominations, have long sought the eradication of liberal theology. Right-leaning Catholics and evangelical Christian leaders such as Franklin Graham have repeatedly made sweeping claims as to what “Christians” believe, implying that people of faith who don’t share their views are not, in fact, Christians. What’s more, faith communities — conservative or otherwise — have lashed out at each other almost since their inception, so it’s not necessarily surprising that conservative Christians, having lost legal battles over LGBT issues, are now sliding into a theological debate with fellow believers.

Yet the newest push against liberal Christianity appears hypocritical, as it coincides with a massive campaign waged by various right-wing Christians to insist that the political left respect their “religious liberty” — namely, the right to deny jobs and services to LGBT people in the public sphere, private business, and in Christian schools by invoking faith. Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, Andrew Walker, Director of Policy Studies at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, began insisting that the decision will only lead to the erosion of religious liberty — for evangelical Christians.

“Slowly and surely, Americans are now witnessing a slow erosion of religious liberty happening in the public square,” he wrote. “From backlash at expressing a belief about marriage that results in dismissal, to the real fear that institutions that desire to maintain accreditation may not be able to do so, the concerns registered in the past are being catapulted into the present.”…

You can read the entire article here. (link no longer active)

Songs of Sacrilege: Shadows Die by Black Veil Brides

This is the thirty-fourth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Shadows Die by Black Veil Brides,an American rock band based in Hollywood, California.

Video Link

Lyrics

Tear down the cross,
Splinters and shards.
Remembered this Trojan horse
Rode to the land we enter.

We’ll burn away
And free our fallen brothers
From shackles made
Of steel and bones of soldiers.

Yeah!

Let shadows die
So I can feel alive.
A church of lies
Can’t tell me what is right.

Our little victories and desires won’t live on
Let shadows die
So I can feel alive, feel alive

I feel alive, yeah

In fear and faith
The candles light our freedom.
By tainted night we live this war of wisdom.

The streets are stained
With blood that ran their kingdom
And feed the beast that lies beneath our treason.

Let shadows die
So I can feel alive.
A church of lies
Can’t tell me what is right.

Our little victories and desires won’t live on.
Let shadows die
So I can feel alive, feel alive

F.E.A.R. round up these rebels
These deviants, these so-called Wild Ones
We will litter the streets with their bones
And annihilate the dangerous and obtuse ideas poisoning your children,
Endangering your freedom, giving rise to the destruction of the benevolent future we have prepared for you.
You belong to the shadows, and the shadows are where you will remain safe.
Do not disobey.

Let shadows die
So I can feel alive.
A church of lies
Can’t tell me what is right.

Our little victories and desires won’t live on.
Let shadows die
So I can feel alive, feel alive

(I feel alive)

 

Sacrilegious Humor: Going to Church by Bill Burr

This is the seventeenth installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

Today’s bit is Going to Church by Bill Burr.

Warning, many of the comedy bits in this series will contain profanity. You have been warned.

Video Link

Sacrilegious Humor: Church, Religion, and God by Bill Burr

This is the sixteenth installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

Today’s bit is Church, Religion, and God by Bill Burr.

Warning, many of the comedy bits in this series will contain profanity. You have been warned.

Video Link

Sacrilegious Humor: Christianity in a Nutshell by Dan Barker

This is the fifteenth installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

Today’s bit is Christianity in a Nutshell by Dan Barker.

Warning, many of the comedy bits in this series will contain profanity. You have been warned.

Video Link

IFB Evangelist Allen Domelle Says Training Kids is Like Training Dogs

4 basic food groups
Cartoon by Randy Glasbergen

Did you know that training a child is a lot like training a dog?  Using Proverbs 22:6, train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it, as a foundation, Allen Domelle, editor of the Old Paths Journal and an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) evangelist, compares training a Rottweiler to training a child.  Domelle writes:

In recent years, I have owned several Rottweilers…One of the current dogs I got from them is Tydy. Tydy is a female Rottweiler who weighs in at about 100 pounds, and is all muscle. She is a beautiful dog! Like all Rottweilers, Tydy is a strong-minded dog and needs a strong owner. Don’t get me wrong, she is the most loving dog you can be around, but she is a very strong-willed dog which requires my wife, daughter and me to be sure to be strong, calm and assertive owners.

When I got her as a pup, I immediately started training her. For the most part, she was a pretty easy dog to train. One thing I quickly noticed about her is that it is very hard to break her focus once she gets sidetracked. She is a well-trained dog that I can take to any public place, but I have to be sure to stay engaged with her and keep her focused on what I command her to do.

One morning I was taking her for a walk, and I decided to try something different to keep her from being sidetracked when other people, dogs or distractions walked by us. I took a bag of dog treats and got her nose working instead of her eyes. I quickly found out that I could keep her focused by making me more attractive than those things that would normally sidetrack her. I learned to get a treat out and hold it by her nose which caused her to stay focused on me every time something came that usually sidetracked her. I learned by doing this that she wanted to stay with me more than she wanted to focus on anything else.

That morning it made me realize the importance of parents keeping God’s way attractive so that their children don’t get sidetracked by the Devil and the world. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Just like I train my dog to obey me, every parent has a responsibility to train their child in the right way of life. The age-old problem that most parents face is keeping their children walking in the right ways. I am by no means an expert in child rearing, but I learned that morning walking my dog that if parents would keep the right way attractive, then fewer children would be sidetracked by the world and the Devil.

The principles in training a child and a dog are very similar. It takes time to train. God did not tell us, “Teach a child in the way he should go,” but He commanded us to “Train up a child in the way he should go…” If we are going to keep our children walking in the right ways after they leave home, then we must keep God’s way more attractive than the world’s. There are several thoughts that come to mind when I think of keeping the way attractive.

Here’s a few of the comparisons Domelle makes between dog training and child training:

  • Training a dog is not always accepted by those who don’t know how to train dogs. Many who don’t know anything about training dogs will think you are being mean to the dog by not allowing the dog to do what it wants to do, but in the long run my dogs have much more freedom than theirs because I can take my dog in public off leash and they can’t. The dog trainer always has to keep a closed ear to the critics and keep their eye on the way they know will turn out a good dog.One thing you must always remember is that doing right is always right even when it seems nobody else is doing it. You must keep in mind that God’s way is always right whether or not others are doing it. If you do train your child in the way, you will find there will be times when criticism comes your way, but you must not forsake the way. Jesus says in John 14:6, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Don’t ever doubt the way because people have said that it doesn’t work. Don’t change the way because society doesn’t agree with it. The way is always right even when the whole world doesn’t agree with it. You know where God’s way is taking your children, so don’t leave it because another way seems more attractive.
  • Training a dog takes patience, hard work, time and determination. If training a dog was easy, then everybody would train their own dog. We know it’s not easy because most people want someone else to train their dog for them. They want others to do the work that theyshould be doing. What most dog owners don’t realize is that they can get the dog professionally trained, but if the dogis going to continue to act the way it should, then the owners are going to haveto be consistent with the rules of training when the dog comes home. This won’t always be easy. That is why you have so many dogs that are out of control.Training children is not an easy task, but let me assure you that you are up to the task. Just like people want someone to train their dog, many parents leave the spiritual training to the church, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders or to the Christian school, but God places that responsibility on the parent. Training children takes wisdom, time, patience, hard work, communication and determination by both parents. If training children were easy, then every child would turn out right. What I have found out is that most parents struggle with their children because they have not taken the time to train them. They tell them what to do, but training is showing them how to do it and following through with each directive. Training children in the way is not going to be easy, but it is very much worth the time and effort when your children continue walking in God’s way.

You can read the entire article here. (link no longer active)

love and obey

While I certainly can find points of agreement with Domelle, I find it troubling that he would equate training a dog with training a child. Dog owners often take their dog to obedience school. I suspect, knowing that Domelle is IFB, that Domelle thinks that the home and the church is akin to a dog obedience school. Train them when they are young and they will obey and turn out well. Teach a child to come when called for, sit or run when commanded to do so, and urinate and defecate in the proper place, and all will be well, right?

Fundamentalists like Domelle think that every problem can be solved with discipline and obedience. Read the Bible, pray, attend church, tithe, and witness. These must be drilled into a Christians head until they become second nature. These are the first steps, the first works, that a Christian must take on the path of obedience. Once indoctrinated, they are more likely to obey the other laws, commands, and precepts found in the Bible. Start young, and as the child grows older it will be easier to get them to accept whatever the pastor says is truth. If the pastor says, THE BIBLE SAYS, that’s the dog’s, I mean the child’s cue to perk up, listen, and obey.

Like every IFB preacher, Domelle sees Proverbs 22:6 as a blueprint for raising children who turn out right,  Domelle believes parents must train their children in THE WAY to have any hope of their children turning out as God-fearing, pastor obeying Christians. According to Proverbs 22:6, if parents train their child in the proper way, when the child is old they will not depart from their training. However, as the readership of this blog can attest, this training does not automatically result in adult children loving, serving, and obeying the Christian God.

Polly and I were blessed with six children. From birth, we trained them in THE WAY, yet none of them are in the Evangelical church today. Why is this? Shouldn’t the early dog God training have ensured their obedience? All of them were late teens and older when we stopped walking in THE WAY. Why are none of them Evangelical today? The most religious among them is a Catholic, and in Domelle’s IFB world, Catholicism is a cult, a false religion. Was there some flaw in the training they received that resulted in all six of them abandoning the faith of their childhood? One would think after fifteen to twenty-nine years of indoctrination that they would have stayed on the straight and narrow. But, they didn’t. Why?

Domelle’s child rearing model is based on strict rules and obedience. Do this and thou shalt live, is the gospel of Evangelicalism. For all their talk about grace, the Evangelical really believes in a gospel of works. Believe the right things + live the right way = a divine doggie treat called heaven after death. While many Evangelicals will likely object to my characterization of their beliefs, once all the flowery theological jargon is stripped away, what is left is a belief system that requires fidelity to certain beliefs and a life lived according to those beliefs. Anyone who doesn’t believe the right things and live the right way doesn’t get a divine doggie treat when they die.

While I am hesitant to use my children as an example, I think doing so will help illustrate the fallacy of Proverbs 22:6 and the Domelle Child Training Program®.  Ask anyone who knew our children when they were young and they will tell you that our children were polite, respectful, obedient children.  All of them made a profession of faith, were active in church, and when they were old enough to work they gave liberally to the church, missions, and the needy.  They were, in every way, the perfect example of obedient Christian children. Yet, look at them today. What in the H-E-L-L happened?

When their father, the only pastor they ever had, left the ministry and later left Christianity, they were forced to fend for themselves. No longer were they trained pets, obedient to every command from the earthly and heavenly father. Instead, they became wild animals roaming free without the leash of the Bible or the hovering presence of their father. Instead of following a predetermined path, each of them were/are free to wander down a path of their own choosing. No dog whistle or stern command to call them back. They are F-R-E-E, free from the strictures of Evangelicalism, the Bible, their parents, and grandparents.

To the outsider, this freedom looks like confusion. Behind their back, fellow employees whisper, (please read out loud with “concerned” Christian voice)  did you know  _____________ Dad was a pastor? Did you know that _______________ Dad is the atheist who writes those anti-Christian letters in the newspaper? What happened to them? Freedom is what happened to them. Each of our children are free to choose their own path. If they are happy, then Polly and I are happy.

In April of 2009, I sent a letter to family, friends, and former parishioners. In this letter I stated:

I know some of you are sure to ask, what does your wife think of all of this? Quite surprisingly, she is in agreement with me on many of these things. Not all of them, but close enough that I can still see her standing here. Polly is no theologian, She is not trained in theology as I am. She loves to read fiction. I was able to get her to read Bart Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus and she found the book to be quite an eye opener.

Polly is free to be whom and whatever she wishes. If she wanted to start attending the local Fundamentalist Baptist Church she is free to do so and even has my blessing. For now, she doesn’t.  She may never believe like I believe, but in my new way of thinking that is OK. I really don’t care what others think. Are you happy? Are you at peace? Are you living a good, productive life? Do you enjoy life? Yes, to these questions is good enough for me.

I have six children, three who are out on their own. For many years I was the spiritual patriarch of the family. Everyone looked to me for the answers. I feel somewhat burdened over my children. I feel like I have left them out on their own with no protection. But, I know they have good minds and can think and reason for themselves. Whatever they decide about God, religion, politics, or American League baseball is fine with me.

All I ask of my wife and children is that they allow me the freedom to be myself, that they allow me to journey on in peace and love. Of course, I still love a rousing discussion about religion, the Bible, politics, etc. I want my family to know that they can talk to me about these things, and anything else for that matter, any time they wish.

Opinions are welcome. Debate is good. All done? Let’s go to the tavern and have a round on me. Life is about the journey, and I want my wife and children to be a part of my journey and I want to be a part of theirs.

The sentiment I expressed in 2009, still holds today.

Training children like someone would train a dog, robs a child of their ability to reason and think for themselves. This why people like Domelle tell parents to send their children to a CHRISTIAN school or home school them, and when they graduate from high school it’s off to a CHRISTIAN college.  From birth to graduation from college, the children are indoctrinated, taught to only view the world a certain way. And if they color outside of the lines? Like with a disobedient dog, they are punished. For many, this punishment is enough to make them heel, but for others, they rebel. They tire of being told what to believe, what to think, or how to live. Once  free of their leash or the stake in the back yard, they run until they can no longer see from whence they came. While this  new-found freedom is dangerous and fraught with difficulty, they have no intention of returning to a life defined by commands and obedience.