Tag Archive: Democratic Party

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Democrats are Atheists Says Steve Van Nattan

steve van nattan

Democrats are Atheists. They may claim a religion, but in their souls they hate God, and they love murder. They are absolutely terrified that Roe and Wade will be revisited, and the conservative leaning Supreme Court will come to the rescue of unborn babies and rule against abortion. Democrats virtually live to see babies killed, and they crave news every day that another man has been emotionally and professionally destroyed by a feminazi making sex abuse accusations.

It is time for Americans to see that The Democratic Party, and the Atheist Evolutionists of America are one and the same animal. They hate God.

This is why Hillary, Obama, and all the Liberal Democrat leaders are all talking about “Freedom of worship” instead of freedom of religion. You see, religion is something that defines your zeal, and religion is found in the soul of man. Worship is something you do in a piece or real estate which is licensed by the IRS to do business. Once religious freedom is vested in a worship place, under the auspicious of the IRS, religious zeal can be outlawed in public life.

Thus, Liberal Progressive Democrats, and Atheist Evolutionists, are raging mad and belching hate non-stop. They live for one thing….. to kill God.

— Steve Van Nattan , Baalam’s Ass Speaks, Angry Atheists and Evolutionists, November 4, 2018

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Why Jerry Falwell, Jr. Has an Ongoing Bromance with Donald Trump

trump aftershock stephen strang

For over two years now people have been asking me why I supported Donald Trump as a candidate for president of the United States and why I continue to support him now in his role as the chief executive of our great nation. After all, I was one of the only people from the evangelical camp who endorsed Mr. Trump even before the Iowa caucuses. I determined early on that what ailed the United States would require more than a PR and policy bandage. And if Trump were to get elected, he would need more than bandwagon support.

But to answer the question about my support, much of my motivation came from my background in business. My father came from a family of businesspeople who were not Christians, including my grandfather. But a series of personal tragedies resulted in his early death at the age of 55. My dad was only 15 at the time, and he became a Christian because of those sorrowful events. I think he might have gone into the family business if those things hadn’t happened. The point is that though the world knows the Falwell name chiefly in the context of my famous clergyman father, most Falwells have been successful entrepreneurs—businessmen and businesswomen.

Even in the context of a nonprofit organization such as Liberty University, I have seen firsthand what applying business principles can do to save an organization. In the late 1980s and 1990s, when donations dried up, we had to create a business model that would keep Liberty alive. In the end not only did we eliminate the debt; we also prospered enough that we’ve now fulfilled many of the original visions my father had for this university. But Liberty’s success didn’t come through hazy or lazy leadership.

So that’s why I supported Donald Trump early, because the United States is drowning in $21 trillion of debt. Trump is a businessman. We haven’t had many businessmen who have become president. Instead, we get career politicians who are short on transformative thinking and long on political career preservation. Even though Trump hadn’t even decided what all his political views were at that time, I knew that a pragmatic businessman with common sense would come down on the right side of issues. Trump wanted to do what was best for the country. And if you start with that desire—to do what’s best for the country and for the common man—then you have no choice but to be a conservative. It’s that simple.

I’m proud I supported Donald Trump. And since he’s entered the White House, I’ve stayed in close touch with him, talking to him about once a month. It has become a close friendship. I’m so pleased with how he’s kept his promises. He’s appointed justices to the lower courts and the Supreme Court who I believe will uphold the Constitution. On matters related to religious liberty, the president has been a godsend. And his deregulation strategies have brought about prosperity for businesses and the American worker. He’s done all the things he said he was going to do—even with all the attempts to thwart his administration by fake Republicans in the Senate and all the folks on the left who will stop at nothing to overthrow a duly elected president.

You see, we needed somebody with resolve and backbone. Republicans and Democrats—the parties had become so much alike that you really couldn’t tell the difference. Many of them were—and still are—so scared of their shadow and criticism from the press that they waffle on every issue. They put their finger up and see which way the wind is blowing.

But Trump just marches ahead. He doesn’t care how much criticism comes his way. And the people don’t care either. The people don’t care what the press say anymore because they’ve lost all credibility. That’s what Americans have longed to see in their president—somebody who will stand up for the country, stand up for what’s right and not back down in the face of adversity.

Like Stephen Strang does in this book, I compare Trump to Winston Churchill during World War II. Everything looked lost in the face of the onslaught of Hitler’s military might. Churchill had to resolve to move ahead anyhow and to never quit. That’s what I see in Donald Trump, and I think that’s why people support him in spite of all the negatives that get thrown at him.

In this new book by my friend Stephen Strang, you will come to a great understanding of all that has been happening since election night. Strang shows how President Trump has exceeded the expectations of his supporters. And Strang reveals how the left, instead of acknowledging the genuine successes of the Trump administration, are growing in their animus toward the president. Refusing to acknowledge the roaring economy and a renewed sense of optimism and national pride, some on the left (and some on the right) are succumbing to “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” And so the rift between the left and the right has grown deep, and our national politics are more polarized than ever.

But Strang’s book strikes a chord of hopefulness because he believes (as do I) that these days are some of the most extraordinary times in the life of our nation. You’ll enjoy Trump Aftershock. But even more, it will prompt you to pray and work in your own community to “make America great again.”

Jerry Falwell Jr.
President, Liberty University
Lynchburg, Virginia

— Jerry Falwell, Jr, Forward to Stephen “I’ve Got a Book to Sell” Strang’s newest book, Trump Aftershock

You can buy Trump Aftershock here. I am sure regular readers of this blog will want to run out and buy themselves a copy. That’s sarcasm, by the way.

Video Link

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Democrats are Just Plain Evil

rush limbaugh democrats evil

For years Republicans have not got it about the Democrat Party: They are just plain evil, along with a reprobate mind. The violent protests are perpetrated by the Democrat Party, and until these people start going to jail, it will only get worse.

The Democrat Party has a history of lawlessness – they own the KKK and started this organization to hinder the advancement of black Americans. The Democrat Party promoted the idea of single moms raising children without a dad.

Here are some people that should be in jail – Barack Hussein Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder. Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, George Soros.

President Trump and the First Lady are the most transparent people I’ve seen in my lifetime. President Obama claimed the same thing, yet told the press what they could and could not ask.

I believe Americans are waking up, and I hope the Democrat Party becomes extinct. If not, the United States of America as we know it will be destroyed internally. Without America in the picture, other nations will fall like dominos into the Social-Communist hellhole. Ultimately, what started in the Middle East will end in the Middle East. God and His people will be victorious.

— Ken Langdon, World News Daily, Democrat Party: Just Plain Evil, October 14, 2018

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Democrats Filled With Demonic Spirit

bert-farias

Beginning with the election of President Trump, we are all perhaps witnessing one of the historic turning points in American history. If they were able to destroy Judge Kavanaugh, it would have been a big step toward perhaps destroying America, for it could have set a precedent. Does that sound overdramatic? Please hear me out.

This is not politics as usual. We are not wrestling against flesh and blood. This is the work of principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12). This is all related to the death of a nation and a constitution founded on godly principles. The two things the radical leftists fear the most are the Bible and our national Constitution.

….

When you witness yet another senior Democratic senator, Diane Feinstein, deliberately conspiring in a Senate deliberation involving hiding a letter for months and the witness for weeks, and doing it totally against Senate rules—and then to complicate the matter, apparently allowing one of her staff to leak the letter to create a media firestorm, it is not politics as usual. It is the basest form of corruption and lawless manipulation.

….

As I stated, this all began building momentum after the election of President Donald Trump on that fateful day for all Democrats in November 2016. The defeat of Hillary Clinton loosened the grip on socialism and atheistic communism and the complete remaking of Barack Obama’s America.

This is the reason the day after the inauguration you heard influential celebrities like Madonna saying she has dreams of the White House burning down and being destroyed. It’s the reason other popular figures use such derogatory language and profanities against our president. Remember the image, still so clear in my mind, of the woman holding a model of the bloody head of Donald Trump in her hand?

This is not normal. It is a murderous Satanic spirit. Never in my lifetime or perhaps the entire history of our nation have we seen this kind of disrespect and dishonor for the highest office in the land. It is demonic filth and hatred.

This irrational and senseless attitude, which borders on insanity, is the prevailing spirit in our nation. It’s like a virus. The ungodly media is shaping the minds of multitudes and spreading this virus. That’s why you had the desperation to find collusion with the Russians, which, one Washington reporter, after two years of investigation, says turned up no evidence at all. Zero. Zilch. Nada. But just as with the Kavanaugh hearings, it’s never been about evidence. It’s about smearing, undermining, distorting the facts and character defamation of the truly upright.

— Bert Farias, Charisma News, We Are in a War With the ‘Rule or Ruin’ Radical Left, October 11, 2018

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: The Ten Commandments of the Democratic Party

deana chadwell

Thou shalt have no other gods but human power.  Winning elections is the Democrat raison d’être because power is their god; the party is their church; and its manifestation is large, centralized government.

Thou shalt worship under the direction of these priests: Darwin, Alinsky, Spock, Marx, Dewey, and Sanger – to say nothing of Baal.  Child sacrifice is their sacrament.  All ideas counter to the thinking of these apostles must be mocked, blocked, and twisted.

Thou shalt bow down to nothing wholesome or productive.  Kindness, genuine caring, duty, and honor are attributes to fake in order to win elections – see the First Commandment – but are never indulged with sincerity.

Thou shalt demonstrate no respect for the universe as God’s creation.  Good Democrats must see the Earth as fragile, purposeless, and a god itself.

Thou shalt destroy all vestiges of family.  Democrats believe in taxing citizens so intensely that both parents have to earn a wage.  Their public school curricula train children to revere government rather than parents.  Democrats champion sexual deviance and prepare children to indulge their sexuality from a young age.

Thou shalt attack, provoke, ridicule, and kill whoever gets in your way.  Even when they don’t physically kill their political opponents, they kill their livelihoods, their reputations, their families.  This commandment gives modern Democrats an excuse to run conservatives out of restaurants, out of theaters, out of their homes.

Thou shalt have any kind of sex with whomever, whenever, and wherever.  Refer back to the fifth commandment.  Societal chaos and desperation open the door to government control – i.e., power.

Thou shalt legalize theft by authorizing the government to steal.  Big government requires big money to bribe voters, to keep them dependent, to be able to import new voters.

Thou shalt bear false witness against thine enemies.  They make up elaborate stories of sexual deviance and financial malfeasance, of drunken orgies and high school shenanigans.

Thou shalt envy, covet, and indulge all jealous attitudes, hating anyone who has accumulated more wealth, more power, or more fame than you have.  This is the engine the runs the whole thing.  Without envy, there is no discontent.

Deana Chadwell, Professor at Pacific Bible College, The American Thinker, October 7, 2018

I am a Liberal

proud to be a liberal

Cartoon by Monte Wolverton

What follows was started by a woman named Lori Gallagher Witt. The brilliance is hers; the rest has been edited to best express similar, though not identical, opinions of those passing the main ideas on. I didn’t write this from scratch, but edited and added to a similar post to reflect my personal beliefs. I found this particular post on my editor’s Facebook page and have edited it to reflect my personal beliefs.

I’m a liberal. I wasn’t always a liberal. There was a day when I was a conservative. For many years I was a Fundamentalist Christian, a supporter and foot soldier in the Evangelical culture war. Today, I am a liberal, though I suspect many readers don’t know or understand what the word means.

Some of you suspected. Some of you were shocked. Many of you have known me for years, even the majority of my life. We either steadfastly avoided political topics, or I carefully steered conversations away from the more incendiary subjects in the name of keeping the peace. “I’m a liberal” isn’t really something you broadcast in social circles where “the liberals” can’t be said without wrinkling one’s nose. I live in a community where seven out of ten voters are Republican and even the Democrats tend to be religious conservatives.

While most of the readers of this blog skew towards the left, a fair number of you are Republican and voted for Donald Trump (or Jill Stein). You love my critique of Evangelicalism and you love my atheism, but you despise by liberal politics. I hope what follows will give you a better understanding of my political beliefs.

Then the 2016 election happened, and staying quiet wasn’t an option anymore. Since then, I’ve received no shortage of emails and comments from people who were shocked, horrified, disappointed, disgusted, or otherwise displeased to realize I am a liberal. Yep. I’m one of those bleeding-heart commies who hates anyone who’s white, straight, or conservative, and who wants the government to dictate everything you do while taking your money and giving it to people who don’t work.

Or am I?

Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines.

  • I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected.
  • I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as “I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.” This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes “let people die because they can’t afford healthcare” a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.
  • I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the U.S.), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.
  • I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.
  • I don’t throw around “I’m willing to pay higher taxes” lightly. I’m self-employed, so I already pay a shitload of taxes. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, that means increasing my already eye-watering tax bill. I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.
  • I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that people should not have to work two full-time jobs and a part-time weekend job just to keep their heads above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multi-billion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work forty hours and live.
  • I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOTillegal; *compulsory* prayer in school is — and should be — illegal) All I ask is that Christians recognize *my* right to live according to *my* beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not “offended by Christianity” — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose Sharia-like biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine.
  • I don’t believe LGBTQ people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the *same* rights as you and I — justice and equal protection under the law.
  • I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO(spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re “stealing” your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I’m not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc.).
  • I believe we should take in refugees, or at the very least not turn them away without due consideration. Turning thousands of people away because a terrorist might slip through is inhumane, especially when we consider what has happened historically to refugees who were turned away. If we’re so opposed to taking in refugees, maybe we should consider not causing them to become refugees in the first place. Because we’re fooling ourselves if we think that somewhere in the chain of events leading to these people becoming refugees, there isn’t a line describing something the U.S. did (like dropping bombs on civilians and fomenting civil war).
  • I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since capitalistic greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices, etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.
  • I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I’m butthurt over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.
  • I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalized.
  • I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think of it as social politeness. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because, as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person? Your refusal to adjust your vocabulary in the name of not being an asshole kind of makes YOU the snowflake.
  • I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else.
  • I’m not interested in coming after your guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including background checks, that MIGHT save one person’s life by the hand of someone who should not have a gun. I am also in favor of removing from the market military grade firearms. No one needs a clip that hold thirty bullets.
  • I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men, and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?
  • I believe that life begins at viability — at the point where a baby can survive outside the mother’s womb. But that’s my own belief. I do not have the right to impose my belief on anyone else. Nor do you. Abortions have happened since the dawn of history, for a variety of reasons — some good, some bad. They are not going to go away. Government has no business legislating morality. It does have a responsibility to create and educate people on possible alternatives. But neither the government, nor you, nor, I, can make that choice for another.

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal (and a humanist) because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you should work eighty hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.

So, I’m a liberal.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Life in Rural Northwest Ohio: Committing Social Suicide

jesus-flag

Local home flying the team flag. Go TEAM JESUS!

I have spent most of my sixty years of life living in rural Ohio. I was born in Bryan, Ohio — a small community in Northwest Ohio. My dad’s parents immigrated to the United States from Hungary in the 1920s and settled down on a hundred acre farm a few miles south of Bryan. Dad and his siblings attended schools in the very district my wife and I now call home. We live in a small spot along State Highway 15. Ney, population 345, has two bars/restaurants and a convenience store/fast station. Dad graduated from Ney High School in 1954. I attended elementary school for several years west of here in the flashing-light, spot-in-the-road town called Farmer. Dad frequently moved us from town to town, unable, for some inexplicable reason, to pay the rent. It wasn’t until junior high that I got a taste of “big” city life.  For three and a half years, we lived in Findlay, the home of Marathon Oil. This allowed me to attend the same school for three straight years. I actually had the same friends from one school year to the next!

Divorce and Dad moving us to Arizona turned my happy world upside down. At age sixteen, I returned to Findlay for my eleventh-grade year. I then returned to Bryan to live with my mother. Lots of drama, including Mom being locked up in Toledo State Hospital, resulted in my siblings and me being uprooted and moved once again to Arizona. By then, I had dropped out of high school. In the fall of 1975, I moved back to Bryan and took a job working at a local grocery store. A year later, I left Bryan to attend classes at Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. I returned to Bryan three years later, pregnant wife in tow.

Polly and I spent much of our married life living in small, rural communities. The churches I pastored were, for the most part, attended by white, working-class people. In 1995, we moved back to the flatland of rural Northwest Ohio. I pastored two nearby churches, moving away from the area to pastor a church in rural Michigan, along with a move to Yuma, Arizona. In the end, like the proverbial bad penny, I seem to always make my way back to Northwest Ohio. In 2007, we bought our house in Ney. Our six children and eleven grandchildren (soon to be twelve) all live within twenty minutes of our home.

There are times when Polly and I yearn for the big city; for the anonymity that living in such places provide. But, we love our family, and when we bought our home, we committed ourselves to living here until death do us part. This is the place and people we call home. We love the slowness of life, and when we need a big city fix, Fort Wayne and Toledo are but an hour away.

I write all this to say that my roots run deep into the soil of rural Ohio. No matter how often I fled the scene, looking for excitement and diversity, I always seemed to come right back to where life started for me. Polly was a city girl, but forty years of country living have turned her into a small-town girl who has embraced the rural way of life. Would we live where we do if it weren’t for our children and grandchildren? Probably not. And the reason for this is simple. While both of us feel quite at home in rural Ohio, our beliefs have changed greatly over the past two decades. This change of thinking puts us at odds with most of our neighbors — politically, religiously, and socially.

Rural northwest Ohio is the land of God, Guns, and the Republican Party. Hundreds of conservative churches dot the landscape, and virtually every public office is held by a Republican. In Defiance County where I live, the Democratic Party has fielded two winners in the last decade, neither of whom is currently in office. Living here means that I must accept  the monoculture of my surroundings, a society where it is assumed that everyone thinks and believes the same way. Someone like me, a socialist/pacifist/atheist, is a rare bird. While I have met more than a few people with similar views (particularly young adults), there are no liberal/humanist/atheist/secular groups or meet-ups in rural Northwest Ohio. People who don’t fit the rural Ohio political and religious mold exist, but few are vocal about their liberalness and unbelief. Why? Doing so would be socially suicidal.

One of my sons and I were talking about this tonight — about how being an out-of-the closet unbeliever or liberal leads to social suicide. While I am often lauded for my outspokenness about local politics and religion, my position has come at a high cost socially. I have in the past pondered whether, if I had it to do all over again, I would have been so vocal early on about my atheistic beliefs. I know that my outspokenness (and my age and disability) has made me unemployable. I own a photography business. When locals are given a choice between an Evangelical photographer and me, guess what? They usually choose the God-fearing one (regardless of the quality of work).

Over the past fifteen months, I have made a concerted effort to, outside of this blog, to tone down my public pronouncements. At times, I feel guilty for doing so; feeling as if I am a sell-out or a hypocrite. Everyone should be able to be who and what they are, right? Sure, but small-town life demands at least some modicum of outward conformity to tribal political, religious, and social beliefs. Disobey and you will pay the price. And for my family in particular, I don’t want them being socially and economically punished for who their father is. Some of my children may agree with me, but their futures depend on them not committing social suicide. Rarely does a week or two go by without one of my children telling me that someone at work — a boss, fellow employee, or customer — was inquiring about whether they were related to me. My children have become experts at fielding such interrogations, knowing that they are always free to say, Hmm, Bruce Gerencser? Don’t know the guy.

ney ohio village limits sign

Ney Village Limit Sign, Slightly Altered.

I plan to live the remaining days and years of my life in Ney, Ohio. As a committed liberal and atheist — who also wants to get along and be accepted by his neighbors — I have to find ways to be true to self while at the same time not being ostracized by locals. Everything, unfortunately, comes down to money. My wife and I need to earn money to live. Earning money requires acceptance by local employers/customers. While it would be wonderful to be a street-corner atheist (and some locals think I am way too outspoken, even at presently muted levels), I have to live here, and being one would be social suicide. The violations of separation of church and state are so common is this area that the Freedom From Religion Foundation could spend the next year or so filing lawsuits against local government agencies, schools, and businesses. Yes, I find these violations of the law egregious, and the street-corner atheist in me wants to call out and condemn their sins. But, I can’t, for in doing so I would cause great social harm not only to myself but to my wife, children, and grandchildren. If I made $40,000 a year blogging, things would be different, but as things now stand, I must swim in waters infested with Evangelical/right-wing Republican sharks, and being a lone fish is sure to turn me into a snack.

I have much hope in the belief that things are slowly changing here in rural Northwest Ohio. Local millennials are not as religious as their parents, and they most certainly don’t hold to the moral and religious values of their grandparents. It is in these young adults that I see promise. It is unlikely that this area will ever be as liberal as the West or East coasts, but I am hoping that there is coming a day when it won’t be social suicide to say that I am a liberal, a socialist, and non-Christian.

For now, I must choose my battles carefully, hoping that I can safely navigate the dangerous waters of rural Ohio. I have seen progress on this front thanks to my high school basketball photography. I have talked to more locals in the past few months than in the last ten years combined. I want them to see me as a family man, as a decent, kind curmudgeon who also happens to take really good pictures. I know that Google is not my friend, but there nothing I can do about the stories she might tell if someone asks her about Bruce Gerencser. Just last week, one my children ran into several people their age who were once members of a local church I pastored. These young adults have heard the gossip about me and read up on me, thanks to the Internet, but they still can’t understand how it is possible that the man they once called pastor is now a heathen. What happened? they asked, desperately trying to figure out how I ended up where I am today. Lost on such people is the fact that I am, in many ways, the same man I was when I was their pastor. Sure, I am a political liberal and an atheist. But, personality-wise I am pretty much the same guy. I am still a down-home friendly man with a wry sense of humor. I am…Bruce. [My editor commented, Your closing raises some interesting questions. Are you the same guy? I think it is hard for you to claim that you are. Sure, you are still a decent, hard-working man, but you have done an about-face in regard to many of your core beliefs of your prior life.]

I would love to hear from readers who find it difficult to navigate the waters of their communities. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: The Democrats are the Party of the Anti-Christ by Jim Bakker

jim and lori bakker

This is the one hundred and sixty-third 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 video clip from convicted felon Jim Bakker’s television show.

Video Link

Partial transcript:

“The left has become anti-Christ. I’m convinced, if we would have elected the other candidate, we would be, right now, probably packing boxes to move out of our buildings and Christian television would begin to be a part of the end of era of the freedom of Christian television. They don’t want us, we’re one voice that speaks biblically and they don’t like the fact that God’s word differs with what they teach. If we change positions in this country and the other team takes over, you better get ready because all hell is going to break loose and America will not be a religious nation any longer.”

 

The Republican War Against the Health of Poor and Working-Class Americans

republican healthcare plan

Congressional Republicans are waging a full-scale war against the health of poor and working-class Americans. Their battle plan is quite simple:

  • Do away with the federal funding of Medicaid.
  • Force states to either raise taxes to fund Medicaid or drastically cut services.
  • Enrich the medical industry by ignoring the runway cost of healthcare, wrongly suggesting the market forces with correct the current excesses.
  • Raise insurance premiums for the sick and elderly.
  • Do away with Obamacare regulations that forced insurance companies to cover preëxisting conditions and provide basic preventative healthcare.
  • Give businesses huge tax cuts.
  • Give the wealthy huge text cuts.

The Republicans who oppose the current Senate healthcare bill do not object because they want Americans to have better healthcare. What they want is a complete dismantling of the federal government, including any laws and regulations that govern healthcare. These Ayn Rand-loving Libertarians don’t care one whit about whether Americans live or die or whether any of us has affordable insurance. Left to their own devices, these Republicans will destroy the social progress of the past sixty years, remolding America into a fiefdom where the rich and major corporations rule the land. The difference between people such as I and these Republicans is that we actually care about the welfare of the American people and these Republicans don’t. Their concern begins and ends with their wallets. Ironically, most of these Republican are Christians, people who supposedly follow Jesus and keep his commandments. Evidently, these human-hating Republicans have never read Jesus’ words about riches and how those of means should treat the poor.

republican healthcare plan

The solution, of course, is to raise taxes, and provide single-payer health insurance for all Americans — rich, poor, and working class. It is time we take the profit out of healthcare. People should not have to look at their bank balances before deciding to seek medical treatment. As it stands now, even those of us who have healthcare are facing astronomical rises in insurance premiums, deductibles, and drug costs. The only sure way to make certain that all Americans have comprehensive, affordable healthcare is to burn to the ground the current system. This means, first, voting out of office any Republican or Democrat who continues to suckle at the teat of the healthcare industry. These “leaders” of ours cannot, as Jesus said, serve two masters. You will love the one and hate the other. And as it hands now, it sure looks like the ruling class hates poor and working-class people.

The True Agenda of the Ayn Rand-fueled, Koch Brothers-funded, Evangelical-empowered, Paul Ryan-controlled Wing of the Republican Party

letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News. Submitted on March 24, 2017

Dear Editor:

The recent attempt to pass what Donald Trump and Republicans dubbed the American Health Care Act has finally exposed for all to see the true agenda of the Ayn Rand-fueled, Koch Brothers-funded, Evangelical-empowered, Paul Ryan-controlled wing of the Republican Party. The white sheets have been torn away, exposing ideological hatred for minorities, the working class, and what the Bible calls the least of these. We now know that these shills for the one-percenters want to destroy the Federal government, roll back the New Deal, and cut the bottom out of social safety net. Their ultimate goal is to return our society to the days of the wild, wild West – days when every man controlled his own destiny; days when the capitalist with the fastest draw and surest aim or the robber baron with the quickest fists ruled the land.

As of the writing of this letter, Republicans have twice cancelled votes on the AHCA. Facing outrage from all corners of the political spectrum, Paul Ryan is increasingly aware of the fact that he never should have made public his agenda to destroy America. While I thoroughly enjoy watching Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and their surrogates get the public caning they so richly deserve, my joy is tempered by the fact that at the state level Republican extremists  are quietly and effectively rolling back much of the social progress of the past century.  More frightening than the AHCA debacle is the Koch Brothers-funded plan for a Constitutional Convention. And once a Constitutional Convention is convened, Tea-Party, Libertarian, and Evangelical theocrats will finally have the tools necessary to dismantle the Federal government and turn America into dog-eat-dog capitalist state ruled by men only concerned with their stock portfolio and return on investment. While Evangelicals will certainly make sure that their God is returned to his rightful place as America’s potentate, the real God of these extremists is laissez-faire capitalism.

One positive to come out of electing Donald Trump is the exposure of the true agenda of many Republican officeholders. Now it is up to Democrats, liberals, progressives. democratic socialists, and all who value social progress to coalesce into a movement willing to take on Paul Ryan/Koch Brothers/Ayn Rand Republicans. What lies ahead is a no-holds-barred fight to the death for the future of our Republic. I am ready for the fight. Are you?

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

 

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Liberals Hate Everything Evangelicals Stand For by Lee Duigon

lee duigonRemember when they booed God at the Democrat National Convention, 2012? It should have told us what we were in for, but Mitt Romney found a way to lose the election in spite of that display.

Now, five years later, we have managed to win a national election—and Democrats are back to booing God. The latest example was at a Republican town hall meeting in Louisiana, hosted by Sen. Bill Cassidy, at which Democrat “protesters”—do they even know what they’re “protesting”?—loudly booed both the opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

The prayer got them really riled up. “Prayer? Prayer?” cried one incredulous progressive. “Pray on your own time!” bellowed another. And a woman, at the top of her lungs, invoked the name of Lucifer, who runs American leftism when George Soros is otherwise occupied. They got especially raucous at the mention of Jesus’ name; and then they heckled and booed the recitation of the Pledge. At this point we usually hear liberals deny they’re anti-Christian and angrily declare, “Don’t you dare question our patriotism!”

Again, these people are energetically showing us who they are, and shame on us if we don’t listen.

Why do liberals hate God? Because they’re after His job. They want to sit where He sits, and they insist that they can and will do all the things He should have done, but couldn’t do because He doesn’t exist. They, by the brute force of an all-powerful government run by themselves, will wipe out income inequality, abolish hate, war, poverty, disease, and while they’re at it, Save The Planet. And we’ll all live happily ever after as Citizens of the World. They haven’t gotten around yet to offering us forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but they’re working on it.

So they boo God, boo the country, and put up yard signs, as one of my neighbors has done, proclaiming such gems of tolerance and wisdom as “Patriotism is for Scoundrels,” “Blankety-blank Clingers,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Science (they mean Global Warming, evolution, and abortion) is Real”… and, as the bottom line, “Kindness is Everything!” I don’t think I want to know how they define kindness. The Bible has already told me that: “the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Proverbs 12:10). Leftist “kindness” usually involves a lot of barbed wire and piles of dead bodies.

….

They have cut the cable that anchored them to God, and now try to tie up to the water. Anyone can see how well that works.

….

Whether or not these liberals are beyond hope of repair is not for us to say. But we need to have our heads examined if we even think about ever again allowing them to run the country. They hate everything we love, and they will take it away from us if they can.

My Thoughts on the Complicity of Rural America in the Election of Donald Trump

donald trump

I am appalled, as are tens of millions of other Americans, by the fact that Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. I voted for Bernie Sanders during the primary season, believing that his progressive views were (are) the best way forward for the United States. Sanders’ inability to connect with older, rural, white Americans, and the Democratic National Committee’s attempt to derail him, doomed Sanders’ candidacy. While many Bernie supporters think that he would have beaten Trump had he received the nomination, I am of the opinion that this is little more than wishful thinking. Yesterday, I cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton primarily because I thought (and still do) that a Trump presidency will be disastrous for America. I was willing to overlook Clinton’s scandal-plagued career and her connection to Wall Street because I believed at the time (and still do) that electing Donald Trump would send the United States careening down a path that could lead to world war. A Clinton presidency would likely have been more of the same, a sameness that I could, if need be, stomach for four more years. As a progressive and a liberal, I’ve come to see that neither political party represents me. In 2008, swept up by promises of hope and change, I believed that Barack Obama would bring fundamental change to America. By 2012, I realized that idealistic hope and change had been swallowed up by an obstructionist Congress, lobbyists, big banks, and Wall Street. While President Obama talked a good game, his allegiances were still with corporate America. This became clear in the aftermath of the housing bubble collapse, when the Obama justice department failed to prosecute those who caused the collapse. The political élite ignored how angry middle America was over the pain and suffering caused by the last major recession. Having been ignored for decades, these older, white, Christian Americans see in Donald Trump a man who is willing to stand up for them; someone who speaks their language and empathizes with their pain; someone who doesn’t see them as deplorable. These are the people who swept Donald Trump into the White House. The majority of baby boomers and older people voted for Trump. Over eighty percent of Evangelicals cast their vote for the Republican nominee. Most of these people were never going to vote for a Democrat, so there is literally nothing that Trump could do that would turn them away from voting for him.

Next year, I will be 60 years old. Outside of a few years in California in the 1960s and Arizona and Michigan in the 1970s, I have spent my life living in Ohio. I have watched Ohio turn from a union-strong democratic state to a solidly red state where virtually every major political office is held by a Republican. As an Evangelical Christian and pastor, I was pleased to see Ohio move to the right. I suppose that, if I were still an Evangelical, I would be actively involved in trying to turn back the social progress of the past eight years. I have no doubt that I would have been working to criminalize abortion, shove gays back into the closet, reinstitute marriage as between a man and woman, force transgenders to use the bathroom that corresponded to their birth sex, and above all, I would been working to establish God and the Bible as the absolute authority in matters public and private. Fortunately, for me, my political and social views began to change in the late 1990s. While I was still conservative in many ways, my views began to creep leftward as I realized how hurtful and harmful many of my views were. By the time I left the ministry in 2005, I had moved to the far left of the evangelical tent, and had I not ultimately lost my faith I am sure I would now be a liberal Christian.

I now find myself quite alone in a sea of ravenous Evangelical Republicans. I know that there are numerous area residents who feel as I do. What do we do, now that our fellow citizens decided to elect a xenophobic, misogynistic, race baiting man unfit for public office? I live in Defiance County Ohio. Seventy-one percent of registered voters voted yesterday. Sixty-four percent of them voted for Donald Trump. Twenty-nine percent voted for Hillary Clinton. In nearby Fulton, Henry, and Williams counties, the splits were pretty much the same. Even worse, in Paulding County, seventy-two percent of people voted for Donald Trump, while Hillary Clinton received twenty-three percent of the vote. In nearby Putnam County, eighty percent of voters voted for Trump. A measly fifteen percent voted for Clinton.

While most rural Northwest Ohio counties have unemployment rates below state and national levels and jobs are plentiful, the fact is that much of the area has not yet recovered from the housing collapse. Yes, jobs are plentiful, but wages are not. My wife works for a large manufacturing concern who is having a hard time attracting new employees. If you find yourself looking for a job that starts out at $10 or $11 an hour, then move to rural Northwest Ohio. Housing is relatively cheap, as are groceries. If jobs are plentiful and housing and food are affordable, why do so many local residents still fear the future? One of the reasons is that wages are stagnant, and for those who work in local factories, after they reach a certain wage level all they receive are token, often laughable wage increases. The same workers have had to absorb scandalous increases in insurance costs. When my wife started with her employer in 1997, her insurance plan had a $300 deductible and a $1,200 maximum out-of-pocket. Today, her insurance plan has a $3,750 deductible and a $6,000 maximum out-of-pocket. During this time span, the amount that she pays for insurance premiums has gone up over 200%. Outrageous costs such as these are dragging many rural Americans right out of the middle class.

The housing collapse destroyed local property values. While values have improved in recent years, they are still below what they were in the 2000s. My wife and I bought our house in 2007 at the height of the boom market. Over the past 10 years we have made $25,000 of improvements on our home, including a new roof, windows, doors, and major inside remodeling. Yet, if we sold our house today, I doubt that it would bring much more than $10,000 over what we paid for it. Three houses across the street from us have sold in the last two years. All of the sellers were forced to reduce their prices in order to sell their homes. That said, housing prices are cheap, often hundreds of thousands of dollars cheaper than similar homes in cities and on the East and West Coast.

During the Obama administration, environmental regulations have been used to saddle local residents with increasing water and sewer costs. In nearby Defiance, residents are having to deal with water and sewer bills that could, when all the forced EPA mandates are met, reach $200 a month. While the EPA is absolutely right to force Defiance to stop dumping shit in local waterways, I do understand the frustrations of local residents who are forced to pay ever-increasing utility bills without any meaningful wage increases. The small community I live in had to install a sewer system for similar reasons. Fortunately, the project was shovel ready and the village received over $1 million of TARP money to pay for the new system. If the village of Ney had not received this money, our water and sewer bills would be much more like those of Defiance.

Rural Northwest Ohio is religiously dominated by Evangelical, mainline Lutheran, Methodist, and Catholic churches. These sects are decidedly white, conservative, anti-abortion, anti-homosexual, and Republican. They are an aging population who think that the 1950s were the best times of their lives. Farms dot the landscape, and the latest election results show that farmers overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump, even though, if Congressional Republicans have their way, drastic cuts will be made to farm programs.  Quite frankly, the only thing that will turn rural areas such as this one towards a more progressive path is for there to be a lot of funerals. Until grandma and grandpa die off, rural Northwest Ohio will continue to be a bastion of Republican values. I will do what I can to be a voice that counters their delusions, and I know many others will do the same, but we do not have sufficient numbers to make a meaningful difference in the short-term. Our best approach is to begin helping the millennial and gen-x generations find their political feet. Both the Democratic and Republican parties attempted to co-opt younger Americans for political gain. These young voters bought into Barack Obama’s message of hope and change. Eight years later, many of these same voters believe that the two-party system is broken beyond repair. It is for this reason many young Americans supported Bernie Sanders, hoping that he would split off from the Democratic Party and run an independent campaign. Disheartened by Sanders’ pragmatic refusal to do so, many of these disillusioned young voters stayed home on election day, allowing idealism to trump pragmatism. It remains to be seen if the millennial and gen-x generations will continue to support the two-party system, or will instead opt to burn the house to the ground and start a political revolution. I think Bernie Sanders is right when he says what America really needs is revolution. Perhaps after four years of being ravaged by an orange-skinned monster, America will be ready for a real hope-and-change revolution.

I am often asked why I continue to live in rural Northwest Ohio. Why would an atheist with socialistic/progressive/liberal values continue to live in an area dominated by God’s Only Party? The short answer is that this is where my children and grandchildren live, but there is more to my living here than just my love for family. First, I was born here. My father’s parents were Hungarian immigrants who settled in this area, operating a hundred-acre farm until both of them died in the 1960s. Both my mom and dad were raised on the farm. While my dad was raised in Ohio, my mom spent most of her younger years on a farm in Missouri. My rural country roots run deep. Polly and I recently celebrated our thirty-eighth wedding anniversary. We have spent most of our married years living among rural people. The slow, lazy hum of rural life suits us. Good schools surround us and we have few of the fears that many city-dwellers face. While we lock our doors and cars out of habit, if we didn’t it is likely that nothing would happen. We know our neighbors, even though we have little in common with them. We are surrounded by wildlife and greenery, and the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Michigan are but short drives away. We know little of traffic jams, and when we go to the big cities of Toledo and Fort Wayne to indulge in that which only they can provide, we are always glad when we return home; and that’s the key word…home. Yes, I am angry that my fellow country folk played a big part in electing Donald Trump. I totally get the anger that many of my blue state friends have towards rural America. Their anger is warranted, but I hope they will remember that not every country hick or hillbilly is a Republican. This is my home, and I will, from my little corner of the universe, do what I can to make sure that Donald Trump is a one term president and that his harmful policies are kept from fruition. As disheartened as I am today, I know that I cannot remain silent. If my goal remains a better future for my children and grandchildren, then I owe it to them to muster what strength I can to defeat political ideologies that want to roll back progress. Throwing feces and writing screaming blog posts will gain me nothing. I must do what I’ve always done, and that is to be a loud voice for progressive values and the humanist ideal.