This is the eighty-seventh installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of prayer/sermon preached by Mark Burns, pastor of The Harvest Praise & Worship Center, Easley, South Carolina.
Millions of Evangelicals plan to vote for Donald Trump come Election Day. Supposedly, Evangelicals are people of principle, people who resolutely believe and practice the teachings of the Bible. Yet, these very same people plan to vote for a man who is the antithesis of everything they believe. I realize that many Evangelicals wanted a President Cruz or President Carson, yet in primary after primary Evangelical voters carried Donald Trump to victory. It seems that Evangelicals value political power more than they do Biblical principles. Evangelicals have even gone so far as to convince themselves that Trump is a Christian.
What happened to the people who, at one time, said they would only vote for a man who had a Christian worldview? Surely they know that Donald Trump is a misogynistic, narcissistic, adulterous liar, a man who, as John McCain before him, is using Evangelicals for political gain. Readers might remember, in an attempt to pander to the religious-right, McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. I say chose, but what I really mean is that Evangelical power brokers forced McCain to add the former Alaska governor to the ticket. By choosing Fundamentalist Mike Pence as his running mate, Trump, in McCain-like fashion, is betting his political future on Evangelicals voting for him on November 8, 2016.
Millions of Evangelicals plan to vote for Trump regardless of what The Donald says or does. These Clinton haters and closet racists have been stewing for eight years now, forced to endure the indignity of living in country led by the Kenyan-born, Islamic sympathizer Barack Obama. These gun-toting, Jesus-loving voters would vote for Donald Duck if it meant ripping the helm of the U.S. government out of the hands of Democrats.
Millions of other Evangelicals have convinced themselves that Trump, once elected, will be sympathetic to the issues that matter to them. These people seem to be oblivious of the fact that past conduct is a good rule by which to judge how a candidate will act in the future. Trump is a thrice divorced skirt-chasing sociopath who rarely attends church. I have yet to hear one statement from the mouth of Donald Trump that remotely suggests that he has any idea about what means to be a follower of Jesus. I highly doubt he reads/studies the Bible or prays. Trump’s statement about having no need to ask God (or anyone else) for forgiveness should tell Evangelicals all they need to know about Trump’s moral and ethical compass. Despite all of this, millions of Evangelicals still plan to vote for Trump.
If Evangelicals want to be true to their so-call Biblical principles, it seems to me that they either should abstain from voting, vote for a third-party candidate, or write-in a God approved candidate. Instead, millions of Evangelicals who zealously hate President Obama and presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton plan to vote for a man who is the least qualified major party candidate in modern American history.
A month or so ago, scores of Evangelical leaders met with Donald Trump. When I read the pro-Trump comments made by men such as Tony Perkins and James Dobson, it finally dawned on me that many Evangelicals have sold their souls to the Devil. Once Hillary Clinton trounces Trump in November, the proverbial writing will be on the wall for the Republican Party. If Clinton wins the election, this means that Evangelicals have been unable to deliver the goods for three presidential election cycles — four if you consider the election George w. Bush stole from Al Gore.
After three straight losses, I wonder if Republican party leaders will finally wake up and realize that Evangelicals can’t deliver on their promises. As long as the Republican Party is being held hostage by the NRA, Evangelicals, and the Tea Party (Many Evangelicals are also members of the NRA and the Tea Party.) they will continue to lose general elections. Of course, from a Democratic perspective, this is wonderful news. But the Democrats have problems of their own, issues that were pushed to the forefront by Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders. Democrats are just as doomed as Republicans if they fail to truly understand the social and economic angst that is fueling the unrest that has turned into protests and violence.
In many ways, we are reliving the 1960s with its protests and violence. If we as a people do not quickly learn from the past, we most certainly will repeat it. What has happened in recent weeks is but a preview of the bloodshed and outrage to come. Blacks have had enough. Police have had enough. Millennials are restless. Political leaders have their heads up the asses of corporate donors. There is increasing economic despair, a widening gap between the one percenters and everyone else. The United States is involved in numerous wars in the Middle East and is fighting secret wars in Africa. Drones continue to rain death upon terrorists and innocent civilians. The CIA, NSA, and the FBI continue to spy on American citizens, using tools sanctioned by President Obama and Congress. Increased word battles with Russia and China warn of a resurgence of the Cold War.
Throw all these things in a pot, season them with global warming, and there is no doubt that we have entered a dangerous time, one that could easily be turned into uncontrollable wildfire. Does anyone honestly believe that Donald Trump can handle these things, that he can lead us through the current political and social minefield? I am no fan of Hillary Clinton. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Ohio primary, but now that Clinton will likely be the nominee, I must put the needs of my country first. A Trump presidency would be disastrous, turning the United States into butt end of a joke. Hillary Clinton may not be my first choice for President, but I know she is a seasoned politician who knows what matters. Republican leaders, cheered on by Evangelicals, have done their best to destroy Hillary Clinton, yet, here she is, still standing. Regardless of the facts concerning Benghazi or her misuse of email, Clinton knows how best to lead the United States forward during difficult times. I can’t think of one way a Trump presidency is better for America. Despite promises from Republican operatives that Trump will “change” after the election, he continues to act like a petulant child who has never had anyone tell him NO! Do we really want such a man to control the U.S. military and have access to nuclear launch codes? With all the turmoil in the Middle East, do we really want Trump to have the keys to the car? I know I don’t.
So I ask you this, Evangelicals: without mentioning your hatred for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, please give me one good reason why ANYONE should vote for Donald Trump.
I am politically progressive and liberal. I make no attempt to hide my democratic socialistic tendencies. I am a registered Democrat and a supporter of Bernie Sanders who will drink two or ten shots of whiskey and vote for Hillary Clinton come November. I am an inconsistent pacifist. I am of the opinion that the United States has fought not a just war since the two world wars. And even with these wars, the United States, with its immoral nuclear bombings of Japan and it firebombings of Germany, has shown itself to be as violently ruthless as its enemies. The same goes for the United States’ use of napalm during the Vietnam War. (Please read Napalm: An American Biography.) Americans love to think of themselves kind, goodhearted people who only resort to violence when backed into a corner, when in fact the United States, thanks to its colonialist, imperialistic, and nationalistic tendencies, is a nation whose history is steeped in the blood of innocents. (Please read The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America 1500-2000.)
Prior to the turn of the 21st century, I was a registered Republican — the party of my tribe. The reasons I am no longer a Republican are many. Let me list a few of them. These statements reflect my understanding of the Republican Party at the national level. I realize that not all Republicans believe/support the positions that follow.
The Republican Party is and I am not:
Pro-Chamber of Commerce
Pro-dark money political contributions
Pro-unrestricted campaign contributions
Pro-unregulated religious schools
Pro-Pledge of Allegiance
Pro-American imperialism and colonialism
Pro-military as the world’s policeman
Pro-Patriot Act(s) and other government intrusions into privacy
Anti-Environmental Protection Agency
Anti-Department of Education
Anti-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Anti-separation of church and state
Anti-single payer option health insurance
Anti-global warming/climate change
Anti-Black Lives Matter
And Best Hits of the Republican Party keep on playing.
And if these things aren’t enough, the Republican Party has committed the biggest crime of the modern era — presidential nominee Donald Trump.
And finally, with lips dripping with the blood of justice, fairness, and equal protection under the law, the Republican Party has called for an all-out war against the LGBT community. Just today, a Republican National Committee subcommittee — thanks to the work of homophobic bigot Tony Perkins, voted to add a plank to their 2016 platform supporting LGBT conversion therapy.
Republican National Committee subcommittee members Monday voted to approve a plank embracing the use of harmful anti-LGBT conversion therapy, after it was introduced by the head of a certified anti-gay hate group. The plank will be voted on by a committee and then all RNC voting members before becoming an official part of the 2016 platform.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, an RNC delegate, Monday morning met with RNC chair Reince Priebus, reportedly to discuss including the call to support medically dangerous efforts that claim to change a person’s sexual orientation.
Earlier on Monday, according to Badrash, subcommittees of the RNC:
A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, invalidating federal and state laws that defined marriage solely as the union of a man and a woman. Evangelical, Catholic, and Mormon culture warriors warned that the Supreme Court’s ruling would pave the way for forcing pastors, priests and elders to marry same-sex couples. Warning that pastors would soon be jailed for refusing to perform such marriages, these defenders of heterosexual marriage began working at the state level to pass laws that would exempt pastors, priests, and elders from marrying gay couples. These hysterical laws were/are little more than lame attempts by conservative (Republican) legislators to show Evangelical voters that they are still battling the secularists and atheists who want to outlaw Christianity.
Remember Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, saying:
That [refusing to perform same-sex marriages] may mean we experience jail time, loss of tax exempt status, but as the scripture says, we ought to obey God rather than man, and that’s our choice.
Or Baptist pastor Rick Scarborough telling a radio audience:
…[the clergy must] resist all government efforts to require them to accept gay marriage, and they will accept any fine and jail time to protect their religious freedom and the freedom of others.
And former Presidential candidate and Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee warning pastors:
If the courts rule that people have a civil right – not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage – then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor, who believes in Biblical marriage, who says, ‘I can’t perform that wedding,’ will now be breaking the law.
Ominous, indeed. Surely, a year later scores of pastors have been arrested and jailed for refusing to perform same-sex marriages, right?
That’s right, not one pastor has been arrested or jailed for refusing to marry a same-sex couple. Why? Because it has NEVER been against the law to do so. Pastors, priests, and elders have always been free to refuse to perform the marriage ceremonies of couples who do not meet their personal or ecclesiastical marriage standards. Sects, churches, and pastors are free to marry whomever they wish. As long as the U.S. Constitution remains in its current form, conservative Christian churches will have the legal right to not only refuse to marry same-sex couples, but also to bar gays from being members of their congregations. Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons — along with every other religious sect — are free to discriminate at will.
Evangelical blowhards such as Robert Jeffress, Rick Scarborough, and Mike Huckabee are shameless liars for Jesus. These culture warriors only care about one thing, political power. This is why these very same men spent yesterday on their knees — not praying — but performing fellatio on Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. These warriors are so shameless that they have convinced themselves that Trump is a Christian. Several months ago, Jerry Falwell, Jr. stated unequivocally that Trump is a member of Team Jesus®:
I’ve seen his generosity to strangers, to his employees, his warm relationship with his children. I’m convinced he’s a Christian. I believe he has faith in Jesus Christ. I’ve had conversations with him just within the past few weeks about his faith, and I have no doubts he is a man of faith and he’s a Christian.
Evangelicals are busy now with plans to put “Christian” Trump in the Oval Office. Once their candidate is thoroughly trounced by Hillary Clinton, these liars for Jesus will return to the culture battlefield, once again trying to capitalize on the fears of their constituents. War on Christmas! Transgender Bathroom Use! Homosexuals Preying on Children! Prayer in the Public Schools! Creationism! President Clinton Taking Away Religious Freedom!
As in past years, pastors and church leaders will indeed be arrested, but not for marrying same-sex couples. These men of God will make the front pages of their local newspapers, arrested for crimes such as child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, sexual misconduct, and sundry other crimes. These issues will be shoved under the rug, replaced by fake outrages and boycotts. These liars for Jesus will continue to reveal that at the heart of conservative Christianity lies hatred, bigotry, homophobia, and racism.
This is the forty-second installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a clip from an endorsement video by John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. While Hagee does not mention Trump by name, it is clear that he is endorsing The Donald.
Imagine for a moment a banker, automobile dealer, racecar driver, and a career criminal get together to plan a bank robbery. The banker will provide blueprints for the bank and the combination for the safe. The automobile dealer will provide a fast getaway car. The racecar driver, putting his NASCAR skills to work, will drive the getaway car. The career criminal will be responsible for actually robbing the bank. Is only the career criminal culpable for the bank robbery? Or does material participation in this criminal enterprise make each participant guilty of the crime? I think all of us would agree that every person who played a part in the crime is criminally liable.
Evangelicals believe that abortion is murder. From the moment of conception, according to pro-lifers, that which grows in the womb of the mother is a human being who deserves complete protection under the law. Imagine my surprise then, to hear Evangelicals distance themselves from Donald Trump’s recent statement that women who have abortions should be punished. Granted, Trump later walked this comment back, but his first comment accurately reflects taking pro-life dogma to its logical conclusion.
If abortion is murder, then every person who materially participates in the killing of the zygote/fetus is equally culpable. Pro-lifers are quite willing to use the force of law to prosecute doctors who perform abortions. Some Evangelicals even go so far as to say that performing an abortion is a capital crime worthy of the death penalty. In past years pro-life zealots have murdered abortion doctors. Many within the pro-life movement think that such murders are justifiable homicide. In 2005, Polly and I attended a church where one of the church members wanted to have a moment of silence on the February 6th birthday of pro-life hero Paul Hill. You may remember that Hill murdered abortion doctor John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett. He was executed by the state of Florida on September 3, 2003. According to pro-lifers, abortion doctors are no different from the Nazi or Japanese doctors who experimented on prisoners of war during World War II. Abortion doctors are no better than serial killers, men and women who — according to pro-lifers — place no value on human life.
But what about abortion clinic staff? Are the nurses who materially participate in abortion procedures criminally liable? How are they in any way different from the banker, automobile dealer, and racecar driver in the story above? And surely the woman having the abortion is the bank robber in the story above. She is the one who decides to abort her fetus. She is the one who makes the appointment, goes to the clinic, takes off her clothes, puts on a hospital gown, lies on a table, and allows the abortion doctor — with his nurse assisting — to terminate the pregnancy. Surely the woman is criminally responsible for the murder of her unborn child.
Why all the Evangelical angst and dancing around the issue when asked if women should be punished for having abortions? This issue seems quite clear to me. If life begins at conception and abortion is murder, then the women making choices to kill their babies — regardless of whether they take abortion-inducing drugs or have surgical procedures — are guilty of premeditated homicide. Some Evangelicals try to avoid the logical conclusions of their abortion equals murder beliefs by suggesting that women having abortions are in some way or the other mentally or emotionally incapable of understanding what they are doing. I think most women who have abortions would be quite offended by such false assertions. While certainly deciding to have an abortion can be and often is a difficult decision for women to make, to suggest that women are somehow unable to rationally make this decision is ludicrous. For whatever reason, women choose to have abortions. It is their legal right to do so. Our law recognizes that women have a fundamental right to control what happens to their bodies — even though that right is currently under vicious attack by pro-life zealots.
It is time for pro-lifers to own their beliefs. The last 10 years have seen an unprecedented assault on women’s rights. Realizing that it is unlikely that they will ever overturn Roe V Wade, pro-lifers have turned to the states to advance their draconian anti-abortion laws. These new laws have been so successful that in some states it is almost impossible for women to find an abortion provider. Pro-lifers will not rest until fertilized eggs are granted the same constitutional rights as 30-year-old women. I do not think for a moment — once they successfully outlawed abortion — that they will continue to view women who have back alley abortions as victims. As has been clear over the past 25 years — at least to me — many Evangelicals will not rest until they have turned the United States into a Christian theocracy. Once they have gained this power, they will use it just as ruthlessly as ISIS and other violent theocratic groups. Quite frankly, Evangelicals cannot be trusted with our civil liberties. Bound by the Bible and its teachings, they have no recourse but to push God’s laws into every aspect of American life. It is for this reason that people who value secularism, humanism, and freedom must oppose theocratic Evangelicals at every turn.
This is the time of year when Evangelical soothsayers, psychics, and Nate Silver (ESPN 538) make predictions for the coming year. I thought, in keeping with the spirit of the New Year, that I, the atheist version of Carnac the Magnificent, would make a few predictions of my own. Here’s my 15 Astounding Predictions for 2016.
Richard Dawkins will say something stupid.
Neil deGrasse Tyson will say something brilliant.
The Pope will not get laid.
Evangelicals will continue to say the rapture is nigh.
At least three Evangelical preachers will be arrested and charged with molesting children and 25 others will be accused of sexual misconduct.
Evangelicals will continue to say atheists hate God and secretly want to have wanton, immoral sex.
Franklin Graham will be exposed as a cross dressing transvestite.
Evangelical Calvinists will continue to say their critics don’t understand Calvinism.
Donald Trump will say bat-shit crazy stuff and his followers will love it.
Evangelicals will continue to think that Christianity is under attack and that secularists are trying to make Christianity illegal.
Tea Party Republicans will continue to think that the lame stream media controls America and that Muslim socialist Barack Hussein Obama is coming to take their guns.
The day after Thanksgiving, Fox News will say that there is a War on Christmas.
One Million Moms will continue to be outraged over nudity, cursing, and gay kissing on TV. This year they will find their lost remote and learn that if they push the channel button it changes the channel.
Democrats will win the presidency, a sure sign that the Antichrist is preparing to usher in the new world order.
I’ve seen this graphic a handful of times recently on Facebook, always posted as a legal justification for Donald Trump-like bigotry towards Muslims. In every instance, this meme was posted by someone claiming to be an Evangelical Christian. As Polly and I were watching last night’s episode of The Trevor Noah Show, I mentioned that Donald Trump has exposed an ugly truth about the religious right; that bigotry and racism is flourishing among those who say they are followers Jesus, a man who had far more in common with Middle Eastern Muslims, Palestinians, and Jews than the white Americans who worship him today.
Last I knew, Evangelicals still consider lying a sin. Why then, do Christians continue to post falsities like those mentioned in this graphic? It took me all of 30 seconds to determine that this graphic is false. While this meme might express the wet-dream sentiment of white, redneck Evangelical bigots, there’s no truth to it.
Here’s what the venerable Snopes.com has to say on the matter:
The meme sharply escalated in popularity following an unprecedented statement from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who on 7 December 2015 suggested that the United States should bar all Muslims from entering the country until such time as lawmakers could “figure out what [was] going on” in the wake of a mass shooting in San Bernardino that had occurred five days earlier.
Simply put, the rumor maintained that Muslims as a group were ineligible for admission to the United States based upon a law that prohibited entry to any alien who “belongs to an organization seeking to overthrow the government of the United States by ‘force, violence, or other unconstitutional means.'” The meme didn’t directly reference the Islamic State (ISIS) as the organization in question, instead suggesting that Islam itself (particularly because of Sharia law and adherence to it by devout Muslims) was a prohibited group.
The law referenced was the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, also known as the McCarran–Walter Act. Its text is available in full at the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services (USCIS) web site, where a preface indicates that the law has “been amended many times over the years, but is still the basic body of immigration law.” The meme cited “Chapter 2 Section 212” of the Act, which is subtitled “INA: ACT 212 – GENERAL CLASSES OF ALIENS INELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE VISAS AND INELIGIBLE FOR ADMISSION; WAIVERS OF [INADMISSIBILITY].” Subsection (A) of that section pertains to “Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Visas or Admission,” subdivision (3) of which is titled “Security and related grounds.” Paragraph (a), subsection (iii) excludes as ineligible for admission the following persons:
In general any alien who a consular officer or the Attorney General knows, or has reasonable ground to believe, seeks to enter the United States to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in any activity a purpose of which is the opposition to, or the control or overthrow of, the Government of the United States by force, violence, or other unlawful means.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 was not without critics, among them President Harry S. Truman, who vetoed the bill on 25 June 1952. In a letter titled “Veto of Bill to Revise the Laws Relating to Immigration, Naturalization, and Nationality” and addressed to the House of Representatives, President Truman described the bill’s provisions as both antithetical to American values and discriminatory:
The greatest vice of the present quota system, however, is that it discriminates, deliberately and intentionally, against many of the peoples of the world … The desired effect [of selective admission of immigrants] was obtained … People from such countries as Greece, or Spain, or Latvia were virtually deprived of any opportunity to come here at all, simply because Greeks or Spaniards or Latvians had not come here before 1920 in any substantial numbers.
The idea behind this discriminatory policy was, to put it baldly, that Americans with English or Irish names were better people and better citizens than Americans with Italian or Greek or Polish names. It was thought that people of West European origin made better citizens than Rumanians or Yugoslavs or Ukrainians or Hungarians or Baits or Austrians. Such a concept is utterly unworthy of our traditions and our ideals. It violates the great political doctrine of the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” It denies the humanitarian creed inscribed beneath the Statue of Liberty proclaiming to all nations, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
It repudiates our basic religious concepts, our belief in the brotherhood of man, and in the words of St. Paul that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free …. for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The “ISLAM WAS BANNED FROM THE USA IN 1952” meme proved popular following a period of increasing rhetoric similar to that which Truman decried as discriminatory and outdated in 1952. The meme’s basic claim hinged on the tautological assertion that adherence to Islam alone constitutes participation in an “organization seeking to overthrow the government of the United States by ‘force, violence, or other unconstitutional means.'” Most major religions involve basic, agreed-upon sets of tenets by which their faithful live, and no widely-accepted understanding of Islam encompasses a prohibition on following the laws of any country or advocates the overthrow of government.
The meme “ISLAM WAS BANNED FROM THE USA IN 1952” claimed that adherence to Islam and/or Sharia law constituted definitive membership within an “organization seeking to overthrow the government of the United States by ‘force, violence, or other unconstitutional means.'” Multiple non-factual statements or implications were presented in the meme, including the notions that all Muslims strictly adhere to Sharia law, that Sharia law is a cohesive faith-based form of governance, that adherence to Sharia law is mutually exclusive with adherence to the laws of the United States, that Islam in some way demands the eventual overthrow of the United States government, or that any “organization” to which Muslims purportedly belong by merit of their faith somehow places them under the provisions of section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. Not one of those assertions or implications is supported by extant law, precedent, or any accepted interpretation of Islam, United States immigration policy, or the act in question.
According to the CHARISMA website, Jeremiah Johnson is a prophetic minister. In other words, God talks directly to Johnson. Johnson, an elder at Heart of the Father Ministry in Lakeland, Florida, recently heard from God about Donald Trump: (link no longer active)
Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth. Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016 election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger.”
Well, one thing is for sure…Donald Trump is a blowhard, the next Herb Alpert of God’s brass band of fools.