Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Faith No More

I'll try to make this quick, since as I said I'm kind of pressed for time right now.

Chances are by now you're aware of the fallout from last week's Values Voters Summit, the annual event in which the hard-right Evangelical nutjob segment of the electorate gathers to throw King James Bibles at the feet of Republican leaders to see who will be the last one standing after beating his or her competition to death with one. This year, everybody seemed to be gunning for one guy: Mitt Romney. Poor Mitt got it hard from both ends, so to speak, as his place on the speaking roster happened -- through what I'm sure was complete coincidence -- to fall between Dallas megachurch demagogue Pastor Robert Jeffress and psychopathic talk radio host Bryan Fischer, both of whom have railed against Romney's Mormon faith as an insult to the one, true God.

Jeffress, who astonishingly is the cuddlier of the two, merely referred to Mormonism as a cult while lavishing praise on Rick Perry for supposedly being a trustworthy follower of Jesus Christ; Fischer took it three or four giant steps further, saying not only that a proven Christian and a proven Christian alone should be our next president, but that Sharia law is coming to take over our courts, homosexuals are a threat to the public health and the reason we haven't seen a successful attack on the contiguous 48 since 9/11 is that crowds sing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at major league baseball games. And no, I'm not making that last one up.

Romney, to his credit, tried to take the high road in his reaction to all the hyper-pious pummeling. Of course at something like the Values Voters Summit, the high road doesn't need to be very high; the Lincoln Tunnel towers over the discourse at this thing.

So is Mormonism a cult? Was it, for the most part, the brainchild of con-men and has it been perpetuated by the power-hungry and adhered to by the weak and desperate? Is it a lunatic belief system that should have no place influencing American politics? Yes on all counts. But here's the thing: That makes it no different than any other faith-based religion.

Fischer and Jeffress have always been despicably hateful fuckers whose opinions needed to be pushed so far to the fringes that they practically vanish into the ether. But at this point more than any other in our recent history, this country does not have the luxury to concern itself with with ridiculous contrivances like which ancient superstition a candidate aligns him or herself with -- whether he or she passes some religious purity test by properly genuflecting before the right god.

Over the next few months, as the campaign ramps up, you're going to start hearing a lot more proclamations of faith from those running for the highest office in the world. They'll talk about how their belief in Jesus or whatever-the-hell guides them, and what's more, they'll do it largely as a theatrical act of indulgence, as a means of cynically pandering to those they feel they need to pander to in order to get elected. Their command performance may not always be at the whim of blatant sociopaths like Jeffress and Fischer, but it will certainly be as a show of respect to the supposedly benign faith of which these men have become extremist purveyors and arbiters. And that faith, while something I disagree with wholeheartedly as a rational human being, should at the very least be a personal choice and a personal choice only -- it should be something that at all times is excluded from American politics.

At this fragile point in our nation's history, the fact that our presidential candidates will feel that they have the latitude, even for a moment, to gush metaphysical politics-as-usual platitudes is simply terrifying. Discussing something as abstract and ineffectual as faith at this moment is akin to extolling one's own favorite lottery numbers. Neither offers a concrete method of action. Faith will never defend this country's people from the ongoing threats to their livelihood. God won't save us from the mess we're currently in.

We need something more than wishful thinking, and we don't have the time to talk about anything less.

Above it's Chris Matthews taking apart an unbearably smug Pastor Robert Jeffress on Hardball last night.


VOTAR said...

I was reading this nice and slow, using the mouse wheel to advance the page lower as I went, and then without warning I get to the still image of Pastor Jeffrees giant head. I literally did an audible Animal House pledge candidate slideshow spit-take.

How does Jeffrees have time to go on the talk show circuit?; Doesn't it take all his time and mental energy to keep the illusion-world Menagerie intact around Captain Christopher Pike?

Anonymouse said...

I remember the moment, exact as it was yesterday, when religion went from something that I didn't really care about, to something I was utterly terrified....

I was on the smoke pad of the USS Roosevelt, a carrier. I had been awake for over 20 hours and had just gotten off watch. I was simply exhausted and enjoying a little break with my fellow watch stander Moe.

An airdale walked up to us telling me that I was looking for answers. He could tell by my face that I needed Jesus in my life. He tried to shove a bible in my hand. I was raised catholic and without even trying to prove it, I knew that I could out quote the kid if I wanted. But I didn't. Instead I just said...

"Look kid. I just want to hit my rack. God doesn't care anymore about me or you or anyone else on this ship more than the people we are currently bombing into the fucking stone age."

I thought it would shut him up. It usually did with the bible thumpers on the boat. Only this kid responded...

"God loves all of us. We have a duty. We aren't killing people. We are killing Muslims."

It was a toss up on who wanted to kick the shit out of this kid more...me or Moe. See...Moe was short for Muhammad. He joined up, with dual citizen to Egypt, to serve this country. He basically got flack from a good portion of his family because he wanted to served after 9-11. It sounds cliched, be he wanted to prove that not all Muslims are suicide bombers afraid of women getting the basic rights we give to animals. And here we were in the middle of a war zone, and shippy Mcfuckhead was displaying to everyone that no matter what...Moe wasn't a fucking human being.

Later, I talked Moe down from getting really pissed off. I basically explained how assholes like him exist to insult everyone. As a Roman Catholic, to this dude, I was just as evil as anyone not him. Still...Jesus Fucking Christ I hate religion. I hate how it gives people an excuse to turn their brain off and act like assholes. Though now as I type this, I am sure people can easily make the argument that patriotism leading to serving one's country does the same thing and is just as retarded in their eyes.

There are so many reasons why Oven Mitts should not be president. But the fact he is part of some minority sect of Christianity is not one of them. I seriously don't understand the US anymore.

LLK3 said...

"...the reason we haven't seen a successful attack on the contiguous 48 since 9/11 is that crowds sing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at major league baseball games"

I have no words (though I think I just face planted my head through my desk).

Matt Osborne said...

Yes, Chez, leave Brian Fischer to me. I've got perhaps a dozen old posts on that guy. Regular readers will remember him as the guy who thinks Medal of Honor winners have "gone soft these days" (and by that he means since they started letting 'em outta the closet, wink wink nudge nudge.

A guy like Jefress is far more dangerous when someone like Fischer is standing around to make him seem reasonable by comparison. Until such people become radioactive, presidential contestants (I refuse to call them "contenders") will continue to stand on stage between them.

Steven D Skelton said...

I would really love to see a candidate speak openly about their faith.....but only after saying that it shouldn't have a fucking thing to do with who we elect as the next president and berating whoever asked the question.

I'm a Christian....a full believer. Most people around here would think I'm a fucking moron for that, but it's the truth and I'm not ashamed of it.

But....Jesus didn't spend a whole lot of time teaching us how we are supposed to set up our government or which laws we are supposed to pass. He didn't tell us if market based health care reforms were better than single payer or vice versa.

He told us to have a relationship with Him and love our neighbors....and there isn't a candidate on either side that can do that for me.

Gotta go now, my lesbian lead singer and pantheist lead guitar player just showed up. I've got to get dinner on the table before band camp. They are probably hungry.

TheReaperD said...

What's really fucking scary is that if any of the candidates actually believes any of the shit their saying (I'm not counting on that) then they believe that 2012 is the year they believe that the holy war against the godless will take place and god will take all of his true followers (them, in their belief) to heaven as their reward. Their voting on who will be the captain of the ship when they go to battle and the ship sinks thinking that god will pick them up from the boat just before it goes under water.

Fuck that! I don't want anyone who will even falsely agree to this notion anywhere near the proverbial red button.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one expecting Mitt to be born again in time for the 2016 election? It's a less radical change than some of the other positions he's reversed on

Janean said...

I'm a christian - well I don't think this bunch would claim me, but I believe in Jesus - and I'd much rather have an Atheist for president than a religious person. I wish we could truly have a separation of church and state; I think religion should be individual and personal. These people scare the shit out of me; I know how loony the crowd they are trying to win over is; I was raised by fundamentalists.

CNNfan said...

Chris Christie the Catholic just endorsed Mitt Romney the Mormon, for president in 2012.

If Catholicism and Mormonism are declared cults by Evangelical leaders, have they split the Republican party to vote for Barack Obama the Christian, for president in 2012?

NOTE: No offense is intended in any way, shape or form.

VOTAR said...


You are conflating your crazy dark age cult mythologies.

There is nothing significant about the year 2012 in any version of the bible. 2012 is the end of the Mayan Longcount calendar. Pre-tribulation rapture is the infantile nonsense that evangelicals cackle about and the two are not related in any way.

Marsupialus said...

Chez wrote: So is Mormonism a cult? Was it, for the most part, the brainchild of con-men and has it been perpetuated by the power-hungry and adhered to by the weak and desperate? Is it a lunatic belief system that should have no place influencing American politics?

A better question might be aren't you pretty much describing all organized religions? To me, they're all nothing but con jobs, ways of controlling the discourse and power, ways of keeping people down, ways of tapping into our most basic fears about our place in the world. Who wouldn't want a book and an ideology that tells us what to do? It's so much easier than figuring things out on our own. It's comforting to know that when we die, we won't vanish as if we never were but we'll be taken to some happy home for eternity.

I'm all for people being as christian as possible -- if that means being Christ-like. But I see little evidence that any true believers come even remotely close to this standard. And certainly not any of the public blowhards. They wouldn't be politicians in the first place if they were trying to emulate Christ. We would have universal health care, universal childcare, no one hungry, no one poor, no one living under bridges. Gandhi said something to the effect that he like Christ but not Christians because they were nothing like Christ. He captured it.

Let's get God out of the White House before some next idiot's hubris who says God talks to him (or her) further fucks things up.

Anonymous said...

I've lived through a couple of "trends" in being Christian. Back in the 70s, that "born again" shit first hit, with the Children of God. All these sorts of more charismatic Christian sects taught that you needed to have a "personal relationship" with God. So how the fuck can they justify telling you how and what to believe, if it's personal? I believe in God, I really do. I just don't believe the bullshit that people put out there in the name of God. And if I'm wrong, I didn't want to be with you people anyway.

Anonymous said...

That fucker pisses me off! How dare he sit in judgment of someone else, especially someone else who professes a faith, and who tries to live by the tenets of that faith? "It's a preference that we're allowed." Others have their preferences, asshole. It's not a higher value, it's just another value.