Category Archives: Christianity

They Can Shut Up About Religious Freedom Now

Everything you need to know about the conservative views of religious freedom, summed up in one chiron:




Ummm ….. yeaaaaah. Y’all can just shut up now.


Filed under Christian Right, Christianity, FOX NEWS, Housekeeping, Islamophobia, religion

Straight & Narrow Minded

Blount County, Tennessee, punted on its “please, God, go smite someone else” resolution: after crowds showed up to protest the item, the commission did the cowardly thing by not approving the meeting’s agenda and adjourning. That’s a principled action!

This is the part I love:

The resolution, sponsored by County Commissioner Karen Miller, has gained national attention. The resolution focuses on recognizing and protecting ‘natural marriage,’ or marriage between a man and woman.

‘I had no idea this was going to take place. I was totally in the dark. It’s a total surprise,’ said Miller.

Nobody could have anticipated. Nobody could have seen this coming. Nobody could have foreseen that a resolution that is…

…petitioning for God’s mercy and asks God ‘not to destroy our county as he did Sodom and Gomorrah’ …

… would turn tiny Blount County, Tennessee into a national laughingstock. Truly it’s a mystery to Commissioner Miller that this has generated any attention at all, forcing the commission to pull the plug on the entire meeting and scurry into their holes. Hoocodanode?

This is what I love about fundiegelicals. Putting aside for a moment the whole church/state thing, and the fact that not every person is a believer, and not every believer is a Christian, I think one of the most annoying things about the fundiegelical wing of Christianity is that they always think they’re the only Christians in the room.

They always think they speak for everyone else. In a religion with literally hundreds of different denominations and splinter groups, why do they always assume that their version of Christianity is the “agreed-upon” version?

Or maybe they aren’t assuming that, maybe they’re just asserting it. “Our version is the right version and everyone else has to live by our rules!” I mean, how rude is that? To just barge into the faith and tell dozens of other denominations that they’re wrong, we’re right, and shut up.

Look, there are plenty of Christian denominations out there which don’t buy into any of that anti-gay bullshit. And I’m not even talking about “fringe” wings of Christianity like the New Thought churches (Unity, Christian Science, Religious Science) or even those pesky Unitarian Universalists. Mainstream denominations (Presbyterian Church-USA, United Church of Christ, Anglican, Lutheran, Christian Church-DoC) not to mention splinters within the more conservative denominations (there is, believe it or not, a Baptist church down the street from me with an openly lesbian pastor).

So, you know, the fundiegelicals don’t speak for everybody, yet here they come marching in, acting as if they own the joint. No, you don’t own the joint. Shut up. Go away. Practice your faith your way and let others practice their faith their way, and let those who don’t subscribe to any faith also be allowed to live as they please. You’re not the boss of PCUSA or Disciples of Christ or anybody else. So rude. So ignorant.

And that goes for those people wanting to post the 10 Commandments everywhere, blithely unaware that there isn’t just one version. Or teaching Creationism in school: which Biblical version of the Creation are you wanting to teach? There are three in the Old and New Testaments. What arrogance to assume that your version is the one everyone else will agree with!

Get thee behind me, you useless idiots.


Filed under Christianity, gay equality, GLBT, religion, religious right, Tennessee

Brilliant War On Terror Idea!

Here’s some stupidity straight out of — where else? — Florida:

A Florida gun maker is marketing an AR-15 carbine that he says will be “Islamic-free” because of the Bible verse he etches on each rifle. It’s aptly named “the Crusader.”

Each Crusader coming out of Spike’s Tactical in Apopka, Florida, is laser-etched on the right side of the rifle’s lower receiver with Psalm 144:1: “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.”

On the left side, a cross and shield are etched.

Ben “Mookie” Thomas, spokesman for Spike’s Tactical, told Tampa Bay CBS-TV affiliate WTSP 10 News what led to the development of the Crusader:

“Right now, and as it has been for quite some time, one of the biggest threats in the world is and remains Islamic terrorism,” Thomas, who is a former Navy SEAL and former Blackwater security contractor, told the station. “We wanted to make sure we built a weapon that would never be able to be used by Muslim terrorists to kill innocent people or advance their radical agenda.”

This idiot might do better to inscribe his guns with an incantation I mean Bible verse keeping them away from toddlers, wife abusers, and garden-variety criminals.



Filed under Christianity, Guns, Islam, religion, religious right

Conservatism Will Never Run Out Of Martyrs

I’m really tired of talking about/hearing about Kim Davis. This useful idiot has raised a lot of money for the religious right’s sad attempt to copy the ACLU, Liberty Counsel. And a lot of my liberal friends have taken to Facebook to point out how theologically incorrect Liberty Counsel and Kim Davis are, that nowhere does the Bible state that marriage is between one man and one woman (in fact, during the marriage equality debate several Biblical scholars pointed out that “Biblical marriage” is anything but what religious conservatives want it to be), and that Davis is a hypocrite herself. Yada yada, blah blah.

None of that matters, people. All of that is just silly yammering. Once again, liberals are arguing a point of logic and fact, while conservatives are arguing hurt fee fees about losing another battle in the culture wars. Look: the fight over gay marriage and the subsequent martyrdom of Kim Davis has zero to do with the Bible. It’s not about religion or theology. Like all culture war issues, it’s about conservatives’ lack of cultural relevance. It’s about how they’ve lost the culture wars and the poor dears just can’t deal with it.

Boo fucking hoo.

What we on the left really should do, every time a Kim Davis or Josh Duggar or Cliven Bundy pops up on the radar, is ignore them. Show them how irrelevant they truly are by not giving a shit about their martyrdom because they are irrelevant losing losers who lost.

Oh, I know it will never happen, right wing martyrs are like oxygen to social media. But not everything on Facebook or Twitter matters. In fact, most of it is as lasting as a fart on the breeze. So while Kim Davis may be a trending topic now, I guarantee you that by this time next year we’ll have forgotten all about her. Does anyone remember Crystal and Kevin O’Connor? Raise your hand if you had to Google the name.

Conservatism will never run out of martyrs because conservatives are perpetually oppressed. That’s what happens when you’ve lost cultural relevance: everything is always against you because you’re on the wrong side of everything. You lost and that sucks, but the right-wing machine thrives on martyrs, so we will continue to hear their tales of woe. They will continue to appear on Fox News and hatriot radio, they will raise money for groups like Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund, and they will continue to proclaim their martyrdom because the woe-is-me attention is the only sense of relevance they’ll ever have.

Bless their hearts. I just wish we didn’t have to pay attention.


Filed under Christian Right, Christianity, gay equality, GLBT, religion, religious right

He’s Not Racist BUT ….

Good grief, don’t know how I missed this one from last week:

Filmed at the church April 24, the 17-minute video has racked up nearly 40,000 views on YouTube in less than two weeks, and it has some websites asking whether Reagan is the most racist pastor in America.

“My god has nationalities outside the city,” Reagan says in the video, going into the gist of his argument that he doesn’t consider it right to marry white people with black people, continually calling such relationships “hybreeding.”

“Hybreeding, hybreeding, oh, how terrible, hybreeding,“ he says. “What white woman would want her baby to be mulatto, made by a colored man? Let’s stay the way God made us. I believe it’s right.”

This lunacy comes from the pastor of the Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ in, you guessed it, Johnson City, Tennessee.

This gets me:

“I feel terrible,” Reagan said. “I’ve been sick since it came out and haven’t eaten in days.”

As terrible as Reagan feels, he’s not backing off the message. He said he’s seen the hardships those in biracial relationships have felt, and though he admits a lot of it has to do with being in a conservative area, he wouldn’t officiate biracial weddings in other parts of the country either.

Wow. Wonder if it ever occurred to this racist fuckwad that the hardships biracial couples experience are a direct result of the words and actions of people like Brother Donny Reagan?

But ya know, it’s so cool that he reminds us that he’s not racist and even has some black friends. Got it.

Watch the sermon here:


Filed under Christianity, racism, religion, Tennessee

Proving Jesus’ Point

No wonder Jesus said we will always have the poor with us:

Billionaire Home Depot founder Ken Langone has a warning for Pope Francis.

A major Republican donor, Langone told CNBC in a story published online Monday that wealthy people such as himself might stop giving to charity if the Pope continues to make statements criticizing capitalism and income inequality.

Pity the poor billionaires.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: when Republican religion clashes with Republican political ideology, it’s always the religion which is wrong.

No, Mr. Langone. Pope Francis is not alienating the rich. You’re alienating yourselves.

Mark 12:41-44
New International Version (NIV)
The Widow’s Offering

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”


Filed under Christianity, Pope Francis, Republican Party

Speaking Of Charlatans

Last week that smarmy huckster Joel Osteen Tweeted this:


Umm …… no. Just …. aaagh. What an idiot.

I can’t believe this fraud has such a huge following. Then again, yes I can. Look at all the idiots who re-tweeted and favorited this bullshit.


Filed under Christianity, religion

Christian Healthcare Just As Obnoxious As The Regular Kind, Of Course

I swear, there must be some kind of conspiracy whereby NPR knows the 15 minutes each week I listen to Marketplace and schedules the programming most likely to give me an aneurism for that time slot.

Anyway, today I caught this bit about the “Christian alternative to Obamacare”. It’s basically a healthcare co-op for Christians, or to put it another way:

“It’s a group of people, in this case Christians, who band together and agree that they want to share one another’s burdens,” says Andrea Miller, medical director for the largest Christian health-insurance alternative, Medi-Share.

Their “case study” is a guy and his wife from Chattanooga who would have racked up tens of thousands of dollars in healthcare bills in recent years were it not for this “health sharing ministry.” And there’s some personal attention too, such as:

“The night before my surgery, the lady who’d helped me locate the right providers and everything called me back and said, ‘Would it be OK if I prayed with you for your surgery tomorrow?'”

Three days later, she called back to ask how the surgery went.

Okay, that works for me, I buy into the socialisticky- “see how they love one another” ethos at play. It’s my hippie-dippy version of Christianity at work. Rock on.

Then we get to the requirements of being part of a “Christian healthcare ministry”:

There are a few requirements to fulfill before participating, Miller says. The first is that you have to be Christian. “Second, you need to agree to living a Christian lifestyle, including no smoking, including not abusing alcohol or drugs,” she says.

Yeah, that’s kinda annoying, folks. I missed the part of the Bible where the “Christian lifestyle” is described in those terms. After all, Jesus turned the water into wine (indeed, wine is probably mentioned in the Bible more often than any other foodstuff). But beyond that, there’s a superiority implied by such a statement, as if Christians are somehow healthier/better than non-believers — as if, somehow, Christians are immune to the issues of addiction that plague everyone else.

Really, guys? If Christians did a better job of avoiding substance abuse problems and every other pitfall of the human experience, Christian rehab centers wouldn’t be a booming industry.

And that begs the question: do they not cover rehab services? Mental health services? I’d love to know.

But anyway, I was still ready to give them a pass until we got to this part:

“We do not share in every medical need that a person has,” Miller of Medi-Share says. “Some of the things we don’t share in are related to lifestyle issues, such as an abortion. But others of them are related to things that the members have agreed that they would rather pay for themselves.”

Wait, wut? Abortion is a lifestyle issue? Are you serious?

Calling abortion a “lifestyle issue” is basically buying into the whole judgemental “those sluts must be punished” approach to abortion we always hear from the anti-choice folks. Judge not lest ye be judged, y’all.

Even worse, classifying abortion among the things “members have agreed that they would rather pay for themselves” is really saying, members don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to know when it comes up as an issue and they don’t want to know about it during and after, either. All of that “would it be OK if I prayed with you” stuff is fine for kidney surgery but not fine for abortion, even a necessary one.

In short, they don’t want to hear anything that challenges their pre-ordained idea that abortion only happens to “those people” who live “that way” “over there” in “those places.”

At a time when a family could most use the prayers and support of their community, you’re all agreeing to just shove all that under the rug.

“Christian” healthcare ministry? Pffft.


Filed under abortion, Christianity, health insurance, healthcare, religion

Williamson County You Still Suck A Thousand Ways

God, I am so over the good, white Republican Christian folk of Williamson County. You people suck:


A waitress at a Red Lobster in Tennessee posted this photograph of a receipt left from her customers with a special, racist note written in the total portion.

This was, as the photo shows, at the Red Lobster in Franklin, just south of Nashville. To be more specific: it’s the Red Lobster in Cool Springs, a very prosperous shopping community dominated by a gigantic mall, dozens of strip malls, and every restaurant chain ending in apostrophe-S you can think of. Cool Springs used to be farmland but decades ago it got developed and now it’s a shining ode to Consumer America. It is severely conservative, hard-right Republican, sanitized, cookie-cutter, mega-church, soccer mom suburbia: the kind of place people move to because “it’s a good place to raise a family.”

Yes, because racism is such a great family value. /sarcasm

It’s the kind of place where both the chair and first vice chair of the county Republican Party can openly and vocally speak out against a school breakfast program for poor kids, and feel no shame whatsoever.

There are places like it all across America, but I daresay Williamson County is both petri dish and microphone for the conservative worldview. Its Congressmonster Rep. Marsha Blackburn is a regular on Fox News. It’s the home of the Christian music industry, the Gospel Music Assn., and Thomas Nelson Publishers. Dave Ramsey is headquartered here. TCOT got founded here. Hell, Victoria Jackson lives here. ’nuff said.

So let’s not fein surprise that it’s racist as hell, too. Racism, intolerance and contempt for the poor are not Christian values but they sure do seem to be widespread in the modern conservative movement.


Filed under Christian Right, Christianity, racism, religion, religious right, Tennessee

Competition Is Not A Christian Value

Nashville’s homeless street newspaper is The Contributor. The paper is produced and sold by the city’s homeless and formerly homeless. The content is phenomenal, with stories addressing what life is like on the streets, the issues of poverty and homelessness, first person stories, etc.

The way it works is, vendors purchase the paper for 25-cents, and sell it for $1 (or more — most people I know throw in an extra buck or three.) Vendors keep everything over that initial 25-cents; many have found this simple job a way to get off the streets and gain some economic stability. More to the point, it puts a different face on our community’s working poor and homeless. It allows those of us who are the “haves” to put a friendly face, a smile, a daily wave behind the folks who are usually presented to us as statistics. As an example, check out this story from early August, in which downtown bank employees threw a retirement party for the Contributor vendor who had worked their street corner for years. There are dozens of stories like it. It’s a way of forging a relationship, bridging that gap between people who are usually marginalized and the rest of the community.

But, as the Nashville Scene chronicled last week, the paper has hit on hard times. The Contributor has been enormously successful — the circulation is 120,000 papers a month now — and with rising circulation comes rising costs. The paper costs way more to produce than 25-cents an issue.

On top of that, the paper lost a major lawsuit (I wrote about it here) filed by one of our more, ahem, prosperous communities, where the delicate sensibilities of the lilly-white Republican churchgoers were, ahem, offended by those dirty street people who had the nerve to not stay in the shadows where they belong. Why look, George: there they are, out in public! For all to see! The very nerve! Why I do declare, it’s enough to give one the vapors!


The upshot being, cities can now ban vendors.

So in light of all this, you can imagine how much this story really ticked me off:

There’s some competition in Nashville’s homeless streetpaper business. A church-sponsored publication called Faith Unity Outloud uses roughly the same business model as The Contributor, as well as some of its old vendors.

Faith Unity Outloud looks like a newspaper, but it’s really filled with Christian-themed lessons and articles. It’s published monthly by Gene Boros of the Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet.

More than a hundred vendors now buy the papers for 50 cents and sell them on the roadside for a dollar, plus tips. Many previously worked for The Contributor, which has become one of the most popular streetpapers in the country.

“What can I say?” asks William Adams. May the best paper win.”

Wow, not really seeing the “unity” here, guys. Sorry, Gene Boros, you are doing it wrong. If you really wanted to help the homeless, it seems like this church would have devoted its resources to working with the Contributor, not in competition to it. But no, that’s not what they want.

Check this out:

Like Adams, many had a falling out with The Contributor, which enforces a code of conduct for its vendors. They can’t sell the paper while intoxicated, there are assigned corners at busy intersections and they have to go through a training program prior to hitting the streets.

Anthony Hicks says Faith Unity Outloud is different.

“We don’t have a strict set of rules,” he says. “You have to have a photo ID to sign up, but once you do that, you can sell it wherever you want. You can go wherever you want to sell it.”

They don’t care about the homeless or the working poor at all. That’s not their message. They just want to evangelize. They just want to spread the Jesus stuff — and charge the homeless 50-cents a paper for the privilege. They’ve completely missed the point.

No training? It’s okay if you’re intoxicated? Vendors can fight over high-traffic street corners? No problem! Bible stories? Sure, we all need more of those!

Well, there goes the community outreach. I wonder if that downtown bank would have thrown a retirement party if their vendor had been stinking drunk half the time, for example? If there had been petty “turf wars” for a high-traffic street corner among different vendors? How many people want to buy a paper that talks about religion, as if we don’t have enough of that rammed down our throat in this state?

(Let me take a moment here to point out one thing: I know that some vendors sell BOTH papers. Whether they are supposed to do that, I do not know.)

Faith Unity Outloud? Bah. If these people had any real faith, if they really wanted unity, they’d have rolled up their sleeves and helped out The Contributor in its time of need, helping the community understand the plight of the homeless and working poor. Instead it’s more religious noise. Guess that’s the “LOUD.”

I’m so over Evangelical Christians, who think somehow people haven’t heard about Jesus. Seriously, I am sick of you people. I’m not going to say church people don’t do a lot of good — heck, The Contributor got started in a church, and many of its staff are church people. I’ve also worked with enough homeless and marginalized folks in this town to know the vast majority of them are deeply religious. So this is not me being hostile to religion.

But if your church mission begins and ends with spreading the word then you are the very definition of Doing It Wrong.


Filed under Christianity, homeless, Nashville