Friday, March 18, 2016

The Bible: Either Love it or Leave can't have it both ways

In a recent interview Jimmy Carter decried the use of the Bible as justification for immoral and unethical behavior. Here’s an extract:

“You can pick out individual verses throughout the Bible that show that the verse favours your particular preference, and the fact that the Catholic church, for instance, prohibits women from serving as priests or even deacons gives a kind of a permission to male people all over the world, that well, if God thinks that women are inferior, I’ll treat them as inferiors. If she’s my wife, I can abuse her with impunity, or if I’m an employer, I can pay my female employees less salary,...”

Whole interview here:

So the question becomes:  “Yeah…and? Problem?”
The fact is that the Bible, the “Good Book”, is, according to believers, the last word in how their God wants people to behave. He sets the tune, and the sheep dance to it.  How then can Jimmy decry Christians who take God and His Bible at His/It’s word and accuse them of less than Christian behavior?  How does one have the nerve to say on one hand as a Christian he embraces the bible, while on the other hand it shouldn’t actually be taken seriously, lest we behave badly?  Why doesn't he just renounce the bible, since its been justifiably used to do just that for some 1700 years?

Seems to me if he wants to continue to believe a mythical dead Jewish guy is God he can do it without holding the bible up as some bastion of morality and ethics.  Thomas Jefferson respected Jesus' [alleged] specific words, but rejected everything else in that book of supernatural foolishness and immoral horrors. Jimmy could do it too ... all Christians could do it.

My point is: those who use that book as a guideline / as a model for and justification of their behavior, as obscene and evil as it may appear in the 21st century, definition...more Christian than the one who rejects its guidelines but embraces its existence as holy.

Want people to stop using the Bible as support for their misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic, and violent behavior?  Then declare it an obsolete and false doctrine. Disown it as a product of ancient ignorance and prejudice.  To condemn the actors but not their script, and its authors, is patently absurd and hypocritical.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Fear and Loathing in the US: If you’re not having a déjà vu moment, you may be part of the problem

I don’t typically scare easily. Oh sure, the occasional furry spider may startle me, but I don’t go into flash backs over it.  But coming from a Jewish back ground, and what with my parents having lost relatives in the Holocaust…I’m starting to get a funny feeling that I’ve seen this all before, and I’m scared. 

Before I go any further, I must apologize to my readers, especially those who bought my books. In them, more than once, I declared that the greatest threat to this nation is not radical Islam from without, but Christianity from within.  I may have been wrong and I’m sorry.

Perhaps I can be forgiven, because I was foolish enough to be lulled into accepting that what happened in Europe in the 1920s and through the 1930s could never happen here; that we learn from history; that we would never repeat its most heinous events; that we are better than that.  Well, it can, we didn’t, we may, and we aren’t.

Once this nation looked toward a bright future. Once our politicians, on both sides of the aisle, had high ideals and great hopes for our future.  We didn’t always accomplish those goals, those promises, but the promises were invariably predicated on hope, on growth, on advancement.  Usually only the method toward achievement divided us.  Not so anymore. 

As I hear the rhetoric of the GOP front runner, slathered with hate speech, with fear mongering, with innuendo, with encouragement to violence against those who may protest that speech a knot forms in my gut.  When I hear him espouse truncating the 1st amendment to be more to his liking and benefit I cringe. When I see the racism, scapegoating and demonizing of minorities as people coming to take American jobs while they perpetrate "rape and murder" throughout the land; or the lumping together every member of a given religion as “they all  hate us! I don’t know why...” , I know I’ve heard this somewhere before. 

When the throngs of followers, largely white, and largely less educated - are driven by that rhetoric to the point where they feel compelled even encouraged toward meting out violence and doing so with a sense of entitlement and impunity… I am seeing something I remember from old photographs and newsreels.  Only the brown shirts and the guttural speech and accents are missing. 

As I hear that would be leader, that con man, that hater and purveyor of hate- babble his circular and self aggrandizing say nothing babble, and as he directs his fanatical and mesmerized followers to pledge their allegiance to this cult of personality … a feeling of familiar dread comes over me. 

Some will say I’m exaggerating, that I’m being melodramatic, that I’m distorting this into more than it is.  They’re wrong. I’m seeing this for exactly what it is:  Fascism. To ignore it, to down play it, to say “it can never happen here” is to be in denial.  Worse, that denial makes us complicit in what could well be our future.  It’s not too horrible to contemplate… it is our duty to contemplate it now, before it’s too late.