The endless chorus from the Religious Right that all that plagues our society is the result of divine wrath has grown tiresome…and then some. James Dobson, Bryan Fischer, Mike Huckabee, David Barton, the AFA’s Buster “Test the Meat” Wilson, who blamed Sandy Hook on a lack of prayer, Franklin “I Guess Mormons are Alright” Graham, who took up the “we’ve turned our back on God” chorus, Pastor Bill Eliff of the Summit Church in Arkansas who said the murder of 20 children and six adults was “God’s grace,” Pastor Dan Delzell of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska, at the Christian Post saying Satan did it…the list is endless.
To a man, they appear to be telling us that their god is a whiny little bitch who throws temper tantrums when we fail to fawn, and tell him to take it to the hand instead; and who goes on brutal rampages of bird and child killings, and storms and droughts wherever he can fit them in. It isn’t enough that their god gets mad at them. That I could live with. He’s their god after all, and they’re the ones claiming to be his children.
But why drag the rest of us into their psychosis?
It all began with this thing called monotheism. When the God of Abraham stopped being just the god of the children of Israel, well, that’s when the fun started for the rest of us. You might remember, God’s wrath fell on the Israelites on a fairly regular basis when they failed to measure up to his divine expectations (and what flawed, mortal human can do that?). Bad enough, I’d say.
But now we’re all stuck with this whack-job of a deity, spewing fire and brimstone with each breath. Because they’ve decided there is a capital-T Truth, because Moses decided there was a true/false distinction to be made in religion (an invitation to religious-based bigotry if there ever was one), the much-vaunted City on a Hill is infested with God.
Of course, our liberal version of the shining city on a hill (no caps) was created by the Constitution as the finest moment of the secular European Enlightenment – the creation of the modern liberal democracy, where all citizens have equal standing before the law; a land free of kings and a land free of state-sponsored religious tyranny.
The batshit crazy right sees it differently. Since we – the United States – are supposed to be that divinely ordained. shining City on a Hill, this divine infestation is problematic for all the rest of us. To their mind, that City on a Hill is infested with godlessness instead of godliness. God doesn’t like his city being infested and he’s mightily pissed off and he’s going to keep murdering us and our children until we buy guns, lots of guns, bow to the rich, and go to church and become good little hypocrites like the rest of his worshipers.
People laugh at this attitude and who can blame them? The Religious Right is literally batshit crazy, after all. The problem is, these batshit crazy people have lots of money and lots of influence. They may number only a quarter of the population of the United States, with fewer than that being certifiable, but they have legislators, governors, and even presidential candidates in their pockets. Difficult as you may find this to believe, people care what they say.
If we ignore them, they will not go away.
And they’re saying you need to die. They’re saying our Constitution needs to die.
Merry Fucking Christmas, right?
Bill Eliff, the Arkansas-based asshole mentioned above, actually said God did everyone – including the murder victims – a favor when he allowed a gunman to blast them into the next world:
Eliff said, “I’ve often thought about 9/11 and what happened there. God doesn’t cause evil, he didn’t cause the shooting the other day. But when we say, ‘Lord we can live life without you,’ then he says, ‘okay, I’ll let you feel that.’”
The AFA’s Buster Wilson helpfully said, “Let you get a taste of it.”
Batshit crazy Eliff then finished his thought:
We felt that this last week. That was pure evil, it’s the devil who has come to steal, kill and destroy. He’d just as soon kill a baby or a child in the womb as anything else. God allows that moment, we’re pressing the issue by turning from him, but he allows that moment to bring us to our senses and say, ‘God we desperately need you.’ So really it’s gracious. The pain that comes, the judgment that has really come by our turning away from the Lord is a merciful thing that God does to bring us to our senses and bring us back to him.
Yeah…that’s not gonna work. You might wanna let your dear fuzzy lord know that. Quite a few of us (including actual Christians) think you and your deity are a bunch of sick fucks. I used to be a Christian, Billy-boy, and I never thought the way you do. I mean, there is some sick-ass shit in the Bible and you seem to revel in it.
The Religious Right wants to blame video games and violent movies like Quentin Tarantino’s Django but Valerie Tarico over at AlterNet is right to ask, does the Bible make Americans more violent? When we look at a passage like that in Deuteronomy 7:1-6, we see it as something that, being out of myth, is not relevant to us. But the Religious Right thinks everything the God of Abraham said to the Israelites is relevant today, Christians being the inheritors of the Jews as the Chosen People. And so everything God said to the Israelites about Israel applies to them and to the United States.
So when you read something like this, understand that this is not s snippet of ancient “history” but a long-standing divine commandment:
When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy, and he clears away many nations before you – the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations mightier and more numerous than you – and when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for that would turn away your children from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But this is how you must deal with them: break down their altars, smash their pillars, hew down their sacred poles, and burn their idols with fire. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession (Deut 7.1-6).
You doubt me? Look at Buster Wilson’s handling of a caller who, Right Wing Watch reports, bragged “that he owns an AR-15 assault rifle, loathes President Obama and is absolutely fed up, warning that the government is turning him into a vigilante and that ‘when the bullets start flying, well, I got plenty of bullets.’”
Did Buster admonish him for hate, for failing to turn the other cheek? Did Buster advise him as Jesus advised his followers, to love his enemies? No, Buster said, “those were the kind of sentiments” held by our Founding Fathers leading up to the Revolutionary War. Mentioning school prayer and the absence from schools of the Ten Commandments, Wilson said that Americans “are not now willing to revert back to anarchy [and] to have our liberties stripped away from us.”
Buster’s Bible legitimizes violence against nonbelievers. He glorified this caller’s murderous and illegal impulses, all in the name of his God and the absence of school prayer. The crusading spirit that gave us “Deus vult!”(God Wills it!) is alive and well today. As Oliver Wendel Holmes observed of his experiences in the Civil War, “certitude leads to violence.”
Please, those of you who wonder why we report on these people, tell me that ignoring them is a good idea. It is time to wake up to the threat, America. The threat isn’t God. The threat is, as so often happens in history, people who think they are doing God’s will when they kill and torture other people. We can laugh at Buster and his problems with his meat, but there is nothing funny about a religious fanatic armed with an AR-15 and willing to use it.
Sadly, you do not have to go to Afghanistan to find one of those. We have plenty of them here at home, and they are your neighbors.
Image from Jester