To bastardize something is to lower its condition or worth, or to debase something that is supposed to be inherently good and just. Despite bastardizing the Christian religion into a hate-practicing faith no better than extremist Islamic fanaticism, it is still considered a mortal sin to utter an unkind word about the extremist religious right no matter how despicable and vile their actions and speech become. Over the past week, the so-called “Christian” religious right openly expressed their version of Christian hate toward gays, women, and medical professionals, and as usual the media, politicians, or most Americans terrified of violating the prohibition against condemning hate in Jesus Christ’s name have remained silent.
However, for the second time in two weeks, a religious organization has taken action and spoken out against religious right extremists, prominent political figures, and well-known “religious leaders” for manipulating Christianity “in the name of god” to advance political and personal agendas of hate. Less than two weeks ago, Satanists whose faith is in line with Jesus Christ’s teachings took action against religious right extremists on behalf of women being subjected to “Christian” domination. It led one to wonder when mainstream Christians would find their voice and defend the faith as their namesake Jesus Christ taught it. Apparently, a very large and fast-growing group of Christians have had enough of Christian extremism and are joining the war against the purveyors of hate working in Jesus Christ’s name.
The organization, Faithful America, first took umbrage at Sarah Palin’s comment at an NRA convention for telling the audience that “water-boarding is how we baptize terrorists.” Faith America immediately assailed Palin and created a petition condemning her for her comments. They said in part, “This is what we’ve come to in America: A former candidate for vice-president can equate torture and Holy Baptism, and one of the nation’s most powerful political lobbies erupts into cheers and applause.” The group is correct; the religious right has equated all manner of torture, hate, and offense with the Christian religion the extremists have bastardized into a vile movement on par with extremist Muslims crusading through Iraq and Syria.
Yesterday, in response to the news a Baptist “man of god” canceled a funeral during a wake for a deceased man after learning he was gay, Faith America petitioned and condemned Reverend T.W. Jenkins to “show Pastor Jenkins, and the media who are covering the story, how many Christians are appalled by how he’s misrepresenting our faith and hurting Julion Evans’s grieving family.” The Baptist preacher refused to apologize and doubled-down on religious right hate and said his “church plans to continue to stand on the word of God.” Faith America released a statement saying “Jenkins’ actions do not reflect the beliefs of all Christians, nor the message of Jesus Christ.”
In their message to real Christians, Faith America wrote “Julie Atwood was at her son’s wake, standing next to his casket, when she got the news: The church was canceling the funeral because her son was gay. Rev. T.W. Jenkins of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida, told Julie that he’d read in the newspaper obituary that her son was married to another man and decided that holding the funeral would be blasphemous.” Jesus Christ would think otherwise, but as Faith America noted, Jenkins or his religious right fanatics do not reflect the message of Jesus Christ.
Faith America will also be appalled at Catholics and religious right anti-women’s health activists in Texas who conducted training sessions to teach other so-called Christians how to stalk abortion providers and poor women seeking reproductive health services by recording their license plate numbers, make of car, and visits to family planning clinics in a “very sophisticated little spreadsheet.” The so-called Christians, including the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese, told trainees the group is “searching” for one of two remaining OB-GYNs as part of their crusade to track the identities of abortion-providing doctors. The Catholic Diocese spokesman said, “We have been able to identify one in there and we’re still searching for the other.”
According to the National Abortion Federation, there have been four abortion-providing doctors killed, along with four more abortion clinic staffers, in anti-abortion clinic violence as a result of recording, stalking, and searching for OB-GYNs providing women with legal medical procedures related to their reproductive health. It is the religious right’s concept of “Christianity.”
During the training, Christians are heard celebrating their success at “having the sidewalk lined with protestors because it turns potential clients away because they don’t want to drive in when they see our presence there.” Another Christian trainer said “abortionists are feeling the pressure” from anti-choice groups, and that she was proud to announce she identified the potential new location of an abortion-providing ambulatory surgical center in Austin. Yet another Christian trainer boasted that “the ‘poorer ones,’ low-income Texans seeking abortion care—began going to the local Beaumont, Texas, crisis pregnancy center because they “didn’t have transportation to access a legal abortion facility. God is good.”
The executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas called the protest tactics “stalking,” and said “The anti-abortion harassment tactics outlined in this disturbing training lead women to seek dangerous alternatives because if they reach a clinic they must confront the very real threat posed by these anti-abortion activists.” Even NARAL, a women’s advocacy group is mortified to identify the “anti-abortion activists” for what they really are; fake Christians intent on stalking, threatening, and harassing doctors and women seeking a legal medical procedure.
Faith America already has one petition slamming a so-called Christian for “bragging about his “Christian values,” which include fear-mongering about “homosexual Boy Scout leaders” and “posting the names of abortion providers online so they can be threatened and harassed.” They will likely be as appalled at the fake Christians in Texas stalking women and medical providers as they were at a Baptist preacher canceling a gay man’s funeral or Sarah Palin claiming torture is akin to Holy Baptism. Whether any American is a Christian or not, they should take heart that Faithful America is standing up against the religious right to ‘reclaim Christianity’ from terrorists using Jesus’ name as motivation for vile hate
It is long past time the “real” Christians speak out against the extremist religious right for their crusade of hate against anyone who fails to comply with their bastardized Christian edicts. It should not be left to non-Christians such as Hrafnkell Haraldsson or this column to condemn so-called Christians preaching, spreading, and inciting hatred in Jesus Christ’s name. For the record, as a former Christian minister, this author does not hate Christians; just hateful malcontents claiming Christianity as their purview to create pain and misery for the rest of the nation; particularly women and gays. It took courage for Faith America, and Satanists, to finally speak out and take action against the terrorists that are the American religious right, because they are no different than Muslim extremists terrorizing Syria, Iraq, and Kurds for failing to comply with their demands.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.