Not content to bash atheists, Religious Right figures also went after Pagans this week. Now of course, you have to understand they mean Pagan in an old school sense, like the Jews meant “Gentile” – that is, anybody who isn’t one of them.
For the Religious Right, for example, Muslims can be Pagans – as when Bryan Fischer claimed last Friday that “God eventually is going to run out of patience with the United States” and “will use pagan armies to discipline his people if they turn from him in rebellion and disobedience and descend into debauchery.” By Pagan, Fischer means ISIL. By debauchery, Fischer means gay sex.
Environmental activists can be Pagans too, because they are idol worshipers – as in, they worship the earth, say Religious Right figures, by putting the planet above the God of Abraham. I guess even if I wasn’t a polytheist I would be an idolater because I don’t see the God of Abraham repairing the damage we humans have done to the earth.
Pat Robertson actually used the “H” word this week – “Heathens,” as in Robin Williams died because “the god[s] of the heathen are idols and everything that you seek in life can ruin you unless that somebody is God himself.”
I can assure you, speaking as a Heathen (which, for Robertson, is the same as a Pagan), that our gods are not idols, though we do believe that “we are our deeds,” that what we do here on this earth is more important than some nebulous promise of an afterlife.
And gay sex? Purely optional.
Robertson, ever the salesman, assured us that his god will “fill your every need” and “You won’t want to commit suicide after you have come to him.”
Well, that’s nice to know that no Christian EVER commits suicide. I feel so much better.
We got another anti-idolatry rant from David Kyle Foster and Kevin Swanson, who, like Fischer, said that God will punish America for having gay sex:
Swanson: I’ve wondered if the opening of the Pandora’s Box of the 1960s and 70s and the free sex movement that led to the shacking up, the fornication, the massive increase in the availability of pornography, etc, etc….I wonder if the incredible opening up of all these things has led to the next step, and that is homosexuality?”
Foster opined that homosexuality is “idolatry” because it involves “worshipping the creature rather than the creator.”
Makes you wonder if Swanson and Foster have not had heterosexual sex, where participants are also not greatly focused on God. At least, not if you want to be good at it.
Foster said that “Homosexuality in our culture is another step in the degeneration of a culture that practices idolatry.”
All this idolatry talk is nothing new. The Old Testament rants ad nauseam about the so-called evils of idolatry, and even Pope Francis, he of “who am I to judge?” condemns idolatry, saying last year that “when we do not worship God, we worship creatures.”
And this is the passage from faith to idolatry. These people, idolaters, have no excuse: because having known God, they have neither glorified nor worshipped Him as God. And what is the way of idolatry?…The selfishness of their own thoughts, the omnipotent thought, that which I think is true: I think the truth, I make the truth with my thought.
Of course, Francis’ interpretation of what constitutes idolatry is not necessarily that of people like Fischer, Swanson, and Robertson. The Bishop of Rome cited Paul’s letter to the Romans, which might as easily be describing the Religious Right’s cult of personality:
“Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.”
But if you are vain, if you are a careerist, if you are ambitious, if you are a person that always puts himself forward or likes to advance yourself, because you think you are perfect, give a little bit of alms and that will heal your hypocrisy,” said Pope Francis. “This is the way of the Lord: it is to worship God, to love God above all things and to love your neighbor. It’s so simple, but so difficult! This can only be done with grace. Let us ask for this grace.
Pat Robertson said of Williams something that applies equally to all these movers and shakers on the Religious Right, who style and profile with the best of them:
“What is your god? Is it money? So when you get money. what is going to happen? Is it fame? So when you get fame, what is going to happen?”
Ask yourself Pat: what happens? You would know. You’re worth $30 million to $100 million, depending on who you ask. Being an Evangelical megachurch pastor can be a good gig and plenty of them live Hollywood-style lifestyles, fleecing their flocks with a ruthless abandon that would do the haughtiest of Bronze Age kings proud.
These Religious Right personalities love themselves the Old Testament, so let’s throw some Old Testament at them, the passages they never cite:
The dogs have a mighty appetite;
they never have enough.
The shepherds also have no understanding;
they have all turned to their own way,
to their own gain, one and all (Isaiah 56:11)
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.