Issues

Dear Religious Right: I’m Still Waiting for the Sky to Fall


I’ll let you in on a secret folks: I’m really worried. God is going to destroy us, but I don’t know why. Is it because of Fifty Shades of Grey? Is it because President Obama won’t meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he comes to address Congress? I mean, doggone it, we’re entitled to know what our divine spanking is for, aren’t we?

Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress says God is going to bust us up but good – and I mean he is going to WRECK us, and that the movie is a sign of the apocalypse:

The Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 1 that in the last days it will be terrible times. And that word terrible means lack of moral restraint. And I think we’re seeing that everywhere, whether it is the attempt to change the most basic unit of society, the family and marriage by redefinition of marriage. Or the acceptance of perversion. You know, this Fifty Shades of Grey, or Fifty Shades of Perversion. I think that’s symptomatic of what is happening.

Jeffress wrote in his recently published book (which, incidentally, has ISIS and Ebola in the title but not Fifty Shades of Grey) that,

God established the pattern of one man- one woman marriage on the sixth day of creation (Genesis 1: 26-27). Any deviation from that norm–adultery, unbiblical divorce, or homosexuality– is wrong. I know that many people, including many Christians, would rather not talk about gay marriage because it is so controversial. But we do the world no favors when we refuse to talk about what God has declared to be truth.

What? No Israel? What about Israel, damn you!

Televangelist Pastor John Hagee, who has previously accused President Obama of sticking his finger “in the eye of God,” promises that God will kick us up and down the block for not being good enough friends to Israel:

“I am a student of world history,” Hagee said, “and you can wrap up world history in 25 words or less and here it is: the nations that blessed Israel prospered and the nations that cursed Israel were destroyed by the hand of God.”

Why all this anger about Israel? Because President Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when he sneaks across the border to meet with Boehner and his fellow bought-men in Congress. And because Democrats have said they won’t be there. That, says Hagee, is America turning its back on Israel.

Sorry to say, Israel didn’t figure prominently in 2014 as a sign of the “Last Days” though “The Obama Presidency” did, even before Boehner and Netanyahu planned their despicable end-run around our president.

To be fair, Netanyahu is not Israel. He’s a politician. And an apparently not very honest one at that. If anyone is going to get his just desserts out of this, it will probably be Netanyahu and Boehner. The whole thing is an embarrassment.

And a student of world history? Wow. I have a degree in history (I know, I’m impressed too) and Hagee and I are remembering history very differently. He came in under 25 words, but he’s wrong as can be.

Hagee lists the Egyptian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, but what about the Roman Empire? They gobbled up tiny Israel and continued on for half a millennium, twice as long and then some as the United States has even existed. Heck, Rome’s decline even lasted longer than our existence.

Hagee even lists the British Empire among Israel’s foes, and he says the son does set on the British Empire, that it has been “reduced to one tiny island because, since Edward the First, they have been and remain an anti-Semitic nation.”

There are a lot of reasons for the end of the British Empire but Israel is not one of them. In fact, Britain played a key role in the return of Jews to Israel and the establishment of the new country. Maybe Hagee hasn’t read any history books after all.

He’s a keen student of – well, not much that I can see, not even the Bible. Jeffress is also not much of a student. He hasn’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, he admits, but he’s more than willing to condemn it, because, get this, it “tends to objectify women — put them in a bondage situation.”

Wait a second. It is okay to keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen as essentially breeding machines, but you can’t tie a woman up and spank her? Even if she wants to be tied up and spanked? It is okay to rape her and force her to have the baby, to put her in prison for having a miscarriage, but you can’t tie her up and spank her even if she wants to be tied up and spanked?

There is something seriously flawed with this thinking. And it’s not like some men don’t also like to be spanked or flogged, or made to crawl around on the floor and drink out of a dog bowl (hey, Mr. Jeffress, I have a movie role for you!)

He added that “this movie [which he hasn’t seen] may represent a new low in popular entertainment. That’s all I’m saying. And I’m just saying the Bible prophesized [sic] that in the End Times, there will be a lack of moral restraint. And I think we’re seeing that manifested in so many different ways.”

I don’t know why rape isn’t also a sign of this lack of moral restraint. And I still want to know about Israel. Hagee says we are going to be punished because of Israel, and you say a loosening of moral restraint. Which of you should people who need to believe in this sort of stuff believe?

All I can say is that if Fifty Shades of Grey offends you, don’t see it. It’s not mandatory viewing. I fail to see how it can be more harmful than Kirk Cameron saving Christmas. And as far as Jeffress’ traditional marriage goes, well, that’s pure BS, because the Old Testament is full of different types of marriage:

We have man + woman where bride proves her virginity or is stoned to death (Genesis 2:24); we have man + woman + concubines (Judges 19:1-30); we have man + woman + woman (the most common form of biblical marriage – polygyny); we have rapist + victim (Deuteronomy 22:28-29); we have son-less widow + closest male relative (Gen. 38:6-10); we have male soldier + prisoner of war (Numbers 31:1-18, Dueteronomy 21:11-14; we even have male slave + female slave (Exodus 21:4) and man + woman + woman’s female slave (Gen. 16:1-6, Gen. 30:4-5).

Polygyny, which was taking place during Jesus’ lifetime and which, significantly, he did not condemn, is enshrined in the Law of Moses. I’ll take Jeffress’ Genesis 1:26-27 and raise him Exodus 21:10, Deuteronomy 21:15-17 AND Deuteronomy 25:5-10!

What we will see is a rare convergence of those opposed to sexual violence and proponents of it when they jointly boycott the film, but we will not see the end of the world, or even of the United States. And that is because the United States is created by man, not god, and run by man’s law (literally so, unfortunately) and not God’s law.

Nor will the United States be smote down like a Balrog because Netanyahu and Boehner tried to pull a fast one. Lying is a violation of the Ten Commandments. Refusing to meet with the Prime Minister of Israel is not. If Religious nutjobs want to ruin my Sunday, they will have to do better than this.

[Edit 2.15.15 9:24 am – Betty Bower video added]

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

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.

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