If the Republican Party has gone crazy (and it has), this development did not take place before conservative Christians went off the deep end. The two are tied together. The GOP of the Goldwater era is the point to which we can trace groups like the Moral Majority and Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson, though the roots go much deeper than that.
They began their takeover of the Republican Party and in so doing, infected the GOP with their bizarre ideas about religion’s place in government. It’s been all down hill from there, and the craziness seems to pick up speed every year.
It has gotten so bad now that they don not even bother dealing in reality anymore. They just make reality up to suit their needs and attack that. Never mind that it has no bearing on actual reality, the stuff we live and breathe everyday.
The other night n HBO’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took a look at televangelists, specifically, the prosperity gospel – you know, profiteering for Jesus in private jets. “This is about the churches that exploit people’s faith for monetary gain,” he said, making clear that many churches do good work. But, warns Oliver,
The Prosperity Gospel argues that wealth is a sign of God’s favor, and donations will result in wealth coming back to you. That idea takes the form of ‘seed faith’—that donations are seeds that you will one day get to harvest.
If what Oliver has to say about this subversive movement taking place right under our noses is not enough, Right Wing Watch has compiled some further disturbing examples of televangelist behavior to be shared with you. RWW calls them “extreme” and most of you will probably agree. At the same time, you probably know people who fall into this category to one degree or another.
The ex-wife of Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Dr. George Tiller, explained how Roeder was an average guy when they were first married but eventually became extremely invested in the prosperity gospel movement and began sending large sums of money to evangelist Robert Tilton (John Oliver discussed Tilton on his show). After that, Roeder found himself unable to pay his bills and so he stopped paying his taxes and, from there, proceeded to go completely off the deep end.
Televangelist Creflo Dollar yesterday insisted that the Devil was behind his arrest following his 15-year-old daughter’s 911 call where she reported that Dollar choked and punched her, a story corroborated by her older sister.
Religious Right leaders are lining up to endorse Rod Parsley’s new book, The Cross, which is about how American culture and even Christian churches have “degraded the significance of the cross.”
[…]Mike Huckabee recorded a video promoting Parsley’s new book, and interviewed him on his radio show.
On the 700 Club, Pat Robertson told an elderly viewer who has been tithing since childhood that she wouldn’t have health issues, and therefore medical expenses, if she was tithing properly.
Televangelist Rod Parsley pulled out a bong onstage this week at his Columbus, Ohio megachurch to demonstrate that people cannot hide their immoral actions from God. During his sermon, Parsley also danced in a fat suit with people dressed up as McDonald’s French fries, took shots with his pianist, frantically scratched himself to show the dangers of taking prescription drugs and dropped fake money from the ceiling to condemn greed. Parsley also reminded his congregants that withholding money from his lucrative ministry was a similar offense in the eyes of God.
It is worth noting here that Pat Robertson said if we keep mocking him, God will smack us down. Probably, like me, you won’t worry about what passes for a pissant godling in Robertson’s warped mind, so we’ll spit in his eye.
If the IRS has a difficult time defining exactly why some groups should be tax exempt and some should not, the Religious Right does not. You might remember when they came down themselves on the Prosperity Gospel, and Baptist Press tried to pin it all on Paganism, saying the Prosperity Gospel is “pagan teaching with a Christian face.”
Blaming Paganism for the Prosperity Gospel is like blaming liberals for Donald Trump. We all know exactly who is to blame, but the one thing you can count on with Religious Right types is the complete disavowal of personal responsibility.
You need look no further than the case of Michigan Tea Party Republicans Todd Courser and Rep. Cindy Gamrat. He is a father of four and she a mother of three and needless to say, they were not married to each other.
Faced with being caught out in adultery, Courser, a shining example of antigay Evangelical family values, decided to pretend to be caught out in a gay affair, ordering anonymous smears be directed at him. This would “inoculate the herd” in advance of the truth about he and Gamrat coming out.
If all this is not vile enough, Courser then tried to excuse it all by first blaming the “Lansing mafia” for his problems, and then, in a long, rambling discourse on Facebook, “original sin,” a Manichean concept incorporated into Orthodox Christianity by the woman-hating Augustine of Hippo.
The beauty of his attempted evasion of personal responsibility is that people on Facebook were not letting him get away with it. But the reason I mention it is to show that the Religious Right itself is in no position to cast stones at the Prosperity Gospel.
If you look not only at its talking heads, from David Lane to Ralph Reed to Pat Robertson, you see this is a group that is as corrupt and self-serving as any that has ever existed. It would be impossible for anything even as appallingly vile as the Prosperity Gospel to darken their names.
And here is why:
You need look no further than the Duggars and to the GOP’s defense of the indefensible on their behalf, to Ted Cruz’s self-promoting “messianism,” to Mike Huckabee’s refusal to let a raped 10-year-old girl have an abortion, to Marco Rubio’s opposition to exemptions in cases of not only rape but incest, and last but not least, to Scott Lively’s claim that Religious Freedom applies only to Christians to see that the whole edifice of conservative Christianity is rotten, and that therefore all its fruits will be rotten.
These people must not be allowed to win.
They want our country. They want, like the creepy old men of Duck Dynasty, to marry our 15-year-old daughters, to rape our 10-year-old daughters and force them to give birth to their rapist’s children. They want to probe the vaginas of our wives and sisters and daughters, and they want you to pay them for doing it.
Then they’ll teach our kids that a bunch of Bronze Age patriarchs who didn’t know where the sun went at night, know more science than actual scientists, that once you get pregnant, what you eat can change the sex of your fetus, and that God is causing global warming to punish us not because they molest their daughters, but because same sex couples want to get married.
There are no words in the English language suitable to describe the appalling things they say and do. I won’t even try here. If you look at the worst the Old Testament has to offer in intolerance, you will see just a tithe of the horrors being offered by our own Religious Right.
They are utterly, unrepentantly evil.
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.