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Jarring Juxtapositions: The Hypocrisy of the Religious Right

The good old Religious Right, RR for short, has been getting on my nerves a lot lately. Politically, I am not a leftist in the slightest, but my politics are based on pragmatic views which I willingly allow to be subverted by the Bible. That means that I might think a given economic system works the best, but the ethical demands placed upon me by God supersede the pragmatic foundations of my economic theory. In other words, a just economic system has a higher moral value than say having the smoothest or most stable economy. This puts me in a weird place where the injustice of our current system makes me look–I believe under the guidance of Scripture–much more “liberal” than I probably really am. This half-way an outsider perspective has helped me look closely at the Religious Right/Evangelical Conservatives in a way that I feel was impossible a few years ago.  What follows is simply an unorganized list at the most galling hypocrisies that I have noticed.

 

RR on Guns: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Inanimate objects can’t cause people to do things, it is the sin in their heart.

RR on Contraception in Schools: ZOMG, the condoms and birth control will make all the children instantly break out in orgies. Save the children! Abstinence education only.

Conclusion: Inanimate objects can only make people have sex.

 

RR on women: God really wants a woman to stay home and take care of the kids. That’s her highest calling.

RR on poor women: Why should I pay anyone to sit on their butts? Those lazy whores need to get to work.

Conclusion: If white women stay home, they are doing God’s work. If black women stay home, they are lazy (and probably promiscuous).

 

RR on tiny humans: Life begins at the moment of fertilization. Every embryo is a gift from God. God loves life and demands we protect it.

RR on big humans:  Incarcerate everyone and load the system with mandatory minimums. Execute as many criminals as possible. Preserve American hegemony through armed conflict on the thinnest of pretexts.

Conclusion: God loves babies. Screw everybody else.

 

RR on regulations: The government needs to stop intruding in the lives of its citizens. It just needs to leave me alone.

RR on gay marriage: Marriage is a religious institution that the government needs to regulate to save it from all the queers.

Conclusion: Government intrusion in the lives of sinners is always acceptable

 

RR on evolution: Teach the controversy!

RR on homeschooling/private schools: Don’t teach the controversy! Evolution-free zones!

Conclusion: Darwin is the Schroedinger’s Cat of RR education policy

 

RR on Israel: God gave them that land! Those Arabs and Terrorists, but I repeat myself, need to GTFO.

RR on Tattoos/Pork/Mixed-fiber clothing: That’s OT stuff and purely ceremonial.

Conclusion: All that stuff God said about foreigners and strangers was ceremonial.

 

RR on Ford: You are covered in gay cooties and we won’t buy your cars until you’ve had a shower and said you are sorry for offending us.

RR on Chick-Fil-A: Freedom of Speech! Saint Cathy of the Chicken Sandwich has been persecuted and is being led to Fowl Golgotha!

Conclusion: Freedom of Speech means agreeing with the RR.

 

I have more, but you get the idea. These shenanigans are tiresome, and I don’t feel like holding back my mockery any longer.

 

 

 

 

 

Ironic Quote of the Day: Dinesh D’Souza

The following quotation comes from D’Souza’s website in response to an article in World magazine which has revealed sexual impropriety on the part of D’Souza.

 Ultimately this is not just about Olasky or even World magazine. It is also about how we Christians are supposed to behave with one another. And the secular world is watching. Is this how we love and treat fellow believers? If my conduct was improper, wouldn’t it be the decent and charitable thing to approach me about it? Instead, here is a clear attempt to destroy my career and my ministry. This is viciousness masquerading as righteousness. And this is the behavior that is truly worthy of Christian condemnation.

It is incredible that a depraved propagandist would whine about not being treated with brotherly love. I doubt D’Souza agonized over his decision to make things up about his brother in Christ Barack Obama. “Viciousness masquerading as righteousness” is an apt description of D’Souza’s whole “ministry.”

Tenuous Tenure: My thoughts on the Rollston debacle

A lot has already been said about the ongoing drama at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, but given the recent article in Inside Higher Ed (which I was directed to by Dr. Cargill) I thought it might be appropriate both to lend my support to Dr. Rollston and to add a few brief comments. The part of the article that has energized the discussion is this particular passage quoting the president of the seminary:

“At a time when Emmanuel is under severe financial stress, we have some potentially significant donors (one of whom is capable of regular gifts in the six-figure range) who refuse to support Emmanuel because they regard your influence as detrimental to students,” Sweeney wrote.

As an admitted cynic, I am in no way surprised to discover that money was yet again the root of an evil. That is not to say that I am not sympathetic to the situation ECS is in. Keeping a seminary running probably takes an almost soul-crushing level of pragmatism, and choosing your battles is probably an important part of keeping the cogs turning. When I was at Fuller, I was bothered to learn that the seminary had received substantial donations from a business mogul who had an unsavory reputation as a budget clothier. The backbone of his early business model was the exploitation of poor immigrant workers in the greater LA area. Did the fact that he had cleaned up his act recently make up for the fact that he built his empire on the raw hands and bowed backs of the poor? It is easy to reflect on the bitter irony of leaving my fantastic class on Luke where I learned that in the third Gospel losers become winners and God is on the side of the poor to go home to an apartment complex named for abusers of the poor.  It was in many ways disappointing, but I understand that without those donations there would not have been an affordable place for me to live. Perhaps in such situations a consequentialist approach is permissible and we might hold our noses and carry on.

In the case of Rollston though, much more is at stake than a slight whiff of hypocrisy. Here, the very soul of ECS is at stake. This is where an organization with integrity digs in its heels and decides to ride out the consequences. The point of any educational institution worth its salt is to provide a quality education, but how can such a mission be accomplished without academic integrity? If even the curriculum is for sale to the highest bidder, then ECS has fundamentally betrayed itself. Why? Because tenure is a promise. The whole point of tenure is to protect intellectual exploration from the ravages of political concerns. If ECS tosses aside Rollston, it has tossed aside its promise to provide a quality education. The wealthy already festoon their names upon the buildings, rooms, and benches (pretty much any surface you can attach a plaque to) of our seminaries and colleges, but in a way Sweeney is considering letting the wealthy place their stamp on the curriculum itself. The courses would not be titled “Wealthy Donor’s Introduction to the Old Testament” or “Hebrew Poetry presented by Wealthy Donor.” No, their mark would be invisible, but the situation would be no less insidious or real for it being done in secret.

If the wider academic world comes to believe that ECS is an institution that doesn’t respect its promises and is for sale to any “orthodox” donor with a big enough checkbeck, then ECS will have bigger problems than low enrollment. If Rollston is actually dismissed, I suggest that a formal complaint be filed with the ATS on his behalf. Because of the nature of ATS’s complaint policies (quoted below), it would be necessary for Rollston or a colleague to file the complaint.

The Commission has an obligation to the various publics it serves to give responsible consideration to complaints that may be made against any accredited school. The Board of Commissioners maintains policies and procedures for reviewing and responding to complaints. The complaint must be filed in writing, together with substantial documentation, as appropriate for the circumstance. The Board of Commissioners will determine if the complaint has standing with reference to any membership criterion or accreditation standard of the Commission. If the complaint has standing, the Board of Commissioners will conduct an investigation.

I do not make this suggestion out of malice, rather I see accreditation as the next line of defense for academic integrity. If the system of tenure has failed, then perhaps a revocation of accreditation is necessary.

Whatever happens in the case of Dr. Rollston, I think we can all agree that we have a larger problem. The heresy hunters have always railed against academia, but now the economy sucks and they wield six-figure clubs. We have seen a string of high-profile cases in the last couple of years. We have scratched our heads at the treatment of folks like Pete Enns and Anthony LeDonne who are, after all, clearly people who care about being faithful believers. Though we scratch until we are bald, I am starting to believe the causes are rather simple. The ugly foundations of inerrancy and associated outmoded readings of scripture are crumbling, and the conservatives are circling the wagons. Their insular orthodoxy must be protected, and if that means dismissing a competent academic then so be it. Exclusion and separation are ever the tools of the weak minded, and the sad truth of it all seems to be that the conservative evangelical reading of scripture is so weak it can’t stand up to scrutiny. Rather than protecting their community from the heretical incursions of “theological liberals,” they demonstrate the sad fact that a tenuous tenure is a sure sign of a tenuous orthodoxy.

Ken Ham Opens New Interactive Exhibit At Creation Museum

The Aluminum Scroll #7 – Why Santorum Makes Me Angry

Evangelical Logic: Birth Control and Government

If:

1. Abortion is immoral

2. Birth control reduces abortions

3. Government mandates that increase the cost of insurance are equivalent to wealth redistribution

4. Wealth redistribution is immoral

5. The government mandate reduces abortion and redistributes wealth

Then:

Opposition to government mandate indicates wealth redistribution is more immoral than abortion, therefore money is of higher value than human life.

Lisa Frank Joins Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church

In a stunning victory for Christianity, Mark Driscoll has converted Lisa Frank to Christianity and she has joined his Seattle church. Already, the artistic genius of Ms. Frank is making itself visible in the life of Mars Hill Church. In the recently unveiled “Peasant Princess” series found here, Frank’s talents have been put to good use. When asked for comment about Frank’s participation on the Mars Hill team, Mark Driscoll responded, “When I first met Lisa, I wasn’t sure I wanted to preach her the Gospel. After all, Jesus would never carry a Lisa Frank binder. But then the Holy Spirit TV Screen™ kicked on, and the Lord showed me her talent. I thought ‘You know, cute neon woodland creatures would be the perfect thing to go with a discussion of the sexually charged Song of Solomon.” Frank reported being happy with the move. “I’m just so excited. I’ve always wanted to use my art to reach people older than 11.” Truly the angels rejoice.

A Song For NASCAR Jesus

Words fail me.

© Jeremiah and Ashleigh Bailey 2012