Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

6 Fundamentalist Movies You Should Watch

July 3, 2011

Gates of Hell

I learned about this movie from Right Wing Watch, which is an organization that watches the right wing. And they watched the right wing pushing this movie, and it looks awesome.

Have you heard about how conservatives have been trying to sell African-Americans on the idea of being against legal abortion lately? They’re putting up these nutty billboards (some of which imply that blacks are a distinct species) and running goofy political ads on the radio. See, they’re not racist anymore! They’re really concerned about black babies and how letting black women have abortions is like genocide. And that breaks their hearts, They are very concerned about black people. That’s what they’re pushing. It reminds me of how neo-Nazis like David Duke will pretend to be so compassionate to the Palestinians, when in reality they’re clearly more motivated by hating Jews than anything else.

Anyway, since the billboards and radio ads can only do so much, they’ve decided to make a movie about their abortion/race war fantasies. In this movie, black people are finally convinced by the WorldNetDaily (Molotov Mitchell of WND is the executive producer of this movie) that abortion is really a racist genocidal conspiracy against black people. Nevermind that nobody’s forcing anyone to get an abortion these days, that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that if we don’t outlaw abortion, these scary BLACK guys are going to start shooting doctors and liberals and probably your mom, too. So you better do what they say already.

This movie also strives to solve a major public relations problem for the anti-abortion zealot community. I could be wrong on this, but I’m pretty sure that every single anti-abortion doctor-killer or attempted doctor-killer has been a honky. If you line up their mug shots in a row, it looks like what the Children of the Corn would be like if they were allowed to live past their 19th birthday. Gates of Hell seeks to racially diversify the hate-filled anti-abortion terrorist demographic. Since reality won’t do it for them, they’ll have to make a movie about how they wish black people acted when it comes to abortion, like how colleges Photoshop in Hispanic kids in wheelchairs on their homepages.

See, it’s not this guy who’s threatening those of us who want to keep abortion legal and safe:

Molotov Mitchell of WND has an impressive IMDB page

It’s THIS guy:

Gosh, I wonder why anyone ever though conservatives were racist?

The Life Zone

Bitches love Jesus... I'm gonna get those bitches some Jesus.

The Life Zone is a movie about women who were all having an abobo at the same time and were all kidnapped by some anti-choice terrorist good guys. So they lock al the women up in some underground dungeon and force them  to carry on with being preggo until the baby jumps out of her vagina or however that works.

Their captor is some shady old man who leers on as the younger nurse-lady makes sure their pregnancies are going in the exact opposite way the women wanted. They all talk about abortion and have fourth-grade level arguments about it. And at the end it turns out that they were all in Purgatory the whole time to make sure their unborn babies would be able to go up to Heaven. Yay for massive simultaneous deaths during routine medical procedures!

But one of the women tried to induce a miscarriage during her pregnancy because she still believed that abortion is pretty awesome, so she goes to Hell. And  so does the nurse-lady, because she also died recently from committing suicide. And oh yeah, the captor turns out to be Satan.

The director of this movie is a former Republican judge and politician from New Jersey who had to quit because he kept on promoting his movies from the bench. I heard rumors that he would oftentimes sentence people to watch his movies, much like how  the senile Judge Wapner now sentences us all to drink his root beer. Anyway, this guy has another movie you may want to check out called “O.B.A.M. Nude,” which is about how Barack Obama sold his soul to the devil while in college and in exchange was given some mysterious power to turn the world into a socialist paradise for Satan. So that’s where he’s coming from…

Left Behind I-III

I have only seen the first two movies in the Trilogy O’ Kirk (We hardcore fans call it TOK for short on internet forums), but then again I haven’t seen any of the movies I’ve mentioned so far. Hey, this is about movies you should see, not necessarily movies I should see.

So way back in the day, Jesus promised he would return at the side of God  to kick the asses of the non-believers. St. John or whichever crackhead wrote Revelation took that  premise from Jesus and ran with it, elaborating it into a D&D-ish apocalypse fantasy. In the mid-19th century, some pastors merged in some passages from 1 Thessalonians and rapture theology was born.

But the rapture never happened. This made fundamentalist Christian authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins very sad and frustrated. They wondered: What if it really did happen? Hey, maybe it will happen, like, really soon! Wouldn’t that be awesome? LaHaye and Jenkins were getting all excited just thinking about it!

So they wrote a book about it. Then they wrote a few more books about it, and a few more. And then Kirk Cameron was all like, “Dudes! Let’s make some of these shitty books into unwatchable, straight-to-DVD movies!” And so it came to pass.

Cameron’s character starts off as a reporter for “GNN” who’s trying to find out where all those missing people have gone. Some people start asking him if he’s considered believing they all went to Heaven for the rapture. He hadn’t, but he takes that belief system out for a test drive, buys it, and it works out pretty well for him. He’s told that if he can bring 10 friends and family members in to start selling Amway products Christianity themselves, then he can definitely expect to achieve financial independence in 3 easy steps go to Heaven the next time Jesus sweeps his favorite people up into the sky.

Buck Williams also discovers that the UN Secretary General is the antichrist. GNN has a strict disclosure policy for when you are reporting on someone you believe to be the antichrist, but it’s OK in this case because he can hide his anti-antichrist bias fairly well.

The way you get to activate antichrist mode in the Left Behind universe is to advocate peaceful solutions to the territorial disputes in the Gaza Strip. That’s what the UN SecGen does, and that’s how Buck finds him out. You see, when someone tries to settle international disputes in a non-violent way, that’s a sure sign that they’re evil. The Left Behind crowd can easily tell how good someone is by how many wars they wage. If only it worked the same way with the State of New York Department of Justice and drunken disorderly charges.

In the end I guess Kirk Cameron sneaks into the UN, gains the antichrist’s trust, and just kinda hangs out while God comes back to kick his ass. Because it’s not like either of them can do anything to change what’s going to happen. Supposedly this God person predetermined all of it. That takes a lot of suspense out of this trilogy. We all know there’s no chance the good guy will tragically (?) die after a cameo appearance by Cthulu. It’s just going to be Jesus guiding Mike Seaver through a fundie’s fever dream.

But there’s still lots to learn from Left Behind, especially in how these people view nonbelievers. Basically, they think we’re all extremely stupid and shallow, that the only reason we don’t believe is because if we did we’d all have to confess our sins and submit before the Jesus and we’re all just too proud for that scene. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that maybe we don’t believe because none of the miraculous events in the books and the movies have actually happened. This is all meant to be fiction, right?

But maybe not. If you read the newspapers and do a little free association here and make a few leaps of faith there, it’s possible to link real current events to all this ancient mythology the Left Behind groupies seem to be so obsessed over. And that’s where this stuff starts to get creepy.

Expelled!

Expelled! is a creationist propaganda movie. It also gets pretty far into conspiracy theories and Holocaust revisionism, but mainly this is about creationism.

The filmmakers told their interview subjects that they were making a documentary about the intersection between science and religion. This is how they got people like PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, and Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education to speak with them on camera. Obviously I don’t have any problem at all with this deceitful tactic since we at The BEAST do this kind of thing pretty regularly. The problem… well one of the problems with this movie is selective editing. This is very obvious when you watch the film because the cuts are so fast and awkward that it’s as if Michael J Fox did the editing the old-fashioned way with a razor after a few days off his meds.

According to Expelled!, evolution isn’t accepted by relevant experts because there’s a lot of evidence supporting it, but because there’s a massive worldwide conspiracy of scientists which controls with an iron fist all the peer review literature and all the important positions in relevant fields. So it’s the same premise used by pretty much every other goofy conspiracy theorist, with a twist: If you disagree with Stein and his friends at the Discovery Institute, you sir are a NAZI because this anti-God conspiracy goes all the way back to Nazi Germany.

Yes, as a matter of fact I do got mittens.

The National Center for Science Education has a website devoted to debunking Expelled!, if you’re interested in the details of why Ben Stein is wrong about everything. Maybe you should read that before watching the movie, just in case watching the movie first causes you to start reading about the science in Ben Stein’s voice.

Four Lions

These gentlemen represent an existential threat to our way of life.

I’m going to have to cheat a little with these last two movies which focus on Islam. The ones mentioned earlier were made by the true believers themselves, but here they are the subject. Did I cheat that way because I’m an uncouth American who needs the movies I watch to be westernized for me to appreciate? Probably!

Four Lions is actually about four humans who aren’t lions at all. But they are Muslim wannabe terrorists living in England and planning a suicide bombing for Allah. Hilarity ensues.

We have this disturbing way of looking at Muslim terrorists here in America. It’s the same way they probably see themselves: as a grave, existential threat to Western secular democracy on par with the fascists during World War II. And if you suggest that maybe they’re just a bunch of criminal but laughable idiots who sometimes succeed but usually fail hard, then you’re disrespecting their victims.

It’s a lot like how people still believe in conspiracy theories about John F Kennedy’s death in that when something terrible happens, we ascribe an amount of meaning proportional to the amount of misery it’s caused, even when that connection is not supported by the facts. We don’t like the idea of someone as esteemed as Kennedy being blown away by some down-and-out loser who’s been rejected even by the Soviet Union. It’s much more comforting to believe that he died for brave principles and that he was taken down by one or another shady cabal of evil people with lots of power. Everything seems less random and fragile that way, regardless of the facts.

And in the same way, we’d like for the ‘bad guys’ in the Post-9/11 World news narrative/Michael Bay movie to be not just genuinely bad guys. We want them to be absolutely demonic and with superhuman powers. We can’t have them in court because they might say something which will somehow transform normal, rational Americans into Islamic extremists who want to let Khalid Sheikh Mohammed walk around NYC and plan more terrorist attacks. Because people can do that kind of thing with mere words, apparently.

If you believe in that perception of al Qaeda and others like them, then Four Lions is completely heretical. And what’s funny is that it will outrage Muslim extremists themselves too, and for the same reasons. It just doesn’t take terrorism seriously enough! If you want to laugh at Islamic terrorism, do it in the wake of a drone’s airstrike. It’s for some reason blasphemous to laugh at them for being gullible, ineffectual morons with goofy beliefs and embarrassing, mundane, interpersonal relationship problems.

Oh yeah, they all die in the end.

The Infidel

In a way, The Infidel is a mirror-image opposite of Four Lions. While Four Lions focuses on the titular extremist characters who create humor by interacting with moderates, The Infidel’s main character Mahmud is a moderate Muslim who’s constantly befuddled by the extremist wackos he occasionally crosses paths with in his everyday life. His sister or cousin or someone is about to marry an extremist Muslim cleric he hates, and he’s gotta deal with that somehow. Even his own daughter randomly yells jihadist-y slogans about restoring the caliphate.

Then Mahmud finds out that he was adopted and that his parents were Jewish. So he’ll have to go through a crisis of identity where he learns how to say “Oy, vey” correctly and wear the tattered remains of a Yamaka he just burnt at a pro-Palestinian rally. And then there’s the matter of the radical cleric marrying into his (now Jewish, apparently) family. All this while poor ol’ Mahmud just wants to go on being a half-assed cultural Muslim who doesn’t go to the mosque or care much about politics, but loves to listen to cheesy 80s music and maybe has a drink every once in a while.

The reason you really should see this movie is because the next time some dickhead whines about how people are too afraid to mock Islam like they do Christianity, you can both watch this movie together and prove said dickhead wrong. The attacks on fundamentalist thinking in it are stronger than you’d get in a typical Christian-mocking movie or TV show, but it manages to raise serious concerns while keeping a sense of humor.

What if everyone forgot about the National Day of Prayer, like almost everyone does every year?

April 7, 2011

They don’t really answer that question in this commercial, but the vague response seems to be this: Terrible things would happen, that’s what! OMG OMG WTF Be afraid!

This idea of the Christian God being like an abusive stepdad who threatens to kill his family if they don’t buy him a nice tie for Father’s Day definitely has its biblical basis. Some of the more modern Christians try to frame this as if God’s usually protecting us, and that when horrible things happen that’s just the physical world attacking us for being sinful and it happens as a result of God’s inaction. But then there’s Isaiah 45:7:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

I still don’t get why people who believe in gods never seem to consider the possibility that God’s as petulant and childish as he appears to be in the Bible. If a real person made these kinds of threats, they’d probably be locked away. But when it’s an imaginary deity, suddenly they deserve worship. It makes no sense at all.

That last sentence was brought to you by Captain Obvious.

Mississippi town bans fortune telling

April 7, 2011

The Meridian, MS town council has for for decades banned fortune telling, no doubt because it was such a popular place for fortune-telling types. But recently someone tried to open a business which would challenge that ban, and the town council decided to stick to their guns. The esteemed stateswoman Mary Perry explains the rationale for her decision:

“I read my Bible, too, and it talks about fortune telling and so forth,”

For those unfamiliar, the Bible is this religious text which is split into two sections. You’ve got the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is mostly about fortune telling and the New Testament covers And So Forth.

Perry continues with her brilliant legal analysis:

“Everyone has their own opinion and can do what they want but I try to follow what is legal and within my heart, and after praying about something. I kind of go with that”

There should be some kind of mechanism which automatically removes people from office when they vote against letting people do what they want and then explain their decision to not let people do what they want by saying that people can do what they want.

Maybe she meant that everyone can do what they want as long as what they want to do is run for office to overturn this weird prohibition. Probably more likely is the possibility that she’s just puking out word salad and has no idea what the actual sentences coming out of her mouth mean.

The harm in “traditional healing”

April 5, 2011

A few weeks ago when I wrote about a new age exposition here in Western New York, a few commenters on Facebook were whining about how I could dare to criticize the idiots who attended and the frauds who sold overpriced garbage to them. Here’s what one of them said:

Let whackos be wackos. Nothing wrong with them at all- they’re just wackos. Live and let live….. Whether the vendors are con-artists or not… Wackos need to buy their wacky stuff. It’s good for the economy.

Usually I just direct people who make this kind of argument to whatstheharm.net for lots of examples with what’s wrong with “wackos” selling quack “treatments” to the gullible. But since I don’t have a Facebook account, I’ll have to just write about a recent example in the news here.

Tanzania has outlawed witch doctors and traditional “healers” recently due to a mass killing of albinos for their body parts to use in magic potions. But that doesn’t mean their government will do anything about one of them selling the same crap to desperate sick people when the “miracle pastor” selling it happens to be making a lot of money off of it.

There is a line 16 miles long stretching to Rev Ambilikile “Babu” Mwasapile’s house in a remote area of Tanzania. They’re all waiting to pay the equivalent of 30 cents to get a mixture of water and herbs which, according to the BBC, is “safe to drink.” The problem is that it’s not really safe to buy. The people waiting in line for this have no real shelter besides their automobiles (if they happen to have driven there), and no access to clean water. So far 52 have died just waiting in line to buy this stuff.

Maybe some of them would have died of whatever they were trying to cure anyway. After all, they wouldn’t be going to such extreme measures if they didn’t have some serious medical ailment already.

Fortunately even the guy profiting off of all this insanity is calling for fewer customers, since it’ll probably turn out that he’s caused more suffering in his business venture than he’s alleviated. When this story came out, he was asking for no new arrivals until April 1. Also the tests to see if his concoction had any medical benefit were still ongoing. But even if it turns out it has some measurable positive effect, he should still be subject to the law for selling it without doing any real tests or seeking any approval for it at all.

Updates!

April 5, 2011

There are a few updates on groups from my 5 Religious Organizations You Should Hate article.

Appolonia Mathia, a reporter who covered the massacres of the Lord’s Resistance Army, died in a motorcycle accident.  She was with her son at the time of the accident and he is apparently still in a coma.

And in slightly more upbeat news, a relative by marriage of Bal Thackeray and fellow member of the Sri Ram Sena is huffing and puffing over a model’s proposal to appear naked for the Indian cricket team if they won the Cricket World Cup against Pakistan.

“We are totally against such vulgarity and obscenity,” fumes Shalini Thackeray of the right wing Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. Shiv Sena says it will handle things ‘their way’ if the government doesn’t step in to stop such gimmicks.

Poonam Pandey, the model in question, responds:

“I don’t care if people have a problem. I am one of the most downloaded models online. I don’t need to do this for publicity. I am doing what I want to do.”

And an update from that update is that India did win the Cricket World Cup. Pandey is calling for patience and assures everyone that she intends to fulfill her promise.

OK, and this is the last one. Remember when the former first lady of Japan did all that crazytalk about eating the Sun and traveling to other planets on flying saucers? Well a Christian Dominionist named C Peter Wagner is saying that that kind of thing is the reason for the Sendai earthquake. This guy is very upset with what he believes is a pagan stronghold on Japan, which prevents God’s love from stopping tectonic plates from killing lots of people. Specifically, he thinks that the Japanese head of state fucks a Sun Goddess. Literally.

So this not the kind of Christian who thinks that witchcraft, casting spells, demons, and that sort of thing are bad because they aren’t real and merely distract attention from the theology he happens to prefer. He really thinks all that stuff has real, empirical effects on the physical world. Which I would think makes him a lot closer to a pagan or demon worshipper than the mostly secular people he’s projecting that belief onto.

Repent Amarillo guy will run for mayor of some town

March 7, 2011

Hey, remember those distinguished gentlemen from Amarillo, Texas who like to execute Santa Claus in effigy and harass patrons of swingers’ clubs? Their leader is running for mayor of Amarillo. Here is a video of him in what looks like a church, announcing his candidacy:

At the 1:47 mark, you can hear him say this (emphasis mine, factual and grammatical errors his):

“It is time that Christians rise up and start taking responsibility of their civic duties seriously and start running for office.”

Yes, the time has come for Christians to start running for office. They must start doing this. For too long, only non-Christians have been running for office.

He prefaces all this with a long reading from Romans 13, which I initially thought was the one the KKK likes so much. But after checking back to where I heard that, it turns out it was actually the 12th chapter of Romans. So it’s totally different! Oh, except he has the exact same “Christian flag” as the “Grand Wizard” of the Klan in the Safran video.

KKK Grand Wizard Chris Johnson showing off their Christian flag

David Grisham of Repent Amarillo announcing his mayoral candidacy

I don’t think this means Grisham is a secret Klansman, or even that he’s necessarily racist. The Christian flag seems more like a dog whistle than the established flag of any particular Christian extremist organization. If you go to the Focus on the Family HQ in Colorado Springs, you will see it there also:

According to Wikipedia, it was first designed in early 20th century Brooklyn, probably by Satanic hipsters trying to be ironic. So again, Grisham’s not necessarily a Klansman just because he and the KKK share a flag, just like he’s probably not a communist just because he seems to strongly imply in his campaign video that he’s going to try to use government power to shut down what I’m sure is Amarillo’s totally happening bar scene. But still, very creepy, especially if he ends up winning.

Uganda facepalm

February 7, 2011

Last Friday, Rachel Maddow had a segment on the opposition to all the anti-gay sentiment in Uganda, centering around the recent murder of gay rights activist David Kato. A bishop there spoke at his funeral, and Maddow played an excerpt of the video. Here is part of the transcript:

I’m not lgbt but I know people that are lgbt and I respect them for what they are and I believe they are going to heaven. They are going to heaven. If they don’t believe, that’s another matter about you if you are a believer, don’t be discouraged.

Even the more liberal, ecumenical religious leaders who lean more towards universalism than their fundamentalist counterparts in Uganda can’t seem to help bashing non-believers. They can respect the LGBT community for what they are, but they can’t respect the freethought community for what they are.

Killing dogs for God in South Carolina

January 26, 2011

So in South Carolina, this kid brought his devil-worshipping dog to his aunt’s house, where she then did the responsible thing and made sure it couldn’t harm any children. At least that’s one way of putting it.

Another way of putting it would be that some crazy lady tortured and killed her nephew’s dog because it chewed on her Bible. From CBS:

A Spartanburg County woman has been charged with felony animal cruelty, accused of hanging her nephew’s pit bull with an electrical cord and burning its body after the dog chewed on her Bible, authorities said Monday.
When questioned by police and animal control officers, Miriam Smith told them the female dog named “Diamond” was a “devil dog” and she feared it might harm neighborhood children…

In case you were wondering, the article does have a picture of what a chewed up Bible might look like. And you should know that this is not the actress Miriam Smith who appeared in films like Capote and television shows like The X Files. I’m sure she would never do such a thing.

But this Miriam Smith apparently would and did. She called the pet a “devil dog.” I would bet that she used “devil” as an adjective a lot. And the problem is that nobody ever questioned her on it. She’d make some offhand comment about how this dog or that cat or the palmetto tree over there is possessed by the devil, and nobody would say something like,”Hey, what the hell are you talking about? You don’t seriously believe in demon possessions, do you?” Or, if they did, she just shrugged them off as just another demonic possession to be hanged and burned later.

But just maybe if enough people did respond that way instead of “respecting her beliefs” and saying nothing, as if it’s normal to believe in devils and demons in 2011 (and yes I do see the irony in referring to a Jesus-based dating system), then maybe Miriam Smith would’ve felt just a little bit less comfortable with the idea that her beliefs were acceptable, and tragedies like these could be avoided.

Nobody who reads this should be allowed to vote

January 26, 2011

Let’s all listen to this nice young man explain why only “virtuous” people should be allowed to vote, if we’re even going to bother with that old voting thing anymore. If we keep letting just anybody vote, we’re all going to die of cancer. Or something.

Jesus gets an IQ test

December 23, 2010

The Annals of Improbable Research (the people who do the Ig Nobel Awards) were apparently browsing the Angelfire archives and stumbled across this guy who has calculated Jesus’ IQ, and it’s 300! Or maybe 450. It’s somewhere between those two, and this Bob person gives his calculations a little more wiggle room by qualifying them as “within this author’s ability to reasonably measure.”

And it’s a good thing Bob made sure he limited his Jesus IQ test to what’s within reason. You wouldn’t want irresponsible people to measure Jesus’ IQ in an unreasonable way. Sure, maybe there’s no evidence Jesus even knew how to read or write and maybe all of the main historical data on Jesus was second or third hand hearsay written by mostly anonymous sources who use a lot of mythical elements in their contradicting accounts of Jesus, but it’s important to stay within the bounds of reason, for example by claiming he had an IQ of around 400.

Teabaggers say more stupid things

December 22, 2010

The Tea Party Nation is one of those groups of mouth-breathers who like to rant about politics. And now their leader, after causing some controversy by suggesting only property owners should be eligible to vote, is attacking the Methodist Church. This is very weird because theologically, they’re about as middle of the road as it’s possible to be. But this Judson Phillips person isn’t going after them for being too moderate. It’s because they are… (wait for it) socialist! From the weblog-thingie:

Reading the Methodist social justice manifesto is like reading a socialist wish list. They want amnesty, they want “economic justice”, they opposed “global climate change” (earth to the Methodists, man isn’t doing it), fighting global poverty (here is another hint, most poverty is caused by a lack of freedom and lack of a free enterprise system).  Not shockingly, the Methodists side with the Islamists against Israel, and of course oppose America in Iraq.
In short, if you hate America, you have a great future in the Methodist church.

You could go an investigate each of Phillips’ spurious claims here, but here’s an easy shortcut: The last president, that George W what’shisname guy, remember him? Yeah, he was and still is a member of the United Methodist Church.

Killing Santa for God in Amarillo

December 22, 2010

Repent Amarillo is this Christian quasi-militia group which became famous when they started trolling swingers’ club patrons a few months ago. Now they have moved on to more serious matters, which of course means they made these awesome sweatshirts and wore them while executing Santa Claus in effigy.

The very serious man in this video reads out the list of crimes Santa has committed. The first one’s idolatry – obvious, really, because of all those people who worship him. And the second one is that he lies by claiming that he actually exists. But how can he do the lying without existing? And how can you execute someone who doesn’t exist? Isn’t Repent Amarillo buying into the lie of Santa Claus existing by executing him? After all, you need to exist first before you can be executed. As Rene Descartes put it in Discourse on the Method:

This proposition, I think, therefore I am, is the first and the most certain which presents itself to whomever conducts his thoughts in order. The runner-up is, Then I get executed by a freelance Texan firing squad.

So then this distinguished gentleman calls Santa out for not having a soul and then says something about global warming.

I’m no expert on firing squads, but I was under the impression that they usually don’t 1. have their guns aimed for them by leveling them on a rack, 2. have the target only a few feet away 3. wear pretty pink earmuffs, and 4. hilariously mispronounce coup de grace.

Weird standards

December 9, 2010

All three of these stories are about private institutions doing things which are completely within their rights to do. Lots of us think they’re very weird and despicable for doing these things, but there’s nothing illegal about any of it. At the same time though it’s very revealing to examine how selectively certain standards can be applied and ignored.

Since I last wrote about WikiLeaks, a lot of shit has gone down. The site was targeted with denial of service attacks and as a result moved to Amazon’s server. So Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) put pressure on Amazon to boot WikiLeaks, which they did. That’s not too unusual considering the cast of characters. But where it gets weird is that Amazon UK is now selling the same cables WikiLeaks released to the press for the Kindle.

MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal also were pressured by the government to stop allowing donations to organizations affiliated with WikiLeaks via the claim that what WL is doing is illegal (even though it’s not- although what the people leaking to them definitely is) and therefore violates those companies’ terms of service.  Instead of checking with their lawyers, those companies capitulated to the government and stopped allowing donations to WL. But it gets weird again here because MasterCard and Visa seem to have no problem with this.

And the Salvation Army is now refusing to distribute Harry Potter and Twilight toys because they’re “incompatible with the charity’s Christian beliefs.” They would not even agree to pass on these toys to other agencies which could then distribute them without sullying the good name of the Starvation Salvation Army. The story broke when a volunteer in Calgary found a bunch of Twilight and Harry Potter toys quarantined in a warehouse. But then it gets weird:

“I was told to withhold a six-inch Harry Potter figure, but when I picked up a plastic M-16, I was told, ‘That’s for the 10-year-olds,'” he said.

It’s not even so much that the Salvation Army would allow one type of toy and not the other. The Bible, taken as a whole, is pretty ambiguous on both warfare and witchcraft. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and makes evil spirits possess pigs and then kills them, but Exodus 22:18 tell us not to suffer a witch to live. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and to give people our coats, but then says he’s here to divide and comes not for peace, but with a sword.

What I’m trying to get at is that the SA could just as easily distribute Harry Potter toys and ban the plastic M-16s and be just as compatible with Christianity. So it’s not just Christianity that they’re concerned about, it’s a certain variation of it. For some reason they get the benefit of lumping themselves in with the large number of Christians when many of them would be appalled at their selectiveness.

But what if you like a little demon in your bacon?

November 10, 2010

Observe as this panel of experts discuss the harmful effects of demonic infestation of animals bred to be slaughtered. As usual, this topic leads into a song on the subject sung by a pig.

Please make sure all of the agricultural products you buy are not only cruelty-free, but also demon-free. If you can’t find demon-free meat at your local store, please demand that they stock it immediately.

Here is the proper Biblical context:

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.

And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

O’Donnell weighs much more than a duck and is therefore not made of wood

September 22, 2010

I’m not buying all of this ‘Christine O’Donnell was a witch’ business. Yeah, I’ve seen the video footage of her talking about it on Politically Incorrect, and I don’t have any direct evidence contradicting her claim, but it all just doesn’t quite add up. So here’s my completely uninformed speculation.

First of all, Christians who focus a lot on being “born again” have this need for their own little spiritual rags-to-riches story. Listen to any former alcoholic or drug addict or whatever turned fundamentalist Christian for long enough and eventually you’ll hear a sob story about how they were once “at their lowest point ever” just before they heard the good news about the Jesus. Usually the low point has to do with sex, drugs, and that sort of thing, but O’Donnell’s going one step further by throwing witchcraft into the mix. It’s only by debasing their former selves can they show the great healing power of the Jesus. If you joined a church just because you were feeling a bit lonely and wanted a regular community activity, that’s not a very compelling narrative to sell to other potential converts.

There’s another advantage to O’Donnell lying about this witchcraft, if that’s what she did. As a professional Christianity advocate, which is what she was doing at the time of the video in question, it’s in her interest to appear as though she tried out other religions before discovering the one true faith. In the minds of her audience, it’s to her credit that she saw through the lies of her fellow witches or Wiccans or Satanists or whatever. Now she gets to say that she’s emerged wiser for having a diversity of experience with other religions.

So that’s pretty much what I think about why she lied, if that’s what she did. But there are some tips in the video itself, too. First of all, she interchanges Satanism and witchcraft. I don’t know much about Wicca or Satanism, but even I know that they’re very different. That’s why Wiccan leaders have been speaking out against how O’Donnell equated the two. Wiccans don’t believe in Satan, for instance. And even some Satanists, like the LaVeyian variety, don’t seem to believe in an actual Satan.

Another big tell is how she immediately followed up her “confession” by shouting about how she didn’t join a coven. In other words, nobody can verify her story. I wonder who this fellow who took her on the Satanic altar blood date was. He’s probably still around, right?

I’m not saying that she made this story up in 1999 in order to help boost her 2010 Senate campaign. That would be absurd. I’m saying that I think she made it up in order to self-promote as a professional advocate for Christianity knowing that her stories about what she dabbled in were difficult to confirm or falsify.