Wednesday, February 21

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

Because I'm sitting here with a sooty cross schmeered on my forehead (try going to Ash Wednesday service surrounded by 19 four-year-olds -- it's a trip.) I thought I should do a religion post, and then I came across this fetid pile of horse manure, and I just hadda share:

A new statistic has emerged from the 2006 election data that seems to be guiding the smear tactics of the Republicans: a majority of Americans with strong religious beliefs now view themselves as the victims of discrimination.

So, even as Democrats made some gains amongst religious voters in the last round of elections, authoritarian conservatives continue to gain ground by convincing huge [numbers of] Americans that religion is under attack.

The "God Gap," in other words, is getting nasty--and if last week is any indication, things are about to get much, much worse.

Okay, breathe in, breathe out. I've been doing it all day. First up, YO! FELLOW CHRISTIANS! If you are white and live in the United States of America, there is no FUCKIN' WAY you are persecuted. It's in your head. Get over it.

Number two: Some Christians believe Jesus is God his own Self. Some of us don't. (Whoopsy, I think I'm about to get my blog kicked outta the World Council of Churches. Wev.) Anyhoo, however so-called Christians deal with the so-called divinity of Christ (Yup, that ripping sound is my WCC charter, bye now.) most of us are united in believing that the Wayshower through whom we connect to God was nailed to a piece of wood and left to die. So, how do ya think someone who came back from that experience is gonna react to the whole "white American persecuted Christians" story? Hmm?

Number doo and a heif: Look, my own sins keep me busy 24/7. If you're not doin' 'em, you should be repenting 'em. And hopefully the good outweighs the bad. We try.

My goal for the next 40 is to give up sloth. That means a little more exercise, a little less vegging in front of the laptop, and a little Flylady action on my house, though IMHO going whole-hog Flylady amounts to housework fetishization, which is not my bag.

Whatever your bag is, I pray you don't carry with you the added burden of imaginary persecution. There's enough real persecution against which to do battle, and it's always, and I mean ALWAYS, our job to lift up others rather than whine about the cross we think we have to bear.

Happy Lent. (Yeah, I guess The Fucking Catholic League won't be endorsing my URL either. See Jesus Sez above.)


  1. as i used to say, back in the day, "right on." ; )

    i borrowed the video. it was great!

    the "lenten" issue thing is brilliant.

  2. Actually, if I'm understanding the Beatitudes correctly, the Christians should be happy if they're being persecuted, right? Doesn't that mean their reward will be great in heaven?

    This is really funny when you consider how every chain email whining about "under God" or school prayer makes a point to say that only 14% of Americans are non-religious. How could this 14% possibly be persecuting the 86%?

    To any Christians who are not happy living in a country that acknowledges our freedom not to believe your delusions: you're always free to leave and start yourself a nice theocracy where you won't have to put up with us.

  3. First of all, I don't believe that most Christians see themselves as victims of anything. I think SOME conservative evangelicals see themselves as victims because those to whom they listen - Faux News, talk radio, pimps like Pat Robertson - tell them so. Some of us on the Left would rather the "reality-based community" lay off the anti-religion stuff, but we don't really think of ourselves as "persecuted," do we? Some of us might get our feelings hurt from time to time, but we get over it because what it's about is fighting the good fight for the greater good and most progressives (not all - most) can see that. I hope.

    The person who wrote this thing obviously doesn't spend much time out here where the progressives roam, because if he did, he'd be able to see with his own eyeballs the abuse self-professed folks of faith put up with from time to time from the left side of the room. He'd also note that we don't care. He can cast aspersions on Jim Wallis, but the difference is that Wallis is actually trying to build this bridge between the secular left and the "religious left" and buld a progressive alliance that might actually acccomplish something. Calling people who agree with Wallis "morons" doesn't help. It just makes people like Malkin and Donohue laugh and rub their greasy little hands together. He's just helping the bad guys. And there's too much of that going on right now, which only makes us weaker.

    Me, for my goal (I like sloth, myself, especially on weekends), I'm giving up Pride. Pridefullness is unQuakerly, and it also leads to bruised egos. If you don't have pride, no one can attack you and make it hurt. I am a Leftist. Not a liberal, not even a progressive. I want to push that envelope a bit. A religious radical. A left-wing zealot. I am also someone who believes in God and who attends a house of worship and who subscribes to the core beliefs of a particular faith. Those beliefs inform my politics. If people like this writer want to be my ally, great. Join in the fun. The more, the merrier, and the more we will get done. Don't give me a hard time about my little Friendly quirks, and we'll be just peachy together.

    If not, then he can get out of my way. But he needn't worry about me whining. I don't do that anymore. Time to get our hands dirty.

  4. See? We're "delusional."

    Told ya.

  5. The reason so many "christians" are striking the vicitm pose is that for the first time since Robert G. Ingersol, Christianity is being publicly challenged. As H.L. Mencken put it, "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart." As a result of this widely held belief, religious convictions are rarely challenged publicly, and now that they have been challenged articulately by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet and others, many Christians are getting their panties in a bunch. No other belief system enjoys such protection. Democrats, Republicans, Marxists, environmentalists, libertarians, Cubs fans and bloggers, to name a few, are all fair (or unfair, as the case may be)game for attack no matter how shrill or baseless. But not Christians. Now that a teeny tiny handful of individuals is raising some valid points regarding Christianity, many "christians" are demanding even more protection than they already enjoy.

  6. "Many"? No. Some. Especially the ones with microphones.

    Read the above. Listen. Please. I am a "Christian" (a "Christ-centered Quaker").

    I. Don't. Need. Or. Want. Protection.

    (Though I would endorse using it, always.)

    All some of us want is the right to be part of things without being called deranged. And attacking people is not making a "valid point."

  7. And attacking people is not making a "valid point."

    Who's attacking? Dawkins? Dennet? I don't see their efforts as an attack. Perhaps a counterattack.

  8. I think the blogger whose post was the basis for this posting is a pretty example of what I was trying to talk about here.

    And, to be honest, I'm not much of a fan of Mr. Dawkins. Especially since I watched his lecture on CSPAN2 a while back. I don't appreciate being condescended to very much these days.

  9. "pretty *GOOD* example"

    Sorry for the brain-lock. You know us deranged zealots...

  10. Now boys, don't make me whip out a ruler to measure your "arguments."

    Dawkins is right about so many things, too bad he's a sanctimonious jerk. As bad as Dobson, imo.

    And I think, as usual, we're getting our terms all mixed up. Fundies, attack, defense, etc.

    QD, BG, the rest of the lefty christian set (and YES, I DO MEAN christian WITH A SMALL C) are not attacked or threatened by Dawkins and company, whose main argument is with fundamentalists to attempt to take the Bible literally.

    They've got a lot to worry about, and unfortunately there are very few in Washington with the cayenne peppers to attack fundamentalist Christianity as just as bad as any other fundamentalism, yes, including Islam.

    Oh, one more thing. Cool it, you two.

  11. I don't see where we disagree, BG. About anything. Lefty C/christians shouldn't feel threatened by anyone, even when the attacks come from their fellow leftists. The folks who go about whining about Christianity being persecuted, how "Christian-bashing is the last acceptable form of bigotry" blah blah are overwhelmingly of the fundamentalist stripe, again, who are usually 1) parroting someone else, or 2) looking to fundraise.

    I don't feel threatned by Mr. Dawkins, because I think he's pretentious and snarky.

    And I don't have a problem with Big Daddy here. I thought we were having a pretty civil discussion. I certainly don't feel insulted or put off by anything he said. Maybe I wasn't clear: I didn't see him as "attacking" me. if that was how that was taken, I apologize. I hope he feels the same way.

  12. I also apologize for my typos. Been a long day.

  13. It's all good, QD. I ain't hatin. Also, I agree that in some lefty circles christian bashing is a sport. But even there I think what they really mean to bash is the way religion is used as a political tool, and in their zeal they sometimes allow their criticisms to include the religion itelf. As for Dawkins, I thought he performed spectacularly on CNN with Paula Zahn. Not condescending or snarky, just friendly & forthright. Maybe he has accepted some coaching on his delivery.

  14. Yes, and yes. And I'll take your word on the last bit, because I didn't see it. And Paula does toss the softest of softballs, so maybe he was feeling warm and fuzzy that day. Still not a fan of Mr. D.


  15. See, Mom? We're cool.

  16. Christianity has always been under attack. That's how it justifies its existence.

    Look at history. No matter where you go, someone's saying the Church is under attack.

    I follow Jesus of Nazareth, thanks much.

  17. Anonymous10:13 PM

    It's not surprising that the right wing fanatics are trying to whip up a frenzy, now that they have been losing ground. Of course, they want back the support of people all over your nation, in churches big and small, many of whom have been misled by people with (as QD said) the microphones. That says nothing of C/christian faith, my faith. When I was younger I called myself a radical Christian, and now I have no adjective for it, nor do I attend church, though I still try to walk the talk. I respect what Jim Wallis of Sojourners and others are doing, working to bring together people of Christian faith and other faiths, to work for justice--to work toward a difference, the next time Americans vote for a president, I think--along with many others of good will. Keep up the good fight--don't let anyone play the divide and conquer game with you. Good wishes, from North of the border.

  18. Anonymous1:27 AM

    I'm Jewish, and I don't even think I'm discriminated against.

    (Of course, it helps that I have gained entrance to the higher echelons of the International Jewish Conspiracy.)

  19. YO! FELLOW CHRISTIANS! If you are white and live in the United States of America, there is no FUCKIN' WAY you are persecuted. It's in your head. Get over it.
    Well, unless you're female, homosexual, disabled, etc. but at least it's not your religion that's being persecuted.

    A bit off topic, but do you remember what the Sprout used to call Ash Wednesday? He referred to it as "Smash Wednesday," the day Christians are marked with a target so you know who to slap and where. How's that for persecution?

    Oh, but I don't think that's funny. I'm only reporting the facts. Blame him. It's his own fault if he doesn't read you blog (ahem) religiously, so he's not here to defend himself.

  20. love your new masthead


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