When talk of ‘civil disobedience’ is just masturbation

Here is a “news” report from Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network:

Leaders at this week’s National Religious Broadcasters conference warned Christians may soon be forced to practice civil disobedience.

Southern Baptist leader Richard Land and NRB board member Janet Parshall cited same-sex marriage and President Obama’s birth control mandate as the reason why.

Land said those issues are non-negotiable, even at the cost of paying fines and going to jail.

What on earth is Richard Land talking about? Is there any way to make sense of this? What could it possibly mean to say Christians should or could “practice civil disobedience” in reaction against marriage equality?

Richard Land likes to pretend he’s Rosa Parks because that’s so much nicer than admitting that he’s James F. Blake.

Here is the current legal context for Southern Baptist congregations in states that do not yet legally recognize same-sex marriage:

Your Southern Baptist church can celebrate and affirm the marriages of opposite-sex couples while refusing to celebrate or affirm the marriages of same-sex couples. The marriages celebrated by your church are legally recognized by the state.

The Episcopal or MCC or UCC church across the street can celebrate and affirm the marriages of  same-sex couples, but those marriages are not legally recognized by the state.

And here is how that changes in the few states that now do legally recognize same-sex marriage:

Your Southern Baptist church can celebrate and affirm the marriage sof opposite-sex couples while refusing to celebrate or affirm the marriages of same-sex couples. The marriages celebrated by your church are legally recognized by the state.

The Episcopal or MCC or UCC church across the street can celebrate and affirm the marriages of  same-sex couples, and those marriages will be legally recognized by the state.

The change does not affect the Southern Baptists at all. At all. It does not require them to start doing something they have not been doing or to stop doing anything they have been doing. It does not compel or prohibit them in any way. It does not require their obedience and thus it is not subject to their disobedience — civil or otherwise.

And because it is not possible for them to disobey this law, there is no way for them to wind up “paying fines and going to jail.”

So what is Richard Land talking about?

He’s just masturbating — fap-fap-fapping to the self-pleasuring fantasy of being a bold and courageous martyr for his faith.

Land’s statement is only slightly less ridiculous regarding the so-called birth-control mandate. Here, at least, his talk of “paying fines” is not completely irrelevant. Large for-profit companies that refuse to provide minimum standards of preventive health care coverage could indeed wind up paying fines under this “mandate.”

But again this does not affect “Christians” either. The law does not apply to churches, only to large secular employers. It applies to corporations. And while campaign-finance law may insist that corporations are people, my friend, I am not aware of any corporations that have been born again after praying the sinner’s prayer and inviting Jesus into their hearts as their personal Lord and savior.

I suppose some devout Southern Baptist corporate executive might follow Richard Land’s suggestion and refuse to provide the minimal preventive coverage out of solidarity for the religious liberty of Christian Scientists and faith healers, but even then such an executive would not be personally subject to “paying fines and going to jail.” The company would be fined, not the executive. So that’s not so much “practicing civil disobedience” as “screwing over shareholders.” (Those shareholders might, in turn, sue the company for a violation of fiduciary responsibility, and I suppose somewhere down the line that could mean the executive could personally face SEC penalties, but I’m reluctant to say that makes him the moral equivalent of Rosa Parks.)

The CBN “report” includes even more egregious wankery from the head of the National Religious Broadcasters:

Meanwhile, NRB President Frank Wright warned that Christian broadcasters’ religious freedom is at risk.

Wright urged this year’s convention goers in Nashville to unite to defend their right to spread the Gospel.

He warned biblical teachings are being dubbed hate speech — and there’s growing potential for discrimination lawsuits against Christian organizations for refusing to hire non-believers.

Wright told leaders, “Restrictions on religious freedom anywhere are threats to religious freedom everywhere.”

Again, what is Wright talking about? What is the basis for his claim that Christians “right to spread the Gospel” is under attack? His reference to “hate speech” is supported only by discredited urban legends, and his talk of “growing potential for discrimination lawsuits” is utter nonsense following a 9-0 Supreme Court ruling in the Hosanna-Tabor case. So what is the substance of this complaint?

That’s not the point. This isn’t about substance or reality. It’s about how saying such things makes him feel.

Wright’s not actually trying to defend “religious freedom,” he’s just trying to feel the buzz of imagining himself as an imperiled and courageous member of some righteous remnant facing persecution from the ungodly because of his awesome godliness.

That’s much more exciting than the rather glum reality of presiding over an industry convention representing broadcasters who make lots of money catering to a privileged and pampered majority.

Talk of “civil disobedience” and supposedly imperiled faith makes people like Land and Wright feel good about themselves. They require such fantasies to feel good about themselves because their reality doesn’t allow that. In reality, they know themselves not to be heroic champions of the underdog. And that reality has got to be depressing.

One option would be to change — to become better people who use their power, privilege and influence to make the world a better place. But that’s hard. It’s easier just to play make-believe.

So they spin out fantasy scenarios in which they’re not privileged and powerful, but rather an oppressed, beleaguered and aggrieved minority suffering injustice at the hands of some other, imaginary powers that be. Then they can imagine that, in this fantasy, they’re just like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi and Harriet Tubman all rolled into one and they can imagine just a tiny taste of how proud they would be of themselves if anything at all like that were actually true.

I don’t begrudge them whatever pleasure they give themselves with such fantasies. But that sort of thing really shouldn’t be done in public.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    Let’s hope that it stops at masturbation. It seems as though this sort of thing is as often as not mere fluffing, before a massed attempt to fuck us all.

  • JessicaR

    I think this is grossly unfair to masturbation, as masturbation harms no one, and when you’re finished you’ve actually accomplished something. Well, if done right. So I’ve heard. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Masturbation implies a solo activity, while this guy is blaring it out over the radio to a bunch of followers who want to feel like they are absorbing his enthusiastically delivered piety falling upon them from on high.  

    I am alright with them having a self-righteous circle-jerk (whatever floats their boat) but do they have to do it where everyone can hear?  

  • Lori

     

    Masturbation implies a solo activity, while this guy is blaring it out
    over the radio to a bunch of followers who want to feel like they are
    absorbing his enthusiastically delivered piety falling upon them from on
    high.  

    How can I put this delicately? You appear to have missed a large portion of the internet.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    I suppose that one could refuse to personally recognize gay married couples as married and then… I don’t know, furiously wag your finger in their direction; until you attain the martyrdom of a strained finger. 

    As far as the ability to actually do something about it; well, a civil magistrate with RTC beliefs could surrender his or her office rather then preside over a gay wedding, but that would require surrendering power at an even faster rate than they are having it taken from them. 

  • Kubricks_Rube

    The FRC also worries about “the day when they’ll have to choose between civil disobedience and their faith” but they’re a little more concrete on what this means: kidnapping!

    Faced with losing her seven-year-old daughter to her former lesbian partner, Lisa Miller made the only choice a new Christian could: she sought her minister’s help. After two courts ordered Lisa to transfer custody of her biological daughter to a woman with no adoptive rights, she felt she had no choice but to flee the country. Kenneth Miller, a Mennonite pastor from Vermont, helped her escape–and will now be paying for it with a 27-month prison sentence.[…]

    To many of us, the pastor’s predicament seems extreme–but a day may come when we all have to make a similar choice.  […] Christians may soon find themselves in the same position of breaking an unjust law. Will you have the courage to do what Kenneth Miller did? Don’t wait until the moment is upon you before contemplating this. Are you willing to accept the penalty instead of compromising your principles?

    http://www.frc.org/washingtonupdate/the-golf-war

    It may not have anything to do with same-sex marriage laws or qualify under any meaningful definition of civil disobedience, but this is not just verbal masturbation.

  • WalterC

     I’ve actually seen that case before, and the FRC article is so misleading that it’s dishonest, even if you accept the premise (that custodial interference is somehow a principled stand).

    First of all, Lisa Miller was not in danger of losing custody of her child. Instead, all that she was being required to do was allow visitation rights to Janet Jenkins , the  woman that Miller was in a civil union with two years before their daughter was born.

    In fact, Miller only lost custody of her daughter to Jenkins after fleeing the country in order to avoid permitting Jenkins to have visitation rights to the daughter that they had together (rights that, I should note, would have still been available to Jenkins even if she had been a man married to Miller but not the biological father of her child — such as through in vitro).

    Kenneth Miller protected Miller only from the agony of having to allow her former partner to visit their daughter. She was never in danger of actually having to transfer custody until after she committed the crime of custodial interference.

    Frankly, the whole thing is just an ugly custody battle spinning out of control, and it’s shameful that it has been politicized by the anti-gay crowd with no regard for the child whose life has been uprooted by selfish adults acting on motives that she is just now able to understand.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Thanks for explaining the case for anyone who might not have known the details; I shouldn’t have quoted ths FRC’s version of it without providing some more context. Fred wrote about the case a while back when Brian Fischer used it to call for an Underground Railroad of kidnapping the children of gay and lesbain parents.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I don’t begrudge them whatever pleasure they give themselves with such fantasies.

    I do, I totally begrudge them their hate-filled lies. 

  • misanthropy_jones

    the continued freedom of fred phelps is all it takes to show how little reality there is to their fear-mongering…

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Yeah, the harmless-masturbation analogy falls apart when you realize their fantasy is closer to a creeper taking upskirt photos or creepshots than to just spanking it to some mental fantasy. It requires an unwilling and non-consenting third party (LGBTQ people, primarily, plus all of the straight people who don’t want to live in their American Taliban).

    After all, whether you think NY’s Cannibal Cop should be found guilty or not, his masturbatory fantasies have hurt a lot fewer people than Land’s.

  • SergeantHeretic

    WalterC, my friend haven’t you figured out by now that the radical conservative religious right does not give a good god damn about actual real live children in any way shame or form?

    Their only desire is to protect theorectical children, just as their only goal is to protect theoretical families and theoretical values and a theoretical country.

    That’s why little babies are only sacred until birth to these alleged people. after that the real live actual children can starve in ignorance and soul crushing squalor for all the RTC’s care.

  • LL

    I was gonna write some detailed “yeah, what he said,” but honestly, these dipshits aren’t worth the effort. This is just more of the same from the idiot wing of the Christianist Party. 

  • MaryKaye

    Yeah, this is a gross insult to masturbation, which is harmless and fun.  What these folks are doing is not harmless, and given how generally unhappy they seem to be I’m not even sure it’s fun.  My family compares this kind of behavior with scratching a mosquito bite:  transiently it feels good, but it quickly makes you feel worse, and then you’re impelled to do even more of it, and you end up with horrid welts that take weeks to heal.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I use to think that such people were unhappy too, but Bob Altemeyer shifted my perspective a bit.  I think that they are happy.  They are very happy, or at least they self-report as such.  Yet they are also angry, usually at particular groups or nebulous threats, and it can be kind of startling to see them go from one topic they are happy about to one that they are enraged by without dropping a beat.  

    It is as though all the unhappiness that they would be feeling gets channeled away from themselves and shifted into a little ball of rage that gets tossed in some Other’s direction.  They need an enemy to be upset by and feel hard done by, otherwise their indignation falters and their happiness starts to erode because all that rage flows back downhill into them if they do not have somewhere to drain it to.  

  • http://twitter.com/WayofCats WayofCats

    I love the insights of Dr. Altemeyer. I always thought of such folks that their “gears didn’t mesh” but he actually explained it’s because they have make sure none of their contradictory thoughts make contact in their head. No wonder their thought processes involve neither.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     According to neurobiologists, hatred is one helluva drug. 

  • ReverendRef

    I am so tired of these people giving Christians a bad name.  I was asked the other day, “What can we do to bring more people into the church.” 

    Unfortunately, my answer of, “Welcome everyone equally and enthusiastically” didn’t do it for them.  But I’m still pushing for my parish to take the step towards full marriage equality.

    On the positive side, though, if I ever learn to play an instrument and/or sing and put together a band, I’m going to name it egregious wankery.

  • Lori

     

    if I ever learn to play an instrument and/or sing and put together a band, I’m going to name it egregious wankery.   

    If you do this be sure to tell us when you get your first gig. I swear I will drive out there to support you.

  • AnonymousSam

    Only if you can get Fred on vocals singing “fap-fap-fap.” If only for the bonus track!

  • Hexep

    As it stands, I’m afraid that they’re your people. You can try to change them, or you can really try to distance yourself from them, but until you do, I’m afraid that you’re stuck with them, and it’s going to reflect ill on you and yours. We’re all responsible for the company we keep, if only socially.

  • http://dragoness-e.livejournal.com/ Dragoness Eclectic

     That’s what they said about that Jesus guy, when he insisted on hanging out with sinners….

  • Hexep

    And it was true, then, too!

  • ReverendRef

     As it stands, I’m afraid that they’re your people.

    *sigh* — Yeah, I know.  Families have some interesting characters.  And out here in conservative SW Oregon, I’m doing my best to show that not everybody in the family is an egregious wanker.  My goal right now is to create a space where the spirit of the law is lived over and above the letter of the law.

    “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?  Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”  1 John 3:17-18

    That’s the goal, anyway.

  • Hexep

    I know all about interesting families; my uncle was in the BSAP and has a startling collection of photographs.

    As I see it, you and they are in a boat together; you can either make them change, push them out of the boat, or jump out yourself. I have chosen the third route, personally, because I think it’s the most realistic of them; by and large, people simply don’t listen to reason or change their minds when confronted with argument, and ‘pushing them out of the boat’ would, in most cases, require mass-murder.

    Some day, I would love to have a one-on-one theological conversation with you. By my reckoning, you are the most able Christian theologian I have ever traded words with, now that we have. (Fred would take first place if a) he ever responded to anything I said and b) he shared my origins. I was baptized Anglican, so I suppose that makes you ‘my people’ in a way that he isn’t.)

  • ReverendRef

     By my reckoning, you are the most able Christian theologian I have ever traded words with, now that we have.

    Um . . . wow . . . thanks.  I appreciate that.

    Some day, I would love to have a one-on-one theological conversation with you.

    That would be fun.  Look me up if you’re ever out my direction.  And I’ll buy whatever it is we have our discussion over — lunch, dinner, a drink if that’s okay.

  • Hexep

    You know, now this very specific topic is essentially concluded, and I feel like, since you will get a little ding when next it pleases you to check, we can use this opportunity to discuss our considerations in this space. I want to disclaim myself first, by saying that despite appearances, I am approaching this from a genuinely inquisitive perspective. On the one hand, I am of the belief that the only field of study that really matters is ‘why do people do what they do,’ which will ultimately lead me to the answer to the ultimate question, ‘why do I do what I do.’ So, that is my first and obvious motive. I must confess a darker one, however, which is the belief – possibly onerous – that because yours is the religion of my father and of my race, I would be… more comfortable with myself if I believed in it? Rather than the one that I adopted later in life, which is personally quite fulfilling but is often socially troublesome. We can discuss that later.

    So, I would like to begin with a topic that I find personally troubling, which is the Incarnation. Let me know if I’ve got the story straight:

    At one time, the human race was free of sin. But then, Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, and for that reason were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Since then, every human being has an essentially sinful nature, due to free will. This means that without the grace of Jesus, we are all doomed to Hell – whatever that means, but it’s not as good as Heaven. Is that essentially right?

    Because what troubles me here is that it is a fundamental statement of irresponsibility. Like many people, I live in a universe that is fundamentally out of my control; in matters of work, health, finance, housing, and legal status, I am dependent – despite my best proactive efforts to the contrary – on the assistance of others. My destiny is not really in my own hands. The one thing in my life that I can control, though, is my own sense of personal morality and ethnic integrity.

    Living as I do where all I have that’s mine is my good name, how can I, with dignity, accept this notion that I am due for a massive, cosmic demerit, and that it is simply being rescinded for matters that are above my head? If I deserve to go to Hell, then shit, let’s go – I’ll go there proudly, with the knowledge that I am better than all the people who skipped out due to friends in high places – that I am truly the owner of my actions, in a sense that nobody in Heaven is.

    What am I seeing wrong here?

  • ReverendRef

    Hexep:

    This could be fun. I’m currently in the middle of Holy
    Week and otherwise occupied, but will get back to you next week. Rather
    than do this through the comment section, though, feel free to e-mail me directly at revtoddyoung at gmail dot com. If you shoot me an e-mail, I will respond that way.

    Blessings,

  • SergeantHeretic

    ReverendRef, that’s about it, and why I am not a Christian anymore. I could no longer stand the direct contradiction between how this Jesus chappie said to act and the way most Christians act. I reasoned that if this being did in fact exist and was in fact empowered to change the lives and behavior of the believers, then wouldn’t the whole “Don’t be a priggish self rightous asshole” thing be the rule not the exception?

  • ReverendRef

     that’s about it, and why I am not a Christian anymore. I could no longer
    stand the direct contradiction between how this Jesus chappie said to
    act and the way most Christians act.

    It’s unfortunate that you left the faith because of the behavior of a certain faction of Christians.  Wherever you are in your faith journey, I hope it helps you.  My prayer isn’t necessarily for you to return (because that sounds a little condescending); my prayer is that the egregious wankers will come to the realization that they are doing more harm than good and learn to spend more time actually loving their neighbor than trying to send them to hell.

  • SergeantHeretic

    ReverendRef, my thinking was thus:

    I would see so MANY of these people being mean and spiteful and selfish and self rightous and clannish and abusive and so on and so forth, and I would think to myself, “Acting that way is demonstrably self evidently wrong. Even if I wanted to do those things I would not need to be a Christian to do those things and be the way they are. shouldn’t the difference between Christians and nonChristians be that Christians act demonstrobly BETTER than non Christians, not demonstrably worse?”

    To quote Tyler Perry, I can do bad all by myself.

  • Lori

    Land is probably talking about Christians who own businesses facing legal problems for  refusing to have gay couples as customers, right? That is something that’s happening. For bigoted florists refusing to do flowers for same sex weddings is apparently the  new black. Same goes for bigoted inn owners and other bigots who run public accommodations or provide wedding-related services to the public.

    In those cases they’re more or less committing acts of civil disobedience.  The masturbatory fantasy is that they’re doing so in brave defense of their Christian principles and that the fines and lawsuits they face make them martyrs. You can pop that little bubble of self-righteousness right quick by asking how providing services to same sex weddings violates their “Christian” principles to a greater extent than say, providing services to a couple whose relationship started in an adulterous affair. Funny how you never hear about adulterers being unable to get flowers for their wedding.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Is it wrong that I chuckle a little whenever someone suggests that large numbers of florists are going to take a principled stand against same-sex marriage and refuse the business of gay customers?

  • Lori

    If it’s wrong I’m your partner in wrongness.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Even leaving aside florists, does anyone seriously think that large numbers of hard right conservatives are going to refuse to do business with someone for moral reasons, when it’s something as hugely profitable as a wedding, in this economy?

    Those three-dollar bills are still legal tender.

  • Lori

    The Vatican is one of the landlords for Europe’s largest bathhouse.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/as-cardinals-gather-to-elect-pope-catholic-officials-break-into-a-sweat-over-news-that-priests-share-23m-building-with-huge-gay-sauna-8529670.html

    Which is to say, no there is no reason for anyone to think that large numbers of people are going to turn down the chance to make money because The Ghay violates their principles.

  • smrnda

     Near me, a “Christian” bed and breakfast made this complaint about some reception for a same-sex commitment ceremony reception. I mean, seriously, if you’re running any kind of hotel/motel etc. you have almost certainly provided a bed for all kinds of sex you wouldn’t find moral. I’m guessing their only objection was to a same-sex couple openly proclaiming love and commitment on their premises – if it was just a one night hook up, they’d have rented the room.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     I run into this sort of thing a lot. I typically interpret it as “as long as you deviants sneak around, I can feel morally superior, but if you act like human beings in a human relationship my superiority is less clear.”

  • Lunch Meat

    Land is probably talking about Christians who own businesses facing legal problems for  refusing to have gay couples as customers, right? That is something that’s happening. For bigoted florists refusing to do flowers for same sex weddings is apparently the  new black. Same goes for bigoted inn owners and other bigots who run public accommodations or provide wedding-related services to the public.

    I’m kind of confused about this. Don’t most businesses have a sign or disclaimer saying they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone? Does that apply in this case and how?

  • Lori

    Yes, many businesses have those signs, but the signs in and of themselves don’t actually confer any legal rights or authority. You can put up any sign you want, you’re still not allowed to discriminate against protected classes.

  • P J Evans

     AFAIK, the places that usually do that are food service, and it’s usually something like ‘no shoes, no shirt, no service’. The only other reasons I can think of are things like smoking in a no-smoking zone, and using cell phones or cameras after being told that it’s not okay to use them. (They’re not likely to call in the police, but they will escort you out.)

  • Lorehead

    Businesses do not actually have, under the law, “the right to refuse service to anyone.”  For example, they do not have the right to refuse service to black people.  That most Americans will defer to these signs anyway is a good example of how social norms are more important than the written laws.

    This is one of the ways in which I think Fred’s thesis about how civil disobedience can only be used for good fails in the real world.  If Chick-fil-A announced tomorrow that it wasn’t going to recognize two men or two women as married or give their spouses any benefits, it would be breaking many states’ laws, and many people would support them, certainly more enthusiastically than a narrow majority would object.

  • Dennis

     “We are pleased that the Supreme Court rejected the Obama administration’s
    profoundly troubling claim of power over churches, and glad to see that the
    Supreme Court has stayed out of the Lutheran Church’s affairs and
    allowed its internal rules as a body of believers to stand.” So says the Family Research Council concerning the Hosanna-Tabor case . Anyone know how  the Obama administration is connected this case? Anyone?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Obama is everywhere. He’s connected to everything. He has flea-sized webcams installed every 5 feet across the country so he can spy on RTCs and do everything he can to increase his War On Religious Freedom. 

    Gay marriage at a church near you? Obama’s fault. The cops getting involved in an abuse case and “stealing authority” from the clergy? Obama’s fault. The light bulb in the nursery blown out? Obama’s fault. They’re all a part of his attempts to stick Christians in FEMA camps. 

    /Poe off. 

  • SergeantHeretic

    I have to say this, As a former Christian, as a former fundamentalist, as a woman and as a gay American, the worst and most personally odious thing that the most powerful and wealthy religious class in this nation does, in addition to actually persecuting and legally marginaliizing everyone who isn’t them is THIS!

    This self rightous, self agrandizing, self pleasuring contra-reality pose that it is THEY who are being persecuted by US!

    I am continually amazed at the ability of these people to take the most transitory and mino slights or the extension of equal rights to people-not-them and twist it into “OH NOEZ WEEZ IZ BEIN’ PERSECUTED  ZOMG!!!!!”

    My father, does this, my brother does this, my Stepmother used to, but I finally broke her of this sick self indulgent masturbatory arrogance.

    I know why they do this, as does Freddo.

    They have the unshakable arrogant pose that they are objectivly aritratily “Good” simply by virtue of being “Real True Christians”.

    The problem comes when they realize that they are doing bad things. They are doing and advocating things that their alledged savior and teacher repeatedly said he does not like and does not want them doing.

    Therefore, in order to try and ameliorate the guilt from the violations of the supposed teacher’s dictates, they cling to this fictional, manufactured pose of “Victimhood” in order to cover and adress the reality that they are activly hating and persuting and marginalizing the very people that Jesus said they were supposed to embrace.

    Fred said it the best way, Richard Land pretends to be Rosa Parks, but in Reality, he’s James F. Blake.

  • SergeantHeretic

    SOmething I just thought of,

    There may be more to this than I first realized. at least with some of the RTC’s that can still comprehend what they read i nthe Bible.

    Some of them may be looking at the parts that say the rich and the proud and the powerful will be brought low and cast down and think, “Wait a second, that’s talking about us!”

    So they create this elaborate fictional context in which the poor, and the outsider, and the outcast and so forth are actually oppressing and marginalising THEM! that way it is really THEM that jesus needs to lift up and empower.

    Or am I giving them too much credit?

  • http://snarkthebold.blogspot.com/ Edo

    So they create this elaborate fictional context in which the poor, and the outsider, and the outcast and so forth are actually oppressing and marginalising THEM! that way it is really THEM that jesus needs to lift up and empower.

    Or am I giving them too much credit?

    A big part of that elaborate fictional context is called “the Left Behind franchise,” I think. So no, you’re not giving them too much credit at all.

    Thank you, SergeantHeretic, for posting this comment. As someone who reads critical theory and theology for fun, I’ve been bouncing around an idea like this for the last night or so, and wondering if it’s just me being a half-baked theorist and playing with words. Your thoughts suggest that it’s not just me, and I’m really thankful for that.(I’d be glad to discuss it further, but it’s usually a bad idea to launch into a postliberal/narrative critique of political theology unsolicited.)

  • Stressfactor

    Actually, I would also argue that Land’s screed is slightly more than fantasy masturbation as well.  By saying these things *publicly* he’s also trying to put the big F-E-A-R into his followers.  He’s trying to make them afraid of a “changing” world; scare them that their own fantasy of a “Leave It To Beaver” idyllic time in America, is under threat and therefore their job is to “stand with him” — i.e. flock to churches that he and his ilk approve of, and pour money into the coffers of those churches, and buy books from authors that they approve of, etc., etc., etc. 

    Fear is one of the most powerful controls one can wield and in addition to imagining himself as some great ‘warrior for Christ’ he is also sowing fear in an effort to control to his followers.

  • SergeantHeretic

    Well, yes, but I should think that is huckster 101 out of the Elmer Gantry playbook.

  • SergeantHeretic

    Stressfactor brings up a good point, If Land and Wright are masturbating but also speaking for the self aggrandising pleasure of their core audience, is that a group wank or a circle jerk?

  • MaryKaye

     It’s not so much (speaking for myself here) a matter of “There are bad Christians so that means I should leave the faith” as “This faith promises to make people better but it’s not working.”  I count myself as one of the people whom it was not making a better person; I was better able to do the right thing when I stopped being a Christian, and that was, to me, reason enough to leave.

    When you can’t turn around without meeting someone who has had to work on healing and recovery from the harm done to them by the religion they were raised in–something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.  You do have to wonder why a benevolent supernatural being lets *his own path* go so wrong.  Why, if it were worth some miracles to get it started, it’s not worth some miracles to stop it from becoming a source of immense evil and suffering.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

      You do have to wonder why a benevolent supernatural being lets *his own
    path* go so wrong.  Why, if it were worth some miracles to get it
    started, it’s not worth some miracles to stop it from becoming a source
    of immense evil and suffering.

    Yep.  For someone who claims believing in Him is so important, God stinks at PR.

  • MaryKaye

    I would really like it if people would find a different set of derogatory terms.  The Charge of the Goddess says “All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals” and that is what I believe; pleasure, very much including sexual pleasure, is holy and good.

    Using “masturbator” as a term of abuse–when something like 99% of us masturbate, to start with, and when it would be a really good idea to teach teens that this is normal and healthy–is to me a lot like using “gay” as a term of abuse.

    For a specific term for what the leaders being discussed here are doing I suggest “narcissism” or “attention-getting behavior” or “pandering” or “self-aggrandizing fantasies” or “playing at martyrdom.”  They are not masturbating.  It would be a lot better for the world if they were.

    As a D&D player and, yes, a person who masturbates, I am sick and tired of having harmless pleasures used as metaphors for narcissistic, mean, and evil behaviors.

  • AnonymousSam

    Speaking of someone who’s not ashamed to admit to a few things society’s not always keen about: I think it’s a fully accurate metaphor. It’s a self-induced dopamine rush from fantasizing about doing something forbidden and exciting. It’s even forbidden within their own culture, yet they do it anyway because the feelings are pleasurable and addictive. Strip it down and it resembles nothing so much as a mental orgasm from sadistic imagery — they get their kicks from imagining that in the end, they’re the ones who will look down on tortured sinners for all eternity.

  • Madhabmatics

     if you are a D&D player just use grognard, it fits everything. Whiny old white guy who wants things like they were back in his day? Applies to everything

    “Women shouldn’t work or vote” – a gender grog

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    My suspicion: Their notion of “civil disobedience” looks like this news story I saw yesterday:

    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/03/iowa-judge-says-transgender-woman-faced-discrimination/

    “Jones, 56, filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission after a November 2011 incident in which she says she was confronted by a female sheriff’s deputy after going into a women’s restroom in the Johnson County Courthouse.

    Jones said the deputy yelled at her to leave immediately. Jones complied, but said she told the deputy she had a legal right to use the restroom. Jones said the deputy replied she had to leave ‘regardless of what the law is.'”

    The most likely explanation is they don’t intend to do anything and are just posturing. But if we take them at their word: What we are talking about is the application of state power– whether state power is applied equally or unequally against one group. They are claiming (as in other cases) that the discrimination they are suffering is the withdrawal of being allowed to apply state power to the detriment of this group. The only possible way to “disobey” this, it seems, would be to obtain state power and then apply it against the disfavored group– I.E. personally come to hold state power, become a clerk, become a policeman, become a judge, become a legislator, and then apply that public power in a way which is discriminatory against LGBTs, “regardless of what the law is”.

    So we’re not talking about “civil” disobedience here at all, we’re talking about something else– State disobedience? Civic disobedience? Civic discrimination?

  • SergeantHeretic

    MCE NOW you are getting it! NOW you are catching on! What they want is the ability to directly and imediatly use secular power to directly and immediatly hurt and or crap on gay mane and women, poor people, african Americans, Hispanic AMericans Non RTCs and anyone else who is not a lily-white wealthy Real True Christian merican.

    Depriving them of that ability or in any other ay removing any kind of overwhelming privilidge is, in the teeny tiny little minds of these alleged people IS religious and social and cultural discrimination.

    These are as Fred has said often, awful AWFUL people!

  • Leum

    I’m kind of confused about this. Don’t most businesses have a sign or
    disclaimer saying they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone?
    Does that apply in this case and how?

    According to my attorney dad, businesses may reserve the right, but they don’t actually have it.

  • SergeantHeretic

    Folks, the thing is, Fred is right, he is dead o nthe money here. there is just no way that gay people getting married and having those marriages aknowledged by the civil government affects these yabbos at all.

    It takes no coin from their purse.

    It breaks no limb on their bodies.

    It does not break their supper plate.

    It infringes on precisely NONE of their real actual real life civil liberties.

    It doesn’t obligate them to do or to NOT do anything!

    It doesn’t concern them at all.

    What it does do is take away just a little bit more of their exclusdive claim to a set of so-called privelidges that they in their sick little minds think only the “Right” people should have.

    And there we have it don’t we?

    It removes just a little bit more of their EXCLUSIVE privelidge!

    And THAT is why slimey-souled people like RIchard land are screaming.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I think that the anti-equality RTCs are correct when they say that marriage equality threatens their marriages. Because for them, “marriage” is a sex-based hierarchy. One partner automatically has “headship” because penis.

    Which, of course, does not apply to same-sex couples.* And as same-sex marriage becomes more accepted, more people will notice this.

    So not only might RTC culture get it into their heads that same-sex marriages are the same as opposite-sex marriages, they may conclude that this means marriage does not have an automatic, penis-based hierarchy.

    The fear isn’t just that LGBT people might get marriage equality. It’s that women married to men might get equality too.

    *The idiotic “So which one of you is the guy?” questions aside.

  • SergeantHeretic

    It all ties into the conciet in our culture that religious people are by definition better, more moral more trustworthy people than nonreligious people. This is a perception and a myth contradicted every day in every way by vehemently religious people commiting fraud rape child sexual abuse and everything else.

    My perosnal experience is as follows, I can do bad all by myself and more to the point I can do good all by myself to. and hey I can and do refrain from doing bad all the ime and I do it all by myself without anyone prodding me or poking me or threatening me.

    So why do I need religion again?

  • SergeantHeretic

    The worst thing about the whiney old white guys who want thing like they were back in the day is that they don’t want the 90% tax rate on daddy warbucks, or the major national infrastructure and works projects, no, they just want the racism sexism homophobia and crass and trashy public decorations masquerading as Christian piety.


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