TF: Loving an America without Americans

TF: Loving an America without Americans August 15, 2011

Tribulation Force, pp. 402-403

In a rush at the end of this volume, Jerry Jenkins loses track of the narrative pattern he has followed up until this point.

For more than 800 pages he’s been alternating between the points of view of his two main characters, Rayford Steele and Buck Williams, revealing to readers only that which is seen or heard by each character in turn. That storytelling framework has shaped the plot of this second book in the series, with the first 400 pages of Tribulation Force consisting mainly of the author maneuvering his point-of-view protagonists into positions from which they will be able to witness and report on the events of the End Times check list as they unfold.

In Rayford’s case, that involved his taking a job as the personal pilot of the Antichrist. That was something he didn’t want to do — a step that seems inexplicable apart from the narrative convenience of putting him in a place where he’ll wind up trailing around behind Nicolae Carpathia. Rayford’s character hasn’t been so well drawn that we can really complain that his choice to work for Nicolae is “out of character,” but we can at least say that this choice develops his character more than anything else in this book.

That’s backwards. A character’s choices shouldn’t be dictated by the author’s narrative framework. Yet Jenkins was so devoted to this particular scheme that he was happy to change who Rayford seemed to be just to get him into a position where he could provide readers with an account of the actions of another character.

Jenkins’ determination to keep his POV characters in position has also meant, throughout this book, that neither Buck nor Rayford has been allowed to take any action that might jeopardize their continued proximity to Nicolae. Their role, as deployed by Jenkins, has been to observe the End of the World from the front-row seats he has reserved for them. They’re not allowed to act as heroes, only as spectators.

And that, in turn, has become an implicit theme of this series. It’s something these books teach. Jenkins’ slavish devotion to his alternating-POV narrative scheme aligns with Tim LaHaye’s fatalistic view that all human beings are mere pawns of prophecy. The characters of Rayford and Buck are held up as models for the Christian readers of these books to emulate, demonstrating what LaHaye seems to imagine is the main role for Christians in this world — to cozy up to power as spectators who never intervene or interfere.

So here we are in the final 50 pages of Tribulation Force, having slogged through 400 pages in which Jenkins did little more than line up airplane trips and phone calls to get his protagonists into position to be eyewitnesses to the actions of others. And after all that, Jenkins realizes he has too much ground left to cover and abruptly drops the pretense of sticking only to those two characters’ perspectives. Suddenly we’re reading the account of an omniscient, third-person narrator.

This new narrator scrambles to bring readers up to speed on what the new one-world religion pope has been up to during the 18-month time skip. “Pontifex Maximus Peter,” the head of the newly antichristened “Enigma Babylon One World Faith,” has been laying the groundwork for the persecution of “the Orthodox Jews” and “the new Christian believers” who converted through the stadium-tour evangelism of ex-Rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah and his opening act, Moses and Elijah.

[Pontifex Maximus Peter] had as much problem with the newly rebuilt temple and its return to the system of sacrifices as he did with the millions and millions of converts to Christ.

So the EBOWF, the new one-world religion, follows the same strange pattern established by the “Global Community” one-world government. We were told that Nicole’s OWG negotiated a treaty with Israel, with no explanation of why Israel remained a distinct and separate sovereign entity capable of signing such a treaty. Not only was this lone exception to the “one-world” of the OWG not explained, but the authors didn’t seem to see any need for such an explanation. This didn’t just convey the idea that Israel was unique or exceptional, but something more like the idea that Israel is alien — that it is something else, something that is excluded from the category of “every nation on earth.”

That same exclusion is echoed here as Nicolae, having just established a single, one-world religion to absorb and replace every religion on earth, then turns around and rebuilds the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

Again we’re given no explanation for this contradiction, and no indication that the authors even realize it is a contradiction. But as the next paragraph illustrates, such contradictions seem to arise whenever the authors get to talking about Israel:

“Israel has rebuilt the temple to hasten the return of their Messiah,” Eli and Moishe had said, “not realizing that she built it apart from the true Messiah, who has already come! Israel has constructed a temple of rejection! Do not wonder why so few of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists are from Israel! Israel remains largely unbelieving and will soon suffer for it!”

Should any American politician offer even a slight, muted criticism of the nation of Israel, Tim LaHaye will be among those leading the charge to denounce them, demanding an apology. LaHaye loves Israel, he reassures anyone who will listen. He regards himself as one of its leading defenders and patrons and has raised vast amounts of money for lobbying efforts he describes as “pro-Israel.”

Yet here in LaHaye’s own words — in his book, in the mouths of characters who serve as his mouthpiece — we find a condemnation of Israel that goes far beyond anything that any of those LaHaye denounces as “foes of Israel” would ever say.

His complaint with Israel here, specifically, is that it’s full of Israelis. Israel would be perfect, he says, except that it’s crawling with Jews.

This is another instance of the passive-aggressive anti-Semitism we’ve seen running throughout these books. Other examples include the appalling stereotypes of Chaim and Tsion, and LaHaye’s variation of scapegoating John Birch Society conspiracy theories about “international bankers.”

LaHaye would likely defend himself from the charge of anti-Semitism here by pointing out that the heroes of this scene are themselves Jewish — great Jewish icons, in fact. I doubt it would be possible to explain to him in a way he would understand that portraying Moses and Elijah as the ones denouncing Jews as Christ-deniers doesn’t actually make the scene less anti-Semitic.

I will offer this, not in defense of LaHaye, but as context for this scene: When he says he loves Israel but condemns Israelis, he’s expressing the same attitude toward Jews that he regularly expresses toward Americans.

LaHaye’s responses to any questions about America depend on how you frame the question. Ask him about American exceptionalism, or about the faith of the founding fathers, or about St. Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” and he will gush enthusiastically about God’s special, chosen and uniquely blessed land. But if you pose the question in a way that mentions public schools, Social Security, health care or taxes, he will describe America instead as Sodom and Gomorrah, a wretched cesspool of sin, depravity, secularism, licentiousness and atheistic science.

Tim LaHaye loves America, but he hates Americans. And he feels exactly the same way about God’s other chose people.

For someone so obsessively concerned with Israel and “The Jews,” LaHaye is also oddly uninterested in learning or knowing much of anything at all about Judaism. I myself am no expert on Judaism. I could not begin to say what the development glibly mentioned above would mean. I can’t begin to imagine the ramifications for Judaism of a rebuilt temple and the restoration of the system of animal sacrifice as outlined in the Torah. But the not-very-much I have learned about Judaism is enough to know that it would be a massive and radical upheaval in the faith and practice of a people who have, over the course of nearly 2,000 years, developed a vibrant faith apart from those practices.

I don’t need to know all the details or all the far-reaching implications of that upheaval to recognize that the rebuilt temple would change everything.

Yet here, in Tribulation Force, the rebuilding of the temple and the resumption of animal sacrifice changes nothing.

The only significance of this development, as the authors describe it, is that Nicolae was on hand for the dedication, and that Moses and Elijah took time off their stadium tour to rail against this “temple of rejection.” Apart from that, and from it’s impact on tourism, the authors don’t seem to regard it as an especially significant change.

The day of the reopening, the new third-person narrator tells us:

Moishe and Eli made their way to the temple side of the Golden Gate. … Nicolae Carpathia had been among the cadre of dignitaries that day. He railed against the interlopers, but Eli and Moishe silenced even him. Without the aid of microphones, the two witnesses spoke loudly enough for all to hear, crying out in the courtyard, “Nicolae! You yourself will one day defile and desecrate this temple!”

Nicolae denies this, but since the authors seem to indicate that he and the rest of his “cadre of dignitaries” actually entered the temple, it seems like a moot point. Thanks to these visiting dignitaries, the place is already going to need to be reconsecrated.

“Nonsense!” Carpathia had responded. “Is there not a military leader in Israel with the fortitude to silence these two?”

The Israeli prime minister, who now reported to the Global Community ambassador of the United States of Asia, was caught on microphone and news tape. “Sir, we have become a weaponless society, thanks to you.”

This is included to clarify the political lessons being taught in the Left Behind series. Nicolae himself is, of course, a symbol of the importance of keeping government limited, tiny and impotent lest it usurp all freedom and become the Antichrist’s OWG. But here we’re reminded that this principle of limited government is itself limited and does not apply to military spending. Government should be limited when it comes to things like schools, highways, welfare, environmental protections and taxes on non-labor income. But it is vital that government’s ability to inflict lethal violence not be limited lest the government find itself unable to fulfill its crucial, God-given role of suppressing dissenting speech at gunpoint.

We also learn here that Israel has apparently been subsumed into the OWG as a sub-state of the Asian principality. So then what was that whole treaty-signing business about? Doesn’t that mean it was kind of like Canada signing a treaty with Alberta?

Eli and Moishe continued to shout, “God does not dwell in temples made with hands! The body of believers is the temple of the Holy Spirit!”

Once again the authors, afraid of writing too much original dialogue for these biblical characters, opt to have them recite scripture. And as usual, the authors decide to have Moses and Elijah recite scripture from the New Testament — here paraphrasing Acts 7:48 and 1 Corinthians 6:19.

It’s a bit frustrating that for all this recitation of the New Testament, “Moishe and Eli” never cite any of the numerous New-Testament passages in which the Golden Rule is taught as the summation of “the law and the prophets.” Here LaHaye and Jenkins have Mr. Law and Mr. Prophet speaking, and yet they never say diddly about loving your neighbor as yourself.

Carpathia, who had been merely trying to support his friends in Israel by honoring them for their new temple, asked the crowd, “Do you wish to listen to me or to them?”

The crowd had shouted, “You, Potentate! You!”

“Potentate?”

I think I get what Jenkins is shooting for here. Nicolae is the Antichrist, but that obviously won’t do as a title for public use. So what job title should the authors use for Nicolae’s new position as head of the OWG? They can’t call him an “emperor” because that might get readers thinking about all those passages in Revelation about the Beast and how they might apply to an emperor. That would come dangerously close to an orthodox, biblically literate reading of John’s Apocalypse, which would be disastrous for LaHaye’s alternative scheme. So instead Jenkins reaches for some other word for a supreme authority figure.

I’d have stuck with something biblical. The simple title “Lord,” for instance, would highlight the contrast between Christ and Antichrist. It’s also possible to imagine a frenzied crowd of Nicolae’s supporters shouting, “You, Lord! You!”

It’s possible to imagine that in just the same way it’s not possible to imagine such a crowd shouting “You, Potentate! You!”

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  • Anonymous

    because giant robots are awesome and didn’t exist when the bible was written ans we can’t have that can’t we?

  •  But that could apply to phones. And planes.

    Come to think of it, can’t some transformers turn into planes?

    Is Rayford flying around a Decipticon?

  •  But that could apply to phones. And planes.

    Come to think of it, can’t some transformers turn into planes?

    Is Rayford flying around a Decipticon?

  • Amaryllis

    I see that everyone’s been saving up the wit and the snark for the return of TF Monday.

    And I’ve been merrily clicking Like on everything, until I realized that I wasn’t logged in. So I logged in and Liked something that I already Liked, and Disqus took it. It’s by login rather than IP, I guess?

    Anyway, carry on. Good stuff all around.

  • Amaryllis

    Oh, and,
    To me, that memo is infinitely more terrifying than anything Alexander the Great could do…Apocalypse by Corporatespeak

    The hand that signed the paper felled a city.
    Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,   
    Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country;   
    These five kings did a king to death.

    The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever,   
    And famine grew, and locusts came;
    Great is the hand that holds dominion over   
    Man by a scribbled name.

  • MikeJ

    When I hear “You, Potentate! You!”, the only response I can think of is “I palindrome I”

  • Rikalous

    Let’s see what were the nicknames I gave the tribulation force: 
    1 insult to every true christian.
    2 arnold rimmer.
    3 breed of gutless lemming-ostriches.

    And many many more, but I can’t think off everyone right now.

    Do you people have any?

    I used to call them the Tribbles, but realized that was a mortal insult to the Kilingons’ great nemesis.

  • Ghost of Herman Smith

    Hi, I have a question on a topic that brought up earlier on this board (this seemed like the right place to ask for opinions on the subject). Is it possible to think of homosexual acts as a sin but not be homophobic? Anyone who reads this, please tell me what you think.

  • Anonymous

    Is it possible to think of homosexual acts as a sin but not be homophobic?

    Nope. It’s theoretically possible to think of homosexual behavior as sinful and not act heterosexist, but I’ve never heard of anyone who’s done it.

  • chris the cynic

    Do you mean in theory or in practice?

    Also, are you assuming that the person having these thoughts assumes that God is morally correct? (I.e. is sinful being equated to wrong?)

  • chris the cynic

    Do you mean in theory or in practice?

    Also, are you assuming that the person having these thoughts assumes that God is morally correct? (I.e. is sinful being equated to wrong?)

  • chris the cynic

    Do you mean in theory or in practice?

    Also, are you assuming that the person having these thoughts assumes that God is morally correct? (I.e. is sinful being equated to wrong?)

  • Ghost of Herman Smith

    It’s theoretically possible to think of homosexual behavior as sinful and not act heterosexist, but I’ve never heard of anyone who’s done it.

    Consider me the first person to have done it. While I think of homosexual behavior as sinful, I’m not against gay rights (I’m not for gay rights either, though), and I’m not against homosexuals joining the church (though I would advise they remain celebate). That said, the President could be homosexual, and I wouldn’t care.

  • Ghost of Herman Smith

    In practice.

  • Ghost of Herman Smith

    Sorry, forgot to turn off the italics.

  • Matri

    in short they are the exact oposite of the autobots in this clip.

    I’d like to point out that while Optimus doesn’t exactly stop anyone from fighting with him, he makes sure to put himself out front. Every Decepticon who targets him is a weapon not pointed at anyone else.

  • Tonio

    I’m not against gay rights (I’m not for gay rights either, though)

    Huh? Do you mean you take no position on the issue? What do you think gay rights are? They’re basically gays being treated the same under the law as straights.

    The real issue is that there’s not a single valid argument for the idea that homosexuality is wrong or immoral. Putting aside quotations from Leviticus and Romans, almost every argument I’ve heard either comes down to some notion of “normalcy,” or the idea that homosexuality doesn’t further the procreation of the human race. Well, neither does abstinence and I don’t hear anyone calling it immoral.

  • chris the cynic

    In practice I have serious doubts about the possibility unless it is coupled with a belief that “sinful” is disconnected from “wrong.”

    To say that for someone to be themselves in their love life is to be sinful is a very strong condemnation.  It is certainly possible to imagine situations when that condemnation could be completely appropriate, it is much harder to imagine that that condemnation can somehow coexist with acceptance of the person as they are.

    If you think that that condemnation ought to be visited on people just for having non-heterosexual sex, then I personally feel no qualms about saying that yes, you do appear to be homophobic.  Or perhaps heterosexist would be a better term since I’m pretty sure you’re not attaching a caveat that says, “Unless they’re bi.”

    That said, there is a difference between being heterosexist and committing heterosexist actions.  If you keep it to yourself and treat everyone the same way, then I think that you’re probably better off from a moral standpoint than someone who commits heterosexist acts without actually being a heterosexist.  This is one of many instances where what you do matters much more than what you think.  Your question was about thought, I think most people are going to be more concerned with action and consider thought only important insofar as it leads to action.

    The final thing I have to say is that by telling non-heterosexuals to remain celibate* you are contributing to a heterosexist, and thus in the terminology of your original question homophobic, culture.  You a preforming an act which is damaging to a group of people, and at that point it doesn’t really matter what you are, because what you are doing is heterosexist, homophobic, or whatever you want to call it.

    * Note that I only say this because I get the impression that you say this only because they are not heterosexual.  If I misunderstood, if you advise everyone to remain celibate, then never mind because there’s nothing heterosexist about that.

  • Ghost of Herman Smith

    Well, think of me as a heterosexist who keeps it to himself.

  • P J Evans

    Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything for him to be shouting except,
    “It’s my body and I’ll die if I want to!” which is too long and not
    rabble-rouse-y enough.

    You can certainly sing it, though. (Earworm!)

  • ako

    Based on what you’ve said, I’m not about to declare you totally free of prejudice (particularly considering your statement about not being for gay rights), but you sound less prejudiced than many, and it’s certainly a better attitude than the many heterosexist theocrat-wannabees out there who think “According to my interpretation of my religion, this is a sin” is a good reason to legally force other people to adhere to their beliefs.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not against homosexuals joining the church (though I would advise they remain celebate)

    That’s heterosexist.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything for him to be shouting except,
    “It’s my body and I’ll die if I want to!” which is too long and not
    rabble-rouse-y enough.

    You can certainly sing it, though. (Earworm!)

  • Anonymous

    and I’m not against homosexuals joining the church (though I would
    advise they remain celebate). That said, the President could be
    homosexual, and I wouldn’t care.

  • Amaryllis, I always like to be logged in when I “Like” stuff, because then I can find it again on my Disqus profile. The annoying thing is that I can’t find any way to log into Disqus without posting something. There’s a “log in” button on the Disqus site itself, but it appears to require a username and password alongside an OpenID, which is contrary to OpenID as I understand it.

    TRiG.

  • Someone

    How about “General”, as an abbreviation of his official title of “Secretary-General”? It fits Nicolae’s militant pacifist schtick, and while it’s a bit clumsy, it’s a hell of a lot better than “Potentate.”

    Or, if you want to be silly (and the Antichrist certainly is), how about “Generallisimo”?

  • Lila

    “Potentator” FTW, but I’d spell it “Potentater”.

    BTW, I have actually been to Hahira.

  • Lila

    “Potentator” FTW, but I’d spell it “Potentater”.

    BTW, I have actually been to Hahira.

  • Anonymous

    You know, Nicolae would be more believable (or at least more interesting) if played by Hans Conreid.

    It’s pretty bad when stuff written by Dr. Seuss is more realistic than the supposed realism of L&J.

  • Anonymous

    You know, Nicolae would be more believable (or at least more interesting) if played by Hans Conreid.

    It’s pretty bad when stuff written by Dr. Seuss is more realistic than the supposed realism of L&J.

  • Lila

    Also, the Apocalyptic Memo of Doom reminds me of this:

    [The thing] had a badge. 

    The badge said, “My name is Urglefloggah, Spawn of the Pit and Loathly Guardian of the Dread Portal: How May I Help You?”

    It was not very happy about this.  (Terry Pratchett, Eric)

  • Anonymous

    It scans with the song You Wonderful You. I could see it being crooned in a very slash way followed by a soft shoe.

  • That sentence reminds me of, all the damn things in the world, a “Family Guy” quote: “It’s not so much that I want to kill her, it’s just that I don’t want her to be alive any more.”

    The thing about human rights is that, if you’re indifferent, that’s pretty much the same as upholding the status quo. “I’m not against blacks  having the right to vote; however, I’m not in favor of it either” might be technically different from the Jim Crow perspective but it has more or less the same effect.

  • Anonymous

    Is it possible to think of homosexual acts as a sin but not be homophobic? Anyone who reads this, please tell me what you think.

    Yes, it is if (and ONLY if) you maintain a strict separation of church and state. If you think that your (or your church’s) identification of a “sin” means that the “sin” should be illegal and prevented/punished by the government, then you are not only a homophobe, you are opposed to our Constitution.

  • Donalbain

    Is it possible to think of homosexual acts as a sin but not be
    homophobic? Anyone who reads this, please tell me what you think.

    I think it is.

  • Hi, I have a question on a topic that brought up earlier on this board (this seemed like the right place to ask for opinions on the subject). Is it possible to think of homosexual acts as a sin but not be homophobic? Anyone who reads this, please tell me what you think.

    I am not going to get into the sin versus not-a-sin debate about homosexual activity (as distinct from homosexual orientation) because the “sinfulness” of an act will very depending on the interpretation of the particular sect doing the interpreting.  What I will address though, is that there are people who can feel uncomfortable and squicked by the thought of homosexual activity, but that alone does not necessarily make those people homophobic.  

    Virtually every person has some sexual activities that they would be uncomfortable with and would shy away from if offered.  There is nothing wrong with that, everyone has their own boundaries and their own zones of comfort, and people should respect that.  I think that homosexuals on the whole ought to be pretty understanding of this, in the context of a society that puts a lot of pressure on them to make a show of practicing sexual lifestyles that they find uncomfortable.  No one is asking society to like every kind of mutual sexual expression, but it is important that society be willing to tolerate it.

    Of of the problems that I see with encouraging total abstinence (for any sexual orientation) is that such a state is virtually always uncomfortable (unless the person in question is asexual.)  In religious communities that encourage general abstinence outside of marriage, the heterosexuals in the community can at least expect that period of abstinence to eventually end and they will be able to express their sexuality freely.  However, for homosexuals in that same community, that abstinence period never ends, and there is no relief from the discomfort of it.  

    This is where the issue of homophobia starts to become thorny.  The people in such a religious community might still accept those homosexual members, but because of that practice of abstinence those members are suffering more than their heterosexual brothers and sisters.  Assuming that such a community is a place of compassionate people, this does tend to become something that they might have to grapple with, and the results are unfortunately not aways completely satisfactory to all parties.

  • My $.02: sure. For example, categorizing something as a sin can be an entirely intellectual act, without any emotional component at all. That said, whether one is “being homophobic” or not isn’t the only question that matters, nor even necessarily the question that matters most. For example, if you think of homosexual acts as a sin and that leads you to treat people who commit those acts worse than you otherwise would, then you increase the amount of suffering in the world. For people like me, who think suffering is best reduced rather than increased, that would be an important consequence whether you “are homophobic” or not.

  • Sometime before the move (I think anyway), someone started to do a Discworld take on LB. Unfortunately, I don’t think zir FF.net username is the same as zir Slacktivist username, and I don’t remember exactly who zie was. I’ve been hoping zie would continue the story. Maybe this discussion of the Two Prophets vs. Vetinari will provide some inspiration.

  • Just so’s y’know, the whole “You, Potentate, You” discussion has caused me to have “Food, Glorious Food” from Oliver in my head for a day straight now.

    You’re welcome.

  • Tonio

    I am not going to get into the sin versus not-a-sin debate about
    homosexual activity (as distinct from homosexual orientation) because
    the “sinfulness” of an act will very depending on the interpretation of
    the particular sect doing the interpreting.

    Does “sin” have any meaning outside the context of any religion? I was more or less challenging Ghost of Herman Smith to prove that homosexual activity is immoral, at least on a secular basis.

  • Does “sin” have any meaning outside the context of any religion?

    It can; if you think of religious moral codes as being primarily a cultural thing rather than a specifically religious thing, then “sin” can be taken to mean “violating cultural norms in a way that engages the moral emotions” whether the act is objectively immoral or not.

    Trying to think of a good example… consensual incest is probably the best one I can think of so far.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the earwig …

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the earwig …

  • I imagine the memo went something like, “In order to streamline
    efficiencies and maximize synergies, all nation states–except
    Israel–are hereby abolished and replaced with 10 administrative zones
    based on geography (the ‘Principalities’)… In order to realize optimal
    buy-in from affected former-nation states and other stakeholders, said
    nation states and stakeholders will not be informed of their abolition
    and will be permitted to continue to use their names, maintain their
    current political systems, and recognize their current borders,
    treaties, etc. … The following people (the ‘Princes’) are hereby
    appointed to their respective Principalities…”

    I immediately imagined Sir Humphrey Appleby reading this memo out to Jim Hacker, and the “Yes, Prime Minister” episode to follow as Hacker freaks out and Sir Humphrey determines that this will not actually affect the Civil Service’s ability to run the country, and therefore will not need to do anything except keep Hacker under control.

    Of course, once Humphrey learns the truth about Nicolai…

    Dear God, someone has to write this fanfiction. Sir Humphrey Appleby saves the world from God the Anti-Christ through paperwork and proper procedure, not because the world needs saving, but because the apocalypse would upset things being done properly.

  • http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6723203/1/Actus_Deus Wow, LaHayeGod kidnapped Sam Vimes’ kid? I actually feel sorry for the guy.

    Seriously, that’s ultimately the main problem with the series — no free will. Anywhere sane Moishe and Eli would be captured (at the cost of spraying the area with chloroform, if needed — and people would not have a problem with it) and interrogated as to God’s whereabouts, after which and a brief conversation with the nice people at Aperture Science even the 10% of the world’s military that is left would find God and beat on him until he cries like a little girl.

    Which is basically the plot of Pantheocide, really.

  • Anonymous

    Consider me the first person to have done it. While I think of homosexual behavior as sinful, I’m not against gay rights (I’m not for gay rights either, though), and I’m not against homosexuals joining the church (though I would advise they remain celebate). That said, the President could be homosexual, and I wouldn’t care.

    Not for or against gay rights. Well, nice mealy-mouthed way to sidestep the question.

    “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” Rev 3:16 Revised Standard Version.

    That’s what I think of people who refuse to show a stance on certain issues that come close to my heart, being as I am a QUILTBAG and all.

    Also?

    You’re coming from a position of majority privilege. What is meant by that, since the word “privilege” has different connotations and denotations, is that “privilege” is that state of being where you can ignore a phenomenon that affects other people in society. It is typically characterized by being a member of a dominant social group whose basic paradigm is assumed to be the default.

    Since you’re, at a guess, a heterosexual person (I know nothing else about you so I will not assume anything else), you inhabit the default dominant sexual-orientation position assumed to be valid and correct in our society.

    This means you cannot know what it is like to be a QUILTBAG.

    It also means any pronouncements you have to make about the sexual expression of QUILTBAGs are, as far as I’m concerned, the purest comet gas for all the value they have to my state of being.

    QUILTBAGs who engage in consensual sex do not harm anyone else, so what you are doing by calling our sexual behavior sinful is you’re calling an intrinsic part of us sinful. So please, before you get any more bright ideas about trying to make
    like you’re so broad-minded, stop and ask yourself if what you’re saying
    still devalues the worth of other human beings.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    By Odin’s beard…

    And it’s unfinished.  Good lord…

    That story is now bookmarked. 

  • “But it is vital that government’s ability to inflict lethal violence not be limited lest the government find itself unable to fulfill its crucial, God-given role of suppressing dissenting speech at gunpoint.”

    It doesn’t seem likely to me that the authors meant this as a lesson against depriving governments in general of the power to suppress speech. Presumably, they would disagree with the Antichrist having the power to attack Moses and Elijah at all. I think, rather, it was meant to be an instance of the bad guys being hoist by their own petard.

    It highlights the view of many right-wing Evangelicals, that whereas the American government should be able to do whatever it wants with as many guns as it needs, when other governments commit violations of people’s rights on far lesser magnitudes, that is a signal for the U.S. to crush them with overwhelming force. When they say “authority comes from God”, they mean that God put America in charge of everyone else, and you can either like it, or shut up. Or die; that would probably be fine with them, too.