Written on stone tablets (made in China)

So we know that Obama is anti-life, anti-marriage and anti-Christian. The latest revelation is that Obama and his lead hit man Hillary Clinton have done an end run around the constitution and used the UN to ban guns in America.

I was puzzled about all this brouhaha until I realized God had revised the ten commandments. This may sound absurd to you, but I’ve already reported that the Christian right has decided to revisit the Bible and release the version God intended.

I got a peek at the Ten Commandments 2.0 and found them enlightening. Here’s the honest to God commandments the way God would have written them had America been there in time for the Bible to be written:

  1. America is God’s nation. Thou shalt elevate no other nations before it.
  2. Thou shalt defend the Lord with guns and keep the government from taking them away to prevent thy defense thereof. This is the second, and perhaps, greatest commandment. 1
  3. Though shalt display images of thy God, his ten commandments and even his commemorative tree on his birthday in every public office, school and mall, yea even in communities where secular humanists abound.
  4. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain, which is defined thereby as questioning the Lord or those who defend his name or swearing unless you are in the military or play football or doing guy stuff.
  5. Thou shalt remember the sabbath and keep it holy by observing Football, NASCAR and church if it doesn’t conflict with game time.
  6. Honor thy father and mother unless you are a character in a FOX sitcom.
  7. Thou shalt not kill unborn children, but after that they’re on their own.
  8. Thou shalt not commit adultery unless you can deflect accusations by pointing the finger at others.
  9. Thou shalt not allow the government to steal by levying taxes.
  10. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, which doesn’t count if they’re liberals, secular humanists or otherwise unworthy of God’s favor.

Obviously the original tenth commandment was bumped off the list, but it was too long to remember anyway and besides, even if you do know what coveting is, you can buy the stuff you covet on credit.

1I know this is a shift in the order of original commandments, but since the Constitution is the second highest authority for the American Jesus, the second amendment allows new Bible scholars to feel fairly sure that God originally intended this to be the second commandment as well. Since there were no guns at the time, God was holding this back for a later revelation. back


Goodbye bitches and/or belles

This week ABC announced they were canceling the TV series GCB after ten episodes. You may wonder why I’m bothering to blog about a TV comedy when the President is about to declare a war on faith and marry homosexuals during a prime time press conference, but the show stirred up quite a controversy after its release. This controversy may have caused it to be cancelled when other shows with lower ratings made the cut.

Okay, it was only two shows, and one of them Body of Proof only cratered after following a Tuesday night series with even worse ratings. But crater it did.

The series was originally titled Good Christian Bitches after the book it was based on. Then, wisely sensing that the title might inflame the Christian right far more than it did when the book of the same title languished in the publisher’s mid lists where fewer people would notice it, ABC renamed it Good Christian Belles. But that name sounded sexist, so they settled for GCB.

Once they realized that no one would get the title “GCB” ABC started an ad campaign hinting that the “B” word rhymed with “witches” and “riches.” Finally they launched another b-word series called Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 to make sure we would make the connection.

GCB and the book are the story of Amanda Vaughn, a young Christian mother who divorced her husband after years of infidelity and fraudulent business and moved back with her mother in the wealthy Highland Park area of Dallas. After the move, however, she discovers that the members of her church aren’t quite as forgiving as Jesus. Quite the contrary, they launch a campaign to belittle and humiliate her.

The author, Kim Gatlin, ends the book with Amanda realizing she can be just as judgmental as the women who persecute her. But she can console herself with the fact that she never treated the other girls as badly as they treated her. The Christian bitches in this book live up to their names in every sense of the word.

Not so, the bitches in the television show. In fact even the worst of the lot, Kristin Chenoweth’s character, Carlene Cockburn, is remarkably sympathetic. Crazy as a loon, but still sympathetic. Unfortunately for ABC, the characters also include a closeted gay businessman and adulteress and a would be adulterer. We all now that no such characters would exist among real Christians in real Christian churches.

From the beginning, however, GCB became a target of the Christian right, and I can’t help but thinking this outrage (or posturing) had a lot to do with the show’s cancellation. One Million Moms boycotted the show and, together with groups such as the National Prayer Network, they successfully persuaded major advertisers such as Kraft, Pepsi, Huggies, Progressive and BareEscentuals to drop the show.

The invective was a hateful as it gets. Truthseekers.com called it a Jewish hate crime against Christians . The evidence being the fact that GCB was a “Jewish Disney/ABC” production. I guess the Jewish label belongs to Michael Eisner, and Roy and Walt Disney were famous Jewish conspirators whom we all know plotted to subvert the minds of American youth and convince them to undergo circumcisions and mitzvahs.1

It gets better. Legalize Jesus called GCB “Christophobia” and demanded that readers “BOYCOTT ABC over their new blasphemous TV show CGB…. (and) the liberal secular progressive Christ-hating mob.” Okay, maybe that’s not better.

I hate to say it, but it seems that the only real nastiness is coming from the critics. Sure, the show portrays the Christians in Highland Park’s churches as vain, gossiping and back stabbing. Being raised Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK), I didn’t see anything that sounded out of character with churches where my Dad worked. Or the churches I joined as an adult.

The characters may have been over the top, but by the last episode viewers realized just about every character was well meaning, if not flawed and vain. Did they compete for recognition in their church? Yes. Did they conspire to get one up on each other? Yes. Did they pack guns? Absolutely, but in Texas you can’t love Jesus if you don’t join the NRA.

Personally, I think a lot of Christians jumped the gun on judgment. Had they waited the season out they might have discovered the series didn’t portray Christians in a negative light. Certainly not as negative as many Christians manage to portray themselves.

But I really don’t get the bellyaching. Aren’t Christians supposed to be mocked and criticized? If they aren’t, doesn’t that mean they aren’t doing a good job for Jesus? Let’s take a paragraph to recall the Sermon on the mount:

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
-Matthew 5:11-13 (KJV)”

That sounds to me like Christians who aren’t being persecuted aren’t doing their job. The religious right is whining about perceived persecution when they should be embracing it. Jesus said Christians are blessed when they’re persecuted. GCB should be one of God’s blessings by their own thinking.

But can’t we turn this back on the producers of GCB? The fact that so many Americans want to revile, persecute and falsely accuse them of Jewish hate speech and Christophobia, suggests to me that their salt that hasn’t lost its savor. It really stirred things up.

Personally, I’d be happy to see the show back. I even signed a petition at Save GCB.

And how does Jesus feel about all this? I doubt it’s a blip on his radar. And there will be other shows, and better shows. The world is not about TV. Especially when no one’s forcing us or even our children to watch it.

1If you check the links you will notice how all of these groups have “truth” in their domain names. back

Rejoice in the Lord but don’t be gay

North Carolina joined the ranks of the states willing to secede (or resecede) from the union when it declared same sex marriage and civil unions to be unconstitutional. After all, nothing poses a greater threat to marriage than couples who can’t produce kids.

Cousins can still marry cousins and further narrow the gene pool. But that’s not a threat to marriage at all. Just society in general.

Jesus didn’t speak to me about that. That’s just my opinion. But opinion seems to carry the weight of Gospel these days, so I might as well add mine. Carol was listening to a pundit on CNN while I was in the bathroom this morning so I didn’t get his name (and I didn’t find it worth rewinding), but he argued that gay marriage is a threat to society because homosexuality is picked up from our environments.

His implicit conclusion? Having more gay couples accepted will make more kids gay. He didn’t come out and say this, most likely because the interview would have been posted to YouTube with a laugh track. Facts are facts. Kids grow up in the same communities with the same exposure to gay couples. Most turn out to be straight. So clearly environment isn’t an issue.

Personally, I think the all those Defense of Marriage Acts should be called the Defense of the Definition of Marriage Acts. After all, if we define marriage as “between two people” then same sex marriage isn’t an issue.

So one question we should ask is, does the Bible really define marriage as “between a man and a woman?” The traditional answer is Matthew 19:5 where Jesus said, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.” But that verse doesn’t say a wife is a woman. So what’s all the fuss over men marrying men? Maybe we could twist the verse to mean that women can’t marry women. But clearly there’s no prohibition against men marrying men.

I can already anticipate the objection. But Jesus says in the previous verse that God created male and female. So clearly “wife” means “woman.” But I was raised Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK) and I know that it’s dangerous to make one verse’s meaning depend on previous verses. (It’s called “context.”) Otherwise we would be forced to acknowledge that homosexuality and gossip are equally distasteful to God (read Romans).

Besides, if we are going to insist on context, Jesus is talking about divorce, not same sex marriage. Based on that verse, the defense of marriage would prohibit marriage between previously married partners.

What amazes me is that the Christian right, who is all about religious freedom, wants government to dictate to churches who they can and cannot marry. Banning same sex marriage not only affects the legal status of gay and lesbian couples, it dictates whether or not churches can perform rites for their parishioners, should they choose.

Think about it. Your church accepts that same sex marriage is unlawful in the eyes of God. Even before the defense of marriage act, no government would force you to marry a gay couple. Nor would you need to. If a gay couple was even brave enough to admit their love to the congregation (assuming they were clueless enough to be members of your church) they would still have to get married in a state that accepted same sex marriage, and they could have a civil ceremony if they couldn’t find a liberal elitist secular church that would marry them.

But you would be furious if the government told your church it had to marry that couple. In fact, I can imagine that if the government included divorced partners in the defense of marriage act, your church would be up in arms.

This may seem inconceivable, but forty years ago many churches (including the Catholic Church) felt the same way about divorced couples that many Christians feel about same sex couples now. Some churches thought it was heresy for a church to sanctify a marriage involving a divorced spouse. I suspect those same churches would insist on first marriages between a man and woman only. This, in fact, was the point I was making about the original intent of Matthew 19:5.

The defense of marriage acts deny churches the right to marry same sex couples if they feel that is the Christian thing to do. This sets a dangerous precedent. By refusing to allow citizens their Constitutional rights, Christians are opening the door to government to curtail their own rights as well. This is not just hypocrisy, it’s stupid.

Jesus did not endorse or approve of this blog. At least not explicitly.

So far as I know.

Not all commandments are created equal

One of the worst feelings that can happen to a writer is the feeling you have nothing left to say. Fortunately that has never happened to me because I have been a gifted prevaricator since childhood.1 As a Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK) I learned to polish my prevarication skills as one of the four most important rites of childhood.

The other three rites are answering the invitation to get salvation, baptism, and rededicating your faith once you discover cigarettes, beer, girls, playing doctor with girls, vandalism, first base with girls, second base with girls, dating more than one girl at once, hard liquor and all the other events that constitute the important rites of childhood for other boys. (I can’t answer for girls even though they can be BPKs as well.) The more traditional rites can be experienced but not celebrated or someone will rat out to your minister dad if word gets around.

When you’re BPK, word always gets around to your minister dad. It seems there is someone waiting to rat you out, whether maliciously or inadvertently, and sooner or later that word gets to the deacons who can’t wait to spring it on him during salary negotiations. In case you haven’t guessed, Baptists don’t let moms be ministers because the Bible tells women to keep their mouths shut in church. 2

The bright side of getting busted is that you get to repeat the rededicating your faith ritual more than once and, if you really have connections, multiple declarations of rededication can earn you a second baptism. I had the honor of three.

No, four. I forgot about Patty Kelso from Houston whom I met at church camp. At the end of a service one warm summer evening, the choir sang “Oh, why not tonight?” and she said the same. How could any boy resist an invitation like that?

I intended to keep that fact between me and Patty, but she told a friend who had a friend at my church and a few weeks later I felt compelled to rededicate my faith. This one earned me another baptism because Dad wanted to make sure the deacons couldn’t use it as leverage during the next salary negotiation.

It may seem to readers with no experience as fundamentalists or evangelicals that learning to prevaricate shouldn’t be included with the other three rituals of the BPK childhood. Especially since it breaks one of the ten commandments.

This is because they weren’t raised as fundamentalists or evangelicals. Prevarication isn’t lying if you do it for Jesus. In fact, it is important for BPKs to learn to prevaricate so that their BP dads (BPDs) don’t have meltdowns when they confront BPKs about certain stories they heard from the deacons during salary negotiations and become so angry they jeopardize their immortal souls.

Baptists believe once saved always saved, so technically BPDs couldn’t lose it so badly they jeopardize their souls. But, out of Christian love, their BPKs should do everything possible not to put God to the test.

Besides, BPKs need to learn to prevaricate so they can learn to embellish their sermons when they become BPDs themselves. Once you accept the call from God, not only is it perfectly acceptable to incorporate the stories that once upset your BPD into your own sermons, you have to make your deeds sound even more dastardly to prove how much you needed the grace of God.

Every time you and a buddy snuck a beer from his his dad’s refrigerator will become a drunken binge with the Hell’s Angels while carrying heroin over the border. Every trip to second base with a girl on the debate team became a night spent in a drunken stupor surrounded by hookers in Mexico. The pool game you won from a hustler by clearing the table for the only time in your life and without knowing how you did it becomes a gambling career spent on the run from the Mafia.

So lying is not only Christian, it’s essential to the ministry. And that ministry includes reminding Americans how much they disappointed God by electing Moslem presidents and letting homosexuals marry. I don’t have any such excuse because I am neither minister nor Republican. But, ironically, nothing in today’s post is a prevarication.

I did repurpose this from another blog (if you don’t understand, maybe you should read footnotes). But early Christians repurposed the Gospels four times so I hope you’ll forgive me.

1And the fact that I can grab columns from a different blog and repurpose them here. The odds that readers follow me simply because I am a good writer is fun to think about, but not convincing even when my ego is at it’s most inflated.back
2That right is reserved for liberal women who tend to be Episcopal or Presbyterian and therefore on the fringe of God’s favor, or Pentecostals because nothing stands in the way of a Pentecostal who can draw crowds and donations. back