Bishops behaving badly

The Catholic Church decided allowing a parish priest to campaign for Romney's election wasn't provocative enough. Those crazy guys had to suggest, first that gay Catholics shouldn't be allowed to take communion, and then that Catholics shouldn't take communion if they support same-sex marriage.

Is this a sign of the Catholic Church stepping openly into the political arena? The Newark archbishop claimed that marriage is a “prepolitical” issue, but that hasn't stopped a number of archbishops from enlisting their parishioners in political campaigns against same sex marriage.

I do find it slightly disturbing, however, that Bishops would tell Catholics they shouldn't take communion for being wrong thinking, when they still allow priests to take communion for wrong-doing. Nor do I think I need to elaborate on the irony (especially since molestation was often same sex as well).

The Church's open political maneuvering has led to renewed calls to remove their tax-exempt status. I think this is what they intended all along. I think the Corporate Christian Complex (CCC) wants the Obama administration to move to challenge the Church's tax exempt status.

What better way to prove that Obama has declared a war on faith? Can you imagine the screaming? No matter that the Church has violated the terms of their tax-exempt status by openly promoting a political campaign, or that they violate separation of church and state in the process.

My advice? Be patient. Sooner or later the Republicans will be back in power. They always convince enough people that Jesus loves them more that sooner or later they have to win. Then they will take away the status of a Unitarian church whose minister unwittingly offends them.

Or, even more likely, the Republicans will overstep their bounds and piss off the Pope, who will decide even they are too liberal for Jesus. The Pope will then learn that once you question the Republicans, they will find a way to make you pay.


Hallelujah Palooza is on

It’s been a busy week in Texas, what with everyone preparing for Hallelujah Palooza, Governor Perry’s call for 40 days of prayer and fasting to save the nation from Democrats. Much like the Philistines, Assyrians and Babylonians of the Old Testament, the Democrats have besieged the gates of the modern Jerusalem (Washington D.C.) and are prepared to dismantle the holy temples.

It seems nothing short of spiritual warfare will drive the Democratic hordes out of our holy land. This news totally drowned out the national news of Catholic priests openly endorsing Mitt Romney for President. Texans couldn’t see the problem because Baptists have been openly endorsing Republicans for years. It’s about time Catholics behaved like Christians.

Among the things Perry wants Christian soldiers to pray for is a new President, looser gun laws, Texas’ dead voters to stop trying to claim that they’re alive and for poor people to stop all the whining about health care. The last was prompted by a protest over Perry’s refusal to extend the Medicaid rolls, claiming that Texans don’t need health care when they have Jesus to heal them.

A large crowd gathered at the capitol to protest, but, taking his cue from the Gospels, Perry addressed the crowd and asked, “Which would you rather I give you, more health care or more guns?” Since this is Texas, guns won the day.

After the protest Governor Perry washed his hands and turned his attention back to Hallelujah Palooza. If enough Christian warriors don’t join the campaign, Perry intends to bring in carnival rides and a concert featuring Hank Williams, Jr. and KISS to draw the crowds. He quipped, “Nothing is too good for Jesus.”

That’s the news from Texas where the the guns are larger, the Bibles bigger and all the verses conservative.

In God We Trust, all others pay taxes

One of Romney's newest campaign promises is that he will not take “In God We Trust” off US coins or bills. Naturally, Republican voters now think Obama will remove the phrase. Otherwise, why would Romney pledge it?

Needless to say, neither Romney not Obama has the power to dictate coinage design to the US Mint. But the controversy began when the government moved the phrase from the face of certain coins to the edge and released one pressing with the phrase missing. The phrase moved back to the face in later pressings.

Why is this important? Because even though Jesus told believers not to make a public spectacle of their faith (Matthew 6), he clearly didn't mean American Christians. We're the best Christians in the whole wide world and it's our job to make sure people know it.

We don't actually have to trust God, we just have to remind people that we do. After all, if we really trusted God we wouldn't worry who got elected President. We would trust God to do his will no matter who sat in the White House or Congress.

If we really trusted God to express his will, we wouldn't pay taxes. We would just give government whatever they asked and trust God to spend it wisely.

So I think Romney hasn't gone far enough. If he really was commited to the public trust in God, he wouldn't stop with money. He would make sure it was printed on every American flag, right below the field of stars. He would amend the preamble of the Constitution to read “We the people of the United States who TRUST IN GOD” and Declaration of Independence to read “we hold these truths to be self-evident that we TRUST IN GOD.”

The pledge of allegiance would read, “one nation, under God IN WHOM WE TRUST.” We should include the phrase on checks issued by the government. We should include it on every ballot. We should print it on the casing of every bullet and bomb we unleash upon the unChristian infidels.

Every Presidential portrait should portray our Commander-in-Cheif shaking Jesus's hand, and a word balloon with the phrase “In God We Trust.” The phrase should be wrapped around the eagle on the Presidential Seal.

After all, how can God know what's truly in our hearts unless we spell it out for him.

Or, if we really trusted in God, we would trust him to know that we trust him and not need to tell everyone. Which was, as I recall, one of the points Jesus was making in Matthew 6.

GOP: 10X more God than bargain-brand Democrats

Plus another of many plugs to come for my book

First of all, I read the DNC 2012 platform after all the hubub about leaving “God” and “Jerusalem” out. I found it on the Internet in .pdf download and the words were there. That's the miracle of the Internet. Bad shit goes away with the click of a mouse.

I've been getting emails from Lucifer now that I published Raising Hell, which is only $1 on Amazon (in Kindle Format) and to be released for iBooks and Nook soon after Thanksgiving.

I tried to block his emails, but being the second most powerful being in the universe (even though it's a distant second) he can assign better hackers to block my blocks.

He was quite pleased with both conventions. Not a single voter changed her mind, but the faithful are plowing their paths to hell with furious hatred and passion. (I myself have posted some witty observations on Facebook, only to be piled on by good Christian Republicans who already believe I'm in Lucifer's pocket.)

No, he's pleased because of the Obama chair. He predicts that by the 2052 elections Americans on both parties will prefer an empty chair to a real person for President. And he will be ready to do the talking for the chair. Besides, by then, they will be warming up to the idea of hell with the rising temperatures on the planet.

Back to the platforms, however.

Clearly the Republicans cornered the market on God in this election with 10 references to God against a single reference from the Democrats. They also win on the references to faith, with a 2:1 ratio (12 to 6). The Democrats only lead the Republicans on references to “church,” which they mention twice and the Republicans, surprisingly, fail to mention at all.

The only explanation I can think of is that “church” is a Democratic code-word for “abortion,” “gay,” or “welcome to the AntiChrist.”

Ironically, the Democrats outscored the Republicans on the use of “family” 26 to 16 (I am excluding references to “family” that are used as tangental phrases, such as “the Castro family” or “family planning”). I'm assuming “family” is really a Democratic code-word for “abortion,” “gay,” or “welcome to the AntiChrist.”

Most of the uses of “God” in both platforms occur in the phrase “God-given.” To the DNC we all have “god-given potential.” The RNC believes Americans have god-given individual rights, right of self-defense, natural resources and talent.

However, this may be Republican sleight-of-hand, considering what the RNC means by these God-given qualities. For instance, the God-given right of self-defense runs directly counter to the Gospels where Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek to, go the extra mile for and forgive those who would do us harm. Jesus believed that defense wasn't a right, but that threatening situations were Christians opportunity to prove their love for others.

I was really intrigued by the RNC position on our God-given natural resources. About these resources, “the Republican Party believes in the moral obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles.”

And there's the rub. To the Republicans our most valuable God-given natural resource is people (which slightly undermines the meaning of the words “natural resources”). In other words, we come first. Nature is an also ran resource. This becomes even more apparent when the platform explains those common-sense principles toward our God-given natural resources.

“Economic development and private property must be balanced against environment.” This means, turn over government land and water holdings to ranching, mining and forestry through private ownership. It also means we need to stop politically motivated scientific research (read, global warming studies)

The GOP also believes private ownership has always protected environment, while “worst instances of environmental degradation have occurred under government control.” They probably mean Chernobyl. And of course other government disasters such as the BP Oil Spill, Three Mile Island and the Exxon Valdez.” To sum it up the Platform declares: “people best protect what they own”

Jesus and the apostles agreed. This is exactly what they meant when they told believers to sell everything they have and give it to the poor.

Nor should we forget our God-given individual rights to force people to pray to our God in public, stop Moslems from building prayer centers in our neighborhoods and study Creationism in science classes.

But this is America, and saying God's name as often as possible is the best way to remind God that we're doing his will. Lord knows he doesn't have time to check up on what we're really doing. Like all good Americans, he spends all his time watching FOX News.

And American Idol. God bless American Idol. God loves nothing more than idolatry.

Sacred Constitutional Rites

My sister Aimee asked facebook friends if they could reasonably explain why voters shouldn't be required to present a photo ID when they vote. I took about half an hour to compose a reply and the flood of posts in response made it clear that no one actually read it.

It also confirmed my suspicion that few people actually want informed discussion. They want someone to tell them why they were right to start with.

One of the replies really caught my eye. One commenter posted that “the sanctity of the electoral process is worth the inconvenience to prove your identity and eligibility to vote.” (To be fair, this isn't an exact quote. The poster used an ampersand (&).)

The phrase “sanctity of the electoral process” serves to underscore the wide gap between naivety and understanding of the electoral politics so common in the magical thinking of the Christian right. Nor do I say this lightly.

To listen to the Christian right, there is no divide between faith and electoral politics. In fact. there is no divide between faith and the constitution. Unfortunately for that thinking, there is nothing sanctified about the constitutional or electoral process.

The Bible is absolutely silent on democracy, republicanism or voting. The Apostles were appointed by Jesus, or chosen by casting lots. Sacraments include marriage, baptism and the Eucharist. Not the electoral process. And Christians were not required to produce photo ID to become involved in church decisions, nor were they required to register to participate.

Part of this may have been because photo IDs didn't exist back then, but a much larger part of it was that Christians weren't expected to prove their fellowship in the faith. Nor do they now. Even though they are expected to prove their citizenship. In fact, they don't even have to prove to the IRS that they're Christian to claim deductions for tithing.

Let's look at the government, however. God is only acknowledged in the constitution by the date of signing (“the year of our Lord”). The Declaration of Independence does refer to a “creator” but makes it clear that the only rights the creator grants are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.1

Any rights spelled out in the constitution are secular and not sacred. The declaration also makes it very clear that governments derive their power from the people, not God.

So if we are to merge the political with the sanctified in America it only follows that:

  • Christians should be required to register and provide a photo ID to worship.
  • The government/church should provide counselors and priests at the polls to help voters to help voters divine the will of the Divine Elector.
  • We should be required by the voter laws to bow our heads and pray before we cast our ballot.
  • Voters should be baptized before they can vote.
  • A priest should be made available at the polls to bless the votes of Catholics and Episcopalians.

  • We should propose a Defense of Elections amendment banning same sex couples from voting.

Or maybe we should acknowledge, as the courts did, that Voter ID laws are not an expression of the sacred so much as a modern reboot of poll taxes. Those of us who can afford it will be inconvenienced when proving our eligibility, but the poor will not just be inconvenienced, they will face extraordinary barriers.

Send me your money

Or at least Amazon. That's right, my novel Raising Hell is on sale at Amazon.

Pity poor Lucifer. He rules hell with a vice grip. Demons and damned scatter at the sound of his foot steps. The Supreme Butt In hasn’t pestered him in eons. Lucifer’s future looks perfect, pitch black, until an administrative error sticks him with an innocent soul—an overweight optimist who calls himself Pilgrim and who believes he must be in hell to do good.

Lucifer never considers sending him back. Why waste a second chance to corrupt an innocent soul? He orders his subordinates to torture, degrade and humiliate Pilgrim until he promises to become evil if only it will ease the pain. Unfortunately, Pilgrim makes the best of the worst possible experiences. Always polite and well-mannered, he makes Pollyanna seem like a prophet of doom. Even worse, the damned start catching on, and set about making hell into the most enjoyable place of everlasting torment they can.

Lucifer can’t let Pilgrim continue to wreak happiness, but he can’t send him back untainted, either. When God arrives with a deadline for Pilgrim’s return, he enlists fellow fallen angels Screwtape, Azazel and the gender morphing Mephistopheles in a plot to corrupt Pilgrim’s soul before the deadline expires.

It's only $1, which should make it affordable for almost everyone, and also a great digital stocking stuffer. It will be available for iBook and nook after Thanksgiving.

1Replacing the word “property” in the phrase originally used by John Locke. Now if that doesn't give Republicans cause for concern, I don't know what could. The signers of the declaration considered the general happiness to be more important than the right of property.back