Life begins at home

(the base, not the building)

 

I’m  not sure who I’m more grateful to for allowing me to return with such a great topic, President Obama or crazy Republicans. Usually I try not to use epithets like “crazy” to describe Republicans but in this case I feel it’s not only called for—it’s accurate.

And to be fair, I’m not calling Republicans crazy; just the crazy ones.

The ones like Texas Attorney General Gregg Abott, who—even though Obama backed down on requiring organizations affiliated with religious groups to provide birth control coverage for non-Catholic employees—still intends to sue the feds for making providers cover birth control.1

Or Missouri Republican Roy Blount who plans to introduce an amendment to the Patient Care Act to prohibit mandates on any employer to offer sexually related preventive health care. All of this just to make sure sperm is free to penetrate any egg it chooses.

Blount’s amendment would allow any employer to claim religious freedom as a reason to refuse to cover birth control, HIV testing and even cancer screening as an employee health benefit. In fact, employers will be allowed to deny benefits for any health condition that comes from what they believe to be an unhealthy or immoral life-style.

Or the sponsors of Oklahoma Senate Bill 1433, the “Personhood Bill,” which declares life to begin at conception and that “unborn children have protectable interest in life, health and well-being.” (Notice, they don’t have those rights after birth.) Ironically the bill is getting more attention for one Democrat’s satirical amendment that would make masturbation illegal, too.

Monty Python fans can’t help but chuckle.

According to Republicans of all ilk, crazy or not, the birth control requirement was just one more salvo in Obama’s ongoing war on faith. Obama is yet another of a long line of Democratic Presidents engaged in anti-Christian jihad: the born-again Baptist Jimmy Carter, the admittedly mixed-signal sending Methodist Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, who, as we all know, was born in Kenya and raised chanting the Koran at the feet of Imams in his local mosque as he secretly infiltrated America to lead the fifth column against faith.

I could stress that Obama’s birth control initiative didn’t target the Catholic Church or even churches,  only hospitals and non-profits that declare religious affiliation. I could stress it, but I would be ignored since this doesn’t seem to matter. Every other commentator (including the President) who tries to stress this is ignored.

I have two things to say about this nonsense:

Who’s persecuting who?

Nothing in Obama’s current plan (or the other one for that matter) forced employers to break their religious vows. Providing birth control in employee benefit plans does not make the employer the birth control provider. Churches would neither pay for nor hand over condoms, birth control pills, diaphragms or IUDs to their employees. They would merely cover costs out of the employees’ contributions to their premiums. The provider would be the insurer.

To deny benefits to those who don’t practice your faith is tantamount to religious persecution. It would be to allow religious institutions to coerce employers into a code of conduct. In other words, it would be the state requiring all religious employers to enforce Catholic theology. Not only is it unconstitutional, it’s hardly something Christians should want to do.

It may backfire too. This practice, which could be called “persecuting others for righteousness’ sake,” might give sinners a free ticket to heaven. That’s right, and the proof is in the Gospels. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10).

So if we take our scriptures seriously, denying birth control to non-practicing employees would make them into martyrs. That’s right. You will pay for their pass to the afterlife. On Jesus’ dime.

Don’t blame Jesus for your cheapness

Speaking of Jesus’ dime. This whole uproar is really a cover for a total lack of Christian generosity. Gregg Abbott actually admitted as much when he claimed that insurers would pass the cost of covering birth control onto paying customers (i.e., guys like him, who can afford it).

But let’s just say that the evil doers in this scenario really are the employees who need access to affordable birth control. Or the evil Obaminator who wants to mow down righteousness with one stroke of his pen. Jesus has a command for that too:

“Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (39-42)

Our Christian responsibility is clear. If the liberals expect us to provide birth control for one employee, we should turn around and provide it for two. If called on to provide birth control for all employees, we should provide it for another employer’s workers as well. It’s called “tough love.” In other words, it isn’t really love if it isn’t tough on you.

What’s wrong with birth control?

I never understood why Christians are upset with birth control. If everyone who had sex  practiced birth control, we wouldn’t have to stop abortions. Isn’t that a good thing?

I know the answer, of course. Religious leaders who oppose birth control think it encourages immorality. If kids have condoms, they will also have sex.

Let me take a cue from the NRA in response to that:

Condoms don’t get people pregnant; people do.

Mainly people who don’t practice birth control.

It’s clear to me that religious conservatives are trying to push the boundaries of conception further and further back. Soon life won’t begin with conception, but with ejaculation and then the act of sex itself. Before you know it we will push the instant of birth back from home plate to third base, and then second and even first. Just the thought of kissing will knock her up.

That’s in the Gospels too. “…everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (28)

Life will begin with intent.


1As I recall, the Constitution says no one can sue the feds without their permission. It’s called “sovereign immunity,” and the Torts Claims Act and Tucker Law don’t seem to apply here. So, good luck with that, Gregg.back

Jobs for Jesus

Before we get to Jesus:

This week the Republicans stopped implementation of their own Bush era law, a law designed to hold three percent of payments from government contractors who are in arrears on taxes. When the bill passed through a Republican Congress with a Republican President, Republicans were outraged that businesses would take government money and not pay taxes in return.

After corporate investors looted the economy, took billions from the government and paid the money back without creating a single job or putting that money into loans to small businesses, Republicans decided they were wrong. So the law, which was supposed to go into effect in 2013 has been put on ice.

Tax-dodging government contractors are free to dodge their taxes again.

So much for render unto Caesar.

Here’s the stupid part. And I mean stupid. Obama and the Democrats were all for it. Somehow the Republicans convinced them that tax-delinquent companies would spend those revenues on jobs.

Get a clue, Democrats. If those employers were going to use the money they didn’t pay in taxes to create jobs, they would have done it already; they’re not going to create more jobs if they keep getting it.

So get back to the message:

Cutting taxes isn’t going to create jobs, at least not jobs for Americans.

Cutting taxes will only put us deeper into debt. And then we’ll lose government jobs as well. Wait a minute, that’s happening now. Because we’re cutting taxes and can’t pay their salaries anymore. Unless they move to government jobs in Texas from high paying corporate jobs.

Texas governor Rick Perry has been perfectly willing to exceed state salary caps to pay five new Department of Transportation (TxDOT) executives a quarter million apiece. As a consequence, TxDOT will have to lay off ten or twenty other employees, but these were corporate hot shots and they deserve better from our tax dollars.

Republicans aren’t really Christians, they just think they are. Maybe even believe they are. Maybe, on Sunday, when they aren’t obsessed with cutting taxes and abortion, they get close.

Corporations aren’t about the love of Jesus, they’re about the love of money.

Christians might let employees go if they had no money to pay them, but they wouldn’t lay people off to boost the bottom line. And they certainly wouldn’t lay employees off or force them into early retirement to lavish salaries on someone new.

One of the tenets of the charismatic movement’s prosperity wing (a movement which evolved into the moral majority and the modern Republican Right) was that if you give 10 percent to God, God would give back a hundred fold. So why aren’t more of these Christian corporations giving ten percent to God so they can hire more people?

How about this? Why don’t Christian conservatives hire ten percent more employees to increase their profits a hundred fold? Jesus said that which you do to the least of these, you do for him. Hiring a few of the unemployed would be the equivalent of hiring Jesus, and he would return profits a hundred fold.

They could even call the movement “Jobs for Jesus.”

It would be nice if they actually hired Americans for these new jobs, but that may be a lot to ask. Not ask of God, of course, but of American corporate management.

The more cynically minded thinkers—the ones who think the new Corporate Christian complex that is rapidly replacing the military industrial complex is little more than a ploy to exploit more gullible members of the faith—could even cash in with an ad campaign: “Buy Christian and create jobs for Jesus.”

Then the Corporate Christian complex could profit when God pays them back for giving jobs and profit from the increased business as well. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll do the Christian thing and actually hire somebody in America.

Give us this day

Our father who art in heaven, give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, because the Tea Party is having none of either.

I planned on not writing about the debt crisis, but the issue doesn’t seem to go away and we can lay the blame on the modern day pharisees and saducees , the House Republicans and the Tea Party (the Republican zealot wing). And make no mistake about it, holding the nation hostage to a political agenda and then claiming they are just trying to stop Obama from capitalizing on an election issue, is not WJWD.

Jesus was not, contrary to current belief, committed to extreme positions. If anything, he would always listen to those in need and find a way to help them. When a non-Jewish woman asked him to cast out demons and he said the law forbid it, she reminded him of the responsibility to at least feed scraps, and he gave her everything.

When the Centurion asked him to turn his attention from the needs of his own people to heal his own sick, non-Jewish daughter, Jesus did it. When the family of a sick man interrupted him by lowering a sick man through the roof, he didn’t get indignant or refuse. He healed him.

When he was accused of breaking the law to heal the sick on the sabbath, Jesus basically said, sometimes we have to ignore the law to serve those in need. He reminded us that the meek were blessed, and we should turn the other cheek when someone asked us to carry what we perceived to be an unfair burden.

The one time he truly lost it was when he discovered that the temple had been turned over to the service of greed (read K Street and wealthy lobbyists).

Jesus had two positions, treat others with love and your faith will make you whole. I’m no longer sure our faith in the political system will make us whole.

Jesus never ever held anyone hostage to his ideology. I would ask that House Republicans do the same.

One last request

And I would also suggest that Obama simply lift the debt ceiling with an executive order and kick it back to the Congress to overturn it.

Congress can overturn executive orders by passing legislation replacing the debt ceiling at its current levels, or by refusing to authorize money for payment to debts in excess of the ceiling. But of course, that would require House Republicans to actually agree on something, which they no longer seem to be able to do.

Righteous Indigestion launches May 21

In case you don’t know, the world will end on May 21. This is a fact. It is even reported by reliable news sources like MSNBC.1

I know this is true because it says so on a billboard about a mile from my house.

Okay, not the end of the world, but the genuine, honest to God, rapture. Evidently, the final end of the world is on October 31 when God comes for everybody else. This would mean God would have to move up his timetable because, as I recall, in the good old days of Hal Lindsay everybody would have to suffer a lot longer before God gave them what they really deserve. But since we have such a much shorter attention span than we did in the seventies (which is the last time I took Hal Lindsay seriously because he hadn’t changed the signs of the apocalypse so many times), six months is probably appropriate.

The new timing is also very good for God because that allows him to beat the Mayans (and Satan) to the punch. The godless, idol worshiping Mayans have declared that the world will end in December 2012 (precise date and time may vary), so this gives the Righteous more than a year to make sure there’s no more world to end in when the planetary alignment and solar flares show up.

So there you have it. May 21 is the rapture and that’s the day I will officially launch the blog Righteous Indigestion. I figure that since most of the Tea Party intends to go on that day,2 that will give us a good six months to finally get something useful accomplished.

You see, people who believe in the rapture believe that Jesus will take Christians up into the air so he can punish the rest of the world. By “Christians” they don’t mean Episcopalians or old school Catholics or Presbyterians, half of the Methodists and anyone who voted for Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or other posers who only pretend to be Christians.

Especially not those of us who voted for Obama who will single handedly usher in the end of the world after the 2012 elections. Or would have had God not beaten him to the punch on May 21.

In fact, you have to wonder why the Tea Party cares about slashing the funding to NPR and Planned Parenthood, or wants to decimate Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security when Jesus is going to rapture them anyway?

And now that Obama has made it clear that some of the deficit reduction has to come from raising taxes, they will be up in arms even though it won’t be their taxes he’s raising. After all, they won’t be here.

But it strikes me, after listening to the religious right’s spin machine for more years than I can count, that these Christians are the stingiest people I have ever met. And so willing to rush to judgment. It’s almost as though they took the New Testament and the Jefferson version (which they hate) and then cut out all the passages Jefferson kept and clutched what was left to their breasts as though these were the real words of Jesus without the liberal Democratic bullshit that got added by the liberal Democrats over the past two thousand years.

For instance, that verse, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” was liberal crap spliced in after the fact. And remember, this was supposed to be a summary of the most important commandments anyway. So here are the real commandments the liberals so completely rewrote with the “golden rule.”

  • Expect the government to give you everything you want without paying taxes in return.
  • If you don’t think it’s important, nobody else should get it from the government either
  • The poor don’t deserve shit and they’re using the government to steal from you.3
  • Keep everything you earned for yourself because, by God, you earned it.
  • Resist tax increases for the rich because Jesus wants you to be one of them one day.
  • If anyone disagrees with you, they’re wrong, unChristian and totally unAmerican.

Nor should we forget that when Jesus said “render unto Caesar” and Paul said that God gave us government to serve our best interests, they were just kidding. Especially in America where we actually are Caesar and the government. This means our support ultimately is support we’re giving to ourselves.

Now I’m not going to quote chapter and verse to you because being raised a Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK), I’ve heard chapter and verse cited by advocates of both sides of any argument (sometimes the same chapter and same verse by both sides of an argument) only to be used to support why those same people changed their minds a few years later (all the while insisting they would never have believed something as stupid as what they used to believe).

But here’s the Gospel I always read. God cares about what’s in our hearts, and giving (willing and glad giving I might add) shows your heart’s in the right place. Even if you don’t personally benefit.

In fact, it’s better if you don’t benefit because gracious giving with no hope of material reward adds to eternal reward.

It bothers me most when Christians say they shouldn’t have to pay taxes to support education, Social Security or health care because they aren’t paying for their own health care. Jesus taught me that (yes, me personally) that it doesn’t matter if my taxes don’t pay for my son’s education because someone else’s taxes did.

My taxes did pay for my niece’s educations since they went to school in our district. Joy ended up becoming a counselor and Kelly (who’s Catholic) a law student at Baptist Baylor. My nephews got great educations and graduated from A&M. Thanks to taxes. One’s a physicist and another a software engineer. So I’m grateful to the people who paid for their educations and am perfectly willing to pay for someone else’s education in return.

And even though I’m a pacifist (because I’m a Christian) I don’t mind paying taxes to support a military because those taxes helped pay for my son’s years in the Marines and continue to pay for the benefits from disabilities he suffered.

Do I want to pay for fighter planes that never fly, troops in every country and three wars I don’t support? No, I don’t. But I also know that when you give, you immediately lose control over how that money is spent. It’s part of giving. If you give with the expectation that the money will be spent exactly the way you spend it, it’s no longer a gift but a purchase. And that requires a contract.

Whenever the person you give to becomes obligated, it ceases to be a gift.4

Jesus made this pretty clear when Mary took money that had been given to support his ministry and the poor and spent it on oils to pamper him.

So, guess what? It isn’t just Obama who’s telling me to give tax money to help get America out of debt without dismantling Social Security, Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and NPR. It’s Jesus, and he’s telling me to give willingly and gladly.

And I will continue to do so even after May 21.


Key topics

It seems the search engine bots aren’t that smart. They look for exact matches to key words in the text. If you look for words that would direct you to the topic but aren’t actually included in the text (because the actual keywords don’t really fit the text being written), the bots kick you out of the search and refuse to list your page. I know this because I used to write for web sites and had to skew the text by including every possible variation of the key words, even when adding them created bizarre, banal or just plain bad prose. So I’m including them here. If you feel I’ve misrepresented the post with these key words, please complain to WordPress, Google and Bing.

Tea Party, rapture, May 21, taxes, Obama, Barach Obama,Social Security, Planned Parenthood, NPR, National Public Radio, Medicare, Obamacare, religious right, golden rule, search engine bots, generosity, giving


1If it was Fox, you might have cause to doubt it, at least according to the liberal elite. But this comes straight from the liberal press itself.back
2It is a proven fact, proven by the same sources that Rush and Glenn Beck use to fuel their fantasies, that Tea Party members are the primary readers of the Left Behind series. back
2 …even though you’re probably one of them, or will be if the Republicans have their way. Okay, I added that part.back
2Derrida wrote an entire book on the subject, but since he’s French, which means not a Christian by definition, I’m going to bury this fact in the footnotes where only people who would read writers like Derrida would be looking anyway.back

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