Jesus Gone Wild! It's time to separate church and state, once and for all

Part 1 of 2.

I tripped across a provocative headline in the Wall Street Journal the other day: “They Need to be Liberated from Their God.” Turns out the story was about Mosab Hassan Yousef and his spying on Hamas. Which was a little disappointing. There’s no doubt that Palestinian Muslims need to be liberated from their god, but given the recent explosion in documented attacks by US Christians on their fellow Americans (as well as on reason and basic common sense), I thought perhaps the WSJ was going to be the first mainstream “news” outlet to do a story on Jesus Gone Wild!

I keep a running tab of stories that strike my interest. Taken individually, each might suggest a particular narrow social pathology, which is to be expected in a nation of 300 million. But over time they accumulate into a gestalt, with all the small pictures adding up to a disturbing big picture. For instance:

Item: Pope warns against witchcraft in Angola

(AFP) – Mar 21, 2009

LUANDA (AFP) — Pope Benedict XVI issued a warning against witchcraft Saturday during his visit to Angola, after calling on African leaders to battle corruption and drawing a tough line against abortion.

Item: Pope in Africa reaffirms “no condoms” against AIDS

YAOUNDE, March 17 (Reuters) – Pope Benedict on Tuesday reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS as he started a visit to Africa, where more than 25 million people have died from the disease in recent decades.

“It (AIDS) cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem,” he said in response to a question about the Church’s widely contested position against the use of condoms.

The disease has killed more than 25 million people since the early 1980s, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, and some 22.5 million Africans are living with HIV.

Item: Rape row sparks excommunications

By Gary Duffy
BBC News, Sao Paulo

A Brazilian archbishop says all those who helped a child rape victim secure an abortion are to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

The girl, aged nine, who lives in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, became pregnant with twins.

It is alleged that she had been sexually assaulted over a number of years by her stepfather.

The excommunication applies to the child’s mother and the doctors involved in the procedure.

The pregnancy was terminated on Wednesday.

Abortion is only permitted in Brazil in cases of rape and where the mother’s life is at risk and doctors say the girl’s case met both these conditions.

Police believe that the girl at the centre of the case had been sexually abused by her step-father since she was six years old.

Item: Did the Mormons baptize Obama’s mother, after her death, without his knowledge or consent? A: Yes, they did.

A reader contacted me last week, saying that last year, in the heat of the presidential campaign, the Mormons had posthumously baptized Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. Baptizing the dead of other faiths, secretly and without the consent of their families, is a common Mormon practice. For the past fifteen years the Mormons have caused quite a stir by forcibly baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims – in other words, converting them to Mormonism – despite strong objections from the Jewish community.

Thus, it’s hardly a stretch to imagine the Mormons’ doing this to Obama’s mother. Still, I had no proof. Then yesterday, I received a document. It’s allegedly a screen capture of the registration-only section of the Mormon-run Web site, FamilySearch.org. In that screen capture, excerpted above, is clearly the name and correct date of birth and death of Barack Obama’s mother (Stanley Ann Dunham, born 29 Nov 1942 in Kansas, died 07 Nov 1995) and the date of her alleged post-death baptism by the Mormons.

Item: Catholic schools bans child whose parents are gay

Last week, a standing policy of the Archdiocese of Denver denied a child from enrolling in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School for kindergarten next year because the student’s parents are lesbians.

Currently the student is in the school’s preschool program and will be allowed to finish the year, according to Jeanette DeMelo, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese.

“It’s clear if they only accept students with perfect parents, they would have almost nobody,” said Beth Osnes, an organizer for the protest. “I know they have the right to, but why would they want to?”

Inside the church, the Rev. Bill Breslin addressed the issue in his sermon. He also posted his comments on his blog.

“If a child of gay parents comes to our school, and we teach that gay marriage is against the will of God, then the child will think that we are saying their parents are bad,” Breslin said on his blog. “We don’t want to put any child in that tough position.”

Please note: this is happening in the People’s Republic of Freakin’ Boulder!

That’s some big picture, huh? It’s gotten so bad that even former president Jimmy Carter, a man as responsible as any for introducing the poison of evangelical influence into the mainstream of modern politics, has had enough.

Of course, you live here. You read the news. That a lot of Christians are out of control isn’t a real revelation, is it? But lately, the goddamned Catholic Church has been making an unusually immoral and anti-Constitutional nuisance of itself. For instance:

Still, we’re talking about their facilities and they’re paying the bills, and they have the right to control their operations the way they see fit, no? Well, maybe, maybe not. Ignoring the wishes of the patient, especially when those wishes are legally expressed in something like a living will, that’s pretty appalling, but I guess you could make the argument.

Even if you won that argument, though, get a load of the latest shenanigans from our friendly Catholic Bishops, who have now offered their “help” in wrangling an outcome in the Senate. You know, because that would make democracy better and stuff.

The Roman Catholic bishops signaled Thursday that if agreement is reached with House leaders on anti-abortion language, the church would work to get the votes needed to protect the provisions in the Senate — and thereby advance the shared goal with Democrats of health care reform.

“We would strongly urge everyone, Democratic and Republican, to vote to waive the point of order,” Richard Doerflinger, an associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told POLITICO. “Whether it would be enough to get to 60 votes, I can’t predict. We would certainly try.”

“I think it’s something we should explore,” said Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), a longtime opponent of abortion. “It could be something that could carry out the bishops’ objective.”

And why not? The Bishops have “helped” before, after all.

In November, the bishops drove a tough bargain, winning an amendment by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) that would severely restrict the ability of even private companies to provide abortion coverage under new state insurance exchanges. That House deal — since weakened by the Senate — is what the bishops want to revive now as part of Obama’s final push on health care. But to survive the Senate, any revisions would need 60 votes to overcome points of order under the expedited reconciliation procedures being contemplated.

David Dayen observes, astutely enough, that “the Catholic bishops want to show a measure of dominance over the US government.” His nuanced look at the tactical knife fight of this particular backroom liturgical drama is helpful to those trying to understand how sausage law gets made.

Meanwhile, those of us out here beyond the Beltway can perhaps be forgiven for saying “wait a sec – back the truck up.” An organized cabal of Roman Catholic aparatchiks are so far up Congress’s ass that they’re openly discussing how they’re going to inject Vatican dogma into a US health care bill?

Excuse me?

The Constitution is clear that what you believe is your business, and I have no problem with that. But when your beliefs inspire actions that hurt the innocent, that systematically victimize those who believe other things, then I start to care. When those beliefs fuel actions that harm me and impinge on my freedoms, well, that’s the point where it becomes self-defense, isn’t it?

Tomorrow: Divide & Conquer

12 comments on “Jesus Gone Wild! It's time to separate church and state, once and for all

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  2. Lobbying: the practice of influencing decisions made by the government (in groups or individually)

    I guess questioning their tax-exempt status is out of the question?

  3. Pingback: Scholars and Rogues » When Jesus Attacks! Why don’t we care that the Catholic Church is officially whipping Congress?

  4. Heh! They are probably lobbying the congress with money they obtained through the Office of Faith Based Initiatives. Living tax free, and getting free money to advance their agenda.

  5. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is fighting these battles every day.

    The other day, the Daily Show did a “Fox” number on Dan Barker, co-pres. of FFRF(.ORG)

    He was belittled for objecting to a US Mother Theresa stamp and was never told his 3-hour

    interview with them would be whittled down and used against him.

    Freethinkers have an uphill road ahead but we’re moving along.

  6. I see that the bishops have lobbied the Congress on abortion. That has to do with church and state. Interesting, the bishops seem to want universal health care.

    But, what is the rest of the article even trying to say? Lesbian parents shoudn’t enroll their children in Catholic school? Why would they WANT to? A years ago, three people in Brazil got excommunicated for a necessary abortion in the most tragic of circumstances? Why should anyone care who the Catholics let in their little club? The Mormons have funny post-humous baptisms, and may have baptized Obama’s mother is secret? The Pope doesn’t like indigenous religions in Africa? Who knew?

    There isn’t a gestalt to any of this. It’s random spewing.

  7. Not to mention the stories about the christian terrorist group, Repent Amarillo; that’s very scary. Look them up, they are a vigilante group that has taken an active role in forcing christian dogma and beliefs on the people of the city.

  8. Chris Hitchens may be a drunk, but he couldn’t be more correct than when he observed, “Religion poisons everything.” Like you, I have kept such squibs and clippings in a special folder of print media scraps: everything from Rev. Hagee’s learning from “God” that Katrina was “His” punishment for homosexual sin in New Orleans to Sarah Palin’s submission to a mini-exorcism by an African pastor visiting her evangelical, Dominionist church in Wassilly. The greatest danger facing America today is not the economy or terrorism, it is theocracy. It moves apace.

  9. I would dally over the first article on witchcraft. I believe it was 20/20 that did a piece during the Olympics showing witch doctors regularly tell believers to sacrifice children and or mutilated them for religious purposes. (The article does hint at it, but doesn’t focus on it) Still, everything else doesn’t leave one feeling to good about many of the Christian faiths.

  10. i am so very sick of the pseudo holy right wingnuts blathering on and on about how ‘GOD’ and jeebus guide their votes in congress, when god and jeebus( IF they were ACTUALLY REAL) would condemn them for their hipocracy and their pandering philandering ways of life. WAKE UP AMERICA it is OUR country, It doesn’t belong to Jeebus, IT doesn’t belong to YOUR god OR any one elses!!!!!! it is OUR country NOT THEIR cuntry to fuck up as they want. i love my country and i am ashamed of how the rightwingnuts are trying to desecrate the principles for which it stands. WAKE UP!!!! PAY ATTENTION!!!

  11. Pingback: Round-up « Wine, Cats and Feminism

  12. Pingback: When Jesus Attacks! Why don’t we care that the Catholic Church is officially whipping Congress? « Lullaby Pit

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