23 January, 2007

Please Jesus, save me from your followers

Born again Jesus followers:

An Anti-American Terrorist Movement

Jesus Christ holy picture

The Religious Right: An Anti-American Terrorist Movement,

When I was in college, I wrote a research paper that changed my life forever. I had grown up in a fundamentalist Christian family living in the buckle of the Bible Belt where I was fed a steady diet of racism and Cold War anti-communism. My grandfather had been a member of the Klan in the 1920s, and as a high school student, I was saving money to join the John Birch Society. Most personally detrimental to me, however, was the denigration by my high-school-educated parents of higher education. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing," they exhorted from the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. And, when I insisted on attending college, they reminded me incessantly that the wisdom of man is foolishness in the eyes of God. However, getting an education from a fundamentalist, Bob Jones University-like institution would be acceptable. I did not attend Bob Jones, but almost miraculously, given the fact that I was attending a similar institution, I started to think critically, and therefore, from their perspective, my parents' caveat that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" was validated.

In the second semester of my freshman year, I chose to write a research paper on race. It was 1964, and that summer, the Congress would pass the Civil Rights Act. Throughout my high school years, Martin Luther King was becoming a household word, and few people in my world held anything but contempt for the "colored communist sympathizer."

As I reflect on my innocence at that age, but more importantly, my thirst for knowledge, I recall the hours of reading and research invested in the topic. Specifically, I set out to discover if African Americans were genuinely equal with whites. Pathetically, I was actually seeking evidence for the humanity of blacks. On the one hand, that I needed to research the topic in order to grasp that African Americans were my brothers and sisters was tragic, but on the other hand, that particular research project at that particular time in my life opened one door and closed another permanently, forever, and there was no turning back. I didn't get an A on the paper, but it launched for me a journey of social justice that I have been on ever since.

Today, as I witness the possibility of losing the last shreds of liberty to a fundamentalist theocracy, I am reminded once again of my college research paper and how "dangerous" research, critical thinking, and asking the right questions can be. All those years ago, I extricated myself from the fundamentalist Christian programming of my family and subculture, and now I am watching it threaten to engulf my entire country.

To even attempt to understand the religious right, which many are now naming "Dominionism", one must grasp the mental duress it holds on its followers. I should know; I was one of them. Axiomatic in the worldview of the fundamentalist, born-again Christian is: "I have the truth, I'm right; you don't have the truth, you're wrong." As a result, critical thinking, research, or intellectual freedom of exploration are not only unnecessary, they are dangerous and potentially heretical. Paul Krugman noted in a recent article that while the religious right bashes academia for its "liberal bias", studies of the political persuasions of college and university professors indicate that persons who prefer academia as a lifelong career tend to be more liberal, just as those who prefer the military as a lifelong career tend to be more conservative.( http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/printer_040505H.shtml)

The halls of academia do not spawn the likes of Tim LaHaye or Pat Robertson. Remember, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

But simply shunning critical thinking does not make one a terrorist. What does, however, is the notion that because one "has the truth" and everyone else who believes differently is "wrong", those individuals will be condemned to spend eternity in hell and must be incessantly reminded of their fate and their "inferior" status in the eyes of God. Moreover, because of one's "superior" spiritual status, one has the so-called "divine authority" to subvert, by whatever means necessary, the very machinery of government in order to establish a theocracy in which one's worldview is predominant.

When sufficiently pressed, Christian fundamentalists intractably argue that people are poor because they have not been born again. Like the Puritans of seventeenth-century America, wealth is a sign that one is following the will of God, and poverty indicates that one is not. People are poor because they are doing something to cause themselves to be poor, and whatever that may be, the underlying cause is that they do not have a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ." Increasingly, one sees many faces of color in fundamentalist congregations, but those individuals are almost without exception, born-again Christians who tow the dominionist line with other people of color.

Dominionism deplores the mental health system. Like those who are poor, the mentally ill would not be so if they were born again Christians. After all, mental illness is a label given by the Dr. Phil's of the world to people whose minds have been devoured by Satan. What they really need is Christian conversion and of course, a great deal of medication from the pharmaceutical lobby. The only valid therapist is Jesus; down with Oprah, God bless Joyce Meyer. Obviously, according to Dominionism, government should not be financing mental health programs.

And what about addictions? In case you haven't caught on to the drill yet, Jesus is the answer to that one as well. Who needs a Twelve-Step program? There's only one step: Accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior as soon as possible, and your addictions will be erased faster than those eighteen minutes on the Richard Nixon tapes. (Remind me to write another article on the religious right AS an addiction.)

Christian fundamentalism in "cafeteria style" has chosen which parts of Jesus' teachings it chooses to honor and which not. Preference is always given to the "I am" passages such as those in the Gospel of John in which Jesus says, " I am the door; the bread of life; the way, the truth, and the life; the light of the world; the living water," and so on, supposedly claiming to be God and commanding his listeners to accept him as the only way to live forever with God in heaven and escape eternity in hell. Little attention is given to the Sermon on the Mount and the many passages where Jesus condemns the wealthy and the religious leaders of his time for their callous, hypocritical, mean-spirited absence of compassion. In fact, theologians who pay much attention to Jesus' teachings on compassion are viewed as bleeding hearts, unorthodox, and not really Christian. For this reason, Pat Robertson stated on his 700 Club Program, January 14, 1991: "You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don' have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist."

Let us not overlook the obvious: Dominionism is about dominion-over women, children, the poor, people of color, alternative sexual orientations, and the earth. It fits so nicely with fascist tyranny.

Christian fundamentalism is fundamentally UN-American. Dominonists clearly desire a revised United States Constitution that will institute a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. As Katherine Yurica has so assiduously reported, the Domionist agenda would shred the Constitution and end the democratic republic our Deist founding fathers hammered out for five grueling months in 1787 in Philadelphia. ( http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/ConstitutionRestorationAct.htm)

In fact, Pat Robertson believes that only Christian people should interpret and benefit from the Constitution. Again, on his 700 Club, December 30, 1981, he stated that "The Constitution of the United States, is a marvelous document for self-government by Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society." Never mind that most of the founding fathers did not consider themselves Christian and clearly, adamantly, and unequivocally defended the right of everyone in America to believe-or not believe, as he/she chooses.

Replacing this republic would be the Dominionist theocracy which pronounces itself above the rule of law and claims to be directed by the "higher law" of the Bible. In that society, abortion would be illegal, even in cases of rape or incest; capital punishment would be mandatory in every state, and for some Dominionists, it should be extended to anyone with a sexual orientation other than heterosexual; the nation's entire infrastructure and economy would be privatized; public schools would be turned into essentially Dominionist parochial schools, and no social services would exist except those of faith-based charities. The fastest-growing industry in the nation, the prison system, would undoubtedly find itself at the top of the financial markets as hordes of "unbelievers" were incarcerated. However, given the multitudes of fundamentalist Christian organizations now proselytizing in the nation's prisons, the heathen masses would be given "one more chance" to be born again, hence sending them to prison would be doing God's work and society a favor.

Most egregious, and certainly paralleling terrorism's culture of death is the fundamentalist Christian contempt for life-I repeat: contempt for life. As Benedictine Sister, Joan Chittister notes, being "pro-birth" is not the same as being pro-life. ( http://www.pbs.org/now/society/chittister.html)

Forcing females to have children without providing what they need financially, emotionally, and educationally is a pro-birth agenda that murders countless bodies and souls. Because they don't think the Sermon on the Mount is really very important, these individuals have an appalling disconnect, fawning over the decaying body of a woman in a permanent vegetative state while praising the demise of over 100,000 innocent Iraqi citizens and touting the patriotism of some 1,600 dead U.S. troops.

The religious right of twenty-first century America is anti-American, inherently violent, and a cruel, tyrannical, punitive, force of death and destruction. In its mindset, adult human lives do not matter because the human condition itself is inherently evil resulting in eternal and everlasting punishment in hell unless its members are redeemed in a prescribed manner by the fundamentalist God/man/savior, Jesus Christ. Moreover, with an embarrassingly adolescent flamboyance, Dominionists shamelessly rape, pillage, and desecrate the earth because in the first place, their Bible has given them authority over all things human and in the second place, their "imminent" apocalyptic rapture, transporting them from the human "veil of tears" to live happily ever after in heaven, entitles them to do so. Meanwhile, we the unredeemed, the unbelievers, the poor, the feminists, the gay and lesbian, the disabled, the homeless, the mentally ill, the addicted, and those who are conscientiously following divergent spiritual paths of their choice, are suffering in the wake of Christian fundamentalism's devastation of the economy, the earth, and the human race. But this is what we deserve for not becoming born-again devotees of their Jesus. And we deserve even worse-to burn in hell for all of eternity. Hence, we are expendable, inconsequential, and a force to be conquered, broken, imprisoned, or killed.

In his article, "Feeling The Hate," in the May, 2005 issue of Harpers Magazine, Chris Hedges conjectures that we may well see a civil war in America between the religious right and everyone else who does not identify as such. I do not know if this will happen, but I do know that the demented logic and circular reasoning of "the Bible says" fundamentalists must be challenged and exposed at every turn for what it is: Intellectual, emotional, and spiritual terrorism-un-American, un-democratic, inhuman. Furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised if some of their children, somewhere, sometime, write research papers that prove to the world that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing."


Carolyn Baker is an adjunct professor of history living in Southern New Mexico. She can be contacted at cbaker@nmsu.edu

A Journey of Forgiveness

by Carolyn Baker, Ph.D.

[Image]For the past forty years of the so-called New Age Movement, individuals from every culture and tradition have imparted volumes of information and inspiration regarding the origin and alteration of human suffering. Those of us born to the World War Two generation entered a world reeling from the Nazi holocaust and at the same time hurling headlong into nuclear annihilation. During the sixties we revisited the transgressions of our ancestors against Africans kidnapped from their homeland and mercilessly transported to our shores to be sold as sub-human chattel in order to plant our crops, raise our children, and perform menial and abhorrent tasks too demeaning for such as we thought we were. The same generations which bought, sold, raped, and brutalized its slaves simultaneously genocided millions of Native Americans in the name of Christianization and Manifest Destiny. And then the Vietnam War forced us to confront our hypocrisy once more as we officially "lost", for the first time, yet another attempt to subdue an indigenous population.

In the eighties, with the demise of Communism and an external enemy, we awoke to the disturbing reality that two hot wars and a cold war had kept us sufficiently preoccupied so that we had not had to acknowledge the prevalence and severity of all manner of abuse rampant in our homes, schools, workplaces, and churches. Thus was born a new American institution, the talk show, in which we aired our dirty laundry, without inhibition, in all of its bizarre repugnance. Naively, we were surprised when, after a decade of well-meaning survivors of horrendous abuse telling their stories on network television, emphasizing that they had been and may continue to remain in therapy for decades, our health insurance companies pulled the plug and instituted a massive policy of managed care, also known as "managed scare", to discourage, among other things, "chronic" mental health treatment. Suddenly, with great chagrin, we realized that perhaps we had shot ourselves in the foot with our unabashed, "tell all" approach to which some people attribute the twelve-to-twenty-session limit in most health insurance benefits for psychotherapy.

Reliance on Twelve Step programs and self-help books and workshops, which had facilitated the uncovering of abuse, became more essential as the cost of therapy rose and insurance coverage subsided. As we honed our awareness, cultivated our self-esteem, and began experiencing healing and recovery, we also began turning our attention to the subject of forgiveness -- a prospect particularly appealing to the war-weary veterans of years and decades of processing their abuse issues, and a perspective vigorously reinforced by a culture sorely deficient in its comprehension of the healing process and obsessed with the heroic attitude of "putting it behind you".

I genuinely believe that after some thirty to forty years of deepening our consciousness and attending to our self-improvement, we are now more prepared to address the issue of forgiveness than we have been at any time in modern history. Yet our efforts in this arena, as with all other issues of becoming whole persons, requires clarification and refinement.

Forgiveness, like our recovery, is not an event but rather one of many journeys, leading to still other journeys, in the precious epic saga of each individual life. My intention, therefore, is to underscore the necessity of approaching forgiveness as a process that is extensive, often demanding, and never easy. Too many quick fixes for forgiveness, in my opinion, permeate self-help books and tapes and the workshop circuits of some of our most esteemed self-awareness gurus. I wish to convey here, the arduousness of the task called forgiveness, as well as offer permission not to commit to the task if one is not up to it. Too often, people decide to "forgive" as a result of external pressure from a self-help author or workshop facilitator or member of the clergy. While I emphasize that forgiveness is a desirable option with unimaginable rewards, I am equally aware that no one has ever forgiven anyone authentically as a result of moral duress or inducements of eternal peace of mind. In other words, the journey of forgiveness is not for the fainthearted. It is yet another step in a protracted, tedious, taxing process of healing and transformation.

I come from a long line of individuals who committed grievous atrocities against their own children and against minorities. My ancestors, treacherous pioneers who immigrated from Germany, left behind them a legacy of brutality and racism, many of them having participated in the massacre of Native Americans in the nineteenth century, and in the Ku Klux Klan during the twentieth century. As I have pondered the grotesque behavior of some of my elders, I have prayed for their forgiveness, all the while knowing that some transgressions are so heinous as to be humanly unforgivable. Far more disturbing for me personally is their influence in my life through my parents and grandparents in the form of atrocities committed against me and other family members of my generation. My healing work with the wounds and scars sustained in childhood from this ruthless legacy ultimately led me to the dilemma of forgiveness and questions like: Can I forgive them? Should I forgive them? What does forgiveness really mean? Is it even possible?

Many individuals are struggling with people and situations in current time that may feel hopelessly unforgivable. In addition, forgiveness applies not only to past injuries but also to offenders who may no longer be present in one's life. One's work in forgiving a parent might also be translated into the process of forgiving an ex-lover or ex-spouse, an ex-friend, or a child.

As with the evolution of consciousness in the twentieth century, forgiveness occurs, not at the beginning, but in the later stages of personal and collective healing. My own forgiveness journey has proven how crucial self-forgiveness is as an essential component of the total process. Sufficient emotional and spiritual preparation are necessary for the forgiveness journey, and it cannot begin until the time is right. Nevertheless, the journey must begin somewhere, somehow.


It is I who must begin...
Once I begin, once I try--
here and now,
right where I am,
not excusing myself
by saying things
would be easier elsewhere,
without grand speeches and
ostentatious gestures,
but all the more persistently
--to live in harmony
with the "voice of Being," as I
understand it within myself
--as soon as I begin that,
I suddenly discover,
to my surprise, that
I am neither the only one,
nor the first,
nor the most important one
to have set out
upon that road...
Whether all is really lost
or not depends entirely on
whether or not I am lost.

-- Vaclav Havel

[Image] The above above was excerpted from "The Journey of Forgiveness -- Fulfilling The Healing Process, by Carolyn Baker, Ph.D., published by iuniverse.com, ©2000.
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posted by u2r2h at Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Blogger Michael said...

The 12 Steps Down To Hell

I imagine 12 Step recovery programs are a slow slide into the jaws of Satan. I was involved with this evil “satanic cult” [AA] for over 30 years but was saved through the power of Jesus Christ. He directed me to a therapist who was into “real” recovery, not the mind destroying, soul destroying, cult, which is AA. I have met two Steppers recently & I imagine they are completely devoid of any emotion or insight. I feel pain because both these men are decent human beings but AA has destroyed their individuality & they have no idea how to relate apart from expounding AA propaganda. I imagine Hell to be a continuous flow of AA meetings without any light at the end of the tunnel because one never recovers'. I beg you people who are in 12 Step programs, to get out before it is too late.

How does one recover when one is handing one’s power over to AA. The 12 Steps were written out of Wilson’s head, he certainly didn’t get his guidance from the Bible. I imagine he was an agent of Satan & he & Smith’s “cult religion” has filled millions of Steppers with their anti - Christ propaganda.

Step Three of AA is "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him." While many in the Oxford Group placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, there was much leeway given. Shoemaker, a leader of the Oxford Group, says, "The true meaning of faith is self-surrender to God." He further explains:
Surrender to whatever you know about Him, or believe must be the truth about Him. Surrender to Him, if necessary, in total ignorance of Him. Far more important that you touch Him than that you understand Him at first. Put yourself in His hands. Whatever He is, as William James said, He is more ideal than we are. Make the leap. Give yourself to Him.
Aside from capitalizing the "H," which Christians do to refer to the God of the Bible, "Him" could refer to any god of one’s own making [bedpan].

Can you see what is happening to you? Ask Jesus to take control of your lives, read the Bible & instead of 12 Step groups, go to Church. Burn your Big Book or use it as toilet paper. Can you see the difference: With The 12 Steps, you never recover but with John 3:16 you are guaranteed Eternal Salvation. The “ball is in your court”

PS: I am a recovered alcoholic with over 21 years of sobriety

Wed Mar 21, 09:57:00 am UTC  

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