Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The moral apocalypse is nigh, according to Mike Huckabee and Texas pastors

The Texas Renewal Project, a conclave of the state's evangelical pastors, is increasingly fearful that the fire and brimstone of Hell is welling up (again) to swallow us all.  They gathered in Austin last weekend to quake and exclaim, and Chris Hooks went to observe.

Hundreds of pastors have traveled from all over Texas to the conference, which, according to the invitation penned by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, aims to address the fact that ”our Judeo-Christian heritage is under attack by a force that is more destructive than any threat America has faced in decades.” There are speakers, and information sessions ...

The message on offer is grim and fearful. This is a room full of people that are falling out of love with their country. It used to be a place that held promise for them and their cohort. But it’s changed, dramatically and for the worse, and the pastors don’t know if they can get it back in time.

The night’s speakers give them no comfort. There’s former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts, who tells diners that America is “not great enough that we can shake our fist in the face of a holy god and expect to get away with it.”

You really should go read the whole thing.  More:

“We can’t just go to church on Sunday and pay our tithe and leave it up to Washington. Washington is a Babylonian system,” says Watts. (According to Revelation 17:5, Babylon is the “the mother of harlots and of the abominations in the earth.”)

Babylon’s enforcement arm is the Internal Revenue Service, which Matthew Staver rose to speak on. Staver, the dean of the Liberty University School of Law, took time to reassure the pastors on one point: The IRS is impotent. There are strictures on tax-exempt churches engaging in political activity, but you can easily work within them. And if you break them outright, it doesn’t matter. “The IRS doesn’t have any teeth in this,” he said. [...]

Religious leaders encouraging the breaking of our nation's laws?  And they worry about the moral failings of others?  I wonder how they feel about undocumented immigration.  Probably not as forgiving as Jeb Bush.  Anyway...

It’s your duty, he told the pastors, to engage in political activity to the maximum extent you are able. Have candidates speak in your church, acknowledge them in sermons, have candidate forums and debates.

“Voting is a prophetic witness to the community,” he said. “No church has ever lost their tax exempt status for lobbying or for political activity. You’ve got to replace the muzzle that the world has placed on you.”
When he shifted to why the muzzle must be removed, things got dark. Staver spoke about legislative restrictions in New Jersey and California on “pray-the-gay-away” counseling services.

“If a minor comes to you and is struggling with same-sex attraction—maybe they were molested by the likes of a monster like Jerry Sandusky—and they have this self-hatred, they want to kill themselves because they have these desires that they don’t want, the desire to act out in the manner that they’ve been acted on,” Staver said, “and they come to a Christian counselor and say, help me, that counselor can’t help that child with those thoughts and behaviors. They have to sanctify that behavior as natural, normal, and good.” The crowd murmured.

Staver stepped back.

“I never thought I would ever say this,” he said.

And I never thought I would ever hear it said.

His trip (to Peru) culminated in another appearance, at a 70,000-seat soccer stadium, packed full with Peruvian Christians. When the first speaker addressed the crowd, Staver said, he carried a stern warning. “Any nation that supports or proposes laws that are contrary to God’s natural created order is cursed and will cease to exist.” Back at the Hyatt, audible gasps. A man in the audience yells “that’s true!”

Staver continued: “Tears began to roll down my eyes, because I began to think about the United States of America—the country that I was born in, that I love.” He added: “What we are doing now is not only destroying this country, but we are working to undermine Christian values in Peru and in countries around the world. This country is doing that. Under our watch! We can no longer be silent.”

Don't miss reading this if you want a glimpse inside the mind of today's Christian conservative Caucasians.  To be clear, there are Republicans who understand history; who for example know that -- once upon a time, not too long ago -- America's Christian fundamentalists were pro-choice.

... (P)olitical conservatives and Protestant evangelicals were relatively warm toward pro-choices causes until the ‘70’s. The nation’s most liberal abortion rights legislation prior to Roe v. Wade was signed into law by California Governor Ronald Reagan. Sen. Barry Goldwater was staunchly pro-choice across his entire career.

In 1971 the Southern Baptist Convention endorsed abortion rights for women in a remarkably bold statement for the time. The Baptists responded to Roe v Wade in 1974 by re-affirming their previous statement in favor of abortion rights.

There's more good reading there at that link.   At this point I would simply say (as someone who has come to the belief that God is a figment of man's imagination) that there's much work to be done just to slow down the spread of this pernicious mythology and its influence on our governance.  And there's a lot of good reading at that link also, depending on how open your mind is.

Barry Goldwater was right.  He would also be excommunicated from today's GOP for heresy, were he still with us.  The problem, as we know, is that the Tea Party (not particularly religious but very libertarian) cares as much about history as it does science.  And even less about hypocrisy.

1 comment:

Katy Anders said...

Insane. It's like the whole conservative side of the political spectrum has gone Jim Jones on us.