Friday, April 27, 2007

(Some) Christians crack me up

Quite often someone leaves a comment on The Burning Taper suggesting I "apparently have a problem with Christians."

It's not that. It's just that I can't open a newspaper, scan the web, or turn on the television without something strange, funny or just downright bizarre relating to something said or done in the name of Christianity jumping out at me.

Here are some recent examples:

A small town Georgia newspaper ran an article called "Bethany Church: An old church with a new vision" recently. It's a regular "church of the week" feature, commonly known in the newspaper game as "filler."

When asked what the church's mission is, Pastor Allen Howard said, "...going to heaven when we die, and taking as many people with us as possible."

Fine. Wonderful mission. Sign me up.

But what I found most humorous is this pudgy preacher's nickname: "Buddha."

Maybe it's just my warped sense of humor, but calling your preacher by the name of another religion's god object of spiritual adoration just cracks me up. If this guy had been thin, effeminate, bearded and had long hair, would they call him Jesus?

(Actually, he looks a bit like Alfred Hitchcock, doesn't he?)

Meanwhile, in Utah, Republican Party District 65 Chairman Don Larsen has decided that illegal immigration into the United States is part of Satan's plot to "destroy the U.S... as predicted in the Scriptures." He has introduced a resolution against the Devil. Yeah, that'll stop Him.

The resolution, in part, reads: "In order for Satan to establish his 'New World Order' and destroy the freedom of all people as predicted in the Scriptures, he must first destroy the U.S. The mostly quiet and unspectacular invasion of illegal immigrants does not focus the attention of the nations the way open warfare does, but is all the more insidious for its stealth and innocuousness."

Even his Republican compatriots are backing away from this misguided man.

A British blogger regularly rants against the Islamic invasion of his country, and promises "as a Christian it is my responsibility to stand before my God and my country in defence of this Evil enemy that has invaded our shores."

In February Lionheart called for the Knights Templar, the "legendary Army of Christian Warriors," to rise up and fight to protect his "Judeo-Chistian way of life" from the godless hordes of Islamic would-be conquerers flooding England.

He writes: "My God is real and all other gods are idols. I put out a call to every other person who has been chosen and anointed by God to rise up and let us unite as brothers and sisters in the Most Holy Faith with the divine mandate given from Heaven to defend the peaceful people of the Christian and Jewish world that expands the entire globe, against the Evil of Islam."

Didn't the Brits once conquer much of the world, so much so that it was said the sun never set upon the British Empire? Now that the tide is flowing the other way, it's not so pretty. Call out the Templars!

So, anyway, a few months later, he posted a rant against those damned Freemasons, about how Freemasons, "along with the Moslems from Luton... [are] threatening the whole community and the time has come for them to sweep their house clean or expect the 'Wrath of God' wrought through men to come upon them."

I guess he's unaware that many people believe the Knights Templar went underground and later re-emerged as Freemasons.

In Indiana the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church working with the Christian gay advocacy group Faith in America put up 22 billboards and 1,000 yard signs promoting tolerance towards homosexuals. Several of the billboards have been vandalized, and other Christian churches in the area are unhappy with the signs, the Indy Star reported on Wednesday.

The signs show a traditional Jesus-face or other Biblical image and one of these statements:
  • Jesus affirmed a gay couple. Matthew 8:5-13
  • Ruth loved Naomi as Adam loved Eve. Genesis 2:24, Ruth 1:14
  • Jesus said some are born gay. Matthew 19:10-12
  • The early church welcomed a gay man. Acts 8:26-40
  • David loved Jonathan more than women. II Samuel 1:26
The website has graphics of the billboards, and an in-depth discussion of (including audio files of sermons) each of these statements from a Biblical, historical and Greek-to-English translation perspective.

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  1. t technically a God...

  2. Buddha's no

    That's what should have been before that. Hope that makes better sense now.

  3. Though I am slightly disturbed by your capitalization of the word "Him" when referring to Satan. One usually capitalizes a pronoun only when it's the beginning of a sentence or referring to the Almighty. Also, there is much historical speculation over whether "Satan" is a name or a title/job description (as in "the satan"). So it may not be proper to capitalized even the "name" of Satan. Just a thought.

  4. All that fun stuff in the article to talk about, and this is what we focus on?

    I stand corrected. Buddha isn't a god. "He was a man who perfected himself and taught that if we follow his example, we could perfect ourselves also," according to Ven S. Dammika.

    And according to the Chicago Manual of Style, Joshua is correct on one point and incorrect on the other.

    "Him" (or any pronoun) should not be capitalized, even when referring to a deity. So no more "Him" when I write about God, Jesus, Satan, Buddha or Elvis. I guess it's just a habit I picked up reading too many Sunday School class books.

    But Satan, who along with about a quadzillion other gods (lower case), should be capitalized, because, like it or not, he (lower case) is a deity, even if he — lower case — doesn't exist.


    8.98 Deities — Names of deities, whether in monotheistic or polytheistic religions, are capitalized. Satan is included in their examples.

    8.102 Pronouns — Pronouns referring to God or Jesus are not capitalized. (Note that they are lowercased in most English translations of the Bible.)


    You can get a free 30-day subscription to the Chicago Manual of Style.

    Incidentally, the CSM refers to itself on its home page as "the bible of the publishing and research community." No capitalization of bible.

    — W.S.

  5. i found this on his website:

    "We all know that those involved in freemasonry are those who are in positions of responsibility in the community, police, councillors, solicitors, land owners and judges, along with the lesser mortals who have fat bank accounts."

    funny, but none of those labels applies to me at all. not that i dont want to eventually be a landowner, or a high position in my community - i believe the only requirement was to be a man, freeborn of lawful age and well recommended.

    am i missing something? :)

  6. I think (somebody correct me if I'm wrong) that British Freemasons are a little more secretive about their membership in the fraternity than we Americans are. I don't think they typically wear Masonic rings or put the Square and Compasses on their pickup trucks' brake lights as is so popular here in the South.

    That secrecy, as well as a few scandals where Masonic police and judges were caught doing unethical things, have made many non-Masons in England worry about the conspiracy of a Masonic network that doesn't have to follow the laws everyone else does.

    There have been calls for a registry of Freemasons in England. I wrote a few weeks ago about an e-petition aimed at creating such a registry. I see today the e-petition now has 27 signers.

    — W.S.

  7. Wow! 27!

    Are you telling me that there are 27 (or 9 X 3) people who think this petition might change things?


    I think I'm going to change my motto.

    Freemasons used to rule the world. We gave it to the people and see what they made of it. It's time to take it back!


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