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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to Become a Real Christian

Right wing Evangelical blowhard James Dobson will not ever vote for John McCain -- never. He's made that clear in the past. As a matter of principle, Dobson can't bring himself to vote for a man who's not as Bible-bangin' crazy as he is. After all, it says right there in the Bible that... Umm... Well...

OK, so the word "vote" doesn't show up in the Bible -- but neither does the word "abortion" and we all know how Jesus felt about that. Sure, abortion was a common practice in Israel in Jesus' time, he never said anything about it, but we know he was against it because... Umm... Well...

Never mind about that. Faith is about believing stuff, not knowing stuff. If you believe something hard enough and long enough, faith makes it 100% true. This is why Creationism is so true, despite the fact that all the evidence is against it. You can choose what's true, the religious right believes, and your faith magically transforms the universe to fit your beliefs. At least, that's the way it's supposed to work. God, after all, works in mysterious ways and sometimes refuses to rebuild the reality to fit your beliefs.

-Continued after the jump-

Not that Dobson didn't give reality rebuilding a damned good try. In January, Dobson said, "Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances." In April, Dobson told the Wall Street Journal, "I have seen no evidence that Sen. McCain is successfully unifying the Republican Party or drawing conservatives into his fold. To the contrary, he seems intent on driving them away."

Clearly, James Dobson hates McCain with the passion of a thousand burning suns. The reason? As I said, McCain's not nearly crazy enough. Just in case you're not clear on what the problem here is, Dobson spelled it out to right wing radio host Laura Ingraham:

I'm deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, who voted for embryonic stem cell research to kill nascent human beings, who opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, and who has little regard for freedom of speech, who organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language. I am convinced Sen. McCain is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are. He has at times sounded more like a member of the other party.

That's right, Jesus has an opinion of the Senate filibuster and tax cuts. Every real Christian knows that.

Well, that's all changed now. Dobson is ready to consider maybe backing John McCain. "I never thought I would hear myself saying this," Dobson told his radio audience Sunday. ""... While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might." According to the report, "In an advance copy provided to The Associated Press, Dobson said that while neither candidate is consistent with his views, McCain's positions are closer by a wide margin."

Why? Because there's only one kind of Christian in the world -- Christians who are right wing lunatics and people who only say they're Christians. Since, by this measure, neither McCain nor Obama qualify as being among the saved, Dobson and company are stuck with the least non-Christian of the two. Since you never see McCain inside a church, you'd assume that would be Obama, but Jesus is a Republican, so it's McCain.

Dobson's withholding of his endorsement was an empty threat -- a bluff. He had held out hope that there was still a chance that the GOP would wise up and nominate a real lunatic, like Brownback or Huckabee, but faith in the miraculous only goes so far. When prayers fail to re-order the universe to your liking, you jump on the bandwagon and hope to remain relevant. It's what Jesus would've done.

Given a choice, I guess it's supposed to be a no-brainer -- which makes it perfect for the religious right. They believe that the devil gave you a brain and you must never, ever use it. The wishes of the Almighty manifest themselves in the jerking knees of the Great Republican Prophets. And those jerking knees tell us that not only is Barack Obama not a Christian, but that his faith is an insult to real faith.

Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, quoted by Right Wing Watch:

"In a calculated ploy to strip away votes from Christian pro-life / pro-family conservatives, Obama has made a concerted effort to make his faith a campaign issue. But when his faith and ethics are scrutinized and revealed not to be Christian, Obama then claims he is a victim of conservative Christians like Jim Dobson and organizations like CADC.

"If Obama is a victim, he is a victim of his own radical theology and policies. They are so radical in fact that faithful Christians cannot simply stand by and let Obama defame and attempt to redefine the Faith by associating it with his wildly aberrant beliefs and radical policies...

"To the extent that Obama wants to make headlines by making his faith an issue, he should be required to define and defend his beliefs and actions," Cass said. "The mainstream media cannot or will not do it. Thank God for Dr. Dobson and others who will not sit back and watch the Christian faith be defamed by being associated with Obama's most radical beliefs and policies."

Get that? Obama's religious beliefs are an unfair attack on real Christians. And a real Christian is someone who believes the same line of crap that all the right wing zombigelicals believe -- i.e., a bunch of unbiblical crap about filibusters and tax cuts. You also have to be completely freaked out by gays, scared brainless by the Muslims, and just plain fanatical in your opposition to abortion. Of course, Jesus never talked about any of this stuff, but that's neither here nor there. Believe all of that or you aren't Christian enough -- and if you're not Christian enough, you just plain aren't a Christian. You're a cruel mockery of Christianity and an attack on faith.

No one put this so plainly as nutbar and frequent FOX News commentator Cal Thomas did last month. In case you don't get the idea, Thomas spelled it out in the headline of his editorial; "Barack Obama Is Not a Christian."

“I’m rooted in the Christian tradition,” said Obama, who has declared himself a Christian. But then he adds something that most Christians will see as universalism: “I believe there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.”

[Chicago Sun-Times columnist Cathleen] Falsani correctly brings up John 14:6 (and how many journalists would know such a verse, much less ask a question based on it?) in which Jesus says of Himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That sounds pretty exclusive, but Obama says it depends on how this verse is heard. According to Falsani, Obama thinks that “all people of faith — Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone — know the same God.” (her words)

If that is so, Jesus wasted his time coming to Earth and he certainly did not have to suffer the pain of rejection and crucifixion if there are ways to God other than through Himself.

Slight problem here, Cal. Obama's echoing the words of Pope John Paul II; "We Christians joyfully recognize the religious values we have in common with Islam. Today I would like to repeat what I said to young Muslims some years ago in Casablanca: 'We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection."


Of course, we all know how the religious right feel about the Great Whore. John Paul II wasn't a real Christian either.

When you get right down to it, Thomas' argument doesn't make any sense. A Christian is someone who follows Christ. There's no requirement that you have to be good at it when measured by the Evangelical zealot's scale of lunacy. You accept Jesus as your savior and that's pretty much it -- you're done. You're redeemed by faith, not actions. The worst Christian on Earth is still a Christian.

But that line of reasoning requires reasoning -- that brain the devil endowed you with. It disregards the jerking knees of the right wing theocrats who tell us that, in order to be a real Christian, you have to believe a bunch of stuff that isn't even in the Bible.

So James Dobson can suddenly declare John McCain a Christian -- mostly because principle has become inconvenient. And Obama can be declared unchristian -- mostly because that's the most convenient. It doesn't have to make any damned sense at all, it's just the way the enlightened knees have jerked.


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timethief said...

What can I say? This is an excellent post. Thank you for writing it.

Anonymous said...

I've seen at least some indications that the likes of Dobson are losing their grip on evangelical Christians, many of whom remember some of Christ's social teachings. And their are evangelical environmentalists too. It's almost enough to make a guy hopeful.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. My second "their" should have read "there." I blame the heat.

Wisco said...


Thanks for the great compliment.



I've written about both environmental Evangelicals and the way the religious right is fast becoming a living fossil.

And don't sweat the typos. When you can't edit, they're inevitable ;)

Sarah said...

Not only are the right wing conservatives losing their influence of the evangelical Christian movement, there are progressive left-leaning Christians who are becoming more visible and vocal, reclaiming the Church and the social gospel of Jesus. And all kinds of Christians are trying to find common ground on issues like the environment, poverty and economic justice, and the death penalty, instead of letting themselves be divided by the hot button issues of same-sex marriage and abortion rights.