I got a good laugh this morning over breakfast, courtesy of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, who on the Today programme this morning compared gay marriage as equivalent to slavery :crazy:. Obviously, he seems to think that it will be made compulsory and he plus all the other priests will end up as bondage enslaved gimps to these gay overlords :)) (whom I for one welcome). Dont priests just say the funniest things! Heres a link to his ravings, and a post about it here should youre bandwidth be playing up like mine.
In a previous post I discussed the attitudes survey towards religion complied by Foundation for Science and Reason, which revealed that in truth the majority of so-called Christians arent that committed.
But what about the more devote or extreme Christians? Why do they always seem to go gaga over issues like Stem cells and Gay Marriage, or Muslims over cartoons of Mohammed? Well largely because the powers that be in the church recognise that they need a cause to rally the faithful around. But in the absence of any genuine threat to religion in the west, they are frequently forced to merely invent one, much as governments during the Bush era largely exaggerated the threat posed by Al Qaeda, as discussed in the Power of Nightmares by Adam Curtis.
Of course the danger with such tactics is that while it might be temporarily successful in railing youre core supporters around a cause, but it tends to be counter productive in the long run. Clearly, the church has lost the debate on gay marriage and their going to have to do some immense back peddling in the future. Similarly the anti-stem cell argument is absurd. If we followed the churches attitude to the letter we shouldnt wash our hands (do you have any idea how many bacteria you kill when you do that, murderer! :>>)…as well as take any misses post rumpy pumpy to the Priest to be blessed and given a funeral ;D. And dont get me started on those cartoons or evolution!
All such tactics succeed in doing is making religions look silly and out of touch with the 21st century and ultimately drive away the moderates (who might well still tick the Christian box in census forms but dont really do a lot else), leaving only the more committed true believers active in the church.
And in case you thought some Christians were crazy…
Of course this process has led in America to the creation of the distilled band of lunacy we know as the religious right. Again, the key driver was largely made up threats to religion such as abortion, gay marriage, stem cells and intelligent design. But in truth many of these true believers in the Christian right arent really Christian at all.
As the author Robert McElvaine points out in his book Grand Theft Jesus these Xians (he feels it would be unfair on Christians to refer to the Christian right anymore as such) have allowed this process, aided by the highly political motives of many conservatives, to morph and warp their religion to the point where it has little resemblance to the core Christian message anymore.
Take some evangelical preachers in the US, who claim that Jesus want rich people to be rich as he respects their rugged individualism. If the late JC has a grave to lie in hes likely rolling in it right now!
Then theres Andrew Schlafly the founder of Conservapedia (a website intended to counter the liberal bias in Wikipedia…what the rest of us call facts). Hes recently launched a Conservative Bible Project which aims to re-write the bible to remove all the liberal bias from it. You know, all that commie crap where Jesus turns the other cheek, heals the sick (socialised health care!), gives alms to beggars, says nasty things about rich people….I wish I was joking, but here read for yourself.
Im reminded of the bit in the bible where Jesus warned about vipers and demons coming in the guise of saints or words to that effect.
The New Xian Church
I propose a solution, the Xians (aka the Christian Right) should just admit defeat and set up their own new religion:
This has them worshipping not Jesus, but…well call him Butch (nice American name!). And predictably he was born in America, Texas in fact .at a NASCAR race, but not in a manger but his Daddys private viewing box. He preached against the evils of big government, while at the same time campaigning against abortion and gay marriage (which would both be banned…but not by big government presumably!) as well as low energy light bulbs.
Butch died, not at the hands of the Romans, but liberal illegal immigrant professor terrorists without any birth certificates, and only because he made the mistake of putting down his M16 so he could slap one of them on both cheeks (hence Xians can’t put down their guns at any time). He wasnt nailed to a cross, but a wind turbine, or solar panel in some accounts (either way this is why real men like Butch can never use renewable energy, global warming being gods will anyway so that we can have more beach parties B) ).
Butch preaches that one should accumulate as much wealth as possible, never pay taxes and be buried with all your wealth in a massive pyramid tomb like the Pharaohs, as this determines your standing in the divine treasury of the afterlife (okay I know Im borrowing from the Ferengi religion at this point, but it could work!).
The irony is that this description is much closer to the belief system of many of the Christian Right in the world, than the King James Bible!