Thoughts on Trump and Religion…

Lately I’ve been trying to prepare myself mentally for a Trump presidency. (Yes, I know the latest polls show him loosing, but… the Trump phenomenon has so far defied the conventional logic of polling as effectively as Kirk whooping Spock’s ass in three dimensional space chess.)
Trump has made his feelings on Muslims made very clear. Step one, don’t let any more into the country. Step two, register and track all the ones that are already here. I can only assume the unspoken step three involves rounding them up and/or shipping them off.
On the other end of the spectrum, Trump has said he wants to force everyone to say “Merry Christmas”. How he intends to do this is unclear, but that Christianity is his preferred religious group seems clear.
From this we can extrapolate that Trump intends to establish a new American caste system based on religion, with Christians enjoying all the benefits and privileges of being on top, and Muslims being kept very firmly under foot on the bottom.
My question is, where do the rest of us fit in? In Trump’s America, what is the status of the Jew, or the Buddhist, or the Hindu? Are they near the bottom with the Muslims, based on their non-Christian tradition? What about Catholics and Mormons? Are they “Christian” enough to be near the top? And what about the Atheists/Agnostics/Nones/Others? Where do they fit in Trump’s America, if at all?
Of course, we could all follow Trump’s example, and say we go to a Christian church, without the bother of actually attending. (No seriously, the church Trump claims to attend actually went out of their way to issue a statement saying that despite a long history with the Trump family, Donald himself is not a member of their congregation.)
Anyhow, I propose the following Trump American Religious Caste Hierarchy (Trump ARCH™), let me know what you think…
Pretend Christians
Pretend Catholics
Actual Christians
Actual Catholics
Snake Handlers
Mentally Handicapped
Physically Handicapped


(photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid) 

Ben Carson’s “Testimony”

First, let me say I do not think all Christians are liars. I have met many who are not. Many are good, honest, hard-working, people.

I will even go as far as to say it’s possible there are some Evangelicals out there who are not liars. Somewhere. Maybe. So I’ve heard. There have to be, right?

But… I’ve seen this game first hand, and all too often. This “testimony” performance that’s required of Evangelicals. Might as well call it “Lying for Jesus”. The thing is, these people actually believe it’s okay to “exaggerate” or “embellish” their story, if it means “saving” someone. So yeah, they are perfectly comfortable with people having their conversion, and by extension their entire faith, based upon a lie. Just so long as it gets them to heaven.

And what’s more, they then have the audacity to expect you to believe everything else they say as cold hard fact, even while they continue to “exaggerate” and “embellish”. And they become genuinely offended when you refuse to believe them. This is why I have such a hard time taking them seriously about anything. Especially when they run for president.

As to the argument that Jesus told stories too… Yes, Jesus told parables, but… It was always clear to the listener that he was telling a parable. And he never, ever, told one of his stories as if they were his own actual personal experiences. So no, fluffing up your award-winning “testimony” story is not the same as Jesus telling a parable. Not even close.

Save the Christians

I recently saw a post on Facebook of a cartoon, it depicted a handful of protesters/activists/whatever holding up signs saying save this species or save that species or save this other species, while basically lamenting that no one was interested in saving the Christians. This is just one example of many with this same theme, the Endangered Christian.

Okay, here’s the thing… Christians are NOT an endangered species. There are nearly two and a half billion (that’s “billion” with a “B”) of them on the planet. There are more Christians than any other flavor of human. BY FAR. If you are Christian, you don’t get to play the oppressed minority. You ARE the majority. You ARE the culture. You ARE the dominant force in our society. You’ve won.

Need proof? Look at your money. The single most important non-religious artifact in our society, and you get to stamp the name of your God all over it. And speaking of money, we let you operate multi-billion (that’s “billion”, with a “B”) dollar industries, doing pretty much whatever you want, unregulated and TAX FREE. No one else gets that deal. No one.

Look, just because we may occasionally stop you from forcing some of your more onerous Christian beliefs on the rest of us, that does not mean that you’re endangered. No one needs to save you from the brink of extinction. If anything, we need saving FROM Christians. Too many Christians just aren’t happy unless their spreading their Christianness all over the rest of us, whether we want it or not. God, please save us from the Christians who are attempting to save us.

Seriously, you are free to do anything you like. Whatever your God requires of you, do it. But you are NOT free to require the same from the rest of us. You decide what’s right for you. Not for me. Just you. Your rights end where my life begins. This is not oppression. This is freedom. Thank God for freedom!

Duck Dynasty

A few random thoughts on this whole Duck Dynasty nonsense…

1. Yes, Phil Robertson is entitled to his opinion, regardless of how backwoods bible-thumping ignorant it may be. Seriously, have you seen the show – what did you expect?

2. Yes, A&E is entitled to fire him. They haven’t yet, he’s only been “suspended”, whatever that means, but if they decide Phil’s opinions do not represent A&E in a way they would like to be represented, they are within their rights to fire him. (If Phil worked for me, as a public representative of my business, I would fire him, or at least strongly consider it.)

3. Yes, freedom of speech still exists. Freedom of speech means the government cannot throw you in jail for something you say publicly (or privately). It does NOT mean you are guaranteed to keep your job. You are not. Don’t believe me, try saying something derogatory about your employer and see what happens. No one is going to throw Phil in jail for any dumb ass thing he’s said in GQ magazine.

4. Bigotry is NOT faith. It is bigotry. Now I don’t know whether Phil Robertson has hate in his heart, and I don’t really care, that’s between him and his god. But, to blindly defend bigoted attitudes by saying it’s “faith” is a cop-out. It wasn’t that long ago that many southerners defended segregation as being part of their “faith”. Mixed race relationships were condemned as a sin, and churches refused to perform mixed race weddings. All as an expression of “faith”. Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but… it was bullshit then, and it’s bullshit now.

5. If you want to follow Jesus, read what he wrote. He was all about acceptance and love, not condemnation and hate. On the other hand, if you want to follow the teachings of the old testament, like the ones Phil quoted, read the whole old testament and learn to follow ALL of the teachings. Don’t just pick out the ones that support your ignorant ass opinion. Say goodbye to bacon and lobster, and for god’s sake stop wearing cotton and linen together. And don’t get me started on the sin of crop rotation. And if you got a tattoo, oh well, you’re pretty much screwed.

6. Religion based on hate and condemnation is a cancer on society. Period. I don’t care which god they purport to serve. If you’re not sure about what your church teaches, ask yourself, does it all come down to love and acceptance, or does it come down condemnation and punishment. If it’s the latter, and you’re okay with that, do me a favor and just go ahead and reach for that “unfriend” button right now. The older I get the less patience I have for that kind of nonsense in my life.