Thursday, September 01, 2011

Another Reason Why I Dislike Conservative Evangelicals

Today on Facebook, a lady I had worked with in Atlanta posted as her status update:
"The car in front of me had a bumper sticker on it. It read: “Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8.” ........When I got home I opened my bible to the scripture and read it and started laughing. Psalm 109:8 –“Let his days be few and brief; And let others step forward to replace him.” At last –I can voice a Biblical prayer for our president! Let us bow our heads and pray."
She managed to get 11 people "liking" that comment! I don't think I've ever gotten 11 "likes" on any of my comments, and I have at least double the number of friends on Facebook than her. I'm stunned that she actually knows that many people who would like one of the most vile verses in the Holy Bible.

Honestly, I have never heard of Psalm 109:8 until Obama became president. Conservative evangelicals, who worshipped the ground that Bush walked on and did not believe that he did anything wrong in his entire presidency, dug into their Bibles once we had our first black President and found a verse that they like. The problem with selecting that verse is that it is completely taken out of the context that it was written in. This is a perfect example of "cherry picking", or what Biblical literalists and fundamentalist / evangelical Christians like to accuse progressive Christians as "pick and choose" / "salad bar spirituality." This is a perfect example of their hypocrisy.

When I pointed out that the entire Psalm 109 spoke of vengeance and killing, with the wife becoming a widow and the children becoming orphans who will be in poverty for the rest of their lives on earth, one of this lady's relatives actually wrote: "I didn't read death in that verse. Maybe just a little impeachment." Whoa...what amazing ignorance!!! Should I even be surprised? The reason why I had to get out of the South was because I could not stand how many ignorant people I came across every day. I have been to all 50 states and I can honestly say that there is a higher percentage of ignorant people in the South. That its also known as "The Bible Belt" ought to clue anyone in. The religiosity and the pride in being "ig'nant" as well as "redneck" is pervasive in the South.

The woman's comment was dishonest at its core. Or, perhaps she truly is an ignorant fool. Perhaps the teabaggers in the South only read that single verse and not the entire Psalm or the very next verse. Let's look at the verses that follow their preferred verse:

9 Let his children be fatherless,
and his wife a widow.
10 Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg:
let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
11 Let the extortioner catch all that he hath;
and let the strangers spoil his labor.
12 Let there be none to extend mercy unto him:
neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.
13 Let his posterity be cut off;
and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD;
and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be before the LORD continually,

that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

What kind of hatred do these people have to wish that on our president? I know that people get defensive as soon as you mention race being a motive, but let's not kid ourselves. We still have not come to terms about our race relations. The reason why our political parties are so skewed racially (with over 90% of African Americans staunchly Democratic) is because of Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy." Ever since his 1968 campaign, he and his Republican successors kind of made a tacit agreement with Southern white voters. The agreement was that no matter how poor, uneducated, and frozen out of career opportunities they were, they were still better than any black person. For an uneducated, poor Southern white person, this was their only form of "dignity." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated shortly after making his movement about poverty, which appealed across racial lines. Someone wanted to keep the races divided and hostile towards one another.

With Obama as President, it exposed the lie of the "Southern Strategy." Here was an attractive, upper middle class African American family. Educated at Ivy League colleges, dual professional careers, two daughters of impeccable intelligence. I can imagine how the success of our First Family might set some people off, particularly those who grew up believing that they were superior to black people. Its hard for them to maintain this lie anymore. Thus, this Bible verse, which I don't recall ever being slapped on bumperstickers and t-shirts.

This favored Bible verse among the teabaggers and bigots illustrates the huge difference in the mindset between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives seem to think in terms of violence. If they don't like something, they grab their guns and make threats under the illusion of power that the gun offers. When liberals don't like something, they look to the law. During the Bush presidency, I did not hear many liberals (if any at all) wish death on George W. Bush. Talk of impeachment was non-stop. There were even jokes like: "Where is Monica when we really need her?" That shows the sense of humour of liberals.

The lady who claimed not to see any death threats in the Psalm is either lying or she didn't read beyond that single verse. She even brought up "impeachment" as if the verse had hinted at that option! Uh...the Bible was written thousands of years ago. Impeachment was a rather recent development in Western history. It certainly did not exist as an option before the Magna Carta. I'd guess that impeachment was an idea born in the Enlightenment Era, which is a period of history that evangelical types know little about. They have a preference for the Dark Ages and the Puritan Colonial Era.

I'm going to go on a limb here and say this much: If you are going around quoting Psalm 109:8, then you don't know shit about Jesus and what it means to be an authentic Christian. What would you do someday if you learn in the spiritual realm that Barack Obama was destined to be president at this moment in history to correct the gross mistakes and arrogance made by the previous president? Authentic spirituality is without national borders and ideology. Obama's life circumstances and worldview actually make him the man of this era. We are in a multicultural, diverse, global, and interconnected civilization now. If you don't like that, then crawl back to your hole in the ground and read your Bible. And remember, we had to endure eight years of Bush, but we survived. So, you can just as well survive eight years of Obama. And be careful what you pray for. God does not like ugly and it may just backfire on you. I've read in several spiritual books where mediums and Near Death Experiencers have stated that God and the angels in heaven do not hear the prayers of vanity, vengeance, or petty human wants. Prayer is meant to meditative and communicative. Its about getting quiet and spending time in the silence so that you can hear what your spirit guides or God is telling you.

The Facebook comments basically reminded me why I don't like evangelical Christians very much. Their spiritual understanding is greatly lacking and their confusion over politics discredits their spiritual views. After all, if you lack understanding about our complex political system and the nuances of foreign and domestic policies, why should anyone believe anything you say about events you did not personally witness which took place two millennia ago?

And speaking of delusional and misguided evangelical Christians, I read an article yesterday that Pastor Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill megachurch in Seattle is opening a congregation in SE Portland. I had been wanting to attend his church for awhile now, out of curiosity. I could never get anyone interested in going. Now, I'll be able to go when it opens in Portland on 10 September. I know some people will warn me not to go, but I'm a big boy. I have no fear that I'll be suckered into joining. I disagree with Driscoll's view of Jesus. Basically, he had said that he cannot worship someone he can beat up, which is how he views the Jesus portrayed by mainline Christian churches. He believes in a muscular Christ who picked fights with people and threw his brawn around. And I bet Driscoll eats his steak raw! I'm sure it will be educational to attend his church, where people can text questions to him while he's giving his sermon and it'll appear on the overhead behind him for all to see. It's hip, it's urban, it's definitely worth a visit.

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