Tag Archive for Glenn Beck

Religious Right Ambulance Chasers en route to Japan

God is my EMT

Those first on the scene to provide assistance to a ravished Japan were motivated by compassion and concern for their fellow human beings. But as the dust settles, both literally and figuratively, adherents to the evangelical “shock doctrine” are descending, equipped with opportunism and radicalism. Described by Naomi Klein in her book of the same name, “shock doctrine” refers to the effort to dominate the world through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

David Barton, revisionist historian for the Fundamentalist Religious Right and Dominionists, wouldn’t know genuine scholarship if it slapped him in the face (and it probably has). He and his fellow travelers can already be heard in a number of venues, not the least of which is Fox News.

Glenn Beck, with his usual diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain, spouts all manner of “religious” idiocy on a regular basis. Others, like Jan Markell, founder of the messianic Olive Tree Ministry, herald their evangelistic opportunity with statements such as, “We’d all like to think that the nation of Japan would turn and repent as a result of what happened. [While] we know that won’t happen, we know individuals will.”

Markell is never satisfied to allow others their fundamental freedom of religion (or freedom from). The primary mission of her Olive Tree Ministry is assisting local Baptist churches in reaching Jews for Christ; to see those Jews saved, baptized, and actively serving in local Baptist churches.

“Because the Japanese people shun God in terms of their faith and follow idol worship, atheism, and materialism, it makes me wonder if this was not God’s warning to them,” Rev. David Yonggi Cho of South Korea’s Yoido Full Gospel Church, considered to be the world’s largest single congregation, told the online newspaper News Mission.

Dominionist Cindy Jacobs, ruminates that Japan’s disasters were caused by its adherence to “pagan” theologies. “The people of Asia have worshipped the dragon for 5,000 years…Let’s pray that the deep idolatry and the worship of hundreds of idols under the guise of Shintoism, Buddhism, and allegiances to being “sons of the dragon” will be broken and thousands will turn to the Lord.”

Jacobs, Markell and countless others are quite willing to insult the Japanese intellect because they cannot conceive of anything being superior to their beliefs.

While CRASH (Christian, Relief, Assistance, Support, & Hope) can be applauded for bringing in necessary supplies to those in need in Japan following their triple disaster, that’s not all they will be bringing.

Evangelical Don K. Clements writes, “I don’t want to get ahead of God in this matter, but there is certainly the possibility that most of the people living in the affected areas – who already are seeing that their government has not been well enough organized to bring relief to the area, but these folks who love Jesus instead of the Buddha seem to really care – that many of these people and their descendants will come to know the reality of Jesus and through faith become his disciples.”

The Japanese are an extremely well-educated people and, thankfully, there education is mostly secular.

As reported in OpEdNews.com, “Most of the country believes in evolution and looks upon Christian scriptures as allegory and metaphor, as it would any religious system.” And “contrary to the belief of most Christians, Buddhism is not really a religion – at least not in the sense of placing gods or a God at its core. It is quite possible for a Christian to practice many tenets of Buddhism without becoming an apostate. Confucianism is a system of ethics and government. Both of these “religions” make up the bulk of Japanese philosophy and both aspire to the Golden Rule. As for the Shinto religion, it is ingrained into Japanese history and mythology and is coupled with Buddhist philosophy on spirituality.”

The Japanese help each other because it is the right thing to do; it is the human thing to do. They do it without strings attached. They do not do it for the opportunity to propagandize and proselytize. In the Japanese culture, there is no such thing as an evangelical shock doctrine.

Rational people and religious pluralists can only hope that the Japanese will not take the evangelical insult to their intelligence – and their culture – seriously.

Trading one addiction for another

If you'll swallow alcohol, you'll swallow anything

I can’t remember exactly when I first heard it, or who said it, but it was so to the point that I never forgot it: “The only thing worse than a recovering alcoholic is a born again recovering alcoholic.”

My best guess is that it was a close friend who in the 80s was a 25-year recovering alcoholic. Fortunately, he was not “born again” and had the depth and insight to recognize not just the addiction that he broke and fought against each day (as he would describe the true state of a recovering alcoholic), but the fundamental nature and condition that forever drives an addict.

What brings this to mind is a column by Kathleen Parker, “Hi, my name is Glenn, and I’m messed up.”

Given that I find Glenn Beck potentially certifiably insane and waste as little time as possible on what he says and does, I was unaware of his “history.” As I read Parker’s piece, the discovery that Beck has a history of alcoholism and drug addiction provided one of those “a hah” moments where not only does the subject come into focus, but so does an entire range of others with “troubled” backgrounds who have gravitated to religion, and specifically evangelism.

Parker begins by saying that “the real meaning [of Beck’s tent-less revival] may have been hiding in plain sight.” The event had all the elements of a 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program wrapped up in one event. But as is the case with so many recovering addicts, “taking others along for the ride…is also part of the cure. The healed often cannot remain healed without helping others find their way.”

And that’s where the “born again” evangelical Christianism comes in. They are compelled to “save” the rest of humanity – whether or not humanity wants it or needs it.

With the benefit of 60+ years of life experience behind me, I could appreciate Parker’s observation that “it seems that people talk about God all the time these days.” As a transplant to Longmont, I remain stunned at the number of letters to the editor that appear in the Times-Call that are little more than a religious sermon, not to mention the amount of coverage the Times-Call devotes to religious issues in its coverage.

Parker wrote that even in the heyday of Billy Graham, “…most Americans could get through 16 or so waking hours without feeling compelled to declare where they stood on the deity.” Coming from the relatively conservative state of Indiana, I can attest that in fact this was the case during my first three decades in that state – at least by comparison to Longmont and Colorado.

Those with an addiction often trade one addiction for another. Or if they have more than one, keep the other. My friend was well aware that he was and always would be an addict, so he made a choice. He continued to smoke, even though it would eventually contribute to his death.

But some recovering addicts get carried away with this “higher power” thing. They transfer their addiction to “God.” If you delve into the backgrounds of many evangelicals, you will find a history of alcohol or drug addiction. The leaders behind the Heaven Fest event in Longmont in July readily admit their histories of addiction. Since they were saved – presumably by God – they have a compulsion to inflict their new-found addiction on all others. They even felt compelled to devote 24/7 prayer days to members of Longmont’s city council. Presumably they were praying for these council members to be instruments of God as they defined him.

So far we still have no formal religion test for holding public office, although that may soon crumble if we as a nation don’t get a grip on ourselves. And because it’s about religion, no one dare find fault with the obsessions of evangelicals. Or so it seems. But it’s no accident that freedom of religion and freedom of speech occur in combination in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. You do not need permission to challenge, criticize or analyze. It is your right.

So as you run across the Glenn Becks of the world, applaud them for the demon they have conquered, but remind them that even God can become an addiction, if not a demon, if they allow it.