On Jan. 4, 1861, a Catholic bishop named Rev. A. Verot ascended a pulpit in The Church of St. Augustine, Florida, and defended the right of white people to own slaves.
The apostle Paul, Verot claimed in his sermon, instructs slaves to obey their masters as a “necessary means of salvation.” Quoting Colossians 3:22, he said, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not serving to the eye, as pleasing men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God.”
It’s no secret that hundreds of Christian pastors like Verot used the Bible during the Civil War to justify slavery. But the massacre last week of nine black people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, has once again forced white Christians in America to re-examine the white church’s historical ties to racism — and how hateful rhetoric like Verot’s had more power because it came from the pulpit.
White Christians in the South didn’t just support slavery — the Southern church was the backbone of the Confederacy and its attempts to keep African Americans in bondage, according to Harry Stout, Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University.
“If you pull the church out of the whole equation, it’s highly likely that there never would have been a Civil War,” Stout told The Huffington Post. “Southern clergy had no doubt that slavery was not a sin.”
After they lost the war, white Southerners and their religious leaders tried to recast it by observing the “religion of the lost cause” — arguing that the South fought righteously not to keep slaves in chains, but to fight for states’ rights or to protect themselves from Northern aggression. As part of this “lost cause” religion, they began to idolize fallen Confederate war heroes and celebrate the Confederate flag.
First of all, I promise you that this will, in all likelihood be my only posted page about Josh Duggar. There’s already plenty of commentary out there on this situation and I have no desire to continue beating a dead horse.
There is one aspect of the situation that I do want to talk about though.
Much has been made of the fact that several months before Jim Bob Duggar went to police he talked to the Elders at his Church to address what Josh had done.
It’s herein we have a problem. As many of you already know, I’m a Christian. Now, I’ll be the first one to say that a lot of so called “Christians” get so many things about the faith and in particular, what Jesus himself said and did, completely wrong and mangled.
This is one of those (unfortunately far too many) times.
When making decisions, a religious person typically takes into effect his religious beliefs as well as human laws. Sometimes they are in agreement. For example, both the Ten Commandments and most of codes of law condemn murder as an immoral act.
Other times the picture is not so clear. What’s acceptable in the Bible may not be acceptable in human law (for example slavery). Or what’s acceptable in human law may be see as immoral by the Bible (for example bisexuality).
Now the Duggars went to the Church first, so they clearly felt that regardless of what it said about this particular situation, God’s law took precedence.
Setting aside for a moment the multiple condemnations of sexual immorality in the Bible, let’s take a look at what the good book says about following human authority.
We’ll start in the Ten Commandments. What is generally considered the 5th Commandment states:
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Obviously, our mother and father are our usually prime earthly authority for the first 18 years of our lives.
When it comes to matters of following the law there’s oft quoted words of Jesus pertaining to paying taxes in Matthew 19:
Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
But that’s not all. Now, let’s look at the writing of the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:1
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Suddenly the Duggars going to the Church first and not the police is starting to look like a really bad move…but we’re not finished.
From Titus 3
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
And finally, we come back to Jesus himself and what is generally regarded as the greatest of all commands He gave. From John 13:34:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
When you love someone, you do whatever you can to protect them, to keep them safe, to keep them healthy, to make them flourish. This is ESPECIALLY true of Children.
At this point I think we can safely say the Duggars have failed on multiple levels here.
Personally, I understand the difference between Church authorities and the authorities of Law. Let’s say I committed a violent crime and decided to turn myself in. Obviously I’d go to the nearest police station to do such a thing BEFORE engaging my Church leadership, knowing full well I’d face consequences from both parties.
That is the logical thing to do. That’s the moral thing to do.
Heck, that’s even the BIBLICAL thing to do!
From anti-vaxxers to faith healers to anti-LGBT bakeries, there’s no shortage of folks who think that earthly laws shouldn’t apply to them because the Bible tells them otherwise, but nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s a very simple and obvious reality: When a serious crime has been committed, the first reaction of a Christian who truly follows Jesus should be to go to the POLICE, not the Church.
From just about any angle you look at this, secular or religious, the Duggars messed this up…badly.
This appeared in the e-newsletter of the high school where I worked before coming to China. So, I never had the pleasure of teaching or even meeting this young lady, who gave this speech on the steps of the Supreme Court building last month. It deserves wider exposure, so I’m reposting it in its entirety here.
I am a proud Kentuckian, a devoted Christian, a freshman at Stanford, and the outspoken daughter of two incredible moms. I hope that very soon, I will also be a maid of honor.
My name is Kinsey Morrison and I am honored to be here today representing the Family Equality Council as one of more than 6 million children of gay parents in this country. But I’m also angry that I need to be here. I am angry my family is still so invisible to the judges in our circuit and the voters in our state that this case had to go all the way to the Supreme Court. I am angry that every day, people use the same religion I love so dearly to justify hatred and discrimination against my family. I am angry that last week, my friend from Eastern Kentucky was brutally beaten by four coll ege classmates after they found out he is gay. And I am angry that even though much has changed since my parents were in college, too much has not.
My moms, Karen and Audrey, have been in a loving, committed relationship for 24 years and engaged for two decades. Yet there are those who fear they threaten the sanctity of marriage? They taught me the sanctity of marriage. They taught me to be courageous - and certainly proved their own courage when they taught me how to drive. They taught me the power of my voice, and also, the price of my silence.
Today, I refuse to be silent.
My sisters, Jillian and Teagan, and I know we have two parents who love us at our worst and help us become our best. They have taught us family values - conservative family values I would argue. They have nursed us through sickness, volunteered in our school classrooms, led our girl scout troops and coached our softball teams. They laughed with us through years of family game nights, and have gently broken the news that they are Santa Claus…and the Easter Bunny…and the Tooth Fairy. I have spent my entire life arguing that my parents are just as good as any others. The truth is, I think our country would be in a much better place if all parents - gay or straight - were as extraordinary as they are.
But because my moms are not even seen as ordinary, because they are treated as second-class citizens, my family is not protected under the law. When I was two days old, I was rushed back to the hospital after having a bad allergic reaction. The doctors refused to treat me for nearly an hour because the mom who brought me to them wasn’t listed on my birth certificate. Second-parent adoption is only one of more than a thousand rights my moms are denied because they cannot get married in Kentucky. The discrimination that causes would be unfathomable to any straight family, but it is the daily, terrifying, reality for many families like mine.
I am proud to live in a country where every morning, millions of children pledge allegiance to liberty and justice for all. I am sad that if those children are gay or have gay parents, they know we only mean liberty and justice for some. I am tired of feeling like we don’t count. I am tired of saying my parents are “as married as they can be.” I am tired of being proud of Kentucky, but knowing my state is not proud of me. And I am tired of seeing the pain in my moms’ eyes when they try to find the words to explain their relationship to other people - often people who do not understand and do not want to understand.
“My wife” needs no explanation.
The Supreme Court cannot decide whether or not I have a family. My moms, my sisters, and I…we have always been a family. What the justices can do is acknowledge that we are not invisible. That we are valued. That we count. They should know better than anyone that equality is a self-evident truth.
Victor Hugo said, “No power on Earth can resist an idea whose time has come.”
Today, it. is. time. Thank you.
Since I posted this, I found other information about this remarkable young woman.
This young lady is a 𠇍ragon slayer.”
The Louisville Courier-Journal profiled her in 2013 when she won a Youth Service Bell Award. They called her a dragon slayer.
This profile in her local newspaper gives more details. My former high school, an independent school, gave her a scholarship, because of the money her family incurred in caring for her.
She suffered from aplastic anemia, but it spontaneously went into remission. She has a website all about it.
We’ll be hearing more from Kinsey Morrison, mark my words.
Sarah Jones recently wrote story for “Church & State,” ( Americans United online publication called ) “Happy History : To Religious Right Groups, The United States Is God’s Favorite Nation — And It Has Never Done Anything Wrong”
It should come as no shock to anyone here, that like creationism, which they also are determined to crammed down our kid’s throats, the new “history” standards they want, won’t be based on reality.
It’s May, and for many high school students that means one thing: It’s time to take Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
The barrage of testing is something of a springtime ritual for many high school students across the land. Teenagers take AP exams to prove that they are able to handle the more challenging work they will encounter in college. In some cases, students can earn college credit while still in high school by taking AP courses.
AP exams, therefore, are rigorous, and the task of preparing students to pass them now supports an entire industry. Raising the stakes even higher, AP success is often essential to winning a coveted slot at an elite university.
But if some ultra-conservative groups have their way, that could change very soon.
Most people, when they think of public school curriculum battles, focus on science education - and with good reason. The campaign to teach “intelligent design” in addition to evolutionary theory has long been a staple fight for Religious Right activists
The U.S. has become notably less Christian in the last few years, but the shift has come unevenly, with New England and the Pacific Northwest at the leading edge of the social transformation and the South holding fast to more traditional religious beliefs.
Among the 10 states with the largest percentage of adults who profess no religion, New England has four — Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts — and the other six are in the West, according to a major new study by the Pew Research Center.
Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Colorado and Nevada round out the list of states with the largest share of secular adults.
In passing today I saw a tweet that had a quote which I looked up and found was from a book by named The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom by a guy named Michael Shermer. I can’t even remember what the quote was now, but I looked up the author and it seems he’s an atheist.
On his website, which I ended up at via Wikipedia, he says the following (emphasis mine):
…a paltry 12 percent accept the standard scientific theory that “human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.”
So I went back to his Wiki page and saw that a woman named Eugenie Scott, the Director of the National Center for Science Education Director, had emphatically disagreed with him because the existence or non-existence of God isn’t testable and science is based on empirical evidence, being able to test things, and is limited to the natural world—i.e. science, scientific data, doesn’t compel any particular theological or philosophical belief.
At around the 42:00 mark she leads up to talking about Shermer (and Dawkins, et al.), and she actually mentions him beginning around 43:00:
I went around looking for the definition of science/scientific methodology, and she appears to be 100% correct. So basically, I guess my point is that it seems there are some individual scientists who don’t think God exists, and there are skeptics/atheists who—based on scientific evidence (or rather the lack of it)—don’t think God exists because his existence is unnecessary to explain the natural world, but there’s nothing in science that says any such thing because religious belief and/or philosophy is not what science is about.
I’m not trying to pick a fight with you guys, I’m just saying that she makes sense, perfect sense. What she’s saying in the video is what I’ve (inelegantly) tried to express many times here—that science & religion have completely different methodologies & purposes and it therefore strikes me as rather absurd to try to prove or disprove one using (the methodology of) the other.
I’m really, really glad I found someone who clearly articulates what I knew on a gut level had to be correct. I haven’t watched all 87 minutes of her talk yet, but I’m very much looking forward to doing so soon.
That is all.
Looks like no one who accepts the reality that we’re ruining the planet with carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse can avoid the wrath of the anti science climate change deniers. Even anti theists should defend the Pope in this instance. He’s doing the right thing, unless you don’t care about the future of the planet, or the future of humanity. George Dvorsky reports.
Earlier today, Pope Francis met with the UN Secretary-General to share his concerns about climate change — a meeting that did not go unnoticed by the Heartland Institute, a right-wing American organization known for its global warming skepticism.
Pope Francis met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the upcoming Paris summit on climate change, a crucially important confab that some experts fear is the last good chance to forge a plan on carbon emissions and set limits to rising temperatures. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences also met with the UN Secretariat and some important NGOs to discuss climate change and other issues. During the meeting, the academy challenged politicians to end their “infatuation” with a mode of economic growth that’s destroying the planet.
Many religious conservatives continue to insist that the same-sex marriage debate pits religious Americans against non-religious Americans. That was largely true even as recently as 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. That year, there were no major religious groups among whom a majority supported allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. The highest levels of support among major religious groups came from white mainline Protestants, of whom 36 percent favored same-sex marriage, and Catholics, with 35 percent support. Nearly two-thirds of the religiously unaffiliated, by contrast, supported same-sex marriage.
Over the last decade, though, the debate has shifted from one between religious and non-religious Americans to one that primarily pits older, conservative Christians against moderate, progressive, or younger Christians, Jews, and the religiously unaffiliated.
This new terrain is not only lost on conservative religious leaders; opponents of same-sex marriage, more than other Americans, remain convinced that public opinion is on their side. In early 2014—more than a year after national polls began consistently finding majority support for same-sex marriage—Americans who opposed legalizing same-sex marriage were roughly three times more likely to say that most of the country opposed rather than supported same-sex marriage.
Because support for same-sex marriage is higher among religiously unaffiliated Americans, many wrongly believe that the movement of non-religious Americans are primarily responsible for the new battle lines. But in fact, the bulk of the shift in favor of same-sex marriage over the past decade has taken place among religious Americans. While more than three-quarters of religiously unaffiliated Americans favor same-sex marriage today, that number is up only 12 percentage points since 2003.
The Religious right is so incredibly stupid. It takes incredible ignorance of our constitution, not to understand how this is unconstitutional, and they acted like spoiled brats when they were challenged on it. Also Bible Man has to be one of the most pathetic superheroes ever. The Joker, Lex Luther, Doctor Doom, or Magneto could easily take him out before he could even quote a single Bible verse. Only the religious right would think of him as a “superhero.”
Doktor Zoom talks about one of the dumbest things I’ve heard about in a long time.
Cry for the poor oppressed Christians of Grundy County, Tennessee, will you please, O Wonkers? Lo, they are sore afraid, and most put upon, for an HERETIC is amongst them, using arcane magicks (the Constitution of the United States) and consorting with Devilish Forces (the Freedom From Religion Foundation) to withhold from the public schools the Word Of God! Which is to say, some old evangelist fart calling himself “the Bible Man” won’t be allowed to hold taxpayer-funded revival meetings at the elementary schools anymore, because of some stupid thing about it being unconstitutional. Happily, it all worked out for the best because the good Christian townspeople have figured out the identity of the troublemaking atheist mom who complained to the FFRF, and they’ve been threatening her with violent retribution, seeing as how God Himself hasn’t gotten around to smiting the godless bitch yet. But they know that’s what He’d want.
(Also, excuse us, reporter lady at 26 seconds in, it’s not so much that the Bible Man’s message is unconstitutional as that having it as part of the school day is. Yes, even if the heathen children eventually find out they’re allowed to go do something else while the good kids get their souls saved.)
In Georgia a State Rep. has most likely killed SB129, Georgia’s Religious
Freedom Power Bill.
He added an amendment that stated the bill cannot circumvent state and local nondiscrimination laws. At once the wingnuts said that this would “gut the bill”.
Good on Rep. Jacobs.