I want to thank each of you 25,739 precious sheep for gathering today within the air-conditioned confines of Cubic Zirconium Cathedral Ministries—and that doesn’t even include the thousands freshly herded to us from the recently christened Cross-Winds Megachurch of El Paso (a new #usedtobeablockbuster CZC Ministries remote access site).
Brothers and sisters, as you know, Christians in this holy nation are presently under siege from demonic principalities. Horned Imps of Hades everywhere are seeking vulnerable young white men who grew up in prosperous Southern suburbs, and once they have them in their sharp-hoofed, Black Sabbath clutches—oh, the places they’ll go.
Thus, even though we’re an open carry ministry, I’m sure you can appreciate why we initiated the Stop & Frisk sanctuary policy this morning. Good Lord, imagine some moron with a Mac-10 wanting to take me out simply because he has something up his wazoo about spiritual self-help authors on the New York Times Religion and Faith Bestseller list. (By the way, here’s where you can purchase Pastor Pillow Talks!)
Anyway, as you’ll also note, we have taken to lowering the Christian Flag to half-staff this morning, given the tragic events in Char—
What’s that, Deacon Duvet? Well, I do confess that I have forgotten that protocol. Yet I believe you are correct: the Christian Flag Code of Conduct states that the Christian Flag never dips to any other flag. Ergo, no half-staff until all other flags are dipped minimally halfway. And we know that the Confederate Flag flies high and aloft in Columbia, South Carolina, this morning. Thus, we are Christianly compelled to keep Ole Heaven high overhead.
Now, please open your New Improvised Standard Prosperity Bibles to the Gospel of Pillow, Chapter 3, Verse the 57. Let us read aloud the words of our Lord and Savior:
Behold, I stand at the door with a Glock! If anyone hears the snap of my ammunition magazine—
WAIT! STOP THE MUSIC!
This is your author, Arik. Even I can only take so much satire on a week like this.
Today, I attended the Take the Flag Down Rally at the South Carolina State House grounds. As you are likely aware, earlier this week, an evil young man, whose name I shall not dignify, (allegedly) stole the lives of 9 beautiful human beings who were peacefully gathered this week in one of the nation’s most historic churches in Charleston. Well, it didn’t take long for the progressive people of South Carolina to connect the dots to the perpetrator’s admitted racism and the goddamned Confederate Flag that, by law, continues to fly front and center upon the South Carolina State House grounds, thus inspiring such wicked human beings to act upon their racist worldviews.
And this is where reality meets satire. Or is it satire meets reality?
One-hundred fifty years ago, South Carolina was whomped for defending its slaving ways, yet not only does the flag of the losing (and loser) cause continue to fly upon the grounds of that state’s government seat, but other symbols of the Heritage of Hate remain rooted thereupon—including a statue devoted to former Governor and U.S. Senator Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman, who once said upon the floor of the U.S. Senate:
“We stuffed ballot boxes. We shot them. We are not ashamed of it … and we eliminated, as I said, all of the colored people whom we could under the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments.”
There I sat upon the base of Tillman’s statue this afternoon, next to a man holding a sign that declares “BEN TILLMAN WAS A MURDEROUS LYNCH MOB LEADER,” when a small boy, no more than six, paused to listen to the sign-holder conversing with a passerby about the villainous Mr. Tillman. The little boy asked his mother, “Mommy, is that true? Was that man [Tillman] really that bad? Mommy, why did they make a statue of a bad man?”
Whereupon the mother replied, “Um…”
Because no reasonable human being can explain to a child why a coldblooded murderer would be celebrated with statuary—let alone a statuary with a plaque that declares said coldblooded murderer was a “friend and leader of the common people.”
Holy shit, South Carolina: TAKE IT DOWN! TAKE. IT. ALL. DOWN!
Please open your Prosperity Gospel hymnals to No. 50.
I hope you understand what this is all about
Behold, the Christian Right Weekly Round-Up!
And wouldn’t you know, it’s a Vexillology Sunday Special!
5. I Pledge Allegiance to the Christian Flag, via Christianity Today: “Do You Know the History of the Christian Flag?”
Want to know what’s almost as scary as the Confederate Flag? Did you know there’s a Christian Flag?
Seriously, it is pretty scary when public institutions such as Auburn University call the Christian Flag “the only free flag in the world.”
Now want to know something even scarier? There’s a pledge to the Christian Flag—a pledge that me and countless millions of fundamentalist children were, and still are, subjected to daily. Here’s the Christian Flag Pledge by way of that wonderful website, Christian Homeschoolers:
I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag
and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands.
One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again
with life and liberty to all who believe.
Wait, there’s more! There’s also a Christian Flag Code of Conduct, one that in fact states: “The Christian flag never dips to any other flag. It may properly dip to the altar Cross.”
Yes, you have permission to start feeling creeped out. And I promise it’s only a coincidence that the Christian Flag’s colors are red, white and blue.
4. Flags, Flags, Everywhere Flags, over at Wikipedia: “Christian Flag: Denominational Flags”
In all fairness, before we ride the Christian Right too hard about the Christian Flag, it should be noted that there’s a Vatican City Flag, a Greek Orthodox Church Flag, an Episcopalian Church Flag, a Coptic Church Flag (that one’s kind of cool), a Salvation Army Flag, and a Church of Ireland Flag, Hell, there’s even a Mormon Flag—or was, hard to tell.
Flags appear to be the innate human way to express dominion and possession. Frankly, it’s a bit of a surprise that lesser primates haven’t caught up with this cultural trait yet. But it’s absolutely no surprise that of all the things we made sure we left on the moon, it was a flag. Yet I kind of like the fact that experts are convinced that the harsh rays of the sun upon the moon’s surface have likely reduced the U.S. flag to a bleached, blank quadrilateral. (Universe, to your ultraviolet ways, we surrender.)
3. Crickets from Christian Leadership, a la—well, dang, from nowhere
This week, even Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney weighed in that it’s time for the godawful Confederate Flag to be removed from the South Carolina State House grounds. However, Senator Ted “Asshat” Cruz thinks it’s perfectly fine for the Confederate Flag to fly if that’s what South Carolina’s right-wing leaders decide.
Funny thing, I looked high and low and couldn’t find one major leader in the Christian Right who was willing to go on record this week to implore South Carolina to be rid of that darn-tootin’ thing lest God strike them down with hurricanes or tsunamis or Teletubbies. But, by God, if a lesbian has a “relentlessly gay” yard…
I swear, if some fundie leader doesn’t say something nasty about the Confederate Flag—and soon!—I’m gonna refuse to say my Christian Flag pledge all of next week.
2. Because Demons, by way of Charisma News: “This Pastor is Pulling no Punches About ‘Demonic’ South Carolina Massacre”
Keith Biggs is associate pastor of Citadel Square Baptist Church, which is located on the same block as Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where the horrific hate crime murders of nine innocent churchgoers occurred this past week. Here are the good pastor’s thoughts on the abominable murders:
“As everybody said on TV, it goes deeper than just hate. To me, this is something that’s very demonic to be able to do that. It’s a big spiritual warfare, so we’re coming together.”
Clearly, this is sensitive territory. But even as there has been effort to make clear that mental illness is not the necessary driving factor of crimes of racism, there should be equal—if not more—effort to establish that imps of hell do not make racism happen. A flesh-and-blood human being did these things without being pulled by infernal metaphysical strings. Period.
1. Potluck Image, via National Geographic: “The Cape Pangolin of Africa Drinks Water”
And here’s a cute photo of a pangolin drinking water. Because, you know, sometimes so much wanton news is more than one can take.
That’s a wrap!
Please open your Prosperity Gospel hymnals to No. 1978.
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the bells were ringing,
Oh, let’s set aside the boiler plate this week. Instead, let’s just make one thing clear:
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