Christian Right Weekly Round-Up: A Rabbi, Baphomet and Lou Dobbs Walk into a Bar…

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Two Templars burned at the stake.

Pastor Pillow here!

With apologies to Drew Brees, parishioners, kindly open your hymnals to No. 804.

The holiday season is past.  Epiphany has come and gone.  And the religious nut jobs are on the prowl again!

Several thoughts from the political pulpit this morning:

Do you think Jesus would have ordered the closing of the George Washington Bridge?  I mean, Our Lord and Savior could have just walked across the Hudson from Jersey to NYC, so maybe it’s a moot point.

Also, sometimes I wonder how Jesus would have fared as a military drone pilot.  Or an arms salesman at Walmart.  Bet he would have been one helluva hedge fund manager—imagine how handy omniscience would be in that field.

I have five doozy clips to review this week, so I’ll cut my homily a bit short this morning.  But first I’d like to share a post from my friends over at The Christian Left that’s been bouncing around in my head the past few days.  I’ve been preparing a biblical survey on “biblical definitions of capitalism,” which I’ll be unveiling soon.  TCL’s post couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

Yeah, it’s a controversial post.  But our nation has its head stuck far up the ass of Mammon.  And it’s important to consider that the Christian Way is often antithetical to the American Way:

What do you think the biggest military machine in the world, more powerful than all the rest of the world’s military capabilities combined, is protecting?  Why do we have bases all over the world?  It isn’t protecting you and me.  It’s protecting capitalism and “our investments” throughout the world.  Except they aren’t “our” investments.  They are the investments of ultra rich multinational corporations and their owners.  These people don’t care about protecting you.  They have plenty of people around the world to buy their stuff.  They would just as soon shut you up and throw you in prison for smoking pot or something.  The US also has the special distinction of the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world.  Higher than Russia, higher than China, higher than ANY single country.  Why does it always take Americans so long to wake up and smell the coffee? Must be those big screen TVs and smart phones everyone has their face in all the time.

Anywho, there are a couple of big bouts on the NFL agenda today:  the Puma vs. the Gold Rushers and the Lightning Bolts versus the Papa John Anti-Obamacare Pizza Hawkers.  Somewhere in there, I expect you’ll squeeze in a Sabbath Day service.  During commercials throughout today’s big matchups, take a few minutes to see what the Christian Media has been up to this week.

Hopefully it’ll prime your political pump leading up to November 4, 2014.

5. Rabbis and Whiskey Run Amok in Texas, according to Liberty Institute: “City Defies Agreement with Liberty Institute, Continues Attack on Local Rabbi”

The city of Bellaire, Texas is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.

I’m not sure whether to file this one under “Bad Starts to a Carl Hiaasen Novel” or “Lost Tales of Sholem Aleichem.”

Bellaire, Texas, is a no-longer-quiet Houston suburb of less than 20,000 inhabitants with a problem.  A municipal ordinance requires a specific-use permit for churches or houses of worship.

Rabbi Gavriel Jacknin runs the Bellaire Jewish Center, which is not operated out of his private residence.  However, like many religious congregation leaders, Rabbi Jacknin occasionally entertains religious-related events out of his home, including Torah studies and Chanukah parties.

City officials, reportedly acting on the complaints of neighbors who are afraid of the negative impact to property by such religious meetings, have twice cited Rabbi Jacknin “for operating a house of worship, without a required specific-use permit.”

I’m aghast!  In Texas?!  Are you trying to suggest that honest, bazooka-toting Rick Perry voters would be scared to death by a few folks smacking a dreidel piñata in the privacy of Rabbi Jacknin’s back yard?  I would never, ever believe that!

Enter Evangelical Superhero, Liberty Institute, whose chalcedony-codpiece, flowing-cape mission is “to defend and restore religious liberty across America—in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena.”

According to its website:  “After Liberty Institute and the Center’s local attorney Richard Grimes met with city officials last week, the city officials dismissed the citation, acknowledging that Rabbi Jacknin had done nothing inappropriate and that he can continue holding his religious meetings.”

It remains to be seen, however, whether the Evangelical Agents of Liberty Institute will commune with Rabbi Jacknin and the Bellaire Jewish Center at its upcoming Whiskey & Wisdom Night on January 23.  (Christian Liberty Fighters never drink on the job!  Or anywhere else.)

I know one thing for sure:  Manny Schewitz and the WATMAB gang will be there!

4. Baphomet Battles Moses for Committee Chair, over at The Gospel Herald:  “Satan Seeking Seat in Oklahoma State Capitol”

The timing couldn’t be better for Liberty Institute’s next mission!

In case you missed it, in 2012, Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze (guess his political party) and his family paid for a granite monument of the Ten Commandments to be installed on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds.  Ritze also authored the 2009 legislation authorizing the monument’s presence on the decidedly governmental grounds.

As you can imagine, the legislation did not also authorize monuments for all other world religions to be erected alongside the Decalogue.

But that didn’t stop New York-based Satanic Temple from fundraising to erect (here, pun intended) its own complementary seven-foot statue of Baphomet “for inspiration and contemplation.”

By the way, before Christians everywhere start to panic, Baphomet isn’t mentioned in the Bible.  Baphomet is probably a Templar era mistranslation of Muhammad.  Or Pan.  Or whatever goat-headed-Aleister-Crowley-manifestation fills that special horny void in your spiritual life.  (Please insert your own ceremonial Devil’s Kiss joke here.)

Anyway, we’re all just going to sit back and wait for Liberty Institute to ride in on its high horse and defend the religious liberties of non-Christians everywhere.

Hmm, still waiting.

Gee, everyone, it’s just a guy in a goat mask.  (Or maybe a lady.)

4. Where the Evangelical Power Mongers of Tomorrow Learn Legal Manipulation, via Christianity Today“The Top Law Schools for Devout Christians”

Now on to much more critical Radical Right matters.

Ever wonder where the American Taliban sends its scions to law school?  Here are the top five law schools for conservative fundamentalists:

  • Liberty University (Jerry Falwell)
  • Trinity Law School (“Learn the law, live the faith.”)
  • Regent University (Pat Robertson)
  • Pepperdine University (etc.)
  • Baylor University (et al)

I only mention this because the 2016 Presidential Election isn’t really all that far off, and it’s probably a good idea to keep in mind that the Bush Administration was jam-packed with Regent University lawyers.

Yes, lawyers like Regent Law graduate Monica Goodling.  Perhaps you’ll remember her as the “former top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales…at the center of the storm over the firing of U.S. attorneys.”

Yeah, Goodling and 150 other Regent graduates who served in the Bush Administration.

W.  Never forget.

2. Dobbs and Robertson Make Salient Point Before Falling Face-First in Pig Shit, according to the Christian Broadcasting News“Lou Dobbs: Face It, America’s in Deep Trouble”

Ah, the Lord works in mysterious ways.  In discussing Fox Business Network anchor Lou Dobbs’ latest tome, Upheaval, famed hate-vangelist Pat Robertson and Dobbs discuss “the unholy alliance” between politicians and mega-corporate industry.

Dobbs states that both major U.S. political parties are not that far afield from one another philosophically, though they work hard to appear as polar opposites.  He even rails against “companies like General Electric” that are trying to avoid their civic responsibilities “to their stakeholders, which are the American people….”  At this point, it was a wonder that a Fox producer didn’t yank Dobbs off-screen with a shepherd’s crook!

Dobbs eventually proceeds to romp in the mud and accuses Democrats of “wanting the whole hog” with respect to illegal immigration—because, you know, the Donkey Party has no interest in border security.  Then Robertson and Dobbs reveal their true colors, enjoying a good chuckle over the 120 climate scientists trapped in ice off the coast of Antarctica.  And before you know it, the dynamic duo rails against the Obama Administration for investing in alternative energy.

This, folks, is the quintessence of the Christian Broadcasting Network:  bloviation, misinformation, half-truths and conservative propaganda.

Ever read the CBN mission statement?

“To prepare the United States of America and the nations of the world for the coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.”

Yeah, this little segment really rolled out the red carpet for the returning Messiah.

1. Thoughts on the Valiant Heroism of Pakistani Teen Aitzaz Hussain, according to Religion News Service“Aitzaz, the Pakistani Boy who Stood up to the Suicide Bomber (and what we are missing)”

We like to end every week on a positive note.

Omid Safi is a Professor of Islamic Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he has written a powerful opinion piece about 15-year-old Pakisani hero, Aitzaz Hussain, who recently thwarted a suicide terror act by sacrificing his own life to save his fellow classmates.

Says Safi:  “I wonder if someone who stopped an American drone from bombing Pakistanis would be celebrated as a hero, or arrested as breaking a law?  In celebrating the lives saved today by Aitzaz, who mourns the 2,537 to as many as 3,646 people killed by American drones in Pakistan?”

Sadly, there is so much killing in the name of God on all sides of the “War on Terror.”

If you think that God is “on your side” when you strap a bomb to your body or strap in to a military industrial complex superpower virtual cockpit, you are deceived by something much more powerful than a seven-foot statue of Baphomet.

Period.

And, boy oh boy, have you got a surprise waiting for you someday when you finally meet your Maker.

No soup for you.  No mansion with virgins.  No medal of honor.  Just innocent blood on your hands.

All right, everybody, open your hymnals to No. 805.

That’s a wrap!

And just why do we present the Christian Right Weekly Round-Up each week?

According to Forbes, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) alone brings in nearly $300 million per year in revenue. CBN isn’t alone in the 9-figure Radical Right Revenue Game. According to the website Ministry Watch, CBN is dwarfed in comparison to the nearly $900 million raked in annually by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).

But TBN and CBN are mere bright stars in a galactic empire of hundreds of Christian news and media organizations. If you have a few minutes to spare, review the membership lists of the National Religious Broadcasters and the Evangelical Press Association.

Each and every one of these Christian media organizations have one thing in common: they report news to members of the Christian Right across the Fruited Plain. And the Christian Right account for nearly one-third of America’s voters.

Not only that, but here’s a list of what’s on the line in November 2014:

—All 435 seats of the U.S. House of Representatives

—33 seats in the U.S. Senate

—46 State Legislatures

—And 38 State and Territorial Governorships.

Sorry to preach politics from the pulpit, but if that doesn’t scare the shit out of you enough to submit an early 2014 ballot, I don’t know what will.

See you next week.

And a final message for people everywhere, don’t forget: the November 2014 election is this many days away.

Arik Bjorn

Arik Bjorn lives in Columbia, South Carolina. He was the Democratic Party / Green Party fusion candidate for U.S. Congress in the 2nd Congressional District of South Carolina. Visit the archive for Arik’s campaign website, and check out his latest book, So I Ran for Congress. You can also follow his political activities on Twitter @Bjorn2RunSC and on Facebook. And be sure to check out more from Arik in his archives!

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  • Pipercat

    Bellaire now is the home of the best Italian restaurant in Houston. Been a while since I dined there, but fabulous none-the-less! Perfect place to nosh before the Whiskey and a Yiddisher kop a go-go!

  • Edward Krebbs

    RE; Bellaire, TX. Does the city also forbid parties at the home of the Baptist pastors ?