Christian Right Weekly Round-Up: Floating Fundies Flee Atheists in Collars

Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Ship of Fools”

Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Ship of Fools”

Ahoy there, mates!  Avast, ye scallywag sinners!  Arise and shine, then gather ye upon the poop deck of praise to give God the glory-glory!  The HMS Christian Right Weekly Round-Up is ready to set sail!

Pastor Pillow here.

In our padded pews this morning, we offer refuge to all from “abortion, homosexuality, taxes and the state-controlled church.”  Just ask the Gastonguays of Arizona.  Or is that the Gastonguays of Kiribati?  Oh, who knows.  By now, they’re probably hitching a rickshaw to Xanadu.

Hey, I see that you’re still in your pajamas.  Trust me, you aren’t the first person to sleep through your alarm because of a three-sheets-to-the-wind drinking binge of coconut toddy.  Anyway, while you dry out in time for this evening’s 5:30 p.m. service, here’s this week’s Weekly Round-Up Report of the top stories in the Right-Wing Christian Media.

As ever, seamen and mermaids, honest to God, I am not making up any of this stuff.

5.  Floating Fundies Forget to Walk on Water During Squall, via The Guardian“Christian Family Home after Ill-Fated Pacific Voyage to Escape U.S. Tyranny”

We don’t often pull stories from secular news sites for this column, but this salty tale is for the ages.  Funny how the Evangelical media seems to be ignoring this one.

If you’re wondering why the Gastonguays, a fundamentalist family from Arizona which includes a husband and wife, their two young children (one an infant), as well as Grandpa Gastonguay, risked all to leave the tiny confines of the United States for the utopic, “undeveloped” nation of Kiribati, vast in its 800 square kilometers, you will probably find the answer in the Kiribati Penal Code.  It appears Kiribatians have banned anal intercourse from all 32 of its Pacific assholes—I mean atolls.  From what I can tell, abortion is illegal in Kiribati as well.

The Gastonguays did their research and determined this island republic was the perfect place to house a disgruntled, ‘Mosquito Coast’ family of five.  I don’t suppose there’s room for another 50 million would-be Pilgrims in the Kiribati capital of South Tarawa?  Yet don’t raise your hopes too high for a Christian Coalition mass exodus to the Pacific.  Apparently the false prophets of global warming might not be so false, as the Kiribatian Government is bracing to become the world’s first underwater nation since Atlantis.

In the end, I’m just confused why Mr. Gastonguay didn’t simply generate a font of faith to calm the storm.  No, instead his Savior abandoned his wife and children to the unthinkable:  a $10,000 loan from that whore of Babylon, the U.S. State Department, to fly home.

Thank our “state-controlled” God that someone’s taxes were available to bail them out!  (I’m telling you, brothers and sisters, sometimes these articles just write themselves.)

4.  September Prophecy Seminars are Filling Up Fast, but Don’t Commit the Unpardonable Sin!  Act Fast at Amazing Facts!

What really frightens me about this website is that of the 600 million-plus websites in the world, Amazing Facts, despite its sheer clunkiness, is ranked in the top 100,000.  Do the math, then visit the site.

The site presents awkward, semi-noble testimonials of people who have recovered from alcohol through religious experience, then in the same breath blasts the user with theologically asinine articles about the unquenchable fire and eternal torment of hell, along with offers for free books about heaven as a floating cosmic Emerald City.  Heck, you can even Email a Prayer Request to site founder and biblical prophet Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Not Radical Right breaking news here, but I present this website as an exemplar of whacked-out Christian fundamentalism and the kind of organization that the National Religious Broadcasters lets into its membership fold.  This is about as schlocky as religion gets.  And don’t forget:  schlock sheep vote red.

For what it’s worth, the site also contains a News tab which describes where Pastor Doug is making his global prophecy rounds in the coming months.  Sadly, Kiribati remains a wash at this time.

3.  No Atheists of the Cloth in Foxholes from The Christian Post:  Atheist Chaplain Undermines Nature of Chaplaincy Itself”

I’m glad I tuned in to The Christian Post this week to learn that one of Louisiana’s finest legislators, Rep. John Fleming (I’ll let you guess his political party), has introduced a bill that would ban atheists from becoming U.S. military chaplains.  I mean, it’s about time someone addressed this rampant religio-military crime against humanity!  Next thing you know, atheists will be lining up everywhere to get married, to own businesses, maybe even to read Forward Progressives.

I’m not sure where to begin, but I suppose opinion author Colonel Arthur C. Pace’s comments are as good a place as any:  “During my 30 years as a chaplain, I relied on the ‘sword of the Spirit’—the Bible—to defeat the darkness of war.”

I’m curious, Colonel, when you refer to “the darkness of war,” I assume that’s a condemnation of the United States’ unjustified invasion of Iraq that led to more than 100,000 civilian murders.  Right?  Or perhaps you served earlier, maybe when several hundred Vietnamese civilians were slaughtered at My Lai.

Colonel Pace continues:  “I hold no disdain for those who have not found religious faith, but I pray there is never a time when a soldier, sailor, airman, marine or guardian asking for a word of spiritual comfort and peace is instead directed to [a] chaplain who doesn’t believe in God.”

On second thought, I think the good Colonel is right.  I don’t think there is a place for atheists in the chaplaincy.  Nor Jews nor Christians nor Muslims nor Hindus, etc.  I don’t think there’s a place for humanity in the military industrial complex, period.  How about this for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act:  “No person, whether or not they believe in God, shall be permitted to kill another human being in the name of our nation.”

I realize I’m in the conscientious objection minority here, but I just don’t understand why the hundreds of thousands of people who “liked” this article on Facebook didn’t storm the streets of Washington for Uncle Sam’s godless acts of militarism.

2.  Stellar Fundie Celebrity Lineup This Fall at Liberty University, according to The Gospel Herald: “‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Willie Robertson, Bethany Hamilton, Justin Bieber’s Mom to Speak at Liberty University”

This is the first of two Gospel Herald articles this week.  In case you’ve forgotten, Liberty University (in the ever apt, sleepy town of Lynchburg, Virginia) is still alive and well—and hoping to pump tons of ultraconservative, Evangelical lawyers into Washington should the Republicans take the White House in 2016.

And, boy oh boy, if you are enrolled at Liberty this fall, do we have a star-studded lineup of Christian celebrities just waiting to speak you!  The convocation lineup is led by Willie Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Kirk Cameron and Justin Bieber’s mom.

What, no applause?  Frankly, I don’t blame you; I cannot imagine a worse trapped-in-an-elevator encounter than that.

But the real reason I’m pointing out this clip, other than for its general absurdity, is to remind you that tens of thousands of individuals took the time to read this GH article.  If you think Fox News is the conservative gold standard, don’t ever forget that there’s a fundie news undertow that is just as influential.  And it makes Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity look like tame pussycats.

1.  Egyptian Christianity Under Fire in The Gospel Herald: “Egypt’s Coptic Christian Churches Attacked, Burnt by Hardliner Islamist, Muslim Brotherhood”

Finally, more along the lines of legitimate news, The Gospel Herald is also reporting that more than 50 Coptic churches were burned during the political unrest in Egypt this past week.

The Coptic Church has a storied history that dates back to the very origins of Christianity.  (For those interested in ecclesiology, both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians can take the Eucharist in Coptic churches.)  Christianity was once the majority religion in Egypt, and with the advent of Islam has diminished in size and influence.  Since 1970, however, Egypt’s Coptic Christians have suffered innumerable attacks by fundamentalist Muslim groups.

This week’s news about Egyptian Christians is horrifying, as is the situation at large in Egypt.  If nothing, this should remind us that the flame of fundamentalism can be placed under the kettle of any religion to boiling, murderous ends.

Also, to Mr. and Mrs. Gastonguay of Arizona:  If you really want to know what life as a persecuted Christian is like, perhaps you should steer your dinghy east toward the Mediterranean.  Only this time, please leave your children behind with Child Protective Services.

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 has one thing in common: they report news to members of the Christian Right across the Fruited Plain.  And the Christian Right accounts for nearly one-third of America’s voters.

See you next week.

And a final message for Kiribatians everywhere:  Stock up on placard signs.  Here come the thumpers!

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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