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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  • Bo_Regard

    Arik Bjorn like many Atheists are hellbent on pushing their Religious faith of “non God” onto Theists. However, Atheists do worship the gods of Me, Money, and Matter as their Trinity. Doctrinally Atheists bastardize the Scientific Methods (created during the Middle Ages) by changing its dynamic theories into absolute dogmas like evolution and origins of the universe. Their bible is writings from Dawkins and Hitches who are its atheistic prophets. This Atheist religion is organized under numerous secular humanistic and atheist groups in American and worldwide. Atheists tend to be a fearful (and self-fearful) and arrogant group thinking that they are smarter than everyone else. Thank you Arik Bjorn for sharing your hatred.

    • Wayne Bassett

      I am a proud atheist and your description does not describe myself or friends of mine that are also atheists. I give to charities and do my best to help those in need. When I meet someone of faith, I am delighted to have theocratic debates and conversation that are both placid and good humored. The only time I have problems is when I meet someone with extreme views of their faith. These people see me as some form of low life in need of saving instead of just excepting me for my views and who I am. They tend to force me to think the way they do ( One time through a literal book burning of chosen material from my personal library while I was at work), but I have never done so to them or anyone else. My philosophy has been that if you want to believe in what you want to believe in, that’s fine, but don’t force me to think the way you do just because I disagree.

      • louis

        your trying to reason with a psychopath. its a waste of your time. fuck them, I hope their god takes them sooner rather than later. DONT WASTE YOUR TIME TRYING TO EXPLAIN SHIT TO MORONS. they dont even view us as human. Atheists are the bomb, we hurt no one yet act more moral than most, so fuck jesus , allah and any other fake ass deity you idiots worship! JESUS CAN EAT MY ASSHOLE (if he even existed in the first place).

      • Bo_Regard

        Louis, it appears that you hate yourself and the world. Typical Jesus hater.

      • louis

        I hate what people like you and religion have done to my country. its just i have the balls to stand up and tell you the truth about how many of us feel. The only thing I hate, is people like you!

      • Bo_Regard

        Your country? So your country should be Atheist? Hitler wanted his country to be special. You should seek therapy to properly deal (cope) with your hate and other unresolved personal issues.

      • Bo_Regard

        don’t force me to think the way you do just because I disagree.
        Then write a letter to the Atheist theologian Richard Dawkins condemning his extremist and fundamentalist promotion of his faith, and the trashing of Theist believers. He and others are attempting to “force me to think the way you do just because I disagree.”

      • Wayne Bassett

        I don’t want to force you or anyone to think they way I do, just to keep an open mind and open discussion without resorting to extremism. As for Richard Dawkins, I have seen how he goes about explaining his views and it is rarely the actions of an extremist but that of a reasonable man.

      • Bo_Regard

        Dawkins is civilized when he is within the circle of his peers. When he is promoting “the faith” outside his professional circle, he becomes a militant extremist wacko.

      • Lyola M Roeske Shafer

        Generally,I find it best to exclude Evangelical dogmatic Christians from most of my social life. I disapprove of most of their talk and their actions, so I spare myself that kind of unpleasantness.

      • Bo_Regard

        That is a rude, generalized, and prejudicial social agenda and mentality. Simply and kindly state to your Evangelical dogmatic friends that you are not a follower of their organization. Who knows your boss may be one of them someday. No need to crawl under a rock due to this irrational fear of yours.

    • John E. Conway

      Some atheists might do those things, but some Christians also spout hate, spread fear, and cause suffering. It seems you are one of those. Do not label me, you know nothing about me. I am an atheist who served my nation in the military, and it would have been nice to have a Chaplain to go to with problems, But there was no one for those of us without faith, we simply had to grit and bear it. The reason this legislation is coming up is because there is a movement to actually have atheist Chaplains now. It has been nixed by the military for the moment, but the concept that they even considered it is a step in the right direction.

      • Bo_Regard

        But you do have faith in secular humanism? The folly and limitations of man. If an Atheist wishes to proclaim “no God” and “no Religion” then there should be no need for a Atheist chaplain in the military. So, Atheism IS an Religion then.

      • raggedcompany

        I think what Mr. Conway is trying to say — and please, correct me if I’m wrong, sir — is that it would have been nice to have a Chaplain to speak to who wouldn’t suggest “God” as a way to deal with problems. Sometimes it’s helpful just to have an objective mind to share thoughts with, to receive advice or just to talk, without receiving a religious lession in the process.

      • Bo_Regard

        You silly. Chaplains are in the God league. Of course they are going to mention “God.” It has been that way for centuries. Why would the military change this duty, just because someone is “offended” by the name of God which the majority are not? The arrogance of these atheist !!!

      • raggedcompany

        The (presumably Athiest) person in the position could easily be called something OTHER than a Chaplain. I merely used the term because it was the one used in the article. Why can’t there be an advisor (that’s the word I’m using instead, just to clarify) for both Athiests AND the faithful? I would like to note further here that there may already be such a person, but seeing how I have never served I lack first hand knowledge.

      • Bo_Regard

        The only “adviser” a soldier needs it his or her drill Sargent.

      • raggedcompany

        So then Christians don’t really need a Chaplain, do they?

      • Bo_Regard

        They sure do with church services. Christians have been gathering together to worship their God for 20 centuries. People who led those services are call a priest or minister. No atheist will stop these gathering especially for those soldiers in the military. This also applies for Jews, and Muslims, or for any person of faith. But since atheist’s belief in the “no-god” is void and spiritless, then they will simply have to rely on their drill instructor for non spiritual guidance.

      • raggedcompany

        Nothing you’ve said changes my mind from what I said originally — that Athiests serving should have someone in a similar position, to whom they have the option to speak. I’m just going to respectfully disagree with you. Have a nice day.

      • Bo_Regard

        I am not here to change the minds of closed minded people.

      • raggedcompany

        HOW am I being closed-minded? I never said Christians/other religions weren’t entitled to their Chaplains/whaetver you want to call them, nor that they shouldn’t practice their faith while they serve in the military. I only stated that I think Athiests should receive similar privileges, should they choose to utilize such a service. Pretty sure wanting to treat everyone equally falls within the realm of open-minded thinking. If my not wanting to change my open-minded views makes me closed-minded… wow. Just, wow.

      • Bo_Regard

        If an atheist solder does not believe in the worship of God and the consultation a religious faith has to offer with a chaplain in execution of that faith, then the only guidance and atheist soldier would need is from his or her drill Sargent or Commanding Officer.

      • raggedcompany

        Pretty ~arrogant~ of you to presume what another person might need.

      • Bo_Regard

        Which the guidance of a drill Sargent by atheist soldiers. They don’t need chaplains. Save the chaplains for those “God believers.”

      • John E. Conway

        Not a secular humanist no, but they technically are atheists as well. Chaplains serve a special service in the military, providing counseling that is privileged, a rarity in the military. Just having someone to talk to openly without fear would be a huge boon for many and may help people who have PTSD or other mental, emotional, or other problems and lead them to the help they need.

    • louis

      first off, we are smarter than everyone else. we arent psycho paths or narcissists. We are smarter because we recognize that most if not all religions are bullshit. trying to convey atheism as a religion of its own, well, nice try to lump us with you nutbags. Right wingers and any fundamentalist religious weirdo also worships the “gods of me, money, and matter, (sex i assume you mean). The correct answer to the mighty god question, is NO ONE KNOWs. Anyone that claims they know what happens when we dies is a flat-out liar. The most humble, intelligent answer is the recognition that we have zero idea. You Religio nut-bags who claim to have some inside info that you cant prove to be true, have ruined this country and the lives of millions of innocent people. People who believe in GOD, are scared insecure idiots who fear death. Evolution, and theory’s of the universe, are just that…theory’s. its you religious idiots that try to portray certainty. Talking about the middle ages, a lot of religions are older. Thank you for your bullshit rant, and to the coward below who tried so hard not to offend you even though he didn’t agree with you at all. Who gives a shit about atheist chaplains, believe it or not alot of priests don’t believe. just look at Catholics. if they truly believed would they be raping children in massive numbers and hoarding wealth like the Walton family? prolly not. All of you god knowing people, i wish you would all die and go be with your beloved fairy prince in your magical kingdom. Morons!

      • Bo_Regard

        Your arrogance is comical.

    • Lyola M Roeske Shafer

      Bo, you have it ALL wrong.

  • Lyola M Roeske Shafer

    A debate about a topic that has no facts is not much of a debate and generally, as in this case, reverts to name-calling.

    • Bo_Regard

      Thanks for stating the “facts” in your just said statement.

  • A Girl

    “I don’t think there’s a place for humanity in the military industrial complex, period.”

    It’s hard to tell if you’re being hyperbolic, but because of your bias, Arik, you dismiss the issue of humanist chaplains in the military. And yet, it’s an interesting debate. I know this is a light-hearted column, but humanity has every place in the military. And every unit is assigned a chaplain, and there are humanist chaplains who would like to serve the military, so it’s much more important than you imply. If your shtick is to mock fundamentalist thinking, you might want to check your own rigidity at the door.

    • Bo_Regard

      So Humanism is a Religion like Atheism? They both desire military chaplains who’s job description resides on religious matter? Humanists and Atheists want it both ways. They want the same thing that is offered, or required, for religious people in the military, yet they don’t believe in or associate with religion. If humanity or oneself is “god” for the Humanist and Atheist, then the drill Sargent is the Humanist’s and Atheist’s chaplain.