Christians Vs. “The Mormon Cult:” Really? So What About the Jews?

Rick Perry and Robert Jeffress

Mr. wOw ponders the new world of “cults”

Evangelical pastor — and Rick Perry supporter — Robert Jeffress announced at the “Values Voters Conference” last week that Mitt Romney was not fit to be president because his Mormon religion is a “cult” and only those who have given their hearts and minds to Jesus Christ can be president of the United States. (The Mormon beliefs are only about 150 years old, and though they believe in Jesus, they don’t believe in any traditional manner.)

Interesting. Well, I guess this counts out any chance of a Jew for president — Jews do not believe Jesus was the son of God: he was just an ordinary Jewish preacher of the time. (The pastor Jeffress made it clear that no Jew should be president, either. And that all presidents should be judged on how they “stood on Biblical law.”) But, wait — aren’t the Evangelicals all up in Israel’s business? Supporting the Jewish state of Israel? Supporting Jews? Uhhhh … not quite.

Evangelicals support the land. They consider Israel and Jerusalem their holy hot spots. The place where the Big Battle of Armageddon will happen. So they throw money at Israel, all the while thinking: “Hope they come to Christ, otherwise they’re gonna burn in Hell!” And Israel accepts it. Perhaps they feel they have no choice — a tiny country surrounded by enemies. Take help where you can. (Jews don’t believe in Hell, so they are much more “meh” about that concept.)

But doesn’t anybody creep out that these Evangelical saviors wish you dead, unless you believe as they do? That they will happily see you burn in Hell if you don’t accept Christ? Something really ugly there. Not to mention very anti-Semitic.

So while we have a man of mixed race in the White House, and a full African American running for the post — the lovely Herman Cain — we still can’t have a Mormon, or a Jew, or what about a damned atheist? (Please, give me a man or woman of no faith but lots of humanity and good sense!)

Cult? Every time I see one of those gazillion dollar mega-churches with everybody up, glaze-eyed, hand-waving and testifying, or watch the gaudy, golden ceremonies at Christmas from St. Peter’s, all I think is “cult.”

I also think: corruption, a waste of millions of dollars on crap, and hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy.

Go pray on your toilet. If God exists, he’ll find you there. Don’t mess with government, which has enough problems already.

91 comments so far.

  1. avatar Rho says:

    Mr. Wow, as I have told you before, I am Jewish.  We are not a cult, we are a religion.  The year now is 5772.  Much longer than 2011.  We could do well with a Jewish President, why not?  Think of all the things we Jews have done to better this world.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Rho…

      Dolling, I agree.  Now,  go convince the “Christians.”

      (B. is Jewish, by the way.  And for sure he should be president–anybody who could live through Mr. W. can rule the world.)

  2. avatar Andy C says:

    I remember the uproar when a, gasp!, Catholic ran for president.  Would we then have the Pope running our country?  And then a man of color became our president and, oy vey, we have our problems with him, but none are relative to his color.  And now there is a pseudo-expert who claims that one can’t be president without accepting Jesus and what’s more, that we will burn in hell if we don’t.

    How dare he?  My religion is one of the oldest in the world; a religion upon which many others are based.  I repeat:  How dare he?

  3. avatar Mary says:

    Mr. Wow, I have to laugh at this conversation because it is a old one.  We are so puritanical in this country and backwards when it comes to our leaders.( actually when it comes to a lot of things but I am sure you get the point.) We realy need to get over this religious junk and consentrate on the more basic things such as our economy, the war, our future, infastructure, education etc.

    Actually I started laughing to myself wondering how this country would feel about a Mennonite leader!  Everyone has such a different idea of what my religion is that sometimes it makes me giddy just thinking of it myself.  We do not have a flag in our church or ourside our church which one would think makes us anti government but in reality we believe in worshiping God first and symbols confuse the issue of church. The swearing in would be unacceptable to some I am sure because we would never swear on a Bible to pledge anything and we do not say the pledge of allegiance because we only pledge alligience to God.  Otherwise we are just about like everyone else. 

    I think at this stage of the game I would vote for B. Shall I write him in?
         

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Mary…

      When it comes to matters of religion and sex, the conversation is not likely to end anytime soon. 

      Yes, I would like to see B. as the first Jewish president.  And me, oy!–as the First Boyfriend. (I still prefer that juvenile term, even after 35 years.  First Partner?  Too dry.  First Lover?  Too intimate.) 

      I will give many parties and as my fashion statement I will  bring back caftans for men. 

  4. avatar Bot says:

     
    ·        Here are the characteristics of a cult:
    Small? The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) has 14 million members in 132 countries. In America, there are more Mormons than there are Presbyterians or Jews.
    Excessive devotion? Mormons are devoted to the Savior, but in appropriate measure He would approve of.
    Unethical techniques? Ask the pie-throwers to name one.
    Control by isolation? Even if Mormons wanted to, this would be impossible with 14 million members in 28,000 congregations throughout the world.
    Control by threats? Again, evidence? Mormon missionaries may be exuberant, but do not threaten.
    Dependency on the group? The Mormon Church is just the opposite. Mormons want members to be self-reliant and independent so they in turn can help others.
    Powerful group pressure? Only if that’s the way the critics prefer to define love.
    Strange? Guilty as charged. Mormons plead guilty to all the strange things that were done by Christians in New Testament times that were lost during the great falling away in the aptly named Dark Ages, among them temple worship, vicarious baptism for the dead, definition of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as separate but united in purpose, salvation requiring both grace and obedience to commandments, prophets and apostles, unpaid clergy, and continual revelation to guide His Church.
     

  5. avatar chipgiii says:

    That’s why preachers and reverends like Robert Jeffress. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson should be ignored.  Their remarks are often hateful and bring little to the table.

  6. avatar Chris Glass` says:

    This is an interesting discussion especially since the founding fathers tried so hard to keep religion out of politics. They honestly believed it would be a divisive and corrupting influence on life. They didn’t want any belief system from any group taking over and dictating what we could or couldn’t do as a nation.

    If we were to pick apart any religion or way of worship not just Mormon we could find aspects of it that could be pointed to as a cult influence. Those belief systems also help keep stability for their members as they strive to live a faith filled life often to the betterment of their communities. That said I do not agree with fundamentalist religions that want to tell me how to dress, worship or who I should even associate with. I believe that every person has to find the spiritual path that works for them. I fear that if we bring religion in politics it could very well change liberty and justice for all if those religious beliefs are interpreted by church leaders using it as a vehicle for power and control.

    • avatar chipgiii says:

      There is a fine line between cult and religion.  As for founding fathers: I don’t think they wanted a state sponsored religion….not so sure they were for keeping it out of government completely.  They did and still do pray. 

      • avatar Chris Glass` says:

        The founding fathers specifically and deliberately kept religion out of our newly formed government except for Freedom of Religion. They were educated people of all religious persuasions ranging from Church of England to Methodist and deists. If you study that period of history you will know that many of the new citizens fled religious tyranny from the countries that they immigrated from. The framers of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence knew those same conditions could arise here if religion were part of the new government. Let’s not forget that higher education was almost a class privilege at that time so many of the uneducated were unduly influenced by their religious leaders. The founding fathers wanted to make sure some hotheaded minister with charisma didn’t steer this newly formed government now or in the future.

      • avatar chipgiii says:

        And the influence continues to this day.

  7. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I vaguely recall Herman Cain starting this conversation which he continued on one of the Sunday morning “Washington Pooper Scooper” shows by saying that Mormons believe they are Christians while sidestepping, after sideswiping Mormons ever-so-politely, the question of whether he believes they are Christians. But , well, I learned not to trust people who own pizza chains a long time ago. Mutual friends of the Bushes. I love the family. The pizza people. Not the Bushes. But, well, I would never turn my back on them. The pizza people and the Bushes. Or on Herman Cain.

    I think someone “dispatched” the pastor to add some fireworks to the already brilliant fireworks show that Pastor Perry and his Old Time Religion Revival has already produced. His association with American Family Association has already poisoned him in Texas. Without Texas, well, forget the rest of the nation. Except for the Looney Tooneys. They all love him. And American Family Association. They love “Christians Only” and of course only their type of Christians.

    No doubt we will be diverted back to the issue of separation of church and state and it bores me. Can people not read in this country? Apparently not.  Some believe, when they can no longer make a rational argument, that because the majority in this country are Christians that it is a Christian nation on that basis alone need to understandt that the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, was written to prevent “majority rule” when that rule excluded some from their protections and rights under the Constitution. Antonin Scalia is their idol. He is incapable of much of anything except issuing dictum that at times seems to be dogma. Straight from the Vatican. 

    As for the followers of the god of Abraham I wish they would finally annihilate each other so the rest of us can live in peace finally or that their god would throw another big black rock and not miss this time.  My god is really their god. I just dumped all the “mean old man in the sky” crap early on. But, well, he did throw that rock. And missed. And probably does regret missing. 

    By the way the big black rock at Mecca that Abraham built the temple around is possibly a big black diamond. Deposited perhaps as the really big rock that someone threw hit the atmoshphere.  The thought of anyone “unsealing” it to find out, let along suggesting it, is sufficient reason to chop you head off. But, well, when the oil runs out, well, I suspect there will be a call to a jeweler in Tel Aviv. “We have this rock….” Gotta pay the light bill somehow, you know?

    At this point I am taking the Mayan prediction about 2012, or thereabout, a little more seriously. And remembering the final scene from Dr. Strangelove. With the crazy cowboy from Texas riding the bomb that sets off Armageddon. “Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeehawwwwwwwwwwwwww…”

  8. avatar D C says:

    I always start writing here and look at how long it’s gotten and think, nobody wants to read all that!  So I’ve erased and started over… again. 

    Short story — didn’t grow up with religion, got a fairly serious case of it as a young adult, young married, young parent, then “got over it” more due to circumstances than anything.  We moved away from the place we were so involved, and nothing else every “fit” again, then we had a special needs child and church was just another place to get into trouble so we quit going.  Our older kids didn’t seem to miss it.

    Our daughter went to college and has become The Church Lady on the grandest scale I think I’ve ever seen.  I’m seriously concerned that if she ever gets married (I say “if” because I’m not sure a man, other than Jesus, will ever fit her standards, and last time I checked he was available) mom and dad won’t be righteous enough for them. 

    Anyway… I would much prefer a candidate for President that may or may not be spiritual, and keeps that part of their lives to themselves, because it really isn’t mine or anyone else’s business what they think about God and how and why we got here and where we’re going when we die.  How about we just focus on the Constitution, the laws of our land, conserving the land we have, not screwing anybody anywhere to make our lives better, and just try to live the golden rule.  Why is that so hard?

    • avatar D C says:

      He WASN’T available… sorry for the typo’s — I have a sinus headache this morning.  I’d say the sinus headache from Hell, but I don’t really believe in Hell….

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear DC…

      Unfortunately, no candidate with serious aspirations to the White House can say what I am sure at least some of them have privately felt–”I’m not too sure about God, I’m not terribly religious, but I am interested in doing my best for people while they–and I–are here on earth.  I try to do no harm and treat others as I wish to be treated. I’d like your vote.” 

      Sigh!

      Good luck with Church Lady Daughter.  Maybe it’s just a phase?

      • avatar Lila says:

        What I would like to hear is, “My religious views are private and have no bearing on my handling of the affairs of state.” When pressed: “We have separation of church and state in this country. I intend to represent the interests of all Americans. Once again, my religious views are private.”

      • avatar LandofLove says:

        Exactly, Lila. However, don’t hold your breath waiting to hear that.

      • avatar Lila says:

        Land, *sigh*. Well, it was a nice fantasy for a moment there.

      • avatar Mr. Wow says:

        Dear Lila…

        Saying, “I want privacy…” when one is a public figure, is always interpreted as having something to hide.  So, it would be impossible for a presidential candidate to cite “privacy” on religion.  Gotta come right out and say you believe in  God, etc.  The Christian God. 

      • avatar LandofLove says:

        Very true, Mr. wOw. If you say your religious views are private, you’d be accused of taking part in satanic rituals, etc.

      • avatar Lila says:

        Perhaps as a compromise, I will hold out my dog tags, which say that I am Protestant, and leave it at that.

      • avatar Deirdre Cerasa says:

        Oh Lila, If only that were possible! I would vote for that person at least twice!!

      • avatar Deirdre Cerasa says:

        This is my “like” vote, Mr. WoW!

    • avatar Chris Glass` says:

      DC – many wonderful people are spiritual but not specifically religious. I see nothing wrong with that. I agree with you that we should focus on constitutional issues not those of religion. Those bringing it up will always find something about any candidate they don’t like to help hang them.

  9. avatar ann penn says:

    Most of those who claim the founding fathers established a “Christian” nation are ignorant of the fact that quite a few of those “fathers” were Unitarian, not trinitarian.

    I really resent those in government now who preach “the economy” as the biggest challenge to the USA while spending their time making war on women (birth control access, abortion rights) in the name of their own religious beliefs while ignoring the economy.

    But they realize that if they got together and improved the economy our sitting president might get re-elected. Avoiding that is their biggest priority.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Some would sacrifice the economy to ensure that Barack Obama did not have a second term. Not because he is a Democrat, or has been an abject failure but simply because they do not like a “black man” in The White House and have not accepted a “black man” in The White House from day one. That is the reality of America. A still racist America.  And while the Republicans may point to Herman Cain as proff to the contrary, the reality is the Republican Party itself knows a majority of Republicans would never vote for him. But he makes a nice prop as they say on stage. That is the reality of the Republican Party.  The realty of the Democratic Party speaks for itself.  By having nominated a “black man” for president.  Despite some saying the Democratic Party would never vote for a “black man” either. Which it did. In Pennsylvania. When it said nothing after Bill and Hillary Clinton said nothing when the governor said Pennsylvania would never elect a “black man” as president. Whihc in fact in the end it did. Both as nominee and candidate. Gotta love those Clintons. Really in touch with the people.   If you named one thiing Barack Obama did wrong, well, it was the Clintons and their “grey eminence” Rahmbo. Who Barack Obama should have left in Chicago. He should have left the Clintons in Pennsylvania.  I know, I know. Bill is bad. Hillary is good. Please. Hillary is worse than he is.  She makes Lucrezia Borgia look like Mary Poppins.

  10. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    This debate/discussion about Mormons is interesting to me. It’s teaching me a lot about my beliefs and even to some extent, making me questions some of them.

    As someone that considers herself to be Christian, it calls into question what I define as Christian. Because as ugly as it is for me to admit, I too have labeled Mormons as being a cult. I never have viewed Mormons as a true Christian faith.

    Years ago we here on wowowow discussed the variations of beliefs and I pointed out on a thread that I was and still am annoyed that anyone can claim anything as being a religion. Anyone can put Christ at the core of their beliefs and call themselves Christians.  “We believe dogs are the embodiment of God because God spelled backward is dog…” BAM! They are Christians. But are they? I would say no. Do they have an actual religion? I would say no.

    What makes Catholics, Baptists, Protestants, Methodists, Judaism…..true religion and not cults? I have always believed the Mormons were a cult because of how their church was formed. A strange man named Joseph Smith came up with his interpretation of how he believed men and women should live spiritually. Put his teachings in a book and suddenly we have the Mormons. That does seem like a cult to me. Yet at the same time that is as dismissive and demeaning as those that imply all the teachings of the Bible are nothing more than fantasy and fairytales.

    This is such a sticky conversation. I will say this however, as much as so many of us keep saying we aren’t a Christian nation and that there is a separation of church and state, I see no evidence of that. Everywhere you look, from our currency, our political buildings, even the fact that ALL of our presidents end each presidential address by saying “….and GOD Bless the United States” and no one has a problem with it, that speaks to how we have always been and will always be a Christian nation.       

           

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      I wonder if people realize there are 15 members of Congress who are Mormon including Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch or that we have 2 Mormons running for the Republican nomination. Jon Huntsman is a Mormon as well.  So it is not just Mitt Romney who is being attacked by the Looney Tooneys who believe anyone who does not adhere to their very narrow and rigid fundamentalist Christian beliefs is not a Christian.  They are the real problem Not Mormons. They are also, it seems, the real cults in this country. And dangerous ones at that. 

      Most people do not understand the beliefs of Mormons just as they do not understand the beliefs of Muslims. They just assume things. One thing that cannot be assumed is Brigham Young leading the faithful into a valley where they settled and formed a community that eventually would become not only a city but a state.  A city we know today as Salt Lake City. Perhaps it was by accident. Perhaps it was by divine guidance. Most who have been to Salt Lake City believe it had to be by divine guidance. It is spectacular. 

      They are a peaceful people. While they oppose “gay marriage” they support “equal rights” and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which rarely takes “political stands” on anything, supported Proposition 8 in California but then also supported the anti-discrimination ordinance in Salt Lake City.  The latter of course drove the Looney Tooneys nuts.
      Men create god in their image. And religions to suit their purpose. In the case of Mormons, well, they created a pretty nice religion with a pretty nice purpose. They seem to be the only Christian church that seems to understand that words of love garner far more than words of hate. Something the Looney Tooneys definitely do not understand.  Who is to say Jospeph Smith didn’t have divine guidance?  Or that Brigham Young didn’t?   One thing is for certain. Pastor Perry and his Looney Tooneys do not.  They need to finally read the teachings of Christ in the Bibles they are constantly waving while screaming words of hate.

      The founding fathers did not define religion. They only defined our freedom of religion. While guaranteeing our freedom from any particular religion. We’re still working on that matter of freedom from religion.

      • avatar Lila says:

        Snooks, amen to that. Of note – a battalion commander I worked for in the late 1980s was a Mormon. He was not looney and I don’t even remember him mentioning religion at all. And I know he did not wear the traditionally prescribed undergarments, since we all wore shorts and t-shirts for physical training and he wore what everyone else wore (duh – it IS a uniform). Some people privately snickered about his Mormon status (which I overheard, or I would never have known at all), but he was just a regular guy and a far better commander than some others I have known.

        I have my own issues with Mitt Romney, but those are not related at all to his religion. And yeah – I would dearly love for the Bible-thumpers and hate-screaming “Christians” to give it all a rest.

      • avatar Bridget Bishop says:

        As a Mormon, I’ve been very interested to read the comments on this article. I think I’ve read them all. It’s interesting to see that the same half-truths and misunderstandings are bandied about, while at the same time, those who have actually known Mormons have mostly good things to say about them. (As a side note, Lila, your commander may or may not have worn garments. If he was married or had served a mission, he wore them. There are military-issue garmetns that fit regs.)

        I won’t be expansive here. But anyone interested in what the LDS Church teaches can browse around and found out anything they want to at lds.org or mormon.org. And no one will contact you if you don’t want them to. There’s also a newsroom site, which can be linked to from those pages.

        Somewhere else in these comments, someone mentioned contemporary newspaper articles about Joseph Smith and his arrests, trials, etc. I’d like to point out that those arrests and newspaper articles were perpetrated by a rather biased crowd; remember how many times Mormons were chased out of their homes, and how many times anti-Mormon mobs were involved in our history. Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, for example, were killed by a mob with guns while they were imprisoned in an upstairs jail room, supposedly under the protection of law enforcement.

        Anyone interested to find every paper ever written by Joseph Smith (or a secretary under his dictation): there’s a historical document project undertaken by the Church to present the papers of Joseph Smith. Go straight to the source, josephsmithpapers.org. Really, there’s no mystery here.  

      • avatar Lila says:

        Bridget, I am curious about the undergarments; my commander was married, but – well… the shorts we wore in those days were pretty teensy (those were the waning days of the old yellow-and-black nylon “bumblebee” shorts, which I did not mourn for when they went away), and I just don’t see how ANYTHING other than briefs would possibly fit. Certainly not boxers. I was under the impression that the Mormon undergarments were somewhat longer than the usual boxers.

      • avatar Bridget Bishop says:

        Lila, your understanding is right: garments are knee-length. They also include an undershirt or camisole. Any member of the Church who has made covenants in one of our temples wears garments. Generally speaking, that would include most all adults, particularly if he or she served a mission and/or was married in a temple. Garments are worn all the time, day and night, because they are a symbol of and a reminder of the promises one has made to God. There are rare occasions when garments might not be worn, and that would include conforming to military-issue clothes. If your commander was an active member of the Church, and had served a mission and/or been married in the temple, it’s safe to assume that he usually wore garments but removed them and used regular underwear when necessary. 

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      “Everywhere you look, from our currency, our political buildings, even the fact that ALL of our presidents end each presidential address by saying “….and GOD Bless the United States” and no one has a problem with it, that speaks to how we have always been and will always be a Christian nation.”

      All developments occurring over the span of the last 70 years, at most. And you are horribly wrong…a lot of people have a problem with it. Most of our Founding Fathers were Deists (the modern equivalent would be agnostic), and several, including Thomas Jefferson, who has become persona non grata in many public school history books (many thanks to the Fundamentalist Right Wing-Nut Uber-Conservative Republicans) wrote scathing commentaries on religion, and Christianity in particular. It was partially to be free from religious oppression, and national laws based on Christian dogma, that they founded this country.

      I don’t object to Christmas trees in schools, or Easter eggs hunts (both are actually early pagan traditions/celebrations…and the former is actually proscribed in the Old Testament, which I find hilarious), or Christmas Break. I do object to teaching dogmatic garbage as science in public schools, having to lay my hand on a Bible in court (I’m not a liar…and if I were inclined to commit perjury, swearing on a meaningless book would not be a deterrent), pledging to my country “Under God” (I stopped doing that 40 years ago…in middle school), and having Christian dogma affect the decisions made in regard to law and policy in my country.

      A lot of people feel this way. An equal number are completely, malignantly, purposefully ignorant. As in: “…we have always been and will always be a Christian nation…”. It frightens me that so many are listening to the latter.

    • avatar Irreverent says:

      Belinda said:
      “Everywhere you look, from our currency, our political buildings, even the fact that ALL of our presidents end each presidential address by saying “….and GOD Bless the United States” and no one has a problem with it, that speaks to how we have always been and will always be a Christian nation.”
      Briana said:
      “And you are horribly wrong…a lot of people have a problem with it.”
       
      ——————-
       
      I agree with Briana not only for the reasons she stated, but also because the Entity that Christians call God (the Entity BabySnooks rightly calls “the God of Abraham”) is not just the God of Christians, but the God of Jews, Muslims, Baha’is, and other spiritual human beings who have no affiliation to any particular religion. Christians are the followers of Christ (this is why they are called “Christians”), just like Muslims are the followers of Mohammed and Baha’is are the followers of Baha’u’llah. But they all believe in the same “God of Abraham.” (Abraham is considered a forefather in at least all four of these religions.)
       
      Now, if
      “Everywhere you look, from our currency, our political buildings, even the fact that ALL of our presidents end each presidential address by saying “….and JESUS Bless the United States…” (my emphasis)
      then yes, I suppose one might argue that “that speaks to how we have always been and will always be a Christian nation.”
       
      Since it is not the case that it’s the name of Jesus (or Christ, as He is also called) that’s mentioned in the American currency, political buildings, presidential addresses, etc., the most one could argue, I’d say, is that the United States is a spiritual nation. But certainly not a Christian one.
       
      And yes, it would be wonderful if the U.S. would vote in a President who kept his/her religious or spiritual views (or lack thereof) private, without being maligned.

  11. avatar CatA says:

    Damn, Mr. WoW – have you been peeking?  I often pray while on the loo (it’s often the only quiet moment for reflection in the day). Then I get embarrassed and hope I haven’t offended the Almighty by praying in such an inglorious place. 

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear CatA–

      Never!  How could I peep on somebody with such an adorable kitty avatar?

      As for God, I’m sure He is totally fine about it.  Although He is kind of peeking.  Just saying…

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Well, CatA, if you believe in God, then you believe that he made us as we are…including the need for the loo…so I don’t think he’d much mind if you took that time for a little chat. Better to think of him as a guy with a sense of the absurd. He made armadillos, right? And wombats. So it goes.

  12. avatar CatA says:

    … but I certainly agree with you that the bible-thumping “Christian” faction would turn the country into “Taliban USA” if given the opportunity. We need to keep reminding the extremos:  separation.of.church.and.State

  13. avatar Dan S. says:

    This is something that has bugged me since Barack Obama was running for president. There were a lot of unfounded accusations of him being a practicing Muslim and then the vehement denials from the Obama camp with the assurances that he was, indeed, a fine, upstanding Christian. Never once was it suggested by anybody that it shouldn’t matter if he were Muslim. Christian privilege has dominated American society for so long that it has become the default assumption in all discourse. Anything else is considered… weird – the fringe; people so not worth regarding that we don’t even think about them when making societal decisions. To talk about whether a Mormon counts as a Christian is pulling the same trick in a different way: “Only Christians count, so are you one, or aren’t you?”

    The reason that it feels easier to call the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a “cult” is the same reason that it’s a lot harder to eat sausage after you’ve watched it being made. It’s a religion that’s been formed in such a recent history and its formation has been so well recorded and documented that anyone can see enough of the unpleasant “sausage grinding” parts to question its sanctity and, thus, its validity. To this day, we can look at the actual newspaper clippings of the con-man Joseph Smith being convicted of fraud and necromancy. Something like four years later, you read stories about him finding golden plates and writing the Book of Mormon. Every indication is that of a man who dug around in various Native American burial grounds, found some trinkets, presented them in an area of New York known as the “Burned Over District” because it’s an area known for being taken over by one religious craze after another, and presenting them as artifacts of a lost Jewish nation. One can’t help but suspect that we’re talking about an unscrupulous man who took advantage of a prime situation. And that’s even before you get to the “crazy” stuff.

    When you start talking about the “New Testament”, you’ve had roughly a couple thousand of years to let that particular brand of “crazy” set in. When Christianity itself was still relatively young, it dealt with the same sort of protestations by established religions as Mormonism gets now. To this day, there exist letters between Christian church founders and others that questioned their beliefs. The fact was this: There were a bunch of historians that were living during the time of Jesus, and in the reported geological area of Jesus, yet none of these historians ever wrote about Jesus or any of the events claimed to have happened in the New Testament. The same people that noticed that fact also couldn’t help but notice that the story of Jesus sprung up around a time and in an area where there were a solid dozen man-gods being worshiped. People were worshiping characters such as Aescepius or Mithra: Men who were of divine origin and born to a human mother, who walked the world performing miracles, including healing sickness and raising the dead. Mithra had even been known as “The Shepherd of The World”. This Jesus story sounded a bit too familiar. I was amused by the response of the early church elder Justin Martyr to this: He said that the devil was aware of the coming of Jesus, so he pre-seeded the world with a bunch of false, but nearly identical, stories so that when Jesus came along, people would question his divinity.  Yeah – Christianity had a rough go of it too when it started to gain traction and had to dispel the cult status. But now it’s cemented pretty securely in the hearts and minds of many people as the default in America. Should humanity last that long, it makes you wonder what Mormonism will look like in a couple thousand years.

    But deciding who should be president should not be based on what particular set of superstitions he or she adheres to. Nor should a president be motivated in any way to enshrine his or her superstitions into the laws of the nation.

    • avatar Sandy B says:

      As a Muslim I certainly noticed that not much was said about being Muslim not disqualifying a person from the Presidency.

      Not only that- in the time of Jesus, Roman leaders were also being honored with divinity. Augustus was “Son of the God “(Julius Caesar), and later a Man/God in his own right. It was almost an honorific given to someone in extreme leadership or authority.

    • avatar Deborah Key says:

      Dan S.  Gen Powell did make a comment to that effect (what difference would it make if he were a Muslim) and that was taken by certain individuals as proof that Obama was, indeed a Muslim.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        A peculiar side-note: The mythos of Mithras includes a virgin birth in an isolated cave (versus a stable, but for similar reasons), on the Winter Solstice (Christians shifted the date just enough for their celebration to not be Pagan…but to be well within the familiar, and therefore accessible time-frame), under a singular, Eastern Star. The child was visited by wise men who were told by shepherds of his birth by talking animals.

        Mithras is a derivative of Atis, the lover of Cybele ( the Roman Magna Mater, also know as Gaia, Kybele, and the Great mother, of Phrygian origin, and the single most powerful deity of the Romans). St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is built on the foundations of the enormous Temple of Cybele, the largest of the Roman temples. Worship of the Mgan Mater was expressly forbidden by Constantine, and was one of the primary reasons for the outlawing of all religious worship other than Christianity. It was a Matriarchal, extremely feared and powerful institution.

        In the story of Atis and Cybele, she rides the bull that represents Atis, her self-castrated, unfaithful lover. Mithras, the Man-God, slaughters the Bull. Christians acknowledge no divine feminine at all, just an omnipotent masculine deity and his divine son born of a mere mortal woman. At least the killing of the bull is a fertility ritual, and Mithras has lovers. Jesus, according to the dogma, is a neuter. Interesting progress, no?

      • avatar Irreverent says:

        Dear Briana,
         
        Thank you for your side-note (I do mean it honestly). Since I was a child, I have always liked learning about all the different mythological stories from around the world. It has always astounded me how many similarities there are, regardless of where the different stories come from. As I’ve grown older and met people from different countries and different cultural backgrounds, I have also realized that it’s not just the stories that share common elements, but various traditions do, too, particularly if you look at the traditions followed by folks who live in rural areas.
         
        I spent my childhood in a country that’s predominantly Roman Catholic, and I went to a private Catholic school (it was run by Jesuits). Now, I don’t know if this is just peculiar to Jesuits, or whether it was just the Jesuits at my particular school, but they taught us kids how to think, ask questions, and not to believe everything we hear or read. So yes, we were taught (in Religion class) that the Bible is *not* to be taken literally. The Bible (we were explained) is full of symbolisms (including, yes, the story in Genesis of how the world was created). The reason Jesus used parables to deliver His message of the Kingdom of God and to teach is because it’s easier for people to understand concepts through storytelling, symbols, and analogies. We have to remember that the folk Jesus talked to and followed him to hear His Words were not scholars or learned individuals (in fact, Jesus had very harsh words for those people who *were* learned, such as the Pharisees). Jesus is the Son of God, but He was also a man of his time. It makes sense that He would’ve used traditions already in place to deliver His message. Obviously, storytelling is not unique to the area or the time Jesus lived in, but it’s also obvious that it’s a method that would’ve been used for generations upon generations.
         
        The point I’m trying to make is that, to me, it makes sense that the story of Jesus’ birth is so similar to so many other stories, particularly to stories of the regions where Christianity first spread. The original Christian message wasn’t focused on the birth of Jesus, it was focused on his Death and Resurrection, on how He is the Son of God, and that we are saved through Him. The proofs initially given of His Divinity were His Words, and the Authority He had for delivering these Words and performing miracles. This, I think, would’ve been enough for Israelites who believed that only the one given authority directly from God (i.e., the Messiah) would’ve acted the way Jesus did. All of the other stories, particularly the one of His Birth, would’ve borrowed elements from Gentile traditions as a way of helping non-Israelites understand the Divinity of Jesus. That human corruption twisted Jesus’ message to suit those seeking power shouldn’t be surprising. The same has happened to all religions of the world, which is truly unfortunate. (It’s not religions or their main message that are evil, it’s human beings intent on seeking power for their own gain who have corrupted Religions and the Message.)
         
        Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your side-note. I truly enjoyed it :-)
        As for Christians not acknowledging a divine feminine at all, well, I’d ask that you look into the Virgin Mary devotion that’s particular to Roman Catholics, especially Roman Catholics in Mexico and Central America. (Our Lady of Guadalupe is of special importance in these countries. Some might even say She enjoys more devotees that Her own Son.  :-)
         

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        @ Irreverent: Thank you for your comment. I was also raised Catholic, but left the church at the age of eight (yep). The Jesuits are considered the intellectual branch of the Roman Catholic Church, and regularly send priests to college to become psychologists, historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, etc.. Certain other branches have considered them heretical in the past…but then, the Holy See has known many schisms.

        In Mexico and other parts of Latin America, Roman Catholicism is well mixed with paganism, plus worship of the divine feminine. Women, despite the notion of “macho”, hold a unique place in Hispanic culture, and an enormous amount of power in the old Indian religions. Hence, the profound devotion to, and direct worship of (very frowned on by the Vatican) the Virgin, who is considered to bestow all blessings, being the Greater Mystery, and Bearer of Fertility, than her Son. The Great Mother. You will find similar devotion in Slavic Catholics, especially the Polish (Polish women devote themselves entirely to The Queen of the Apostles). At one time, all “worship” of the Virgin Mary was considered a minor heresy, because she is a mortal. And one might note that the gospels allowed by Constantine allow only one other women close to Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and she is named a whore who follows him dutifully. Both women are mortal…a Virgin Mother who conceived via God, and a fallen, unclean harlot, Interesting contrast, because, according to the Law, they are both Forbidden.

      • avatar Irreverent says:

        Dear Briana:
         
        My apologies for the delay in responding to you. Thank you for your answer; I had truly been looking forward to it, but I couldn’t get around to replying sooner.
         
        What you indicate about the Jesuits is, of course, true. After much “head butting” with the Holy See, the Society of Jesus was allowed to remain as an order of the Catholic Church, Jesuits are considered (and they consider themselves) Soldiers of Christ (or God’s Marines), but no Jesuit priest can ever become a Pope. I don’t know if any of this information has made it to Wikipedia (I tried to check it to confirm, but the article was too long, and I’m at work, so I can’t spend too much time reading it). This is all information I’ve picked up partly from the country were I spent my childhood (it’s amazing the kind of information kids pick up when they just sit there playing while the adults carry on their “conversations”), and, much later, from reading a book published by a Jesuit priest (he gave a bit of background history, nothing inflammatory, but interesting nonetheless). Also, back in the 80s, especially in Latin America, Jesuits were not particularly liked by the right for being too much on the side of those oppressed (the poor, the campesinos, etc.), and were oftentimes accused of being communists, of fighting with the rebels, and of indoctrinating the students who attended their schools. A lot of priests (and even teachers) were killed by death squads, sometimes even in front of students, and all just for being against social injustices. Never mind that Jesus Himself was against social injustices, and as Soldiers of Christ, all the Jesuits were doing was just following Jesus’ teachings. (Of course I realize Jesuits are NOT perfect, and there have been scandals and abuses, etc. I’m not being dismissive of those scandals and abuses.)
         
        As for Roman Catholicism being well mixed with Paganism in Latin America, this is also very much true. To me, and maybe because of where I spent my childhood, this is what I like the most about how the Catholic Faith is observed and followed in Latin America. Somehow it just makes it more real and honest to me. (To me, the difference between how Catholicism “oughtta” be practiced, and the way it’s practiced in Latin America, with its mix of indigenous beliefs thrown in, feels like the difference between being in a sanitized and sterilized “house” and being “home.”) Quite honestly, I don’t think God minds that there’s paganism mixed in with whatever rites the Church has strictly indicated should be followed. Rites and rules and whatnot are there as a way of providing structure, to facilitate relationships among human beings, and to provide some kind of understanding of the Higher Power. But no one can erase centuries of knowledge and traditions that have been passed on through generations (as much as the Conquistadors tried doing in the American continent; thankfully there were a few who saw the error in this and tried saving some of the ancient records, like Father Francisco Ximénez, who not only transcribed the Popol Vuh, but also translated it into Spanish). I mean, even Jesus broke the rules often enough (and was highly criticized for it). He was more for true, heartfelt devotion to God, that blind adherence to rules, regulations, rites, formalities in worship, etc.
         
        Finally, the profound devotion to the Virgin: yes to all you wrote, and Pope John Paul II was very wise to see this and accept it to the point that he added a Fifth Mystery to be meditated upon in the Rosary: The Joyful Mysteries, which go from the Annunciation, to Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, the Birth of Mary’s Son, the presentation of Mary’s Infant Son in the Temple, and finding her Lost Pre-Teenager Son in the Temple. (I purposefully changed “Jesus” to His relationship to His Mother in the titles of the mysteries to focus on the importance of Mary). The previous Pope might have been more accepting of this devotion to Mary because of his own Polish background, but I’m sure he also saw there was something to be gained in openly acknowledging the devotion to Mary thousands of Catholics from around the world have (especially from countries where the Catholic Church is still very much relevant). Further proof of this, I’d say, is the fact that he put the peasant Juan Diego (who saw a vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe) on a fast track to become St. Juan Diego. Again, it might’ve all been political maneuvering on his part, especially with the dwindling numbers of Catholic practitioners, but devotion to the Virgin (a woman) has now been openly acknowledged and accepted J
         
        Mary Magdalene: Yes, she is an interesting contrast to the Virgin Mother. None of the four Gospels approved by Constantine really specify that Mary M. was a prostitute. It was Pope Gregory who said that Mary Magdalene, Mary sister of Martha and Lazarus, and the prostitute who washed Jesus’ feet with oil and her tears and dried them with her hair are all the same woman. (Apparently, the Catholic Church is now backtracking on this belief that Mary M is one and the same with all three of these women.) However, this representation of Mary M., particularly when combined with the prostitute who was so repentant that she paid far more respect to Jesus than even Simon the Pharisee (a learned “man of God”) did in Simon’s own house, is, in my mind, the best representation of the human condition (we are all sinners) and God’s redemptive power and forgiveness.
         
        Anyway, this is too long already, and I do need to get back to work.
        Thank you again, Briana, for your reply to my previous post, for your intelligent responses, and for your perspective on various issues. (I truly enjoy reading your posts :-)

      • avatar Irreverent says:

        That “J” character at the end of the third-to-last paragraph was supposed to be a smiley face. Darn it!!
        “…devotion to the Virgin (a woman) has now been openly acknowledged and accepted :-)

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Dan, I think I adore you for this: “Never once was it suggested by anybody that it shouldn’t matter if he were Muslim.”

      That is what we told my confused, then 10 year old son, who was being bombarded with hate and vitriol by his peers. Because Obama was a Muslim, and a Terrorist, and his parents were votong for him. He kept defending his (our) position by saying, “He’s not a Muslim”. We were gentle, but firm, and told him that the better answer was, “He’s not a ‘terrorist’…but so what if he’s a Muslim? A Muslim can be President. Freedom of Religion”.

      If the President is going to practice a given religion, I would hope he had the integrity, professionalism, understanding of the Federal Laws and Constitution of the Nation and self-control to not allow his religious devotion to interfere with, corrupt or compromise his running of the country. To keep it absolutely personal and private. I know Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, pagans, Wiccan and Atheists (myself, I am an iconoclastic agnostic) whose beliefs never interfere with others’ lives because they hold them to be personal and private. It would be a boon to this dogmatically besieged nation if we could have a leader such as this.

  14. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    Dear Dan…

    Well, you beat me to the punch, and so much more intelligently!

    I was about to leap in here and say that Mormons have a higher creep/cult  factor because they are  so very new.    Let’s face it—the chatty serpent, Noah’s big building project, Moses and his tablets.?  And later–I’m still from Missouri on that nifty water-to-wine trick.  And the Bible has been re-interpreted and revised so many times.  The truth?  Well–only God knows.

    Soooo…look closely and you’ll  start screaming “cult” about any religion or spiritual belief. 

    I must say, however, it took a thousand years for Christianity to transform the world, and a bit longer for the Catholic Church to become a fantastically wealthy, often mysterious entity.   On the latter, Mormans have sure moved fast. 

    • avatar Dan S. says:

      You make a fine point. It took Christianity roughly 1,970-ish years to reach a point where it could have a cutesy stage production on Broadway whereas it took only around 180 years or so for the LDS church to get the same sort of treatment. Now that’s a church on the move.

  15. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    Well I am certainly NOT evangelical and not religious in an organized way (fallen away Roman Catholic) I am questioning Mr. Wow’s statement that the evangelicals want people who don’t believe as they do *dead*.  Ok, maybe Fred Phelps and his family (wjhich are the only members of his *church*) want people who don’t believe as they do dead.  But they are not representative of evangelicals.  In fact, Fred made quite a reputation before he became anti-gay of being the darling of the progressive movement as he filed countless and meritless civil rights lawsuits.  I have the distinct honor of being named a defendant in one of his meritless lawsuits. 

    As for the Mormons and the *cult*.  They probably do more missionary work than any mainstream religion.  My personal experience working with and for a good number of Mormans is that they are very lowkey but very devout.  Very good managers (and I’ve worked with Morman men and women alike).  Super focused people.  All business when it comes to business.  Very positive, friendly, funny and non-judgmental in personal relationships.  

    When I was a child I was taught that anyone who was not Catholic could not go to heaven..which excluded my maternal grandparents as my mother was a convert.  This upset me for about a day until my  7 year old self discussed it with my convert mother who explained to me that no one knows who gets into heaven and who doesn’t and that she believed anyone who lived a good life would be blessed no matter what the denomination.  Catholics did not know quite what to do with Jews as they were sort of first in line in the monotheism business.  But I was never taught at home or in Catholic schools to hate Jews or any other religion.  Or to wish them dead. 

    Of course there is a religion extant today with many believers who think that those who don’t follow the religion should be dead.    And there is at least one politician whose  pastor who doesn’t really care whether Americans died on 9-11 or not because he was happy to see that *America’s chickens have come home to roost*.  

    As for the Jews, I think the largest anti-semitic rhetoric is coming from the left. 

     

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      “As for the Jews, I think the largest anti-semitic rhetoric is coming from the left.”

      Christian Dominionism. A group whose adherents include Mrs. Palin, and the Bachmans, and nothing but members of the far, far Right. Their eventual goal per Jewish people in the United States? To drive them ALL back to Israel, by force of arms and the equivalent of pogroms, as necessary.

      And to continue: Christian Identity, the Ku Klux Klan (yes, they are still very active), The Creativity Movement (World Church of the Creator), Christian Identity, Aryan Nation, and The National Alliance. All Right Wing. All Christian-based.

      It could be that you are hearing the rhetoric of the Right, which spends and enormous amount of time accusing the Left of being anti-Semitic. There are people who are more left leaning who would like to see us give a lot less aid to Israel (I am not one of them). This has a more to do with past activities sanctioned by the Israeli government (they used terrorists too. And bombed a lot of completely apolitical, innocent people out of their homes. I know a Lebanese man whose entire family, along with their friends, escaped their homes with the clothes on their backs smoking as Israeli bombs obliterated everything their families had ever had. Thousands of people were killed,injured or fled the country. They scattered to the four winds, and he ended up in America. His first wife here was Jewish, and they were married for over a decade, have a daughter, and parted amicably. His present wife is Christian, and he, and his family, remain apolitical, are not anti-Semitic…but can give one quite an education on the Israeli government in the past. The current version is ultra-conservative, and Israel’s social culture is suffering horribly because of an upsurge in violence, condoned by the government, the source of which is certain ultra-conservative Jewish males (not Chassidim, there are many such sects) who assault women who don’t conform to their beliefs.

      But actual anti-Semitism? Do a little research…that’s the media demagogues of the Far Right and their smoke and mirrors act. The Right wants to preserve the Holy Land…not the Jews on it. Right now it makes a nice holding pen for those pesty undesirables. Later…well…they aren’t Christian, you know.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        The evangelicals believe that the Jews are “god’s chosen people” but also believe that they must accept Christ and of course they are standing around patiently ready to dunk them all in the River Jordan to save their souls along with everyone else’s.  There is something odd about it when you think about it.  If the Jews are “god’s chosen people” then why would they need to accept Christ? But then most people don’t think about it. But probably should.

        Of course the evangeelicals weren’t too concerned when the St. Louis headed back to Europe after being denied entry into Cuba.  The evangelicals were quite content with allowing the Jews onboard to be shipped back to the Nazis which of course was a public relations coup for Hitler. The world itself did not want the Jews.  And the world said nothing as the Jews were shpped off to concentration camps. The evangelicals in particular said nothing.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Baby, I remember my mother telling me, when I was a child, “The jews have nothing to complain about, they own everything”. It drove me crazy. My high-school class, (’77) was one-third Jewish. My school served Skokie, Illinois. The place that the Neo-Nazis marched through in 1977. Many of my classmates were far from wealthy, and many of their parents, and grandparents, and relatives, had numbers tattooed on their arms. Even more relatives had been left as ash at Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen, Auschwitz…places like that. I watched films of bulldozers pushing emaciated bodies like cordwood around filthy, smouldering camps, and lines of musslemen shuffling off to crematoriums and showers filled with phosgene and Xyclon-B.

        The people in Skokie watched the swatika, and the Third Reich’s flag march past them in silence. The same people whose relatives may have been on the St. Louis. It isn’t just the evangelicals, Baby. My mother’s family is Polish Catholic. When my grandfather died, we found an entire box of Nazi Propaganda in his belongings. The kind of things only someone with connections should have, would have had. My legacy.

        Which is why I loathe the very idea of religion, with the institution of Christianity at the forefront. It is nothing more than an hypocrisy, from its roots to the highest branches. A diseased tree full of rotten, toxic fruit. Jesus was NOT a Christian…he was a Jew. And the Old Testament is Torah. Ever since Christians invented themselves, they’ve been trying to wipe out their progenitors. The insanity, paranoia and irrationality of Religion.

        So it goes.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Katherine…

      Perhaps I should have worded it that Evangelicals “accept” that Jews will burn unless they come to Christ.   But I still find this rather anti-Semitic. 

      As I say, look into any religion or spiritual belief and you will find odd “culty” things.  I agree with you re Mormons.  I’ve known a few and they were pretty darn nice, and impressive.  As for your mother, she told you right.  If I was to believe anything, I certainly would expect everybody who tried to live a good life to be blessed and accepted into heaven–or whatever, wherever.
      But then I’m stumped by the concept of “bad people” and “evil.”  Could God really damn a person who is mentally twisted, or brought up without a proper sense of right and wrong?  An abused child becomes an abusing adult.  God was not present to protect the child, can he then condemn the adult?

      I suppose all these questions will be answered for us in time.  Or not.
       

  16. avatar Barbara says:

    Wow Katharine, anti-semitic rhetoric coming from the left? Can you name some names because I sure haven’t seen that.

    I am very concerned by the hold the religious right seems to have on the republican party. I don’t want anyone being holier than thou and telling me that I must believe in Jesus or I’m not “saved” and I’m not fit to run for office or …. whatever.

    Religious beliefs should be kept to yourself. Other than treating others as you wish to be treated, just leave it. I don’t want to hear it. What I believe is none of your business.

    • avatar chipgiii says:

      Barbara,

      Two worse offenders of using anti semitic rhetoric:  Jesse Jackson and Al Shartpon.  Their rhetoric was way over the top.  Both have run for politial office, and both are considered left of center.

      • avatar Barbara says:

        Jesse Jackson made anti semitic comments in the 70s and early 80s and has since apologized. I’m not an apologist for either him or Al Sharpton, but there are far more self-righteous, hard-line right wing Christians who seem intolerant to anyone who does not profess to believing as they do than liberal anti semites. I find the hard line Christian crowd much scarier.

      • avatar chipgiii says:

        I have always found it interesting that when someone from the left says something bias, even racist, there is a tendency of justification and forgiveness.  The right not so much.  Clearly a more recent example was Senator Reid’s comments on Barack Obama.  I, too, chalked it up to Reid’s age getting the better of his judgement, but his comment on Obama the candidate, reeked of racism.  There was a lot less outrage, and he was quickly forgiven. 

        I can’t help but wonder if these apologies are more to get oneself off the hook, than genuine.

        Anyway, appreciate your response.

      • avatar Deborah Key says:

        It might be because of my age. . . I’m 43.  I don’t see Al Sharpton as particulary relevant. politically. .  . to my mind, he’s more of a celebrity than a political figure.  A little more interesting than Kim Kardashian but not much.

      • avatar chipgiii says:

        Deborah,

        I don’t see a lot of prior politicians relevant.  I certainly don’t see this Preacher relevant politically.  You could say that Jeremiah Wright isn’t/wasn’t relevant.  I am not sure you can say he isn’t a racist.  He certainly, as Obama’s pastor, said a lot more inflammatory things than Jeffress.  Sharpton is still very active in politics and still pushing his cause, whatever that may be.  Unlike Jeffress, and believe me I am not defending his remarks, Sharpton’s racial remarks have spanned a decade.

        The media makes these irrelevant figures, relevant.  Perhaps we should ignore them.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are both loathsome, divisive, hate-mongering racists. Having grown up in Chicago, in a hard-core Democratic family (I am an Independent voter, even voted for George W. Bush. Was it a mistake? Yes. Did I, or do I hate him? No.), and I can tell you that no one has ever taken Jesse Jackson seriously, with his “boot-strap” rhetoric…and his house in the Uber-Wealthy, all white suburb of Barrington Hills that cost him over a million dollars…back in the 70′s. Poser. Hypocrite. No, I am not a racist at all, he was just no different than any other Chicago Democrat. And Reverend Al is a typical Preacher Man in my book, which makes him no different than a Pat Buchanan…barfing up the dogmatic rhetoric of hate. No excuses for them…both are disgusting people.

        Fortunately, I think that the majority of people of any race are aware that both of these men are not only part of an ugly Democratic-machine based past (I can’t speak for NYC, but actually I am told Chicago is still pretty disgusting politically…but also a present day anomaly), but also entirely self-serving, ridiculous, and blowing enormous amounts of…steam. Which dissipates quickly to little effect.

        Give us some serious current examples that cannot be debunked, and whose commentary is actually anti-Semitic, not simply questioning the political agenda and policy of the new Israeli Government. I don’t like the Iranian government, or the Taliban, but I have not one problem with Iranians or Afghani people. I loathe the Chinese government, but feel pain for, and have no prejudice against, the Chinese. And I question the new Israeli government, but went to school with mostly Jewish students, learned a great deal of kindness and wisdom from them, and have no issue with Jewish people. I want to hear the rhetoric of pure hatred from an current Liberal, respected, Left Wing figure head…the kind that Rush Limbaugh spews (and yes, millions still listen to him, and agree).

  17. avatar Miss Lee says:

    I once walked in on a discussion between two of the partners of a firm that I worked for.  One partner was a Mormon and the other was Jewish.  They were discussing what Moses really meant when he said something or the other.  Both knew that I was a Witch and decided to pull me into the conversation knowing that it was definately out of my knowledge base.  It was all in good fun as we were quite fond of each other having worked well together for many years and were familiar with each other’s families. These discussions were always lively and in good humor.  On that day, I told them that our three religions did in fact have something significant in common…death by angry mob.  They nodded in agreement…a joke that was, unfortunately, not a joke.  Judging folk by their religion often leads to very horrible consequences.  Men of God like Pastor Jeffress truely frighten me.  There is a heart of darkness behind that smile.  I bet he would be smiling like that as the flames engulfed me.

  18. avatar Briana Baran says:

    I think that people forget that, once upon a time, their were no Liberals and Conservatives, per say, and no Right and Left as it is today (Right stood for Democracy…and Left stood for Communism). There were Democrats and Republicans, and the Party Lines were (allegedly) more clear cut, and had a great deal less to do with religious dogma and ideology than they did with politics, socio-economics, business, certain aspects of society (including social class, and the distinctions politically, between the parties, were much more clear “back then”, and Civil Rights, which included racial and gender based equality). There was a surprising degree of cross-over at times.

    There was also an enormous quantity of corruption, deceit, back-room politicking, money changing hands, affiliations with the wrong side of the law…because the media coverage simply wasn’t there, nor was the rapid response of ever-improving technology such as lightning fast communication via cell phones with internet links that can send pictures, inadvertent on-mike comments, interviews, hidden camera video…anything…all over the country in seconds. Also, in a sense, politicians have gotten LESS canny…thinking that they are bullet-proof and making remarkably ignorant and just stupid mistakes (emailing and sexting nude photos of themselves? Tapping out codes for illicit gay rendezvous in airport bathrooms? Spending thousands of government dollars on call girls? Too easy to trace, reveal, or be apprehended by a more rational law enforcement that doesn’t care if your Joe Congressman…you can’t get oral sex through a glory hole in an airport bathroom).

    But also, enter the Religious Right, and their infiltration of the Republican party…and that party’s tacit permission to let a group of fundamentalist, mis-informed, delusional, ignorant fanatics take over the wheel. They’ve let the inmates out to run the asylum. Now, the Democratic Party has had its share of epic failures, most spectacularly the Clintons. No, not just our sitting and married President having sex…yes, receiving oral sex and ejaculating on the woman, and inserting a cigar in her vagina is sex…in the Oval office, but being moronic enough to get caught, then perjuring himself about, then having his Feminist Wife do a 180 in order to Stand By Her Man…read: further her political career on his coat tails. Not just taking millions for his political campaign from, ahem, China (not only unethical, but actually illegal). Not just being a rapist and abuser of women, or he and his wife stealing untold numbers of items from the White House when they left in moderate disgrace. Was Bill Clinton’s policy really Liberal Left? Even if he did puff, but not inhale? No, it wasn’t.

    But nothing compares to Sarah Palin (who was never going to run, period, end of story), Michelle Bachman, Christine O’Donnell, Newt Gingrich, and the media demagogues of the Right and their hate-mongering: Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Pat Buchanan. And their Christian Religious Fanatic Preachers like Pastor Jefferrs. Along with the Tea Party, and their delusional, fantasy version of an America-That-Never-Was, insistence on Revisionist History (right down to altering public school textbooks) rhetoric of ignorance, violence, xenophobia (that doesn’t mean just fear of illegal immigrants…it means fear of anyone who Isn’t. Just. Like. You.) and rabid hatred of what they term Progress.

    Yes, there are Liberals who commit excessively bizarre and violent acts (PETA blowing up laboratories that allegedly use animals for testing, and taking out a human or two for good measure. Eco-terrorists. And others.). But they are definitely considered fringe, or even beyond-the-fringe groups. The Tea Party is not, nor are the Christian Fundamentalists, or the Ultra-conservatives. The thing that has changed the face of American politics more than anything else has been the slow infiltration of government by the dogma of one religion, and the fanatics who follow an extremist fundamentalist form of Christianity. We are facing a threat no different than that of the Taliban, or the Iranian Ayatollahs. Religious extremist fanatics are more like each other, regardless of system of belief, than they are like the moderates of the religions in which they purport to put their faith. This nation was NEVER meant to be a theocracy…but to escape from the tyranny of Religious Oppression.

  19. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    This thread of conversation is fascinating to sit back and watch.

    Based on just words, we all come up with a picture in our minds of what the person that typed those words is like. What their lives are like, almost down to what they look like. For me, I don’t have much to say on this because I have learned some time ago I can not relate to most that post on this site…..I have very little in common with you all.

    But I will say this, it is an interesting discussion taking place.    

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Belinda….

      I can relate to you, even if we don’t agree.  Come on–contribute. 

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      “Based on just words, we all come up with a picture in our minds of what the person that typed those words is like. What their lives are like, almost down to what they look like.”

      I don’t. I’m not arrogant enough to even begin to guess what a person’s appearance or life might be like based on what he or she writes on threads on this website. I only know what you might look like because you post a picture of yourself as your avatar. And while you’ve made your opinions, beliefs, aspects of your personality and character quite clear in your comments…I have no idea of your lifestyle, nor do I care to speculate on it.

      I do know that you are extremely fond of using phrases such as “we all”…as in “We all feel this way”, or “All of us believe in ____” as if you automatically assume that everyone will do as you do. You have also made it absolutely crystal clear that you have nothing in common with the people on this site…in fact, that for you, it’s rather like watching lower life forms at the zoo. I will speculate on one thing: for you, “interesting” means “amusingly retarded”. But that may be the result of all the years you’ve spent damaging your brain from spending too much time at lofty altitudes, inhaling all of that angelic flatus.

      My apologies, Mr. Wow. I am not as forgiving a soul as you are (actually, it was B J who accused me of not having one at some point in the past. A soul, that is). Perhaps it’s the severe allergy induced migraines, temporary intolerance of ignorance, or menopausal hormonal bitchiness. I really do like most people. But the few I don’t I may have an occasional teensy problem with at times.

  20. avatar Linda Myers says:

    I have been watching this thread since it was posted. I am spiritual and not religious, I do not carry a religous tag to explain who I am. I have found the comments interesting and all to be truthful of the many authors in feeling it is more important to own who you are and choose to be, rather than just allowing any form of belief which is not felt, to be assigned. Religion is part of mortality, period.

    Our world is all about the labels we either give ourselves or by others which determine who we are. I am not sure the religous card is going to do any politician well in the elections and just might lessen the votes at the polls. The public is far more interested in how the country will be ran the other six days of the week, than what confessions were made on the seventh.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Linda…

      As to your last sentence–I agree,  But tell that to politicians who feel duty bound to convince us of their religiosity. 

      And, truthfully—what if some candidate came out and said,  “I don’t believe” or  “I’m not sure” (about God)   I’m afraid he or she wouldn’t get too far.

      • avatar Linda Myers says:

        Everyone has some belief, even if they don’t believe. :-) Using the basis of beliefs to win elections, justify wars and judge all others – that is where the overall basis of religion turns me away. Very few politicians have intergrated a true belief into the way they performed the job.

  21. avatar Mark Rowe says:

    Wow, it looks like we have done joined the rest of the world with the religion thing.     First, one has to realize that ALL religons are “Man’s political parties for God! Not of God, because you see none of them have it completly right.” And anyone who talks for God is a lier! And if one looks back throughout time in all of man’s records, God has given us only one thing! That is the 10 commandments. So looking down on someone for there religon is just as bad as looking down on someone for there political party or country! We must first see everyone as our equal, untill they prove otherwise. Otherwise we are the lowlife. And God is different for each person, but God’s laws are the same for all of us.

  22. avatar Rho says:

    Is this still going on?  As far as Christ — that was his occupation, not his name – and he was born and died Jewiish. 

    Anyway, all this stuff was written by humans, it’s up to you to believe it or not.  I was raised a Jew, and remain a Jew.  Sometimes I question my faith, but I do believe.

    • avatar Irreverent says:

      Dear Rho:

       

      You wrote, “As far as Christ — that was his occupation, not his name –”

      I’m not sure if that was an indirect response to me writing “…it’s the name of Jesus (or Christ, as He is also called)…” What I meant was, “(or Christ, as He is also known)…” Of course Christ is His title, not His given name. (Christ, from the Greek Χριστός (Khristós), meaning the Anointed One, or the Messiah—from the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Māšîa)

       

      Anyway, somewhere I read this, which I find fascinating:

      Jesus’ name is a Latin transcription of the Hebrew Yehoshuah, a name now customarily rendered as “Joshua”, itself an old Aramaic name that has evolved from Yshwh, Yeshuah, Yihishewah. In addition, Jesus’ real given name was Yeshuah Imanuel ben Yusuf, and He most likely He went by the diminutive “Mani” (stress on the “i”).

       

      And this:

      It is most proper to call Him Yeshua; only in Hebrew does this name have any meaning. In Hebrew Yeshua means both “Salvation,” and the concatenated form of Yahoshua, is “Lord who is Salvation.” The name Jesus has no intrinsic meaning in English whatsoever.

       

      —————-

       

      Something worth investigating, I believe, for those so inclined :-)

       

       

       
       

  23. avatar Rho says:

    Sorry, I misspelled Jewish.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Rho…

      Actually, your misspelling looked quite Biblical. 

      I was raised a Catholic, but truth to tell, I’ve always felt more Jewish.  Although I was never big on the Old Testament God—too capricious, like Zeus. 

      There is a little something to be said for all religions and beliefs.  Mix it up and find your own religion.  Or not. 

      I’m partial to the Jewish faith because all the men I’ve loved have been Jewish, and my best friends have been Jewish.   

      And Elizabeth and Marilyn converted, so what else is there to say?!

      • avatar Rho says:

        Mr Wow, my Temple would gladly accept you.  Can you speak Spanish?  We are Sephardic Jews, and speak Ladino not Yiddish.  They threw us out of Spain in 1492, wherever we migrated to we kept the Spanish Language.  My ancestors went to Greece and Turkey.
         
         

  24. avatar Dan S. says:

    Wait – what’s this topic again? It’s taken some interesting diversions.

    I’m pretty familiar with the whole Mithras story, but it seemed like a pretty big tangent for me in my already long-winded reply. I’m just as well-versed on the worship of Asclepius, and Dionysis, and Ishtar and the various other man-gods that were being worshipped at the time. In my de-conversion from Catholicism to atheism, it was a very necessary step to deeply study religion starting at its roots, and Christian religion in particular since that was the religious brand that made me begin to question the notion. And on occasion when I find myself on defense from the ire of a religionist, it’s generally useful to be familiar with the books they’re referencing and, in most cases, be far more familiar with the books than they are. Far too many people treat their holy books like a software license agreement: They just zip to the end and click “I accept” without really reading what they’ve just agreed to.

    On reflection, my original post seemed a bit more harsh toward Mormanism as a religion in particular than I meant it to be. In my time, I’ve met some really great people who are of the Mormon faith who would be best-described as “good” people. I can’t attach a person’s quality of character to the religion they practice though, else I could just as easily classify Catholics as bad people and indict them all with each accusation of child molestation.

    With that being said, I believe that Mormonism is built upon a grave misunderstanding about the origin and workings of the cosmos and humanity’s part in it all. But this is a belief I hold for all religions and not for just this one in particular. To hear people of other religions talking about whether or not the LDS church “counts” is not only a moot point, but an unhelpful one. In my eyes, it doesn’t really matter which quasi-historical fiction a person affirms belief in just as long as he or she doesn’t let those beliefs dictate how the country should be run.

    One of the many fine consequences of the separation of church and state is that it helps guarantee protection of religions from other religions. And this is why people like “evangelicals” worry me: When they say “We don’t want a Mormon or a Muslim in the White House forcing upon us their religious laws”, what they’re implying is that religion should have the ability to enshrine itself upon the law of the land and it’s their goal to make it Christian beliefs that get forced on other people. They even take that extra step to retcon American history to say that’s how it has always been – a land of Christian law. To me, that is where the national discussion should be and not with whether or not a nominee is the right sort of Christian.

    And it was good to see it pointed out that “Christ” is a title and not a name.

    Everyone be sure to live today to its fullest because tomorrow is Harold Camping’s revised date for the end of the world. Certainly, the third time will be the charm.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Dan…

      Oh, is that tomorrow?  The world is ending on a Friday?  Bummer.  I could have used one more weekend. 

      • avatar Dan S. says:

        I can’t imagine that I’ll be one of the chosen few to be carried bodily into Heaven, so I suspect that I’ll still have a very earthly weekend. I couldn’t vouch for its quality though.

  25. avatar Jody says:

    I am in gratitude that Robert Jeffress has the opportunity to speak his opinions in this great nation of ours.
    I am in gratitude for the Troops who make sure of it 24/7/365, without a seconds lapse of time on their watch over us.
    I am in gratitude that we all have the opportunity to disagree (or agree).
    I am also in gratitude that when people make statements like Mr. Jeffress, he shows himself to be an ass, therefore not needing anyone else to do make the argument for him.

    Mr. Jeffress, I encourage you to step back and see how your ego is attached to your religion. Your ego has an attachment to an idea of Christianity and makes you want it to be right. Because, if that’s not right, then neither are you. Such attachments actually impair us as humans. It keeps us separate from one another (I’m right, you’re wrong, etc.) This concept is out-dated. My teenagers can’t believe “old people” still think this way. HA! Cracks me up! And, in my opinion, any person who thinks like “old people” shouldn’t be President of the United States (Rick Perry, etc).

    Just my opinion. Thank you.