by Taylor Marsh
UPDATE: A photo of Debbie Schlussel appeared here, but has been taken down on threat of a lawsuit. Ms. Schlussel claimed "copyright" violations on my part, even though there was no evidence of copyright on the photo where I copied it, which was from a Google search: here, here, here, here, here, here ("from Yahoo groups) and there are more where those came from, which do not show a copyright. I have photos all over my blog, but restrict any copying by a simple feature. This was not done on Ms. Schlussel's photo. I would never violate copyright laws knowingly and had Ms. Schlussel used the features open to her to block copying the photo this issue would never have occurred.
We've got crazy Christians, drug and sexually addicted Evangelicals, and Barack Obama's middle name all being thrown around in the name of all that's unholy. If it's the Christmas season it must be time for faith unhinged.
What makes the Episcopal religion my faith of record is what has caused an uproar around the globe, but most recently among a very small minority of Virginians. A gay bishop, a female U.S. bishop, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (who I have met and heard preach), being appointed, plus the practice of equality among all parishioners, including gays and lesbian, all of which signifies diversity of the human family in faith. It makes me proud. Others feel differently, which is their right, but it certainly is anything but "Christian."
Today's religious hierarchy would have stoned Jesus Christ himself. As for Mary, they would have shunned her as a godless, promiscuous liberal. Few have embraced Mary's importance in the church at large. It's that woman thing, the fetish in faith for all things male. The hypocrisy among conservative "Christians" is staggering. Just look at Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, or the abject dishonesty of Rush Limbaugh, who says to Republican "Christians," I am one of you, though there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim.
While a woman heads the Episcopal church, a gay bishop is welcome, with equality for all in that church, the biggest evangelical community is represented by a drug addicted methamphetamine user, gay prostitute loving head pastor who resigned in disgrace, but is now joined by a sex addict who was teaching assault weapon techniques who has also been made to resign.
Ah yes, but the New Life Church and every other right-wing "Christian" organizations feel compelled to judge the Episcopal church and other faiths of similar tolerance for our diversity and policy of inclusion, which includes giving women a role of leadership.
A pastor who worked with young adults at New Life Church has admitted sexual misconduct and resigned just weeks after former church leader Ted Haggard stepped down over sexual immorality.
Christopher Beard, who headed the "twentyfourseven" ministry that taught leadership skills to young adults, resigned Friday, said Rob Brendle, an associate pastor at the 14,000-member church.
Brendle said Beard told church officials about "a series of decisions displaying poor judgment, including one incident of sexual misconduct several years ago." ...
Beard was reprimanded by the church in 2002, when police broke up a twentyfourseven training exercise he led in a church parking lot involving fake assault rifles. ...
But the taking out after Barack Obama for his middle name is the most heinous attack I've seen against a Democratic candidate since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was attacked for his alleged sexual prowess with women not his wife. I guess since we have continued to hold Republican racists' feet to the fire the right-wing wacko machine has to find another tactic by which to attack the rising young Democratic star. The line being forwarded by the likes of Ed Rogers and other Republicans, if only by cowardly inference, is that Senator Obama may call himself a Christian, but he's actually a Muslim out to do the U.S.A. harm through his masquerade of faith.
Debbie Schlussel (who was pictured at the top of this post, until she threatened to sue me for a photo I got off of Google) isn't Atlas Shrugged but she is equally unhinged, though she also is not "Christian," but "Jewish." Her attack on Obama is so prejudice and loaded that the implication and inherent danger of such accusations and assaults makes you wonder if Ms. Schlussel isn't trying to do more than ruin Obama's political career. At the very least it is scandalously un-American. However, it is also an aggressive assault out of fear of Senator Obama's power with the public.
Over the years, the right-wing nut squad has co-opted God, guns, Jesus, the military, trucks, the flag and everything in between. What they have done with these symbols of "true Americanism" is divide and conquer by associating only Republicans with these brands, that is, until we crushed them this past November.
Many months ago, readers began asking me whether Barack Obama is Muslim. Since he identifies as a Christian, I said, "no," and responded that he was not raised by his Kenyan father.
But, then, I decided to look further into Obama's background. His full name--as by now you have probably heard--is Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Hussein is a Muslim name, which comes from the name of Ali's son--Hussein Ibn Ali. And Obama is named after his late Kenyan father, the late Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., apparently a Muslim.
And while Obama may not identify as a Muslim, that's not how the Arab and Muslim Streets see it. In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. You cannot go back. In Islamic eyes, Obama is certainly a Muslim. He may think he's a Christian, but they do not.
So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian, and even if he despised the behavior of his father (as Obama said on Oprah); is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?
Is that even the man we'd want to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, if Hillary Clinton offers him the Vice Presidential candidacy on her ticket (which he certainly wouldn't turn down)?
NO WAY, JOSE . . . Or, is that, HUSSEIN?
Whether it's an attack on a the first female U.S. bishop of the Episcopal church, one of our gay bishops, or the inclusion of all God's people in prayer and the union of family through traditional bonds, liberalism in religion is not only healthy, but promotes the wholeness of each and every person regardless of who he or she is, as long as that person comes to church to find God, answers, him-herself, or just some peace in a world gone mad.
As an aside, if the Middle East were more liberal we wouldn't be in the mess we are today. Think about that one, my Republicans friends.
We've got the most overtly "Christian" president we have had in our lifetime who uses his presidential pulpit to preach preemption, advocate torture and the destruction of enemies both real and imagined, all in the name of God. A crusade is how Mr. Bush began his onslaught. All in the name of religion, faith and spreading democracy, while being the leader of a political party that maligns anyone of faith who doesn't hold to the standards of Republicans who believe they are qualified to judge. The record proves otherwise.
Jesus would not claim the current crop of "Christian" or "Jewish" leaders representing the Republican Party, but it's very likely he would find it in his heart to smile at the crazy Christians rebelling against bigotry who participate in faith services at the Episcopal church, as well as all the other denominations that open their doors, their hearts and their ceremonies to all God's children, regardless of whether they pass the right-wing test of purity, which even the elders fail.
The subject of religion I enter through my own faith. You may have yours or you may not. But the inhumane politics, policies and attacks by conservative "Christians," "Jews" and other believers makes me understand why agnostics and atheists feel they are, if you will excuse the word, righteous in their stance that nothing has done the world and its population more harm than the faithful. My husband, who left the church and is now a recovering Mormon, would agree. The actions of the current crop of faithful has only convinced him and many others like him that religion is not the solution, but the real problem in the world peace equation. Debating that it's the people and not God or the faith being applied is tough today. But when people like Debbie Schlussel, Ed Rogers or even Mr. Bush continue to show themselves up for the hypocrites the are it makes it a whole lot easier.