Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One toe over the line

edited to include this link to Hullabaloo (grokked from Jay Lake)

Before it gets too far down the road and I haven't commented on it. America's Crazy Uncle Pat spoke up yesterday on the cause of the Haitian earthquake. See, it has nothing to do with an active Earth and tectonic plates that in the Atlantic are sliding along each other. Nothing about how they tense and release.

For Pat it's all about his god. And I say his god (lower "g") intentionally, because I don't think his god is whom most Christians believe are their God. For Crazy Uncle Pat's god is a vengeful SoB.

According to Pat, the Haitians are suffering because their ancestors made a pact with the Devil to rid their country of the French. This would have been done back at the end of the 18th or very early in the 19th centuries (as I remember, French colonial rule ended around 1804). And that's why god decided, almost two centuries later, to shake the bejeezus out of an impoverished island which was already having medical and food emergencies.

Not only is Pat's god a vengeful SoB, he's also chronically late to the show. He's also not all powerful, after all, the Haitians did kick the French out. Which, following Pat's logic here, shows that Satan is stronger than the God-Fearing French. That's a pretty startling admission from someone who for years preached that Satan has no powers in the world, and that his god is always triumphant.

This next paragraph has been edited (bold text) to make it clearer whom I'm talking to, in the comments I've realized I didn't make it clear in the original post. (edited 01-14-10 3pm)

So let me take a page from the former administration, until I hear the rest of the self proclaimed leaders and spokespeople of the Christian Community actively and loudly denouncing this windbag, I'm going to assume they don't have a problem with him and actually support his views. He is giving your religion a bad name. You think Imams and Islamic leaders need to denounce terrorism and terrorist to distance themselves from the whackaloon contingent on their flanks. Well, me buckos, it's time to clean your own temple of the moneychangers. "Oh, that's just Pat being Pat," won't cut it anymore. I want to hear you all say that Pat Robertson is not a Christian as you understand Christ.

And to Pat, since saying this one way wouldn't make sense to you, let me say it this way. Your god is waiting to call you home. Pick up the phone.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

On behalf of Christians everywhere:

Pat Robertson does not speak for all of us. Not even a very small minority of people.

If you hear no response to him from us, it's because we're not paying any attention to him and wonder why anyone else would bother. Reporting this kind of thing is the media's problem with religion - the kooks sell newspapers, so they interview and quote kooks.

Anonymous Cassie

(Curious: do you assume that the Muslim world approves of terrorists when you hear no condemnation of the terrorist acts done by Muslims?)

blega: a type of whale

Steve Buchheit said...

Cassie, I don't hold that the muslim world embraces terrorists when they don't vociferously condemn acts of terrorism. However, many of the so called Christian Leaders of the religious right tend to make that claim. They go on the talking head shows with their claims that Islam is a religion of hate and violence (which then gets repeated by the talking heads) since the muslim religious leaders don't make public statements distancing themselves from the crazies. So my call for them to disown Crazy Uncle Pat is asking the gander to take a look at what was good for the goose.

Also because, in the past, they have poo-pooed the criticism of Pat by 1) stating he's not a leading light (the 700 Club is still pretty big IIRC, and he's in the process of handing the reigns over to his son, doesn't sound like a small endeavor) and 2) saying he's not important to the cause and 3) using the "Well, that's just Pat" excuse.

You'll notice this is exactly the same playbook used to persuade the general populace that Rush isn't a leader of the conservative movement.

You may recall during the recent Xmas Bomber many US Imams went to the microphones to denounce the act. The religious right has forced them into the point where it's almost a knee-jerk reaction. Because in the past when they took the stand of "Well, those whackaloons don't speak for me or us, nor do they represent our religion" they were taken to the wall for not actively denouncing the acts.

I understand that Pat isn't the center (which is why I call him Crazy Uncle Pat), however he is a leading voice in the movement of the religious right.

I also understand that the "Christian Leadership" won't make such statements (or attempt to poo-poo them again). And that most Christians don't look to Pat for guidance and that many of them think of Pat as a joke. And with all that they won't say anything because they don't think it's a big deal. Just like why Imams worldwide didn't condemn the 9-11 Attacks. Because it's not about their religion.

cathschaffstump said...

Questions:

Who would you like to have publicly denounce Crazy Uncle Pat? Where do you want this to occur?

Are you assuming that all Christians are right-wing conservatives?

How responsible is one person for the views of an entire political party, an entire religion, or an entire country?

Because

1. I'd be happy as a card carrying Methodist to denounce fundamentalism in any religion, and have casually, but could take that to a public forum.

2. I'm not responsible for Pat Robertson as a Christian, any more than I am responsible for you as a member of Viable Paradise.

3. I understand and expect that not everyone in an organization that I'm a member of is going to say things that I agree with. Pat steps over the line, but there are amendments that say he can do this. Even if it disgusts me personally.

Honestly, no one in my reconciling congregational church would feel any connection to Pat Robertson.

Silence doesn't always mean acquiescence. Some cultures think it is wisdom.

And I hope you washed down those vitriol flakes you had for breakfast with some tasty coffee. ;P

Catherine

Anonymous said...

You don't recall correctly - Pat Robertson might have been big in years past, now... not. I'm hearing him uniformly condemned on the Christian blogs. Handing over one's reigns isn't significant - my father tried to hand my brother-in-law control of the family business. It's as big or as small as it is. Pat's position in American Christianity may be more a product of the secular media's quoting him than his own efforts.

However, many of the so called Christian Leaders of the religious right tend to make that claim.

Not questioning your credibility, but I'd like to see those claims in context. Got sources?

My suspicion (and it is merely that) is that if Christian leaders expected denouncement by Muslim leaders, it's because the press and liberals (wait, I know, this sounds like right-wing pre-canned talk) expected the same from Christians when wackos killed abortionists. Back in the day when the first killings were done, the press crawled all over "Christian leaders" if they didn't denounce the assassins. I suspect that what you're calling sauce for gander/goose is, in reality, a learned response that predates the Bush II presidency by a decade or 2. And since it's generally believed that the media doesn't have the balls to point fingers at a religion that has demonstrated its willingness to retaliate with violence (Yale Press?) I think that the Christian leadership* is doing exactly what the press should be doing now to the Muslim communities - disavowing terrorism, and hopefully looking into its institutions and making sure that the environment and teachings that breed terrorism are removed.

(*As a Christian, I am utterly baffled that anyone with any ability to see beyond their nose thinks there's just 1 leader - Catherine and I would strongly disagree on who such a leader may be.)

Back in college, I had a class that talked about the punctuation of communication. Not grammar, but the idea that where one party thinks the conversation began may not be where the other thinks it began. You want to blame the Bush ega - I see further back. Which of us is right?

Anonymous Cassie (Kizmet for Catherine)

Steve Buchheit said...

Catherine, I should state that I know nobody will come out to disown Pat for the very real reason that few people claim to own him in the first place.

However, I'm referring to these problems:

A religious Tolerance.org page which starts "A common complaint among non-Muslims is that Muslim religious authorities do not condemn terrorist attacks. "

A TPM article on the "Muslim Interns" infiltrating and suborning Congress from the inside. With the line "(Representative) Myrick is in fact partially echoing Gaubatz, who said yesterday: 'If Muslims do not want a backlash, then I would recommend a "house cleaning."'"

A USA Today story about President Bush's iftar dinner in 2005 where he is quoted, "I appreciate those of you here who have joined these scholars in rejecting violent extremists. And I believe the time has come for all responsible Islamic leaders to denounce an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends and defiles your noble faith."

Notice there he saying "some" have come out, but that "all the rest of you" have got to do it.

A Media Matters article on Glenn Beck wanring "that '[t]he world is on the brink of World War III' and that 'Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time and have not been marching in the streets' will face dire consequences. Beck made his comments toward Muslims who he claimed 'have not been saying, 'Hey, you know what? There are good Muslims and bad Muslims. We need to be the first ones in the recruitment office lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head.' " "

Do I need to continue to find more examples of this idiocy? What I'm saying now is that all those who have done the calling to make sure all the muslims decry, in public, that they abhor terrorism should now do the same thing by censuring Crazy Uncle Pat. No more coddling. No more ignoring. The man is an affront to Humanity and Christianity.

To those who promote the whole "a good muslim is one who keeps denouncing the lunatic fringe", I'm asking them to drink their own kool-aid.

And, again, I know not all people feel this way (that muslims should keep denouncing every act). But there's plenty of them that do, and they seem to have the microphones.

Anonymous said...

I took a look at your first link - you expect me to take CAIR seriously when there have been numerous links between terrorist organizations and CAIR? Or MPAC? - Directly funding radical Muslim agencies?

I know I've seen the Akron Beacon Journal quote Dr. Hussain from the local Muslim community several times over the years. (Disclaimer: he saved my sister's life.) I believe I've seen some quotes in the Plain Dealer regarding the iman in Cleveland - you remember, the one who was deported? - and his followers.

A USA Today story about President Bush's iftar dinner in 2005 where he is quoted, "I appreciate those of you here who have joined these scholars in rejecting violent extremists. And I believe the time has come for all responsible Islamic leaders to denounce an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends and defiles your noble faith."

Notice there he saying "some" have come out, but that "all the rest of you" have got to do it.


Are you disagreeing with Bush? Do you think it's acceptable for an organization to be preaching and inciting violence? Because that's all I'm reading in Bush's statement.

Don't ask me to defend Beck. I think he's crazy.

Anonymous Cassie

Steve Buchheit said...

Cassie. First off, I should state publicly that I know the readers of my blog don't fall into the whackaloon category.

The case that CAIR supported terrorist has been very well disproven already. Because if there were such links, we already have laws to close them up (as we did with many of the Arabic Lenders, the actual term escapes me at the moment, who funneled cash from supposed charities to terrorist organizations - those we could prove were intentionally supporting terrorists, and CAIR was investigated at the same time and found to have not done so knowingly).

Bush's quote would be like me asking the synod of your Church to come out with a statement about how they denounce Scott Roeder. Not in a "well, of course we don't support murder" but in a "disavow violence against abortion providers, and that guy was a particular kind of pond-scum" kind of way. Islam and the muslim community is not a homogeneous group any more than Christianity, Judaism, Buddhist, Hindu or any major religious communities are.

See my comment above about how I know the communities are not monolithic, nor do all practitioners hold the same view.

I probably wasn't very clear here that I'm not taking "all Christians" to task here, I'm taking about those who stand up and speak for the crowd. Those who spewed out the silliness that all muslims needed to denounce terrorism or we wouldn't trust them. They are the ones I'm pointing to and laughing at.

And I also might have forgotten to mention that Crazy Uncle Pat is one of them (who both stands up and claims to speak for the crowd, and also called on all muslims to denounce terrorism or we wouldn't trust them).

So this is "Live by the sword, die by the sword." I'm just helping to provide the sword in this case. What the talking heads wish to do with it is their own karma.

cathschaffstump said...

I understand.

You're discussing misrepresentation of the right in regard to religion. On the one hand, all Islam is fundamentalist, but Christianity should be fundamentalist.

There's that us versus them line, which is interesting, because fundamentalist islam and fundamentalist christianity have more in common than either of those extremes have with the more liberal branches of their religion.

You should write an editorial letter to Fox and see if you can get some action. :) Or link them here.

Meanwhile, inspired by you, I've committed blasphemy in my own corner of the blogosphere. Damn you and your progressive commentary! Now I'll never get to heaven!

Catherine

Steve Buchheit said...

Sorry, Catherine, it's what us sinners do. We drag everybody else down.

vince said...

Cassie, I'm also a Christian, and to a great extent, I have to agree with Steve. In my opinion, failure to call out those like Robertson (and the obnoxious right like Beck, Limbaugh, etc.) is to fail to stand up for what we actually believe.

I, for one, am sick of having to defend my beliefs based on what non-Christians take away from people like Robertson, the ministers who pray for the President's death, the Westboro Baptist Church, etc. These people need to be called out in the same manner Jesus did with the Pharisees, again in my opinion.

Few of the Christians I know personally have anything but contempt for Robertson. But he still wields influence, albeit not the influence he once did.

Steve, I threw in my two cents on this over on my blog.

Steve Buchheit said...

Vince, yeah, it's the contagion he poses.

I should say I support that he's sending aid. Good on him for that.

If this had been the only time Pat has gone off his meds and said something like this (which even his spokesperson is now saying he didn't actually say) I'd be a little more lenient. But this isn't the first, second, or even third time.