Sunday, January 27, 2013

GOP Screaming Like a Wanton Child

The GOP's screaming like a wanton child is without purpose, but only to spread discontent and further confusion.

Their world is filled with deception and lies, to gain only their own power over the mind of America and its wealth.

Their strategies are some of the most duplicitous in all of history, fed by Southern sensibilities rooted in racism and white power.

What else can be said?

The GOP seems incapable right now of contributing to the common good and the wellbeing of the Republic.

What has happened to the Party of Lincoln, Teddy and Ike is one of the great political tragedies of the Western World.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Obama as Hitler

I'll cut right to the chase and not mince words:

To compare Obama to Hitler is unconscionable ...

Not because it's immoral, or anything like that, but rather because it's a lie, an out-and-out lie that carries no weight of meaning, bears no resemblance to anything remotely smacking of history, and is designed to mislead the naive - those muddling and meandering folks who know nothing of history, care nothing at all for truth, but are largely driven by inchoate passions for survival against unseen enemies and a longing for some sense of self-importance in a world where their value as human beings has been severely compromised by their employers, their politicians and their churches.

A comparison, however, of Obama to Hitler is a page ripped out of Hitler's playbook ...

To cover one's tracks and obscure one's purpose, point decisively and constantly away from one's self to some supposed enemy out there, or, if not out there, then right here, close at hand, working to undermine what all decent Germans cherish and would willingly spend their lives in defense of it.

All of this coming to the fore because of guns.

There is a madness here, and it's not Obama, it's the NRA and a host of far-right secessionist groups and other malingers who have no socially redeeming value whatsoever, and, of course, their handlers - the skilled and silver-tongued, and always banal, talk-show hosts who get their jollies out of watching their wretched audiences grow impassioned about imaginary enemies and causes that possess no substance whatsoever.

And behind those talk-show hosts, big money and its fascist dreams - get rid of the government so we can have a freehand to grab the goodies and run to our gated communities and enjoy the privileges of wealth and position, much like England's aristocracy in the 19th Century - who lived vain and foolish lives, loved the military and dreamed of glory on the battlefield to further England's place in the world as a great empire and to brook no competition or challenge to England's hegemony.

Ah well ... the sorts of folks who would compare Obama to Hitler are evil - for they would take life away from others in order to enhance their own status and security.

And the folks who believe them?

They are to be pitied, I suppose - for want of intelligence? I don't know - I think most of them are desperate and frightened, the stuff of KKK mobs and burning crosses, like the German crowds who took to the streets on what we now term Krystal Nacht, the night of broken glass.

How good and righteous those Germans felt, and how wrong they were.

Then, or now, the far-right has limited capacity to think, and unlimited ability to hate - used, as it is, as tools of the powerful who have neither political sensibilities nor philosophical interests - their only motive is the preservation of their aristocracy, furthering their gains and enjoying their privilege and power.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Christians, Guns, Violence and Atonement Theology

I've been scratching my head for some time about Christians who own guns, and even love them - love revealed and measured in the powerful defense they mount to maintain their right to own guns, use them, enjoy them, play with them, hunt with them, defend themselves and their loved ones against intruders, marauders, terrorists and crazies, and protect themselves from a government, should it go bad, and in the event of some vast end-of-the-world disaster wherein only a few survive, having to rely on their wits and their guns.

It occurred to me recently:

The link between Christians, guns and violence is found in Atonement Theology - wherein God uses violence (against his own Son who becomes, vicariously, the sinner of all sinners) to bring about good. And God, of course, is good, so in God's hands, violence is, by definition, good - for a Good God, all-powerful, can only do good, even when the good is bloody terrible.

There it is!

In all of its gory glory, and weirdness.

Violence produces good, when the violence is done by someone who is good.

John Wayne and Charlton Heston rise up from their graves and shout Hallelujah - "We were right all along. Violence produces good, when the violence is done by someone who is good, and we're the good guys. We know it in our heart. We're Americans. We're white and we're Christian. We're hard-working and family-loving. We're good, and we know it."

No better film depiction of this theology than Mel Gibson's, "The Passion of the Christ" - all blood and gore, because the Medieval Church fell in love with gore and suffering, because the the Medieval world was full of it, and rather than addressing it as evil, the church found a way to sanctify it, a great relief, I'm sure, to the kings and queens of the day, and their bishops and priests.

Historically speaking, as the church grew stronger with lands and wealth and political power, the artistic images of Jesus changed from risen to crucified, from triumphant to suffering, from bathed in light to drenched in blood, from peaceful to agonized, from living to dead. It was no longer the Empty Tomb that set the pace, but the Cross, as Jesus the Christ was transformed into a constant sacrifice dying again and again for the sins of the world.

Power requires violence ... it's the only way for the powerful to maintain and grow their power, for power is never content with the status quo; to cease growing in power is to begin losing power to others. In order to sustain power, power has to be constantly gained, or taken, from others, who have to surrender their power to the powerful, and if the surrender can't be arranged peacefully, well, then, it can be arranged violently, which only goes to prove, that the person or persons who should have surrendered peacefully are not at all good, because they resisted the obvious good of their surrender. So any violence directed against them is a good thing - to teach them the right ways, to break their pride of rebellion and prove to others what it means to be right and good.

Atonement Theology has come under attack in recent years because of its linkage to violence, and its questionable rooting in Scripture. 

Yes, it's there in the notion of sacrifice, but there's more to the story than a quid pro quo exchange of death for life. As for Jesus himself, and what Jesus offers, the story is glorious even as it is very large. By reducing the life and work of Jesus to the simplest notion of He died for our sins, the church has lost most of the story, and like a car with only one tire, it clunks along the road of history, telling the world that a car with only one tire is just fine; come along for the ride!

In its simplest, and most dangerous form, Atonement Theology says: Jesus died for our sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and your sins are forgiven, and you will live with him eternally. By killing his own Son, a plan God always had in mind, God pays a price we couldn't pay. Through death, goodness comes our way. By violence, right is made strong. Through blood shed, because Jesus, in that moment, becomes bad, carrying the sins of the world, peace is achieved. Jesus dies as a sinner, and all sinners deserve to die. But his death is special; so his death achieves great good, and God the Father was right to kill him, for our sins, with our sins resting upon him. Hallelujah and Amen!

Rather, we should say, Jesus died because of our sins. 

Humanity killed him because he challenged all of our assumptions about good and right and love and God. He invited us to see life differently, and we refused; so we killed him. But we justified our killing of him with Atonement Theology - that he died, not because of us, but for us, as God planned, from the beginning. How convenient.

But therein lies the clue as to why so many Christians have such a violent view of things ... their god is a violent god who brings about good through violence.

Guns, in the hands of the good, are good ... even as death and violence, in the hands of God are good.

In a nutshell, we love violence - it's rooted, I suppose in our DNA, tribal loyalties and our desire to survive, to surmount death (which we all know is coming our way, and it always pisses us off) and we continually justify our violence by blaming others for it - their rebellion, their misbehavior, their power, their threat, their ways and their culture, are not good, so we have a right to protect ourselves, even to make the first move before they have a chance to strike at us.

Rather than face our violence for what it is, we justify it and glorify it.

Shed the blood of the bad, and good will come about.

Make war, and there will be peace.

Kill, and there will be life.

Destroy, and there will be a new world.

Strange, isn't it?