Good grief. Now Doug Spaulding has found a bird of a feather in theoctobercountry.
If these articles are true, there are (surprise!) some major loonies in the religious right. If not, someone is going out of their way to plant stories to discredit them. The scary thing is if people don't consider these stories alarming, if true.
I just got to re-thinking my last post to Doug, and perhaps the problem here is that neither Drake nor Robertson ARE considered members of fringe groups, but part of mainstream (though very right wing) Christianity. The comments of both are a matter of public record---anyone can look up the information and see exactly what both have said. And it's time for other Christians to speak out, and say that this sort of talk does not represent the whole of Christianity, by a long shot.
Nard, I knew that you had a history with Ray, but never knew anything specific about it until now. Great reading and well put. Interesting and captivating. I just wish that you had put dates on the various aspects of your story, a time line so to speak, to better understand the perspective. One thing that you left out, and I am sure it came from your experience with printing, is that you are a fantastic artist working with a medium that is truly unique. Are you still using this and creating new work?
I look forward to your next episode of your relationship with Ray.
Quite so. The Drake incident caused me to go back and reread one of the Bishop's columns on Robertson last night. Interesting that you have brought it up today.
I've posted it before, but now seems a good time to rerun a "best of the Bishop":
Ask the Bishop
"How do you respond to the Rev. Pat Robertson when he warns the citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania, that God might strike them with a disaster since they voted out the School Board members who favored "Intelligent Design?" "
Pat Robertson has said so many silly and ridiculous things that I wonder why anyone would pay much attention to him on any subject. He warned Orlando, Florida, that God would send a hurricane to destroy them when Orlando's decision makers added "sexual orientation" to that city's civil rights ordinance making it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person because of race, ethnicity, gender, creed or "sexual orientation." He suggested that Hollywood would be the victim of an earthquake because that is where Ellen Degeneres works. With Jerry Falwell he agreed that the 9/11 disaster was brought upon this nation as God's judgment for harboring "feminists, abortionists, homosexuals and the American Civil Liberties Union." He suggested that the CIA should assassinate the duly elected President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. He has said that the feminist movement is about those women who want to "leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft and become lesbians." The tirade of absurdities goes on and on.
This country treasures the precious gift of free speech and Pat Robertson can obviously say any foolish and ignorant thing he wishes. When he pretends to speak in the name of God, however, I think his fellow believers have a right, indeed a necessity, to speak a word of judgment on his behavior since his words slander the Christian definition of God as Love given to us first by the author of the First Epistle of John and even more important, lived out by Jesus, who called us even to love our enemies.
I want to make only two points about this issue. First, I wonder who, other than Pat himself, designated Pat Robertson to be God's spokesperson? How dare Pat assume that the God revealed in the Jesus I serve is filled with all of Pat's peculiar prejudices. Why does he not understand that God is God and Pat Robertson is not? Why does he not see that when he tells the world with an unashamed certainty what God thinks and what God will do, he is only revealing what he thinks and what he would do if he had God's power? Pat needs to understand that he is acting out the very meaning of idolatry. He has confused God with himself.
Second, some one needs to inform Pat Robertson that the idea of God sitting on a throne above the clouds manipulating the weather in order to punish sinners is so primitive and so naïve that it is staggering to the educated imagination. It is bad enough that his mind cannot embrace the thought of Charles Darwin from the 19th century, but Pat has yet to embrace the thought of Copernicus from the 16th century or Galileo from the 17th century. No educated person today believes that the earth is the center of the universe and that God lives above the sky, playing with low-pressure systems and planning revenge on those who are not believers in Intelligent Design. Indeed why would anyone be drawn to the demonic deity who emerges in Pat's thinking and teaching? It is surely not a God of Love who punishes New Orleans' poorest citizens with a hurricane that New Orleans' wealthiest citizens could and did manage to escape at least with their lives, because they had cars. Did God kill the poor in New Orleans in order to send a message to New Orleans's prostitutes and those who create its raucous nightlife? Is that a rational concept? Did God cause two tectonic plates to collide under the Indian Ocean because there were some 350,000 evil people, with fully one-third of them children, whom God desired to kill in a tsunami wave? Is that how God communicates divine displeasure? Is that a God worthy of worship? Were the 3000 who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 or the 2100 members of our Armed Forces who have thus far died in Iraq during this war somehow worthy of this ultimate punishment either because of their own evil or because God sacrificed them to send a message to someone else? Those ideas are so ludicrous as to be laughable, except for the fact that for anyone to suggest such incredible things is still painfully hurtful to those who are the victims of both natural and human disasters to say nothing of their surviving loved ones. I, as a Christian, am embarrassed by the public face that Pat Robertson puts on the religious tradition to which my life is dedicated.
I have known the Robertson family for a long time. His father was the Democratic Senator in my state of Virginia from 1946, when he was first appointed to succeed Senator Carter Glass who had died in office. He was re-elected by the people of Virginia in 1948, 1954, and 1960. In the Democratic Primary in 1966 he was defeated in a very close vote by my first cousin William Belser Spong, Jr., who went on to fill that seat in the United States Senate. Pat is a 1955 graduate of the Law School at Yale University and received a Master in Divinity degree from New York Theological Seminary in1959. He cannot possibly be as dumb as he sounds in his wild and thoughtless utterances. If ignorance is not his excuse, then one has to wonder what motivates him. In academic theological circles he is treated as a buffoon. No one takes his thought seriously. It is a pity that some people do actually believe the things he says, but they are far fewer than he imagines. It is an even greater pity that the news media think that his continued utterances are worthy of any public attention at all.
- John Shelby Spong
Ah, yes. The radical fringe of the religious right. The fact that MILLIONS were killed by the godless left (the communists in Russia and Cambodia) doesn't seem to raise the same fears as those of the occasional oddball attack by a fringe member of the "religious right". Gotta watch out for them. It's like Obama telling Israel that building in the disputed territories is unacceptable, but fails to tell the Palestinians that firing 6,000 rockets into civilian areas in Israel is unacceptable. How about a little perspective in these discussions? Interestingly, Spong attacks Robertson, but never seems to mention the hatred spewed by Wright and his kind . . .
Ask the Bishop
Question: How can you be taken seriously on religious topics when you reject fundamental realities of Jesus Christ as presented in scripture?
A: Jesus was a man. This notion that he was resurrected from the dead and walked around for nearly 6 weeks borders on the silly. Saying he then ate with people and was seen by as many as 500 furthers the notion of a Christian faith that needs change.
Q: But Christianity is based on the bodily resurrection of a crucified man. Without that event, there is no Christianity. That very fact is stated in scripture.
A: Why do we always have to go back over the same old things. The scripture we read today is not the same as it was originally written. If you look at the original intent of the original language, you will see that resurrection merely means to be awake. After the crucifixion somehow Christ just came to again. He survived. In scripture is says the dead came out of their graves when Christ died on the cross, and then went home to their families. The original intent of the language simply meant that there were lots of people sleeping in the cemetery at the time and all the hub-bub of the crucifixion woke them up and they decided it's best to go back home.
Q: Bishop Spong you show me that there is very little to discuss. Actually, nothing! You are out there on one of those branches with Shirley MacLaine.
A: Who is Shirley MacLaine?
Mr Dark, you may have missed the point that I made earlier, that some of these oddball teachings by members of the right are NOT made by fringe members, but by people established within mainstream (if right-wing) Christianity. I was frankly astonished while I was doing my research, about some of the extremely bizarre things Robertson has said over the years. The fellow, to me, does not represent true Christianity---as presented in the New Testament---in the least.
I wouldn't say that the Spong remarks on Robertson are an attack, just a commentary on things that Robertson has said in public. The article was written in response to a specific question about Robertson, so why should Wright have been mentioned? Also, I don't know what on earth communist atrocities has to do with the topic at hand. Of course communism has fought Christianity tooth and nail, but that is completely off the topic at hand (said topic being whether certain right-wing Christian groups or leaders truly represent Christianity).
The point is this focus on the "religious right" who are a pretty small and relatively harmless lot, while completely ignoring the real threats to world peace and stability. It seems germaine to me.
It's like Obama telling Israel that building in the disputed territories is unacceptable, but fails to tell the Palestinians that firing 6,000 rockets into civilian areas in Israel is unacceptable.
True, I don't know what Obama was thinking. He's been acting without thinking. Not only that, but Israel is one of our only allies in the middle east.
The got-dammed Germans got nothin' to do with it!
Sorry. Couldn't resist.
Well...that was a polite response Mr.Spaulding
It's all good - I know Professor Eric and am reasonably certain he's not too mad with me.
Perhaps I should have used a
I thought it was a quote from a film--given for humorous relief. If that is right, what movie is it from? In my senility, I miss some of these things. Or just a play on words, used for the same reason.
It is - Jackie Gleason in Smokey and the Bandit. Hilarious. And I'm all about humourous relief!
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