Would Jesus fly coach?

Might as well milk this fifth anniversary thing with a Sunday-appropriate flashback, first posted on 8/28/05. For the record, Bishop Eddie Long remains a “respected” religious leader in the community.

WWJD, Part II? Buy a Bentley!

That’s what Bishop Eddie Long of Atlanta did with the proceeds from a charity, aptly named for himself. Seemingly indisputable evidence lists Long as the primary recipient of the fund, obtaining at least $3.07 million during a four-year period, nearly as much as was given to those in need, according to the AJC.

With the money, Long, a rising star among black religious conservatives and pastor of a 25,000 member mega church in suburban Atlanta, purchased a $350,000 Bentley and a $1.4 million six-bedroom, nine-bath home on 20 acres of land. Of course he’s done this in part through taxpayer charity, since, as a church, New Birth Missionary Baptist is tax-exempt. The government won’t get a dime of the three million plus Long accrued.

I’m not a religious person, but I spent enough involuntary time in the Baptist church to be familiar with the Bible, in particular the teachings of Jesus. You know, that homeless guy so many Christians like to ignore (since his approach doesn’t quite jibe with the condemnation and wrath the Falwells of the world prefer).

Wasn’t it Jesus who said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God?” Yep, the very same guy who instructed his followers to “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” The very one who fashioned a whip to chase merchants from the temple: “My house will be called a house of prayer but you are making it a den of robbers.”

Somehow, Long has a different take. “I would love to sit with you and walk with you through the Bible to show that Jesus wasn’t poor,” he told an AJC reporter. Those verses can be found in the book of Pastor Delusion.

Long is not alone in preaching this warped ideology that rationalizes the unbridled pursuit of prosperity. Here in Atlanta, I know of two mega church ministers living in million dollar homes. The pastor of Atlanta’s First Baptist Church used to tool around town in a brand new Mercedes, accompanied by bodyguards. And the children of Dr. Martin Luther King, sadly, have traded on the sacred name of their father in favor of commercial dollars, selling the “I Have a Dream” speech to the highest bidder.

And of course there’s the televangelists, standing behind pulpits in crystal cathedrals and traveling to highly paid speaking gigs in private planes. You think Jesus would ever fly coach?

Beyond the perverse betrayal of their faith, these religious “leaders” are also ripping off taxpayers. The government needs to investigate, but likely won’t since this crooked cabal would likely counter with the “religious persecution” card. Their followers already seem to buy that lie, standing behind Long, according to the AJC article. And the bishop claims his congregation is inspired by seeing its pastor do well.

“I’m not going to apologize for anything …” he says.

To quote Max Van Sydow’s character in “Hannah and Her Sisters”: “If Jesus saw what people were doing in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

The Malcontent turns 5

What do Naomi Campbell and Pat Robertson have in common? Both lust for Liberian butcher Charles Taylor’s diamonds.

Robertson’s relationship with Taylor was the subject of my first post, from Aug. 2005.

“We’re undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country,” he said on his 700 Club show about good pal Taylor, the deposed Liberian president. “And how dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, ‘You’ve got to step down.'” (Yet Robertson supported the removal of Saddam Hussein). …
Washington Post religion reporter Alan Cooperman revealed in an article two years ago that Robertson — who blamed the Liberian bloodbath on State Department opposition to Taylor — had an $8 million agreement with the Baptist president to mine gold in his country. Operation Freedom Gold, he called it. Freedom for what, Robertson’s debt?

Stay tuned for more pointless reminiscing throughout the month.

Sharia law in Tennessee?

That’s Tenn. GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Ramsey’s defense for opposing a new Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, where such a facility already exists. As is the case with the so-called Ground Zero mosque, there’s been no evidence presented linking the Murfreesboro mosque to radical Islam.

Now, I’m all about freedom of religion. I obey the first amendment as much as I obey the second amendment, as much as I obey the tenth amendment, and on and on and on. But you crossed a line when they start trying to bring Sharia Law into the state of Tennessee — into the United States. We live under our Constitution. …

You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion or is it a nationality, way of life, or cult, whatever you want to call it. But we do protect our religions, but this is something we’re going to have to face.

You’re more likely to hear “Rocky Top” in Syria than see Sharia law imposed Tennessee, but with an election upcoming, scaring voters takes precedence. Do Republicans really want to keep flirting with such outright religious bigotry?

Why lapsed Southern Baptists of a certain age appreciate ‘Lost in Space’

If you were raised Baptist in the South, you likely spent about 260 hours a year in church. For most Protestants, noon Sunday is the longest time before more church, but not Baptists. By the time you got home from lunch at Po’ Folks or Morrison’s it was time to go back to church — Sunday nights, Monday nights, Wednesday nights … And that’s not counting all the revivals (when a visiting pastor was brought in to scare the hell out of you preaching about Hell) or that week of summer stolen by Vacation Bible School.

And there was no skipping church, not unless you were sick. On those rare Sunday mornings, pre-cable, “Lost in Space” on Channel 17 was pretty much the only option — unless you wanted to watch church on TV. I didn’t even really like “Lost in Space” but at least it meant one less hour under the steeple.

‘God said to Noah there’s going to be a floody, floody …’

Witness hip hop evangelism with a Disney twist in this Christian alternative to “High School Musical.” Jesus must be so embarrassed.

Cue Hank Hill: “Can’t you see you’re not making Christianity better, you’re just making rock and roll worse?”

noted and quoted, evil pastor edition

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it,” Robertson said on his Christian Broadcasting Network show. “They were under the heel of the French … and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.’

“True story. And the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal,’ ” Robertson said. “Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another.”

Robertson knows all about bargaining with the devil. He was an outspoken defender of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor, who forced cannibalism on his soliders to intimidate his enemies.

Taylor gave Robertson (who also had business dealings with dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire) the rights to mine for diamonds in Liberia’s mineral-rich countryside. According to two Operation Blessing pilots who reported this incident to the Commonwealth of Virginia for investigation in 1994, Robertson used his Operation Blessing planes to haul diamond-mining equipment to Robertson’s mines in Liberia, despite the fact that Robertson was telling his 700 Club viewers that the planes were sending relief supplies to the victims of the genocide in Rwanda. The subsequent investigation by the Commonwealth of Virginia concluded that Robertson diverted his ministry’s donations to the Liberian diamond-mining operation, but Attorney General of Virginia Mark Earley blocked any potential prosecution against Robertson, as the relief supplies were also sent.

sure to be john oxendine’s favorite book

Blessed by the Lord above:

The Conservative Bible is the product of the Conservative Bible Project. This is uniquely built on two bedrock principles:

* online translating using the collaborative wiki software improves the final result if guided by good rules
* the rules guiding this translation are to use and be informed by conservative insights and terminology

Perhaps they’ll include a Book of Oxendine:

In other tweets on the subject, [Oxendine] has quoted evangelist Pat Robertson to the effect that, “There is no separation of church & state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left & we are not going to take it anymore.”

He also quoted Pat Buchanan: “We’re going to bring back God & the Bible & drive the gods of secular humanism right out of the public schools of America.”

waiting for mary gross’ take

I’m frankly surprised we haven’t seen more fringe right figures play the Antichrist card.

Who knew “SNL”-alum Victoria Jackson ran with that crowd? Apparently her dumb blonde routine was no shtick:

I don’t want a political label, but Obama bears traits that resemble the anti- Christ and I’m scared to death that un- educated people will ignorantly vote him into office.

You see, what bothers me most, besides being a Communist, and a racist …

no god, no guns and lots and lots of gays

Fundamentalist fearmongerer James Dobson previews life under an Obama administration:

• Boy Scouts disband after refusing to allow homosexual scoutmasters to sleep in the same tent as young boys

• First-graders get “compulsory training in varieties of gender identity,” and parents can no longer opt out of school-based sex ed for their kids

• Churches are declared “public accommodations” and forced to offer marriage ceremonies for homosexual couples

• Military must offer “sensitivity training” for troops forced to accept enlisted homosexuals

• The Supreme Court declares that “proselytizing speech” does not have the same protection as other speech, and Christian ministries are banned from college campuses

• Nurses who do not wish to participate in abortions will lose their jobs, and doctors who deliver babies at hospitals must perform abortions or lose their licenses

• The FCC nullifies all restrictions on obscene speech or visual portrayals on TV, and it’s now a 24-hour non-stop diet of explicit porn

• States are allowed to ban guns, and illegal gun-owners face stiff fines or prison terms

• Home-schoolers are forced to use state-approved curricula, and rather than do so, many emigrate to New Zealand or Australia where they may teach without restrictions

• The U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq prompts a take-over by Al Qaeda, which in turn has carried out terrorist attacks on four U.S. cities

• Russia reclaims most of the old Soviet bloc, including the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Bulgaria while UN & NATO fail to take action

• Latin America topples toward communism as the U.S.’s pro-Chavez policies give Venezuela more weight

• A single-payer national health care system has banned hospital admissions for anyone over 80

• Periodic blackouts are the norm after a moratorium is instituted on new oil drilling, nuclear plants and CO2-emitting coal power plants

• Business owners and entrepreneurs have moved overseas in droves to avoid higher taxes, with a huge loss of U.S. jobs

Don’t forget those tax breaks he promised to NAMBLA.

all the rage

John McCain can’t be held responsible for every bigoted kook who shows up at his rallies, though guilt by association goes both ways. I would hope he’s at least concerned about some of the support he’s attracting.

One thing he can control: those sharing the dais. The McCain we thought we knew would have condemned such nonsense:

Even the opening prayer was politically charged. “O God, we are in a battle that is raging for the soul of this nation,” the preacher said. “You, O God, have raised up Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin for such a time as this.” The preacher went on: “Help them, O God, to strengthen our economy, to keep our taxes and spending low . . . and grant them the privilege of being elected the next president and vice president.”

As Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, thou shalt lower taxes and condemn gay people.”

memo to future politicians: stop attending church

First Barack Obama, now Sarah Palin (though to be fair, there’s a major difference between the comments of a guest speaker and those delivered by one’s pastor).

Regardless, both candidates would’ve been better off staying in bed watching “Lost in Space” reruns.