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(First, I am aware that there are plenty of other more important Breaking News stories out there right now: the Valerie Plame hearing last Friday, Alberto Gone-zales and the White House purge of 8 Federal Prosecutors… including THIS dramatic tidbit Monday, but these topics appear to be well covered elsewhere. Repeating them here would only be redundant.)
 
For most Democrats, it has been painfully apparent that religion has been hijacked by those with an ulterior agenda. Last month, I saw the 2006 documentary “Jesus Camp” and was struck by several scenes in the movie that I’ve considered writing about for a while now. I was reminded of this again over the weekend when I *finally* got the chance to see the controversial 1999 comedy “Dogma“. This excellent movie, which had the Christian community in an uproar back when it came out, is EXTREMELY blasphemous in making its point about the corruption and thoughtlessness of religion in America today. But once you look past the language and blasphemy, it is actually a very “spiritual” movie with a message. While directed by Kevin “Silent Bob” Smith and staring a plethora of soon-to-be Hollywood heavyweights, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Rock, the movie was of a surprisingly high caliber.

In any case, these movies got me thinking (more than usual) about recent religious hypocrisy.

Consider the fact that, while President Bush and the majority of the Republican Party is “pro-life” and controlled both the White House AND Congress, as well as the opportunity to appoint… not just one… but TWO new justices to the Supreme Court with admitted pro-life biases, they never even *tried* to overturn “Roe V. Wade”. And while the Clinton Administration was “pro-choice”, the economic boom they brought lifted so many people out of poverty that the number of abortions actually DECREASED in the late ’90’s, whereas the economic disaster of the Bush Administration, coupled with their refusal to allow schools to discuss anything other than “abstinence-only sex education” actually resulted in an INCREASE in the number of abortions in this country (52,000 more under Bush in his first four years than Clinton after eight). It has become increasingly obvious that the G.O.P. isn’t *serious* about wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade (and lose their lead fund-raising tool), and that, while Clinton was “pro-choice”, if your goal is to actually reduce the number of abortions in this country, logic only dictates that your agenda is best served by a President whose policies actually advance that result and has no stake in the outcome. Yet, the Religious Right still supports President Bush and the G.O.P. for what they claim to be.

On the subjects of poverty, caring for the sick, caring for the planet, and denouncing war, high-profile leaders of the Religious Right… Falwell, Robertson, et al… it has become clear that they are more interested in supporting the agenda of the Republican Party. While Falwell compares Hillary Clinton to Satan and blames the Gays for 9/11, Reverend Robertson calls for the assassination of a world leader when he’s not calling Progressive judges “a greater threat to our security than a few terrorists flying planes into buildings”. I’ve pondered many explanations for this… why would anyone support a group ripe with sexual predators, greedy businessmen, corrupt politicians, and war mongers… when the Bible spoke out so clearly in opposition to all these things?

In the movie “Jesus Camp“, one Evangelical mother explained that she preferred to home-school her kids (75% of all home-schooled children come from Evangelical families) and allowed the cameras to sit in briefly while teaching her young son. During the lesson, the mother demeaned the concept of “global warming” to her young son:

“Scientists say that the Earth’s temperature may rise as much as 6/10th of a degree by the year 2050… doesn’t sound like much of a problem, does it?”

Ignoring the obvious, that her numbers are dead wrong, and her clear lack of understanding over the seriousness of what even such a small change could have on the environment, I couldn’t help but wonder *what* in her religious beliefs justified criticizing “Global Warming”? I can understand her not wanting her kids to learn about sex in a classroom or from other students, or being taught “evolution” in science class, but what biblical justification could she possibly have for demeaning “global warming”?

Short answer: she has none. She simply does so because Republicans reject it, and she’s a Republican.

Recently, Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell denounced “global warming” as a means of tricking people into focusing more on “the creation” rather than “the Creator”. He then cited two Bible passage in such a way to support his position: “Psalm 24:1 – The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;”, and “Genesis 8:22 – “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” In the case of the first passage, I read nothing to suggest God would not want us to care for his creation, and in passage two, the words “as long as the Earth endures” sticks out like a sore thumb. Why would God put a “qualifier” on how long the Earth may last if it were not a given that it will be around forever, as Fallwell appears to suggest? Couldn’t GOD assure us the Earth would never end? It seems clear that these religious leaders will even go as far as pervert the very scriptures they claim to live by in order to support the Republican agenda. And their congregation follows along, blindly and unquestionably, because they are taught never to question what you are taught, because “faith” means never questioning the Lord’s Will (conflating “questioning the Lord” with questioning the interpretation and motives behind those telling them what to believe.)

This got me thinking about all the Bible Passages that contradict what these Evangelical leaders are using to manipulate their followers into supporting the Neo-Conservative agenda (a brief rundown):

Genesis 6:13 – So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

Psalm 46:8-9 – “Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. (9) He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.

Isaiah 2:4 – “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

Deuteronomy 16:19 – “Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.”

Kings 20:18 – He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive.”

Matthew 5:7 – “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Psalm 104:14 – He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate… bringing forth food from the earth:

Ezekiel 36:34The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it.

[Thinking of 9/11 here:] Revelation:13:3-5 – “One of the heads of The Beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. (4) Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” (5) The Beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.” [The war in Iraq was in its 42nd full month when Democrats won control of Congress in November. How’s that for creepy?]

Psalm 140:1 – “Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man;”

Now, if you were a Muslim living in the Middle East, how might you interpret *this* passage:

Deuteronomy 28:49 – The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand,

Sounds like a quote Evangelical leaders might use to justify Bush’s war in the Middle East, right? But notice that comma at the end. The next passages read:

Deuteronomy 28:50-51 – a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young. (51) They will devour the young of your livestock and the crops of your land until you are destroyed.

It is clear the invaders in that passage… *sent by God*… are the bad guys.

Now, Evangelical detractors might want to point out that “anyone can cite Bible passages to support their own agenda.”

No kidding? You don’t say!

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