Thinkerfromiowa's Blog

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Old Billy Blithers On

Old Billy Blithers On

Hello, everyone.

Crooks & Liars at one time was a fairly decent site presenting a lot of progressive videos. It has more or less morphed into a non-Fox Fox outlet, with an abundance of Fox News video clips. I have pretty well given up on it and devote my energies towards Daily Kos. (I have also been banned from C&L on three different occasions, but that’s another story.)

However, once in 7 blue moons, C&L has something that merits my attention. Such is the case today (10/29/12) when I found the following item written by a writer known as Blue Texan:

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Billy Graham took out a full-page ad in the liberal Jew New York Times on Sunday, and urged Christianists everywhere to vote for “biblical principals.” [COMMENT: That’s Christianese for Mitt Romney.]

I believe it is vitally important for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.

Calling for people to vote for candidates who “support biblical principles” is pure sectarianism — an un-American sentiment. The Constitution expressly forbids religious testsfor a reason. And the irony is, when Islamic clerics call for Sharia Law, people like Graham call them extremists, or worse.

That said, there are plenty of biblical principles I would personally like my candidate of choice follow, including:

The prohibition of usury. It’s in the Old Testament. Can you imagine Mitt Romney calling for federal regulation of how much interest banks can charge? Or how about calling for a law that abolishes debts after seven years? Given that he wants to repeal even the modest Dodd-Frank, I can’t either.

Caring for the poor. It’s pretty much everywhere in the bible which is why Catholic Bishops have denounced Paul Ryan’s budget calling it a “moral failing” because it “did not adequately provide for the care of the poor and the vulnerable.” The Romney-Ryan approach slashes benefits for the poor and elderly to pay for tax cuts for rich people. Not very Jesus-y [COMMENT: Not very Amos-y or Isaiah-y either!].

Making peace. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” not “Blessed are those who invade other countries.” We don’t hear too much about peace from Romney-Ryan, we hear a lot of complaining about why we’re not bombing/invading/droning even more people.

Polygamy and incest. OK, I really don’t want my candidate supporting these — but Graham is just making it up when he claims the bible “defines marriage.” Unless he wants to kick Abraham and Moses out of the bible for having more than one wife — or Lot for sleeping with his daughters.

What Graham is doing is what right-wing Christians always do. They begin with a set of right-wing values, then they selectively interpret the bible to comport to those values.

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Can you imagine how Graham would be belching if some Muslim posted an ad asking people to vote for candidates who supported the principles of the Koran? I can.

It’s funny. Actually, it’s pathetic, but when Fundies preach out of the Old Testament, the passage is generally north of the Book of Job. In other words, all you get is the piles of crap about Abraham, Moses, and David. Indeed, one time Carol and I were watching a Christmas service from an extreme Fundamentalist outfit. The scripture text was the story of the Magi as found in Matthew 2. But the preacher based his sermon on the episode involving Saul and the Witch of Endor! He was so illiterate in the New Testament that he had no clue as to how to approach the subject of the Magi.

Back in the 1960s – before I smartened up enough to join the United Methodist Church – I subscribed to The Christian Herald, which was a very fine and capable Mainline magazine. I enjoyed their articles immensely. Many times they had articles based on the teachings of the Old Testament prophets in regards to what became known as social justice – caring for the poor, working for peace, ending discrimination based on whatever, etc. And as one who knew the Gospels and little more, I was astounded at how much Isaiah, Amos, Habakkuk, et cetera, had to say concerning the world as it then existed. Once I got into the UM Church, I pretty much quit hearing all the bilge about the “blood” and the “Cross,” but I sure began hearing about how to apply the teachings of “Jesus” in our lives and about working for a world that was more just.

Let’s look at the biblical values that Blue Texan mentions.

The prohibition of usury. It’s in the Old Testament.It sure as hell is! As I recall, this is one item of the Mosaic Law as laid out in Leviticus which forbade Jews to charge exorbitant interest to another Jew. BT’s views have much merit, because everyone who has ever swiped a piece of plastic is fully aware of the horrible interest rates that credit card companies can charge. The going rate is 33%, I believe. Think of that! For every dollar one sends to pay down his card, only 66 cents goes to pay off principal! That is highway robbery. Incidentally, the Democrats love to blame George W. Bush for this one. But when the law was passed, the DEMOCRATS had majorities in both the House and Senate! So the Democrats went right along for the ride on the gravy train.

Caring for the poor. It’s pretty much everywhere in the bible….” It sure is! And not just in the Judeo-Christian religion either. The concept of caring for the needy and indigent permeates human history, from the times of Confucius and The Buddha through the teachings of Muhammad. It was The Christian Herald, like I said above, that opened my eyes to this concept. And speaking as one who is responsible for an aged mother and as one who has issues himself, I can state that this concept of caring for the poor and needy is one concept that should NEVER be allowed to depart this country.

Making peace. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers….'” He also said, “I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” Actually, the idea of peacemaking is an Old-Testament idea, and there it came mainly from Isaiah. Isaiah 2:4, in the King James Version, tells us: “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Micah 4:3 says pretty much the same thing: “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” So this idea of an Edenic time of peace and harmony among all people predates “Jesus” by centuries, if not millennia. But it is indeed still a biblical value that is worth pursuing.

Polygamy and incest. OK, I really don’t want my candidate supporting these….” Neither do I. But, like it or not, polygamy and incest ARE in the Old Testament. They ARE two of the biblical principles that Billy Graham whinnies about. Ever read the Old Testament, especially the “Five Books of Moses?” There are passages in there that make Playboy Magazine look Puritan in comparison. And the Song of Solomon? Possibly the horniest piece of writing that I have ever come across. I do NOT want to go there! But these horny passages not only prove to be a lie that which Billy belches about how the Bible defines what marriage is, they also delineate certain Bible principles that I don’t think Old Billy wants to touch with a 10-foot pole.

Old Billy whinnies, “I urge you to vote for those who … support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.” Now THAT ONE opens a dozen cans of worms. How does one define “a woman?” Is it one’s daughter? Then Lot cannot be faulted for having sex with his daughters. Anyway, as I remember the story, they got him drunk and THEN got it on with him. Or is it one’s sister? Shoot, Abraham wrote the book on that one. Is it one’s cousin? That one happens often enough in real life. Is it a prostitute? Who better to know the answer to that one than Rahab’s husband? Or is it just ANY woman? There you go!! THAT has to be the answer.

In any event, if one insists on throwing “biblical principles” into the stew, he / she is behooved to make sure of exactly WHAT biblical principles are to be included.

Blue Texan ends his article with this jewel: “What Graham is doing is what right-wing Christians always do. They begin with a set of right-wing values, then they selectively interpret the bible to comport to those values.” A comment on C&L regarding the article stated it this way: “What Graham is doing is what he right-wing Christians Supreme Court always does. They begin with a set of right-wing values whatever the opposite of values is, then they selectively interpret the bible Constitution to comport to those values.” Both statements are absolute truth. And both statements describe the extreme danger of allowing extremists – be they Fundamentalist Christians, Romney / Ryan, or the Supreme Court – to call the shots in any conversation, literature, or lifestyle.

Everyone have a good day. And don’t forget to vote. And in case you don’t know whom to vote for, consult with Isaiah and Amos. I think that they have some ideas to help you decide.

Bill

 

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October 30, 2012 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Politics, Religion

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