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is the title of this MUST-READ rant by Frank Schaeffer.   For those who do not recognize the name, Schaeffer's father was one of the founders of what we now know as the Religious Right in this country, and he write about his experience growing up in that family in the superbly written Crazy for God.   This particularly post, the fourth and final in a series, is occasioned by Schaeffer's having participated in some Q&A at the premiere of a film in which he appears, the documentary "Hellbound."

Here's the first paragraph of the post:  

With friends like this God needs no enemies. People “defending” God have completely screwed up America and our politics. And their version of “God” fucked up the first half of my life too. Yes, this IS a movie review as well as a theologically-induced PTSD-unhinged RANT. I could have been painting a picture. I could have been playing with my grandchildren. Instead I was talking about God because I’m in a movie about hell.
Please keep reading.

Schaeffer has become increasingly well-known in part as a result of his appearance on TRMS and other tv shows where he has offered his insights and expertise about the religious right.

He can be very pointed in what he says, and what he writes, for example:  

Talking about hell in and of itself is a waste of time because if there is a “God” no one knows anything about him/her or it and they never will, let alone about what he/she or it will “do” about the “lost.” But there are people, lots of them, who think hell is real because it fits their kill-your-neighbor-if-he-looks-at-you-funny vision of “life.”
He is likely to piss-off a lot of people, and he doesn't care.  A sentence like this:  
Because I was born into a big time evangelical God business family (that I describe in my book Crazy For God about how it was very much like being born into the Mob and/or a nepotistic North Korean dynasty) even though I “escaped” — and have had a respectable career as a writer — my brain is still in captivity.
is not going to endear him to people.

And sometimes he will absolute infuriate some religious bigots (I think that is the appropriate word) when he equates them with their counterparts in other faiths, such as in this screed:  

So let’s be clear: the line between rioting God-nuts in the Middle East trashing our embassies and killing our ambassador and our own God-nuts here who are worrying about hell and the human life of fertilized eggs and how to “heal” gay people of being created gay, while refusing health care to grownups, is so thin that there is no daylight between us. The “crazies” in the Middle East are you and me.
And there are other just as pointed statements that are well worth reading.   Let me close by offering the penultimate paragraph of this post:  
Want to know just how crazy all sides — including mine — in this “hell debate” are? Watch the movie “Hellbound?” and take a peek into the asylum that is housing the people who are destroying the world. They now own a major political party and are running a Mormon opportunist who believes in nothing and his Ayn Rand/Jesus/God-nut sidekick who believes in way too much and who wants to take what little the poor have away in the name of opportunity.
I think we might want to make Schaeffer's words widely known, even as potentially inflammatory as they may seem to be, because they cut right to the heart of things.

What do you think?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 07:43:12 AM PDT

  •  The biggest difference between our extremists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kvetchnrelease, PSzymeczek

    and their extremists is that in our country we still don't allow the religiously intolerant to be violent.  We better make sure that our country continues in not allowing religious violence.  We cannot take it for granted.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

    by Thutmose V on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 07:54:17 AM PDT

    •  sorry but I disagree (15+ / 0-)

      we have had violence against abortion providers

      we have had mosques burned down

      we have had political intimidation

      yes, we MAY prosecute SOME actions after the fact, but that does not mean that we do not allow the the religious intolerant to be violent

      and sometimes we not only allow and tolerate but we encourage religious bullying particularly in schools and sometimes in places of employment

      and we have those who argue we are restricting their religious freedom if we will not let them bully and intimidate and try to impose their beliefs and suppress those of others through enacting laws

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 07:57:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right, and churches burned down and bombed (4+ / 0-)

        n the South,  And another church shot up in Tenn or Kentucky (unitarian faith). That is part of their tradition also. To keep any one who isn't American pale male under some kind of  rotten evil  jackboot.  

        The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

        by a2nite on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:00:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There still is no comparison (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kvetchnrelease

        Yes, there are religious zealots in the US.  Sometimes they are violent.  Even some left-wing ones.  But you have to recognize that there is no quantitative comparison with what goes on in the Middle East every day.

      •  Religious violence in the "modern era" traces back (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PSzymeczek

        to Jim Crow and the Southern fundies that backed it. They were defeated politically and they quickly latched onto the abortion issue.
        Christian fanaticism got a big shot in the arm in this country with the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the taking of our hostages, for those who remember. Evangelical propagandists were marketing zeal with the refrain that "Muslims are more willing to die to defend their God than we are, we need to match their fanaticism."
        Sept 11 saw a renewal of that marketing strategy.
        Right now there is, hidden and simmering, a nexus between Christian fundamentalism, anti-abortion activism, guns, resentment towards the "others" that will boil over, to some degree, when Pres. Obama is re-elected. Hopefully it will be minimal, and then die out.
        We should be prepared.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:28:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We are far short of our rightfully high standards. (0+ / 0-)

        But compared to most societies through most history, we are better than most about such violence.

        If you want to really see what socially tolerated violence would be like, just look back at the history of racially motivated lynching in our country.  It was far more ugly than what we see now.  But I think that if our religious extremists had their way, it could get just as ugly someday.  We have to make sure they never get their way.

        "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

        by Thutmose V on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 09:31:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We have legalized our violence, we put large (0+ / 0-)

          numbers of our minority children in jail, we ignore the violence and poverty that they grow up in, we legally violate people's rights by stealing their vioices and votes, there is plenty of violence it is just hidden so we can feel "good" about ourselves.

    •  Yeah. They never kill doctors or anything. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ricklewsive, CherryTheTart

      Lo que separa la civilizacion de la anarquia son solo siete comidas.

      by psilocynic on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 07:58:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oklahoma City nt (5+ / 0-)

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:02:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is too late. (0+ / 0-)

      The violence has begun. Only the zealots can stop it now by stopping themselves.  What do you thing the chance of that is?

      I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

      by CherryTheTart on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:11:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  All that stands between ours and theirs (0+ / 0-)

      is the breakdown of civil society. If the right wing fundies' leaders were to call for whatever their equivalent of a jihad is, that's where we'd be. There is no doubt in my mind that there are many just itching to get it started.

  •  Who better to inform us about a place than one (5+ / 0-)

    of its refugees?  

    I have long held this opinion of the Christianistas on the far right...they are our own Taliban-wannabes.  

    Metaphors be with you.

    by koosah on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 07:55:34 AM PDT

  •  It's time for some inflammatory (6+ / 0-)

    rhetoric about god in this country. These god nuts are suffering under the illusion that people don't think they are huge assholes. Maybe that needs to change.

    Lo que separa la civilizacion de la anarquia son solo siete comidas.

    by psilocynic on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:00:34 AM PDT

    •  but there is inflammatory rhetoric every day (0+ / 0-)

      Remember the "Piss Christ" photo?  Have you ever heard the exclamation "Jesus Fucking Christ"?  Well, Google that phrase for a few startling images (though they gave me a chuckle).  Or check YouTube for a few thousand anti-Christian, extremely profane videos, ones at least as bad as the silly anti-Muslim one that has gotten some folks all heated up.
      But no riots. No beheadings.  No assassinations.  This in a country of over 320 million people.  Sure there are a few psychos, religious and antireligious.  But most people recognize them as psychos and move on.

  •  A Regular Theme of Comedian John Fugelsang (8+ / 0-)

    agrees, he points out that rightwing fundamentalist religion hold all the same positions and takes the same actions everywhere in the world. Authoritarian, guilt-and-punishment valued over nurturing and reward, misogynistic, clannish, violent, and on and on.

    He's often a guest on Stephanie Miller's morning radio /Current TV show just starting his 3rd hour of guest hosting for her this moment.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:04:52 AM PDT

    •  The Ecclesiastical Mook (0+ / 0-)

      has been guest-hosting all week.

      You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

      by PSzymeczek on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 02:34:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am not at all surprised by S's remarks. (3+ / 0-)

    I have read Crazy for God and I have been following what Schaeffer writes.  In Quake-speak, Schaeffer speaks to my condition.  And I am not an evangelical Christian; I am a recovering Roman Catholic.

    The zealots are not listening because they are zealots.  I think Schaeffer is preaching to the choir.  Folks are sick to death of the godbots.

    And mark my words, if the godbots do not find a way to stop, it is going to get really really hairy for them.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:10:33 AM PDT

  •  Satan ain't got NOTHIN on Extremists. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, quarkstomper

    Reminds me of the scene in good omens where Crawley (The snake from the garden of Eden) receives a commendation for starting the Spanish Inquisition...

    He didn't, rather he just happened to be in the area when it started. When he finally got around to seeing what this new-fangled Inquisition was, he ended up spending a good deal of time drinking to forget what he saw.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:16:32 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSzymeczek

    Frank Schaeffer is great. Saw him originally on TRMS. He is the most cogent "rant-er" in history, especially on the subject of fundamentalism.

    I'll be sharing his insight on FB someday soon, but I'll wait a while. The wife of my brother's pastor passed away day before yesterday, at the age of 42, after being diagnosed with cancer less than a month ago.

    I know they're struggling with their own questions for God right now. I don't want to rub salt in their wounds.
    This issue surrounding evangelicism and fundamentalism is the main reason I became re-activated in politics.
    Schaeffer is brutal and effective. Which is what is needed.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:17:56 AM PDT

    •  Frank is frequently (0+ / 0-)

      a guest of Thom Hartmann.

      You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

      by PSzymeczek on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 02:35:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to be more opportunistic... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    All of these anti-Sharia laws popping up everywhere should be a good thing.

    Sharia law clearly banishes all forms of abortion... Our laws must not.

    Sharia Law clearly bans all types of gay rights... Our laws should do the opposite.

    Sharia laws mandate religious participation... Our laws should prohibit any forced or endorsed religion.

    Sharia law encourages violence for religious vindication... Our laws should prosecute it.

    Sharia law promotes theological recognition and adherence to holy writings... our law should prohibit it.

    See, anti-Sharia laws can be a good thing if you look at it in the right way...

    "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

    by Buckeye Nut Schell on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:21:41 AM PDT

    •  Very clever (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Buckeye Nut Schell

      but many people won't get it

    •  I see what you did there. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Buckeye Nut Schell, JDsg

      But you have no idea what sharia is.

      Sharia doesn't do one thing because, unlike Catholicism, there isn't a central determining body to enforce it.  Governments may or may not decide to enforce their understanding of sharia, but sharia doesn't inherently ban all forms of abortion, all types of gay rights, mandate religious participation, encourage violence, though on your last example, it's inherently based on the Qur'an, so I'll give you that one.

      Your best starting point for an alternative view of sharia is the Muslim scholar Khaled Abou El-Fadl, professor of law at UCLA, author of The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists.

      Fresh Air interview

      Scott Kugle offers a gay rights perspective based on sharia in Homosexuality in Islam

      Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im argues for the secular state and sharia in Islam and the Secular State.  In fact, given the Qur'an's explicit prohibition of compulsion in religion, there are other Islamic arguments that say that sharia demands a secular state.

      Here's a video with Reza Aslan - noting that in some Middle Eastern states, sharia is on the books, but completely ignored.

      Sharia poses an interesting case for the first amendment's two demands to allow for the practice of religion and to prevent the establishment of religion, because some Muslims' interpretation of Sharia demands a court system.  Some countries have parallel sharia and secular courts - I don't see how that would fly with our non-establishment clause, but an explicit anti-sharia law is a clear violation of the free exercise clause.

      If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

      by dirkster42 on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 10:10:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A very detailed and thought out response (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg, dirkster42

        I was really just trying to point out that their irrational fear of Sharia law is somewhat ironic (or hypocritical rather) to object to a religious doctrine being introduced into our government when it is almost exactly what they are trying to impose on our government with the Christian doctrine.  It must be like how serial adulterers always accuse their spouse of cheating on them.

        I have, however, learned some things from your post and appreciate your well thought out response.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 03:17:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great rant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSzymeczek

    by Schaeffer. I lost all patience with God nuts during the Bushies regime. I live in a very liberal urban neighbor hood and for some reason the Christian Fundies and Mormon's come here often, to preach their nasty message to the heathen liberal commie hippies.

    I used to be polite and say, No Thanks. I felt sorry for these frightened deluded folks. Now I say 'Get off my porch your wrecking the country'. The scariest are the Mormon's. Never female, always two males looking like the FBI or the IRS coming to get you, replete with brief cases and business suits and hair, young Mittens in the making. They scream authority or robot and are vacant in the eyes and soul.

    A Boy and His Dog is one of my favorite SciFi stories.  I often think of the line from the leader of the after the apocalypse, America called Kansas regarding a robot that's run amok, 'Bring out another Michael and wipe the smile off his face.'      

    •  I lost patience with them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade

      long before that.  I think it was during the Reagan administration, if not before.  Saw through them because I was almost one of them.

      You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

      by PSzymeczek on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 02:37:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are some female Mormon... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade

      ...missionaries; one of my sisters was one of them in the mid 90s.

      Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

      by JDsg on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 04:03:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They don't come (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shahryar

        to our neighborhood just scary looking young men. I really don't like missionaries. Though out history they seem to reek havoc and pain where ever they seek to spread their fanatical vision of God. Sects, cults and most organized religions especially the evangelical ones, are to me the dark, fearful, authoritarian  of human.  They seem globally to be on the rise

        I was raised a Catholic and they threw me out of the rich girl's boarding school my parents had put me in, for being a bad influence and a heretic. I dared to argue in religion class and did not think men would be driven to sin by the sight of my scrawny arms or legs. The nuns sent us out  to go door to door and collect money to 'save the pagan babies'. I was in the 8th grade and even then knew that this was totally insane. My sympathy lay with the poor pagan babies who had to deal with this sick cult's view of life on earth.

        I was into Camus,Simone De Beauvoir, Zen and humanist history, a danger to the world vision of the Irish Dominican nuns who daily boxed my ears with erasers and told me I was going to hell. 'What do we hate girls?' the religion teacher Sister Fatima would ask. We girls were all supposed to yell 'SIN'. I thank God that I resisted and used my God given mind to reject this sick version of humans, nature and the wonderful, amazing universe we inhabit.

        Sorry to go off here..  but seems the dark is swallowing the light these days... and at least I can keep my porch clear of these zombies. whichever sex or cult they represent...

             

  •  it's tough to appreciate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, tytalus, PSzymeczek

    the amount of deprogramming some of us have to go through to rid ourselves of religion. I didn't even think I would have to...I mean I never really believed, just went along with it so my family would leave me alone and once I became an adult I figured it'd be easy to drop. Obviously it wasn't...just look at some of my early diaries and comments here on Daily Kos.  it's very much like PTSD. I get irrational flashes of anger from time to time because of it, on top of the resentment.

    pseudoscience can kill

    by terrypinder on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:39:17 AM PDT

  •  Persecution of women's and gay rights is SOP (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    In Moslem led nations. I don't believe for a minute this is perpetrated just by zealots or religious extremists. Equating beheadings for licentious behavior to "you and me" is without justification and simply wrong.

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:39:58 AM PDT

  •  Can you imagine the riots which would break out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSzymeczek

    if someone made a film depicting Jesus as a child molesting gay womanizer (which seems kinda contradictory to me--maybe he's just bisexual?) who was also a cowardly thug?  I think the South would be in flames. No mosque would be standing. Our nuts have as many guns as the Muslim extremists, after all.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 12:19:26 PM PDT

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