Saturday, May 25, 2019

They Shoot Out The Lip

[by DonkeyHotie]
Mike Pence is upset. "Throughout most of American history, it's been pretty easy to call yourself Christian," he said. "It didn't even occur to people that you might be mocked or ridiculed for defending the teachings of the Bible." He's right about that. Shoot, you used to be able to quote the Bible in support of slaveholding and killing the savages and nobody'd even bat an eye. That's how comfortable you can be when you're completely surrounded by people just like yourself, and you can do that by subjugating and exterminating the others.

I don't know. Maybe it takes being a non-Christian to notice how thoroughly saturated this country is in Christianity, where Jesus engineers touchdowns and is called upon to approve of war and discrimination, but if you really feel under attack, so be it. It does strike me as being over-delicate, although, as a practicing liberal, I have trained myself to take other people at their word when they feel oppressed or offended.

I understand. Being ridiculed is miserable. It's not like being kicked to death for being gay, or having a bull's-eye put on you for being a Muslim  or a refugee, or having your children kidnapped at the border, or having bombs dropped on you, but it stings. It stings.

So I'm here to assure you that I don't care what fool thing you believe. You could invent a planet to retire to, or make plans to shake Jesus's hand in the sky. In fact, you could bind up the creation myths of prehistoric goatherds and the hallucinations of schizophrenics and the edicts of tyrants, drop it a few dozen times, sweep it back up in no order and staple it together and tell me it's the word of God, and I won't mock you to your face.

I'm not a Christian, which I think is still legal. But it doesn't matter to me what you believe, unless it actually affects me, or other people, or unless I think it's evil, a word you don't own, and which I still get to use. Mr. Pence, you say that many people who espouse tolerance--you mean liberals--are often the least tolerant of Christian values. Not really, Mr. Pence. We love the Jesus values. Just not the values of intolerance.

You see, Mr. Pence, anyone can call himself a Christian.

It's possible to defy Jesus's teaching in every respect and still consider yourself a good Christian. There are good Christians who build homes for the poor. There are good Christians who murder doctors. There are good Christians who collect and control wives. There are good Christians who feed the hungry. There are good Christians who stand on street corners and hand gays the bus schedule to hell. There are even good Christians who endorse bombing the crap out of Palestinians just to hasten the End Times and catch the early flight to the Rapture. Who decides who's a good Christian? As far as I can tell, you get to decide for yourself.

Good people have some things in common, but being Christian isn't one of them. Some of them are Christians and some of them are atheists. Some of them have abortions and some of them vote for socialists. Some of them have the habit of prayer and some swear like sailors. Good people's hearts tilt toward kindness; they're not quick to judge. They can imagine circumstances different from their own. They aim for peace. They build bridges and tear down walls. They are generous. They do not demonize groups; they recognize individuals. They can imagine another's suffering as their own. To the degree possible, they live without fear.

Good people strive to not hurt others. They do this by recognizing other people as essentially like themselves, and so they can imagine what the hurt is like. It's a Golden Rule thing. Give it a shot, Mr. Pence.

35 comments:

  1. Anyone can do bad things, but "good" people are the ones who perpetrate atrocities.

    As he usually did, Oscar Wilde had some great quotes on this subject, such as: "Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attraction of others."

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    1. Ralph Waldo Emerson had some pithy advice for "Christians" like Pence and his sorry brethern; “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

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    2. Man, I love that quote, Deb - thanks for that!

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  2. It is a gobsmacking mystery how utterly these Republicans fail to grasp even a fragment of the concept of separation of church and state. As Pete Buttigieg says, their hypocrisy is unbelievable.

    This column needs to appear in the NYT Op-Ed page.

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    1. Alas, it will be shared among a few hundred souls. Some of them godless.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Yep, I think you should get this published in the Op Ed section. Heck, the Washington Post still has some kind of open forum/citizen op ed page -- where things as eloquent as this get published and not scuttled over to the letters to the editor section.
    See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/submit-an-op-ed/?utm_term=.aa9efac02d9c

    And also: https://helpcenter.washingtonpost.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003675788-Submit-an-op-ed
    This is spot on!

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  5. Just SO excellent, Murr. The second last paragraph especially stands out. You're so good at explaining things in a nutshell, which is about the attention span many people have these days. I hope you can get this published for wider reading. Let us know?

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    1. I will, sugar, but don't hold your breath! Those things are hard to get into.

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  6. On this side of the world our Prime Minister feels just as Mr Pence does. I expect that very shortly he will start talking again about legislating for religious freedom again (by which he means Christian freedom).

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    1. I've been reading about him. Isn't that dang pendulum ready to swing back toward us sometime soon?

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    2. The Elephant's Child and I were having a discussion about fashionable pets, where people like an animal in a movie/TV series and and it becomes a "must have" item.And now that our re-elected PM has declared that he has always believed in miracles I am a little nervous that people may want to replicate him...

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    3. How close are you two to each other? Geographically.

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    4. Not close. About 1800 kilometres/1100 miles or so.

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    5. Closer than I am from either of them, to be sure, the distance between Child and me being 9 or 10,000 miles, but on the bright side, the distance between me and Portland, Oregon, a mere 110, and the distance between me and rural Mississippi where I spent my first 36 years (a bit over half my life) is a comfortable 2,600 (comfortable because I don't want to go there).

      I enjoyed your post. I also enjoyed seeing that you too kept the old blog formatting.

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    6. Well...mainly because I'm afraid of touching anything! I suspect this old template has gotten pretty creaky. Can't seem to keep a "share" button on it, for instance.

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  7. Memorizing your historically accurate definition of the Bible for future spouting. Those hallucinatory goatherds were trying, bless their hearts.

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  8. Well said Murr! I like to think I'm one of the good people, I dislike intolerance and racism and try often to remind others that we are all people, no matter the different beliefs and actions, no matter the skin colour or religion. Strip all that back and what have you got? Just people, all wanting to live peacefully and raise families.
    I do fear the rabid single-minded terrorists though.

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    1. They exist, but they're not much of a threat here. They worry me about as much as Ebola. We've got a lot more serious stuff to worry about.

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  9. Nicely done, Murr! I've known good Christians and horrid Christians and I cans still tell the difference. I even tried to be a good one when I was about 13. Still trying to be good, but without many labels. Wish Mr. Pence would read and understand your words.

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    1. I'm not as capable of black-and-white thinking as he is.

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  10. It's amazing how often you post the very things I think. But more articulately.

    If Jesus really did feed the five thousand, I'm sure he did not check sexual orientation, citizenship status, saint or sinner, and certainly not whether or not they were Gentile or Jew. When the man said, "Y'all hungry? Come to the table." And all were welcome.

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    1. It's probably not so amazing. I think a lot of us are thinking along the same lines a lot of the time.

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  11. شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر

    شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر شركة المثالية هي افضل شركة تنظيف بالخبر يمكنكم التواصل معها للحصول علي افضل خدمات تنظيف المنازل والشقق والفلل والبيوت والمجالس والكنب والسجاد والموكيت والمفروشات بجودة عالية ومواصفات قياسية حيث تعد شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر اولي الشركات التي التي تخصصت في مجالل التنظيف بالخبر ولديها خبرة كبيرة وعمالة ماهرة وادوات تنظيف حديثة وطاقم عمالة مدرب علي اعلي مستوى فلا تترددوا في الاتصال بشركة المثالية للتنظيف بالخبر وسوف تحصلون علي افضل الخدمات المنزلية من نظافة ومكافحة حشرات بارخص الاسعار

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