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We know what the Afghan Taliban is all about. This Taliban is a fundamentalist Islamic sect of male vampires who suck the blood from a culture by placing themselves atop a “religious” pyramid where they sacrifice women for their own enrichment and gratification. Women are chattel to keep barefoot, pregnant, and ignorant. Excess females in poor families are sold like goats to the highest bidder. Education for girls is prohibited. Gender “apartheid” is practiced. Women must stay at home, cannot have jobs, and must wear the burqa, the face-covering.
The Afghan Taliban has its own sharia laws based on local traditions, usually from the Pashtun tribal code. Public executions often follow “courts” where due process is totally absent. Thieves have their hands and feet amputated in public ceremonies. This extreme version of Islam is strict and dogmatic, with groups of male enforcers patrolling the streets, enforcing the hundreds of rules in sharia law.
I have a file on religious beliefs I have maintained for years, and I brought it out after reading Jane Mayer’s article “Bully Pulpit” in the June 18 New Yorker about a very popular evangelical Christian broadcaster named Bryan Fischer, who is on the air two hours each day. His broadcast is on over two hundred radio stations scattered around the Southwest and Midwest. Fisher is supported by the American Family Association, an evangelical “pro-family” lobbying group that promotes Bible-based social conservatism and constantly attacks our “sinful popular culture.” This is only part of the American Taliban.
The Other American
The other major American Taliban is the present hierarchy of the American Roman Catholic Church, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. They claim to lead 65 million U.S. Catholics, but evidence indicates that only about half go to church and less than that actually believe all of the “sharia” laws of the Vatican. When 98 percent of all Catholic women of child-bearing age have used contraceptives, which is specifically against a major “canon” of the church, it gives one an idea of how popular other “canons” might be. I think it’s quite clear that when it comes to sexual issues, most Catholic constituents are in the 21st century while their bishops and the Vatican are still in the 14th. As an example, many Minnesota Catholics who are opposed to the same-sex marriage amendment on the fall ballot, which is so strongly supported by a few conservative Catholic bishops in the state, are organizing to fight the position held by Archbishop John Nienstedt. I thought it was hilarious that these dissenting Catholics met to organize resistance—in a United Methodist Church in Minneapolis!
Sending Catholic Nuns To
Like something their Taliban cousins in Kandahar would do, the U.S. bishops are fighting the Obama administration’s efforts to provide universal health care because of a dispute over “religious liberty.” The battle is really over the use of contraceptives, which the bishops lost shortly after the pill was invented, but they are trying to hide behind the religious liberty bit. To the Catholic bishops, religious liberty means that they should be able to collect billions of tax dollars to operate poverty programs, hospitals, nursing homes, and other charitable programs—while forcing their employees, whether Catholic or not, to live by their extreme religious doctrines. That’s their definition of religious liberty. Catholic nuns, who have demonstrated for years they are more sensible, more compassionate, more human, much less Talibanish, more scientific, and more culturally intelligent than the bishops and the Vatican, are now supposed to be going through brainwashing, rehabilitation, and re-indoctrination programs by bishops. The Vatican insists the nuns emphasize anti-abortion stances and homosexual issues instead of working to relieve poverty and other problems of the poor and disabled.
The Politics Of Talibanism
I have admitted in many previous columns that I am a socialist-commy-pinko, liberal, libertarian, agnostic, fiscal conservative, atheist, ex-Roman Catholic with 27 years of experience, pantheist, a supporter of same-sex marriage, a believer in most science, and a liberal ECLA Lutheran at various times during the week. As one of my role models, W.C. Fields, said when he was caught reading the Bible: “I’m just looking for loopholes!” I know one thing: I don’t want my children or grandchildren to live under the domination of the American Taliban represented by conservative evangelicals and Roman Catholic bishops.
According to national polls, the Republican Party and Mitt Romney have the overwhelming support of these two factions. I’m going to list just some of the stands taken on issues by these two groups. If you agree with these positions, then vote for Mitt. I have taken them from magazine articles, news stories, books, and essays in my collection. If you question the source, I will be glad to respond.
Genesis 1:16 reads “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.” The writer of this Bible verse made a scientific mistake. Science has proven that the moon reflects the light of the sun but does not produce any light from any components like the sun’s. Our astronauts have been there, done that. When Bill Nye, nationally known as the “the Science Guy,” was in Waco, Texas, a center of evangelical mischief and misdirection, he gave a series of lectures on global warming and other science subjects. When he mentioned that the Bible was wrong about the moon having a light source, Bible-thumpers stormed out of the lecture “in a fury,” according to Waco Tribune reports, yelling, “We believe in God!” Do we want evangelicals establishing our science curricula?
Bryan Fischer on his show “Focal Point” made these statements: “A rational culture that cares about its people will, in fact, discriminate against adultery, pedophilia, rape, bestiality, and homosexual behavior.” In a later interview, he said that Thomas Jefferson wanted to castrate homosexuals, but he just wanted to change homosexuals because “We’re not animals in heat that have a biological compulsion to yield to every sexual impulse. Gays can experience a reorienting of their sexuality. I’ve met a lot of ex-gays.”
The United States was founded as a Christian nation so that it would have laws reflecting the rules of a particular brand of Christianity. The first Puritans were fleeing another religious denomination, the Church of England.
The evangelical Trinity Broadcasting Network in California is the largest “Christian” TV network and offers the prosperity gospel that has made the pastors Paul and Janice Crouch very rich. The couple has “his” and “hers” mansions, each worth over $6 million. Janice Crouch also runs the Holy Land Experience Theme Park, a for-profit business. They have two corporate jets worth $57 million, which they use to fly themselves to other homes they own in Texas and Tennessee. All of their workers are “ordained” as ministers so they can avoid paying Social Security taxes. Records indicate the Crouches often have $1000 dinners with fine wines paid for with tax-exempt money. Their average annual meal expenses are in the $300,000 range. Mr. Crouch is driven around town in a chauffeured Bentley. It is also used to ferry their TV guests from airport to studio. I don’t think Jesus Christ is driving the Bentley.
Tea Partiers have joined the evangelicals to introduce eight anti-choice bills in the House of Representatives, endorsed by 225 Republican representatives. Evangelical and Catholic representatives in state legislatures introduced over 1,100 bills related to reproductive health and rights of women, ranging from sections requiring trans-vaginal ultrasounds to those outlawing contraceptives. Of the 28 states controlled by Republicans, 26 have passed laws limiting reproductive choices. Over 55 percent of American women live in states that are “hostile” to abortion, up from 30 percent just ten years ago. In Missouri Republican House, majority leader Tim Jones sponsored legislation that would allow medical personnel to deny services like abortion, contraception, assisted reproduction, and male and female sterilization. He said he was qualified to sponsor the legislation because his father is a veterinarian.
Christian talk radio shows, particularly in the Southeast and South, support the following political positions: (1) The next president should criminalize all abortions, even in the case of rape and incest. (2) Contraception should be made available only to married couples. (This represents a split in the American Taliban—Catholic bishops want all contraceptives banned.) (3) All schools should be allowed to teach “intelligent design” alongside “the morally bankrupt theory of evolution.” (Sixty-six percent of Republican voters in Mississippi don’t believe in evolution.) (4) America will never be safe with a president who believes that man evolved from slime. (5) Following scriptures that say “If a man will not work, don’t let him eat,” payments for welfare and Social Security disability not only are against the Bible, both are unconstitutional.
The Bible is the “unerring” word of God. Women have the same worth as men, but men have authority over women. America is a Christian nation and it must be “reconstructed” before the Second Coming. Jesus is going to return to earth by 2050. Jews in Israel must control the Holy Lands by 2050 so Christ is welcomed.
All Americans should marry when they are sexually mature.
Spare the rod and spoil the child. Children as young as six months should be spanked if they “misbehave.”
Conservative evangelicals are opposed to same-sex marriage and any laws that provide special protection for homosexuals. The American Family Association has supported with millions of dollars anti-gay legislation in many states.
The only government functions approved by the Bible are national defense and the administration of justice. The free-market gospel and Ayn Rand capitalism is supported in the Bible, therefore has God’s approval.
School vouchers should be distributed to any parents who wish to send their children to private religious schools. The curriculum should be controlled by parents, not government.
Global warming is not an established scientific fact. President Obama faked his Hawaiian birth certificate.
Raymond is a former Marine officer and school board superintendent, and resides in Detroit Lakes