Southern Religion

Bishop Williamson the unrepetant radical rightist

Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson’s disingenuous apology was well-rejected by the Vatican. It is unclear whether the Society of St Pius X can withstand careful scrutiny today, but Williamson is a creature of the radical, racist right. The London Times’ Damian Thompson writes:

Trawling through Williamson’s sermons is a sad experience. There’s an intense piety there, powerful faith, but it’s poisoned by anger, hatred and an all-consuming paranoia. This troubled man has links to the political Far Right, and has written about Hitler “liberating” Germany from the control of Jewish money.

Even more bizarre than his frequently expressed view that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were not carried out by terrorists, all of those assertions were in public view well before his excommunication was lifted.

We need not play that reprehensible game, “Kick the Pope,” to wonder where this is going and exactly why Pope Benedict XVI put matters on this path, making the radical right more bold and the Catholic Church’s position of moral authority less powerful.


February 27, 2009 Posted by | anti-Semitism, Catholic, Nostra aetate, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , , | 1 Comment

Bumper-mounted idolatry

American license-plate worship has recently broken out like the hives, nowhere as intensely as in South Carolina. There, only a temporary federal injunction prevents state sale of cross & stained-glass illustrated “I believe” license plates.

Robert Marsden (Monty) Knight, pastor of First Christian Church in Charleston, S.C. and is one of four clergy plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging his state’s proposed “I Believe” license plates. He told DisciplesWorld:

It’s just politicians trotting out a shallow veneer of Christian piety to court the Christians here in South Carolina. [The governor didn’t endorse it] He said, in essence, if your faith is no deeper than a license plate, it’s pretty shallow. There are other special plates…but this one came straight from the legislature- it was a violation of the First Amendment from the get-go.

Faith as deep as a license plate, as wide as chrome door trim? Faith politically demeaned by legislators.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Law, Politics, Religion | , , | Comments Off on Bumper-mounted idolatry

Church blogging ain’t beanbag

Aggressively blog a church’s policies and governance, and the deacons may adopt a resolution directed at you and see it approved in a vote by the congregation [video].

Some approve of the action at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla.

Some do not and defend the anonymously penned FBC Jax Watchdog blog, which is the target of the resolution.

FBC Jacksonville attracted considerable attention by sponsoring blog posts calling Catholicism a cult [eventually removed from the site]. Although the grievances of Watchdog certainly neither began nor ended there. They blogged, for example, about how the pastor accumulated power through changes in FBC Jacksonville’s bylaws.

The bylaws governing resolution of grievances within that church do appear to be heavily loaded against dissent.

Whatever the merits of any particular issue there, that oppressive approach tends to drive debate underground — often into anonymous blogs — not eliminate it.


William Thornton notes that FBC Jacksonville conducted a “public flogging of a former member” without, of course, “naming names.” He goes on to say the disciplinary process sounds “less Biblical than it does medieval.” [Amen to that.]

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Religion, WWW | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Williamson apologizes [fails to recant]



Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson apologized today, after being booted out of Argentina, where on Feb. 9 he was dismissed as director of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) seminary in La Reja.

“I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them,” Williamson said, according to the website of Zenit, a Catholic news agency. . . .
“To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologise,” he said. . . .
He did not say in his apology whether he had changed his views.

His failure to recant earned him the immediate rejection of some Jewish groups. This is a case in which half a measure should not be good enough for anyone.

Lest anyone be confused about where we stand: “Never again.”

February 27, 2009 Posted by | anti-Semitism, Catholic, Nostra aetate, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on Williamson apologizes [fails to recant]

‘Who ya gonna call’ for ‘Hush Rush’ smush?

Ghostbuster Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s amendment passed, exorcising the phantom of Fairness Doctrine revival.

To perserve the possibility that the Federal Communications Commission could actually still do part of its job in nonfairness areas, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin introduced and won party-line approval for a counter-amendment. While fairness itself remains a refugee child of a less blindly polarized era.

Thus ample red meat is left on the legislative butcher block for appeals to put a stake through the heart the non-existent revived Fairness Doctrine which still doesn’t stalk the halls of Congress. Or the White House. The right to distract otherwise beleaguered religious broadcasters and their audiences is secure.

There is another goal, however — tidying up unfinished Reagan administration business by clearing the way for monopoly control of broadcast and other media markets. Hence the endless arm-waving and chanting over the unliving dead corpse of the Fairness Doctrine.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Law, Politics | , , | 1 Comment