Southern Religion

The ‘Hear our prayer …’ calumny

Searching twitter we find the blasphemously doctored version of the video below is still being promoted as somehow “true.” That despite having been addressed by Media Matters and a page-leading link at the conservative Catholic site

Mollie Wilson O’Reilly explains at dotCommonweal:

Did you hear the one about the “Religious Left praying to Obama”? I hope not. Here’s the embarrassing story: a video clip of a pro-universal-health-care prayer service, originally posted on the Gamaliel Foundation web site but appropriated, “captioned,” and distributed by the obviously trustworthy Naked Emperor News and on, caused a stir on right-wing blogs yesterday because it reportedly showed liberals chanting the petition, “Hear our cry, Obama.”

Here is the undoctored version:

Some who posted the doctored version did not make forthright corrections when the error was pointed out. For example, Crunchy Con (Rod Dreher) apologized but as O’Reilly observed, still mumbled “I’m pretty sure at least some of those people are saying ‘Obama.’”

Nope. All who believed the “Obama” version were had. When they realize that, they’ll almost inevitably consider the source.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The ‘Hear our prayer …’ calumny

Contentious, civil ‘Blasphemy Day’

Center for Free Inquiry Blasphemy Contest logo

Center for Free Inquiry Blasphemy Contest logo

Center for Inquiry founder Paul Kurtz’s dissent from the excesses of Blasphemy Day was unexpected and welcome. He wrote:

When we defended the right of a Danish newspaper to publish cartoons deploring the violence of Muslim suicide bombers, we were supporting freedom of the press. The right to publish dissenting critiques of religion should be accepted as basic to freedom of expression. But for CFI itself to sponsor the lampooning of Christianity by encouraging anti-Catholic, anti-Protestant, or any other anti-religious cartoons goes beyond the bounds of civilized discourse in pluralistic society. It is not dissimilar to the anti-semitic cartoons of the Nazi era. Yet there are some fundamentalist atheists who have resorted to such vulgar antics to gain press attention. In doing so they have dishonored the basic ethical principles of what the Center for Inquiry has resolutely stood for until now: the toleration of opposing viewpoints.

Catholic journalist Dave Gibson, from whom we learned of Kurtz’s dissent, writes that there is in it a resonance with Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Gibson observes that of “Blasphemy Day,” Mohler wrote:

The sheer foolishness of a blasphemy contest with t-shirts and mugs betrays the lunacy of it all. They can do no better than this? One testimony to the power of God is the fact that his self-declared enemies come off as so childish and manic.

Apparently lost amid the offensive silliness to which Kurtz and Mohler object is the animating purpose of this altogether unofficial ‘Blasphemy Day’:

Protesting U.N. Resolution 62/154 on “Combating defamation of religions,” which offends Mohler, Mainstream Baptist Bruce Prescott, atheist Peter Singer and a long list of others in otherwise unlikely, informal alliance in defense of free expression.

It is inescapable that calm, civil response to the Blasphemy Day silliness is an aspect of that free expression.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Religion, Satire | | Comments Off on Contentious, civil ‘Blasphemy Day’

Drama and transition for Texas Baptists Committed

If you know about Southern Baptists in Texas you know that Texas Baptists Committed (TBC) was organzied to preclude the conservative takeover which racked every other state with a significant Southern Baptist presence, and that strategy is widely regarded to have worked.

From Spiritual Samurai we learned that TBC was going to ” Restructure, Relocate, and Refocus.” That plan included keeping David R. Currie on a director emeritus, with some unspecified authority and salary.

There was some astonishment and a subsequent story by the Texas Baptist Standard (TBS). Whereupon Samurai blogged his puzzlment over TBS’s withholding the story until he scooped them.

Widespread mourning may not have been the rule among blogging Texans. Ken Coffee wrote:

TBC has become what they profess to have hated in others. You have become manipulative control freaks. I would hope, for the sake of the Kingdom and the BGCT, that you would want to change that perception.

Dramatic tension was mantained by Samauri’s blog asking just what Currie’s “director emeritus” status would mean. Key questions were what authority and pay did the new status entail.

Whereupon Currie really resigned “Sept. 28, effective immediately,” as head of the “political organization two decades ago to resist a “fundamentalist takeover” of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.”

Lee at Deep In the Heart reviews the difficulties faced by narrowly focused organizations like TBC during times of transition. The issue about which he tactfully walks is whether, original purpose gone, they will survive. Or whether they should.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Churches, SBC | | Comments Off on Drama and transition for Texas Baptists Committed

Lie to me (my parents did)

An adult survivor of childhood abuse responds to Lying as parenting. He begins gently by way of reference to a Fox television show:

For adults molested as children by a trusted caregiver, the attraction of Lie to Me is a promise:

There is someone to tell who will recognize your truth as you tell it and believe you, no matter how innately horrific the details of the account. Because the endless refrain of the molesting caregiver is “No one will ever believe you,” sung and hummed while they apply all of their power as trusted adults to ensuring that you are not believed. Like killer whales playing toss with baby seals before eating them, they’re doing what is for them entirely natural. … [so you can see that] … for adults molested as children by a trusted caregiver, scientific findings that most parents lie to their children for purposes of their own and without apparent remorse, aren’t news.

Read on. It’s brief and it’s here.

September 29, 2009 Posted by | Crime, Cultural, Health | 1 Comment

Put celluloid pastor/priest Polanski in prison [Addendum]

Original poster for the 1968 film "Rosmary's Baby," directed by Roman Polanski

A celebrity then as now, three decades ago Roman Polanski drugged and raped a protesting 13-year-old girl during a photo session a lesser artistic light might not have been able to arrange.

Polanski fled to France in 1978 on the day of his sentencing, was arrested in Switzerland on Saturday and is predictably the focus of special pleadings on his behalf. For example, the French who protected him for years now argue that there is a case for mercy based on Polanski’s “exceptional artistic creation and human qualities.” Polish Filmmakers Association chief Jacek Bromski told the Associated Press that Polanski had paid for his crime “by not being able to make films in Hollywood.”

They sound like Southern Baptist ministers seeking special treatment for a clerical sexual predator or star believer at sentencing time while the predator is in denial. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. at On Faith indicates the appropriate reaction:

Imagine if the Knight of Columbus decided to give an award to a pedophile priest who had fled the country to avoid prison. The outcry would be universal. Victim groups would demand the award be withdrawn and that the organization apologize. Religion reporters would be on the case with the encouragement of their editors. Editorial writers and columnist would denounce the knights as another example of the insensitivity of the Catholic Church to sexual abuse.

And they would all be correct.

And I would join them

As should we all. Special pleadings for Southern Baptist sexual predators, Catholic priest sexual predators and Academy Award winning director sexual predators are all “elite deviance” and when those pleadings succeed, their success tends to foster repetition of the kind of crime involved.

Sociologists Anson D. Shupe, David G. Bromley define elite deviance as:

…illegal and/or unethical acts committed by persons in the highest corporate and political strata of society who run little risk of exposure or serious punishment, even though their deviance poses danger to the well-being of many others.

The film industry and the French should fall into shamed silence and Polansky should go to prison. There is no special standing which should be permitted to excuse use of one’s celebrity, authority as an adult and ability to manipulate to rape an adolescent who was placed in one’s care.


Mollie at GetReligion conducts an arch survey of the blog duel over Polanski’s fate.

Along the way we were reminded that Polanski’s plea bargain, three decades ago, was itself a clear example of “elite deviance.” Polanski was to be allowed to plead guilty to one of six charges – unlawful sexual intercourse – and have his sentence commuted to time served.

Polanski fled when the judge indicated he might reject the plea bargain – a worthwhile thought given Polanski’s forcible rape of a 13-year-old – and sentence Polanski to prison.

September 29, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Churches, Crime, Cultural, Religion | , , | Comments Off on Put celluloid pastor/priest Polanski in prison [Addendum]

Lying turns out to be a form of parenting [Addendum]

In an “honor they father and mother” society who would do research into the frequency with which parents purposefully lie to their children? Oh, and publish findings which show parents often seek to teach honesty and other virtues by lying.

A team which included Gail Heyman who is a professor of psychology at University of California San Diego (UCSD), Diem Luu who is a former UCSD student and and Kang Lee who is a professor at the University of Toronto and director of the Institute of Child Study at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

TS-SI news service reports:

Heyman and Lee are now preparing an international study to explore the subject further, and they are also beginning to study the possible consequences of “parenting by lying”: Does it create confusion about right and wrong? Does it undermine a child’s trust?

Well: Does it?

Addendum: Children remember and may lose faith in you

The studies looked at two groups consisting of 127 university students; and 127 unrelated parents. Students were asked whether they recalled their parents lying to them and why. Parents if they had lied to their children.

The University of Tronto’s Kang Lee told Canada AM this week:

They found that 88 per cent of the students said they remembered their parents lying to them. And, 78 per cent of the parents admitted they lied to their kids.

“Kids have very long memories of the lies. We surveyed college students and many of them remembered vividly the lies their parents told 15 or 20 years before,” he said.

“The problem is that if the child discovers their parents have been lying to them, they may lose trust in their parents’ parenting efforts,” [Lee] said.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Health | , | 1 Comment

The rapturing of Sarah Palin

The Mudflats bloggers were Left behind in Alaska when former Gov. Sarah Palin “was raptured by the far right fringe” to Hong Kong where the Asia Times reports she received to a mixed reception. Economics Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman observed that her analysis in that speech suffers from an absence of any facts to back up her claims.

Nonetheless inspired, Frank Walker at decidedly Catholic invented a Palinesque “common sense:”

The honesty and simple wisdom of Sarah Palin is rejuvenating. Many who lead the Catholic Church will hopefully take notice. Today there are bishops worldwide who will go to almost any lengths in the name of social justice. Often when they do, they reveal their allegiances and their worldliness. This week the social justice arm of the USCCB, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, is under intense light again for its openly political, anti-Catholic, and corrupt beneficiaries. In Vienna Cardinal Schoenborn recently tried to squelch a pro-life rally and then forbad clergy to participate. Notre Dame, the pre-eminent American Catholic University, continues to prosecute eighty-eight pro-life demonstrators, including Norma McCorvey, following the Obama honors last spring. In August Boston’s O’Malley scandalized the world with a funeral for anti-life pariah Ted Kennedy, and this past week Scotland’s Cardinal O’Brien railed in the press about global catastrophes, millions of refugees, and the poor before a climate meeting at the UN.

What hath transcendence of Alaska made her then, but a vessel to be filled by conservatives in need of someone about whom to rapture. Factlessness, no object.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Politics | Comments Off on The rapturing of Sarah Palin

Depression kills [Addendum: Series on preachers and depression]

German artist Albrecht Durer's engraving "Melancholia" (1514)

German artist Albrecht Durer’s engraving “Melancholia” (1514)”

Suicide Survivor Resources

From Buster

Each of us has an organic, living brain which is prey to illnesses to which stigma is typically attached.

The psychic pain of acute depression is, one psychotherapist writes, “wholly incompatible with human life as we know it.” Depression is third among leading causes of death and disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and is expected to be second to ischemic heart disease by 2020. Even the acutely depressed who successfully seek the help of a loving, supportive community like that of Sandy Ridge Baptist Church may not survive.

The North Carolina Biblical Recorder reports that in the death of pastor David Treadway of Sandy Ridge Baptist Church in Hickory.

Several months ago Treadway … told the congregation he was under doctor’s care for depression. An early statement Sunday from church leadership said their pastor had “succumbed to the disease of depression.”

At the spiritual core of this is love for one another and freely given help for those in need — now for his surviving family and congregation — but also the others who are afflicted by one of the mental illnesses into which any of us may fall. No matter where we are, the latter are in fact all around us. There is no better time to notice.


Hickory Daily Record obituary

Online Guestbook

Biblical Recorder series on preachers and depression

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Health, Medical Care | , , | 7 Comments

Refried Paige

Paige sings, eyes closed

Christa at Stop Baptist Predators brought perspective to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Page Patterson’s tough-guy “taking the hill” for Christ video.

She recalls the deaf ear Patterson gave female Criswell College students at Criswell College, where Patterson was then in charge, who tried to tell him of sexual abuses by his protege, Baptist pastor Darrell Gilyard.

But Patterson turned a blind eye to Gilyard’s reported abuses and a deaf ear to the young women who tried to get some help.

Finally, after two decades of do-nothingness from Patterson and other Baptist leaders, the law put a stop to Gilyard when it convicted him of molesting a 15-year-old in Florida.

Read her entire blog here.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Health, Religion | , , | Comments Off on Refried Paige

Sometimes while blogging late at night …

One of the \[Mass.\] anti-gay marriage proponents, Susie Hicks from Woburn, said this was because everyone thinks gay marriage is a "done deal." She was at the State House with her friend Angela Mitchell, also from Woburn. Mitchell held a sign that read WE WANT THE BAY STATE NOT THE GAY STATE, THAT WOULD MEAN A SAD STATE.  Her sign was in sharp contrast to some of those held by gay marriage supporters that focus on gays who've made history such as Leonardo da Vinci, Alan Turing, who invented the computer, and Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote "America the Beautiful." The sign focusing on Turning ...

According to the Boston Phoenix:

This photograph was taken on March 29, 2004 when the Massachusetts Legislature voted to ban gay marriage and establish civil unions.

[Signs] held by gay marriage supporters that [focused] on gays who’ve made history such as Leonardo da Vinci, Alan Turing, who invented the computer, and Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote “America the Beautiful. “The [tongue-in-cheek] sign focusing on Turning, for example, read: DESTROY THE COMPUTER! IT’S A HOMOSEXUAL INVENTION BY ALAN TURING. WHO CARES IF HE CRACKED THE GERMAN ENIGMA CODE AND WON WORLD WAR II. IT’S A HOMO’S DEVIL MACHINE.

Tom Lang of Manchester by the Sea held one of the signs — which have taken some viewers a few moments to figure out. “We’re trying to show how important gay people are to the American culture,” Lang explained. “We’re not mental. We’re not immoral. But we’re important to society and interwoven into the tapestry of America.”

Some bloggers, like Bruce, Mark and PZ Myers, almost seem to take the sign seriously. Bruce is, after all, “speechless.” Whereas she speaks clearly, making her sympathies abundantly clear by holding, immediately beneath the sign, what we discovered is an LBGT Rainbow Flag.

Turing, of course, did not invent the computer.

Even so, sometimes while blogging sleepily, very late at night, regardless of the sexuality of the various inventors involved in creating these devices …

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sometimes while blogging late at night …