March 9, 2007
March 12, 2007

March 10-11, 2007, weekend

SAINT JPII?

In case you haven't been keeping track, know that the Vatican is moving forward on designating the late Pope John Paul II a saint. In construction work, this is called fast-tracking. What do you think? Does it matter if he's named a saint?

* * *

GINGRICH AND GOD -- HMMMM

Former Rep. Newt Gingrich says he fell short of "God's standards" while having an extra-marital affair while investigating President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. It raises this foundational question: Is hypocrisy what really makes us human?

* * *

DOCUMENTING RELIGIOUS HATE

The Rev. Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., and nationally known purveyor of hate, has picketed me several times and has personally blamed me for the 9/11 death of my nephew, a passenger on the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. (I warn you that clicking on the link above will lead you to a file that will make you sick.)

FallfromgraceSo as you might imagine, I don't view this reservoir of toxic religion and his family (nearly the whole of his small congregation is made up of family members) with anything approaching respect. He makes my stomach turn.

But just as I am moved to try to grasp what drives an Osama bin Laden, say, or any other proponent of radical and distorted religion, so I am moved to try to see what makes a Fred Phelps tick.

The other evening, as part of the film series at All Souls Unitarian Church in Kansas City, I had the opportunity to see a documentary on Phelps called "Fall from Grace." It was done as a class project by K. (for Kenneth) Ryan Jones, a student at the University of Kansas.

The film is being shown to small audiences here and there and soon will be shown at various independent film festivals, where a larger producer may pick it up and release it to the general public.

If you get a chance to view it, do. It's painful to watch but very instructive. Jones has handled the subject matter with such detachment that people, like me, who believe Phelps is an embarrassment to religion, believe it shows that clearly while, says Jones, the Phelps family believes it is a good presentation of its beliefs.

Through personal interviews with Phelps and various members of his family, we learn a little about the rigid and desperate theology that the abusive Phelps preaches. Essentially he believes pretty much everyone is going to hell. (In a fax to me once he called me "Satan's evangelist.")

When I asked Jones after the movie to tell me the best thing he could say about Phelps, he said he was a compelling speaker and that Phelps is "wicked smart." I think he's right. I simply regret that something has driven this pitiful man and his followers so far off the track and that he uses his brain to preach homophobic nonsense and a brand of religion that would embarrass the most angry prophet of the Hebrew scriptures.

If you want to taste some of the Phelps vitriol, click here and here. But I warn you that these sites will offend you deeply. (If they don't, seek help immediately.) So enter at your own risk.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

Comments

Ron

"But just as I am moved to try to grasp what drives an Osama bin Laden, say, or any other proponent of radical and distorted religion, so I am moved to try to see what makes a Fred Phelps tick."

The difference between Osama and Fred is that Osama has millions of supporters; Fred has his immediate family. Osama is a hero to many Muslims; Fred is an outcast to all Christians.

Keith

Newtie just failed to live up to his standards and God's, huh? A momentary lapse in a long political life? This isn't news. The news is the "spin" being dragged out to enhance Gingrich, and Dobson. His affair is different because...because what? It didn't involve a wedding ring, another woman and a political penis? Give me a break!

I'd call this typical arrogant political fraud. Gingrich knew what he was doing-married to one woman while both courting and bedding his next wife AND bashing Clinton for having an affair.

Time has passed, and Newt (with 3rd wife in tow) is trying to polish his image for a presidential run.

Conservatives like Dobson will rally around him, ignoring Newt's "sins" as they salivate at the prospect of gaining political power by proxy.

Even more hypocritical than Gingrich are the sycophants participating in this fraud.

Methinks the Eye of Newt has a large mote.

Dolores Lear

When Fred Phelps understands he is against what Body Birth has reproduced, then he can be against Body Birth with the vigor he uses against the Gay people, that are a result of genetic defeciency.

As long as the male does not use protection for flesh lust, to protect the female from reproducing all the different races, colors, and ethic genetics of all the countries around the planet, Jewish, English, German, Japanese, Chinese, French, Iranians, Iraqis, African, Italian, Sweeds, American Indians, South Americans, etc. All have the characteristics of the Inbreeding of a group of people, as they spread around the Earth, after the Planetary Noah/Atlantis Flood.

Then came America with the Melting Pot of the Cross Breeding of all these countries. The same goes for sex for pleasure choices, it is all in the genetics of the seeds that made us. we do not get the choice of being Heterosexual, Gay, Bi-, or pedofils, or killers, or spouse and child abusers, fornicators, incest, etc.

So Heterosexuals that reproduce all these defective people also with defective Body parts, punish the what they consider the worse people, with the defects. None of the defects we get is by 'Choice' but by Uncontrolled seed of Mis-bred Genetic Body Birth, the Original Sin of the Pure-bred Asexual Clone Colony of Adam and Eve.

So, Fred Phelps, and All people that blame defective people, are blaming the product of Inbreeding, not the Cause, which is the male member, that reproduced Cain and all Mis-bred people since.

Patricia

I agree with Keith. Gingrich is trying to clean his image for a presidential run. There aren't enough staunch conservatives in the race and he understands.

He's right about the fact that Clinton's sin went from personal lies to legal lies(purgery). But lying is lying, in the eyes of God. Why isn't James Dobson, the moralist, pointing that out?

And to answer the question of whether or not we are all hypocrites? Yes, I believe we all are to one degree or another. Hypocrisy is basically a form of lying. It seems to involve first lying TO ONESELF while elevating that self as being above and better than others. So.....Gingrich first lies to himself by justifying his own personal lies. He deems himself better than Clinton and able to judge and persecute him because of the difference in venue for the respective lies.

The truth is that he's lying and he's no better than Clinton or any other philanderer. Ergo, Newt Gingrich is a hypocrite. Having James Dobson at his side is icing on the hypocrite cake.

Patricia

I'm really sorry that Phelps has targeted you and your family, Bill. It has to add pain to pain. You and yours don't deserve it.

Ryan is a terrific filmmaker who had distinguished himself before he was even in college. I urge all to see his latest work.

He's right about Phelps(who has also targeted my projects and those of my colleagues, when they have been deemed remotely pro-gay). Phelps is plenty smart. Just look how much publicity he gets for his tiny band of zealots.

As for the zealotry itself........frankly, I don't see that much difference between what he preaches and what the Southern Baptist Convention and others preach. Phelps may be more radical, especially in his tactics, but it is basically the same homophobic rhetoric.

Just Thinking

The American people should not excuse the President of the United States for perjury, especially when that President is a lawyer and knows better. That sends a terrible message to every person in this country that it's okay to excuse your friends and fellow party members of wrongdoing and illegal acts. It's not okay, and nobody should be above the law in this country, including (and especially) the President of the United States.

President Clinton was treated fairly, too. He did not spend time in jail for his offense. But he lied and caused a woman great financial and emotional harm in those lies, and he ended up having to pay for it. That's justice.

Just Thinking

Fred Phelps practices a form of speech that should not be protected. It's nothing more than pure hatred meant to inflict pain. I'm sure that the founding fathers of this country never intended to protect that kind of cheap speech.

Dolores Lear

I forgot to add that environment also makes people act as they do, such as Adam, Abraham, Noah, Jesus, Mohammad, Protestants, Catholic, Mormons, Muslims, Osama and Fred, all other religious leaders and their teachings, all government teachings, etc., are the result of divided Body Birth Inbred reproduction.

Gentle Ben

The metro area itself has a long and despicable record of religious intolerance. While we're discussing Mr. Phelps let's talk about the intolerance shown to people of the jewish faith in places like Leawood whee at one point, please correct me if I'm wrong Jews were not allowed to live. Indeed, when it came time to annex the Corinth neighborhood I'm told that Leawood didn't want it because of all the Jews who lived there.

That tradition is alive and well today. In just the past few months Village Presbyterian, long a hotbed of religious intolerance held meetings which the Jewish Chronicle denounced as anti-Semitic.

In addition to its legacy of anti-Semitic behavior PV Presbyterian's former minister, Bob Meneilly, has been instrumental in creating an organization that foments anti-evangelical intolerance. This hate-mongering has also received widespread acceptance among many of the metro area elite such as Kay Waldo Barnes and many of the so-called "moderate" leaders of the local Democrat and Republican parties.

However, since these people are in general more liberal, and so many in the media, like Steve Rose whose mother is a member of Meneilly's bunch, they are seldom denounced for their hateful activities. In addition many members of the media attend this group's meetings, not as journalists writing about its activities, but as participants. Among them are members of The Star's editorial board and even some of its reporters.

Westboro Baptist, Prairie Village Presbyterian, Westboro Presbyterian, Prairie Village Baptist, what's the difference?

The difference is that, as a conservative, I denounce Fred Phelps and his campaign of hate, but try finding a liberal that will denounce Meneilly and his klavern.

How about you, Bill. Is hatred not a liberal value? can you speak out against Meneilly's intolerance as strongly as I condemn Phelps and his?

Dolores Lear

Bill and Billy Graham's columns today goes along with the discussions on the Blog.

Bill: "Lent Is Time To Reflect On World's Suffering"

Billy: "True Christians Won't Judge You."

How can we reform, and change the world, with all our mixed up Good and Evil genetics?

Good and Evil depend on where you are born, and what type of Mis-bred Body you received at Body Birth.

Dolores Lear

Jesus was for the downtrodden and the poor, and set up a commune movement of Celibate people that put all they had into One Pot, and all used it for their daily needs and helping others.

1 John 3:6-9. KJV. "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

This seed is the male sperm.

1 John 3:6,9. N.E.B. "Here is the test by which we can make sure that we are in him: whoever claims to be dwelling in him, binds himself to live as Christ, himself lived. - A child of God does not commit sin, because the divine seed remains in him; he cannot be a sinner, because he is God's child."

The other Bibles I have do not mention the seed.
R.S.V., Phillips, and The Living Bible, Good News For Modern Man, translations, do not use the word 'seed'.

So this may be why many people do not know about the Jesus Asexual Commune Movement. They are many other hints in the Old and New Testament that Mention this.

Psalm 51:5. KJV. "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

What could that sin be, but the Original Sin of Body Birth.

Gentle Ben

Patricia:

I think we've been down this road before, but there is a vast, vast distinction between hating someone as a member of a group, and showing concern for someone because you perceive that their behavior is self-destructive.

My aunt once sent me a scathing letter when she perceived that my conduct was not Biblical. She did so not because she hated me, but just the reverse. She greatly loved me and was simply trying to save me from the consequences of my own folly.

The same could be said of Mr Gingrich and his conduct. The way in which he behaved towards his previous spouse was atrocious and antithetical to Biblical morality. Now he's paying the price for his mistakes.

You may not agree that homosexuality is self-destructive, or believe that homosexuals have no alternative, and so the distinction may not be as salient to you, but I personally find that being motivated out of desire to help someone improve their life (even if you don't perceive that their goal is an improvement) is far better than someone who spews hatred for an entire class of people.

P.S. Sorry for all the typos in the earlier post, I had an early meeting this morning, but wanted to get that off before I left.

Have a great weekend. it looks like it's going to be beautiful.

Rich B

I think that hypocrisy does demonstrate our humanity, as demonstrated by the Bible. Hypocrisy is saying that the Lord is God, but then not acting like it. In the OT, hypocrisy is exemplified by the Israelites who sing of the unlimited might of the Lord (Exod 15), and then cry about whether he can feed them or not (Exod 16:3). In the NT this is exemplified by the "Rock," Peter, who tells Jesus that he would not leave Jesus under any circumstances, and then leaves right away. Paul is constantly reminding the people in every epistle to stay faithful to the teaching that they received, and (implied) subscribed to. Even the Quran tells Muhammad what to do to the people who have gone against him after accepting him.

I'm not sure whether this penchant to hypocrisy comes from our genetics or not, but it seems as old as humanity.

Ruth from Tucson

Bill,

On dealing with jerks like the Rev. Fred Phelps -

Try the flit gun method - brush him off like a pesky a fly.

Rich B

Dolores,

This is a translation problem you bring up. The Greek reads "his seed," but who the "his" refers to is ambiguous. The variation of readings you see are attempts to find an antecedent to this pronoun.

As far as what the sin in the "mother's womb," I think that it is ignorance of the Lord's Torah or teaching. So what is the solution to this sin? "You will teach me wisdom" (Ps 51:6, the next verse), and purging with hyssop and washing (Ps 51:7).

Michael

As a fellow Christian, I rejoice that according to their own words and actions (from what I can recall off-hand) it seems that my brothers in Christ (both Clinton and Gingrich) have repented of their sins before God and hopefully have done the same with their respective spouses or ex-spouses as the case may be. It is a glorious thing to live in forgiveness before a God who knows not the sin he has forgiven. All too often it seems that we are quick to recall the sins of another's past and judge them according by the sins that God himself has forgotten. That might not be expressed theologically in the most correct manner, but practically I think it gets my point across.

Dolores Lear

Rich.
Maybe The Living Bible helps, for Psalm 51, but I like the KJV better, with what I have to explain about Body Birth.

Psalm 51: 1-10. The Living Bible. "O loving and kind God, have mercy. Have pity upon me and take away the awful stain of my transgressions. Oh, wash me, cleansing me from this guilt. Let me be pure again. For I admit my shameful deed - it haunts me day and night. It is against you aand you alone I sinned, and did this terrible thing. You saw it all, and your sentence against me is just. But I was born a sinner, yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. You deserve honesty from the heart; yes, utter sincerity and truthfulness. Oh, give me this wisdom. Sprinkle me with the cleansing blood and I shall be clean again. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. And after you have punished me, give me back my joy. Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires."

Dolores Lear

Rich.
Also in The New English Bible.

Psalm 51: 5. "In iniquity I was brought to birth and my mother conceived me in sin."

Just Thinking

"Does it matter if he's named a saint?"

Saint is a word reserved for all Christian believers. Somehow the Vatican hijacked that word in an effort to create hierarchies in Heaven that they control and designate. Who knows if Pope John Paull II was a believer or not for sure--that's something nobody knows for sure about anyone else. But lets give him the benefit of the doubt and call him a saint. Why not? We give most people the benefit of that doubt who claim to be Christians, until they publicly deny the divinity of Jesus Christ or something like that.

Ron

Pope John Paul II is not a saint in the Roman Catholic sense of the word.
I believe three verifiable miracles are required for sainthood. I don't recall any miracles being credited to John Paul II. Perhaps someone will make some up.

Joe Barone

I would love to see Fall fro Grace. To my knowledge, it hasn't been in the alternative movie house here.

No it doesn't matter whether John Paul II is canonized. Being able to fast track the whole process reveals it for what it is.

For me personally, feelings of falling from God's grace have only done me any good if I use them privately to change. They are worse than useless when I use them to judge other people or to publicly judge myself for political or other reasons.

Patricia

It's up to the members of the Catholic Church as to how and when and why they designate people as saints. I don't see it as affecting the non-Catholic world and should not be an issue in which we involve ourselves.

Just Thinking

It's part of the leftover confusion of the Catholics brought on by the misunderstanding (or rather denial) of salvation by grace. Even though they've corrected that doctrine because of Martin Luther, the crumbs still cover the floor from the bad bread.

This definition of "saint" and its usage in the Bible is not limited to election by merit and reputation as it is in Catholicism. Instead, it is wholly dependent upon the election according to grace which brings all the redeemed into Christ. Simply put, all genuine Christians are saints and there are no "unsainted" Christians.

So that's why it does and should makes a difference to Christians, not just to Catholics. Perversion of the language resulting from their errors are likely to bring about the same errors unless fully corrected.

Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

Patricia

It seems that Mr. Gingrich is going to be further rewarded for admitting his womanizing ways. Jerry Falwell has invited him to Liberty University. http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/virginia/dp-sou--gingrich-falwell0309mar09,0,6374510.story?coll=dp-headlines-virginia

Interesting that the fundamentalist politicos are "hell-bent" on helping Gingrich "resurrect" an image that can sell as presidential candidate. Jerry and Jimmy make Newt their Lenten project. Appropriate that the topic for this weekend is hypocrisy.

Patricia

Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me. That's Saint Newt, Saint Jerry, and Saint Jimmy. And if the mere thought of these folks as saints doesn't make one cringe at the perversion of religion into a belief system that grants the likes of these men sainthood.........

Perversion. Perversion. Perversion.

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