Belief

The Past Week in Religion: God Pronounced Owner of an Alabama City

Condoning child abuse, calling the LGBT community "terrorists"—religious extremism at its worst this week.

Photo Credit: Creativa Images/Shutterstock.com

It may be well past Christmas by now, but according to television evangelist and 700 Club host Pat Robertson, it can still be used as a viable excuse to beat your children.

A viewer wrote into the show asking Robertson for help visiting family members on Christmas, writing: “One grandchild comes high on marijuana, cursing and challenging our faith. I correct him and have told my daughter to ask him to respect our beliefs, but he keeps it up.”

Robertson warned the viewer that a kid like this would end up in a correctional institution if he did not have a “strong male figure” in his life and suggested the boy be taken “to the woodshed and let him understand the blessings of discipline.”

He went on to reaffirm that the boy “needs discipline in the worst possible way.”

Robertson, who questioned why someone would let a child ruin Christmas with cursing and blasphemy, doesn’t seem to see the irony in ruining Christmas with child abuse.

***

The city of Winfield, Alabama seems to be under new management after Mayor Randy Price convinced the city council to “declare Winfield a ‘City Under God’ and that God is the ‘owner’ of the city and that the city acknowledges Him,” according to an editorial in the Marion County Journal Record.

The editorial went on to state that some citizens of other or no religious faith might complain about the change of ownership but: “If our coins can say, ‘In God We Trust,’ we see no harm in acknowledging the Almighty at Christmas. We think that the whole fuss about cleaning God from the spector [sic] of public service has been much ado about nothing. In the same vein, this resolution may not change the city, either, but it will not hurt. And, if anyone in Marion County deserves our thanks, it is Him, for all He has blessed us with.”

Perhaps the mayor and city council members should Google the establishment clause before declaring the Christian deity ownership of government property.

***

Christian right pony-boy and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson declared this week that "the terrorists won in Atlanta" when responding to a false report that Atlanta’s anti-gay fire chief Kelvin Cochran was fired for his religious beliefs.

Just hours after terrorists attacked the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo leaving 12 people dead, Erickson took to his blog to declare the LGBT community the “real terrorists,” writing: “A publisher published something that offended. It mocked, it offended, and it showed the fallacy of a religion. It angered. So the terrorists decided they needed to publicly destroy and ruin the publisher in a way that would not only make that destruction a public spectacle, but do it so spectacularly that others would think twice before publishing or saying anything similar.”

Erickson continued in his post to claim, “the terrorist wants to sow fear,” and that the LGBT community demanded the firing of Cochran “for daring to write that his first duty was to ‘glory God’ and that any sex outside of heterosexual marriage was a sin.”

Except what Erickson ignored was Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s own statement about the firing, saying clearly that Cochran was fired for his “lack of judgment in distributing the book to his employees, and not following instructions regarding his month-long suspension over publishing the book without notice to the city, is what led to his termination.”

Mayor Reed reiterated that, "His religious (beliefs) are not the basis of the problem. His judgment is the basis of the problem."

Not to be outdone by Erickson in exploiting the tragedy in France, the Catholic League’s Bill Donahue issued a statement just after the shooting in France and took little time to blame the cartoonists for their own demise, even claiming the paper's publisher would still be alive today “had he not been so narcissistic.”

“Those who work at this newspaper have a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of their depictions of religious figures.... Stephane Charbonnier, the paper’s publisher, was killed today in the slaughter. It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death.”

Donahue spends little time condemning the violence, but spends a great deal of time trying to silence freedom of speech, even going so far as to say he agrees with their anger over Mohammad’s portrayal:

“What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. On this aspect, I am in total agreement with them.”

Donahue’s statements are no different than blaming a rape victim for what she was wearing, yet Donahue can enjoy having such freedom to insult and diminish the lives of journalists and satirists because he knows his life will not be in jeopardy over such insults. It is too bad he cannot share such sentiments with those who lost their lives so senselessly over satirical cartoons this week while attempting to share in that same freedom.

Dan Arel is the author of Parenting Without God and blogs at Danthropology. Follow him on Twitter @danarel.
 
Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
[x]
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Activism
Drugs
Economy
Education
Environment
Food
Media
World