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Belief

This Week in Religion: Woman Didn't Report Husband's Dead Body for 6 Months—Had Prayed for Resurrection

Plus various other absurdities.
Week after week the Christian Right makes claims to the public about the prejudice they face, such as being denied the right to dictate how a women controls her body and what pills she is and is not allowed to take.

Yet when it comes to other religions actually being discriminated against, the Christian Right falls totally silent. This is exactly what happened when the city council of Kennesaw in Georgia voted 4 to 1 to reject the proposal for an Islamic center to open in a town stripmall.

Council member Debra Williams wanted to make clear the vote had nothing to do with any anti-Islamic prejudice. Williams claimed that she and the other council members did not believe a religious center should be located in a shopping center, saying, “I believe it’s a retail space. It’s as plain and simple as that.”

The problem with Williams' statement is that just months prior, the city council unanimously approved the Redeemed Christian Fellowship Church’s use of a retail shopping center space, completely contradicting her claim. 

This type of religious prejudice would cause an uproar from the Christian Right had it happened to them, but when it happens to others, we hear nothing.

The Christian Right is in an uproar in Florida, however, where officials have approved the Satanic Temple's request to erect a display alongside a Christian nativity scene. While the capital rotunda has long been a place for competing holiday messages, from an atheist display to a Festivus pole, this will be the first time a satanic display has been approved.

The display, which features the Bible verse fromIsaiah 14:12 which reads, “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” and features a display of an angel falling from heaven into the fires of hell, is deemed offensive by the opposition and had previously been rejected by the state for being “grossly offensive.”

The state's change of heart comes after the organization Americans United for the Separation of Church and State threatened the state with a lawsuit.

“Free speech is for everyone and all groups,” Americans United executive director Rev. Barry W. Lynn said in a statement. “State officials simply can’t get into the business of deciding that some unpopular messages are ‘offensive’ and must be banned.”

It is odd that the Christian Right finds a display depicting a story straight out of its own holy book to be so offensive.

Speaking of offensive displays of belief, Pastor Steven Anderson has come up with a solution to cure the AIDS epidemic by Christmas.

His plan, you ask? Simple. "If you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant,” said the pastor during a recent sermon.

That’s right, the easy solution to the global AIDS crisis is genocide. No religious leaders have yet to speak out against this blatant hate speech. It seems silence from the Christian Right is possible after all.

The offensive actions of the Christian Right do not stop here, however; it seems a religious organization out of Florida has found a way to exploit the homeless and needy for quite a large profit; by making them indentured servants. New Beginnings of Tampa, which offers food and shelter to the homeless in return for labor such as staffing concession stands at professional baseball, football and hockey games. Many of the homeless laborers are recovering alcoholics who are then assigned to serve alcohol at local sporting events.

The practice itself is not new, as organizations are simply required to track hours worked and compensate with food and shelter that would be equal to what they would earn under the $7.25 minimum wage. The practice is most common with the religious charity the Salvation Army.

New Beginnings CEO Tom Atchinson admits to not tracking worker hours, so there are no records proving workers are compensated fairly. This leaves those in his debt unable to stand up against the organization for fear of losing the food and housing provided.

The organization charges those who do not provide labor to pay $600 a month for its services. To put that in some perspective, New Beginnings' profit from 2013 was $932,816. To recap, this is a non-profit that makes just under a million dollars a year and still charges those in need for its services. This must be the compassion and care for those in need Jesus was always on about in the Bible.

It is not often we hear crazy Christian fundamentalist from our friends north of the border, but a family in Canada is making headlines after the wife of Peter Wald pled guilty to failing to notify authorities of Wald's death.

Why didn’t she notify the authorities? According to the police report, Kaling Wald was waiting for her husband’s resurrection. Mr. Wald had died six months prior to authorities discovering the body upon delivery of an eviction notice. Peter Wald, who suffered from diabetes had an infection on his leg and instead of seeking medical attention turned to prayer. When the infection took his life, his family turned to prayer believing God would resurrect him.

“We were trusting God. We thought, ‘OK, Lord, you know better,’” Kaling Wald, 50, told the Hamilton Spectator after the court hearings.

To prove that religious privilege exists in the much more secular Canada, Mrs. Wald will not serve jail time or be forced to undergo psychiatric treatment. Instead, she was given 18 months probation and ordered to take a class on the health risks of keeping a dead body. The reason for her lenient sentence is that Mrs. Wald truly believed her husband would be resurrected.

“This is not about your religious beliefs. It is about your safety, the safety of your children and the safety of the community at large,” Superior Court Justice Marjoh Agro said of the sentencing.

Assistant Crown Attorney Janet Booy said, “It’s an extremely sad case. She truly believed her husband was going to be resurrected from the dead, even after six months.”

Mrs. Wald stated after the hearing that she would never do this again, but also said that she expects that her husband will be resurrected in due time.

 

Dan Arel is the author of Parenting Without God and blogs at Danthropology. Follow him on Twitter @danarel.
 
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