Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Religious Conservatives Continue to Twist Truth



Lies and more lies.  The religious right continues its ongoing campaign against the truth.  This time, the weapon of choice was an email full of distortions.  It reads in part:

"Will we be known as the generation that watched it all be gone by our political correctness or complacency???  Our poor founding fathers.  We are loosing (sic) our once great CHRISTIAN country from within. The more we throw God out, the worse it gets."

The email also claimed that in June 2007, Presidential Candidate Barack Obama declared the USA "Was no longer a Christian nation?" Remember, this year, when President Obama canceled the 21st annual National Day Of Prayer ceremony at the White House under the ruse of "not wanting to offend anyone?" Remember September 25, 2009, From 4 AM until 7 PM, the National Day of Prayer FOR MUSLIMS being held on Capitol Hill? Beside the White House?    There were over 50,000 Muslims in D.C.  It obviously didn't matter whether "Christians" were offended by the Muslim only prayer day event - We obviously Don't count as "anyone" anymore, as demonstrated by continuing efforts to discredit almost anything Christian.'

I could print the rest, but I don’t want to give such vicious nonsense more time than absolutely necessary.

For starters, contrary to the claim, this is not now or has ever been a Christian nation.  It was founded by humanists, deists, Unitarians and Christians, all of whom correctly realized that if one religion was allowed to dominate, that the United States would eventually be forced into the kinds of religious wars that decimated Europe.  That’s why the Bill of Rights begins by guaranteeing freedom of religion.

Cruz

Such a claim has to be read in context of Sen. Ted Cruz’s recent insistence that this country has to become a theocracy.  And, he’s a serious candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.  Even one who isn’t, former Sen. Rick Santorum, has also called for more Christian control of government.  So has Mike Huckabee, who just ended his run for the White House.

In addition, the statement “Taking back this country” is code for Christian control to the detriment of everyone who doesn’t believe.  That line is a direct result of polls showing a steady decline in the number of Christians and a parallel rise in nonbelievers. If Christian fanatics can’t win by argument, by God, they’ll do it by force.

Then, of course, the email is deliberately lying. The National Day of Prayer wasn’t cancelled by President Obama or by anyone else.  In fact, the President issued an official proclamation in observance of the National Day of Prayer this year as he has done every year in office.  This year, ironically considering this email, Obama called for religious freedom, reminding Americans that when "women and men of all backgrounds and beliefs" can "practice their faiths without fear or coercion, it bolsters our religious communities and helps to lift up diverse and vibrant societies throughout our world."

While it’s true Obama has not hold an official National Prayer Day ceremony in the White House, President Bill Clinton didn’t either.  Moreover, George H.W. Bush only held one during his four years in office.  That’s the same schedule followed by Ronald Reagan, and he served two terms.

Jummah Day of Prayer
In addition, despite the email’s claims, the so-called National Prayer Day for Muslims never took place. “The Jummah Prayer on Capitol Hill event was a one-time only activity coordinated by the Dar-ul-Islam mosque in Elizabeth (New Jersey) to 'clear up myths about Muslims,' said Imam Ali Jaaber, who attended the Sept. 25, 2009 event. It was never billed as a National Day of Prayer,” according to the Politifact website, and was held without White House participation or sponsorship.

The author of the email was trying to maintain the deliberate lie that Obama is a Muslim.  The president is not.

The author also wanted to promote the “religious” administrations of Bush I and II and Reagan.  Thank you, but I prefer competent leaders regardless of their faith. 

Reagan
Reagan ran up the largest fiscal deficit in human history, illegally sold arms to Iran, closed mental health facilities and sent patients into the streets, and had more than 100 of his administration members arrested while he was increasingly marginalized by Alzheimer’s.  George I wasn’t even re-elected.  Voters “read his lips” about taxes, which he raised after promising not to, but then, he was stuck with Reagan’s “voodoo” economics. George II is already recognized as the worst president in American history. His invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan may be the single worst foreign policy decisions in American history.  His attempts to counter scientific studies of Climate Change may turn out to be even more detrimental to this country.

Obama
I prefer not to have a religious litmus test for anyone who is president.  I think he should be judged by actions.  Obama ended the Bush recession in three years, an incredible feat.  He sliced the deficit; he rebuilt our status in the world undermined by Bush; he has reduced military action in Iraq and taken a sensible, careful approach with ISIS, a group engendered by the policies of the previous administration.  And, he’s done that without a hint of scandal.

This pro-Christian email had been circulating for at least six years before it was forwarded to me.  Hate, on the other hand, doesn’t have a time limitation.  Apparently, neither does lying.

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at www.williamplazarus.net.  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His most recent book is Passover in Prison, which details abuse of Jewish inmates in American prisons.  His books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at http://www.udemy.com/comparative-religion-for-dummies/?promote=1





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