Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Religious Fanatics Have Forgotten America

Oh, Lord.  The complete morons on the far right are at it again.  Sorry, my mistake, they are clearly not complete.  They are incomplete.  Anyone spouting the lies and vicious attacks from the pulpit can only be partially all-there.

Nevertheless, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently happily applauded such absurdist comments made by Greenwell Springs Baptist Church’s Rev. Dennis Terry (left).  And what kind things sdid the good pastor have to say?

·       (1)  “There’s only one God, and his name is Jesus.  If you don't like the way we do things (in this country), I have one thing to say -- GET OUT.”  

I’d say that’s a hefty percentage of the country -- not to mention the world -- who will have to find other homes.

·         (2)  “This nation was founded as a Christian nation.”  

That would be a shock to someone like, say, James Madison (right), a Founding Father and a devout believer who nevertheless devoted his career to making sure this country had freedom of religion.  He drafted the First Amendment, which not only gives Rev. Perry the right to spout toxic nonsense, but also grants the rest of us the right not to believe.

Santorum was delighted with Terry’s comments.  Fortunately for him, Santorum apparently has a short memory about the negative role of such ministers in presidential campaigns.  Perhaps he might recall the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose comments on the 9/11 terrorists attacks briefly sidetracked Barack Obama’s successful run for the White House in 2008.  

Wright said the terrorists’ attack showed that God was punishing American.  He also blamed Jews for preventing Obama from talking to him.  He later said he meant Zionists.  Obama soon shunned him and his vile anti-Semitism.  Wright, however, was modest compared to his fellow clergy.

Santorum should check with Sen. John McCain, who lost to Obama in 2008.  One of his ministers, the Rev. John Hagee (right), claimed all Muslims have a “scripted mandate” to kill Christians and Jews.”  He called for attacks on Iran to initiate a new global war between Islam and Christianity.   In case you thought no one was listening, McCain recently also promoted the idea of attacking Iran.

An equal opportunity slanderer, Hagee called the Roman Catholic Church a cult that represented the “Great Whore of Revelation 17.”  For good measure, he also blamed flooding of New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina on “a level of sin that was offensive to God.” 

McCain’s other spiritual adviser was Rod Parsley, a televangelist.  He claimed the United States was founded … “with the intention of seeing this false religion [Islam] destroyed.”  He wants Muslims killed in this country as a prelude to a world war.

That trio hurt their candidates, just as Terry is doing.  Just ask another favorite of the evangelical crowd, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who once dreamed of being president.  He was “supported” by American Family Association and outspoken radio host Bryan Fischer, who castigated homosexuals.

Fischer (right) also didn’t overlook Muslims, today’s favorite whipping boy: “The reason is simple: the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security. Devout Muslims, who accept the teachings of the Prophet as divinely inspired, believe it is their duty to kill infidels.”

When such comments became public, Perry promptly dropped out of the race.

Santorum isn’t likely to do the same thing.  He is, after all, the last hope of racists and hatemongers.  And, as we all know, there are plenty of them.

Fortunately, they don’t know enough to keep silent.  They really think that everyone else is a misogynist pig and shares the same undisguised hatred of anyone who disagrees with them.  I don’t know what’s worse: their opinion of how this country should be or what they think of the rest of us.

I do know – and Santorum should, too -- that lunatic rhetoric has no place in the political life of a country built on the free exchange of intelligent ideas.  Maybe he’ll listen to former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat who is a devout Southern Baptist.

In a recent interview, Carter said: “When you think you are better than anybody else -- that you are closer to God than other people, and therefore they are inferior to you and subhuman -- that leads to conflict and hatred and dissonance among people when we should be working for peace.”

If that advice doesn’t work, perhaps the odious ministers, Santorum and his hate-filled companions might consider reading a poem emblazoned on the State of Liberty, the one about welcoming the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and not saying a word about their ethnic origins or religious beliefs.   They might want to read it aloud sometime rather than their usual message.  That’s something wholesome congregants might be able to listen to without nausea.

It is, after all, the complete message of this country.

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  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 books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers. 

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