Dismal theology-related tweet of the day

“Every evangelical Christian and every lover of liberty needs to send a communication to Governor Newsom and suggest respectfully, but forcefully, that he refrain from interfering further with Grace Community Church or any other group of God’s people gathered for worship. Then, each should also send an encouraging word to MacArthur, a rare preacher with conviction, who is standing courageously in an apostate era.”

Nonsense. The Governor has a plain, no-nonsense duty to interfere when a church, on either civil or ecclesiastical grounds, puts public safety at hazard.

Ecclesiastical? Is child sacrifice permitted nowadays, or stoning faithless wives and gays, or summary execution of impudent children? Nope. Several states, and countries throughout the world, have outlawed gay conversion therapy because it’s not merely wrongheaded, but cruel. Even the ritual sacrifice of animals by Santeria, and the kosher slaughter of animals, are policed to assure minimal suffering.

It is long and well-established that the public sector may, indeed, interfere in ecclesiastical matters when it entails Bronze Age cruelties.

Civil matters? That church building was built according to very specific design standards. So, too, the management of effluent and, even, the number of parking spaces. It has a maximum occupancy rating, and the church is subject to the imposition of fines if it fails to observe that maximum occupancy. The state may condemn the building outright if it is found to be structurally deficient.

The state has every right on earth to temporarily prohibit the use of the building to protect public health and safety.

I don’t believe for an instant that either Paige Patterson or John MacArthur is so stupid that they don’t know that. I think what is going on is that revenues are way down — I mean, w-a-a-a-y down — and now they’re trying to rally the morons to the pews with gaudy talk about freedom and persecution of beleaguered Godly folk. And if they catch a fatal sickness? Why … they’ve been called home to Big Daddy, don’t you know? They’re the lucky ones!

Personally, if these pitiful fools didn’t endanger innocent bystanders, I’d be all for them going to church and howling and bellowing — and good riddance.

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Tweet of the day

I personally know people who will nod their heads slowly when they hear this deranged screed — and conclude that The Donald is definitely on to something there.

The Republicans are no longer the party of accomplished, educated people; it’s the party of morons. Realistically, there is no intelligent, principled, conservative party in the United States any longer.

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The Catholic conversion of Native Americans

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue is severely upset by a New York Times piece about Junípero Serra, canonized in 2015 by Pope Francis.


[ … ]

A week later the New York Times maligned St. Serra in a front-page story by Laura M. Holson, “Sainthood of Serra Reopens Wounds in Colonialism in California.” She said that “Historians agree that he [Serra] forced Native Americans to abandon their tribal culture and convert to Christianity, and that he had them whipped and imprisoned and sometimes worked or tortured to death.”

This was a bald-face lie.

Et cetera, et cetera.

So I did what any idle Web surfer would do: I went to Wikipedia and found this:

Serra wrote a letter in August 1778 to Fernando Rivera y Moncada explicitly instructing the colonial commander to whip and shackle Indigenous men who escaped from Mission San Carlos.

I am sending them to you so that a period of exile and two or three whippings … If Your Lordship does not have shackles, with your permission they may be sent from here.

Deborah A. Miranda, a professor of American literature at Washington and Lee University and an enrolled member of the Ohlone/Costanoan Esselen Nation, stated that “Serra did not just bring us Christianity. He imposed it, giving us no choice in the matter. He did incalculable damage to a whole culture”.

Donohue’s Internet service doesn’t make Wikipedia available? Or is it just good for fundraising to cultivate a sense of grievance?

There certainly doesn’t appear to be any doubt that historians agree that Serra favored flogging unbelievers.

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Unhinged quote for the day

No religion, no anything. Hurt the Bible, hurt God. He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy, our kind of energy. I don’t think he’s going to do too well in Ohio. If he did, we’d have a big story.

Donald Trump, on Joe Biden

The truth is that Joe Biden is a devout, practicing Catholic, probably the strongest believer to run for the White House in a good while; I’m going to overlook that to vote against Trump.

But give Trump credit for knowing his base, for knowing how ignorant many of them are, and for knowing what they think. Vast portions of the upper midwest are indistinguishable from the Southern Baptist south: whatever name it has, they practice religions as degrading as the Southern Baptist; they will die without ever learning that Joe Biden is a devout Catholic; they devour conspiracies as avidly as a dog goes after a cook’s scraps. They really do think that Trump is a Great Man who “tells it like it is” and is interested in them.

They have no idea that Donald Trump is a corrupt madman. None.

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Pandemic growth

The chart below, from Mother Jones, tells you everything you need to know about Donald Trump and America’s management of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s nice to know, I guess, that we’re doing better than Argentina, and possibly Mexico, but it certainly puts an unhappy spin on the notion of American exceptionalism.

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