Death of a con man

Bishop Eddie Long, the acclaimed Pastor of Atlanta’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and a noted pederast, has died. He was 63.

Ho-hum. He was just another con artist, though more successful than most, and his passing is noteworthy for only what it tells us about religion.

Long went to New Birth when the church had just 300-some members; today, it has more than 25,000 members, with campuses throughout the United States. In 2010 he was enveloped by allegations of sexual relations with several young men from his church, and the scandal followed a course long-familiar to connoisseurs of pious flim-flammery: Denial, denial, denial, acknowledgement of ‘misunderstandings,’ a settlement using the money given to the church by deluded believers.

All accompanied, of course, by swaddling Bishop Long in the loving bosom of his church family and condemnation of the young men he groomed and victimized.

Tom Rich, I think, gets it exactly right:

Long was a despicable human being for sure. He used a perversion of Christianity to get his hands on people’s wallets and their genitals. But those who supported Long with their money and love and adoration also share in the blame – they helped form this man into who he became and granted him the power and provided the venue for his abuses.

Ask any police officer, journalist, lawyer, social worker, doctor — anybody with first-hand professional experience of abuse of any kind in the church environment — and every last one of them, no exceptions, will tell you the exact same thing: Congregations all-but-invariably rally to the pastor, even when he admits wrongdoing, and victimize his victims a second time.

There is a reason why this is so, and it tells you something about who is sitting in church. Healthy adults simply do not sit still for the cult-like degradation embedded in Christian ethical teaching — and, yes, I am saying what I seem to be saying: However they wear it or hide it, there are mostly damaged, screwed-up, insecure people with grave character problems sitting in church. And that’s before you get to the part about the second-rate minds that accept those crazy stories about talking snakes, an Invisible Friend who deeds-over property in the Middle East, and a global flood.

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Dismal theology-related quote for the day

Bruce Gerencser points toward a piece written by a pastor’s daughter that is well-written but painfully oblivious. It ends with this arresting declaration:

The narrative of self-fulfillment is an enemy of the gospel. [ … ] Parents, teach your children life really isn’t about them; it is about Jesus.

That’s not bad, and analogous to my frequent criticism that the aim of Christian teaching is self-annihilation — the eradication of self-interest and self-direction because the self is evil.

So, to all of you who think I read things into sermons that aren’t actually there, I haven’t misunderstood Christian teaching; I have rejected it as untrue and affirmatively degrading.

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Those ‘fake news’ charges

As the loony right makes haste to dismiss any news report it doesn’t like as ‘fake news’, am I the only person who finds himself snickering at the similarity between the alt-right’s faux indignation at fake news and certain prominent evangelicals’ horror at gay sex? We have here, ladies and gentlemen, yet another case of the lady protesting w-a-a-a-y too much.

The Trump campaign directly benefited from fake news. Everybody knows that. It is news accounts of fake news attacking Hillary Clinton that made it a subject.

In the matter of that opposition-research dossier, the New York Times says knowledge of it, and its contents, were commonplace throughout D.C. in the last months of the campaign.

Its existence and contents became known by some Washington leaders last fall, while the presidential campaign was still going on.

CNN and other news organizations had been investigating the claims about Trump for several weeks but the report did not become public knowledge because those details could not be confirmed. Intelligence officials had presented the claims in a report to Trump but said that they, too, had not determined whether or not they were true.

CNN would not have done a story about the dossier’s existence if it hadn’t learned that intelligence officials had considered it so important that it told Trump about it, the network’s Wolf Blitzer said on Thursday. The CNN story was posted shortly after 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

Note that: The very news media which are now accused of fake news passed-up publishing accounts of it because, unlike Trump, they have ethical standards.

But, then, the question arises: Once CNN moved the story, didn’t they know that publication of the dossier, including the creepy undocumented story about the two hookers, became more or less inevitable? After all — every journo in D.C. had a copy.

I don’t know what was in Jake Tapper’s head when he published but … I think so. Yeah — he probably knew that somebody would go with it.

I don’t have a problem with that. We’re talking about the president, after all. Nobody is going to hold the secret of that funny little hobby over his head.

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You’ve probably been …

… wondering, “What’s up with Sarah Palin these days? Is she still a fantastic nutjob?”

Yes.

For one, when PE-Trump takes on corrupt lying lapdog media it is vindication and validation for those without a microphone who’ve been shot by reporters engaged in politics of personal destruction.

These “journalists” – bad characters that they are – hurt our nation tremendously; they disrespect those who fought and died to protect America’s freedom of the press; they spit upon the graves of our veterans. We deem those reporters and their publications irrelevant now.

HOPE in this arena soars upon seeing a fearless leader take on injustice.

APPRECIATION fills our heart when our new President exudes our collective red, white and blue courage in the face of purveyors of yellow journalism. Press members have worked as a herd of lost little lazy sheep. The herd is now decimated.

America’s challenges can now be tackled with seriousness.

The impossible burden of dealing with unethical mediums is off our shoulder – and that’s one less excuse leaders will have as we ask them to finally do the job we send them to do in Washington.

There you have it: Ask Trump whether or not his campaign colluded with Russia’s intelligence agencies to hack the DNC, and you kill a vet. So I’m thinking it’s probably the mean things that people like me keep saying about Trump that is the cause of Track’s legal problems. It’s another sign of my acute wickedness, I suppose, that I’m unable to feel as bad as I probably ought.

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Theology-related quote for the day

We’ve read for some time about the coming tsunami of church closures and now at least one state convention has a program and staff person whose responsibility includes “serving interested churches that are near closing and helping find creative solutions like mergers, cooperatives with other churches, or even utilization of property for church planting.” Sad to see but I’m glad there is a resource person in this area for churches to utilize. A sub-plot in this church closure/merger business is will be megachurches grabbing the assets of dying or dead churches for their real estate value.

William Thornton

This is good. All of Christian teaching rests upon Original Sin, the deranged teaching that to be born human is to be born depraved, guilty, under a just sentence of eternal torture. Good riddance.

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