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Store Your Treasures with the RNC

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Yeah, yeah, I know I haven’t been updating.  And at the worst possible time, what with the whole absurd ACORN pimp story going down, and Andrew Breitbart launching himself into the mainstream political discourse (or, rather, the mainstream political discourse lowering itself to the level of Andrew Breitbart).  If I’d been doing the blow-by-blow on that, it coulda been my ticket to INTERWEB STARDOM.

But really, I haven’t been posting much because, after a long break for some summer traveling, I returned to find Big Hollywood devoted almost entirely to the NEA thing, the ACORN thing, and the singing children thing.  Like, 5 pieces a day on each.  I just did not have the energy, y’all.  Those are three such lame stories.  I’m trying to be a polemicist here!  Give me something more to work with, BH!  Compare Obama to Hitler again!  Rep for Miley Cyrus and Twilight as our cultural saviors like you used to!  Go back to Comparing third tier GOP pols to sci-fi characters!  Something!  Anything!

Luckily, Doug Giles, a BH n00b late of, lulz, NRA News is here with his list of Doug Giles’ Top Ten Pastoral Strawmen.  Giles, you see, is upset that some pastors and priests are “avoiding the culture war.”  He doesn’t name any specific person, locale, congregation, denomination, or style, and he doesn’t explain what issues are encompassed by this “culture war” he thinks the clergy ought to be engaging in.  His wording is so weird and broad that I can only assume he’s pissed at any man of the cloth who doesn’t yell “FEEEEEEEETUUUUUUSSSSSS” at the top of his lungs every time someone uses the letter “O.”

As far as I’m concerned, a silent or waffling pastor in today’s paranormal climate is unnecessary. I don’t care how much the minister likes kitty cats, candy canes, and if he cries at Celine Dion concerts. Look, Voiceless Vicar, if you’re not currently in the middle of this crucial cultural squabble, pointing out what’s putrid and cheering on what’s proper, then you’re Dr. Evil in my book.

I don’t think “paranormal” means what he thinks it means.  And “Voiceless Vicar”?  Did I get sucked in to a 13th Century miracle play or something?  And why is liking candy canes a sign of weakness on par with Celine Dion fandom?  Candy canes are delicious!  I guess enjoying seasonal confections makes me the biggest fag in fagtown.

But let’s go through the Reasons Some Pastors Don’t Have Big Jangly Balls Like Doug Giles one-by-one:

1. Fear of Man: If you purport to be a man of God then your regard for God and His opinion must trump the trepidation of the creature God created from spit and mud. Come on, man of God, don’t fear the crowd . . . we’re peons with cell phones who’ll shoot Botox into our foreheads. We’re weird and fickle weather vanes of what’s en vogue. You’ve got to lead us. Therefore, move into the Moses mode and command us to be and do what is holy, just and good. The grinning, mild, subtle Oprah approach doesn’t seem to be stemming the current flood of cultural filth.

I’m not sure where homeboy is getting the “spit and mud” thing.  Maybe he should be more angry at his local pastor for not explaining Genesis 1-2 better.  And maybe Giles and I just go to different services, but “DRINK THE BLOOD OF YOUR GOD” doesn’t sound like something Oprah would say.

2. Ignorance: Most people are not bold in areas in which they are ignorant . . . always excepting Janeane Garofalo, of course. I know keeping up with all the pressing political issues is maddening, but that’s life, brother, and if you want to be a voice in society and not just an echo, you have got to be in the know. Staying briefed is par for the course for the hardy world changer.

This one is most confusing to me.  What issues does Giles think churches ought to be concerned with?  The particular hobbyhorses of the religious right (abortion, gay rights, etc) haven’t changed in a generation.  Does he think pastors should be up there yakking about whatever bullshit story cable news is fabricating that day?  “My children, please bow as I COME TO YOU LIVE WITH EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS ON THE LACI PETERSON STORY.”

3. Division: Y’know, I hate the current non-essential divisions in the church as much as the next acerbic Christian columnist. Squabbling over the color of the carpet, who’ll play the organ next Sunday or who is the Beast of Revelation, is stupidity squared. That being said, there’s a time and place for a holy throw-down and an ecclesiastical split from political policies and parties.  For a minister to seek unity with secularists when they are trashing and rewriting Scripture with impunity is to side with vice and to allow darkness to succeed.

Yeah, ministers should definitely not associate with political groups that are rife with secularists and want to rewrite the Bible.

4. Last Days Madness: Many ministers do not get involved in political issues because they believe that “it simply doesn’t matter” since “the end has come.” These defeatists believe that any change in the jet stream, war, earthquakes, a warming globe, the success of a corrupt politician—or even a new Shakira video—are “proof” that God is getting really, really ticked off and that His only recourse is to have Christ physically return and kick some major butt.  Attempting to right culture is, in the defeatists’ eyes, equivalent to polishing brass on a sinking ship; therefore, they are content to simply pass out gospel tracts, tramp from Christian rock concert to Christian rock concert, eat fatty foods and stare at Christian TV.

WTF crazy-ass church is Giles attending where they talk about Shakira videos as signs of the End Times?  Because I want to go there.

5. Sloth: Classically defined, sloth is lethargy stemming from a sense of hopelessness. Viewing our nation and the world as an irreparable disaster, where our exhortations, prayers, votes and labors will not produce any temporal fruit, leaves one with all the fervor of a normal guy who’s forced to French kiss his sister. If you’re wondering why your flock is so apathetic, Pastor Eeyore, ask yourself if you have stolen the earthly hope that their valiant efforts can actually prevail in time and not just in eternity.

OK, I guess laziness is bad.  But like… was Doug Giles “forced to French kiss his sister” once?  That’s an oddly specific example.

6. They don’t want to lose their tax-exempt status: Many pastors, priests and parishioners have been cowed into inactivity by the threatened loss of their tax-exempt status if they say anything remotely political. This can make pastors who don’t, or won’t, get good legal advice about as politically active as Howard Hughes was during the flu season.

As long as they aren’t endorsing specific candidates, this will not happen.  Even if they do, it probably won’t happen.

7. They bathe in paltry pietism: Pastors avoid politics because such concerns are “unspiritual,” and their focus is on the “spirit world.” Yes, to such imbalanced ministers, political affairs are seen as “temporal and carnal,” and since they trade in the “eternal and spiritual,” such “worldly” issues get nada.

This bunch is primarily into heavenly emotions and personal Bible study, and they stay safely tucked away from society and its complicated issues. How sweet. They forget that they are commanded to be seriously engaged with our culture or fall into the worthless manure category Christ warned them of (Mt. 5.13). Snap.

Unless Giles has some sort of New Translation for Manly Badass Cultural Warriors edition of the Bible that I don’t, Matthew 5:13 doesn’t say anything about “manure,” unsurprisingly.  And again, Giles doesn’t explain what being “seriously engaged with the culture” would look like.  Because if complaining about Shakira videos isn’t up-to-the-minute enough for two millenia-old religion, I’m at a loss.

8. They have bought into the Taliban comparison: Pastors have muffled their political/cultural voices because they fear being lumped in with Islam by the politically-correct thought police. The correlation made between Christians’ non-violent attempts at policy persuasion and the Taliban’s kill-you-in-your-sleep campaigns is nothing more than pure, uncut crapola.

That’s a neat rhetorical trick there.  I’m engaging in a “non-violent policy persuasion” to convince people that we ought to bomb Iraq, Afghanistan, and probably Iran until there’s nothing left.  But see, see, my call to do that is non-violent.  I’m just like Jesus!

9. They can’t say “no” to minutiae: Some ministers can’t get involved in studying or speaking out regarding pressing issues simply because of the ten tons of junk they are forced to field within their congregations. Spending time wet nursing 30-year-olds without a life and being bogged down in committee meetings over which shade of pink paint should be used for the women’s ministerial wing of their church, ministers are lucky if they get to study the Bible nowadays—much less anything else.

Pastors aren’t supposed to be part of their community!  They’re supposed to be spending their time shouting at their community!

10. They like the money: The creepy thing about a lot of ministers is their unwillingness to give political or cultural offense when offense is needed, simply because taking a biblical stand on a political issue might cost them their mega-church, which means their seven homes, their Bentley and their private jet. Oh well, what do you expect? Christ had His Judas, and evangelicalism has its money loving hookers.

Again, I’m confused here, since, as a group, mega-church pastors tend to be the more political than their Catholic or mainline Protestant counterparts, with their hippie-ass lives of modest, local service to their communities.  Don’t they know about ACORN?  Don’t they know about Van Jones?  Don’t waste your time taking Communion to that bed-ridden old lady, padre.  Read the Washington Times instead!

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Written by dieblucasdie

October 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm

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