Friday, October 20, 2006

Revealing the Christian Right: Octiber 2006

The following conversation took place on the Wednesday, October 18, 2006 broadcast of The Randi Rhodes Show and was rebroadcast the next day, Thursday, October 19, 2006. In our neck of the woods it was broadcast on WCPT, 850 AM out of Chicago, Illinois. The caller in question is apparently Henry Bechthold, the author of Right Wing Politics and Religion: The Unholy Alliance Exposed. We present this portion of the coversation here because it highlights some of the points that we have expressed here in the past, only in a more conversational form.

We hope you enjoy.

Randi: Henry in Minnesota.
Henry: Hi Randi, thanks for taking my call.
Randi: You're welcome
Henry: I'm a conservative Christian Pastor but please don't hold that against me.
Randi: I'll hold anything against myself that I can.
Henry: Oh. Okay. Ah. I can tell you why the so called moral Christian Right supports Bush's torture policy and why these moral conservatives are often caught up in financial scandals, as well as why they head up committees to protect children--you know, like Congressman Foley--while attempting to seduce under age pages at the same time.
Randi: Okay
Henry: And the reason for each of those things--the first one that I mentioned, the torture--they can easily support torturing prisoners because of their sadistic, perverted belief system. They believe that their God demonstrates love and justice by torturing people eternally. And most people really don't get a handle on what that means until you actually do the math. If Hell was limited to one trillion years--and according to them it goes on for trillions of trillions--but if it was limited to one trillion years, that would mean that the average person who lived an average seventy year life expectancy, this God of love and justice that they talk about would be torturing that person thirty thousands years for every single minute that person lived on earth, fourteen billion to one units of punishment...And what's more frightening is (that) they teach in defiance of the overwhelming weight of Bible evidence. I'm a pastor. The Bible does not teach that. God is not like that. So they are arrogantly choosing to persist in believing in this kind of sadistic justice. Which raises the question, do we want these kind of sadistic minds running our government?
-------Regarding the second item, why they're so often caught up in financial scandals, they easily practice this in the secular area because they've been doing it for years in the church, Randi. Things that are just unconscionable. There has never been a secular operation that has practiced the kind of price gouging that they do in the church. They take these cassettes that they buy in mass quantities for 30 or 40 cents and they sell them for seven dollars. They take CDs that they buy for less than 50 cents and they sell them to their people for 15 to 20 dollars. Videos that they buy for 60 or 70 cents they sell for 20 dollars. They use one thousand and two thousand percent markups--and this is on The Free Gospel, the message is The Free Gospel of Grace. And they've been able to justify this for years. We shouldn't be surprised to learn that this goes on public. And they misappropriate funds. The Jesus that I read about in The Bible, he talked about ministering to the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and so on. The church is probably the biggest business in the world. And the average Christian doesn't know know the kind of money that they are sitting on.
-------And if all the Christian Churches in America alone--Christian Churches and ministries--in the United States gave just one out of five dollars to real ministry, to helping the poor and so on, there would be enough money to feed every starving child in the world three meals a day, plus to build five thousand brand new million dollar homeless shelters. Five thousand of these across America. And there would still be enough money to help a million inner city kids who are going to school in gang, drug-infected war zones. And there'd be enough money to take a million of these kids and pay the tuition in a safe, private, Christian school...And that's not all, Randi. It's estimated by The Bible League that 5000 million Christians around the world don't have Bibles. And this is in the Third World Countries where these people don't have anything and they're suffering from persecution. They would still have enough money to furnish a brand new Bible for every one of the five hundred million Christians. So the only thing you can come up with is that they don't practice what they preach. They're fat cats, they spend it on themselves. They're building mega churches while children are starving and homeless people are eating out of garbage dumpsters.
-------The third Item, and I appreciate you giving me a couple of minutes.
Randi: Oh you're making me cry.
Henry: The third item is talking about how they can easily practice such kind of hypocrisy like what Foley did. It's because they've been doing it for years. These people, one of the big deals that have been going on in recent years, as we all know, Dobson and all these guys are going all over the country trying to male sure that we keep the Ten Commandments in our secular arena. Right? In the public buildings. Little do most people know that behind closed doors these same guys stand up in their pulpits and they tell their church members, the Christians, that the Ten Commandments were abolished and nailed to the Cross of Jesus. Now if that weren't the ultimate hypocrisy, where you're out there trying to get the secular world to keep and honor them while in the churches you say they're abolished.
Randi: What do you mean by that? I'm not familiar with that.
Henry: Oh absolutely. There's a large section of the Christian believers that teach that Jesus nailed the Commandments to the Cross. We're saved by Grace and because of that how you live doesn't matter. You say the prayer, you're going to heaven regardless of how you live. That's probably how these guys can live the way they're living and claiming to be Christians and so on.
Randi: Wow. That's quite a waiver.
Henry: Absolutely. And that is the absolute truth. It's a well known and much believed teaching.
Randi: So they think the Bible's been amended? With a waiver from Jesus?
Henry: Well, the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross so they're not responsible. But for some reason they want everyone in the secular world to keep them.
Randi: That's really shocking I never heard of that before.
Henry: Oh yeah, and we know how they harp on Hollywood--and I'm a conservative myself.
Randi: You said so.
Henry: I like conservative values. They talk about all the violence and how it's ruining our kids. Well, one of the new video games that's on the market is the Left Behind Series.
Randi: Oh, I know. Tim, my producer. He saw that yesterday and sent it to me and I was inundated yesterday. I wanted to do a whole show about "how does religion fit into your life, is your, do you relate religion, fit it into your life, is this your, do you relate, you know, Where do you want your kids to get it?" I wanted to have this discussion in America really bad, but we didn't mention it because we didn't want to inflame anybody and think that I was limiting their conversation. But I saw the video game and it was violent.
Henry: Yes it is. So amazingly enough, for years they've been criticizing Hollywood for putting all this violent stuff out, but I guess if they can make a buck on it it's okay.
Randi: It's like a signing statement for the Ten Commandments.
Henry: Yes, exactly.
Randi: Wow!
Henry: And I don't know if you mind if I make a shameless plug, but I've written a book called Right Wing Politics and Religion: The Unholy Alliance Exposed... The front cover has a picture of George Bush, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson riding crusader horses. And I should mention that I listen to a lot of this conservative jargon, a lot of their conservative talk show hosts, and Randi, they accuse people like you, liberal talk show hosts. I've heard them say this many times--that people like yourselves, the liberal hosts, are only able to monologue. They say they're not able to and that you're afraid to dialogue with them. Can I mention some of their names?
Randi: Sure. but I've tried to dialogue with them. It's impossible. They talk over you. They don't talk to you. They talk over you or at you
Henry: Yes
Randi: The second you declared yourself a Christian Conservative; if the rolls were reversed and I was calling you and you were a conservative Christian talk show host and I said "look, I'm a liberal Democrat and I'd like to talk to you about Christian values," they wouldn't listen to a word I said. They'd have their finger on the button in the middle of a breath I took I'd disappear from the show.
Henry: Oh yeah. I've heard them do it.
Randi: It's a technique, it's actually a technique.
Henry: I've heard people like Laura Ingrams start screaming "Get off my air! Get off my air, you moron!"
Randi: Well, I've yelled at people too, but usually because the called me names, not because they said "I'm a Christian conservative and I won't talk about something with you." O spend more time with conservatives than I do with liberals. I put them in the front of the line, not the end of the line, so that they don't chicken out, they don't run away. I want to know what they have to say. I want to know if there's an argument for this.
Henry: Guess what. People like Hugh Hewett, Micahel Medved, Laura Ingrams, Dennis Prager, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Mark Levin. Mike Gallagher, I've emailed them. I've gotten a couple of responses back that they received blah blah. They don't want any part of it.
Randi Let me ask you something. If you're a Christian Conservative, them I'm a Christian Conservative, because my values sound more like yours than Christian Conservatives on the radio do...So, as a Christian Conservative, what do you make of my values that you hear me espousing on this show?
Henry: Well, you know, I'll be honest with you. This has been a journey, coming out of this thing and not too long ago I had the blinders completely on myself and I did a lot of research and just a lot of prayerful meditation, and that kind of stuff and over the process of writing this book the last three or four years things have changed. I haven't heard a lot of you thus far, but from what I heard you say today I just have to..well, the vast majority of the things I've heard I agree with you. The things that are going on in our country, the compromises are absolutely ridicules. These compromises and this immorality and unethical behavior done in the name of God which is a slap in the face of God. And this is the point that I make. If these people can do this to their God and their Bible whom they claim to love and serve, what will they do simply to a secular government and a constitutional document? If they can justify these kind of compromises and this kind of hypocrisy and dishonesty, and outright sadism when it comes to relating to God in the Bible--which they claim is their highest value--can they be trusted in the secular arena at all?
Randi: Let me just say this to you. You have made me feel healthy today, sane today, you know, good today. You filled me up with hope by saying what you did. And I'm crying because you know, this is the kind of debate that takes place on my side of the aisle. Theirs is a dogma that is not retractable. It is what the talking points say it is and nothing more and nothing less. It is to include torture, it is to include the disappearing of Americans. It is to include a unitary executive. It is to include the stealing of Christmas diatribe that is about to start again...

We hope you read with extra interest the portions that were presented in dark blue.

1 comment:

Daniel Gallagher said...

I'm well familiar with this kind of thinking. I had it drummed into me for years until I realized that the people doing so were a buinch of liars, thieves, and whoremasters.

In the Catholic Church the Confessional provides the same kind of release--or excuse if you prefer. But whether it's the confessional or the 10 Commandments nailed to the cross, it basically comes down to cheap grace.

The born again belief system, ideally is supposed to work like this. If you are truly reborn what's in your heart is supposed to be reflected in your acts, thoughts, and deeds. But all too often it creates a situation where you say the eleven word prayer, claim you have been reborn, and then do as you will without regard for guilt or remorse. In real life we call this George Bush Theology.

By dismissing acts and good deeds you crate a situation in which it is easier to transgress and commit offenses against others. That is my big complaint against faith only movements. The born again philosophy is based on only two--TWO-- phrases in the Bible but ignores the majority of the New testament which reveals the born again theology as theological rubbish.

In sharp contrast to the born again BS there are many "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots." And I am not talking about quotes from the Old Testament. There are many phrases in the Bible, in the NEW Testament, in which Jesus specifically tells us how to behave. Are we to assume that He was just passing the time because it was a boring Tuesday afternoon, that Jesus gave specific instructions because he just wanted to hear himself? What a pathetic commentary on the Christian faith. Sadly the good acts passages of the Bible are in direct contradiction with the born again passages. Which should we follow? Who knows? Don't ask the faith only crowd because they don't even know. For a group that claims the 10 Commandments--indeed the Old Testament in general--was nailed to the cross, the Born Again people sure don't mind quoting the Old Testament as a club or a theological Mein Kampf when they want to demonize others.

Jeeze. You don't think these people suffered a shortage of oxygen during the re- birthing proceess do you? Born Again Christianity? I'm sick of a philosophy that has hijacked Christianity and allowed a major religion to be contaminated by and dominated by sexual sadists and psychopaths in phony Christian clothing. Screw it. Born again theology is a a hellacious tumor on the body of the Christian Church. Cut it out, radiate the indvidual cells and send them to the Hell they so justly deserve.