Texas Governor Rick Perry to Co-Host Jesus Summit with Fundamentalist Hate Group
Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, has proclaimed August 6 as a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God’s guidance.” And by “God,” you know he ain’t talking about Allah, Zeus or Ahura Mazda. Even more shockingly, Perry is co-hosting this offensive event with a designated hate group, the American Family Association. They’re a sad bunch of rabidly anti-gay fundamentalist Christians hell-bent (no pun intended) on remaking America “to reflect the Biblical truth on which it was founded.”
“Given the trials that beset our nation and world, from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and continued debasement of our culture, I believe it is time to convene the leaders from each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel,” Perry explained in a statement.
“I urge all Americans of faith to pray on that day for the healing of our country, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of enduring values as our guiding force,” he added.
Again, by “Americans of faith,” it’s pretty clear that Perry means evangelical Christians. I wonder if those with faith in satanic rites, Rastafarianism or the Prophet Mohammed are welcome at Perry’s Prayerfest? Yes, that was a rhetorical question.
Perry continues: Americans, he says, “must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles” because “some problems are beyond our power to solve.”
There you have it. All Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs– or lack thereof– must call upon Jesus to solve their problems. I’m sure our Jewish friends will immediately drop to their knees and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to remedy all their ills. And I’m sure that calling on Jesus is the best way to solve the financial crisis, climate change, rampant corporatism, the Chicago Cubs’ World Series drought and any and all other problems facing humanity today.
Doesn’t anyone else see a problem with this?
I am so embarrassed to live in a nation and in a time when the vast majority of people do believe in god and religion. And not only do they believe, they firmly believe that theirs is the one true faith, superior to all others. In the case of the Christ cult, they hold with sanctimonious certainty that they are the only ones who will walk with God in the Kingdom of Heaven, regardless of what evil they’ve done in their earthly lives, while everyone else– that includes the likes of Gandhi and the Dalai Lama– is condemned to the eternal flames of hell simply because they refused to accept Jesus as their lord and savior.
How lucky for these Jesus lovers that they just so happened to be born into the “one true faith!”
Now consider this. Perry, who once issued an official proclamation exhorting Texans to pray for rain during a drought, may run for President next year. And he’ll have the support of countless millions of evangelicals who truly believe that begging skyward to some imaginary friend could actually make it rain.
Two hands working can accomplish far more than two thousand hands clasped in prayer.
I know, many of you are asking “what harm can a little prayer do?” Well, it takes no more than a glance through the annals of the history of Western civilization to answer that one. Would that you could ask that question of one of the countless victims of the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witchcraft hysteria, the 9/11 attacks or the children who died of curable diseases because their parents were too Christ-struck to trust modern medicine and instead placed their faith in the “healing power of prayer.”
Faith. The very word implies eternal enmity with truth and reason. To paraphrase the great Mark Twain, faith is believing what you know can’t be true.
How true that is! Case in point: after last year’s disastrous Gulf Oil spill, Governor Perry seriously opined that the tragedy could have been an “act of god,” therefore implying that safety regulations were unnecessary. Deep down inside I suspect Perry played the God card in order to advocate a loosening of government oversight, and thus more oil company contributions to his campaign coffers.
This is the same dangerous thinking that’s got some hard-core Christ cultists rubbing their hands at each new global crisis, especially ones taking place in the Holy Land. And boy, are there lots of those! To the Christ-stricken, such strife is desired because according to the biblical Book of Revelation, it will harken the Second Coming of Jesus and their ascent into heaven in the rapture. It isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination to see that part of the reason why George W. Bush and his regime, many of whom were devout Christ cultists, felt no remorse about laying waste to half the Middle East, or about enthusiastically backing Israeli crimes against humanity, because in their minds they must have truly felt– truly known– that they were doing God’s work here on earth and hastening the glorious return of the Lord.
Indeed, it should frighten the bejeezus out of any rational human being that our elected officials believe such utter nonsense. And not just ours– the other Western religions, most notably Islam, are supremely convinced of their own infallible superiority. I believe that one day, maybe hundreds or thousands of years from now (if mankind makes it that far), people will look back at the various religions whose dogmatic certitudes led to the slaughter of millions with the same eye as we now view the Pantheon of Roman gods. I believe the enlightened citizens of that distant age will come to define religion as inimical cults slaughtering each other over who had the more awesome imaginary friend.
For that’s all gods are, nothing more than imaginary friends. Prove me wrong. You can’t. Of course, that is part of the allure of religion, at least for the ignorant masses who make up the bulk of their adherents. At the very root of faith lies the implicit bargain that in return for salvation, you’re not to ask too many questions. Yours is not to reason why, yours is but to pray and die, and hope you weren’t wasting your time denying yourself earthly pleasures in pursuit of the glorious ever-after. Said Martin Luther, the founding father and original hero of Protestantism: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but–more frequently than not –struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”
Those words ring as true today as they did when he wrote them nearly 500 years ago. And for good reason. Just as the work of Copernicus, a contemporary of Martin Luther’s, was denounced as heretical for daring to posit that the earth revolves around the sun, those who dare illuminate the ridiculous assertions of those who believe, for example, that dinosaurs walked the earth with humans because the Bible says so are met with scorn and contempt by Christian authorities.
Instead of “Days of Prayer,” what this country– and this world– really needs is a new age of enlightenment in which the dangerous fairy-tales that are religions are condemned to the archives of history where they belong. Of course, a world without religion does not mean a world without ignorance or conflict, for what this planet really suffers from is first and foremost a homo sapiens problem, then a religion problem. But just as humankind has turned the page on some of the more obvious superstitions of our ancestral past, so too must we one day turn to a new chapter that will teach us how to view our universe with the clarity of unfettered logic and reason.
Unfortunately, such a day will not come in our lifetimes, or a hundred lifetimes to come. It is with heavy heart and great embarrassment that I acknowledge to whomever may read this a thousand years from now how ludicrously Christ-stricken the civilization of which I am a product really is.
And in such a society, the Rick Perrys of the world will thrive, prospering from the ignorance of millions, held tenuously in check only by the determined few who believe not in God but in logic, reason, justice and equality. This is the crusade which we, the reasonable, must ceaselessly fight.
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