Sunday, 2/9/14, Public Square




by | February 9, 2014 · 6:00 am

16 responses to “Sunday, 2/9/14, Public Square

  1. R.D. Liebst

    From the Fox news network and more how stupid are you network:
    They are now having people that say they are quitting their full time job to get on “Obama care”. Yes giving up high paying and great benefits jobs so they can get health care at a reduced rate! That makes total sense to get rid of more money and full time work so they can get health care and welfare.

    Oh I bet that Donald trump now feels like such a fool he amass millions if not billions of dollars selling his soul when he could have been living in a rent controlled apartment on the lower East side. Taking public transportation and standing in line to get his food stamps and a little monthly check!

    • No matter the topic, the right-wingers and their noise machine (Fox) conflate, exaggerate, amplify the ‘stupid,’ and the fear that comes from the ‘stupid.’

      (from the link): Sharing America with movement conservatives is like living with one of those bullying neighbors who sues people incessantly, over the tiniest slights, and then gets taken seriously in court. It’s exhausting.


  2. I had trouble reading this. It brought long-buried memories out of hiding. Although not as extreme, I was raised in a similar environment and at 66 years old it still has a dramatic impact on my life.

    It’s not a long read, I know Indy will see herself, maybe others too. I hope it doesn’t open wounds to read this. Remember you’re safe now! I read some of the comments too, and I’m glad some people escaped, although it seems, not unscathed.

    (from the link): Sometimes people ask me why I became an Unfundamentalist Christian. Well, the main reason is that I know what real fundamentalism is like. That’s because I was raised in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church, home, and school.

    The brain-washing, fear-inducing world of the fundamentalism I knew

    • fnord – I tried to open this link and all I get is a warning that I have potential security threats to my computer. There must be some ad connected to this link that is causing this problem?

      I’ve opened up the other link you posted above about the right wingers and had no problem.

      As much as I would love to read your linked article – I don’t think it is a good idea at this time.

      Maybe I am the only one having this problem?

      • I don’t get that warning, but I sure don’t want anyone to go anywhere that might cause a problem. I’ll copy and paste the piece! You’ll miss the comments only. Here it is:

        Sometimes people ask me why I became an Unfundamentalist Christian. Well, the main reason is that I know what real fundamentalism is like. That’s because I was raised in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church, home, and school.

        In that environment, there was always a very intense focus on the filthy rags verse. (All of us have become like one who is unclean / and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags / we all shrivel up like a leaf / and like the wind our sins sweep us away. —Isaiah 64:4.) We were indoctrinated to believe that we were completely worthless in the eyes of God; and this is how we came to view everyone else, too—which leads to the hubris and judgmentalism so common to fundamentalism.

        We were taught that we were dirt: undeserving, untrustworthy, deserving only of punishment. IFB humility is expressed as: “I don’t deserve God’s love; I don’t deserve God’s blessing; I’m so lucky that He doesn’t just strike me dead right here this very instant, because I am so evil and full of vile sin.”

        We were taught that Satan will take every opportunity to creep in and trick us away from “the narrow path.” Questions, doubt, and sin were of the Devil, evidence of weak faith, or of no faith at all. If you struggled with sin of any kind, then maybe you weren’t really a Christian after all. Maybe you needed to pray the sinner’s prayer again, and really ask Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you—and this time really mean it.

        They preached eternal security—except when they doubted your sincerity of heart, which they did whenever evidence of any change in your life didn’t meet their standard of “Godliness.” You can be certain of your salvation once you are saved, they taught—but they also worked relentlessly to create doubt in the minds of their followers as to whether or not they, the followers, were truly saved in the first place. So we all lived in perpetual fear and doubt of everyone and everything, including, and perhaps most especially, ourselves.

        If someone from the outside questioned our beliefs, a standard response was that Satan was using them to try to trick us.

        Always the focus was on absolutely unyielding convictions and certainty.
        There was such a strong focus on the verse “not of works lest any man should boast” that the IFB people in my world did no works at all. There was no caring for the poor, no helping the homeless, no feeding the hungry, no clothing the naked. Getting people to church was the only “works” any of them cared about. Conversion and “right belief” were the cure for everything. Drug addict? Alcoholic? Smoker? Find Jesus. (It’s your free will to choose to do these things, after all, they taught: just stop doing them, and pray for God to take your sin away.)

        Dance, drink, listen to worldly music, or go to movies? Find Jesus. Attend the wrong kind of church? Find the real Jesus. Your husband hits you? Bring him to church; he just needs to get right with Jesus.

        About people who were down and out, they taught, “Well, that’s just evidence of them not having God in their life, not living the right way, and God not blessing them because they are sinful. And, anyway, they like their sin; they enjoy it; they don’t want to change; they hate God.”

        It’s that attitude that causes IFB congregations to severely marginalize and fear “the other.” In the world in which I grew up, no one ever showed any compassion or grace to anyone outside our circle.

        And we were definitely taught not to question authority. “How dare you ask God why that child died?” I heard—and often, “How dare you be angry with God? You just need to accept God’s will.” And most certainly we all constantly heard, “How dare you question our God-anointed pastor?” (who, in the IFB, is always male).

        If you had tough questions about things that didn’t make sense, you were told that you just needed to pray and read your Bible more, that clearly you were weak-minded and failing to fight off the influence of Satan. Having questions meant that you weren’t trying hard enough. The implication was that maybe you just weren’t qualified to live the life of a true Christian: you obviously hadn’t fully surrendered your heart and mind to God.

        We were also taught to never even think about questioning our parents: they knew what was best for us (even if what was “best” meant reinforcing wrongheaded thinking, destroying our self-esteem, and submitting us to the care of toxically unhealthy people). “Of course your child won’t like corporal punishment,” they taught parents. “But you need to make sure your punishment of the errant child hurts. They won’t remember to do right next time if you don’t hurt them the first time. Your job as a parent is to break the will of the disobedient child, and conform his will to your own—just like we are to conform our own will to the will of God. Punishment isn’t supposed to be fun; it’s supposed to get the child to obey.”

        I can’t tell you how many sermons I heard on how the state and the government, if they had their way, would take children away from their good, God-fearing Christian parents, “just” because such parents “discipline” their children the way they are supposed to. And so we all had ingrained in us a deep fear and distrust of government.

        We women were taught to never question or doubt our husbands, or men generally. The man is the head of the house, we learned from birth, the head of the church—and, of course, God himself is male. All IFB women are taught, “What right do you think you have to question authority? You need to submit, and obey, and avoid idle talk.”

        And I’m sure I’m not the only fundamentalist kid to have a “Left Behind” story: of waking up from a nap, say, and for whatever reason not being able to find a single soul, which sent me running through the house and outside, looking for anyone who might possibly be born again so that I could relieve my anxiety that the Rapture hadn’t taken place.

        Constant fear and doubt: we were weaned on it, and it was never far from us.

        This is the patriarchal, ego-fortifying, psyche-destroying, soul-crushing, domineering, brain-washing, fear-inducing, manipulative, spiritually abusive world of the fundamentalism I know so well. They know nothing of an unconditionally loving God—the God that, since I have gotten away from that awful world, I have come to know and love.

        It’s for these reasons that I am very pleased indeed to today call myself an Unfundamentalist Christian.

      • fnord – I did not realize you had a similar experience growing up with fundamentalist churches.

        The fact is – my mother was the one that got seduced into this Independent Fundamental Baptist mega church by that fast talking preacher man. I was still in high school, so I was older when first confronted by this evil.

        When I was younger, my family attended a small Baptist church (I don’t even remember what version of Baptist it was – that subject never came up that I remember).

        In that small Baptist church, we had a preacher that was a kind, compassionate, caring and devoted man. He was older (a retired man) who was never paid a lot of money to preach. Half the time, I suspect this old preacher man gave back his Sunday’s paycheck to the collection plate because the church was not that large and we had a lot of bills to pay.

        But this devoted older man did more in the community than the mega church preacher man ever did.

        I remember this older preacher laughing and smiling when we came to church. He especially loved the singing and there were no light shows or staged musical events like these mega churches perform. We were just a group of neighbors and friends that got together every Sunday to take time to collect our thoughts, think about the coming week and trying to make sense of this journey through this earthly life.

        God was not displayed as some invisible man in the sky just waiting to pounce on us if we dared to step over the line. The God we learned about was loving, kind, compassionate and caring.

        My little Baptist church was not so much into proselytizing or evangelizing the world into submission to OUR version of Christianity.

        Rather, my little Baptist church was more into being there when people needed help. And we helped without thinking about what was in it for ourselves.

        Isn’t this what a church home should be – people caring about people?

        I stated above that my mother was seduced to go to the Independent Fundamental Baptist church by that preacher man – and I firmly believe it. He was one of those smooth talking used car salesman type – you know what I mean.

        And he always seemed to have a preference in talking to the women… surprising is that?

        My mother dragged all of us down to the new mega church and that is where I eventually decided to go to the Fundy Baptist college.

        And, as I’ve shared previously, my days at that college would make a good book. But, problem is, nobody would believe it……….those folks were crazy…LOL

        You know how life seems to go in circles?

        I met my husband when he came to my suburb town to be the preacher at that same little Baptist church that I spent my younger childhood days. That is the same little church that got into the nasty feud with my mother’s mega Independent Fundy church when I married my husband.

        During the 7 months my husband preached at that little Baptist church, I was so saddened by what was becoming of that little church. There was an evil cancer eating at the very soul of the church – IMO.

        But…..that is what happens when people put themselves into the position of judging who is worthy and who is not worthy. Who is God’s favorite and who is not.

        That is what is so frightening about the Republican Party an their Fundy Christian Right Wingers – I see that same evil cancer of people who have given themselves God’s role as judge, jury and executioner.

        No man has that right…….. I don’t care how much you profess to be God’s favorite – God never gave me that memo.

      • I’ve never been to any church that didn’t use some of these methods to a certain degree. The Southern Baptist I attended every time the doors were opened used fear, used “the narrow path” — Satan was working in your heart. If there were challenges in your life you had to double down on ‘getting right’ or it was your fault (you were worthless in your efforts). There was NO compassion shown to those who hadn’t successfully gotten right with God. There was always more fear than love! Here’s just one comment to this piece:

        Even more moderate conservative churches convey these ideas. I lived in it until recently as a teacher, trying to inject compassion, love and…well, real spirituality in my lessons. The idea of anything experiential or contemplative was viewed as un-scriptural (isn’t that how God communicated with those in the Bible?) It finally caught up to me as some began to say I was teaching un-Biblical ideas. So, I have now “come out” and I must confess, my accusers were right. I was not teaching the view of the Bible as they believed. However, rather than causing strife in the body, I decided to quietly step out of that church. The church is full of good and loving people. I am great friends with the pastor. This was our community…this hurts. It is also the best thing I have ever done. To respond to Cat, “What to do?”…Love the people, forgive them, and love them some more. That is following the example of the Savior.

    This article caught my eye – especially since I know for a fact that my son and his wife recently got their propane refilled and was charged $4.50 as compared to $1.25 last November’s refill. Plus, they were limited to 100 gallons – due to this shortage.

    But, doesn’t it warm your heart to know that from the graphic cartoon above – the richest 1% will still feel proud that they had their beautiful moment even when destroying everything around them.

    Our priorities in this country are all screwed up……and we had better pay attention to what is really happening around us.

    • Indy, I’m facing the same problem. I’ve paid over $1000 in January and have already used $1200 since January 21. I have absolutely no idea how I’ll pay for the next load and if the cold keeps up like it is now, I’ll owe HALF of my next 6-month farm check just for propane. I have no idea how I’ll live until September. My little paychecks from the newspaper don’t even cover my monthly bills, I still have income taxes to pay and I’ll have property taxes in May. I rely on that farm check.

      Thankfully, I’m all stocked up on food for dogs, cats and humans and the dogs are caught up on shots and I have heartworm and flea medicine. I suppose my prescriptions and cable tv will have to go. There is nowhere else to cut. I have not heard we’ll be rationed, but I suppose that’s true. I’m afraid to call and find out!

  4. R.D., this one is for YOU!

    • All this religious discrimination and hate toward ‘others’ has me totally disgusted. Kansas is trying to ‘control’ women, gays, minorities… and blame it on their deeply-held religious convictions. At both the state and federal level they are literally taking food out of the mouths of people who are hungry so they can give more to those who already have the most. Then, they want to pat themselves on their X-tian backs for all their goodness and superiority.

      Jesus wept.

  5. As angry, disappointed, sick at heart as I am about the right-wing religious evangelinuts, this is absolutely true!

    • bobwhitenks

      Yes, I agree that “it’s your right to be wrong.” But it is not your right to impose your error on others. It is your right, only for the consequences to be upon you, not everyone with whom you associate, even by accident, let alone on purpose. We tolerate your right to be wrong because we believe you are worthy and capable of correction. And that is the way we want to be treated when we are wrong, too.

  6. (from the link): The entire Atlantic seaboard would vanish, along with Florida and the Gulf Coast. In California, San Francisco’s hills would become a cluster of islands and the Central Valley a giant bay. The Gulf of California would stretch north past the latitude of San Diego—not that there’d be a San Diego.