Absolute, must-read, BREAKING NEWS on CNN
Absolute, must-read, BREAKING NEWS on CNN
Worth clicking on the link above to read the full text, but here’s an excerpt:
“…The phrase “benevolent sexism” sounds jarring, but it is the term social scientists use when people attribute “positive traits to women that, nonetheless, justify their subordination to men:” Women are beautiful and fragile; women are good with children; women are emotionally weak; God made woman as the perfect ‘helpmeet’ for man. Roof’s implication that white women need protecting from rape falls in this category.
One striking aspect of sexism and racism in Roof’s statement is the sense of ownership it conveys: “Our women” in “our country” need to be protected from black men who either don’t know their place or won’t stay in it. White men can and should kill black men because they are having sex in our home territory with women who belong to us. We own America and we own the women who live here, and black men don’t because if all was right in the world we would own them too.
The idea that women and minorities (along with children and members of other species) at some level belong to men of the dominant tribe can be traced all the way back to the culture and laws of the Iron Age, and the concept of chattel. The term chattel is related to the term cattle, and human chattel, like cows, exist to serve their owners and must stay where they belong. In this view, dominant men have a right or even responsibility to enforce social hierarchy. If women or slaves or children or ethnic and religious minorities or livestock step out of line, they must be punished to keep society in its proper order.”
It’s not applicable to all aspects of life, but it’s certainly applicable to time & money, as those are finite resources. When you plan out your day, in most instances, one event will have to take precedence over another. When you budget your monthly expenses, you will most likely have to make choices. If your bonus is used for a new car, it can’t also be used to make home-improvements.
Nowhere is zero-sum game more evident and distressing than in the case of religious institutions. The battle over California’s Prop. 8 cost US$83,000,000. One side was fighting for legal protections for existing relationships. The other side was fighting to ensure that the relationships of members of the LGBT community not be entitled to protections regarding health, inheritance and the basic rights and obligations the law affords heterosexual couples who decide to legally commit to each other.
As John Becker eloquently wrote: “Proposition 8 wasn’t just some random, innocuous ballot initiative — it was a cruel, animus-driven crusade to strip a disfavored minority group of an existing and fundamental right. The campaign to pass it relied on lies and gutter-level fear-mongering, flooding the airwaves with images of smiling children accompanied by ominous warnings about how much they’d be harmed if voters didn’t enshrine marriage discrimination into the constitution.”
Those 83 million dollars could have been allocated to other causes, even very serious causes like disease, hunger or poverty. After all, the USA has 31 million people living on the edge of hunger. The time expended on fighting over what, before the law, is nothing more than a legal contract, was directly and indirectly responsible for a monumental waste of resources.
And this is where people like the Faust’s and Grace Church Seattle come in. Every cent and every minute they spend on their destructive endeavours aimed at marginalizing the LGBT community from society- a process they embark on by mangling logic, spreading nefarious myths and promoting ignorance- is time and money that they do not use for productive causes.
In the past few months Mrs. Faust used an inordinate amount of time for these destructive pursuits. She created a website, for which she paid. She engaged an ‘editor’, she drove members of her circle to participate in her anti-gay propaganda, she made an appearance on a radio show promoting her venture. And the question we’re left with is what sort of ethics or morality is this that impeding two adults from signing a legal contract that only affects the signatories is of a higher priority than assisting those in great distress?
Here is where the magic happens and where they spread this perverse and disgusting vision:
(Picture has been removed at the request of Katy Faust)
What you see above is a map. A map of what Grace Church Seattle calls home communities. On their website they describe these groups as “mini-churches: the leader is like a shepherd who leads the group to be dedicated to living the Gospel in community – also known as Incarnational Community (a group in which Jesus Christ incarnates Himself). We ask that these groups be based on location, be open to newcomers, and prayerfully seek ways to intentionally serve and reach out to the neighborhood in which they live.”
If you examine the GCS website, you’ll find a wealth of interesting material. The indoctrination curriculum (they call them questions) for their home groups is particularly interesting. For the week of March 30th, one of the questions included was “Can Christians be Demonically Possessed?”
The list above is taken from Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups – Revised Edition by Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. They’re the most widely recognizable methods of psychological manipulation used by cults/sects. Most of these tactics are codified by GCS’s Membership Covenant, others can be gleaned from the delusive practices of leaders and members of the group.
Also worth highlighting is their total disconnect from reality. Despite having very rigid rules and regulations, they exempt themselves from those rules while asking that they be applied to others. The Faust’s endeavours are particularly fascinating in this regard. Mrs. Faust was creating and enforcing a hostile environment for LGBT children, teens and adults, but doing it from anonymity- and Mr. Faust now claims that exposing her is cyber-bullying and intimidation.
Note the contradictions in his writing, used to justify Mrs. Faust’s behaviour while attacking others:
He begins by implying anonymity is wrong when he falsely attributes it to other people. Followers know I’m anything but anonymous, having certainly been bored to death by my stories regarding my family history, Mike’s life as an actor in the RSC and beyond. Endless bad mirror pictures and pictures of our house from every angle imaginable. Many of you probably even know our dog’s names and where we go out to eat! But that fact doesn’t bridge Mr. Faust’s disconnect from his cult world to reality.
He then changes direction and implies that anonymity is only bad if done by other people. His wife is obviously not one of those behind the mask, emboldened by anonymity! Her anonymity is based in benign fear.
Isn’t that a clever trick? These people are experts in distortion. He projects his wife’s behaviour onto people who weren’t doing what she was doing, calls the behaviour wrong, and then finds a way to say “but if she did it, it’s totally justified!”. The rules that apply to others don’t apply to those within their sect.
This is an example of the Faust’s and Grace Church Seattle’s warped world view and how they use it to benefit themselves and further their agenda- in the next few days I’m going to continue analyzing their practices and the material they make available on the internet for a more in-depth look.
So there we go, it’s all out in the open now. And there’s nothing like a bit of sunlight and fresh air to remove that terrible stench from Astroturf. I say out in the open, but let’s keep going, because I don’t think it’s quite out in the open enough.
First let’s examine what happened. A religious posse formed, led by the wife of a pastor at a sect/cult called Grace Church Seattle. This group of self-styled crusaders had encounters on the internet to put forward their message: They’re against gay marriage. More so, they’re against homosexuality, but they mask that stance hiding behind the gay marriage issue. In communicating their propaganda they engaged in omitting, hiding, lying and deceiving. One pretended he wasn’t religious at all. Others pretended they didn’t know each other and just ‘happened to agree’ with the same forms of bigotry. Their intent was to fraudulently create the impression of an organic grassroots movement (with no hidden agenda).
I should clarify that this was by no means any great feat of investigative work on my behalf. All it took was a tiny bit of research for me to realize that all these independent opinionators of ethics and morality just happened to be sending their messages out from the same geolocation. On some occasions, from the same IP. I put that together with my previous knowledge of how these hate groups operate, and the rest is history.
It’s interesting that these people/groups feel all this dissimulation is a necessary part of their tactics. That speaks for itself. Websites with hidden registrars, no mention of their sects, a whole range of deceptive tactics- all in the name of their ethics, I suppose.
Make no mistake, this is the classic schema of a mafia protection racket. Whilst goons broke shop windows in the still of the night, only to offer protection to shop owners the next morning. These henchman foster and foment an environment where minorities are dehumanized, excluded and persecuted. This demonization is what feeds them and pays their mortgages. The leaders of these groups are opportunists, the more fear and hate they rally, the more money they make at the end of each month.
I have much more to say on the matter of these deceptive and disgusting practices. But I’m double booked today. We just finished a lunch, and we’re also invited to dinner this evening, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.
Meanwhile I leave you with this amusing document from the sect in question. Note how in the first item one has to submit to never disagreeing with doctrine. Which is why, my friends, their activities are the sham of an authoritarian regime. In North Korea, everyone also thinks the dear leader is total fabulousity.
Christianity has had, since its inception, an obsession with moulding the law to subjugate entire populations to the tenets of the faith. By the year 321 Constantine had criminalized work on Sundays, prohibited Jews from stoning those who left the Jewish religion for Christianity and required all soldiers to gather on Sundays to recite a prayer to the ‘almighty God’. In 323 the emperor imposed a law against idol-worship, statues, divination, and against pagan sacrifices. In 332 Constantine forbade heretical groups to assemble. Their buildings were to be surrendered to the catholic church*. From then to now a barrage of prohibitions and restrictions have been thrust upon the public- and it is here we must ask: Why? Legalizations force no one to behave in any particular way. They leave each individual the choice to look at issues and arrive at their own conclusions. The need to involve the law in matters of faith can only be evidence that either Christians don’t trust themselves or they do not trust each other. Further, it is evidence Christians wish to interfere with the freedom of religion of others by obstructing the rights of free citizens to choose their own faith or no faith at all.
(*For a complete list of 4th Century Imperial Laws regarding religion click here)
Over the centuries that followed early Christianity, the church was involved in all manner of arbitrary prohibitions, including on issues such as abortion. In the 5th century St. Augustine wrote of the “delayed soul” (originally an Aristotelian concept), this meant males were “given a soul” 40 days after conception, females only received theirs on the 90th day. In practical terms it meant abortion within the first 3 months of pregnancy was permitted. St. Geronimus on the other hand stated that an abortion was only wrong once the fetus retained a clearly human appearance (4th month). In the 12th century the church introduced new terminology to define the theories of both St. Geronimus and Augustine, fetus animatus and fetus inanimatus.
Pope Sixtus V was the first pope to entirely prohibit abortion (in canon law), but his successor Pope Gregory XIV went back to the animatus/inanimatus theory, and prolonged the period of abortion to 116 days. It was actually only in 1869 when the church turned its back on its history and omitted the animatus/inanimatus concept from canon law hence taking an absolutist and generalized stance against abortion (with the short exception of Sixtus V’ths 3 years of power). I’d make a joke on Papal Infallibility here, except the Papl Infallibility doctrine was also only defined at that same point in time: 1869.
The example above is merely an illustration of the erratic nature of religious belief. One that on the grounds of erraticism alone should not be used as a parameter of morality or ethics.
Today we continue to see various factions of Christianity still involved in attempting to coerce society into following the tenets of their faith through the proposal of blanket prohibitions- rather than following the tenets of their faith themselves. The New Statesman’s exchange involving Cristina Odone and Robin Ince is a prime example. Under the guise of defending something that has never been under attack, Ms. Odone wants to celebrate a conference designed exclusively to attack the lgbt community and gay unions. Her right to marry heterosexually is alive and well- but as history has shown, that’s not enough for a certain sector of Christians. They feel the need to bring down the strong arm of the law because their belief system, obviously, can’t withstand scrutiny or reason. It cannot stand alone. To this end, we have seen a steady decline in Christian belief and practices in countries like Spain and France where they can no longer dangle the sword of Damocles over the heads of those who who refuse to subject themselves to archaic and ignorant Christian mythology.
And before the Christian-du-jour leaves a comment saying I wouldn’t speak the same way of Islam (a shameless and oft-used attempt to deflect), let me correct you: I would, and I do. Along the same lines of everything written above, is the equally appalling case of Maajid Nawaz and Mo Shafiq. Mr. Shafiq isn’t fighting for his right to not depict his prophet, he’s fighting to obstruct other free citizens rights to depict whatever and whomever they choose- all on the very shaky argument of his right not to be offended.