126. bandy

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bandyverb1. To pass from one to another or back and forth; give and take. 2. To throw or strike to and fro or from side to side, as a ball in tennis. 3. To circulate freely.

Some days I stare forever at a blank screen and wonder what to write about.

Some days social media just hands it to me in a neat little package with a bow.

I was tipped off to the fact that this weekend (on Friday around noon, to be precise), John Piper, the homophobic pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis, went on the following homophobic rant:

I’m not really sure what set him off this time, aside from Maryland’s upcoming vote to approve same-sex marriage, but I love the fact that he started his rant with a self-fulfilling prophesy. And that all this translates to: “The sky is falling!”

To briefly address each of these tweets one-by-one, as I just said, by quoting 1 Corinthians 4:12, he’s giving himself license to throw up his hands later and say, “We told them they were going to hate us!” He’s refusing to take responsibility for the wrong-headed, offensive nature of his theology that prevents him from accepting anyone who doesn’t live up to his notion of what a decent human being is supposed to be.

As to his second tweet (which rings mildly treasonous), as the Fifth Doctor said of the Daleks, “However you respond them is seen as an act of provocation.” Conservative fundamentalism is and has been living in a wartime mindset for quite some time, convinced as they are that we are living in the End Times and that the return of Jesus is nigh. They are also convinced that the person of Satan is actively working in the world to pervert it and incite the human race into rebellion (deliberate or inadvertent) against god. This tweet won’t make make sense unless you understand that very important point.

To the third—well, I’ll get to that in a minute.

To the last one, his definition of marriage is so narrow and based on something that is itself a fiction that to tie it into something as insoluble as “the glory of god” would be laughable if it wasn’t tragic. If you aren’t familiar with that phrase, one of the central themes of Piper’s teaching is the primacy of the Glory of God, a concept that is found throughout the bible, but may be more familiar to Catholic and Anglican readers from the answer to the first question from the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Now, I may not be a deity, but if I handed you a list of ways I felt were acceptable for you to show your love for me, you’d be quite right to call me a narcissist. After all, that’s in the very DSM-IV criterion for narcissism.

I don’t have to tell you that I think Piper terribly wrong, or that he’s dangerous and a societal menace. But through his Pie In The Sky theology, he is directing everyone who listens to him (and there are a lot of them who literally hang on his every word) to be precisely the opposite of the qualities that the figurehead of his religion exemplified in the Gospels (if you leave out the crazy bits like cursing fig trees)—namely, showing love, acceptance, charity and generosity towards your fellow human beings.

And these are the people of my state who will be going out in November in droves to vote in the affirmative for the constitutional amendment defining marriage as only being between a man and a woman.

Tell me again that religion is harmless.

Now, to that pesky third tweet. The insanity of these reformed theology fundamentalists is how they pick and choose which parts of their bible they will apply to the rest of the world—as if the rest of the world was somehow supposed to recognize the authority of a 2,000 year-old book authored by a xenophobic Bronze Age tribe obsessed with blood and sexual purity. For instance, since they’re so hot for quoting Leviticus when they’re bashing gays:

“You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it. You shall not interpret omens or tell fortunes. You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”
— Leviticus 19:26-28 (English Standard Version)

How many Christians do you know who openly sport tattoos, trim their facial hair, read horoscopes and eat rare steaks?

“But that’s the Old Testament” the contemporary Christian whines. “Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets. We don’t have to follow those old laws anymore.”

Then it stands to reason that if he fulfilled the ones above, then he also fulfilled all the rest, including Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13; and if those have been nullified, then the whole rest of the case for homosexuality being a “sin” falls apart. And what is John Piper and that third tweet of his left with at that point other than prejudice and bigotry? For that matter, what is the American Family Association, Peter LaBarbera, James Dobson, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and the denizens of fear and ignorance left with?

The sad truth is that they, along with the rest of America that refuses to progress, will be dragged kicking and screaming into obsolescence, watching in a prison of self-imposed horror like Elizabeth Báthory as their influence withers and wanes before their little despotic eyes.

If gays are allowed to marry, will that endanger heterosexual marriages? Nope. As it’s been observed, the only people threatening heterosexual marriage are heterosexuals.

If teens are taught about safe sex or *gasp* the existence of homosexuals in school, will they turn gay? Nope, although apparently the American Life League would seem to disagree slightly.

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9 thoughts on “126. bandy

  1. I saw the posted video clip before. I particularly enjoy the dirty old man parallel they use. “If a dirty old man showed these things to a ten year old in the park, he’d be arrested, but when planned parenthood shows them to kids in a classroom *it* gets government money.”

    Yes, yes, and if a dirty old man went around whispering “I love you” into people’s ears he’d also get arrested. Therefore couples should not say I love you. If a dirty old man tells kids to see him after class for detention, I’m sure he’d also be arrested. Therefore detention should be nixed. Anything that is inappropriate for a dirty old man to do in a park is obviously wrong, because if a dirty old man can’t do it, then who can?

    • David

      What these people really hate is anyone enjoying themselves. For some reason they really hate it and consequently want everyone to be as repressed and miserable as they are. To quote “Chasing Amy,” what these people need is a good deep dicking, and I mean that in the most generous way possible. They all need to get good and laid, and then maybe, just maybe, they’ll calm down and just let everyone be. Because that’s what people are trying to teach kids: That sex is not a big deal. (Well, it is, but it also isn’t.) Sigh. Oh, conservatives.

  2. Matt L

    The fourth Piper quote is the only one that makes sense to me. He’s saying “Look, they hate me because I’m an ignorant dick just like Jesus said I should be.” I’m incredulous at how many people think he is the paragon of a Christian pastor, and how many of those people I know personally.

    The other quotes don’t even make sense.

    • David

      The other quotes make sense in light of the first one (the 1 Corinthians quote). They also make sense in light of Matthew 10:22. “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” They assume that Jesus is talking to them (what presumption!) as well as the twelve disciples. Again, you have to read all of Piper’s quotes in terms of war language. They believe that they are in the midst of a cultural fight; and that they know that are on the unpopular side, not because they’re being dicks but because Satan is trying to turn the whole world against them. Remember, I went to his church for three years. They’re going to hold on and continue to stand for “what’s right” no matter how bad things get for them, because they believe that a New Heaven and a New Earth is waiting for them that is better than anything this shitty ol’ world could ever offer them. They think that Jesus is going to reward them for being bigoted, busybody assholes. And that is the saddest part of all.

  3. This post is great, good points made, and well stated.

    I love that video, thanks for posting. I like how they assume the people watching know what fisting is, but they don’t want to teach it to kids. Classic.

    • David

      Danke, Cullen. I love how conservatives are opposed to perversion but they’re also obsessed with it; as if they really wished that they could get up to all sorts of mischief but are too afraid to.

    • David

      I just enjoyed the visual of Michele Bachmann growing old and even more shrewish while cowering in her house to hide from all the gays after same-sex marriage is legalized and people stop caring about it.

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