Within the last couple of weeks the Christian fundamentalist types have really come out swinging, as it were, suddenly emboldened to do so since the political climate is beginning to favor them, it seems. Please pardon me if I refer to some of these folk as “fanatics” on occasion. It is difficult not to do so when you watch programs such as the “Jim Bakker Show” where they constantly emphasize that “something bad is coming” or that the end of the world and Christ’s return is at hand! All the while they have developed a new gimmick (one would think that Bakker had learned about such gimmicks after going to prison, but perhaps not) in which he and his “ministry” are selling “Staying Alive” food based upon a supposed dream he had. Yes, at one point I was literally laughing so hard I was crying as Jim Bakker was offering this “Staying Alive” food while his PTL singers were singing “Stay’in Alive!” (song and film produced and sung by the Bee Gees; song released 1978 and film released July 15, 1983). You can’t make this stuff up!
Yes, Mr. Bakker is so emboldened that he literally flaunts the Johnson Amendment as something the he will not abide by, taking the lead, it would appear, in this regard. Because of this, he has had one guest (sometimes several at a time) after another who were willing, as he prodded them, to make political statements, always pro-Trump and anti-“liberal” (and some even stating that there was some nefarious reason Bakker really went to prison because the government was after him). But, really, this should come as no surprise to anyone. Ever since the 1980s the fundamentalist fanatics have been trying to get someone whom they could call “our man” into the office of President of the United States. Now they believe that they have succeeded. Never mind that he is not perfect; “God” will use him anyway like Cyrus! All the while he isn’t going to save America from whatever calamity may be on the way, so one simply MUST buy this food they are selling along with all of the fanatical books being hocked on almost every broadcast! It seems to me that Trump is likely to turn out more like ole Akhenaten who was so busy with religious matters within his immediate realm that he allowed the outer realms of the Egyptian Empire to crumble around them all. But, that is just my own opinion. Unlike these Christian fanatics, I do not claim prophecy in this matter.
Now, I truly hope that no one before me has coined the term “Christamericans” and if they have, I ask forgiveness for using it here without giving credit. But when the term came to my mind I knew that I would have to use it unless I found it used elsewhere. In doing some internet research, I found it nowhere. And the term is perfect for these people. These are a different variety of Christian, the ones who really turn everyone off from Christianity by their actions and words. You know the type; those who KNOW exactly the way to salvation and everyone who does not follow THEIR interpretation of it is going straight to hell! Those who are sure that the end of the world is so close that you can taste it and who, in the mean time, do absolutely NOTHING to prevent catastrophe(environmentally, militarily, politically, or otherwise). After all, global warming isn’t real and all of history is in “God’s” plan.
But worse than that, they are determined to put their own into political office in this nation so that everyone will have to abide by their “Judeo-Christian” laws! Thus, they WANT American government and Christianity to be intertwined as if they were one and the same. And they don’t care about any religious minorities in this nation, period. That is, with the exception of the facts that (1) they want to convert all others and (2) they want tax money from non-Christians (sometimes even for the purpose of supporting or propping up Christianity). The media routinely refers to them as “evangelicals (which they are). But it seems to me that Christamericans is a much better term for them. They simply MUST have it their way or “God” will punish us all! But since disaster of some kind is coming anyway, according to those like Bakker, then they are prepared to store away food and when that time comes, to reap a harvest of souls for Christ as they give away food at the price of having to listen to the gospel (much like a local homeless shelter where I live)! Bakker himself has stated that that time will be the “greatest soul-winning time” in all of history!
And part of the price that will have to be paid, according to these fanatics, will be the destruction of the state of Israel by her “enemies” because that must take place before Christ can return! So Israel, so very much like America in many ways, including that they play American-style football there, is to be destroyed. Another Holocaust! I, personally, think that there ought to be a better way than this. But for the fanatic it is all in the plan of “God”.
Yes, these pro-gun, severely conservative, severely capitalist, Obama (and Hillary and now Bernie Sanders) hating, mostly low-educated, Trump supporting, pro-Israel (no matter what), Muslim hating, liberal-bashing, suddenly pro-Russian, sometimes white supremacist oh, so perfect people are determined that you will be just like them in every way and support their churches too. They will say that their god will coddle you through every step of your life as if you are a baby while at the same time consigning you to eternal hell if you don’t believe just right!
Anyone ever notice that the Roman Empire is by far the favorite punching bag for the fundamentalist Christian fanatic, especially when they want to at the same time demean Paganism? Well, obviously, it was just a matter of time until Perry Stone, Jr. on the “Jim Bakker Show” started in on this trend, doing so in an effort to smear the “left” by comparison. I won’t quote the whole thing. But, in part, Perry stated the following: “The Roman Empire was [he should have said “is” here] classified as a very tolerant empire because they let you worship any god or goddess you wanted to worship unrestrained [not quite] because every Roman city with Roman temples and priesthoods had tax revenue for the Roman Empire. As long as those pagan temples prospered, the Roman government got income. Christianity comes along – now remember Romans spos’d to be tolerant of everybody including Christians. They’re spos’d to say, ‘hey, if you’re a Christian that’s your business.’ But here’s what happens; when Paul went into those cities to preach so many people got converted it shuts the temple down [false]. You know what happens when it shuts the temple down, don’t ya? There’s no more offerings for the priest; no more sells (sic) at the market for the animals; there’s no more silver shrines to Dianna [actually Artemis] being made in the book of Acts and the man in Ephesus said we have to arrest them and get them out of town; our money is in jeopardy.”
Then Stone goes on to talk of certain people hating churches [obviously referring to Bernie Sanders who has become their new punching-bag, if you will. Apparently they are done with Hillary Clinton for now except to refer to her as “Jezebel”] because of their tax exempt status. He then further goes on to talk about how the Romans called the Caesars “king” and worshipped him and the Christians would not do so. Then he uses the term he has been waiting to use by stating that the Romans called the Christians “intolerant”! Never mind that this is one term that was NOT used against Christians in the Roman Empire so far as I have found. But he is trying to make his point here because the “left” is always calling the “right” “intolerant”. Now get this, not only has Mr. Sanders already been labeled as a “persecutor” of Christians on this program and others, but now it is being stated that he hates Christian churches because of their tax-exempt status; never mind that Jewish Synagogues are also tax-exempt in exactly the same way. That nuance never enters the mind of Mr. Stone and, of course, he never tells his ignorant listeners either.
Then he goes on to state how “In the Roman Empire there was no day off” and continued to expound that because the Jews had a day off (each week), the Christians wanted one too and were therefore called “lazy” by the Romans. Then he goes on toe expound about the Christian “love feasts” as being seen as possibly cannibalistic and orgiastic by the Romans, mainly because they were held in secret and outsiders were not allowed in. He stated that this was a “misunderstanding” that was “propogated against the Christians” by the Romans. Finally, he states that in “66 AD” Nero started “this horrible persecution of Christians”, finally emphasizing that it was because they were seen as “intolerant”.
The nice response to Mr. Stone here is that this is a completely misleading diatribe commonly perpetrated by Christians, most of whom don’t know any better. And it is obvious that Stone has either misunderstood or deliberately misconstrued whatever history he has read, because he has certainly read something (sources I have also read, no doubt). So here is the REAL TRUTH. The Roman Empire (and the Western world in general) WAS tolerant of all religions (except enemy religions like Atenism and Zoroastrianism), for the most part. They didn’t like Judaism, but it was tolerated also because it was seen as “old”. But they did not easily tolerate “unrestrained” worship, so this word insertion is incorrect. What Stone’s mind has in it when he mentions “Roman” temples in “Roman” cities is anyone’s guess, but the government did not collect tax revenues directly from any temples. Not even the Jewish temple, as is commonly assumed. In fact, if they had been there can be no doubt that Roman generals would not have destroyed so many temples of all kinds as they conquered or put down rebellions, etc. (not to mention the fact that there is absolutely no evidence for the assertion). So this is simply false.
Mr. Stone asserts that the Romans were rather automatically intolerant of Christians from the beginning. Not so. He paints this fanciful (and often repeated) picture of Paul’s preaching gaing multitudes of converts, including in Ephesos, so that there the temple had to be closed down. NOT AT ALL SO! This temple continued to function until later Christian emperors had it forcibly closed down not long after a Christian fanatic destroyed the very ancient statue of Artemis that had been inside of the temple in 400 CE. However, the Christians who did exist there did tend to disrupt the local economies so that fewer sacrifices were made, etc. But this had nothing whatsoever to do with revenue going to Roma! And, yes, the Christians refused to call Caesar “king” or to worship him. They disrupted everything they could, in fact, socially.
But they were not called “intolerant” for this. They were called “Atheist”. This was the term commonly used to describe Christians because it was felt that if they could not accept the deities of the Roman State then they must not really believe in any deity after all. The term “intolerant” would have given them a status that they had not achieved at that point in time. There simply were not very many Christians, so they could not afford to be “intolerant”. Who were they to be intolerant of, the majority Pagans? No, they didn’t become “intolerant” until the time of Constantine and afterward when they were in power! THAT is when they became “intolerant”! During this time-period the injunction “love thy neighbor” found in the gospels was transformed into “turn in thy neighbor” as everyone turned on his or her neighbor, directed to do so by the Byzantine tyrants in the name of Christianity!
Further, the bit about Christians wanting a weekly day off is just comical! The truth is that Romans had plenty of days off. They were called “holydays” when festivals took place. But they did not take days off each week and it was not the Christians they called “lazy” for having a day off each week, it was the Jews. The Christians got a weekly day off by default because they had been part of Judaism before splitting off from it.
Yes, the Romans did think that the Christians were doing nefarious things in their “love feasts” because they were secret and, in some documented cases, they WERE. Christians would in later centuries turn this around and claim that the Pagans had been practicing nefarious things in their Sacred Mysteries (with no real evidence, I might add).
Finally, Nero did NOT start a “horrible persecution” of Christians in 66 CE. He started putting down a revolt of the Jews (and Christians) emanating from Jerusalem in that year. But they love to twist history around to their own liking, don’t they? And none of it had anything with Christians being labeled as “intolerant”. Again, they were labeled a lot of things (such as Atheist), but that was not one of them.
The bottom line here is that temples in the ancient world, including in the Roman Empire, were not money-generating machines for the empire, but were gods communication machines. Those who state that the Romans collected taxes from these temples are sadly, and probably purposefully, mistaken. They love to spout this piece of propaganda in order to make the Romans look bad. I have seen it time and time again. Frankly, if they had been collecting taxes from them they would have put most of them out of business (which is exactly why the churches and other religious organization need tax exempt status in the first place). These are just facts. But people like Stone don’t care about facts, they only care that they can get rich themselves off of other people’s gullibility!
But that’s not all. On the same episode, if I may use that term, of the “Jim Bakker Show” Perry Stone, Jr. stated that the Christians had nothing to do with the revolt and subsequent fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE because they had all left and gone to Pella. He stated that the reason (get this because it is important) that the early church in Jerusalem was selling everything and giving to the poor was so that the poor would be able to go to Pella when calamity came. This, as far as I can tell, is a truly new twist on this event. See, the book of Acts states that they were all together in one accord and everyone who had lands, property, etc. sold it and gave it to the church, which distributed it equally as anyone had need. Thus, a socialistic social structure. But that is anathema to these Christamericans (including the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity) because the early church just could not have been “socialist”! NO, capitalism is “God”-ordained to these folk! So there must have been some other reason that they first operated in this manner and Mr. Stone has found it in the spurious account of the early Christians fleeing to Pella when the revolt began! And that just makes it all better, doesn’t it?
Further, what he does not tell you is that the myth that Christians went to Pella was created by Eusebius of Caesarea, who, as scholars generally agree, was a consumate liar and fraud. But “Christian” history has latched onto this when, as I showed in my first book “Apocalypse and Armageddon”, they would not have gone to Pella because it was just too close to Jerusalem itself (How in the world could they be safe from Roman forces there?!), but must instead have gone to Alexandria and intermingled with the largest Jewish population outside of Jerusalem at that time, where they could hide and be safe until things calmed down. Even so, the idea that they had nothing to do with the revolt, etc. is false. They helped start the whole thing and some of them stayed in Jerusalem and, no doubt, died there!
But Stone didn’t even stop here. In the midst of all of this supposed history he addressed the “left”, asking “What are you afraid of?” He makes everything the Christamericans do sound so inoffensive by stating that they are about protecting babies, protecting marriage, feeding people, clothing people, and building orphanages “with Christian money” (get this, it is important). And while it is certainly true that Christianity has done, in most cases, a marvelous job of creating orphanages and tending to these other social issues, Stone launches into this attack upon Atheism here when he screams “Show me an Atheist that’s built an orphanage! Show me an Atheist that’s ever done anything good for anybody but themselves!” What he apparently didn’t know is all one has to do is Google “atheist orphanage” and you have your answer. And he could just as well have been attacking Pagans in this way. One should expect exactly this in the future when they are sue they can’t ignore us anymore.
Stone goes on to attack Bernie Sanders even further by asking “Mr. Bernie, what are you afraid of in having a man like that [Vought] that’s such a good man that has moral values? What frightens you about him? And you know what they’ll say. ‘Well, he’s gonna force people to be Christians.’ You can’t force people in a belief system. . . . Nobody’s telling them were gonna kill you if you don’t convert. Isis does that; Christianity does not do that!” Apparently Mr. Stone (like most Christians) has never read the history of the time period between 70 CE and the beginning of the Dark Ages, so I must simply recommend my second book “Killing Roma”, which is replete with examples of Christians forcing others to convert and destroying their holy places, etc. Yes, it is the history of early Christian “intolerance”! It is the section of history that the Christian fundamentalist type most does NOT want anyone to know about!
The rest of Stone’s ranting is really not worthy of rebuttal. Still, even more proof that the Christian will say anything, falsehood after falsehood, to get their point across is the “episode” of “The Hal Lindsey Report”, aired on June 23, 2017. This report speaks of a couple of legitimate concerns, surrounded by one falsehood after another, specially with reference to Bernie Sanders. And here it becomes painfully obvious that Lindsey has done little or nothing beyond watching, you guessed it, the Jim Bakker Show along with, perhaps, a smattering of Fox News.
Lindsey begins by stating that the coward (my word) who shot Republican congressmen at a ball game was a “left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter.” While it is true that he worked on Sander’s campaign, Lindsey’s apparent aim is to smear Sanders by comparison here. Lindsey goes on to complain about Trump being compared to Hitler, stating that it is an invitation for violence. No mention, however, of the multitude of comparisons of Obama with, yes, Hitler over the years, and even worse than that. Oh, no, people like Lindsey have NEVER done anything like that! Actually, not only did they, but the even created a picture of Sanders in Nazi uniform during the campaign, which circulated widely on the internet so afraid were they that he might actually get the nomination. Lindsey goes on to cite the play “Julius Caesar” and how wrong such a play, with Trump in it as Caesar, is. Without going into detail on this, I would simply like to state that I don’t condone depicting any American president or other politician as being assassinated, period. Beyond that, however, I really don’t like Trump being compared to Caesar. Caesar was a great man. Trump is not (and, I think, never will be).
Finally, Lindsey laid into Bernie Sanders himself, stating that Sanders “declared government off limits to Christians” (false). Lindsey stated of Sanders, “According to his vision of America, anyone who believes the Bible must not be allowed to hold a high government position. . . . Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Vought is free to hold any religious belief he wants, however, if he thinks Islam is a second-class religion he must not be allowed to hold a high position in government.” Lindsey closed, partly, with these words “This is persecution. . . .” So, Lindsey, in the eyes of his followers, has successfully labeled Sanders a persecutor of Christians by falsifying what Sanders has said on these matters. This is what these Christamericans do, all the while pretending to tell the truth.
Sadly, in the midst of all of this a lone fanatic (not a Christian one in this case) drove his automobile into a monument of the Ten Commandments in Little Rock, Arkansas. It seems obvious that he did this because he himself is anti-Bible, etc. This is entirely wrong, no matter what the supposed reason. It only feeds into the Christian persecution complex! And I expect I will see this on the “Jim Bakker Show” and the “Hal Lindsey Report” in a few days as they continue to whine about “persecution” and intolerance”! This type of even only feeds into their paranoia and makes the case FOR them! And, unfortunately, this is not this man’s first offense of this type, so he clearly has not learned that violence and destruction are not the way. It is exactly the same type of thing that the Christians of Constantine’s time and afterward perpetrated upon others (although they don’t like to admit this) and the exact type of thing that the Islamic State perpetrates upon others almost on a daily basis today.
Finally, a headline from USA Today entitled “Supreme Court imposes church tax”, subtitled “Reckless ruling blows a huge hole in the wall between church and state: Opposing view”, brings us to the real crux of the matter. The article proposes that the separation of church and state has worked for generations and that it should, therefore, continue. Otherwise, we will have non-church members having to prop up Christian churches with tax dollars – propping up something that they very well may not believe in. It is exactly on the same level as the proposal in Tennessee to have “In God We Trust” placed on everyone’s license places; a measure that, thankfully, failed earlier this year. Why should anyone, Christian or not, be FORCED to spend their own money, including money taken for taxes, to prop up or advertise a religious viewpoint that they may not themselves hold to?
Make no mistake. THIS is what the evangelical, conservative fanatical Christian types want – the end of church-state separation so that they can get tax payer money on top of the usual offerings. Offerings are likely dwindling as we speak (I hear it in the way they beg for money on no less than fifteen religious channels (one actually going so far as to say “Don’t think about it; it’s not about reason. Do it now!), all Christian-oriented, of course (even the program “The Jewish Jesus” is in no way about any Jewish Jesus, trust me), all the while Jim Bakker lamenting that “They have taken God off of TV!”), so they want all of us tax payers to prop them up!
So the actual intent of all of this is that they will destroy the church-state separation by ignoring the Johnson Amendment and preaching politics at every opportunity AND start receiving tax payer support for their churches and ministries. So even if they lose their tax exempt status (and operate in a way consistent with what THEY incorrectly state temples in the Roman Empire did), they will still be getting financial support; frankly more of it than ever since people are getting tired of giving to those they know are charlatans. Thus, the creation of the State Church of America filled with oh-so-holy and righteous and politically-correct Christamericans! This will be the true downfall of the United States of America if their plan is allowed to come to fruition.