Sunday, August 23, 2015

Prosperity, Politics, and Schadenfreude Gold

Hopefully all of you have been keeping up with the current fiasco that is the modern religious right.  As for me, I've been eagerly waking up every morning just to see who's going to be next!  What must it be like for those people that have been lifting these delinquents into prominence within the religious community?  I wonder how hard they cringe when they see, "Breaking now..." scrolling by on their television screens?

I can tell you what it's like for the rest of us - it is outright, no holds barred, unadulterated joy!

Since people tend to have a very short memory these days, I feel it's my responsibility to start out by saying that this kind of thing really isn't all that uncommon.  There's Ted Haggard, John Paulk, Larry Craig, David Vitter, Henry Hyde, Mark Foley, Bob Livingston, George Rekers, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and Bishop Eddie Long; just to name a few.

But since we had so much of it this week, I'm going to do something I normally don't do - I'm going to cover a some of the stories revealed over the last few days so in twenty or thirty years I can look back on these stories and have a good chuckle when I'm an old geezer.

First, I give you Donald Trump.  Here's a guy whose companies have filed for bankruptcy four times, and thus far is the front-runner for the Republican nomination.  The man sounds like an eight year-old when interviewed or participating in political debates.  Admittedly, it is quite possible the reason he sounds like an eight year-old is that we are witnessing the extent of his vocabulary.  Yet he still remains the front-runner.  He makes morally asinine and fiscally impossible claims on very complex issues like immigration, the budget, gun control, and civil rights.  Yet he still remains the front-runner.

As sad as it is, our once grand nation really has become, "Idiocracy".

Want more proof?  I give you John Oliver's Televangelists piece on his HBO show, "Last Week Tonight".  If you have twenty minutes to spare, I beg you to watch it.  It's worth every second!

You see, these pastors charismatically preach something called, "The Prosperity Gospel" where wealth is a sign of God's favor and blessings.  This idea works especially well for them, because all of this prosperity begins with "seed faith", where honest and hard working people are convinced to donate money so that one day they will get to "harvest" the bounty from that seed.  The people in these congregations are even told to charge $1,000 dollars on their credit card in order for God to wipe out their credit card debt...

I realize that it's easy for us to sit back and laugh at the sheer volume of people that these pastors and other religious leaders are able to bilk for millions and millions of dollars, but when we take into account that none of these people or organizations pay any taxes whatsoever, how are we all not enraged by what they're doing?  Instead of insisting the IRS pursue prosecutions for fraud, we shake an accusatory finger at the ones doing the bilking.  And it's not the fault of the IRS either; that agency is forced to ignore most of these religious racketeers out of fear of more budget cuts from their religious cronies in the United States Congress.  It's a vicious cycle of corruption created and maintained by the very people that want to force even MORE of their religion into our society.

And then... there's Josh Duggar.  This guy...  The hits just keep coming and coming.  (Cue rimshot!)

I am not at all surprised that his name showed up TWICE in the Ashley Madison account hack.  To me, this was the very definition of a no-brainer.  What I found the most offensive was his silly statement released after he had been caught.  Sure he's a hypocrite, and sure he admitted that he had multiple affairs.  BUT WHO CARES?!?!?  What bugs me is that he did exactly what other religious people have done and blame it on something outside, something intangible.  Like, you know, pornography.

That is exactly like blaming violence on video games!  Seriously, millions upon millions of people view some form of pornography every hour of every day.  Yet the number of divorces in the United States really hasn't changed over the past 15 to 20 years (as a matter of fact, I believe the divorce rate has gone down a bit.)  Blaming pornography is a distraction, a diversion.  He's doing what any good religious leader would do - find a scapegoat or claim you were deceived by Satan himself.

What a perfect out these guys have.

Then his poor wife, Anna.  She's so brainwashed by her religion that she apparently claims that it was partly her fault that her husband was so horny and lacked so little self-control.  And this is what religion does to women.  It teaches most of them that they are nothing more than property for men - toys for men to satiate their uncontrollable appetite for sex.  For even in the face of scandal caused solely by the transgressions of her husband, she's taught to think that she's partly to blame.  How sad is it that only religion is allowed to do that to another human being?

And finally, the annual bellyaching that the rest of us must endure from those that are the direct cause behind everything I've discussed in this post.  Every single year when the kids are set to go back to school, we get to hear all the whining and whimpering about school prayer from the religious right.  You guys really need a new playbook...

Okay, first of all, which god would you like them to pray to?  My preference would be Thor, because does anyone ever see Ice Giants walking around?  I didn't think so.  Thank you, Thor.

Second, how popular would a set of kids yelling, "Allahu Akbar!" be during this proposed school prayer?  If we allow Christians to pray at schools, then we must allow all the religious to pray as they see fit.  And that scenario would be the one where I know I'd be standing nearby with a big box of popcorn.

I mean, good grief Christians!  As if forcing every kid to go through the motion of bowing their heads will actually make them pray.

Wait a second...  I have a thought.  If you honestly believe that most of those kids are actually praying, even in church, then I'd like you to send me your email address so that we can get your "Prosperity Gospel" account started!

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