Still Editing and Reading

by Charles S. Garabedian

“The Great Replacement” manifesto, allegedly written by the New Zealand terrorist, openly advocates the killing of as many brown minority children as possible so they will not grow into adults who can fight back against white people. He says:

LEAVE NO VIPER’S NEST UNBURNT

Shush!! Do not show this message to President Trump. It might give him ideas about what to do with the Central American kids in cages.

How about this one:

Ask yourself now. Are you willing to shirk your racial responsibilities, turn your back to your people, and ignore their demise? Do you do it all in the hopes of a peaceful death?

My Answer: Quite frankly—yes. (LOL)

I am nearing the end of “The Great Replacement” document. How do I feel right now about this document and the person who wrote it? Dr. McCoy says it best in the following short video clip:

 

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I Am Carefully Reading, Organizing, and Editing “The Great Replacement” Manifesto of the New Zealand Terrorist

by Charles S. Garabedian

I am about one-third of the way through it right now.  From a format standpoint, the original copy I downloaded from the Internet was so linear, stream of consciousness, and disorganized that I could not really understand what this bozo was trying to say. Therefore, I am having to format it,  edit it, organize it, and read it as I go.

What does it say so far?

(1) The terrorist is Christian—on balance—with some doubts and indecision mixed in. If he were filling out a standard government agency form that asks for religion, I am almost sure he would circle or write in “Christian.”

(2)  This document sounds like a cross between a typical Trump rally in middle America and the American South, Red State Fever, and the Ku Klux Klan—mixed together with a European sauce for flavoring. Trump supporters would clearly recognize themselves and their major concerns in the text of this document. Trump’s favorite word—“invaders”—is central to this document and repeated throughout—and it is focused on brown people being in places they are not supposed to be—in the author’s eyes.

(3) The author admires President Trump from afar—probably because he senses they both have much in common ideologically.

(4) The word “immigration” is central and key to the entire document. Immigration of brown people to white people lands is central to the whole discussion.  He uses the word “white” a lot, and he fears that brown peoples from foreign countries are going to invade countries with traditionally white populations—and replace the white people and their cultures/subcultures with brown people and brown people cultures/subcultures—such that everything “white and right” will be annihilated. Sound familiar? (See United States southern border bullshit.)

(5) Do not be surprised if this document becomes secret standard required reading in future ICE training sessions—just so the ICE agents will be THINKING RIGHT as they go about their daily duties for President Trump.

(6) The document talks a lot about the necessity of more white people making babies to overcome high brown people reproduction rates.  We are talking about baby-making here folks—massive baby making to save white culture and subculture. Fundie fanatic Lori Alexander thinks fundamentalist Christians should be doing the same thing to out-populate nonbelievers and apostate Christians. She once threw that at me as a “clobber item” in a message exchange we had a while back.

As a devout Christian in the United States, I am left with only one overarching thought up to now:

“What are our people—the American people—becoming in their own minds and hearts—that so much of the rhetoric in this terrorist document would seem like Down Home Day in Silly Putty, Alabama?”

Tired. More later. I gotta take a break for some food and rest—and get a little distance between my head and this manifesto crap. I may watch Bohemian Rhapsody or Marvel Comics Venom to cleanse my mental palate. Got them from Red Box yesterday—but have not been able to watch them so far because of this terrorist attack in New Zealand—and looking at what it may mean ideologically and culturally for us here in the United States—so sad to say. The members of my family have seen both movies—so I may have to watch alone.

Response to Rallentandu Comment

Thanks for your comment. The video piece and written story you sent to me are correct. I read all of that in the text of “The Great Replacement” last night. One of the key things that troubles me greatly about this document is a subcurrent theme of action built around the word “we.” He never says exactly who “we” actually is. However, I get the distinct impression that he is closely associated with other people of “like mind” who could see his bold domestic terrorist action in Christchurch as motivation to take additional action against people of color in other areas of the world.  Let us pray and hope not.

Right now, I am in the actions portion of this document. He has spent about half of the document laying down extensive background information, including a self-conducted interview of himself about how and why he did the shooting in New Zealand. This self- interview indicates that he was assuming “suicide by cop” would happen to him, and there was a lot he wanted the news media to know.

I will be reading the rest of the actions section this afternoon and tonight. This is the section where he pulls out his sword, rushes to the head of the crowd (so to speak), and whips out his best rhetoric about who should be killed, why they should be killed, and how to go about doing it, Basically, he is trying to motivate any person of like-mind to go out and do a lot of killing just like he did. You are correct. Erdogan, Angela Merkel, and Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) are the three highest priorities on his hit list—so far in my reading.

Right now, I am washing clothes—and about to do more dumpster diving into the rest of this man’s garbage. Wish me luck!!!

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Watched the Terrorist Attack in New Zealand

by Charles S. Garabedian

I found a high-quality, on-line video of the actual shooting in New Zealand and watched it. No, I am not crazy. My sole interest was to see how a crazed domestic terrorist actually goes about his work in a typical shooting—something neither you nor I had ever seen up close. Actually, to be quite honest, I see far worse on my TV screen every night. I did not see much blood or gore. It just looked like people getting shot on a typical 1960s TV show in the United States. How could I watch it? I was a forensic medicine student at university in the mid-1970s, and I did the exact same work in class that the people do in the show Bones on TV—only a little more yucky at times—like what Dr. Ducky does on NCIS. I got over the initial shock of seeing such things 45 years ago.

Several things on that video totally surprised me. It is about 17 minutes long, and the first 3.5 minutes is a within-cab video of  the assailant (allegedly Mr. Tarrant) driving his car to the Muslim worship center. On a crazy mission like that, you or I would be tense, subdued, and sweating profusely because we are normal people who would never dream of killing anyone. This guy was happy, talkative, bouncy, and totally revved up (maybe on drugs) for what he was about to do. He was driving fast and would have never made it to the Muslim worship center if it were in my hometown in the United States. Some traffic cop would have seen him and stopped him cold before he ever got to the Muslim worship center.

He appeared to have a CD playing loud in his car, and it was a little weird. No. It was not heavy metal. The first song was either a Lawrence Welk polka number or some sort of weird German beer drinking song straight out of World War II. The second piece of music appeared to be a patriotic, American Revolutionary War number with lots of fife music in it.

The shooter was wearing a portable, on-body video camera. When he first arrived at the worship center, he parked his car in an alley that ran along one side of the worship center; grabbed an automatic weapon with lots of white writing on it, and ran a long distance to the front door of the worship center. If he had parked that far away from the front door here in the United States, the cops would have nailed him good and proper—but not in lazy, laid back New Zealand!!!  You will see what I mean about that in just a few minutes. The term “first responder” is clearly a theoretical abstraction in this down under island nation.

The assailant appeared to have a short, close-combat version of an AK-47 (or similar weapon), and he fired through the front door of the Muslim worship center before he even got to it—and just kept on shooting. He moved very fast—basically gunning on the run from one room to another. I did not time it with my watch, but it appeared to me that every living person in the worship center went down within the first 30 seconds. The people were not hitting the dirt to escape fire like in war movies. They were literally going down from bullet wounds. If this is what happens in American high schools, you can forget arming teachers with firearms. If I had been there and had my own firearm to spray back at this domestic terrorist, I would have not even had time to raise my weapon to fire. The initial moment of surprise alone would have been my death—easily.  It all went down that fast—like a few camera flashes. Nearly everyone gone.

The next 9.5 minutes of the shooting were just the assailant making the rounds from one room to another and re-shooting all of the bodies lying on the floor. He was intent on making sure everyone was dead—just shooting into bodies and piles of bodies on the floor time after time—and for the longest time. At one point he ran out of ammunition and sprinted back out to his car across that long distance I told you about earlier. He opened his trunk; pulled out another short model AK-47 with more loaded ammunition and clips; and he then ran back over that long distance into the Muslim worship center. When inside, he once again began firing into the bodies and piles of bodies on the floor. I bet most of those poor people were shot 10 times—at least. Then he ran out into the alley way on the other side of the worship center from his car, and started shooting down the alley way—but no one was there. Basically, he was just shooting air.

When his ammunition was about expended—but not completely expended—he decided everyone was dead and it was time to leave the scene. A Muslim woman who was completely shrouded in black clothing had apparently been one of the first people who was shot inside, perhaps only one time. Somehow she had managed to crawl outside and across the parking lot to the street. She had passed out length-wise (but was not dead) in the very shallow drainage gutter that ran along the side of the highway. As the assailant was running back to his car to escape, he noticed her lying there and shot her three more times in the back. He then rounded the corner to where his car was parked, jumped in, turned the ignition key, and drove straight out of the alley—right over the top of this poor woman’s body with both sets of wheels.

That was probably 10 minutes of straight, loud shooting with multiple ammunition clips in a small urban area. The most surprising thing to me was this. Not a single police car, fire truck, or ambulance showed up in that 10 minutes of full-on shooting—not even the sound of first-responder sirens in the far distance—and the video sound quality was outstanding. First responders were not even coming. No civilians nearby intervened. The shooter had 100 percent control of the entire crime scene inside the worship center and outside of it. Totally free reign!!!  I have never seen anything like it—except in a TV detective show or a war movie.

After the the assailant had driven over the woman’s body, he went on down the highway in front of the worship center for about 3.5 minutes, just as he had done earlier while going to the scene of the shooting. He was happy. Music was playing loud from his stereo like before. He seemed to be absolutely amazed that he had completed his mission so very successfully, and no person had even tried to intervene or stop him. He was just revved up and happy as a lark. Worst of all, in that 3.5 minutes of happy getaway, not a single police car, fire truck, or ambulance passed him going in the other direction toward the crime scene. The videotape blacked out while he was still on his getaway drive—probably because the video recording chip had run out of data space—not because the New Zealand cops had stopped him.

What did I learn?  Those poor kids at the high school in Parkland, Florida, never had a whisper of a chance to live. A shooting like this happens way too fast because of the sudden surprise factor experienced by the victims. Severe injury and loss of life happen way too fast—with most of it finished in the first 30 seconds after the shooting begins. Based on what I saw tonight in that videotape from New Zealand, that policeman that is now retired—the one who refused to go in at Parkland—may have made the right decision to stay outside—after all. It was mostly over before he could even make a decision to go in—my best guess.

Well, that was it folks. The assailant had a video camera on his body at all times, and I was seeing exactly what he was seeing.  It was just like “being the shooter.” The shooting was such a surprise, so sudden, and so quick that another armed person on the side of the victims would have been taken down in a split second—so fast they would have been unable to fire back. This NRA idea about arming teachers or bystanders is total bullshit. Like the old insect repellent slogan used to say:

They wouldn’t bite.  They wouldn’t even light.

I can see why the FBI and police do not want anyone to see this 17-minute video. It has nothing to do with blood, gore, and sprayed brain tissue. It does not show any of that. Rather, it shows just how fast and efficient a shooter can be and how quickly everyone goes down. Sorry to say, this video is the perfect personal tutorial for some sicko, would-be school, church, mosque, or workplace shooter in our future. That is the real reason assorted federal government and local police authorities want to hide this video from the eyes of the American public.

Unfortunately, millions of people here at home and around the world have already seen this video. The U.S. Government and the Lords of Cyberspace have been working extremely hard—with great desperation—all day to prevent people from seeing or recording this video—but to little avail. This evening, long after the shooting was over, it took me only a few short minutes to find a very high quality (video and audio) version of it on-line. Many people have recorded it on their own media platforms or on a home DVD disc. As a direct result, it will be floating around in cyberspace for many, many years to come. I copied the hyperlink just in case I might lose the video feed while I was viewing it, but I did not make a copy of the video for myself or anyone else. I watched it one time on-line out of pure curiosity and then just walked away.

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The New Zealand Massacre and “The Great Replacement” Manifesto

by Charles S. Garabedian

This article begins with a message of worthless sympathy, empathy, and regret to the loved ones of the many Islamic folks who were massacred in their houses of worship earlier today in New Zealand. The word “worthless” was used simply because we Americans have seen so many of these shootings—which seem without end—and mere words have become too inadequate and hollow to express our true and deepest feelings of sorrow for the victims of the shooting, their family members, and the people of New Zealand. The time for hollow words is long past being over, and I do sincerely hope the government of New Zealand will do what our American government has been unable to do—create and enforce firearms control measures that will work to prevent future shootings and domestic terrorist attacks like the one today.

Governments around the world and social media servers are quickly scouring the worldwide web for copies of the New Zealand shooter’s 73-page manifesto entitled The Great Replacement. They want to find all instances of on-line publication and take them down from the Internet so no one will be able to read the manifesto. Fortunately, I was able to find a full copy of it in one of the few on-line places where it was still up and available. I saved a copy in Microsoft Word. I do not want to post it here because WordPress will take it down—and if they are angry enough—they might shut down the entire Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog.  We would not want that to happen.

I have not read this manifesto document so far. My first and primary effort was to find a copy before it disappeared into oblivion. It does not exist in paragraph form like a clean page in a published book. You might call it an orderly, stream-of-consciousness mind dump without paragraphs. I would be happy to send you a copy of it by e-mail so you can read it. Just send me an e-mail request; let me know that you are one of my regular readers; and I will attach the Microsoft Word file to an e-mail message and send it right back to you.

Please do not let this so-called manifesto fall into the hands of any white nationalist bozo you might happen to know. The reason they are taking it down from the Internet is the fear that reading the document might inspire another white nationalist shooter. That is the last thing anyone would want to do—including me. It is not an illegal document to own or read. If someone were to try to stop you, that would be a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Why did I want to see it? The American news media are portraying the shooter as an Australian white supremacist/white nationalist. You know what I am most interested in—and probably you too. Was this guy a Christian white nationalist?  A truly rabid form of Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism exists inside Australia, and I wanted to know if this shooter is one of those guys—-and whether his manifesto contains the words “Christian,” God,” and “Jesus” in it. I did a quick word search on the manuscript, and some of those words are sprinkled through it. Thus, we may have either a Christian white nationalist shooter—or a person who is appealing to Christian white nationalists for nefarious actions against brown people and people of other religions. I will have to go back and read those words carefully in their original contexts to actually see what this stupid jerk was doing and why.

I would like to point out one other very important thing about this manifesto. If you will go read the last paragraphs in the “About” section of this blog (click on black strip at top of this blog page), I point out that Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism in the United States are potential future risk centers for domestic terrorism against the people of the United States—meaning terrorism initiated by fundies against Americans they hate in the name of Jesus. I further remark that this future risk is driven by a FEAR OF ANNIHILATION that exists in the fundie mind and heart. White nationalists and white supremacists share this exact same fear—a fear that the white race (whatever that is) is about to be annihilated by people of color who reproduce faster than white people. This other FEAR OF ANNIHILATION is the principal theme that runs throughout this guy’s manifesto from front to back—based on my quick skimming of pages—and guess what? Just like I predicted, this baseline FEAR OF ANNIHILATION is what drove this man to his alleged act of domestic terrorism in New Zealand today—so sorry to say.

I am over feeling down for a few days because of Nancy Pelosi’s ill-timed remarks about impeaching Trump—and I am now back.  The blog is up and running again.  Blessings to all of you!!!

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An Apology to my Readers

I am writing this message to apologize to you—my readers—for campaigning so hard for the Blue Wave Democrats in the November 2018 Congressional elections. Today, with public comments she made, Nancy Pelosi announced that she would neither direct nor support any Democratic effort to impeach President Donald J. Trump. She further feels that our nation is so politically divided right down the middle that any such effort would lead to turmoil in American government—and massive street demonstrations with inevitable violence like those in Venezuela. In her mind, impeachment is just too dangerous to contemplate.  Instead, she just wants to do Washington swamp politics “as usual,” which seems to be the only thing her old, soon to be 80, head understands how to do. I think Ms. Pelosi is getting an earful of comments from the American people about her statement today.  Yahoo! has more than 13,000 comments on the story.

Ms. Pelosi has an e-mail address where any American citizen can contact her, in her role as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and you do not have to be one of her California constituents. Here is the e-mail form: https://www.speaker.gov/contact/ Any American citizen living at any location in the United States may write to her at the foregoing hyperlink.

I wrote to her tonight and made it clear that I and millions of other Americans feel totally and completely betrayed by her comments today—and that is indeed how I feel tonight. Moreover, I told her that I would not campaign for or support any Democrat in 2020 if she backs off from an effort at impeachment. I meant that. I am so very tired of dealing with old school swamp politicians like her who only know how to do “politics as usual.” As far as I am concerned tonight, I have no country, and no person in the U.S. Government represents me. I am quite literally a man without a country tonight.

Ms. Pelosi is sold out to—reality. And please. I do not want to hear any comments about how impossible impeachment would be and how every Republican in the U.S. Senate would vote to keep Trump in office—no matter how many crimes he has committed. If that is the true nature of reality, then we no longer have a country that is worth having. The whole thing our founding fathers created in 1776 has gone down the tubes at the hands of evil men and women who do not care for anything but themselves.

My words here are worthless and useless.  That is quite clear. Therefore, I am shutting down the Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog—for just a little while–not forever. However, ss the fundies say, it looks as if  “all is lost” right now.

Enjoy your time in the United Fundamentalist States of America (UFSA), and thanks to Ms. Pelosi, all of us will have Trump for another two years and then another four years on top of that after he wins the 2020 election. There you go. Six more years of Mr. Liar and Mr. Cheat as your President—and every fundie in America bowing down at his feet, looking past every sick transgression he commits, and thanking him profusely for all the worldly power finally delivered into their fundie hands—with all their fundie dreams coming true.

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“Ruthless Reviews” and Comedy about Fundies

by Charles S. Garabedian

This afternoon I was doing some surfing on the worldwide web and ran into a combination serious/comical skeptics website entitled Ruthless Reviews. Now, just to be clear, this is not a website devoted to skepticism of religion. Best I could tell from my short visit, it is devoted to skepticism of everything in the whole, wide world. In particular, I landed on a very comedic article written by a man with the handle name “Goat.” The title of his article was The ABCs of Evangelical Christians. His title was a little off base. It should have been The ABCs of Christian Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals. The whole article will not be shared with you because some of it is unfairly critical of the Christian faith in general. Nonetheless, if you think about the true nature of Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism in the United States today, some of it is truly hilarious.

As some of you know, I am a professional social scientist with a strong background in anthropology, archaeology, and geology, including a good bit of invertebrate paleontology, primate paleontology, and human paleontology. My knowledge about human paleontology is about 45 years out of date, but enormous strides in human paleontology, human genetics, and evolutionary biology have been made during that period of time.  These advances make it clear that the story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis is not a factual recounting of either science or history.

Jesus loved teaching in parables, as we all know from our very serious reading of the New Testament. Moreover, most legitimate scholars of the Holy Bible do not believe that Moses wrote the Book of Genesis.

I believe the story of Adam and Eve is a wonderful parable told by the Holy Trinity to teach us several very important spiritual truths—as opposed to historical or scientific facts. The Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe the story of Adam and Eve is a recounting of actual human history that began sometime between 8,000 B.C. and 4,000 B.C. This science-hating nonsense is rooted in their ridiculous Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy and their errant notion that the Bible must be read both simply and literally, two peculiar beliefs not shared with most other Christian churches and church members on Planet Earth. Being well aware of both positions, this is what the comedic skeptic had to say in his article:

Biblical Literalism—Hand in hand with Biblical inerrancy, the absurd notion that all things in the Holy Bible are to be taken literally is another tenet of this belief that Evangelicals claim with a slack jaw and a straight face. According to the Fundies, there is no verse of scripture that cannot be validated as 100% true, with apologetics, deflection, special pleading, hermeneutics or outright lies. In reality, one only has to go a few words into Genesis before the Bullshit Meter is in the red zone and common sense is offended.

The Evangometer

Here is another interesting thought Goat presents deep down in the bowels of his observations:

Logic, Evangelical Style or Hector’s Law* Lives

Christian: God sends no one to hell

Skeptic: Read Isaiah 45:7, besides, I refuse to go to hell.

Christian: How do you stop God from sending you there?

Skeptic: [Smiling]

Christian: [Getting flustered] Stop twisting my words!

Skeptic: [Smiling]

Christian: I’ll pray for you. [Leaves]

 

*Hector’s Law: “Given sufficient time, a Fundie will debunk his or her self.”

 

Image Credit: Goat at the Ruthless Reviews website (March 8, 2016)

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Some Personal Thoughts and Feelings about The United Methodist Church and Its LGBTQ Neighbors

by Charles S. Garabedian

Methodist lie

A UMC Lie Frozen in Time on February 26, 2019

Dear Readers,

I pray and hope that all of you are doing well this evening. Unfortunately, I have been in shock, heartbroken, and feeling down since last Tuesday’s vote on LGBTQ issues at the conference of the The United Methodist Church (UMC) in St. Louis, Missouri.

Most of you have already heard about the results of that vote. For those of you who have not, a majority of the delegates voted for The Traditional Plan, which is an unloving, harsh, inhumane, iron-fisted version of anti-LGBTQ hate and bigotry within the UMC. In other words, on this particular issue, the UMC has bought into the same Biblical literalist, inerrantist version of scriptural interpretation and understanding that pervades the ridiculous Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches in the United States. In the midst of my heartbreak for LGBTQ Methodists in general and the LGBTQ members of my extended family here in the American South, I have just been trying to mentally and emotionally process what happened in St. Louis, why it happened, and what it means for the future of the UMC.

A fishing scene is shown in the famous movie entitled A River Runs Through It. The Christian minister father talks with his two sons about matters of faith and the church. One of the memorable moments in that talk comes when the father utters the following words:

Methodists are Baptists who know how to read.

I know exactly what he meant from growing up with the various stripes of Baptists and Methodists in the American South during the 1950s and 1960s. Last Tuesday, The United Methodist Church—my home church—decided to forget how to read and took its first walking step down the road to becoming an ignorance-saturated church—just like the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) churches.

A couple of weeks ago, before the big vote in St. Louis, I telephoned an old friend of mine in South Carolina. He and his wife are members of a UMC. After a few moments of chatting, I asked him what he thought about the upcoming meeting and vote. The first words out of his mouth were “schism probably.” I suspect he is correct about that.

Right now, I think everyone in the UMC is in the sudden shock stage of grief. The next stage of grief is anger—and that will be when the true schism begins. In the months leading up to last week’s conference meeting and vote, a few authors in various periodicals were certain that this schism had already been silently and fully achieved within the UMC—and everyone was just pretending that it had not already occurred. I am beginning to think that was probably correct. All it needed was an initial spark to make it explode out into the open with highly visible smoke and flames. The vote on Tuesday was probably that spark. All of the UMC smoke and flames of schism will gradually billow forth into the open air across this year and into next year—meaning it will be a slow motion explosion.

In depressing times like this, I tend to think the UMC needs an all powerful, top-of-the-heap leader like Pope Francis. If I were Pope Charles of the UMC, I would have to look much deeper into this LGBTQ matter and the implications of a schism for the entire church. The Devil (or in this case Jesus) is always in the details. That is the deep and thoughtful aspect of Pope Charles.

The emotional, knee-jerk side of Pope Charles, the one I am listening to right now in the depths of my grief, would be more inclined to take the following actions:

(1)  Hey!!! Listen up UMC delegates and church members who voted for or supported The Traditional Plan:

You have no business in the UMC. You are a man or woman whose thinking is theologically out of place in an American UMC in 2019. Run on down to a Southern Baptist, IFB Baptist, or Assemblies of God church where you can be with your own (expletive deleted) kind.

After about three months of insane fundie ideology and spiritual abuse in one of those churches, they will be running back to a UMC begging for an opportunity to be kind, loving, merciful, and accepting of LGBTQ people in the church—and those few who do not return—good riddance.

(2) I would look across the oceans to Africa, the Philippines, and other such places with a razor-edged papal edict to the members of those UMC churches. In capsule, that edict would say:

You may have been saved by itinerant Christian fundamentalist missionaries from other churches, but you are not bringing their extreme Biblical conservatism and outlandish teachings into a local UMC in your overseas locality. You are required to quack like a UMC duck, waddle like a UMC duck, and look like a UMC duck when you are a member of a UMC. If you cannot do that, set your eyes on the doorway beneath the Exit Sign and go build a crazy, abusive IFB church of your own that is more to your liking. If they refused to go, I would excommunicate every last one of them from the UMC and ask the local authorities to arrest and jail any one of them caught trespassing on UMC property. No one in an overseas land is turning the UMC into a Christian fundamentalist denomination here at home or overseas. Never—Ever. Capiche?

Yours truly does not wish to hate any person of faith or nonfaith. However, as most of you know, I despise Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism—those two wicked and abusive “isms” that kill and injure people. I operate with the same passion for resistance that Queen Elizabeth I and her court exhibited with regard to the religious and political excesses of Philip II of Spain and Mary (Queen of Scots)—two people hellbent on scheming, murder, and warfare to advance their shared version of Roman Catholic orthodoxy:

In the depths of my emotional grief over the newer, harsher version of The Traditional Plan adopted last Tuesday, I sent an e-mail message to my new UMC pastor and his secretary. The last time I sent an e-mail message to our previous pastor, he waited for what seemed like several months to reply. In fact, after waiting so long, I was truly surprised to actually see a reply in my Microsoft Outlook inbox one day.

One of the problems with my particular UMC is that we seem to always get an old guy for a pastor—an old guy on the verge of retirement. Our new UMC pastor is leaving for retirement almost as fast as he came. Therefore, I suspect he will deftly side-step my grief-ridden e-mail message and escape into retirement so he does not have to deal directly and long-term with LGBTQ issues, The Traditional Plan, and church members like me—who have chosen not to hate LGBTQ people. Indeed, I suspect that is one of the reasons the UMC in general has been declining in membership since the 1960s. It tries not to make waves and be all things to all people of faith—and in so doing—waters itself down so much that no one ever takes an open, bold, and firm stand on major issues facing the UMC. The UMC, founded in 1968, is a denomination where “wishy-washy” has long reigned supreme—except for approving women pastors and the recent vote on LGBTQ people. It really surprises me that otherwise sane UMC members have chosen this particular LGBTQ hill to die on.

I had sincerely hoped the UMC would realize that the church abides in the new covenant of Jesus Christ, rather than in the long ago and now gone Old Testament covenant of law and legalism. The new covenant is where kindness, love, forgiveness, and mercy are supposed to prevail. Other Mainline churches in the United States have recognized those things and extended an open hand toward LGBTQ people. The hierarchical upper crust on the UMC organization chart clearly wants to do the same. Unfortunately, LGBTQ people are being held hostage by the prejudices, bigotry, and hatred that reside in some UMC hearts—and they are using a Christian fundamentalist approach to the Bible as the cover for it.

Worst of all, most of these people are profoundly ignorant about human sexuality and what makes LGBTQ people—become LGBTQ people. They think it is a simple choice people make:

Shall I have chocolate ice-cream or vanilla ice-cream?

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. All you have to do is talk to a male or female gay person who at age 11 was planning to grow up, have an opposite sex spouse, a family, and children. Then they awakened from sleep one early pubescent morning—discovered that the desire for sex exists within human beings—and unlike their best friends—they were attracted only to the same sex—usually to their total surprise and horror. It was not something they requested. Being gay was not something they chose. It was imposed on them against their will by some natural force—one that is still poorly understood scientifically—and they had no choice in the matter. Talk to a gay person sometime rather than running away from them. I have talked seriously with my gay friends—and that is exactly what happened to them—just like heterosexual attraction first happened to you one fine pubescent morning.

The Bible treats addiction to alcohol as a sin, and the Apostle Paul says that drunks will never see the Kingdom of Heaven. For 1,950 years of Christian history, substance addiction was viewed as a purely moral failing that was 100 percent within a person’s ability to control at all times. Christians viewed drunkenness as a simple, sinful choice. You know the classic mantra:

Drunks are obnoxious, vile people willfully sold out to sin.

Suddenly, in the 20th century, French scientists made a shocking discovery. About 15 percent of all human populations are genetically predisposed to substance addiction. Moreover, within this 15 percent (faster in some and slower in others), the intake of alcohol or other addictive substances physically changes the neuron structure inside the human brain and renders people unable to quit using an addictive substance. The brain becomes biologically changed and quite literally must have the addictive substance just like you absolutely must have water and food.

I know this well from firsthand experience. A member of my family was addicted to the nicotine in tobacco. He was a devout and faithful deacon in his highly conservative Missionary Baptist Church. This kind and loving  man tried to quit smoking numerous times—always ending in failure. When he finally came down with terminal lung cancer, he was still unable to escape from the nicotine that had restructured his brain. In his few last conscious days, I saw him sitting on the toilet bowl in his bathroom. The white vinyl floor covering around it was littered with numerous black cigarette burns. There he sat near death with a disconnected oxygen tube in his nose and a lit cigarette in his hand—trying to push out poop. It was one of the most pitiful sights I had ever seen.

It was not a matter of choice or sin for this poor man. He was a member of the 15 percent—and the nicotine restructured his brain such that he quite literally could not quit smoking—no matter how hard he tried. He was never kicked out of the church for his very open addiction to tobacco. No one ever told him that he could not be a church deacon because of his smoking, which he did even on Sunday mornings on the front porch of the church.

Does anyone seriously think God is going to reject the entry of this poor man into the Kingdom of Heaven because he became unwittingly addicted via his own genetics and biological forces beyond his knowledge or control? You know what the mountain fundies of the American South would say:

Heeza goin ta Hayul!!!  Heezuns shoulda got high on Jeezis instayud!!!

Sigh………………. Thus far, the American scientific community has not discovered what makes LGBTQ people become LGBTQ. Overly eager Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical bigots often cite this as proof positive that being LGBTQ is a simple, sinful choice. These same people easily forget that modern science has not found a cure for cancer either. However, that does not mean that a cure is not out there somewhere—yet to be discovered.

Personally, as a professional scientist, I feel confident that an identifiable reason for LGBTQ folks—being LGBTQ folks—will eventually be discovered—and when it is—it will be both surprising in nature and scientifically clear. It will demonstrate that being LGBTQ is more about how God (or some aspect of nature) made them—rather than a chronic sin condition of simple choice. When that day comes—and it eventually will come—the ultra-conservative faction in the UMC is going to have egg all over its face. However, right now, egg on its face is not what it most needs. Because of this conservative faction’s vote in favor of a harsh version of The Traditional Plan, the one thing ultra-conservative LGBTQ bigots in the UMC need most is a swift kick in the ass.

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