As Jesse Dylan observed on Facebook yesterday, “And the asshole of the year . . . the person with the least compassion . . . the everything wrong with religion award goes to . . .”
Who else could it be but Christian ghoul Pat Robertson, whose narcissistic wickedness knows no bounds? Pat loves to taunt and judge the suffering people of this world, especially at the times of their greatest agony, by blaming them for their own misfortune, as proceeding from their unwillingness to worship God according his formulae.
Most recently he has blamed the earthquake in Haiti on the fact that those Haitians who fought the French for their liberty, two hundred years ago, succeeded because they made a pact with Satan, offering to worship him in return for his aid. The nation and all its people — like the little girl below — have been cursed ever since, says Pat. (Robertson also blamed the catastrophes of 9/11 and Katrina on the sinfulness of the victims, i. e. on their failure to endorse his social agenda.)
What any of this might have to do with the actual Christian Gospels is beyond rational conjecture. Robertson's Jesus seems to be a zombie god, who came to gloat over the corpses of the dead, as a way of gaining converts through a kind of moral terrorism, instead of that uncanny rabbi of the Gospels whose heart ached so inconsolably for human suffering that he wanted to give up his own life to alleviate it.
CNN showed video today of people in Port-au-Prince waiting outside a medical clinic, which was only partially intact, for emergency service. Amongst them lay the corpse of an infant under a dirty scrap of sheet. I wish Pat Robertson had been there, so he could have lifted back the shroud and shaken his finger at the child, crying, “This is what comes of worshiping Satan!” He seems to have cast himself as a cartoonish Hammer Film monster in some demented remake of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed! The irony of the genre and the role is apparently lost on him, though.
I don't personally believe in Hell as a literal place — only in the hells we make for ourselves here on earth. I doubt if even Hieronymus Bosch could have depicted the hell Pat Robertson has made for himself, off in his own little hermetically sealed world of self-righteousness. It's something that almost doesn't bear thinking about.
From a recent article in The New York Times:
KAMPALA, Uganda — Last March, three American evangelical Christians,
whose teachings about “curing” homosexuals have been widely discredited
in the United States, arrived here in Uganda's capital to give a series of talks.
The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan
organizer, was “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda” —
and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the
traditional African family.
For three days, according to participants and audio recordings,
thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national
politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as
experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people
straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay
movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the
marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual
Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive,
saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that
could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for
Poor misunderstood evangelicals! Yes, they wanted the Ugandans to hate and fear homosexuality as they hated and feared the Devil, and yes, they wanted laws against it — they just didn't want the penalties for it to be so harsh. Forgive me if I barf.
Once, on a Polish freighter crossing the Atlantic, I met a lovely German woman of a certain age who had lost a brother on the Russian front in WWII. So many years later she still wept when she spoke of him. Discussing the holocaust, she said, “We knew the laws against Jews were wrong — but killing them! We could not imagine that.”
This excuse won't wash any more. Dehumanizing and demonizing people, identifying them as agents of the Devil, always leads to murder, eventually, along a path too well marked in human history to be followed innocently, except by moral imbeciles.
The “gay agenda”, if such a thing exists, isn't dark. I've known scores of gay people and not one of them has ever had the slightest interest in “converting” straights to homosexuality, having sex with children or destroying the institution of marriage. The mere fact that so many gays want to participate in the institution of marriage shows a respect for it that's harder and harder to find among straight people. You can see their aspirations as misguided, but not dark.
The “Christian” agenda, by contrast, is often, and repeatedly, as dark as it gets. The Catholic bishops who shuttled child-abusing priests from parish to parish to protect the name of the church belong in jail, and could easily be put there if there were the political will to apply the RICO laws concerning criminal conspiracy against them.
The Mormon elders (like chief prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, above) who committed tax-exempt church funds to defeat the law in California granting the civil, secular rights of marriage to gays need to be prosecuted, too, for misuse of funds. At the very least, the Mormon church should have its tax-exempt status revoked immediately and permanently. I am perfectly content for the Latter Day Saints to function as a political action group — they're welcome to meddle in Caesar's things to their hearts' content, defying the teachings of Jesus with all the scorn and contempt they can muster. I am not, however, content to subsidize them in this role.
There are many good people who believe
that consensual sex between adults of the same sex is perverse, morally
wrong — but does anyone in their right mind really believe that it falls into the same category of moral depravity as conspiring
in the rape of children? The mere fact that Rick Warren suggested a
moral equivalence between these behaviors was enough in itself to
identify him as an unbalanced kook.
The pathetic evangelical homophobes (like Scott Lively, above, and Don Schmierer, below) who incited the Ugandans to murder probably broke no civil laws, just the laws of God, upon which they defecated publicly.
I hesitate to speak for Jesus, but since very few seem inclined to these days, I'll just say this — I think he would be richly pleased, and truly served, if every “Christian” church on the face of the earth just quietly disappeared. Only then, I suspect, would there be a chance of his message being heard.