Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hey, how about some ‘legitimate’ science?

If only this was new. Many would have us believe that the comments by Representative Todd Akin of Missouri were “fringe” views or not representative of the Republican party and conservative Christian circles he is a part of; if only that were true. 

When Akin was asked what he thought about abortion being legal in cases of rape and incest, he said that "First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare, if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, but let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.” What?!

There’s two incredibly offensive points just in that short statement—first the suggestion that only certain rapes are “legitimate,” and second the complete medical falsehood that a female can “shut it down” when necessary.   Akin says he misspoke, but more likely it was a “Freudian slip.” Last year, Akin co-sponsored a bill with Paul Ryan that would have denied the use of federal funds for abortions only in cases of “forcible rape.”   Heck, the GOP platform seeks to deny abortion in ALL instances. Akin’s views are hardly fringe.

That the GOP is distancing themselves from Akin’s comments and demanding he abandon his run for Senate in Missouri has little to do with their disagreement with his views but rather with the realization that his continued presence in election may cost the Republicans the election.   Tonight on Hannity, Sean pretended that he wanted Akin to quit out of principle, but Hannity’s guests revealed the truth;  Akin is/was the Republican’s best shot at beating a Democratic incumbent and taking control over the Senate.   Missouri is also a crucial swing state in the upcoming presidential election, and if a few more vote Obama in response to Akin, there goes the state and therefore the election.

Akin’s comments represent a continued problem with conservative Christianity in general.   Whenever science disagrees with the theological or political views of conservative Christians, they simply deny the legitimacy of science.   This idea that women can “shut it down,” is hardly new—I heard the same thing when I was in junior high while in Christian school.  It’s just another example of Christians either denying science or simply making up their own to fit their own views.

This tactic of denying science or simply making up their own has been done again and again.  Global warming?  Scientists the world over all assured us the global warming was a coming reality, something that will require drastic action to stop or at least slow down.  Yet thanks to a smear campaign and their own “science,” most doubt the existence of global warming.  Evolution?  Again, having discarded and denied science, conservative Christians have made up their own “creation science” in order to prove the “veracity” of the Genesis account(s).  Of course, those who actually claim to be Christians and accept modern science are “denying the truth of the Word of God.”

Christianity denying science goes back hundreds of years. Copernicus, the man who discovered that the earth actually revolved around the sun, held back publishing his findings until he was on his death bed in fear of the backdraft he would face from the Church.  Galileo actually had to recant his acceptance of this same view under threat of excommunication.  What was the big deal with this new science by Copernicus? It contradicted the Bible—Joshua 10:13 says that the sun stood still, which obviously meant that the sun revolved around the earth.  Copernicus then was “contradicting the Bible.” Sound familiar?

Thankfully, all “Christians” don’t think that way (me for one), but for those who do, it’s time for a change—stop twisting or simply denying facts when they don’t fit with your point of view.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Forget Chick-Fil-A, boycott Christianity

With all the hullabaloo about a certain chicken sandwich business these days and the people who run such institution, I think it’s time to set the record straight—Chick-Fil-A is not the problem.

 Sure, Dan Cathy wasn’t doing himself or his business any favors when he said that “we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about” (Washington Post). Whatever one feels about that statement on a moral level, it doesn’t seem like a smart idea to alienate potential customers.  Of course, Chick-Fil-A quickly backtracked from Cathy’s statement when this all started to blow up, posting on Facebook that they treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender” and that “going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

Regardless of the craziness that has since ensued with mayors trying to ban the restaurant from their cities, Mike Huckabee declaring a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” and the huge turnout that followed, and the “kiss-in” protests after it all falls short;  Chick-Fil-A isn’t the problem, Christianity is the problem.

"One of the disturbing things about Church history is the Church's appalling track record of being on the wrong side of the great social issues of the day" -- Richard Stearns (President of World Vision).  In his book, The Hole in the Gospel, Stearns recounts how Christianity as been on the wrong side of slavery, civil rights, AIDS, and so on.  In that same way, Christianity is on the wrong side when it comes to gay marriage and homosexuality.

My beef isn’t with a chicken sandwich anymore, it’s with a religion that has made this issue its rallying point. It’s with Christians narcissistically convincing themselves that they are the ones in America being oppressed.  Being that Christianity is the largest religion by far in America and a huge percentage of Americans consider themselves to be Christians, 78.4% in fact according to a Pew Forum survey, those seeking marriage equality are actually the ones being oppressed. They are the ones being denied “equal protection under the law” yet countless numbers of Christians assured themselves that they are heroes of the faith because they ate a chicken sandwich.  Last Wednesday wasn’t a good day for Christianity—it was a day that should quickly be forgotten.    

The majority of present-day Christianity continually disregards any modern biblical scholarship that disagrees with their narrow-minded positions.  Despite the continual refrain of “believing what the Bible says,” Christians could care less about what the Bible actually says.  Their interpretation isn’t even close to being accurate, but that’s what happens when one insists on reading the Bible as if it was written in the 20th century when in fact it was formed thousands of years ago in cultures vastly different then our own.

So like the Occupy movement, perhaps that’s what needs to happen to current-day Christianity. Those who claim to be followers of Jesus must demand change or boycott the religion of Christianity until the religion changes.  I like chicken sandwiches, I like waffle fries, and I like good customer service so I’ll probably eat at Chick-Fil-A again, but they aren’t the problem, Christianity is the problem.