A Look Back At My 2016 Article, “Republicans Can’t Be Christians — Sorry!”
In late 2016, I wrote an article and posted it to my blog with the title above. I remembered that recently, went back to read it and thought there were some interesting thoughts, points, assertions, etc. So I’m actually going to repost it here for anyone who may be interested in my viewpoints then and where we’ve gone over the past five years.
I do want to state a few things first though. In no particular order, I would like to find the time to revisit this and write a second version to follow the original, showing how some things have changed and morphed over the past four years, how many of us were surprised to find that nearly half of America is comprised of either explicit or implicit white racists, most of whom deny that term while using others that simply fall under the actual umbrella term just mentioned. Some major ones would be “white nationalists” (very common), “white Christian nationalists” (also very common, though some Christians try to deny this despite the fact that actions speak louder than words), traditional groups such as the KKK and Neo-Nazis, both of whom have rebounded quite a bit from near extinction over the past 15 years, “theist” or “evangelical” nationalists, or really anything with those terms since many people who are exactly that are trying desperately to rid themselves of that term since it now carries so much baggage that much of America hates the terms and the people they represent, “white separatists,” and while there are many more, ultimately the Alt Right, which has mainstreamed so well and so fully that it now represents virtually the entire Republican party, despite that fact that the creator of that term and a person who is highly influential in such circles has declared on television, on tape, that basically the only way to recreate a “real” America for “real” Americans (i.e.., white Europeans) will have to be through genocide (my word), as he states that the country will have to be torn down, the non-acceptables eliminated one way or another (extermination) — beginning with dark immigrants, the sick and disabled, most all minorities in the country, and ultimately virtually all progressives, liberals, Democrats and most important of all, as Trump has made clear, the enemy of all fascists everywhere (and make no mistake — Trump and his ilk ARE fascists, and if you doubt me, simply take 30 minutes to research the term, its history and its standard tactics, propaganda, lies, fear spreading, diverseness, mythological victim-hood, targeting their enemies by calling them exactly what they themselves are — fascists — and ultimately violence to the point of genocidal murder if they are not stopped. Historical fact and try to deny or debate me, but I can provide ample evidence and anyone stupid enough to challenge that will be shown for what they are.
Additionally, since a standard fascist tactic is to label anyone they deem as enemies as …”fascists”… (it would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous), many people found it fascinating that Trump has always consistently refused to criticize or order down various white nationalist and white supremacist groups while stating he wanted to declare Antifa a terrorist group! Okay, there are several screwed up things with this. Most people in America have never heard of Antifa, or not until recently. And most don’t even know what Antifa is. So A) it’s unconstitutional/illegal for the president to declare any domestic “groups” as terrorists — he can’t legally do that. B) More importantly, as opposed to the KKK, Spencer’s Alt Righters, various Neo Nazi groups and more, there IS NO Antifa group or organization to declare shit! Shit for brains Trump wants people to believe that, but there are plenty of resources out there on this historical movement and people can read for themselves and avoid the fascist propaganda to discover its history, existence, meaning, purpose, various locations, and ideology — because that’s really what it is. It’s an attitude, a shared belief, people lacking a formal organization gathering and working together largely for one goal. Because do you know what “Antifa” literally stands for? ANTIFASCISTS! That’s it! No terrorism, no violence that is not generally defensive only, no organized group with a headquarters, mailing address (or physical address), officers, etc. No significant connections with the much larger, more established and active longer antifascists in Europe, who have been willing to sacrifice their lives to fight Mussolini, Hitler, the genocidal maniacs in the Balkans, in France, Germany, Britain, and now migrating over to the US — something I never thought I’d see. Swastika flags all around? WTF did we fight WW II and why did my family fight, bleed and die on foreign beaches to free millions of people being enslaved and killed by fascists, as well as to protect the rest of the world from the spread of fascism? It sure as shit wasn’t to see Swastikas on federal buildings and the White House grounds! I’ll be damned before I allow that to happen without my doing something to help that movement fail!
One thing I think it’s also important to note is that when I wrote this, I was not an avowed Christian, but more of an agnostic. This came after decades and decades of study, reading, research, reflection, discussion with people of all stripes, etc. However, since then I have continued my journey and concluded shortly after writing this that I do not believe in any supernatural being or anything at all, that the Abrahamic religions are especially stupid, hypocritical and inherently evil, present the greatest danger in world history, that virtually no Christian lay people have or do ever actually READ their Bibles, instead hearing a few verses at church with a nice, affirming sermon, and reading a verse or two in their daily devotionals, etc. I really just finished reading the Bible through from front to back for the 18th time. (I’ve also read the Koran, Hadith, etc.) I see several different things when I reflect on this. One is there are so many contradictions, discrepancies, falsehoods, unsubstantiated crap, inconsistencies, fraud (as in most of the books attributed to Paul have been largely proven to be not his at all, but written by others in his name to give their work credibility — a nearly universally accepted viewpoint by religious scholars), and even virtually an entire lack of independent evidence anywhere in the first century world of the very existence of Jesus of Nazareth, which incidentally did not yet exist as a town or city and wouldn’t for some time. I was brought up to believe the Bible was the inerrant work of God, that everything in it was inspired by God and 100% true, so I find myself amused when such people have to start scrambling to come up with some whoppers when asked just some very simple, basic questions, such as which creation story do you believe and why? Frankly most Christians don’t know there are two (one each in the first two chapters of Genesis), so when confronted with this dilemma, the answers tend to be very creative. (I won’t address the actual creation story when God created everything and “it was good” because that would take too long here, I don’t have the time and there are plenty of resources out there that show what is written cannot possibly be true or accurate for many reasons.) And of course there’s the whole issue of Moses being the author of the first five books of the Christian Old Testament, yet he has this remarkable ability to describe not only his death, but his burial, general burial location and so on in the fifth book. I wish I had those mad skills! (And yes, I’ve heard most of the “explanations,” most of which are almost as insipid as what’s written in those chapters.) And just a couple more easy ones. How do you know which sign above Jesus’s head on the cross to believe or is the “true” one since all four gospels quote the wording differently and with no unison at all. Also, which story about his “rising” from the tomb, because there are a bunch of different ones, none of which agree with each other. Of course the ascension story presents a problem too. Then there is the fact that no one knows who the actual authors of the gospels are. Just that the church leaders gave them those names many years after they were written. Moreover, we all grew up reading the precious words of Jesus printed in red in our Bibles. Yet no one writing the gospels (or the creator of Christianity himself — Paul) had ever met Jesus, or even likely even knew anyone who had ever met Jesus, so while people faced with the following dilemma always refer to “the oral tradition” back then, numerous documented studies have been conducted on various tribes in that region to exam the oral tradition, its effectiveness and authenticity, and the results have universally shown this concept to be utter bullshit — it doesn’t work, nearly certainly never did. And to complicate matters, while Mark is considered to be the first book written around 45 CE, or 12–15 years after the alleged death of Jesus, while Matthew and Luke wrote their gospels later, using Mark’s so heavily that many passages are lifted verbatim (although that doesn’t account for the mysterious and anonymous “Q,” who despite total lack of evidence has been accepted by most theologians and religious scholars as a person of great knowledge following Mark and providing critical information for the rest of the authors since there are so many holes and gaps they couldn’t possibly fill, that a source HAD to be made up, er, “found” to explain their knowledge of things they literally could not have known. Look Q up if you doubt me.), etc. My point was and is, all of Jesus’s words in red? Utter crap. Why? Should be obvious by now. There were no eyewitnesses who heard Jesus teach in the very few years he did who lived long enough and was fortunate enough to meet Mark or someone who knew Mark to be able to quote the words and wisdom of Jesus. Another point is that Jesus left no personal writings, unlike Mohamed or some of the eastern messiahs or prophets etc. Why? He, his disciples and most likely all of his followers (the number of which is in doubt and considered by many to be infinitely smaller than most Christians are led to believe) were COMPLETELY ILLITERATE!!! In that part of the Middle East, during that century, most independent documents indicate that at most, 1% of the population were even barely literate. Uneducated fishermen from an area contested to even have existed could not possibly have written any of his words down, so it’s almost certain that everything attributed to Jesus as his sayings, teachings, etc., were completely made up by the unknown authors of the gospels. And while there’s actually a lot more on this topic, and much more on thousands of others, it’s commonly accepted that all of the authors of the gospels were educated Greeks. There are many reasons to support this belief; you can research them on your own. Since Jesus and his followers spoke Aramaic — which these Greek authors were unlikely to understand, although they could possibly have hired translators , although what to translate is a real question since nothing was left by or of Jesus to be translated — things were more complicated by the fact that he also spoke Hebrew, most likely as a result of his lifelong Torah study. Again, this is another language that these Greeks might not have known or known well, and again, even though it’s possible they got translators, going back and forth from Aramaic to Hebrew and back can be both taxing and allow for many possibilities of mistranslation.
There’s so much more, but I really don’t want to focus on that right now. Instead, as I indicated, I want to post what I wrote here in December 2016 because I think it makes for interesting reading, not only for then, but obviously for all of the things that have transpired since. And I do want to write a follow-up sometime, but my time is very limited these days, so I’m not sure when I’ll get to that.
In any event, while admitting to not having gone back to read the original, my post was apparently originally inspired by a Huffington Post article, the URL of which I supplied in my piece. After I post that, I’ll simply post the text of my original piece for anyone interested to read. I know we’re all actually pretty sick of Trump, fascists, politics, etc., right now, but it’s not yet over, so I feel it’s important to continue to monitor things and educate ourselves. Thanks for reading this excessively long, unplanned intro and here’s the original. Cheers!
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Republicans Can’t Be Christians — Sorry!
(Link to post I reacted to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-like-jesus-disciples_us_583e48d7e4b04fcaa4d5bd72?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-like-jesus-disciples_us_583e48d7e4b04fcaa4d5bd72?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063)
Oh, holy shit! If this doesn’t discredit ALL CHRISTIANS in everyone’s eyes, than what will? Trump a disciple of Jesus? Trump EVERY disciple of Jesus rolled into one? Are the Christians going totally insane now? At this point, with 81% of all white evangelicals having voted for Trump, it’s obvious to me that today’s Christians have sold out, have sold their souls to the Republican Party and to Fox News, do not care about Jesus or his teachings, especially about “love,” “the poor” and caring for them, loving your neighbor as yourself, treating everyone — including immigrants!!! — as equals (Remember the story of the Good Samaritan they always teach in church? Do the Christians ever learn anything from that, considering the Samaritan was from a group of unacceptable immigrant types Trump and his Christian/Republican friends would have thrown out of the country by now, showing their great Christian love and compassion?), about healing the sick — for free, dammit! — and healing the sick occurs a lot in the New Testament, but apparently Christians/Republicans must skip over those parts of the Bible … if they ever actually read their Bibles. What about believers of other religions? The Old Testament God would have had his Israelites go kill all of them. He was permanently pissed off, in a bad mood, and ready to kill everyone who was on his shit list. That’s why so many fundies like OT God. But see, I don’t believe in OT God. Not anymore. I was brought up to believe in him. I was brought up to “love” (hate) and fear (yep!) him. That’s how the “Church” controls you, controls the Christians in its clutches. But I threw that out the window decades ago. There’s no room in my life for brain washing, mind numbing, soul destroying bullshit like that. I feel that God, if there is a god — and I often wonder — created all people and if he does love people, he loves them all equally, no matter what their color, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or anything else like that is. And I really think Jesus would support that. He said the most important commandment was to love your brother like yourself. He didn’t say white brother. He didn’t say straight brother. He didn’t say that person must definitely be a male. Yet, our wonderful Republican Christians pretty much hate all other religions, and if you go by Trump and his followers, and 81% of white Christians do, then they all hate Muslims especially, even though there are two billion of them in the world today. Hating two billion of God’s children is sure to make God proud of you, his personal representative on earth, showing the rest of us just how great it is to be a Christian and what a loving, tolerant religion it is. Not. Christians, I’m not convinced God would approve of you actively hating two billion of his children and acting to work against them in one way or another, at a minimum, to keep any of them from entering our country, a nation of immigrants, a nation where each and every one of our families have come from other countries through immigration, something we’re now trying to deny people of a different religion, and most of them a different ethnicity, just because they’re not white Christians and therefore not acceptable. I’m becoming more and more convinced that it is literally impossible to be a current Republican, especially a Trump Republican, and a true Christian at the same time. No true follower of Jesus and his teachings would ever endorse what Trump and the current Republican party stand for. They simply clash too much. Today’s Republicans stand for hatred, not love, helping the rich and hurting the poor, screwing the sick, starting or sustaining violence and wars, something Jesus symbolically taught Peter he wouldn’t have supported on the night of his arrest, Republican oppression of women, while it’s clear in the New Testament that some of the most important disciples to help Paul were women and the first people to be given knowledge and proof of a risen Jesus were women, Republican hatred, repression of and oppression of virtually all minorities, especially black people, while New Testament Christians had members of all races, including Jews, obviously, other Middle Easterners, Africans, Romans, Greeks and other Europeans, even Asians and apparently far Eastern people. Jesus welcomed people from all demographics. God made everyone, let’s not forget that. It seems that most of today’s Christians/Republicans have, unless he did it to create slaves for them? Cause I honestly don’t know what their thinking is regarding God’s motivation for creating minorities since they obviously hate, resent, repress, oppress, and abuse them so brutally and have for centuries. How do today’s Christians justify this? Cause I just read an article yesterday that basically said that it was white, rural, Christian, mostly poor voters who just put Trump in office, as well as many of these other Republican freaks who want to destroy the country and the world, and that pretty much every single one of them are white Christian racists, whether overt or not, as well as anti-education (did God tell us he wanted us to be stupid?), anti-“liberal,” (cause obviously *I’m* the bad guy here, right? Cause I’m an educated liberal “elite.” Shit. Pretty much every Republican political leader has an impressive college education. Trump has an Ivy League education!). But I’m getting off topic. Today’s Republicans can’t be Christians because they all want revenge and vengeance for everything. Long jail terms! Stiffer prison sentences! Three strikes! Death penalty! Hell yeah! Oh, what did the Bible say? Vengeance is mine says the Lord? Judge not lest ye be judged? I often wonder if today’s Christians have ever read the Bible. My bet is, maybe a few Psalms, some books of the Old Testament, cause God is pretty pissed there and a pissed God is pretty rad. Maybe a couple of key New Testament verses. Not much else. Of course they’ve all had Sodom and Gomorrah drilled into their heads all their lives, so they hate gays more than anything on earth, homosexuality, the controversial and debatable alleged sin in Sodom thought of as the abominable sin. But do they ever stop to think about how many times Jesus mentioned homosexuality in his teachings? Zero. Never. Paul did. A couple of times.Paul was somewhat sex obsessed. Paul had issues, IMO. Jesus never brought it up. Also, how many times did Jesus condemn abortion, the other major Christian topic of hatred? Zero. None. Never mentioned it. It is mentioned in the Bible, I believe, although I’m willing to be wrong on that, but the Jews had/have an interesting take on things like that and things like the question of when does life begin. Republican Christians have been fighting for decades to get the courts to make it the law of the land that life begins at conception. But that’s not what Jews God’s chosen people, believe. And remember, they base ALL of their religious/moral/ethical beliefs on what is written in the Torah/Old Testament, etc. Jews believe life does not begin until a baby is actually born, has come out of its mother’s body and has taken its first breath on its own. With that first breath on its own, life has then begun for that baby. And not a moment before. Think about that. Jesus wasn’t a Christian. They didn’t exist at the time, obviously, and he didn’t come to earth to start a new religion anyway. Paul founded the Christian religion, based in large part on the teachings of Jesus. But Jesus had nothing to do with it himself. He was a practicing Jew. He worshiped in the synagogue on Shabbat. Thus, he would have shared this belief. For Jesus, life would have begun at birth, not conception. Therefore, abortion is acceptable to Jews. It always has been. I’m no religious historian, but I’m under the impression that this stance dates back centuries, possibly and probably pre-dating Jesus. If so, he would have known of this Jewish stance on abortion and since he never once mentioned it or certainly spoke out on it, it’s safe to assume he agreed with it and endorsed it. My point is that at a minimum, topics like helping the poor (the most frequent topic Jesus ever spoke about), taking care of the sick and the helpless, healing others, PAYING TAXES!, praying, faith, giving one’s wealth, riches, and possessions away to follow God, having the right priorities, forgiveness, peace, doing away with religious hypocrites (like current Republican Christians), and compassion were all infinitely more important to him and his teachings and followers than trendy conservative Christian hot topics like homosexuality and abortion, as well as many other current Christian topics that I don’t think represent Jesus or his teachings.
An aside. Not a day goes by when I don’t hear some quote or two coming from that absolute insane “Christian” leader, Pat Robertson. I think if there was ever a famous public figure claiming to represent God in current times who consistently just gets it WRONG every single damn time, it’s him. For decades, he has advocated conspiracy theories of all types, no matter how crazy. He has called for our country to assassinate another countries’ leaders. (Seriously??? WWJD? Does he really think Jesus would approve of that? If so, why? Where in the Bible did he get that idea?) He has called for violence against abortion doctors, for overt sustained discrimination against gays, crying out for Christian backlash to the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing gay marriage. He constantly makes pronouncements like God is going to destroy America because we allow homosexuals to marry or God’s going to allow one country or another to attack or invade America as a way of punishing us for our love of gays or every time there’s a natural disaster, such as Katrina, Robertson’s on TV announcing it’s God’s judgement on America for one sin or another and oh yeah, this is great, every time there’s a mass shooting, he’s right there on TV doing God’s will, blaming it on America’s failing morals, how we don’t pray in schools anymore — — I can see Republican God getting so pissed off at no prayer in schools that he sends gunmen to schools across America for mass shootings to pay back the damn liberals running this country, even though it’s a Republican Congress, a conservative Supreme Court, a mostly Republican country in terms of Red states and governors, etc. Yeah, it’s the damn liberals in charge. You know, the same ones who can never pass common sense gun laws that might stop these sorts of things and save dozens of lives because powerful groups like the Christian Republican NRA and its politicians all over the country constantly block any law of any sort from ever passing that would ever help save lives and stop mass shootings. Cause Republican Christians know that Jesus would undoubtedly carry an AR15 with him if he were around today. One of his dozens of guns he would own. The fact that he was unarmed while alive and told his followers to put their weapons away when he was threatened apparently is meaningless to these people. Jesus was not a passivist. He would kick ass and take names! — Anyway, Robertson. An example to America, at least the rest of us, of what today’s Republican Christians are and have become over the years — crazy, violent, hateful, intolerant, bigoted, spiteful, vindictive, mean spirited, and someone who shows no desire to follow Jesus’s teachings to care for the poor, to feed them, to heal them, to care for them, cause Obamacare is obviously of the devil himself since a black Democratic president came up with it, even though it was originally inspired by rich, white, religious Republican governor with great success. That doesn’t matter, because the president who made it a national program and law is a Democrat and, even worse, black. Therefore, it’s evil and must be repealed. Even though it pretty much does what Jesus called for us to do. That’s secondary. There are more important things at stake here. To Robertson and his ilk.
Anyway, Jesus did mention feeding and caring for the poor dozens and dozens of times though. And he did mention how hard it would be for rich people to get into heaven. Like practically impossible. Which makes me feel pretty good about Trump’s ultimate destination. And Robertson. And all other well off Christian Republicans. Cause although they’re convinced they know where they’re going when they die, I’ve got a pretty good idea they’ll end up surprised. Cause I don’t view them as Christians. And I don’t think God does either. In the end, it will be Jesus who will say, “Get away from me. I don’t know you.” New Testament, by the way. In case you’re a Christian. I assume you haven’t read that part of the Bible, since it’s not about getting rich or hating people or attacking our enemies or hurting as many people as we can. Yay Christians! Yay Republicans! Enjoy each other’s company. In hell.
Scott C. Holstad, December 17, 2020