Westboro Supreme Court mis-rule

SUMMARY: This isn’t Free Speech, it’s freedom of politico-(pseudo-)religious gang-persecution organized on a national basis against random mourners (as such) uninvolved in the grievances supposedly being protested by Funeral Invasion.

Mob pseudo-religious persecution of mourners’ Free Exercise of Religion — the Baptists’ “speech” is usually not on-point, but irrelevant to the life and death circumstances of the decedent at funerals they INVADE — is just like the mob persecution of Christians in Turkey, long winked at by a supposedly-secularist State.  It violates the civil rights of decedents and their grieving survivors.  Only an unholy alliance between the Court’s fellow-fundamentalists and its (this time) misguided “liberals” would rule that the civil rights of off-topic, political, media-hog, worship-invaders trump Freedom of Religion.

Yes, all defenses of Westboro defend their protests as political, though they are veiled in religion.  If (Westboro) politics now trumps (everybody else’s) religion, maybe the rest of the Religious Right IS right, that religious freedom is being flushed down the toilet with the politicization of everything — IRONICALLY, BY THEM!

Another way of approaching it is that the Religious Right, a vast well-organized group, may now abuse its “rights” to violate the rights of usually-tiny groups of mourners anywhere in the country — not unlike the invasive, disgusting, terroristic tactics of Operation “Rescue” abortion-clinic protesters and their incited gunmen / bombers / racketeers / conspirators.  If the Bill of Rights is about anything, it’s about protecting the rights of the oppressed — not only those oppressed by governments or officials, but by their fellow human beings in this country generally, especially by groups bigger than them.  Look for other hate groups to go back to the Courts now for vindication against explicit civil rights legislation — the Ku Klux Klan, “sovereign citizens,” (neo?)Nazis, self-appointed “militias” and border guards, “Dot Busters,” ‘crosshairs’ assassins, the whole sorry, scary lot of them.  What will the lawless Scalia/Roberts Court say then?  Cross-burnings and lynchings are OK again?  Literacy tests and poll taxes for voting?  Forced segregation of public schools?  ‘The disabled or mentally ill, gay or “different,” should be neither seen nor heard’?  Torching Catholic churches?  Slavery?  Human females as their males’ property?  State-Established religions again?  Swastikas scrawled on synagogues’ outside walls are OK because they don’t violate the “privacy” of the interior of the building??!!  It seems the Court liberals, including two Jewish women and a “wise Latina,” have been tricked into signing on to the rollback of the whole 20th century, if not worse.  (And Clarence Thomas? Nevermind!!!)

Ironically, this unholy alliance represents the difference between Classical Liberalism, in all its forms, and Classical Conservatism, ie, progressive conservatism … the former represented by the whole near-unanimous Court Westboro majority, the latter represented by most Americans’ gut-reaction to Westboro’s atrocities, and this ruling, more bad law, ie, incorrect law, from the Republican Courts and Party.

Learn about the ascendant hate groups and domestic terrorists from the  Southern Poverty Law Center, and support the SPLC.

And how did this case become merely about “privacy and emotional distress“?  The mourners’ lawyers should be disbarred for incompetence!  Were they law students?!  Was this one of those volunteer, workshop, law school projects they do???

Furthermore, does the ruling consider that funeral “privacy” only applies inside a building-of-worship, funeral parlor, chapel, mausoleum, etc.?  What about processions outdoors, burials, cemeteries, motorcades, even the going TO the funeral by the mourners — Some Protestant services even sacralize this with a “Gathering for Worship” recitation or song.  What about Neopagans, adherents of Indigenous religions, or other “outdoorsy” faiths, which might not often even USE a building with a real “indoors” component?  Obviously outdoor portions of a funeral share the vicinity with the neighbors, if any, of the funeral sites, so that’s presumed within Free Exercise.  I’m not sure being attacked, verbally assaulted, or finding yourselves involuntarily amid a political demonstration, controversy, or riot, especially one featuring offensive language, IS presumed within Free Exercise, except during times of Persecution of your freely-chosen (or -retained) religion … something the Court seems to endorse today, even its Fundies!  (Appropriate, I suppose, since their fellow Repugs drove the President out of the church of his choice, then complained he wasn’t Christian enough!  “I played you a tune but you did not dance, I sang you a dirge but you did not wail….”)

I’m willing to consider that baptisms/circumcisions, funerals, and weddings aren’t the same as routine religious services which might be invaded by hecklers urging you to change your religion.  I’m not sure though!  When I was a Quaker in the 1990s I admired George Fox and his Friends’ doing so in 17th-century Anglican and other Protestants’ “meetinghouses.”  Maybe they would’ve really converted  England if they’d just waited till after services, and stumped outside the buildings as the faithful were leaving!  But IIUC these Baptists aren’t recruiting, merely advocating for their ethical or political positions.  And often their protests seem aimed not at anyone present, except the newsmedia.  That’s just rude … Supremely rude.

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Clergy re-victimization of a rape, incest victim?

Beware what kind of chaplain you seek counsel from in our Armed Forces (maybe even anywhere else).  In this disturbing account, a “conservative” “evangelical” Protestant minister seems to say that when a gay woman in the Navy came to him about being raped by a male Sailor, he did two things to her I’ve never heard of in a lifetime of theological study:

  • he supposedly got her to agree, through that bizarre Scholasticism that only his branch of Christianity does so well anymore, to be “married to Jesus” on the spot,* and
  • supposedly he involuntarily, unsolicited, imposed on her an “exorcism” of her homosexuality.

I’m not a lawyer, nor an expert in Clergy Malpractice, and I guess as long as the young woman is satisfied with his treatment of her and its effects in her life, he won’t face that lawsuit, and she’ll join the list of the — for now at least — “ex-gays.”  But his superior officers in the Corps of Chaplains at least, his Denominational Judicatory (if applicable), and/or his therapeutic credentialing body (if applicable), should look into the clerical, religious, and professional ethics of his own claimed behavior towards a woman who was within the military structure, already forced once to submit to heterosexual, male impositions recently therein, and he claims, also a victim of repeated incestuous heterosexual abuse previously.

This isn’t about my opinions concerning “evangelicalism” or demonology, simply what I believe to be — yes, the re-violation of a rape and incest victim by a minister she’d turned to for counsel and not, apparently, for a “wedding,” nor for a “cure” for her lesbianism, about which she had not, by his own account, complained.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this preacher involuntarily “baptized” playmates with water balloons or the garden hose in younger days.

He as much as admits to manipulating her: “And she had to answer ‘well, of course they’re full of the devil'” (emphasis mine).  Now, that one question-and-answer might have legitimate use in a ministry situation such as this, but not to catapult someone in an apparently fragile state into actions of dubious therapeutic, professional, or theological nature.  (I pray he didn’t also take it upon himself to ‘stand in for Jesus’ and “consummate” this “wedding” with her physically.)  Furthermore, he doesn’t tell us about her “renouncing” lesbianism: Did he make it up, lie to “the spirit of lesbianism”??  Or did he consider that the root of the presenting issue, the recent rape, would be legalistically removed if the victim were of an orientation not so disinclined logically, fundamentally, to reject male impositions, ie, straight?  Was it just more “evangelical” Scholasticism?  If so, was that his commission, basically to collaborate in her being ‘raped straight,’ as we’re seeing recently in other parts of the world?

I’m fully aware that Protestantism, today and historically, is full of such pietistic, emotional manipulation, as are certain streams of Catholicism and probably Orthodoxy also.  We’ve all seen the movies, TV dramas, read the books.  But even if we were to simplistically ask “What Would Jesus Do?,” did He ever do so with a woman, a victim of any kind, innocent or guilty?  I could be wrong, but I can’t recall that He did.  Did He ever work Himself and His beneficiary into the kind of frenzy of guilt feelings we’re all too familiar with — in this case turning the victim into the defendant, as she may well have been undergoing in the trial of her assailant already, as often happens in rape trials?

Tragically, many Americans, faced with the 40,000 sects of this land, would be hard-pressed to distinguish between one kind of Protestant chaplain and another.  Furthermore, in chaplaincy situations often clergy of one stripe are theoretically required to do double or even triple duty, serving patients or charges of a diversity of denominations on any given base, ship, or unit; often there aren’t many different chaplains to choose from.  If you’re from a small denomination, you’re at the mercy of whoever got stationed with you — and the Pentagon too is at the mercy of whoever volunteered after ‘having it put upon his heart by the Lord’ to go and do something for/to somebody(ies).

I’m not seriously trained in counseling either.  But I know what not to do, Lord have mercy on me.

A couple more quick points: 

  • Can exorcism ever be voluntary?  Well, someone might have a relatively mild problem — no head spinning, no projectile vomit, etc. — and go to a cleric asking about it, but is that then demonic possession, or maybe something else?  Otherwise, someone else might bring the supposedly-possessed person to the clergyperson, figuratively or literally kicking and screaming.  Neither is reported as happening here.
  • I won’t discuss Orthodoxy’s approach to homosexuality in this post, because I don’t believe it would be constructive or helpful to do so at this time or in this context.
  • In another, less-detailed allusion to this incident, this chaplain claimed that during it the evil one left the woman’s heart and Jesus moved into it, in the context of the “wedding.”  Actually this is said to happen Traditionally, not as such during the Orthodox Mystery of Holy Matrimony, but of Baptism / Chrismation** / Communion.  Orthodox Tradition goes on to say that previously, the evil one acted on you from within, and the All-Holy Spirit of God, One of The Trinity, from without; afterward, the Spirit of God acts on you from within — a position of strength for Him if you will — but the evil one may still act upon you from without — a relatively weaker position for him.
  • It seems this chaplain has become a political figure since late in his military career (sic).  Information about that is available through the linked page and elsewhere.  I’m so concerned about the particulars I’m discussing in this post that I’ll leave out the political angle, as well as his apparent or possible personal issues.

(*–Apparently, though, this didn’t make her a nun: Roman Catholic piety used to consider Religious Sisters “married to Christ,” but this preacher says his charge “started dating boys” openly.)

(**–likened to the Western Sacrament of Confirmation)

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PROVOKING a war on Christmas?!

Just wondering.  In Philly for the last few years City Hall hosted a German corporation’s “Christmas Village” gift-shopping platz… but only with time, ie, this year, did people start complaining about the word Christmas in the name and signage.

The Religious Right considered free-market businesses’ attempts to embrace/sell to as many of their customers as possible at this time of year — even their fave Walmart — “a war on Christmas,” when if anything it’s been an expansion of Christmas!  After all, IIUC Hanukkah used to be a relatively minor Jewish observance, until it got Christmased-up under “Gentiles'” cultural influence.  Kwanzaa?  Thanksgiving?  New Year’s?  Little Christmas/Epiphany/Los Tres Reyes? St. Nick’s Day (Dec. 6)?  Even, yes, neopagan Winter Solstice.

Taxpayer-funded public schools (of all kinds) and government real estate are a true problem… but I guess there’s only one time of year when they want gummint on our backs!!!

Just one more thing: The Establishment Clause has nothing to do with people “feeling left out” — the Framers left out many people: women, renters, slaves, Blacks, Indians, Halfbreeds, Mulattoes, Tories….  Catholics, Jews, and pacifists barely got in under the wire!  No, the Framers were no bleeding hearts.  The Clause is about barring government from the religion business, and barring religion as such from the government business.  That’s all.

So, what gives?  Well, I don’t know how typical certain self-appointed Orthodox spokespersons are of the U.S. Religious Right, but I’m afraid some of my co-religionists seem to almost be looking forward to an anticipated Roman-style persecution here, or perhaps Commie-style.  I just hope they remember what they tell Muslims: You’re only a martyr if you die, not if you kill, for your faith!  Also, I’m not sure it counts if you’re actually “persecuted” for Heretical politics or economics, and not for the real o/Orthodox Faith.  Real Catholic Orthodoxy teaches us not to go out of our way to seek martyrdom or persecution.  And think of those you’ll get “persecuted” by association, who might not actually share your personal “belief” … LIKE ME!

BTW the first “war on Christmas” on these shores was waged BY “CHRISTIANS,” namely the Puritans of Massachusetts, who opposed all manner of “merriment” on the day as not only immoral and irreverent, but …

wait for it …

CATHOLIC!!!  (Or as they’d’ve said, Popish.)

Anyway, how many Christmas Warriors / Martyrs do you think will be in church next Saturday?  No, not easy Friday night, but early Saturday morning!  Sure: PUT THE “MASS” BACK IN “CHRIST-MASS”!!!!!

ROUNDUP: Fitzmas II et cetera

Remember Fitzmas carols?!  They’re singing U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s praises again for accusing Rod Blagojevich – remember, innocent till proved guilty, and it’s possible not all us Eastern Orthodox Christians are saints (yet!) – but let’s remember all we got out of him in the Plamegate Treason case was a token conviction of Scooter Libby who took the fall for probably Cheney and many other scum, then walked unconstitutionally.  I have a feeling Blago’s right, and we haven’t seen the end of this, and there’s more to be revealed.  Meanwhile let’s get the Bu’ushists on their way out the West Wing, so they don’t get away with all their High Crimes, and nobody else in the future thinks they will either….

Did you hear about the White Racist vigilantes during Katrina in New Orleans killing poor Blacks escaping the flooding Lower Ninth Ward while cops batted an eye?  Me neither.  (Yeah, OK, it’s Katrina vanden Heuvel from The Nation….)  Sign the petition.

Did you hear Orthodox, former Evangelical bigwig, Frank Schaeffer sounding almost like a progressive conservative?!!!  (What those he calls “conservatives” and “progressives” have in common is Classical Liberalism, as he articulately characterizes without using the term.)  Alright, a pissed one, who forgot in that particular article to take some of the blame himself for driving the Religious Wrong all these years.  (That may be in his new autobiography, thankfully.)  He owes most of us a big honkin’ apology, quite frankly (no pun intended).  But, hell, welcome aboard, Franky, the water’s warm!  Besides, you’re my brother in Christ now, so I have to forgive you.  Do any of us get to retract our mistakes (or any do-overs, to use W’s typically-childish boxball analogy)?

Cheney: If President does something during war, it’s legal.  “Go F*@# yourself,” “Dick”!  Or let your cellmate do that for ya….

Finally, for something completely different(?), “Ten Ways to Make Your Kids More Likeable (and Yourself Too)” or something like that.  Happy Solstice!

They should call you MADAME YUP.

I’m surprised nobody else has jumped on this, after her People interview.  Maybe The Man Called FLINTSTONE (as it happens, being released in time for Xmas!) made more of an impression on me than generally!

The Man Called FLINTSTONE was a feature-length Flintstones cartoon spoof of James Bond and similar movies.  “The Man” comes from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (as it happens, supposedly being released in stores as we speak!).  (In fact a couple of us remembered the title as The Man from F.L.I.N.T.S.T.O.N.E.!)  One of the perplexing characters in the movie for Fred and Barney was a mysterious, hypnotic, Russian-sounding woman whose name was evocative of Doctor No from Bond, “Madame Yes” (and whose hat, of Secret Squirrel and Cosby Kid Dumb Donald*!).

In the same way, Sarah Palin seems to have hypnotized the Right and the MSM.  As if we won’t mind more stolen elections and fascist dictatorship if we have Her Hotness to gaze upon for the next 16 years or more!

(*–Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids gave the rest of the world the “They should call you” put-downs, hence my headline.  Today of course we have the “Your mama so” put-downs.)


Is it possible they picked Palin precisely because of the questions she and her family and Alaska would provoke, as a means of (further) energizing their “base” (in both senses of the word) – see how they turned tonight into “Avoid the Issues / Bash the Media Night” – as well as producing a tail-between-the-legs repentance in the fearful, McCain-adoring MSM?  Enough that they’ll “pay no attention to the man behind that curtain” fiddling with the voting machine come November?

Some have noted how they threw poor Bristol to the wolves (not the ones shot from helicopters either).  If someone asks you, “Are you really the mother of Trig?” a logical answer isn’t, “My single teenage daughter’s pregnant,” it’s, “I’m not even going to dignify that bizarre question with a response.”  Is this the way Bristol’s real mom would respond?!!

I don’t say “Well played, Rove,” because for us not to raise these questions would be irresponsible.  If you can’t stand the heat, don’t keep dragging your kids and their lovers into the kitchen kicking and screaming – or onto the airport tarmac – while continuing to preach “family values” and privacy!  Maybe journalists play softball up in the 49th (-most-populous) State, although the top two newspapers there question her readiness too (and also her inflated – ie, lying – popularity rating).

If this is all a cynical ploy, it shows their disrespect for the White House they covet so.  Of course, the real decisions are made by the Ruling Class elsewhere, but the White House can slow their plans and ambitions if in the “wrong” hands.  Note I said slow; have they ever been stopped?

It also shows their disrespect for their “conservative” constituency, as well as that constituency’s willingness to be used so.  “What Would Jesus Do?”

Do we really know McCain?

McCain is touting America’s familiarity with him over Obama.  I guess it’s the devil you know over the devil you don’t know?!!  If that’s the best he has against the Democratic nominee, this’ll be a slam dunk!

But seriously, does the McCain America knows really exist?  The “maverick” buddy of the Religious Right and Bush/Cheney?  The “maverick” beloved of the MSM who votes mostly with the Hard Right?

Who’s zoomin’ who, Senator?  America is having the wool pulled over its eyes, I think.