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Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Reverend Tony explains it all for you

Tony Pierce is back in L.A. after his road trip to Oregon and points north, and one of his first posts of the New Year is one of the best I've read in a long time. In particular, he boiled the state of our troubled nation down to a single paragraph that sums matters up beautifully. You can turn off your PBS, your NPR, your CNN, and your MSNBC for a while, because this is all you need to know:

it's always been my belief that most of these Christian Conservatives are just as much Christian as the President is a Constitutionalist. they say they are but when the rubber hits the road they just want to tell everyone else what to do while they disobey every rule in the book.
Amen, Tony. Happy New Year, bro.

Comments (22)

Jack, do you really believe "MOST Christian Conservatives...disobey every rule in the book" ? That is a very encompassing message, one I seldom find you making; and not the nature of a good"liberal thinker".

It's called hyperbole. You know, like "The Constitution is just a piece of paper."

I love how liberals make stupid comments, and then dismiss their critics by invoking a fancy word like "hyperbole" or claiming it was a joke. Maybe it was just another wedge in the long, tired divide between a few Christians who say (and do) stupid things, and a few liberals who take every opportunity to dismiss and caricature a group of people with whom they disagree.

take every opportunity to dismiss and caricature a group of people with whom they disagree.

Yes, thank God your heroes, like Lars Larson, Rush Limbaugh, etc., etc. never do this.

I don't think it's a joke. I'm quite serious. I hate pretty much everything that George Bush and Dick Cheney stand for.

Wow, Jack, that's quite a leap you just made: you start by caricaturing Christian Conservatives as a whole by labeling them as disobeying "every rule in the book." Then you make assumptions about me by assigning Lars Larson & Rush Limbaugh as my "heroes." Then you take a swipe at Bush & Cheney.

How did we get from hypocritical Christians to "hatred" for the president? It must be that Bush is a Christian, so any opportunity to smear the Christian faith is an opportunity to criticize Bush by association. That's really what it comes down to, isn't it, Jack?

Your leap of topics also served as a nice change of subject from the original point, which was your convenient dismissal of Lee's valid criticism concerning your gross generalization.

It must be that Bush is a Christian, so any opportunity to smear the Christian faith is an opportunity to criticize Bush by association.

Actually, I think the issue is more that Bush is not much of a Christian.

There's lots of folks out there who proclaim themselves this and that...but it takes more than empty platitudes to make one a "Christian." You gotta walk the talk, and Bush doesn't make the grade. And its especially offensive when he plays the Christ card.

An awful president...but an even worst Christian. At least as I understand what a follower of Christ is suppossed to be.

Both sides have their hypocrits. Rush talked about how bad drug users are while hooked on Oxycontin, and the rich liberals talk about Bush's evil tax cuts for the rich while taking advantage of every shelter and tax loophole they can find. One of Bush's evil tax cuts was the per child tax credit. Thanks to that one my neighbors across the street who have 5 kids and are buying their own house probably don't pay a dime in federal taxes, while I who make less than half of what they make, have no kids, and don't own a house, am paying up the ying yang.
For all the hollerin' going on on both sides of the political fence, I don't feel like the right or the left give a darn about me or anyone like me. As far as I'm concerned they can all take a long walk off a short peir....

That should have been pier...

I once was asked to volunteer as a secular guest on a Christian radio station, which I did, once a week for around a year. It gave me a chance to ask some sincere questions about what I see as discrepancies between the Bible and the way Christians act. One day I asked about the quote, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” The host had a convoluted explanation that this referred to a small side gate in the old city of Jerusalem, but given all the other references to helping the poor, I can’t help believe that quote means, you better not hoard wealth in this world, or you’re going to hell. If the whole point of the religion is to make it to heaven, why even chance the meaning of that quote? So why are there rich Christians while we have so many people living in the street? I think there is resentment that our current leader, who is a millionaire, wouldn’t have even come close to being elected if he hadn’t been supported for his so-called faith. I believe he used it to dupe you. This is a man who was a partying drunk till his 40s, and suddenly you see him as devout, verging on holy. The only moral high-ground he was on was a barstool, and the only calling he heard was “Last call.”

The problem is that everyone has different thoughts on what it means to be a "Christian". I've always though being a Christian is being Christ-like. And if you follow Christ's life, he stood more for grace, compassion and faith, than gun control and bombing people.

Of course, I don't think Christ stood for tons of sex and smoking dope either, which is kind of what Tony Pierce implies.

Anyway, I've read the Bible cover-to-cover and listened to more sermons than I like to remember. The Bible says, "God is Love". And if God is Love, then Love is God. And I'll make that my religion, my Christianity.


Re: Camels and needles

Not to get all churchy on you, but the passage you quote is one of the more misunderstood verses, and it doesn't even involve sidedoors.

In the story, a rich man asks Jesus what he needs to do to earn eternal life. Jesus says to obey all the commandments. The man asks if there is anything else he should do. Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

The message is straightforward. A "perfect" Christian lifestyle demands substantial sacrifice that most people (rich and poor alike) are unwilling to make.

Religion seems more and more like a business that sells peace of mind to people who behave badly: "You raped a kid? That's OK in God's eyes, just give the church some money, and you'll be forgiven."

Frank, Bill & Jack: you are unquestionably correct in your feelings (implied or otherwise) that there are Christians who don't live their lives in consistency with their stated beliefs. I lead the list, and frankly (please don't take this as a copout, as it's not intended as such) I don't believe it's possible to be completely consistent. So for me and other inconsistent Christians, I apologize to you for giving you reason to dislike our faith.

I also think, however, that even if George Bush lived his life in exact concurrence with biblical principles, a significant portion of those who criticize his "walk" would find some other excuse to do so.

Bill, I too have heard that explanation about the "eye of the needle" being the city gate. I have no reason to believe or not believe the explanation -- I just don't know. Regardless, the Bible devotes a significant amount of time talking about our responsibilities with wealth, but it doesn't say Christians can't have wealth. Also, the fact that our country has people living in the street does not demonstrate that wealthy Christians are hoarding their wealth.

I think Bush's wealth is irrelevant to this discussion, unless it concerns what he does with his personal wealth. I haven't looked at his tax returns. Have you?

Has Bush always been what evangelicals hoped? Not a chance. He seems at times to make statements calculated to appease us rather than actually taking action. But the alternative in both elections was someone who would make statements calculated to appease, while being more hostile to our causes.

As for Bush's failures in his younger life, I went through some of the same things, though earlier than he did. Unless you see him bar hopping up and down Pennsylvania Avenue, I think it's a cheap shot.

And now, with apologies to Jack because I've probably violated multiple parts of his comments policy, I'll shut up.

actually Justin, Christ stood for zero sex in his life, but obviously if He had a problem with mankind having sex He would have said so.

meanwhile if you find something against hetro sex between two unmarried people in the bible, you let us know.

same goes for using seed-bearing plants for our use.

Bingo! If that sentence is taken literally, rich people can’t get into heaven, but since you say that isn’t the case, Jesus must have been exaggerating about the camel and the needle for effect or to get the audience’s attention. Which is the same method Reverend Tony used with the phrase “every rule in the book.” But, I want to hear how “Thou Shalt Not Kill” works with preemptive war. Go ahead. Humor me.

tony, i'm not saying its a sin to have sex or smoke weed. (though christ does say something about obeying the law, and smoking dope is illegal in the u.s. so for the sake of argument, i'll assume we're in the Netherlands).

I'm just saying I think Christ stood for more important things then sex and drugs, that's all.

there's more to life than sex, and while i like your blog, i do, i think you're overly focused on sex... of course this is also the reason i read your blog, the girls. and by girls, I mean the Saugeen Stripper.

Hi all,

On the camel quote, I heard that camels had to enter the side gate by going on their knees so a rich person could only enter Heaven on his knees (humble). Who knows, I think we all get it is supposed to be hard...or perhaps some monk got the Greek wrong.

As far as Bush is concerned, I think he is genuine in his beliefs. However, I strongly disagree with the angry evangelicals and their visceral reactions. Generally, I think most Christians over complicate the whole thing. It seems to me Jesus simplified the dogma by boiling it down to its essentials: love others; love God. I fundamentally don’t understand how any Christian can have the opinion that Christ is vengeful. If being perfect on Earth means turning the other cheek, being meek, being humble, then why is it those principals convert in Heaven to anger, retribution, and instilling fear?

"Hate" is a sad, primarily useless emotion that, for the most part, is self-defeating. When Clinton was elected, it was certainly disappointing, but in the long run, it didn't change the time I had to go to work in the morning or the price of chicken cutlets. Political hate is the unattractive legacy of the rhetoric cowboys like Howard Dean and James Carville.

I enjoyed the story of Clinton and the Lane Bryant girl under the desk. Hillary on the Today Show talking about "the vast right wing conspiracy" was a priceless, timeless video right on the level of the Rafael Palmiero finger wag. It gave me some great "I told you so" material to throw at my liberal friends, but it never inspired hate. Hate implies that you let it get to you and in essence lost. Self-defeating at best, but misplaced when you remember that the person was elected by the majority of the American voters.In our system of Democracy, the majority rules.Don't become a hater, it's self-defeating.
Hey, people are now going to pay monthly bills to listen to Howard Stern. Besides, Dick Chaney is on the back nine and can probably see the Clubhouse.

i dont think ive written more than three or four lines about sex in a month.

yes my blog is sex-y thanks to the pictures that i run. but for the last two weeks i've been on a west coast road trip, and although i did editorialize about the saugeen stripper and asked people who had commented that she was a slut to reconsider that title, i have refrained from writing about sex for most of the last six months, pretty much.

to the dismay of a small portion of my readers.

others are upset that im not writing more politics.

as for the bible and legality of weed. i agree with you which is one reason i stopped smoking pot in america. but that doesnt mean that its a law in contradiction to the bible, which goes back to my point that these so called conservative so called Christians arent just faking it to control people. if they were real Christians they would never deem a seed bearing plant created by God illegal. and if they were true pro-business Republicans they would tax it and get us out of this economic quagmire.

instead they are towelboys of BushCo and Cheeney's whims, and since both of them have done very well financially, to hell with the country's economics or to the Bible or to God's creations.

tony said, "if they were real Christians they would never deem a seed bearing plant created by God illegal. and if they were true pro-business Republicans they would tax it and get us out of this economic quagmire."

I absolutely agree.

We've come a long way, and refined our tastes. We're still going to the entertainment arena, to see life's meaning, whatever, but now we smoke doobies and watch it on big screen, the deathly and the bloody, fight to the end: Christians VS. Lionesses

SundaySunday -- Be There. My money's on the purring lounge ladies, with the sleek musculature. I just like the performance of their product better, is all, and in a blind taste test the Christian morsels are bitter.

Tense: light it, don't hide it.

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