Air Force’s pagan mistake

By Robert JeffressPastor First Baptist Church of Dallas Several weeks ago, Christian leaders, including myself, denounced televangelist Pat Robertson for … Continued

By Robert Jeffress
Pastor First Baptist Church of Dallas

Several weeks ago, Christian leaders, including myself, denounced televangelist Pat Robertson for claiming the Haitian earthquake was the result of God’s judgment against the country. Jesus clearly taught in Luke 13 that we are not to make such pronouncements. There are any number of theological possibilities for the “Why do bad things happen?” question, and only God knows which answer applies to which situation.

However, the decision by Air Force Academy officials in Colorado Springs to construct an outdoor space for the worship of pagan deities is an open invitation for God to send His harshest judgments against our nation.

As I read of the Academy’s plans to move stones to a nearby hilltop to facilitate the worship of pagans, Wiccans, Druids, and other earth-centered believers, I thought of the Old Testament story of King Manasseh who “did evil in the sight of the Lord. . . . For he rebuilt the high places and erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them” (2 Kings 21:2-3).

God responded to Manasseh’s actions by announcing, “Behold, I am bringing such calamity on Jerusalem and Judah that whoever hears of it, both his ears shall tingle” (2 Kings 21:12). God soon delivered on His promise by sending the Babylonians to invade Jerusalem. Apparently, God did not fully appreciate the merits of theological diversity.

What we label today as “pluralism,” God called “idolatry.” The first commandment from God was, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” There is no evidence that God has changed His mind on the subject. To openly violate this most basic law is to invite God’s judgment upon our nation. God has judged idolatry in the past through military invasions, earthquakes, a flood, and a mixture of fire and brimstone. The book of Revelation prophesies that God will employ the same agents of His wrath during the final seven years of earth’s history. There is no reason to think God is on hiatus during this present age.

“But doesn’t our Constitution demand that all religions be treated equally?’ you might ask.

Since God is not an American, there is no reason to think He has a particular affinity for our ideas about the separation of church and state. Nevertheless, although the First Amendment guarantees the right of every American to worship however they choose, it does not require government to provide a stone monument to facilitate that worship – even if the same government provides a chapel for Christians.

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, the founder of Harvard Law School, wrote in his highly regarded commentary on the Constitution: “The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance, Islam or Judaism or any other infidelity by prostrating Christianity but to exclude rivalry between Christian denominations.”

Justice Story’s opinion was shared by the United States Supreme Court. In the 1844 case of Vidal vs. Girad Executors, Justice Story issued this majority opinion: “. . . It is unnecessary for us to consider the establishment of a school or college for the propagation of Deism, or any other form of infidelity. Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country.” So much for “separate but equal” worship places for all faiths.

To say that a person who smoked and died of a heart attack died because he smoked would be making an unsubstantiated pronouncement. Smoking may or may not have been the cause of his death. However, predicting that someone who smokes is more likely to develop cancer and die than a non-smoker can be proven empirically.

I don’t know the cause of the Haitian earthquake, the Indonesian tsunami or 9/11. But I can say without hesitation that any nation that officially embraces idolatry is openly inviting God’s wrath.

This past week government officials testified they are “certain” of another terrorist attempt on our soil within the next three to six months. One would think this would be a good time to seek God’s protection rather than kindle His anger.

Dr. Robert Jeffress is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas.

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  • WmarkW

    Theists often claim secularists are arrogant.This guy claims to know God’s opinion on purely sectarian questions.

  • PSolus

    Is this guy serious?Is it April first already?

  • psienesis

    This is the United States, Pastor Jeffres. In the United States, we are provided with the freedom to believe any religion we like. The military (all branches) has houses of worship for all manner of Judaeo-Christian sects. In the interests of upholding their oath to defend the Constitution, they build places of worship for other religions, too.This is America how it should be. Go worship your god, let these other people worship theirs, and keep your noses out of each other’s business.

  • wiccan

    Don’t worry, Dr. Jeffress. My Goddess gave birth to your God, and she won’t let him smite anyone. Relax.

  • PSolus

    This article makes myth number 2 (Atheists think all religious believers are stupid.) look a lot less like a myth.

  • emonty

    The Air Force Academy (my son is an alum) has had many ‘non-Christian’ centers for worship from its inception. I am sure the good pastor would also consider those ‘idolatrous’. If the good God had wanted to smite the Academy he could have done it anytime in the last 50 years.

  • HCBerkowitz

    Now, I wouldn’t necessarily find banning the circles amiss if the Academy banned Christian chapels — except that it didn’t have one and shouldn’t have one. It does, however, have a chapel. Not Christian. In general, I am opposed to the expenditure of public funds on any religious facility, but I do recognize some special considerations applied to the military chaplaincy. I have a Greek Orthodox soldier friend currently serving in Helmand Province in Afghanistan, where it’s probably a little difficult for him to step outside the perimeter and and walk over to the nearest church of his faith. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to assist soldiers, on active duty in remote areas, to get some accomodations in their private exercise of faith. While military chaplains are accredited by religious bodies, they are required, by regulation, to assist any service member in the private and personal exercise of their chose religion. Chaplains are not allowed to proselytize. Now, Pastor, presumably you recognize the Old Testament and Judaism — or would you consider it inappropriate for Jewish cadets at the USAFA to have a Succoth hut? After all, that’s a particular religious holiday traditionally celebrated in a temporary outdoor facility. If you allow that, how is a neopagan different? Ban both or neither. You say “What we label today as “pluralism,” God called “idolatry.” The first commandment from God was, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” There is no evidence that God has changed His mind on the subject.” I’m sorry, I seem to have missed the Veda where Vishnu issued such a directive. Could you give me the citation? In the God area, Baal and Zeus don’t get much respect these days, but I can’t remember them issuing such orders. Perhaps it was from Amaterasu-ōmikami? For that matter, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, and a few generally recognized faiths don’t even come with an Official God.Personally, I’ll take my risks with not being protected by a Christian deity. I believe the First Amendment you mentioned gives me that right.Can’t you manage a more recent incorrect Constitutional interpretation than Justice Story, in 1844, about the lie that the U.S. is legally a Christian country? That does appear to be what you are saying. May I suggest Alan Dershowitz’s _Blasphemy_ for a more recent judicial review?Now, my own spirituality is complex, and I must say I’m a bit dubious about an afterlife. Nevertheless, if there is one, and there is a loving deity, Universalism is to me the only ethical position. If your deity is sufficiently insecure to demand faith and prayer or suffer damnation, ’tis better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven, or, if you prefer, it’s a more Manichaean world than you might think.Where IS the Post getting these people?

  • lepidopteryx

    Wiccan, you just knocked anything I could have said out of the park.

  • coloradodog

    ..an open invitation for God to send His harshest judgments against our nation.Your god of unconditional love?Fred Phelps, is that you or your inbred Baptist cousin?

  • thebobbob

    How can the reverend insist that he’s got the goods on a fantastical omnipotent simply because a compendium of old Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic books were collected, reorganized, translated three different times, used as justification to terrorize and murder millions and then held up as the one and true literal word of the Ancient Sky Ghost!What is this guy smoking??? He’s lucky he surrounds himself with ‘believers’ and get’s the children at an early age so that he can begin indoctrination before they realize what a pile of cow pie they’re getting sold.Wait until the Flying Spaghetti Monster hears about this. Pasatfarians are going to be outraged!! Where is the shrine to His Noodly Appendage???rAMEN!

  • mykmlr

    Hoooo boy. Clearly the good Rev. failed to get the memo on hiding the inner ‘truths’ of Christianity (intolerance, self-centeredness, smugness and above all, willful ignorance) from the public.As for Justice Story, I recommend the good Rev. re-read Jeffersons letters to the Baptists. The founders were very clear that NO RELIGION, Christian or otherwise, should be established or prohibited.And that means no taxpayer dollars in favor of one and opposed to another.Oh, btw, if ‘god’s wrath’ brings down pagan cultures, I’m voting for pagan cultures. Egypt got away with it for 5000 years. Seems like an excellent guarantee of a long life.

  • wiccan

    Merry Meet, Lepi!Ever think a simple circle of stones would cause such moral outrage? You’d think that if these ladies and gentlemen are willing to lay down their lives for Dr. Jeffress’ First Amendment rights, the least he could do is honor their’s?

  • cmarshdtihqcom

    Robert, we have no choice but to permit the Wiccans to have their say. We are better than the Taliban only because we don’t have an official religion. If we somehow treat Christianity better or preferentially over than Wicca, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or what not, we have an official religion too, and we are just as evil as the Taliban when we have no choice to drop our bombs….We need to make sure when we drop our bombs, we are dropping our bombs for freedom, for the greatest common denominator of human freedom and equality, not just for the simple majority. It is cowardice to let the majority declare the rules and exclude everyone else. True leadership lets everyone have a place even if they are outnumbered.Just like that guy who said 9/11 was God’s judgment for abortion….Religious choice is God’s idea. It is the only way to be guaranteed we can choose to love God. We must have the freedom to take Him, so others can have the freedom to leave Him.This isn’t government “of most of the people”. This is government “of all of the people”, “by all of the people”, “for all of the people”. It would be intolerable to put Wiccans in the back of the bus and tell them to shut up.Maybe one day if you had your way, some Christian sect other than mine would take power and tell me to shut up.I wouldn’t wait that long to get out of this country.

  • cmarshdtihqcom

    Robert, we could do plenty of things to make America more secure and more holy. But it wouldn’t be a free country any more. And then which unfree side do you root for? America or the terrorists?Keep America free. Freedom, equality, democracy, the Constitution, religious choice is all we got.

  • coloradodog

    “Jesus loves me, this I know….””Jesus loves the little children – all the children of the world…””Thank him, thank him, all ye little children. God is love. God is love.””God in three persons blessed Trinity….””…an open invitation for God to send His harshest judgments against our nation.”What a Huckabee shell game. You can’t have it both ways. Either your god is love or he isn’t and “sends his harshest judgements.”Tell me, again, how you can reconcile the two, Reverend.Jesus, once again, protect us from your followers like this guy and Fred Phelps.

  • cmarshdtihqcom

    Taking their gods away from them will only make them want it more.At least with the status quo they might at least listen to us…..

  • HCBerkowitz

    Wiccan, He might be nervous about stones given some of the Abrahamic uses for them. ‘Colorado Springs is rather stoic about being smitten. Not far from USAFA is Cheyenne Mountain, which, while perhaps not the #1 nuclear target in the U.S., was the most hardened command post. So, until the Soviets developed the SS-18, accurate enough to put 25 megaton bursts right into the mountain, the area would have been quite thoroughly smitethed…not that multiple 25MT bursts on one point is healthy for the area. It’s vaguely appropriate that the DIA code word for the SS-18 was SATAN.So, being stoic (little S) about being smitten has its merits. Unitarian Universalists, who welcome earth religions, gave up on this sort of Christian love, when they couldn’t live up to the standards of the Ku Klux Klan’s smiting. There just aren’t many carpenters who can build a question mark to burn on someone’s lawn. On the other hand, what if Unitarian Jihad finds out about Jeffress? From their first communique, “There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism — 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to … you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.”

  • paulhume

    Mr. Jeffress – I am not really concerned with your theological objections, as our positions on this are irreconcilable. However, I remain appalled when people try to make political capital out of denying access to chaplaincy or worship resources to Neopagans in the military. You, Bob Barr during his Senate tenure and the previous President (climbing on the back of Sen. Barr’s atrocious position during his campaign for the office) concerning making resources available to Wiccan at Ft Hood (where troops were being prepared for dpeloyment), the bureaucrats at the Bush DoD who put up roadblock after roadblock to allowing a Wiccan soldier killed in action to have a pentagram on his headstone, in accordance with his own and his widow’s wishes…It strikes me as small minded, as petty, as vicious, to call on the armed forces to deny resources for spiritual comfort to Neopagan soldiers and their families, offered as freely (I will say) by the chaplain corps as it is to serving members of every other religion.Even when the price is paid in their heart’s blood, given for their country, the offering is deemed insufficient, it would seem. An odd position for clergy of the God Who delivered the parable of the widow’s mite.I don’t see a point in inane claims of Whose Gods are more benign, more tolerant, more cuddly, etc. I simply assert that in the civil society of the United States there is no basis for denying resources for spiritual comfort to serving military whatever their sect may be. Doing so, as one poster seemed to imply, so that they may be more available for proselytizing, would be particularly vile, but even from a more principled position that their worship is idolatry in the terms of the Old Testament – too bad. The state is no more empowered to act on that theological point than it is to act on Ex. 22:18.If the state suffers a witch to serve, it can surely suffer a witch to worship.Paul Hume

  • coloradodog

    ooooogggahhhhh booooogaaahhhhJefress’ personal Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is gonna getcha and smitecha if you draw circles in the dirt. Palin’s evangelical witchdoctor told him so. You betcha.

  • YEAL9

    When you get done worshiping and dancing at the new AF Academy’s pagan temple, continue your worshiping and dancing at the Garden of the Gods Park, a Registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs.And pagans love the earth and celebrate Earth Day with vim and vigor. “Earth Day at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center will be celebrated in April this year. The festivities begin at 9:00 a.m. and continue until 3:00 p.m. Earth Day activities and programs are free and open to the public. Some of the activities to enjoy include Native American Dancer Performances, live birds of prey from Pueblo’s Greenway Nature Center, children’s craft activities, and nature walks.” Travel time to other sites from the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center:Air Force Academy, 20 minuteswww.gardenofgods.com/

  • HCBerkowitz

    Let’s try a different way of looking at the military chaplaincy. It is February 1943, in the frigid waters near Greenland. The U.S. troopship Dorchester was sinking from two torpedo hits.Four military chaplains — George L. Fox (Methodist), Alexander D. Goode (Jewish), Clark V. Poling (Dutch Reformed), and John P. Washington (Catholic) stopped panic, helped evacuation, and eventually put their life jackets on men without them. The Four Chaplains were last seen, arm in arm, praying differently yet together, as they went down with the ship.Is it conceivable that any one of those men would have turned a Pagan away?There are quite a few Chaplains that received the Medal of Honor for doing whatever was necessary on the battlefield, sometimes at the cost of their lives. Some of the Vietnam War chaplains later became antiwar radicals while others stayed on their course.Is it conceivable one of those men would have turned a Pagan away?Incidentally, Robert Jeffress, what is your military experience?

  • cmarshdtihqcom

    I have said Christians often oppress women and homosexuals. I forgot they oppress religious minorities like Wiccans too.I hate where they say in the movie Dragnet PAGAN- People Against Goodness and Niceness

  • khote14

    gotta love this double-think:Christian leaders, including myself, denounced televangelist Pat Robertson for claiming the Haitian earthquake was the result of God’s judgment against the country. Immediately after this ‘disclaimer’ you proceed directly to claiming that your god will harshly judge the US for doing this.Which is it? Only someone steeped in delusion will miss this.

  • frankbd

    QUESTION to people who believe in a thoughtful kind of Christianity: Is it better to be a secularist, or to hold beliefs like Rev Jeffress’?

  • buckminsterj

    Wait, god isn’t an American? That isn’t what the GOP has been telling me! Jeffress, crazy as he is otherwise, might be hearing from his congregation about such blasphemy . . .

  • James10

    Since we’re in 2 Kings … 23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.================Which leaves me to the inescapable conclusion that 2 Kings was written by someone who was bald.But I suppose if God is willing to have 42 children mauled to death by bears for mocking a bald man that perhaps we might worry about what God might do because of some boulders used by some Wiccans.The question thought seems to me Would God’s wrath be limited to the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, The US [lower 48]; the Northern Hemisphere; the entire Western Hemisphere or would he go beyond that and wipe out the entire planet?I guess time will tell.

  • mckinneyj11470

    Dr. Robert Jeffress is not afraid to proclaim politically incorrect theology. I doubt God will submit to the all mighty American opposition based on claims that our Constitution was formulated on the doctrines of pagan worship or one that upholds it, which as a side note I will say the people who claim to know anything about history that most of the men who formulated the documents of our counrty had Seminary degrees. So what’s good about that? Well as a CHRISTIAN nation, we allow worship of other types of religious views, but DO NOT proclaim any other god but the one true God for our nation. If we were any other religion like scientology or Islam or something of that nature, our moral would be degraded to that of Sigmund Freud and then God wouldn’t have to take action because we would all end up like chickens with our heads cut off against each other.That being said, Dr. Jeffress I entirely agree with you and I think it is safe to say that all followers of Christ back you on this one. I apologize to the posts above who for being offensive, but if you are a Christian, you don’t worship a God who just says “oh okay. Lets just say everybody worship whatever they please and ya know what? Let the nation built originally for religious freedom for the Christian reformers build alters for any gods of there choosing. That’s okay. I’m okay with that.” God bless you Dr. Jeffress for your biblical knowledge and honesty about what the Word of Truth says.

  • mokey2

    MMA Wiccan, Lepi!What most of the folks here aren’t aware of is now California has a case going that is trying to say that monotheistic faiths should be somehow placed above others- all because a Pagan wanted to be a Chaplain to represent Pagan soldiers in the prison system. The ramifications of a case like this is absolutely staggering and would apply to anyone not seen as one of the ‘select’. Just google the article ‘Is your faith about to be demoted?’Statements like this one have very real consequences for anyone who would be considered a minority faith. And that includes a lot of Christian sects, too.All we want to do is have a place to commune as we see fit, as our First Amendment gives us the right to do so. Leave us alone and we’ll get along fine.Paul Hume- that was absolutely eloquent. Thank you.

  • Alex511

    fr coloradodog:>…Jesus, once again, protect us from your followers like this guy and Fred Phelps.SO true. Phelps is in my area today with his little gang of four, whining, creebing and screaming at Jewish synagogues. I just wish he’d go away, form his own little “church” on a Northern Atlantic iceberg.

  • acebojangles

    There’s one word for this story: terrifying.

  • Lifeisagift09

    I completely agree with Dr. Jeffress’s response. He is showing us exactly what the consequences are of commiting idolatry (which is in the Bible). Keep in mind Sodom and Gomorrah, and how they were completely destroyed because they turned from God. God is loving, he is kind, slow to anger, and patient. In the days we are living in, now is the best time to seek God, not turn our backs on him.

  • emonty

    ” I think it is safe to say that all followers of Christ back you on this one”NO, it is most certainly NOT safe to say. Of course you set up a strawman to knock down because you will assert that anyone who does not proscribe to your views cannot possibly be a Christian. What nonsense!

  • Lifeisagift09

    Pastor Jeffress is doing what most Christians are scared to do, and that is standing up for God.

  • jonathan_russell

    After reading so many foolish comments you have to wonder how far off the rapture is.

  • emonty

    Life”Pastor Jeffress is doing what most Christians are scared to do, and that is standing up for God.”Do you really think you, or the good pastor, REALLY, know what is in the hearts and minds of billions of Christians?

  • emonty

    Paul Hume,Your comments are quite possibly the most reasonable, best-written, and civil remarks I have ever seen on any of the threads of this site.Thank You!

  • barferio

    Yes, of course. Let us follow the theology of Pat Robertson and Jeffress, two christian nutjobs, in determining the common policies of the government of the people.If only this rapture crap were true, we could be rid of you phony christians forever.

  • lepidopteryx

    MM, Mokey. I saw the story about the chaplain a while back. Just when I think we’re finally leaving the Dark Ages….

  • Freestinker

    God(s) are in the eye of the beholder and the government should never take sides among beholders.Christian theocrats be damned!

  • mbeck1

    One would think that if god was omnipotent, he would target the pagans and not shower his wrath on true believers. Perhaps god and Pastor Jeffress subscribe to the policy of the Catholic church in the 13th century, stated by Arnaud-Armaury, the Abbot of Citeaux, who said, “Kill them all, and let God sort them out.”

  • gimpi

    Pastor Jeffress has demonstrated perfectly exactly why I am afraid of conservative Christianity. In his blindness to life in a diverse society, he not only calls for discrimination based on religion (a religion he, personally, does not like,) but threatens divine vengence if if he does not get his way. WOW!Pastor Jeffress, the supreme court decisions you cite have no more force today than the Dred Scott decision does. May I remind you that in the 1830’s, we kept slaves, denied women citizenship, outlawed many Native American religious practices (in an attempt to destroy their culture,) and Illinois would soon be driving the Mormons out at the point of a gun. For much of our history, the U.S. did not live up to it’s constitution. We try to do better now.The Constutition, Pastor Jeffress? You remember, the highest law of the land. The Bible does not have any legal standing. The One point you were correct on. God is not an American. If Jesus Christ himself were to show up on election day, he could stand around turning water into wine all day, but without proof of U.S. citizenship, He would not even be allowed to vote, let alone circumvent the highest law of the land.As PaulHume pointed out, your Bible calls for killing witches and pagans. Is that next on your agenda, if you get your way here? Your statements don’t seem to preclude that. Religious progroms, anyone? I see a (very few) folk who identify themselves as Christan agree with Pastor Jeffress. What about the rest of you. Am I justified in my fears? Do you really want to deny basic rights to other faiths? Do you feel that your beliefs about the Bible trump the highest law of the land? Do you really expect God to savage the U.S. for respecting beliefs other than Christianity? And,do you understand why all non-Christians would find that scary?

  • rlholloway

    I applaud Pastor Jeffress for standing up and declaring righteousness even when it is not politically correct to do so. Christ declared there is only ONE way to God. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Yet at the same time it is amazing how true that Christ’s words are today with “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” (1 Cor 3:19) Showing contempt for the Lord is becoming all to common in this day. He has blessed us so much yet it seems that many would rather curse Him instead of praise Him for the blessing that He has bestowed upon us. The acceptance of Pagan worship seems to be just daring God to see what He will do. I pray that He will have mercy on us when we deserve judgment.

  • gimpi

    Rlholloway, you did not address your comments to me, but it seems to me you answered my questions. You, as a Christian, believe the Bible trumps the Constitution, that the followers of other beliefs don’t have the same rights you claim for yourself, and that your God is unjust enough to attack the U.S. for following it’s highest law, and being fair to all beliefs. Understand, that’s how you appear to outsiders. I’m officially weirded out now.

  • greyhound1

    Wow. To all those of you who think that ‘On Faith’ is only a place for atheists to knock religion, check this out. What a spectacular screed, and against the Constitution, no less! This guy is nuts, obviously the worst kind of religious maniac, but he’s certainly not doing anything to make Christians look more… well, Christian.Btw, Wiccan, brilliant post. May the Goddess walk with you.

  • arminius3142

    Gimpi’s and Lep’s thoughts echo mine – this essay by a so-called ‘Christian’ is perhaps the sickest thing I have ever read here in On Faith. And I am Christian.

  • Clamlydia

    lepidopteryx posted:”If your god is going to go about smiting people, all you have to do is tell him, “I wasn’t there.”Lep does have a point. Your idolitor-hatin’ God isn’t going to hold you responsible for what us heathens are up to, is he? Isn’t the plan to leave us here sacrificing our goats and fornicating and such when all the “saved” rise up to heaven? So maybe you shouldn’t even be worrying your pretty little heads about us.

  • gimpi

    arminius3142, I’m sure many of the people posting to protest Pastor Jeffres’s viewpoints are Christian. It’s just upsetting to see how his views are reflected by some.The whole idea that his view that some religions constitute “idolatry” and therefore should not be treated equally before the law is creepy enough, but to then go on to state that out of fear of some sort of Old Testament act of divine vengeance, such groups should basically be pushed into invisibility (against the 1st amendment, which he feels does not apply to non-Christens) just sets my egalitarian blood boiling.Who does he think he is? And who’s next? I know many folks who follow such a line of thinking now are trying to claim that Islam, for instance is not a religion. I always assumed this was just hyperbole, but now I’m not so sure. Will the next move be to try to shut down Mosques because Islam no longer counts? Many conservative Christians don’t consider Mormons Christian. Are they next in the gun sites? Neo-pagans in general seem to be among the most intelligent, open-hearted and non-judgmental folks I have encountered here. Yet they are targeted. Apparently good behavior is no defense.The ignorance of history, the willful misrepresentation of what the first amendment means, the oft-stated untruth that the U.S. is a Christian country in law and that means non-Christians are here on some sort of sufferance and need to sit in the back of the bus, these are profoundly dangerous ideas. Before you start the attack, you dehumanize your enemy. Real witch-hunts anyone?One of the things that drew me into discussions on this site is an attempt to understand the mindset of conservative Christianity, to see if the fears I have felt off-and-on over the last 30 years or so are unfounded. This article, more than anything I have seen, tells me not. Well, at least I learned something.

  • rohitcuny

    You say, And then”I don’t know the cause of the Haitian earthquake, the Indonesian tsunami or 9/11. But I can say without hesitation that any nation that officially embraces idolatry is openly inviting God’s wrath.”The Indian space probe Chandrayan recently discovered that there is water on the moon. Perhaps some of the people involved did thank the common God of all mankind. Perhaps they thanked the goddess Durga. The Muslim scientists in India might have thanked Allah. I rather doubt that they thanked YOUR chauvinistic God. I personally question the wisdom of the Air Force in facilitating any religion, but making a distinction between Christianity and other religions is clearly illegal.I thank the Washington Post for allowing us to find out about the madmen like Robert Jeffress who live in our midst.

  • persiflage

    It’s unfortunate to find that the Supreme Court has at times, had a history of sitting justices that were as off base constitutionally as Joseph Story mentioned here in this cautionary tale of religion and government. Thomas Jefferson in particular was wary of the influence of religion in affairs of state, and maintained that the 1st ammendment both created and defined the very necessary wall of separation between religion and government. Nevertheless, believers in primitive superstitions are still guaranteed access to a public forum, as we see here via the rev. Robert Jeffress. We just need to make sure they stay the hell away from government – very far away. That said, pagan ritual and liturgy is no more or less deserving of a place in the pantheon of human religions as any other…..and in fact, they got there first. It is indisputable that every religion that followed did so built on more ancient pagan paradigms, including Christianity.And the sad fact is, our current SCOTUS is as populated with believers and followers of ancient superstition as as any preceeding court in our past……

  • coloradodog

    oooogggaaaaaaaa booooogaaaaah!Maybe Jefress’ small and shallow god has already started his hateful vengeance by burying the evil, corrupt, lobbyist controlled Washington DC with a couple of feet of snow.

  • coloradodog

    Further proof Texas serves out ignorance in squeeze bottles.

  • presto668

    “But I can say without hesitation that any nation that officially embraces idolatry is openly inviting God’s wrath.”I can just as easily say, any nation that officially embraces Christianity is openly inviting the wrath of the Earth Mother.Or, any nation that officially embraces Christianity is openly inviting the wrath of Odin the All-Father.Or, any nation that officially embraces Christianity is openly inviting the wrath of Quetzalcoatl.”This past week government officials testified they are “certain” of another terrorist attempt on our soil within the next three to six months. One would think this would be a good time to seek God’s protection rather than kindle His anger.”Since you apparently have a direct line to God and know exactly what He wants, if we do have another terrorist attack, I’m holding you personally responsible, because you obviously failed to appease Him.

  • coloradodog

    If only this rapture crap were true, we could be rid of you phony christians forever.Posted by: barferio————————-After Republican Leader Limbaugh finishes his bullying of his Lemmings to elect Mormon Elder Romney President, Romney can order NASA to build a gigantic spaceship so Mormons can “hie to (the planet) Kolob” and take the hateful Huckabee “Christians” and Donohue Catholics with them.

  • AKafir

    Jefferson was quite aware of religions other than christianity. The first amendment to the constitution states:

  • tojby_2000

    1. If there is but one god what difference would it really make to him/her/it which puny propitiation techniques we try or what word we name it?

  • cornbread_r2

    There are any number of theological possibilities for the “Why do bad things happen?” question, and only God knows which answer applies to which situation. — Robert Jeffress But of course this doesn’t stop the good pastor from speculating that the next terrorist attack

  • TannaF

    “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

  • ladyliberty1

    Either your god is love or he isn’t and “sends his harshest judgements.”The above poster seems to equate love with lack of discipline and/or consequences for one’s actions.Let’s consider a child, not a perfect child (what child is?), but one who did something wrong. Let’s say that he stole something. His parent was well aware of what his son had done, but chose to do nothing, but instead, put his arms around the child and told him how much he loved him without requiring the child return the stolen item, or without even mentioning it. A policeman also saw the little boy steal, but he didn’t do anything about the theft. He too only showed love (total acceptance of the wrong committed) for the boy. The judge that administers the law, was never needed to administer justice because everyone operated in a state of “unconditional love.” In fact, law was unnecessary since there was no punishment needed for a crime committed, only love was required.Remember: Love has been newly defined as acceptance without punishment for wrongs committed. Since love is without punishment and the law, there would be no need for law enforcement.Wouldn’t the world be wonderful if we operated only on love without law? Everyone could do exactly what he or she wanted to do without consequences. People could take whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it, and no one one say anything. Of course some people would get angry and demand their stuff back. Some would get so angry that they would kill the person for stealing their stuff. Without laws, there would be NO security and total anarchy, but, there would be NO judgment, only love (meaning acceptance of anything and everything). The poster wants to believe that there is a God of love who does not judge. For the poster, love means no punishment for wrong. But, justice demands payment for wrong. Even a non-religious person would say, “that’s wrong” or “that’s not fair.”As the story shows, that kind of thinking is absurd. We have laws and policemen and judges and jails because people do bad things and need to be punished, and there needs to be order in society rather than the chaos that would exist without law enforcement and judgment for wrongs committed.There is an eternal God, and He has established the Law. He is Holy, and His Holiness demands payment for sins. His justice demands payment. His justice demands that He judge. Sometimes judgment is seen in this life, but, everyone will be judged in eternity. Justice demands it.

  • ladyliberty1

    This dispute is over the 1st amendment, not the 1st commandment. The government can’t favor one belief-system over another in any official capacity. If Christian service members are provided places of worship, Jewish, Muslim and, yes, Pagan service members should be provided with places of worship. That is equality before the law. That is American. There is a religious group in America called “The Order of the Mayan Sacrifice.” They have members in the military, and they, too, want a place to gather for their religious services. As a part of their worship, and as a sacrament, they sacrifice the life of a fetus just before it is born. Should the U.S. Military accommodate them as they have the pagans, with their first amendment rights for freedom of expression?

  • APaganplace

    “”There is a religious group in America called “The Order of the Mayan Sacrifice.” They have members in the military, “”Making stuff up to try and terrify others of innocent people is a frequent tactic of Christianist theocrats, …Pagans should know, you spend millions doing it to *us* all the time. Why should we believe you about *anything?*

  • APaganplace

    Gimpi has the right of it, here:””One of the problems I see on these blogs is people who can’t seem to tell the difference between what they believe, as part of their faith, and objective facts. There also seems to be some confusion over the difference between what their faith tells them regarding the rights of other faiths, and what the Constitution says.””This is cause they don’t *want* what the Constitution says. They want *domination.*

  • ladyliberty1

    Human sacrifice is against the law. Late-term abortions without medical justifications are also against the law.No problem. The “Order of the Mayan Sacrifice” have many doctors who perform late term abortions and who will merge their practice with their religious worship. It’s a win win. The U.S. Military must now provide the worship center for this religious group as they have provided the worship center for the pagans and the Christians and the Muslims.The “Order of the Mayan Sacrifice” has both freedom to practice their religion, and their sacrifice is sanctioned by law as the woman’s right to choose according to the Supreme Court Decision of Roe vs. Wade. It is a perfect dovetailing of religious freedom and freedom of speech. The doctors are merging their professional duties with their skills and worship. The law is clearly stated.

  • TannaF

    Gimpi, What you think is objectivity is subjective from your own questioning of the existence of the one, true God. There is a reason Christians see their God as FACT and not opinion based on faith. If you had a relationship evidencing the existence of the one, true God, you would not be questioning it, then the standards of the Creator is objective as truth, and the standards of men is subjective according to what they want to believe. It is comical think of the creation looking up and shaking their fists at the Creator saying, “I don’t believe you exist!”

  • gimpi

    Ladyliberty1, you’re not even trying to be reasonable now. You made this entire silly scenario up. I at least had the courtesy to cite real groups. Your “example” is downright goofy. If you can’t find a real example to prove your point, it just might mean you don’t have a point. Something to think about.The “group” you keep referring to does not exist. But if it did, late-term abortion would not be legal under the nutty circumstances you cite. It’s not a “freedom of expression” issue, any more than Christian Identity followers killing interracial couples is. (And that’s at least real.) I notice you did not answer my question, how a group of peaceful Pagan members of the armed services worshiping in a Air-Force Academy provided stone circle in are violating any law in any way. I take your silence to mean that you know full well they are not. If no laws are violated, it’s none of your business. Nor is it Pastor Jeffres’s. It really is that simple.

  • cornbread_r2

    Peyote-visionaries can’t indulge. — gimpi …the Religious Freedom Act Amendments in 1994, which states, ‘the use, possession, or transportation of peyote by an Indian for bona fide traditional ceremony purposes in connection with the practice of a traditional Indian religion is lawful, and shall not be prohibited by the United States or any state. No Indian shall be penalized or discriminated against on the basis of such use, possession or transportation.’ IIRC, this exemption was briefly over-turned by Congress in the 90s, but was reinstated, partly because it was pointed out that some Christian denominations would not be allowed to give altar wine to underage worshipers during their liturgies since that would also constitute illegal drug use. Regarding ladyliberty1:I don’t know whether to call Poe’s law, or give Spidermean2 the bad news that he’s been replaced as “The Atheist’s Best Friend”.

  • gimpi

    TannaF, I’m sorry, but you really don’t understand this. I understand this is what you believe, but you have proved nothing. God is not corresponding on this blog. There is no real, factual evidence of God. You can’t prove in fact the existence of your concept of God, or the truth of Christianity in any way. Saying that you Your view of American history is also incorrect. The courts do not regard this as a Christian country. The one example Pastor Jeffres cites has been overturned years ago. It is no more viable today than the Dred Scott Decision is. The Constitution guarantees equality before the law for all beliefs. The Constitution is the highest law of the land in the U.S. The Bible has no legal standing whatsoever. If you can’t accept that you live in a secular society, where all beliefs are equal before the law, the only thing I can suggest is that you need to consider founding a new country somewhere else. We are not a theocracy. We never have been. We would have to suspend the Constitution in order to be.

  • gimpi

    Cornbread, thanks for the correction. My husband also pointed out to me that Natives can preform traditional peyote ceremonies on reservation grounds. I was just about to follow up, but you beat me to the punch. I stand corrected.

  • cornbread_r2

    Jeffress said the government doesn’t need to provide a place for them. This is a Christian country founded on a legal system that recognizes God as the ultimate authority. Other religions can practice within our laws in their own venues without requiring the government to cater to them all. Our courts and founders have recognized Christianity and God as the basis of this country over and over. Posted by: TannaF 1) Fortunately for the rest of us, Jeffress doesn’t get to decide this issue. 2) Our legal system is based on English Common Law.3) The First Amendment says otherwise.

  • djmolter

    You’d think that God would’ve gotten all the judging out of his system in Haiti. But then again, if he judged New Orleans with Katrina, what does his allowing the Saints to win the Superbowl mean?

  • cornbread_r2

    gimpi:No problem and you are most welcome.

  • ladyliberty1

    The “group” you keep referring to does not exist. But if it did, late-term abortion would not be legal under the nutty circumstances you cite. It’s not a “freedom of expression” issue, any more than Christian Identity followers killing interracial couples is. (And that’s at least real.) The doctor has the legal right to perform a late term abortion. The group has the freedom to worship as they choose. The doctor is perfectly within his rights to perform the abortion during a worship service. Both of these activities are already practiced. There are no laws that say that they cannot occur at the same time. The doctor may invite the worshipers to his office where they can worship together. There is no law to prevent this. You see laws change over time. When a door is opened for one group to worship, you open the door for all. Many Haitians who also practice voodoo are in America. Certainly they have members in the military. They should be allowed to have their animal sacrifices and spirit worship just as the pagans now do. Stock tip: Invest in chickens and livestock and voodoo dolls.The rastafarians can now smoke medical marijuana for their worship. Stock tip: Invest in medical marijuana.The Jewish people can now have their temple sacrifices. Invest in sheeps and goats.The Muslims can now take their 6 year old brides as that is what Mohammed did. Freedom of religion. The Muslims can now practice female genitalia mutilation. That is religious freedom. The Muslims who believe in infidel killings are within their rights. Religious freedom in America.You see my arguments make just as much sense as do yours.

  • gimpi

    LadyLiberty, I’m afraid you are incorrect on most point. The mythical group you keep mentioning could only perform this abortion if there was a medical necessity for it, confirmed by another physician. it could not be preformed as part of a worship service just for the sake of worship or sacrifice. That is illegal. If your fake group did this, they would go to prison.The FLDS can’t take plural or child wives. We have several sect members in prison about that. The Christian Identity folks can’t kill interracial or gay couples. They can’t kill Jews. We have several members in prison for that. Rastafarians can’t smoke medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is prescribed by a doctor to treat specific conditions, such as Glaucoma, or the nausea brought about by chemo. I’ve done chemo, and I know how rough it can be.Without one of those conditions, and a doctor’s prescription, no Rastafarian can smoke pot legally. We have several Rastafarians in prison for violating marijuana laws.If Muslims try to act out on any physical Jihad, they are arrested. We have several Muslims in prison for that. They are also not free in this country to have plural or child brides. Again, they can and have been imprisoned for that. They can’t abuse their girls. Practitioners of Orthodox Judaism, Voodoo and Santeria can perform animal sacrifice, as long as they conform to cruelty to animals statutes. The law sees it as really no different than slaughtering an animal for food, something certainly legal. Indeed, the meat mostly goes for food, as I understand it. They can’t torture animals, any more than a slaughterhouse can. If they violate the law in this regard, they go to prison, just like someone holding a dog fight.Your logic does not hold up because the examples you cite are all illegal, and we have people serving sentences for violating those laws. We don’t allow religion to trump law. Everyone is free to believe as they desire. You, me, everybody. They just can’t use their beliefs to harm others or violate law. Did you even look to see if any of the examples you cited had been upheld in law?

  • gimpi

    I’m splitting this into two pieces because it’s being held for review. That usually happens when an entry is too long. If it turns up twice, I apologize in advance.Another example; here in the Pacific Northwest, we have just had two trials, both resulting in convictions, for parents who let their children die rather than seek medical attention. They believe it is a sin to rely on medicine, that a true Christian turns to God through prayer and healing. They were convicted of child abuse. If our system of laws worked the way you seem to believe it does, they would never have been charged. They were. They were convicted. They are in prison.You seem to simply be classifying groups you don’t like (at least one of which you have made up) as somehow together, (didn’t you earlier carry on about individuality?) and then claiming they have rights that in fact they don’t. Please, check it out. You will find folks serving sentences for every crime you list. Religion, like ignorance, is no excuse. The line between allowing religious freedom and protecting people from harm is a tricky one, and we aren’t perfect at finding it, but we do pretty well. Again, how, exactly, does a group of Pagan military service members worshiping in a stone circle relate to any of this? Wiccans Neo-Pagans don’t practice animal sacrifice. They don’t practice child-marriage or genital mutilation. They don’t believe in Jihad. How do all your examples, untrue as they are, relate to them in any way?

  • ender2

    And one of our greatest Founding Fathers disagrees with Jeffries. Article 11 of the treaty of Trinidad signed into law by John Adams in 1997: Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

  • Utahreb

    I mistrust any person who thinks that he/she has God on speed-dial. “God told me to do it” has been a convenient excuse for wars, torture, rape and other crimes since the time of Adam and Eve (if you believe the Old Testament).Read the Bible carefully and it is worse than any daytime soap opera, any movie, any novel. The rules for people in the Old Testament are especially upsetting if one takes them literally.No wonder so many are turning away from organized religion – it is nothing more than big business in the majority of cases.

  • APaganplace

    Frankly, all I see of this ‘Jealous God of Wrath’ is certain Christians denying and worsening real problems in the world, being cruel and negligent regarding our social responsibilities, trying to promote fear, ignorance, division, and ‘war’ itself, …So they can then turn around and scapegoat some ‘undesirables’ for the ‘mysterious’ failure of levees or the ‘mysterious’ motions of the Caribbean Plate underneath an overpopulated city made with too much cheap concrete after decades of desperate poverty. All I see is certain Christians taking advantage of tragedy and grief and suffering to try and prime lynch mobs to hurt and oppress others who have done them no harm, to appease some ‘Wrathful, Jealous God’ who wanted them to attack LGBT families and demonize people of the Goddess, while of course voting for the partisans of unbridled greed, ignorance, and irresponsibility. When I look at the world, I don’t see this demon-infested nightmare you’ve embraced: I don’t see a ‘fallen’ place full of damned souls fit only to be controlled, manipulated, terrorized, and ‘punished,’ so that presumably, you can leave a smoking heap and enjoy eternal bliss or whatever you were promised….When I look at the world, I don’t see your abusive idea of a God of jealousy and arbitrary ‘wrath.’ All I see of *that* is *you.*

  • ladyliberty1

    Your logic does not hold up because the examples you cite are all illegal, and we have people serving sentences for violating those laws. We don’t allow religion to trump law.One only has to look at how past laws have been changed, slowly, after a precedent has been set, to see the devastating outcome.It Colonial America many children attended school in the same church building where the worshipped. The Bible was a regular part of their studies. The average 70 year old churchgoer would have listened to 7,000 sermons in his/her lifetime, totalling nearly 10,000 hours. Both Harvard and Yale Universities were established to graduate young ministers. Before the Revolution, Harvard and Yale had graduated 600 ministers who were now in the Churches as Pastors and teachers. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, copies were first sent to all the Churches and were read from the pulpits. Many of the Pastors served in the Revolution, along with their congregants.One hundred years after the Constitution was written, the Supreme Court ruled the 1st Amendment implied “Separation of Church and State.” Thus, began the movement to destroy Christian influence. The public school system established around the 1930’s allowed for the government to take over the training of the young minds. By the 1960’s prayer was taken out of the schools and Darwin’s evolution was being taught. Once God was rejected as the Creator of life, the abortion movement could begin to demand the right to kill the “fetus” in the womb. The growing embryo was no longer referred to as a “baby” but a “fetus” to make the killing more palatable. Prior to 1973, killing a baby in the womb was considered illegal. Since 1973, with the passage of Roe vs. Wade, allowing abortion to save the life of the mother if endangered, 50 million babies have been aborted. Now, we know that 50 million pregnancies have not been life-threatening. That would be statistically impossible. We also know that when abortion was first allowed, there was a time frame, specific to the first trimester. That law changed to allowed killing a baby even in the third trimester. Then doctors realized that they could be within the confines of the law if they killed the baby when its head was crowning the vagina. Sharp scissors could be inserted in the brain to begin the process. I won’t continue to describe the process because it isn’t necessary.So, you see when laws originate with man, laws can be changed by man, and in the end, man’s laws are oppressive, often leading to the deaths of millions, if not tens or hundreds of millions, as we have seen in those countries where they do not believe in the Creator God, from whom all laws come.

  • APaganplace

    That there were Christians in Colonial America is not in dispute, LL. Why, some even famously decided to stoke up a ‘witch scare’ which just *happened* to result in a lot of property going to the would-be Witch-hunters.This is part of why America was founded to be *not* such a theocracy. Governed by the rights of man and in accord with Enlightenment philosophy, and a good dose of Deistic tolerance. With Liberty and Justice for *all.* Not for what you want.

  • ladyliberty1

    That there were Christians in Colonial America is not in dispute, LL. Pagan,If the goal of the posters on this board is to destroy the history of the Christian heritage of America, you will not accomplish it by your current strategy.Persecution only makes Christians shine more brightly in the darkness. Christianity flourished in the years after the death and upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians were martyred by crucifixion, beheadings, dipping their bodies in oil and setting them on fire to light the streets. Yet, Christianity grew exponentially. Thousands were added to the Church, daily.It was when the Church became one with Rome in the 4th century that the corrupting influences of the state on the church set in. This is what the Founders of America knew and wanted to avoid in the New World. In the 1600’s that there was the Protestant Reformation where Christians led by Martin Luther and John Calvin broke free from the Roman Catholic Church, and those Christians were subsequently persecuted in their own countries from which they fled to America for freedom to worship.Thus, began the great American “City set on a hill” “New Jerusalem” experiment. So, *Pagan*, the persecution that now exists on these boards to refute our Christian heritage only inflames Christian to KNOW their history and stand STRONG. The Christian history is so embedded in this nation, that you’d have to remove all government buildings, cemetaries, churches, monuments, books, historians, and people to obliterate it.

  • ladyliberty1

    A British teacher was fired from his job after complaining that some of his Muslim students were celebrating the Sept. 11 hijackers as “heroes,” the Daily Mail reported.Nicholas Kafouris, 40, who taught at East London’s Bigland Green Primary School for 12 years, is suing the school for racial discrimination after he was allegedly forced from his post because he would not tolerate the remarks of his students.Kafouris claims members of his class, some as young as eight years old, openly praised Islamic extremists in his classroom, hailing the terrorists behind the attacks of Sept. 11 as “martyrs,” the Daily Mail reported.Kafouris alleges the students told him they “want to be Islamic bombers when we grow up,” and “the Christians and Jews are our enemies, you too because you’re a Christian,” according to the Daily Mail.The 465-student school is predominantly comprised of ethnic minorities with a majority of students from Muslim families. Many students do not speak English as their first language, the paper reported.Kafouris is suing his former school, its head teacher, and the assistant head for racial discriminationThis is the mindset of the posters on these boards. They celebrate the destruction of Christians. Their animosity is vehement with every post. Their minds are darkened. Their thinking is irrational. They could be termed “mentally ill” or “delusional.”

  • APaganplace

    And, you-who-appropriate-the-name-of-Lady Liberty while despising both the Lady *and* Liberty…With Jefferson and many others of our Founding Fathers, I share a faith which your ilk seem to *lack.*That free people *can* learn,Frankly, with your talk, your hatred, your *attacks* on that which we hold as our *dearest* Liberty: the light of reason and spirit both… *all* we ‘huddled masses yearning to breath free…’ … you deface the name of a Goddess American Pagans have made one of our own most dear. You claim that some brutal and jealous ‘King’ gives you the right to claim ‘Divine Right’ to oppress others… Into terrorizing still others… For the benefit of a few. You represent nothing more than the Dark Ages. Nothing more than pathetic *fascism.* You represent nothing more than *willful ignorance and fear,* and if you asked me, you have *no* right to even claim to have anything to *do* with Lady Liberty. That’s what I say. As An American, I say, ‘Go ahead and see how that goes,’ though.As a Pagan, I say, ‘Careful what you name yourself.’

  • lepidopteryx

    LL, regarding Kafouris:I would be curious to know the exact wording and circumstnces of his exchanges with these students.A student telling his teacher in so many words, “you are our enemy,” while not conducive to positve student-teacher relationships, is also not punishable, unless it is accompanined by a direct threat to the teacher’s life or well-being. Yes, it was uncivil behavior on the part of the students. Yes, Mr. Kafouris had every right to feel hurt and even angry because of their words. What he did not have the right to legally do was forbid them to speak those words. You have every right to dislike me for no other reason than that I am Pagan. I have no control over your emotions. But to accuse Pagans of wanting to destroy Christianity by having designated sacred space of our own in which to worship is false.

  • ladyliberty1

    The differnce between you and them is that they are able to peacefully co-exist with people of other beliefs.What an absurd comment!First of all, since the poster does not know me, to draw such a conclusion, borders on delusional or suggests one is in a substance induced state. IOW, the person cannot think straight.But, moving further, one might ask, “Is the poster ominiscient”? No. Only God is Omniscient. Probing further, “Have I not lived peacefully and co-existed for decades with people of other beliefs”? “Absolutely”. I have never had any kind of violent or even a heated argument with another whereby I threatened another person for any reason, especially for their belief system. “Have I had friendships with people of the Jewish faith, and people of no faith”? “Absolutely”. The poster shows the mindset that pervades those whose thinking is muddled/fuzzy/illogical/incoherent/delusional.The Bible says that those who reject the Truth, give themselves over to a lie. When they exchange the glory of the Creator for a lie, they become like unreasoning animals. And, so they prove themselves to be through their postings.

  • lepidopteryx

    LL, reacting to the mere presence of other religions as a threat to your own is not my idea of peaceful co-existence, even if you never resort to violence.

  • ladyliberty1

    LL, reacting to the mere presence of other religions as a threat to your own is not my idea of peaceful co-existence, even if you never resort to violence.I have to wonder if the above poster is being treated for delusional thinking.The poster’s own presence on this board is because of his/her perceived threat from Christians on his/her religious choice. Thus, the poster is pointing at his/her own inability to co-exist peaceably with other faiths, while at the same time accusing the other of doing what he/she is doing. IOW, it is insane thinking.I really don’t enjoy exchanges with people who have such distorted thinking. It isn’t healthy to be drawn into some kind of circular argument that defies all logic.

  • Athena4

    Dear Rev. Jeffress – Bite me. You’re the FIRST person that I’ve seen saying negative things about the Pagan Circle at the Air Force Academy. Your types always predict “God’s Punishment” on the US, but it hasn’t happened yet. Give me a break. This is NOT a Christians-only nation. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised by the stone circle, but not surprised when I saw that it had been vandalized within 48 hours of being announced. If a Pagan would draw a pentagram on the door of a church, you people would all be screaming bloody murder. You’re not the only religion in the U.S. Deal with it.

  • APaganplace

    “”If a Pagan would draw a pentagram on the door of a church, you people would all be screaming bloody murder. “” Why bother with actual Pagans when they teach their own kids that “This is the way to rebel! Have a Slayer album.”

  • APaganplace

    I mean, too, really… Is there anyone among we Pagans who hasn’t occasionally had that sneaking suspicion that certain ironies of pop-historical narrative are kind of *breathing down our necks?* A little more than maybe the usual.. do we not get this nagging idea that one of these days the Fundies are going to puff themselves up *just far enough this time while trying to scapegoat us* …That we’re gonna end up being the ones that gotta try and pick up the pieces when the whole thing finally implodes? Keeps me up the occasional night. We probably shouldn’t be waiting any longer to be sure we can look to ourselves, for all it’s important to keep a stake in what we like to call America, as well. Clearly, someone else is hoping for an explosion. They’ve been braying about it for years, and they want it *ugly.*

  • HCBerkowitz

    LadyLiberty1, the Holy Book says, “I Laud Agni, the chosen Priest, God, minister of sacrifice,Have you lauded Agni today? What? You aren’t familiar with Scripture? These are the first few lines of the Rig-Veda, sacred to Hindus.You say that you don’t regard it as revelation? Fine. I don’t regard the Bible as revelation. Why do you keep, then, lecturing me about what it says? As the saying goes, it’s fruitless to try to teach a pig to sing: you won’t succeed and it annoys the pig.Now, some neopagans can laugh about it:The first rules of advertising, of propaganda, and of fairly basic human conversation is to start from a premise you and the listener share. If you and your listener don’t share the same experience of a deity, why do you think continued lecturing will do anything? Why not try first to find common ground?You state flatly “Only God is Omniscient.” Sorry, but I’ve never met Ms. God, so I have only your pseudonymous word for it. Was there a Creator? I’m willing to say “I don’t know.” Do I feel spiritual kinship with my neighbors? Yes. Do I have the experience of a deity that insists that I accept her conditions before negotiating? No, but I remember the North Vietnamese wanting that at the Paris Peace Talks, and, for that matter, the U.S. demanding that Iran give up its nuclear program before nuclear programs could be discussed.You also say “Sharp scissors could be inserted in the brain to begin the process. I won’t continue to describe the process because it isn’t necessary.” Why is it not necessary. Because it shocks you? Because you assume I already know the rest of the procedure? Incidentally, why do you assume all fetuses have full brains? Anencephaly, y’know?Yes, pagan ritual can be dangerous; you never know what can happen in a circle dance. Many covens welcome life, and I remember a time when a canine member of the group caught his tail in a candle, and, totally unaware he was on fire, though it was a great game when the two-legs kept trying to throw wine on it. Luckily, he was tackled before he was more than slightly singed. I wish you peace, LL, but suggest you consider that hate and love are believed by many to return threefold to he who wishes them.BB.

  • APaganplace

    “”I wish you peace, LL, but suggest you consider that hate and love are believed by many to return threefold to he who wishes them.BB.HCBerkowitz””Well, I don’t know if ‘LL’ will return the sentiment personally, but maybe that’s part of the point. It’s not *just* about one’s personal interest, the Threefold Law: I like to say that what you send around, goes around, comes around, and stays around. A Pagan worldview is about a bit more than Gardnerian jokes. …It also accepts and observes our *interdependence* as well as our autonomies and responsibilities. Very American, that way. Let’s take out a Superbowl ad! *haha.* 🙂

  • APaganplace

    Hey, Gimpi: “”the faith has much to recommend it, as a faith. It has little to recommend it as a system of governance.””In the words of a recent pop-culture appearance of the Morrigan:Bingo. 🙂

  • APaganplace

    “”APaganPlace, I’ve been worried about that as well. I see many similarities in 2009 with 1993-1995. In case no one else remembers, that culminated in the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.””What it *culminated* in was Bush driving the country into a tree and post-dating a billion-dollar check to the big banks on the way out the door so that Palin could claim to have something in common with the Founding Fathers.

  • APaganplace

    Did I say billion? I meant trillion. Another trillion. It’s not about anything ‘culminating,’ …even the Religious Right and their moneyed-interest cronies bought into their Orwellian rewrite of history a wee bit too much, and are just scared to let go of the ears of the dragon they thought they could ride: that being this pseudo-populist Christianist hysteria. They aren’t even running it anymore, they’re just afraid to let *go* of it.

  • APaganplace

    Speaking of lessons of the *real* fall of Rome, though, the Republicans who courted the Right have forgotten the three most important: (Take heed, Honorius:) a)If you keep insisting government is inherently corrupt, someone will believe you.b) You cannot control religious fanatics.And c) Never stiff the mercenaries.

  • linguine33

    Pastor Jeffres is correct. I checked the internet, and sure enough, God is sending harsh judgement. Churches burned down in Chicago on 2/4; West Cummington, NH on 1/18; Fayette County, PA on 1/29; Humboldt, MN on 1/21; and Wills Point, TX on 2/4. Who knows when it will end?

  • APaganplace

    (continued from above) Behaving like *them?* Ain’t gonna *be* us, either, not from anyone who’ll hear the Charge of the Goddess from me. That’s the *point.* This preacher and that troll claim the land should be one where they can terrorize and threaten others over having *our* sacred spaces, ‘Not Made With Hands’ though most of them may be, …sticking their crosses as symbols of torture, fear and division in them at will and then calling down blame for (whatever’s the next convenient) disaster on those whose places they desecrate, never mind think to *defend* in the spirit of Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite…That ain’t us. Ain’t gonna *be* us, either. Right now it’s the *Christians* who are showing a lack of respect for others’ sacred spaces. If they can enjoy their own while defiling ours with intimidation, insult, and threat, may they take what solace they can of them, cause they’re of no interest or consequence to people of the Goddess.Just something our neighbors hold dear. And we’ll help if we can.

  • linguine33

    You miss the whole point. This is not gloating. Churches burn. Earthquakes happen. Church buses overturn and people die. Twin Towers are brought down. Isn’t it tiring to hear about God’s wrath for some things and not others.

  • APaganplace

    “”You miss the whole point.”” Whole point of what? This?””This is not gloating. Churches burn. Earthquakes happen. Church buses overturn and people die. Twin Towers are brought down. Isn’t it tiring to hear about God’s wrath for some things and not others.””Actually, it’s ‘tiring,’ period. The particular weariness in this case is people seeking to apply it to a religious minority. If you’re trying to make a point for “atheism” by playing into the usual back-and-forth, while some of us are just trying to peaceably-assemble, while Fundies claim the next thing they screw up is in fact ‘Gawd’ punishing the ‘faithful’ for not *persecuting my people enough,* then, *yeah,* the distinction’s important. We know they don’t make sense. But right now, we need some freedom to pray in our own ways if you expect either of us to not be called ‘Anti-Christian Devil-Worshipping-Atheists.’ In case you didn’t notice, these people we’re dealing with aren’t long on subtlety or nuance. Kind of big on the aggression, though.

  • HCBerkowitz

    I don’t think I’m the only one to observe it, but there’s been a certain fusion between earth-religion pagans and spiritual groups that broke away from Orthodox Christianity. After some years of searching, I rather like my particular Unitarian Universalist group, which is thoroughly welcoming of both humanists and earth-centered faith. The “Unitarian” part of the name, however, distinctly separates then from Christianity as a theological base, but doesn’t reject reflecting on some of the ethical and philosophical parts of the Bible. Still, Solstice was a much bigger event than Christmas.There’s a lot of environmentalism, and it even works itself into the spiritual, but it tends to be hard-science environmentalism. At the same time, we’d welcome a Christian who wants to share our experience. Several of our present and retired ministers were ordained in a Christian denomination, and some are scholars of the Bible — just not literal believers in it.

  • bpai_99

    Another Christian who uses his religion to justify his intolerance. Thus it has ever been with adherents of the greatest single cause of bigotry and hatred in human history. Unbelievable that he can spew his bile with a straight face.

  • lepidopteryx

    Berk, your UU church sounds a lot like mine.

  • gimpi

    Lepidopteryx and HCBerkowitz, your descriptions of your Unitarian congregations sound just like what I have been looking for. I feel (but understand I can’t prove) that there is a spiritual dimension to life, but the idea that there is I also “suffer” from a tragic dearth of faith. I simply don’t understand the notion of believing in something with no evidence. Part of what has drawn me to this site is in an attempt to understand the psychological phenomena of faith. It sounds like Unitarians can deal with someone who can’t just turn on belief, like it was a switch or something.My husband is very similar. (Probably why we get along so well.) We have sort of gone it alone on spiritual matters, but we have felt we have missed out on companions on the journey. Thanks for a tip on a group that might be comfortable with a pair of outsiders.

  • APaganplace

    Heya, Gimpi:Yeah, the UU are generally really friendly to seekers and explorers: I might go so far as to say they generally consider that the *point.* They aren’t, as a church, highly ‘creedal’ and certainly aren’t these people who claim there’s only one true way that you must profess and then try and ‘believe.’ Their website actually does a perfectly good job of explaining things, I think. :)As for a lack of ‘faith’ goes, well, I think some people have the notion that ‘faith’ is the same thing as ‘believing really hard and obeying something’ …I’d say it’s more like …a bond of trust with the Universe. I like to say, ‘Belief is thinking you know something: Faith is not *needing* to.’For me, belief wasn’t terribly difficult, given certain experiences. Truly coming to that trust, well, it came in stages. A lot of people actually have a lot more faith than preacher-men like the one above try and teach us: the faith of the seeker is that there’s something to find. 🙂

  • norriehoyt

    “I don’t know the cause of the Haitian earthquake[*], the Indonesian tsunami or 9/11. But I can say without hesitation that any nation that officially embraces idolatry is openly inviting God’s wrath.”[*] Then try studying geology!Nuttier than this Robert Jeffress column it getteth not.

  • gimpi

    Hi APaganPlace,Perhaps you’re right. I know people often mean different things when using the same word. For me, faith has always sort if inferred simply accepting what you have been told. For someone to be simply told, I have had experiences I can only describe as mystical, but I don’t regard them as an exportable commodity. By it’s very definition, any truly transcendental experience is personal. Also, I have to acknowledge that I might be mistaken, wonky or just kidding myself. If your beliefs don’t embrace the idea that you could be wrong, you really are no longer honest with yourself. However, these experiences have made me curious about the wider world of spirituality. It’s a tough concept to explore alone. It’s virtually impossible in many churches, with their

  • APaganplace

    “”I have had experiences I can only describe as mystical, but I don’t regard them as an exportable commodity. By it’s very definition, any truly transcendental experience is personal. Also, I have to acknowledge that I might be mistaken, wonky or just kidding myself. If your beliefs don’t embrace the idea that you could be wrong, you really are no longer honest with yourself.””Pretty much, Gimpi: of course, what Rev. Jeffress here is selling isn’t *faith,* more like a cycle of emotional and spiritual *abuse.* That’s why they’re *abusive.* That’s why they talk and act from fear and hatred, defamation and injustice. It’s one thing I don’t envy our neighbors *of* creedal-based or book-based beliefs: there’s always someone like this character trying to pull on the attached strings. Religion doesn’t *have* to reject what we *can* know of the world, our own hearts, our own spirits, and each other… And that’s what *really* scares them about people not participating in their system and having souls anyway. :)Trying to cast innocent Americans as some kind of Satanic villains who might bring the wrath of their God down on random cities or persons is the worst kind of fear-and-hatemongering, but they *like* it because they can pretty much accuse anyone of anything and claim the accusation is beyond examination. That’s not *faith,* that’s grasping for *control.* Or a false sense of one. While, of course, pushing off accountability for their own actions and inactions. “What we told you was God’s ineffable will and plan …didn’t work?! Just scapegoat someone. Call someone a ‘witch,’ punish the gays, punish single mothers, punish immigrants, punish this, punish that. Say you’re like ‘God.'”Arrogance. Definitely gives ‘religion’ a bad name, particularly their own, and strife and oppression and atrocity and suffering always follow, which they’ll of course, duly promise to ‘save’ you from. That’s not faith. That’s an abnegation of the very *idea* of faith. As I’m sure you know, some of our Christian friends here *get* that. Many others do not. Still more seem content to let preachers like this play ‘bad cop’ for them. Which is a sad state of affairs in a nation these same preachers seem to want to tear apart.

  • mokey2

    MMA Paganplace! Long time no see..Happy Imbolc, btw.. although i doubt much lambing will get done here underneath the mountain of snow we got this weekend and are due for at least another foot- foot and 1/2 tonight. I’ve often felt that those who insist that their faith is the ONE TRUE WAY and try to use that as some sort of club over other people who don’t see it that way are demonstrating a very immature idea of faith. An unexamined/unquestioned faith to me is just not one worth having.Gimpi- I think you’re right. I decided a long time ago that I would find out what i believed but in order for it to be practiced, I had to search until I found the right community. It helped to get my questions answered in ways that a book cannot.

  • gimpi

    Lepidopteryx, the sad fact is your “comments” make just as much sense as Pastor Jeffress. It says something that you can’t satirze his beliefs and make them any crazier than they arlready are.

  • lepidopteryx

    Gimpi, yeah I know. I actually paraphrased most of that from the Landover Baptist website, which, these days, comes too close to reality to be effective satire anymore.

  • mokey2

    ..A swift hand to defend, a stout shield to protect, a keen eye in the vigil.’So mote it be. Stirring up the crazy? yep. That’s why I’ve taken a hiatus every now and again from here. Even taking a hiatus from the news. Just can’t take it anymore. Lots of folks have lost the ability to talk to others with any degree of civility. And then start dehumanizing others who happen to disagree with them. What worries me is more of those people are concentrated in our government probably than anyplace else.I just wonder if people could step outside of themselves long enough to try to see the other in their midst- what they would see might shock them.

  • APaganplace

    “”I just wonder if people could step outside of themselves long enough to try to see the other in their midst- what they would see might shock them. mokey2″”Aye, or maybe they’re more afraid that it *wouldn’t.* They seem to find their fantasies and defamations and demonizations so much more *interesting,* after all. 🙂

  • HCBerkowitz

    Lepidopteryx, apropos satire, remember that Tom Lehrer officially resigned from comedy with the explanation, “in a world in which Henry Kissinger receives the Nobel Peace Prize, there is no room for satire.”Jeffress does spread the wealth of his attacks about anyone not following his beliefs. From the Dallas Morning News: “Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise, Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult.”He appears to believe in Biblical inerrancy, or at least as he interprets it in his description of a vengeful deity. Ironically, while many describe the Old Testament as the stern god and the New Testament as a god of love, that seems turned around. One of the principles of the Universalist part of Unitarian-Universalism is, for those Universalists that believe in an afterlife, a loving deity would save all.To go to an alternate view from an Old Testament tradition, the Jewish theologian Martin Buber describes a personal relationship with God, usually translated “I-thou” dialogue. Many Christian and non-Christian traditions do have an idea of personalization; Jeffress seems to be appointing himself as intermediary and interpreter.Spirituality, although he doesn’t agree according to his website, is more than acceptance of Jesus. As Gimpi put it, transcendental experiences are personal. At least in my experience, UU’s, many neopagans, Congregationalists, Charismatic Catholics, Quakers, Sufis, etc. try to create an environment supportive of such experiences. In my congregation, there’s an emphasis on direct involvement. Bread, even outside transubstantiation, has much symbolism. For our Thanksgiving service, we had an array of breads, all handmade by participants (mine was egg-honey). When we had a service devoted to the environment here on Cape Cod, we substituted water for the usual candle, and built a mini-aquifer in the sanctuary, meditating on it.Don’t think of this as proselytizing; I’m not sure if UU’s or my many-catted household has more opinions. Apropos of the latter, a new temple of Bastet was recently found near Alexandria, Egypt. Perhaps Jeffress would object to holy litter boxes?I am starting to wonder about the Post’s selection policy for On Faith; while I haven’t done a formal count, it does seem that the angry fundamentalists are getting more space. Hate sells?

  • decentdust

    So a pagan altar on a hill will draw God’s wrath on America, when incredible poverty and apathy, corrupt government, religious and racial hatred, fundamentalist hatred and oppression toward gays and women, warmongering politicians (and “Jersey Shore”) haven’t?I doubt this figures too high on our national sin agenda.Billions around the world find fulfilling, moral lives in any number of religions that have zilch to do with our traditions – in fact, we could learn much from them. But no, it’s all coincidence – the truth only appeared once, to a band of nomads in the Negev desert.Oh yes, and a country hell-bent on destroying its environment will surely be punished for supporting people who worship nature. I have no kind words. Go back to Texas and stay there.

  • anzabikes

    I think it’s important for everyone to remember that these biblical references are meant for the Jews. They invoked THEIR God’s wrath …”For he rebuilt the high places and erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them” (2 Kings 21:2-3). Further, the commandment of “You shall have no other gods before Me” is directed at HIS people- not others. “God has judged idolatry in the past through military invasions, earthquakes, a flood, and a mixture of fire and brimstone.”- Again, this is the idolatry of the Jews.”God is not an American”This point needs to be made to all the hard-right neo-cons, who go around stating that He is, in fact, an American. There is a broad misconception that Jesus was a nice white guy that spoke King James English. Ironically, he probably looked like the same “terrorists” that Americans love to hate, and spoke a bit of the same language. Yaweh is, in fact, the God of a middle-eastern religion.This type of attitude is why modern Christianity is wrong, in my opinion. The simple-minded position that theirs is the only way to salvation, and everyone else is doomed to eternity in Hell is one of the main roadblocks to constructive interfaith dialogue with anyone else. This position also gives self-appointed “servants of God” the perceived right to go and deface or destroy someone else’s sacred space.What a dangerous religion.

  • gershwin2009

    I cannot believe that someone dared to write this article for the WPost! Some of us are atheists, sir, we know there is no god and we pretty much laugh at phrases like “god wrath”.Thanks but no thanks for sharing your delusions with the nation; it was quite amusing I must say.

  • ViejitaDelOeste

    Textbook example of paranoid and insecure faith. This guy obviously doesn’t trust God to be powerful and all-knowing. If his kind didn’t hold so much power in this country, Pastor Jeffries would be pitiful.

  • mhoust

    Robert Jeffress’s Constitutional Mistake.Isn’t it a case of mutiple personality disorder when the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas can use the portion of the first amendment that allows freedom of speech to argue to deny another religion their first amendment right to freely exercise their religion? It seems quite obvious that Mr Jeffress has had a complete psychotic break with all reality; and is a grave, immenant danger to himself, his parishioners, and the community; and should be immeditately delared mentally incompetent and incarcerated in a mental health facility for his and our protection.God did not cause the conditions in Haiti or Indonesia; nor did he visit the trials and tribulations on them for so-called godlessness.Robert Jeffress doesn’t even get his facts straight on the Air Force Academy’s providing a facility for pagan worship. It actually provided an all faith’s outdoor worship area; just as it provides an indoor all faith’s worship area in its chapel. I can go stand on “the mountain” to sing my praises to God as a Christian, using the same space as the Wiccans (albeit at different, scheduled, service times.)Of course Mr Jeffress is such an excellent twister of the truth. His little quotation of Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story’s the founder of Harvard Law School, wrote in his highly regarded commentary on the Constitution: comment on the Constitution and the 1st Amendment totally ignores the actual effect of Amendment; namely, that it excludes rivalry not only between christian denominations, but between all denominations, and does not advance any over any others.So what if the terrorists are planning on attacking somewhere in America in 3 to 6 months? That’s been true for over a decade. Praying to God for protection isn’t going to hurt; but history shows it’s a lot more effications to take actions to protect yourself. I’ll take alertness and a loaded .357 over delusional pastors and hokey religions for protection anyday.

  • grashnak

    Genocidal Holocaust against jews? Apparently not worth god’s wrath.Genocidal Holocause against tutsis? Apparently not worth god’s wrath.Murder of 20 million people by brutal dictatorship in Moscow? Apparently not worth god’s wrath.Tolerating the religious worship of “pagans”? Uncork a bottle of heavenly whoop-ass.Yeah, right.