Victoria NeuroNotes

Into the Gray

Evangelical Extremism Strikes Again – Two New Bills Have Passed in Mississippi

125 Comments

The governor is expected to sign them. This is not an April Fools’ Day joke.

I told my friend, Carmen, that I want to cry, but I’m too angry right now. I’ve witnessed, and personally experienced, the significant harm caused when religion and government become bedfellows. As many of you may already know:

MississippiMississippi is tied with an another southern state as being the worst place for women to live. It’s the worst state for children, or if you belong to a race other than white. It has the worst health problems in the nation, the highest poverty, and many other social ills. A study, covering a span of 30 years, showed Mississippi ranked #1 for being the most corrupt state—having the highest ratio of public workers censured for misuse of public funds and other charges. It’s also the most religious.

House Bill 1523

Late Wednesday, the Senate voted 31-17 to approve the bill, known as the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” Based on “sincerely held religious beliefs”, the bill will allow individuals, businesses, government employees, nonprofits and other entities to discriminate against not only LGBT people, but also anyone who has sex outside of marriage, etc.

The bill will legalizes Kim Davis-style discrimination. Anybody can cite their religious beliefs to justify their discriminatory behavior if sued by the victims of that discrimination. When they do, they are entitled not only to victory in court, but compensatory damages as well.

 

Protect Thy Neighbor, a project of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, outlines potential consequences:

  • a government clerk could refuse to issue a marriage license to a couple because one person had been previously divorced;
  • a taxpayer-funded adoption agency could refuse to place a child with a happy and loving family because the parents lived together before they were married;
  • a taxpayer-funded organization that provides shelter to kids who have suffered child abuse could turn away a pregnant teenager;
  • a counseling group practice could refuse to see a mother and her teen who is experiencing severe depression because the woman is unmarried;
  • a counselor could refuse to help an LGBT person who called a suicide hotline;
  • a fertility clinic could refuse to treat a veteran and his partner because they are not married;
  • a car rental agency could refuse to rent a car to a same-sex couple on their honeymoon.

During an interview, Governor Phil Bryant told WLOX TV in Biloxi that he didn’t think the legislation was discriminatory. He further stated: “I think it gives some people, as I appreciate it, the right to be able to say ‘That’s against my religious beliefs and I don’t need to carry out that particular task.”

Erik Fleming, a former Mississippi legislator who is now director of advocacy and policy for the state’s branch of the ACLU, stated:It is very broad and very dangerous. It basically sanctions religious discrimination.

Religious discrimination

 

House Bill 786

Another shocking bill is known as “Mississippi Church Protection Act”, which also passed in the Senate on Wednesday. According to the bill, the purpose is:

TO AMEND SECTION 97-3-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT KILLING A PERSON WHILE ACTING AS A PARTICIPANT OF A CHURCH OR PLACE OF WORSHIP SECURITY TEAM IS JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

The Secular Coalition for America states:

“The “Mississippi Church Protection Act” would allow churches to empower designated members of their congregation as part of a security team with a “shoot to kill” authority equivalent to a police officer but with less government oversight. The bill contains few restrictions regarding where one may act within this capacity, allowing a church’s volunteer security personnel to exercise this authority in public and private venues outside of the church.

It will legalize killing a person while acting as a participant of a church or place of worship security team, deeming the act a “justifiable homicide. By passing this bill, the state of Mississippi effectively recognizes churches as their own sovereign entities — mini-states that are tax-free and immune from their acts of violence carried out in their official duties.”

Larry T. Decker, executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, stated:

Secular Coalition“Religious institutions are already exempt from taxation, financial transparency, and many civil rights laws. The Mississippi Church Protection Act would constitute an unprecedented and dangerous next step. Belonging to a church should not afford anyone the same rights and protections as law enforcement. This legislation emboldens extremists by creating a legal means for radical preachers to enlist their congregants into ‘God’s army.”

 

 

Published in the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, the Mississippi Police Chiefs Association says the bill would lower the bar for who can carry a concealed, loaded gun in public to include violent criminals, some severely mentally ill people, and chronic alcoholics.

According to the Police Chiefs Association:

  • Mississippi currently prohibits some people convicted of certain violent misdemeanors from having concealed carry licenses. This bill would allow these people to carry concealed, loaded guns in public.
  • Mississippi currently prohibits people who voluntarily committed themselves to mental institutions from having concealed carry licenses. This bill would allow these people to carry concealed, loaded guns in public.
  • Mississippi currently prohibits people who chronically abuse alcohol from having concealed carry licenses. This bill would allow these people to carry concealed, loaded guns in public.

“By effectively dismantling Mississippi’s licensing system, this bill would block law enforcement who stop an armed suspect from confirming that he isn’t a violent criminal, severely mentally ill, or otherwise dangerous,” said Ken Winter, executive director of the Mississippi Police Chiefs Association. “This bill would put law enforcement officers and all Mississippians directly in harm’s way.”

The article continues:

“In the vast majority of states, including Mississippi, a person must generally acquire a license in order to legally carry a concealed handgun in public. These licenses ensure that certain core public safety standards are preserved when people carry concealed guns in public places, according to the Police Chiefs Association.

“HB 786 would effectively repeal this important public safety law and let people, including some violent criminals, legally carry concealed guns in public without a license,” Winter said. “Tucked into HB 786 is a provision that allows individuals to carry a concealed handgun without a license if the gun is carried in a sheath, belt holster, or shoulder holster, effectively allowing for dangerous people to carry loaded, hidden weapons in public.”

 

There’s so much beauty in Mississippi—in the South. Many, through no fault of their own, have been entangled in a political/religious web spun by authoritarian legislators/preachers, and the bamboozled primates who support them.

butterfly trapped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.”  ― Christopher Hitchens

 


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Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

125 thoughts on “Evangelical Extremism Strikes Again – Two New Bills Have Passed in Mississippi

  1. Good Zeus! What century is this? ISIS should form a base there and use these new religious laws as justification for reigning terror down on Christians. It’s their right, right? How sad that this shit is going on. I’m enraged as well. And you’re down there surrounded by all this. Ugh!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Who let the dogs out .. .oo … oo.

    Just too weird.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’ve been following this. Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal, vetoed a similar religious liberty bill earlier this week(phew!), but a gun legislation bill is under consideration very similar to the one you’ve outlined in Mississippi(yikes!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Georgia Governor vetoed the bill there, in part, because Warner Bros, and Disney threatened to stop using Atlanta as a place to film movies if the bill past. Georgia literally gets hundreds of millions of dollars from those two companies because they film all their superhero movies there. Why I don’t know, but that’s a lot of dough to lose from the state’s coffers. Good for the movie companies, I say.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Oh, I absolutely know why he vetoed it. I’m just glad he did. NC is getting similar push back after having passed such a bill. They’re starting to lose all kinds of money to surrounding states who don’t have such archaic laws.

        I don’t get the whole bathroom thing. Who is going to patrol it? Do you have to present your birth certificate to go into the bathroom? It’s just insane!

        Liked by 2 people

        • It’s insane. Very glad those movie companies did that. Money is the one thing that speaks louder than any religious nonsense in America. Well, I guess money is a religion here, too. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • A forensic psychologist, Karen Franklin, whose dual interests in psychology and the law brought her to question the roots of LGBT hate crimes, calls it heterosexism. She stated that heterosexism is not just a personal value system (propagated by cultural conditioning), it is a tool in the maintenance of gender dichotomy.

          Liked by 4 people

          • Of course it is. Makes perfect sense.

            I’m not about to start carrying around my birth certificate just so I can use the public toilet, though. Utter stupidity. I know A LOT of women who are not gender normative. They are women, no question. They’re married and have kids. But they could pass for men dressed in pink. They could probably beat most any man’s ass. Are they going to be “carded” at the women’s room door? The entire concept is just asinine regardless of your “ism”.

            Liked by 2 people

        • North Carolina is indeed getting a lot of push-back, and a big one is coming from Atlanta’s city government which is trying to lure the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) 2017 All-Star Game away from Charlotte. That sporting event typically generates tens-to-hundreds of millions of dollars for hosting communities.

          Liked by 3 people

      • Oh. I guess I didn’t say that I live in Georgia. I have no doubt, no matter what he says, that had he not been threatened with boycott he would have signed the bill into legislation.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Without your caveat I would have assumed this was an April Fools joke. This is sickening.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. These kinds of things just seem so bizarre that one’s first reaction is to think, “That just cannot be true no one in their right mind even thinks like this!” Except for fundamentalists – and they can still maintain that they are christians 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Can’t (won’t) the Federal government step in and say, “Um, how does No sound? Is no good for you?”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. First I was…like yay a Victoria blog and I was like “I can’t even.”

    And then I read about house bill 1523 and I was like “I really can’t even.”

    And the House Bill 786 and then I was like “I can’t….”

    I couldn’t even, couldn’t even.

    The news you share about Mississippi is simply enough to make you weep and feel outraged as every single decision the powers that be there make acts to increase suffering and ignorance. It’s like a state of emergency there and we need to evacuate people out of there to protect them, because extremist Christian sect there does not want to help anybody.

    So I will instead add some inappropriate levity to this post that represents the only type of church police that I want to think about:

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Reblogged this on Cloak Unfurled and commented:
    More madness out of Mississippi.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
    The Secular Jurist recommends this important editorial as MUST READ. Christian dominionists and fundamentalists are now escalating their theocratic war against America’s secular constitutional foundations, and every citizen regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs should stand up immediately against it.

    Related story: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/judge-blocks-mississippi-ban-on-adoption-by-same-sex-couples/ar-BBrcsJH

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Yeah, since I’m so close to y’all I’ve been watching all of this go down on the local news.

    I’d fight with ya’, sweet girl, but as you know, I’ve got to take care of the Gideons in my own backyard first.

    None of this surprises me. When you see what we’ve seen in places like California and Oregon these past couple of years, it makes a secularist wonder if there’s anywhere we can go in this country without the noose of religion around our necks.

    Love and peace to you and yours, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I read things like this my first thought is: Who made them ‘God’? What does anyone’s beliefs have to do with the way they live and who gives any government the right to interfere with that? This is an outrage Victoria! Another example how their ‘christian beliefs’ are used to control others and of course make more money in the process.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I sometimes feel as though I’m still stuck in church. I remember feeling horribly oppressed while I was a Christian. My family, both the one I grew up in and my own, often argued to and from Church. Christianity, Church, the Bible and the whole god idea often suffocated me. For years I dreaded church services, choir practices and even home groups. It took everything in me to attend church social activities. Now as an atheist for four years I’m still subjected to their rodeo at times. They find ways to lasso us into their world. I don’t stand in their churches, not even in their doorways, and pass out Dawkins’ literature. I don’t block their parking lot entrance with my car and protest their indoctrination of little children, nor their sales tax and property tax exemption statuses.

    I know I’m not being tortured or killed for my deconversion, but my family is belittled and taunted for it at times. I take particular issue with this god stuff exposure to my little boys in their public elementary school. It’s bad enough that those sickos brainwash their own babies, they have no right to impose themselves upon my children.

    I find it humorous that they see us as the bullies. So often we let their religiousity slide for we know that life is too short to address every single self righteous moment that they have.

    Wish I knew what to tell you, V. This is why hubby contacted the ACLU recently. Our kids’ school went too far letting the Gideons pass out Bibles in the hallways a few minutes after the school day started! I don’t care where we are geographically! You don’t do that to fifth graders in a public elementary school. This was the last straw for us.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Charity, I was browsing FB the other day. As you know, Neil Carter is from/lives in Mississippi, and has 4 children. Well, I rarely see him get very upset, but when his comment came across my feed, stating that he had a trigger, I knew it had to be bad. It was.

      Did you see this? Old news, but it was quite an effective strategy.

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/satanic-florida-ban-religious-materials

      “A Florida school district on Tuesday banned the distribution of religious materials from outside organizations after a Satanic group tried to hand out coloring books to students, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

      The Orange County school district, which includes Orlando, had allowed religious groups to hand out materials each year on Religious Freedom Day. The Christian group World Changers distributed Bibles to students, and the board allowed the Central Florida Freethought Community to hand out atheist materials last year after the group won a lawsuit.

      But when the Satanic Temple, known for trying to build a Satanist monument in the Oklahoma state capitol, tried to hand out coloring books to students, the county board of education considered changing the rules. The district postponed Religious Freedom Day, and then the school board on Tuesday voted to change its policy.

      The board decided to ban the distribution of religious, political, and sectarian materials from outside groups.

      “Frankly, I think, myself, that it was a mistake that we ever let World Changers distribute Bibles in our schools,” school board chair Bob Sublette (pictured above) said at the board meeting Tuesday.”

      LOL

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have often heard that same sentiment, that we sure are fierce against something that we don’t believe in, by many Christians. They refuse to see that our issue is with them, not with any god. It’s not even their worship of a god either, it’s their relentless pressure to make everyone else Christian! To anyone who says that they need to be more Christlike have no clue just how vicious their supposed Christ of the Bible is. I challenge all of them to read it for themselves in red and white. Matthew chapters 10 and 19 are pretty intense. And they shouldn’t skip around like they tend to do when they read those texts. The big J tells people not to question their teachers. He commands them to be obedient slaves. He even tells his disciples to not go to the Samaritans or the Gentiles, but to the lost sleep of Israel. He hates divorce with a passion. However, he also says that he’s come NOT FOR PEACE, but with a sword to divide! Why on earth would I want any of that in my life? I was convinced that I lacked understanding for almost four decades as I continued searching scriptures and intensely praying for a breakthrough to know “him” more. I am no longer a lost little sheep, I have finally begun to find me.

        I’m pretty sure that if any Muslim stepped into my kids’ school with a Koran in tow they would have surely gotten an ass whippin’. Yet, the Bible is the good news and it’s welcomed. As I’ve always said, Christians do not want freedom of religion or freedom from religion. They demand freedom of their religion.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Charity, your comment reminded me of a meme I came across yesterday:

          Liked by 4 people

          • I heart that so much!

            I looked for the video of the following, but I couldn’t find it, here’s the transcript instead.

            Ned Flanders: [talking to God after his house is destroyed] Why me, Lord? I’ve always been good. I don’t drink or dance or swear, I’ve even kept kosher just to be on the safe side. I’ve done everything the Bible says! Even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff! What more can I do? I… I… I feel like I’m coming apart here! I wanna yell out, but I just can’t dang-darn-diddly-darn-dang-ding-dong-diddly-darned do it! I just… I…
            [sighs]

            Like

        • “They demand freedom of their religion.” Right. They demand the right to cram their religion up our arses. You know, the way the Taliban crams theirs up people’s arses in Afghanistan. Apparently, it isn’t bullying and terrorist behavior if it’s Christians doing the cramming. A Koran in every classroom. That’s what I say.

          Liked by 3 people

          • I swear, even as an Evangelical I found this methodology unnerving at times. It made me a bit uncomfortable back then. I can’t believe that there are Christians who are like this year after year after year. I have to wonder how high their blood pressure must be. They remind me of that buddy of Hank’s on King of the Hill. He told Hank that he was made in the image of an angry god, therefore he had the right to be angry! He had a heart attack and died.

            Taliban, the religious right, religious extremism is all the same. I just think that American Christians aren’t familiar with hearing the word “no” because they have had the power and influence for far too long. I’m hoping things will change. After all, if evangelist Paula White can make a Journey band member her third husband, ANYTHING is possible. Right?

            Liked by 3 people

            • I was reading a review of the movie ‘God’s not Dead 2’ over on Neil Carter’s site and came across a comment that nicely summed up the siege mentality so obviously affecting many Christians:
              ‘Equality seems like persecution to a group that has been accustomed to being dominant.’

              Christians everywhere are seeing their dominant position in society questioned. These laws are likely a reaction against this erosion. This happens all the while that Christians wholeheartedly adopt the culture which they criticise.

              I always get a laugh out of Christians suggesting how different they are to society at large. The average modern Christian has far more in common with the typical non Christian in the same society than they would with a Christian of a bygone era.

              Liked by 4 people

              • Absolutely, Peter. This is why I break down comments with people in person. I want them to hear what they’re saying by repeating it back to them. Now if I’m talking to a cultural Christian, they’ll at least examine their cliches by looking at the overall picture. They may not exactly agree with my anti theist stance, but they’ll at least will respect me and understand my position on an issue. They may even agree with me because they can relate. However, where Victoria, Ruth and I live (Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee) there’s an awful lot of die hard Christians. Many of them will not even listen to us because they are overwhelmed with religion in our culture, location and their families. They will not even begin to see that we are all humans who desire to be helpful and raise good kids. We are the devil as far as they’re concerned. When they hear us speak of evolution, secular society and acceptance all they can think of is “for this purpose was the son of god manifest, to destroy the works of the evil one.”

                Like

  13. Reblogged this on Aware & Fair and commented:
    For many years, good Southern Christians sincerely believed that God hated interracial marriage. Eventually, that was debunked; thoughtful Christians came to understand that one’s culture is not the same thing as the Word of God.

    Yet there is a yearning among some Believers to turn the United States into a “Christian Nation.” This reblogged post describes the latest machinations towards that misguided goal.

    I say “misguided” because “Christian Nation” activists have not yet figured out that a Christian Nation, which followed the Prince of Peace, would be a pacifist nation. A faith-filled Christian Nation would sow love instead of fear.

    Sadly, none of this appears to be part of their agenda.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I considered the fact that today in April 1st while reading this. Even though I’ve heard about a lot of crazy things in this world, I’m still shocked by this. I live in a violent, crazy area – but I’ve never heard of anything like this. It’s scary. Wow.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. So one can apply as a god’s soldier or something? Is there any required training?
    I think that is a crazy place to live in

    Liked by 2 people

    • No required training and no licensing. Last year they passed, and the governor signed, a “Jesus Behind the Wheel” bill, where church members were exempt from getting a commercial drivers license, which requires training, to drive a church bus.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Noel, this “soldier movement” has been strong for many years among American Christians. I remember it well as a little girl in the early 1980s. One contemporary Christian music couple during that era, Donnie and Reba McGuire, were the worst! My parents played a record of theirs over and over. Their songs had lines like…..

      “Under command, we don’t listen to stranger…. We know who we serve and we’re a people under command!”

      “Shut up and march!”

      “I put on my armor and I’m ready for the battle!” (After a long description of Ephesians 6 about putting on the whole “armor of god”, of course.)

      It was during that time and through my teens that I remember singing battle songs in Church like “Mighty Warrior”, and “Blow the Trumpet into Zion”. I also sung those same battle cry songs in the early 1990s in Bible College. That was when I went with a huge group of students from Dallas to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We locked arms four people wide down Bourbon Street and sung the “Victory Chant” with only drums for our background music. We belted out “Hail Jesus your my king” in rounds, followed by “We will conquer in your name! And proclaim that Jesus reigns! Hail, hail, Lion of Judah! How powerful you are!” Now I find that funny because “Judah” doesn’t even mean fight or battle, its meaning is praise. I think that’s why I was so confused for years to hear it in Christian fight songs. There was a song that we sung in Bible School that included the line “with the high praises of god in our mouths and a two-edged sword in our hands….”

      I recall a prayer movement of some kind in the 1980s or 1990s about breaking down Ephesians 6 and proclaiming each and every piece of the armor of god individually as Christians.

      It’s no wonder that American Christians are so blood thirsty for war. The brain washing starts with children singing “Walls of Jericho” in children’s church or Sunday School. Politicians know this and use religion to their advantage.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So it is always a work in progress now they have it signed into law. Don’t you just love them? Fighting for god, a god who is said to be all powerful

        Liked by 1 person

        • This is what hubby and I have talked about. God is all powerful, but he needs more and more Christians to fight for him? I remember Christian contemporary musician Carmen singing it was “time to start a RIOT”, a “righteous invasion of truth”. They use words like soldier, fight, trample, and invade/invasion all the time. However, free thinkers are the bullies?

          Like

  16. Pingback: “Religious Freedom” Bills; What’s Going On | Amusing Nonsense

  17. I have an idea! Why don’t we transport all the religious folk to the Southern States and move all the sane people wherever they choose? Works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BTW, I marked that I “liked” this post, but in actuality, I didn’t like anything about it! What a circus! So thankful I live on the West Coast. I think I might have to dig a hole and pull it in after me if I lived where you do, Victoria.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Nan, I don’t plan to live here for the rest of my life. I’m stuck for now. Thankfully, I live in the part of the state (Gulf Coast) where the fundies dub this area the Sodom and Gomorrah of Mississippi. That means, people have fun down here — beaches, water sports, casino resorts, concerts, top entertainers (brought in by the casinos), seafood festivals, Mardi Gras, Stennis Space Center, museums, etc.

        I always laugh when I’m out and about and see lots of cars with license plate tags from northern counties, predominately evangelical 😉

        Like

    • Nooooo, don’t send them all here. Wait until I move.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Evangelical Extremism Strikes Again – Two New Bills Have Passed in Mississippi | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  19. It is indeed ironic that American Christians are seeking to re-create the type of situation that applied in Europe in the 16th and 17th century when the state took an active interest in religion and mandated much of the practice. This was OK when your mob was in control but not so good when an alternative group was in control. The bitter experience of the state meddling in religion led to a determination of the founding fathers of America to keep the state and religion separate. Those who fail to heed the lessons of history are bound to repeat them.

    The Church Protection Act, could be best described as an accident (or more correctly a tragedy) waiting to happen. Surely even a little imagination could lead a sane person to see that it could lead to a very bad outcome.

    If ‘God’ really existed then prayer should provide sufficient protection.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I reas this sort of thing and, I honestly don’t understand it. Apart from the irrational illogicality, I can’t imagine living is such a blinkered society. That claims to rule the world and ‘knows what’s best’. I think not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In the 1730s, Evangelicalism emerged out of religious revivals that began in Britain. Thanks for sending them our way.

      “Christian conscience” was used by the British Evangelical movement to promote social activism. Evangelicals believed activism in government and the social sphere was an essential method in reaching the goal of eliminating sin in a world drenched in wickednes.”

      Bebbington, David W (2007), “The Evangelical Conscience”, Welsh Journal of Religious History 2 (1): 27–44.

      Like

      • The British preacher George Whitefield is the common thread, he was involved with the Wesley brothers in England and Jonathan Edwards in America. Indeed it was said that at the time of Whitefield’s death just before the American war of Independence he was the most famous person in American history.

        When Whitefield preached his very first sermon a complaint was made to the local bishop that he had sent of the people mad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s very interesting, Peter. I know that Jonathan Edwards was famous for coming up with the mind control techniques that are still used in evangelical churches today.

          Like

          • Whitefield and Edwards though firm friends and collaborators had quite different preaching techniques.

            Whitefield was highly emotional and colorful in his presentation, he was like an actor giving a performance. He had a booming voice which could be heard clearly a mile away. At Boston it was suggested he preached to 23,000 people at one meeting.

            Edwards was by contrast tended to preach in a very matter of fact way, mounting a careful argument and sought to avoid emotion. Though if one reads his most famous sermon, ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God’ he appealed to the fear of hell in his message.

            As an interesting side note, Edwards was renowned as a person of brilliant intellect. He became so disturbed by the excesses of the Great awakening that he wrote what is considered a Christian classic, ‘The Religious Affections’ in an effort to show others how to differentiate between what he considered false and genuine religious experiences.

            But despite being considered by some the most brilliant man in American history and the greatest expositor of the scriptures since the Apostle Paul, Edwards was ultimately ejected from his own Church and the only ministry role he could find after that was as a minister to an Indian community. He died a few years later, shortly after being appointed president of Princeton University, ironically from a smallpox vaccine that he took to prove to Christians there was no evil in vaccinations.

            Liked by 1 person

            • This all reminds me of Evan Roberts. Everything was a sin during the Welsh revival he led. Even sitting in a pub or running errands was evil because those things were not directly about god. Swansea completely shut down during long, drawn out revival meetings. People were expected to stop EVERYTHING.

              This was the mindset of the Brownsville Revival I experienced. Every message Steve Hill gave was always the same. We’re all evil and we all need Jesus. He even said “Jesus should be the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think about before you go to sleep at nigh!”

              There’s no such thing as free time..there’s meetings, prayers and Bible studies. One is to remain in the spirit non stop.

              This is all is intentional programming at the very least.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Absolutely, Charity. This life was not out own — it was for the sole purpose of witnessing and “being about my Father’s business.”

                Repetition, repetition, repetition. That’s how they get you.

                Liked by 1 person

              • That favourite of conservative Christians, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, suggested (with admitted reluctance) that Evan Roberts went off the rails a bit at the end. It seems that Roberts became so obsessed with only acting based on the ‘will of God’ that he would only take any action if ‘the spirit of God confirmed it to him’. This led to ridiculous situations where he would be booked to speak at a church but would not preach because he lacked the ‘Spirit’s’ witness. In other cases people would have arranged a meeting with Roberts, but Roberts would say nothing because the ‘Spirit’ had not given him anything to say.

                Dr Lloyd-Jones, who was a great fan of Whitefield, Wesley and Edwards suggested that Roberts had gone too far and indeed suggested that in the end Roberts became a broken man as a result.

                Dr Lloyd-Jones spend much time seeking to differentiate between ‘false and true spirituality’ it is fascinating to hear his stories of excesses in the Church over the years. Of particular interest is the stories of the Edward Irving movement of the early 19th century. He set up the Catholic Apostolic Church, it was in essence an early Pentecostal church. At first those involved thought it was a great work of ‘God’, but ultimately those involved came to realise that was not the case.

                It was at a meeting of the Catholic Apostolic Church that the Rapture as understood by modern Christians was first taught. It was taught based on a ‘prophetic word’. Dr Lloyd-Jones says that is enough of itself to discredit the rapture teaching.

                Liked by 1 person

                • And that is what Christians call “burn out”. Even worse, this condition is often blamed on the one with it or upon the people he/she ministers to. It is NEVER blamed on faith/religion/god/Bible or the depression/anxiety/panic/exhaustion such a system creates. I learned years ago that Roberts dissapeared as a hermit later on in his life. Odd because in taking a tour of Moriah Chapel with a large ministry group, the guide never mentioned it. Hmmmm.

                  Peter, I often looked at Billy Graham’s choices as a parent before my deconversion and get upset with him. For many, many years he chose his crusades over his wife and FOUR kids. Ruth was on her own 80 to 90% of the time. It would not surprise me if Billy’s time at home was spent strictly for resting from burn out. He more than likely didn’t have the mental capacity or physical strength to have quality time with his family when he was home.

                  While I was in my late teens getting my theological degree in Dallas I experienced this as a student. I didn’t admit it until I became an atheist two decades later, but that was when my deconversion actually began. I came to the realization that I needed to do and be so much more for god. However, I also knew that no matter what I did it could never be enough. I had awful crying spells and didn’t want to get up in the morning. I became horribly stressed in street ministry. I even passed out on a Mardi Gras outreach. I was anxious picketing against abortion. I found CBN phone counseling and volunter Church work with teenagers exhausting. I lacked rest. When you add this all to the new doubts and confusion I had regarding the Bible and doctrine, you have a concoction for disaster. The very few times I reached out for help I was told to “praise god anyway!”. That or “be still and know that I am god.” I told Ruth that this was also when strange men told me that “god wants to love me like a father” as they saw my sad and perplexed face. I was burnt out and often was for the next 20 years.

                  Christians live in a system designed for self destruction. I was suicidal from 10 to 25 years old. I was an abused and severly neglected child at home and in Church. The Bible, worship music and prayer constantly beat me down. It’s all perfectly designed to tear a person down then totally blame him/her when he or she becomes physically and mentally ill.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Charity, I wrote a post on Monday, but haven’t published it yet. I just may do that today after your comment that Christians live in a system designed for self destruction. BINGO!

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • Victoria, Christianity is deadly, it’s like an abusive domestic partner or kidnapper/rapist who holds his/her victim hostage. As we have discussed before, I truly believe that many Christians suffer from Stockholm syndrome.

                      In the months leading up to my deconversion four years ago I did three things based solely upon scripture. This time I stripped away all of the apologetics, my study notes and other Christians’ opinions. For the first time in two decades I didn’t discuss what I was looking into and I didn’t run to my Vine’s, Strong’s, the Pentateuch or other versions of the Bible. I gave Sid Roth money for a big Bible that was translated by a man highly knowledgeable in Greek and Hebrew. I first sought chapters and verses about god’s love. I drew a heart around every “compassion/compassionate” and “love” that I could find throughout the Bible. I found very few of those words. Instead I found many, many more “wrath”, “anger”, “smite” and “slain” references.

                      Being that the previous act failed me in finding this amazing heavenly father, I thought that surely Jesus could redeem my god belief. After all, he ate with prostitutes and tax collectors. He was the sacrificial lamb for my sins. However, I didn’t see “softly, tenderly, Jesus is calling.” I saw a man who continually snapped at his mother who was sincerely concerned about his safety and living out his destiny. An arrogant jerk who calls a Samaritan woman a dog and she begs him that even dogs are allowed the crumbs from the table. Jesus, the one who came with a sword to divide. It totally changed the way I saw the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus didn’t expect his followers to be meek and peaceful because he was. No, he was telling them to be “good little bitches” and they’ll one day get to see the kingdom of Heaven.

                      Thirdly, I thought back upon what I had learned about the second coming of Christ. I was reminded of scriptures by John, the revelator, the “beloved” disciple of Jesus. I even went back to the last book of the Bible at times to confirm passages that I had studied in the past. I did this hoping that maybe what John saw wasn’t a vision, but an actuality. Jesus mentioned in the gospels that he would return in his generation. As I sat still and thought about it more I realized something incredibly important. If the second coming of Christ already happened so long ago shouldn’t we be living on a much better, healthier and more beautiful new earth than the one that we reside on now?

                      After all of these things, I had a super long phone conversation with my Messianic Jewish friend from NYC. I didn’t mention to her about what I was going through. I could feel the light of my so called spiritual zeal, passion and desire blown out by simple basic common sense, and uninterrupted research. I said a long prayer as we said our good byes and I suddenly felt as though I was talking to no one, no one at all. I knew that I was praying with my friend and she definitely heard me and acknowledged what I said. However, I felt as though my words were going up into the air and no one was there to catch them. After that call I knew I was an atheist.

                      People can go on and on about the love of God, but scripture, the Jesus idea and the state of our world proves that there is no god who loves us. Christians can use their stupid freewill argument forever, but there’s an issue that they’re not willing to see right in front of their faces. Let’s say that heaven and hell are real and out of our free will we have a choice as to where we’ll go when we die. In Heaven we’ll worship god all. The. TIME! Non stop bowing, praising, glorifying and confirming him for an eternity through words, actions and songs. All of this as we stand by repentant souls who verbally, physically, sexually and mentally bullied us on earth. If we end up in hell we are bound and tortured by the Devil forever and ever amen. Devil, god, aren’t they both basically slave masters? I ask Christians “How is that even considered ‘free will’?”

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • Charity one of the issues that I struggled with for years as a Christian was that the reality of the life did not match the promises. For a long time I concluded the fault lay with me, I was in the wrong church, I was not wholeheartedly committed to Christ, I allowed sin to persist in my life and the like.

                    Ultimately I became good friends with a local Pentecostal minister who was exceedingly well regarded in local church circles (he was something of a legend). He had just turned 80 and had come out of retirement to set up two new churches. I would visit his home and we would pray together and study the Bible and discuss ministry issues.

                    He was a person of complete integrity, but it soon became clear to me that he struggled with many of the same issues that troubled me. I had assumed that such a successful church minister would have all the answers. Indeed in our Bible studies I found it was often me who was leading him in understanding the correct interpretation of the Scripture.

                    I might also add that he and other folk I know from Church circles, those who also seemed to be hearing the word of the Spirit, still have no idea that I have lost faith. This lack of discernment is a helpful confirmation of the lack of true spiritual insight.

                    This minister never doubted I was a ‘True Christian’, indeed he would describe me to others as a ‘mighty man of God’.

                    When one meets ‘mighty men of God’ behind closed doors they are often just as bewildered with the struggles of living the ‘victorious Christian life’ as those they are ministering to.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • Peter, it’s as though one has to consistently convince him/her self to believe in his/her god. And you’re absolutely right, the one who struggles and questions is the one who must be sinning. After all, god is the father of lights and every good and perfect gift comes from him. When doubt, destruction and other dramas unfold in a person’s life it just has to be the devil, that person who is struggling or others who are apart of that Christian’s life.

                      I have often commented that if Christianity is true and every person has to give an account to god on judgement day, who will hold him responsible? After all, aren’t we all just mere humans of flesh and blood limited by our lack of powers? If we are to be held in contempt for every unrepented sin with our limited abilities, shouldn’t “the” all knowing and all loving god be held to an even higher standard that what we are?

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • I used to be use the ‘Every Day With Jesus’ Bible Study notes from Selwyn Hughes. Near the end of his life he published a study on his life lessons on ‘following the Lord’. He said that if he had his time over again he would have spent more time with his family and less time on Christian ministry. He made this statement knowing it would shock his readers but that was one of the lessons he had learned from a lifetime of successful Christian ministry.

                    Liked by 1 person

                  • Holy crap, “volunteer”. For crying out loud, I live in the Volunteer state, I know how to spell it. Unless I’m just typing up short comments (Like that will ever happen.) I need to stick to an actual computer in posting responses. I really miss a lot when I read and reply on my little phone screen.

                    Sorry, V.

                    Like

                  • Charity, I am actually responding to your longer comment, but I did not see a reply button there.

                    I often used to wonder about the portrayal of ‘God’ in parts of the Bible as at times he seemed to be petty, moody and petulant. A bit like that person we all know who we have to be careful what we say in their presence because we don’t know which version we are facing today the good version or the bad version, so always we treading on eggshells when we approach them.

                    Although we are told ‘God has no favourites’ the Bible conclusively proves otherwise. David could get away with murder, literally, but Saul well he got punished for not killing the sheep and his captive. Jacob was a conman who was loved but Esau was condemned before he was even born.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • So true, Peter. Fellow decoverted bloggers know how strongly upsetting I find the entire Abraham story. The man was an incestous, arrogant and lying rapist who threatened to murder his “chosen” son while he kicked out his first born (The child from the slave girl he sexually assaulted.) with only bread and water as they headed out into the wilderness alone. As people were miserably punished through his deeds or straight from god himself, Abram/Abraham was consistently favored with honor, wealth and possessions.

                      I also believe that not only is Christianity brainwashing children, but their lives are in danger by parents and religious leaders because of the examples those adults follow in the Bible. Whether it’s god or the characters in it, the behavior is scary. Though scripture mentions reaping and sowing, the text as a whole justifies something altogether different. The message is god can do whatever he wants and we’ll serve him no matter what. We also see the constant bad behavior of the fathers of faith, but they are often rewarded because of god’s favor.

                      Like

            • I’m sure you already know but he was the grandfather of Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States. Edwards discovered his effective techniques during a religious crusade in 1735 in Northampton, Massachusetts. “By inducing guilt and acute apprehension and by increasing the tension, the “sinners” attending his revival meetings would break down and completely submit. Sources state that one person committed suicide and another attempted suicide.

              Quote:

              “A year later, he published Discourses on Various Important Subjects, the five sermons which had proved most effective in the revival, and of these, none was so immediately effective as that on the Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners”

              Gwinn, Robert P. (1993). McHenry, Robert, ed. The New Encyclopædia Britannica 4 (Fourth ed.). Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago. p. 380.

              Like

              • No I was not aware Victoria, but I am now.

                A year and a half ago I read Mark Noll’s book, ‘The Rise of Evangelicalism: The age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys’. I was somewhat perplexed in the end that John Wesley and George Whitefield who had been friends and collaborators since their university days eventually had a bitter falling out over theological differences. Whitefield was a calvinist whilst Wesley was an arminian.

                Whist I still called myself a Christian I puzzled over how two men so ‘obviously inspired by the Spirit of God’ [my view in those days of mid 2014] could have such a fundamental difference in theological understanding.

                Like

      • We usually got rid of the unwanteds. Religious ones to the US, convicts to Aus. Sorry about that 😦
        Welsh Methos are barking. Drove my father mad when the pubs weren’t open on Sunday when we went on holiday. Didn’t go back.
        Read the rest of your comments. Passed??!! These people are sixpence short of a shilling FFS.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I saw this in my feed this morning and thought you might have something to add. Sorry for you and Mississippi too. What can I say that reasonable doesn’t already know? It is sad that your state is clinging to old and corrupt values of exclusion. They probably think they are pioneers protecting the virtues that never really existed. Love you’re stuff as always. Hope your well after the nausea wears off

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Oh, V. I saw the news. I’m too sad for a long comment. This will likely affect my family with our work and medical help that we’re currently receiving because of where we live and where we do business. Heartbreaking doesn’t begin to describe the emotions I’m feeling right now.

    All I can do is say sorry to everyone affected by this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, I cry. 😦

      This is a clear example of what happens when evangelical fundamentalists take control of the government. For those who don’t know, Gov. Bryant signed the anti-LGBT and anti-sex outside of marriage bill into law today. Here is a list of the legislators (by name) who voted for and against the bill.

      http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2016/apr/02/roll-call-who-voted-and-against-anti-lgbt-house-bi/

      Voting No were 40 Democrats and 4 Republicans.

      Voting Yes were 68 Republicans and 1 Democrat.

      Like

      • I just know where things like this lead to and it’s even worse than what those who support Bryant think. Anyone can turn on anyone anywhere! There’s already some of this where we live and now it’ll explode. I knew we would see retaliation for the progress we’ve recently made. From North Carolina to Connecticut, this is happening throughout our country.Brace yourself lovies, it may only get worse before it gets better.

        Victoria, do you know where I might find a list or video of businesses who support this? I have dealings in the northwest area of your state and I will certainly steer clear of the bigotry. People want to dictate grown adults private lives, I’ll gladly give my money to empower they’re accepting competitors.

        Liked by 1 person

        • When I do have a list, I will be sure to share it. This is the only recourse, I think. There are many here who absolutely do not support this law and they are equally outraged. The economy here is already in the tank, ranking last and people, nationwide, are planning on boycotting Mississippi. On Twitter, the governor of NY stated: “”This law is a sad, hateful injustice against LGBT community & I will not allow any non-essential official travel to MS until it is repealed.”

          This also means that all unmarried couples living together can be evicted from their homes/apartments by their landlords. Loan officers can deny loans to LGBTs and unwed mothers. Pharmacies can deny filling birth control prescriptions to women who are not married, and on and on. The ramifications of this bill are daunting. What they have done is open Pandora’s box.

          The only way we can force these unethical people to straighten up is by hitting their wallets.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh I love that jesus freakish way of blasting welfare moms, but denying single women access to their own birth control prescription at the same time! Seriously, how can people even find the time to be so horribly preoccupied with the lives of strangers?! I’m too busy to worry about sex between grown folks. I am constantly having to work on my mind and health. How do they find the time and energy?

            I can confirm that there are folks in Memphis, even Christians, who think this bill is a waste of time and resources. Like some of your state’s citizens, they too are well aware of the collapsing economy in parts of the Mid-South. I agree with them in how stupid it is to willfully turn down profits. They are also asking what’s next? Refusing service to someone because of their religion, skin color, eye color, hair color or the way they talk?

            I talked to my kids today about this bill and how upset I was before they got home from school. I told them “are they going to start turning Muslim women away from businesses because of their head scarves? Will a Christian business owner turn away a young adult missionary because they see his LDS name tag and personally believe Mormons are cultists? Will our family be kicked out if another patron tells them that daddy and I are atheists?”

            Then here’s where it gets even scarier…what happens to people in the parking lot once they’re kicked out of a business because of someone’s religious convictions? Will they be followed out, stalked or beaten? I have thought of two words on a loop today since I read the news, Matthew Shepard.

            Like

            • From all I had read, I figured that Bryant was going to sign this bill, but I was hoping he would cave to pressure from Toyota, Nissan, MGM Resorts, Tyson Foods, and other major employers here. But, he’s got a corncob up his ass. Even the Mayor here on the coast, where I live, said this:

              http://www.wlox.com/story/31651849/biloxis-mayor-we-do-not-discriminate-period

              The mayor is fully aware that this is going to significantly impact tourism in our area, which is pretty much our bread and butter. I hope other mayors will get on board. That was deeply disturbing about Matthew Shepard. Yes, this kind of legislation serves to incite and increase hate crimes.

              Like

  23. Wow, now there is a petition out on Change.org — asking the federal government to declare Mississippi a state of emergency.

    https://www.change.org/p/activists-the-people-of-mississippi-request-the-federal-government-to-declare-a-state-of-emergency

    Another petition at Whitehouse.gov to ask Gov. Bryant to step down immediately.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/force-mississippi-governor-phil-bryant-step-down-immediately

    Like

    • Liked a thousand times over and over! I like how there’s so much nonsense to cover the announcer has to speed her way through the commercial!

      Like

      • Charity, check this out. Are they so dumb that they don’t realize that they are shooting their own foot off by making a list like this?

        “This website is dedicated to businesses in the state of Mississippi that pushed for the bill HB5123. The owners of these businesses wish to have the right to refuse business to people that are public about being Gay, Lesbian, Transgender or Bisexual.”

        http://businessessupporthb1523.com/

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks. I’ll be watching that link.

          Like

          • Read that the Senate in your state passed the SB1108 bill, which will make the Bible the official state book. Same thing is happening here — House Bill 840. They are relentless.

            I was stunned when I read that Tennessee lawmakers had also made the .50 caliber rifle the state gun. That sucker will shoot a commercial plane out of the sky.

            So many people don’t know where their next meal is going to come from, and this how these law makers choose to spend tax payers money.

            “God and Guns”, indeed.

            Like

            • Hey Victoria. I don’t think Haslam will approve the bill. There’s been talk about it here for probably as long as your state has considered to do the same though. I’m not a fan of his. However, I think he has enough sense to not allow for such nonsense. I believe he knows it’s shady. From what I gather, he doesn’t tolerate Islamaphobia either and it’s REALLY bad in Tennessee. He faced this himself when he appointed a Muslim to work with the state. And he also saw plenty of it through the years of hateful Tennesseans interfering and destroying the Mosque in Murfreesboro as it was being built. However, I get tired of him making Memphis an even bigger shit hole than what it already is. If Nashville could give the city to Arkansas or Mississippi they would! I live in the county just outside of Memphis. There are pockets of NPR hipsters and plenty of Black Democrats in Memphis. It’s not quite as conservative as outsiders might think. All I know is we were once apart of Shelby county long ago. Memphians aren’t too crazy about us. At the same time too, my somewhat rural county is arrogant, full of righteous indignation and quite religious.

              Like

  24. Pingback: How the “Good News” Nearly Killed Me | Victoria Neür☼N☮☂eṧ

  25. If you think these changes in law can be supported, then my comment is for you.

    Look at the changes to the law. Now think about how this empowers others over some. Understand that the legalizing of this ‘exercising of religious beliefs’ promotes intolerance and discrimination (treating individuals differently based on their group affiliations) in the name of religious righteousness..

    Now, ask yourself the standard religious apologetic question usually to anyone who dares criticize the privileging of religious beliefs in the public domain (like the law): What’s the harm?

    If you answer ‘There is no harm,’ then you are very much part of the problem and are, in fact, undermining your own religious freedom. You read that right: you are harming OUR religious freedom. By agreeing to this privileging for some (to promote their religious beliefs in the public domain to effect) over others, you are attacking and undermining the fundamental idea of religious freedom… including your own.

    You can demonstrate this pernicious effect to yourself if you substitute some segment of sharia law – say, death to apostates – and then see if your support for this kind of ‘democratic’ change in law based on religious belief of the majority might curtail your own religious beliefs if different… you know, the kind of Christian beliefs that define you in the eyes of sharia law as indisputably an apostate. Might the newly passed law in the name of religious righteousness enhance or reduce your religious freedom?

    The answer is so obvious – and you know it perfectly well – that it’s a marvel that any person could rationalize the privileging of these kind of evangelical Christian beliefs and still think themselves rational, still think themselves promoting religious freedom. You’re not, and it’s irrational to think you are. Irrational people voting to undermine our collective rights and freedoms is not responsible government exercising their democratic right as elected officials to make law. It’s mob rule… led by the very worst enemies of our collective rights and freedoms. Such changes to law are not just deeply anti-democratic but absolutely typical of advancing tyranny, advancing fascism, advancing totalitarianism… even if considered ‘righteous’ under some religious banner.

    Anyone who supports these changes in law are not just opponents of responsible democracy., not only acting just like a domestic enemy of the Constitution of the United States of America, but are equivalent by their support to co-conspirators of those seeking to dismantle our fundamental legal rights and freedoms in the deplorable name of some religious despotism repackaged as ‘righteousness’. That’s ISIS-speak for absolute dictatorship. That’s what the Mississippi State legislature now represents: an anti-American cancer fed by religion and metastasizing in our midst.

    What’s the harm? Religious belief empowered by but toxic to secular law.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Reblogged this on Scotties Toy Box and commented:
    Wow this says some of what I have been blogging about but far better than I could, and I did not even know about the second bill. On the first one, it also would allow a person of one religion from serving or giving government services to people of ANOTHER religion. If your a member of a church that doesn’t agree with a different one, you can refuse government service to that person, even though they are a tax paying citizen. Mormons believed for a long time, and even though the official church teaching has been changed, that blacks were demons or had evil in them, and with this law they could just discriminate against black people all they wish, be as nasty as they want, refuse service, not let them in their place of business. When you let discrimination on this scale happen, you tear society it self apart and push back the gains we have made for centuries, all so a small group can feel free to hate a legally recognized group who have rights as the courts have found under our constitution.

    As for the second part, wow that scares me more than I can say, is the state being taken over by a christian ISIS movement? Is the state a theocracy now, what if you don’t believe the same as them, will you be subject to arrest, harm, loss of job and home and rights simply because you believe different? Is this the country we proudly say is a land of laws and for everyone? We need to get the word out about this stuff and stop it now, the courts need to declare these laws illegal. Thanks and hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Pingback: America Has Been Hijacked: Trump Vows To Sanction Discrimination | Victoria NeuroNotes

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