Sunday (Memorial Day) Roundup: Beheadings, Homophobia, and The Religion of Old Economy Steve

This week, a church handles mental illness well for once, another church is saved from its poor handling of sexual assault by a statute of limitations, lots of homophobia happens, and Muslims in Burma face a two-child limit.

“Economists who believe in self-regulating labor markets will never say it, but the rest of us need to shout it from the rooftops: the system that was supposed to generate social mobility is now thoroughly broken, and in this circumstance it is obscene to insist that individual striving should somehow make up for it.” – Peter Laarman, writing on college as a pseudo-religious obligation for Religion Dispatches. Sounds like Old Economy Steven is a crypto-Protestant!

Let’s start with the one nice story of the week. After a Church in New York was tagged with a song lyric, “Can I still get to heaven if I kill myself?” (from a La Dispute song, OBSCURE WEST MICHIGAN METAL BANDS REPRESENT!) The church then tagged in response, “God loves you with no exceptions!” They’ll be repainting the church this summer, but it’s nice that it’s there.

So a couple of young, mentally-ill people beheaded a retired British solider in broad daylight in London. Oh, actually, these people who did the beheading were Muslim, so I guess it was done because they were Muslims, right? Muslim leaders quickly condemned the attacks, while far-right racists rioted, vandalized war memorials, and tried to blow up a Mosque. Muslims are the violent ones tho amirite?

It twas a good week for homophobia, as the WBC’s Fred Phelps blamed the tornadoes that ravaged Oklahoma on NBA Star Jason Collins’ coming out. The always-awesome Christian Feminist Rachel Held Evans replied, “This theology is, in a word, abusive, for it blames the victim for whatever calamity, abuse, or tragedy she suffers and says it is deserved.”

A Christian radio host named Linda Harvey thinks that all homosexuals should be fired from their jobs. Great.

In France, a longtime professional homophobic historian named Dominique Venner killed himself in Notre Dame Cathedral to protest the passing of a law that allowed gay marriage. Professional Islamophobe and French facist politician Marine Le Pen said she hoped his act would, “wake up the people of France“. On the plus side, at least Muslims in France got a short break.

Not so in the case of Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine state, who have been facing an almost totally ignored genocide by a largely Buddhist population. Now, the government is placing a two-child limit on Muslims. Yes, just on Muslims.

I wrote a while ago about C.J. Mahaney, the leader of Sovereign Grace Ministries who is almost certainly responsible both for creating a culture that accepts sexual abuse and for covering some of it up, had the case against him dismissed because of our ridiculous laws about statutes of limitations surrounding sexual abuse. Many evangelical pastors wasted no time in offering their enthusiastic support for Mahaney, including, Al Mohler, the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The pastor of Sovereign Grace’s flagship church, Covenant Life, who I like to refer to as “The Deeply Problematic Joshua Harris“, implied that people who left the church in response to the abuse allegations would be giving up their faith in Jesus, because I guess other churches aren’t a thing.

If you think Christian sex ideology is super broken, well, lots of Christians think so too. Christian Piatt wrote a great article for The Huffington Post, summing up evangelical sex theology nicely:

“Sex is dirty; save it for someone you marry someday.”

Sounds healthy to me!

Is Yoga religious? Two San Diego parents certainly think so, since they’re suing to end the school’s, “Inherently and pervasively religious Ashtanga Yoga program.” I really don’t know what to think about all this. Is Yoga so stripped of religious meaning in our context that it’s non-religious, or is it an imposition of sorts? It’ll be interesting to see what the court decides.

A new National Geographic TV show, Polygamy USA, explores the lives of Polygamist Mormons living on an FLDS comp0und. A church leader for the community posted on Religion Dispatches about why they chose to let the show in.

Michelle Bachmann hoped god would help her repeal ObamaCare. A North Dakota pastor refused to marry a mentally disabled couple.

There were a lot of cool articles around this week, including:

  • A review of Jeff Chu’s Does Jesus Really Love Me?, a book about the struggle of being a gay Christian.
  • A RNS article on Gay Mormons in theater.
  • Religion Dispatches article about “Little Syria“, New York’s Arab neighborhood in the early 20th century.

Thanks for reading!

-Rob Shryock

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