Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pope Benedict in Portugal to Preach Economic and Sexual Morality...Seriously?

     On Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI issued his "most direct words to date on abuse" while on a flight to Portugal.  He's not resigning.  There was no admit of personal participation, only more finger pointing, this time within the church.

     What has been overlooked are some of the reasons why Pope Benedict went to Portugal in the first place. The New York Times reports:
     The pope landed in Lisbon on Tuesday to begin a trip aimed at underscoring several themes of his papacy: the threat posed by secularism in Europe, the tension between faith and reason, and the role of ethics in economics.  Markets are jittery about Portugal’s prospects of bringing its debt and deficit under control. En route to Lisbon, Benedict told reporters that the financial crisis and the threat to the euro were opportunities to reintroduce a “moral dimension” to economics.
     Pope Ben has no credibility when it comes to preaching a "moral dimension" to economics, after  both he and John Paul II allowed the serial pedophile rapist Father Marcial Maciel Degollado access to children, because Maciel's Legionaries of Christ, now worth an estimated $35 billion, were bringing in the cash.  Where's the moral dimension of that economic decision?  And what of the "moral dimension" of the church's economic decision to block any law that extends the statute of limitations for child-victims of rape, assault, and sexual abuse by priests?

     Oh, but there's more.  The Times reports:
     Benedict is also expected to emphasize the church’s stance on social issues. A largely Catholic country, Portugal legalized abortion in 2007 and its Socialist majority Parliament approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage earlier this year, which the president of Portugal has not yet signed into law.

      When it comes to sexual and economic morality, the Catholic church has historically shown that it is bankrupt.  It's time for the leaders of world's nations to quit giving credence and diplomatic immunity to Pope Benedict, a "divinely appointed" despot of a medieval, money-making, and  walled museum that claims to be a nation state.

Jesus Was the Ultimate Fighting Champion Says Xtreme Ministries Church

     Do you remember Jesus of Nazareth?  Do you remember the whole "turn the other cheek" thing?  Or how about the command to pray for your enemies?  What about "my peace I give to you" and that scolding-Peter-for-slicing-the-ear-off-a-soldier incident?  

     Move over peaceful and loving Jesus.  You're too much of a fem for manly Christians.

     The latest trend in Christian churches is to preach Jesus through violence.  Call it Fight Club meets The Passion of the Christ.

     One church leading the way is Xtreme Ministries, lead by Pastor John Renken.  The New York Times reports:
     Mr. Renken’s ministry is one of a small but growing number of evangelical churches that have embraced mixed martial arts — a sport with a reputation for violence and blood that combines kickboxing, wrestling and other fighting styles — to reach and convert young men, whose church attendance has been persistently low. Mixed martial arts events have drawn millions of television viewers, and one was the top pay-per-view event in 2009.
     Recruitment efforts at the churches, which are predominantly white, involve fight night television viewing parties and lecture series that use ultimate fighting to explain how Christ fought for what he believed in. Other ministers go further, hosting or participating in live events.
     The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries — and into the image of Jesus — in the hope of making Christianity more appealing. “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too,” said Brandon Beals, 37, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church outside of Seattle. “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”
     The outreach is part of a larger and more longstanding effort on the part of some ministers who fear that their churches have become too feminized, promoting kindness and compassion at the expense of strength and responsibility.
     “The man should be the overall leader of the household,” said Ryan Dobson, 39, a pastor and fan of mixed martial arts who is the son of James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, a prominent evangelical group. “We’ve raised a generation of little boys.” [Or in the case of some Christian organizations "razed."]
     This is not a joke.  These ultimate fighting Jesus followers are serious.  And if you make fun of them, they'll beat the devil out of you.

     However, that didn't keep Jon Stewart's The Daily Show from using humor to point out the hypocrisy of preaching an ass-kicking Jesus.  Of course, then again, maybe these Christians aren't hypocrites.  Unlike most churches, these Kung Fu Christians are admitting that violence sells religion.

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