Can religion and politics mix – for good, not evil?

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A Chadian soldier fixes his headscarf while driving at the front line during battle against insurgent group Boko Haram in Gambaru on February 26, 2015. Niger, Cameroon and Chad have launched a regional military campaign to help Nigeria defeat the Boko Haram insurgency, which aims to carve an Islamic emirate out of northeastern Nigeria. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun 
*Editors: This photo can only be republished with RNS-BOKOHARAM-ISIS, originally transmitted on March 9, 2015.

A Chadian soldier fixes his headscarf while driving at the front line during battle against insurgent group Boko Haram in Gambaru on February 26, 2015. Niger, Cameroon and Chad have launched a regional military campaign to help Nigeria defeat the Boko Haram insurgency, which aims to carve an Islamic emirate out of northeastern Nigeria. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun *Editors: This photo can only be republished with RNS-BOKOHARAM-ISIS, originally transmitted on March 9, 2015.

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NEW YORK (RNS) Everyone wants religions to get along and play nice. But is that even possible, and would it do any good?

  • Pingback: Can religion and politics mix – for good, not evil? - by Ronald Gronowski - Rev Ron Gronowski - The Reverend()

  • Tim Greene

    Jesus stayed away from politics. At the core of every religion there must be love for mankind.

  • Frank

    The only path to a solution in the Middle East is through the path of Non-Violence.

    They desperately need leaders who are willing to pursue Non-Violence as the means to an end, they need someone like the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King or Gandhi to lead them to a solution.

  • Fran

    Tim,

    Yes, Jesus, his disciples, apostles and followers did not get involved in human politics. Instead, their focus was on teaching others about God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 4:17), as well as love for God and our fellowman.

    Religion and politics mix as well as oil and vinegar. They should stay separate and apart.

  • “It concerns me because we are so clumsy at understanding other cultures and knowing how to engage in that dialogue,”

    “There is no such thing as Islam. And there is no such thing as Christianity. And there is no such thing as Judaism,” Appleby said, delivering a final provocation. “There are Islams and Christianities and Judaisms.”

    Ach. That wheel just keeps on spinning around. It seems some tropes and postures will never go away.

    Religious leaders have little real influence, he argued, and governmental programs tend to focus on the abstract intellectual or wonky policy aspects of religion rather than what happens on the ground.

    Considering, Scotto, that the bishops when they got into the soup decided to listen to you and Peggy Steinfels rather than someone who wishes the Church well, I’d say that’s right graceless.

    Her admiration for Desmond Tutu, poisonous anti-semite and clown, is cute.

  • Larry

    Has there ever been an instance where religion and political power were entangled which did not lead to sectarian discrimination?

    Has any conflict ever been resolved by religious authorities (other than a war between religious authorities)?

    Those faiths/sects which value peaceful relations with others, in ways other than forcing them to follow their faith/killing everyone who isn’t one of them, are almost always the outliers. Religious sects which actively court political power are never interested in inter-faith/inter sectarian harmony.

  • When you have conflicts over convictions, the generators of those convictions are of interest. You can live in a community wherein certain baselines are taken for granted or you can contrive to manage those conflicts with various contrivances. Likely the worst solution is to have elite gatekeepers jamming their own preferences down everyone else’s throats, to the applause of a Vichy press corps.

  • James Carr

    Politics, or government, should use religion as its moral guide. Since politicians are terrified of following their personal religious beliefs for fear they will lose a vote, secular humanism is overcoming the nation. Religious morality hurts no one, not even atheists.
    Abortion is wrong.
    Gay marriage should be redefined as Gay union.
    Euthanasia/Assisted suicide is wrong.
    Legalizing drugs is a regression of civilization.
    Prayer can be optional anywhere.
    Etc.

    And don’t bring up all the unique practices of the various religions……that stays in the Church.

  • Susan

    I would worry about following Gandhi. He suggested that Jews commit mass suicide as a response to the Nazis during the Holocaust. He never understood that the Nazis were not like the British and that the rest of the world didn’t care.

  • Sam

    Path of non-violence? Looks like you are not aware about ‘Muslim conquests’ which started around 7th century and continues to the present day. Read up on political Islam.
    There needs to be a change within Islamic ideology for any permanent solution in the mid east region. Islam is not just a religion , it has a very strong underpinning to politics and worldly governance as envisioned by the founder of the religion, Mohammed.

  • samuel Johnston

    no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,

  • Greg

    Yes, James is correct. If religion is given its proper freedom, there is nothing to fear from religion. But when the State begins to tell religion how to do its business, then the trouble begins. There are only two spiritual realities: the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Evil. What most don’t understand is that the Kingdom of Evil is hard at work to divide, so to conquer. And … I think those wicked spirits have done an exceptional job turning the tide here in the USA. What does the Bible say?: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness,” (Is 5). Woe indeed.

  • opheliart

    So, Greg … Your Roman Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God? Gee, what about all those other believers? Going to hell? Living in the EVIL Kingdom?

    It is a small mind that makes room only for himself … a wise one builds a house for many.

    In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

    O wake wee one and experience the Light. God is not a religion.

  • opheliart

    Aw, c’mon, Samuel, stop being so darn stubborn!

    😉

  • PeterVN

    My favorite blog quote here is “Religion is for the ignorant, the cowardly, the gullible, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them.”

    While we may never be rid of religion and other quackery, it is good to see it being quarantined and constrained.

  • “He also said that Hindu nationalism, Jewish “irredentism,” Christian “chauvinism” and other forms of religious extremism are about those religious traditions as well, not entirely alien to them.”

    FINALLY.
    People are waking up.

    Humanity must abandon these arbitrary, groundless mental chains and move on to real, practical answers to our global problems. Religion is not a friend to peace or solutions.

    “Bring to me my enemies and Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “Slay them” – ALLAH (Sura 9:22)
    “Kill the non-believers in daylight” – Yahweh (Deuteronomy)

    Gee,
    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Repent for what? Being born?
    Stupid religion.

  • @Tim Green,

    “Jesus stayed away from politics.”

    That sort of reflexive Pro-Jesus Public Relations must stop.

    Jesus incited hatred against groups of people – what could be more political than that?

    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “They are fools!” – JESUS (Matthew 23:17)
    “They are dogs!” – JESUS (Matthew 15:26)
    “they are swine!” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)
    “Avoid Them” (Romans 16:17)
    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault.” (Matthew 18:15)
    “have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonian 3:14)

    Jesus incited violence:
    “I have not come to bring peace but a sword” – JESUS
    “Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, but division.” – Jesus – (Luke 12:49-51)
    “if you have money, buy a sword” – Jesus (Luke 22:36-37)

    Jesus is a character filled with violence and Totalitarian ambitions.
    Stop saying this is benign.

  • James Carr

    The Church recognizes any and all rays of truth and light in all religions. The Church has no idea who is going to Hell, but warns us of the behaviors that will get us there. What the Catholic Church recognizes is that all other Faiths do not have the fullness of the Deposit of Faith revealed to man by God….out of ignorance or personal choice. Man has the ability to choose God or not, to select what HE likes about God’s Word and dismiss what he doesn’t, but he doesn’t have the authority.

  • James Carr

    Yeah, it’s always good to get rid of something that benefits society as a whole. Let chaos reign supreme.

  • James Carr

    And atheism allows men to make gods of themselves. If it feels right do it. And we do know that all men will naturally feel the same way at the same time. Who needs guidance?
    Ever see the movie, “The Purge”? An atheist world……

  • @James Carr,

    “Religious morality hurts no one, not even atheists.”

    Is this a joke?
    How about:

    Genital Mutilation
    Suicide Bombing
    Burning of ‘witches’
    Decapitation of Infidels
    Burning of infidels
    Stabbing of infidels
    Vicarious Redemption (scapegoating personal responsibility)
    Eschewing Medical care
    Flying planes into buildings to kill thousands
    Forbidding condoms to African women married to husbands with AIDS
    Forbidding Sex Education to prevent pregnancy
    Forbidding masturbation – a normal, healthy activity.
    Replacing Science education with Creationist garbage.
    Subverting the US Constitution for religious ends

    The deaths of millions and you say Religion is harmless?
    Humanity will only progress if we abandon this nonsense.

  • @James Carr,

    “And atheism allows men to make gods of themselves”

    Nonsense.
    If I stop believing in Leprechauns that doesn’t mean I BECOME ONE!

    What drivel.

  • Thanks for the non sequiturs. I really needed that.

    And no there mustn’t. At the core of religion should be metaphysical and moral truth.

  • @James Carr,

    “something that benefits society as a whole.”

    Religion has benefited Pakistan? How?
    How has it benefitted Palestine? Or Israel? Or Saudi Arabia?
    How has it benefitted Sarajevo?
    How has it benefitted Ireland?

    Ever hear of Rwanda?
    How did Rwanda, the most catholic country in all of Africa, explode into “a Jesus-loving Genocide” wiping out 900,000 people with machetes?

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine and execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Mindless, wicked nonsense. May it all be abandoned before it is too late for the world.

  • Greg

    I think James hit it. If one were to use a Venn Diagram, of two circles overlapping one another, that would be a good way to understand it. When is comes to the various denominations, many have a good bit of overlap; however, many are far out there, and barely have any overlap. From the Catholic perspective, when it comes to its Official Teachings, the overlap is so perfect, you would not see the circle beneath the one on top (the gates of hell shall not prevail against his Church Matt 16:18), but the Church also has a human element, which sins, and that is where we have all the discord and problems. So no, the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Heaven (the Church Triumphant); the Church on earth is known as the Pilgrim Church, Yes we are joined to the Church Triumphant, but we still struggle with our sins, and are subject to temptation by the Kingdom of Evil. But what did Jesus say?, “Let them be One Father, as you and I are one.” (John 17:21) Man we have a long way to go.

  • @Art Deco,

    “religion should be metaphysical and moral truth.”

    Instead of just ‘the truth’?
    That’s your problem. You pretend the truth is all sorts of various nonsense you can arbitrarily make up in your head.

    Religion should be abandoned for the mindless nonsense it is. It is an insult to claim humanity can’t live without it. All of the evidence proves otherwise – and shows it is nothing but a hindrance to human progress everywhere it is attempted.

  • Greg

    Karla, we’ll have to rename you Karla the Baptist (Matthew 3:2)

  • opheliart

    And according to your faith, this “church” is Roman Catholicism …
    Nice try, James C … you will be running into the Orthodox Church before too long, thinking you will be saved from the big, bad world.
    Why will you flee to the OC? Can you accept Communion from a priest who says he is gay? —Communion: the body and blood that only your “special” men can orchestrate (we know how you feel about gays, James C—you’ve made your feelings on this quite clear).

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/12/irish-priest-gay_n_6457808.html

    But what happens when the OC allows women to be ordained priests? All shook up?

  • dmj76

    Max

    You left out the part about being unafraid of nuclear war. After the war, believers will be in heaven forever with their family and friends, while their enemies will be tortured forever. What could be better than that?

  • Fran

    God’s kingdom or heavenly government will soon put an end to all human governments and rule in their place and stead (Daniel 2:44).

    God’s Word, the Bible, should be used by humans as their moral guide.

  • bqrq

    Dear Atheist Max,
    Some atheist believe that after death, they will go “black”, the soul is extinguished, existence ends. What say you? Do you hope to go black?

  • Susan

    I’d like to approach this from a different direction. How religion affects my politics. I believe that God wants us to care for the poor, the homeless and others who suffer. I think that charities alone cannot do this work. That is why we need the government to help those who are poor, unemployed or homeless. That is why I am a liberal.

  • AR

    Your list proves Jesus was a part of human politics how?

  • AR

    PART 1

    “Execute them in front of me.” -Luke 19:27
    Jesus, as King of God’s Kingdom, has the right to pass judgment on what/who is wicked. The full text of Luke 19:27 says: “Moreover, bring these enemies of mine here who did not want me to become king over them and execute them in front of me.”

    Jesus was talking about the time of the end when all wickedness would be removed. “…at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength…” (2 Thess. 1:6-10) As it says in Luke, those to be executed are “enemies” of Jesus and his Father. Enemies of God, knowingly or not, place themselves on the only other side there is, Satan’s, their chief enemy. When Satan is removed, those with him will too.

  • AR

    PART 2

    “They are fools!” -Matt. 23:17

    Jesus said: “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is under obligation.’ Fools and blind ones! Which, in fact, is greater, the gold or the temple that has sanctified the gold?” (Matt. 23:16-19) Here Jesus was speaking to the proud religious leaders of the Jews called the Pharisees. He boldly pointed out the, yes, stupidity, of thinking that gold made the temple holy instead of the other way around. It was foolish and materialistic thinking.

  • AR

    PART 3

    “They are swine!” -Matt. 7:6

    Jesus said at Matthew 7:6: “Do not give what is holy to dogs nor throw your pearls before swine, so that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open.” Jesus was speaking about sharing precious spiritual truths with those who repeatedly show no appreciation for it. (He later said: “Wherever anyone does not receive you or listen to your words, on going out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.” -Matt. 10:11-14) Like an unreasoning/vicious pig or dog that has to appreciation for pearls and can attack you, Jesus was using a word picture to describe those who would just attack you for the valuable things you try to share with them.

  • AR

    PART 4

    “Avoid them.” -Rom. 16:17

    These are not Jesus’ words, but those of the Apostle Paul. The full text reads: “Now I urge you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them.” It continues: “For men of that sort are slaves, not of our Lord Christ, but of their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattering speech they seduce the hearts of unsuspecting ones.” (Rom. 16:17, 18) Paul was talking about preserving the peace and unity of the Christian congregation from those whose only goal was to “draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29, 30) to create their own following. I don’t know what’s so evil about that.

  • AR

    PART 5

    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault.” -Matt. 18:15

    Jesus said: “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go and reveal his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” Jesus here was giving direction for the future Christian congregation to keep it unified and clean. If your brother “listens to you” and desists from his sin, “you have gained your brother.” As verses 16 and 17 reveal; if he was not repentant and unresponsive to counsel he received through “the congregation” then he was to be expelled from it to keep it clean.

  • AR

    PART 6

    “Have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” -2 Thess. 3:14

    Like the two previous Scriptures you cited, this one is also about keeping the Christian congregation unified and clean. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians he was speaking about brothers who were “walking disorderly” and “meddling with what does not concern them.” (VS. 11) So Paul said: “But if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked and stop associating with him, so that he may become ashamed.” He continues however, “And yet do not consider him an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother.” This counsel to stop associating with one who willingly was disrupting the Congregation was to try and bring that person “to their senses and escape the snare of the Devil.” -2 Tim. 2:23-26

  • AR

    PART 7

    I have not come to bring peace but a sword.” -Matt. 10:34-36

    Jesus was speaking about how his message would divide households and bring persecution on his followers. He said: “Do not think I came to bring peace to the earth; I came to bring, not peace, but a sword. For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” And here’s the point: “Indeed, a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Compare Luke 12:51-53) This is in line with what he also said: “Further, brother will hand brother over to death, and a father his child, and children will rise up against parents and will have them put to death. And you will be hated by all people on account of my name.” (Luke 10:21, 22) Hatred and persecution rises from those who do not like Jesus’ message. The division comes from them and their unwillingness to believe or to simply live and let live.

  • AR

    PART 8

    “If you have money, buy a sword.” -Luke 22:36-37

    Jesus was speaking to his disciples on the night of his death and he made reference to the preaching tours he sent them on previously. He said: “When I sent you out without a money bag and a food pouch and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said: “No!” Then he said to them: “But now let the one who has a money bag take it, likewise a food pouch, and let the one who has no sword sell his outer garment and buy one.” When Jesus sent them on those preaching tours he instructed them not to carry anything material so that they would see that Jehovah would provide for them. He said on that occasion: “Wherever you enter into a house, say first: ‘May this house have peace.’ And if a friend of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if there is not, it will return to you. So stay in that house, eating and drinking the things they provide, for the worker is worthy of his wages.” (Luke 10:5-7) Continued…

  • AR

    PART 8 CONTINUED…

    However, on the night of his death he instructed them to “buy a sword’, not to hurt people, (Why, on that same night speaking about an act of violence committed with a sword Jesus said: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword.” -Matt. 26:51, 52) but he was imparting to them the danger they were about to be in by using a sword as a illustration for defending oneself.

    “Do not think I came to bring peace on earth. No, but division.” -Luke 12:49-51

    These words are a parallel account of the previous Scripture you listed.

    I’m sorry for so many posts but this dialogue box only allows for 1,000 characters.

    jw.org

  • AR

    PART 9…I FORGOT ONE.

    “They are dogs!” -Matt. 15:26

    Jesus spent most of his earthly life with Jewish people. But one day he was approached by a Phoenician woman, a Gentile, who begged him to cure her daughter. In response Jesus said: “I was not sent forth to any but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Yet, the woman pleaded: “Lord, help me!” At that, he added: “It is not right to take the bread of the children and throw it to little dogs.” To the Jews, dogs were unclean animals. (Jesus did not share this view. Luke 10:29-37) So by alluding to Gentiles as “little dogs,” was Jesus showing prejudice? No, for he had just mentioned his special commission from God to care for ‘the lost sheep of Israel.’ Moreover, by likening non-Jews to “little dogs,” not wild dogs, Jesus softened the comparison. Of course, he said that to test the woman as to her faith. CONTINUED…

  • AR

    PART 9 CONTINUED

    Humbly, though determined to overcome this objection, she tactfully replied: “Yes, Lord; but really the little dogs do eat of the crumbs falling from the table of their masters.” Impressed with the woman’s faith, Jesus healed her daughter immediately.

  • Ben in oakland

    I don’t think it matters what I think will happen at the end of life. But then, I follow Koschei the Deathless, Who Made Things As They Are.

  • AR

    TTZZ

    I will simply not be drawn into a trinity debate. They are endless and this is not what the conversation was about. And the basis for one being a Christian is not if one believes Jesus is God, but if one believes that Jesus died for us and he is the way to salvation-which Jehovah’s Witnesses do.

  • Jonathan J. Turner

    A provocative discussion of the intersection of politics, religion, conflict and peace. The almost-two-hour video is well worth the listen:

    http://digital.library.fordham.edu/cdm/ref/collection/rc/id/84

    I will be recommending this program at Quaker Meeting this Sunday AM.

  • Fran

    dmj,

    God will not allow man to completely destroy man off the planet or completely annihilate our (humans) forever home, earth.

    God promises that the earth will remain forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 37:29; 104:5) and that man will live forever on it. He also has promised that he will bring to ruin those ruining the earth (Revelation 11:18).

    Thus, there is no need to fear nuclear war and resulting destruction.

  • Greg

    Properly speaking, Catholics would not be receiving the Eucharist from a gay priest, but rather from a priest who is struggling with homosexual tendencies. There is a big difference. Priests who are not living the life they have vowed to live, are in mortal sin. That, however, does not affect the sacraments themselves. It is interesting that you bring up “fleeing to the Orthodox Church.” In all reality, what would a person be fleeing from? Truth is Truth, plain and simple. The Orthodox churches are fine, but since they broke communion with the Bishop of Rome, their theology has been frozen. It is just the opposite of Protestant Churches, which are running wild in many ways. The Catholic Church has shown time and again, that it embraces the Truth entrusted to it, but finds new expressions for it in every age, kind of like those Moody Blues lyrics, “with your arms around the future, and your back up against the past…”

  • Greg

    I think whenever government gets involved in “charitable” works, they always tend to over-do it and twist it. The best thing our government can do is dissolve NAFTA so to re-establish good jobs in our country. Then people will be able to find challenging work, at competitive wages. The liberals are craftsmen when it comes to making people depend upon the government so to get an automatic vote to keep them in office. We are seeing that skyrocket with this current president. Charity is best kept principally with the churches, that way it doesn’t become a permanent way of life, and a means to get votes.

  • Susan

    Most people need government help for a limited period of time when they are going through a hard time. Although there are people with mental illness, for example that may need more extensive government help. Yes, a job is the best solution, but many jobs simply don’t pay enough.

    The private charities simply don’t have the money or organization to handle everyone. They are stretched at the limits of their abilities right now. The food banks don’t have enough food to handle everyone who needs help.

  • Susan

    AR, you have no idea who the Pharisees really were and what they stood for. The New Testament depiction of the Pharisees is just not accurate.

    You are just wrong. The Pharisees were deeply religious men and they did not confuse gold with holiness. They wanted to sanctify everyday life and they were a democratizing force. They wanted to apply laws that applied to priests in the Temple to the home and make every Jew a priest in their own home.

    Anyone who said what you quoted from Matthew was not a Pharisee. They may have been a Sadducee or this was a setup to prove moral superiority to Judaism. There is an article in Sojourners called,”Quit Picking on the Pharisees.” You should read it.

  • dmj76

    Dear bqrq

    It may be that annihilation is the highest form of mystical experience. What is bad about that?
    If we do not yet have a good understanding about what consciousness is, maybe we should hit the pause button on questions like this.
    Some great minds have thought that time is an illusion. How does that concept tie into consciousness? It is certainly possible that the psychological time we all experience is not the same animal as the time of physics. If that is true, how does it affect our understanding of death?
    Give science another couple centuries, see how things work out. (Not that we have another couple centuries, we may self-destruct.)
    best wishes

  • dmj76

    Dear bqrq

    It does not bother us that there was lots of time before we were born when we did not exist. Why should it bother us that there will be lots of time after we die when we do not exist?

    best wishes

  • opheliart

    Greg April 19, 2015 at 6:35 am
    Properly speaking, Catholics would not be receiving the Eucharist from a gay priest, but rather from a priest who is struggling with homosexual tendencies. There is a big difference. Priests who are not living the life they have vowed to live, are in mortal sin. That, however, does not affect the sacraments themselves. It is interesting that you bring up “fleeing to the Orthodox Church.” In all reality, what would a person be fleeing from? Truth is Truth, …

    If struggling with desire, where/when does the priest become suitable to be a celibate priest? How does a parishioner, bishop … know when a priest is struggling with any sexual desires and when he isn’t? The laity/bishop track record isn’t all that good on knowing what a priest, BISHOP, CARDINAL … is struggling with … or not struggling with (clergy child abuse). Your argument is full of errant manipulation and improper expectations. YOUR truth is ignorant in that it has no knowledge-

  • opheliart

    -knowledge on said priests … bishops, cardinals and …

    “The Orthodox churches are fine, but since they broke communion with the Bishop of Rome, their theology has been frozen. It is just the opposite of Protestant Churches, which are running wild in many ways. The Catholic Church has shown time and again, that it embraces the Truth entrusted to it, but finds new expressions for it in every age, kind of like those Moody Blues lyrics, “with your arms around the future, and your back up against the past…”

    Then why did the Vatican silence the music of their nuns? Your Institution is a Fascist Regime—a MALE DOMINION of deception and political prowess. Your “truth” is … what? They don’t call it Bull for nothing 😉

  • opheliart

    And … FYI, Greg, a Catholic (of close association with the Catholic priesthood) told me a couple of years ago that the priests were now permitted to masturbate. Whether this is true or not for the priests, I do not know, unless it was of a secret directive and I am sharing something meant to be hush-hush, but I leave you with some info from a man in Ireland.
    My only question for you is this:
    While priests masturbate, how would the laity, bishops, cardinals, popes know who these men think about while masturbating?

    http://wisecatholic.blogspot.com/2013/08/is-masturbation-sin.html

  • Ben in oakland

    Nonsense, Greg. your own theology says that a gay priest is intrinsically, gravely, morally evil, and is handling the sacred host. You cannot be a priest unless you have a literal vocation, a calling, from God.

    God obviously has nowhere near as much problem with it as you do.

  • bqrq,

    “Do you hope to go black?”

    WHAT CHOICE HAVE I GOT????

    Childishly thinking a sky daddy is going to grant you three wishes is willful ignorance and nothing more.

    Your complete disregard for the value of this life
    renders you a danger to yourself and others. Religious notions lead to nothing but ridiculous theories and proposals.

    We die.
    Get over it.

  • dmj76

    Dear Max

    I was talking about believers being unafraid of nuclear war. Recall that you and I are pretty much on the same page. We differ in style, not substance.

  • Greg

    For the most part we agree. After all these years, though, I have still yet to see the supposed “good fruits” of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). All it did was give our manufacturing giants, which used to be located on U.S. soil, a free license to leave this country with their businesses to acquire dirt cheap labor, then bring all their products back in here tax free. All we got out of the deal was a dried up manufacturing base, and people out of work. The biggest growth in this country has been the service sector, which has such slim margins, that they cannot afford to pay properly, or to give benefits. There is an issue when politicians keep telling us that Walmart needs to pay better. The only reason people are working at Walmart to begin with is because of NAFTA! Either this president, Bush, & Clinton, are/were blind to the issue, or their whole objective was to send manufacturing overseas. Well, mission accomplished.

  • Greg

    Good point, Opheliart. In years past, candidates to the priesthood were given psychological testing, but where the Church erred, is they did not screen out men who were homosexual, AND, previously engaged in that type of sexual activity. However, since the priest pedophilia scandal, additional psychological testing is being done, and any man who has homosexual tendencies, AND has succumbed to those temptations (i.e., engaged in that type of sex), are immediately disqualified. But I would agree, it will take years to weed out the entire issue, as there are many who have abused their office but have kept quiet, hiding in the shadows. But it seems that one by one they are being removed. I believe that Our Lord has ripped the scab off this wound so to purify the Church, and will continue to do so until the offenders of this scandal are completely removed. Just being homosexual doesn’t disqualify a man, but lack of control does.

  • Greg

    The main reason the nuns were corrected, is that they began dabbling in the New Age, and lost their Christian focus (Jesus). Any institution that would not address that issue, is a false institution. The objective is heaven, not hell, and souls are at stake.

  • Greg

    Ben, Just to clarify Catholic theology: if a person has an inclination, or a predisposition, to sin, that doesn’t make him/her gravely evil, or an abomination. No, it only means that person has has a tendency towards a particular sin. And we ALL have inclinations to different types of sinful activities. The problem, however, is when a person ACTS upon those inclinations, with full knowledge, and full consent of the will–that is when the person has sinned before God almighty, and needs to express sorrow, and repent. I just wanted to differentiate to you the difference between “temptation” and “sin.” So there is a difference between having gay inclinations, and engaging in the gay lifestyle: one is sinful, the other is not.

  • Susan

    Is the Catholic church conflating homosexuality and pedophilia? They are not equivalent. Homosexuals are not more or less prone to pedophilia than anyone else.

  • Dmj76,

    So sorry. You are right – I lost track for a moment.

    In a different place I had just had a conversation with a person who was extolling the virtues of Armageddon and God’s “necessary cleansing of the earth of evil humanity.”

    The love and desire for End Times Armageddon is one of the most immoral concepts of Christiainity and Islam. It is the primary self-imposed danger we all may face – thanks to these primitive ‘faiths’.

  • Susan

    It seems to me that there is something wrong when the ultra-rich get richer and everyone else gets poorer. It’s not just NAFTA, its something structural in the economy that needs fixing. I don’t think the Republicans or most Democrats have the answer. I do like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, but they are not going to get elected at least in the near future. The TPP trade agreement seems to be more of the same.

  • If more than 3% of the prosecutions for molestation of prepubscent youth are for male-to-male and female-to-female contacts, it’s a reasonable inference that they are. (IIRC, about a third of the prosecutions for pedophilic and pederastic acts are for male-to-male contact; if you fancy homosexuals are not more prone to pedophilia, you’d have to concede their propensity toward pederasty is off the charts).

  • Greg

    Agreed, but over 85% of the pedophilia issues were man on boy, and a large portion of the boys were teenagers. So the Church had to address that aspect.

  • AR

    SUSAN…PART 1

    As far removed as Christendom is from actually following the Bible, liberal social justice Christians (Sojournar’s mag) are even further with how watered down their teachings are and how apologetic they are (ex. Pharisees).

    In the first century C.E., the social and religious hierarchy of Israel despised those who had little or no learning. The Pharisees are quoted as saying: “This crowd that does not know the Law are accursed people.”—John 7:49.
    Extra-Biblical sources show that the privileged classes contemptuously called the uneducated masses amhaarets, or “people of the land.” Originally, this was a term of respect for citizens of a specific territory. It embraced not only the poor and lowly but also the prominent.—Genesis 23:7, footnote; 2 Kings 23:35; Ezekiel 22:29. CONTINUED…

  • AR

    SUSAN PART 1 CONTINUED…

    By Jesus’ day, however, the term was used to brand those who were considered ignorant of the Mosaic Law or who failed to observe the minutiae of rabbinic traditions. They literally thought of them as dirt. The Mishnah (a collection of commentaries that became the foundation of the Talmud) warns against staying in the homes of ʽam ha·ʼaʹrets. According to The Encyclopedia of Talmudic Sages, second-century scholar Rabbi Meir taught: “When a man marries his daughter to an am ha’aretz it is as if he bound her and placed her in front of a lion who steps on his victim before devouring her.” The Talmud quotes another rabbi as stating that “uneducated people will not be resurrected.”

  • AR

    SUSAN PART 2

    The Mosaic Law promoted separateness from the nations, but the rabbis preached a form of unreasoning contempt for everything non-Jewish. They taught that a Jew must not leave his cattle at a Gentile inn, for Gentiles “are suspected of bestiality.” A Jewish woman was not allowed to aid a Gentile woman in labor because she would thereby “be assisting to bring to birth a child for idolatry.” Since they were properly suspicious of Greek gymnasiums, the rabbis forbade all athletic exercises.

  • AR

    SUSAN PART 3

    The Sabbath day of rest was meant to be a spiritual and physical blessing for God’s people. Jewish religious leaders, however, made many rules that dishonored God’s Sabbath law and made it burdensome for the people. For example, if anyone had an accident or suffered from sickness, he could not receive help on the Sabbath unless his life was in danger.

    One school of Pharisees was so strict in its interpretation of the Sabbath law that it said: “One does not comfort mourners, nor does one visit sick people on the Sabbath.” Other religious leaders allowed such visits on the Sabbath but stipulated: “Tears are forbidden.”

  • AR

    SUSAN PART 4

    They prided themselves on being righteous (actually, self-righteous) and looked down on the common people. (Lu 18:11, 12; Joh 7:47-49) To impress others with their righteousness, the Pharisees broadened the scripture-containing cases that they wore as safeguards and they enlarged the fringes of their garments. (Mt 23:5) They loved money (Lu 16:14) and desired prominence and flattering titles. (Mt 23:6, 7; Lu 11:43) The Pharisees were so biased in their application of the Law that they made it burdensome for the people, insisting that it be observed according to their concepts and traditions. (Mt 23:4) They completely lost sight of the important matters, namely, justice, mercy, faithfulness, and love of God. (Mt 23:23; Lu 11:41-44)

  • AR

    SUSAN PART 5

    The main issues over which they contended with Christ Jesus involved Sabbath observance (Mt 12:1, 2; Mr 2:23, 24; Lu 6:1, 2), adherence to tradition (Mt 15:1, 2; Mr 7:1-5), and association with sinners and tax collectors (Mt 9:11; Mr 2:16; Lu 5:30). The Pharisees apparently thought that defilement resulted from association with persons who did not observe the Law according to their view of it. (Lu 7:36-39) Therefore, when Christ Jesus associated and even ate with sinners and tax collectors, this prompted them to object. (Lu 15:1, 2) The Pharisees found fault with Jesus and his disciples because of their not practicing the traditional washing of hands. (Mt 15:1, 2; Mr 7:1-5; Lu 11:37, 38) But Jesus exposed their wrong reasoning and showed them to be violators of God’s law on account of their adherence to man-made traditions. (Mt 15:3-11; Mr 7:6-15; Lu 11:39-44)

  • AR

    SUSAN PART 6

    Rather than rejoicing and glorifying God in connection with the miraculous cures performed by Christ Jesus on the Sabbath, the Pharisees were filled with rage over what they deemed a violation of the Sabbath law and therefore plotted to kill Jesus. (Mt 12:9-14; Mr 3:1-6; Lu 6:7-11; 14:1-6) To a blind man whom Jesus had cured on the Sabbath they said concerning Jesus: “This is not a man from God, because he does not observe the Sabbath.”—Joh 9:16.

    The attitude the Pharisees displayed showed that they were not righteous and clean inside. (Mt 5:20; 23:26) Like the rest of the Jews, they were in need of repentance. (Compare Mt 3:7, 8; Lu 7:30.) But the majority of them preferred to remain spiritually blind (Joh 9:40) and intensified their opposition to the Son of God. (Mt 21:45, 46; Joh 7:32; 11:43-53, 57) There were Pharisees who falsely accused Jesus of expelling demons by means of the ruler of the demons (Mt 9:34; 12:24) and of being a false witness. (Joh 8:13)

  • opheliart

    Greg, your Institution (Trappists) made a lot of money off of Thomas Merton, and he was just one Catholic figure instrumental in igniting New Age. And I see Catholic priests engaging in New Age all the time, for years and years … selling their meditation menus and such … and the RCC has done nothing—absolutely nothing! But hey, can’t have those nuns exploring, it might look bad for the stiff-necks in the dresses sitting in their high chairs doling out sin cards (along with their secret indulgences). Good grief. And I see you mention nothing of the blog I posted, but did not hesitate to turn it around to focus primarily on your ongoing agenda. Really now, Greg, your slip is showing 😀 The RC’s obsession with sex is telling, and the truth is their knees are knocking because of what’s coming … and oh boy is it coming.

  • @AR,

    JESUS:
    “IGNORE GOD’S COMMAND TO LOVE – YOU MUST HATE EVERYONE INSTEAD”

    “Hate your parents…hate your life, or you are not worthy of me” – Jesus (Luke 14:26)

    “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!” (1 Corinthians 16:22)

    The Jesus cult is tyrannical – and it is not good for people.
    None of this has a place in modern society.

  • James Carr

    The Church is not obsessed with sex at all. Society is. The Church recognizes sex as a gift from God, to be acted on in a suitable manner as is God’s intent.
    Humanity, full of natural lusts, perverts the sexual act and wants these perversions accepted by the Church….which it can never do. It is society that wants pornography, free sex, prostitution, homosexuality, etc. sanctioned as healthy human behavior…and when the Church wags its finger, society calls it out of step and abnormal.Everyone knows, or should know, the eternal position of the Church….so confronting it endlessly will only have the Church repeat its infallible answer.

  • Susan

    AR, you don’t know the real history of the Pharisees. You only know what is written in the New Testament, and that is a distorted picture. I already know knew those stories from the New Testament. It is part of early Christian polemics to prove the spiritual superiority of Christianity.

    Contrary to the dominant Christian view, the Pharisees were not generally wealthy. The only Pharisee from whom we have written records, Paul of Tarsus, is a leather worker. Josephus makes clear that he was no fan of the Pharisees, resenting their popular support that he thought should have been given to the priests. “The Pharisees simplify their standard of living, making no concession to luxury,” he writes in Antiquities. Ironically, in the gospels it is not the Pharisees who are wealthy, but tax collectors such as Zacchaeus and his bud- dies, Joseph of Arimathea, and the upscale family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

  • Susan

    cont.
    Luke claims that Pharisees are “lovers of money” (16:14), but Luke is engaging in generalized insult. One could claim that all early Christians were lovers of money, given the frequent warnings against this sin in 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Hebrews 1, but that would be uncharitable.
    2We have no evidence that Pharisees thought the destitute would be damned and the rich rewarded. Pharisees, as fol- lowers of both Torah and the Prophets, recognized that the poor, widows, orphans, and strangers were under divine protection and were to be supported by the community. It is likely their sense of divine justice was one of the reasons why they promulgated the idea of the resurrection: People who suf- fer in this world will find redemption in the
    world to come. Further, Pharisees would not have seen Jesus’ beatitudes about the poor, the meek, and the peacemakers as surpris- ing. These teachings come directly from the Judaism that they and Jesus shared (compare Psalm 37:11 with Matthew…

  • Susan

    Luke claims that Pharisees are “lovers of money” (16:14), but Luke is engaging in generalized insult. One could claim that all early Christians were lovers of money, given the frequent warnings against this sin in 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Hebrews 1, but that would be uncharitable.
    2We have no evidence that Pharisees thought the destitute would be damned and the rich rewarded. Pharisees, as fol- lowers of both Torah and the Prophets, recognized that the poor, widows, orphans, and strangers were under divine protection and were to be supported by the community. It is likely their sense of divine justice was one of the reasons why they promulgated the idea of the resurrection: People who suf- fer in this world will find redemption in the
    world to come. Further, Pharisees would not have seen Jesus’ beatitudes about the poor, the meek, and the peacemakers as surpris- ing. These teachings come directly from the Judaism that they and Jesus shared (compare Psalm 37:11 with Matthew 5:5).

  • Susan

    5Pharisees promoted the idea that free will was an essential component of cre- ation, although they also recognized divine control. This notion of “compatibilism” underlies the Pharisees’ communitarian ethos. Anyone could be a Pharisee; there were no admission fees or membership dues. Josephus tells us in Antiquities that the “Pharisees are affectionate to each other and cultivate harmonious relations with the community.” It is because of their simplic- ity of living, their concern for others, and their respect for tradition that Josephus con- cludes, “they are extremely influential among the townsfolk.”
    6Recognizing that Israel was a “priestly kingdom and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6), Pharisees were a democratizing group that expanded priestly roles from the temple to the home. For the Pharisees, such practices as Sabbath and holiday observance, ritual purity, and tithing were available to all—rich and poor, women and men. Their practices not only enabled Jews to sanctify their…

  • Susan

    and their homes, they were also the means by which Jews celebrated their distinct identity within the Roman imperial context.
    7
    There is no reason to presume that sud-
    denly after 70 C.E. Pharisees discovered
    social justice. A rabbinic text attributes to Jesus’ contemporary, Hillel, this summary of his tradition: “What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else; all the rest is commen- tary; now go and learn” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 30b-31a).
    4Pharisees lived among the people, not apart from them. The term “Pharisee” likely derives from a Hebrew/Aramaic word meaning “separate,” although it could derive as well from a term meaning “to interpret.” If indicating “separation,” we need to deter- mine: separate from what?
    There is no indication that the Pharisees separated themselves from fellow Jews. In order to teach them and to set examples for them, they had to be with them. Hillel also wrote, “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace, and pursuing peace, loving human- ity,…

  • Susan

    Sorry for the multiple posts, but this is from an article by Amy Jill Levine called “Quit Picking on the Pharisees” from Sojourners magazine. I wanted to post this as a response to AR, but I needed several posts to paste the whole section from the article.

  • Susan

    To Art Deco and Greg:

    I think that pedophilia is a separate category, because they are not interested in sex with adult men as Gay men are. Exactly why 85% percent of them are men is a complicated question that may have a different explanation than homosexuality. I wish we knew what caused it, because then we could keep children from a lot of suffering.

  • Susan

    I just wanted to add that the Pharisees did believe that it was permissible to violate the Sabbath if one’s life or health were in danger. Saving a life is considered more important under circumstances where someone’s life would be risked by observing the Sabbath.

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  • Ben in oakland

    Of course it has a different explanation, or several

    Access is a big one. That’s why in some 50% of all molestation cases, the perp is the father, stepfather, or father surrogate, who would generally be described as heterosexual in terms of their interests and experiences.

    A second big one is that a lot of men with sexual issues join the priesthood in order to escape those sexual issues. I used to have a couple of friends that had been seminarians. They admitted that it was the case for them, but were surprised to find out that it was the issue for so many of their compatriots.

  • @James:

    “The Church is not obsessed with sex at all. Society is.”

    Nonsense.

    “FLEE FROM SEX..! (1 Corinthians 6:18)
    “GOD WILL JUDGE THE SEX!” (Hebrews 13:4)
    “SEX IS TOO TEMPTING!” (1 Corinthians 7:2)
    “ABSTAIN FROM SEX…CONTROL YOUR BODY.. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
    “LUST IS EVIL!” – JESUS (MATTHEW 5:28)
    “CRUSH YOUR SEX LUST TO DEATH” (Collosians 3:5)
    “GOD OWNS YOU AND YOUR BODY – NOT YOU!” (1 Corinthians 6:18)

    Kind of makes you wonder why God ever created
    Penises and lusty women.

    Yet this same contradictory idiot God
    PUT THE LUST THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    “Be fruitful and multiply” – “Genesis 2:8)
    “Let your sexual fountain be blessed…Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always…” (proverbs 5:18)
    “she so lusted..their penises were like those of donkeys with emissions like horses.” – (Ezekial 23:20)

    Consenting adults need none of this primitive parenting.
    It is none of the church’s…

  • Susan

    There were two schools of Pharisees. One group followed Shammai and were more literal, the other followed Hillel and were more liberal. It was permissible to violate the Sabbath if one’s health was in danger according to the followers of Hillel.

    It doesn’t matter if you quote from the New Testament all day long. It is just wrong in its depiction of the Pharisees.

    The Sadducees were the rich land owners and they probably did look down on the workers and peasants. The Pharisees never looked down on the poor and uneducated. Many Pharisees were poor themselves. Akivah was an uneducated sheepherder and illiterate, he become educated and became one of our greatest rabbis. He was tortured and executed horribly by the Romans. They wanted to educate the poor. They thought everyone should be able to study the Torah. They wanted to turn the home into a portable temple.
    The Pharisees enabled Judaism to survive the exile.

    Amy Jill Levine is a professor of New Testament at Vanderbuilt…

  • The issue among clergy and religious was pederasty, for the most part, not paedophilia.

  • A second big one is that a lot of men with sexual issues join the priesthood in order to escape those sexual issues.

    The annual number of ordinations to the Catholic clergy was around 4,700 per year. If you’re looking at the cohorts ordained between about 1925 and 1985, about 10% appear to have had some sort of manifest issue. For the post-1985 ordination cohorts, the number is a modest fraction of that. So, no, that’s not a common response to sexual issues.

  • Greg

    Ben, in some cases, probably yes. Maybe they were confused, or otherwise. But my sister knew quite a few gay men who entered a particular Catholic seminary to hide. This was 15-20 years ago. But they would admit quite plainly that the main reason they were seeking the priesthood was for the reason just stated. Sadly, most all of them have since died from AIDS. But my take on the matter is once they were ordained, and assigned a parish, what was once a good place to hide, became a place of exposure (hard to hide in a parish), and their frustration led to temptation, which ultimately led to victimization. I certainly could be wrong, but it’s a possible explanation.

  • There will be no world peace until the Lord returns. He made that clear enough. In fact, throughout scripture what we find is that the end times will bring trials and tribulations and plagues and famines and wars and rumors of wars and persecutions…etc. Basically we will go from bad to worse until Jesus returns to establish His kingdom on earth, from which He will rule the nations with a rod of iron. Peace can be found in this dispensation. Peace can be found now, today, for those who call on the Lord. Receive Christ as Savior and Lord, the One who atoned for our sins. Turn away from sin and follow Him as He leads you, and you will know God’s peace, and promise of eternal life. God Bless

  • Fran

    Mark,

    Jesus’ kingdom is a government that has been established in the heavens (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 4:17), but it will soon come and rule over man on earth from the heavens (Matthew 6:10). Yes, we shall finally know “peace” during its millennial rule (Isaiah 11:1-9).

  • PV

    This is a parable. The quote is from a character in the parable, not from Jesus himself. If you notice in your Bible, that line is in double quotes.

  • PV

    The first quote is from a parable – it’s a story Jesus told, and the quote is from a character in the story, not from Jesus himself.

    The next three are simply how Jews referred to Gentiles broadly. Not Jesus’ teaching.

    Romans quote and Thessalonians quote are Paul speaking, not Jesus, and regard church management, not posture toward the world.

    The quotes from Luke about “swords” and “divisions” – First use of “sword” is metaphorical. Represents divisions, like the second quote. Jesus is teaching that following him may require leaving the authority of your parents (if they didn’t want you to follow Jesus). This was a radical thought in the ancient world.

    Third quote about “sword” is literal – seeming to suggest the disciples may be in danger and may need to defend themselves. When Peter then does just that, Jesus says, “What are you nuts? Put that sword away!”

    So… everyone one of your quotes is misapplied.

  • Larry

    @Art Deco. A roundabout way to say, “If God says so, I can do whatever I want to whomever I want.”

    When your “convictions” involve harming others, they are not worthy of protection. When your “convictions” are not to be in the presence of people who are not of your faith in a public setting, nobody has to care.

    Your God doesn’t need the support of OUR government.

  • Larry

    Private charities also have a habit of attaching “strings” to their care. Usually it involves adherence to a given faith or having to put up with proselytizing.

  • Larry

    bqrq is confusing atheism with Buddhism. Atheism eschews ideas of a soul. No soul. Nothing to go black. Just life in the here and now that is precious.

    Buddhism says if one has an eternal soul, they are doing it all wrong. Again and again. One’s soul is annihilated after figuring out true enlightenment.

  • Larry

    Quakers have the right idea. Keep religion out of politics, PERIOD!

  • Fran

    Thank goodness for Armageddon when it happens… The setting will be all the Kings or rulers of the earth doing battle against the Creator of the universe, which includes our marvelous home, the earth, and mankind.

    The world empire of false religion, identified as a prostitute in the book of Revelation (she has had a very close relationship with politics and war for ages) will have been destroyed by her lover, the political systems of the world. But wait! The political systems on earth still do not want to give up their long-held power over man! Oh no! Especially when God’s kingdom or heavenly government will then put them to their end!!

    Yes!!! Finally, God’s kingdom or heavenly government will be victorious over those corrupt, selfish and greedy rulers and rule in their place and stead with love, righteousness and justice!! (Isaiah 11:1-9). Also, all wicked ones who refuse to change will be done away with (Psalm 37:10,11). I cannot wait for that day to happen!!

  • Fran,

    “God will not allow man to completely destroy man off the planet”

    The serenity and certainty of your delusional argument is horrifying.
    You demonstrate the evidence of the depravity at the heart of religious ideas.

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