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Religion scholars turn activist in the shadow of Trump

The essay collection “Faith and Resistance in the Age of Trump” was a hot seller at publishers’ exhibition hall at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literacy in Boston. RNS photo by Cathy Lynn Grossman

BOSTON (RNS) — As nearly 10,000 scholars of religion and the Bible shuttled among 300 sessions at a conference here last weekend, Donald Trump dominated the agenda.

Alarm about Trump’s presidency — and the anti-intellectual forces several scholars say he has empowered — pervaded the annual joint meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature, which ended on Tuesday (Nov. 21).

At last year’s AAR/SBL meeting, weeks after Trump’s election with 81 percent of the white evangelical vote, the academics were “in shock,” recalled the new AAR president, Mercer University professor David Gushee.

American Academy of Religion president David Gushee and the Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite listen to colleagues denounce President Trump’s agenda. Thistlethwaite is wearing ashes from her participation in a ritual of mourning with clergy protesting Trump. RNS photo by Cathy Lynn Grossman

In the ensuing months they scrambled for responses to a Christian president who spent little time in church and whose key faith backers include a sizable proportion of prosperity gospel preachers.

This year, Trump was named in the AAR/SBL program 27 times. A book of essays, “Faith and Resistance in the Age of Trump,” was among the hottest sellers at the religion publishers’ exhibition hall.

Although the AAR officially welcomes scholars of all faiths and political leanings, in practice few conservative religious scholars attend the annual gathering. If they were present over the four days of meetings, they were largely silent as Trump was denounced as a danger to the values of free inquiry, diversity, inclusion and respect.

Academia in particular is under threat, said Gushee, an academic who also leads a Baptist congregation in Georgia. Republicans following Trump’s agenda are putting the squeeze financially on higher education. He highlighted budget cuts at state universities and proposed federal tax reform legislation that would tax the scholarships that support millions of graduate students.

But his primary fear was for the shadow he sees cast by a president who trades in what Gushee called “white American Christian tribalism.”

Publishing and teaching are no longer enough to combat forces that distort religious teachings, omit the social justice message of religion and instead support a racist, sexist and Islamophobic vision of America, he said.

Gushee’s platform for 2018, announced this week, zeroes in on the “civic responsibilities, opportunities and risks facing scholars of religion.” And the AAR board has added a second dimension to the mission statement. The original goal “to foster excellence in the study of religion” now adds a commitment to “enhance the public understanding of religion.”

The outgoing AAR president, Princeton professor of religion Eddie S. Glaude Jr., in his final address pointedly called on scholars to be champions of liberal education – “to know the best of what has been thought and said” – and become activists for religious literacy on and off campus.

Immediate past president of the American Academy of Religion, Eddie S. Glaude Jr. RNS photo by Cathy Lynn Grossman

“These dark times call for a different kind of scholar. We must step into the fray,” Glaude said. He concluded, “If you choose to sit on the sideline, you have chosen a side.”

Hundreds of attendees did take a side Monday. They slipped away from the official sessions to join clergy at the historic Old South Church, where they donned sackcloth and ashes, religious symbols of mourning, and issued a “Boston Declaration” of opposition to the president’s agenda.

The Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite, former president of Chicago Theological Seminary, smeared ashes again on her face later that afternoon when she joined fellow authors of essays included in “Faith and Resistance” for a panel where she called for “embodied activism.”

However, Trump and his agenda was not the only topic fueling activist fires at the conference.

There was brouhaha over a scheduled Sunday panel on boycotting as a religious act. It was originally planned to feature both supporters and opponents of the controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which orchestrates economic, political and social pressure on Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

But when the two speakers opposed to BDS withdrew in advance, the AAR board, after hours of discussion, decided to “postpone” the formal panel and substitute for it an “open discussion,” held at a prime time and place, said Glaude.

The London-based nonprofit Islamic Human Rights Commission tweeted its response, referring to a law professor and Palestinian-American activist: “The American Academy of Religion leadership has cancelled a panel on #BDS, which Dr. Hatem Bazian was supposed to be part of. Censoring #Palestine and #BDS at the AAR is unacceptable.”

The cries of censorship from BDS backers quieted after four pro-Palestinian presentations Sunday afternoon at the “open discussion” and a talk Monday in the AAR’s main ballroom by Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American Muslim activist for social justice and Palestinian rights. Glaude invited her months ago to be one of the speakers who could speak on the theme of his presidency – the vulnerable in society.

Also present in the Boston meeting halls: a sign campaign urging tenured scholars to don badges of support for underpaid adjunct faculty’s push for better wages and benefits. Thistlethwaite, still wearing her ashes, held up her badge and charged the audience to show solidarity with the “serfs” of academia.

“If you want to change theological education, it’s not what you as teachers say, it’s what you do,” she said. “Don’t tell me you are going to resist Trump and not resist this system in your own institutions.”

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Cathy Lynn Grossman

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  • Now you know why I stay put when all of the other professors at my seminary go to SBL/AAR. The liberal academics speak about Trump’s bias. He’s a politician. I expect him to be biased. However, the intentional bias in AAR plays into leftist politics. This year’s meeting demonstrates this. I do not attend an academic guild in order to be socialized into liberal ideology. Sadly, the liberal agenda of the AAR is carried into the required religion courses of 1000s of US colleges and universities where it is imposed on vulnerable minds. Ironically, most of the religion courses were placed in the curriculum by conservative leaders of past generations so that students who attended their institutions of higher ed would be exposed to their faith tradition.

  • It’s comforting to read that our Religion scholars are stepping it up for higher education. I teach at a Public University, and the cuts are directly hurting our most vulnerable students and adjunct professors.

  • So even you, a scholar of religion, is afraid of being socialized into liberal ideology. You worry about all those helpless undergrads who will be socialized too. What is it about “liberal” thinking that is so threatening to you. It must be truly powerful. Could it even be true?

  • President Obama was for a woman’s right to choose and he supported equal civil and social rights for gay Americans, two issues the Church is against, and Obama was the first President in over 50 years to win the popular US by over 51% twice. He won in almost every demographic, twice.

  • In all of these statements from elite religious leaders, I did not see any references to Jesus Christ. Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite, the use of ashes on your face, sackcloth and ashes is an historically biblical sign of repentance of sins, not political protest. To each of the outspoken religious scholars, Trump is not your problem. Jesus Christ is your problem. Neither did I read of any calls for prayers in the name of Jesus. This is also a serious problem for clergy. Jesus Christ is whom clergy and religious scholars are supposed to be about. There is a serious priority issue here. The Jesus Christ of history would boldly enter the AAR/SBL meetings, by himself if necessary, and call each of you back to faith in him as personal Savior (John chapter 5).

  • The problem is that people on the far left and the far right have already made up their minds on all the issues that an objective person might re-think his or her position from time to time with new information.

  • The real Jesus Christ in history would return to the West Bank–Judea and Samaria– where he was born, took his father’s trade as a carpenter, and would live out the rest of his Jewish life. Of course he would be a big media star in today’s world, unless he pisssed off some Ultra Orthodox Jews or Islamists. Back in Jesus time he only had to worry about pisssing off Ultra Orthodox Jews and Romans. What has changed?

  • Trump IS a problem, and his followers are even WORSE. So many so-called “Christians” idolize and even worship that man. I saw a video on a major, national news network, just the other day, where an avid Trump supporter said if Jesus was to tell him that Trump was in collusion with Russia, he would have to ask Trump first if it was true! What kind of “Christian” would take a human’s word over Jesus Christ?!?!?! That is so sickening and blasphemous, it’s mind boggling. The Trump supporters next to him were not phased, only the non-Trump supporters. That says it loud and clear. These people are allowing themselves to be led by their golden calf. Their idol worship will be the downfall of the United States. People have traded their God for idols, which is the Republican Party and Trump. It’s absolutely abhorrent and infuriating!

  • It’s good to see serious Christian scholars recognize Trump as a hypocritical “fake” Christian, one who despises religious liberty and our constitutional heritage of church-state separation. Clowns like Falwell Jr and Pat Robertson should take heed.

  • His exact words were “If Jesus Christ gets down off the cross and told me Trump is with Russia, I would tell him, hold on a second, I need to check with the president if it’s true.” The Trump supporters were laughing and smiling, the non-Trump supporters were rolling their eyes in disgust saying “wow” and shaking their heads. These people are not real Christians. They are stupid beyond belief. They are a terrible judge of character, they support Trump and his followers because they know what they do in secret and are afraid to come clean about it. I know several family members who are avid Trump supporters, and they would rather keep all their nasty skeletons in the closet, instead of coming clean and being washed by the blood of Jesus and being born again. They think they are born again only because they recited the prayer, but they hardly ever go to church, and they still laugh and participate and enable that kind of nasty stuff. They also watch a lot of reality TV show, because it makes them feel better to yell at someone they hate. This is actually what they told me why they watch these shows. So they can sit back and yell at the TV, while they ignore their own lives and sins, of which they do not want to be exposed. When you point it out to them, they are infuriated. But true born again Christians will have been okay with someone pointing out their sins, because they know that it was wrong what they did and they will not be offended. They use religion as a way to hide their faults and point the fingers at others that seem “worse” than them, or sin differently. It is a major hypocrisy going on right now and it will all come crashing down soon.

  • Having even a little bit of an open mind scares the crap out of them, because they might have to look inward and see that they are wrong. They don’t like being wrong. It shakes their fragile egos, they also think if they change their mind on one thing, then everything else about the Bible must be wrong. Like people that believe Genesis is a literal translation of how the world began. Many of them are so black or white in their thinking, and they don’t know that there are other ways to think about things. If Genesis is not a literal translation, then they think the entire Bible is fake. That is ignorant and illogical thinking. However, they choose other passages that are not to be taken literally, because it suits them. For instance, it’s okay for women to be pastors in certain congregations, but not others, but they can all quote scripture to back up their opinions. But how about taking a step back and seeing the big picture and realizing that some people don’t agree and that’s okay, instead of pointing at others and using “our interpretation is correct because….” No one interprets the Bible with 100% accuracy anymore. It’s a matter of insecurity, fear, mixed with ignorance about other people and other subjects such as science, psychology and philosophy. Self centered, fragile egos need something to hold on to so they can protect themselves. Unfortunately, the more fragile they are, the worse they are at pointing the finger at others. They suffer from the “those people over there” syndrome.

  • Only the most conservative churches are anti-choice. Since 1973 we have had the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, representing mainstream Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Unitarians. Apart from that Peepsqueek is spot-on.

  • Headlines are the wrapper — you open the wrapper and there’s supposed to be fresh candy inside. This time, there wasn’t anything inside.

    If it had been an engineering conference, you’d have heard about new inventions, discoveries, new programs, stuff to wake you up. IOW, news.

    All you’re getting here, is that some liberal and skeptizoid religion scholars are getting politicized, saying “We don’t like Trump.” Well, DUH, baby. Where’s da news?

  • yes i know these subtle talking beasts of the fields, are opposed to whom ELOHEEM appointed as the current leader of this nation. since they, truly verily cannot discern what is bad or what is good from ELOHEEM as they call obama good and trump bad.

    when has this world not resisted, The Word of ELOHEEM and/or THEIR Son Adam again? can you trust anyone who has altered Adam’s Name to jesus in defiance, of ELOHEEM? laughing at G-D, with your mentally not being here in THEIR Story of The Physical Creation just again.

    in this world, that has always rejected being here in THEIR Only Story of The Physical Creation Resurrected again. those who, use and trust the G-Dless brains of others have not got a G-Dly brain.

  • this, is coming from you as a non-christian. why should i, ever believe you who is not anointed-like at all? i am, not commanded to believe any of the subtle talking beasts of the fields or any of their beguiled followers.

  • so what if you and they are all anti-christ and anti-ELOHEEM? that is not following the world of ELOHEEM. that is following the words of hasatan, baal hamolech, and hamavreek(lucifer). anyone, who calls the bad good, and the good as bad can never be trusted or holy.

    any body who follows the words of demonic men, can ever be called good. you! believe in the diverse devils not ELOHEEM or Their Son.

  • and your, obama and nature worship is so much better? you, can’t even imagine your beloved as jesus pejorative supporting trump rather than hillary. or that your, fake love for your jesus when he was opposed to obama? when you, do not even know His real G-D given name.

  • no! They, were removed from The Garden. They shall be, physically returned in another country. This Physical Story, happens The Way ELOHEEM said not the way you say. it is already written again and given to Moshe. The Story of the last three and a half days is found in Bereeeshees. The First three and a half days is always covered beginning with Noach to Shemos.

  • “Sadly, the liberal agenda of the AAR is carried into the required religion courses of 1000s of US colleges and universities where it is imposed on vulnerable minds.”

    Let’s be accurate.

    The church takes conservative dogma where it is imposed on vulnerable minds. But that doesn’t concern you.

  • yes the devils, just loves your mind opened to only them and closed to ELOHEEM and Their Son.

  • It is the height of Christian privilege to believe that a “religious” organization must be focused on Christianity. Did you know there are other religions besides your own?
    edited to add: I think she was going for mourning, not repentance, with the ashes.

  • Well its not like Christians are acquitting themselves in the department of demonstrating their moral strength and values.

  • As he was “of Nazareth,” he would probably return there, the Galilee, rather than Judea (Bethlehem), where he was born.

  • Trump is not a politician. He is someone play-acting as one. Calling something “leftist” is not a criticism of something. Merely a desire to avoid the sum and substance of a subject by using partisan tags to it.

    “Sadly, the liberal agenda of the AAR is carried into the required
    religion courses of 1000s of US colleges and universities where it is
    imposed on vulnerable minds.”

    Actually there are few to any schools which require any kind of religion
    courses outside of actual sectarian religious schools. The only ones
    who impose such things are the schools you would support.

    And yet when Evangelical colleges enact extreme restrictions on speakers, POVs of professors and demand a specific sectarian agenda be forwarded, you would defend it as the work of private schools and claim it is their right.

    It seems that indoctrination is only an issue if you get to do the indoctrinating.

  • Particularly since the events related in the story about the census/Bethlehem etc. which is used to try to justify the linkage to a verse about a temporal leader who would throw the occupiers out of Israel – didn’t happen.

  • Why you BRAINless disernMENTless W-RDTRykster – it beOBVious – them pesky DEMONS, DEVILS and DODGY DUDES – must have caught G-D asleep – 2WICE!

  • You are, (very unfortunately), 100 percent correct on this assessment. Secular universities seem to be very badly affected by the situation you describe.

    I don’t know about the seminary scene, but every semester, church-raised Christian kids go off to secular university and grab “easy general credit” religion courses to fulfill graduation requirements, which puts them in the cross-hairs of the liberal skeptizoid mess. You can see those challenges hitting their faith.

    And for the majority of those kids, their church never prepared them to understand and defend against the skeptizoid claims. Then some of those kids crack later on, and become the new carriers of liberalism & skepticism.

  • I believe he would have more status if he went back to Bethlehem, but we will have to leave that up to those who invented this fantasy in first place.

  • Can you be very specific? Please do not give me the same old BS that religious fanatics always throw out there.

  • Not seeing it there. A lot of accusations by believers on that front, but most of the complaints are pretty naff. The arguments tend to paint the picture of believers as barely restrained sociopaths. Not sure if that is by accident or design. 🙂

  • Tom, education does not exist to socialize people into a particular ideological mindset. When it does, it serves a political purpose. Why doesn’t it concern you when scholars use their influence to unduly influence the beliefs and practices of students? What if conservative teachers use their positions to socialize vulnerable students into their way of thinking?

  • Thank you for getting my point. The academic teaching of religion reduces it to categories that are alien to the practice of religion. Answer this question. How do academics define religion and what are the major ways that they approach the teaching of it?

  • Like Obama, Clinton and others, Trump is a partisan politician. All attempt to impose their desired outcomes on the American people. Educators should not use their platform to impose a particular ideology on students. That betrays their trust and their position. Yes, almost all the main colleges and universities have a required course in religion. The courses are a legacy from a past era in which denominational universities attempted to guide the institutional ethos and reach out to students by means of them. Religious study courses define religion in terms of social science categories and employ a wide range of approaches to study it (e.g., psychological, historical, phenomenological, sociological, comparative, and the like). The courses are guided by general values related to the liberal academy. If you want to get to the issue, ask how they define religion and compare it to how people who self-identify with a faith understand it. Regardless, the courses serve the end goal of relativising traditional Christianity and pushing for tolerance in accordance with the ideals of secularism.

  • “I do not attend an academic guild in order to be socialized into liberal ideology.” If I read you right, you are suggesting that attending a guild meeting would somehow socialize you, turn you into a liberal. I hardly think that’s likely. A free exchange of ideas is what the university is about. Nor do I think scholars turn students into anything; their influence is typically limited to one class. Thought especially good teachers force us to think for ourselves. Turning the university into a liberal or conservative ghetto can only harm students and weaken our nation.

  • Hello Jimmie. I’m Christian and very active in my church. I’m born again since 1998. I agree 100% with edddoerr. Christians that follow Jesus, and not a human leader, are the true Christians. How dare you? You need to pluck that log out of your eye.

  • You worship a false God, called politics. FYI: You are NOT God, and you have no right to judge who and who does not go to hell. Pull your head out of your rear end. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, but I can see right through your disguise.

  • How do you know who I voted for? I didn’t say anything about Obama. That just shows your ignorance! I don’t see anything about Jesus opposing Obama in the Bible. Dude, you are seriously ill. I will stop talking to you now, because I refuse to argue with fools. You’ll only post more stupidity anyway, so have at it, it’s not going to change the fact that God is in charge of both you and me, and you cannot condemn me. You have no power over me, whatsoever. Good bye.

  • Wow, you’re on some kind of acid trip, dude. I’m Christian and I use my brain. Drugs are bad, okay.

  • It is time that Americans realize they have been living in a bubble of White Christianity since our inception, and Christianity, for a couple centuries dominated all public institutions. Non-Christians in our society had to tolerate public Christian practices, which put them into categories that, at its worst, found Native American children removed from their homes and sent to institutions to be “Christianized”, or reflected on slave laws that systematically broke up Negro families and enforced laws that made it illegal to teach a slave to read. These people, as well as Muslims of today non-believers don’t care one bit about what you are all arguing..,theology that has little influence on a Christianity whose behavior has caused such suffering or others. You can talk and sing and praise Jesus all you want, but historically, Christians have run the show and didn’t really need to act like Christians in enforcing their Christianity through the political and social system.
    Christians who now long to see Jesus in our lives and the lives of others, need to decide which way to go politically in a time when the most vocal and influential “religious” leaders are silent in the the face of a revival of White Supremacy, in the face of sexual scandals, in the face of public policies that ignore or are intended to bypass the least able in our society, in the face of rampant greed for accumulation of wealth.
    Institutions of higher education who teach other religions, don’t need to have an agenda of attacking Christianity. The great Institution of American Christianity is collapsing under it’s own weight. At some point Jesus must take the place of politics in order to better solve our problems, and at a time when the religious political powers are so anti-Christ in their behaviors, we must take political stands that protect and benefit those who are suffering in this country. And theological discussions aren’t going to cut it.

  • Not one mention of Trump’s reversal of Obama’s pro-abortion policies at home, and Obama-Clinton’s radical pro-abortion places abroad. Sounds like religion is just partisan politics by another name to this crowd – which 25 years ago at least had sober-minded leadership like my colleague and chairman, Ray Hart.

  • ” Educators should not use their platform to impose a particular ideology on students. ”

    Again, I don’t believe that is an honest statement of your beliefs. I sincerely doubt you oppose Religious colleges doing just that and demanding students and staff conform to the school’s imposed sectarian ideologies.

    “Yes, almost all the main colleges and universities have a required course in religion.”

    No, they don’t. No public colleges or universities. Most private ones don’t either. They have electives on the subject, but virtually none make it a requirement. You are taking an oft told screed and pretending it is a fact.

    “Regardless, the courses serve the end goal of relativising traditional Christianity and pushing for tolerance in accordance with the ideals of secularism.”

    So you are claiming indoctrination because schools are not indoctrinating people in the beliefs of different religions. What you are describing is objective study of religion from the view of not imposing a given belief. To respect students have their own beliefs and want to study what others do.

    “and pushing for tolerance in accordance with the ideals of secularism”

    Because secularism is the basis of all religious freedom. People who decry secularism are saying they want their religion to impose on others. They are saying they have no regard for beliefs besides their own. You are saying you want indoctrination and oppose those who do not, all the while accusing others of it.

  • In fact, I never impose my beliefs when teaching. In fact, I will play devil’s advocate for the believes that I oppose. That builds critical thinking skills in my students. No one gets a free ride in any of my classes. So, you are wrong on that. Since i teach world religions, cultural studies, navigating the multiufatih context, and the like, I am in a position to talk about this topic. From what perspective you you speak?

  • Yes, you hate white people and Christianity. That’s not a virtue. What does it have to do with the content of this conversation?

  • Somehow I sincerely doubt the veracity of your post, given what you have said previously. Even here you are admitting to having the goal of indoctrination.

    People who decry secularism are looking very much to impose their religious beliefs on others using force of government.

  • Thank you, Pat Gustafson, for your reply. You are correct about born again Christians (John 3:3, 6; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18). That is the difference between walking in the flesh vs walking in the Spirit. I urge you to pray for them to walk in the Spirit, if indeed they belong to Jesus. Unless I am misunderstanding you, I still don’t see you answering my specific points: 1) I did not see any references to Jesus Christ. 2) Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite, the use of ashes on your face, sackcloth and ashes is an historically biblical sign of repentance of sins, not political protest. 3) Neither did I read of any calls for prayers in the name of Jesus. Please clarify. Have a good day.

  • Thank you, Arbustin, for your reply. As I understand it, both organizations are in the Christian tradition. I was addressing them from within those traditions. Sackcloth and ashes as mourning for repentance is described in 2 Samuel 3:31, Genesis 37:34, Esther 4:1, Jonah 3:5–7, Matthew 11:21, and Revelation 11:3. Arbustin, in the name of the historical Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I encourage each person to receive Jesus Christ into his life. Have a great day Arbustin.

  • LOL, peeksqueek, you are hilarious! May Jesus Christ come into your life and be strong in you. Have a great day!

  • Hi, again, peepsqueek! “fantasy”?? Not on your life! It’s history and geography. Bethlehem is a town in Judea. That’s geography. During the time of Herod the king. That’s history documented by Tax Collector Matthew Levi in Matthew 2:1.

  • Thanks- while both have Christian roots, they have always been critical scholarly organizations rather than traditionally religious ones. Today they are more pluralistic, one of the reasons the AAR changed its name.

  • Greetings, Givethedogabone! Of course, it happened. It is geography, history, and eyewitnesses’ documentations! Givethedogabone, I pray for you to receive Jesus Christ into your life. Have a great day!

  • Perhaps a specific atheist example will refresh your memory. Texas, yes?

    Hemant Mehta runs the Friendly Atheist page, one of the handful that was liked by (Devin Patrick) Kelley and has since been blamed by those accounts.

    “Reports say the Texas shooter ‘liked’ my Facebook page,” he posted on Twitter in the wake of the attack. “It should go without saying that his actions go against everything I stand for.”

    Now I fully agree with atheist Mehta, of course. No problem. BUT… as an atheist, you may want to slow down on broad-bushing Christians, hmm?

  • Oh, it’s “likely” all right. If there are no conservative scholars in a secular university’s religious studies department — been there experienced that — then it’s like a new crop of young people for farming & harvesting, every school year.

    Question: Where did the nationwide, possibly fatal Methodist Mess come from?
    Answer: It came from the Methodist seminaries and Methodist colleges. NOT from the secular universities.

    Churches have to fight back, fight for their own kids. Gotta dust off the Christian apologetics, the Biblical scholarship and Biblical authority, the all-nighter worship and prayer sessions, the heartfelt revivals and renewals.

  • We were taught the “insider/outsider” definition. “Insider” is whatever you learned in church, “Outsider” is the academic definition, and it would be the “outsider” definition that would appear on the midterm test (we were warned). Our “outsider” definition was a brief soundbite based on Yinger, Tillich, etc.

    On your other question, here’s an example: In our “Intro To Old Testament” classes, we were given Bernhard Anderson’s textbook. That textbook effectively STARTS OFF by attacking the rational coherence and credibility of Genesis, as a way to introduce and encourage the “critical” (translation: skeptizoid) approach.

    You’re supposed to get used to dropping the reliability, historical accuracy, and most of all the authority of Scriptural claims.

  • In case you have not been part of an academic guild in recent times, those who espouse what are considered conservative ideas are not well received. This does not apply only to religion and the social sciences. It also applies to the hard sciences like climate research. A prevailing ideology demands conformity or you will not receive grants, be invited to share papers, or be published in the peer reviewed journals that the guilds control. A free and open exchange does not exist, especially if you are a non-tenured professor who has to publish in peer reviewed journals. I sit on a promotion and welfare committee that considers advancement and tenure requests.

  • “as an atheist, you may want to slow down on broad-bushing Christians, hmm?”

    Nope.

    It was dispute over a parking space. Christians of a certain stripe pretend their very beliefs justify and excuse their bad behavior and bigotry.

    Maligning atheists are done as a matter of course for “traditional Christians” based on differences in beliefs. Maligning conservative Christians is done on the basis of their actions.

  • The content of the conversation should address the content of the article. The article seems to say that religious scholars and ministries need to become activists for social justice, and actually refers to White Christian Americans – refer to quote:

    “But his primary fear was for the shadow he sees cast by a president who trades in what Gushee called “white American Christian tribalism.”

    Publishing and teaching are no longer enough to combat forces that distort religious teachings, omit the social justice message of religion and instead support a racist, sexist and Islamophobic vision of America, he said.”

    I agree with that assessment, but go one step further.

    I have to recognize that organizations like Sojourners are trying to offer ways that many of us Christians can take part in a resistance with other people of faith. Evidently, the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature, which ended on Tuesday (Nov. 21), has been academic in it’s activities with interests of theology and intellect. However, the degree of alarm over the actions and attitudes of the Trump administration has enlightened some of the members to the fact that neither words nor silence is affecting any change in this scenery, and suggests that political action might be on the agenda.
    However, what I am trying to say is, in addition to becoming an activist of sorts, that the country’s problems lie in what Jim Wallis of Sojourners refers to as “America’s Original Sin.” America was built by White Christians, but until we acknowledge the fact that we had to enslave other humans to do it, we, as a nation, are trying to skip the “repentance” stage. We are like a person who beats their spouse for years, then quits, and thinks that they don’t need to address the damage done to the injured party. Not a relationship on which to build, and at some point the injured party sees the spouse’s prosperity and respect is not being shared because the beating only stopped when it became illegal, and resorts to retaliation in various ways. We as a citizenry have injured our fellow citizens and want to continue on our privileged path of power without looking back.
    While religious leaders are calling on others to leave the world of academia long enough to become vocally active in supporting issues of social justice, I am suggesting that action is not enough unless “repentance” takes place.

  • Most critical approaches reject that the sacred texts are divinely inspired and attempt to demythologize them in accordance with the worldview assumptions of the western scholar. Ironically, when global scholars who were not educated in the Western academy read the biblical text, they do not have the same cultural distance as the western scholar. Miracles, spirits, curses, healings, demons, blessings, and the like are a part of their normal life. Craig Keener has written a two volume commentary on miracles. It fully debunks this backbone of the western, critical approach. The western academy is a self-validating group of people who have all been socialized into the same worldview. They only listen to global voices that have been trained in the West, or who employ postcolonial or liberationist hermeneutics.

  • Considering that the abortion rate is the lowest it has ever been, and obtained during President Obama’s term of office, you can’t call him “proabortion”.

  • Have to, if honesty prevails. Most pro-abortion “rights” president in history, both at home and abroad. Your assertion lacks basic evidence of cause and effect and suffers from post hoc ergo propter hoc, but I realize logic is not popular these days.

    The figures don’t include the chemical abortions from morning-after-pill and clones – untold millions. Hope that bothers you, since we’re on a religion page. Peace.

  • The views of former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Ovadiah Yosef, were republished by the official Jewish Telegraphic Agency, see below: http://www.jta.org/2010/10/18/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/sephardi-leader-yosef-non-jews-exist-to-serve-jews
    ♦ “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel.”
    ♦ “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat,” he said to laughter during a weekly sermon.
    ♦ “With gentiles, it will be like any person: They need to die, but God will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant. That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1270038.stm
    “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable. The Lord shall return the Arabs’ deeds on their own heads, waste their seed and exterminate them, devastate them and vanish them from this world.” — (Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Ovadiah Yosef.) ♦ “waste their seed” is a reference to Palestinian children.
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-closes-down-for-rabbi-ovadia-yosefs-funeral/
    800,000 Israelies, or 16 percent of the Jewish population of that country—turned up to pay their respects at the funeral Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Ovadiah Yosef, making it the largest funeral in Israeli history. The man they chose to honour promoted wholesale genocide of the Palestinians.

  • It speaks volumes that the below statement by a prominent Jewish religious leader could be printed in Jewish Week, the largest Jewish publication in the United States, without the Jewish community loudly, and publicly condemning the statement, and it speaks volumes that the Jewish religious leader in question, felt comfortable and confident enough that making such a murderous statement, (it turns out he was right) would not result in a resounding condemnation from the Jewish community in America.

    If a Jew needs a liver, can you take the liver of an innocent non-Jew passing by to save him? The Torah would probably permit that. Jewish life has an infinite value,” he explained. “There is something infinitely more holy and unique about Jewish life than non-Jewish life.” – (Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh in Jewish Week, the largest Jewish publication in the United States.)

    Interpol hunts two Israelis, Moshe Harel and Zaki Shapira, for Kosovo organ trafficking. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/interpol-hunts-two-israelis-for-kosovo-organ-trafficking-1.324383

    — Is this a (((COHENcidence)))????

  • ‘Dirty Jews’ and the Christian Right. Brilliant actors like Larry David and Sarah Silverman are challenging America’s powerful religious, family-friendly culture and asserting their Jewishness by glorifying obscenity. http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/.premium-1.572391

    Triple-exthnics. Jewish Professor Nathan Abrams on Jews in the American porn industry.” http://www.jewishquarterly.org/issuearchive/articled325.html?articleid=38
    Extending the subversive thesis, Jewish involvement in the X-rated industry can be seen as a proverbial two fingers to the entire WASP establishment in America. Some porn stars viewed themselves as frontline fighters in the spiritual battle between Christian America and secular humanism. According to Ford, Jewish X-rated actors often brag about their ‘joy in being anarchic, sexual gadflies to the puritanical beast’. Jewish involvement in porn, by this argument, is the result of an atavistic hatred of Christian authority: they are trying to weaken the dominant culture in America by moral subversion. Astyr remembers having ‘to run or fight for it in grammar school because I was a Jew. It could very well be that part of my porn career is an “up yours” to these people’. Al Goldstein, the publisher of Screw, said (on lukeford.net), ‘The only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks. Catholicism sucks. We don’t believe in authoritarianism.’ Pornography thus becomes a way of defiling Christian culture and, as it penetrates to the very heart of the American mainstream (and is no doubt consumed by those very same WASPs), its subversive character becomes more charged.

  • Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:26-27 define homosexuality as a sin, an abomination, stating that those who participate in homosexual acts won’t inherit the kingdom of God.

    Godless leftists have no bounds in their fanatical drive to promote and normalize degeneracy, and sick criminality, the leftwing “Green” party in Germany even tried to legalize pedophilia! https://newrepublic.com/article/120379/german-green-party-pedophilia-scandal

    Leftist atheist homosexuals loathe Christianity, and insist on having gay and lesbian mardi gras where they prance around in public, virtually naked, wearing g-strings, “celebrating their sexuality.” Leftist atheists teach schoolchildren about LGBT lifestyles, drag culture, etc. i.e. the blatant, predatory, brainwashing of children. e.g. Here’s An Amazing Way To Explain Drag Culture To Kids. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/queer-kid-stuff-drag_us_594d8816e4b05c37bb768284

    How to know if your child is transgender: What experts say. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/wondering-if-your-child-is-transgender-here-are-some-tips/2017/08/07/1d655ef8-7b49-11e7-b2b1-aeba62854dfa_story.html?utm_term=.0848c85fd5b0

    P.S. “Gay community,” PLEASE EXPLAIN: http://thegrandadmiral.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/faggots-at-pride-parade.jpg

  • The “performance” took place at the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo and at the German Goethe Institute in Bahia. — This is what happens when society rejects, forgets, abandons Christianity, and transitions into a secular “tolerant, anything goes” society. https://twitter.com/HenryMakow/status/913838293762048000

    Contrast the sexually degenerate, anti-family secular society of “western Europe” with Christian society in Russia. Note: In 2013 Moscow passed the “anti-LGBT propaganda law” which punishes the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/30/russia-passes-anti-gay-law

    How Russia Became the Leader of the Global Christian Right. The World Congress of Family’s (WCF) listed Russia’s emergence as a “Pro-Family Leader” as one of the “10 best trends” of 2013. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/how-russia-became-a-leader-of-the-worldwide-christian-right-214755

  • Wayne – you have been misled.

    Please identify those you think provide(d) eye-witness accounts.

    As i understand it – please correct me if you have non-biblical evidence that shows I’m wrong –

    1 – Herod the Great was a Jewish King – a roman client king – who died in 3BCE

    2 – Herod’s kingdom was split between three sons – one of whom was also called Herod (Herod Archelaus).

    3 – Younger Herod lost control of his kingdom when rebels occupied the temple in 6CE thus causing the Romans to send troops to put down the insurgency.

    4 – The Romans appointed Publius Sulpicius Quirinius (imposing a form of direct rule) and exiled Herod.

    5 – Quirinius instituted a census to enable him to raise the taxation he had to send back to Rome.

    6 – The census followed the standard Roman practice – officials were sent from house to house to assess the wealth and taxable potential of each household. NOTE – The Romans were not daft enough to believe people’s own description of their wealth/poverty – nor to give them the opportunity to lie with impunity by interviewing them many miles from their home.

    7 – Herod’s two brothers were left in control of their (sufficiently peaceful) kingdoms.

    8 – Nazareth was not in the area which Quirinius took over and the census did not extend to the other kings’ territories.

    Therefore the story is incorrect – it never happened.

    Someone with an interest in encouraging their contemporaries to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah let their enthusiasm run away with them (that or they lied).

    The saddest part is perhaps that the verse (Micah 5:2) which is used to justify the fiction is said, again as I understand it, by Jewish scholars to refer unambiguously to a temporal leader – a king who will throw the occupiers out of Israel – not a spiritual leader.

    In other words the fiction was constructed to support a misunderstanding of an earlier, and unfulfilled, expectation.

    I you have proper academic sources which provide valid reasons to doubt what I’ve written – please provide them and I’ll examine them for myself.

  • You cannot budge people that have already made up their minds regardless of facts. He says that he prays for you to receive Jesus, even though we all know the concept of the biblical Jesus is based on fantasy and fiction. I personally think it is a great story, and one of my favorite films of all times is “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

  • Thanks – I don’t expect to budge Wayne.

    I do hope that others who are at risk of limiting their lives by following those who claim that the Bible is inerrant will be encouraged to take a reasonable critical view of it and make up their own minds.

  • That you Wayne, I know you mean well, but I am not a selfish person, and if Jesus could kindly go and help the millions of children that fall victim of abuse, disease, starvation, drought, misplacement, etc every year, every week, month, year, decade, every century, with no end in sight, I would appreciate it. I know the business of religion takes in billions of dollars month, it does not even make a dent in the problem, although clerics seem to live a good life.

    Let me give you one small example: A fortune in Christian money has come to Haiti, Christian volunteers, and a number of Churches have built, but the people really need heavy equipment and materials to build better roads, plow the fields, build better hospitals and schools. Why do they remain in the same poverty decade after decade after decade? Could not the money and volunteers be put to better use than just teaching biblical fantasy? Please give an academic response.

  • I here you, but it is difficult for many Jews, Christians, and Muslims that have been given the same repeated message thousands of times from the time of birth until adulthood. If we could just learn from example of treating each other with human decency and respect, it would go a lot further. When I was a kid, black and brown people had trouble to belong to white churches, and that was 2,000 years Christianity. Today, Christian Arabs cannot enter the Holy City of Mecca, nor can they gain citizenship in the land of their ancestors. And hypocritical activists say it would be better for peace in the West Bank- the biblical birth place of David, Solomon, and Jesus- were free of Jews. My point is that this is the 21st century, and people are still playing these religious games after thousand of years of bloodshed in the name of religion, Christians not excluded. The Christian world has more arms and weapons of mass destruction than anyone else.

  • Can’t disagree with you in any way.

    Of course, since it is unlikely that David or Solomon, if they existed, were more than the head man in a fairly small rural area – (one village and few farms maybe) and Jesus of Nazareth (again assuming he existed) was but one of a number of local itinerant preachers a bit of educated understanding might go a long way to lowering the temperature of the arguments between those who believe the fictional history of the area.

  • So you are showing me that you agree with a cretin and autocratic bigots. This is not news. Especially coming from a neo-nazi.

    I find it funny that you look to Russia as your moral guide. If you want, we can take up a collection for you to go there.

    Also thank you for demonstrating that The World Congress of Family is a hate group unworthy of being taken seriously. I will keep a note of that.

  • Yep, showing me how bigots use scripture to justify acting badly to others. You are not refuting my point. In fact, hearing what a neo-nazi like you opposes, only supports it.

  • Yes, you are an anti-semite of the neo-nazi variety. We know that.

    Of course you don’t actually read Haaretz or Jewish Quarterly. So I wonder which hate group site you cut and pasted from.

    BTW Screw Magazine is still a thing? I would have though the internet would have killed it by now.

  • You don’t read Jewish Week, so I wonder which neo-nazi hate site you cut and pasted from.

    “— Is this a (((COHENcidence)))????”

    SO what was your favorite Leni Riefenstahl movie?

  • Thank you for demonstrating that neo-nazi cretins are still very much a part of Christianity.

    Remember “White Genocide” is just code for Neo-Nazis are too inadequate to mate.

  • Like all Jewish supremacists, you hate Christians, no surprises there.

    Silly clown. There was no cutting and pasting from a “hate group site.” My comment even included the links to the Jewish Quarterly and the Haaretz. Here they are again.

    ‘Dirty Jews’ and the Christian Right. Brilliant actors like Larry David and Sarah Silverman are challenging America’s powerful religious, family-friendly culture and asserting their Jewishness by glorifying obscenity. http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/.premium-1.572391

    Triple-exthnics. Jewish Professor Nathan Abrams on Jews in the American porn industry.” http://www.jewishquarterly.org/issuearchive/articled325.html?articleid=38

  • Honesty is that being pro abortion rights means one is making efforts to lower abortion. It means one also is for easy access to contraception and family planning in general.

    I have yet to see an anti abortion rights person concerned with preventing the need for abortions or concerned with people in general.

  • You don’t read Jewish Telegraph Agency. You also didn’t read the article either. So you got it and the link from a neo Nazi site. .

    BTW what is your opinion of the Greg Berlanti DC Comics shows on CW?
    They have all the things you despise:
    Interracial couples
    Prominent LGBT characters
    Prominent Jewish characters
    Pro immigrant narratives
    Minorities as respected authority figures
    …and this week beating the snot out of Nazis.

  • http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/not-jewish-enough-to-marry-a-cohen-1.150715
    The article, “Not Jewish Enough to Marry a Cohen,” published by the Israeli Haaretz news website, discusses how a Jewish lady named Irina Plotnikov immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union (FSU) in 1992, but was ruled ineligible to marry a Cohen by a rabbinic court in Jerusalem because her father is not Jewish.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/russian-speakers-who-want-to-immigrate-could-need-dna-test/
    A number of people from the former Soviet Union wishing to immigrate to Israel could be subjected to DNA testing to prove their Jewishness, the Prime Minister’s Office said Sunday.

    The policy was reported in Maariv on Monday, one day after the Israeli paper revealed that a 19-year-old woman from the former Soviet Union was required to take the test to qualify for a Birthright Israel trip. https://www.timesofisrael.com/teen-told-she-cant-join-birthright-without-dna-test/

  • Not an accurate description of me or my views. You dont read Jewish quarterly or haaretz. Nor did you read the articles.

    You guys are not that clever. The links are real, but you didn’t come across the articles in a search. You rely on a hate site to direct you to them. You don’t have to lie to me.

    You are an Christian as they come. It’s so sad so many conservative Christians don’t admit you are one of them. I guess they are too embarrassed to keep you in their company.

    I am surprised you are responding. You are typically a cut and paste troll. You usually never bother to respond. It’s usually just post the same 6-8 garbage cut pastes and run. (You’re boring. Your material is so overused by fellow bigoted pinheads)

    So quick question. Do you watch Casablanca, do you root for Conrad Veit character?

  • LMAO! You didn’t read those articles either. I was going to discuss what was wrong with your snide insinuations here, but you won’t read it anyway. You are trolling. I am not going to pretend you are doing more than hit and run Gish galloping bull crap.

    So going back to the removed post, what do you have against porn?

    We all know you use it when not posting the same 6-8 masturbatory bigoted screed posts. Nothing else explains such online laziness.

  • White mothers of mixed race offspring often experience sadness, pain and confusion, as clearly described in the following article, entitled: “I love my mixed race baby – but why does she feel so alien?” by LOWRI TURNER http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-467787/I-love-mixed-race-baby–does-feel-alien.html#ixzz4yeT5davZ
    “She’s getting very dark, isn’t she?” This is what one of my friends recently said about my much adored – 12-week-old daughter. She didn’t mean to be rude. But it was a comment that struck me with the force of a jab to the stomach. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by a confusion of emotions. I felt protective, insulted, worried, ashamed, guilty, all at once. The reason? My lovely, wriggly, smiley baby is mixed race. I am white and I have two sons from my first marriage who are both milky complexioned and golden haired. However, three years ago I met the man who became my second husband and who is the father of my daughter. Although born in the UK, his parents came from India in the Sixties. This makes him British-Asian and our daughter mixed race. One reason for my fear is my own mixed reactions to my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I love her. She is the child I didn’t think I’d have after my first marriage broke up. She is the only granddaughter in our family and we all dote on her. But when I turn to the mirror in my bedroom to admire us together, I am shocked. She seems so alien. With her long, dark eyelashes and shiny, dark brown hair, she doesn’t look anything like me. I didn’t realise how much her looking different would matter and, on a rational level, I know it shouldn’t. But it does. Evolution demands that we have children to pass on our genes, hence the sense of pride and validation we get when we see our features reappearing in the next generation. With my daughter, I don’t have that.

  • You are boring.

    Cut and paste articles which aren’t even on topic. The hate site you crib from has a very interesting linking policy.

    “With my daughter, I don’t have that”

    You never have to worry about that.

    Nobody wants to mate with you. Hence you guys blubber about “White Genocide”.

  • Matthew 7:16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” — Here are the blessed fruits of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    The number of Russians who identify as atheists has fallen by 50 percent in just three years, according to a recent poll by the Levada research center. http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/07/27/report-atheism-in-russia-falls-by-50-percent-in-three-years/

    According to a recent major Pew Research Center study, today [2017] over 70 percent of Russians identify as Orthodox Christians, up from just over a third in 1991, and Orthodox-majority countries tend to believe women should hold traditional roles. In Russia, 36 percent of those polled said women should obey their husbands and have a social responsibility to bear children. [which aligns with Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18 and 1 Peter 3:1]. http://www.pewforum.org/2017/05/10/religious-belief-and-national-belonging-in-central-and-eastern-europe/

    http://www.monomakhos.com/eu-orthodoxy-is-the-enemy/
    “The new anti-west and anti-decadent line [of conduct] of Putin is based on the deep conservatism of Eastern Orthodox ideas,” Carl Bildt is convinced.

  • Mixed race children face unique genetic risks/medical problems.

    “Bone Marrow Transplants: When Race Is an Issue” http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1993074,00.html
    Devan would need a marrow transplant. The prospect of going through chemotherapy for a second time and needing a transplant is daunting to anyone, but it’s especially harrowing if — like Devan — you’re of mixed race. Multiracial patients often have an incredibly hard time finding life-saving marrow matches. When Devan, whose father is Caucasian and mother is part Indian, was first diagnosed with leukemia, his family did a search of the international marrow registry that contains over 14 million donors and came up empty. “We knew there was nothing out there for him,” Tatlow says.

    Devan’s White father, Tatlow, could easily have a avoided putting his child through such life threatening suffering by marrying a person of his own race, but he didn’t!

  • Booooring! Another cut and paste. So now you are against multi-racial couplings as well.

    “Devan’s White father, Tatlow, could easily have a avoided putting his child through such life threatening suffering by marrying a person of his own race, but he didn’t!”

    You never have to worry about such concerns because nobody wants to procreate with you. You have the cheapest form of contraception possible. Your personality.

    White Genocide = racists like you are too inept to mate.

    Just to see if you actually bother to read posts directed at you, I will post the following to see if you deny them:

    Strong119 is annoyed with the producers of the Wolfenstein video games for making killing Nazis so much fun!

    Strong119 is annoyed about multiracial couples because the girl he pleasures himself furiously at the thought of, is seeing person of color, and he is too inept to say hi to her

    Strong119 is prohibited from being within 500′ of schools, public parks and Chucky Cheese for reasons which remain sealed by the Courts.

  • I will gladly take up the collection plate so you can move there permanently.

    BTW I will never open a Breitbart link. It will soil my computer too much.

  • Please look farther, to the thousands of centers that provide alternatives to abortion, with care for mothers from the first sign of pregnancy through birth and child care _ they’re everywhere. What state do you live in?

  • You mean the centers which DELIBERATELY LIE TO WOMEN to cajole them out of considering such options.

    https://rewire.news/article/2015/03/10/epidemic-lying-crisis-pregnancy-centers-exposes-moral-rot-anti-choice-movement/

    https://www.bustle.com/articles/68907-crisis-pregnancy-centers-abortion-clinics-are-not-repeat-not-the-same-thing-so-dont

    Sorry, but if you had a legitimate POV, you would not have to depend on deceiving others. Honesty is not part of your view. Neither is respect for the lives of people. The anti-abortion POV depends on acting as if a fetus is a person, but its mother is not.

  • After all you never see successful mixed race people. Just ask

    Manu Bennet, Rashida Jones, Derek Jeter, Mariah Carey, Wentworth Miller, Tiger Woods, Bob Marley, Keanu Reeves, Dwayne Johnson, Chloe Bennet, Barack Obama, Racquel Welch, Anthony Quinn, Bruno Mars, Lynda Carter…the list is ENDLESS!

    🙂

  • Boy, I really need to get intellectual. I really should have preferred that baby-killing advocate HRC over Trump. Maybe one day I will be as smart as all those conference “scholars.”

    PS: I hope I never get that “intellectual.”

  • what! you, are willing to verify yourself as a devil? from a message direct from ELOHEEM given to me to give to you all.

    i do not believe you that you can’t understand it. i, do not believe you are that big of an imbecile. but it is because, you don’t want to even try.

    for obviously you, are not interested in any scripture except your own faulty scriptural opinions.

  • you can be a christian, soothsayer, false witness, and false prophet too. when your, fantasy thinking and fortune telling is so way off target too.

    according to your own christians scripture you have sinned against ELOHEEM an me with your false reporting.

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