249 thoughts on “Strange Celebrations”

  1. Sadly, it’s not so strange. It does not defy explanation.

    He belongs to a violent, vengeful, hyper-masculinist religion that believes in an eschatology of annihilation and destruction, and that cannot forgive without the need for bloodshed.

    It’s hardly strange that this religious should produce a culture in which military power is worshiped, where the death penalty still exists and incarceration rates are so high, and where poverty, sickness and misfortune are seen as the fault of the victim. A graceless, violent religion is at the root of these social evils.

    1. Yep. I agree. “There is enough hatred, bigotry and lust for violence in the pages of the Bible to satisfy anyone bent on justifying cruelty and violence.” (Chris Hedges in _American Fascists_.)

      The hateful, violent, nutty actions and teachings of the fundies doesn’t appear from nowhere. The god they worship acts the same way. Lock and load, brothers and sisters, it’s a Holy War and the Heavenly Tyrant is leading us to battle!! Onward!!

      1. Well, yeah, but. I am rather of the opinion that people choose religions, philosophies, and other associations that fit with their likes, dislikes, and world-view. There are plenty of violent people of any, all, or no religious persuasion. And there are many good and peaceful people – even fundies (cognitive dissonance dies hard). I think blaming any religion for sociopathy is putting the cart before the horse. Yes, there are some hard-core cults that truly brainwash people by completely isolating them, but for the most part, violent associations reinforce, rather than form, a person’s actions and beliefs. Especially in America.

        1. Good points, Dr., I see what you’re getting at. When humans are under discussion, strict cause-effect doesn’t seem to cover all of the bases. We are more complex than that. I agree that the bible is interpreted selectively, even among the most literal churches, and the selection of emphases depends in large part on presuppositions and biases. Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus, going on before. Some take this as mere metaphor. Many, sadly, do not.

          I think the point Hedges was making, and I was making (I cannot speak for LTW, but it seems to have been the same point), is that religious violence always finds the proof it needs in Theology Proper and Holy Writ. Does religion make a difference in the way people act? I believe history and the facts bear this out. Does the religion cause the actions, or merely justify the actions? I think the answer is, both. Some people search the bible for justification of a pre-existing lust for violence. Others might not ordinarily hurt even a fly–unless they thought God was leading them to do so. So, both-and, not either-or.

          Regardless, I will blame this kind of religion (the kind of religion, for example, that relishes the thought of the blood of unbelievers flowing up to the horses’ bridles in the Last Day) for the fruit it bears. It doesn’t seem to matter much whether the violent religion reinforces, or whether it forms, violent tendencies. The end result is the same.

  2. I was raised in the Southern Baptist church whose preachers also tend to be strongly anti alcohol, but I’ve never understood it.

    I don’t drink. I am a teetotaler, but only because I don’t like the taste of alcohol. I don’t have a problem with other people drinking (in moderation).

    The video reminds me of an old “shoot Bin Laden” game,
    Shoot Bin Laden game

    1. It’s a hangover from the days when a nationwide coalition formed to address the evils of alcoholism. When a wife’s financial and legal identity were submerged in her husband’s, a man could easily go straight from the payday line to the saloon to drink up all of the grocery money, and the wife and children had no recourse. One way to address this was to work for the equality of women; if a wife could put away the egg money in an account the husband couldn’t touch, to give only one example, she could keep the children fed even if the husband was intent on self-destruction. Keeping her down in the same legal status as a child or a committed mental patient made her prospects much worse. Hence feminism.

      Unfortunately, most of the ink and newsreels and radio time went to the other way: destroy all alcohol everywhere in America forever. Baptist churches put a lot into this effort, partly to improve the lot of women and men, but unfortunately also because they saw themselves as real Americans, wholesome, rural, etc., in opposition to urban saloon culture, which was a center of immigrant Catholic social life (not just drinking–any time men got together to make a decision about something, they went to the saloon to do it). A hundred years later, real true Christians still aren’t supposed to drink.

      There’s a Ken Burns documentary on this that traces the threads from the late 19th century through to Repeal. Fascinating stuff.

  3. What the–!? Did the hard lemonade look at him funny or something? Bizarre and wasteful.

    Of course, it could have been worse. Had he executed several bottles of doppelboch or vidal blanc, I would have howled in outrage.

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