Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gimme That Old Time Religion


Today we have three threads intertwined in one story. The first involves a "Christian" bigot who's argument appalls my Christian friends, one of whom sent this article to me with a note attached that merely said ???...!!!!...#$%!

The second story involves an interfaith sunset ritual, and the third, a song and the lovely man who sings it.

We will start out with our bigot. He wrote a long article recently, which is getting a lot of attention. It starts out well. In fact, in sounds rather like an invocation. (I wonder if he knows what he's done here? One should never invite these energies into the home with disrespect).

Here is where we begin:

Their names are Legion, for they are many; the Romans knew them as Juno, or Diana, or Ops. Freyr, Gerd, Idun, and Jord ruled the Norse, Dziewona and Mokosh were their names to the Slavs. The Hawaiians had Papa, the Aztecs Coatlicue, the Egyptians had Geb and Nut. The Celts had many: Cerunno, Cyhiraet, Druantia, Maeva. The ancient Canaanites had their Baal, who would cause so much trouble for the Israelites.

They are all gods and goddesses of the earth, of nature, the old rulers of the ancient world. Far older than Christianity, older even than Hinduism, worship of nature gods is a cultural element shared by every race and tribe of Man since before recorded history. They are the gods of the worldly, the gods of the Fall. (Emphasis mine)

Their demands have differed, their gifts have traditionally been good fortune, magic and fertility. Often earth gods have doubled as fertility gods, and sex has often been an integral part of Gaia worship. Their rule over the world of Man lasted a long, long time, stretching back into the mists of prehistory.

He comes to his real point here:

"Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live. Any woman using unnatural powers or secret arts is to be put to death."
(Exodus 22:18)

It gets stranger. You have to read it to believe it. (Some of my favorite bits are cited in the endnotes below). The article is a heated romp through His-story (and what a long, strange trip it is). He gets a lot of it wrong, of course, but he does it with real authority, and he doesn't let little things like facts stand in the way of his world view. (Stephen Colbert could have a lot of fun skewering this guy on The Word). It's amusing on some levels. Still, one can't help reading this guy without thinking that he'd put an awful lot of us (progressive Christians, Pagans, non-Christians, feminists, lesbians and gays) in camps. For those who lack the time (or the stomach) to read it all, a light hearted summation along with quotes from some of the odder passages, is below:

Folks, don't just get mad about Sillies like this - Get out there and vote.

We will turn to the second part of our story. It serves as both inspiration and antidote:

The August Soulful Sundown Service, held Sunday evening at First Church Unitarian of Littleton presented hymns, chants, songs and teachings from many faiths and belief systems, all with the Golden Rule as their common thread.

The participants included Claudia A. Fox Tree, an Arawak Native American, who performed a call and response drum song, Cerridwen of First Church Unitarian, who taught the congregation a pagan song ritual, the monks of Temple Wat Buddhabhavana of Westford, who chanted a blessing entitled “Radiation of Loving Kindness” and Nancy Laws, cantor of Saint Anne’s Roman Catholic Church of Littleton, who chanted the prayer, “Our Father” in Latin, the “Pater Noster.”


Now the third thread appears:

As for me, I'm going to have a nice long walk in the woo-ids. I will take my Ipod along with me and listen to our third thread in this story, a dear old song by Mr. Pete Seeger, activist, musician, songwriter and humanist:


Give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
It's good enough for me.

We will pray with Aphrodite,
We will pray with Aphrodite,
She wears that see-through nightie,
And it's good enough for me.

We will pray with Zarathustra,
We'll pray just like we use ta,
I'm a Zarathustra booster,
And it's good enough for me.

We will pray with those Egyptians,
Build pyramids to put our crypts in,
Cover subways with inscriptions,
And it's good enough for me.

We will pray with those old druids,
They drink fermented fluids,
Waltzing naked though the woo-ids,
And it's good enough for me.

I'll arise at early morning,
When my Lady gives me warning,
That the solar age is dawning,
And it's good enough for me.

Give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
It's good enough for me.

We love you, Pete

Regards to all here,

Sia

Endnotes:

Summation:

* Pagans Bad (they have too much sex)

* Uppity Women Bad (Implied throughout, and pretty much on general principle. It's because we're tricksy and won't say in our place.)

* Moderism Bad (what with that pesky Enlig
htenment and the emphasis on humanism, as well as civil and women's rights that followed in it's wake). He also blames Wicca, nature lovers (read environmentalists), Primitivism, Wicca, all that unnecessary sex, and Wicca for the ills of the world

* Fundamentalism (AKA Authoritarianism) is Good because a White, Male, Patriarchal, God is in charge. If you want more information on this view of the divine, I recommend reading Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by the Rev. Jonathen Edwards, written in 1741.

* Hitler, Stalin and all the terrors of the Modern Era are the fault of Pagans, liberals and feminists. (You may remember that Jerry Falwell blamed us for 9/11 - apparently he did not go far enough. )


* The Green Movement is Bad and Anti-Christian (They obviously want to have sex with all those Wiccans)

* Global Warming doesn't exist and Al Gore is probably a Wiccan. (I must say, my Wiccan friends would do the Happy Dance at the very idea).

* Any Environmental Disaster (don't call it Global Warming!) is God's punishment for sin. (By sin we mean....never mind, you get it)


* Green Evangelicals are really Wiccans in disguise. (They are probably out there having sex at interfaith conferences and hugging trees when they should be engaging in conservative politics and and giving their money to mega-churches)

That about sums it up.
Go here to read the rest of it. Take some chocolate and some aspirin in there with you - you're going to need it.

Excerpts:

Environmentalist Christians are in a state of error in that they have placed their trust in the powers of Man rather than the absolute control of God. They rightly believe that we should not despoil nature, but this comes out of an arrogant belief in the divine powers of Man, while ignoring the fact that God is in control of things. The salvation of souls is the purpose of life, not the preservation of the lesser parts of creation, (emphasis mine) and environmentalist Christians have confused the issue, believing they are doing the Will of God when they are ultimately feeding their own egos.

He says this about the Enlightenment:

What the anti-Christian Enlightenment thinkers did was sever human moral restraints from human passions, opening the door to the Beast of the primitive mind -- the fruits of Original Sin. Primitivism led to butchery in France, in Russia, in Germany. It caused the slaughter of millions by Hitler (who, along with Rudolf Hess and other Nazis was a member of the occultic Thule Society), by Stalin, by Pol Pot. This butchery was the blood sacrifice demanded by the nature gods that Western secularism had called forth.

There is so much wrong with the paragraph above, that I can't address it in this small a space. No doubt you've noticed that total lack of logic and reasoning. (See? That Enlightment thinking can come in handy sometimes). Clearly, this author is hoping that we won't remember the atrocities wrought by so called Christians (upon each other and everyone else) that occurred during those long centuries when the Church (both Greek and Roman) had their stranglehold on the western culture. When will we realize that violence and war and the drive for power at any cost are human things and have nothing to do with anyone's faith or lack thereof?

As for those of
his own evangelical tradition who would attempt to save the planet, he says this:

.....This Green Evangelical attempt at "relevancy," this tossing of the ecumenical religious salad with a heavy dollop of green goddess dressing is more in line with the old-line liberal churches that long ago shook hands with the devil of Modernism. This is a turning away from the very principles on which Evangelicalism was founded. This is serving the creature over the Creator.

The Books of Daniel and Revelations both make it quite plain that environmental disasters come from the Almighty as punishment for Sin, and Christians are to have faith that God is in control.





3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am tired of the patriarchs. Really, I am.

Hecate

Thomas said...

The bloviating of bigots like this is hardly a new thing.

While a community should not let itself be slandered, this guy is so far out in right field that he cannot possibly be taken seriously.

We only do him favors by bothering to address him and devote energy and effort to his writings.

SheWho said...

The point of the article was not to create outrage or fear and that is obvious to anyone who reads this piece carefully. It's intended purpose was to use this looney's arguments in contrast to the inspiration and antidote that is the interfaith service, Peter Seeger's work and Colbert's humor.

Writer's use humor to make their case for a more humanistic and open minded world view, as I have done here. They also use it to punch a hole in gas bags like that guy.

I doubt he felt glorified, since I did not use his name or even note the name of the website.

I noticed that the Witches' Voice thought it important enough to post a link to his ravings on the same day I wrote this piece. I imagine that they think as I do, that arguments like his are what put the Jews in camps, and that such arguments pop up in every generation. Silence is not an option in such cases. But as I said, outrage was not the point (thus the humor, yes?). It's awareness and action we require - we need to get out there and vote.