Category Archives: religious news

‘Comedian’ crosses a sacred line

Joy Behar calls herself a “comedian.” She also purports to be a political pundit, using her post as co-host of the TV talk show “The View” to express her views on politics and public policy.

I’ve never considered her to be either funny or insightful.

She has, however, now established herself as a boor.

This week, Behar decided to do something I find wholly repugnant. She ridiculed another person’s religious faith. The other party happens to be Vice President Mike Pence, a self-described devout Christian.

Pence supposedly said he receives guidance daily from Jesus Christ. Behar decided to ridicule Pence, saying that anyone who hears Jesus’s voice is “mentally ill.”

Oh, my.

I’ve long held true to some tenets in my own political commentary. I do not like to poke fun at people’s appearance, their name or their religious faith. Those three areas are off limits. Period.

Behar crossed that line with her hideous ridiculing of the vice president. She does not seem to understand how people of faith are able to receive guidance from holy Scripture. For her to suggest that Vice President Pence, or anyone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, are “mentally ill” because they receive daily guidance from the Holy Bible.

If Behar wants to criticize Pence’s policy statements or his extensive record as an elected public official, that’s fine. She is entitled to do that. She’s also entitled to utter distasteful comments about the vice president’s faith. The same Constitution that grants Behar that right also enables folks such as yours truly to call such commentary what we believe it is.

As a conservative political commentator noted in a pithy comment about Behar, had she declared that “gay people” are “mentally ill,” ABC-TV would have “fired her on the spot” and hauled her off the set on live television.

Disgraceful.

No, Mr. POTUS, Islam doesn’t ‘hate’ us

I watched a two-year-old video of Donald John Trump in which he told an interviewer that Islam “hates Americans.”

That comment has bothered me from the moment I heard it the first time.

I’ve long wondered, given what the president said at the time, why this country is full of so many Muslims. Why do people who follow the Islamic faith choose to live in a country full of those they supposedly “hate”? And, oh yes, what about Islamic Americans? How do we categorize those fellow citizens?

To me the answer is obvious. Muslims don’t “hate” Americans just because we are, um, Americans.

Muslim perverts — those who commit terrorist acts in the name of Islam — certainly do hate Americans. They also hate other Muslims.

I remember the night President Barack Obama told the world that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden. The president made it clear — just as President George W. Bush had made clear — that bin Laden wasn’t a Muslim leader. “He was a mass murderer of Muslims,” President Obama said.

I keep circling back to that notion every time I hear Donald Trump harp on this falsehood, that the Islamic faith teaches its followers to hate others who adhere to other faiths.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria posed the question the other day to Jordanian King Abdullah about whether the president was right to say that Muslims “hate Americans.” The king said, quite simply and with eloquence, that the president needs to learn more about Islam before making any statements about what the faith teaches.

Indeed, the president needs to learn more about, oh, just about everything before he opens his mouth.

Christians face troubling dilemma with POTUS

Leave it to the granddaughter of one of America’s great spiritual leaders to finally — finally! — put some perspective on one of the nation’s strangest political alliances.

Jerushah Armfield, whose grandfather is none other than the Rev. Billy Graham, said this on CNN: “In order to forgive somebody, that individual needs to repent and apologize. And I don’t think America has seen that from our President in any scenario.”

Why “forgive” in this case? Because the president of the United States uttered some despicable language when referring certain nations of the world. He called nations in Africa and Haiti “sh**hole countries,” a comment that has drawn international scorn.

Armfield, though, isn’t so alarmed that Donald Trump used that language, but is perplexed at how he dehumanized millions of people. And yet so many evangelical Christian leaders are willing to give the president a pass on that conduct. Why? Because they support his policies.

Armfield went on: “I understand a lot of evangelicals supporting him because of his policies,” she said. “I’d love to see a Christian leader come out and say that they support Trump for his policies, but that his behavior disgusts them, and he needs to clean up his act.”

His behavior hasn’t “disgusted” leaders, such as Armfield’s uncle, the Rev. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son and one of Trump’s key evangelical supporters.

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, has said Trump deserves a “mulligan,” that his comments — and his admitted deeds — aren’t enough to repulse people of faith.

Armfield said more: “My president doesn’t have to be a Christian … I just don’t want him to be held up as the poster boy for Christian evangelicals because he doesn’t represent most of us.”

Yet, the president continues to bask in the support thrown his way by leaders of a movement who — I am utterly certain — wouldn’t tolerate a fraction of the hideous behavior from a politician whose policies they oppose.

Weird.

How do you punish these religious perverts?

I have been using the term — or some variation of it — “religious perverts” to describe the Islamic State and other terrorists who commit dastardly acts in the name of a great world religion.

That term now applies to a California husband and wife who’ve been arrested and charged with crimes that simply overwhelm our sense of decency.

David and Louise Turpin are locked up in the Riverside County jail on multiple counts of child endangerment/abuse and related crimes.

Police raided their home and found 13 children chained to their beds. They had been starved to within inches of their lives. The youngest of the Turpins’ children is 2 years of age. The oldest of them has reached adulthood.

Bail has been set at $9 million for each of them. If I were King of the World, I’d make the bail a hundred times greater.

Why did they do this? Family members allege the couple follows some sort of religious tenet. What in the name of the Holy Father can motivate anyone to do such a thing?

If it is a form of religious fervor that drove the Turpins to do this, then all I am left to say is … please, God, shower your mercy on those poor children.

The so-called mother and father of these children need never to be free ever again.

One neighbor told the media he had “no idea this was going on.” It’s easy, I suppose, to condemn neighbors for failing to act. The house reportedly smelled to high heaven.

However, maybe we can ask ourselves: Does anyone with a semblance of decency ever envision adults shackling their children to their beds and damn near starving them to death?

Take a good look at the faces of the Turpins attached to this blog post. You are staring straight into the faces of evil.

Left hand, meet the right hand

I consider High Plains Blogger to be a forum for commenting on politics, policy and life experience. I use it to comment on those matters with with great glee.

For a moment, though, I want to veer far from any of those topics. Well, maybe “life experience” might qualify.

I learned something today in Sunday school that had me scratching my noggin about our secular world and how we human beings morph the Holy Word occasionally into something quite different.

We are studying Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Then we ran into this passage from the Gospel of Matthew 6:3. According to Scripture, Jesus Christ instructs us, “But when you give to someone in need, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

Given that I am far from a biblical scholar, I wasn’t aware of those words of wisdom — until I saw them today.

Why scratch my head? Because in our contemporary society, we now use the reference to our “left hand not knowing what the our right is doing” as a pejorative. We scold individuals or those who run institutions by saying that “the left hand doesn’t know … ” You get the point, right? Of course you do!

However, according to New Testament Scripture, Jesus Christ himself tells us to avoid letting each of our hands know what the other is doing. How in the name of all that is holy did this bit of divine instruction become a metaphor for criticism?

I might never use that saying ever again when I witness confusion unfolding before my eyes. I’ll have to get creative.

There. Now, back to more worldly matters.

Guns in church: strange scenario

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says it’s OK for licensed gun owners can carry their weapons into church.

Is it me or does that seem like the strangest of juxtapositions: guns and houses of worship?

Paxton issued his ruling in the wake of the Sutherland Springs church massacre that left 26 people dead in the worst mass murder in modern Texas history.

I don’t know about you but I am uncomfortable with the idea of guns anywhere near a church sanctuary.

Churches have option to say ‘no’

Paxton says churches, of course, have the option of banning guns on their property. I am going to check with the church my wife, son and I attend to see if it allows firearms into its sanctuary. I am going to pray to Almighty God in heaven that it does not.

Texas legislators loosened prohibitions on concealed-carry laws by allowing guns in churches. I am not as opposed to concealed carry legislation as I used to be. I feared shootouts would occur as road rage erupted into gun violence. Silly me. That hasn’t happened.

I just have this aversion to guns in holy places where people worship in the name of the Prince of Peace.

I’ve touched on this before. Here is an earlier post:

God wouldn’t allow guns in church

No ‘real Christian’ would do this

You likely cannot see the writing on the side of the building shown here.

It says “Happy birthday, Jesus Christ.” Then it adds, “From a real Christian.” The building happens to be a mosque in Clovis, N.M., the only such house of worship in the city.

What does one say about such a disgusting act?

I’ll start with this … whoever did this is no “real Christian.” He or she is a religious pervert. He or she is as faithful to Christianity as the perverts who commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam.

Scripture teaches us many lessons about how Christians should act. Vandalizing property that belongs to those who follow another religious faith is nowhere to be found in either the Old or New Testaments.

Indeed, what I think we have here in Clovis is an act of terrorism. The dictionary defines the term as an act that seeks to make some sort of political point.

When police capture whoever is responsible for this hideous act, perhaps they can consider asking Curry County prosecutors to charge them with committing a terrorist act.

Real Christian? Whoever did this is nothing of the sort.

Is Rev. Graham for real? Has he lost his mind?

Warning: The element I have posted with this item contains highly offensive language. It comes from the mouth of the man who would become president of the United States of America.

I apologize for displaying it here, but it is critical to a point I want to make.

The second tweet comes from that 2005 recording of Donald Trump yukking it up with “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush.

The first one comes from the Rev. Franklin Graham, who salutes the president for standing up for “the Christian faith.”

This cuts straight at a point I keep seeking to understand: How in the name of God’s holy word do evangelists such as Rev. Graham stand by this individual?

Sickening.

Oh, yeah, and Mary was a virgin, too

The Amarillo Globe-News published a brief editorial today that takes to task an Alabama Republican politician who sought to defend embattled fellow Republican Roy Moore against accusations that he made improper sexual advances on a 14-year-old girl.

Here’s what the G-N published:

The recent statement by Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler in reference to the scandal surrounding GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore is wrong on many counts.

However, we will stick to one — it is historically wrong, at least according to the Bible.

Zeigler invoked the relationship between Mary and Joseph as some sort of reason not to criticize Moore, who has been accused of sexual assault against a 14-year-old girl decades ago when Moore was in his 30s.

In the Bible, specific ages are not provided for Mary and Joseph, although it can be assumed Mary was a teenager at the time she gave birth to Jesus.

According to Jewish customs at that time, men were also typically young when they were “betrothed.” Therefore, it is quite likely Joseph was not much older than Mary.

The editorial, I need to mention, omits a critical element about Mary and Joseph. It is that Scripture tells us that Mary was a virgin. She and Joseph didn’t produce the child she was carrying, according to the New Testament.

And that, in my mind, makes the Alabama auditor’s “defense” of Roy Moore even more ridiculous.

They’re going to church this Sunday

Tragedy quite often can beget courage.

Such is the case in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a tiny community near San Antonio that is reeling from the monstrous act of evil that killed 26 people and injured 20 others. Some of the victims were children; one was an infant; yet another was an unborn child.

First Baptist Church was rocked to its core. The community is in utter grief.

The gunman walked into the church and methodically murdered about 7 percent of Sutherland Springs’ population.

But here’s the courageous element: They’re going to have church on Sunday. The First Baptist Church family will gather in another location; its sanctuary is uninhabitable and well might have to be destroyed and rebuilt.

This is one measure of how courage in the face of unspeakable tragedy and evil presents itself.

May the congregants feel the love of an entire nation as they gather to worship.