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A Lutheran response to birthers

I received a comment at Birther Report from a “Guest” who said:

Guest: as a Lutheran, you are bearing false witness. You are complicit in Obama’s forgery as you are guilty of original sin. Since you claim you’re religion, then the same condemns you, as your ELCA also allows homosexuality. What does GOD say about homosexuality? What does GOD say about bearing false witness. Laugh now Dr Con, you’ll be with the goats soon, and whenever you look into the mirror you’ll know that your words have convicted you for eternity.

I replied at length, and not wanting to waste the effort just on a comment at Birther Report that will be lost among other old comments soon enough, I’ll repeat it here. The material is not very different from my Open Letter to Nathan Bickel, linked later on.


Dr. Conspiracy: On the contrary. It is partly because of my religion that I spend so much time telling the truth here and on my blog. My personal take on birtherism is informed in particular by my Lutheran background. This is from Martin Luther’s Small Catechism’s teaching on the Ten Commandments:

The Eighth Commandment

You must not tell lies about your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16 )
What does this mean? We must fear and love God, so that we will not deceive by lying, betraying, slandering or ruining our neighbor’s reputation, but will defend him, say good things about him, and see the best side of everything he does.

I think any objective observer would say that [Birther Report] exists, both in content and comments, to say bad things about and to present in the worst possible light everything that Barack Obama does and by extension to me, the “Obots” and progressives in general. There is a difference between fair criticism and slander. I strive for the former and this site presents the latter.

As scripture says:

So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander.
(RSV) 1 Peter 2:1

I do not hold myself up as without sin. I lose my temper and I say harsh things. But I also take considerable care not to stretch the truth when I criticize, and I try not to make sweeping generalizations in my articles. I try not to call people a liar when there is some other possible explanation. Obviously when you visit my site you cannot read all of the things I chose not to say, but there is a lot of it. I have refrained from calling all birthers racists. I have tried to couch birther actions in terms of the normal error of thinking common to everybody, except perhaps more exaggerated in their case. I don’t call birthers barking mad as often as I think it.

I care about moderation and fairness, and I work at it. I don’t always succeed, but I am trying. When I fail, I feel bad about it. I have a conscience.

God, according to Moses in the Bible, says the same thing about homosexuality as about eating shrimp. “Abomination” is the word. St. Paul says the same thing about homosexuality as about a man with long hair. “Degrading” is the word. That is a longer topic than I can cover here. The Lutheran Church, not without considerable controversy, no longer requires our clergy who are gay to be celibate. Our understanding of homosexuality has advanced, as has our understanding of shellfish. hair styles, slavery, the value of Pi and other things in the Bible. And despite the irresponsible remarks made [at Birther Report], I am neither a Communist, nor gay.

But don’t try to tag me with “false witness.” It doesn’t fit.

For more on this, see my Open Letter to Nathan Bickel, a Lutheran Pastor (not ELCA).

Somebody could go over my 3,600 articles and pick out the worst and most extreme examples out of everything I’ve said, pile it up ignoring every moderate thing I’ve ever said, and call me a hypocrite. This is exactly what the 8th Commandment prohibits, putting someone in the worst possible light.

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Homoerotic fetishism at Birther Report

“this thread needs more gay pictures”

When I saw the preceding comment this morning at Birther Report, I took it as coming from a troll, and while that may be true, Birther Report comments in general are known for their fascination with homoerotic imagery and excretory function. Not being gay myself, nor particularly interested in the details of gay sexual expression, a lot of what they talk about, directed at me, goes over my head.

I did, of course, understand the term, “Dr. Colostomy,” but I was completely mystified at why they kept mentioning gerbils in comments directed to me, at least until this morning when I looked it up.

image

I’m also called “Dr. Crunt” a lot, and one of the definitions of that word is a male genital reference. These guys live in a totally different world with a totally different vocabulary and knowledge base than mine, and frankly I am disgusted by their language.

What triggered this article, however, was what followed in the thread from the comment highlighted above, and that was a series of photos of me, or photos in which my face had been added, the most ambitious of which was this one from “Barry Soetoro, ESQ”:

The image from which this was altered, is one of Michelle Obama, and appeared widely on right-wing web sites as “proof” that she is really a transsexual man (named Michael). That image originated from Michelle Obama’s appearance as a speaker at the 2008 Democratic convention [video of the speech]. However, looking at the entire video, the alleged “object” bulging between the legs does not appear to be actually there and the video frame (if that’s what it is) itself may have been “enhanced.” I have never been able to find an original media source for that image of Michelle Obama.

Read more:

“Stoning homos” is not still the law

 

Our much discussed Pastor James David Manning put the sign above in front of his Harlem church. As one Christian to another, I reprove Pastor Manning for his error.

The history of the early church is told in the in the Bible’s Book of “The Acts of the Apostles,” believed to have been authored by St. Luke as a “part 2” of the “Gospel of Luke.” The book talks about the introduction of non-Jewish members into the Christian community and deals with the question of whether one had to be Jewish and follow the laws in the Hebrew scriptures in order to be a Christian. The debate is recounted in the 15th Chapter of Acts. Here is part of the conclusion:

For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell."
(ESV) Act 15:28-29

Now while sexual immorality (whatever that means) is prohibited, the rest of the burden of the Law of Moses, including any requirements for stoning anyone, were no longer binding on non-Jewish Christians.

It is rather ironic that Manning cites John’s Gospel, Chapter 81, on his sign because in that text Jesus intervenes to stop a stoning:

Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such [adulterous] women. So what do you say?" …  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."
(ESV) Jn 8:5-11

The self-righteous folks even tried to stone Jesus:

The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?"
(ESV) Jn 10:31-32

In this season of Lent, let us strive to forgive the wayward ones like Pastor Manning.


1The oldest manuscripts of John’s Gospel do not contain this particular text. It is believed that it was part of a separate tradition, later added.