This is a very troubling article because it deals with what is probably the most unpopular subject in polite society, the negotiability of morality in almost all religions, the two most guilty offenders, of course, being orthodox Christianity and radical Islam. Not counting religious wars, these two "faiths" have managed to purposely execute approximately two million people each over the past two millennia, merely because those people did not believe the same superstitious drivel that their executioners believed. If we include religious wars, the number of innocents executed may be well over one hundred million by these two misguided offenders alone. Orthodox, radical Christianity and radical Islam, in fact, have killed thousands of their own Christian and Muslim "heretical" brethren in defense of their meaningless doctrines and rituals.
To justify their part in religious genocide, orthodox, actually a synonym for "pseudo," Christians greatly inflated the number of early Christians martyred by the Romans in order to divert attention from the many thousands of martyrs created by so many of their own misguided, sadistic Church "founding fathers." Somehow, as an excuse, they turned a religious Jewish Rabbi's plea for peace on earth and good will to all men into a religion too often misrepresented by hate and intolerance. Meanwhile, it is far too easy to blame the turn-away from Jesus on Paul's rejection of his Rabbi's faith. Many of the rituals and pagan concepts that Paul initiated after his "conversion" were not only appealing to new converts, but believers also found security in his demands for morality and the ethical standards he so carefully laid out. It was simply too easy for so many of his more errant followers, full of hate and frustration, to remodel Paul's teaching into the same barbaric, amoral behavior from which he was trying to rescue them. Perhaps, if those of the "Born Again Last Night" persuasion would actually read their own scripture, they might find that both Jesus and the Pharisees felt that not only was the "Sabbath" created for the good of "man," but so too was their religion! The real Jesus's message in the "New" Testament is that your God needs you and your hypocritical "adoration" like a "hole in the head." It's you, his ignorant creations, that need Him!
As the Talmudist says, only a blockhead would take all the stories in the Bible literally; they are parables, designed to teach lessons and morals, which is exactly what Jesus uses them for. St. Thomas Aquinas was temporarily excommunicated for saying the same thing, in fact, and more than a thousand years later, Pope Francis was snubbed by a bunch of superstitious twits when he was a cardinal for saying the same thing. Thus the moral of the story of Abraham and Isaac is to listen to your conscience, even if you think it is God telling you to do something else that is unethical! It is the message that the intellectually deficient George W. Bush did not understand when he listened to the poor imaginary advice of his "higher father" instead of his actual father, Herbert Walker Bush, who told him not to attack Iraq. It is the message that true Christians ought to be hearing in their churches and political gatherings!
The problem is the failure of religion in America, and that failure is the direct responsibility of the radical Christian Right who have negotiated away their morality in exchange for thirty pieces of silver and a few worthless promises by man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone else in his entire life. I have spoken before about the Freedom Caucus, a group of anti semites waiting with bated breath for Israel to illegally appropriate the entire Palestinian border so as to hasten the second coming of Jesus so he can wipe out the Jews, the Muslims and every single person who does not believe the same religious swill that they believe. The problem for these sociopathic idiots is that from what I've read, Jesus isn't into hate and murder and I don't think God would have invented "God knows how many" religions if only one was the "correct one."
What other worthless religion would condone purposely cutting off legal ports of entry into the U.S., restricting asylum seekers to only a few a day, forcing them to enter illegally, and punish them by taking their children away from them, some permanently? And, what other religion would b*tch incessantly about immigrants, who for the most part, work their tails off, go to church and assimilate quite nicely into American society? What other religion would protect a misogynous hate monger who ridicules the handicapped, war heroes, gold-star families and minorities? The answer: Any religion with too much power! What is happening now is the greatest fear of our founding fathers, a state religion usurping the power of the people and the Constitution. It is the reason that we cannot afford to have another religious fanatic on the Supreme Court. Antonin Scalia, despite some of his more brilliant decisions, readily admitted that he made many of those decisions based on his religion and the Bible. Like most "practicing" Catholics, he hardly ever read the Bible and could hardly distinguish it from the Wall Street Journal. Let's face it; he was a Supreme Court Justice who would never take someone else's word on law, but he would on the Bible and then justify laws based on on what someone told him about the Bible! We already have Clarence Thomas, another amoral pseudo-Christian, gladly taking bribes through his equally amoral lobbyist wife, adamantly refusing to recuse himself in cases that she is lobbying!
What other religion than Remedial Right-Wing Christianity would defend swamp creature Scott Pruitt's destruction of the environment, defend gross pollution of our air and water, deny global warming and environmental science and flat-out refuse to teach their children how to be be stewards of the planet? It wouldn't be the same one that was responsible for the Dark Ages, would it? What the "F" is it, exactly, that they're protecting? I have problems myself with the current structure of Roe v. Wade and feel there would have been a lot less animosity with civil unions than we now have with same-sex marriage, but these are not issues to be dealt with by religious edict. Why don't these religious fanatics care about universal healthcare or the poor that Jesus and Paul are constantly worrying over, and what about the underpaid American worker, especially teachers and first responders and people working "with the sweat of their brow"? What about the right to vote? Do they think their president's mega-rich corporate-welfare recipients will fit with their "camels" through the eye of a needle or will they more likely meet with the radical evangelicals and the president for a final campaign rally in a much "warmer" and more appropriate place?
Anyone who visits Germany and meets the people there invariably asks " how could the atrocities of World War II have happened there?" The real answer is that it can happen anywhere! It can certainly happen here! It can happen when any religion or any ideology becomes mandatory. It can happen to Muslims, it can happen to Jews, it can happen to almost any religion if it gains too much political power and that is precisely what is happening in the United States under the unholy alliance between Donald Trump, ironically a non-believer, and the radical (pseudo) Christian Right. Correct me if I am wrong, but Hitler began by discrediting and taking over the press, the courts, the police, the army and finally the church in his inexorable march to the chancellorship and to dictator of Germany. Remember, Hitler coined the term "The Third Reich" specifically to designate it as the next official successor to the Medieval "Holy Roman Empire" that lasted until 1806. (Bismarck's "Second Reich" represented the first resurrection of that religious empire in 1870 Germany and lasted through World War I, while Vladimir Putin has repeatedly expressed his intention to create a "Fourth Reich," that is, a fourth incarnation of "The Holy Roman Empire" to be centered in Russia and to spread to Europe and the Middle East.)
Al Finkelstein, 7/6/18