The Season Of Getting, Part One
"when you see a Christian who doesn't want to humble himself, who doesn't want to serve, a Christian who struts about everywhere: it's ugly, eh? That is not a Christian: that's a pagan!"
Pope Francis I has again riled the Christian Right by, in effect, calling most of its leaders "ugly" and "pagan": those who crave the limelight, scream out their proselytizing (ahem, "evangelizing") yet purport to be persecuted (horrendously!) by godless liberals and the media. It was a slap in the face to televangelists, faith-healers, prosperity gospel preachers and righteously arrogant, supposedly "Christian" apologists and pundits. It was his own "War on Christmas" - the Christmas created by corporate/church greed, a Season of Getting as much as one can while Giving very, very little to the people who need help just to survive.
Ann Coulter - While not a born-again Christian, nor explicitly proselytizing her jaws off, Coulter has enough righteous arrogance to sink a flotilla of battleships. After a particularly testy interview with Donny Deutsch, she said, "Well, we just want to perfect you!" Deutsch is Jewish. He was not amused.
Rick Warren - Hawaiian
shirts aside, Warren is as fake as can be, coming up with fantastic schemes
(e.g. P.E.A.C.E,) which few can grasp the meaning of, and constantly touting
the miracles of social justice his plans and his church (megachurch Saddleback)
have worked both here and abroad (esp. in Uganda). The figures, however, are
based on few reliable sources and don't really add up. His publicity machine is
about the only thing that seems to exist.
Tony Perkins - Perkins has
had more appearances on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" than the show
wants to admit. As the Savior of the American Family, Perkins has reigned as a
sort of Christofascist king, looking like an innocent, aging choir boy. But he
is merely a boy crying wolf (against dreaded homosexual activists) and his
pronouncements about apostate Republicans terrorize few Republicans any more.
His "Values Voter Summit" is popular with any conservative who wants
to say "God told me to run."
Cindy Jacobs - If Francis could make a list of the ugliest and most chest-beating Christians, "prophetess" Cindy Jacobs would be most certainly at the top. Among other things, she has (according to herself and her husband) performed more miracles than Jesus Christ, has cured a woman of her hysterectomy, has raised children from the dead (via television) and is an avowed idol-smasher (Native American artifacts and statues of Catholic Saints). She has also told all of America's indigenous people to repent for the sins of their ancestors. She has bragged about how many things God has blessed her with. Unfortunately, fashion sense was not one of them.
"Bishop" Eddie Long - For sheer humility, have yourself wrapped in the Torah, declared "king" (of something) and have yourself hoisted up, sitting on a throne, while four men decorously parade you around your church. Sheer humility? No, sheer stupidity. Sex scandals just could not keep him out of the limelight.
Bryan Fischer - Fischer is the American Family Association bloviator who has a hate-love relationship with everyone (he broadcasts his demonizing points, then tells everyone he is really doing it because he loves them). He has, in fact, carried demonizing to an art form (very ugly art, but art nonetheless) and his faux humility is legendary. He has established himself as a one-man hate group against the LGBT community and insists that "Rambo Jesus" existed.
Terry Jones - When not causing anti-American murder and violence by threatening to burn the Koran, Pastor Jones manages to plummet to the lowest levels of the humility meter by bleating through a bull horn about his Christianity in places like Times Square. He shares the sobriquet of "most hated man in America" with Fred Phelps. Not a small feat.
Scott Lively - Of all the uglies, Lively portrays himself as the most innocent and clueless. He has parlayed thunderous criticism of his book, The Pink Swastika into international Christian martyrdom and has portrayed himself as the most knowledgeable person on the planet in regards to the evils of homosexuality. His purposeful undermining of LGBT rights in places like Uganda has landed him in court. The charge: crimes against humanity.
Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, FOX News, Michele Bachmann, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Franklin Graham, Ken Copeland, T.D. Jakes, Linda Harvey, Janet Porter, Rick Joyner, C. Peter Wagner, General Boykin. If your favorite "uglies" are not on the list, just mention them below in comments.
Pay Attention To ME! Not The Poor!
Perhaps the ugliest of recent "Christians"/pagans passed away last week: Paul Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network, who perched himself on a gold throne-like chair and told those who opposed his empire to go to hell. He spread his wealth only to his family, there being no evidence of any substantial endowments to the less fortunate. He was considered a con man who put himself and his wife Jan first and foremost. The word "humility" was never in his lexicon. It was perhaps his death (and life) that inspired Francis to make his "ugly" point.
Putting yourself before the poor, before your fellow man, humbling yourself to seek out and tend to those in need was the humility Francis was speaking about: focusing on the poor and not yourself.
And as to this particular Christmas Season, the Huckabees, Coulters, Palins and Warrens know that it is not the Season for Giving but for Getting ... attention.
The ugly Christians will be getting uglier ... against Francis. Just wait.