Convert or be destroyed: A Wisconsin lawmaker tells constituents who are “not Christian” to join him and his fellow Christians and convert to Christianity or be “destroyed.”
Wisconsin state Rep. Scott Allen (R) speaks of Christian love while telling non-Christians they will be destroyed in an obnoxious and condescending YouTube video posted on the official “Wisconsin Assembly Republicans” YouTube channel earlier this month.
In the video a patronizing and smug Allen uses a Bible verse to suggest non-Christians will be “destroyed” –
Merry Christmas. To me and my fellow Christians, celebrating the birth of our Savior, our Emanuel, well, it is one of the most important celebrations of the year. For those who may watch this who are not Christians, I invite you to consider the hope offered by the Prince of Peace.
For all who watch this, I hope that you are filled with joy and high spirits and that your life is full of festivity and rejoicing. If, like me, you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I ask you this holiday season to consider the words found in Hebrews 10: 24-25: “Let us consider how we may spur one another one in word and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.”
My friends, we attain peace through love. This season, think of how you can love the people in your life: Family, friends, neighbors, just a little bit more. Encourage them. Fellowship with them. Our world needs more love and more peace. We do our part to make this world a more peaceful place by being more loving in our relationships. We gain strength through love. Hebrews 10 concludes: “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
For a government official to use his official position to proselytize and threaten non-Christians with “destruction” is abhorrent, and signals a profound disrespect for the U.S. Constitution and the secular values upon which this nation was founded.
Commenting on the obnoxious video, Hemant Mehta, writing for Friendly Atheist, notes:
There’s a pleasant message from a politician: I invite you to join my religion before you’re destroyed. The subtext, of course, is that he believes there’s something wrong with non-Christians.
The Associated Press reports the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos complaining that Allen is overtly proselytizing. The letter includes a request for all documents related to the video to determine whether state resources were used in its production or distribution and notes the U.S. Constitution prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages. The letter states, in part:
While Allen is free to promote his personal religious beliefs on his own time, it is inappropriate to do so when he is afforded a special platform due to his elected position. Using state resources to promote one particular religion, and suggesting that people should convert or even consider converting to that religion, is unconstitutional.
Allen’s message is inappropriate if not unconstitutional, and a direct insult to all non-Christians. More than this, by releasing such a message Allen is engaged in and promoting bigotry against atheists, agnostics and other freethinkers who reject his religious superstition.
Bottom line: Elected officials should not use their position to proselytize. Full stop.
Mother Teresa was no saint, she was a moral monster, a sadistic religious fanatic who took pleasure in the suffering of others, and denied appropriate medical care to the sick and dying.
The Catholic propaganda machine continues to promote the soon to be saint, ignoring evidence of her moral incompetence. Recently Pope Francis recognised a second miracle supposedly attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for the Roman Catholic nun to be made a saint next year.
However, Teresa was anything but a saint. The nun may have been generous with her prayers, but she was miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to alleviating the suffering of the sick and the poor.
Researchers report the sadistic nun saw beauty in suffering, and refused to medicate those in pain because suffering would bring the afflicted “closer to God.”
According to reports the celebrated nun had 517 missions in 100 countries at the time of her death, and that the majority of patients were not cared for properly, with many being left to suffer and die without appropriate medical care or pain medication.
Indeed, conditions in the the Missionaries of Charity’s hospices were deplorable. Teresa refused to introduce the most basic methods of hygiene, even going so far as to reuse needles without sterilization.
In addition to her medical malpractice, and her perverse and sadistic enjoyment of the suffering of others, Teresa was also guilty of financial mismanagement, as well as entertaining and enjoying friendship with unsavory and immoral world leaders.
Yet despite serious questions about Teresa’s character, motivation and methods, as well as concerns about her suspicious financial dealings and contacts, the Vatican, enabled by a gullible and willing mainstream media, has engaged in a well orchestrated public relations campaign to manufacture a Catholic hero.
The late, great Christopher Hitchens was one of the first to raise questions about the authenticity and wisdom of claims made by the Roman Catholic Church promoting Mother Teresa. The following is an excerpt from Hitchens’ critique:
Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.
And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go?
Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of Mother Teresa: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed. She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions.
Bottom line: Hitchens was correct to call out the “profane marriage between tawdry media hype and medieval superstition” that is the myth of Mother Teresa, a media superstar who was in the end a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.
Why I Hate God’s Grace: An Atheist’s Three Reasons
by Peter Mosley
Of all the concepts in Christianity, the concept of God’s grace is arguably the most harmful, destructive, insulting, and psychologically crippling. The tragedy here is the number of people who would probably be surprised by that statement; most seem to laud grace as the best thing about Christianity. But the moment you examine it, the moment you take an outsider’s view of what grace is and think carefully about its implications for the lives and value of individuals, the more dangerous and diabolical the concept seems.
“Grace,” in popular Christian theology, is the term for God’s act of giving you something (like “forgiveness of sins” or “eternal life”) you don’t deserve. The concept here, in many cases, is that we have offended God or broken His moral code. And although we supposedly deserve hell as a result, God has decided not to punish us with hell (or let us go to hell, depending on your theology) and has given us “eternal life” instead.
And for this, the story goes, you should praise God for this great gift of grace that He has given to you and all of humankind who will accept it, a gift He gave because He loves you so much that He was willing to have His One and Only Son to give up His life for you. How humbling. How exhilarating.
Except…not really. For three reasons.
1. If God is our Father, His Grace makes Him a terrible parent.
It’s pretty nice to buy a three year old ice cream. It’s terrible to tell the child that he deserves poison and then give him ice cream. Especially if the child does not deserve poison. I mean, it seems that the reason grace is so wonderful, in much of Christian theology, is that we don’t deserve it, supposedly. But the best “grace,” it seems, is the kind that isn’t grace, the kind you receive simply because the person has your and society’s best interests at heart. To be sure, that viewpoint is not grace, which is why it’s awesome. I mean, think about it. When an infant is born, it doesn’t deserve anything. There’s nothing anyone automatically deserves. Deserving things isn’t the point — the point is trying to build a decent society filled with decent people. So we don’t help our kids because they deserve it or in spite of the fact that they don’t deserve it — or, at least, we shouldn’t. It seems that a good parent helps us because they want us to enrich ourselves and society; obsession with what we do and don’t deserve can distract us from that and give the child guilt trips that impede its social development.
The infuriating thing about this whole deal is that there is no God. So when someone is told they deserve eternity in hellfire — they’re not remotely telling the truth. That’s a completely made up guilt trip, there to instill fear and shame in other people, to control them and to maintain power by twisting their psychology and convincing them to believe fantastic stories that force them to behave in disturbing ways. Indeed, the only thing that makes grace beautiful, it seems, is fear of hell, a fear that depends on a conviction that hell is what people deserve hell. The fact that people don’t deserve hell makes grace a horrific concept, because it makes people apologetic for being in a world they belong in without any apology.
2. The Christian concept of God’s grace encourages psychopathic tendencies in those who believe in it.
In Christian theology, grace is based mostly on what you believe, not what you do, as everyone has sinned and supposedly deserves eternity in hell. But there are a couple major problems with this. Some “sins,” such as same-sex marriage, are taboos in the Bible and in much of Christian interpretation of it, and yet there is no logical social reason as to why we should have the taboo outside of a supposed God’s say-so. This is an example of how the concept of sin encourages us to ignore very real circumstances people are in, ignore the love people may have for each other, and simply believe that people are immoral in spite of evidence to the contrary. In other words, the arbitrary labels of “sin” — or, in this case, “sins” made up by bigots six thousand years ago — force people to see people as sinful where no sin exist, often leading to maltreatment of these misunderstood, “sinful” people. And this is maltreatment that Christians don’t have to feel that bad about because, after all, these people are sinners.
Second, to be grateful for the concept of grace you have to think that everyone who doesn’t have it is going to hell, and be OK with that. No matter what the person does, they deserve hell and will get it if they don’t follow arbitrary rules God supposedly set up, and/or don’t believe a fairly fantastical story that has very little evidence backing it up. This mentality dehumanizes the person who is not a Christian. No matter how much we tell our Christian friends and family members that we’re human and that we don’t deserve nor are going to hell, the Christian has to think we are sinners headed for hellfire if we don’t believe their fantastic story. So no matter what we say (outside of stating we believe in outrageous 2000 year old stories), we are forced into the stereotype of an unsaved sinner, trapped in pity and low moral standing that we can’t escape from. And these stereotypes have and do affect the way we are treated on a personal and societal level in extremely disturbing ways that are ignored because of reason 3.
3. Its major function is to allow the church to abuse without culpability.
“Grace” is often used to say we shouldn’t take the past actions of those who have it into account, as much — if God has forgiven people, who are we not to? Although sometimes people insist that grace doesn’t dismiss actions — in point of fact, it often seems to.
For example, when I was a Christian, I used to see unsavory parts of church history and present action as proof FOR a God because, I thought, if things were so terrible, grace had to exist to make things less terrible. The fact that the church was abusive was proof that people in general could be abusive, which meant we all needed grace, which came from God, which brought me back to the church, no matter how dark its past or present deeds were. No matter what the church does, the concept of grace eventually launders its reputation so that it comes out with squeaky-clean moral currency that’s often proof, among those dedicated to the church (and often those outside of it), of God’s supposed blessings.
So when the atrocities — past and present — of the church are discussed, the answer comes back that yes, the church is terrible, but God has forgiven it. If any other organization stated it had an imaginary friend who similarly gave it grace, and was at the same time engaging in all the control the church has on people’s lives, everyone would be in uproar. The reason why everyone is not, it seems, is that the church is a major source of power that gives it great power in protecting and enriching its good reputation.
Thus, throughout history, the church has been able to enslave, colonize, and abuse individuals both physically and psychologically because 1) it has the moral authority to state that those it puts through this deserve it and much worse, so it can treat people in terrible ways without moral censure in cultures whose moral system it infiltrates and controls, and 2) it controls the concept of grace so that it can give it to itself and to those it needs to maximize its power and control over others — and thus uses the concept of grace to force less powerful individuals in the church to excuse, ignore, or justify its abuses, no matter how horrific they may be. Grace is truly the worst concept in Christianity, and as long as it stands, Christianity will perpetuate itself, controlling societies and lives without having anyone to answer to but a God of its own making who is — oddly enough — in the habit of giving it blank checks for grace.