RED ALERT: Women-Hating, Homoerotic/Homophobic, Dangerous Christians!

No, I’m not quoting the latest press release from the ACLU or Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Rather, I’m summarizing what I have officially deemed the “Most Offensive and Bigoted Book of the Semester”. I finished my last final last night (WooHoo!) and before selling back my books later today, I feel inspired to share with you a little taste of Cornell.

This semester, as a requirement for my Near Eastern Studies major, I took a class called “Holy War, Crusade, and Jihad” taught by a professor I truly respect, who also happens to be my advisor. Essentially, we studied religious violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (The song comes to mind, “One of these things is not like the other! One of these things just doesn’t belong!”) In general, the class was fine. In my experience, whenever you take a class about religion in a passionately secular environment, it isn’t going to be a walk in the park. I definitely disagreed with a lot of the arguments Professor Brann presented. I felt like he misinterpreted a lot about fundamentalist Christianity, but that’s to be expected. Overall, I did learn a lot of useful history and theories about religious violence.

The only major problem I had with my “Holy Jihad” class, as I affectionately call it, was one of the assigned readings – Fundamentalism: the Search for Meaning by Malise Ruthven. I ended up using the Ruthven book extensively in my final essay about the perceived tension between religious tradition and modernity and why that tension can sometimes lead to violence or extreme intolerance. Although Ruthven makes a few logical arguments about the most extreme forms of religious fundamentalism, I argued that he tends to over-generalize and in the end, make unsupported, offensive statements about all fundamentalists.

For your reading pleasure, I’m posting a few of the most absurd and asinine claims by Ruthven from his most offensive and anti-Christian chapter, “Controlling Women”:

He discusses the Islamic world’s misogynistic, violent treatment of women — Saudi women being forbidden to drive, girls in boarding schools burning to death because they weren’t dressed modestly enough to escape the fiery building, equating rape with adultery, etc. — and then proceeds to put Christian pro-life activism in the same category:

“Even in the United States, where women have more autonomy and sexual freedom than in most other countries, sixteen states have failed to repeal laws restricting abortion under Christian fundamentalist pressures following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade (1973)” (112-113).

Ruthven therefore asks, “What prompts women to sign up to religious movements that many would see as inimical to their interests?” If possible, his answers to this question are even more insulting than equating the pro-life movement to Islamic oppression. Ruthven argues,

“one should not underestimate the attraction that charismatic male preachers have for female followers. In the Pentecostal tradition preachers such as Jimmy Swaggart (before his fall from grace after a much publicized encounter with a prostitute) project a powerful image of masculinity in line with the macho, militant Christianity proclaimed by Billy Sunday early in the twentieth century. A more measured and sober figure like Jerry Falwell may appeal to female followers for his fatherly appearance” (115-116).

In other words, Ruthven seems to think the only reason women are members of fundamentalist congregations is because they are sexually attracted to the preacher or they consider him to be a fatherly figure. Classy argument there.

Finally, Ruthven swoops in on what he denounces as fundamentalists’ homophobia.

“The origins of homophobia in the Judaeo-Christian tradition may lie in the ‘contradictory religious ethos’ experienced by devout Christian males. On the one hand they are expected to love a solitary deity imagined in terms both of father imagery, and perhaps more potently, through the erotically charged figure of a young, almost naked male impaled on an instrument of torment… When homoerotic feelings clash with heterosexual values, homophobia (directed against those who acknowledge and give expression to such forbidden sentiments) provides an all too obvious and easy way out.”

Saving the best for last, Ruthven summarizes his feelings for fundamentalist Christianity in his conclusion:

“Christian premillenialists are theological refugees in a world they no longer control. In America, fortunately, their avenues of expression usually fall short of violence (though there have been physical attacks by fundamentalists on doctors performing abortions). They have a baleful influence on American foreign policy, by tilting it towards the Jewish state which they aim eventually to obliterate, by converting ‘righteous’ Jews to Christ. They have damaged the education of American children in some places by adding ’scientific creationism’ to the cirriculum. They inconvenience some women — especially poor women with limited access to travel — by making abortion illegal in certain states. On a planetary level they are selfish, greedy, and stupid, damaging the environment by the excessive use of energy and lobbying against environmental controls. What is the point of saving the planet, they argue, if Jesus is arriving tomorrow?
American fundamentalists are a headache, a thorn in the flesh of the bien-pensant liberals, the subject of bemused concern to ‘Old Europeans’ who have experienced too many real catastrophes to yearn for Armageddon. Given that premillennialism and its associated theologies are significant components of American policy, especially under Republican administrations, it seems fair to state that Protestant fundamentalism is a dangerous religion” (216-217, emphasis added).

I’m not sure if it is even worth responding to, but fundamentalist Christians have no desire to obliterate the State of Israel and abortion is legal in all 50 states (for any reason at any time in the pregnancy). Furthermore, most fundamentalist Christians do respect the environment. They just believe God gave us the environment to use for our benefit, not the other way around.

You might think I am portraying an exceptionally unfair view of Ruthven’s book. Well, I guess he did make one good point in the midst of all his rabid anti-Christian rambling. When discussing the scholarly advancements of Islam, Ruthven states:

“In the post-Rushdie atmosphere of cultural confrontation between Islamic and Western worlds, criticism of the Koran demands considerably more caution than criticism of the Bible” (79-80).

Oh, really? That is interesting, Mr. Ruthven. But it’s the Christians who are dangerous, eh?

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Doctors Suggested Aborting Future Heisman Winner

A great story from LifeNews.com:

Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Tebow Could Have Been a Victim of Abortion

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 9,
2007

New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow became the first sophomore in the history of the NCAA to win the coveted Heisman Trophy as the best football player in the nation. However, Tebow’s accomplishments may never have been supported had his mother followed a doctor’s recommendation to have an abortion.With 29 passing touchdowns and 22 rushing touchdowns, Tebow displayed the kind of versatility that has become more valued at the quarterback position.

Pam Tebow and her husband were Christian missionaries in the Philippines in 1985 and they prayed for “Timmy” before she became pregnant.

Unfortunately, as the Gainesville Sun reports, Pam entered into a coma after she contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in a contaminated food or drink.

The treatment for the medical condition would require strong medications that doctors told Pam had caused irreversible damage to Tim — so they advised her to have an abortion.

As the Sun reported, Pam Tebow refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted.

Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and, eventually, gave birth to a health baby boy in August 1987.

As she told the newspaper, Pam was not surprised that her son would be up for the Heisman despite no underclassman receiving the award since its inception in 1933.

“The combination of Timmy’s God-given talent, hard work, character and leadership have made a mark on and off the football field,” she said.

As prominent researcher Joel Brind writes in a new LifeNews.com editorial, doctors are frequently telling women they should consider abortions when confronted with various medical situations affecting their health.

Yet, as he notes, physicians can successfully treat both mother and child without suggesting that the baby be killed to spare a mother’s life.

Because Tim Tebow was spared, he’s wowed a nation by his athletic skill and, at his younger age, has an opportunity to become the second person to win two Heisman awards.

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Morally Repulsive Story of the Day

From FoxNews.com, Students Rebuked Over Virginia Tech Shooting Victim Halloween Costumes

I understand the concept of free speech, but this is absolutely disgusting:

An unidentified Penn State student dressed as a Virginia Tech shooting victim for Halloween.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Photos of two Penn State students dressed up as victims of the Virginia Tech massacre for Halloween prompted a rebuke from the university this week.

The pictures, which show the students wearing Virginia Tech shirts covered in bullet holes and fake blood, recently surfaced on Facebook.com, a social networking site. The students were not disciplined, but Penn State condemned the actions in a letter sent to Virginia Tech officials.

Click here for more from MyFOXPhilly.com

“We’re appalled that these individuals would display this level of insensitivity and lack of common decency by dressing up in this manner,” the statement said. “The fact that one of the individuals is actually from Virginia makes it even more difficult to understand.”

A Penn State spokeswoman, Lisa Powers, said the school has identified the students in the photos, but would not release their names.

The students will not face university discipline, Powers said. Punishment would violate their free-speech rights, she added.

Penn State students were among many across the country who raised money and held memorial services to commemorate the victims of the April 16 shootings, in which Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho fatally shot 32 people before killing himself. The rampage prompted universities nationwide to re-evaluate their emergency response plans.

How absolutely classless and pathetic. I understand that the University administration cannot punish these idiots, but I hope that other Penn State students have enough common sense to ostracize these freaks and make their lives a living hell. There is nothing funny about mass murder.

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Gun-Free-Zones Fail to Stop Violence, Yet Again

Gun Free Zone

Great opinion piece over at FoxNews.com, Media Coverage of Mall Shooting Fails to Reveal Malls’ Gun-Free-Zone Status

The entire piece is worth the read. This is the same case that was made after the Virginia Tech shooting, and it is the same case that is going to be made after every senseless murder that could be prevented or stopped sooner by law-abiding, gun-carrying citizens.

There are plenty of cases every year where permit holders stop what would have been multiple victim shootings every year, but they rarely receive any news coverage. Take a case this year in Memphis, where WBIR-TV reported a gunman started “firing a pistol beside a busy city street” and was stopped by two permit holders before anyone was harmed.

When will part of the media coverage on these multiple-victim public shootings be whether guns were banned where the attack occurred? While the media has begun to cover whether teachers can have guns at school or the almost 8,000 college students across the country who protested gun-free zones on their campuses, the media haven’t started checking what are the rules where these attacks occur.

Finally, someone makes the connection the mainstream media and leftwing Brady bunch keep trying to deny:

Despite the lack of news coverage, people are beginning to notice what research has shown for years: Multiple-victim public shootings keep occurring in places where guns already are banned. Forty states have broad right-to-carry laws, but even within these states it is the “gun-free zones,” not other public places, where the attacks happen.

The law-abiding, not criminals, are obeying the rules. Disarming the victims simply means that the killers have less to fear. As Wednesday’s attack demonstrated yet again, police are important, but they almost always arrive at the crime scene after the crime has occurred.

The longer it takes for someone to arrive on the scene with a gun, the more people who will be harmed by such an attack.

Most people understand that guns deter criminals. If a killer were stalking your family, would you feel safer putting a sign out front announcing, “This Home Is a Gun-Free Zone”? But that is what the Westroads Mall did.

Someday, America is going to have to wake up. I just wonder how many more innocent people are going to have to die before people start paying attention.

protected by the 2nd amendment

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Ashcroft Visits Cornell — Community and Local Press Embarrass Themselves

Last night, former Attorney General John Ashcroft came to Cornell. He toured the campus and called it the most beautiful learning environment on earth! :)

Then he came to a small reception to meet and greet and briefly answer questions. I was privileged enough to meet Ashcroft at the reception. He was very down-to-earth, friendly, and answered some asinine questions quite brilliantly.

Following the reception, Ashcroft went on to speak before over 700 members of the Cornell and Ithaca communities. His defense of the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay was incredible. I had liberal friends tell me afterwards that he was so logical, they almost believed him — no small feat on Ashcroft’s part, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, the speaking event was repeatedly disrupted by some of the most pathetic and immature demonstrations I have ever seen. Before Ashcroft even came on stage, a member of the Cornell Administration came up and referred to the sections of the Campus Code of Conduct on free speech and invited speakers. Essentially, his point was that Ashcroft has been invited to speak and may not be prevented from doing so. Also, attendees of the speech had the right to hear the presentation without interruption. Demonstrations and protests are allowed outside and those in disagreement with the speech may ask questions at the appropriate time following the speech. The Cornell Police and Campus Life staff were on hand to escort out any troublemakers.

I have to admit, for a few minutes there, I was actually optimistic that the administration would have a spine and actually enforce the rules they profess to abide by. Boy, did they fool me.

About halfway through the speech, some people in the crowd stood up, turned around, and put black hoods over their heads. I assume they were protesting about Gitmo. Audience members who were sitting behind these protesters could not see. Other liberals started yelling and shouting out questions when Ashcroft was still speaking. The administration did absolutely nothing. They only approached the shouters after about a minute and politely asked them to quiet down. About 10-15 minutes later, a person I recognized to be the leader of the campus International Socialist Organization blew a shrill whistle and the hooded figures exited the auditorium. That in itself was quite hilarious, as some old women who put on the hoods were tripping around and couldn’t find the door.

I must give Ashcroft a lot of credit. He handled the protesters better than I could have dreamed. Not only was his speech absolutely brilliant, but his response to the completely unintelligent questions and protests was consistently quick and clever. He turned the audience against the demonstrators. It was a proud moment for me. :)

As soon as the protesters stood up, I knew they were going to get free press in today’s papers. So, I decided to do a rough count of how many there were. My estimate was around 30 people, with no more than 50. This morning, the Cornell Daily Sun apparently agreed and reported that about 50 individuals walked out.

The local newspaper, on the other hand, blatantly exaggerated — read: lied — about the numbers of protesters (who they affectionately refer to as “dissenters”).

From the Ithaca Journal: 100 walk out on Ashcroft talk

To me, this is just the icing on a very pathetic cake. I was extraordinarily disappointed in the behavior of Cornell students and administration. I was not surprised, just disappointed.

Honestly, how mature are we here at one of the best educational institutions in the world? Haughty professors and students preach the merits of an academic environment where minds, hearts, and doors are open and any subject can be discussed calmly and politely. They pride themselves on fostering an atmosphere were individuals can speak and listeners can respond intelligently.

In light of that, what the hell happened last night? It was pathetic. It was embarrassing. I read an article last week about Colorado University’s similar actions toward Ashcroft. It’s good to know that the Cornell community is capable of acting in the same immature manner as a state school which must accept any Colorado high school graduate.

Way to go, Cornell.

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My Pro-Life Generation

Found this over at Christianity Today:

70%   Evangelicals 18-29 who favor “making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion.”

55%   Evangelicals 30 and older who favor this.

(Source: Pew Research Center)

Even with the less than favorable wording of the poll question, young Christians are overwhelmingly pro-life.

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