Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The Raging Christian Right

British Muslims

British Muslims (?)

Islam can be two faced: But then so can Christianity: See below

I'm a Facebook user, but being of a rather reclusive nature I try to keep my friendship links at a minimum. I use Facebook as a window on subjects that interest me: Family, Old Norwich, military matters, science, animals and church etc. What surprises me, however, is that even given my rather limited friendship network, Facebook has proved to be a window on a wide political spectrum: I have friends and friends of friends that politically range from Corbynite left-wingers, through libertarians and new-age flat earthers, to the raging fundamentalist Christian right-wingers. And this, it seems, is largely a result of me being connected to a broad evangelical church with its diversity of opinion and its the tendency to act as a crossroads for the kind of hustle and bustle one finds in a busy street corner pub. I've always been inclined to wait for data to come my way rather than proactively seeking it: So, taken together Facebook and the church present such a wide window on the world that I can do just that: Sit back and watch!

In my science blog I've already showcased some new age conspiracy theorists and flat earthers which connected to my Facebook account, but in this post I want to showcase some Christian right-wingers which have flitted across my line of sight.

It all started with one of my Facebook friends, whom I shall call Tina Breadcrust. She is a right-wing UK Christian, ardent Brexitor, Nigel Farage fan and thinks of the EU as a Babylonish empire. That sounds worse than it actually is: She means well, is very devout and is a nice person. But to my mind she's taken the usual fundamentalist escape route from humanity's natural state of epistemic insecurity and found security in the contrived certainty of self-proclaimed prophets and authoritarian Christian ministries. But the disparate nature of Christian culture has ensured that there is no such thing as the definitive Christian ministry, much to the dismay of the insecure who want certainty on a plate: In actual fact, as I think I've said before, this hankering after certainty means that when we find epistemic arrogance on both sides of an inter-fundamentalist fault-line the consequent arguments are some of the most bitter of contentions as fundamentalists engage in no-holds barred character assassinations and accuse one another of heinous sin  (See also here).

But the good natured Tina Breadcrust is not in it for the fights - she's in it because she thinks she's found definitive truth in the Christian culture she has identified with. But recently someone picked a fight with Tina and there was little I could do to help her; I don't get involved in fundamentalist infighting. As a Nigel Farage supporter and fundamentalist, Tina is probably also a Trump supporter. As a consequence of this, I guess, Tina has gained a network of right-wing US Christian Facebook friends. But recently Tina got more than she bargained for. It all started when naturally enough Tina posted a picture of London's Tower Bridge asking for prayers in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attack on London Bridge. One of her right wing "Friends" whom I shall refer to as "Patsie Slapmangle" responded with this:

Patsie Slapmangle: Nope. Deal with the bad choices you've made and your cowardice and spinelessness. Face the reality of what you have done. Stupid "polite" cowards. 

Tina Breadcrust: Patsie Slapmangle, if you can't respond appropriately then I'd rather you didn't make any comment.

My Comment: How ever did Tina manage to pick up this client I wonder? The irony is that Tina would likely be at one with Slapmangle politically and religiously and moreover may well vote Trump if she were an American. But to Slapmamgle Tina is almost to be thought of as an enemy and to have a part in the collective responsibility for the UK's woes. Tina went on to post a couple of other news reports on the terrible events in London and this is how Slapmangle responded:

Patsie Slapmangle:zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Patsie Slapmangle:zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

My comment: Lovely person! Slapmangle is the sort of person who, if you were seriously injured in a car accident that was your fault, would pass you by shouting "It's your own fault! Serves you right!". And if the accident wasn't your fault she'd do the same thing!

Tina supports a one-state solution for the Israel/Palestinian question and probably thinks anything less than an Israel dominated by one state is anti-God. It is likely that Slapmangle has a similar opinion. But on Tina posting an article in favour of Zionism Slapmangle responded with this:

Patsie Slapmangle: Do you honestly think your liberal government cares about Israel given the fact that they don't even care about the U.K.????? 

My Comment: We've had a right-wing conservative Government in the UK since 2010, but its seems that anything left of Adolf Hitler looks to be "liberal" to Slapmangle! Notice the default in Slapmangle's thinking: Anyone who thinks differently to her must, in her opinion, have major character defects: In this instance she is accusing the British government of not even caring about its own people! This is very reminiscent of fundamentalists like Ken Ham,, Jason Lisle and a conspiracy theorist like Alex Jones whose conspiracy paranoia ensures that he indulges in the most fanciful of accusations. In their drive toward certainty Fundamentalists and conspiracy theorists will not accept that human beings differ in their opinions in part as a result of a flaky epistemology. Therefore they can't agree to differ. Consequently in their books to disagree with them is to be willful and Machiavellian and deserving of the utmost opprobrium and punishment. Recall Ken Ham's flood video!

To a further news report posting by Tina on the London attack Slapmangle continues with her vindictive nastiness:

Patsie Slapmangle: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tina then posted a request from American Christian right-winger Franklin Graham for prayer for London. The result was this short comment Thread:

Patsie Slapmangle Franklin Graham, save it for those who deserve your prayers and concern.

Tina Breadcrust: This is very unChristian of you Patsie Slapmangle. 

Patsie Slapmangle UnChristian? No. Rational! You of the U.K. have done NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING to demand that your leaders make massive changes there. All you all do is purchase flowers and place them on the sites of the attacks. Wow, that's really helpful!!!! So impressive. You all are hopeless. So polite, so spineless, so lacking in normal outrage at what is facing you all.

Ronetta Olga-Morris: I agree, Tina Breadcrust. A pretty sad attitude to have towards family and friends that have lost loved ones. But as we can tell, some don't care about what pain they cause others, either by deed or WORD!!! Glad she's not on my friends list! I don't need people with that sort of hateful attitude.

Patsie Slapmangle: I could care less what you think about what I've said Ronetta. I am one of the most loving, caring people you could meet. BUT when there is a country which doesn't react with total OUTRAGE and refuse to do things like DEMAND that their leaders either be ousted, or do every single thing possible to safeguard against future terrorist attacks, I simply give up!!!!! Manchester was horrid!!!! HORRID. But even THAT hardly raised the pulse of the people of the U.K. They are simply hopeless.

My Comment. Ronetta is a Ted Cruz supporter. This raises the question of just how representative of the American right Slapmangle is. I guess that the only thing which would satisfy Slapmangle is if the UK voted in a British Trump figure, a figure who has the character profile of a dictator. Slapmangle is showing signs that she doesn't understand democracy. She talks of doing every thing possible against terrorist attacks; I suppose that means somehow screwing down on the Muslim population. I wonder if she has in mind a full scale expulsion of Muslims? England did that to the Jews right back in 1290. 

Tina posted on the police response to the London attack and Slapmangle responded:

Patsie Slapmangle: Gosh, how many armed police do you have there? Three? Four???

My Comment: The police dispatched the terrorists within 8 minutes of the 999 call. I think that speaks for itself (That's not to say further response enhancements can't be made). In the thread of comments following Slapmangle's comment above Tina conferred with another FB friend about blocking Slapmangle who is "a very nasty person and there is no reasoning with her" (On the advice of her FB friend Tina eventually succeeded in blocking Slapmangle). 


Now for the bad news. It is possible that Slapmangle is a rare right-wing extremist, but I am afraid it doesn't look that way. Slapmangle is just voicing, if in a rather nasty abrasive way, a view that is current among the Trump supporting Christian right-wing. In further posts from Tina Breadcrust we find the following comments:

Patsie Slapmangle: What did you all THINK was going to happen when you allowed liberals to rule your country? Did you think that the droves of muslims were coming in to ask you over for picnics????

Suzie Socket Patsie, I think most citizens there were feeling like some of us in America as to what was happening for the past 8 years before Trump became president, so Christians started to pray. PRAYER is the answer. Their leadership allowed such not the citizens.

Tina Breadcrust Thank you Suzie Socket. As you quite rightly say, prayer is key. Not just for the UK but for the global terrorist threat. Have just been listening to the world's leaders standing with us, united in their message that we in the West need to come together to tackle this threat. Prayers are being answered in this regard. Amen!

Carrie Rong UK has elected 7-8 muslim mayors, the police are not armed, why do the good UK ppl let this happen? I pray for all to fight this evil any way possible. We have to do the same here never give muslims a inch.. Never elect them into any position of authority.

Gloria Melbracket It's UK's fault & now they have 23,000 Muslims in their mist & many are members of ISIS...

My comment: Poor old Tina! She might be part of the Christian fundamentalist right-wing, but she is still a target for people like Slapmangle, a person who clearly has the sympathy of other American Christian right-wingers if the above is anything to go by! I have found that with fundamentalists in general they give you only two options: Either you concede in entirety to their views or you're forced to be in a state of war with them. Well, I know what option I'll chose!

So we have above three other American FB friends of Tina who are likely to be undiscriminating in their estimate of Muslims, lumping them altogether as undesirables and therefore target them
 en bloc with discriminating policies against them. This approach, needless to say, will fuel the fires of alienation, passion and polarisation and very probably terrorism as well. Their solution is that Tina should "pray in a president Trump". Trump is a man who looks as though he is unwilling to accept the fact that democracy is a controlled row with a free press, a press that just can't be dismissed as "Fake News" when it doesn't suit him. In any case it is likely that Tina did pray for a Trump figure i.e. Nigel Farage. (But I'll hand it to Farage - he's got a much better political head on him than Trump!) Potential dictators are unwilling to accept the messy logic of democracy and its incessant seething parliament of argument. Oliver Cromwell had the idea of democracy in his head, but his cloud-cuckoo-land religious idealism wouldn't allow him to accept the untidy compromised reality of democracy and so he defaulted to dictatorship and called himself "Lord protector"; that, I submit, is the likely outcome of the political logic of Slapmangle and her friends.  


One of the fundamentalists above completely underestimates the UK Muslim population: See Wiki - it's more like 2.8 million! Secondly, I suspect they have no idea as to the origins of this huge number; that origin is not due to a liberal conspiracy to allow into the UK as many Muslims as possible! British Islam has its origins in the immigration from the British empire, particularly in its latter days in the 1950s and early 1960s. The British government saw the advantages of allowing empire immigrants to fill in the gaps in the employment market, particularly the lower paid jobs. But they also saw a big problem looming:

The justification for the control which is included in this Bill, which I shall describe in more detail in a few moments, is that a sizeable part of the entire population of the earth is at present legally entitled to come and stay in this already densely populated country. It amounts altogether to one-quarter of the population of the globe and at present there are no factors visible which might lead us to expect a reversal or even a modification of the immigration trend.

— Rab Butler MP (Conservative), 16 November 1961

Given that the UK has a very large Muslim population, a legacy of empire, then to declare Muslims en bloc as persona-non-grata as do the Christian right-wingers is exactly the way to encourage alienation and terrorism. Another tendency I've seen from the intolerant Christian right is that they are determined to force Muslims
into a terrorist mold by telling them that's what the Koran expects them to be! Now, it's true there are injunctions in the Koran suggesting that Muslims take up arms against the infidel, but why oh why tell the average peaceable and good natured Muslim that this is how a true Koran obeying Muslim should be behaving? I once caught a UK Christian idiot - and "idiot" is the only name he deserves - making precisely this kind of provocative argument. I referenced this idiocy in this blog here. Let me quote from the linked to post:

Finally Premier Christianity's  news items makes what I consider to be a really serious sociological faux pas.  They give space to Jeremiah J Johnston author of Jesus and the JihadisConfronting the Rage of ISIS:

Speaking on Premier Christian Radio's Unbelievable? programme Mr. Johnson said Westerners don't realise how theologically driven Islamic State is. The Church has been quiet for years, not wanting to offend Muslims in general,

Anyone who has observed Christian fundamentalism ought to be quite capable of spotting the patterns and putting 2 and 2 together and realising just how theologically driven Islamic State is! But the following statement from Johnson which is bound to offend (moderate) Muslims (which it seems he is prepared to do) is as bad as it gets:

If you want to see a case study of exactly how Mohammed desired Islam to be implemented, look at the Islamic state...Mohammed would not only join the Islamic state, he would lead it.

Nice one! What's this guy want us to do? Enrage and alienate otherwise moderate Muslims? We need to bring Muslim moderates on board, not tell them that their exemplar wants them behave like Daesh! In fact According to the Christianity article:

Inayat Bunglawala, founder and chair of Muslims4UK such statements sound 'utterly outrageous' for 'normal sane Muslims'

Too right! Johnson's statement is a bit like someone saying that Jesus would join the Christian Young Earthers, geocentrists, flat earthers or the Westboro baptist church! I suspect that Johnson has at least subliminal fundamentalist tendencies himself and so he just can't abide with the fuzzy world of interpretative ambiguity which provides space for review and reinterpretation - for fundies the latter always smacks of at best relativistic compromise and at worse blaspheming heresy. Johnson, like Daesh, is very comfortable with clear cut fault lines of division and difference, thus helping to reinforce and stoke up tensions between Muslims and Christians. Idiot!


The core Christian message is not about your "ism" - its about YOU and YOUR human nature; it's YOU with all your failings and sins that's under the spot-light and not your "ism", although undoubtedly aspects of your "ism" will be coupled to your failings. There are nice Muslims and nasty Muslims (and all the states in between). There are nice atheists and nasty atheists (and all the states in between). There are nice Jews and nasty Jews (and all the states in between). And as we've seen above there are nice Christians and nasty Christians (and all the states in between). Patsie Slapmangle looks to be one of the latter. Poor old Tina; she's got a real Facebook immigration problem of her own; in her linking to the class of Christian right-wingers and fundies she's let them in and discovered that simply because she shares the same "ism" by no means guarantees that she is linked to a set of nice people! 

Peace isn't going to come by rattling a whole sub-culture with threatening talk of taking draconian measures against them en bloc. Rather we should make cordial and constructive connections with all people of good will, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or atheist.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good
 And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy
 and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

The good news of reconciliation & salvation via humility, repentance, forgiveness and atonement is available to all. But to fundamentalists a confession of Christian salvation is at best regarded as inferior and at worst worthless unless you strain out the gnats insisted upon by fundamentalist epistemic arrogance. Ken Ham, for example, makes it clear that even the gospel Christian is in a precarious spiritual position unless he acknowledges the divine authority of Ham's opinions. 

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