Pornographer in the parish

Jerry Falwell is no more. I won't mourn him, but I won't rejoice either. I always thought it a bit creepy to be glad when someone dies, or if not creepy, unseemly. Anyway, there are plenty more where he came from, wherever that is.

Like Pastor Rick Warren, televangelist of the huge California Saddleback Church with a huge parish of 20,000 and a wallet to match. Pastor Rick has a reputation to keep, so having it known his richest parishioner is a pornographer is bad PR. Not just a rich parishioner, but the publisher of Warren's devotional self help book, The Purpose Driven Life. Not just his publisher, but a far right publishing and TV magnate. Not just a far right publishing and TV magnate, but . . . Rupert Murdoch. Pastor Rick couldn't care less about the fact Murdoch is thrice married, most recently to a 30 year old when he was 68. I'm sure it was pure lust love. Pastor Rick is the forgiving type, I guess, unlike some. Like the Christian Accountability Network:

A report by The Business in 2006 revealed that News Corp.'s European subsidiary BSkyB has been quietly creating its own raft of hardcore pornography channels, after years of hosting outside channels only.

Murdoch exerts unusual control of the company for a chief executive through his own financial stake in it, held from a family trust.

Chris Rosebrough, with the Christian Accountability Network, has challenged Warren to discipline Murdoch for his involvement with the porn industry.

"Rupert Murdoch is a born-again Christian and Rick Warren claims to be his pastor," Rosebrough said in a press release. "As a Christian, Murdoch is committing an egregious sin by owning, expanding and profiting from pornographic channels and Rick Warren, as his pastor, has a Biblical duty to call Murdoch to repentance and/or put him out of the church."

"If Pastor Warren does not act swiftly and call on Murdoch to dismantle his porn distribution network, then the credibility of the Christian message will be compromised around the globe?This is a clear case of a Christian openly committing a monstrous and unthinkable sin. (Lifesite)

You think that's bad? What about this?

That report also pointed out that Murdoch's News Corp. has a long association with the porn industry--News Corp. is a major owner of DirecTV, one of the top sellers of pornographic films in the US.

With all the evil Murdoch does and has done (like beat the drums for the War in Iraq), nailing him for sex and DirecTV is pure, poetic justice.

Pardon me if think this is hilarious.

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Revere, since J Falwell purported to believe he was going to the streets of gold in the sky, and all who followed him believed that he would too, why not rejoice at his death. He got what he said he most desired. This is the core hypocrisy I believe of the Christian church (Muslim too, I don't really know if Jewish believers expect heaven as well). If in fact heaven is the desired land, no tears at funerals - just rejoicing, no trying to avoid death - welcome it with open arms, no Terry Shiavos - give them release to go to glory land. IF HEAVEN BELIEVERS BELIEVE IT LET THEM ACT LIKE THEY DO - ONLY A PRECIOUS FEW HAVE DONE SO IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. So enjoy yourself - be glad this man is either gone where he wanted to go, or believed that as he died that he was going there (unless he wasn't really sure of his salvation). And be glad we don't have to listen to him anymore.

K: Because I don't believe it. But I am grateful his voice won't sully public discourse any longer.

K,

The Talmud is silent on life after death (or whatever you want to call it) and Judaism doesn't talk about it. Conduct in this life is what Judaism is about.

Phila (who is maestro of the excellent blog Bouphonia) passes on the link because he remembers our posts on Tasers on the old site. I was struck by this:

"Our goal was to find out how, in the absence of alcohol, drugs or other stimulants, humans are affected physiologically.""

Gee, it's a good thing Tasers are never used on people like that. I see the study ws funded by the National Institute of Justice -- a disinterested source.

I won't rejoice in death because death really is the great equalizer. No matter how good, bad, rich, or poor someone is death still awaits them. Also, Falwell created enough ideological clones of himself that it matters little for the culture wars in this country.

I am intrigued by how people, who frequent this site particularly, can view this world and it's complicated nature and not believe in God.

To me, THAT is unbelievable.

I must tell you, I was not aware that true atheist actually existed. I thought they were just nonconformist, going against the grain. Deep down, I was convinced they knew that God existed but were just wading upstream.

I realize, that there are some people whose message was not well received. Maybe Jerry Fallwell was one. And there were some that simply did not set a good example.

And I know further, that there is little I can say or do to change your mind. I know that. I'm not about to try to hammer anything home. But I hope for you someday, to find the peace I have.

With all due respect to Falwell, his attitude that most of the worlds ills were due to gays really pissed me off. I have a lot of gay friends and those old fairies contribute a lot to the world. This is the difference between a centrist Republican and a far right one like Rev. Falwell. His ministry did help a lot of people, hurt some but overall he was pretty well liked even by some of the gays. They provided money for gays to get medicines but at the same time tried to get them to see the error in their perceived ways. Okay so a carrot instead of a club but I am sure they wanted to club them at times. Their disdain for gays was unfounded and each time I got into a discussion with one of those types it always came up. I vehemently pointed out if it werent for fags that the US likely wouldnt have ever come to be due to the efforts of George Washingtons good friend General Von Stueben late of the German Army in the 1770's.

Falwell considered himself to be part of an Army of God. That is a God of his description. I dont get into the big discussions about evolution which I believe in but only because the Bible doesnt provide enough proof. But I would say that his ministry helped many people but likely with a price attached to it and that was salvation in his/their eyes. I will watch with interest who takes the helm over there in Lynchburg to see if the zealotry continues or if a kinder, gentler ministry appears and one that if there is a God reaches out to all without discrimination or recrimination for sexual behavior.

RIP.......

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 17 May 2007 #permalink

Patch, I once was a firm believer in God (Lutheran). My readings of the words of Jesus led me to a life of service to those less fortunate than I had been. In the course of my life I encountered much really severe suffering. I spent years trying to reconcile a loving god with a creating powerful god. In the end after a time spent in Haiti with Mother Theresa's nuns, I found that the pain of the world cannot be reconciled with a loving creator who is powerful. This took some 30 years of dedicated searching, reading, praying etc. I read every explanation of how to reconcile such a "good" god with the reality on the ground.
In the end I was left with the possibility of a bad god, a weak god (what's the point of calling such a god, god) or no god. No god seemed a preferable belief. Once you move out of the god scenario, the god of your upbringing looks more and more like any other myth around and you wonder how you ever believed the myth. It is a perspective that is hard for believers of any stripe to manage, but impossible not to see once you move out.

At first I felt a bit lost, then I felt free, then I rued all the time I spent in pews listening to sermons.

Looking back, I see that the majority of god believers don't really believe all or even much of what they say they believe. Proof is in the way you live. For those believers who believe they are saved and going to heaven, they sure show a strong attraction to life on earth and earths material wealth. Almost no Christians follow Jesus - they follow Paul and the Old Testament. Blessed are the poor. If you believe that join the 3 billion people who live on $2 or less a day. God is what is important not mammon. Leave all an follow Jesus's example. On the last day those going to heaven will be separated from going to hell by what they did for the least - visiting the sick and prisoners, feeding the poor etc. Turn the other cheek when someone slaps you. Get craking believers cause eternity is much longer than life on this planet with more than your fair share.

K - I understand. There are times, when I fall and feel the same way. God gives us autonomy. The freedom to choose. If it were not so, what are we, but mere robots?

Suffering is similar. If it were not so, how could we savor happiness? Like a spoiled child, we would soon become unable to enjoy happiness that came far too easy. How can you even know how it is to feel good, unless you know (or have seen) how it is to feel bad?

Why, that I might live a charmed life, while others struggle each day to survive escapes my reasoning. But perhaps I'm not able to understand.

Faith is just that. Having Faith IS believing.

Some require more proof. Or some see what they see and determine for themselves that what they witness can not possibly be the result of a loving God. But Faith determines that these events, for reasons we can not conceive, must come to pass.

I admire you devotion in the past K. I have often questioned if my own deeds were truly Christian and perhaps I'm coming up short. I believe, Christians in general, should do more to be more Christian-like. But we all fall short.

I fear death as much (maybe more) than anyone. But I find comfort in imagining Heaven.

I'm not saying that I'm right and you are wrong. But this is what I choose to believe. And it gives me comfort and happiness. Revere, you asked why I think you don't have that peace. Well, we both have (had) mothers. I am thankful to her, that she gave me life and nurtured me. I felt loved. And that gave (gives) me great happiness and peace. I assume, that you feel the same (at least using this example). I also have a God, that gave me and gives me more than that. That gives me even greater peace and happiness. Without God, I believe you miss out on that.

K - By the way...all that you have witnessed...has it made you more thankful for what you have in your life?

Patch: Strange analogy. My spouse and children also love me, and that gives me happiness. Does that mean I am really like God or God's consort? Or whatever your analogy was meant to suggest? Does that mean also that those abused by their parents or not loved by them aren't at peace or aren't religious or whatever? Bach's B minor Mass gives me peace, too, as do the Goldberg Variations. Etc., etc. Maybe I am even more at peace than you are because I know I am not at the mercy of some omnipotent power out of my ken and control. I am not suggesting I am, only that such arguments are specious and can be turned every which way. There are many people whose concepts of God are very different than yours. Are they wrong? Or are you? You have reserved a privileged place for belief in God that is unwaranted in my view.

Perhaps, you ARE more at peace than I. I am on my toes, trying to please my God each day. And I agree, it was probably a poor analogy. I think maybe, in God's eyes, to your spouse and children, you are God's consort. We are all God's helper. That's what K was getting at, when he devoted himself to his work.

My analogy was meant to represent a relationship. Not necessarily an earthly one. I considered the abusive situations when I typed that analogy, but had hoped you would look by it to see the point. It was not well thought out on my part. I apologize. I detest the actions of abusive parents\situation as I'm sure God does.

I am not personally at odds with anyone, who's idea of God is different than mine. I don't KNOW who is right. Maybe a little of both. But I believe in God. And my original point was, that I find it difficult to understand how anyone can see all that is around us, and NOT believe, in something. My personal choice is God. I'm not asking, or even suggesting that it be yours. As I said, my God doesn't force you to believe in Him. You have autonomy...as do I. If my decision is unwaranted, then so be it. While I don't concur, even if it's without merit, in my mind I have wasted nothing and tried to act morally, responsibily and lovingly throughout my life. That's not such a bad principle, is it?

There will come a day, when I will either know I was right, or simply cease to exist. It may be soon and it may be much, much later. Until then, I can give you no concrete data. That's why they call it Faith. You are free to follow your chosen path and I will follow mine. I only ask, that you not persecute for me choosing my way. I will do (and I believe have done) the same.

I am happier and freer now as an atheist than at any time during the short time I believed in god.
I do the right things because they are right, not because someone told me to or to get a reward later.
And K, perfect. I wish I could have written what you did because that is exactly how I think.

By G in INdiana (not verified) on 18 May 2007 #permalink

Ah, Revere, your dedication to eighteenth-century ideals of rationalism is entirely quaint and charming. Don't you know that the principle of noncontradiction is *so* yesterday?

No, the modern American sees absolutely nothing wrong with the idea that, while one publicly associates with persons and organizations which claim repeatedly that behavior B is bad, one may at the exact same time be quietly and privately undertaking to make money... from the trade in B!

Profit overrules all contradictions and hypocrises. Profit is the singular and unchallenged touchstone of right and wrong for contemporary America.

Murdoch is a sanctimonious, evil hypocrite? Yes. He is also a billionaire hypocrite. That's all that matters to the majority of Americans, who wish in their heart of hearts that they, too, could be billionaire hypocrites.

The only other nation I know of that can hold a candle to the US is China. Orville Schell relates a story of going to a betting racetrack outside Beijing. On the facade of the standhouse, in enormous gilded letters, is a sign urging the attendees (as they pass by on their way to the betting windows) to "Resolutely Implement The Guidelines Of The Communist Party Of The PRC Against Gambling And Vice," or some such similar sentiment.

--

marquer: It seems to me we have two options when confronted with hypocrisy. One is to unmask it. The other is to say, "Hey, they all do it. Big deal. Nothing we can do about it." I choose the former. Maybe it amounts to the other option, practically speaking, but I prefer it. I'm quaint that way.

Patch, all I have seen has made me feel guilty for having so much (even though my partner and I live on about $12,000 a year). Maybe if I had never been Christian I wouldn't feel guilty, or maybe that is my personality. However, from my understanding of the teachings of Jesus, any who have more than others should not feel happy, but should give it up (like Francis of Assisi did, Jesus did, John the Baptist did) and gain the freedom from mammon possessions. Any true believer in Jesus who has more than the least should feel miserable and guilty and fearful of being judged unworthy IMO. Jesus is God, son of God - if one believes that then his clear teachings about possessions should trump anything else in the Bible. Nothing in the OT or the letters should trump the words of Jesus.

I must tell you, I was not aware that true atheist actually existed.

You know, we atheists always sort of suspected that's what a lot of you believed about us. It's nice to have it actually confirmed; it makes those weird, seeming non-sequiturs that come up in debate sometimes make a whole lot more sense.

Really, you and I are not so different. I just believe in one (or more) less gods than you do.

I'm an atheist because the world makes more sense on its own than when interpreted by or through religious scriptures of any sort I've yet encountered. When confronted with the world which provides me with direct evidence of something, and a book that says, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lyin' eyes?", I'll choose my lyin' eyes every time...and twice on Sundays.

By Interrobang (not verified) on 20 May 2007 #permalink