Reading Time: 9 minutes (Original image credit: Allan Doyle, CC license.)
Reading Time: 9 minutes

I mentioned being very very helpful the other day, and today I want to demonstrate that helpfulness by giving the duly-appointed (and self-appointed) representatives of the Religious Right some new slogans they can use to market their simple, universal human message of terror, misogyny, brutality, tribalism, abuse, and violence.

Bother says she'll help too! (As long as she doesn't have to get up off my sewing projects.)
Bother says she’ll lend a helping paw! (As long as she doesn’t have to get up off my sewing projects, anyway.)

In the last week or so, I’ve noticed a few folks who could definitely use some new marketing ideas. No doubt, right? The religion’s leaders must be panicking over the tidal wave of people rejecting their various claims and demands. The problem is, of course, that their marketing really sucks. They can’t seem to get people interested in their “product.” I thought maybe I could help out a little by sharing some ideas that would definitely give people a much better idea of what it is they’re offering and what it is they do and believe.

And after all, my ideas can hardly do as much damage to Christianity’s failing numbers as Christians themselves are inflicting.

Here’s One for Senator Ted Cruz.

The other day, Ted Cruz was heckled.

That’s nothing new for the odious Republican Senator, who by now should be used to getting hung out to dry even by members of his very own party and past associates. That writer compares him to a job applicant:

[His previous coworkers] grant him all of the virtues that you’ve observed [in the first interview], but tell you that he’s the antithesis of a team player. His thirst for the spotlight is unquenchable. His arrogance is unalloyed. He actually takes pride in being abrasive, as if a person’s tally of detractors measures his fearlessness, not his obnoxiousness.

John Boehner, former Speaker of the House, even apparently referred to Mr. Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh,” which did not please actual real live Satanists much but tickled everyone else pink.

But this time, the heckling came from a novel source that he probably wasn’t expecting: a child.

While Ted Cruz was trying to campaign in Indiana, a little boy kept yelling decidedly critical stuff at him from the back of the room, including “You suck!”

Ted Cruz’s reaction was to talk about how awesome the Good Ole Days were because back then, adults struck children who did stuff they didn’t like.

Seriously. He told the kid, with his characteristic smarmy smirk,

You know, hopefully one of the things somebody has told you is that children should actually speak with respect. Imagine what a different world it would be if someone told Donald Trump that years ago. In my household, when a child behaved that way, they’d get a spanking.

Afterward, according to that Daily Caller link, people harassed and bullied the child outside the venue.

That’s the Jesus Party right now in a nutshell, really, isn’t it?

The Republican Party (along with the party’s wagging tail, fundagelicals generally) is having kittens right now over how quickly and thoroughly they’re losing young people, and yet Ted Cruz decides that one of his last campaign stops is the perfect place to wax nostalgic about how much he misses the days when kids got beaten for misbehaving. (I’m guessing those days are not long forgotten in his own household, either.)

His weird response comes on the heels of one of the biggest studies ever done on the topic of disciplining children–a study which discovered that spankings are about as harmful to children’s emotional development and future prospects as what most adults would recognize as “child abuse.” Though adults usually differentiate between the two, there didn’t seem to be any difference at all to the children in question. Hitting is hitting, and hitting messes kids up.

His reminiscing also comes on the heels of constant accusations against his opponent, Donald Trump, of inciting, condoning, defending, and even outright encouraging violence against people who protest his hate-group rallies.

Did Ted Cruz think that a few hints of violence would get him the popularity that Mr. Trump enjoys? Or are both men simply cut from the same horrifying cloth despite their surface dissimilarities? Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

So when I reach into Santa’s bag of presents for Ted Cruz, I find this peeking up at me:

Original photo: Gage Skidmore, CC-ShareAlike license.)
(Original image: Gage Skidmore, CC-ShareAlike license.)

I hope this image helps the Cruz campaign by reminding voters that when a child spoke up against him, Ted Cruz thought the best rejoinder possible was a threat of violence, and then his followers hassled the poor kid to the point of tears.

One for Cardinal Robert Sarah.

What can I say about the Catholic Church that a bunch of other people (including me, often, with no apologies at all) haven’t already said? It’s amazing to me that their entire festering organization’s leadership hasn’t been hauled into court for crimes against humanity, but the night’s still young.

Now, Christian groups generally have no shortage of slogans already. Catholicism is no different. I had a tough haul ahead of me to find one they haven’t already used. But the idea really sprang out at me while I was reading about an interview that Cardinal Robert Sarah gave recently about how hard he’s clutching his pearls over his church’s rapid slide into much-deserved irrelevance.

Robert Sarah is definitely one of the worst of the worst for Catholic clergypeople; he’s rabidly anti-gay enough that his bigotry-for-Jesus takes up more room in his Wikipedia entry than almost the whole rest of his biography.

Indeed, he’s been very open about declaring that if countries keep ending his religion’s persecution and harassment of LGBTQ people, it’ll totally “destroy Catholic doctrine.” Nor has he been shy at all about equating LGBTQ activists with Nazis and Communists (since the Red Scare never went out of fashion with that crowd) or insisting that the terrorist attacks in France and Tunisia happened because the American Supreme Court ruled the way it did on Obergefell. He not only “goes there,” but he drags along with him anybody in earshot.

Cardinal Sarah, in addressing Catholics recently in Washington, D.C., said that “God is being eroded, eclipsed, liquidated” in America — all “in the name of ‘tolerance.'” Note the scare quotes; this is another of those times when Christians redefine big words they don’t really understand.

Cardinal Sarah pointed out specific events “in the name of ‘tolerance'” that have contributed to this erosion, including “the legalization of same sex marriage, the obligation to accept contraception within health care programs, and even ‘bathroom bills’ that allow men to use the women’s restrooms and locker rooms.”

You know, I used to think upper-level Catholics came from a slightly more robust theological background than Protestant fundagelicals do, so it was surprising to see one of them admit in his out-loud voice that his religion can’t be dominant in a world where people can access every one of their human rights whether he likes it or not. That said, I wasn’t very surprised to see him repeating the common smears and slurs against LGBTQ people, or to uphold his organization’s desire to control women’s bodies. For all their current leader’s user-cuddliness, the needle hasn’t moved very far on those issues.

Cardinal Sarah pretends that his organization of child rapists and cover-up artists has some kind of moral high ground after flat-out declaring that it can’t exist in its current form if he’s not allowed to dictate to Catholics and non-Catholics alike what they are and aren’t allowed to do with their bodies. (He’s using that coded idea of “religious liberty,” here, of course–but the rest of us are slowly decoding what that really means.)

It’s noteworthy that not a single one of the things he named has anything to do with him or anybody else but the people directly involved. They are all of the “if you don’t like them, don’t do them” variety of everyday human activities. So he is upset because he can’t interject himself and his beliefs into other people’s lives against their consent. He thinks that if he is prevented from doing so, then his organization will die.

So I’ve found a very special image for him.

(Original image credit: Allan Doyle, CC license.)
(Original image credit: Allan Doyle, CC license.)

When Catholics decide whether or not they want to belong to a gang of pedophile child rapists, misogynists, and bigots-for-Jesus, I hope that they’ll remember Cardinal Sarah’s words.

And One For All the Rest of ‘Em.

It’s been quite a grab-bag of scandals this week:

• David Reynolds, an Arkansas pastor, got arrested for child porn. It seems he’d told his church elders that he’d “engaged in pornography,” but specifically lied to them about whether any underage people were involved. They fired him on the spot anyway. You probably won’t be shocked to discover that this winner is apparently quite the bigot-for-Jesus.

• Kenneth Worley, a North Carolina pastor, got charged with sexual battery. It seems he met a woman at a hospital and she invited him to her home to counsel her about something. He began groping her and she demanded he leave, then apparently called the cops. He’s still listed as the senior pastor of New Hope Baptist Church,which is one of those “KJV-only, RRAWR!” churches, as of this writing.

• Jeanette Jives-Nealy, the “Pastor Prophetess” of the rather grandiosely-named Memphis-based Kingdom Dominion Worldwide Ministries, has been indicted and arrested for allegedly stealing a lot of money meant to feed hungry children–again. This is hardly even close to the first time she’s been caught misusing money given to her charity ventures. This time around, she stole and misused $162,165 of taxpayer money that was given to her by the state of Tennessee’s Department of Human Services. (I’ve noticed that Tennessee has had trouble in the past with fraud and negligence erupting around the Christian agencies that are supposed to be helping people in that state. Must be demons.)

• Jon Hughes Allen, a former pastor from Fayetteville, Arkansas, has been arrested for allegedly burning down his house. Dude was underwater with his mortgage, it sounds like, and way behind in paying his taxes (so much for “rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”). He claims that someone else set the fire and that he has no idea why, though the authorities are pretty sure they know both of the answers to those questions. His tiny little church (its info screen says it had only one employee, who was probably Mr. Allen himself) apparently went into foreclosure in 2009 and doesn’t appear to exist anymore.

• Corey Brown MeGill Grown, the senior pastor of the historic (and stunningly impressive) Second African Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia, has been charged with 97 counts of wire and mail fraud for misusing some USD$250,000 of donations. He was apparently operating a secret account for his own personal use, one which was funded by the mailed-in tithes and offerings meant for the church.

• Robert Todd Davis, a Wichita pastor who also was a coach and “Bible teacher” at a Christian private school, has been charged with continuous sexual assault of a child, specifically sexual assault through penetration and indecency with a child through contact. (He also appears to have had a teaching position with the public school system, but left in 2011.) Two people named “Todd Davis” are still listed on the leadership page of the church Mr. Davis claimed to minister with, the Henrietta Church of Christ. Their church bulletin this week asks everyone to “continue to remember Todd Davis & Family.”

• And this breaking news just came through: Mortimer Stanley, a Catholic priest based out of the UK, is charged with 19 counts of indecent assault over his 40 years’ service. Apparently one of his favorite tricks was to knock his victims out with something like chloroform before raping them. The priest’s co-workers noticed that he sure seemed terribly intimate and familiar with the children in the presbytery, but nobody investigated or reported a thing. Three victims, now grown women, finally raised the alarm by accusing him of abusing them while they were students at the school associated with Mr. Stanley’s church. But he’d actually been allowed to quit and retire back to his home in Ireland–despite his handlers and bosses knowing about at least some of the accusations against him. In other words, the whole story is business as usual for the Roman Catholic Church.

I could go on, but you get the idea. This was stuff that only came up recently, and only involves people in leadership positions. The people we just covered are flung across the length and breadth of their religion, but they all have one major thing in common:

They’re all total hypocrites.

They preyed upon people and caused mayhem while a supposedly-omnipotent god sat on his thumbs and swiveled–and let it happen.

While pretending to be good and decent people, they were stealing from, attacking, and assaulting innocents–including children–and “Jesus” did absolutely nothing to stop it.

Many of these hypocrites, while judging, smearing, and condemning the innocent people they have decided are their religion’s enemies, were totally okay with committing outrageous acts of indecency and immorality–often taking advantage of the trust and resources their religious affiliation granted to them, and the Author of the Universe stood by and idly watched it all happen.

And it was not their all-knowing, all-powerful god of justice but rather secular governments who brought these criminals to justice. And it’s a good thing, too. Not only was their god totally silent, but none of their churches or organizations around these predators and scammers had the knowledge, ability, or inclination to stop them.

So I hope Christian leaders enjoy their new marketing slogan! I think it really communicates who they really are and what they really want and need out of prospective new members.

I think this about covers everything. (Credit for original image: Spixey, CC license.)
Joel Osteen should like this a lot. (Original image: Spixey, CC license.)

This has been the first installment of Captain Cassidy (And Bother) Being Super-Helpful. See you this weekend!

Avatar photo

ROLL TO DISBELIEVE "Captain Cassidy" is Cassidy McGillicuddy, a Gen Xer and ex-Pentecostal. (The title is metaphorical.) She writes about the intersection of psychology, belief, popular culture, science,...