Thursday, July 15, 2010

Leviticans - The True Face Of The Christian Radical Right

The other day, I found an entertaining description of the outlooks of various religions (or non-religions as it were) regarding the popular topic of fate, luck, providence, rather profoundly summed up under the eternal example of surfer-wisdom - "shit happens":

Atheism: I don't believe this shit!
Agnosticism: What shit is this?
Taoism: Shit happens
Buddhism: If shit happens, it isn't really shit
Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah
Judaism: Why does this shit always happen to us?
Catholicism: If shit happens, you deserve it.

I hope my atheist friends have their sense of humor plugged in for this one, and don't crucify me for listing a non-religion among several religions! (Yes, I know, while atheism is not a religion, it is a belief system.)

Add to the list my old favorite, radical or extremist Christian fundamentalism, which seems to say: "Believe this shit - or you will go to Hell!" They also sometimes like to add: "...and we'll help send you there." Sometimes they will scratch their heads and wonder: "How can you possibly not believe this?" and treat others like they are the ones with the malfunctioning GPS. Weird.

I have also seen it said by conservatives that "If God were a liberal, would he have given Moses the Ten Suggestions?"

The thing is, yes - according to Christianity at least, God gave his followers the Ten Commandments (and all the ritual laws in the Old Testament, such as in Leviticus) - at first. Then She saw it wasn't working out - and sent Christ to start over fresh - and yes, Christ was definitely a liberal by every definition of the term. So chew on that, fundamentalists. If you're going to try to whittle down an entire religion to a few fundamentals to try to force people to live by - then at least you can make an effort to cherry-pick the right ones. Here's a clue - hate shouldn't be one of them.

Conservatives tend to get upset when people suggest that God might be anything but actually male - they see it as blasphemous and insulting, because - well, they see women as lesser beings, subservient to the masculine and for all intents and purposes, inferior. It is surprising how many women today share this insulting and inaccurate view.

The most powerful quote I have found lately on the topic is the following by Steve Biko: "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." By using this quote in this context, I ask: What better way to keep this world the domain of men, than by getting women (and gay and trans people) to agree with misogyny and to oppress themselves?

Christ was the New Covenant - in other words, a new arrangement between God and humanity. The trouble with this liberal arrangement is that for conservatives and religious fundamentalists, there are way too few rules for their liking. And this is precisely why they disregard the New Covenant entirely - and cling to the Old Testament mentality, rules and way of judging the world around them - while still effectively hi-jacking the label "Christian".

The Time Saving Agency” by Christina Engela
The TSA liked having fresh agents on the job with a clear mind and steady hand.  Time travel wasn’t for the faint of heart.  The pay was good enough, but as Scrooby had decided long ago, that even if he didn’t get paid for it, the thrill alone was payment enough.  Then again, the TSA realized they couldn’t afford to have disgruntled employees with the power of God at their fingertips, so the pay was very, very good.

Things happen at a certain time in a certain way, which in a sense, is what it’s all about.  If it didn’t, then things would be completely different. Johnathan Scrooby was extremely tense. His job at the Time Saving Agency was a tough one.  Billions of lives depended on him not screwing up.  Once, he’d screwed up in only a small way and people wore those little yellow smiley faces on t-shirts for decades afterwards.  And that was just a small screw up.

A week ago, the American War of Independence was fought in Mexico. Yesterday Napoleon managed to dig a tunnel across the English Channel, invaded London and everybody at the Agency ended up speaking French for a while. Sorting that out had been… well, challenging. Mon dieu.

Something smelled funny in the Anals of History.  Things were not as they were supposed to be. Someone somewhere was tinkering with the works. Somehow, he had to go back and fix it or who knows what might happen this time.

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I think instead of calling themselves "Christian", they (or perhaps the rest of us) should consider calling them something else? How about "Leviticans"?

Apparently, according to one source I found on the web: "'Levitican' is a word coined by a SF writer John Scalzi for that brand of "Christian" who doesn't actually follow Christ's teaching, preferring instead to follow a couple of the laws from Leviticus instead -- the select ones that allow him or her to continue hating those folk he or she already hates -- Christ's sort of Christianity being so inconveniently about loving your neighbor and forgiving your enemy and stuff like that."

I find it to be rather fitting, don't you? After all, they liberally apply a coating of Jesus Christ to the obsolete ritual laws of the Old Testament, while dishing out hatred and intolerance - and calling themselves "Christian". No wonder the world in general - and also the whole mish-mash group identifying as "Christians" - and particularly moderates, are confused by this.

No, really - Christianity is supposed to be Christ-focused, at least by definition. Hello - the name CHRISTianity, meaning LIKE Christ or OF Christ, says it all. Is there ANYTHING at all that is truly CHRISTian in the Old Testament laws and rituals of a nomadic desert people? Or did the coming of Christ change all that? Because from what I can see, the "Christian" fundamentalists are neither following Christ NOR the "fundamentals" of what Christ tried to teach humanity - so how exactly are they Christian at all?

Love, humility, patience, compassion, tolerance. The preaching and sowing of the seeds of hatred, intolerance, violence and death are none of these things. This leaves me with the nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach that there is something really sick, twisted, diseased and disturbingly UN-CHRISTian about the Christian church today.

The Old Testament, in particularly Leviticus, is about ritual law, keeping record of sins and ritual offences and even trivial unimportant frivolities considered "minor sins" by the Hebrew society of the day. The New Testament on the other hand, by stark contrast, is about forgiveness and wiping the record clean. Obviously, this does not suit the Levitican mentality, which is about retribution and forcing people to pay for their perceived sins in this life, before God gets a say in the matter.

According to Mark Twain, "Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in." Considering the above statement, heaven is sounding more appealing by the day - considering the rampant hate-mongering from folks claiming to be Christians, who are really Leviticans (Lucky for me, I quite like dogs). And while Puritanism may be described as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy", I am beginning to find the term "Leviticans" very appealing.


  1. Exceptional!!! Leviticans!!! If you don't follow Christ's commandments, you can't call yourself "Christian"--nor should you be referred to as "Christian". Furthermore, we shouldn't allow themselves to "fudge" their beliefs by calling themselves "fundamentalist" or "rightist" Christians. These "Liviticans" are no more Christians than they are ducks!
    Thank you for such a timely and much needed article.

  2. Gather together that i may tell you what will befall you in the last days,
    Genesis 49:5-7 Simeon and Levi are brothers - their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.