Maria Yeager

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Christian Extremism

The idea for this blog came last weekend after I read an article that was shared on Facebook. I was disturbed by what I read, but I wanted to confirm the information first, so in the last few days, I have been researching. Then yesterday, the horrible shooting of Republicans in Virginia occurred. As I watched the events play out on television, my heart hurt. What in the world has happened to this country?

Personally, I strongly condemn what this guy did yesterday. Violence should never be condoned in any circumstance no matter how much you disagree with another individual or group. My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of this horrendous attack on innocent civilians.

There is so much hate right now in the United States. In my lifetime, I have never seen so much hate, and it saddens me greatly.  For me, I have seen the hate from both sides – Democrats and Republicans. We are ALL guilty of it.

This morning, I was extremely disturbed to see that some of the far-right were quick to point out all of the anti-Trump rhetoric as the cause of this guy actions. I had posted a funny meme about Trump on my page about a week ago (and BTW, it did not promote violence of any kind), and last night, I received some harsh words about it by a far-right individual. She blamed this shooting on anti-Trump rhetoric from the left. I reminded her of the time Trump encouraged his followers to beat up people at one of his rallies in my attempt to show her that hate is coming from both sides.

I am glad that I delayed writing this blog because this will show that hate is prevalent on both sides, not just one. Both the far-right and the far-left concern me greatly. One example of the far-left crossing the line is the Kathy Griffin incident. I was completely disgusted by what she did and do not condone it in any way. I state this fact so that readers will understand that I am against all forms of extremism. Since Trump took office, I realized that I am definitely a moderate, and I really feel like the majority of Americans fall into this group. But today, I want to specifically address the issues with the far-right.

The article that I referred to above referenced some quotes by Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell and Dave Daubenmire. I have to admit that I had never heard of Dave Daubenmire, so I looked him up and found his website. A former coach turned pastor, he is the founder of Pass the Salt Ministries. I decided to look through his blogs and videos and was dumbfounded by what I read. Below I give actual quotes from him followed by my responses:

“The virus known as multiculturalism is eating away in an attempt to exterminate the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon protestants).”

Here, it appears as if Mr. Daubenmire is promoting division, racism and hate. Clearly he doesn’t want different cultures to intermingle. Jesus does not teach us to do this. In fact, Jesus himself said: “Go therefore and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19

“We may pick apart Trump, but look at who hates him still. The left, Democrats, satanists.”

Again, he is promoting hate against a particular group of people. He cannot speak for the entire group. He is judging a large group of people based on the actions of a few. Jesus said: “Do not judge lest ye be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” Matthew 7:1-2

“As Christian men, we are called to take the Kingdom of God by force…so when we just sit back and pray, without action, what good is it?”

There are a couple of problems here. First, I know of nowhere in the Bible where it says that we, as Christians, need to take the Kingdom of God by force. In fact, by saying this, he is coming dangerously close to radical Christian extremism. The far right opposes radical Islamic extremism because suicide bombers will kill anyone who is not Muslim. But here, Daubenmire is promoting violence in order to convert people to Christianity. This is a dangerous line to cross and is not in line with what is in the Bible. Jesus said: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31 Note that he didn’t say to “love your Christian neighbor” or “love your Republican neighbor”. He said to love your neighbor. This means everyone…ALL people. The second problem is that he basically said that prayer doesn’t work! “…if we just sit back and pray, without action, what good is it?” He clearly doesn’t believe in the power of prayer. As it is written in the book of James: “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

“The only thing that is going to save Western civilization is a more aggressive Christianity.”

Again, Daubenmire is suggesting forceful conversion. This again is coming dangerously close to the line of Christian extremism.

“Trump has dealt a huge blow to the religion of environmentalism…He is taking care of American taxpayers, not environmental globalists. Not the religion of nature. He is taking care of people because PEOPLE are God’s greatest creation, not “Mother Earth”.

One verse in Revelation clearly discounts Daubenmire’s statement here: “The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Revelation 11:18  Everything here on earth is God’s creation. It all belongs to God and we have absolutely no right to destroy it.

“Those who care the most are harsh…when you love someone, you do the hard thing for them. That means telling them the truth, so they can correct their ways.”

If you read this statement alone, it doesn’t seem too bad. But taken in context with Daubenmire’s extreme views, it becomes problematic. When I read this, it immediately reminded me of an eerily similar statement that someone in the church of Scientology said to a member on Leah Remini’s show, Scientology and the Aftermath. I just recently told someone that the thinking of some of the people on the far-right seems almost cult-like. Then I read above statement which, sadly, solidified my concerns. Another example of a cult-like statement by Daubenmire is below:

“Wake up, get your kids out of public schools, and realize this battle is between God and Satan…”

One of the ways cults operate is through isolation. It is really important to remember this and be able to identify it when confronted with this kind of rhetoric.

“The tolerant crowd believes you should tolerate all beliefs, except if it’s a belief they don’t agree with. They only want tolerated what they believe.”

Um, yeah. All you have to do is go back and re-read all of Daubenmire’s statements above. Hypocrisy? Yes!

“Jesus is the least tolerant person to have ever lived.”

Nonsense. Let’s not forget about the woman who was about to be stoned for committing adultery: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7  Remember, Jesus interacted with the sinners. As he said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32 I would say that is pretty tolerant.

Now I am probably going to really step on some toes as I am going to address some of Franklin Graham’s comments.

Graham said that there’s “no question” God is supporting Trump.

Listen…God doesn’t support sin. Jesus never said it was OK to insult people on a daily basis by calling them names. Jesus never said that it was OK for Trump to lie. Jesus never said it was OK for Trump to say all those vulgar things about women. Jesus doesn’t condone sin! I’ve heard the argument that King David, although he sinned, was a “man after God’s own heart”. Yes, that is true, but some on the far-right seem to forget that David REPENTED. The concept of repentance is missing. God even used Paul for good after all the bad things that he did…but again, he REPENTED. Donald Trump continues to lie. He continues to call people names. Remember what Jesus said: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:19-20

“No president in my lifetime…can I remember…speaking about God as Donald Trump does.”

First, the only time I have ever heard Trump talk about God is when he is at some kind of Christian event. Second, speaking about God means nothing. Again, “you will know them by their fruits”. Also Jesus said the following: “So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:28

“I want the school boards of America in the hands of evangelical Christians within the next 4-6 years…And it can happen and that will have a huge impact because so many school districts are now controlled by wicked, evil people, and the gays and lesbians, and I keep bringing their name up, but they are at the forefront of this attack against Christianity in America.”

First of all, this kind of statement promotes hate. Some people will read this and think it is OK to go out and hurt gays and lesbians, just like what we saw in Orlando. That is NEVER OK, just like what happened yesterday in Virginia is NEVER OK. Second, when I read this statement by Franklin Graham, I thought about Ellen Degeneres. I watch her show because I find her incredibly funny. I thought about the tremendous amount of good that she does on her show. She gives people who are struggling so much help and makes them smile…each and every day. I do not understand how the far-right thinks that someone like this is evil. I don’t believe it is that simple. It’s not black and white. Remember, Jesus said: “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Jesus called us to love one another. We are not the judge. No one knows who is doomed to hell, not even Franklin Graham. He is just a man…he is not God. Neither is Dave Daubenmire. Jesus said that the two most important commandments are to love God with all your heart and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself…not just Christians, but everyone…even the sinners. It is not up for us to judge. Our understanding is limited…we do not see things as God sees them.

I hope that this blog will demonstrate that some on the far-right are spewing hate and are just as guilty as those on the far-left. This idea that the shooting was entirely based on anti-Trump rhetoric is simply not true. We have to remember that this guy does not represent all Democrats, and just as much hate is coming from the far-right Christians that are spreading “facts” about Christianity that are not biblically based and which borders on Christian extremism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You to Leah Remini for Exposing Scientology

A few days ago, I managed to find the time to watch Scientology and the Aftermath on A&E. Leah Remini, well-known for her role as Carrie on The King of Queens, hosts this amazing and enlightening show. I have never been in Scientology, but I had heard about it as many celebrities belong to this “church”. I was shocked and dismayed at the abuses that are going on in Scientology, and I would like to thank Leah from the bottom of my heart for exposing these abuses. It will not only help to shine a light on this group, but it may, as in my case, help people to understand how mental abuse occurs.

Let me explain further. Leah explains on the show that the “church” believes if anything bad happens in your life, it is your own fault. When she made this statement, it caught my attention. I turned off my computer and phone and began to pay attention. Why? Because there was someone who had been in my life who made this exact same comment to me many times. This person was a member of a narcissistic group of individuals, and those relationships ended years ago.

I was glued to the television from this point until the end (three hours of reruns of previously aired shows). Leah went on to explain that if a person says anything critical about the “church”, they are considered a suppressive person, or SP, and are considered an enemy of Scientology. At this point, the concept of “Fair Game” comes into play in which a scientologist may lie, destroy, sue, or trick the suppressive person in order to discredit them. Even though the “church” says that they canceled Fair Game years ago, Leah has shown on this show that it still exists.

My heart sunk. Not only is this just sickening for a so-called church to allow this kind of behavior, but I realized that is what I went through in dealing with narcissists in my past. I tried to address certain issues involving narcissistic people in my past, but each time I suggested they needed to take responsibility for some of their bad actions, I was blamed for causing all the problems. I was not allowed to say anything that could be viewed as critical of this group of people. When the relationships ended, I was lied to repeatedly. A friend actually told me that one of them said I was “crazy”. Sounds similar to what Leah had described. Even though I have been through counseling and knew that I was the victim, it really helped to hear it on this show. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I actually started to think that this narcissistic group might actually make good scientologists!

After watching the shows, I looked up some more information on Scientology in preparation for writing this blog. I learned that scientologists hate the psychiatry profession. This brings back memories of how Tom Cruise insulted Brooke Shields for having post-partum depression. Again, this made me think about my own past. With all of my health problems, I was told over and over again that I wouldn’t have these health issues if I just exercised. Again, I was made to feel that my health issues were my own fault which is entirely not true. Although some health issues (such as obesity) might be helped with exercise, mine were not (endometriosis and a broken back). I was also told that “counseling doesn’t work”. Eerily similar to Scientology.

Leah made one remark during the show that really hit me hard. She made it clear that if someone is a victim of Scientology or any other cult, know that YOU ARE A VICTIM. Bad things aren’t happening to you because it’s your fault. YOU ARE A VICTIM! This is soooo true! Thank you, Leah! This is going to help so many people, and you are reaching people who are not just a part of Scientology, but all those who have suffered from some form of mental abuse.

As I was doing research for this blog, I learned some of the basic beliefs in this “church”. I was raised as a Christian, and I am still a Christian. I will always be a Christian. I was stunned that there are some in Scientology that also claim to be a Christian. Let me be clear – Scientology flies in the face of Christianity. The two are diametrically opposed. Two opposite ends of the spectrum.

According to Hank Hanegraaff in The Bible Answer Book for Students, The Church of Scientology claims to be compatible with Christianity. He states that this is not true, and I completely agree. The concept of Fair Game is just one example. To teach that lying, destroying, tricking, etc. anyone who is critical of Scientology is opposite of Christianity. We are not allowed to lie, period, as is stated in one of the Ten Commandments. We are taught to “love your neighbor as yourself”, no matter who your neighbor is….scientologist or otherwise. Scientology pushes disconnection from anyone they consider a “suppressive person.” Basically, this teaches intolerance. Christianity teaches compassion.

As far as the belief that whatever happens to you is your own fault: Let’s think about this. Someone is born with a birth defect – is this their own fault? How is that possible? What about someone who loses their husband in a terrible car accident and finds herself unemployed with three children to support? What about a child that loses both parents in a plane crash? Is that child to blame?

Here are a few BIBLICAL verses that dispute that belief:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…But He [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”…That is why, for Christs’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10.

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” John 9:1-3

So, according to the Holy Bible, difficulties in this life are not necessarily the result of sin. Opposite than the teaching in Scientology.

I strongly believe that the evil in this world comes about through cunning deceit. Many times, these people/organizations attempt to fool people by appearing as though they are “good” people/organizations when behind the scenes they are planning their attack. Remember this biblical verse:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in SHEEP’S CLOTHING, but inwardly are ravening wolves. Matthew 7:15.

For scientologists and anyone else who may be subject of mental abuse, remember this biblical verse:

For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of PEACE, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:33

For those who have been deceived by these individuals, don’t beat yourself up. Just acknowledge it and move forward on the right path away from this evil behavior. Remember this biblical verse:

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24

I hope and pray that all those who have suffered through disconnection or other abuses of Scientology and anyone else who have endured mental abuse find comfort and peace. And again, thank you to Leah for bringing this issue to light!

**Bible verses taken from the King James Version.

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