Snarky Faith 1/31/17
A rundown of all you need to know about Christian hypocrisy in regards to Trump’s refugee ban. With theological hypocrisy wildly slapping about in a politically fueled haze, how people of faith should respond? We’ll delve into scripture for answers and fire a few warning shots at some of the culprits (*cough cough* Franklin Graham). Buckle your seat belts and crank up the hypocrisy… it’s going to be a fun ride. We’ve also got What’s Good? What’s Bad? chronicling the interweb’s best and worst of the week. Join us as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.
Tune in and come along for the ride…
Title: Crank Up the Hypocrisy
Episode: # 138
Program: Snarky Faith Radio
Host: Stuart Delony
Well, good afternoon, and welcome to another round of Snarky Faith Radio. I am your host, Stuart Delony. My, oh my. Oh, my. Oh, my. Oh, my. What an insane we week we have had. Yes, I am talking about all of the Trump craziness. Don’t you worry. We will be getting into that in a minute. Before that, we have “What’s good // What’s bad” of this last week. Just a reminder that all of the videos, all of the links that I’ll be talking about in the first segment that we have here, you can find them on our website, www.snarkyfaith.com. They’re there. They’re waiting for you. They’re saying, “Hey. I’m here. I’m waiting for you. Just click on me.” Okay. That was as good as I can do.
Yes, so “What’s good // What’s bad” from this last week, and we won’t comment on Trump just yet. Starting off with a little bit of the bad. Have you guys heard about this? Tom Weathersby. It sounds like such a regal name. No, Tom Weathersby is a Mississippi Republican serving in the Mississippi State House of Representatives. That’s right because all progressive things come out of Mississippi. [Sarcasm] I’ve been to Mississippi several times. I would say Mississippi and Arkansas are pretty much the armpit of the United States. You can feel free to argue with me about that. Are there any other worse armpits in the United States besides Mississippi and Arkansas? Email me at email@example.com. I’d love to talk about it.
Back to Tom Weathersby. Tom has introduced a bill in the Mississippi State House of Representatives. He’s introduced this bill that could become a law that would fine people for wearing saggy pants. For example, a style of pants, which hang so low that, one’s underwear may or may not be exposed. He commented this. This is quote, the good ol’ Weathersby. Personally, I like to see people dressed when they’re in public. I like to see people with their pants up. Let me say this again. Wait. Wait. I should do this for full effect because you’re hearing this in an articulate manner. Personally, like to see people dressed up when they’re in public, and like to see people with their pants up. [Spoken with Southern Accent] Well, thank you, Tom. I appreciate your preferences. For the rest of us that don’t have our preferences turned into potential laws, this is just insane.
His bill, here’s what would happen with it. It would make it unlawful for any person to wear pants, or shorts, or clothings, clothing bottoms—I like how I made clothings personal. No.—or clothing bottoms that would expose underwear or body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner. They’re actually trying to push forward a law that is involving saggy pants. Here’s the penalties. For the first offense, there’s a noncriminal citation warning. After that, the fines begin at $20 for the second offense. Then, run up to $100 by the sixth offense. Plus, if you make it to that on your little punch card, your sixth offense also can include psychological and social counseling by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Mental Health. Gee, thanks, Tom. I really appreciate you spending your hard earned time as an elected official bringing forth absolute nonsense and BS like this. [Sarcasm]
If you look around in your state, which most people do not want to look around in your state, Mississippi is like a third-world country. The top of your list of things that you need to start fixing about Mississippi—infrastructure? No. No. No. Education? No, forget that. No, it’s saggy pants. Thanks, Tom, for being the ass hat of the week from us. Geez. How do people do this? You just love how out of touch politicians can get.
Next, on the “What’s good // What’s bad.” Starbucks has announced that they’re planning to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years. That has led to the #boycottstarbucksmovement for those, presumably Trump supporters, that don’t like how Starbucks is speaking out about the atrocities that are happening in our country. I will note this. They are looking to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in 75 countries. Not per country, but across the 75 countries where they are doing business. Now, people are mad. People are calling for a boycott, most probably, people that don’t drink Starbucks or don’t have running water in their homes. [Sarcasm] Yeah, those people. They’re calling for a boycott of Starbucks because Starbucks is having a heart and showing a little bit of compassion. Yeah. How about #shutupaboutstarbucks? Geez.
Next, did you guys catch Stranger Things at the Stag Awards? At the Screen Actors Guild Awards, they announced that Stranger Things, the cast from that, won for Best Dramatic Ensemble, and our own, Chief Hopper, David Harbour, gave an absolutely powerful speech about the state of our country. It was passionate. It was beautiful. It said so many things that we all are feeling right now. Also on this (which, again, will be on our website), part of it, you have to watch it through twice. Watch it through, first of all, to just absorb what he’s saying, and being like, “Dang. Well done. Well done using your platform in a way that, hopefully, transforms a lot of the crap that we’re dealing with right now.” That’s the first listen through. The second listen through, just watch Winona Ryder in this. She is absolutely coked out of her mind or on some sort of magic mushroom because the—it is like she goes through every emotion in the playbook as he’s speaking. She does it in a way—and I don’t say people are coked-up lightly. She does it in a way that’s about a three-second delay on anything that he’s saying. She has this ridiculous look on her face. It’s amusing. It’s funny. I’m just glad that Winona Ryder is not my wife [laughter] or anybody in my life.
Next. When we’re talking about this, when we’re talking about all of the insanity that’s going on, isn’t it good to have a little bit of music, something to be able to listen to go, “Oh my gosh. I can unplug. I can just think, and contemplate, and get away from the insanity that is the headlines of real news (not fake news) that are going on.” I mean, good God. You would assume that half the headlines that we’re getting right now are fake news. In most cases, you would assume that they’re fake news from the Onion. Oh, no. They’re real every day. Thanks, Donald. Thanks for being our president. We so appreciate it. How soon is the impeachment going to come? [Sarcasm] Not soon enough.
Back to escapism. I love Ryan Adams. Many of you, either, don’t know Ryan Adams and should or already love him. Ryan Adams did a gig with the BBC where he played “Karma Police”, Radiohead’s “Karma Police”, as somewhat of a protest song. He plays it acoustically. It is beautiful. It is something to behold, and it is pure, great escapism. Turn off those headlines. Walk away from your device. Well, I guess you can’t walk away from your device and listen to it. Walk away from the news headlines of your device, and listen to it. It is great stuff.
Lastly, which I will only tease here because I will actually circle back to this at the end of the show. I, first of all, need to say this in “What’s good // What’s bad”. I’ll just go ahead and admit this. This is a confession. This is something I’m going to just lay out there for allof you. It may shock you. It may not. I would say that David Tennant is my favorite Doctor Who. What? What about Matt Smith? What about…? Fill in your blank. No. I’d always heard, as we entered into the Doctor Whovian universe about five or six years ago, that usually, your first doctor is your favorite doctor. That, actually, was not true for me. I started out with Christopher Eccleston. David Tennant, you captured my heart as the Doctor. You will always be my Doctor. That is not throwing shade on Matt Smith, but I will just tell you that he is the Doctor. He was actually on the BBC again this week giving his five reasons for why everything will be okay with the world today. I will give you that. I will actually give you that on here at the end of the show. Who doesn’t like to leave a show with all the good feelings of everything?
Oftentimes, when you listen to a show called Snarky Faith, it can be a lot of snark. It can be a lot of sarcasm. It can be a lot of tearing stuff down, and not always the most amount of, “Oh my gosh. I feel inspired. Oh my gosh. I can go on for another day in this insane world that we find ourselves in.” Welcome to bizarro world, folks. Welcome to bizarro world. You’ll get David Tennant at the end of the show. You’re going to have to stick around and listen to that, or be a jerk, and wait for the show to load, and go all the way to the last three minutes. Hey, the choice is yours. That’s the country we live in, or is it? Oh my gosh. Okay, so enough of that. Enough of “What’s good // What’s bad”.
Let’s just get into the what’s bad of the week, how we can decompose, decompress, deconstruct a bunch of other D words in the middle, probably a few of them being a d-bag describing our president, but yes, we have to talk about what’s happening with the refugee crisis, our borders, and the insanity of Donald Trump. Mix that all in—because, again, you’re listening to a show called Snarky Faith. Mix that all in with Christianity and American. You’ve got a recipe for a bunch of crazy crap with a bunch of crazy folks, and a bunch of crazy hypocrisy. I won’t use the word heretic because I’ve been called it too many times, and I’ve actually learned to find it endearing over time. That was Annie Lenox that said this in her song “Walking on Broken Glass.”
Now, every one of us was made to suffer. Every one of us was made to weep, but we’ve been hurting one another and now the pain has cut too deep. So take me from the wreckage. Save me from the blast. Lift me up, and take me back. Don’t let me keep on walking, walking on broken glass.
Ever since we’ve started this year, it feels like, at least here in America, that this is the year of us all walking on broken glass. It’s the year of us trying to learn how to survive in an environment that is toxic to us, to others. It’s something where we feel like we’ve gone into the upside world of Stranger Things or the bizarro world from the comic books. Things don’t make sense anymore. Guess what? I know this come as a shock to you. I know this will come as a surprise to you. Christian leaders are not making it any better. Are they offering us hope? No. Are they offering us a way out of where we are at? Absolutely not. Why would you expect them to? Yes, that’s me being very, very sarcastic.
When we begin to look at this refugee crisis, and the closing of our borders, and all of the insanity that’s going on, I want to start off this entire discussion that we’re going to have here by talking through just some simple scripture. This comes from—it’s a friend of mine, Joel Varner, a good, dear friend. He and I go way back. He posted this recently. His list goes like this. Here’s a short list of what the Bible has to say about how we are to treat foreigners and strangers as Christians. Again, many will claim we’re a Christian nation. I’m not backing that claim, but a lot of those in the religious right, a lot of those that helped to win the election for Trumpy-pants, they would say that they are Christians. They’re saying they were guided by God, but everything so far that we’ve done in this administration has been pretty much not that. Here’s some scripture just to be able to use as the ground floor, use as just the foundation for our conversation about why Christians are not handling this refugee crisis correctly.
This one comes from Exodus 23:9, “Do not oppress a foreigner. You, yourselves, know how it feels to be foreigners because you were foreigners in Egypt.”
Now, Leviticus 19:33-34, “Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land. Treat them as you would an Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
The next ones from Deuteronomy 10:18-19, “Make sure that the orphans and the widows are treated fairly. He loves the foreigners who live with our people and gives them food and clothes. So then, show love for those foreigners because you were once a foreigner in Egypt.”
Are we getting a theme here? Are we getting a theme here in the basis of faith here? I’ll continue on. The next on comes from Zechariah 7:9, “Long ago, I gave these commands to my people. You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live amongst you or anyone else in need.”
Then, Numbers 15:16, “I am the Lord, and I consider all people the same whether they are Israelites or foreigners living amongst you.”
Then, in the New Testament, Matthew 25:35. This is Jesus speaking, “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me in.”
Lastly, from Hebrews 13:2, “Remember to welcome strangers in your homes. There were some who did that and welcomed angels without knowing it. “
Laying this bedrock, laying out this entire ethic, which runs through the New and Old Testament, about caring for the foreigner because the Children of God through the course of history through the Bible, were foreigners. Israelites? Foreigners. Jesus was also a refugee. Knowing all of these things, why aren’t Christians standing for this? Why aren’t Christians out in the streets calling out our president? Why aren’t Christians, the one that voted for our orange Oompa Loompa, out picketing, and saying, “What are you doing to these refugees?” That is a huge problem in American Christianity today.
In many ways, American Christianity has become an enterprise. It’s an enterprise in how to make money, and how to make a name for yourself. You see megachurches rise, and get big, and get powerful. You see them become these mouthpieces for their pastors who use them to parley into book deals, and speaking deals, and essentially, get-rich deals for them. You also see politicians use the name of Christ and use the Christians to get elected. The problem is when we see many of these churches out there today, when we see many of these politicians that proclaim Christ, why do none of them look and act like Christ? They look and act like the empire that Christ was speaking against. Christ came at a time where he was under the shadow of the Roman Empire. He was a marginalized people group that was not Roman. If you weren’t Roman, you weren’t anything back then. Oh, how far we’ve come today. It’s just interesting how history tends to repeat itself.
Let’s talk about the protesting. Let’s talk about the outrage that is happening in our country. Last weekend, actually, two weekends ago, we saw the Women’s March on Washington. We saw people coming out with a cause, with a desire, with an unrest of the way things were going on and wanting to rectify that. So of course, we have to have a Christian alternative [sarcasm], meaning the March for Life that also happened this week. I’m not even talking about the protesting that was going on in the airports all weekend. We’ll get to more of that, but no, let’s talk about this March for Life that was going on this last week where you saw Christians by the hundreds out there in force.
My biggest question for that group out there—I’m not saying that their desire is bad or what they are doing is completely bad. There is some bad. Actually, never mind. There is afair amount of bad in it. The question I kept having and I saw this in a post where they were trying to point out the hypocrisy in these pro-life movements that are happening where fertilized eggs for us—here’s the math I’ll give you. Fertilized eggs equal people, and we need to protect them. Refugees, somehow, aren’t people that need to be protected even though we just went through a bunch of scripture in the Bible. We have a bunch of Christians out here that care more about certain issues, and raising their flags for these cultural norms that they are trying to fight against, but they’re quite silent when it comes to worrying and caring about the refugee, the people that are hurting in our country right now, the people that are trying to escape from persecution to begin a new life. It’s not like our country was founded by a bunch of immigrants anyways, right? [Sarcasm]
It really makes no sense that we’re having this whole refugee crisis because we were all instantly since America was ordained by God, we somehow sprouted up from the soil as fully-formed Americans, and that was the founding this Christian nation, this great wonderful Christian nation that, as we say Christian nation, has never done anything against people groups, but we won’t mention the Native Americans, African Americans, the Japanese Americans in the internment camps. [Sarcasm] No, no. We won’t mention that, but we’re totally a Christian nation founded on Christian principles of I want to get mine and in order to do that, I don’t care if you get yours. [Sarcasm] That’s probably the least succinct way to say Manifest Destiny or the American Dream.
Let’s being to hop in on this religious hypocrisy surrounding refugees, and politicians, and Christianity in America. Now, we’ve talked about the rise of the religious right in the past on this show. You can go to our website www.snarkyfaith.com, and listen to that. I won’t get into how we got here. I just want to talk about the hypocrisy of where we are. To frame the conversation, I want to go through two different articles by Carol—I’m just going to try to get her last name. Carol, I apologize if I’m wrong with this—Kuruvilla. I’m not quite sure, and in advance, Carol, I’m apologizing. She’s the Associate Religion Editor at Huffington Post and has been writing some fairly scathing pieces on the religious right lately. I would be open to pick those things apart if everything’s that she’s saying, scathing wise, wasn’t 100 percent true. She begins to talk about this. Again, we’re framing this through the lens of the refugee ban that is going on in the country that, good ol’ Donald, signed on Friday. This is an Executive Order that he slipped in on Friday on (did you guys check this?) the Holocaust Remembrance Day, no less. Yes, he slipped this in Friday because Donald likes to sign things, and then show people what he signed because he thinks that’s all you have to do as president. This went into effect on Friday, and then chaos happened afterwards.
When we begin to talk through this in the lens of looking at Christianity and faith, we have to say that there’s a fair amount of hypocrisy happening within Christian leaders especially regarding this issue. We’ve already gone through this whole biblical mandate and command to welcome, clothe, and feed the stranger. First of all, that should be the drop-the-mic moment for Christians, just by and large. These are commands that the God of the Old Testament, that Jesus in the New Testament gives us. Right. We are told we are supposed to do this. When Jesus is asked about what is the greatest of the commandments, and he says it’s, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and that we are called to love our neighbor as our self.” These are pretty clear tenants of Christianity that have been ignored for a long time. What I want to say in the midst of this is that if you take these out or if you ignore these, what do you have left of Christianity besides some sort of a multilevel marketing scheme to get you into heaven. When you begin to look through this, this idea of clothing, and welcoming, and feeding the stranger, the way people have justified this, oh, this applies to churches, and to individuals like the government. Wait. Wait. Wait. We’re going to cry out separation of church and state here when it’s convenient to us, but during the election process, you have Donald Trump getting his own evangelical think tank of small minded thinkers and money grubbers to come together to advise him on all things Christianity, their version of Christianity.
We see this. We see candidates schlocking their faith to get votes. Because why? Because they see it works. They’ll quote the Bible. They’ll quote Two Corinthians if you’re orange and running for president. We see all of this, and then we see this command that God is telling us; to care for the stranger, to care for the immigrant, to care for these people. It is one of the biggest copouts that I can think about in modern day Christianity is the fact that we ignore this because we like to stand behind the separation of church and state. That’s the government. The government is separate from the church. Yes, I know that government is separate from the church. Why do those getting into government use the church to get into government? That’s another show entirely.
What we have here from Ms. Kuruvilla—I will stop saying her name. We’ll just call her Carol from now on. [Laughter] I’ll just quote this directly. She says:
In essence, for these evangelicals, their traditional Christian values should have an impact on how the president makes decisions about abortion and same-sex marriage, but on the matter of refugees fleeing war, it’s perfectly fine for the president to turn his face away from suffering because safety comes before being a good Samaritan to those in need.
Let that just sink in. We have our Christian right. We have our Christian people that are pushing stuff over social media and Facebook that are going out, and picketing, and boycotting Starbucks, for example. We have this group of people that I know it’s easy to dismiss them, but they were formidable enough to be able to elect our Oompa Loompa president. Right? We see that these white evangelicals, they have an overwhelming Trump [laughter], they have an overwhelming support for Trump, not they have an overwhelming trump card. It just happens to be Trump. They were some of the ones that helped to put this clown in the White House. At the same time, they would tell you that they have a high regard for the Bible saying that it is the inerrant Word of God, and it is our absolute source of moral authority. But, when we begin to get into this stuff, the nitty-gritty stuff, the stuff that makes us feel a little uncomfortable and a little unsafe—like immigrants because we don’t know their story. We don’t know what they have been through. We haven’t found them on Tinder or Grinder. We don’t know these people. We don’t know them. This is a human nature thing. The unknown equals fear, equals something that we should throw shade on or we should be suspicious of. We do that.
This reminds of one of those things that you hear about in Christianity where people say one of the reasons that people are leaving the church is because people like Jesus, they just don’t like church. Like Gandhi put it, “I like your Christ, but I see very little of Him in His followers or his Christians.” This actually feels like the reverse of all of those statements that we’ve heard before. If feels like Christians are now saying that I like the church, I just don’t like this Jesus. As long as He saves us from hell, we’re cool with him. All of this stuff he told us to do, all like the social justice-tinged things that Jesus called for us as Christians to do, all of the things that were trying to flip worldly powers on their ear, yeah, those things. Nah, let’s not too much about those things. [Sarcasm]
We see Trump, goes and signs the Executive Order on Friday for new vetting measurements because he wants to keep the “radical Islamic terrorist” out of our country. Now, we have, from seven countries, a ban on refugees coming in, which is shameful in the least, especially for a person that at least likes to call himself and parade around as a Christian when it benefits him. I’m not saying that this is all dire in American Christianity because when we begin to see agencies like World Relief calling these moves very alarming. The thing that begins to get scarier and scarier is when you get to the think tank. When I’m talking about tanks, I’m talking about the shallow tanks. It’s the shallow end. It’s those who don’t think too deeply. Usually, when you hear think tank, you think about all of these diverse minds, these heavily educated ones that think deeply and think outside the borders to be able to have something happen. No, but when you get to the Christian think tank—which again, is like the baby pool of think tanks. We all know that the baby pool is really just full of baby piss.
In this article that Carol goes through and begins to interview different pastors and different thought people within this whole religious-right community to be able to ask them what are the answers? What should we be doing? Is this right? Is this wrong? All of these kinds of things. Let’s see. This is Dr. Robert Jeffress who is the Senior Pastor from First Baptist Church of Dallas, who’s a big Trump supporter. He said this, and I’m going to quote. He said, “President Trump’s actions are in keeping with the biblical mandate for government to protect its citizens. Now, while scripture commands individual Christians and churches to show mercy to those in need, the Bible never calls on the government to act as a good Samaritan.” Really? That’s one of the biggest copouts I’ve ever heard. That, oh, if you’re an individual, you can be a good Samaritan, but if you’re a person that is elected to office who’s been riding on the coattails of the religious right in our country, and saying that I will stand up for the Bible. I love the Bible. It’s the second greatest book that is out there, second only to Art of the Deal. If you do all of this, and talk about your faith, and use this as a platform to be able to get in, and then abandon it all, it is just a load of several things that I actually can’t say on the air right now.
No. As he even says this, the Bible never calls on the government to act as a good Samaritan. Is he also saying that any kid of a prominent evangelist, who happens to run an organization that may or may not be named after the parable of the Good Samaritan, and such organization that may or may not be called Samaritan’s Purse (which I’m really talking about Franklin Graham here), who runs a health and an aid organization to areas in the world that are hurting. It really seems like the Franklin Graham’s (which we will get back to on the second half of the show) that we will help you as long as you don’t live close to us. We will help you as long as you don’t make us feel uncomfortable.
Now, going through this article too, we hit on Dr. Ronnie Floyd. He’s a Senior Pastor of Arkansas Cross Church, who is actually part of the Evangelical Advisory Committee for Donald. He says this:
Our government’s first job is to protect the people, and the church’s first job is to serve the people. Our government and many churches will continue our extensive efforts to serve the vulnerable here and abroad regardless of what government policy is.
Again, it’s what we would say is a copout. He finishes up by saying, “We don’t advise the government on questions of national security, and they don’t advise us on who and how to serve people.” I know he saying this that the government does its thing, and we do our thing, and we don’t ask for advice on either of these, but he’s part of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Committee. If you’re on the president’s advisory committee, wouldn’t you assume that you’re doing some advising? This isn’t just a networking thing, like, oh gosh, we can network with so many great other pastors on this committee. [Sarcasm] No. No. It’s an advisory committee. The assumption with that is that you are going to advise a president who happens to be elected. This just gets me over and over just the copouts that are happening. I understand about the separation of church and state. I understand that, yes, we do not have a theocracy. We do not have people that are running the government under God’s will even though they tell us they’re going to do that as they’re going to be elected. This is this grand amazing hypocrisy to this tragedy that is happening on our borders right now. These pastors that have the ear, the orange ear, of our president are not speaking into to this. For that, I will say shame on you!
Then, we get to our buddy, Franklin Graham, where he had said, “Well, this is not a Bible command for the country to let everyone who wants to come. This isn’t a Bible issue.” He also stood up and praised the president. He prayed over the president at the inauguration. This is a total sham. Here’s what begins to get me about all of this is that you have folks that will have an ethic for your life that only fits in these blocks. Then, you have a separate ethic that only fits into these blocks. The whole idea of Christianity is that we’re called to have a faith that gives us a lens to look at everything in the world. It’s not a pick and choose thing. This isn’t something to where, oh, I will be a good Samaritan today because I feel like it, or I will go and help out at the homeless soup kitchen around the holidays because I want a warm and fuzzy feeling. No! This is something that’s supposed to call us. Good God, I would hope that the leaders, these Christian leaders that have a platform, that this would something that would affect everything that we do as a faith. This is a huge faith issue, and I’m not even getting into the legal stuff that Trump is going to get himself into (hopefully impeachment) that this is going to create within the federal courts. No, I am only talking about this through the lens of people that profess to say that they follow after Jesus that we can, somehow, turn a blind eye to these direct commands for how we are supposed to act as a people.
Here’s the answer to this—actually, it’s not the answer. Here’s the scary part to this. See LifeWay, which is a very big Christian book chain out there. By no means is this an endorsement of LifeWay. It is a very douchey venture that I will leave, again, for another episode. LifeWay was doing research. I know. Christians and research, and science, and all that kind of stuff, it seems like an oxymoron. No, you actually have legitimate groups like the Pew report and LifeWay. They will do what they’re supposed to do when it comes to research. Last year, they found that a majority of Protestant pastors, majority being 86 percent, came to an agreement (they agreed) that Christians have a responsibility to care for refugees and foreigners. At the same time, this is the same thing that they were polling for, also found from these pastors that 44 percent of these pastors’ churches had a sense of fear about refugees coming into the United States. How often do think this 86 percent of Protestant pastors—let’s just go ahead and say 86 percent of the pastors agreed that we need to care for the foreigner, so of all the pastors that they’re polling in this (close to half) said that their church fears the foreigner. I will wager and I don’t always wager things, but I will wager that these pastors who have this feeling that this situation with the refugees is wrong are not preaching this in their churches. Do you know why? Are they not preaching this because it’s not in the Bible? Well, no, we’ve already established that. Are they not preaching this because they don’t feel like it’s an issue? No, we’ve already established that in how they were polled. They will not preach this because they are worried about their jobs. They are worried about doing the right thing because they want to continue to have a paycheck regardless of the hypocrisy that is going on in their own churches. Any time you have churches or Christian leaders that are pandering to their followers instead of speaking out and doing what’s right, you have a recipe for disaster.
Later on in the article, she talks to Katelyn Beaty who is the Editor At Large for Christianity Today. Again, Christianity Today is not the most progressive bastion of Christian thought out there. Katelyn had this to say. She said, “I believe our nation will be judged and remembered for how we treated these neighbors.” The funny thing is, Christians, we have spent so much time worrying about things like which bathroom are people peeing in, or should women have the right to choose what to do with their bodies? We can get all wrapped up in that. When it comes to these issues, the sad thing is the vast majority of Christianity in America is silent about what’s happening. I just want to circle back to that statement that Jesus said that we’re to love the Lord our God, and love the neighbor as our self. When you read that scripture, I think it’s easy for us to think, “My neighbor. That’s the guy who lives next door to me,” because we live in our own insulated little bubbles where we just don’t care about those that are not like us. If you go back to the scripture, if you go back to the original context of that, your neighbor is anyone that is not you. It could be your enemy. It could be your physical neighbor, but it’s someone that’s not you, that’s not necessarily in your tribe. It’s those that, oftentimes, that we can find hard to love.
Now, to the second article from Carol Kuruvilla. This one is going to center around our friend, Franklin Graham. Now first and foremost, I’ll just let this out. My opinion on this topic—because, of course, you haven’t been listening to me for the past 40 minutes and not gotten my opinion. [Sarcasm] I will just go ahead and say this and hopefully, remember to bleep it out as I edit the show. Fuck Franklin Graham. You have this guy that was raised by one of the most, if not the most, famous evangelist in modern time, Billy Graham. What happened to this douche bag? I mean, seriously dude. You run a humanitarian organization. One of the problems with your humanitarian organization is, I think, that they want to make sure that they convert people more than they actually want to help people. That’s been a problem of Christianity for probably the past 1500 years. Going on to their website for Samaritan’s Purse—remember. We mentioned earlier. The Good Samaritan? Franklin names his organization, the Samaritan’s Purse, after that same idea of helping someone who is different from you. Here’s how they lay this out on their website what they’re about. Okay. This is from the Samaritan’s Purse website. It says this:
The story of the Good Samaritan gives a clear picture of God’s desire for us to help those in desperate need wherever we may find them. After describing how the Samaritan rescued the hurting man whom others have passed by, Jesus told his hearers to go and do likewise. For over 40 years, Samaritan’s Purse has done our utmost to follow God’s command by going to aid the world’s poor, sick, and suffering. We are an effective means for reaching hurting people in countries around the world with food, medicine, and other assistance in the name of Jesus Christ. This, in turn, earns us a hearing for the Gospel, the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Now, again, what the hell? What the hell? It’s the weirdest thing to be able to hear somebody say the right thing, and then, out of the other corner of his mouth, go and do the exact opposite. How do you justify this? If any of you out there who are listening that donate to Samaritan’s Purse—and I don’t usually do this, but I’m a little bit pissed. Stop giving to this organization. Stop because your money is funding this angry, xenophobic bigot to go out there and continue his own warped view of what Christ’s command was. We have Franklin Graham when asked on this whole issue of the refugee crisis, dismissing it saying this is not a Bible issue. Well, dude, you lead a humanitarian organization that provides relief to victims of war, and poverty, and persecution all over the world. That’s what your organization does. When those people that hurting from war-torn countries, once it comes into your backyard you’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m totally fine with helping you when you’re in your own stinky, smelly, bomb-riddled country, but mine, I like my neighbors. I like the way it is. I may be afraid of people that may break into my house. These people, we don’t know what they’re about. Whatever.” I can totally be Jesus to the world as long as it’s not in my own country. Well done, Franklin Graham, and I mean that with the thickest sarcasm that I can throw out.
When he was interviewed by the Huffington Post, he told this. He said:
It’s not a biblical command for the country to let everyone who wants in to come. That’s not a Bible issue. We want to love people. We want to be kind to people. We want to be considerate, but we have a country, and a country should have order. There are always laws that relate to immigration, and I think we should follow those laws because of the dangers we see today in this world. We need to be very careful.
Those are coated words. Those are coated words for fear mongering. I believe the religious right has been able to keep their base for the longest time by fear mongering. Fear mongering is what got Trump elected. In the whole process of fear mongering, you have a scapegoat. You blame them on everything that’s going on. It has nothing to do with personal responsibility. When you begin to say this—and I know that some people have heard about this. Like online, they’re speaking out against, well, we just don’t want to let everybody in, right, as if we don’t already have a vetting process.
I found this. This was on the whitehouse.gov until Trump got in. They had listed out, here’s the vetting process, the screening process for refugees to enter the United States. It’s extremely complicated. I’m just going to give you a broad overview. You can look this up. You should go online and look up what is the vetting process for refugee entry into the United States. You start by identifying yourself to a U.N. refugee agency. This agency collects your identifying documents, performs the initial assessment, which is bio-data, which could be your name, your birthday, address, date of birth. They do iris scans, so they’re scanning your iris. They do interviews to confirm refugee status and the need for resettlement.
Then, that moves to applicants, are received by federally funded resettlement support center. This is the next step, which again, collects the identifying documents, creates an application file, compiles information to conduct biographic security checks. Then, they start doing biographic security checks. They start going through all of this. These biographic security checks go through the U.S. security agencies, which is the Intelligence Agency, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department. They look for stuff, information, that the individual may be a security risk, connections to bad, known folks in those areas, and outstanding warrants for criminal violations. You’ve already gone through that.
Then, the Department of Homeland Security does an interview. They conduct and interview in their offices by trained interviewers. They fingerprint the folks. They have biometric checks on them. They re-interview them again. Then, it moves to more biometric security checks where, again, fingerprints are taken. They’re screened against the FBI’s biometric database. The fingerprints are, also, screened against the Department of Homeland Security’s biometric database. The fingerprints are, also, scanned against the U.S. Department of Defense’s biometric database. If they’ve made it to this point with no security concerns at all, which could be paperwork. It could be legitimate security concerns, or it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Then, you move towards medical checks where they do a full medical screening, cultural orientations, and assignments to domestic resettlement locations, so you’re going through more of this. Prior to the entry into the United States, they’re subject to screenings from U.S. customs and border patrol, and the TSA screens them as well. Then, all refugees are required to apply for a Green Card within a year from their arrival, which triggers another set of security protocols within the U.S. government.
Okay. All of this, we’re assuming, happens overnight. No, it doesn’t. This thing can take up to two years to do that. All of this BS that we are throwing out there, all of this BS that we are using and saying that, oh, this about keeping us safe, this is about keeping us in order. It is complete crap. We have systems in place to do that. They’re extensive systems. If you have issues with breakdowns in those systems, then, guess what? It’s not the refugees’ fault. It’s our government agency’s fault at those respective agencies. We go back to these folks like Franklin Graham that like to say they’re doing the work of Christ, but they’re really not doing that. There is just so much hypocrisy as we see what is happening in our country today. I would encourage you to get well informed and get out there to protest, to volunteer, to invest deeply in the areas where our country is broken and hurting.
Lastly, I will leave you with this because I promised a little bit of David Tennant. He was on recently on a BBC show where someone had asked him to come up and tell us why it’s all going to be okay. There is nothing better than getting a reassurance from David Tennant that the world is going to be okay. After all, he’s the Doctor, and the Doctor knows what’s going on. I’ll leave you with that.
Just a reminder that as we end this broadcast, you can always catch us on podcast at www.snarkyfaith.com. If you have questions or things you want to comment, you just go to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send it to me. I would love to hear about it. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Just look up Snarky Faith. That’s it. I thank you for being a part of this. I thank you for being a part of this movement, a part of this show, a part of this listenership. Without you guys, nothing is possible. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. I’ll be back again next week.
[Begin Audio Clip of David Tennant]
It’s all gonna be okay. Trust me. I’m a Doctor [audience applauds], but it’s up to us to make it okay. It’s time to be positively rebellious and rebelliously positive as long as we stand up for what we believe in. Don’t give in to anger or violence. Look out for the little guy. Keep an eye on the big guys. Refuse to keep our mouth shut. Just generally try not to be dicks. Every little thing is gonna be alright.
[End Audio Clip]
Transcribed by Miriam Delony