There’s so much fake news of late, some folks have been moved to quip, “Maybe the Earth ain’t round after all. Maybe it’s flat.”
So I felt compelled to add my two cents of circular logic.
I believe that God has a plan for all of us.
I believe that plan involves me getting my own planet.
And I believe; that the current President of The Church, Thomas Monson, speaks directly to God.
I am A Mormon,
And, dang it! a Mormon just believes!
Q. Oh, where can I go to learn about God, religion, being humble and serving the poor? (Remember: When claiming he out-gave Barack Obama, Mitt Romney referred to giving money to his church as “charitable donations.”)
A. Take this road two miles, hang a left at the oak tree, and look for the most opulent building in town. You can’t miss it. It’s the one that makes the Tower of Babel seem like child’s play. We call it a Temple. Don’t ask us how it was funded, though. Our financial records are more private than your phone calls.
This weekend, Thomas Monson, the 16th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had a message for his faithful flock of 15 million worldwide via the LDS General Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve built 142 temples, he proudly said, the most recent one in Gilbert, Arizona, and there will be a modest 172 of them by the time all current construction projects are completed.
Another Mormon leader had a slightly different message for the record number of nearly 85,000 Mormon missionaries crawling around the surface of this planet. Jeffrey Holland, an official member of a select group known as the Quorum Of Twelve, called on missionaries to “defend” their faith.
Holland pointed out that missionaries should stay strong and defend their faith despite the inevitable personal abuse they will encounter. (Source: FOX News.)
Since I couldn’t make the conference this year, I guess you could call this an open letter of sorts containing an opposing point of view from the Abyss. Maybe my invitation got lost in the mail?
Tom’s Law #42
You never have to defend your religion to me if you don’t stick it in my face in the first place. In other words, please don’t put me on the receiving end of your missionary position.
Source: Tom’s Infinite Book of Infinite Laws
Tom’s Law #42
As a devout [insert religion here], whenever possible, I only do business with other [insert religion here]. That way, when things inevitably go to shit, I can viciously write about them on my public [insert religion here] blog and foment animosity and dissent within the entire congregation. Verily, I say unto you, halleluja!
—When [insert religion here] Attack, by Tom B. Taker
Let’s leave the specific religion out of it, too. I pledge not to go sectarian on their asses even when they deserve it.
So, this guy I know is quite the character. As someone who has suffered in his vicinity (we all have our crosses to bear) I do get the odd thrill of delight when someone meets him for the first time. I get to feel validated and vindicated in my feelings as my various hypotheses about him are confirmed by the newcomer going through the same process I did.
That’s when I realized there are actual laws at work that govern this reactionary process. I have dubbed this theory The Five Stages of Beef. It’s what happens when a person meets someone of humanoid condition Type A. Of course, we all know that the “A” stands for Asshole.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. When you meet this particular guy you are on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride of the Senses. As you meet him for the first time you’re in for a wallop.
Visually eclectic, he has the disheveled pointing-straight-up hair of three-year-old who just rolled out of bed. Your nose, however, will simultaneously pick up on the fact that he didn’t shower before putting on disheveled, dirty and wrinkled clothes. He’s also a man who also clings to fiercely held personal beliefs like anti-bacterial handsoap is stupid and deodorant is a marketing scheme. He’s not afraid to put those beliefs into action, either. You’ll get your smell-based verification of this as his body odor envelopes you.
This is when denial kicks in. Is this guy for real? Naw. It can’t be. This can’t be happening. Not to me.
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News of the godly keeps reaching these pious ears. I need to improve my shields. It’s not my fault, though. I can’t help it that they’re always up to something.
Yes, the culture war is on like Donkey Kong and going strong. Make no mistake about it. It is a real war. But what to do when the team with God on their side won’t even adhere to weak-ass standards that amount to a hill of beans, even when compared to the Geneva Convention? Remain resolute and stay strong. Remember: This too shall pass. There will come a day when differing beliefs are respected and we’ll all treat each other nicely. A day when we can all be united Americans. Until then, here’s some recent news.
Under U.S. law churches are prohibited against campaigning for political candidates. Those who hate unions might understand why. So what did Catholic bishops do in the run-up to election day? Campaign for Mitt Romney, of course. Although the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops might not have officially violated tax-laws some individual rogue bishops may have gone too far. Some observers and watchdog groups are saying actions by Catholic bishops during the election violated the church’s tax exempt status.
A law that says churches have to stay out of politics or risk losing their tax exempt status is a good idea. But who has one of the most powerful anti-abortion lobbies in the United States? You guessed it. The Catholic Church. And meanwhile, the Mormon church makes no bones about its desire to have a “seat” at the “policy making table.” It turns out that churches are just like everyone else: They want to shape the world into their own image.
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Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax return and the media went nuts.
Every angle got explored. The narratives were legion.
- Romney gave a “gift” the the government by overpaying on his taxes.
- Romney’s 2011 rate of making charitable donations is higher than Obama’s. 29.4% for Romney vs. 21.8% for Obama.
- Romney’s tax return was crafted to prove he always pays at least a 13% rate as he previously claimed.
- Romney could have given more to charity but it would have lowered his tax rate.
- Romney’s taxes prove he’s not fit to be president based on his own words.
These are interesting times.
And on every side of every single one of those points there are voices shouting that it proves something and other voices shouting that it proves the exact opposite.
It’s enough to make your head spin. Ah, spin. That word is also interesting.
I have a different sort of question about all of this, though: Where Mitt Romney is concerned, what kind of “charity” are we talking about?
An analysis (by Business Insider) shows in years 2009 and 2010 the “vast majority” (approx. 80 percent) of Romney’s charitable contributions were directed to the Mormon Church.
As always, where Romney is concerned, the financials get rather complicated. The donations take the form of tithes and other contributions, like stock donations.
Interestingly, though, if you set aside Romney’s contribution to his own church, suddenly Obama has the higher rate of charitable contributions. And that’s not exactly the same narrative they want to be sold. Factor in that wee little fact and suddenly Obama’s rate of charitable giving becomes four times higher than Romney’s.
So the question becomes: Is giving to your own church the same as giving to a “charity?”
Back in November 2006, Haggard was president of the National Association of Evangelicals and senior pastor of Colorado Springs’ New Life Church.
He lost those positions when a male prostitute claimed that he had known Haggard for three years as a drug user and sex-for-cash client. Once the story was public, Haggard admitted he was guilty of “sexual immorality.”
In 2007, Haggard underwent three-weeks of counseling, the goal of which was apparently to cure him of his homosexuality. He also received a severance package with the stipulation he leave the Colorado Springs area.
A year later Haggard sent out a fund-raising email prompting his former church to officially terminate his “restoration” process. (Pay attention. Asking for money seems to be a habit.)
His severance terms completed, Haggard then moved back to Colorado Springs.
What has he been up to since then?
Not too surprisingly, he incorporated the name “St. James Church” and started a new church with himself as the pastor. His inaugural church meeting was June 6, 2010, and was attended by 160 people “elbow-to-elbow” to listen to Haggard give his first sermon surrounded by bales of hay. (Folksy.) You can visit the church website to make a donation. The church website speaks of the Bible calling for tithes (10% donations of income) and he describes St. James Church as a “storehouse” for those funds.
Haggard is married to Gayle Haggard, who remains very much at his side. She is prominently featured on his personal and church websites. She wrote a book entitled Why I Stayed about her experiences as Haggard’s wife and the choices she made in regards to his sex scandal. In my opinion, if that book is more than one-word in length, it’s probably not very accurate.
Just in case you’ve been wondering what ever happened to Ted Haggard – now you know!