Tag Archives: Edward Said

Charisma Magazine, Islam, & Racist Op-Eds #CancelTheCrusades

Why Gary Cass Is Absolutely A Fascist

Trigger Warning: White Supremacy, Islamophobia, Orientalism

Recently as “not a reflection on the views of Charisma Media,” Charisma Magazine published an opinion piece entitled, Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic (do not link edition linked)  [update: Charisma has deleted the post, here is the Google cached: here and here is the original author’s post on his site here ] where the “Reverend” Gary Cass advocated for the complete elimination of all human beings who are from Arab countries (Cass’ phrasing, not mine).  Time to rebuke each argument Mr. Cass gives.

Opening Paragraph:

“I confess: I’m “Islamaphobic,” but for very good reasons.

My fear is not an irrational fear based on uniformed prejudice; rather it’s an historic, clear eyed, informed, rational fear. ISIS is doing to American journalists what every true follower of Muhammad wants to do to you and yours—subjugate or murder you. They believe they have been given a mandate by Allah (Satan) to dominate the world.

Fourteen years of history, both ancient and modern (i.e. the 1 to 1.5 million dead Armenians at the hands of the Muslim Turks in 1915) tell us that Muslims are deadly serious about their infernal goals. Now we get to watch their violent, demonic fanaticism on YouTube videos.

History shows that when Muslims get the power and means to subjugate and behead Christians, Jews, et al, they do it. Why? “

I confess: I have a phobia of Euro-Centric Christianity. My fear is not an irrational fear based on uninformed prejudice; rather it’s an historic, clear eyed, informed rational fear. Police Departments empowered by U.S. Congress are doing to black and Latino U.S. citizens what every true follower of White Supremacist Churchianity wants to do to you and yours- subjugate or murder you. They believe they have been given a mandate by White Supremacist Godhead to dominate the world.

Four hundred years of history, both ancient and modern (between 1885 and 1908, the Butcher of Congo, Leopold II of Belgium murdered an estimated 13 million Congolese persons) tell us that White Supremacist are deadly serious about their nefarious goals. Now we get to watch their violent, demonic rationalism on television.

History shows that as White Supremacists have remained in power and maintained the means to subjugate and murder People of Color, the poor, et, al., they do it. Why?

Next Paragraph:

“Conversion. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Muslims turn from Satan (Allah) to Christ? But, I agree with Phil Robertson: This is not biblically doable. Why? God has a plan and he revealed it at the birth of Ishmael, the father of the Arabs.

“The Angel of the Lord said … He [Ishmael] will be an ass of a man; His hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him” (Gen. 16:11-12). The Arab Muslims are God’s sworn enemies and are ordained by God to be against everyone.”

First of all, Cass is making a reality tv show star a biblical authority? I guess that’s what happens when any Christian celebrity can have devotional bibles made in their honor. Quoting other persons who are devoted to a White Supremacist God should come as no surprise. “Reverend” Cass insists that his racist eisegesis is the correct reading of Genesis 16. I beg to differ. First off, Cass is reading rather subjectively his racist views into the Bible. Rather than having Christ at the center, Cass has placed Europe as the locus of Scripture, and displaced actual biblical truth to the margins. In fact Ishmael really is not the focus of the conflict between Sarah and Abraham, rather it is the presence of Hagar. As I argued in my post Ishmael & Immigration: A Postcolonial reading of Genesis 16:

“First, let us start with Ishmael’s mother’s name: Hagar. Hagar resembles the Hebrew term hager, meaning “resident alien” “stranger” or “sojourner.” In the context of Genesis 15:13, whereby God promises Abraham’s offspring will be “ger” or aliens in a foreign land for 400 years is a reminder for the Jew in exile that part of their covenant with YHWH entails justice for the resident alien. Fast forward to Genesis 20 , and Abraham himself is considered a “ger” (20:1; 21:23; 21:34), and receives hospitality and compassion from Abimelech king of GERar. This treatment should be seen in stark contrast to Sarah’s banishment of Hagar and Ishmael. Finally, Clare Amos, whose article “Genesis” I am depending upon in the translation of the Hebrew noun “ger,” suggests that Genesis 16:12 is fraught with ambiguity, and that it really does not have to mean that Ishmael “would live at odds” with Isaac’s children. She prefers to hold this reading in tension with another possible translation that Ishmael would live “alongside his brothers.” This allows us to understand the image of Isaac and Ishmael burying Abraham in Genesis 25:9, in Hebron [the city where David begins his reign as king, btw], as a kind of closure. 

Cass’s Third Paragraph on Deport All Muslims Now? I recommend you go back and read my post linked on Genesis 16.

Cass’s last paragraph, his call for genocide reads:

The only thing that is biblical and that 1,400 years of history has shown to work is overwhelming Christian just war and overwhelming self defense. Christian Generals Charles Martel in 732 and Jon Sobieski in 1672 defeated Islamic Turks and their attempts to take the West. Who will God raise up to save us this time? Will God even intervene or turn us over to the Muslims for turning against Him?

Either way, we must be prepared for the increase of terror at home and abroad. This is not irrational, but the loving thing we must do for our children and neighbors. First trust in God, then obtain a gun(s), learn to shoot, teach your kids the Christian doctrines of just war and self defense, create small cells of family and friends that you can rely on if some thing catastrophic happens and civil society suddenly melts down.

Cass goes back and forth between using Arabs, Muslims, and Radical Islam interchangeably. One could call this lazy writing, but the author does not even care about distinctions at this point. So, I will call it what it is: racism. It is very important to note, as other have on Twitter, that what Cass is doing is not calling or practicing Just War/Self-defense. Just War is about having to maintain peace, not escalating violence. He asks, “Now the only question is how many more dead bodies will have to pile up at home and abroad before we crush the vicious seed of Ishmael in Jesus’ Name?” Cass is calling for the Final Solution for people based on their ethnicity and religious orientation. He is committing himself to the sin of Haman, the infamous Agagite and genocidal politician described in the book of Esther. The New Testament is clear: Christ has reconciled Jew and ALL Gentile nations, that EVERY tribe and nation will make up what Cass called “the indestructible Church”, and that it is the Triune God’s will for ALL persons to repent and be saved. May the Church raise up women and men in the spirit of Esther to resist and condemn voices such as those at DefendChristians.Org.

For other perspectives, read Fred Clark’s Charismanews.com goes full on Hutu radio and David Hayward’s Charisma News, Islamophobia, Jesus, and Guns

Science Fiction and Racial Justice: Olaf Stapledon's Secular Christology

“By simply ignoring the failures of his prophetic imagination, Clarke reminds me irresistibly of those Christians who have been convinced that the apocalypse was just around the corner (just as the gospels claim that Jesus promised some two millennia ago), despite the fact that this prophecy has been failing over and over again for centuries. The fact that technology has failed time and again to live up to its promises, like so many religious prophecies, that it has failed to bring about greater social and economic equity, something we were promised would happen with the arrival of the printing press, the steam engine, the railroad, electricity, the telegraph, photography, the cinema radio, television, the personal computer, and, most recently, the Internet (or Web 2.0, which was to save us – again – from the inequities of the earlier technologies), is in itself interesting.

What is more interesting, at least in the context of religious prophecy, is how immune this belief in technological salvation is to historical realities and the complexity of human culture.”
from Alan Smithee: The Failure of Scientific Prophecy

Science Fiction And Racial Justice Series so far:

Science Fiction and Racial Justice: An Introduction

Racial Justice and Science Fiction: Joss Whedon As Prison Abolitionist

Racial Justice and Science Fiction: C.S. Lewis As AntiColonial Subversive

C.S. Lewis wrote his science fiction novels in response to Wellstianity, or the religious philosophy of H.G. Wells, which was the deification of humanity through scientific progress; specifically the achievement of space travel would mean that humanity had attained ascendency into the realm of transcendence (Lewis’s interpretation). The author whose works infuriated Lewis so much that he felt like he needed to do science fiction was writer and philosopher Olaf Stapledon and his text, Last and First Men. By trade Stapledon was an ethicist and philosopher, even publishing a textbook on the subject. He was a committed pacifist, and we all know that C.S. Lewis despised pacifism, and even made lengthy (and severely flawed) cases against it [linked here]. So, the Irishman Lewis was already biased against Britishman Stapledon to begin with. Stapledon did serve with Quakers during the first World War, manning military hospitals, but Olaf did not have any religious commitments, really. He considered himself spiritual, and an agnostic.

The text I will be looking at from Stapledon is his profoundly prophetic, Last And First Men, a discourse on race, empire, and technological progress disguised as a science fiction novel. Lewis considered LAFM to be the Devil’s handiwork. If that were only so true, I would be wasting my time here, but Stapledon has a rather interesting Christology, born out of the particularity of his white British experience (which he is very open about). The premise from the first pages is that all of the world’s nations fail when they start to sin against Socrates and Christ (page 17). Socrates is the embodiment of dispassionate intelligence/intellectual integrity while Jesus of Nazareth personfies the integrity of the will, will-power, i.e., self-control. The Jews’ gift of the Decalogue provides humanity with the model of Hebrew worship, one that is self-oblivious and passionate, enabling human beings to “delight in actual human persons,” and living in unselfish love.

Stapledon goes on to satirize the European situation before World War I; replacing the historical German with Italy, and the real Britain with France (the party of peacemakers). The Germans Italians found a new national pride, but things erupted worldwide when a “French African soldier” had sexual relations with an Englishwoman (20). France, out of fear, becomes more and more militarize, with their citizens being unable to love their country dispassionately (sinning against Socrates). Britain responds with its own gathering of weapons, but cannot control itself (sinning against Christ). Stapledon in a not so subtle way is arguing that the racist empire building that lead up to World War One  were violations of Socrates’ aim of unbiased thinking and honesty of mind and speech, as well as Jesus’ aim of self-control (a New Testament theological virtue).

America in LAFM is the cult of the powerful individual, “increasingly hostile to critical intelligence” and whose very identity is shaped by the Civil War (41). The American business titan was a member of the Elect, and the ‘Parable of the Talents’ was made the cornerstone of education.  The Daughter of Man, a New Eve for a mechanized New Creation, consummates her relationship with the American dream, as the cross is refashioned into an aeroplane, a symbol of the new faith. The new American empire’s favorite ritual involves a dance, with a Negro athlete trying to out run a lynch mob. If he wins, he gets to live (66-67). How different is that from black males’ options of choosing either professional sports or prison today?

What Olaf Stapledon recognized was that Europeans’ blind faith in technological and human progress meant them remaining blind to histories of racial and economic oppression, as Smithee put it, an immunity to historical realities and the complexity of human cultures.  Would a contemporary Christology advocate obsessing over everything that Apple Computers showcases? Perhaps an adaptation of Stapledon’s Secular Christology would mean a prophetic criticism of all computer companies that abuse the rights of child-labor in the 2/3rd’s World, or a proposal for a dispassionate appropriation of SmartPhones and E-Readers may seem subversive in confronting neo-colonial economic empire, no?

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Ishmael & Immigration: A Postcolonial Reading of Genesis 16

Last week, I finished Edward Said’s Orientalism, and I could not help myself thinking about how the way Orientalism infects our reading of Scripture. One of the largely unchallenged biases we read into the story of Ishmael in Genesis 16 is our attitudes towards “the angry violent Arab” trope. I have heard dispensationalist sermons claiming that God’s promise to Hagar and for Ishmael is one in which the Arabs will grow numerous, but they will still be an enraged, uncontrollable group of people, since Ishmael is a “wild” man. This works well with war-mongering pre-millenials and their hunger for a new era of Crusades. However, nothing in the text says anything about the nature of the religions for Ishmael’s descendents. Islam. It is an unnceccesary yet convenient reading, especially in a post-9/11/01 world. Even the more liberal interpretations within Protestantism that may seem to favor interreligious dialogue, fall in line with Orientalism; the idea that Ishmael remains the timeless Arab goes unchecked. That is, until today.

The notion that a human being immutably represents his future progeny continues to be a problem in late modernity and Christianity; if you recall, in my post debunking the Curse of Ham, I rejected Canaan as being the essential black criminal male rapist, one of the many stereotypes that propped up African enslavement. It would only be just for me to start to dismantle our imperialist readings of Hagar & Ishmael.

So if Ishamel is not our Essential Oriental, are there any other more liberative readings of the text? I would say yes.

First, let us start with Ishmael’s mother’s name: Hagar. Hagar resembles the Hebrew term hager, meaning “resident alien” “stranger” or “sojourner.” In the context of Genesis 15:13, whereby God promises Abraham’s offspring will be “ger” or aliens in a foreign land for 400 years is a reminder for the Jew in exile that part of their covenant with YHWH entails justice for the resident alien. Fast forward to Genesis 20 , and Abraham himself is considered a “ger” (20:1; 21:23; 21:34), and receives hospitality and compassion from Abimelech king of GERar. This treatment should be seen in stark contrast to Sarah’s banishment of Hagar and Ishmael. Finally, Clare Amos, whose article “Genesis” I am depending upon in the translation of the Hebrew noun “ger,” suggests that Genesis 16:12 is fraught with ambiguity, and that it really does not have to mean that Ishmael “would live at odds” with Isaac’s children. She prefers to hold this reading in tension with another possible translation that Ishmael would live “alongside his brothers.” This allows us to understand the image of Isaac and Ishmael burying Abraham in Genesis 25:9, in Hebron [the city where David begins his reign as king, btw], as a kind of closure.

There is much to learn here for our 21st century approaches to immigration. Thanks to Celucien Joseph, I learned of Congressman Luis Gutierrez’s protest against the President’s immigration policy, and rightly so. While there are those on the Left worried about the Arizona S.B. 1070 law that was passed, hardly anyone speaks out against the President allowing over 1 million deportations, splitting up families, handing over children to the state. During African enslavement, separating families was the norm; I guess somethings never change. At least in the story of Hagar and Ishmael, they are kept together as a family. I believe that the best way forward, and the most pro-family position, is to aim for comprehensive immigration reform, one in which by law, legal authorities would not be allowed to take away parents from young children. Anti-Immigration, pro-deportation activists, while claiming they are for limited government, actually are supporting MORE power to the government. The small government and the more compassionate position is Comprehensive Immigration Reform, like the one groups such as Christians for CIR are promoting.

For more, please see the Global Bible Commentary, pages 1-16

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