Browsing Archives for April 2010

Over the history of her blog, Ree Drummond has channelled a lot of different women.  Far more than your average Christian homeschooler channels. Way more.

No.

Waaaaaaaaaay more.

Are Christian homeschoolers even allowed to channel people? Isn’t that sort of the same thing as practicing witchcraft?  And doesn’t the bible STRICTLY FORBID witchcraft? What? Does she let her kids read Harry Potter books too?

Strangely, the famous women that Ree claims to channel –  right on the sidebar of her blog – have mysteriously changed over time. When I first started to read PW’s blog, it read like this…

I’m a desperate housewife. I live in the country. I channel Scarlett O’Hara, Ethel Merman, and Sylvia Plath. Welcome to my Frontier!

This stellar combination of retro famous people gave her the appearance of being a blend of spoiled southern girl, broadway musical throwback and edgy artistic, poet. Plus it alluded to the hit show Desperate Housewives making Ree seem super hip and trendy at the same time! With those four simple lines, she sent out intoxicating pheremones to all sorts of people.

Scarlett – For the romantics.

Sylvia – For the well read.

Ethel – So that she can continue to beat that Ethel Merman imitation into the ground. Because imitating Ethel Merman is so unique and interesting!  Is there anyone on the face of the earth that can’t imitate Ethel Merman?

I think not.

Still, she has something for everyone in those four simple sentences.  It’s easily the best writing she has ever done.

But like all great writers (ahem) Ree was not satisfied with her original ‘blogger, sidebar, bio thingy’, so she changed it.

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She dropped Scarlett and Ethel and added Lucille Ball and at the same time she took to calling herself a ‘new breed of Pioneer Woman’.

I am pretty sure that ‘new breed’ can be translated to mean ‘economically blessed’.  Here is how she tweaked the new version…

I’m a desperate housewife. I live in the country. I channel Lucille Ball and Sylvia Plath. I’m the new breed of Pioneer Woman. Welcome to my Frontier.


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Time passed.  And for some reason she felt the need to change it up again.  She decided to bring back Ethel and put an end to all that crazy ‘new breeding’ that was going on. The next version read like this….

I’m a desperate housewife. I live in the country. I channel Lucille Ball, Sylvia Plath, and Ethel Merman. Welcome to my frontier!”

As you can see, she replaced Scarlett with Lucille  Evidently, Ree must think that a 1950s goofball housewife is more palatable to her readers than the spoiled southern belle image of Scarlett O’Hara. Then again, perhaps referring to Scarlett was just a bit too revealing?  But then Ree made one more significant and revealing change….

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She dropped Sylvia Plath.

Ree’s sidebar currently reads like this…

My name is Ree.  I’m a desperate housewife.  I live in the country.  I channel Lucille Ball and Ethel Merman. Welcome to my frontier.

So what happened to Sylvia?

Hmmmmmm….

Let’s think about this…

What does Sylvia Plath represent?

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She battled with depression most of her life.

She divorced her husband because of his infidelity.

She spent time in a a psych ward.

She wrote brilliant and disturbing poetry and an American classic called The Bell Jar that closely paralleled Plath’s own life.

And then she killed herself by sticking her head into a gas oven while her children slept in the adjacent room.

It’s not too hard to see why Ree would take Sylvia Plath off her sidebar bio.  I am sure that as her audience has listed more and more to the far, far right, she cuts, trims and pads her image to match the tastes of her readers.

Not that Ree Drummond ever truly channelled Sylvia Plath.

But sometimes all you need to hook someone.

Is to tell them what you want them to think.

And then take lots of pictures with fuzzy backgrounds

And digitally photo-shop your children to glossy blue-eyed perfection.

Oh!

And conspicuous consumption also makes especially American readers drool sideways.

Show us some more of your fancy stuff Ree!

Because Gaw!

We never get enough of it!

She wanted me to pass it along…

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0 seconds with God…

For
the next 60 seconds, set aside whatever
you’re doing and take this opportunity! Let’s see if Satan
can stop this.

THE
(SCIENTIFIC) DEATH OF JESUS

At the age of 33,
Jesus was condemned to the death penalty.

At the time
crucifixion was the “worst” death. Only the worst
criminals condemned to be crucified. Yet it was
even more dreadful for Jesus, unlike
other criminals condemned to death by
crucifixion Jesus was to be nailed to the
cross by His hands and feet.


Each nail
was 6 to 8 inches long.

The nails
were driven into His wrist. Not
into His palms as is commonly
portrayed. There’s a tendon in the wrist that
extends to the shoulder. The Roman guards knew
that when the nails were being hammered into the
wrist that tendon would tare and
brake, forcing Jesus to use His back
muscles to support himself so that He could
breath.

Both of His feet
were nailed together. Thus He was forced to
support Himself on the single nail that
impaled His feet to the cross. Jesus could
not support himself with His legs because of the pain
so He was forced to alternate between arching His
back then using his legs just to continue to
breath. Imagine the struggle, the pain, the
suffering, the courage.


Jesus endured this
reality for over 3 hours.

Yes,
over 3 hours! Can you imagine this kind of
suffering? A few minutes before He died,
Jesus stopped bleeding. He was simply pouring water
from his wounds.

From common images
we see wounds to His hands and feet and even the spear wound
to His side… But do we realize His wounds
were actually made in his body. A hammer
driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped
and an even large nail hammered through the arches, then a
Roman guard piercing His side with a spear. But
before the nails and the spear Jesus was whipped and
beaten. The whipping was so severe that it tore the
flesh from His body. The beating so horrific that His
face was torn and his beard ripped from His face. The
crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp. Most men
would not have survived this torture.
He had no more blood
to bleed out, only water poured from His
wounds. The
human adult body contains about 3.5 liters
(just less than a gallon) of blood.

Jesus poured all 3..5
liters of his blood; He had three nails hammered into His
members; a crown of thorns on His head and, beyond
that, a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into His
chest..

All these without
mentioning the humiliation He passed after carrying His own
cross for almost 2 kilometers, while the crowd spat in his
face and threw stones (the cross was almost 30 kg of weight,
only for its higher part, where His hands were
nailed).

Jesus had
to endure this experience, so that you can have free
access to God.

So that your sins
could be “washed” away. All of them, with no exception!
Don’t ignore this situation.

JESUS
CHRIST DIED FOR YOU!

For you, who now
read this e-mail. Do not believe that He only died for
others (those who go to church or for pastors, bishops,
etc).


He died for you! It
is easy to pass jokes or foolish photos by e-mail, but
when it comes to God, sometimes you feel ashamed to forward
to others because you are worried of what they may think
about you.

Accept
the reality, the truth that JESUS IS THE ONLY SALVATION FOR
THE WORLD.

God
has plans for you, show all your friends what He experienced
to save you. Now think about this! May God bless your
life!

60
seconds with God…

For the next 60
seconds, set aside what you’re doing and take
this opportunity! Let’s see if Satan can stop
this.

All you have to do
is:

1. Simply
pray for the person who sent this message to
you:

2.Then, send this
message to 10 people.. More
if you wish.

3.10 people will
pray for you and you will make that many people pray to God
for other people.

4. Take a
moment to appreciate the power of God in your life, for
doing what pleases Him.

If you are not
ashamed to do this, please, follow Jesus’ instructions.
He said (Matthew 10:32 & 33): “Everyone therefore
who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge
before My Father in heaven; but whosoever denies Me
before others, I also will deny before My
Father in heaven”.

If you believe,
send this message… But send it only if you believe
in Christ Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

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Thanks Grandma!

But personally, I like the following explanation a whole lot more.  It explains the whole freakish, bizarre, absurdity of Christianity much better and much more succinctly.

Don’t be ashamed to send it to ten people.  It won’t save anyone’s soul, but it might sure as hell, save their brains!


A photo of Nate Phelps with some random crazy blogger.

On Saturday, I had the privilege of seeing both Nate Phelps, the estranged atheist son of Fred Phelps give a talk in his home town of Topeka and David Sedaris world renowned, hilarious, best selling author, who just happens to be a homosexual.  The fact that these two men were speaking at two engagements in my state only twenty miles apart was somewhat cataclysmic.  As strange as it may seem, the horrible protests of the Phelps family have probably done more good for the gay community as their disturbing signs often catapult people to the side of those who are being vicitimized and David Sedaris, with his honest and frequently hilarious stories about growing up gay in America is yet another potent force for opening people’s minds to the obvious humanity of the gay community.  

I am going to give the highlights of Nate’s talk. Or maybe they are more like low lights – since Nate’s story is painful and demoralizing. Still, I must say that Nate is an excellent, uplifting speaker who managed to find both humor and light in the telling of his brutal tale.

 But first I need to tell you briefly of my personal experience with the Phelps protesters.  

A few months ago, our family went to see Brian Regan, a comedian, at the Topeka Performing Arts Center and as usual, the Phelp’s family was there with their signs.  I took a few photos of the protesters at which point one of the Phelp’s grandchildren (her name I have since learned is Jael) said,”I wish you would ask us some questions.”

So I asked her what the sign she was holding meant.  The sign said ‘bitch burger’ and showed a baby inside of two hamburger buns.

‘It means that America is going to eat it’s babies’. she explained.

“What?” I asked.

“We are going to eat our babies!” She said again and then she launched into a long rambling spiel about abortion and medical research and it just got so weird that my brain clicked into nebulous mode and I started seeing Colin Firth climbing out of a pond in front of a large stone estate taking long strides towards me in black boots across a vast lawn while his sodden poet’s blouse clung to his broad chest when out of nowhere…

Jael paused in her baby eating speech…

“Do you have any kids?”  I asked her.

“Not yet.” she said.

A look of pain and regret flickered momentarily across her face. I imagined how hard it must be for a young Phelps woman to get a date.  I found myself feeling empathy for this girl.  I found myself wondering if she ever watched Colin Firth climb out of a pond and stride up to his glorious mansion while she waited for him on the stone verandah.  So I looked her over.

It didn’t seem completely impossible to me that she would have these thoughts.

Our conversation continued for a while longer - 

She was all like – blah blah blah – your are doomed.

I was all like – blah blah blah – you are deluded.

Her dad was all like – blah blah blah – you are going to hell.

I was all like – blah blah blah – there is no such thing as hell.

We bickered back and forth a while longer until the futility of it all began to wear on me. Finally, I walked back towards the theater and as I climbed the steps, I stumbled a bit and Jael called out in a voice full of sarcasm, “Don’t hurt yourself!”

This ended my exchange with god’s chosen people – The Phelp’s family.

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Just a few weeks later, I got a completely unrelated e-mail from Nate Phelps.  He had read about my apology post on one of the many web sites where it is posted.  Yes, I am a little famous on the internet for being the ‘former christian shit head“.  It’s a real honor, but I try to keep myself humble.   Nate e-mailed  to wish me luck on my new journey.  

I emailed him back asking him if he was the ‘real Nate Phelps’ as I had just learned that Fred Phelps had an atheist son named Nate.

Nate responded that he was indeed the ‘real Nate Phelps’ and we had a brief e-mail conversation during which I learned that he was coming to Topeka for the first time in thirty years to talk about his childhood with Fred Phelps.  I marked my calendar and planned to attend.

When I arrived at TPAC, I assumed that the Phelps family would be outside protesting their brother’s talk.  There were signs posted outside of the theater that prohibited unruly noise during the event.  Evidently TPAC was prepared for the worst, but the Phelps clan was nowhere in sight. 

Shirley Phelps, Nate’s sister has said on many occasions that the child abuse of which Nate speaks is a lie and she has also told her brother that he should not speak of ‘private family matters’.  It seems that she can’t decide which tact to take in dealing with Nate’s story which has legal documentation to back it up.  The evidence for the beatings that both Nate and Mark Phelps (as well as their mother) received have been medically documented as well.

So Shirley really has no ‘axe’ to grind.  Or make that no ‘axe handle’, as that was Fred’s preferred ‘rod’ which he certainly did not spare to prevent his children from being spoiled according to biblical mandate.  He thrashed his children’s back and legs, pausing to let the bruises rise and then resuming the beating when it would be even more painful.  He also beat his wife, threw her down the stairs and chopped off her hair.

 

 

This is Nate receiving one of two long standing ovations from the crowd in Topeka.

 

This is when Nate held up a ‘mattock handle’ similar to the one his father used to beat him and his siblings after the razor strap became too frayed.  

 

Here are some of the highlights of Nate’s speech.  

- He began with reciting the books of the bible and told the audience that as a child if he or his siblings stumbled in their recitation of the sixty six books of the bible his father would say, “Somebody smack that kid.”

- Nine of the thirteen Phelps children remain involved in the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). 

- Even the KKK has denied any involvement with the WBC. 

- Fred Phelps and his church members are primitive baptists (emphasis on primitive).  They believe in absolute pre-destination meaning that nothing they (or anyone) says, does or thinks has any impact whatsoever on their eternal destination.  They believe that god pre-ordained who and who would not get into heaven.  In a desperate attempt to remind this random tyrannical god of their worthiness they choose to behave very similarly to the mad Old Testament prophets making a public spectacle of themselves with their despicable protests in order to appease their god.  

Here are the basic beliefs of John Calvin’s primitive baptists…

Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
Unconditional Election 
Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)

- To read further about the primitive Baptist belief system – click here.  

- The Westboro Baptist church does not regard their demonstrations as attempts to ‘save’ people or to proselytize, but rather as an act of obedience to the invisible angry tyrant who lives in the sky.  

- The Westboro Baptist church regards women as second class citizens.  This is based on the New Testament book of First Corinthians Chapter 11 where Paul teaches women that their long hair is a covering and that they should cover their heads as an act of submission both to men and to god.  When Fred savagely cut off his wife’s hair during one of his abusive tirades, he was essentially sending his wife to hell.  

- In 1970, Fred Phelps became obsessed with running and in typical fashion made his kids run too.  They ran up to ten miles everyday after school and that summer he entered his family into a marathon in Columbia Missouri.  It took seven year old Timothy seven hours to run the marathon and his eight year old sister Elizabeth, finished in eight hours.  None of the children even considered quitting the race.  No one would want to face their father with that failure.  The story of the Phelps family running this marathon made national headlines.  

- Fred believed that children were a blessing from god.  Nate Phelps left the family when he was eighteen and was sure that his decision would condemn him to eternity in hell.  Thus when he became a father himself, he was extremely confused.  How was it that god would bless him with a child (eventually three children) when he had not only married a divorcee’ but abandoned the only true way to follow god?  Nate’s faith took years to dissolve – even after he left his father’s house.

- As his children got older, Fred decreed that they would all become lawyers.  When one son announced that he wanted to be a history teacher instead, he was severely beaten.  Many of Fred’s children did eventually become lawyers and most practice in Topeka.  One daughter – no longer associated with the Phelps family – practices in Topeka as well, but has changed her name so that no one can identify her as belonging to the Phelps family.  

- Fred Phelps also decided that none of his kids could leave home until they ‘cleaved unto a wife’.  He therefore was able to maintain control of his children even after they reached adulthood.  The unmarried children of Fred still live in the family compound, but then again, so do the married children unless like Nate, they managed to break away.  

- Nate believes that as much as 30% of the income of the members of the WBC is given to the church.  This is how they fund all their various travels to protest all over the country.  

- The WBC truly believe that Obama is the anti-christ. This seems to be a belief they share with a wide range of conservative Americans. 

- A current belief in the WBC is that in July of 2012 – the world is going to end.  They believe that like Enoch and Elijah, no one in that church is going to experience an actual physical death.  Instead they will be taken up bodily into heaven.  Fred Phelp’s wife Margie is 85 years old.  Fred is probably a little older.  He is rarely seen in public these days and closely monitored by his family when he speaks.  

- Nate believes that the Westboro Baptist Church has probably done more to promote civil rights for the LBGT community than any other group in history.  Their protests frequently cause people to react in the exact opposite manner of Fred and his family making them less likely to have hateful attitudes that echo the Phelps family.

- You can listen to a similar talk from Nate Phelps in segments on you tube.  

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When the talk was over, I waited outside TPAC to meet Nate.  He is a big teddy bear of a man with kindness and humor written on his face in spite of his horrible childhood.  Ahead of me in line were some of his former classmates.  They had a little reunion and it was very touching that they came out to see Nate.  I told Nate that I was the person who wrote the “Apology for being a Christian Shit Head”.  He nodded and we both laughed.  I asked him if he was finished with his book.  He said he was and that it would be out soon.  I told him that I was looking forward to reading it, “It will be fun!”  I said and then I realized how stupid that sounded so I said, “I mean it will be horrible!”  And then I realized how bad that sounded so I said, “I look forward to reading it!”  

I felt like a total idiot – but Nate just nodded and laughed.  He seemed to understand what I meant.  

If you want to read a much more in-depth story about the history of the Phelps family – click here.

To visit Nate’s blog – click here.

Enough for today!  I will post my idiotic conversation with David Sedaris soon.

Nate Phelps on Atheism 

I thought that some of my readers would want to know what Nate Phelps had to say about atheism and belief in general.  Overall, he was very open in his approach.  The audience was filled with members from both sides of the fence.  About half of the audience would clap when he was critical of religion, but when he made a remark in religion’s defense, the other half of the audience would clap.  The event was sponsored by the Topeka Metropolitan Church and also by Topeka’s Recovering From Religion – so it was a ‘bi-partisan’ event.  

Nate is an ‘out’ atheist, but when asked during the question session what he thought about religion in general – her referred to it as a primary agent for good in our culture.  Still, he strongly stated that the same bible that created the monstrous beliefs of his father – beliefs that allowed him to beat his children, abuse his wife, regard women with derision, hate homosexuals, and view everyone outside his church as sub-human come from the same bible that so many people use as a source for love, charity and hope.  It’s all in there.  The bible has all of it.  Nate is far too aware of the sickening parts of the bible.  He knows them by heart.  He was immersed in them his entire childhood.  Christians that prefer to ignore those passages – or to say that they no longer apply – try telling that to a kid who has a dad like Fred Phelps.