Right Wing Religion Round-Up: ‘Kill the gays’ Pastor Claims Young Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Is Demonically Possessed & ‘needs Jesus’

By Kyle Mantyla
The New Civil Rights Movement (12/17/19)

Radical right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson declared on his radio program yesterday that Time magazine’s decision to name climate change activist Greta Thunberg as 2019’s Person of the Year is a sign of “the unraveling of the Western world.”

Swanson, who normally uses his radio program to declare that the proper biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, seized on the fact that Thunberg has Asperger’s syndrome, and suggested that she is demonically possessed and in need of Jesus.

“She’s psychologically disturbed,” Swanson said, likening her to the young boy in Mark 9 who was healed by Jesus after being possessed by a demonic spirit.

“I have to say there is something very disturbing about the appearance of and the presentation of this Greta Thunberg,” Swanson commented. “The other demonic spirits are using her to lead the world wherever it’s going.”…

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Conservative Evangelicals Aren’t Just Hypocrites — It’s Far Worse Than That

 The reason they support a fascist president is simple: They’re sadists.

By John Stoehr
Raw Story / Commentary The Editorial Board (12/15/19)

I understand why it’s hard for normal people to believe that white evangelical Christians are sadists. Normal people have never been, as I was a long time ago, on the inside of that shadowy religious world. But the sooner they understand this, the sooner normal people will see that white evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump isn’t rooted in hypocrisy, contradiction or merely straying from the straight and narrow. The reason they support a fascist president is simple: They’re sadists.

Trust me when I say white evangelical Christians are presuming the worst in normal people—in you. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? No? You are therefore not one among God’s Chosen.

The word “sadist” is off-putting. I get that. But if you’re thinking of sex, you’re thinking in the wrong way. If you’re thinking of “pleasure,” as in sexual pleasure, you’re thinking the wrong way. The pleasure white evangelical Christians derive from the suffering of human beings deemed less human than they are is not about sex. It’s about the pain, humiliation or even violence out-groups deserve by dint of being out-groups. Gay men, for instance, deserve their punishment because they are gay. Punishment for being gay is “divine justice.” From such “justice” comes pleasure—which is sadism.

I didn’t come up with the term. Richard Rorty did. I’m only pushing it as far to the fore as I can, because I don’t think normal people understand what they are facing, and if they don’t understand, they will keep treating sadists as if they have a legitimate place in a liberal democracy. Cruelty is the point, as Adam Serwer powerfully and famously put it in The Atlantic. But normal people must understand the animating force behind that cruelty. Sadists are sadistic not because they are cruel. It’s much simpler than that. They are cruel because being cruel to people deserving cruelty feels good. …

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America’s Christian Churches Are Flush With Cash Despite Declining Attendance — Except For One

The Conversation (12/16/19)

Religion accounts for the largest share of the approximately US$425 billion Americans give away every year.

Even so, the charitable dollars channeled to churches and other houses of worship have slowly declined as a percentage of overall giving for decades. In 2018, the actual total both fell by 3.9% when adjusted for inflation and dipped for the first time below 30% of total giving.

I study trends in religious giving and their implications. To me, what stands out today is how well congregations are generally faring even as the share of Americans who belong to a house of worship declines.

The bulk of religious giving goes directly to the over 350,000 congregations nationwide dotting almost every local community.
On top of churches and other houses of worship, religious giving covers donations made directly to religious denominations, missionary societies and religious media.

An important trend is that the share of Americans who claim no religious affiliation is growing, having risen to 26% from 16% in 2007.

Only half of all Americans now claim to belong to a specific congregation, a historic low. And only about 45% of Americans say they go to church at least once a month, down from 54% in 2007.

Since religious affiliation and attendance at religious services are two of the leading predictors for both religious and overall charitable giving, I don’t find it surprising to see religious giving lose some ground. …

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