Thursday, May 25, 2006

Greed and God - Musings on the Blind Eyes of Christian Fundamentalists

But it must be true – it's in the Bible!

It would appear that our esteemed Representative Young is using just a wee bit of science, quite a bit of Ice Age, the movie, and a whole lot of fundamentalism and literal bible interpretation to conjure up his stew of misinformation about modern and paleo-climates. As an old dinosaur himself, you would think that the Honorable Young would know that mastodons did not roam cheek by jowl with the apatosauri and other sauropods and theropods 65 million years ago – when all of those big beasties, plants and ocean critters big and small were proliferating and dying and becoming the organic goo that later would transform – after 65 million years, not 12 Don!!! – into the stuff we so freely guzzle.

Speaking of fundies, this leads me to a great little piece I heard on Morning Edition a couple of days ago (May 23) about an evangelical Christian minister who apparently was appalled to find out he had been “unwittingly”(yeah-right!) used as a front for Jack Abramoff’s illegal activities.

Apparently while it raised no one’s eyebrows that politicians, lobbyists or Indian Tribes (why Tribes are lumped in with the politicians I will expound on at a later date) were feeding at Abramoff’s trough – it has caught some attention that an “unlikely”* victim of the DeLay-Abramoff scandals was the pastor of the Redeemer International Family Church (ever notice how these fundamentalist churches have names that go on forever while also implying that their congregation is spread all over, well, creation??.) Guess it surprises the liberal pundits, but certainly not the neo-cons, to find out that these paradigms of virtue and morality might be found mucking down in the mud with the rest of the money grubbers. Well, it certainly doesn’t surprise this writer, since the Bush administration and its cronies have never hidden the fact that they are running our country according to the Book of Revelations, while at the same time fleecing the people with a brazenness that would have made Jesus squirm in his tomb (had he stayed in it.)

Located in Fredrick, Maryland, in an old carpet warehouse is the Redeemer International Family Church (http://www.redeemerfamily.org/), pastored by Chris Geeslin and his wife Maryellen. Maryellen seems prone to rambling, rapturous soliloquies devoted to the ties between God, power and money: “We say yes to your kingdom come, your will be done…we say yes to your dominion and your rule [6-2-06, Ed. note: changed from 'pool.' It does appear she indeed said 'rule' not 'pool', as originally published. See 'Comments' below.] and in our finances…”….This is delivered in that tight, nasal monotone I have come to associate with evangelical Christian women who are either deliberately dowdy in long shroud-like dresses, or overdone with fussy, beribboned and be-flowered dresses and lots of makeup (think Tammy Faye.) They are usually accompanied by a florid, heavily overweight white man of a certain age, and in this respect, the Geeslins don’t disappoint.

The couple, in addition to running their church, also served on the board of the now-defunct US Family Network – famous for being (allegedly) a slush fund for Abramoff and Tom DeLay. USFN was run by Ed Buckham, former chief of staff of and spiritual advisor to DeLay. Buckham and Geeslin were buds back in the day – Pastor Geeslin ordained Buckham, (whatever that means – I think it’s the evangelical equivalent to spawning, but since I have never been witness to it, I am not sure) and in return Buckham made Geeslin president and his wife Maryellen Secretary/Treasurer of the board of the US Family Network.

To Chris Geeslin, Buckham appeared to be a man who was “ very devout, a man who prays, who is in the bible. Everything that we want in the church person…‡”, which I am guessing also meant a source of millions and power. Hey, its OK to want millions of dollars and lots of power if you are seeking to “bring glory to God through loving Him and following Him as he builds His kingdom in the Frederick area and beyond.”§] But get caught out with your hand touching those tainted dollars, and watch the serious evangelical back-pedaling begin.

“I feel we were used in a grand way**”, bleats Geeslin. Apparently, the Geeslins paid no attention to the fact that the secret list of USFN, that they were privy to as board officers, included Russian oil oligarchs, and textile companies with sweat shops in the Mariana Islands – even though investigative reports and Congressional hearings had publicly exposed those sweat shops. Well, to set the record straight, they did know about the sweat shops – but they chose to believe the propaganda that Buckham produced and Abramoff paid for – pablum to the effect that these factories were promoting free enterprise or some such garbage through their model working conditions in the Mariana Islands – working conditions that allegedly included forced prostitution and abortions.

I don’t know. I get a lot of pleasure out of hearing someone caught with their hand in the cookie jar prattling about “corrupt”, “evil” (Geeslin’s adjectives, not mine) money coming from companies and individuals that endorse decidedly un-Christian activities. And we are to believe that these two – officers of the Board of this Christian family-oriented organization that did nary a lick of charitable or ecumenical work in its short five-year life (despite having an income of $3 million) really didn’t know the score? Puh-leese.

* John Ydstie’s characterization, not mine… I don’t think it is unlikely at all, but well matched bedfellows.
†Transcribed from Church Leader Says He Was Lured into Abramoff Web, John Ydstie, May 23, 2006, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5424662
‡ Ibid.
§ Quoted from The Purpose of the Redeemer International Family Church website: www.redeemerfamily.org/purpose_mission.asp
** Transcribed from Church Leader Says He Was Lured into Abramoff Web, John Ydstie, May 23, 2006,
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5424662

Photo credits:
Diplodocus: http://www.psi.ch/medien/Medienmitteilungen/mm_dinosaurer/03_diplodocus2.jpg
Geeslins: © Redeemer International Family Church

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The quote that spoke of the word "pool" is inaccuate - the correct word that WAS SPOKEN was "rule".........as in JESUS is LORD and has RULE and REIGN over the whole earth. Perhaps you might want to be sure of your quotations next time you air your opinions - that is if you want to be taken seriously ~

CabinDweller said...

You are correct that there was a transcription error. I listened to the archived broadcast this morning and it would have been an easy error to make, thanks to the sound quality, but the error has been fixed and noted.

Autrice DelDrago said...

Actually, this inability to believe that "creation" did not take place during 6 or 7 24-hours days is just one more way people try to put God in a box. God is certainly smart enough to spread populations of animals out, over a span of time, so that the environment would not self-destruct.

Then again, I have encountered one twit who argues that the hippo found in the book of Job was a bronto.

Pssst... someone tell them that God is more powerful and intelligent than the average fundamentalist!

Micah said...

"God is certainly smart enough to spread populations of animals out, over a span of time, so that the environment would not self-destruct."

God is also smart enough and powerful enough to create the world in 6, 24 hour periods and allow sin to so blind the eyes of humans that they can't tell the difference between animals and men. Oh... wait... that sounds like Romans 1!