Hagee’s Church of Easy Answers


With all the controversy over Obama’s minister Rev. Wright
dominating mainstream media, some astute political observers are wondering why
John McCain’s big time buddy John Hagee of San Antonio isn’t receiving the same
breathless coverage. After all, Hagee made a name for himself in D.C.
by promoting Christian Zionism, a wacked-out religious ideology that promotes
an extreme form of Zionism, that Hagee and others belive is necessary to bring
the End Times they think the Bible prophesies. Luckily, some people are beginning to dig,
including the current Rolling Stone gonzo journalist Matt Taibbi, who
went undercover in Hagee’s church, pretending to be a new convert.

The article is a must-read, and not just because Taibbi, in desperation, concocts a story about being raised by an alcoholic clown in order
to survive gender-segregated group meetings with his cover intact. For those unaware how far gone Christian
fundamentalism has gone now that it’s become a branch of the right wing
revolution, this article will be a splash of cold water to the face. For instance, speaking in tongues, once the art
of a select few believers, has become a mandatory part of worship at Hagee’s
church. So is undergoing demon explusions, in which people fling themselves violently to the
floor, play-acting at expelling demons inside that cause
everything from homosexual longings to cancer to anal fissures.

But what struck me as most relevant for the purposes of
reproductive rights activists–who no doubt will immediately read the
Taibbi article, since the parishioners he infiltrates are our opposition–is the pathetic
masculinity issues that permeate the worship. The broken souls that gravitate to Hagee’s
church and many like them (who then hit the streets as anti-choice, anti-sexual health protestors who pressure the government to institute abstinence-only education and to
ban same-sex marriage) aren’t drawn by the promise of salvation as
promised in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You can get that at your staid, regular-sized (as opposed to mega) church
down the street, the church that mostly stays out of politics. The allure of modern fundamentalist
Christianity, on the other hand, is salvation through stratified gender roles. Jesus Christ won’t just save your soul, but
make your erections just that much more erect.

One of the implicit promises of the
church is that following its program will restore to you your vigor, confidence
and assertiveness, effecting, among other things, a marked and obvious physical
transformation from crippled lost soul to hearty vessel of God. That’s one of
the reasons that it’s so important for the pastors to look healthy, lusty and
lustrous – they’re appearing as the "after" photo in the ongoing
advertisement for the church wellness cure.

In these Southern churches there
are few wizened old sages such as one might find among Catholic bishops or
Russian startsi. Here your church leader is an athlete, a business dynamo, a champion
eater with a bull’s belly, outwardly a tireless heterosexual…

It certainly explains why the modern fundamentalist church
treats abortion and birth control–never once mentioned in the Bible–and
homosexuality (mentioned in the rules-heavy parts of the Bible that also
condemn cutting your hair and eating cheeseburgers, parts that Jesus explicitly
denied had relevance for the modern believer) like the most grievous sins and
threats to humanity imaginable.

The vicious cycle goes something like this: Otherwise
hard-working men find that you just can’t stretch a dollar like you used to. They
feel emasculated, especially in comparison to their fathers, who often had two cars, a mortgage, and a housewife on the
salary of just one worker. While the
correct solution is to demand a return to the liberal economic policies of the
mid-twentieth century that created that prosperity, this solution
overwhelms. But here’s your local
megachurch fundamentalists offering an easy solution to feel like the man you
thought you could be. You can’t afford
to be a breadwinner, but you can hang onto straight male privilege! Every woman deprived of her reproductive
rights, every gay person deprived of the right to marry suddenly makes you look
so much stronger, so much more manly
in comparison. You’ve got a boot on your
neck, but as long as you apply yours to someone else’s, you aren’t the
bottom of the heap.

Of course for women that won’t work, but there’s another story just for them. It’s the story of a time when women lived free of financial worry or
the stress of ambition, living gleeful lives of low-stress industrious
housewifery with complete dedication to familial subservience creating sheer bliss. Reproductive rights are then
a dangerous drug, access to fleeting pleasure that will deprive women of
real, stable happiness from male-dependent security. Never mind that even June Cleaver only had
two children. Perhaps those who achieve
true housewife bliss finally overcome sexual desire? Becoming a true woman is like being a Level 8
Scientologist perhaps; the goal on the horizon seems far off, but you continue
to strive because you’ve heard there are superhuman powers at the end of the
line.

Easy answers permeate this church, as is evidenced by the
belief that nearly every ill imaginable is the result of demons lurking under
the skin, left there by generational curses put on you by parental and
grandparental sin. Open your mouth and
vomit out your demons and all your problems will go away. No wonder then it’s easy to believe that all
gays have to do is just pray the gay away or that women with unplanned
pregnancies are just delusional if they think their circumstances come with
real world problems. Just vomit out your
demons! It’s easy; you don’t need an
abortion. Vomit out the demon of no
health insurance or vomit out the demon of not wanting to be a mother at 15.
The only demon you can’t vomit out, it seems, is the demon that makes the
pregnancy persist against your will. In
this much, we all agree, it will require a doctor’s intervention to expunge
the undesired condition.

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  • invalid-0

    Out of 145 chances to vote for choice, MKKKainhas voted prochoice 5 times. He declined to vote for a bill that would assure women legal recourse if they were getting less pay for the same job a male was getting higher pay for. MKKKain is very appealing to all the men that feel that it is their God given right to better jobs and higher pay than females. After all, MKKKain is a staunch believer and supporter of “abstinence only” sex education which assures that young females remain ignorant of protective measures and all choices available.

    I wonder how many brain washed and brain dead females are going to vote for him.

  • http://hugoschwyzer.net invalid-0

    Terrific piece, Amanda. What’s really striking about Hagee’s church, and this is a point you capture, is how little room for grace — in both the secular and theological sense — there is in places like this. Grace is about wonder, humility, mystery, and joyous gratitude for a “love divine, all loves excelling”. It has damn all to do with this strange amalgam of jingoism, anti-Catholicism, millenarianism, and the Prosperity gospel.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t know anything about how nutty this Hagee guy is-I’d suspect I and most people I know would call him a fruitcake. However, where I live, most people I know don’t believe abortion should be a viable (or legal) option for your pregnancy. Call us strange, but killing a living being(hey, they call a few bateria on mars life) just seems wrong. It has nothing to do with a church-just respect for a living being. Why should the larger living being (mom) be able to decide to eliminate the smaller living being (baby). And item by item our local society would find fault with this article-and this society is not particularly religious, just interested in the welfare of it’s people and kids. I see now why we have such a huge political divide in this country.

  • invalid-0

    about Hagee (and Rod Parsley) is after claiming both as his “spiritual advisors”, John McCain has been busy backing away from the two. He has reportedly rejected (after first accepting it) Hagee’s endorsement after evidence has surfaced linking Hagee and his church to a prominent “dominnionist” group called Joel’s Army. This group and other “neo pentecostals” are complete whack-jobs who should scare mainstream Christians to death. More information about such groups can be found at http://www.talk2action.org

  • invalid-0

    so what you’re really saying is, the woman who has the baby should decide whether or not to terminate its human life, because it’s her baby, and no one should interfere, because that’s her right.
    Whether or not the thing in her is alive.

  • mellankelly1

    so what you’re really saying is, the woman who has the baby should decide whether or not to terminate its human life, because it’s her baby, and no one should interfere, because that’s her right.

    Nobody has mentioned that a woman should have a baby and then murder it.  The discussion was about who is most qualified to make personal reproductive decisions: a woman, her loved ones and her doctor or some third party with no stake in the outcome?  And yes, bodily integrity and self sovereignty are rights that every woman has.

  • invalid-0

    There are many things which people are not legally allowed to do with their bodies. To name just a few, they cannot sell them for , or sell their organs to people who need transplants, or put certain into their .

    cond, statements like this ignore the fact that, by any rational standard, the unborn child is a separate individual from its mother.

    In fact, if an unborn child had the ability to commit a crime, it has everything necessary for a forensic expert to identify it in court. Long before the point at which most abortions are done, the unborn child has its own DNA code, its own fingerprints, and its own type – none of which match the mother.

    The individuality of the unborn was evident in 1999 when a Tennessee surgeon had just completed an operation on an unborn baby and was about to close the incision in the mom’s abdomen. Before he could do so, the child punched his arm through the incision and grasped the doctor’s finger. A photo of this event ended up on magazine covers and television sets around the world. The question is, who grabbed the doctor’s finger?

  • invalid-0

    standard, the unborn child is a separate individual from its mother.

    In fact, if an unborn child had the ability to commit a crime, it has everything necessary for a forensic expert to identify it in court. Long before the point at which most abortions are done, the unborn child has its own DNA code, its own fingerprints, and its own type – none of which match the mother.

    Irrelevent.

    The individuality of the unborn was evident in 1999 when a Tennessee surgeon had just completed an operation on an unborn baby and was about to close the incision in the mom’s abdomen. Before he could do so, the child punched his arm through the incision and grasped the doctor’s finger. A photo of this event ended up on magazine covers and television sets around the world. The question is, who grabbed the doctor’s finger?

    Before you crow any more over this story, I have to tell you this has been blown WAY out of proportion. Both by the mainstream media, and the pro-life noise machine.
    Here is just one of the links debunking this:
    Famous Pictures
    A slightly longer piece from snopes.com:
    Snopes story

    Please also note the fetus was TWENTY-ONE WEEKS OLD, far past the date the majority of legal abortions are performed. Next time, do some research first.

  • mellankelly1

     There are many things which people are not legally allowed to do with their bodies. To name just a few, they cannot sell them for , or sell their organs to people who need transplants, or put certain into their

    You know, you omitted a few other good points in your list; you forgot about the things which others cannot legally force a person to do with his/her own body… a person (including a born child) does not have the right to force another person (including his/her own parents) to undergo any form of bodily invasion, even a blood test, without the person’s consent.

    In fact, if an unborn child had the ability to commit a crime, it has everything necessary for a forensic expert to identify it in court. Long before the point at which most abortions are done, the unborn child has its own DNA code, its own fingerprints, and its own type – none of which match the mother.

    And why doesn’t the zygote/embryo/fetus have the ability to commit a crime?  Hmmmm….  It is also interesting to note that long before the point at which most abortions are done, anywhere from 45% to 75% of these "unborn child[ren]" are spontaneously aborted.  So what, exactly was your point?

    The individuality of the unborn was evident in 1999 when a Tennessee surgeon had just completed an operation on an unborn baby and was about to close the incision in the mom’s abdomen. Before he could do so, the child punched his arm through the incision and grasped the doctor’s finger. A photo of this event ended up on magazine covers and television sets around the world. The question is, who grabbed the doctor’s finger?

    You really ought to consult the doctor who performed the surgery for an accurate description of that photograph.  That doctor was Joseph P. Bruner and this is what he has to say about the photograph:

    "This photo has become an icon … Depending on your political point of view, this is either Samuel Armas reaching out of the uterus and touching the finger of a fellow human, or it’s me pulling his hand out of the uterus … which is what I did."

    Further, both mother and fetus were drugged and would not have been able to move on their own and according to Dr. Tulipan, who closed the hole in Samuel’s spine, at 21 weeks Samuel, “would have no ability to reach out and grab anything,"

    The account you’re referencing was from the photographer who clearly states on his web site that the photo represented his "opinion of the events as they took place during the surgery for Samuel".  We are all aware of the differences between an opinion and a fact, no?

  • invalid-0

    First of all, a baby is not part of its mother’s body. It is an individual human being, with its own separate body. To be sure, the mother is “feeding” the inborn baby, but does a mother have the right to stop feeding her baby after it is born? This would be by starvation, and to cut off the source of life for a preborn baby is also a morally culpable act.

    Second, even if the unborn baby were part of its mother’s body, it would not be true that she has a right to do just anything she wants to her own body. For example, she does not have a moral right to mutilate her own body by cutting off a hand or a foot. Nor does she have a right to kill her own body (commit ).

    “A woman has the right over her own body. . . ” A right to do what? A right to ? This is nonsense. There is no moral right to do a moral wrong. But if the unborn baby is a human being, then the so-called right of the mother turns out to be a “right” to do a wrong: to . Of course, it is absurd to say that a mother (or anyone) has a right to commit .

    Born persons have a 100% mortality rate. Human can occur at any time during our journey through life. This could be minutes after fertilization or 95 years after fertilization. This is not relevant to the question of whether or not this is human life — anymore than infant mortality is a justification for infanticide, or in old age justifies euthanasia. Human is merely the end of human life. Does that justify ?
    My point was that the fetus is separate from the mother, a living thing.
    The fertilized seed or ovum of a plant, or an animal, or of a human, at the time of fertilization and beginning growth, already is, in totality, that plant, animal, or human. Because of our present scientific knowledge of chromosome and gene structure and because of the intricate genetic programming that we are now aware of, we know that a plant can only develop into what it already is — that is, a plant.
    An animal, a dog, for instance, can only develop into a dog and a specific species of that dog. All this is predetermined and already exists in totality when fertilization occurs. The same is true of a human.
    “In the sixth to seventh weeks. . . . If the area of the lips is gently stroked, the child responds by bending the upper body to one side and making a quick backward motion with his arms. This is called a ‘total pattern response’ because it involves most of the body, rather than a local part.” L. B. Arey, Developmental Anatomy (6th ed.), Philadelphia: W. B. Sanders Co., 1954

    At eight weeks, “if we tickle the baby’s nose, he will flex his head backwards away from the stimulus.” A. Hellgers, M.D., “Fetal Development, 31,” Theological Studies, vol. 3, no. 7, 1970, p. 26

    Another example is from a surgical technician whose letter said, “When we opened her abdomen (for a tubal pregnancy), the tube had expelled an inch-long fetus, about 4-6 weeks old. It was still alive in the sack. “That tiny baby was waving its little arms and kicking its little legs and even turned its whole body over.” J. Dobson, Focus on the Family Mag., Aug. ’91, pg. 16

    I didn’t know the photo wasn’t what I thought it was. Sorry about that.

  • mellankelly1

    The fertilized seed or ovum of a plant, or an animal, or of a human, at the time of fertilization and beginning growth, already is, in totality, that plant, animal, or human.

    Prove it.  There is no proof that had I not been born to the "Smiths" I wouldn’t have been born to the "Jones".  There is absolutely no proof that a fertilized egg is in totality the person it could become.  That is complete and utter nonsense.  That is your personal belief system and you have no right to impose your beliefs on anyone else.  Focus on the Family?  Really?  Because they’re not biased at all.  And you shouldn’t worry about the photo… the description of what occurred in that photo was manipulated by anti-abortion activists… without misinformation, psuedoscience and outright lies they would have nothing.

  • mellankelly1

    First of all, a baby is not part of its mother’s body. It is an individual human being, with its own separate body. To be sure, the mother is "feeding" the inborn baby, but does a mother have the right to stop feeding her baby after it is born?

    The zygote/embryo/fetus is an individual in that it is a single organism as distinguished from a group but it is not separate from the pregnant woman… it would die if it were separated.  It specifically needs the pregnant woman in order to keep it alive – no person other than the pregnant woman can keep it alive (until viability).  How do you compare abortion to infanticide?  Anyone can keep a newborn infant alive… it doesn’t need it’s mother to keep it alive. 

    Second, even if the unborn baby were part of its mother’s body, it would not be true that she has a right to do just anything she wants to her own body. For example, she does not have a moral right to mutilate her own body by cutting off a hand or a foot. Nor does she have a right to kill her own body (commit ).

    I honestly have no idea what you’re trying to say here.

  • invalid-0

    a pregnant woman most definitely has rights but she has no right over the life of her unborn child.

    human life begins when an egg is fertilized by a sperm.

    An embryo is an individual “thing” that is genetically different than the mother. It is not “part” of the mother, but only lives inside of the mother.

    In an embryo or fetus you can find the characteristics of living things.

    one or more cells….
    patterns of organization….
    use of energy….
    stable internal conditions….
    grow and change….
    reproduction….

    Genetically an embryo is human.

    These are biological and scientific facts.

    Take a 90 year old man….clearly human life.

    Turn the clock back 90 years to when he was only born 1 second earlier….clearly human life.

    Go back to 1 day before that baby is born….clearly human life. Same baby, only 1 day older.

    Go back 2 or even 3 months. A fetus at this stage can (and they have) survive if born this early. A pre-mature baby is still human life.

    Now go back to 1 hour after the sperm fertilized the egg.

    That 90 year old man and that 1 hour old embryo are the same “thing”.

    The only thing that happened to that embryo is that it grew and changed just like every other living thing does.

    IF you look at the life cycle of frogs it starts with fertilized eggs, then the eggs hatch into tadpoles, then the tadpoles start to grow legs, then eventually the tadpoles turn into frogs and start the cycle over again.

    That fertilized egg is where the life of a frog starts, just as it is where human life starts.

    That tadpole looks nothing like an frog. It will not survive outside of the water.

    Yet…..it is life that will turn into a frog.

  • invalid-0

    Consider this analogy: there are two conjoined twins, Mary and Jane. They share a single vital organ. By some fluke of biology, Mary is biologically ‘superior’ to Jane, and Jane is dependent on Mary. Were they separated, Jane would die. Her body could not maintain that single vital organ on its own. Mary, however, would do just fine without Jane. So, if being physically dependent makes one less of a person and less deserving of rights, is Jane not a person? Could Mary legally demand at any time that Jane be removed from her, even though separation is tantamount to murdr, because Jane needs Mary but Mary doesn’t need Jane? Of course not — Jane has just as much of a right to live as Mary does, regardless of her dependence. Mary’s rights do not outweigh Jane’s. So why, in the nearly identical situation of pregnancy, should the mother’s rights ouweigh the embryo’s purely on the basis of the embryo’s independence?

    I was trying to say that a pregnant woman should have rights- to an extent. They should end at the kiling of her baby.

  • mellankelly1

    Consider this analogy: there are two conjoined twins, Mary and Jane. They share a single vital organ. By some fluke of biology, Mary is biologically ‘superior’ to Jane, and Jane is dependent on Mary. Were they separated, Jane would die. Her body could not maintain that single vital organ on its own. Mary, however, would do just fine without Jane. So, if being physically dependent makes one less of a person and less deserving of rights, is Jane not a person?

    You cannot compare conjoined twins (two born people entitled to rights provided in the Constitution) to the relationship between a pregnant woman and her fetus.  Unless Jane is living inside the body of Mary these situations are not at all comparable.  Frankly, you will be hard pressed to find a proper analogy for the pregnant woman/fetus relationship as it is a unique one.

    So why, in the nearly identical situation of pregnancy, should the mother’s rights ouweigh the embryo’s purely on the basis of the embryo’s independence?

    Perhaps, in your opinion the situations are identical but as I’ve stated before; simply sharing your opinions does not suddenly make them facts.

    I was trying to say that a pregnant woman should have rights- to an extent

    Why shouldn’t a pregnant woman be entitled to the same rights as any other person?  Your opinions and analogies are not compelling enough to justify taking rights away from a pregnant woman and giving them to her embryo.

  • invalid-0

    I sure can compare two born twins to a fetus, because the twins were once fetuses too, just they developed more. They’re both human.

    All of what I’m saying is a fact that can be proved biologically.

    A pregnant woman right now has MORE rights than other people- because they’re allowed to kill another human under the protection of the law. No one else is allowed to do that except in self defense.

  • harry834

    so let’s stop making excuses and demand that prosecutors seek the fullest penalty for this woman’s act of murder, including the life sentence or the death penalty.

    And charge the boyfriend and parents too if they were involved. Also any sister or friend who lied to the parents about the daughter’s abortion.

    The daughter is a murderer. the doctor did his part. the friends and sister’s did their part –

    charge them all. Let the judge/jury figure out who played which role.

    But ALL committed murder, or participated, and no one should escape jail time

    murder is murder.

     

  • janine

    "Fetus in fetu" in a child are separated by doctors following birth of the child, resulting in the death of the less developed but otherwise living twin and its not even controversial. No law stops this.

     

     

  • mellankelly1

    I sure can compare two born twins to a fetus, because the twins were once fetuses too, just they developed more. They’re both human.

    I didn’t say you couldn’t… I merely stated the fact that it is a flawed analogy.  You are certainly entitled to infer that these two scenarios are alike but it will not change the fact that they are two fundamentally different things.  Are you okay with comparing an embryo to a fingernail… because those two things are alive and human (that is a fact that can be proven by science also).

    A pregnant woman right now has MORE rights than other people- because they’re allowed to kill another human under the protection of the law.

    That is an untrue and frankly, insane statement to make.  You need to learn the difference between an adjective and a noun.  As the laws stands a woman is legally able to terminate her pregnancy… she can kill her zygote, her embryo and/or her non-viable fetus – she most certainly isn’t allowed to kill another person.  If a woman kills a person, she will  go to jail or spend a serious amount of time in a psychiatric facility.

  • invalid-0

    Why should the larger living being (mom) be able to decide to eliminate the smaller living being (baby).

    Let’s turn that question around: Why should the government be able to decide the biological destiny of women? Women are the ones most affected by pregnancy. Especially an unwanted pregnancy, sometimes a dangerous pregnancy. Because of that,women are best qualified to decide when to have children. Not the government, not politicians, not anti abortion groups,and not you.