God's Politics

God's Politics


Jesus Loves Kathy Griffin Anyway (by Gareth Higgins)

posted by God's Politics

After a year of scandals in which celebrities such as Mel Gibson, Don Imus, and Isaiah Washington have reminded us that fame does not cancel out bigotry, Kathy Griffin last week became the latest public figure to make such headlines with her Creative Arts Emmy acceptance speech. Referring to the tendency of some of her colleagues to invoke divine sanction for their success, she said, among other things, that “no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.” Her remarks were censored on the telecast, and at least one Christian public figure has since implied on CNN that her words were more offensive than Imus’ racist comments about the Rutgers basketball players, or Washington’s homophobic remarks about Grey’s Anatomy co-star T.R. Knight. The questionable logic that led to this assertion is that “85% of Americans believe in Jesus,” while only a minority are black, and a much smaller number are gay.


First of all, the suggestion that only the groups who are targeted in dehumanising rhetoric should be offended by them is absurd — of course you don’t have to be the victim of prejudice to be offended by it. It’s understandable that people get offended when the names of religious figures are used in a derogatory fashion. It is also true to say that today it is more publicly acceptable to criticize Christianity than most other faiths. And sometimes it may be appropriate to protest this.

In the West, however, members of most other faiths and minority ethnic groups have had to put up with a disproportionate share of public insults for far too long. In a healthy society, we should be able to cope with the free exchange of views, including the possibility of upsetting each other. The suggestion that a comedian should be punished for religious mockery is disturbing and bears echoes of Christian imperialism. The point is sharpened by the fact that Griffin was making a commentary that many thinking Christians would agree with: a critique of the superficial celebrity spirituality that claims divine sanction for entertainment awards victories. It is, of course, entirely legitimate to be thankful to God for the blessings of a lifetime; this column is unlikely to win any awards, but if one came my way I’m sure I’d aim my gratitude in the same direction. But to suggest that Jesus is invested in who wins the Emmys is another indicator of a kind of spiritual decadence, akin to when boxers or football teams bow the knee mid-match, suggesting that they think God prefers them over their opponent.


It’s striking also that the outcry over Mel Gibson, Don Imus, and Isaiah Washington’s dehumanising and bigoted comments was not led by the church, but Griffin’s remark at an awards ceremony has been met with the full opprobrium of some religious leaders. I think this indicates something troubling about the priorities of much public discourse by Christians — and also the hamstrung picture of Jesus offered by much of the church. It seems that we believe in a Jesus who both needs us to defend him, and who couldn’t handle a joke at his own expense. It is disturbing also that Mel Gibson’s anti-semitic comments, made while drunk, did not really spark a debate about how to reconcile people from different religious traditions. Instead, the church was largely silent about (ostensibly) one of its own.


Griffin’s comments were a veiled criticism of a culture of superficiality, in which God is constructed as a wealth-affirming, competition-endorsing elitist who likes to go to the Oscars. It was also a joke. We don’t have to like it, but we should be able to take it.


Gareth Higgins is a Christian writer and activist in Belfast, Northern Ireland. For the past decade he was the founder/director of the zero28 project, an initiative addressing questions of peace, justice, and culture. He is the author of the insightful How Movies Helped Save My Soul and blogs at www.godisnotelsewhere.blogspot.com



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kevin s.

posted September 21, 2007 at 3:40 pm


Her comment was absolutely correct, as she will likely soon discover.



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:08 pm


Ah conservatives so sensitive. I mean seriously who cares what Kathy Griffin has to say? She is funny though.
p



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neuro_nurse

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:36 pm


I agree with Gareth on the point that I’m sure Jesus couldn’t care less about who wins an Emmy. I’m sure Jesus has much more important things on His mind – and shouldn’t we?
We are not challenged by the statements of non-believers. Our challenge is to respond to those comments gracefully.
Kathy Griffith can say what she wants – it’s a free country. So can Richard Dawkins and his ilk. Non-Christians are less likely to be affected by those statements against our faith than our response to it.
Jesus isn’t going to love Kathy Griffith any less for making that statement, and scripture tells us that we shouldn’t either.



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Gordon

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:55 pm


Given the nature of much of what comes out of the entertainment industry these days, I suspect Kathy Griffith was just stating a fact.



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Moderatelad

posted September 21, 2007 at 10:15 pm


Posted by: Payshun | September 21, 2007 4:08 PM
I believe that she is humorious and there is a reason she is on the ‘D’ list.
I would like to hear her do the same thing at another awards banquet. Only this time leave out the word ‘Jesus’ and insert the word ‘Mohamad’ and see what happens. I am sure that all the fundamentalists Islamic groups will see the humor and be as accepting as the fundamentalist Christians have been. Frankly I don’t see that happening – the Islamics more than likely will put a price on her head like they with so many others around the world. Such a ‘peace loving’ religion it is you know.
Go for it kathy – you will get press coverage like you have never had before.
TTFN -
.



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Ministry of Silly Walks

posted September 21, 2007 at 11:05 pm


The notion that somehow getting folks who are not Christians to be less “irreverent” or “blasphemous” would be a step forward is yet another example of how deeply civil religion is ingrained into the minds of many Christians.
Obviously,it would be nice if people were less obnoxious, but on the other hand, I am not sure going back to a time when people were generally more polite, but that politeness so often covered up less obvious forms of corruption constitutes anything close to a step forward. Give me someone who makes no pretense that she does not believe over someone who pays lip service to God any day of the week.
Neuro nurse has it right. Our job is not to “clean up society,” especially if by that we mean imposing middle class, American, and/or Victorian (as compared to biblical) mores. Our job is to reflect the love of Christ.



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radicaljonny

posted September 22, 2007 at 2:49 am


If religiously-minded people were offended by Griffin’s comment, an interesting tactic for them to adopt might be to point to conclusive evidence that qualitatively proves exactly how Jesus is responsible for Griffin’s Emmy success. In that case, perhaps Griffin would be compelled to admit Jesus’involvement.
Or perhaps Jesus himself could produce evidence of the specific part that he played. If it could be proved that he is being professionally slighted, he might have a case in court. I wonder if Jesus has sought legal council on this matter.
I’m not being flippant. I believe in an interventionist God. I agree with Dr. Higgins; Griffin was not making fun of God. She was making fun of the people who feel compelled to mention God as the source of their success at every opportunity.
It is interesting that God does not seem compelled to do this on his own behalf



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TheOtherJames

posted September 22, 2007 at 6:03 am


“Only this time leave out the word ‘Jesus’ and insert the word ‘Mohamad’ and see what happens. I am sure that all the fundamentalists Islamic groups will see the humor and be as accepting as the fundamentalist Christians have been. Frankly I don’t see that happening – the Islamics more than likely will put a price on her head like they with so many others around the world. Such a ‘peace loving’ religion it is you know.”
We can always count on you to slam Muslims. Thank you for your contributions to inter-faith confrontation- the world is far too peaceful and yearns for your positive contributions. Happy Ramadan.



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James

posted September 22, 2007 at 11:15 am


If you watch her show, you’ll notice that she has done what Jesus asks us to do–visited the sick, visited those in prison, reached out to the marginalized, and she’s even gone into Iraq to comfort the troops. Jesus will look at that more than any offhand joke which Jesus Himself probably thinks was funny and on the mark. What prison have you visited lately?



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mark

posted September 22, 2007 at 2:22 pm


Who’s Kathy Griffin?



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kevin s.

posted September 22, 2007 at 3:24 pm


“Who’s Kathy Griffin?”
A grating, unfunny, one-note stand-up who has a show making fun of her (deserved) status as a D-lister.
“Only this time leave out the word ‘Jesus’ and insert the word ‘Mohamad’ and see what happens.”
Probably a lot of outrage, but Christians needn’t hold believers in a false religion as our standard.



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Moderatelad

posted September 22, 2007 at 3:51 pm


Posted by: TheOtherJames | September 22, 2007 6:03 AM
OK – put in any false god you want – just find it interesting that when people use the Father or Son to insult them and any issue they want. Liberals tell conservatives to grow-up. But when you point out that they never slam others religions deities – now we are insensitive.
I find them quite intollerant. If you are going to dis deities – let be equal oppertunity deity slammers.
Blessings -
.



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Brett Duncan

posted September 22, 2007 at 6:20 pm


Well said. It seems sad that Christians wouldn’t respond to the issues you’ve mentioned, even though God has called us to stand for the poor and call out injustice.
http://brettduncan.wordpress.com/2007/09/21/kathy-griffin-disses-jesus/



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TheOtherJames

posted September 22, 2007 at 6:46 pm


I find them quite intollerant. If you are going to dis deities – let be equal oppertunity deity slammers.Blessings -Posted by: Moderatelad
Well, some of us here find you to be a nasty, less-than-intelligent bigot when you make these nasty remarks about Muslims.



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Jeff

posted September 22, 2007 at 8:32 pm


I don’t sense a ground swell of protest here. You can always find that small minority who will be offended at anything. I do get her point. We had a player for the Vikings who trashed talked, pouted on the sidelines, he would just be a jerk. But when he scored a touchdown he’d drop to his knees and point to heaven. I’m more offended by that behavour then Kathy Griffins.
Jeff



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Steve

posted September 23, 2007 at 1:00 am


Hey nimb rod. What an analysis. There is quite a difference between Griffith and Gibson as follows:
- Gibson profaned a race of people
- Griffith profaned God (be it Yahweh, Alla, or God)
Big difference. Do some further research first before striking the pen to paper.



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Anonymous

posted September 23, 2007 at 2:03 am


moderatelad
Your remarks have frequently been insulting to Islam, but because your critique is mean-spirited and disrespectful your muck only sticks to yourself. The Griffin comments were funny and harmless.
The real problem revealed in his story is censorship. The major media outlets are controlling and limiting the news, and the unfettered expression of thought far byond any reasonable concern over extremes of publicly offensive language.



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kevin s.

posted September 23, 2007 at 11:31 am


“The real problem revealed in his story is censorship. The major media outlets are controlling and limiting the news, and the unfettered expression of thought far byond any reasonable concern over extremes of publicly offensive language.”
Taking the Lord’s name in vein is generally disallowed by the FCC, as would be racial epithets, the use of Mohammed’s name, and certain curse words. This is not the sort of censorship that worries me from a “big brother” standpoint.
As far as major media censoring the unfettered expression of thought, I don’t understand your point. I may express any thought I so choose (more or less). I cannot claim to be censored simply because an outlet will not serve as a medium for my ideas.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 23, 2007 at 12:36 pm


Actually, since we’re made in the image of the Creator, creativity which gives us the ability to accomplish things that win the approval of others does have something to do with God.
However, it might be that with a lot of what passes for creativity in the entertainment industry these days possibly being a misuse of those gifts, the way in which that creativity is used, and then applauded, might not have anything to do with God at all.
Except I guess you could blame Him for creating us at all in the first place.
When people give thanks to God for many things which might actually be a curse to themselves or others overall, or are completely trivial, or self-celebrating, it might be good in Lenny Bruce-style to offer a humorous antidote to all the hypocrisy.
To then censor that and pile on to some comedienne makes those Christians who do look like the cultural philistines too many are, willing to use law as an authoritarian cudgel to win arguments and suppress dissent they’re not capable of contending with in the arena of free discussion.



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JT Garlans

posted September 23, 2007 at 5:13 pm


Griffin didn’t do anything wrong because it is legal to bash Christians. In fact they are they ONLY group that it has been virtually legalized to do so. Notice this Hollywoodite didn’t touch Islam. Sheknows who to beat up.



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Mark P (the Yank)

posted September 23, 2007 at 7:31 pm


For starters… God is heavily invested in protecting His name and defending His reputation. Any glance through Scripture makes that incredibly and unavoidably obvious. If you don’t want a God who is caught up in His reputation, Christianity is not the place for you.
Secondly, “bowing the knee mid-match” is NOT a decadence nor is it a statement of preference. You yourself stated that you would give thanks to God if you won an award for your article — but according to your logic that would mean God likes your article more than He likes _____’s article. Is that any different? Or, perhaps, you’d just be saying “thank you,” acknowledging that “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” as James says. And maybe, just maybe, there’s room to believe that the athlete who scores a touchdown and kneels is making a public endorsement of that verse, acknowledging that the touchdown was a good thing given. I find it presumptuous and arrogant to assume that a kneeling man is showing some sort of self-righteousness.



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Joules

posted September 23, 2007 at 10:50 pm


Having heard some from her, my guess is that the comment was more a joke about her own personal behavior and choices than about Christian bashing.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 23, 2007 at 11:19 pm


If God is “heavily invested in protecting His name and defending His reputation,” I’d really like to know what reward we Christians can expect for both Catholic and Protestant, clergy and layman, not doing much of anything at all to stop the Holocaust – since we trashed our own reputation in the worst way. Or colluding with a whole bunch of really wicked deeds.
Somehow a TV actress’ trivial comments are more damaging than that?
Judge by deeds not words, as as been said.



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moderatelad

posted September 24, 2007 at 8:38 am


Posted by: TheOtherJames | September 22, 2007 6:46 PM
Well, some of us here find you to be a nasty, less-than-intelligent bigot when you make these nasty remarks about Muslims.
You have not been reading my posts close. I have made it clear that it is the ‘radical’ side of Islam that I have issues with. That following the 911 attack, I offered additional protection to an Islamic neighbor should someone hassel his family. Even though I see Islam as a false religion – I have supported rights the believers of that religion to practice here in the US just like other religions.
less-than-intelligent Even I have claimed that I am not the brightest bulb on the tree. But for the most part – I have been respectful to most and those that are not, regardless of which side of the argument they are – I do not respond to.
Later -
.



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Ray

posted September 24, 2007 at 9:00 am


People like Kathy Griffin need to be prayed for. Our Lord said for us to bless those who curse us and pray for those who despitefully use us. He also told us that when the world hates us (Christians), it hated Him first. This is a perfect example of this. Our job is to go on living our faith, sharing the love of Christ with ALL people in hopes they too will come to a saving knowledge of Him, and living a life of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.
We need to show people like Kathy that there really is a God who loves them and that they need His love and forgiveness.
As far as her remarks, our God says in His word, “vengence is mine, I will repay”. It’s not our job to punish her for her atheism. It’s our job to warn people like her what will happen if they don’t reverse course and walk the “straight and narrow”. Someday, God says to all of us “Time’s UP!!!”



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recovering ex-Pentecostal

posted September 24, 2007 at 9:53 am


“Only this time leave out the word ‘Jesus’ and insert the word ‘Mohamad’ and see what happens.”
Except, of course, moderatelad, NO ONE thanks Mohammed for their Superbowl win, do they?



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Anonymous

posted September 24, 2007 at 9:58 am


“Christians needn’t hold believers in a false religion as our standard”
Howzabout “Citizens needn’t hold believers in a false religion as our standard.”
What makes Christianity more “true” than other religions (apart from its own insistence that it is, of course)?



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Anonymous

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:04 am


“”bowing the knee mid-match” is NOT a decadence nor is it a statement of preference”
No. Its merely an irrelevant inanity, a pious public display of one’s own self-righteousness – ‘I’m a better Christian than you’ or ‘Our team loves Gawd more than yours’ – WHAT A CROCK!



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Anonymous

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:38 am


Posted by: recovering ex-Pentecostal | September 24, 2007 9:53 AM
Except, of course, moderatelad, NO ONE thanks Mohammed for their Superbowl win, do they?
We still have free speech and they could if the wanted to do so. Frankly they can thank the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy as far as I am concerned. By why ‘dis’ Jesus while excepting an award that has been given to you when there are so many other people that assist in getting you there that should be highlited?
Blessings -
.



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Moderatelad

posted September 24, 2007 at 11:43 am


Posted by: | September 24, 2007 11:38 AM
the above post is mine
Moderatelad



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kevin s.

posted September 24, 2007 at 1:43 pm


If your faith in Christ is authentic, there is nothing wrong with celebrating a touchdown by publicly thanking Christ, if your gratitude is sincere.



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Hali

posted September 24, 2007 at 1:52 pm


I’m not a huge fan of Griffin, but I do know the difference between making fun of pop celebrities and insulting Jesus. I believe that he knows the difference as well. He probably would respond with one of his wisecracks that were entertaining but revelatory and thought provoking at the same time. He knew what it was like to have one’s statements taken out of context and make people angry.



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Hali

posted September 24, 2007 at 2:24 pm


“Moderatelad” wrote:
“I would like to hear her do the same thing at another awards banquet. Only this time leave out the word ‘Jesus’ and insert the word ‘Mohamad’ and see what happens.”
If that happened, it WOULD be an insult rather than satire. Muslims NEVER thank the prophet for good things – that would be idolatry in their eyes. They thank God directly and frequently – so frequently, in fact, that it becomes almost automatic (like when we say “bless you” when someone sneezes – they say “praise God” instead.) So Ms. Griffin would have had to direct her comments to God Himself, which most likely would provoke the ire of all the monotheistic religions simultaneously ;)



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Anonymous

posted September 24, 2007 at 2:41 pm


-Let me clarify that I don’t particularly care about Griffin’s statement. I find it mildly offensive, but not important, and I’m sure the “Religious right” response was entirely out-of-proportion.
-What I do care about is this idea that God is indifferent to insults regarding His name or character. Scripture portrays a God entirely different.
‘If God is “heavily invested in protecting His name and defending His reputation,” I’d really like to know what reward we Christians can expect for both Catholic and Protestant, clergy and layman, not doing much of anything at all to stop the Holocaust – since we trashed our own reputation in the worst way. Or colluding with a whole bunch of really wicked deeds.’
-Those guilty will be accountable to their Creator. Then again, let’s not pretend that all Christians everywhere saw the Holocaust and turned a blind eye. Many Christians – especially Catholics – were themselves Holocaust victims. Many opposed. Those that said and did nothing will be held responsible. Do you expect me to defend those actions? Or to consider myself “guilty” because of another believer’s sin? I’m guilty of my own sin – and God knows better than anyone how great and overwhelming that sin is. I don’t need anybody else’s piled on top to know that I stand before God without any personal merit.
“Somehow a TV actress’ trivial comments are more damaging than that?”
-Who ever said that? I don’t recall saying “Kathy was worse than Holocaust sympathizers!”
“No. Its merely an irrelevant inanity, a pious public display of one’s own self-righteousness – ‘I’m a better Christian than you’ or ‘Our team loves Gawd more than yours’ – WHAT A CROCK!”
-So any time someone thanks God for anything in view of others it’s self-righteousness or arrogance of divine preference? So if I feel a genuine feeling of thanks to God, I cannot express it in public? Ever? Hmm.



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Mark P (the Yank)

posted September 24, 2007 at 2:56 pm


The above post was me.



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Moderatelad

posted September 24, 2007 at 3:43 pm


Posted by: Hali | September 24, 2007 2:24 PM
But Muslims see Jesus as a ‘prophet’ only. Not as part of the Trinity and therefore God as we do. I still believe that they would be more offended just because she said it regardless of who she highlited.
Blessings -
.



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Beth

posted September 24, 2007 at 3:49 pm


I was taught to thank our our heavenly Father [insert proper non here] from whom all blessings flow. Okay.
Having said that, I’m not sure I agree that affirmation and acceptance among the Hollywood crowd is a blessing. To that point, does it offend me that Jesus didn’t help Kathy win a that Emmy? No.
The fact that she rebuked Jesus in her speech was simply a conventional attempt to be unconventional. And if anything, it has drawn out the label-wearers who see it as their job to judge, rather than pray for the sinner.
And For the record, I would like to thank Jesus that I have never won and will probable never win any accolades from Hollywood. The price is just way too high.



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D B

posted September 24, 2007 at 3:57 pm


I don’t think Jesus NEEDS defending by anyone, it is we who need Jesus, not the reverse. I think perhaps Kathy Griffith wonders, like I do, why Jesus would get involved in the petty day to day stuff of our lives, like awards, games and such and not step in to deal with war, poverty and injustice, to name just a few of the really important issues.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 24, 2007 at 4:21 pm


It is interesting that God does not seem compelled to do this on his own behalf
Posted by: radicaljonny
Johny , ever do something for someone and they don’t say thank you . I guess you can say something sarcastic to them , but God in my opinion lets it go . You see sooner or later He knows because he made the rule book , that to deny Him in your life is at your own peril . Just like when your kid does not listen to you about not spending all his money or whatever , when he goes broke and is in a squezze , where does he go to ? The fact that Kathy was born with characteristics that she was able to expand on to make other people laugh is a good thing .
Many people believe God created us , that life comes from him and He makes us unique . I feel kind of sorry for her , I was not mad . If she is depending only on herself or others , she is going to very disappointed one day .



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snooky325

posted September 24, 2007 at 5:11 pm


“every sin shall be forgiven man [if confessed] even sins against the Son of Man shall be forgiven but sin against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven,” How can they be for in rejecting the forgiveness offered thru faith then forgiveness is rejected, the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth can not abide in them that blaspheme [reject] Him and the redemption he brings? Miss Griffin will reap the rewards of the tongue which she she sows.



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Anonymous

posted September 24, 2007 at 7:10 pm


this reminds me of the flack red hot chili peppers got for thanking satan when they won a grammy. brothers & sisters in christ, un-pucker those sphincters, you are making us all look like a bunch of ninny-miggins!



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Payshun

posted September 24, 2007 at 7:38 pm


Thank you anonymous poster.
Snooky you don’t know what rewards Ms. Griffin will get. So please don’t speculate on that.
p



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Anonymous

posted September 24, 2007 at 8:34 pm


“It is interesting that God does not seem compelled to do this on his own behalf”
This = give credit to Himself for His achievements?
Are you serious? How many times does God do things so that people will know that He is God? God is a jealous God, and He will not share credit or glory in the end.



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kevin s.

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:12 pm


“this reminds me of the flack red hot chili peppers got for thanking satan when they won a grammy. ”
That is a despicable thing to do. There is absolutely no way God was cool with that.



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canucklehead

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:50 pm


Just once I’d like to see some sports hero point to the sky after they’ve struck out or dropped a pass when they were wide open or missed a slam-dunk or…you know, at least some kind of acknowledgement of the sovereignty of God while they’re using the sports stage to instruct the American public in theology.
Why is God acknowledged only when they succeed and not when they fail? The question underscores the naivete of their actions. Please bring back the John 3:16 sign guy!
I find the notion that God actually cares about a home-run or a touchdown or a hat-trick in a world where hundreds of thousands go to bed hungry every night to be pathetic.
The satirical aspect of Ms. Griffin’s words seem to be completely missed by many on this blog, not surprising when conservative elements demonized The Simpsons in its early years simply b/c they didn’t “get” parody/satire.



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Timbuktoo

posted September 25, 2007 at 6:12 am


“By why ‘dis’ Jesus while excepting [SIC] an award that has been given to you when there are so many other people that assist in getting you there that should be highlited [SIC]?Blessings -”
Maybe it is because of the high level of education displayed by some of his followers as evidenced by their ability to spell in an age of spell check.



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Timbuktoo

posted September 25, 2007 at 6:19 am


“You have not been reading my posts close. I have made it clear that it is the ‘radical’ side of Islam that I have issues with. That following the 911 attack, I offered additional protection to an Islamic neighbor should someone hassel his family.”
We have been reading your posts closely and that does not render them any less nasty and offensive.
As for your offering additional protection to an “Islamic neightbor”, it kind of reminds me of Archie Bunker saying he has black friends while not missing an opportunity to disparage them.
It’s nice that you offered assistance to a Muslim neighbor. Captain America would be proud.



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Moderatelad

posted September 25, 2007 at 9:57 am


Posted by: Timbuktoo | September 25, 2007 6:19 AM
Not interested in Captain America.
Archie Bunker would not have had the Labor Day block party that I and my family had – it was very international in the invitation list and many – english was not their first language.
As for my spelling – I am a product of Public Education in the US and comic relief for many here as many of us have had a good chuckle.
‘less nasty ‘ – does that mean they are nasty because I do not agree with you? deal with it. I have my opinions and have been very respectful of others opinion and convictions, unlike some on this site. I may tend to sound a little ‘black and white’ but still willing to enter into discussion on almost any topic.
Have a great day -
.



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kevin s.

posted September 25, 2007 at 11:39 am


“As for your offering additional protection to an “Islamic neightbor” [SIC], it kind of reminds me of Archie Bunker saying he has black friends while not missing an opportunity to disparage them.”
This analogy doesn’t work. Moderatelad is not personally mocking anyone that I can see. Criticism of one’s religion is not the same thing.



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Hank F.

posted September 25, 2007 at 1:43 pm


Gareth,
Griffin made a calculated gesture to inflate her importance as an interpreter of the cultural struggles within the US. She is one among many talking heads who are making the same career gamble, e.g. Hitchens, Maher, even King.
She came on a young people’s stage and made a show of spitting on the Christ of Western Faith. Your preference is that the Faithful walk cravenly away and ignore the calculation she made that this is not just a spit but a wave she is riding.
I have been fortunate to live in a society where the defense of pluralism was a universal ambition. The consequence was that we learned not to speak badly of the deeply held faith of even our oddest neighbors. For that reason I cling to the hope that we do not cross the divide from George Carlin to Kathy Griffin, and believe that it is not in any sense “imperial” to hold that society has a huge interest in drawing the line.
I once found myself the only white man at a Louis Farrakhan rally sponsored by the mothers of our local Black Baptist pastors. The minister explained how the Israel lobby had succeeded in having insurance companies cancel coverage of the event five times in order to exercise its censorship. The press reported that his remarks were being characterized as “Anti-Semitic.” Mel Gibson overcame a related kind of censorship when he put his personal Holy Week religious faith on film. He was forced to form his own distributorship when the established industry held him in a stranglehold. In time he emerged with a ton of money but the emotional scars for which he is now pilloried.
Gareth, “The Grace of God is in courtesy,” as Belloc or Chesterton taught the children. Having spent my life in a civil society I do not personally want to be tested by a vile discourteous public square such as entrapped Gibson and Farrakhan. Being from Belfast you have tougher skin than I want. Defame my daughter and I will get into trouble. Insult my wife and I my go where I otherwise would not have. Spit on the God in whom I live and move and have my being and, to my mind, you have contravened the bounds of acceptable behavior and are, legally, a disturber of the peace.
Griffin and her commercially calculated outrage should not be rewarded.
Neither should her assault on the community of those who abide in Faith, Hope and Love be greeted with your complaisance. We have peace to build. We have continents to feed. We have justice to establish. We need to support, defend and encourage one another. When a Hitchens selects an outrage against Mother Teresa to grab public attention, we need to stand with her in Truth. Maybe she doesn’t need us, but we need to be there. When he moves on from M.Teresa to Almighty God, He doesn’t need us, but we need to be there.
HankF



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N.M. Rod

posted September 25, 2007 at 2:39 pm


Western civilization’s God has not been the real Jesus at all. It may have served as a vessel for transmitting scripture and making it available but it’s as vile as any previous civilization and currently has a record far more violent than any previous one.
Every nation likes to invoke its war gods for blessings of conquest, to salve real conscience, to make self-righteousness to seem other than the selfishness it is.
Our compromised and watered-down for utility of doing what we already wanted to do christianity has had a remarkably poor effect on influencing us for peace; we are more warlike than ever.
The problem isn’t with Germans, Russians, Chinese, the U.S. or [name your own favorite] but the problem is with us, we, humanity. We make excuses for our own bad behavior by blaming others’ bad behavior, universally. Isn’t that a dead giveaway that we are all just the same and that we are really just fighting against ourselves?
The War Jesus is a kind of anti-Christ.



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Anonymous

posted September 25, 2007 at 3:15 pm


maybe the sphincters are cleft, not puckered, hence the inability rather than unwillingness to see or appreciate the humor, or at the very least allow others to without passing judgment.



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kevin s.

posted September 25, 2007 at 4:12 pm


Well, on the merits, the joke wasn’t all that funny.



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Mark P (the Yank)

posted September 25, 2007 at 7:32 pm


“It may have served as a vessel for transmitting scripture and making it available but it’s as vile as any previous civilization and currently has a record far more violent than any previous one.”
And the historically inaccurate anti-Westernism makes an appearance.
You don’t have to go further back than a century to find a more “violent” God — that is, Man as the measure of all things (see: Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot… one might even lump in the Young Turks, but perhaps the credit ought to go Allah on that one).
Consider that the 20th century, the era when the ideas of Nietzsche, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, et al, came into fruition, moving past dormant untried philosophies and into large-scale political systems, was the deadliest century in the history of the world. Over 200 million humans killed by violence, 110 million of those from genocide and mass murder. Far more people were killed by THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS than were by war, a thing unseen in world history.
When man officially and openly deified himself, an era of unparalleled bloodshed exploded.
The “Christianity is just as/more violent than anything else” claim does not stand up to scrutiny, despite the fact that Christendom does indeed have a very bloody and FAR from innocent history.
Your comments are those of the Western masochist.



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Timbuktoo

posted September 26, 2007 at 6:51 am


This analogy doesn’t work. Moderatelad is not personally mocking anyone that I can see. Criticism of one’s religion is not the same thing. Posted by: kevin s.
The fact that you say that the analogy doesn’t work doesn’t mean that it is true. We need only look to the things you have said here on the blog to draw that conclusion. The reason you have not seen the offense given by Moderatelad’s statements is that you yourself would not hesitate to give the same offense from your own small bigoted mindset.



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Moderatelad

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:45 am


Posted by: Timbuktoo | September 26, 2007 6:51 AM
I am still trying to figure out what I have said that has caused you to compare me with A Bunker etc.
I have assisted two in coming to American and getting them employment, housing, education etc.
Even though you don’t seem to think it was worth anything. I did tell my Islamic neighbor that I would be willing to stand between him and anyone that was threatenin him or his family.
I had a block party that the invitation list looks more like the UN and not the KKK.
My little evangelical congregation has many ‘non-white’ families that have joined the last few years and we are just welcoming them into the family with open arms.
Yes – I have my opinion and convictions like everyone else but also have been respectful of people that do not agree with me on this site.
I happen to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and has paid the price for all. You only gain access to the Almighty be surrendering you life and will to the Savior who died for you and me.
What more need be said -
Blessings -
.



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Randy Myers

posted September 28, 2007 at 10:40 am


One of the things that I always come back to whenever Christians get flustered about being criticized or having their faith lampooned is that Christianity itself has always INVITED crtiticism. In fact, Christianity has classically been a self-critical faith, it’s in the “DNA.” Jesus himself, in the spirit of the Prophets, was very critical of the people, faith and institutions of his heritage. Criticism has always been there,especially within the Church, that and a warning not to take ourselves too seriously. The 95 Theses and the Heidelberg Disputation are good examples. Semper reformada is kept alive through criticsim from the inside and outside. Faith requires critique. It invites it. The dialectic tension dies when there isn’t any.



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Hope

posted September 28, 2007 at 1:16 pm


Well, personally, I think Kathy is hilarious and, last time I looked, the Constitution still mentioned something about free speech. Don’t like what she says? Turn off your HBO! Don’t like that she said it? Stop talking about it and discuss something serious — ummmm, like the War in Iraq, perhaps.



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Handmaid4peace

posted September 29, 2007 at 10:49 pm


Do we win anything if we care more than anyone else about what celebs jibe about? Will I get a better seat at the wedding table?
I wonder if more souls will be there because of my prayers and life. I wonder if my wedding garment will be less stained.
Just got back to SoJo after an absence. Bummer that this is such a hot debate.



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John

posted October 1, 2007 at 4:00 pm


1) Jesus doesn’t need defending from Kathy Griffin because her remark wasn’t directed at him, it was directed at those who ostentatiously parade their supposed dedication to Jesus in moments of personal triumph — hitting a home run, scoring a touchdown, or winning a competitive award — kind of like those who do their praying loudly in the front of the temple… I do not believe God takes sides in competitions (athletic or cultural). If the other guy hits a home run off me it’s because his swing is better than my fastball, not because God decided to gift him with a home run instead of me with a strike out. Thank God for the spiritual richness of your life and the opportunity to celebrate his gift of life by playing a game that gives you joy, not for triumphing over another of his children.
2) If Ms. Griffin is not a Christian, but won this award none-the-less, then we cannot attribute her winning to having dedicated her life to Jesus. Setting aside for a moment the possibility that God works in mysterious ways, her statement was merely truthful.
3) If God does work in mysterious ways, and did influence the judges or voters to give the award to Ms. Griffin, surely it would have been with the knowledge of the type of remarks she would make. In which case, Ms. Griffin is doing God’s work — perhaps by getting us to think more deeply (as we always should be doing) about the nature of God’s gifts to us, and about the nature of the actions we owe to him here on earth.



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