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Heterodoxy, Orthodoxy, Heresy and the GOP

1 November, 2009

Orthodoxy, heresy and heterodoxy, the idea that belief in certain things (as opposed to performing the correct ceremonies), pervades the ten thousand or so Christianities of the world.  For the most part, each sect teaches (and is taught) that they, and only they, have the one correct answer to life, the universe and everything.  Whether the unity of the trinity (or the trinity of the unity), the omnipresence of the holy spirit, whatever.  It sometimes seems that the smaller the disagreement, the bigger the verbal battle.

Recently, one church down in North Carolina decided that they need to enforce orthodoxy.  Stamp out heterodoxy and heresy.  By burning books.  By burning copies of the Bible.  Copies of every Bible which is not the King James V Bible (which (as an historian) makes me very happy that these narrow-minded zealots don’t have access to some of the early extant copies of the different Bibles (in all their different incarnations)).  And they will even burn copies of Mother Teresa’s book.

The website for the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, N.C., says there are “scriptural bases” for the book burning. The site quotes Acts 19:18-20: “And many that believed, came and confessed and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”

Church leaders deem Good News for Modern Man, the Evidence Bible, the New International Version Bible, the Green Bible and the Message Bible, as well as at least seven other versions of the Bible as “Satan’s Bibles,” according to the website. Attendees will also set fire to “Satan’s popular books” such as the work of “heretics” including the Pope, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham and Rick Warren.

Well, if they’re gonna burn Rick Warren and Billy Graham, I might hesitantly approve.  Burning books, though, is authoritarianism run amok.

When a group decides that they are inspired by god, and that god has given them the only correct answer, any heterodoxy becomes heresy.  Any deviation from the party line is anathema.

Thought they haven’t started burning books yet, the Grand Old Party of God is in the grasp of the teabaggers, birthers, and other extreme radicals.  And they are enforcing orthodoxy (from The Washington Monthly):

“I think it will empower tea party activists to look for moderate scalps in other districts,” fretted one senior GOP strategist with national campaign experience. “The question is, Will we go through a period in the party where a great purge begins?” this strategist asked.Hasn’t it already? Scozzafava was a respected local Republican, with a record slightly to the right of most GOP state lawmakers in New York, but she was deemed insufficiently conservative. Sen. Arlen Specter was a Republican senator for nearly three decades, but he was deemed insufficiently conservative. Gov. Charlie Crist is supposed to be a rising GOP star from the nation’s largest swing state, but his future is in doubt because he’s been deemed insufficiently conservative. Eight House Republicans supported energy reform in July, and the base has targeted them for retribution. Newt Gingrich, for reasons I’ve never understood, is considered one of the GOP’s great idea men. But the Tea Party/wingnut crowd has turned on him, too.

When Newt Gingrich is too moderate, and trying to pull the Republican Party closer to the American mainstream, it’s safe to say there’s something deeply wrong.

Part of me wants to pop some corn, pop a lager, and enjoy the show.  Part of me is deeply frightened of what may happen as the GOPOG moves even further right, as they lose the middle and the moderate conservatives (or kick them out), as they see (possibly) that violence may be the only way to regain relevance or political power (not saying that it will happen, but . . .).

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12 comments

  1. We have evidence that when people begin to burn books, the folks who might read them are are also scheduled for the pyre, sooner or later.

    I have read that there is soon to be a more “conservative” translation of the bible which will put paid to this disturbing and unthinkable crapola of kindness and concern. I’m sure they’ll make sure that this “turn the other cheek” business will disappear toot freakin’ sweet.

    This may cause a bit of a conundrum among the folks down at Amazing Grace, it’ll be just what they want to hear, but IT WON’T BE KJV!!! and so will cause a bit of problem. To burn, or hide from authority? What to do, what to do…


  2. Sarge: Ever the optimist, aren’t you?

    The bookburners probably won’t burn the book readers. At least, not until they have tortured them in order force confessions of liberalism and such. Then they can burn them.

    The conservabible is hilarious beyond words — I think it is the polar opposite of the Jefferson Bible. Maybe they will just edit the KJV version, removing everything but the blood, gore, and woo. Which would make it pretty much the same as the sections used by many conservative churches.


  3. The Democrat party fits your (mis)definition a little better: they’re throwing out anyone who doesn’t want a complete takeover of healthcare by the departiment of Health. The GOP is playing to the middle which is so far to the right of the Democrat party that to the few liberals the GOP seems conservative. Its not, it is actually the middle of the road for America.

    And every translation of the Bible is a human translation so none are perfect.


  4. Matthew: I wrote up a reply to most of your points, but then I figured that you probably don’t care what the facts actually are, when empathy-crushing rhetoric and fantasy are so much more appealing. In short, you are the GOP’s base. Kudos.


  5. I wrote up a reply to most of your points, but then I figured that you probably don’t care what the facts actually are, when empathy-crushing rhetoric and fantasy are so much more appealing. In short, you are the GOP’s America base. Kudos.

    Fixed that for you. I understand your delusions. Well, no I don’t. But I recognize your delusions.


  6. Assuming that “Mathew” and “Matthew” are the same person, thanks for proving my point.


    • MO: Same numbers, same computer, so I guess Matthew/Mathew has problems even writing his own name.


      • Who could be so dumb as to do that?


      • Don’t be too harsh. I’ve been known, when using an alternate computer (one where my passwords are not embedded) to drop a ‘(‘ or ‘)’ from my name. I imagine dropping a t is possible. Maybe he was going for a drop-cap? In the middle of his name?

        Yeah, that’t the ticket.


  7. The odd thing is that the church you mention takes Acts 19:18-20 out of context to support their “justification” – the sorcerers weren’t burning Bibles; Bibles didn’t even exist at that time. Rather, the books being burned refer to their various occult spellbooks. Three seconds of critical thought should have cleared this up, yet the church seems to have missed it.

    When a group decides that they are inspired by god, and that god has given them the only correct answer, any heterodoxy becomes heresy. Any deviation from the party line is anathema.

    I see the same phenomenon within the circle of atheist bloggers I visit – all you need to do is switch “inspired by god” to “vindicated by science” and voila. And I’m not talking about you there, (((Billy))). I haven’t had enough actual experience with you to deduce much other than that you’ve got a mouth for those you take a disliking to. Still, as far as your posts go, while there’s certainly stuff I disagree with, you don’t come across as one of the “party lines atheists” I allude to. IOW, I classify you as a freethinker – not that you needed my stamp of approval or anything – just wanted to make myself clear.


    • “…the sorcerers weren’t burning Bibles; Bibles didn’t even exist at that time. Rather, the books being burned refer to their various occult spellbooks.”
      But the KJV is the only True Bible®! And the Holy Spirit tells them that they’re correct. Which are they gonna follow, God’s guidance or yours? Especially when you’re so obviously following Satan! Further chicanery!

      “Three seconds of critical thought should have cleared this up, yet the church seems to have missed it.”
      Legalistic literalist emotionalism is so much simpler, though.


  8. cl: So an acceptance that the self-correcting investigation of our natural world (science) is the dogma of atheism to which you have referred in the past? (not an accusation, just an attempted clarification)



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