Arrogant Christians In The White House10 hours ago
Mike Pence, the fundamentalist Christian whose views are so extreme that he cannot be alone with a woman other than his wife, and Donald Trump, who brags about sexually assaulting women and famously stumbled over an attempt to quote a biblical passage while on the campaign trail, seem to hold wildly divergent religious views. Yet both adhere to variations of Christianity inflected with arrogance. Together they represent two troubling trends in American Christianity, trends which appear to prove all the complaints secular liberals ever leveled against Christians.
Pence adheres to biblical literalism. Put simply, this view asserts that the Bible is a transparent document, one that prescribes specific behavioral guidelines. Glossing over the fact that the Bible is a complex text built of ancient fragments brought together by human hands, that it does not speak directly to many modern issues, and that even on its own terms it encompasses numerous contradictions, these Christians confidently declare that the Bible provides clear guidance for every Christian. Literalists arrived at this position only relatively late in Christian history, in response to various challenges from many quarters, including biblical scholarship, advances in science, and a rise in unbelief. Cutting through the complexities and the need to make choices, literalists declared all choice to be false and all discussion to be error. It was a comforting if simplistic and authoritarian solution to the problem of uncertainty.
Its arrogance lies in the hubris of those who believe that only their chosen answers are correct. Its potential to harm others comes when adherents gain political power and force their mandates on nonbelievers. One of the many dangers emanating out of the Trump White House is the power of Pence to impose not his religion but the behaviors his religion dictates onto the rest of us. Womens rights and gender equality are on Pences hit list.
Trumps religion, although very different, is similarly alarming. Unsurprisingly Trump accepts a religious viewpoint that tells him he is uniquely awesome. Whatever he hashowever he acquired itGod wants him to enjoy to the fullest. Although traditional Christian social practice mandates that believers exercise humility, charity and other virtues that put others before self, Trumps faith rejects all curbs on self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement. This religious position, known as Prosperity Theology, is newer than Pences literalism. It preaches that God wants the rich to be not only rich but selfish. Its attraction to a man like Trumpborn to wealth, selfishly guided by his own desires, endlessly demanding that others adore him but never judge himis transparent.
Trump accepts a religious viewpoint that tells him he is uniquely awesome.
The arrogance of Trumps faith can be found in its elevation of the financially successful individual above all others. The rich are rich because God wants them to be so, and he furthermore wants them to enjoy that wealth without qualms or any sense of obligation to others. A religion for the arrogantly wealthy, Prosperity Theology ignores much traditional Christianity. It must brush off Jesuss parable (Matthew 19:24). In that Gospel, Jesus said It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. With this warning, Jesus cautioned that the wealthy had to confront additional temptations unique to them, the temptations of arrogance, selfishness, and greed. In this life their road was easier, but their prospects in the next life were dimmed, if they just enjoyed their wealth without regard for others. Prosperity preaching asserts precisely the opposite: take what you can grab and if you succeed, enjoy it without a second thought, for your success proves you have Gods blessing.
Pences arrogance leads him to believe that he knows exactly what God wants us all to do and that he ought to force that on us if he has the power to do so. Trumps faith simply endorses his own self-regard, elevating his personal whims to Gods desires. The political marriage of the two men is obviously one of expedience, given the great disparities in their beliefs and goals. Yet between them, they can do a great deal of damage. Arrogant self-righteousness and egotistical self-regard together wield power over the rest of us.
Little wonder that the pope has been modeling Christian humility and singing the praises of Christian charity, or that the supporters of these two find his lessons in what it means to be a Christian so infuriating.
Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com
Life Doesn’t Always Go According To Plan (And Maybe That’s The Beautiful Part)10 hours ago
When you close your eyes and look back, did you see yourself here? Did you imagine you’d have this job, these friends, this apartment? Did you picture yourself with the same lover, with a future person, with some sort of relationship that was messy, or absolutely perfect and secure?
Chances are, you saw your life a certain way. Maybe your dream was to start a business, to be surrounded by success. Maybe your dream was to have a family, to find that special person and settle down. Maybe your dream was somewhere in the mix of all that, possibly in both a relationship and beginning a strong career. Maybe your dream was not about work or relationships at all, but finally coming to terms with the person you are.
And maybe you had it all figured out: college, job, love, self-love. Maybe you thought through the way you wanted your days to go, how you wanted to build, over time, a life you were proud of. Maybe you mapped out the ideal age for having children, for organizing a wedding, for leaving the company you didn’t feel connected with.
Maybe you had all these plans—and the universe thought otherwise.
I’ve always loved order, preparation, making sense of the world around me. Having a plan was the best way for me to look forward. When I knew what I wanted, how to get it, and where to go, I could step forward with confidence. I wasn’t afraid.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, time and time again, is that God’s plan won’t always align with my plan, what the world wants for me might not always be the same as what I want for me, and sometimes the best-laid plans fall terribly short.
When I look back on my life, I never would have imagined being in this place, having these dreams, loving these people. Five years ago, I never thought I’d move across the country, have friends in different corners of the world and a boyfriend 2,500 miles away. When I imagined my future self, I didn’t think I’d be this passionate about writing, that I’d be building a career out of something I love, that I’d have so many wonderful things around me, but still feel so damn lost sometimes.
I think that the world puts so much focus on preparation. In school we’re fed the lies that if we don’t do exceedingly well, we won’t make waves. We’re pushed to be the best student, best athlete, best person—but sometimes we don’t know what to push for because we’re just not sure who we want to be.
We’re encouraged to pursue relationships, to find ‘the one,’ to never settle—so we’re always scrambling for the next best thing or person, trying so desperately to fill our lives with something that makes sense.
We spend so much time getting ready for this future, stressing over what hasn’t happened, and setting plans for what’s next We forget to celebrate how far we’ve come. We forget that life isn’t always going to unfold how we want it to—but maybe that’s the most beautiful part.
I always thought my life would be ‘perfect’ if I just did all the things I wanted, if I had just a little bit more success, or money, or the ‘right’ person’s hand to hold. But that wasn’t true. (And none of those scenarios worked out, anyways).
Honestly, the best moments, and the moments I’ve grown the most haven’t been the ones I’ve prepared for. I spent hours upon hours upon hours searching for colleges, applying, visiting, questioning—and the school I ended up with wasn’t even one on my original list. I poured the entirety of my soul into a relationship only to discover he wasn’t truly the one. I got my heart broken, only to find in the healing process.
None of these moments were on the map; I hadn’t anticipated them coming.
And yet I became the person I am today because of them.
Life made its own plans for me—to fall, to break, to be confused, to lose people I loved, to face death, to question myself and my beliefs, to move across the country, to take a job I hated, to start completely over. And sure, I fought like hell against all that. Sure, I thought my world was completely crumbling apart a whole bunch of times.
But in those unknowns, I rebuilt.
In all those unplanned moments that I discovered (and learned to love) myself.
I have spent so much of my life trying to figure everything out (I still do this!) but the greatest lesson I’ve learned, and am still learning, is that I cannot control anything that happens to me.
But I control how I grow from it.
I used to have a roadmap, a ‘timeline’ if you will. But I threw that damn thing away.
Sometimes the best moments in life are the ones you can’t anticipate—you just learn how to both hold on and let go, and allow yourself to experience them, feel them, celebrate them, bloom from them. And continue forward, welcoming what comes.
‘It’s going to make art great again’: the street artists taking on TrumpYesterday
The new president has inadvertently inspired a range of angry and satirical pieces, from altered street signs to a drone writing derogatory graffiti
At an anti-Trump rally this weekend, the film-maker Michael Moore took the stage to say the president could be taken down with political satire. Lets form an army of comedy and we will bring him down, he said. He is affected by ridicule. That army of comedic artists has been pounding the pavement this weekend for a fresh crop of post-inauguration street art.
The movement of satirical Trump art, which began shortly after the businessman announced he was running for office, ranges from memes to murals. The New York street artist Hanksy painted Trump as a pile of dung in Manhattan (which was scrubbed shortly before the inauguration), and a nude portrait of Trump with a micropenis by the Los Angeles artist Illma Gore led to the artist being assaulted in public and receiving threats from Trumps legal team.
Anti-Trump art is more than just graffiti and paste-ups; it ranges from buses to drones and even dollar bills. And it goes beyond Washington, where thousands of protesters took to the streets this weekend for the Womens March. Certainly, Shepard Fairey made a splash with his poster of a Muslim woman wearing an American flag hijab but thats not where it ends. Art marking Donald Trumps inauguration stretched across the country and beyond, proving that political artwork has a healthy four years ahead.
One New York street artist named KATSU launched a graffiti-making drone on Monday, formed of a quadcopter carrying a spray can that writes out Scum Trump. The artist plans on releasing all the hardware and software specs so it can be used anywhere, especially in hard-to-reach places.
The t.Rutt art duo run by the Philadelphia artist David Gleeson and the New York artist Mary Mihelic bought a former Trump campaign bus off of Craigslist for $14,000 in 2015 with a bumper sticker displaying the date of inauguration day: 1-20-17. They drove across the country last year and spoke to Americans for a documentary-style art project after altering the bus to read Make Fruit Juice Great Again. On inauguration day, the artists added two golden teardrops to the bus. The teardrops reflect on how so many people felt on inauguration day and also reference the golden shower dossier, said Mihelic.
Their forthcoming project, Golden Shower, is a reference to claims about Trump in a leaked dossier. We are inviting all of those who have been directly disrespected by Trump, including Rosie ODonnell and Megyn Kelly, to donate urine to us, said Mihelic, who will be giving the bus a golden shower in Philadelphia this March.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Westworld episode 4 recap: ‘I’m not crazy, and none of this matters’2 days ago
This post contains spoilers for Westworld Season 1, Episode 4, titled “Dissonance Theory.” Read last week’s recap here.
The Man in Black has remained one of Westworlds most mysterious characters. Whats his end goal? Is he just an agent of chaos, or a really dedicated player hunting the games final level? Or is there something more? Episode 4, Dissonance Theory, provided some pretty big hints.
We know the MiB seeks the maze. This week, he revealed that he believes the maze was designed by Arnold, Fords disgraced, deceased business partner, as Westworlds final chapter. And what little we know about Arnold paints him as obsessed with the hosts and convinced that they would eventually achieve consciousness. Thats clue number one.
Clue two: in episode 2, Chestnut, the Man in Black got his first big hint in his quest for the maze, from Lawrences daughter. That thread re-materialized this week with the return of the excellent Ingrid Bols Berdal as Armistice. But recall what the little girl told the MiB: that the maze isnt meant for him.
So for whom is it meant? If it was indeed created by Arnold, we can assume its meant for a host, not a guest, to find. Bernard confirms this when he sends Dolores seeking after the maze (how Bernie himself even knows about the maze is a question that will hopefully be answered at some point).
Finally, there was a line of seemingly throwaway dialogue between the Man in Black and Lawrence in Dissonance Theory this week: Im gonna f*cking kill you, Larry threatens, to which the MiB replies: Maybe someday.
I dont believe there is throwaway dialogue in Westworld. The script is tight, nearly every line imbued with meaning and theme. And these clues provide evidence of what the maze may be: a test for the hosts, one that only a conscious being can solve. And at the goal? A cheat menu for the game that is Westworld an aberration that will let the hosts break their most important rule, the one that prevents them from hurting guests, which Elsie this episode calls the Samaritan reflex. Hence, maybe someday. Very coy, Ed Harris.
Arnold, idealistic guy that he was, knew what would happen when Ford let the money-grubbers into the park. He knew horrible things would be done to the hosts. And if his hope for his creations that theyd eventually become sentient ever bore fruit, he surely must have built them a way out.
Is any of that right? Will the maze lead to the bloodbath the show seems to be building toward? Does Bernie have any idea of the path hes set Dolores on? Only time (and more episodes) will tell. But that’s where Im placing my bets.
Maeve, at least, finally began to understand the nature of her reality this episode. The dissonance theory in the episode title refers to cognitive dissonance, of which the hosts, guests and even the parks designers have plenty. But Maeves discoveries, of her memories of being shot, her multiple drawings of the mysterious figures, and the Native American hosts worship of those same beings well, just imagine seeing that from her perspective. It would be quite unsettling.
The whole storyline raises some important questions about the park itself. Is it possible that the tribe has its own culture and spiritual beliefs that werent written or programmed in? Why havent any of the parks designers noticed that some of the hosts have deified them? Has the virus really spread that far? This week we saw the incredible degree of control the company has over events in the park even the MiBs exploding cigar is just another trick flipped on from the control room like a light bulb. So if the designer-worship was written in as part of the story, why and by whom?
This week I found myself asking similar questions about Wyatt, the villain Ford seemed to make up in last weeks The Stray. In that episode, Ford said Teddys new backstory is rooted in truth, but it hasnt yet become clear exactly how.
Instead, Wyatt has somehow wormed himself into seemingly every other storyline in Westworld. Or maybe he was always there, and all Ford did was weave Teddys story into Wyatts for the first time. It is possible that Wyatt has been around in the park for ages, and last week was simply the first wed heard of him. How else can it be explained that the Man in Blacks quest for the maze, which was apparently created by the long-dead Arnold, leads him directly to Wyatt? The pieces arent quite lining up, though hopefully thats intentional and it will ultimately all make sense.
Dissonance Theory answered some questions and deepened the mystery of others, but more than anything it once again highlighted the immense talent of the people working both on-camera and off on Westworld. The script is laden with hidden clues, it seems, and the music much of it by Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi toes the line between sci-fi and Western in a way that perfectly encapsulates this show.
From Evan Rachel Woods Dolores lamenting that there may be something wrong with this world to Rodrigo Santoros deliberately larger-than-life Hector Escaton and especially Thandie Newtons heart-pounding portrayal of Maeve every actor on this show is putting in the work.
What does it mean, Maeve? That Im not crazy, and that none of this matters. I got chills.
What does any of it mean? Well, considering that Ford gave a full-on Bond villain speech this episode and the Man in Black may in fact be working to free the hosts from their tormented slavery, Dissonance Theory may mean that our initial assumptions about many of the shows characters were likely wrong.
Another guest referenced the MiBs foundation this episode, saying it saved his sisters life so what does that make the Man in Black in the real world? A rich philanthropist whose sadistic streak within Westworld is simply another part of the game, maybe even meant to spur the hosts forward into sentience via the sheer volume of trauma inflicted?
I know one thing for sure: Im extremely excited to watch Logan and William go black hat next week.
Westworld airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Why supporting abortion is a pro-life position3 days ago
(CNN)The Legislature in Iowa has passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Senate File 359, or the “heartbeat bill,” will bar physicians from performing the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks, when it is common for women not to know they are pregnant yet.
Read more: www.cnn.com
Tennessee woman fired after calling policemen on black human wearing socks in neighborhood pond3 days ago
A Tennessee property manager was fired after a tenant claimed she and her boyfriend were discriminated against for being black when the employee called the police because he wore socks in the apartment complex swimming pool.
Camry Porter, a tenant at Riverset Apartments in Mud Island, Tennessee, recorded parts of the incident on Wednesday between her and the property manager Erica Walker. Porter posted the videos on Facebook where it went viral and was shared more than 9,000 times.
Porter said she and her boyfriend took her godchildren to the pool on Wednesday when Walker, who is white, told the man he needed to remove his socks or leave, pointing to a sign requiring proper swimming attire. However, Porter pointed out that some people were wearing hats in the pool, breaking the swimming attire rule. The video showed three white men wearing hats in the pool.
“She said no hats, no shirts and no socks. But we have two men – who are her friends – sitting here in hats,” Porter said.
Walker was heard in the video telling Porter that hats were allowed if they were not dunked in the water. Porter told WREG she believed she and her boyfriend were “singled out because of their skin color.”
“It does look funny,” she told WREG. “It’s 25, 30-plus white people out here and you haven’t said anything — you’re partying with them. You’re partying with them! But when we come, it’s an issue.”
The property manager eventually called the police on the family. Porter recorded the interaction between the officer, Porter, her boyfriend and Walker. In the video, Porter told the cop her Fourth of July “was ruined” but agreed to leave.
“My rent is going to be free for the rest of the month and somebody won’t have a job,” Porter was heard saying to the group before walking away.
Porter said Walker appeared to be apologetic but she was embarrassed by the incident.
“You called the police on me. That could have went a whole other way. We’ve seen that,” Porter told WREG. “And I didn’t have anything to say to her. She was very apologetic, I will say that. But at this point, I don’t want an apology. You’ve embarrassed me.”
Trilogy Real Estate Group said Walker was no longer employed at the company because her actions violated company policies and beliefs.
“To confirm, Ms. Walker was terminated immediately after we completed our investigation yesterday afternoon,” the statement read. “She will never be employed by Trilogy Residential Management, LLL or any of its properties in the future.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Read more: www.foxnews.com
15 Women Reveal The Biggest Red Flags That A Guy Has NO Game Whatsoever4 days ago
Chris Christie devoted a moving speech on drug addiction, but here’s what he failed to mention.4 days ago
At a campaign stop in a New Hampshire tavern, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie unloaded some heavy emotional artillery on the subject of drug addiction.
He shared a story about his mom, who started smoking when she was 16 years old.
She did everything she could to quit.
When she eventually developed lung cancer, the solution was obvious: Treat it.
He asked why people who are addicted to drugs don’t receive the same compassion as those who get sick from cigarette addiction.
He shared another example to drive his point home. This one was about a friend of his from law school. Things always seemed to go his way. He was the smartest among them, the first to get a job offer, had lots of money and a loving wife and kids.
Then a minor running injury changed it all. His doctor prescribed him painkillers.
He was in and out of rehab for a decade, but his addiction was too strong.
He lost his wife, his kids, his home, his job, and his money. Then came a tragic ending.
Christie says policies shouldn’t punish people with addictions. “We need to stop judging,” he said, “and start giving them the tools they need to get better.”
The speech was a touching break from the usual tussle of election season. But where will Christie stand when the rubber meets the road?
As a prosecutor, Christie built a “tough on crime” reputation. However, he has since acknowledged that the prison-crowding war on drugs was a failure.
Today, half of all federal prisoners are locked up for drug offenses. Christie says they need our help, not our judgment.
If we choose to stop treating the victims of addiction as enemies in a war,” he said in a campaign speech, “we can end this war.”
But here’s where things get kinda weird.
If elected president, Christie has vowed to enforce federal cannabis prohibition laws, even in states that legalized medical and recreational use.
If that sounds at odds with what he had to say in that New Hampshire tavern, it’s because it is. Walt Hickey of FiveThirtyEight says it’s probably all about politics:
“Christie’s intention may have been to assure the Republican base that the governor of a blue state with a medical cannabis policy is no friend of the reefer or just to shore up his law-and-order bona fides.”
But Christie’s stance on drug addiction wasn’t the only moment of contrast with his other messaging. In the same speech, he says his pro-life beliefs are the basis for his compassionate views on the issue.
But that doesn’t quite fit with his public support of the death penalty.
So is Christie really a “tell it like it is” candidate? That’s for voters to decide.
In the meanwhile, prisons are swelling with folks who shouldn’t be there, and tens of thousands are dying of drug overdoses every year because they can’t get the treatment and opportunities they need.
And we’d all do well to remember that’s just a fraction of what’s at stake behind the clamor and confusion of politics.
Watch Christie’s full speech:
Read more: www.upworthy.com
People Claim Time Travel Is Real After 1,500 Year Old Mummy Found Wearing ‘Adidas Trainers’5 days ago
In a seemingly startlingscientific discovery, the mummified feet of a Mongolian woman – at least 1,500 years old – has been found“wearing Adidas trainers”.
Does this mean that time travel is real?! Will we all be zipping between eras soon enough?! Is this Adidas-loving lady a real-life Doctor Who?!
In all honesty, we think probably not, but the conspiracy theorists of the internet are up in arms. Various comments madeon Live Leak, where the pictures were first published, have pointed out the shoes (which admittedly, do bear some resemblance to Adidas), and it’s quickly becoming the biggest time travel sensation since that “mobile phone” was found during an Austrian archaeological dig:
Even though it’s probably not evidence of time travel, the discovery of this mummy is a pretty big deal.Buried witha saddle, a bridle, a clay vase, a wooden bowl, a trough, an iron kettle, and an entire horse, this woman is giving experts a unique insight into ancient life (and death) in Mongolia.
Onetold The Siberian Times:
“This is a very rare phenomenon. These finds show us the beliefs and rituals of Turkiks.”
So there you have it. Probably not time travel, but still pretty interesting…
Image Credits: Live Leak
Rift between Iran’s ayatollah and re-elected president widens5 days ago
Hassan Rouhani questions political legitimacy of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after supreme leader embarrassed president at high-profile meeting
Tensions are mounting between Irans supreme leader and the countrys president after the latters landslide victory in last months election.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 78, has sharpened his criticism of the reformist president, Hassan Rouhani, including humiliating him in a meeting of the countrys most senior officials.
A hardliner keen to preserve his legacy, Khamenei is believed to have tacitly backed Ebrahim Raisi, Rouhanis rival, in the election.
The president, who increased his mandate by 5m votes when he won his second term, fired back this week by saying that the political legitimacy of a religious leader is determined by the peoples will and invitation comments that supporters of Khamenei, whose position as supreme leader is a lifelong appointment, have received with disdain.
Clerics sympathetic to Khamenei argue that the legitimacy of the leader, or the rule of the Islamic jurist (Velayat-e-Faghih) is divine.
Rouhanis comments come after Khamenei delivered a withering speech last week to an audience of senior officials including Rouhani, the judiciary chief and the parliamentary speaker.
Mr President has talked at great lengths about the countrys economy and well, hes said this should be done, that should be done, Khamenei said. But who is he addressing by mentioning the should dos? the ayatollah asked, before responding: Himself.
A video circulating online of that moment shows the audience bursting into laughter while Rouhani smiles uncomfortably.
Khamenei continued: In 1980-1981 the then president polarised society in two camps, and divided the country into opponents and supporters; this should not be repeated.
The ayatollah was referring to the first post-revolutionary president, Abolhassan Banisadr, who was impeached and later exiled after clashing with the clerical establishment. Rouhanis supporters view the leaders comments as a warning that he may face a similar fate.
Ali Ansari, director of the Institute of Iranian Studies at St Andrews University, said Khamenei was attempting to curb Rouhanis rising popularity after his election success.
After the elections Khamenei was unhappy with the results and theyre trying to contain it, Ansari said. Its all standard stuff that we heard in 2000, 2001 when they got a bit panicky and worried about what [former reformist president Mohammad] Khatami would try and do. They want to send a message to Rouhani to get back into your box.
He added: Hes interestingly saying, Im not.
The power struggle has also seen Rouhani forced to defend his success at the ballot box. Addressing a group of university professors, he referred to Ali ibn Abi Talib, the prophet Muhammads son-in-law, a revered Shia figure also respected by Sunnis, who became a caliph only when people showed him support.
We are not following western beliefs when were holding elections and going after peoples votes, he said, insisting that democracy was not a western gift. We belong to a religion in which [Imam Ali] based his leadership on peoples will and peoples vote.
Khamenei, in particular, bought into the anti-Rouhani spin during the campaign period that said his administration was promoting western lifestyle choices and homosexuality in schools false claims that infuriated Rouhani.
Rouhanis predecessors have also found that their relations with Khamenei became more strained in their second term in office, as they jostled to leave their own legacy and test the limits of power under the Iranian constitution and Khameneis supreme authority. Even hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was blocked from running in this years election, fell foul of Khamenei during his second term in office.
Referring to the previous administrations of Mohammad Khatami and his predecessor, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ansari said: Both of them were probably more diplomatic than Rouhani was, but they basically said the same thing.
However, the power struggle between the elected faction and the unelected faction of the Iranian establishment has become even more complicated under Rouhani tenure because of uncertainty over Khameneis succession. There is also uncertainty surrounding Khameneis state of health after his prostate surgery in 2014.
Whats interesting is that Khamenei has been so blunt in his criticism, hes been very personal that meeting where he actually specifically named Rouhani and said get on with your job and stop criticising other people, and everyone laughed about it, said Ansari. Basically, Khamenei has given the green light to hardliners to start containing him, but we have to wait and see how it pans out. Obviously theyre trying to hit him [Rouhani] very hard, and we just have to see how Rouhani responds.
Read more: www.theguardian.com