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Wednesday
Aug232006

The Ridiculous Denomination

Every time I turn around I find more reasons to wear big sunglasses and a scarf when going to and from my Episcopal church.  This from the Weekly Standard:

Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11, published by Westminster John Knox Press, is fairly succinct in its conspiracy theory. In fact, only the first half of the book is devoted to dissecting the conspiracy, the facts being so obvious that elaboration is hardly required. The second half is focused on the theological implications of America as empire, and why Christians should stand against it.

David Ray Griffin, professor emeritus of philosophy and theology at Claremont School of Theology in California, is the author of what is now his third book on 9/11. "If we believe that our political and military leaders are acting on the basis of policies that are diametrically opposed to divine purposes, it is incumbent upon us to say so," he explains in the preface. A "process" theologian who believes that God is constantly evolving, Griffin is a member of "Scholars for 9/11 Truth," a non-partisan group that is "dedicated to exposing falsehoods and to revealing truths behind 9/11."

The book is blurbed by the late Rev. William Sloane Coffin, United Methodist theologian Catherine Keller of Drew University, Episcopal theologian Carter Heyward of Episcopal Divinity School, and Roman Catholic dissident feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether. Griffin explains that parts of the book are based on lectures he delivered in June 2003 on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky. The project in revisionist history seems to be ecumenical.

Expecting controversy, the Presbyterian publishing house issued a news release, insisting that "Professor Griffin's thorough research and intellectually rigorous arguments have persuaded us that this book should have a place in that conversation, regardless of the conclusions readers come to accept." The Presbyterians are printing more than 7000 copies of Griffin's latest work.

OK, I think that the  Presbyterians can take their fair share of spitballs for this but David Griffin is "blurbed" by an Episcopalian and the Diocese of Kentucky is giving him a forum.  "Intellectually rigorous" ?  I guess if you show someone an elephant who has never seen an elephant and tell them it's a duck, they may well believe you.  That's the thing about conspiracy theorists: you  could tell them anything and if it supports their pet notion, they believe it, if it doesn't, it becomes a part of the mounting evidence that people are working really hard to cover something up.    A "process theologian" who thinks God is constantly evolving?  Isn't this taking Darwinism to new heights of absurdity?  And he's employed?  Normally people with this array of preoccupations are found hugging grates and dumpster diving in our nation's Capitol.  But he managed to find employment at a seminary.  Of course.

Quite simply, "central members of the Bush administration, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, came into office intent on attacking Iraq, an Arab Muslim nation." For several months preceding 9/11, the administration was also planning to attack Afghanistan. Accordingly, the administration planted explosives in the basement of the World Trade Center, to ensure their collapse by "controlled demolition."

The laws of physics alone cannot explain why steel-reinforced towers would implode as a result of mere airplanes crashes, Griffin insists. Also, the company in charge of security for the World Trade Center was conveniently headed by a cousin of President Bush.

Let this be a lesson to all you seminarians who  think that those required courses in metallurgy and structural engineering will never come in handy...

And did you notice that he has already fulfilled one of the rules for my kook test? "Also, the company in charge of security for the World Trade Center was conveniently headed by a cousin of President Bush."  But I wonder when he'll get to the Jooooooos... In a surprising twist:

He is careful to assure that though "some people think that Jewishness is a necessary condition for being a neoconservative, this is not so." Cheney and Rumsfeld are prime examples of non-Jewish neocons, he observes, and he focuses on them as the culprits.

But,

...this has profound spiritual implications for Christians, Griffin observes, having already concluded that Jesus Christ's primary goal on earth was to overturn the Roman Empire of His day. Unfortunately, Griffin opines, the early church, including some Gospel writers, covered up this truth, claiming that salvation was eternal rather than a political liberation.

More cover ups!   And wow, what a spin!  "Whoopsie: Jesus didn't even put up a fight... how can we salvage this one? Wait, I know!  Let's make it spiritual, all about our relationship to God and how he loves us and all men!  Yeah, that's the ticket!"

They just don't make PR people the way they used to.   But see how he snuck "some Gospel writers" in there?  That's code for  Joooooooooos....

This will make an interesting subhead in the "Denial and Appeasement" chapter of "The Good Christian's Guide to Coping with People Who Want to Annihilate You" (to be published by Westminster John Knox Press.) 

Despite a looming diplomatic showdown with Iran over its nuclear program, the Bush administration has agreed to issue a visa to former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to give a public address at the Washington National Cathedral next month, according to the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, director of the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation.khatami-khandeh.jpg

Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation, or as ordinary people would know it Center for Sesame Street for Grown Ups.  Grouches are just grouchy.  Vampires help you learn your ABC's.  Monsters just want cookies. Terrorist Sponsors with nuclear programs just want to tell their story.

I'm thinking I'll give this one to the Episcopalians for managing not to look like the kook fringe.  They look respectable.  They look like they want to connect with someone from another culture.  The ridiculous aspect to all of this is that Khatami, the "reformer," looks good by comparison with Ahmadinejad.  The press was "freer" when he was president, street beatings of women wearing nail polish dipped to a 20-year low, tourism was up and there was "talk of political reform."  But Iran pursued its nuclear program and supported terrorism.  Hezbollah has been trained and armed by Iran for decades and it didn't stop under  Khatami's presidency.  But by all means, my fellow Episcopalians, let's talk.

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Reader Comments (1)

Hey, cool new look to the blog. Or maybe not so new, it's been a few weeks since I've been here. Bty, your comments section still doesn't remember me. Oh well, and no biggie.

Re the post. Sigh. Although I'm no longer a member of the Presbyterian Church(PCUSA), I still follow them through the Prebyterian Layman. I'd heard of this whacko David Ray Griffin and his book. How pathetic is it that major demominations are giving credence to his nonsense? One more reason why the PCUSA has lost 40% of it's membership since the late 1960s.
August 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTom the Redhunter

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