Six Degrees of Speculation: December 2007: Archives

December 15, 2007

Removing The Thin Veil Of Evangelical Eisegesis genre: Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation

Behind The Veil

Before I begin, let me be clear...I have great sympathy for the immense pain and loss the family of Matthew Murray must be enduring. I don't for a moment question their sincerity and I'm certain they love Matthew, and I wish them well. We will likely never fully understand the dynamics that led to this tragic ordeal. However, it is important to explore all of the mechanisms which may have contributed to this terrible tragedy so that others might be spared the life-shattering agony. Additionally, with measured and objective reflection, perhaps we can uncover the means to save the lives of people like Matthew and his innocent victims. I offer the following with this in mind.

As I read an account of the funeral of Matthew Murray, it crystallized the certainty of my long held concern. There's no better way to state it...Christianity has been hijacked by those who will spare no effort in their goal of coalescing each and every individual within the confines of their beguiling brand of fundamental and fraudulent evangelicalism.

This broad movement, populated by dangerous demagogues, is tireless in its efforts to define God's intentions via literal, though laconic, interpretations of Biblical passages. They set out to instill this canard via a cunning sleight of that endeavors to package biblical eisegesis as biblical exegesis in an effort to engender irrefutable status and unyielding support.

The end game seeks to insure that every human act can be filtered through this masterfully manipulated prism...regardless of reasonability. Sadly, the efforts to view Matthew's life and death through this narrow purview have already commenced.

Since the tragic events unfolded in Colorado, I've watched as a number of conscripts have sought to sell the theory that the "normality" of Matthew's younger brother precluded the casting of doubt or the shining of a suspicious light upon the environment in which Matthew was raised. This crock block has been expressed as follows:

He (Matthew), in my opinion had the best, most supporting family. The whole family is so nice and giving.
IF his condition was caused by an event in his life, it would have to be something outside the family because his brother is a happy, friendly and a talented piano player. If it were his mum or dad wouldn't his brother also be at least somewhat affected"?

On the surface, one might be inclined to accept this argument...or at least consider its plausibility. Needless to say, even the underlying premise of this statement misses the mark. Clearly the relevant problem exceeds his "mum and dad" and the fact that his brother may have embraced the religious teachings of the higher authority brought into the home via his parents doesn't mean the environment was healthy or connected to rationality.

A siblings acceptance of the prescribed ideology doesn't affirm its validity nor does it necessarily absolve the parents of any potential responsibility. One can just as easily argue that the brother has, in fact, been affected...not only as a result of parental oversight; but also as a product of intense ideological indoctrination. Should there be any doubt as to this likelihood, let the words of Christopher Murray persuade you otherwise:

Even though Satan attacked my brother, I truly feel God is going to save a whole generation of people through this."

I suspect Matthew felt attacked by something other than Satan. I also suspect he would have been overjoyed to simply find the means to save himself...but even Matthew realized that wasn't in keeping with the "master plan" of his "handlers".

Anyone who has read Matthews voluminous writings will immediately know how to draw the necessary connections to, and conclusions from, this telling statement of Matthew's brother.

While one might expect Matthew's tragic death to lead his family to question their fundamental well as the rigid script they pushed upon Matthew suggesting his eventual role as a prophet (even to the extent that it foretold he would first turn away from his faith), it appears that his death has simply been incorporated into an ongoing story line.

The fact that the family would continue to brandish this biblically based biography (adaptations included as needed) with unflinching adherence may surprise or shock the objective observer...but it shouldn't...especially if one remembers the constructs upon which this movement is premised. Nothing, not event the death of a loved one, can force them to deviate from their doctrinal diatribe. If the outside observer can discern that rigidity, is it any wonder Matthew would be tormented by it?

I contend such an environment essentially relegates a child like Matthew to irrelevance...a virtual character in a play whereby the doubts and discomforts of the real person (Matthew) are inconsequential. The ideology, the church, and mom and dad have but one direct the production of the preordained outcome. As such, understanding Matthew was unnecessary. Instead, they set out to make him understand his role regardless of his protestations. When he failed to comply, they simply wrote his behavior into their script...all the while preserving the integrity of the ending.

I would compare the situation to a father who dabbled in golf as a child, but for whatever reason never succeeded in the sport, who then becomes determined to turn his child into the next Tiger Woods regardless of the child's total lack of athletic ability and an unbridled interest in classical piano.

As this process unfolds, the child will undoubtedly feel inadequate. If the pressure persists or advances, the child's identity will suffer untold damage. In extreme situations, some children will strike out in an effort to be seen as more than an object being utilized to augment the insecurities of the parent(s).

Returning to Matthew's writings, in one of his many entries he states:

As far as dealing with parents....I don't think the woman known as my mother really is my mother. She doesn't act like it. My "mother" is just a brainswashed (sp) church agent cun,t. The only reason she had me was because she wanted a body/soul she could train into being the next Billy Graham, Bill Gothard, or Peter Wagner. [...] She had a "special plan from the Lord" for me. No easy way out for me. Almost every f***ing day and at every church service the pastors and our parents would tell me and the other youth that "God has a very special plan for this generation.....don't break any rules or you'll miss out!!! Honor and OBEY your parents and the pastors ("god's anointed") or your life will be cursed and you'll open a doorway for demons!"

Clearly little interpretational analysis is needed...Matthew, in his own words, vividly supports the argument I've made. One needn't take license to realize that Matthew felt invisible.

We may never know what Matthew sought to impart in his final actions...but I'm willing to surmise that the words his brother spoke at his funeral would serve as one further reminder to Matthew of his inability to be seen outside the constructs of the dogmatic design of those he knew.

Nonetheless, those who contend that looking at Matthew's brother should absolve the family or his faith from any accountability is akin to suggesting that Nazi war criminals were not influenced by the rampant rhetoric and reprehensible rationale of Adolf Hitler's "final solution". Let me be clear, the acts of those who carried out the Holocaust can never be justified and neither can Matthew's. While this is an extreme comparison, even in the resolution of far more innocuous liability cases, the attribution of responsibility is rarely applied solely to one party.

Those who manipulate others in order to execute misguided agendas are sullied by the acts of their minions...even if those injustices are perpetrated by the willful behavior of adults...and those in positions of authority mustn't be allowed to reconstruct reality in order to absolve accountability.

Matthew, unlike these Nazi criminals, was systematically submitted to indoctrination his entire life. If grown men in Germany were susceptible to the suspension of reasonable and long-established mores, what chance did a vulnerable child have to avoid the madness that ensued from his efforts to reject hypocrisy and see life outside of the prison he was forced to endure? If our condemnation of Hitler and his ideology is justified, so too is our questioning of parental propriety.

It should come as no surprise that the world Matthew chose when rejecting his faith was filled with the constructs of his overlords...a world immersed in images of evil and inhumane idols...a world cast by the iron fisted adults in his life as the only alternative available to those who would fall from grace. In limiting Matthew's contact with the outside well as vilifying it...they precluded him from witnessing moderation and escaping the confines of the black and white extremities they promoted.

Now, more than ever, it is time to break the back of religious extremism lest we regress into the throes of a dark ages mentality...a time where the pursuit of objective knowledge is subjugated to the asserted infallibility of religious ideology.

When the following statement can be accepted as a reasonable reaction to Matthew's horrendous final actions, have we not commenced the suspension of our humanity in favor of a contrived denial construct?

just thought I'd let u guys know...i go to new life...and i love it there..God forgives and so do i...i forgave matthew the minute it happened...we are all sinners and capable of making huge mistakes. God loves everyone...i pray for his family...and that somehow through this tradegdy (sp) that God WILL be exhaulted (sp) [...]

The nature of man tells us death is first met by grief and anger and sometime in the future forgiveness will hopefully emerge. When those of faith leap to make statements that deny as much, have we not injected the very ideations that led Matthew to reject the sincerity of religion? Any faith that believes we can or should abandon our basic human traits is suspect.

If I can read the English language...and I believe I can...then aren't those who are leaping to accept and embrace Matthew in death, the same who ignored and rejected him in life? If that is a demonstration of Christianity, then Jesus Christ was a fraud.

On the contrary, I contend those who portray their Christianity through trite statements and symbols, as if it were the equivalent of a badge that can be slapped upon one's lapel, are simply engaged in a never-ending spiral of hypocrisy and self-deception.

While I applaud the sincerity and compassion being exhibited by many people of faith, those easily identified interlopers who wear their faith like a badge, and who seek to usurp Christianity, must be exposed and forced to travel far deeper than the pretty proclamations they've begun to toss upon this terrible tragedy.

Unless and until this happens, we're never going to save the Matthew's of the world...or prevent the needless carnage they inflict.

Tagged as: Bible, Christian, Christopher Murray, Chrstnghtmr, Colorado Shootings, Depression, Eisegesis, Evangelical, Faith, Fundamentalism, God, His Love Fellowship Church, Loretta Murray, Matthew Murray, Mr. Crowley, New Life Church, nghtmrchld26, Occult, Pentecostal, Phil Abeyta, Religion, Ronald Murray, Ted Haggard, Youth With A Mission, YWAM

Daniel DiRito | December 15, 2007 | 2:15 PM | link | Comments (8)
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December 13, 2007

Going To The Matt - Reach Out & Bring Them Back genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Nouveau Thoughts & Six Degrees of Speculation

Reach Out & Bring Them Back

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time researching Matthew Murray in hope of understanding what led him to the place that ended his troubled life and the lives of four innocent individuals who were far too young to exit this existence. In retrospect, I probably uncovered the person I expected to find. I say as much because I’m sure I have walked in his shoes at various junctures in my own life. I’ll try to explain…and in so doing…perhaps I can shine a much needed light on these lost individuals.

As a child, I was outgoing and generally popular at school…until I reached the eighth grade. In fact, I had always been one of the best students and I was often singled out in that regard. As fate would have it, I was also very small and I didn’t mature until I was a freshman in college. While the other boys in the class were growing and maturing, I maintained the stature of a child.

Needless to say, I knew nothing about girls and though I tried to participate in the games of courtship, I wasn’t particularly adept at it…and unbeknownst to anyone, my belief that I was gay was simmering in the background. Just to avoid misunderstanding, I never exhibited any of the stereotypical behaviors most people associate with being gay…save for what was likely an air of detachment due to the fact that I was different and didn’t know what to do about it…nor did I dare discuss it.

Having grown up in Catholic schools in the 60’s and 70’s, I knew how the Church…and virtually everyone around me…felt about homosexuality. It was not only a sin…it was a scourge…and I knew well what I would encounter should my true identity be exposed. Hence I chose to pray at night that God would let me wake up in the morning and find myself to be straight. I made countless bargains with God…and while I realize how silly that may sound…it was deadly serious to me. Notwithstanding, I remained gay.

So here’s the thing…we live in a society that prefers to isolate the unfamiliar…the different…the unordinary. We are a go along to get along nation. Perhaps it’s an offshoot of the competition which accompanies our capitalist orientation…perhaps it’s also a basic element of our human nature. At the same time, we likely place a greater value on success and winning than many other societies…a dynamic which serves to further isolate the awkward, the introverted, the socially clumsy, the overweight, the homely, and many others.

Fortunately, over time, most people find some semblance of success that can overcome the handicaps that were all too easy for others to point out during their formative years. Sadly, some individuals are so badly scarred by these early years experiences that they fail to find or see the attributes they possess. Instead, like a calf marked for culling from the herd, they are forever aware of their “differentness" and try as they might, they are forever anticipating the moment when they will be singled out.

In this awareness…in what seems to be a horrific and perpetual practical joke perpetrated by fate…these individuals become even further handicapped as they adopt the easily seen mannerisms that denote the full-scale manifestation of suspended socialization skills. It’s the inability to speak in groups, the looking down or away when spoken to, the nervous movements, the sweaty palms, and any number of other identifiers that scream, “I’m different and I know it…and it makes me squirm".

As nature would also have it, such individuals are quickly viewed as “defeatable"…they are not noted as competition and they soon become an afterthought in our haste to climb any number of ladders. As this news is disseminated…and, have no doubt, it travels quickly…they are even further set aside as inconsequential.

For me, I was one of the lucky ones. After bloodying the nose of the largest boy in my eighth grade class, I was restored as a viable being in the eyes of those who had made the assessment that I served no threat. However, that moment of vindication only came after months of begging my mom and dad to not send me to school, months of fearing what would be done to me the moment my grandma dropped me off and her car was out of sight, months of racing to morning mass in order to avoid time on the playground before school, months of sitting near the entrance to the school during recess in case I needed to escape into safety.

Yes, I survived to try again…but I did so while carrying any number of scars for more years than I care to admit. Truth be told, I didn’t even know how to accept my newfound status. I expected the other shoe to drop at any second and I remember listening intensely during every conversation for the moment when it would turn against me…when instead of talking to me, “they" would be talking about me…planning the next antic to embarrass me and snatch from me another piece of my already sparse dignity and my tenuous identity.

As I've pondered Matthew’s situation, I couldn’t help but think back to the fear I absorbed and the anger I swallowed before mustering the strength and the courage to punch someone in the hopes of saving myself. I would relate the feeling to drowning…it's that moment when you’ve gone under a couple of times…and despite someone being there attempting to help you…to pull you out of danger…all you can think to do is flail and grasp for any inkling of hope to keep you afloat…even if it is taking you and your rescuer under in the process.

And while I’ve nearly drowned both literally and figuratively…I can’t really say how to identify the inevitability of that pivotal moment of explosion, nor can I tell you how to anticipate it…either for oneself or for another one might encounter. And yet we must find the means to identify and prevent the next Matthew in order to save him as well as those he may take under with him.

All I know is this…there are individuals in our midst who are in waters where there feet cannot reach bottom in order to keep their head afloat…there are individuals who are adrift and will soon be in those same waters…there are no doubt some individuals who have already gone under the water once…maybe even twice.

Perhaps nature…ever the antagonist…has in this instance actually provided us with the answer…perhaps she gave us two hands knowing there would be times we would want and need to lend one to another. It’s too late to pull Matthew and those he took back from the depths…but I ask you now…take the time to pause and look around…somewhere nearby…someone is fidgeting and feeling all alone…reach out and bring them back.

Tagged as: Chrstnghtmr, Colorado Shootings, LGBT, Matthew Murray, New Life Church, nghtmrchld26, Youth With A Mission, YWAM

Daniel DiRito | December 13, 2007 | 12:18 AM | link | Comments (7)
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December 8, 2007

Top 10 Ways To Identify An Evangelical Republican genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

In the aftermath of a week of bully pulpit ballyhoo from the GOP presidential candidates, I decided to address my disdain in the only manner which would allow me to stomach the subject...sarcasm.

Having watched Mitt Romney tell us the meaning of faith in America and listened to Mike Huckabee toss tactical banana peels at the Bostonian's (former Massachusetts liberal) forever flip-flopping feet, I found myself wondering which candidate would soon be sporting a wooden cross on his shoulder for the duration of the campaign.

Fortunately, there may well be a silver lining hidden in these holier than thou high jinks. By the time the GOP is done vetting it's candidates, the average fair minded American may find them to be far too extreme and far too beholding to their religious right-ocrites. We've all heard the expression "if you live by the sword, you die by the sword"...well...2008 may provide a worthy successor, "if you live by the lord, you die by the lord"...especially when you spend all of your time fighting about which lord to worship.

Moving on, the following is my offering to assist voters in determining how to qualify for entry into the GOP's evangelical enclave. Feel free to offer additional requirements and restrictions. I would hate to be accused of an act of omission...I've heard the punishment is ghastly...if you're not George Bush or an acceptable affiliate.

The Top Ten Ways To Identify An Evangelical Republican:

Number Ten:

They're opposed to sectarian conflict in Iraq but in favor of sectarian politics in the United States.

Number Nine:

They're opposed to homosexuality and same-sex relationships but they'll vote for a presidential candidate who does drag and lived with two gay men if he can beat Hillary Clinton and her "typically" unfaithful heterosexual husband.

Number Eight:

They wouldn't dare vote for a Clinton given Bill's disgraceful sexual antics in the White House but they're happy to support a candidate who used New York City funds to carry on an adulterous affair.

Number Seven:

They criticize Democratic candidates for suggesting they would only nominate pro-choice judges to uphold the law of the land while they require their own candidates to pass religious litmus tests in conflict with the law of the land.

Number Six:

They're in favor of abstinence only sex education even if it leads to more unwed teen pregnancies and more parent sponsored abortions (call it the evangelical version of NIMBY - not in my back yard; NIMBU - not in my babygirls uterus).

Number Five:

They're in favor of the separation of church and state if it involves opposing a congressional inquiry into the fundraising and spending habits of leading televangelists but opposed to the separation when it comes to selecting a presidential nominee.

Number Four:

They support candidates who endorse more funding for AIDS in Africa while embracing a candidate who favored quarantining AIDS patients in America as well as having Hollywood fund AIDS research instead of the government.

Number Three:

They tout Ronald Reagan as their political icon despite the fact that he was unable to acknowledge the toll of HIV on gays in America or even utter the word AIDS...while they and their church's now run around talking about saving Africa from the ravages of long as it doesn't involve condoms.

Number Two:

They talk about their Christian values while they favor denying health care treatment to the children of illegal immigrants. Family values apparently stop at the waters edge (that would be the Rio Grande river).

Number One:

They'll never make enough money to truly benefit from George Bush's tax cuts for the rich or condemn his doubling of the national debt but they're happy to call the Democratic candidates who supported an increase in minimum wage and favor a national health care system unacceptable tax and spend liberals.

Bonus Qualifier:

They abhor the fact that Jesus was tortured, mocked, and condemned to death without due process but they're damn sure in favor of waterboarding and disregarding the principle of habeas corpus while indefinitely imprisoning war on terror detainees.

The following video clips provide Mike Huckabee's assertion that his surge is God's work (therefore proving Mitt Romney is a "Christian" imposter) and some candid discussion of Romney's faith speech (a speech that pales in comparison to the JFK speech).

Huckabee: Higher Power Responsible For His Surge

CNN Discussion On Romney's "Faith" Speech & The GOP Religious Test

Olbermann & Robinson On The Flawed Romney "Faith" Speech

Tagged as: 2008 election, Abstinence, Africa, Christianity, Eugene Robinson, Evangelicals, GOP, Hillary Clinton, HIV, Hollywood, JFK, Keith Olbermann, LGBT, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Mormonism, Religion, Ronald Reagan, Rudy Giuliani, Same-Sex Marriage, Tax Cuts

Daniel DiRito | December 8, 2007 | 10:24 AM | link | Comments (3)
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December 7, 2007

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: "Bald-Faced Liar" genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation & Video-Philes

Keith Olbermann once again excoriates George Bush and his actions with regards to the seeming failure of the administration to acknowledge the fact that the latest National Intelligence Estimate fully undermines the President's assertion that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and is apt to be the place from which WWIII would originate.

As Olbermann points out, not only was the president's assessment wrong, he apparently sought to withhold or failed to share the findings of the NIE report which were largely completed a number of months ago. Instead, the President chose to make numerous inflammatory statements in which he invoked the dangers posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Olbermann has scolded the president on many occasions and he has previously called for his resignation and/or his impeachment. This time Olbermann goes even further in calling the President a puppet of Dick Cheney...a "snake oil salesman" of the worst kind; one who creates facts out of thin air in order to advance his own agenda. Olbermann closes with the assertion that the President is nothing more than a "bald-faced liar" who has no business being the President of the United States.

Tagged as: Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Iran, Keith Olbermann, National Intelligence Estimate, Nuclear Weapons

Daniel DiRito | December 7, 2007 | 9:37 AM | link | Comments (0)
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December 4, 2007

"National Intelligence" - A "Bush League" Oxymoron? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Before George Bush leaves office, he may well succeed in redefining the term "national intelligence" as the signature oxymoron of his spin happy administration. After months of ominous warnings about the threats posed by Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, the latest National Intelligence Estimate tells us Iran discontinued the program in 2003.

So as it turns out, while the neocon's were working to foment enough support for a strike on Iran, those assigned to provide us with the factual data needed to justify such an excursion were concluding that the assertions offered by the Bush administration lacked substantiation.

As if this isn't enough reason for concern, just how does a president rationalize telling the American public that Iran's actions may well be apt to cause WWIII while he doesn't possess any recent intelligence to support such an assertion? May I suggest two possible explanations...neither of which brings comfort. One, the President thinks most American voter are stupid and therefore easily manipulated and mislead. Two, the President is actually inept and lacks the intellect to formulate a functional foreign policy. Sadly, I suspect the reality is a near lethal combination of both. Even worse, I'm of the opinion that his penchant for bouts of bravado leave him unable and unwilling to reformulate of reconsider when his conclusions are found to be flawed.

I think the following graphic captures the degree to which spin has become the staple of the George Bush presidency. Disconcerting as it may be, it seems we're left to hope that the 2008 election will arrive before he is able to further compromise our credibility. I know I'm not holding my breath.

No Spin

Tagged as: Foreign Policy, George W. Bush, Iran, Iraq, Neoconservatives, NIE, Nuclear Weapons Program, WMD's

Daniel DiRito | December 4, 2007 | 10:30 PM | link | Comments (2)
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