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Jesus for Sale: The Church and Capitalism

I know it’s an unpopular idea and somehow it’s a surprise to most Christians today but the early Christian church was an organization with Communism at it’s core.

The book of Acts is replete with references to communal life, there is no question that the Book of Acts describes a decidedly communist church with verses like this one:

All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

When I was a Christian this verse along with many others that support the idea of a Communist church led my political ideals which eventually led me to become a member of the Socialist Party USA.  It was at this point that I recognized the disparity between what I see as a clear mandate from the Bible and what the modern Christian church actually puts into practice.

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My Gripe with the TEA Party: The Pastor Responds

This is a continuation of the last post: My Gripe with the TEA Party: My Town Responds please read it after you have read my original post: My Gripe with the TEA Party

The final letter that was addressed to me was from none other than the pastor that I focused much of my attention on in my original submission. Understandably he too thought that I was the heckler that shouted and interrupted his speech at the rally. I have attempted to call Rev. Hicks to inform him that this is not the case and left him a voice mail to that effect. I hope to hear from him soon, perhaps he would be willing to go grab a cup of coffee with me sometime. Due to the length of this letter I will only post it in portions, then deal with it a paragraph or two at a time. His letter can be read in it’s entirety Here without any of my comments inlaid.

Dear Editor, In the last edition of this newspaper, I was the main target of a lengthy letter to the editor. Inasmuch as the writer identified me by naming the church where I pastor, I feel compelled to respond. It is the right and privilege of the writer of that letter to express his “gripe” as he sees fit. I am thankful for the right to respond.

First, thank you very much for your relatively gracious response. We are both mutually thankful to have our right to respond and have gripes and I am even more glad that we can do so in a civil way. My intention was not to bring any negative attention onto you or your church and I am very sorry if that has been the case – I will try to better explain my intentions and failures as we progress here.

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My Gripe with the Tea Party: My Town Responds

Last week, as you remember, I wrote a letter to the editor of The Dodge County News regarding the T.E.A. Party tax rally held by some private organizers and citizens of Eastman, GA. That letter can be found in it’s entirety Here along with various comments from locals and my internet friends.. The Dodge County News runs weekly, every Wednesday and when I got my paper yesterday I was delighted to see that there was nearly a full page in total dedicated to answering my letter. I am going to post these answers and reply to them here rather than write another letter to the editor because I simply do not want to continue monopolizing the space of the paper, but I do want the Dodge County News to know that I am eternally grateful for their inclusion of my letter and it’s responses – the media is so often either a lame duck or a slanted medium to push policies and opinions of it’s editors that I find it very refreshing that even in my small conservative town a voice of dissent (and in my opinion a voice of reason) is not silenced despite the pressures that the editor may receive from various parties. It means a LOT to me that they allowed my voice to be heard and that tells me that this paper is one of integrity – Dodge County is lucky to have it.

I am breaking this up into two separate posts because this entry will be over 5000 words if I do not, the two shorter responses will be on this post and a very long response from the pastor that was a target of my original TEA Party letter will be on another post.

July Fourth – Religious Holiday?

The first response I would like to reply to is one that comes from a misunderstanding of the writer, and evidently a few other folks. While at the TEA party there was an individual standing outside the grounds at which the rally was being held that started yelling at Rev. Hicks, the speaker that I spent most of my letter complaining about, things that were pretty well in agreement with what I said in my letter. The individual yelled something to the effect of, “What the hell does this have to do with taxes?” among other things that I couldn’t quite make out. Though I agree with the general sentiment of the heckler (as I will call him henceforth), that heckler was not I nor was it anyone within my company at the time. The most protesting I did whilst at the rally was shaking my head at some of the things the speakers were saying, but I did not yell or interrupt the speakers at any point. The letter is as follows:

Editor, There was a letter in the paper July 8,2009 addressing the contents of the T.E.A. party held on July 4, 2009. The person that wrote the article would, by his actions, like to silence the tone on born again Christians.
The 4th of July holiday was picked by those that planned the gathering with the intention of giving a Christian tone, because the 4th of July is a holiday that is celebrated across our nation thanking God for the privilege of assemble. I was one of the people that was in the planning, paying my money and time to have the right to select the speakers that we wanted and giving the right to even an atheist the privilege to attend. Take notice that we did advertise that we would have barbecue, yet this intruder elected not to participate. He brought his own and stayed out of the venue that had been reserved for the TEA Party. By his actions, his purpose was not to come and listen, but was to cause trouble. The 4th of July is a holiday that was selected for Christians to assemble, and if the atheist that wrote the article really wants to organize something for his cause, he should locate and rent an old phone booth and invite all that wants to hear him. He could hold this gathering on the atheist holiday, which is April 1. At least he wouldn’t be bothered by any born again Christians to heckle him. In closing, Mr. Oxley has the right to be wrong. JW (Initials for privacy)
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My Gripe with the T.E.A. Party

The following is a letter I recently wrote to the editor of my local newspaper, the Dodge County News. I am not sure if it will be published in the edition that should be coming off the presses right now, but I do expect it should be included in next weeks edition. I have included in my salutation that I am a fiscal conservative Atheist and included my website, hoping to get some feedback from the local folks but I am actually quite nervous about it. See, I am out about my lack of belief…I don’t do anything to hide it and if someone asks me anything about religion I am more than glad to let it be known that I am indeed an Atheist. I have not, however, made an uninvited public statement as of yet which is why I know that members of my family and the family of my wife may be surprised to know of this and it may be a shock to them. Therefore, before I post this letter, let me just explain a few things:

Disclaimer

  1. I did not choose to be an Atheist, I simply chose to think critically about my religious beliefs and it led me to this place, I am not making an effort not to believe, I simply find it impossible to continue belief in any god especially the god of Christianity.
  2. This is not the fault of anyone, it has nothing to do with a less than perfect (though it had it’s high points, don’t get me wrong) family life or any sort of trauma over the problems that my family has had.
  3. I do not hate the religious, I respect those that wish to continue believing. I have no intention of fighting the religious establishment in this town publicly. I just want to see common sense used when political rallies are held and false pretenses are used to attract participants. I still believe in the freedom to believe in whatever god or gods you please so long as your belief does not drive you to harm other people, I would fight to keep that freedom for everyone if there was ever an attempt to take it away.
  4. My morals have not changed, there are no black robed satanic rituals occurring at my home nor any wild orgies. I still love my wife and am wholly dedicated to my marriage.
  5. None of my opinions, views, beliefs, or lack of beliefs are necessarily shared by my wife. She believes whatever she wants to believe and I have not made any effort to stop her from believing in god. Please don’t apply any words that you read here to my wife because they simply are not her statements. If you want to know about her beliefs or disbelief you will have to ask her though she doesn’t seem too very inclined to discuss those things with a whole lot of people.

If you came here after reading my letter please feel free to comment in the comments section, I will not censor any views so long as there are no threats made against myself or my family. Sometimes people do irrational things in the name of god and I know that %99.9999 of you would never do anything to harm another person, but for that individual that cannot tolerate questioning his/her beliefs people like me on occasion fear the repercussions of not participating in the status quo. I love my fellow man, I care about this country, and I worry about it’s future – this is why I wrote this and why I continue my blog in the way that I do.

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