Saturday, May 07, 2005

Papa Joe Would Be Proud

Joseph Stalin, the late communist dictator of the Soviet Union, presided over numerous show trials and purges during his long reign. In the 1930’s hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of faithful party members who were deemed ideologically impure disappeared into the gulags or were immediately executed.

It now seems a Waynesville, North Carolina Baptist minister is channeling the ghost of Papa Joe. Chan Chandler, the minister of a Haywood County Baptist Church, is telling members of his congregation that if they're Democrats, they either need to find another place of worship or support President Bush. In a fit of Christian charity, Chandler has ex-communicated nine members of East Waynesville Baptist Church. Another 40 members have left in protest.

Adam and Eve being driven out of the Garden of Eden after God discovers they voted for Democrats. Woodcut by Albrecht Dürer. Posted by Hello

During last Sunday's sermon, he acknowledged that church members were upset because he named people, and he says he'll do it again because he has to according to the word of God. He claims his actions “weren't politically motivated”. I suppose that if you are prepared to believe the book of Genesis is the “inerrant word of God”, you can believe almost anything.

One former church member says Chandler told some of the members that if they didn't support George Bush, they needed to resign their positions and get out of the church, or go to the altar, repent and agree to vote for Bush. Another member who was “excommunicated” (I wasn’t aware Baptists could be excommunicated) said on TV that it was like a cult. Another man who was shown the door said that the rest of the congregation stood up and applauded when the Democrats were told to leave.

Personally, I would encourage more of this sort of behavior. After all, driving fundies into the ranks of the disaffected would only be good for those of us who believe in an enlightened secular society.