May 27, 2008

James T. Heresy

Yesterday cheap chuckles were had by all after Mike Mathias of Pundit Nation linked to an intemperate little screed delivered by Milwaukee medium wave radio "personality" James T. Harris.

Entitled "White Guilt on Parade," Harris admonished some Baptists in England who went on a trip to Jamaica to meet their Caribbean counterparts and formally apologize for the slave trade. Harris described the Baptist contingents as "white, guilty and stupid."

Apparently Harris learned of this outrageous mission from Christian Today (Harris calls it "Christianity Today," an entirely different publication based on an entirely different continent), which mentions six of the "white, guilty and stupid" Baptists by name.

Unfortunately for Harris, four of the six "white, guilty and stupid" individuals are black. It's unclear whether they remain, nevertheless, guilty and/or stupid.

Mike Plaisted informs us that Harris's dismembodied voice wafts out occasionally on weekends over the 50,000-watt AM station 620 WTMJ, into which its corporate patriarch, Journal Communications, has screwed an array of 40-watt bulbs.

WTMJ also maintains Harris's blog which, in happier times, was falsely labeled "The Hip Musings of James T. Harris," where he used to casually dismiss the greatest geniuses of American jazz music and — perhaps most memorably — criticize modern climatologists while insisting that Noah's global flood was an actual historical event, complete with indigenous Mesopotamian kangaroos and llamas and the subsequent drunken, incestuous repopulation of the Earth.

Because of that, I had thought Harris was some kind of professional scientist, but it turns out that he's actually a motivational speaker when nobody's listening to him on WTMJ. And, according to Plaisted, Harris was formerly a frequent caller to another WTMJ meathead, Charlie Sykes, as "James from Sherman Park," although you have to travel further east along Burleigh St. to find the river and the van.

Anyway, the indefatigable Mike Mathias rummaged up a few more Harris bon mots later in the day, this time comprising a scholarly and compelling repudiation of the distinctly heretical notion that Jesus of Nazareth was kind of a peaceful and compassionate guy. The said notion was proffered by one Nathan Johnson, writing in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student paper.

Fortunately Nathan Johnson is not "white, guilty and stupid," but his piece is "poorly written, illogical and vapid," says Harris, by way of demonstrating John 8:7. Not only that but Johnson has written a "hapless leftist screed" that presents Jesus as a "milk toast [sic], limp wrist pacifist," and a "Jimmy Carter style liberal."*

"Would Jesus be an American soldier?" Johnson posits, and cites a number of remarks attributed to Jesus for the contrary proposition. No, Harris agrees, Jesus wouldn't be an American soldier, but because — and here comes your non-vapid "logic" — he is Jesus.

Then Harris goes on to reference not the alleged sayings of Jesus himself, but rather the Rambo-Christ portrayed in the phantasmagorial hallucinations of the Book of Revelation, as conservative Christians are wont to do, most successfully Tim LaHaye, author of the "Left Behind" series of loving Christian bloodbaths and one of the truly creepiest people in America.

So, there you have it. Yes, I agree that Jesus would not be an American soldier, but what I'm agreeing with is poorly written, illogical, and vapid, and here's some pre-refrigeration, ergot-fueled dream sequences for your consideration.

It's a classic move by conservative Republicans self-describing as nominal Christians, when confronted with the teachings of Christ that contradict their Hobbesian dog-eat-dog worldview, to drag out every piece of the Bible, no matter how dubious and obscure, that contradicts the apparent moral disposition of their own personal Saviour.

Since for every "god breathed" proposition a contradictory yet likewise "god breathed" one can be dredged up from among the Bible's 66 books (give or take, depending on your denomination), it's pretty much a mug's game anyway. But that doesn't stop Harris from making a fool of himself, since that's what WTMJ pays him to do.

* Another Christian, last I checked.


Sam Sarver said...

They don't just drag out every part of the Bible, IT, but they make it up as they go. Look for "the rapture" (a central theme of LaHaye's books) in there. You won't find it. Turns out some British theologian just made it up about a hundred years ago because he thought it sounded cool.

illusory tenant said...

In the event of Rapture, can I have your Lincoln Navigator.

Emily said...

That's the really amazing thing (to me): so much of modern, fundamentalist Christianity is based on stories and ideas that aren't even in the Bible. Like Sam said, the "Rapture" was inventing by a theologian just recently. The picture of hell most commonly referred to doesn't come from the Bible, but from Dante.

What ever happened to, you know, the teachings of Christ?

illusory tenant said...

Jefferson Bible

Gospel of Thomas

Anonymous said...

Because of that, I had thought Harris was some kind of professional scientist

Rofflecopters and lollerskates.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Gary Wills. An honest appraisal of the bizarre, Nietzschean philosophy embodied in the New Testament would scare the hell out of most people, cons and libs alike. But as the church discovered on day one, Disney outsells Dostoevsky.

Tom said...

Dammit, clutch stole my comment.