Saturday, March 8, 2014

Arresting Developments: The Wacky Religious Right Fake Arrests

Whiny conservatives like to claim they are the victims of a "war on Christians".

There is no 'war on Christians', but they enjoy pretending to be victims when they aren't.  It forms part of their pretext for being jerks and jack-asses, and their demands for special, privileged treatment, and for their justification to insult and  mistreat others.

This is in the larger context of Christian churches actually being victimized, by being burned to the ground by homophobic arsonists for having been PRO- inclusive of the Gay/LGBT community in their services.  You know  - REAL Christians versus the bigots who use religion as a pretext for their hate.  There was an example in 2012, in Bloomingville, Ohio where the pastor also received death threats. That I think presents a sharp contrast and context to the real victims from the fake victims.

So, why this stupidity, eighteen months later?

In February there was a law suit filed to over-turn the Ohio same-sex marriage ban.  There have been more than half a dozen such successful suits across the country in red states like Oklahoma, Utah, Texas and just last week in Kentucky, among others.  And gay rights supporters want to put legalizing gay marriage on the ballot in 2014 in Ohio.

Good Christian bigots have to do something, no matter how stupid or offensive.  I suppose we should be glad that it doesn't involve flaming torches and gasoline.

There is such a lack of actual causes for complaint, they've been reduced to staging them for themselves.  Of course, when they post the videos of the staged 'war on Christians', they omit to mention the fakery.

The video was circulated without adequate explanation; now that it has received attention, the religious right wing nuts have been embarrassed into removing them, and radical right wing sites have updated and corrected false reports about it.

The video was posted as "Pastors Arrested For Defending the Faith".  Except of course, that was not true.

Now as noted by Huff Po, the local sheriff is in trouble for going along with this stupidity - as well they should be criticized.
Deputies of Ohio's Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry have come under fire from their community for a video of the officers arresting three pastors in front of their congregations and handcuffing them, supposedly for the crime of "defending their faith."
However, the arrests were fake -- staged as part of a marketing strategy for an upcoming drama, "Defending the Faith," which will take place at the Akron, Oh. civic center, according to Akron Beacon Journal.
Nonetheless, some churchgoers were upset by the dramatic antics, prompting Barry to release a statement explaining that it wasn't real. “I want to clarify that none of the arrests were real. It was all part of a skit that went along with the pastors’ sermons that day,” he said. “I knew it was being filmed, but I thought it was only going to be shown to the congregation. Once it got out there on the Web, people were commenting about how disgusting we were to interrupt church services to effect an arrest."
So, now the question remains - who has learned from this rather spectacular mistake? We must hope the sheriff's won't do this again.  But the churches clearly have not caught on to the lesson of the boy who cried wolf, and want to 'cry wolf' some more.  Continuing from the Huff Po:
[Edra Frazier, Marketing Director] deems the stunts successful and will organize more "arrests" as the lead up to the production goes on. “Our hope is that as sheriff’s deputies continue to make their way to churches throughout the community, members of that congregation will see that their pastors truly are defenders of the faith,” she said. “Even though it starts with a negative image of a pastor being arrested, this is a dramatic way to deliver the positive message that our spiritual leaders are doing a lot of good in our community."
I can only wonder what the heck the people in the offices of the Sheriff's Department were thinking when they agreed to this.  The potential for this action to be both misinterpreted, misrepresented, and misused is huge.  I can only hope they were well paid for their time and efforts, the way they might be compensated for appearing in any commercial movie.  If not then they should be investigated not only for their appallingly stupid conduct, but for misuse of departmental employees and property.  Perhaps someone forgot that these are public vehicles and that when in uniform and on duty, they are working on the public nickel.  This appears to be one more example of the religious radical right trying to claim special privileges at the expense of the rest of us.

From the AP and Fox8 in Cleveland:

Mock Arrests of Ohio Pastors Create Confusion

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The staged arrests of pastors in front of their congregations in northeast Ohio got a surprising reaction for one sheriff.
Videos of the mock arrests posted online brought a wave of criticism for the Summit County Sheriff’s office from people who thought the deputies really were interrupting church services to make arrests.
Sheriff Steve Barry says his deputies took part in the mock arrests Sunday at a couple churches around Akron after the pastors approached his office and asked it to participate.
The churches staged the arrests as part of their “Defending the Faith” sermons. Videos showed deputies handcuffing pastors while they preached and placing them in patrol cars.
The sheriff says he wishes that those who put the videos online would have noted that the events had been staged.

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