It was reported this past week that a group of 17 young people (boys and girls) in Afghanistan were beheaded for what their religious ‘authorities‘ determined was immoral activity. What was their heinous, treacherous crime deserving such barbaric punishment? They were caught playing music and dancing. You can read about it here.
Much closer to home, The Preacher was enraged against the young people of his church for doing much the same thing....playing music and dancing which eventually led to his administering his brand of 'discipline'....an archaic practice most employed by cults known as 'Shunning'. There's only a few degrees separation between the two.
Something I find incredibly troubling. This was the disturbance that inspired the name of this blog. Read about it here, WHY THE TALIBAN TITLE.
A couple of years ago, I made an attempt to reconnect with a lady who continued to attend the church for quite a while after we left. I heard that she did eventually leave, so I emailed her and summarized some reasons we left and expressed my desire to talk from time to time.
Upon leaving the church, it is something of an unspoken rule that anyone leaving--except in the almost nonexistent event they do so with The Preacher's blessing--is considered anathema by remaining members.
Knowing this, we avoided contact with them. But I discovered she had also left and she was one of the few people with whom I really wanted to renew friendship.
In my email to her, I referred to the church as The Baptist Taliban. She replied and promptly let me know that she took exception to this comparison being that the real Taliban "lops off people's heads". She explained how well the church treated her ailing, elderly mother-in-law and though she didn't know and didn't care to know the specifics of our departure, she didn't appreciate my position.
I let it go at that.
Even though she politely stated her position and expressed all the usual pleasantries, It was obvious what friendship we once had could not likely be resurrected.
Then a couple of days ago, my husband brought this horrible news to my attention.
I don't believe using the "Taliban" metaphor for The Baptist Taliban church is too far of a stretch when The Preacher, on more than one occasion, explicitly and emphatically stated directly to us that he believes God never intended for the Old Testament Laws and their brutal penalties to be discontinued.
We asked him if that meant he would support stoning adulterers, rebellious sons as well as the other crimes for which the Law requires death? His answer was almost exactly this: "Well, that sure would stop people from committing adultery, wouldn't it"...
So, that naturally leads me to wonder...."If our government permitted each religious tradition to impose its own brand of Sharia Law, would they not eventually descend to the depths of the Taliban in Afghanistan and instead of 'lopping off the spiritual heads' of the faith of its young through its spirit of legalism to literally... physically 'lop off heads'?
If he-- and a very zealous, radical, religious minority he identifies with--is already thinking along those lines to the extent of verbalizing it, the correlation might become less metaphorical and more... harsh reality.
This is why I believe it more than fitting to call this assembly, 'The Baptist Taliban'.