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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Christianity's Worst Enemy? Christians Like These...

I like Christians (I'm married to one and raising another). I like guns. I also happen to like Barack Obama.

My defense of Barack Obama's defense of the Second Amendment (again, Obama is not coming to take your shotgun or shut down hunting in South Dakota, contrary to the lies of the National Rifle Association) brought lots of interesting comments from folks on both sides of the issue. I've received good comments online and by e-mail.

Alas, the article also brings me this unpleasant example of an apparent Christian couple who don't read their Bible much. I usually delete even asterisked versions of such language from the comments section, but I feel compelled to hold to the light this example of unthinking verbal thugs who can't even cling to their religion right. I quote verbatim, but my secular humanist values require that I asterisk out the foul language "Mark & Loni" use:

From: "Mark & Loni" mark_loni@msn.com
Subject: The Head Ni**** in Charge wannabe's support of the 2nd amendment
Date: 2008.09.26 19:57

You are a God D****d Mother F***ing liar. You deserve nothing less than to be brutally tortured to death, you despicable Nazi b*****d. You will burn in hell for eternity, because that is God's will.
F** you, a******!

Again, for the record, I have no problem with Christianity. I do have a problem with professed Christians who make Christianity look really, really bad.

Mark & Loni obviously won't listen to me. But if you are a Christian, you might want to contact Mark & Loni and let them know that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we really shouldn't use such language about our "enemies." Maybe we shouldn't even think of our fellow beings as "enemies." Such language doesn't do the cause any favors. (You might also want to ask why, if they think they are speaking in the name of the Lord, they are still ashamed to put their full names to what they say.)

But hey, keep those cards and letters coming! We'll get some civil discourse out of this yet.

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Update 09:10 CDT: mark_loni@msn.com also isn't doing much for SAE's image. A quick Google search finds the e-mail address listed alongside this entry in the March 2008 Charlotte Sigma Alpha Epsilon Alumni Directory:

Mark J. Feit
Class [a term used lightly] of 1974
VAKA Chapter of SAE, William & Mary
Valencia, CA
(661) 255-2147

mark_loni@msn.com also posts on a forum called WarRifles.com. I'd sign in to learn more about mark_loni's views, but the site warns, "Jerks, Whack Jobs or Godless Men - Don't Bother Joining This Site." Far be it from me to argue my credentials with those folks.

Manta.com offers a little business information:

Mark J Feit
24028 Gamble House Ct, Santa Clarita, CA 91355-3333, United States Map)
Phone:(661) 255-2147
SIC: Business Consulting Services, NEC
Line of Business: Business Consulting Services

I wonder how good racism is for business in the greater Los Angeles area?

According to OpenSecrets.org, Mr. Feit gave $300 to the National Rifle Association in 2007.

Of course, who knows if Mark J. Feit actually sent the above e-mail. Maybe it was a hacker. Maybe it was his wife Loni. We'll see....

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Update 16:34 CDT: There is a Mark Feit who appears to have been a Farmers Insurance agent in Valencia, CA. However, Farmers Insurance does not list Mark Feit as an active agent, only Robert Feit just down the road in Granada Hills.

Loni Feit is listed in various places online as the director of purchasing at the Los Angeles office of New World Travel.

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Update 2008.09.28 16:58 CDT: Joseph Thompson asked about "accountability." For what it's worth, and for the record, here's my reply to the above e-mail, sent this afternoon:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Feit:

Yesterday morning I received an e-mail from your address referring to me as a "God D****d Mother F***ing liar" etc. To permit such language and wishes for violent harm to be sent from your e-mail address is poor judgment. To compose and send it yourself, if that is the case, is bigoted, thoughtless behavior that makes you and your professed faith look bad.

If one or both of you composed said e-mail, your fellow citizens have a right to know when members of their commnunity hold such dangerous and uncivil views. I have thus created a blog post to make your e-mail part of the public record. Now, when anyone Googles "mark_loni@msn.com", "Mark J Feit" or "Loni Feit," your e-mail to me will appear as one of the top ten records available for everyone to read. Enjoy.

If neither of you composed the e-mail sent from your e-mail address, do clarify. Otherwise, no reply is necessary; I find even this minimal contact with small-minded people like the writers of the original e-mail to be unpleasant and unproductive.

Sincerely,
Cory Allen Heidelberger
Madville Times

While I find this incident unpleasant, I will keep you updated on any reply.

14 comments:

  1. How very sad that anyone thinks like that, and that they speak to anyone else like that. However, this only shows that you can call yourself anything. The proof is in the pudding, and the person who sent this is obviously NOT a Christian. If I say I am a "Coryite" and then start saying despicable things that are the antithesis of what Cory "preaches", I am not a "Coryite". Satan masquerades as an angel of light.
    DRK

    ReplyDelete
  2. Steve Hickey9/27/2008 9:07 AM

    Anonymous is right, this guy is no true Christian – Jesus’ followers will be known by love.

    Cory, you are free to hold my feet to the fire as I confront darkness to make sure I do it in love. I’ve crossed the line before and have had to repent. It’s a fine line to obey the call to confront darkness with the boldness of Jesus (who called Pharisees blind guides and other very strong things), even hating evil as the Bible says God does, and still keep it in love.

    This guy who wrote you isn’t even trying – his racism is overt - the Bible says “out of the overflow of the mouth, the heart speaks.” The guy has a dark heart.

    As I said to you in my earlier email... I'm reminded of one of my favorite Tony Campolo books –“Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God.” Sadly we Christians too often are an embarrassment to God. Sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Somehow I don't think that was what Jesus was talking about when he said:

    "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you."

    Christianity is a religion of peace, forgiveness, and morality. The hardcore right-wingers are using it as a weapon to promote bigotry, hatred, and war. And that's not very nice of them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the take home message here is that there are some people in the world that are just irrational/insane regardless of religious belief. In this case, some wacko has decided that his beliefs can be justified by holding up the cross as his support. I imagine that he has read some darker parts of the bible and has decided to hold onto them as his evidence of being correct.

    A couple of posters in this thread have labeled this person as "obviously NOT a Christian". Is there a clear, UNIVERSAL definition of a Christian? What authority to you have to claim he is not a Christian? The wacko here believes himself to be one and has used that belief to justify his comments.

    The world is full of many different types of people. Some of them are just plain nuts. The nuts out there will justify their beliefs through many avenues and one of them is religious belief.

    The real problem with religion here is that it requires interpretation and this person views its mandates differently than some of the posters here. Rather than calling this person out as "obviously NOT a Christian", the posters should describe this person as someone who interprets Christianity differently than themselves.

    Anyone who claims to know exactly what God wants (or existence) is simply delusional. It's all subjective and left up to interpretation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. pennypincher9/27/2008 7:04 PM

    Corey,

    It's obvious that the person that wrote the email to you is very disturbed. Or, you just pushed them over the edge because you keep repeating the same thing over and over and never address any of the examples that people have given you about Obama's voting record on gun legislation.

    DRK called it right. You can call yourself anything. You can call yourself a christian and have a mouth that the devil would be embarrased of, or you can call yourself a "protector of the 2nd amendement" and vote for anit-gun legislation.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Corey
    I am sorry this election debate has drawn you this type of critisim from these types of extremests.

    However please remember these issues are how people really feel for right wrong or indiferent.

    What I am seeing here is when people point out Oboma's long standing voteing record as an elected offical in his own state goverment, and in washington he has proved his stance on many issues, and a bad apple cannot turn good over night. As my grandpa would say one bad apple can spoil the whole lot.

    Oboma has proven himself as a poor choice time and again. In his first election he only one by taking the other person to court till he ether won or the other person gave up the fight.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just so we and our kids are clear, PennyPincher: there is nothing you or I or Barack Obama could say that would excuse the violent bigotry "mark_loni" spewed in that e-mail. No matter how much might I disagree with your politics, you never have to accept my abusing you with any of that language.

    Anon: same theme: if mark_loni "really feels" that way, mark_loni is still wrong, wrong, wrong to be so racist and to so hatefully misrepresent the Christian faith. No excuses. (And to wish torture on another human being? This person is already over the edge of acceptable civil behavior.)

    And that's the only claim I'm making here: mark_loni's mental and moral deficiency does not prove or disprove Obama's fitness for office. That's a completely different debate. The only issue here: mark_loni is a moral neanderthal who should be held accountable for such hatred.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is the fifth time I have rewritten this and I am going to go run three miles after I post.

    I hate sexists, racists and religous bigots with a passion that can not be understood by someone who has not seen first hand the results of their thoughts and actions.

    Be thankful that we live in a country that says you have a right too those thoughts and are free to express them.

    You said "Mark-Loni is a moral neanderthal that should be held accountable for such hatred." How would you hold them accountable?

    I have lived all across this great nation and will tell you that the community we live in is one of the most biggoted and racist I have seen, both in the public and private sector. Accountablity starts at home not on the internet.

    I personally have no problem with calling someone a racist, a sexist or a bigot and do so with some regulaity. I put those people on my do not resuscitate list and they know it.

    Your posters would do well to look in the mirror and ask themselves if that thru their inaction they encourage such behavior or thoughts in this community.

    For all you "religious" people who will say I should love, well I hope God will judge me for my love of mankind and not my hatred of man. That is God's choice not mine.

    Now I'll go run and see if I can bring my blood pressure down.

    Joseph G. Thompson

    ReplyDelete
  9. Please make sure you share the email with the local Secret Service or FBI office. While it is not a direct threat, there is an implied threat to warrant opening a file.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello All,

    I'm just a passer through. I don't frequent this board and it's not one that I would think of frequenting in the future. But I do have to say one thing: posting a users personal address is extremely bad form. Furthermore, it shows a sort of immaturity with which the internet is wrought. I don't excuse the vile words of the person who sent that e-mail but I do know that anyone who has a blog, especially a political blog, invites such e-mails on a daily basis. You should know that and be prepared to handle it. This is the nature of the internet. Anyone can, and does, use it and it brings out the worst in everyone. Though I don't see a "threat" per se, if you feel threatened by the e-mail notify the authorities. They will likely tell you that extremely few internet threats result in real physical harm. But, by posting a users real, physical address you are inviting not just virtual harm but real, physical harm on this person. At minimum, you're inviting real reprisal for nothing more than a really nasty e-mail that most people would write off.

    As I mentioned, I won't be frequenting this blog so don't feel compelled to answer. This is just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, Anon 12:33 -- I continue to be amazed at the ability of some people to (A) miss the point and (B) tacitly excuse rank bigotry.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hear Hear Cory,

    Great e-mail, great response to anon 12:33.

    Sometimes I feel I am not alone!

    Joseph G Thompson

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Joseph! It's always good to know there's more than one voice one your side. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. "There is a Mark Feit who appears to have been a Farmers Insurance agent"

    Wonder if he is related to the one here in Madison? I've heard plenty of stories about his actions!

    ReplyDelete

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