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Religious scholar Reza Aslan destroys ‘charlatan’ Joel Osteen: Jesus hated wealth

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Religious scholar Reza Aslan blasted proponents of the so-called “prosperity gospel” last month, claiming the materialistic Christian movement ran directly counter to the teachings of Jesus.

Aslan was speaking at the 2014 Indian Summer Festival in Vancouver about his book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.

During a question and answer session, the University of California at Riverside professor was asked about the portrayal of Jesus in movies.

“I love all fictional presentations of Jesus. I think they are fantastic, whether it is the Last Temptation of Christ or The Passion — both of which are fiction. But — sorry about that, did I break that to you? — but again for me what is fascinating about those is it is just a representation of what I have been talking about all along, which is the incredible malleability of the Christ story, the way that it can become whatever you want it to become.”

Aslan said his favorite representation of Jesus was from the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, and then pivoted to the issue of the prosperity gospel.

“The fastest growing Protestant movement in North America is this movement that is referred to as the prosperity gospel,” he said. “This is the gospel preached by people like Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes — and when I say people, I mean charlatans. The argument of the prosperity gospel, if I can put it flippantly, is that Jesus wants you to drive a Bentley. That is basically what the argument is. That what Jesus wants for you is material prosperity, and that if you literally give, you will literally be given tenfold. That’s not a metaphor, as it is in most churches. It is literal. You give me $10 and Jesus will give you $100.”

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“This is as profoundly an unscriptural interpretation of Jesus that exists,” Aslan remarked. “I mean, if there is one thing that is just so clear cut and just not open to interpretation at all of any kind when it comes to Jesus’s message, it is his condemnation of wealth.”

“And yet, not only does this version of Christianity exist, as I say, it is honestly the fastest growing version of Protestant evangelical Christianity in North America. That’s because Jesus can be whatever you want him to be, and the Christian message can be whatever you want it to be.”

Earlier in his speech, Aslan said that Jesus advocated an “absolute reversal of the social order, in which those on the top and those on the bottom will switch places,” citing Luke 6:20-26.

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2020 Election

Trump has a 2020 election ‘challenge’ as suburban voters and wealthy donors flee him: Vanity Fair reporter

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During an MSNBC panel discussion on Donald Trump's re-election hopes in 2020, a reporter for Vanity Fair said the president's chances may be narrowing due to changes from the 2016 election that led to his surprising win.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Gabriel Sherman said Trump has solidified his base, but that independents are fleeing. Add to that, rich benefactors who have been big supporters of the GOP are backing off.

"Here's the thing," Sherman began. "Clearly the people that are loyal to Trump, we saw this just last week when he was in Orlando for his kickoff rally, everyone reported it was a rehash of all of the 2016 campaign catch words and slogans."

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Activism

WATCH: White man gets brutally shouted down for telling black kids they can’t play in their own yard

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A video which went viral over the weekend shows two white men arguing over what appears to be black children playing near their own homes.

"Keep on playing kids!" a white man, who was later identified as "Nick" can be heard shouting in a video posted by Twitter user @_SamuelLahn.

According to the tweet, a "racist neighbor" had demanded that the "mostly black" children cease playing between two apartment buildings.

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"Let them go wherever the fuck they want if they live here!" Nick shouts back after the man disagrees with him. "Guess what? You only own your porch... from there on out, it's free play."

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2020 Election

HBO ‘Real Time’ guest Dan Savage rains hell on Alabama conservatives backing Roy Moore: ‘They love this alleged child rapist’

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During the"Overtime" segment of HBO's "Real Time," columnist and commentator Dan Savage had nothing good to say about former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore making another run for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats, and flat out called the Republican an "alleged child rapist."

Asked by host Bill Maher about Moore's chances of securing the nomination, Savage shot back, "He's likely to get the nomination because the Republican base is odious and hateful and he's then going to lose the election again."

Asked if former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going to jump in and save Republicans the embarrassment of being saddled with Moore, GOP strategist Liz Mair jumped in to say that there was another potential candidate that the GOP establishment was lining up behind -- but that she couldn't remember his name which led Savage to ridicule his chances.

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