Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
As a Jew who is familiar with “The Gospels” there is something perplexing about some Christians in America who have risen to power in our political process within the last four decades. Much of Jesus message, as detailed in “The Gospels” has been one of sympathy to the poor, enmity to the rich and love for humanity. I can give you the time tested quotes but just about everyone is familiar with them. Indeed through my childhood and formative teen years Christmastime every year would yield endless repetition of “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All Men”. Sometime in the 1970’s people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell gained prominence and political power preaching their version of Christianity. These Christians became Kingmakers as it was assumed and actually true that their millions of followers would vote as a bloc. The Christianity that they preached had little to do with the American Christianity that I grew up with. To be sure their teachings on sexuality differed little from Christian thought for the previous 1,700 years and so abortion was evil, virginity was prized and sexuality was to be performed in subscribed methodology. What was different was that this version of Christian belief was a far more muscular and mach one. War was good when fought for American principles of capitalism and self interest. The wealthy needn’t worry about the “eye of the camel.” Poverty was seen as the result of moral failure. Rendering unto Caesar (the Government) was no longer the moral thing to do.
Now knowing history there were always periods where certain Christian leaders were in favor of warfare, favored the wealthy and sought to kill non-believers. Nevertheless, all through those era’s the same message of peace and love was preached as doctrine, whilst the religious leadership ignored the dichotomy of their own works. However, hypocrisies have always existed in every religious belief. The overriding principles always remained static, even if logic had to be twisted to ignore the obvious dichotomy. This is certainly true of the religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam, that each give their own interpretation of the “Torah.” The most glaring example of this is the entire Chapter of Genesis, which is literally riddled with dichotomy. Who did Cain, Abel and Seth marry and where did their brides come from? The standard method of dismissing these dichotomies was to ignore them and censor the questioner. Today though, in certain Christian circles these overarching principles derived from the teachings of Jesus have become ignored, to be replaced by a new “Dominionist” view, which would turn Jesus into a warlike, wealthy Republican that hated government and taxes. That is the subject of this guest blog.Chris Hedges is a well-know investigative journalist, who admittedly has a more dyspeptic view of the world than I do. Yet he is a brilliant person and very often nails a particular topic. This week I read an article by him that I received via OpEdNews http://www.opednews.com a blog I subscribe to. The articles title is: “The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government”. http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Radical-Christian-Righ-by-Chris-Hedges-Christian-Right_Government-Bullying_Government-Corruption_Right-Wing-Extremists-131007-879.html
Hedges article begins:
“There is a desire felt by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, radically diminish the role of government to create a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and force a recalcitrant world to bend to the will of an imperial and “Christian” America. Its public face is on display in the House of Representatives. This ideology, which is the driving force behind the shutdown of the government, calls for the eradication of social “deviants,” beginning with gay men and lesbians, whose sexual orientation, those in the movement say, is a curse and an illness, contaminating the American family and the country.
Once these “deviants” are removed, other “deviants,” including Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as “nominal Christians” — meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible — will also be ruthlessly repressed. The “deviant” government bureaucrats, the “deviant” media, the “deviant” schools and the “deviant” churches, all agents of Satan, will be crushed or radically reformed. The rights of these “deviants” will be annulled. “Christian values” and “family values” will, in the new state, be propagated by all institutions. Education and social welfare will be handed over to the church. Facts and self-criticism will be replaced with relentless indoctrination.”
His description of this movement, called Dominionism, comports with my own view of what has happened to some Christians in America, who have intertwined Jesus with the Republican Party and its current driving force the “Tea Party”, which is a faux movement established by and led by some of the wealthiest families in our country. Hedges goes on to talk about Senator Ted Cruz, who very quickly has been seen as a “White Knight” for this movement and a hopeful Presidential contender:
“U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — whose father is Rafael Cruz, a rabid right-wing Christian preacher and the director of the Purifying Fire International ministry — and legions of the senator’s wealthy supporters, some of whom orchestrated the shutdown, are rooted in a radical Christian ideology known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism.
This ideology calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical.” It seeks to reduce government to organizing little more than defense, internal security and the protection of property rights. It fuses with the Christian religion the iconography and language of American imperialism and nationalism, along with the cruelest aspects of corporate capitalism. The intellectual and moral hollowness of the ideology, its flagrant distortion and misuse of the Bible, the contradictions that abound within it — its leaders champion small government and a large military, as if the military is not part of government — and its laughable pseudo-science are impervious to reason and fact. And that is why the movement is dangerous.
The cult of masculinity, as in all fascist movements, pervades the ideology of the Christian right. The movement uses religion to sanctify military and heroic “virtues,” glorify blind obedience and order over reason and conscience, and pander to the euphoria of collective emotions. Feminism and homosexuality, believers are told, have rendered the American male physically and spiritually impotent. Jesus, for the Christian right, is a man of action, casting out demons, battling the Antichrist, attacking hypocrites and ultimately slaying nonbelievers.”
Up until reading this I didn’t know much about Ted Cruz, other than he was a right wing Texas Senator, who was pushing the government shut-down tactic, which we see in play today. I did know he was a Harvard graduate and presumably a bright man. Because of that it seemed to me that his positions were the mere political posturing of yet another sociopathic office seeker. The information about Ted Cruz’s father certainly clarifies the picture more because I can now accept that Cruz is a true believer in what he is spouting.
“This cult of masculinity, with its glorification of violence, is appealing to the powerless. It stokes the anger of many Americans, mostly white and economically disadvantaged, and encourages them to lash back at those who, they are told, seek to destroy them. The paranoia about the outside world is fostered by bizarre conspiracy theories, many of which are prominent in the rhetoric of those leading the government shutdown. Believers, especially now, are called to a perpetual state of war with the “secular humanist” state. The march, they believe, is irreversible. Global war, even nuclear war, is the joyful harbinger of the Second Coming. And leading the avenging armies is an angry, violent Messiah who dooms billions of apostates to death.”
In progressive, moderate and liberal circles the question of why many working class people vote Republican, against their self-interest has risen continually. I think Hedges supplies part of the answer above. We know that far more women than men elected President Obama in both his runs for office. A cult of masculinity has been asserted. A cult that disdains women’s equality, would take control of their bodies, make them subservient to their spouses, refuse them birth control and even take away their right to vote. In our Macho culture, where a male who earns little is scorned; is perpetually afraid of losing his job; yet is nevertheless encouraged to “be a man”; the need to find someone to blame, or something to empower him is overwhelming. In some Churches that preach he is his wife’s boss and those values of macho masculinity are his right/heritage, many men find succor. What has helped with this is the reinforcement of outlets like FOXNews and clever campaigns of propaganda sponsored by billionaires, who are the people actually repressing them.
“Dominionists believe they are engaged in an epic battle against the forces of Satan. They live in a binary world of black and white. They feel they are victims, surrounded by sinister groups bent on their destruction. They have anointed themselves as agents of God who alone know God’s will. They sanctify their rage. This rage lies at the center of the ideology. It leaves them sputtering inanities about Barack Obama, his corporate-sponsored health care reform bill, his alleged mandated suicide counseling or “death panels” for seniors under the bill, his supposed secret alliance with radical Muslims, and “creeping socialism.” They see the government bureaucracy as being controlled by “secular humanists” who want to destroy the family and make war against the purity of their belief system. They seek total cultural and political domination.
All ideological, theological and political debates with the radical Christian right are useless. It cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. Its adherents are using the space within the open society to destroy the open society itself. Our naive attempts to placate a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to it that we too have “values,” only strengthen its supposed legitimacy and increase our own weakness.
Dominionists have to operate, for now, in what they see as the contaminated environment of the secular, liberal state. They work with the rest of us only because they must. Given enough power — and they are working hard to get it — any such cooperation will vanish. They are no different from the vanguard described by Lenin or the Islamic terrorists who shaved off their beards, adopted Western dress and watched pay-for-view pornography in their hotel rooms the night before hijacking a plane for a suicide attack. The elect alone, like the Grand Inquisitor, are sanctioned to know the truth. And in the pursuit of their truth they have no moral constraints.”
Chris Hedges connects many more dots in his article and I urge you to read the rest of it here: http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Radical-Christian-Righ-by-Chris-Hedges-Christian-Right_Government-Bullying_Government-Corruption_Right-Wing-Extremists-131007-879.html
We have seen some on this blog who either subscribe to Dominionist belief, or who are fellow travelers in the movement to “Christianize” America, by turning it into a theologically driven country. Hedges point that you can’t reason with them resonates with me. Despite any surface pretensions of “Christian Charity” or “Love the sinner, hate the sin” the truth is that in power these true believers would ruthlessly destroy all who didn’t publicly adhere to its beliefs. We see in many the blog posts here what happens when Islamic extremists gain power over Countries whose majority is Muslim. Despite the fact of their seeming acceptance of a pluralistic system, once they attain power, they ruthlessly dispose of any who do not follow their particular form of orthodoxy. The same thing is true of the Dominionist Christian Movement in the United States. They will seem to participate in our Constitutional processes as a tactic to gradually assume power. Once that goal has been achieved then they will not hesitate to enforce their views relentlessly and recklessly.
While Dominionists achieving power this would be a disaster for the United States, it also would most probably mark the end of humanity. The end game for these believers is “Resurrection” and the return of Jesus leading his armies to Armageddon marking the end of the world. In power, with nuclear armaments and a pretend Jesus to lead them, their ascendancy could well mark the end of of humanity.
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger