Friday, May 12, 2006

Christians - You wild and crazy guys.

I happened to listen to a portion of Fresh Air on NPR yesterday (Thursday 5/11/06.) Terry Gross interviewed author Michelle Goldberg. Ms. Goldberg has just published a book, Kingdom Coming: The rise of christian nationalism. Pretty scary stuff.

That most christians have no particular political agenda, a goal of ultimately making the US a religious state, may well be true. Nevertheless, there are, Ms. Goldberg contends, a number of people, many in positions of power and influence whose agenda is just that. It is the stated goal of such people to have a christian based government having not simply influence or recognition, but dominion over all. Their goal is a state not unlike that of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Non-believers, adulterers, prostitutes, and, of course homosexuals will be summarily put to death under this regime. So much for tolerance. The government will be set up and operated via a strict and literal interpretation of the christian bible. There is much more. A list of some of the people involved - both pre- and post-millenials, is rather disturbing. I have ordered this book, but it will likely be a few days before I receive it.

We tend to think of such things as the realm of the fringe crazies. But some of these people are currently in powerful positions in government at all levels. Many churches - mostly protestant and fundamentalist - have become more the realm of politicos than spiritualists. The pulpit has been transmogrified into the stump. Even now parishoners are threatened with ex-communication (or the protestant equivalent) from the church if they are found to have voted against designated socially conservative candidates.

This movement is gaining ground because even those who are more or less ambivilant as regards their religious zeal, are reluctant or even fearful to act or speak out against this trend. My goodness! What if they're right? Or what if they succeed? It could be uncomfortable, or even dangerous to wind up on the outside looking in.

I have made allusions to the situation in Nazi Germany in the early 1930s and received some scathing comments for having done so. But think of all the people who ignored or looked the other way from what was happening then and the result. We are allowing ourselves to be lolled into complaisancy, setting ourselves up to be blind sided by what could be wholesale changes in our government. We may be surprised to find ourselves living in a very different country.

Another book I came across, The Baptising of America: the religious right's plan for the rest of us, by James A. Rudin. It's also on my list.

I would love to hear from anyone familiar with either of these works or any others dealing with the increasing influence and power of the christian right, or anyone with first hand knowledge of this development. It is argued that christians have an equal right to take part and have an influence in things governmental. I don't deny that. But, they do not have the right to co-opt the constitution and replace it with the bible.

On a lighter note: I received an email with a strip of photos of yours truly in the Indy Mini-Marathon. I will not inflict you, my faithful readers to any of these images. However, I just had to relate to you the phrase that came to mind when I looked at them: "The Ground Bound Round Mound." It's not pretty.



jazzycat said...

Come on over to Jazzycat and get some free catnip.... it will calm you down. Seven million dollars a day is lost in Mississipp casinos and probably about 6 million by professing Christians. If the Christian spiritual condition improved by a multiple of ten, the scenero you are describing would not be significant.

With all due respect these concerns are about ten times more unfounded than the global warming hysteria. Just as the global warming baloney is an agenda driven political movement, I suspect that fabricating a Christian conspiracy for political purposes might be whats at work in that book.

Please keep that possibility in mind when you read the book and I will be glad to keep honestly appraised here on the front lines of the Bible Belt.

Take care,

Terry S said...


I know that my post seems as if I've come unhinged. Not so.

These books are not the first or only sources on this issue I've run across. Again, I don't suggest that the main stream of christians take an active part in the effort to create a theistic state. But there are, in fact, a significant # of people involved in such efforts. Perhaps they will never gain a significant foothold, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Just be aware, there may come a time when YOU might have to make a choice. Would you care to live in a theocratic state? I certainly would not.

I don't understand how you can maintain the belief that global warming is unfounded. Virtually every scientist who has the credentials to have an informed opinion accepts the reality of global warming. There is no controversy in the scientific community. Virtually everyday there is new and incontrovertible evidence of it. I don't understand whose agenda you are supporting in your unreasoned opposition to the reality of it. Georgie and his boys disclaim it because it does not serve the interests of their core financial support. Regardless, global warming is a fact of life.

If christians didn't frequent casinos, there would be no Las Vegas, no Atlantic City (at least the gaming part of it,) and no casinos anywhere. Are we to assume that all professed christians who gamble are amongst the fallen? By the way, this non-believer has never set foot in a casino. The only "gambling" I partake in are a few lotto tickets each week. My brother in-law goes to a gaming boat down on the Ohio River 3 or 4 times a year. On a couple of occasions, a catholic priest has accompanied him and, I am told, gambled with the best of them. A number of catholics of my acquaintance drink a lot of beer. Are those signs that the catholics are just not with the program?

I suppose you are thinking that I missed your point. I didn't. But if a strict theocratic state became a reality, most activities
such as gambling, prostitution, dancing, drinking, bikinis and the like would probably not disappear, but they would certainly go into hiding. You might think that would be good for our moral fiber. Enforcing such bans would require a repressive, totalitarian state. Again, it could happen.


jazzycat said...

Well, anything could happen I guess, but the war against Islamic kooks who use terror as a tactic poses a much greater threat and in time could literally bring the U.S. down.

As to global warming, please check out my posts of Nov. 6 & 7 as well as April 4. The April 4 post is about the coming global cooling scare of 30 years ago. N.Y. Times and others were predicting it.

Al Gore has been quoted as saying it is O.K. to overstate the problem so as to raise public awarness. Translation... It is O.K. to lie about global warming just like we do with other liberal crises.

Terry S said...


Well, Al didn't check with me first. The thing is, Al Gore is NOT a scientist. I believe that we have to take anything ANY politician tells us, regardless of which side of the fence they may be, with a grain of salt.

But, again, it is the scientific community which avidly supports the reality of global warming.

I agree that islamic fundamentalists pose an extremely serious threat to our very existence. But I also believe that while our focus is on the threat of terrorist attacks, the extreme christian fundamentalists are doing all they can to make significant gains in political offices at all levels of government.

Now you have stated that christians have every right to engage in politics, seek and serve in political office and so on. The fact that it is likely that at least 95% of all people holding public office in this country are, in fact, christians, it hardly seems necessary to be overly concerned about their representation.

But in my opinion it is wrong to steer this country toward a theocratic government. That is counter to the word and spirit of our Constitution.

I know I have been somewhat vague about identifying such people or groups. As I indicated initially, I only caught a portion of the interview on FRESH AIR. I have not received either of the books I mentioned, so I can't, at this point, name names as it were.

When I get into these works, I will be more specific. If I find that the books are (as my wife would put it) "full of holes," I will dutifully report that as well.


jazzycat said...

Sounds fair enough. I would like a report on your blog if you pick up any info. I did look into that radical evolution thing you were talking about, so I do listen to you.

I would be totally opposed to government having any input into religious faith and practice or freedom of religion. This sort of thing would not be good for religious freedom either. The theology I believe would not win the day if they held a vote and even if it did, things change.


Anonymous said...

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