Friday, June 01, 2007

Apocalypse Now!

If you take a quick look at my previous post you will note that I have been reading. Good for me, huh? Well, yeah!

Over the last several months I have read a number of books and various magazine and on-line articles concerning efforts of radical christian fundamentalists to create an American Theocracy, a christian government ruled, not by our constitution, but by biblical law. A number of people who have commented here and elsewhere claim that I am being gullible, that to believe such a thing is, at least over-reacting, of being alarmist.

I have too often ineffectively countererd with but, but, I mean, well, I mean, but... finally resorting to citing Hitler's rise to power while the world looked on. It's a tired argument. One that most people either reject or laugh off, saying, "Oh, man, that can't happen here. This is the good ole' US of A. Land of the free." Perhaps they are right. I would, in fact, like to think so.

But given the manner and direction in which things have progressed over the last 35 to 40 years or so regarding the inroads made by the aforementioned christian fundamentalists into virtually all walks of life, including government at all levels, the work place, our schools, the media, etc., it is impossible for me to simply shrug them off as nut cases, as fringe loonies.

The fact is millions of our fair citizens have bought into the whole idea hook, line and communion wafers. Many of these people have been drawn into the fold, as it were, to escape broken, failed lives for which they cast blame on liberal society. They long for direction, for a strict, well, even harshly defined moral code. They no longer wish to be free. They want to be led, to be reassured of a blissful life - if not here on earth, then for an eternity in heaven. To reach this bliss, they must divest themselves of their personal lives. They must devote themselves to their god. Ultimately, they must be ready and willing to fight to the death as warriors for their god.

As opposed as radical christians are to radical muslims, they more or less mirror them in their ardor, their willingness to do violence, to kill, enmasse if need be. The radical christians are similar to their muslim counterparts in their intolerance, their suppression of women, suppression of art and critical thought. They hate and fear science and modern technology - except insofar as they can make use of it to defeat their enemies - to kill them.

The masses of people who have taken up the standard of the christian warriors enter a closed society wherein virtually their every waking hour is saturated with the message of god's love and the concomitant and necessary hate and loathing of those of faiths not their own, of non-believers, of apostates. They often spend time almost everyday within the confines of their selected church. They often have jobs at companies owned and/or operated by fellow believers. Their kids go to schools set up by their churches, or lacking that, are often home schooled. Most of their social time is spent with fellow parishoners. If they watch TV at all - many sects don't allow it - they watch one of the plethora of local christian stations, and/or national christian networks. The same with radio. The only music they listen to is religious oriented.

Those who attend one of the many "mega-churches" that have sprung up in recent years, are presented with what amounts to a well planned and executed "production" designed to first mesmerize the congregation with a great deal of singing, standing with arms raised to the heavens, often in an attempt to mirror or, perhaps mock black gospel services, repeatedly shouting "Hallelujah," "Praise God," "Praise the Lord" and "Praise Jesus." ad nauseam, or in some instances falling and writhing on the floor speaking in "tongues" until a collective exhaustion sets in. Then at some length the main course begins as the principal preacher takes the stage, often prancing about the dais with bible held high in constant admonition of the congregation's collective sins and citing their unworthiness in god's eyes. They rant on about the evils of the "secular" world that is out to destroy them, satan's minions set to defile and overthrow god. They are taught to trust no one outside their particular sphere. That any who attempt to use "rationality" are the enemy.

At the proper moment, of course, just when the attentive congregation is at their most physically and emotionally spent and, therefore, their most vulnerable, the choir begins singing god's praises and the offering plates come out.

Am I being unfairly cynical? I think not. It is all an enormous scam that may one day bring about the end of America as we know it. Most Democrats, political liberals and moderate christians are largely guilty of looking the other way, of going out of their way to be "tolerant," even of intolerance. The parallel of what is happening here and now in the US to the rise of Nazi Germany is apt. Most people of a more moderate disposition are reluctant to challenge the radicals. They live in the belief that if they ignore it long enough, it will eventually go away. That's not going to happen.

I urge readers of this little diatribe to read any or all of the following books:

The End of Faith by Sam Harris
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips
Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg
The Baptising of America by Rabbi James Rudin
Atheist Manifesto by Michel Onfrey
God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

and especially:

American Fascists by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School and retains his faith. However, he sees quite clearly the dangers of the rising radical christian fundamentalists or theocrats. Reading just the first chapter of Hedges' book may be enough to overcome any reader's inertia.

Do it. You'll be disturbed that you did.


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