“What is our purpose in life? It is to restore the fallen culture to the glory of God. It’s to take command and dominion over every aspect of life, whether it’s music, science, law, politics, communities, families, to bring Christianity to bear in every single area of life” – Charles Colson
“As soon as Jesus sits on his throne he’s gonna rule the world with a rod of iron. That means he’s gonna make the ACLU do what he wants them to. That means you’re not gonna have to ask if you can pray in public school. We will live by the law of God and no other law.”— John Hagee
“Lord, give us righteous judges who will not try to legislate and dominate this society. Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court.” –Pat Robertson
“We’re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.” -Franklin Graham
“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.” – Sarah Palin
“There are some who would accuse us of trying to Christianize America. Am I trying to Christianize America? You bet your boots I am!” – D. James Kennedy
“The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be President would be ‘What the hell you mean we’re out of missiles?”-Glenn Beck
There is a memorable behind–the-scenes moment in one of Frank Peretti’s books where a little demon perched on the shoulder of an addict is swirling his hand around inside the man’s skull. (For those of you who don’t know of him, Frank Peretti writes “Christian” horror tales. This book, if I remember correctly, was “Piercing the Darkness”. It may just as well have been called “Piercing my Eyeball” for all the pleasure I got from reading it.)
Anyway, this supernatural premise is one that many conservative Christians (Fundamentalists, Neo-Evangelicals, Moral Majoritarians, reactionary Catholics –you get the picture) do not take lightly. There is no doubt in their minds that the minds of others, especially those who suffer from mental and emotional disorders, are in demonic clutches. Many of these Christians consider psychologists and psychiatrists to be quacks, or even worse, in the employ of Satan (though perhaps unconsciously). People with chronic depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, OCD – these people don’t need medical attention, and they certainly don’t need any drugs. All they need is to turn to Jesus. Or maybe endure a good exorcism. (In their contempt for the psychiatric profession they have a lot in common with Scientologists).
The funny (and sad) thing is that most of these people are not complete idiots. I know, because I was once one of them, and I am no idiot. (depending on who you ask) Now, I didn’t completely right-off the mental health profession. But I didn’t put much stock in mental health practitioners, unless he or she was an overt Christian. Because if therapists didn’t believe that Satan could mess with people’s minds, then it was tantamount to them working for Satan. There was really no hope for healing. I guess a Jewish doctor who believed in Satan would be OK except that he would not recognize the healing power of Jesus. So, no, it would have to be a Christian and a neo-Evangelical, God fearing, born-again Christian to boot. And this is a wide spread conviction among Christian fundamentalists.
Nowadays a belief in Satan would immediately disqualify that professional from my consideration. I couldn’t care less if my mechanic or my post-man or my butcher believed in Satan or Santa. But when it comes to helping people deal with issues that challenge their sanity, well, I just don’t think the supernatural is something worth pursuing. At least not at $150 an hour.
What I am trying to get at here is that there are quite a lot of Americans (some estimates say around 100 million) who believe that Old Scratch is a legitimate threat to our personal, local and national security. Heck, our last president thought this way. Right now there is a lot of angry talk going around about how Muslim people actually belong to a satanic religion and that the Prophet was under satanic influence. Which, when you think about it, is pretty scary. Not the idea that Islam is satanic – that’s not scary, it’s just plain ignorant. No, what’s scary is that maybe over 100 million Americans have their heads in the Dark Ages. Quite a few readily say that most non-Christians are doing Satan’s work and all are destined for hell. That the world’s problems won’t be solved until America’s problems are solved which won’t happen until America is a Christian nation run by Christians. My God, what if they ever organized?
Which is what they have been, for the last 40 years or so. Though you won’t hear them say it officially, the Christian Right has dominionism on their minds. Dominionism according to Wikipedia, is:
the tendency among some conservative politically-active Christians, especially in the United States, to seek influence or control over secular civil government through political action. The goal is either a nation governed by Christians, or a nation governed by a conservative Christian understanding of biblical law.
I don’t think the leaders of the Christian Right would disagree too much with that assessment. And I guess that if you are a conservative Christian you probably don’t have much of a problem with it. But, as a fairly moderate man who struggles with keeping the teachings of Jesus close to heart ( I am hesitant to call myself a “Christian” these days) I am, frankly, fairly frightened. I can’t imagine what a Hindu or a Buddhist or (particularly at this time) a Muslim, thinks of this. (Though I have spoken with some Muslims and they don’t appear to be too worried) Apparently a lot of Jews are willing to overlook the rhetoric of the Christian Right as long as they continue to fervently support Israel. I guess they, like so many others, don’t take them too seriously. And that’s a mistake.
Considering their stated goals and their political successes (they helped elect a lot of governors and a lot of people to Congress and the last administration was very much under their influence) I think they need to be taken very seriously. Though they only crow about it to the choir inside churches and those listening to their radio and TV programs, their ultimate agenda is for all elected officials be fundamentalist Christians, all government policies be based upon Biblical law and that eventually all citizens convert to Christianity. Which would mean only Christians would be capable of effective leadership, or even citizenship. Now, what is that starting to sound like?
Before you think I’m crazy remember that not too long ago I used to be in their camp. And if that’s not enough, go check out their websites: the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Coral Ridge Ministries, Answers In Genesis, Center for Moral Clarity, Christian Broadcasting Network, John Hagee Ministeries etc. And follow the links on these sites; you might be surprised what you find there. Of course most of what you find will sound relatively harmless, maybe even noble. I mean, what’s wrong with family values? Patriotism is a good thing, usually. And it’s kind of hard to object to the Gospel of Jesus. .
So there’s nothing to worry about, right? This is America, after all. Couldn’t happen here. Well, the Tea Party is growing stronger and some influential people are actually talking about a possible Beck/Palin presidential bid (in recent Gallup polls Beck was the fourth most admired man alive, right below Nelson Mandela and just above the Pope, while Palin was the number one Republican presidential contender) So interesting things could happen. We might be surprised. Perhaps unpleasantly.
An old Baptist preacher once warned me about ‘false teachings’: “Remember, rat poison is 95% sugar. It’s the other 5% that’ll kill ya.”