Posts Tagged Christian Dominionism
Yikes! I hope Van Helsing is a Democrat. Gotta admit – it could be fun.
But on the way into work, I happened to catch about 5 minutes of the Steve Quayle show on XM radio. There is political commentary on this station in the evening but I always switch to another station in the morning, as Quayle’s program is devoted to talk about things like aliens, pending doomsday scenarios and ancient astronauts. But today, before I had a chance to touch the dial, I heard the word’s “Noah’s Ark”, which quickly stayed my hand.
I find the obsession some people have for the Biblical flood scenario fascinating. The Flood is essential to the cause of Creationism, since the magnitude of such an event is said to be sufficiently energetic to sculpt an Earth that only appears to be millions of years old. But, no offense folks, I’ve always found the idea that this is more than a Biblical fable to be just a little bit goofy.
Just like talk of the Mayan prediction of the Earth’s demise in 2012. Or UFO abductions. Or Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Or the prophecies of Nostradamus and John of Patmos or the ghosts of the Nazis. Essentially the combined prime-time line-up of the History, Discovery and Learning Channels. And let’s not forget the silliness of filming the hi-jinks of a semi-literate Alaskan ex-governor’s dysfunctional family – but that’s a different (although perhaps related) story.
Within the five minutes that I listened to Quayle’s program the talk went from an international conspiracy to hide the discovery of Noah’s Ark, to the pending Mayan apocalypse and how it was predicted in Luke’s gospel and the Book of Revelations to the ongoing Pentagon cover up of visiting alien spacecraft (fallen angels), finishing with the coming New World Order that will overshadow the tyrannical excesses of Nazi Germany. The guest on the program (who’s name I did not catch) as well as the few callers, all professed to be Christians who possessed special knowledge of the world given to them by studying the Bible and other ancient texts. The evidence was incontrovertible, they claimed, and the inability of most of the world’s people to see the handwriting on the wall was proof that Satan was actively at work in the world, undermining the will of God. It was up to each and every Christian to spread the word and take up the good fight.
The crazy thing is, that though it is easy to call these folks crack-pots, they are not that rare of a species. Similar ideas can be heard from pulpits across the country (like the Wasilla Assembly of God) and on numerous “legitimate” websites. Even a mainstream media personality like Glenn Beck talks of the pending apocalypse, apparently orchestrated by the minions of Satan. In their world, ‘faith’ trumps reasonable skepticism every time.
2012, alien abductions, biblical prophesy, Book of Revelations, Christian Dominionism, consipriacy theories, Discovery Channel, End Times, Fallen Angels, flying saucers, Glenn Beck, History Channel, John Hagee, Mr. Ararat, New Age, New World Order, noah's ark, Nostredamus, Pentagon coverup, Sarah Palin, Satan, Steve Quayle, the Learning Channel, UFO, Wasilla Assembly of God
Today the Republicans in the House of Representatives are reading the Constitution aloud, as symbolic token to the Tea Party’s devotion to the document. A good civics lesson, or “sanctimonious reverence” ?
The Tea Party. Why is it that bible thumpers (of which the Tea Party abounds) claim to love the Constitution so? Because it’s not that the two world views are inextricably wed, there are plenty of conservatives and libertarians who are religious moderates or even atheists (like Ayan Rand). And there are even a number of left wing Evangelicals like Tony Compalo and Jim Wallace. But today’s political conservatism embodies the yin and yang of both Christian and historical fundamentalism. Biblical literalism meets Constitutional orginalism.
Which I guess should not be too surprising. It makes sense that if you hold to a literal and inerrant view of the Bible that you would look at the US Constitution in much the same way, especially if you you believe that Americans have replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people (and like the Israelites, we have often gone astray). If we asked a Tea Partier, I think we would hear some interesting similarities in how both the Constitution and the Bible are viewed.
-should to be taken literally, meaning that the written words are to be understood precisely as they were written and not subject to individual interpretation
-share the ultimate authority on how Americans should live their lives, holding to the author’s original intent (and God’s will)
-are able to transcend time, speaking as authoritatively on today’s issues as within their own day, having been written by devoutly religious men who were directly inspired by God to be both prophetic and prescient, able to anticipate every correct response to all future events.
These assertions are, of course, absolutely incorrect, as proven by a reading of the historical record, accompanied by a dash of the much heralded “common sense”. It is obvious to most who study scripture that the circumstances and situations addressed in the Bible are not always, if even very often, germane to today’s world. Christian fundamentalists realize this as well, since they are very selective about which ‘fact’ they will believe or which stricture or dictate they will obey. Very few still believe that the Earth is flat, as suggested in Genesis, and no one (outside of the Chalcedon Foundation) wants to have sassy children put to death. Though they may not allow women to be ordained, they no longer force them to wear scarves in church.
Times change and not everything written 200 or 2000 or 4000 years ago is relevant today. Though it may have made perfect sense in that time and place, neither the Bible or the Constitution present the perfect solution to every challenge we are presented with today. They were written by flawed men (and maybe women) who were doing their best to define the truths of the universe while addressing the challenges of their day. Like it or not, their work must be interpreted, which means that there will always be differences of opinion and no accurate or permanent orthodoxy can ever take form. No orthodoxy has ever endured without some sort of evolution. Centuries later we cannot delve into the writers’ minds and we cannot know their intent, any more than their writings can convey to us the true will of God. Nor are the authors’ intentions (or their understanding of God) necessarily relevant today.
Though the Constitution is undoubtedly a work of genius and in its time came very close to offering the ideal formula for engineering a sustainable American liberty, it was not then and is not now perfect. If it was perfect then it is unlikely that there would still be heated scholarly debate over its meaning. The perfect Constitutional solutions to so many problems have long eluded us. If perfect, there would have been no allowance for slavery and there certainly would have been no Civil War.
If Americans had allowed themselves to become slaves to their rigid interpretations of both the Constitution and the Bible, we would have no Emancipation Proclamation, no Civil Rights Act, and no women voters. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams and St. Paul could never envision a world in which the injustices of slavery and misogyny did not exist and each day produces new challenges that they never could have imagined.
But there is something very comforting to think of both Bible and Constitution in special supernatural ways, providing us with a cosmic link to the past and the men we have come to see as our spiritual fathers. And as devoted children, we develop a fierce defensive posture whenever the work of our fathers is threatened, or even questioned. Especially when that work provides us with a sense of security, a defense against those who might take from us or as a means of preventing rewards being bestowed upon those who do not deserve it. “Strict” interpretation of both Constitution and Bible have been used to shore up the positions of the powerful and the entitled at the expense of the underrepresented and the different.
I can think of no other reason for the forced marriage of the Bible to the Constitution other than that religious fundamentalism and a fundamentalist view of history are both the result of psychological insecurity and fear. Which becomes abundantly clear when we see the slogans and signs and hear the speeches emanating from the Right, hysterically linking God the Father with the Founding Fathers, equating love of the Bible with love of the Constitution. It is ironic that so many of these folks, when asked to provide some positional support from their two most sacred texts, seem to know so little about either of them. Or of those who wrote them.
“Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human” – Thomas Jefferson
American History, Chalcedon Foundation, Christian Dominionism, Founding Fathers, House of Representatives, original intent, originalism, R.J. Rushdooney, strict construction, Tea Party, Thomas Jefferson, U.S.Constitution
Now, before anybody comes back trying to link Obama to Karl Marx or George H.W. Bush to the Bildeburgers, all these connections are documented and spoken of quite openly by the people in question. Just Google them and you will see.
Carl Rove, Christian Coalition, Christian Dominionism, Christian Theocracy, Chuck Colson, Cleon Skoussen, D.James Kennedy, Focus on the Family, Francis Shaeffer, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck, homophobia, Islamaphobia, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, John Birch Society, Marvin Olasky, Moral Majority, Pat Robertson, pro-life, R.J. Rushdooney, Ralph Reed, Randall Terry, Religious Right, Sarah Palin, Tea Party
- "Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment." -Thomas Jefferson
THE PEANUT GALLERY
- Postmodernism for Dummies (by a Postmodern Dummy)
- Shoot the Messengers (Why Fire and Brimstone Preaching is Evil)
- Formal versus Informal Religion
- Why WAS Peter fishing in the nude?
- Pentagon cover-up: UFOs found Noah's Ark!
- The Spread of Islam: Conversion not Conquest
- Prosperity Gospel of Another Sort
- Mark Driscoll: Definitely no yoga, dude, but avatars are pretty cool
- Evolving Christians: Is Darwin Really the Enemy of Faith?
- May God Be With You (isn't He always?)
- “Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?” -John Adams
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- "You can’t just keep pulling bodies out of the river; you’ve got to send somebody upstream to see what or who is throwing them in." -Jim Wallis
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- "What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." - Micah
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