Religion has no place in the public school. As a member of a “minority” faith (Russian Orthodox Christianity), I wouldn’t want our kids contaminated with Evangelical goo. We have a secular state… let’s keep it that way.
The following is prime read n’ heed… it needs no commentary from me.
The Council For National Policy is a Conservative Think Tank, made up of a Who’s Who of prominent conservatives… Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Reince Priebus, Tim LaHaye, Bobby Jindal, John McCain… the list goes on… This article, published by the Washington Post, but reported elsewhere, lays out the group’s plan to “restore education in America”, by bringing God into classrooms.
I have said for years and years, the Christian Right is really seeking to establish a theocracy in the USA… at least regionally, throughout the Deep South. This latest effort by the so-called Council for National Policy lays further proof to that claim. The Constitution does NOT support this effort… in spite of what many “Christian” leaders say. The First Amendment of the Constitution strictly prohibits any Establishment of Religion. This Amendment also guarantees Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. This “Separation of Church and State” has two intentions:
- It protects religious freedom for everyone
- It prevents the tyranny of any one religion
However, this fact won’t stop many Southern Christians, who feel it is their duty… as Christians… to make the USA “a godly nation” in their eyes. Moreover, they’ll cite the numerous biblical passages in which God exhorts all nations to be faithful to him and condemns those nations who aren’t, as the basis for this duty… that they feel is their right. I grew up in this world, so I know what I’m talking about. As a kid, during the 1970’s, I attended churches in Atlanta with my devout grandmother. I heard Jerry Falwell speak numerous times at First Baptist on Peachtree. A fiery minister in Smyrna indoctrinated me into the Evangelical way of thinking. I studied my “King James” Bible. I feverishly read Ernest Angley’s book about the “end times” that depicted Christians being boiled alive by the Antichrist. I loved The Omen movies, wholly believing they portended something real. Trust me. I’ve been there. Fortunately, I had the sense to give it up. By age 15, at the peak of my adolescent sexual curiosity, I realised that any religion that demanded giving up my basic humanity was nuts.
Of course, not all Christian Evangelicals share this extreme view. Nevertheless, the extremists always give themselves away with their trademark refrain, “I’ll pray for you”, as if you’re possessed by demons and in need of an exorcism. They seem completely unaware of how this statement makes them appear; that they alone understand “truth”, that everyone else is “ungodly” and in need of “redemption”, as they see it; by being “born again,” and baptised, and accepting their world view. This self-righteous arrogant presumption is at the root of all religious extremism. Evangelicals in churches and state houses across the country support laws and political systems that brutalize and imprison MILLIONS of African-Americans, that deny equal rights and protections to LGBT people and tacitly support violence toward them, and seek to deny women the right to govern their own bodies, often with threats or outright acts of physical violence. They seem hell-bent on ejecting science from education and replacing it with their own creationist ideas.
In doing these things, Evangelicals are advocating a religious extremism that is no different from Muslim extremism, which projects religious authority over all people in their domain, which limits the rights of women, controls and limits education, and enforces strict adherence to a moral code, which naturally rejects and punishes all forms of “decadence”, including “deviant sexuality”, science, reason, and any questioning of authority. Christian fundamentalists, if given the power, will do the same things.
Evangelical Christians in the USA condemn Muslim extremism as a threat to the country and their way of life, while clearly endorsing their own form of extreme religious authoritarianism. This form of religion establishes a tribally divisive “us” versus “them” mentality, which places “our” rights and prerogatives above the needs of any other group. Moreover, they use it repeatedly as the basis for denying other people’s rights… particularly, their freedom to choose and even their right to exist. It’s worth pointing out that in the South religion buttressed this tribal mentality to force a separation between whites and blacks, who they see/saw as inferior. White suburban Christian thinking has this tribalism as a deeply embedded dynamic. They accept it without question. I shouldn’t have to point out that, in the end, this isn’t Christian at all.
Religious extremism is religious extremism. Using words like “righteousness” or “faith” or “Christ-given mission”, and hiding behind ideas like “tradition” and “heritage” and “family values” won’t cover up this fact. It’s up to every freedom-loving person, who prefers freedom of choice, freedom of worship, who cares about protecting women’s rights and equality for all, and advancing reason and scientific knowledge, to be aware and oppose it. I don’t suggest that Evangelicals should give up their faith. However, I strongly suggest they shouldn’t trample on other people’s religious beliefs or insist that people should conform themselves with the Evangelical worldview.
If Evangelicals hate tyranny, they should be very wary of becoming tyrants. Nevertheless, Evangelicals will never see themselves as tyrants, because their faith commands them to be “missionaries for Christ”. This mandate engages them in a zero-sum game to convert the country, indeed the whole world, to their faith. Moreover, over the decades they’ve increasingly reached for more and more political power to achieve this goal. This is exactly what ISIS proposes, by trying to establish a global Muslim caliphate. The goal of religious extremists, regardless of faith, is always the same… Dominion.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the foul of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.
Evangelicals are the American Taliban. To many, that seems a garish and inconceivable statement. The entire purpose of this article is to point out that religious extremism also exists in America as it does in other parts of the world, and not just radical Muslims are extreme, it’s also radical Christians… and that religious extremism can start with something as simple as, “I’ll pray for you”.
24 February 2017
J C Weatherby
Church and State