if we can’t save the world, maybe we can at least save katie

I’m going upstairs to read an article from the May issue of Harper’s entitled, “Soldiers of Christ II: Feeling the hate with the National Religious Broadcasters“. Here’s a clip:

What the disparate sects of this movement, known as Dominionism, share is an obsession with political power. A decades-long refusal to engage in politics at all following the Scopes trial has been replaced by a call for Christian “dominion” over the nation and, eventually, over the earth itself. Dominionists preach that Jesus has called them to build the kingdom of God in the here and now, whereas previously it was thought that we would have to wait for it. America becomes, in this militant biblicism, an agent of God, and all political and intellectual opponents of America’s Christian leaders are viewed, quite simply, as agents of Satan. Under Christian dominion, America will no longer be a sinful and fallen nation but one in which the Ten Commandments form the basis of our legal system, Creationism and “Christian values” form the basis of our educational system, and the media and the government proclaim the Good News to one and all. Aside from its proselytizing mandate, the federal government will be reduced to the protection of property rights and “homeland” security.[1] Some Dominionists (not all of whom accept the label, at least not publicly) would further require all citizens to pay “tithes” to church organizations empowered by the government to run our social-welfare agencies, and a number of influential figures advocate the death penalty for a host of “moral crimes,” including apostasy, blasphemy, sodomy, and witchcraft. The only legitimate voices in this state will be Christian. All others will be silenced…

I can’t help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, Dr. James Luther Adams, who told us that when we were his age, and he was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting the “Christian fascists.”

He gave us that warning twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other prominent evangelists began speaking of a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all major American institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government, so as to transform the United States into a global Christian empire. At the time, it was hard to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously. But fascism, Adams warned, would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Adams had watched American intellectuals and industrialists flirt with fascism in the 1930s. Mussolini’s “Corporatism,” which created an unchecked industrial and business aristocracy, had appealed to many at the time as an effective counterweight to the New Deal. In 1934, Fortune magazine lavished praise on the Italian dictator for his defanging of labor unions and his empowerment of industrialists at the expense of workers. Then as now, Adams said, too many liberals failed to understand the power and allure of evil, and when the radical Christians came, these people would undoubtedly play by the old, polite rules of democracy long after those in power had begun to dismantle the democratic state. Adams had watched German academics fall silent or conform. He knew how desperately people want to believe the comfortable lies told by totalitarian movements, how easily those lies lull moderates into passivity.

Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right’s persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral values not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications. Then came raids on the places where homosexuals gathered, culminating on May 6, 1933, with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Twelve thousand volumes from the institute’s library were tossed into a public bonfire. Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said, would be the first “deviants” singled out by the Christian right. We would be the next.

Fuck.

(Note: For those of you up for a fight against religious fanatics, but perhaps a bit too intimidated by the likes of the blood-thirsty Dominionists, you might want to check out the anti-Scientology Free Katie movement. (link by way of Metafilter))

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20 Comments

  1. dorothy
    Posted June 17, 2005 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    fuck indeed. this is the scariest thinag i’ve ever read.

  2. Posted June 17, 2005 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    While reading that I was thinking that this might be the far right’s way of stopping immigrants from coming to this country. Why would Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. want to come here and take jobs from good honest white Christians when they’d have no say in anything? Or am I being paranoid?

  3. Teddy Glass
    Posted June 17, 2005 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I can see the appeal of Scientology. It must be nice to have a fantasy world where one can hide from the ugly reality of what’s really going on all around us.

  4. Posted June 17, 2005 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I did a search on Wilhelm Reich and the Institute of Sexual Science for the hell of it. Here is a copy/ paste quote that I thought was interesting:

    “Fascism is the frenzy of sexual cripples.”

    He might have been on to something. Unfortunately, he lost his mind on Orgone.

    As for Pat Robertson- He has yet to say something sane. That man has been scaring me consistently since his beginnings blathering on and on about end times and the physical Kingdom of God bullshit on the 700 club.

    As for the “Kingdom of God”, another cut and paste:

    “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation ( as in observing the Sabbath and the Laws ):

    Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

    Luke 17:20-21

    It is interesting to contrast the so called “Body of Christ”, or the spiritual whole of all the individual members, with Hobbes Leviathans, or political wholes governed by laws and measurements. Mixing the two is explosive.

  5. Ken
    Posted June 17, 2005 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    People like their vices too much to fall for this dominionist horse shit. Okay, they grab as much power as they can. They are the new Mullahs of the United States of Jesus (The US of J

  6. john galt
    Posted June 17, 2005 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    speaking of hobbes, .. from Leviathan

    “I find the kingdom of God to signify in most places of Scripture a kingdom properly so named, constituted by the votes of the people of Israel in peculiar manner, wherein they chose God for their king by covenant made with Him, upon God’s promising them the possession of the land of Canaan; and but seldom metaphorically;and then it is taken for dominion over sin (and only in the New Testament), because such a dominion as that every subject shall have in the kingdom of God, and without prejudice to the sovereign.

    “From the very creation, God not only reigned over all men naturally by His might, but also had peculiar subjects, whom He commanded by a voice, as one man speaketh to another.

    “And though the name of King be not yet given to God; nor of kingdom to Abraham and his seed, yet the thing is the same; namely, an institution by pact of God’s peculiar sovereignty over the seed of Abraham, which in the renewing of the same covenant by Moses at Mount Sinai is expressly called a peculiar kingdom of God over the Jews: and it is of Abraham, not of Moses, St. Paul saith that he is the father of the faithful;* that is, of those that are loyal and do not violate their allegiance sworn to God, then by circumcision, and afterwards in the New Covenant by baptism.”

    Thus the kingdom of God is not metaphorical. It is real obedience to the actual voice of God. It is accepted willingly by each individual through covenant.

  7. john galt
    Posted June 17, 2005 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Ken, its been much worse.. the actually did shut off beer for awhile.. That didn’t go over so well.. so I don’t think they’ll try it again. On the upside, if it wasn’t for prohibition we wouldn’t have Nascar and those loveable Duke brothers:)

  8. Posted June 17, 2005 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I believe that Hobbes is referring to the “Kingdom of Heaven” of the Pharisees in the Luke passage. He was trying to create an argument to support the Monarchy of England at the time.

    People do not “hear the voice of god.” I’m sorry , but I just don’t believe that. I do believe that some people have mental and / or physical faculties that are exceptional, and that some people are more altruistic, more driven, etc. than others.

    Waiting anxiously for ( or in the case of the Dominionists who got tired of waiting, actively pursuing ) a benevolent monarch to take the position of king and bring about the kingdom of heaven is absurd. It is absurd because if it is a person, then that person is limited by mortality. If it is an immortal being, then it certainly isn’t human. And, again, the evidence is just not there that there are immaterial beings or that any material beings are immortal.

    However, there is a world of immaterial ideas that have a direct impact on the real world and some people embody them. Each reasonable person has the ability to attempt to understand and use those ideas.

    I agree with Hobbes that a political body is greater than the sum of it’s parts , but I disagree that a political body and the rights of inheritance are of some divine origin. They are an invention of man. Each individual that lives within any type of political body is still free to exercise their will, pursue noble/ignoble ideas, and adjust their behavior according to the pursuit of a deeper understanding of these ideas, within the limits of the law and their faculty.

    A political system is meant to protect the rights of the many ( or the few, or one ) by setting limits on the freedom of individuals. No laws would be needed if everyone shared and was considerate, but selfishness, envy, and a number of other bad ideas always manage to crash the party.

    It is possible that what (Luke’s) Jesus was saying is that the pursuit of ideas that are selfless rather than selfish creates a sovereignty of the individual – making the external laws of a political system no longer of concern and returning a lawless system based on altruism. Hobbes thought that without laws, man reverted back to an animal. There is not a chance that he believed that The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You.

  9. john galt
    Posted June 17, 2005 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Dave,

    Unlike most of the posts on this forum, I actually find your’s most salient and insightfull. Please post more of the same. Hobbes was quite the radical in his time and I belive trying to point out the hypocripsy in the European Govt’s of his time. He was tying to reconcile religion with the Government of Euro nations. ALso anything on the Deros would be good.

  10. Posted June 17, 2005 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    replace “kingdom of heaven” with “kingdom of god” in the above comment.

  11. Ken
    Posted June 17, 2005 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Dave has a secret admirer!

  12. Posted June 18, 2005 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    John- Thanks for the compliment. I can think of more than a few people here that deserve those adjectives more than I do. Some of them actually set me straight on occasion, and I appreciate it. It sounds like you are implying that most of the content here is not worth reading, which brings up questions. I think this is a nice community of people that politely agree or disagree with each other.

    In between the goofiness there is a “liberal” slant here, and I appreciate that. I have strong feelings about politics that are similar to Marks – that there are people out there cloaking themselves in religion for the purpose of accumulating political power, that this is a very bad idea, and that something needs to be done to keep these people in check before our freedoms are limited to an unacceptable degree. Occasionally I disagree with Mark, but if I decide to disagree I make my best attempt to be polite about it or converse with him by email or in person.

    Mark works his ass off on this site, and it seems the least one could do is be considerate. It seems as if you are intent on defending whatever the opposite position of Mark’s is, and it comes off as confrontation for your amusement rather than a true attempt to open a dialogue. I may be wrong about your intent, but I don’t think I am wrong about how it is perceived by people here.

    On Hobbes and the belief in a ruling class- there is a unique set of skills needed to be a good politician. Even more to be a statesman. I don’t think those skills are inherited or given by God. The skills of a statesman are developed through experience and a guiding principle of selflessness ( Politicians are not required to be selfless : ) They are responsible for making decisions that impact us and future generations. A benevolent Monarch might fit the bill, but history shows that monarchies degenerate quickly and are more concerned about their “belly” than their wards. I also think that it is likely dangerous and unpleasant for the sovereignty of a political body to reside unchecked within one person.

    I am not convinced that the Dominionists have anything close to selfless intentions. They are out there to conquer and control. They have already divided the political body in their collective mind, and their either/ or mental operations leave me feeling very uncomfortable about what some of their ultimate intentions are.

  13. Posted June 18, 2005 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Mark-

    I found this paragraph from the article interesting:

    He reminds us, quoting theologian Peter Berger, that

  14. mark
    Posted June 18, 2005 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Clearly empathy is a trait shared by the weak, and science is a cult of the latte drinking elite.

  15. john galt
    Posted June 18, 2005 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I think the Deros make me do it.

  16. chris
    Posted June 19, 2005 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Dave,

    That was the classiest and most eloquent smack down I’ve ever read.

  17. Ken
    Posted June 19, 2005 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Hear, hear! Dave, that dog was stiffing your butt and wee-weed right on him.

  18. chris
    Posted June 19, 2005 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Hey Dave, checked out your website and as a pre-MS Seattlite I was much impressed. You are the real McCoy. I was also gobsmacked by your organizing efforts around zoning and land use in your neighborhood. As someone w/ a Master’s Degree in community organizing, I can only say I am humbled (what can I say it was public school). Keep up the great work.

    Hey, are you the guy posting a while back during the mm commune phase with the serious ass composting and heirloom gardening? I would not be surprised.

  19. Tony Buttons
    Posted June 20, 2005 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Is that what the kids are calling a “bitch slap”?

  20. Posted June 20, 2005 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Dave Morris – That was a very thought-provoking, well-thought-out and eloquent post. Well done!!!

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