The Political Wrongs of the Religious Right

Posted: 22/12/2011 in American Civic Religion, politics
Tags: , , , , , , ,

How then shall we vote?

I recently watched the hilariously lambasted Rick Perry “strong” video.  It is now one of the most disliked videos in You Tube history.    Now think about the endless flow of audio-visual travesties that are uploaded to You Tube every hour.  Getting that many dislikes is quite an accomplishment.  It was a briefly lived meme, but is indicative of deeper issues this election.

I am one of many Christians who was raised around the political right, but is now completely annoyed with their views.  I still remember a life sized cut-out of George W. Bush in my church’s sanctuary during the 2000 elections.  It felt weird then, but now it feels almost blasphemous.   I digress however.

That church also taught that this was idol worship.

Let me start this conversation by listing off what seems to be some of the problems of the religious right.  Hopefully, readers can add a few.  Here they are:

1. “Christians versus everybody else.” If I could pick just one root cause of my problems with the religious right it is this mentality.  It goes back all the way to Schaeffer, who saw every perspective (political or otherwise) as either the Christian worldview, or a slippery, apocalyptic slope towards secular humanism.  Such black and white thinking is little more than thinly veiled fear mongering.  Anyone who isn’t afraid different ideas, religions, or people can see this rather plainly.

2. Christian Zionism.  Israel has a right to peacefully exist along side other nations in the middle east, and  modern-day Israel has nothing to do with prophecies in the Bible.

Please read that sentence one more time.

Unflinching, unthinking, and dogmatic support for Israel depends on a minority, liberal interpretation of scripture known as Dispensational futurism.  This is not what all Christians believe.  I don’t think it is something any Christian should believe.  People like Rick Perry and John Hagee believe that we have a sacred religious duty to support Israel.  I wonder what they think about supporting Palestinian Christians.  I wonder if they even knows that such people exist.

Dispies often visit Christian holy sites in the middle east.  Don’t they ever wonder who has maintained those sites over the last few centuries?

3. The Christian Nation Myth.  The religious right loves to talk about “America’s Christian heritage.”  There is no doubt that Christianity has played an important role the culture of the United States, but it is an exaggeration (at best) and a lie (at worst) to believe that God has somehow uniquely blessed the United States and that our constitution is somehow holy writ.

The constitution is an agreement and a rulebook that is as much open to revision as any other secular, legal, contract.  Many of the founding fathers were Christians, but many of them were not.  Even the Christian conservatives acknowledge that Jefferson was deist, but they fail to appreciate how big of a problem that represents for the “Christian Nation” myth.

Can we take a closer look at the Christian founders?  How about Valley Forge praying, George Washington?  He was an active member of the Anglican Church, which means his services looked more like this:

Church service at Cantebury, England.

Than they did like this:

Totally not idol worship.

Furthermore, George Washington was a free mason!  That’s a big no-no for most Christian conservatives.  I wonder how the Christian Nation fundies rationalize that contradiction. Christianity for the founders was a quite different Christianity.  They did not worship like the Bachmanns or the Perrys of the world.

A final point

I do not want to be part of the Christian Nation that Perry and Bachmann want.  I do not agree with their views of scripture.  Why am I as a Christian denouncing the religious right?  It is really simple.  We can do better.  We can have a view of end times that promotes peace rather than conquest.  We can learn to look pace prejudices and understand that Arabs can be Christians too.  We can learn that the constitution is a social contract that allows people to live together despite religious differences.

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Comments
  1. Tim Fink says:

    Saying that this nation was not meant to be a Christian nation is not entirely accurate. If you read the original Charters of the colonies, 9 out of the 13 (2/3 rds majority) were established with a statement akin to “the main purpose of our colony is to preserve and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” according to the dictates of their conscience, etc. Many of the colonies were under the umbrella of the New England charter, for example. Whether the majority of the people settling were in direct agreement with those statements or not, it was written in the charters, which is just like a contract. Therefore they were established under a covenant relationship with God.

    We were given a free government and free society so that we as a people could have the freedom to fulfill this covenant, which we are breaking at the expense of our liberties and prosperity.

  2. Jin roh says:

    The New England charter was in 1620. It sounds like you are saying that the colonies of explicitly Christian Constitutional Monarchy (17th century England) were also explicitly Christian.

    I’m not sure how that helps your case to much because quite a bit changed between 1620 and 1789.

  3. Brandilyn says:

    Actually, they were mostly enlightenment rationalists, who recognized that though they were personally believers in Christ, everyone was going to have their own way of expressing their beliefs, and that as a nation if they were a “Christian nation” people migrating here would not be able to freely worship whatever diety they wanted, yet they wanted people to be free from religious persecution. They could not be both a Christian nation and a nation where people were free to believe whatever they wanted.
    At least, that’s my take on it since doing on my own reading on the subject in college, which was completely different than the shit they teach you in high school.

  4. Brandilyn says:

    Wanted to add: excellent point about Washington being a free mason, Jin-roh. :} I’ve posted this on my fb wall.

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