Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The conservative "Culture War"


The conservative "Culture War"

The religious/political conservatism we see running amok in USA today has a specific time line of plotting and planning for cultural supremacy. First, they decided that white supremacy should be their chosen political vehicle. But racism fell out of favour. So, they settled on abortion. Now, they're using pedophilia.

The Real Origins of the Religious Right - They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation.

Abortion: The Ultimate Evangelical Cop-out

"With their protests demanding their God-given freedom to NOT wear a mask in order to protect the lives and prevent the deaths of other people as they ironically wave signs declaring, “My body, my choice,” the reason why so much of white, male-driven, conservative Evangelical Christianity makes such a big deal about abortion isn’t because they are “for” life, “for“ birth, or “for” Jesus. Not a chance. Rather, it’s because they are “against” the emergence of true equality for women, the sexual accountability of white men, and the dismantling of their religious power to lord their values over all of society." 


You would think this was self evident:

"The best means of reducing abortion is expanding health coverage so that every woman can consult with her doctor about her medical needs. We also need effective, comprehensive sexual education and greater access to other methods of birth control."

This Pastor has noticed the polarization, the political co-opting of spirituality ... and the normalizing of hateful aggression:

"That people disagree with me is not my concern. My concern is for an evangelical church in America that has normalized hatred in defense of President Trump.

I don’t understand how Christians can justify the name-calling, the insults and plain meanness. I don’t understand how they can so freely bear false witness against others. I don’t understand why they think following President Trump and loyalty to the Republican Party is of greater value than following Jesus and loyalty to his ethic of love.

The question I am left with is a paraphrase of Jesus, “What good is it if we gain the whole Supreme Court but lose our souls?”

I Was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah

"I grew up in the far-right evangelical conservative (Christofascist) movement; specifically, I was homeschooled and my parents were part of a subculture called Quiverfull, whose aim is to outbreed everyone for Jesus. I spent my teen years being a political activist. I was taught by every pastor I encountered that it was our job as Christians to outbreed the secularists (anyone not a far-right evangelical Protestant) and take over the government through sheer numbers.

"Generation Joshua started in 2003, primarily catering to children homeschooled by extremely religious rightwing adults. Its purpose was to train us to fight in what the Christofascists have been calling the “Culture Wars.” It’s a loose and ambiguous term that basically means anything or anyone that doesn’t align with this very specific view of Christianity must not be allowed to continue."

Jane Roe’s deathbed confession exposes the immorality of the Christian right

The Fundamentalist Trap

"Gothard’s legacy is not his thousands of pages of bizarre dogma, but the insight he offers into the way the Christian right once responded to the threats posed by liberal America. He was celebrated by the culture warriors for promising stability in a changing world, all while he warped the message of Jesus to build an empire for himself and prey on the vulnerable."

Explanation of the evangelical "culture war" - from someone who grew up in it:

Gospel Coalition Writer Suggests Evangelicals Breed Their Way Out

Jesus and John Piper: The Radicalization of a Research Assistant

"This red-blooded patriotism was part of a religious culture that also included six-day creationism, climate skepticism, complementarianism, and an evangelistic tunnel vision that saw people as nothing more than immortal souls. Not to mention some sometimes-subtle, sometimes-not racism." 

AMERICAN RULE - book by Jared Yates Sexton

America's long, weird history of conspiracy theories, how they're gateways to fascism and fueled by white supremacist paranoia

- fascism, anti-Semitism, white supremacist paranoia, the tactic of projection & Qanon.  

Is there really a connection between conservative/fundamentalist/right-wing religion in America and the slew of conspiracy theories lately?

Too many evangelical Christians fall for conspiracy theories online, and gullibility is not a virtue

 "While conspiracy theories are not confined to a specific segment of the population, we are mostly concerned with evangelical Christians sharing conspiracy theories. Too often our evangelical commuity has been too easily fooled, and too much is inappropriately shared.
At their root, conspiracy theories are illogical and embarrassing. The audacity of recent COVID-19 conspiracy theories demands that President Donald Trump, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the media, and the scientific community are all in league together. More outlandishly, they ascribe the virus to secret plans to end religious liberty, to connect a potential vaccine to the mark of the beast, and loop in 5G towers as a bizarre bonus."

Why Your Christian Friends and Family Members Are So Easily Fooled by Conspiracy Theories

1. Conspiracy Theories Make Us Feel Special.

2: Conspiracy Theories Help Us Make Sense of a Chaotic and Complicated World.

3. Conspiracy Theories Make Our Reality Seem More Exciting.

"And, this is also why challenging someone’s belief in a conspiracy theory is often interpreted by that person as a personal attack. No one wants to admit they’ve been fooled. And once you sacrificed your reputation and social capital for the sake of a conspiracy (like posting something on Facebook), it becomes harder for your ego to disengage from the illusion.

And, perhaps more damaging, conspiracy theories gradually become self-isolating echo chambers. If you ever argued with someone peddling a conspiracy theory, you know exactly what I’m talking about."
1. We base our faith on special revelation 

2. There’s a secret evil plot at the center of reality 

3. The intersection of Christianity and political partisanism 

This isn't the first time that fundamentalist Christianity has been associated with conspiracy theories. Before Coronavirus denialism came HIV/AIDS denialism. This Doug Wilson guy, regarded as a "prominent conservative Reformed theologian" (as well as a preacher 'Biblical misogyny'), is also implicated in covering up for sexual predators in the church.

Obstetric abuse, oxytocin deprivation .... and fundamentalism

John W. Travis explains the connection between what he terms institutional violence and normative abuse in the industrial obstetric system, and fundamentalism. He describe the oxytocin deprivation caused by dehumanised obstetric conventions and how this contributes to black/white fundamentalist thinking with either/or, polarised logic, and how this plays into the current empathy-deficient, aggressive/defensive styles of relating commonplace - and normalized - across dysfunctional 'western' society.

It has a lot to do with white supremacy

.... and male supremacy

.... and climate change denial.

The far-right conservative fundamentalist agenda, as far as I can tell, is about protecting and preserving the privileges and entitlements of the profits and penises of the American dominant class.

How white supremacy infected Christianity and the Republican Party

Jim Wallis from Sojourners explains how a right-wing political agenda infiltrated, then hi-jacked, the church in America:

Evangelicals aren't who you think: Jim Wallis

"Most of us aren't conservative white Trump supporters. We need to reclaim our stolen identity."

History of Right-Wing Evangelicalism - Jim Wallis


Here is an insightful take on the "Culture War":

"Education is not and can never be "apolitical." A claim of "neutrality" is a political choice in and of itself, and as the famous quote by Elie Wiesel states, neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. This definitely holds true in unschooling and alternative education circles, as well.
When you try to remain "neutral," you leave the door open to people with strong and dangerous political agendas who will use your refusal to take a stance as an opportunity to spread their own rhetoric, and pull more people into their ideology.
The right-wing is very well-funded, well-organized, and skilled at propaganda: they know how to make their ideas seem reasonable and rational, and invest a whole lot of effort and money in discrediting the left. I can't state this strongly enough: these people have the stated goal of attacking leftists and the political left as a whole, they see it as a war and if you're a leftist, you are the enemy (and if they can convince you to share their propaganda, they're thrilled at your gullibility). Sure, there might be plenty of infighting and disagreement on the right, but it's important to always remember that the right IS unified by a whole lot of ideology they share in common, generally some combination of beliefs in white supremacy, patriarchy, free market capitalism, anti-immigration, militarization and para-militarization. 
While we're on the topic? Things are not "too polarized." When the far right wants to quite literally commit genocide and burn the planet to the ground, we should be in favor of all views that are the polar opposite of doing that. I'm not concerned with polarization. I'm concerned with how people can best be pulled further left, aka further away from mass violence and environmental apocalypse.
If you too are concerned about making sure these people and ideologies are not allowed any toehold in the movements you care about, do research before sharing from an unfamiliar source, and learn the language and aesthetic familiar to various right wing groups and ideologies. I can spot a libertarian or ancap easily at this point. If I read the about page on a site, I can understand that "defending Western values" is generally code for "defending the white race." I understand dog whistles, and know that even the "reasonable" elements of the right wing generally associate with and are funded by more extreme, more racist people and organizations. I mention that I have learned to be on the look out for these ideologies because I want to make it clear that it is a learned skill, something I developed through research and practice, and something we can all learn to be more aware of.
There has been a LOT of coverage on unschooling in right-wing, Koch brothers funded sites like FEE . org, Intellectual Takeout, and Reason. The person who writes most of the unschooling content on FEE and IT, Kerry McDonald, is writing a book on the topic (which I declined to be featured in when asked). Last year there was an online "homeschooling and liberty summit," with conservative libertarian big names like Ron Paul alongside well known homeschooling advocates, who were not told about the politics of the event or their fellow speakers beforehand (I was asked to participate, got libertarian vibes from the promo video, and never responded to the email).
I think a lot of people like to scoff at ties between the mainstream right-wing and the fringes, but if Trump has shown anything it should be that the two are inextricably linked. They feed off of each other, and as I mentioned above, share ideology and frequently funding.
I believe it's perfectly possible to ally and work with people who I don't agree with on everything. Trust me when I say I am constantly in disagreement with everyone around me about one thing or another. However, to effectively and ethically work together, you DO need to share some core values. I would not work with someone who's anti-queer, because I am queer. I would not work with someone who believes that people should just die if they can't afford healthcare, because I have some fucking morals. My main goal in advocating for unschooling is not, in fact, to have as many people as possible unschooling. My main goal is human rights, and I see a philosophy that is all about trusting and respecting children as being important. But if someone is all "children should learn in freedom... but fuck those other people" then they are not my ally. Our goals are not aligned.
People who are anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQIA+, white supremacist, misogynistic, etc. as individuals ERODE THE SAFETY OF OUR COMMUNITIES. Climate-change denying, fascist, anti-immigrant, white supremacist, anti-leftist organizations and platforms will USE OUR COMMUNITIES FOR RECRUITING AND PROSELYTIZING. Because they have an agenda, and they act upon that agenda. 
I can't control what anyone else chooses to share. All I ask is that you pause for a moment, do some research, and consider whether you really want to funnel people towards right-wing propaganda by linking to their articles... Or if maybe, we can do a whole lot better than that.
The book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer 
Review of Dark Money, highlighting some important things discussed in the book:
On Reason's funding "Reason Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization...Its largest donors are the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation ($1,522,212) and the Sarah Scaife Foundation ($2,016,000), according to disclosures.[17] Other major donors are Donors Trust and Donors Capitol Fund, which in turn do not reveal their donors.[18] The Reason Foundation is part of the libertarian Atlas Network,[18][19], the State Policy Network and ALEC[18]”
David Koch also serves as a trustee of the Reason Foundation
FEE and Intellectual Takeout are both associate members of the State Policy Network.
The State Policy Network is a network of libertarian think tanks, and has the stated goal of dealing "a mortal blow" to the American left:
From the Center for Media and Democracy, “although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, an in-depth investigation reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.”
Greenpeace considers The Federation of Economic Freedom (FEE . org) to be a climate change denial front, and has a long list of other groups funded by the Koch brothers that have similar goals (including SPN and ALEC):
FEE and Intellectual Takeout share many identical articles, seeming to be sister sites. And what they share, among many other things, is support for Bolsonaro, Brazil's new president. In an article on FEE an author says:
"Bolsonaro has become the political equivalent of what author Nassim Talebcalls “Antifragile.” The more he is attacked, the stronger he becomes. He reached a point where he was able to benefit from the chaotic electoral environment. Now, he is becoming the 38th president of Brazil and must be evaluated based on his policies. He has a good team of people who believe in freedom, democracy, and the reforms Brazil needs to start growing again."
Bolsonaro is a fascist who's espoused violent rhetoric against women, LGBTQ+ people, Indigenous people, leftists, and others, and plans to open up the Amazon to "development." 
TRIGGER WARNING for genocide:
He once said “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry wasn’t as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated their Indians.”
A site that supports fascists needs to be looked at as a fascist site, and I think it's as abhorrent to share from such sites as it would be to share content from Breitbart.
Alliance for Self-Directed Education board member, Kerry McDonald, who's responsible for much of the unschooling content published on FEE and Intellectual Takeout, is also a policy adviser at The Heartland Institute.
The Heartland Institute has this to say about climate change: "Most scientists do not believe human greenhouse gas emissions are a proven threat to the environment or to human well-being, despite a barrage of propaganda insisting otherwise coming from the environmental movement and echoed by its sycophants in the mainstream media."
I've added a photo below that shows Heartland Institute, FEE, and Intellectual Takeout all post climate change denial content."
Sarah Bessey is the author of Jesus Feminist. Follow Jesus ... not nationalism, fascism, patriarchy and politically motivated conspiracy theories.
Sarah Bessey shared on her Facebook page:
"Some of you know that my faith background is within the charismatic word-of-faith prosperity gospel circles of the 80s and 90s. I mean, I graduated from Oral Roberts University. Was a partner with Kenneth Copeland from a young age. Prophesied over by 90% of the folks on Christian televangelist circuits. You name it, I was in it.
I have seen some THINGS over my years. And not just negative things. I have seen beautiful, life-giving, rooted-in-sincerity things within this flawed movement. But I left in my twenties because they could give me no real, good, compassionate answer for suffering.
Yet even now, I can’t make a caricature out of these folks. They introduced me to Jesus. I’m grateful for that. And for the bone-deep stubborn conviction I still carry that God is good, is Love, and yearns to see all of us flourishing.
I don't think I'll ever stop being heartsick at how the people, leaders, and teachers who introduced me to Jesus have wandered so far from the ways of Jesus.
It’s a tight knit community. Everyone knows each other. Every one of these teachers, worshippers, and leaders came up together or worked together or fed off each other. It’s insular. Any criticism or nuance is seen as persecution of the true Word. Ranks are closed.
Sadly, it is zero surprise to me that this movement has fallen hook, line, and sinker for the cult of Trump, American nationalism, conspiracies, and capitalism as religion. It wasn’t a sudden reversal but a natural conclusion to an over-realized eschatology.
So I speak now as an outsider, I guess. An apostate but a daughter of the movement still. And I turn to my siblings of the house and beg you still: repent. You're mocking the Spirit. Stop baptizing Babylon in sacred language. You fool no one.
I remember our movement making a big deal out of this line from one of John’s letters: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (We loved us some KJV language. I still do. Sometimes.)
Elders, siblings, you who introduced me to Jesus: your soul is not prospering. You know it’s true. Your soul is withering and dying apart from the Vine. You no longer abide in the love of God. The secret place of the most high has become an echo chamber of selfish greed.
You are on the side of Pharaoh, you are Pilate, you are Babylon now. You sold Jesus for power, for a White House, and now you're choking on your thirty pieces of silver.
I pray that you would repent like Zaccheus repented: not simply with apologies but with reparations, with restitution, with repentance. I pray you would hear the voice of Jesus saying, “Climb down from your yearning perch, I’m coming to your house today.”
Do not be surprised by the generation of the Church emerging who have simply handed you over to your desires, you fooled no one. You wanted political power, you wanted to be special, you wanted control: enjoy your reward. May God have mercy your irrelevance to redemption."
A culture that condones Toxic Masculinity, and the "Dominator Model" with its warped idea of what success is meant to be, has normalized dysfunction. That makes for unhappy humans.

I want you to understand this mindset, so you can calibrate your actions/reactions accordingly:
The question was asked why people continue supporting Trump no matter what he does. This was a lady named Bev’s answer:
“You all don't get it. I live in Trump country, in the Ozarks in southern Missouri, one of the last places where the KKK still has a relatively strong established presence. They don't give a shit what he does. He's just something to rally around and hate liberals, that's it, period. He absolutely realizes that and plays it up. They love it. He knows they love it. The fact that people act like it's anything other than that proves to them that liberals are idiots, all the more reason for high fives all around.
If you keep getting caught up in "why do they not realize this problem" and "how can they still back Trump after this scandal," then you do not understand what the underlying motivating factor of his support is. It's fuck liberals, that's pretty much it.
Have you noticed he can do pretty much anything imaginable, and they'll explain some way that rationalizes it that makes zero logical sense? Because they're not even keeping track of any coherent narrative, it's irrelevant. Fuck liberals is the only relevant thing. Trust me; I know firsthand what I'm talking about. That's why they just laugh at it all because you all don't even realize they truly don't give a fuck about whatever the conversation is about. It's just a side mission story that doesn't matter anyway. That's all just trivial details - the economy, health care, whatever. Fuck liberals.
Look at the issue with not wearing the masks. I can tell you what that's about. It's about exposing fear. They're playing chicken with nature, and whoever flinches just moved down their internal pecking order, one step closer to being a liberal.
You got to understand the one core value that they hold above all others is hatred for what they consider weakness because that's what they believe strength is, hatred of weakness. And I mean passionate, sadistic hatred. And I'm not exaggerating. Believe me. Sadistic, passionate hatred, and that's what proves they're strong, their passionate hatred for weakness. Sometimes they will lump vulnerability in with weakness. They do that because people tend to start humbling themselves when they're in some compromising or overwhelming circumstance, and to them, that's an obvious sign of weakness.
Kindness=weakness. Honesty=weakness. Compromise=weakness.
They consider their very existence to be superior in every way to anyone who doesn't hate weakness as much as they do. They consider liberals to be weak people that are inferior, almost a different species, and the fact that liberals are so weak is why they have to unite in large numbers, which they find disgusting, but it's that disgust that is a true expression of their natural superiority.”










Two things:
1) a pattern of projection - projecting onto their enemies/foes/opponents that which they themselves have on their conscience.
2) - a pattern of persecution - playing the role of the persecuted victim when they themselves are the oppressor.
On the defensiveness of (some) white evangelical Christians:


I've been trying to figure out why WECs are so bothered by people (especially of the young, ex-vangelical, questioning, progressive-y flavor) who are passionate about justice and reform.

I've boiled it down to one thing: fear.

Fear of (1) losing power, (2) being wrong, (3) facing evil, (4) losing faith. This is so clearly seen in comments on posts about Black Lives Matter and in discussions about immigration and creation care and economic justice. For this group, having to face what they call a "social gospel" means having to face a lot of preconceptions and deep-seated beliefs. While people who have deconstructed (or are in the process of deconstructing) are acquainted with this discomfort, those holding tightly to their beliefs and worldview are very reticent to loosen their grip.

Fear. It's the fetter to every privileged and powerful person and it factors into faith in a BIG way. There are so many examples of this, it's hard to choose one. Take any "conservative talking point" and you can see it.

Global warming?

(1: Fear of losing power) "I have to spend money (taxes) to make things more sustainable? I'm not giving up my hard earned assets for more regulations that will affect my life in any way."

(2: Fear of being wrong) "Surely global warming is just some liberal nonsense designed to control us. It can't be true because then everything I've done in the past has been part of the problem."

(3: Fear of facing evil) "If global warming is true, then the world is facing devastating consequences. There will be a lot of death and destruction. Things are not going to get better on their own--they will get worse."

(4: Fear of losing faith) "Why would God allow so much death and destruction? Can't he fix it?"

Systemic racism?

(1: Fear of losing power) "Black people are responsible for their own success. I don't owe any reparations or need to admit to white supremacy. I've earned all my success and position in this world. Get by on your own."

(2: Fear of being wrong) "If systemic racism exists, then what you're saying is I've contributed to oppression and that the success I have wasn't earned. If it exists, my ignoring it means I've been racist."

(3: Fear of facing evil) "Surely systemic racism can't exist. It would be unfair and awful. That kind of evil doesn't just exist in the world--not at that level. Surely you're not saying that society is just as depraved as it was 400 years ago. Police have protected me. They don't do that for everyone?"

(4: Fear of losing faith) "Why would God allow this? So many people have died and suffered over this. Innocent people are dying. Why didn't he stop it?"

And I forgot another fear: fear of having to actually take responsibility. Once you know something, you can't un-know it. And that means you have to decide what you are going to do about it. And if you don't do anything (or actively perpetuate it) that has a lot to say about who you are as a person and your own participation in oppression and WECs absolutely cannot handle the idea of doing something wrong.

"But, aren't white Christians obsessed with talking about their depravity and sinful nature?"

Yes. But only if it applies to queer people, liberals, feminists, and people of color. For some reason, though they scream "BAPTISM FOR SINS" they don't believe in their own sin. Or, at the very least, their own *collective* sin.

They are sinners until you tell them they are racist.

They are sinners until you tell them they are sexist.

They are sinners until you tell them they are homophobic.

They are sinners until you tell them they are idolators.

They are sinners until you tell them they are abusers.

Because to admit the sin of participating in systemic evil is scary. And takes a lot of courage. And abdication of power. And humility.

And in admitting systemic evil, the question arises of why these systems exist in the first place. And who allows them. And why innocent people are hurt by them. And why a world would be created to include them.

And that's not a conversation WECs are ready to have.

Heck, that's not a conversation most of us are ready to have.

All of this introspection is difficult and it is so much easier to just yell MARXIST ANTIFA LIBERAL HERETIC SELF-ABSORBED ARROGANT ATHEIST. And like all bullies, these words are born out of fear and a need for protection. And like all bullies they plan to win by sacrificing innocent and vulnerable people on the altar of their power and privilege.

I don't know how to interrupt that fear or help them face it. Their screams are often deafening and dangerous. And for the love of the Divine, we're running out of time to create sound-proof sanctuaries that are safe, accessible, and drown out their piercing roars.

And we can only do that by quieting, facing our own fears, and getting to work.

Keep me accountable.

It's hard work, but we can't turn away because we're scared. Because then we'll start screaming too and won't be able to stop until the powers and principalities devour us all.

 Image may contain: text that says "I am so tired of people running around with a mouthful of scripture and a heart full of hate"


Seek common ground.
Acknowledge the person before attacking the ideology.
Notice moderating influences and examples.
Be aware of the sale of disinformation for profit.
Fact check. Consider the bias of your source. Compare with material from a source with a different bias.
Consider context.
Resist de-stabilization and de-legitimization.
The world is hurting.
You are right. You are wrong. I am right. I am wrong.
I care about you.
I disagree with you. I see your point.
I love you.




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