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.
"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 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.
Explanation of the evangelical "culture war" - from someone who grew up in it:
Gospel Coalition Writer Suggests Evangelicals Breed Their Way Out
"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
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.
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.
.... 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.
Jim Wallis from Sojourners explains how a right-wing political agenda infiltrated, then hi-jacked, the church in America:
"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":
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.
(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?"
(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.