Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Christian Right Is Neither

Back when I was in grad school I used to room with some folks who hailed from Jerry Falwell country and, when home, they used to enjoy driving around Lynchburg with a bumper sticker reading "The Moral Majority Is Neither." I would have been worried that the local constabulary might plant some marijuana in my car (or just plant me in Smith Mountain Lake with concrete overshoes) for undermining the town's sanctimony industry, but I endorse the observation. Nowadays, the Moral Majority has morphed into the Christian Right, or the Christo-Fascists as some observers term the amorphous Entity, the spawn of a metaphysical miscegenation: the marriage of church and state. It would be difficult to say, from their behavior and pronouncements, what those on the Christian Right really believe in, but they do seem to universally agree that the separation of church and state is wrong.

Having grown up in an observant Catholic family, having been subjected to rigorous catechizing in several gray-stone Catholic schools, having subsequently read a fair amount of serious Christian thought, and studied at university other notions of religion and religious experience, I can say with utter cerainty that I have a better sense of Christianity than most self-described "Christians" -- most of whom seem to think that taking Jesus as one's personal Imaginary Friend qualifies one as Elect. Indeed it often seems that"Christian" as a term of proud-self description has become, in the Reign of W, of one of those Orwellian Correlatives which, in the Imperial Discourse, means the opposite of its former sense -- War is peace, freedom is slavery, integrity is bullshit, etc.

Christian, insofar as it is truly meaningful, must denote one who lives by the precepts and example of Jesus. A Christian would then be tolerant, forgiving, materially modest, if not entirely ascetic, pacifist, unsentimental, heroically scrupulous about the truth, and extremely distrustful, if not disdainful of the wealthy, the powerful and the hypocrite. But American "Christians," insofar as they have a voice in America today, are pathologically avid for violence and vengeance against offenders and enemies of all sorts, from terrorists to pot smokers and adulterers. They embrace the death penalty, the metastasis of the military-industrial complex, complete laissez-faire for the firearm industry, domestic spying, Draconian prohibitions of all sorts of private "vice", torture of war prisoners, governmental deception of the citizenry (for our own good, of course) and above all unchecked accumulation of personal wealth. (To W's Christian base wealth is one's divine right, proof that one is favored by God.) No Christian adult seems, when ethically perplexed, to consider for a nanosecond the Junior High mantra "What would Jesus do?" Christian then has become just a sort of magical or totemic designation for "our team", like Lions, Bears, Trojans, or for that matter, Blue Devils and Demon Deacons. And what is the Christian team these days? They are the Cult of Bush, the mass of "believers" who, despite all the evidence, somehow believe Bush, manifestly a stupid, venal, mean-spirited and vindictive bungler, somehow finds his guidance in Jesus. They believe, like W himself, that a man with no more qualification than his father's (highly dubious) name is God's choice for the highest office in the world. He's here to protect us from the Infidels, thank God! It's a goddam miracle, it is!


At 1:56 PM, Blogger black dog barking said...

That's a pretty good paragraph, that last one, "Otherwise,…Turkish Delight". All the truthy bits of Narnia are rendered believable because they are filtered through the consciousness (and conscience!) of an eight year old girl. Sincerely, it's too bad we in the Real World don't hold ourselves to that high standard: what would an eight year girl do?

The White Witch was truly a force. I, too, was rooting for evil from early on. You'll know the Rove Administration is serious about world domination if one day Laura Bush has been replaced by Tilda Swinton.


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