Sunday, January 22, 2006

Christofascism Redux

Many people who could be classified as Christians, in the archaic sense, are very moral and sympathetic people. But most of these, I suspect, think of themselves more as Baptists, Presbyterians, Mormons, Catholics etc than as "Christians." At least among those I've known, their Chrisitianity is mostly easygoing and unselfconscious, something they were born into or otherwise came by honestly. I suspect also that they are moral and sympathetic people by the happy coincidence of their upbringing and innate temperament more than through anything they drew from scripture or Sunday school. Today's Christian, especially among the Baby Boomers and their offspring, seem much more likely to have a santimonious, self-congratulatory notion of his or her religiosity, often based in a sort of off-the-rack, 12-Step style narrative about sin and redemption -- it's just another form of that narcissism so rampant among the most spoiled and cossetted children in history. 'Jesus loves me -- this I know.' These are the pod people, and we should fear them.

If you really want a scare, try driving across this country without sattelite radio as I recently did. The airwaves in the Great Flyover are, to a shocking degree, given over to "Christian" drek, in a sort of electronic Deliverance-ville. It's non-stop Foxaganda, brought to you by Christian-owned businesses and the porn-filter industry, a sobering tonic for any giddy notions of Americans as sensible and decent people. The people on these stations, and presumably those listening to them, love Bush, whiteness, money, internal combustion engines, killing wild animals, "freedom," children (but fetuses, especially other people's, more than children) and cuteness. They hate atheists, feminists, people in the coastal cities, "minorities" other people's vices and fags above all. Probably few of them are currently murderous, but you can bet it would take most a long time to wake up and smell the crematoria. They don't have a problem with domestic spying, torture, carpet bombing.

This generic Christian thinks the Ten Commandments belong in every classroom so the children can pray under them just before learning how Bishop Usher calculated the Earth's 6000 year-oldness from inerrant Biblical evidence -- not because he's prejudiced, but because he knows that these things will make ours a more moral and harmonious society. His post-literate notions of history he gets from Disney, the Hitler/Greatest Generation Channel, and Rush Limbaugh, so he can't really know that religion is at least as much midwife of atrocity as civilizer of savages. He doesn't even realize that, should his plan be attempted, people would very soon start suing and/or slaughtering one another over which commandments are The Ten. (A friend of mine who teaches "The Bible As Literature" in the English department of a southern state university was flabbergasted to discover that many of his most Christian pupils had not realized that the Good Book wasn't originally written in English.) The "Christian" certainly doesn't realize that many very Christian people would feel that the televangelist's offer to lobby God for earthly perks is a hideous, backsliding heresy, up there with the Golden Calf. One of my own spiritual mentors, Sister Saint Ferminus, insisted that we pray rightly for wisdom, grace, acceptance and forgiveness, to change ourselves, not the dispositon of the world towards us, and this has always resonated with me. On the other hand, I once saw Sister F. break a classmate's nose over some trifle, and I'm sure she'd have gladly torched any peddler of protestant claptrap.

With Jesus, as I understand him, I don't have a problem, although who knows what he was really like? Seeing the treasonous nincompoop Reagan canonized , a few scant years after he narrowly escaped impeachment, does nothing for one's faith in ancient tales. People are inclined and even desperate to project ideals onto the strangest (often the least worthy) objects. Still, "Love they neighbor as thyself," seems a fine notion to bring into the world, also "Judge not that ye not be judged." And I like the idea that Jesus wanted to free us from all that vengeful Yaweh Bibolatry, that this is the meaning of his ministry. If so, he would not be happy with the atavism of today's Christians, at least suhc as those who are trying to peddle Genesis as science. But as for "Christianity" itself -- any belief system which posits an all-powerful male entity, a Lord, as ultimate moral arbiter, will predispose its credulous to patriarchal authoritarianism (kingdoms); and if that belief system makes its essential female paragon a woman who eschews sex, it will also predispose its credulous to misogyny and hypocrisy. These are among the reasons why what is great about America comes not from the vague deistic ramblings of the Great White Founding Apostles (pax Bill O'Reilly), but rather from Voltaire, Diderot, and the raving atheist Thomas Paine -- whose invention this country is more than anyone's. Diderot captured the quintessence of the Revolutionary Spirit perfectly, "We shall have freedom when the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." Now the priests, the preachers, and all sorts of religious charlatan are back in favor among the mighty, who comport themselves as kings, certain of their divine right and perfect moral purpose. Freedom will not ensue.

George H.W. Bush I: "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."


At 2:40 PM, Blogger daniel said...

bonjour de France


Post a Comment

<< Home