The recent rise and decline of the evangelical influence in our political system is intensely worthy of investigation and analysis. That one minority group can unleash such destruction on a political system designed to withstand tyranny of the masses is at the very least distressing and frightening. I have decided to offer my opinion on the issue, which has unsurprisingly grown to a blog much too long to read in one or even two sittings. Therefore, I am releasing my opinion in a series, beginning today.
For far too long the Religious Right has enjoyed a position of legitimacy on the national political stage. Beginning with Billy Graham, men have used religion not just to build a pedestal for their own control and domination, but also to access the highest offices in our land. The untouchable nature of religion – Christianity, to be exact – has delivered privilege and power to these leaders who were never elected and cared more for the influence they could exert than strengthening the representative democracy that allows our country to flourish in modern times.
The rise of the Religious Right has wreaked a havoc on our precious democracy never seen before in our nation’s history and delivered to us a president that has single-handedly allowed the drastic reduction in our freedoms and liberties. Our government, under Bush, has ceased to function as a healthy sovereignty by the citizenry and slowly begun to morph into an authoritarian regime with puppet masters who care not for the maintenance of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or any of the political foundations that define us as Americans.
Christian Church Culture
The Christian religion is patriarchal in nature and does not encourage the question of authority, respect of all its members or appreciation for progress and education. To be sure, there are variations to the pattern, however, the basic mold is one of a dominant, male god who will not hesitate to cruelly punish those refusing to believe in his existence, yet reward the followers who faithfully defy common sense and worship a basic nothingness with no evidence other than a collection of works by men seeking power and prestige in their own time.
Why a god would choose to care which members of his creation believe in him and deem it appropriate to damn those who do not to eternal hellfire is beyond me, but there you have it. The faith the majority of Americans share.
The Christian religion flourished through military domination and the usurpation of local traditions of the cultures into which it expanded; Christmas, Christmas trees, Easter, etc. were not originally Christian. And while political progress has relegated much of Christianity outside judiciary and legislative walls, dangerous relics of Christianity’s theocratic urges still threaten the rational form of law that unites the states.
Perhaps this would not be possible if those raised and essentially brainwashed in these churches were not so easily swayed by their religious leaders. A Christian family well understands that the father is the “head of the household” – the decision-maker. It’s Biblical. The head of the church is the community leader, the most powerful example being the Pope who is both leader of the church and head of his very own city-state and Swiss guards in crazy outfits.
Respect for control and authority is taught early, with assimilation and cooperation rewarded. Those who “backslide” face public humiliation and familial shunning. Children who take up the mantle of Christianity into the world in an effort to grow the religion’s numbers tend to be praised and lavished with approval. The basic human need to belong to a group and desire for popularity with those they find familiar feed the drive Christians to remain loyal to their church despite any private misgivings over the teachings and proclamations by either the Bible or church leaders.
Furthermore, Christians are repeatedly told how their faith is under attack and they need to “take back this nation for Christ.” There’s a Holy War with Satan in our midst and a demon around every corner. It is their Christian duty to spread the gospel and stomp on the Devil with their every movement. In a very psychologically effective manner, these evangelical churches are convincing their brethren to gather and fight. Against what, they really do not know. There is no specific enemy, no real danger. But the beating of war drums in these churches every Sunday, keeps the congregations exited, convinced and – above all – obeying every word and easily brainwashed to cast votes according to instruction.