The fetish word of authority is a fear-inspiring doctrine,
the most terrible of all tyrants which enslave men.
A doctrinal fetish will lead people to betray themselves
into the clutches of bigotry, fanaticism, superstition,
intolerance, and the most atrocious of barbarous cruelties.
—The Urantia Book
IT’S A QUAINT BUT POPULAR NOTION for some Americans to say they hate the idea of religion in politics. But let religion be a word that only identifies what you love— the most. What really matters then, is not the idea of religion in politics, but the depth— the sincerity— at which it is held. That said, real religion hasn’t been the hallmark of any previous Christian president.
Practically every national politician in America is someone whom adheres, at some depth— at some level of sincerity— to the ideas and ideals of religion; often, it’s the Christian religion. Since the actual depth of their religious beliefs and ideals remains essentially unknown to us, Americans have an obligation to wonder just how much they each might entertain a fetishistic belief in an inerrant Bible, (with the notable exception of President Obama, who said he does not), and accept the beliefs and predictions of many of the various stripes of Christianity in a coming Armageddon, will dictate the nature of our “foreign policy as these predictions impact our nation’s security.
The debate over national security needs to recognize that our president should be adhering to policies and doing things which would do for the nations of the world, just what they do for the citizens of our country: unite us. Do we have a president with the necessary vision to construct a foreign policy that makes sense in the 21st century? Will he continue to build our relationships with all other nations, making them our friends, and thus making us more secure in the world, or will the fearful predictions of impending doom by the religious right bring about global catastrophe.
“Many. . . are even now packing their roller luggage for the Rapture, systematically pouring their liquid toiletries into 3 oz. containers for the long flight to Paradise.”
The nations of the world today are run by men who haves many ideas, but their ideals suck. In America, we still have political parties and elected leaders who tolerate the plight of our poorest and neediest citizens, ignore the plight of our eldest citizens, cultivate racial and religious hatred of other citizens, of our nation or other nations of the world, and wnt America to pursue a policy of self-appointed world policing— but only where it suits our political interest— sometimes bothering with half-assed coalitions of nations, sometimes using the outdated constitution of the United Nations as an excuse to pursue a unilateral policy of hegemony over nations it considers our enemies. Surprise! These nations are predominantly Muslim nations, and the first thing to be demonized about them is— their damnable non-Christian religion.
Do you reasonably suppose then, the separation of church and state is somehow impervious to the religious beliefs of these various Christians? And that our policy towards other nations can continue to be one of, our sovereignty is more sovereign than your sovereignty, and we’ll kick your ass for a hundred, or a thousand years, your choice— until you see the wisdom of living according to our deepest values. Those being Christian values, as more or less defined by the sect of the previous president’s choice.
Remember that our last president had been called by God to carry out the values of the Methodist tradition of Christianity, as is VP Cheney, which, as apparently God would have it, has led us into a dangerous and chaotic world ‘o terror, the solution of which remains unresolved, but is only a few hundred years worth of war away. “So?” says Dick. . .
Modern respect for wisdom and truth is a relatively recent escape from the fetish-making tendency of humans, up to slightly higher levels of thinking and reasoning. But not everyone has been loosed from the self-imposed doctrinal shackles of their respective inerrant religious tomes and it’s associated dogma. Consequently, there are still plenty of adherents for the Christian Armageddon fetish of the end of the world, many of whom are even now packing their roller luggage for The Rapture, systematically pouring their liquid toiletries into 3 oz. containers for the long flight to Paradise.
Is there a way to free these enslaved religionists from their own self-imposed, fear-inspiring doctrines? Yes, we should bother— because they’re not really going anywhere. The increasingly dangerous ramifications of such an incoherent, fantasy interpretation of reality holds real harm for all of us, when our president embraces such nonsense, as Bush did, and even now, when President Obama almost certainly will be pressured by the many religious leaders who believe such nonsense is the Word of God.
Take for example, the confused and backward theology of just one sect of Christianity pastor John Hagee. Think of Reverend Hagee and his 18,000 member Christian militia as the gross equivalent of a warlord of Afghanistan or an Iraqi Muqtada al-Sadr and his “paramilitary force.” A force bought and paid for to the tune of $330 million for “Oops, we-destroyed-your-city” reconstruction fees, and another 1.7 million for automatic weapons, by the American Government.
Hagee interprets the Bible to predict Russia and the Islamic states will invade Israel and once there, be destroyed by God. Pause to consider that Haggee believes God will be physically showing up to take care of this bit of Divine nation building, or un-building. . . and his minions here on earth have been given this tasty but bloody bit of Divine vengeance to carry out, using the services of the United States military more or less exclusively. One can only wonder when, and to whom God will speak the order to “Bring’m on!”— so he can war on his own least favorite and unloved creatures.
Like so many pieces of Christian apocrapha, there’s only a miniscule kernel of truth involved, just enough to sink a dull #666 hook deep into the pasty white lobes of the willfully ignurnt. In this instance, the little kernel is the promise of Jesus to sometime return to this world, mistakenly associated with his remarks regarding the destruction of Jerusalem.
It makes perfect sense that the Son of God— having previously been treated with such warmth and respect by the natives— would want to return to our little planet post-haste for a cordial sit-down to go over the few remaining problem areas of our planetary theology, by abandoning all those poor chumps not willing to tow the Christian party line; oh, and of course, put the chosen few on his jumbo-rapture-jetliner to Pearly Gate International. (Yeah, that’s like kicking a puppy. But I digress.)
What if, say, during the second century after Christ, an energetic Jew by the name of Selta attached to the court of the Emperor Caligula, wrote an apocalyptic about the Messiah that was subsequently copied into the Matthew Gospel, and subsequently added (in part) to the Mark and Luke records. (It was in these writings of Selta that the parable of the ten virgins appeared.) Would it still be the inspired, inerrant word ‘o God?
But that’s all moot to those who take a two thousand year old document and place it on a pedestal of infallibility. As if imperfect humans can produce anything perfect. And if the part about the world being flat hadn’t been edited out of the Bible, Hagee and the rest of the sheeple would all belong to the FLAT EARTH SOCIETY OF CHRIST.
If he’ll be coming back, and I personally believe he will— he’ll be coming back when he chooses— not when there’s political capital to be made by some apocalyptic-brainwashed politicians by herding a flock of sheeple with suffrage into a slaughter pen of stupidity. . . to assemble them on some rapture tarmac to. . . suffer through the crushing embarrassment of yet another unraveling of an all too human doctrinal fetish.
Look around. We have enough problems of our own making to keep us all busy for centuries. And in case you haven’t noticed, God collects our souls at a clip of about a 150,000 of us every day. Absolutely no one gets out of here alive. So as Red says in Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’. . .