by Charles S. Oaxpatu
One of our kind and loving readers has asked the following question:
In my 63 ‘adult years, I’ve been both a student & activist in political & inter-religious communities. What I’ve observed (perhaps dimly) is a GOP that enjoined Christian fundies (to garner votes), turning ever more into autocratic regimes. Democrats, mostly confident in their faith, turned their cheeks, quietly moving toward the Jesus WAY, trying to reflect the love of God. President Obama surely listened, understood, and diligently tried to reconcile.
The result is a more extreme Christo-fascist GOP. Today many Democrats, especially young generations, are not so accommodating. So, should we stay on the path Albrecht posed or fight fire with fire?
This is an excellent question. I will try hard to provide you with a thoughtful and meaningful answer. This is done in the following listing format to be clear on each point—even though the points are all related:
(1) First of all, I want to make one point perfectly clear to everyone. I and the Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog are firmly opposed to solving religious differences and/or religio-political differences between individual people and between groups of people by foreign terrorism, domestic terrorism, or other acts of violence. Both I, as the blog owner, and this blog believe all religious people and nonreligious people of differing viewpoints should be able to use words and diplomacy (either in public or in private) to freely express their differing opinions on matters of religion and politics—and always be willing to settle their differences peacefully and nonviolently. Violence solves nothing—and the hard feelings it sets up—only leads to more violence. Words alone, diplomacy, and peace are the best and only ways to go.
(2) The GOP of today is far more radical and extremist than it ever was in the American past. The key problem with this is the American people. They are too downright stupid and uneducated (with regard to American civics and politics) to realize that one simple fact. They think the members of the GOP today are exactly the same and just as level-headed as President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Gerald R. Ford. They do not understand that the good GOP people, such as those two, have either been purged from today’s GOP (by internal social sanction) or they have quit elected positions in government out of total disgust with the current GOP. Senator Bob Corker (R – Tennessee) was among the last GOP good guys to leave Congress. All that remains in the GOP today are the post-modern, extremist dregs of the GOP——-the sludge-like scrapings from the rusty bottom of the GOP barrel. I am just wondering when the American people are going to wake up and recognize that fact.
(3) The members of the old GOP gave plenty of lip service to Christian Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals, attended their public events, sucked up to them, voiced their religio-political interests, and even injected some of their interests into the formal GOP plank. However, for the most part, that was just political theater designed to get fundie votes in elections. The key mission of the old GOP as a whole was to find a way to get large numbers of fundie votes for GOP candidates, while ensuring the fundies did not get any of the crazy things they wanted. In fact, before 2016, anyone who attended private, upscale, GOP black tie cocktail parties in Washington D.C. will tell you how much these upper level members of the GOP laughed and joked around about the evangelical hillbillies and their ridiculous demands. In secret, these GOP members held their fundie pastor suck-ups, their churches, and their pewsitters in utter contempt.
All of that changed by 2016, which is how President Donald J. Trump made it into the White House. Some genius in the Trump campaign hit on the idea of sitting down with Dr. James Dobson and other fundie leaders to make them an offer they could not refuse. If these celebrity pastors could round up all their pewsitters and set them on fire to elect Trump, then there would no longer be any empty promises from the GOP. Instead, Trump would be the first GOP President to actually give the fundies every crazy thing they wanted to happen in American government, society, and culture. Trump would make their wildest fundie dreams come true! Trump has kept his end of the bargain and is trying even harder to fulfill all of those fundie dreams—and by the time he is finished—the United States of America we grew up in and loved so much as kids may be gone—replaced by something unsavory—and even horrifying.
(4) How did the Christian Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals obtain all of this political power they now have in the White House, the U.S. Senate, and U.S. Supreme court? I think it was three key things:
(A) Beginning after the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, the fundies withdrew themselves in embarrassment from the sinful world and began the 50-year planning and construction of a vast fundie media empire designed to save souls and educate all of the American people on the fine details and demands of their ever-angry, vengeful, and blood-thirsty God. By 1970, the giant media cake they had baked was ready to come out of the oven and do its work in American society and culture.
(B) Republican political operative Paul Weyrich identified and put into action his plans to suck fundie churches into American politics—with the goal in mind that every fundie church member would become a GOP Voter for Life. Jerry Falwell founded the so-called Moral Majority and used its media platform to reach all Americans with its religio-political agenda. Charismatic evangelist and media mogul Pat Robertson, and his Christian Broadcasting Network, came on line with its fundie message. Fundie media messages were everywhere: bookstores, pamphlets, posters, salvation tracts, radio, TV. You name it. It seemed like fundies everywhere were being sucked into American politics—and they were loving every minute of it. To the fundies, it looked as if the stone that had been rejected in 1925 was quickly becoming the cornerstone of the entire American enterprise. They were elated. The election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980 was their enormous mutual orgasm—with a couple of secondary squirts for George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Old ladies in solidly Republican East Tennessee firmly believed that George W. Bush was The Anointed One of the Lord, and they wrote letters to the editor of the Knoxville News-Sentinel to express that high opinion. I know because I read them. Funny thing though, none of those letters were showing up in the newspaper after their grandsons were coming home from Iraq in caskets and their life savings came undone in the Great Recession of 2008. Where was The Anointed One of the Lord then? That is correct. Laying low!!!
(C) The Mainline denominational churches (United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA, Disciples of Christ Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Roman Catholic Church, and many other nonfundie denominations and churches responded to numerous fundie accusations and attacks by:
ROLLING OVER AND PLAYING DEAD
Since the Christian Fundamentalist Resurgence began circa 1970, they have continued a policy of rolling over and playing dead in the face of one fundie outrage after another. With the exception of the small group known as the Sojourners, they have continued to roll over and play dead until this very day. Christian Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals lie about these traditional Christian churches and what they believe, call their pastors false teachers, and brand their members as apostates. Hate is the only word for it. Mere words can hardly even express how badly the fundies think of these great American churches and their members—and they are more than happy to spit their vitriol and venom upon them in public.
(5) Why did these traditional American denominations and churches roll over and play dead—and why do they continue to do it? I think it is three things:
(A) They think Jesus Christ would roll over and play dead in front of the fundies, just like he did under the judgement, scourging, and crucifixion imposed by Pontius Pilate. Even though the fundies do not recognize the pastors and members of these traditional American churches as “true” Christians, the members of these churches believe the Christian Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals are fellow Christians—and they believe it is just plain wrong to openly oppose their outrageous words, behaviors, and actions. So, they just sit quietly, remain calm, bite their tongues, and take their daily horse whippings from the fundies. [Tragic Stance]
(B) The members of these traditional denominations and churches think the fundies are silly, ignorant, and off the deep end in regard to the Christian faith. They think millions of nonbelievers will look at the fundies in the same way—and if everyone will just stay quiet, close their eyes, and pretend the fundies do not exist—then the fundies will, by some miracle, go away and dissolve into nothing. [Tragic Stance]
(C) The memberships of each of these traditional American denominations and churches contain within them a “peanut gallery” of people who are fundie in outlook, and these people are working hard inside their own denominations and churches to turn them into Christian Fundamentalist or Conservative Evangelical denominations or churches. Frank Schaeffer calls these people a “fifth column of insanity,” and I think rightly so. The pastors of these traditional denominations and churches live in fear that one of these internal fundie factions will succeed in gaining enough internal support to take over a denomination or church—-or they will succeed in splitting off members from their denominations or churches—leaving them with fewer members, less money, and less power to do good things in the name of Jesus. [Tragic Stance]
(6) Mainline Christian denominations, churches, and church members need to quit rolling over and playing dead in front of the fundies. When the fundies see this pitiful rollover, I am sure their first thought is:
Look at those fools!!! They are rolling over and playing dead. God must be on our side—or else they would not be doing it. We hate them, and this must be a sign from Heaven that God hates them too. We can take the entire field unopposed—and do any outrageous thing we want to do on the American stage. No one can stop us now!!!
(A) Should we fight fire with fire—as you asked? Personally, just my opinion, I think nonfundie American denominations and churches should stand up in unison, band together as one, and publicly denounce and renounce fundie denominations, fundie churches, fundie pastors, fundie individuals, and their corrupt fundie beliefs and deeds. These public denouncements and renouncements need to ring out across the United States of America every single day—all day long—in every possible communications medium—and especially on Sundays.
I think it is high time to quit rolling over and playing dead. We need to assemble truthful words and speak out loudly on the American stage. All of the fundies and the rest of the American people need to hear our words about how hateful, unloving, and wicked American fundie beliefs, words, and actions have become over the past 100 years—and especially since the year 1970. The American people need to know all about the cold, empty fundie hearts that hide themselves and their evil intentions behind the words of the Bible.
The Christian Fundamentalists, Conservative Evangelicals, and members of the so-called Religious Right in the United States are the Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees of our own time in human history. They are the kinds of people who sent Jesus to his death on the cross. Throughout Matthew 23, Jesus sets a bold public example for how to deal with fundies by using words only. Go read it, and do your reading slowly.
The fundies (Christian Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals) have been hateful, cruel, and merciless in their public denouncements and renouncements of nonfundie denominations, nonfundie churches, nonfundie pastors, nonfundie church members, and their beliefs and deeds. Their blistering attacks on us have come daily in various communications media. Their hate for us seems to have no end, and their expression of it has gone without cessation for almost 100 years—while we have just rolled over and played dead in the face of it. It is time for that to change. The fundies need to hear from us regularly via verbal challenges to their militant rhetoric and foul behaviors.
However, once again, I must add that I am not advocating violence in any way, form, or fashion against fundie denominations, fundie churches, fundie pastors, or fundie believers. Yes. They attack us with words and even with violence at Planned Parenthood Clinics. We need to respond to their vicious attacks verbally and peacefully—all the while renouncing their love for assault rifles and violence.
(7) In previous blog articles, I have mentioned a very real and defined phenomenon known as the fundie paradox. When fundies are experiencing good times and favorable political power, as they are now, they portray themselves as great in numbers and loaded to the hilt with religious and political power. When the fundies are experiencing bad times, they portray themselves as few in number, weak, powerless, vulnerable, and an oppressed minority doing everything it can to just barely survive in the face of a Godless world that hates them.
Right now, with their man President Donald J. Trump (a.k.a The Anointed One of the Lord), sitting in the White House, the fundies are in a drunken stupor with religious and political power. When Trump is voted out of office in November 2020—as I think he definitely will be—the fundie mindset will immediately swing to the “small, poor, weak, vulnerable, and pitiful us” end of the fundie paradox. This brings up a question. Have you ever cornered a wild animal in the back corner of your garage? The animal knows the flight option no longer exists. The only option left is to growl, hiss, and be ready to fight—violently.
Christian Fundamentalism and Conservative Evangelicalism in the United States today are driven primarily by one thing and one thing only——–FEAR. It is FEAR of their angry, vengeful God and the Hell he dangles below their feet night and day. FEAR of sinners. FEAR of other churches and religions. FEAR of black and brown people. FEAR of migrants from Mexico, Central America, and the Middle East. It is FEAR of failing to acquire the United States and all of its people as exclusive fundie property. The list of fundie FEARS goes on and on.
All of that said, Christian Fundamentalists have one FEAR that exists above all other FEARS. It is a FEAR shared by religious fundamentalists all over the world today. Christian fundamentalists. Islamic fundamentalists. Buddhist fundamentalists. Hindu fundamentalists. All of the other groups of fundamentalists here, there, and yonder all across the Earth. That is the FEAR OF ANNIHILATION. They live in constant FEAR (conscious and/or unconscious) that their fundie religious beliefs, their fundie subculture, and even their own lives stand on the brink of utter and final ANNIHILATION. When this FEAR OF ANNIHILATION reaches a fever pitch in fundie religious quarters, two things happen:
(A) They scream out their fears very loudly to the public in their countries—really a cry for special help and protection.
And if no one hears their cries:
(B) They resort to violence, which usually comes in the form of local terrorism or worldwide terrorism. This resort to terrorism is usually a desperate, last ditch attempt to get attention, be heard, and obtain the help and special protection they need.
If such help does not come—and if often does not come—the terrorism morphs into terrorist warfare to stave off the religious, subcultural, and personal ANNIHILATION the group fears so very much. American Indians fighting against the white eyes on the High Plains. ISIS. Al Qaeda. All are representatives of people who have felt like their belief systems and subcultures were standing on the brink of ANNIHILATION.
I am deeply concerned that the Christian Fundamentalist and Conservative Evangelical FEAR OF ANNIHILATION in the United States may one day reach a fever pitch, and the fundies will then resort to domestic terrorism on American soil to get what they so desperately want. This is happening in nearly all of the other religious fundamentalisms around the world. So, one has to ask the obvious question:
Will fundie domestic terrorism ever happen here in the United States?
I think it is a very real possibility that should be taken seriously by the FBI, ATF, Department of Homeland Security, and the American people.
Why am I concerned? Just prior to the election of President Trump, the fundie leaders and pewsitters were sending out public signals indicating that Trump was their last ditch hope. If he were to lose the election, the whole fundie enterprise and all their fundie hopes and dreams of ever converting, controlling, and ruling the American people would be over. Godless American culture would grab them, throw them into its mouth, chew them up, and swallow them down. Apparently, loss of the same sex marriage fight in 2015 was the final straw that afforded them a vision of impending ANNIHILATION. If Trump loses the 2020 election and the fundies retreat to the scared, vulnerable end of the fundie paradox, they may feel like that cornered animal in the garage.
Trump and the fundies (working together) have pissed off an incredibly large number of Democrats and many other Americans since January 2017. The fundies will be living in abject fear of the day Trump leaves office and Democrats take over the White House—-and probably the U.S. Senate—as well as gaining more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. If all of that were to coincide with a sudden uniting of nonfundie denominations, churches, and individual church members to denounce and renounce fundie hate on a continuing daily basis, that might be just enough to push the fundies into a fever pitch FEAR OF ANNIHILATION, which could turn into domestic terrorism committed by fundie preachers and church members. I would hate to see terroristic violence like that on American soil, but there is at least a possibility that such violence could occur. If so, it will be the fundies starting it, and the responsibility for the terrorism will fall squarely where it should be——on the shoulders of the fundies.
This raises another key question. How can American citizens in general relieve the fundie FEAR OF ANNIHILATION? That would be the merciful and Jesus-like thing to do. Help them out. Relieve their fears. Make them feel safe—and be safe. If the fundies could be made to feel safe and actually be safe in American society and culture, no such fundie terrorism would ever occur on American soil. Unfortunately, I think the fundies would say:
The only time we fundies will ever be satisfied, feel safe, or be safe is when all 326 million Americans convert to Christian Fundamentalism or Conservative Evangelicalism; turn over 100 percent, complete, and total control of the United States Government to our fundie preachers; and amend the U.S. Constitution to take away the First Amendment rights of all Americans—except for us fundies. Then further amend the U.S. Constitution to make that most precious thing we call “Bible-Believing Christianity” the official national religion of the United States. By law, force all Americans to support the new national church with their tax dollars. Then legally force all Americans to attend the “Bible-believing” church of their choice every Sunday—under penalty of death for failure to attend.
That is how all too many hard-core American fundies think these days. It is a price so high that no sane American outside of fundie faith circles will ever pay it to make the fundies feel safe.