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22 August 2005

Pax AmeriChristiacana

Charles Reed has a spot on editorial in Common Dreams about what has become of the church in this country. I'm posting the whole thing below, just because I can. Thoughts?

Organized religion in America plays a peculiar role in relation to politics. Instead of being a prophetic voice on behalf of the poor, the powerless and the marginalized, it has become more often an apologist for the corporate rich.
Why is this? Clergymen and other religious leaders need to ponder this question.

America is probably the most religious country in the industrial world. Religion is openly acknowledged as a powerful force in government and politics. But just how is that power being manifested in the public square?

America is ruled by a secular right-wing political and economic ideology. It was not elected by the people, and it has never enjoyed majority support from the people. It is, however, supported by a significant majority of Christians.

The secular ruling ideology is convinced that Jesus Christ was wrong when he said you can't serve both God and money. With the support of most Christians, it practices the secular economic values of the Russian-born atheist Ayn Rand-the gospel of greed.

Our government nurtures the interests of business corporations. But it turns a blind eye and deaf ear toward the needs and interests of ordinary people. The secular corporate media helps facilitate this.

We now have the most corrupt, dishonest, and mean-spirited government in our history. Its performance in people programs is the worst in the industrial world. The world's richest country is at or near the bottom in things like: minimum wage, vacation time, paternity leave, poverty rate, illiteracy rate, crime rate, prison rate, access to healthcare, access to legal services, access to decent housing, access to public transportation, and access to higher education.

We are the safest and securest nation on earth. Yet our government rules by fear. We have the most aggressive, militaristic and nationalistic foreign policy in the world. Our government spends more on military arms than the rest of the world combined.

Our government now openly defies international law, invading other countries in violation of the UN Charter, and torturing prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention. Our foreign policy is based on military force, intimidation and exploitation.

The secular ruling ideology would collapse without the support of its religious base. Since it reflects Nihilistic and relativistic values that are the antithesis of Christian values, why do Christians support it?

The Christian values tell us to love our enemies, love our neighbors as ourselves, and do unto others as we would have them do unto us. The secular ruling ideology, on the other hand, cultivates hate, fear, violence, greed and exploitation.

Corporate money has corrupted most every institution in America-especially government. It has also corrupted the church.

Washington is lined with corporate-funded foundations and think tanks to convince government that corporations need more money and people need less. In line with that, neoconservatives created the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD) in 1982.

The IRD actively undermines ethical and humanitarian values in mainline Christian churches. It seeks to cultivate divisive personal issues like abortion and homosexuality. Despite its name, it appears to have no concern for either religion or democracy.

The church has done a poor job of teaching Christian social values over the last 30 years.

The polls now show that, the more often people go to church, the more they support the anti-Christian goals and values of the secular ruling ideology.

Who would have dreamed that Christians would support military invasions to build a secular corporate empire-an empire to rule the world by force? We are now reaping the results of that ideology: large scale death, destruction and division at home and around the world.

In the words of Martin Luther King, "We've got some difficult days ahead." As the curtain begins to descend on the ugliest chapter in American history, the question will inevitably be asked, "Where was the church?"
(Hat Tip: Jesus Politics)

Comments on "Pax AmeriChristiacana"

 

Blogger ninjanun said ... (8/22/2005 07:23:00 PM) : 

Wow. Thanks for sharing that. It reminds me of the quote by Martin Neomoller:
"When the Nazis arrested the Communists,
I said nothing; after all, I was not a Communist.
When they locked up the Social Democrats,
I said nothing; after all, I was not a Social Democrat.
When they arrested the trade unionists,
I said nothing; afterall, I was not a trade unionist.
When they arrested the Jews, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Jew.
When they arrested me, there was no longer anyone who could protest."

What will happen when this government that the American church has supported starts turning on them?

 

Blogger ding said ... (8/24/2005 11:24:00 AM) : 

unfortunately, the american christian church preaches conformity, above all.

it turns out to be a strange psychological schism in the church, the difference between doctrine and practice. while painting ourselves as religious minorities beset by secular culture, we are encouraged to conform to the hegemony. and, unfortunately, our culture does not value those things that christ valued - tolerance, forgiveness, charity. so, our churches don't.

as much as we like to position ourselves counter to the culture, our churches participate in it and even replicate it.

 

Blogger Dan Trabue said ... (8/24/2005 12:02:00 PM) : 

"the more often people go to church, the more they support the anti-Christian goals and values..."

Odd, isn't it. Makes you wonder what they're reading in these churches.

When I was growing up in a mainstream Southern Baptist, I was taught to take the Bible seriously. And even with a cursory reading of the Bible, you will see over and over warnings to the rich, admonishments to work for the poor and for justice.

My childhood traditional Southern Baptist church may have been patriarchal and sometimes wrongheaded in their approach to working with and for the poor, but work they did. Where are those traditionalists today?

 

Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (8/25/2005 11:24:00 AM) : 

It's very strange what the church chooses to focus on. Homosexuality and abortion are targets, perhaps because most of the church isn't committing those sins. But most anything to do with how we spend our money isn't discussed (unless it's boycotting businesses which support homosexuality or abortion). The Bible calls charging interest an abomination, just like homosexuality. But I've never seen www.godhatesbankers.com or people picketing outside banks.

I'm really glad you went to a church that concerned itself with poverty, Dan. I went 24 years without hearing anything about the poor from a church pulpit.

 

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