Thursday, March 30, 2006

War for Profit, War for Power. How the the Neocons and American Fundamentalists are Instigating a War On Christianity.

In 2005, Fox News anchor John Gibson penned"The War On Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought”. His fellow Fox News blaviator, Bill O'Reilly, joined the chorus going so far as to post a list of retailers like Target for not using “Christmas” in some of their advertisements. From this point on, the perception of a War on all things Christian were seen to be under attack, and the call was out to defend it.

Over the years, especially since the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade, the emerging theocratic wing of the Christian community has trumpeted their interpretation of Biblical law in the public square. Since then, they’ve attempted to foist their theoretically a skewed vision of “America as The Promised Land” via school prayer, political proselytizing, and fomentation of End Times fear mongering.

So what is this “War on Christianity” and where does it come from? Well, I have an idea, and it’s not because the Democrats or Liberals are trying to wage one.

The latest supposed front in this “War on Christianity” is the “War on Easter” al’la Fox News (video from BradBlog). Though I do agree that bunnies and eggs have little to do with the Christian faith, nor do I care if someone hangs “Happy Easter” signs all over the city, the reactionary cries of a “War on Easter” because someone thought that people of different faiths might feel offended by an expression of a single religion on the door of a public servant is a classic example of how the Right provacates this perception. Something tells me that they would be the first to tare down a picture of the Al Aqsa Mosque or Mecca.

If you googled “War on Christmas” today, you’d find 49,900 entries on the subject. The top search result, the Jeremiah Project outlines the reasons they believe that Christianity is under attack. Two of these reasons they give is the limiting of religious liberty in the area of public and private education, and exclusion of the Bible from school classrooms and from other school property. Now I haven’t heard anything about religious schools being denied the right to proselytize in their classrooms. But public schools, funded by public monies are not allowed to do so. They never were. That’s called state sponsored religion.

Last night, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was on Hardball with Rev. Al Sharpton and the Bible in schools issue came up (video from Crooks and Liers). Chris Matthews said, “If everyone at school is forced to read the King James Bible they may feel a little bit out of it.” to which Tony replied, “But nobody’s calling for that”. Oh, but they are.

Georgia’s Governer has a bill on his desk today calling to put Bible classes in Georgia’s Public high schools. In an attempt to include the Bible’s historical value in public education, Democratic Alabama Sen. Bill Preuitt, introduced the "Bible Literacy Act" which calls for the use of a book called “The Bible and Its Influence”. Relatively moderate Evangelical leaders embrace the move as “an extraordinarily helpful background-the Bible's impact on literature, the arts, and life. If anyone is looking for a comprehensive academic understanding of the roots of modern civilization, this book is an indispensable resource.” This move to extend an olive branch and include Biblical history in public education was branded by the hard-core fundamentalists as the “Bible Distortion Bill”. Rep. Nick Williams, would later say that Alabama already “provided for an elective in Bible literacy under authorization of the State Board of Education consistent with the U.S. Constitution” He then explained that "a very sound curriculum" by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS), which uses THE HOLY BIBLE itself as the textbook, is already being used in some Alabama public high schools. Tim Howe, executive director of the Alabama Republican Party assailed the book “as highly questionable, evidenced by the fact that it was supported by several liberal groups,” sighting the ACLU. This was later proven to be a lie. (source: About, with links to Christian Wire)

It seems to me that the Neo-Conservative/Fundamentalist alliance is actively stoking a religious war, both here and across the world. Fromer Nixon advisor and author Kevin Philips, in his new book “American Theocracy” wrote, “In its recent practice, the radical side of U.S. religion has embraced cultural antimodernism, war hawkishness, Armageddon prophecy, and in the case of conservative fundamentalists, a demand for governments by literal biblical interpretation. In the 1800s, religious historians generally minimized the sectarian thrust of religious excess, but recent years have brought more candor. The evangelical, fundamentalist, sectarian, and radical threads of American religion are being proclaimed openly and analyzed widely, even though bluntness is frequently muted by a pseudo-tolerance, the polite reluctance to criticize another's religion. However given the wider thrust of religion's claims on public life, this hesitance falls somewhere between unfortunate and dangerous. Charles Kimball, a North Carolina Baptist and professor of religion, speaks very much to the point: "Although many of us have been taught it is not polite to discuss religion and politics in public, we must quickly unlearn that lesson. Our collective failure to challenge presuppositions, think anew, and openly debate central religious concerns affecting society is a recipe for disaster." Considering the past history of Zealot Christian Fundamentalism’s attributions to the decline and fall of the last three great world empires, the Holy Roman Empire, the Spanish Habsburgs, and the British Empire, I fear that fear itself has become the growing catalyst in their self proclaimed “War on Christianity”. Let me explain.

For decades, the American oilgarchy has supported dictators that oppressed the people of the Middle East. And as Yoda always says, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering". In this case, the oil industry’s fears of the nationalization of Middle Eastern oil fields lead them to interfere in democratic movements and install “protectorates” in Iran and Iraq. This move was compounded by their blind support of the theocratic regime in Saudi Arabia. This lead to anger in the Middle East and eventually hate when the people found out that American interference was what lead to the ascension of such ruthless dictators like Saddam and the Shah. Meanwhile, their support for the fundamentalist Wahabists of the Al Saud family created the atmosphere for the rise of Islamo-fundimentalism, the manifestation of suffering in both the West and the Middle East.

Though it is true that American presidents from both political parties over the years have culled an official strategic relationship between America and Saudi Arabia, I currently don’t know of any Democrats that have had such close business and personal ties to the Wahabists and the bin Laden family as there is between the Neocons and the Bush family. It is my belief that this relationship, which is predicated on the agreement that the US would not gather intelligence within the kingdom, is the main reason we face the threat of terrorist action by zealot Islamists.

All the while, American Evangelical extremism has grown right along side of the Islamists. Starting in Afghanistan, then VP Bush Sr., with his deep connections to the CIA, oversaw the rise of the modern militarization of jihadism. This movement was trained, armed and funded by the Bush/Al Saud alliance. Meanwhile, back here at home, the money that the Bush family made off the Saudi royal family went to building their own, Christian version of militant religiosity.

Touting his connections to high profile Evangelists like Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Farwell, George Bush the younger followed his father’s footsteps into the White House. But this time, he would thread everything he said with biblical undertones and overtones. With zingers like proclaiming that Jesus was his favorite philosopher, calling the War on Terror a “Crusade”, and insisting that he don’t talk to his father on political issues, he talks to a “higher father”, he has blurred the lines between church and state, and convinced Americans of faith that he speaks for God. Since then, he and his coalition of Neo-Conservatives, and radical fundamentalists have attempted to exploit every issue that they could dream up in the furtherance of their agenda; absolute power.

I fear that the concerted efforts of the Bush administration and their allies to split America along sectarian v. religious lines has empowered a fundamentalist Christian Evangelical movement that shares more resemblance to Wahabism than many would ever admit. It’s like they are attempting to use religion to reopen the wounds of the Civil War in an attempt to start a religious war against both Islam, and non-believers alike. This co-existent trend of militarization within two major religious groups can no longer be ignored.

I would like to make one point abundantly clear. The more these American fundamentalists cry out that someone is waging a “War on Christianity”, the more nervous and fearful they will make the rest of the country and the world. Fearful of the fall of America under the weight of theocracy, fearful of an emerging American Inquisition following the crumbling of our constitutional rights, fearful of the bleak future for our children in light of the suppression of science, and fearful of a global war instigated by this unholy alliance that will leave our country broke, beleaguered, and scorned throughout the world. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering. By their own doing, they may just get their “War on Christianity”. This is my fear. But no matter what happens, I will die an American. I WILL DIE FREE!

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