My disagreement with so-called evangelical fundies isn’t over basic Christianity. It’s over their desecration of Christianity. Their embrace of the evils hate, falsehoods, fear, and fanaticism contradicts Christ. How can one claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ and at the same time advocate the elimination of whole classes of people and the murder of the President?
And hatred of Barack Obama is the religious right’s driving force in this election cycle, not to mention the recent 2010 mid-term. It’s well-noted in South Carolina exit-polls the Number One quality Republicans seek in the field is a candidate who can beat Obama. Every other issue pales.
No wonder the nation suffers.
Republicans at campaign stops jeer “String him up!” and “Obama’s a Muslim. Get him out of government,” with no correction from candidates. At least McCain in 2008 had the decency to set the record straight.
America suffers from a polarization not seen since the Civil War. While President Obama extended an olive branch, Republicans countered with a hand-grenade.
The reason the GOP is so infused with anger in recent years is simple to understand once one recognizes the now-completed Nixonian “Southern Strategy,” renowned for its plot to capture the majority by exploiting southerners angry over civil rights.
The party is dominated by the South – by old former Dixiecrats whose prime motive is race. So, a Black President in the White House is absolutely abhorrent to them because it goes against everything they were taught to believe. Evidence of African-American intelligence contradicts their long-held doctrine of white superiority. “Put him in his place” is their outcry, like a Gingrich supporter shouted in South Carolina.
The principal force behind the Old Confederacy was misguided Christianity hijacked by plantation aristocrats in their attempt to preserve slavery – their means of accumulating wealth. The principal force behind the modern Republican Party is misguided Christianity hijacked by plutocrats in their attempt to preserve unbridled capitalism – their means of suppressing labor and, thus, resurrecting slavery. It’s not merely the 1% vs. the 99% or class warfare, but far more complex.
It’s the same spirit of greed that threatens the nation, and it’s the same apostate “Christianity” that plays the central role in backing greed in all three centuries. The Southern Baptist Convention (largest Protestant body in the U.S.) was formed in 1845 when southern churches disagreed with their northern brethren over the issue of slavery and whether Africans were actually human or not. (Lynching was sanctioned by Baptists in the Old South because they considered Blacks animals and property.) The SBC became one of the driving forces behind the South seceding in 1861, culminating in the Civil War. Yes, most Confederates were evangelical fundamentalists, of which the largest denomination was Southern Baptist.
To be fair, Southern Baptists have attempted to correct their image and apologize from that period. But they still carry a measure of latent racism, as evidenced at campaign and religious rallies, not to speak of their voting pattern.
Now consider that the majority of the modern Republican Party consists of fundamentalists and the largest segment of those have southern origins, particularly Southern Baptist roots along with auxiliary and break-off denominations.
Considering these facts, one cannot discount the impact of the GOP “Southern Strategy.” Bush’s consultants (Doug Wead, Ralph Reed, and Karl Rove) spiked 84% evangelical “values” vote for Bush in 2004 – which clinched the election, and 78% of evangelicals went for McCain in 2008. The “magic” number is somewhere around 80% to secure any determination. Hence, fundamentalists can control any American election if energized.
The U.S. is at a tipping point. If evangelicals continue to increase while mainstream denominations stagnate or decline, elections could swing further to the right. The only caveat to this theory is growth of the Latino population. How ironic to have Mexicans rescuing America from itself.
Maps on election nights since 2000 have resembled the Union-Confederacy schism from 150 years before, and the reason is religion. The North and West are mostly a mix of diverse religions, while the South remains staunchly evangelical Protestant [with the exception of Catholic Louisiana] – of the same belief-systems held a century or more ago.
America’s only other hope (besides the growing influence of the Latino population) is for the evangelical movement to experience a reawakening of true Christian principles. The core teachings of Christ are in direct contradiction to the modern movement. In time, perhaps, they will see the light and return to the Gospel. If not, the consequence may be a schism resembling 1861 where old fault-lines are unlocked.
The nation is bitter and disillusioned at this time – not because a Black man sits in the White House, but because of false propaganda spun by the right. Hate breeds irrational thought where the hater easily accedes to angry outbursts and violence. Millions dominated by these unfounded emotions become a movement – which transforms into future civil unrest, if not skewed elections giving way to bad choices and destructive policies. One cannot think clearly if overcome by hate and anger, especially if those passions are based on false premises.
And this bitterness and disillusionment directly stems from the off-base religious right. Certainly, Republican consultants may be faulted for capitalizing on the evangelical white vote, but the base itself is at fault for bastardizing Christianity. Jesus is not pleased.