Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Path of Whiteousness

The Spy's Religion Section

By Leo Frank
Religion Editor

Those appalled and offended by the spectacle of a white punk getting away with strapping on a lethal assault weapon during a protest against white supremacy, and then shooting and killing anyone who perceives him as a threat might be tempted to take consolation in religion.  Especially one of the religions that stress moral behavior, mercy, and peace.  You know, like Judaism, Islam, or Christianity.  Right?

Pump the brakes, Crusader.

It turns out that not all religions are, um, created equal.  Well, maybe they were created equal but some of them seem to have drifted a few leagues away from their professed ideals.

The recent election in Virginia has exposed the real face of what is normally described as white evangelical Christianity, according to The Washington Post:

Evangelical white Christianity at work

For decades, White evangelicals have gotten riled up over issues ranging from evolution to desegregation to prayer in schools, and in Virginia’s latest gubernatorial race, the culture wars in schools were front and center. Ahead of Election Day, Youngkin railed against critical race theory, often using CRT — an intellectual movement that examines the way policies and laws perpetuate systemic racism and is not part of the public school curriculum — as a way to describe schools’ efforts to teach children about race and racial disparities.

That message energized White evangelicals, who flocked to Youngkin.
The National Election Pool exit poll found Youngkin won White evangelicals by 89 percent — a higher percentage than President Donald Trump, who won White evangelicals in Virginia in 2020 by 80 percent.

Did you know that a core tenet of Christianity was covering up a 400-year history of white racism?  We didn't!

But perhaps that's due to our own ignorance, because white supremacy and unearned resentment has been baked into the white evangelical Twinkie for a very long time:

So what then were the real origins of the religious right? It turns out that the movement can trace its political roots back to a court ruling, but not Roe v. Wade.

In May 1969, a group of African-American parents in Holmes County, Mississippi, sued the Treasury Department to prevent three new whites-only K-12 private academies from securing full tax-exempt status, arguing that their discriminatory policies prevented them from being considered “charitable” institutions....

On June 30, 1971, the [Federal] Court...issued its ruling .... [upholding] the new IRS policy: “Under the Internal Revenue Code, properly construed, racially discriminatory private schools are not entitled to the Federal tax exemption provided for charitable, educational institutions,....”

The...ruling ... captured the attention of evangelical leaders, especially as the IRS began sending questionnaires to church-related “segregation academies,” including Falwell’s own Lynchburg Christian School, inquiring about their racial policies. Falwell was furious. “In some states,” he famously complained, “It’s easier to open a massage parlor than a Christian school.”

So the white evangelical movement was built on a hypocritical campaign to subvert school desegregation. Where in Christian Scripture is that?

We remember reading tons of happy horse***t about the Moral Majority in its heyday and we don't recall word one about how it was founded to advance and protect white racism.  It's almost like 30 years ago the media was afraid to call out white racism.  Isn't it great that those days are over?

The white evangelical mission of promoting white racism ought to be enough reason to deny it a legitimate position in American political life and discourse, but of course when entitled white people are allowed to run rampant without consequences, there's so much more, in addition to the body count in Kenosha.  Here's the views of one pardoned felon:

Christian soldier Gen. Michael Flynn

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn's call for "one religion" in the US to win the battle of good versus evil has garnered sharp backlash from a range of critics. Flynn, who was subpoenaed last week by the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack, made the comment during a speech to a conservative Christian audience on the ReAwaken America tour in Texas this weekend. "If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion," he said. "One nation under God and one religion under God, right? All of us, working together." His message -- the latest in a lengthy history of outlandish remarks -- appears to be an inflammatory contradiction of the First Amendment, which protects freedom of religion. Flynn has previously drawn backlash for controversial comments....

...[F]former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN Sunday. ".... He is clearly unhinged here with this kind of public statement."

Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a national security analyst for CNN, similarly cast Flynn's remarks as "an embarrassment to the US Army & an aberration to those of us who have proudly worn the cloth of our country."

"His words are disgusting," Hertling said in a tweet.  

Outlandish?  Gen. Flynn, not known as a particular creative thinker, didn't make this s*** up. He's simply parroting a common view among white evangelicals known as “dominionism:” 

Though it’s seldom mentioned by name, it’s one of the major forces in Texas politics today: dominion theology, or dominionism. What began as a fringe evangelical sect in the 1970s has seen its influence mushroom — so much so that sociologist Sara Diamond has called dominionism “the central unifying ideology for the Christian Right.” (Italics hers.) That’s especially true here in Texas, where dominionist beliefs have, over the last decade, become part and parcel of right-wing politics at the highest levels of government.

So, what is it? Dominionism fundamentally opposes America’s venerable tradition of church-state separation — in fact, dominionists deny the Founders ever intended that separation in the first place. According to Frederick Clarkson, senior fellow for religious liberty at the non-profit social justice think tank Political Research Associates, dominionists believe that Christians “have a biblical mandate to control all earthly institutions — including government — until the second coming of Jesus.” And that should worry all Texans — Christians and non-Christians alike....

Top Texas political figures have had links to dominionism for years. In 2011, the Observer covered then-Governor Rick Perry’s ties to a branch of the movement, the New Apostolic Reformation. Since then, the relationship between dominionism and right-wing politics has become even cozier.

Case in point: Ted Cruz. Although Cruz is too politically savvy to openly endorse dominionism, key figures on his team are explicit dominionists.

The most important may be his father, evangelist Rafael Cruz, a frequent surrogate for Cruz on the political stage.
Is Cancun the Promised Land?  Ask Reb Cruz!

Cruz père espouses Seven Mountains Dominionism, which holds that Christians must take control of seven “mountains,” or areas of life: family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.

Even this perversion of Christian doctrine does not teach that when your people are freezing in the dark, a true Christian runs off to Cancun, so Ted can't use that excuse. 

But here's the disturbing part: not only are these Christian dominionists intolerant, ant-democratic racists.  A good chunk of them are child abusing sadists.  Talia Lavin, who recently went incognito to expose the frightening world of the on-line reactionary insurrectionists in her book Culture Warlords, is back with her latest dispatch from the battle fronts of indecency:

The emergence of evangelicals as an active right-wing political force on the American scene came into full force over the subsequent decade, largely as a backlash to the civil-rights movement and school integration....

“In the last half-century, Conservative evangelicals were coalescing as this partisan political movement and coalescing around a particular cultural orientation, and childrearing is right at the center of that,” Kristin Kobes du Mez, historian...told me. “Out-of-control children were unravelling the social fabric of the country.... In the 1970s, disciplining children became thick with meaning in evangelical spaces, as part of this political mobilization but also more fundamentally as part of this oppositional cultural identity.”

By the 1990s, propelled by the success of Dare to Discipline and its sequels (The Strong-Willed Child, Temper Your Child’s Tantrums), Dobson’s ministry, Focus on the Family, was a media empire. Its radio programs, educational materials, and newsletters became, as du Mez puts it, “a fixture in the homes of tens of millions of Americans.”

Bring child abuse home for the holidays!

Legions of imitators followed, some more sadistic and others more faith-centric than Dobson’s unnervingly folksy persona. They continue to shape evangelical parenting culture by impressing the perils of “sparing the rod.” Dobson popularized a vision of parenting as a battle whose goal was the complete subjection of the child’s will, with pain a central tool in an ongoing spiritual war. His successors include Michael and Debi Pearl, whose work through No Greater Joy Ministries includes the infamous To Train Up A Child (1.2 million copies sold), a work that I can best describe as a child-abuse manual. There are also gurus like the pastor Tedd Tripp, whose Shepherding A Child’s Heart erases completely the line between physical abuse and parental love. Tens of millions of children have been raised with these principles, and this pain. At least three killings have been linked to the parenting doctrines of the Pearls: between 2006 and 2010, Sean Paddock, 4, Lydia Schatz, 7, and Hana Williams, 13, all died brutal deaths at the hands of parents who owned copies of To Train Up A Child. 

Jesus Christ!  Makes you wonder if all the Q-Anon bs about Hillary Clinton abusing children in the nonexistent basement of a Washington pizza parlor was as usual a projection. 

So what is to be done about Christian dominationists?  First, let's not pretend, like Sullen Sam Alito, they are acting on bona fide religious motives.  Let's not pretend they are either Moral or a Majority.  Let's not pretend that they are interested in “education” or “traditional values.”

While we're at it, let's make it clear that their values and views are bad, if not evil, and are unworthy of respect or political representation.

And for the sake of all that is good and holy, let's not blame progressives for failing to “reach out” to these violent hatemongers.

At least until they put down the AR-15's.

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