Written by Donovan Lord (2012)
I wrote this article for Moot Magazine in 2012 as a response to the storm I saw coming at the time in America. The transition and hijacking of America from a country of laws to a Theocracy. Although I wouldn’t say we are a theocracy at this point, it seems many of my fears have been realized in Donald Trump and his administration’s obsession with their evangelical base.
Even if you disagree with me and my take on Christianity in America, or as I call it the Christian Reich, maybe you’ll learn something anyway.
The Christian Reich
Christianity began as a truly benevolent and heartfelt religion based on charity, love, and acceptance. Jesus himself, as portrayed in the Bible at least, was the epitome of all of these things. He was almost enamored by the outcasts of society and shunned those in power, the wealthy, and those in government. He spent his time with prostitutes, eunuchs, lepers, the poor, and any other oppressed or underdog of society. He believed in giving of oneself through charitable acts, not only monetarily but of one’s time and understanding. Today, the Christian religion has seemingly been hijacked by the evangelicals among themselves. It is less often for one to see the Christians caring for the least among us, despite any political differences, than it is for them to be bible thumping and using their Bible as a weapon against those they deem “sinners”. Not only has it infiltrated the everyday lives of people, it is beginning to become a requirement for public office that one be a part of the Christian faith. Have things always been this way?
In The Beginning
Although during the times of Christ, Christianity was essentially what it was meant to be – charitable, loving, accepting, and anti-establishment, in only a few hundred years after the death of Christ, around 315 AD, Christianity began to become more like the flawed humans whom continued the Christian tradition.
The truth is, the little religion that could, became the oppressor and the establishment and Christianity has a very long history of atrocities that are rarely referenced when discussing Christianity today.
Between 315 and the 5th century, there were literally thousands of pagan believers murdered at the insistence of mobs of Christians as well as by Christian Emperors (such as Charlemagne and Theodosius), priests, and various “Christian authorities” of the day.
Beyond this period of terror for non-Christians were a variety of mass executions of non-believers – from Germans unwilling to pay very high taxes to the church, to Turks slaughtered in the Battle of Begrade and of course, the most infamous – the Crusades.
Much like the Gestapo in Nazi Germany, Christians simply took it upon themselves to destroy those whom were a threat to their religious dominance. They decided that God was on their side and therefore their acts were justified. Sound familiar?
Hitler and Christianity
Hitler, himself, wrote: “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord..” As a boy, Hitler attended to the Catholic church and experienced the anti-Semitic attitude of his culture. In his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler reveals himself as a fanatical believer in God and country.
Christians often deny the historical fact that Hitler was indeed a Christian. Many Christians will try to deny this because they don’t want to include him as one of their “own”. Often Christians will say how his actions were “non-Christian”. However, if Hitler had not exterminated masses of Jews and gays, started a World War, and was not generally an atrocious person, they would not question his Christianity.
Hitler’s beliefs parallel many of the fanatical beliefs of Right-wing conservative Christians of today. Hitler even used his faith in the same way as many mainstream American Christians. Hitler’s use of the Bible to defend his actions mirrors the actions of evangelical Christians today. In fact, one could almost word for word recite the sentiment expressed in Mein Kampf in relation to gays, lesbians, transgendered, Muslims, Atheists, etc. “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: “by defending myself against the [fag, Muslim, Atheist, etc.], I am fighting for the work of the Lord.
By couching their bigotry in the rhetoric of their fanatical beliefs, these evangelical Christians give their unconscionable behavior an excuse and a reason, in their minds
The Holocaust was the climax of a thousand years of killing and persecution by the Christians, it was not something that arose simply from Hitler’s imagination. The Bible was used as a weapon for Hitler to exterminate over 6,000,000 Jews, homosexuals, and political captives. The acts they carried out were all in the name of their Christian God and the Motherland
Even today, Christianity is still persecuting and at times even murdering people whom are non-Christians. Whether it’s a Muslim person, a Jew, a gay or lesbian (whom may actually be Christians themselves), abortion doctors, or in parts of the country even racial minorities, based upon their interpretation of the Bible. Whenever a hate crime is committed in America, 84% of those crimes are committed by self-professed Christians according to a study done by the Kripke Center at Creighton University, a Catholic, Jesuit University.
Today Evangelical Christians demand that “Creationism” be taught in public schools. They insist that teaching evolution is not in concert with their own beliefs and therefore should not be taught since this is a “Christian Nation”, with complete disregard for Freedom of religion and freedom from religion. This sentiment also echo’s the Nazi’s views on education.
“Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith. From our point of view as representatives of the state, we need believing people. A dark cloud threatens from Poland. We have need of soldiers, believing soldiers. Believing soldiers are the most valuable ones. They give their all. Therefore we will maintain the confessional schools in order to train believing people through the schools, but this depends upon having truly believing teachers, not by chance Marxists who do not stand fully by their religious faith, as teachers. -Hitler, [quoted from Helmreich, p.241]
Notice how Hitler spoke of the schools in the way Right Wing Christians do today in their attempt to take control of public and private schools.
Fear is used to great lengths in both Evangelical Christianity and in Nazi Germany to further their agendas of guised hatred, racism, homophobia, and the like.
Christianity and the Government
Only in recent decades has religion begun to play such an integral role in our government. Many Christian Revisionists, that is Christians whom attempt to rewrite the facts of our government’s history, claim that our country was founded by Christians, for Christians. One only needs to research the facts rather than to delude oneself for one’s own agenda.
The fact that United States was not founded as a “Christian Nation” is evident not only in the Declaration of Independence but also by the fact that the Constitution never claims the United States as a “Christian Nation”, or as any religion. Not once does the Constitution mention these things. However, it does proclaim that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States” in Article 6, section 3. This sentiment is further evident by the 1796 Treaty with Tripoli which states that the United States was “not in any sense founded on the Christian religion”.
The reality is that our country’s most preeminent founders were mostly Deists, meaning that they believed in a creator but that that creator did not intervene in the daily lives of men. They also did not consider Jesus Christ to be divine, although they considered his works to be of great value. After all, our country’s founding took place during what was called the Enlightenment period. The Enlightenment was simply a “philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions and that brought about many humanitarian reforms”. In such a period, men were using thought rather than blindly following the status quo in order to shape their lives, government, and their spirituality. It was a period of Humanism.
Beyond the mere founding of our government, much like Nazi Germany, there is an underlying maniacal and blind patriotism by most Christian evangelicals today. Their religion and their purported love of country are intertwined along with a financial depression. This creates a conflagration of ignorance, fear and blind faith, a very dangerous combination not much different than the circumstances that existed in Nazi Germany when the rise of Hitler became possible. Germany was also in the midst of a financial depression at the time Hitler came to power.
Movements such as the Tea Party are an excellent example of one’s pride in country being conflated with one’s religious beliefs. Fighting the “Muslims” in Iraq, Iran, etc., and attempting to eject a “Muslim” President from office, have someone how become signs of their patriotism. Never mind that President Obama is not a Muslim, or the fact that these countries have not attacked us. What is important to these Christian Evangelical Republican Tea Partiers is that their personal prejudices and ignorance dictate the governmental policies of this country. Unfortunately, they are succeeding.
As we come near the next Presidential election cycle, religion of the candidates is still a highly important issue. President Barak Obama’s religion has continually been questioned by the evangelical Christian community simply because his father was an African Muslim. In their minds, President Obama must also be a Muslim regardless of his numerous affirmations to the contrary and irrefutable proof that he is indeed a Christian. Although this has been proven by years of attendance at Christian churches, they refuse to believe this fact.
Mitt Romney, who is now running for the Republican nomination for President, is a Mormon. He is continually berated for his beliefs and the Christian evangelicals continue to vote against him simply because of his religion.
What is frightening about the fact that religion is playing such a role in our elections is that as it is allowed to be a topic for discussion during debates and among the evangelical communities of the country, it is given credence. The more this occurs, the more power is given to the issue of religion in politics. The fact is, it should not be a criteria by which candidates are judged when running for public office.
The power of these evangelicals cannot be underestimated. Nazi Germany’s eventual slide into Hitler’s domination and oppression was not overnight. It occurred little by little as particular groups’ rights were trampled upon and eventually taken away completely. This way, it was not as noticeable to the masses. The people of Germany turned a blind eye and were apathetic for the most part as long as their comfortable and easy lifestyles were not impeded by the Nazi’s.
This is how national coups begin. The hearts and minds of the people are slowly converted to a new way of thinking. Weapons of rhetoric and religion begin to ignite a twisted sense of community and a “We or them” proposition. This is happening at an accelerated rate here in the United States, today. Republicans vs. Democrats. Liberals vs. Conservatives. Religious vs. Nonreligious. Of course, these dichotomies exist whether we acknowledge them or not. However, with the Christian Reich, they have convinced many millions of people that religious rights supersede human rights and have framed the civil liberties of individuals through the lens of their religion rather than through the lens of humanity.
Ironically, the very people whom are most often caught in political scandals including adultery, clandestine homosexual affairs, and financial crimes are the Evangelical Christians among us. Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker, George Alan Rekers, Eddie Long, Earl Paulk, Paul Crouch, and many others. These same people are often the ones to vehemently vote and preach against the very acts that they themselves commit behind closed doors. The fact is that there is a great deal of hypocrisy in the Christian community. Much like Hitler’s ability to excuse his abhorrent and macabre obsession with exterminating Jews, Christians today often excuse their hatred and bigotry by filtering through the lens of their beliefs.
Ending the Christian Reich
The issue here is not about freedom of one to practice any religion they see fit. Religion is a personal choice and has no place in government or in the lives of those that do not believe in any one particular religious belief system. It is only an issue when Christians try to force their beliefs on others and attempt to “convert” non-believers, instill their beliefs in the national government, in our school systems, or in the bedrooms of consenting adults – essentially, in the lives of everyone but their own kind.
So how do we win against the threat of Evangelicalism in America? We speak up and out against this so thinly veiled hatred of many Christians whenever we encounter it. What we can do is fight the Christian Reich with the law, facts, and the Constitution. Take away an evangelical’s religiously based bias, and he has absolutely no defense for his bigotry. Fight to preserve what our forefather’s intended – a distinctive separation of church and state.
Many people allow Christians to say many horrid things about people with whom they disagree simply because they call themselves “Christian”. Whereas a “bigot” may say that homosexuals deserve to die, Blacks are an inferior race, women are not as capable as men, or Jews are evil and killed Christ, an Evangelical Christian may say “We love the homosexuals and they need to be saved from everlasting damnation, “Blacks and Whites should not mix because the Bible says so, Women should be subservient to their men, and Jews should repent for their part in Christ’s death”. It’s much like a Southern person saying “Bless your heart” when what they really mean is “Fuck you”. Don’t be swayed by their professed “love” for you and concern with your soul because in reality many will still vote against your right to marry or general equality under the law if your beliefs don’t coincide with their own.
Christians have had a long run but their reign is heading towards its demise. The younger generation generally no longer believes in denying civil rights and basic human rights to people simply based upon one particular religious belief system. That is not to say that there aren’t more and more evangelical Christians in the new generation being brainwashed by their communities, religious leaders, and parents every day.
The fact is, we are now coming into a new age of “enlightenment”, one in which we are no longer following politicians, religious leaders, etc. with blind faith but Generations X and Y are continually questioning what we have been taught or told to believe. It’s the hallmark of our generation.
Allowing the Christian Reich to continue its rule over a nation that has been established to escape religious persecution is the epitome of “un-American”. Stand up against these bullies in sheep’s clothing and refuse to be defined by one religious institution’s morality. Recognize that their tactics and their insidiousness are no different than Hitler’s in Nazi Germany and allowing it to remain unchecked, is no different than all of those Germans whom remained silent when witnessing the atrocities that eventually came at the hand of Hitler. Which side of history do you want to be on?
Help to usher in a new “age of enlightenment” where Americans may live free from religious persecution and have an equal opportunity to pursue one’s happiness.
Or else, the United States may one day truly be a theocracy where our children are forced to say “Heil Jesus”despite one’s own religion.