Old-Time Freedom

batbadge.jpgIt’s Blog Against Theocracy time again.  I just got back from my home town’s 4th of July parade.  It was chock-full of local pageant winners, politicians, businesspeople, law enforcement and emergency responders, and even some people from Georgia Ghost Hunters (don’t ask — or if you must ask, click here).  And church members.  Lots and lots of church members, from different denominations, who wanted us all to know that God blesses America.  See?  They have the flag-draped floats to prove it.

Of course, church floats are a staple of small-town parades, and so is the unthinking allegiance to God and country that was on display today.  Not unthinking because it’s stupid; unthinking because it’s been ingrained in us since birth.  We’ve always done it that way, and most of us haven’t spent a lot of time pondering the implications.

I don’t believe there’s a majority of people in the US who want a Christian theocracy.  I do believe that there is a small but very committed and well-funded minority who would like nothing better and are actively working to make it happen.  Well, yeah, you say, but it’s just a few people.  We don’t need to worry.  Except…

…I’m old enough to remember the Republican party of the 1970′s.  Despite some authoritarian aberrations (Richard Nixon, anyone?), its public face was one of fiscal conservatism and an otherwise live-and-let-live approach to government.  Not perfect, by any means, but nothing like the party we see today, taken over by a cabal of religious conservatives and neocons who’ve made a devil’s bargain to gain and maintain power.  These people weren’t the majority of Republicans; they were obscure but dedicated activists who were willing to do just about anything to achieve their goals — on one side, a vision of American hegemony in the world; on the other, the imposition of a particularly censorious brand of Christianity.

We’re living with the results of that movement: George W. Bush, self-proclaimed Christian conservative, and Dick Cheney, neocon.  Candidates for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination are doing their best to out-Jesus each other, even as they speak and act in ways that the Jesus of the Gospels wouldn’t recognize.  Promoting war and violence, demonizing those who are different, lionizing wealth and power.  This is, I’m afraid, what happens when a democratic government ties itself too closely to religion.

Yes, we are still free to vote these people out of office (and to that I say, without irony, thank God), but will we?  That unthinking majority out there doesn’t spend much time worrying about theocracy.  Mention it to them and you’ll get reactions ranging from, “You’re crazy — that will never happen,” to “So what?  This country could use a good dose of old-time religion.”  Of course, there are plenty of old-time Rockefeller Republicans who never believed the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would rise to such powerful positions in their grand old party — my father was one of them, who pooh-poohed the idea for years after it had become reality.

So it falls to a minority to be vigilant.  A minority of citizens who believe passionately that our Founding Fathers intended for us to maintain that wall of separation between church and state.  Who believe that the intertwining of government and religion benefits neither and can easily harm both.  Who know that it can happen here — if we don’t pay attention.

Want to know more?  Check out First Freedom First.

10 Responses to “Old-Time Freedom”

  1. bill says:

    Great post. I do want God to bless our country, just like I want Him to bless all countries and people of the world. I do not want Him (don’t worry I’m confident He won’t) to bless us so that we can be a modern day Rome with Christ instead of Ceasar on the wordly throne. I admire the Founding Fathers for having such foresight. It seems to me that they understood better than the current day political establishment by giving all persons the freedom to worship (or not worship as they see fit), they give those of us who do believe in God the chance to do so in a way that is real, unforced and sincere. And that is more what I believe the Creator wants than anything forced down our throats by Focus on the Family or Roy Moore.

  2. - says:

    Boy, did you hit the nail squarely on the head.

  3. Songbird says:

    Kathy, well said. The cognitive dissonance between our nation’s ideals and our reality hurts.

  4. Kathy says:

    Thanks, Songbird. It is a confusing time.

  5. Don says:

    “Candidates for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination are doing their best to out-Jesus each other”

    Does that include Ron Paul? He has a record of voting according to the Constitution which includes the first amendment.

  6. Kathy says:

    Don, I shouldn’t have been so general. You’re right; I haven’t heard Ron Paul doing this.

  7. Cindi says:

    Nailed it, Kathy. Nailed it.

  8. Paul says:

    Great post, Kathy. One small point of disagreement: you said that politicians today act in ways that Jesus wouldn’t recognize. I’m afraid that he would recognize those ways all too well. He’s seen them first hand.

  9. Kathy says:

    Thanks, Cindi! Paul, sadly, you are correct. Perhaps I should have said actions Jesus wouldn’t countenance. :(

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