Laying it out on the table.
May 27, 2005 3:47 AM   Subscribe

A new Harper's article by Jeff Sharlet, author of the also-must-read Jesus Plus Nothing. To win a war, you must have an elaborate strategy...
posted by deusdiabolus (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I read this a couple of weeks ago in the print version. It reminds me that the way the country is going we may all have to get used to this sort of thing. I suppose that living in a Christian theocracy won't be as bad as, say in a Muslim one or orthodox Jewish one. Anyway I now live in the UK where I can grin knowingly and advise those who are confronted by any Evangelic thought police to just remind them of the Sermon on the Mount:

"Blessed are the cheesemakers"

Oh, sorry, that was Monty Python. The LIfe of Brian, possibly the greatest religious movie ever made

I think the original had it as "Blessed are the peacemakers".
posted by donfactor at 5:18 AM on May 27, 2005

they speak of Colorado Springs, home to the greatest concentration of fundamentalist Christian activist groups in American history, both as a last stand and as a kind of utopia in the making. [Emphasis mine.]

Not to freak anybody out or anything, but in The Stand, Stephen King's Post apocalyptic novel, a virus wipes out 99% of the population and the 1% that's left is divided into good guys and bad. The good guys, steered by dreams of a woman who, it turns out is the prophet of (the Christian, protestant) God, all make for Colorado while the evil and wicked congregate in (wait for it...) Las Vegas. A battle between the two city-states, of course, ensues.

So... I'm thinkin' of headin out to Nevada real soon, like. Anyone wanna join me?
posted by Clay201 at 5:20 AM on May 27, 2005 [1 favorite]

that the way the country is going is not in this direction. People are using scare tactics simply to make a threat look bigger and have something to talk about with all their heathen friends.
posted by Mick at 5:40 AM on May 27, 2005

Tell that to James Dobson and Tim LaHaye and the "pastor" in this article whom talks to Dubya "at least weekly." Scary people with hands on the levers of power. Cite Terry Schiavo. Tell me that episode wasn't these nuts flexing political muscle
posted by nofundy at 6:32 AM on May 27, 2005

I also read this article in the print version a few weeks back. The Evangelical church seems very creepy. The way these guys managed to chase all the non-Evangelical's out of the town is really quite scary. I can't imagine what they were doing is legal?
posted by chunking express at 6:42 AM on May 27, 2005

Jeff Starlet also runs The Revealer--A daily review of religion and the press. Another daily must read, it appears.
posted by y2karl at 6:50 AM on May 27, 2005

I'm reading a book called The Closing of the Western Mind which is all about the rise of Christianity after the fall of Rome.
Throughout the history of this religion it has been marked by intolerance while crying 'we're persecuted'.
I'm not buying the bullshit. These people want to drive civilization back into the middle ages and unless a population seriously organizes against it, they will be absorbed like the Borg in Star Trek. Look at history for examples . . .
As for life in a christian theocracy maybe not being so bad, take a look at The Handmaid's Tale for what that life might be like. Not pretty. An Orwellian future with a religious twist.
Make no mistake about it: These people are heathen, they are 'American Taliban'. There is every reason to fear them.
posted by mk1gti at 6:58 AM on May 27, 2005

And that is why he believes spiritual war requires a virile, worldly counterpart. “I teach a strong ideology of the use of power,” he says, “of military might, as a public service.” He is for preemptive war, because he believes the Bible’s exhortations against sin set for us a preemptive paradigm, and he is for ferocious war, because “the Bible’s bloody. There’s a lot about blood.”

Creepy, and very dangerous people, to say the least!
posted by acrobat at 6:58 AM on May 27, 2005

I had to stop myself from screaming out loud at the religious insanity crap while reading this article. I feel like these multitudinous freaks are stealing my country out from under me. Furthermore, I'm stuck in SC, the epicenter of religious nutjobs. Just to get to get to the airport to fly to a blue state I have to take Billy Graham Highway. ugh...
posted by zwemer at 6:59 AM on May 27, 2005

You have my sympathy. I used to live in Virginia *shudder*
posted by mk1gti at 7:27 AM on May 27, 2005

There's something oddly comforting in knowing that these people hate just about everything about me.

Although the idea of any more of these psychopaths getting into positions of power is pretty terrifying.
posted by cmonkey at 7:37 AM on May 27, 2005

According to this MSNBC article:

Although evangelical leaders have been among the most prominent spokesmen for conservative causes, “evangelical” and “religious right” are not the same thing. Studies indicate that as many as 40 percent of Americans who call themselves evangelicals are politically moderate or identify with the Democratic Party.

(Emphasis mine.)

But, by all means, don't let that stop you from panicking and deciding to hate 'them' as much as 'they' hate you.
posted by gsh at 7:44 AM on May 27, 2005

I take comfort in the thought that if there is a caring, compassionate and tolerant God, these people will someday be residing in Hell for what they've done to pervert Christianity.
posted by mk1gti at 7:44 AM on May 27, 2005

The most interesting and revealing aspect of this article focuses on the corporate model and economic theory that is driving this "evangelical" movement. Their focus is on money, and mechanisms to acquire it. these churches are huge, expensive, and always hungry.
Interestingly, their "cell" model sounds very similar to the pyramid schemes of Amway and other related multi-level marketers. While those schemes are often hugely successful in the short term, they are simply not sustainable.
I guess that works if "The Rapture" TM is coming soon. But in the real world, this model is really pretty self-limiting.
Additionally, the actual teachings of Jesus in the written gospels might begin to cause them some problems, what with the contradictions and such that will become evident. I predict this group will begin to edit and revise the translation of the Bible they use to make it conform more closely to this free market model. "Free Market Jesus" will probably be just around the corner.
posted by mooncrow at 8:27 AM on May 27, 2005

Part II same editition of Harpers - Feeling the Hate with the National Religious Broadcasters - Chris Hedges (pdf. file).
posted by adamvasco at 8:55 AM on May 27, 2005

But, by all means, don't let that stop you from panicking and deciding to hate 'them' as much as 'they' hate you

Alright then, I shall continue...
posted by haasim at 9:12 AM on May 27, 2005

bollocks - edition - sorry I seem to have a stutter today.
posted by adamvasco at 9:31 AM on May 27, 2005

I just finished reading both the FPP article and the Chris Hedges article a few days ago. Hedges does as a great favor by supplying us with a distinguishing term for what most of us fear/oppose.

The Dominionist attacks on the separation of church and state are a real and growing problem and must be opposed. This must be central to the discussion. This isn't merely about slagging Christians. Many Christians oppose the Dominionist movement.
posted by Charlie Bucket at 9:38 AM on May 27, 2005

Many Christians oppose the Dominionist movement.
And there we go: unfortunately it seems the 'bad' christians are in the driver's seat these days like never before in human history.
I wonder if I will die of old age or in a deluded religiuos-right 'rapture/nuclear exchange with undecided country'?
posted by mk1gti at 9:46 AM on May 27, 2005

gsh quotes: Studies indicate that as many as 40 percent of Americans who call themselves evangelicals are politically moderate or identify with the Democratic Party

See this is one of the issues that has always struck me a one of the incredibly incomprehensible things about US political life, the conservatism of the religious movement. In Canada, intrusions into the political sphere tend to be from the opposite end of the spectrum (unless it's the Catholic church, especially in Quebec). It was the Anglican church that started the ball rolling on Gay marriage, for instance. The United church, which is our main-stream protestant church, has led the way on social justice issues for decades, since the 1930s.

It's a complete disconnect for Canucks to see religions advocating conservatism, and absolutely one of the biggest cultural differences we have. There a a few US-style evangelicals sure, in BC it's mostly played for comedy, but religious activism, even radicalism, is more the norm here.

To sum it all up: you have some wacky god-talkers.
posted by bonehead at 11:03 AM on May 27, 2005

bonehead: i wish it were not so, but it seems to me that religion has been in favor of the status quo from the days of Sumer and Ur. Honestly progressive elements in religions strike me as being sort of strange.
posted by absalom at 12:53 PM on May 27, 2005

I agree, based on my experiences with organized religion I'm astonished that they're not trying to take over Canada rather than help it become a better country (at least as far as I'm able to determine).
Let's hear it for Canadian christians!
posted by mk1gti at 2:46 PM on May 27, 2005

In The Stand, didn't they go to Boulder, which is two hours but politically a world away from Colorado Springs?

It's not surprising, but predictable that Colorado Springs, run by nutcase fascists, has a murder rate five times higher than the national average, while Boulder, run by dirty hippie commie liberals, has consistently ranked as one of the best cities in the country. (The downside being that since it's so great, property prices are way out of wack.)

Colorado, while home to the fascist hopefuls of CO Springs, is also home to Denver which has had a Democratic mayor since '91. The current mayor is a brewry owner and went out of his way to take part in a gay marriage rally.

Denver also voted for the one of the biggest public transportation plans in the country's history, Coloradans mandated the first statewide renewable energy bill, gave the state house to the Dems and voted for a hispanic Democratic senator over Pete Coors.

Theocratic fascists show up wherever they'll show up, but Colorado is moving away from them.
posted by raaka at 4:37 PM on May 27, 2005

I really wish that were true, Raaka. My birth-city and home of Colorado Springs has a pretty huge influence on the rest of the state.
posted by Balisong at 7:36 PM on May 27, 2005

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