Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bushing the Beast

Andrew Sullivan a neocon political commentor has some interesting comments about the loyalty of Christians to George Bush. He said,

Karl Rove has accelerated the transformation of the Republican Party from a party of limited government and individual liberty to one of Christianist fundamentalism and big government largess.
I find this amazing, but I presume it is true. I thought that Christians believed in limited government and liberty. Where is the Sermon on the Mount when we need it?

Sullivan also said,
The key element that binds Christianism with Bush Republicanism is fealty to patriarchal leadership. That's the institutional structure of the churches that are now the Republican base; and it's only natural that the fundamentalist psyche, which is rooted in obedience and reverence for the inerrant pastor, should be transferred to the presidency.
I am not surprised by this statement. For many years, Christians have submitted to their pastors without question. It is not surprising that they would transfer the same loyalty to a man they believe to be their political leader.

This is a distrubing thought. We live during a time when "state power" is the spirit of the age. Instead of cheering it on, Christians should be leading the charge against it. A few years ago, I wrote the following warning. I believe that it is as relevant now as it was then.

Christians should be leading the battle against the power of the state. Faith in God and providence should have made them impervious to the states promises of cradle to grave security. The Bible repeatedly warns of the dangers of political powers (beasts) that will arise and oppose the purposes of God. The early Christians heeded these warnings and struggled against the "powers that be," whenever they exceeded their authority. In contrast, modern Christians are strangely acquiescent in the face of massive state power. They are often the best cheerleaders for this emerging Beast.

Whereas Jesus and the early disciples followed the example of the OT prophets and were willing to challenge illegitimate state power, the modern church is producing Christians who are trained in compliance. Most new Christians have handed authority over much of their lives to church leaders who tell them what to believe and what to do. They have been taught to blindly submit to that hierarchical authority that controls much of the modern church. Compliant "Yes men" are not well placed to lead the battle against state power.

A Church that treasures liberty under God and encourages faith will be the best antidote against rampant state power. Christians will only be ready to lead the battle against tyranny, when they stop being at home in hierarchy.
(Silent Before the Beast).

1 comment:

Ted M. Gossard said...

Ron, I agree on much of what you're saying here, in the right context all of it.

I will say (and I'm not a fan of President Bush nor of fundamentalism) that Christians here think they can influence the state by their elected politicians and leaders. There is give and take here. Even the right wing republicans will refuse to walk, lock in step with George W, when they don't like where he's going.

Yes, the Sermon on the Mount. Never really had much to do with fundamentalism over here at least, to be sure.