Elevating the ‘Christian Nation’ Heresy II

trump-if-im-president-christianity-will-have-power-in-the-us Compromise

‘Christianity will have power’ — The Donald
‘I will give you all this authority’ — The Devil

Yesterday I commented on a post by Dr. Ray Rooney Jr. with an American Family Association project, ‘The Stand Daily.’ In lingo evoking multiple, Biblical imagery, Rooney describes ‘The Stand Daily‘ as a ‘wall of defense, champion of freedom, and beacon of light.’ In reply, I noted the folly of tying church to partizan agendas. That conforms church to this world and presses the Christian story into an alien, Gospel-incompatible narrative.

British missiologist [theology of mission] Lesslie Newbigin spent decades in India. He retired and returned home to be shocked by the discovery that in his absence, England had become a mission field. As he had it, dialogue between the Gospel and British culture was impossible UNLESS the church used the strategies and tools missionaries employ in utterly foreign lands.

Focus on the Family, the American Family Association and similar outfits sold to Christian leaders, pastors and churches [as if they needed it] the idea that it was critical to elect a conservative regime that would appoint conservatives to high positions in government and the Supreme Court.

What would Lesslie Newbigin say?

The problem with church involvement in brazen partisanship is not only that it does not ‘Christianize’ the state; the problem is that it prostitutes Jesus Christ. No less than J. Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Ray Rooney’s AFA article pimps out Jesus to solicit for political interests. We don’t need to speculate as to what Newbigin would say about this. He gave us this:

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Shape of Things to Come

We begin to see the kind of ‘appointments’ which fundamentalist and evangelical Christians believed made the election of an arch-conservative regime so imperative, and for which they now thank God.

Secretary of State

Under consideration for this crucial job is Mitt Romney. Romney advocates increased aggression by the United States military.

Attorney General

Tapped for Attorney General is Alabama Senator Jess Sessions. Sessions is no civil rights supporter. He supports intense government spying invasive even beyond what intelligence agencies want. He calls for expanding the militarization of police, and ferociously denounces immigrants. Sessions also has ties to white supremacist groups.

CIA Director

Mr. Trump’s favorite for this job is Mike Pompeo. Like Sessions, he also advocates unconstitutional spying. He has also called for the execution of whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Pompeo is also pro-torture. Presumably this qualification matters for employment as CIA Director. I wonder why…

National Security Advisor

This position goes to General Michael Flynn. Flynn is a former military intelligence officer and a current anti-Muslim fanatic.

Homeland Security Department Secretary

Trump has interviewed John Kelly for this position. Kelly defended the abuse of military detainees. Trump has yet to interview the Kansas State Secretary, Kris Kobach, who is also under consideration for this job. It was Kobach who designed the plan to register all Muslim visitors to the US and all Muslim immigrants already residing in the US.

Defense Secretary

Marine General James Mattis seems to be the favorite. Mattis oversaw some of the most heinous war crimes in US imperial history. He led the atrocious 2004 slaughter of Fallujah, including mass killings of civilians, the physical destruction of Fallujah [using white phosphorus and depleted uranium munitions], and other war crimes. Mattis said ‘it’s a hell of a hoot’ and ‘it’s fun to shoot some people.’ When 42 [including women and children] were killed in what cameras clearly revealed to be a wedding party, Mattis refused to apologize for his troop’s actions.

Education Secretary

Trump met with two candidates for this job. One is Michelle Rhee. As chancellor of the Washington DC public schools, Rhee attempted to destroy the teacher tenure system. The other is Betty DeVos. Her organization, American Federation of Children, seeks to defund public schools and invest those monies in charter schools, privately owned schools, and in religious organizations.

Chief Strategist

As many know, this position goes to Stephen Bannon, former head of Breitbart News. The white nationalist organizations in the orbit of the so-called ‘alt-right’ have praised the elevation of Bannon and Sessions.

Bannon’s aim is to ‘build an entirely new political movement.’ He adds:

‘With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything…We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.’

Such gibberish has never been heard at the height of US power. Best of all, this nationalist economic agenda is to be funded by debt-spending.

What All This Means

This administration will be unlike any the US has seen. Abroad, allies and foes are nervous reconsidering trade and military alignments and options. In Europe and Asia, nations hear calls to rearm, including development of nuclear arsenals. Alliances, including NATO, are increasingly strained.

At home, the attempt to tie populist rhetoric to economic nationalism is a fraud. Far from supporting the American worker, the whole ruling class is shifting toward unbridled nationalism and repressive, authoritarian rule. It is moving toward massive military spending increases and wars abroad. In blood and treasure, the working class will bear this toll.

This is why students across America have taken to the streets.

Back to Ray Rooney

The extreme gravity of this situation deepens the offense of Dr. Rooney’s reactionary rhetoric. Rather than developing a political balance sheet to address any of these issues, he slanders the student protests:

‘Spoiled liberals who didn’t even bother to vote have taken to the streets to protest Trump’s election.  They’re actually protesting the result of their own apathy!  Apparently, a rather large segment of liberals think they’re entitled to the candidate of their choice without even bothering to show up to pull a lever, touch a screen, or fill in a circle.’

Student protesters know that they have zero political representation. And whether or not they articulate it in these terms, those who refuse to vote commonly recognize that the campaign process itself is a political attack on the working class. Indeed, not one high level Democratic Party official appeared with them or gave voice to their grievances. Democratic Party officials are frantic to normalize a situation that’s anything but normal.

Contrary to Dr. Rooney’s slanderous statements, these supposedly spoiled brats are protesting the emergence of a genuine form of American fascism which will use ever more brutal means to repress and contain an already exhausted, disoriented, confused and distressed public. They see a day in which dissent will be criminalized and the state will gun down citizens.

Rooney assumes that said protests are momentary, sour grapes reaction to Trump’s election. In reality, an entire generation is entering the political process. If it refuses to be misguided into Democratic Party alignment by a Bernie Sanders-like charlatan, this student protest movement will become politically radicalized. We may yet see mass demonstrations the likes of which have not occurred since WW I.

Above all else, the ruling class [Republican and Democrat] fears just such a politically independent, mass protest/strike movement. Donald Trump’s rise and the collapse of all Democratic Party resistance before him reveals a ruling class uniting to crush every potential challenge to its privilege.

When those challenges [of which the student protests are a portent] come, I expect the likes of Dr. Rooney, Jim Dobson and fundie ‘law-and-order’ preachers stand firm for godly rule against protesting miscreants who refuse to buy the narrative or support the government America ‘elected.’

What Rooney doesn’t say about that ‘election’ is that 10 million fewer people voted for Senator Clinton than Senator Obama in 2008. Nor does he say that President-elect Trump lost the popular vote by 2 million votes. Trump lost the popular vote more decisively than any Electoral College winner. This puts the lie to the claim that he was elected because the public has adopted his ultra-right policies. Yet barely able to contain his glee, Rooney gushes that:

‘Americans were drawn to Donald Trump because of his fearless tell it like it is attack on what’s plainly and clearly wrong with the nation.’

Americans were driven to Trump because the Wall Street candidate, Sen. Clinton, represented the collapse of Obama’s Hope and Change presidency into endless attacks on jobs, wages, pensions, health care, schools, social repression, backed by universal spying and militarized police repression. In reality, the ‘Hope and Change’ candidate of the right will do no better. His supporters will learn soon enough that he has no alternative to offer.

Rooney offers that Trump’s vision was more Biblical than the alternative. He is entitled to his opinion. But to present Mr. Trump’s elevation as God’s blessing on Christian faithfulness makes one answerable for what that decision entails. That brings us back to Lesslie Newbigin.

To the extent it tries to embody the rule of God in the form of earthly power, the church ceases to be a sign of the kingdom. Gaining everything, the Christian fundamentalist and broadly evangelical community lost everything. To the extent that it aligns itself with the powers of this age and not the kingdom of God, it is heretical and in a state of in apostasy.

God’s people are bound by Scripture to separate themselves from that.

Making Babylon Great Again

Sister Sarah delivers a brief speech that some deem rousing, but others find and demagogic, demented and outright sad. This is a sub-Christian narrative. Confessing Christians who are deceived by it are not wise.

 

 

Elevating the ‘Christian Nation’ Heresy I

Christian Nation Heresy

What Wrong With This Heresy?

It seems not to occur to us that when he refused the Satan’s offer of earthly power and glory, Jesus wasn’t leaving it for us. Rather he showed us that we like him are to shun the Satan’s offer. But we don’t get it.

That, or we refuse to get it. This is because what Satan offered is exactly what many so-called ‘conservative’ Christians want. Translation?

While they don’t admit it, many ‘conservative’ Christians believe Jesus got the Satan’s temptation wrong. They think Jesus ought to have taken the offer. Consequently, they work to gain what Jesus relinquished.

Where relationship to earthly power is concerned, many fundamentalist and broader evangelical ‘Christians’ take up a flag in one hand and a cross in the other, and declare their spiritual solidarity with Lucifer.

Dr. Ray Rooney Jr.

ray-rooney-jr

What an opportunity the political landscape of America has provided for her church.

Friday last, Ray Rooney published a piece for the American Family Association. The title comes in the form of the question, ‘On the Cusp of National Revival?’

When Jesus wrote the church at Philadelphia, he said ‘I have put before you an open door which no one can shut’ [Re 3:8]. In a Biblical theology, ministry is an outgrowth of the work of Jesus. The suggestion that churchly opportunity arises from the shifting political landscape is born of rank unbelief. It also postulates US political culture as the mediator of divine blessing.

Moreover, Mr. Rooney recalls that twice, President Obama was elected. He equates those years with rising debauchery and bestial impulses bent on effecting political tyranny in the land. For his assertions, he offers not the slightest theoretical analysis. Are we to accept this because he says it?

Likewise, the church appeared to have fallen into apostasy during the Obama years. He continues…

‘And the church provided little in the way of hope for change or guidance; she was more interested in being accepted by the puppeteers of culture driven by darkness than transforming the lost through the proclamation of God’s righteousness and the powerful blood of Jesus Christ. ‘

Partisan Gospel

We should have no illusions about Ray Rooney’s partisan gospel. His unstated premise implies a correlation between partisan fortunes and faithful proclamation leading to God’s blessing. That is a lie. It is heresy. It is blasphemy. A partisan gospel is not a universal gospel. And the gospel of Jesus is for all people. This includes so-called ‘liberals.’

Mr. Trump’s election is the switch on which this twisted narrative turns. It now appears that we may stand on the cusp of a national revival. He wants us to know that evangelical leaders made a difference on Nov 8.

What ‘Christian’ Influence!

With many fine exceptions, the reality is that the North American church serves as a conduit connecting political process and the White House with the gutter. Such presidential nominations as we have seen in this election cycle are vomited up when a political order is in terminal decline. Still, this doesn’t prevent Rooney from ‘going evangelical’ and saying:

‘We will always have a welcome and needed contingent of people calling the body of Christ to love, forgive, and accept God’s love.’

This constitutes neither Mr. Rooney nor the American Family Association for which he writes as one of those fine exceptions. The narrative to which he returns about sin and salvation does not mesh with a partisan gospel. But he apparently prefers that we see it otherwise.

God willing, more on this tomorrow.

No — The Nation HASN’T Lost Its Soul

humpty-trumpty
Sometime early this morning, Canada’s Immigration website crashed …

A Perspective on the 2016 Election:

The elevation of an obscene charlatan and fascistic demagogue to the Oval Office parades to the world the terminal crisis that US democracy is. Under Trump, America will not be ‘great again;’ it will be driven into the dirt.

Why It Happened — Sentence Version:

Trump prevailed because as the working class said for generations, it has ZERO REPRESENTATION in the official United States political system.

Why It Happened — Paragraph Version:

As eight years of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ promises collapsed into war, and living standards eroded, the vast majority saw itself betrayed. It saw a Democratic Party that represents the most privileged, upper-middle class layer and otherwise appeals to identity politics [race, gender, etc.]. Trump voiced and therefore channeled mass public frustration/outrage at this societal decay/crisis into his campaign. That is what demagogues do.

Why It Happened — In Metaphor:

Email revelations, sexual indiscretions and palace intrigues didn’t effect this end. More important is that just weeks ago, we learned that Obama’s signature domestic program, the ‘Affordable Care Act’ faces double-digit cost increases in ’17. Far more than FBI Director, James Comey’s utterly stupid e-mail II scandal, this mattered. It mattered by underscoring in a very tangible way the alienation between the ruling and working classes.

Other Factors:

Two other issues to consider. Since the 70s, trade unions have suppressed class struggle even as they channel support into the Democratic Party. This strategy is faltering. Rank and file committees are gaining popularity for independent leadership in existing unions.

Then Sen. Sanders’ craven capitulation to Sen. Clinton ensured that the political right would monopolize opposition to the status quo. It is no accident that Trump’s most significant upsets came in states where Sen. Sanders defeated Clinton by large majorities in the Democratic primaries.

The Last Word on Identity Politics:

The ultimate ‘identity politics’ irony may be that the Democrats lost not only in areas that are poor and white; they also saw lowered voter turn out in majority black regions. Youth and African Americans see no reason to support an obvious ‘status quo’ candidate who runs on ‘tough on Russia platform. They know this means more social misery. They know that it is they themselves who will be sacrificed in coming wars.

Looking Ahead:

Trump has naught to offer but more wars and tax cuts for the super-wealthy. This ever increasing burden will shift onto the working class.

Working people, including those who voted for Trump, will soon discover what they have in a president Trump. Shock and outrage will follow. So will increasingly bitter struggles arising from the deep divisions that this election revealed. New and increasingly vicious state violence will be used more and more routinely against the people.

Political shock is being felt around the world. Germany is facing a massive rearmament in anticipation of an increasingly independent line in a post Obama world. This has potential to divide Germany. It also means less US political clout in Europe. The post-WW II system of alliances is finished. This puts everything up for grabs. Don’t be surprised if some European allies gravitate toward Russia. That would compromise the drive to global hegemony and create ever more instability. America, consider your ways.

Faith and State:

The church must find grace and strength to address class issues if it is to speak the truth about poverty and privilege. No less than the children of Israel who under Pharaoh’s hand cried out to Yahweh, the poor and needy in our own time and place cry out for deliverance. But Donald Trump is no deliverer. And by siding with power rather than with the wage slaves all around us, the church ensures that it also will be removed when the coming sociopolitical explosion purges this system from the earth.

The nation hasn’t lost its soul. But unless the wage-slave class unites and takes its place in society as the only true wealth producer, America is lost.