Stuff Fundies Like, 2016 Election Edition

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Influential and respected in Germany, Der Spiegel offers this insightful take on a glorious election inside the bastion of western-style liberal democracy.

November 6, 2016, and for the first time in many decades, I visited an Independent Fundamental Baptist sect. I’ll report on that in another post. But that did inspire the present effort.

The pastoral prayer asked for wisdom in selecting America’s leader. That was it — until … well … it wasn’t a benediction, and not quite a dismissal. It was a minute long video of James Dobson was run telling us to ‘go vote’ on the premise that the Supreme Court had to be stocked with the right people, etc., etc. Then the pastor reminded us of our civic duty to vote. And he said that it is your ‘Christian duty’ to vote. That led to this post.

That pastor likely knows that people such as yours truly exist, although I doubt he often meets them. But I was reminded how profoundly ignorant and outright dishonest the presentation seemed. As I see it, neither he nor Mr. Dobson did God’s people any favor. Mind, some say that of me also.

Note of Warning:

This post contains statements some may find politically offensive. While not advocating open defiance of established political order, it does nothing to support that order either. If that upsets you, you should read no further.


What We’ve Seen, What It Means:

This election explores new depths of reaction, filth, degradation and regression. What isn’t clear yet but will become so is that this election has done lasting damage to the US’ core credibility both at home and abroad.

The least likely outcome of the November 8, 2016 US Presidential Election is a clear winner with a firm mandate to form a government and conduct the business of state in the stead of United States citizens.

More likely, elections will be contested in various states, some red and some blue. Courts will be involved. The Supreme Court will be involved. The possibility of ‘faithless electors’ is real. It is also possible that days or even several months may lapse before a President is selected. In that time, accusations of Russian interference may bring us dangerously close to open war with Russia — i.e., a new, World War. Behold the new normal.

Nothing Will Be Resolved:

Whatever regime in time prevails will lack all legitimacy. The US’ ability to negotiate alliances and exercise external influence will be compromised, tempting a powerful, ruling-class faction to rely all the more on the use military might to offset approaching economic and political collapse.

One establishment figure said that a Clinton win will mean unending investigations by Republican opponents in Congress from day one; but a Trump win will mean Madison, Wisconsin except on a national scale, and with political instability for a decade or more. Who said that? The great, US liberal, Newt Gingrich. This would mean that the locus of decision would move from the Halls of Congress into the streets.

Simply by being sociologically normal, Senator Clinton ought to be leading by 50 points. That Trump — win or not — will receive scores of millions of votes is an utterly crushing repudiation of the Democratic Party.

In fact Senator Clinton is committed to policies that will be catastrophic. She declares for the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairperson, General Joseph Dunford, has informed the Senate Committee on Armed Services that this will result in direct war with Russia. All of this is deliberately concealed from the public. By positioning its candidate to the right of Mr. Trump, the Democratic Party lays the basis for arguing that the election was a referendum on war with Russia.

What Is Happening:

In the past, issues were at least named. In 2016, differences are fought under narratives of scandal-mongering and McCarthyite like red-baiting’ attacks on a ‘pro-Russian’ candidate. Such hysterical slanders are used because neither party or ‘leader’ can offer a solution to so much as one of any of the explosive, political crises currently besetting the republic.

Regardless of who is declared ‘President,’ world capitalism will continue to breakdown. There will be a massive military buildup around Russia and China. Social inequality will achieve massive proportions. And on Nov. 9, working class political consciousness enters a new stage of development. This will be repressed by increasingly violent means. As the civic narrative is repudiated on the streets, riot police will assume a ubiquitous presence.

french-revolution-1789-to-1799-7-63880 years ago, Trotsky warned that the US ruling class would try to redraw the world map in its interests. US military operations confirm Leon Trotsky’s insights.

Internally, society is rife with profound social contradictions that sham elections can no longer hide or contain. The longer they are repressed, the more devastating the coming social explosion will be.

Which Way to Go:

The Pax Americana is ended. The republic is not destined for renewed greatness; it is entering collapse. The ruling class fixates on securing its privilege. The police are militarized, domestic spying is universal, and drones are developed for use within US borders. As the ruling class loads the Winchesters for coming class repression, it behooves working people to learn political lessons from their experience. Here is one such lesson.

The 2016 election is an outrageous political attack on working citizens.

As I see it, any regime that must predicate its existence on countless travesties has no legal, social or moral claim to my dutiful allegiance.

Why should I consent to be be retained as a political hostage to a decadent political order that is finally opposed to the very premise of civic decency?

If this seem unduly severe, note that it is not I, but our luminescent ‘leaders’ who prostitute themselves and the processes of state. Should they then cry ‘foul’ if the public concludes that the state is an whore?

As this nightmare of an election staggers to an end, the US led NATO is announcing its largest troop deployment since the Cold War. The ruling class demands that nations be dragged into war. Hundreds of thousands of troops are being placed on high alert, while Britain and US warplanes, tanks and artillery are being sent near Russia’s borders. All this happens behind the backs of the American people under effective news blackout.

Using the imagery of the beast, whore and false prophet, Saint John the theologian depicted and forbade war/oppression/injustice to God’s people. Yet we incarnate Rome’s imperial policies every more closely each year.

The revulsion the nation experiences toward both candidates expresses a deeper alienation from the entire structure of official capitalist politics. It makes more sense to me to give allegiance to, and to plan and labor for whatever system of governance will replace the existing political order.

This is certain: giving us the candidates it has, this election demonstrates forever to all but the politically illiterate, that the existing republic is utterly irredeemable. And if you think these candidates are bad, wait until 2020, unless thermonuclear holocaust resolves everything first.

Modern Ruins in Christian Evangelicalism

Modern Ruins in Christian Evangelicalism

Lunch at the Ark of Ham

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When after years of planning, scheming and working, seemingly unattainable dreams finally come to fruition, how do you respond?

One response is to look to the future. There are the formative experiences for the children [few of whom are seen in the photo, although they would most likely be in school anyway] and family memories. From a Christian Evangelical perspective, there is the ‘apologetic value’ of such projects.

One could also talk about God’s goodness, how God led the project, provided for the project, protected the project from accusations of fiscal malfeasance. With our latest extravaganza in place, God’s intention seems quite clear. Obviously, this was God’s plan all along. But the word ‘latest’ indicates another possible cause for reflection and ground for perspective.

Another response is to remember the past. Sure, it seems counter intuitive in the midst of ‘doing great things for God.’ Who wants to read history when you can make history? Yet history has a way of imposing its verdict on us despite our best efforts to lock it away in the closet.

Modern Ruins

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‘Reflection and perspective’ came to mind on reading Lauren Davis‘ categorization of another evangelical extravaganza under ‘modern ruins.’

Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m intrigued by social contradiction. And few things in life seem more contradictory to me than paring what is social with desolation. And what has this to do with the Ark of Ham? It so happens that this isn’t the first time that Christians have embarked on great adventures that ended well before their anticipated time. Consider Jim Bakker’s Christian theme park.

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Davis’ article recounts that after opening in 1978, ‘Heritage USA’ soon drew some 6 million guests a year. Then came scandals, then the IRS revoked its tax-exempt status, and then came Hurricane Hugo. Barely into its second decade of existence, Heritage USA closed for good.

History has a remarkable propensity to teach us about humility. Before we adulate and exonerate our vision, ingenuity, motives and successes, we might ask why we expect that our efforts will end so much better than many other equally-well intended evangelical extravaganzas.

What exactly do we leave in our wake? What do our best-laid plans and works actually achieve for God? It is one thing to point to ruins, modern or ancient, and say that they display the futility of human endeavor without God. But Christian fundamentalists notoriously recruit God for all they do.

Christians confess that their works will be tested by God. But they are tested also by time. Rather than proclaiming the meaning of our labors and achievements, we might wait with quiet patience and humility. Good marketing practice is isn’t. But it let God weigh in on topic. God says:

‘Come now, you who say, “today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “if the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil’ [Ja 4:13-16].