It’s Progressives, not conservatives, who want to turn America into a Christian theocracy

If one takes Progressives at their word about Jesus and politics, it is Progressives who are working to turn America into a Christian theocracy.

Progressives Christian theocracyIf you go to Amazon’s Kindle bestseller list, you will see that the current bestseller is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (see image, left).

Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986, during the Reagan presidency. Back then, Democrats (as Progressives still called themselves) were terrified that Reagan and his supporters in the Christian Coalition were about to turn America into a Christian theocracy, comparable in all respects to Iran under the Ayatollah Khomeni. I, being a young, yuppified, NPR-style Democrat, naturally read the book. At the time, it seemed soooo significant; now it just seems over-heated, paranoid, and quite silly.

For those who haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale (or those who did read it and are trying their damndest to forget it), the plot is a simple one: America is a Christian theocracy run by old white men with sterile wives. To prevent population collapse, the men and their wives basically imprison nubile young women and force them to have three-way sex (in a bizarre Christian fashion) in order to get the young women pregnant. The lead character eventually escapes to freedom where she can make her own choices about her body. In other words, it’s a pro-abortion novel contending that it’s inevitable that, if Christians are politically ascendant, we will have an American theocracy complete with women subordinated, barefoot, pregnant, and in weird ménage à trois relationships with reptilian old men and women.

As Atwood’s return to the bestseller lists shows, today’s Progressives are terrified that we’re again heading for a Christian theocracy, never mind that even Trump’s most committed supporters would not characterize him as a devout Christian. After all, it was Trump who creatively referred to “Two Corinthians,” which sounds more like a hipster bar than Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Progressive hysteria also has it that Trump, who championed gay marriage long before the winds of change overtook Obama and Hillary, is going to copy Muslim Chechnya and kill gays.

To prove that ascendant Christians aren’t just scary, but are also very, very wrong, one of my Progressive friends posted to Facebook a link to a lengthy Progressive post from a couple of Easters ago. The post’s author, Elisabeth Parker, made the usual argument that Jesus is really a Leftist and would bitterly oppose all Republican political initiatives. It’s an endless post, but I’ll quote just a little bit, along with my comments, so that you can get the flavor:

Right-wingers keep going on and on about how much they love Jesus Christ. They see him as their “personal” Savior. But when you read the following 20 quotes from the New Testament, you’ll wonder what Bible they’re reading.

Dictionary.Com defines the word “Christian” as people who follow Jesus Christ’s teachings…or at least have something to do with Him:

Chris·tian [kris-chuhn] adjective 1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith. 2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on a the teachings of Jesus Christ: Spain is a Christian country. 3. of or pertaining to Christians: many Christian deaths in the Crusades. 4. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike: She displayed true Christian charity. 5. decent; respectable: They gave him a good Christian burial.

So, a Christian is a person who tries to act like Jesus Christ or at least follow His teachings? Alas, this definition doesn’t sound at all like the GOP’s so-called “Christians” we keep reading and hearing about in the news.

Do you know any right-wing Christians who truly follow Jesus Christ?

20 liberal quotes from Jesus Christ to ponder.

[snip]

(19) “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Matthew 7:1-2 KJV]

Jesus Christ commands his followers not to be judgmental towards their neighbors. Yet these right wingers can’t stop themselves from making arbitrary judgments about nearly everyone: LGBTs, single moms, people of color, immigrants, non-Christians, poor people, and just anyone who isn’t white, rich, male, and “Christian.” [Bookworm: It’s almost charming how blind Parker is to the irony of a vicious, ad hominem post that repeatedly, approvingly, cites to Christ’s mandates not to judge lest you be judged and to avoid hypocrisy. Almost. In fact, it’s pretty disgraceful that she would laud her interpretation of Christ’s teachings while ignoring them herself. Moreover on the subject of being judgmental, David Limbaugh, who actually knows the Bible rather than little selections, has pointed out that Christ was extremely judgmental. What matters is that his judgments were the correct ones. ]

[snip]

(14) “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” [1 John 3:17 KJV]

How can a conservative so-called “Christian” read this passage and keep voting for people who give tax cuts to the rich, while slashing programs that feed families, care for the elderly and disabled, house the homeless, provide healthcare, protect consumers, and keep our air and water clean? [Bookworm: This passage perfectly exemplifies Parker’s belief that Jesus’s moral and spiritual demands must be effectuated through government.]

(13) “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” [Matthew 9:35]

Jesus Christ famously roamed the Holy Land giving free healthcare to everyone in need. Even many non-Bible readers are familiar with Our Savior’s healing exploits. Yet, His conservative “Christian” followers in Congress are adamantly opposed to giving Americans access to healthcare. Instead, they waste U.S. taxpayers’ time and money over and over again trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) even though their GOP lawmakers helped design the program, and their 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, had great success with a similar program during his tenure as Mass. state governor. Go figure. [Bookworm: It’s impressive that Parker makes the leap from Jesus’s miracles — unique to him as the son of God — to Obamacare, a government program that steals from the middle class to give to the insurance companies.]

[snip]

(11) “And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” [John 2:14-16 KJV]

Unlike our Mammon-worshipping conservative Christians, Jesus Christ clearly loathes capitalism. Pretty much the only time we ever see Jesus totally lose his cool and go into an Incredible Hulk-like rage is when he returns to Jerusalem with his disciples, and finds the Temple clogged with bankers and vendors. He doesn’t just yell at them, He totally goes apesh*t, wrecks their booths, and drives them out with whips He somehow manages to improvise and fashion on the spur of the moment. One can only imagine how Jesus would feel about Wall Street, the Koch brothers, and ALEC. [Bookworm: I’ve always understand this passage to mean that Jesus did not believe that a temple of God should be treated as a marketplace. That is, he was not objecting to a “house of merchandise”; he was objecting to a “house of mechandise” operating out of “my Father’s house.”]

[snip]

(7) “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” [Matthew 12:7 KJV]

Jesus Christ always preached mercy for women, children, sinners, criminals, the poor, and even his own enemies. Yet, today’s conservative Christians demand retroactive abortions the death penalty and insist that children who commit crimes should be charged as adults. [Bookworm: That second sentence is a doozy. Parker is opposed to the death penalty, which she views as a “retroactive abortion”; but completely supports abortion itself. Nor does she distinguish at all between the fact that the fetus cannot be anything but innocent, while the criminal is a mature being who has made deliberate choices. Wow. Just . . . wow.]

It’s easy to attack Parker on the ground that she’s both ignorant and hypocritical. Shooting fish in a barrel, though, gets boring pretty quickly.

However, after spending some time plowing through Parker’s 20 peculiar takes on Christ’s actions and words, I had an epiphany: The ones seeking to turn America into a Christian theocracy aren’t self-professed conservative, Evangelical Christians; instead, the Progressives are the ones seeking a Christian theocracy, with Christianity defined by their Progressive sect rather than by more traditional Christian teachings.

Before going further, let me take a page out of that blogger’s book, and start with a definition, one that she and her fellow travelers might not quite understand:

Theocracy, noun, plural theocracies.
1. a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.
2. a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.
3. a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.

As the definition makes clear, one needn’t have religiously ordained leaders in order to have a theocracy. It’s enough that the government is organized entirely along the lines that a God dictates.

In Parker’s case, she is arguing that conservative Christians are hypocrites because, despite claiming allegiance to Jesus Christ, they refuse to have American government run entirely along the “laws” that Jesus demands. Instead, it is Parker — a Progressive who argues that “America is not a Christian nation” — who claims the moral high ground by demanding that America’s government be run in a way that is completely consistent with her understanding of Jesus’s spiritual and moral demands.

Put another way, she is unwittingly proving that, in 21st century America, it’s the conservatives who want to separate church and state, while it’s the Progressives who demand a Christian theocracy. (With “Christian” in this case meaning the hippie, Leftist, liberation theology interpretation of the New Testament.)

Parker, who seems to have a tenuous relationship at best with either the New Testament, forgets that Jesus incisively established that his parables, strictures, instructions, demands, and actions were directed at the individual, not the government. When disbelievers tried to confound him with a question about paying taxes to the Romans using coins with Caesar’s image upon them,  Jesus refused to be drawn into such a discussion. Instead, he dismissed entirely the possibility that his teachings intersected with civil politics, rather than pure faith: “Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at him.” (Mark 12:17.)

At all times, Jesus recognized the difference between state and faith. Had he wished to, he could have predicated any one or all of his teachings by adding something along the lines of “I say to you, pay your taxes to the Romans so that they can heal every sickness, oust the thriving commerce from the Jewish temple, and administer to the poor.” Or, as a couple of clever people said using posters:

So next time you hear some Progressive going on about the horrors of the coming Christian theocracy, just reminded that Progressive that it’s the Progressives, not conservatives (especially conservative Christians), who are desperate to put their interpretation of God into American politics. Conversely, it’s the conservatives (especially the conservative Christians) who are even more desperate to keep God and politics separate. And I might add, it’s the conservatives, especially the conservative Christians, who put their time and their money behind their principles, because they are more likely than any Americans to work for or donate to charities that serve the least among us. Meanwhile, the rich Progressives donate to the opera and the symphony, while the middle class Progressives throw their weight behind open borders.

  • I am one of those Christians – a real evangelical one, not a progressive one.

    Now for a story. Last Spring, I took a graduate course in preaching, given by our pastor. We had to prepare 3 sermons and deliver two of them – one to our class of nearly 20, and one to my church small group (about 35). My “final” was presented to the class, and it took me about 80 hours to put it together (it was on Hebrews 1:1-2). 80 hours for just two verses? My other delivered sermon was on John 9 (the man born blind). It took a similar effort to put together. Note: I have no intention of ever preparing and delivering another sermon in my life. But it was quite an experience, and everyone taking the course agreed that they and others did far, far better than they imagined they could when the course began.

    Why did it take so long? Well, I was a newbie. But even our pastor says it takes him about 30 hours to prepare a sermon. It takes a long time because a lot of research is involved. We don’t just consider the verses by themselves. We look at their context within the chapter, the book, the Bible as a whole. I could go on about other aspects, but here I just want to focus on context.

    Every snippet that liberals list are taken out of context. “Judge not” is probably the most misused verse in the entire Bible. But you only have to read the next few verses to see this is so (Matt 7:1-5). As someone who has read and studied the Bible a lot, it is annoying and even offensive to have people on the Left claiming to know what the Bible has to say, when they “research” is probably limited to a Google search or taking someone else’s talking points.

    If anyone is interested, I posted my final sermon here ( http://www.unshackledaction.com/single-post/2016/05/22/Speak-to-Me-God-1 ), but only if you are interested as it is fairly long (we were supposed to preach 25-30 minutes).

    • blick

      Topcat69, Agree that liberals have no depth of understanding of the Bible. The other often misquoted verse is :” Love your enemies.” As you probably know, In the Greek that word Love used here is Agape — God’s Love. It is not the Greek for fellowship. So the meaning is: Love with Grace, Mercy, Forgiveness. It is not to bring them into your house and trust them as you would a close friend or family member.

      Your sermon prep reminds me of the young preacher asking the old preacher for sermon advice. His advice, ” Preach about God and preach about 20 minutes.”

      • MacG

        I find that most Liberals make the same mistake of which they complain about the ‘Fundies’ namely taking the bible literally, in a wooden letterest sense. Like when my wife’s cousin told that her Autistic son is so literal that when they passed on of those yellow road signs reading “NO OUTLET” he wondered aloud “Well, how do they plug stuff in?” Likewise Liberals seem to have no capacity for considering genre when reading the text (especially odd as they are the ‘educated’ ones who ought to get at least that concept, as opposed to those flat earthers don’t cha know). But then most of them, in my experience, read to object/dismiss/excuse rather than to understand.

        • ymarsakar

          They are educated in the fashion that zombies are educated.

          • MacG

            Eating other’s people’s brains?

          • ymarsakar

            “If they must”. There is always the necromancer vampire hypothesis as well, where they drain energy and intellect directly. Every time a family member went up to see Hussein Obola, they came out positively thinking that nothing went wrong with Benghazi or other things. Later it came out that they were lied to and deceived.

            A lot of conservatives used to avoid going up against Leftists even on FB in the days when I was crying out in the wilderness against the Evils of the Leftist alliance and the need for America to wake up, because they could feel the energy drain even from that far online.

      • Some preachers take the Holy Spirit approach. They do no preparation and rely on being “inspired” when the time comes. To my knowledge, no great preacher, historical or contemporary, follows this approach. Back in my PCUSA days, the ministers took the classroom lecture approach to their sermons. I doubt they spent more than a few hours preparing. But since I escaped to the Baptists, sermons are taken much more seriously.

        Sound sermons begin with the Bible and seek to determine what the Bible has to say to us today (that is what takes so much time!) Liberal preachers often begin with the desired message and then seek to back it up with the Bible – and sometimes they don’t even bother to do that.

        • MacG

          You refer to Exegesis and Eisegesis. Exegesis is to draw out of the passage what is there and Eisegesis is to interpret through you own field of experience eg apiroi assumptions, biases etc. The latter is how some were able to justify chattle slavery. The former is how we come to abolish such biases as we defer to the wisdom of God.

          The Holy Spirit approach can be effective only when it is the Spirit is leading not one’s feelings. Some use the verse where the followers are told not to worry what to say to the Magistrates as the Holy Spirit will remind of what I have said (paraphrased by MacG) But to REminded one has to be ‘Minded’, in other words study to get it into your mind to have it recalled later.

          You first line reminds me of the first two paragraphs here: http://www.nightingale.com/newsletters/553/

          • Well, I wanted to put it into plain English. Anyway, my wife is the Greek scholar in the family (and she also took the preaching course). I keep saying “preaching course” but more precisely, it was a “biblical preaching course.”

            The farmer and the preacher. That was a good one. I’d never seen it before, but it is so true. We are to be good stewards with what God has entrusted to us. And we are God’s workers here on earth. But we surely cannot do God’s will if we haven’t a clue what his will is. I sort of refer to that in my above linked sermon – that is, how do we know when God (or the Holy Spirit) is speaking to us?

          • MacG

            Plain English is good 🙂 God’s will – now there’s an easy one 😉 You are correct that anything that you hear from God will not negate what is written but loving God with all your heart souls mind and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself is not a bad start 🙂

          • ymarsakar

            that is, how do we know when God (or the Holy Spirit) is speaking to us?

            It won’t be from some church degree or university degree, that at least I can state.

        • ymarsakar

          Preachers are those who hold their testimony by education degrees from humanity at large, instead of by faith or by the holy priesthood’s direct lineage.

          Thus they cannot summon the Holy Spirit easily. They are no prophet.

          Matthew was mostly quoting his rabbi and mentor. Later on he added “judge righteously”. The point is easy to understand, even without education or preparation. In the Last Judgment, the guilty and the innocent, the righteous and the unrighteous, shall be resurrected. Right around the Final Battle and Ragnarok itself where even the gods and angels will die, taken and threshed and thrown out to be burned, the real hell, not the temporary prisons people feel now. That means hiring lawyers and Popes to get indulgences will mean nothing, for in the divine courts everything people have said and done will be accounted for. Justice will be demanded, in full. Lawyers, if such exist there, can only tell the truth. And the witnesses of a person’s crime will not be dead and will in fact continue on for generations and generations, crying out for vengeance from the earth itself before the resurrection.

          A judgment in those times meant the Sanhedrine judgments. To stone a woman. To crucify or execute a person. As Saul of Tarsus did to the Christians. It didn’t mean having an opinion online without the force of law and pain of death.

          None of that needs much preparation for a 20 minute speech to a congregation. It’s all very simple. What makes people take longer is that they think they have to meet some kind of theological, higher education, standard. Something that makes them clever, in the fashion that the Pharisees thought themselves clever.

  • blick

    Book, Trump’s Two Corinthians mistake reminds me of the old joke about the backwoods Preacher that referred to One Eyed John, Two Eyed John and Three Eyed John.

  • MacG

    Jesus did not heal everybody either nor do many miracles everywhere as it had to do with the faith of those he encountered.

    ” 53When Jesus had finished these parables, He departed from there. He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? “And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.” Matt 13

    Aside from that I would like to take time to point out some nuance lost on some critics which say that Jesus went to India from the time he was 12 to 30 and learned his ‘healing arts’ as a Guru. Note what they are saying about him, speaking as if he was very familiar to them, as if he had been living there he and his brothers and sisters (yes, half brothers and sisters). Luke (4:16) also says of another time when he went to the synagogue as was his custom. One does not get the reputation of having a custom if they had been away for 18 years. Anyway a bit of a digression but felt the need to put it out there.

  • MacG

    “Two Corinthians” is how I have heard some English call out such passages as well. Even some Scottish it seems…

    http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/clay-waters/2016/07/13/nyt-excises-obamas-bible-flub-still-praises-his-scripture-quoting

  • David Foster

    Interesting point about The Handmaid’s Tale: the author had visited Afghanistan before writing it.

    “Six years after our trip, I wrote ”The Handmaid’s Tale,” a speculative fiction about an American theocracy. The women in that book wear outfits derived in part from nuns’ costumes, partly from girls’ schools’ hemlines and partly — I must admit — from the faceless woman on the Old Dutch Cleanser box, but also partly from the chador I acquired in Afghanistan and its conflicting associations.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/28/magazine/lives-when-afghanistan-was-at-peace.html

    It would have been nice if she’d mentioned this connection in a preface or an afterword…I don’t remember seeing such.

  • surroundedbyidiots

    I’ve thought for a long time that lefties were the ones who wanted the church in the state, but their church was the church of climate change/gaia/whatever gets them absolute power & control. Here, I agree that their version of a lefty Jesus would also suit their purpose.

  • Religion is the excuse not the reason.

  • Libby_CO

    Gosh, she doesn’t even get to Obama’s favorite Bible passage about being one’s brother’s keeper (since it pre-dates Jesus). Obama constantly misinterpreting that one for 8+ years never got old. /sarc

    • ymarsakar

      Hussein still has a brother in Kenya that has problems that Hussein refuses to help out with.

  • Faragon

    I devoted an hour or so to reading the book when it first came out. I could have been at the dentist.

  • Tonestaple

    I read “The Handmaid’s Tale” way back when. What a let-down. Dystopic novels should have action and adventure and it was slow and whiny.

    In point of fact, where there is force, there is no virtue and Jesus was all about virtue. If someone holds a gun to your head and says “give all your money to the poor,” there’s no virtue for you, because you did it to save your life, and there’s surely no virtue attaching to the thief with the gun. Only if you freely and willingly and voluntarily give your money to the poor can any virtue at all attach. Using force to make someone else act as if he were virtuous removes all possibility of virtue from the equation.

    • UCSPanther

      I have found Atwood’s writings to be dull and preachy. She is an embarrassment to Canadian literature…

  • Ray Kremer

    Point well made that leftists are against a phantom “right wing Christian theocracy” while in essence being all for a similar “left wing Christian theocracy”, but let us not also forget that they apparently have no problem with the threat of western nations being transformed into Islamic theocracies, because they hate right wing Christianity so much that anything in opposition to that is considered virtuous.

  • MacG

    Trey Gowdy for next Supreme Court nominee or AG. AG better AG but it would be great to see him grill the Attorneys in court.

  • ymarsakar

    See Book, it becomes very easy to see through Lucifer’s deceptions once you realize what the Leftist alliance is a religion and not a political thing you just “disagree” with.

    The truth is not so simple that anyone can or will get it. It’s an onion with layers. You’re not going to get to the deep layers without accepting the first ones.