Thursday, July 07, 2011


One of the most eye-opening (and disillusioning) discoveries that prompted me to more seriously and thoroughly reevaluate my beliefs was a gradual awakening to the ugly (and decidedly un-Christlike) face that the religious right had placed on the Christian faith it claimed to speak for. For those who get most or all of their news from conservative and/or evangelical sources, organizations like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association appear to be bastions of truth and righteousness in a dark and chaotic world.

Unfortunately that veneer quickly peels away when subjected to even moderate scrutiny. Underneath all of these groups' stern, authoritative-sounding proclamations lies a barely concealed commitment to winning the argument at any cost. When the Gospel is redefined as a political agenda, the Kingdom of Heaven quickly becomes indistinguishable from any earthly kingdom.

In politics, winning is everything. As a result, any means are ultimately justified in achieving one's ends, and champions of "biblical morality" are thus free to demonize, distort, deceive and even ignore inconvenient laws in the pursuit of their "godly" agenda. Helping people may ostensibly be the goal of this push for power, but under this militant gospel compassion can only be shown through the forcible imposition of "God's will" on others for their own good.

Such a mindset is hardly unique to the religious right, of course, or even to fundamentalist religions. But to claim that their crusade is biblical requires a far more selective use of the Bible than any doctrine promoted by the "liberals" they despise so much.

It's a tragic irony that those who are quickest to name Satan as the author of anything they oppose (or even generally dislike) are so blind to the negative fruits of their labors against those "works of the devil". But perhaps it's no coincidence at all; throughout history, nothing has done more to discredit the church than its lust for political power. What better way, then, to corrupt and destroy it than by seducing it with promises of heaven brought to earth through the benevolent use of worldly power?

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