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West Shied Story- RichWoodsblog

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death;
their blood will be on their own heads. -Leviticus 20:13

There is one particular Dominionist bedfellow which has created a revulsion within the GOP…. to the point where it’s like they’ve awoken to a regrettable romantic interlude after a rough night drinking.

On a public relations front, sometimes a political message can become inadvertently equated with an undesired element. Unintentional socio/economic associations –when made by the public– can be embarrassing when one is trying to create a winning political brand. Still, “image” comparisons between political brands are often easy enough to make when there is a distinct similarity in tone, and terminology.

On a public relations front, sometimes a political message can become inadvertently equated with an undesired element. Unintentional socio/economic associations –when made by the public– can be embarrassing when one is trying to create a winning political brand. Still, “image” comparisons between political brands are often easy enough to make when there is a distinct similarity in tone, and terminology.

However despite a few semantic discrepancies, or one’s willingness to employ discretionary vernacular, the evangelical-fundamentalist-Christian message is synonymous with the GOP brand. Which is why throughout the conservative lexicon, it is rare when the moral imperatives of Christianity are debated within the Republican party. Routinely those who reside on the political right support one another when assigning biblical precedence while legislating. Fearing “moral” retribution amidst their own party, no one of political significance in the TEA/GOP differs with those who espouse Christian fundamentalism.

But there is one, hilarious exception.

Unless you’ve recently arisen from cryogenic stasis, you might have heard of a delightful group of good Christian folks whose tiny church resides on the West side of Topeka, Kansas. Founded by a grandfather like fella, the late Pastor Fred Phelps –and presently led by his charming daughter, the ever engaging Shirley Phelps-Roper– this church and it’s members are dedicated to bringing the message of divine superintendence through a literal interpretation of the bible. Better known as the Westboro Baptist Church, they have become famous for their firebrand method of saving Christian souls, morality, and patriotism. And en mass, the GOP rebukes the WBC for all the wrong reasons.

The across the board castigation of the Westboro Baptist Church from the political/Christian right is moral hypocrisy at its side splitting best. Although evangelicals, Republicans, and conservative media denounce the Westboro Baptist Church for their acerbic hate speech, or for picketing of tragic events (as a means to express Yahweh’s anger at America for allowing secularism) the overall Christian message is virtually the same. Sure, the folks who made “God Hates Fags” so right-wing chic are more vitriolic in their speech than most biblical purists. But if it weren’t for Fred and Shirley’s unwillingness to be tempered by political correctness, and the lack of diplomacy they use when speaking their minds, the majority of the things that they say, and the twenty-first century GOP says, are otherwise identical.

“The way to prove you love thy neighbor is to warn them they’re committing sin, I’m the only one who loves the fags.” -Pastor Fred Phelps

“Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and
of nature’s God upon  which this Nation and our laws are predicated.”
– Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy “makes Fred Phelps seem tolerant” Moore

From the literal interpretation of the bible, to the condemnation of gays, to the irrational disdain for President Obama, to blaming tragedies on divine retribution, to the denial of science in favor of what the bible says, the WBC and the TEA/GOP have no moral departure from one another. But the good folks at the Westboro Baptist Church won’t play according to the rules of American politics. They don’t bother to mask their hate speech with conservative code. Neither do they make overtures to regard the crazy and stupid moral assertions that blab from their vapid traps.

So the TEA/GOP mustn’t allow their voting base to make the legitimate correlation between themselves, and the WBC. Because it might allow the more Christian-casual members of the Republican body politic to realize that they’ve been voting for xenophobes and lunatics. Indeed, the Westboro Baptist Church has unwittingly exposed how crazy and stupid one has to be in order to reference the bible for science, history, or morality. And doing so has become part of the TEA/GOP platform.

But in a way you gotta love the Westboro Baptist Church –via an unintentional satire of the fundamentalist Christian TEA/GOP– they have managed to shed a light on the psychosis of twenty-first century conservative politics.


Fox Hole Christians

From the time we were children and old enough to comprehend, most of us have been taught to believe in an afterlife. We’ve been conditioned to believe that if we adhere to specific behavioral paradigms and sacrifice critical thought in this lifetime that we’ll be rewarded in the next one. We were told of an eternal paradise that could only be had via whatever religion we were geographically fortunate enough to be born into. As such, many have invested in a guilt driven, earthbound proprietal savings account that they hope will bear interest after they die. In doing so, many pass on life’s opportunities. And many resent those who aren’t afflicted with the fear of a post life consequence.

It is with this in mind that a recent interaction with a delightful, albeit imaginatively banal Christian fella whose “if I can’t have fun than neither should you” resentment towards anything libertine was so blatantly transparent that it would not take much of a suspension of disbelief to surmise that his secret porn stash probably contained some pretty freaky stuff, allowed for several vapid, nonsensical Christian platitudes to be blathered in my direction. Among them was that “There are no Atheists in fox holes”. This meant to infer that my disbelief in a deity would fade in the face of desperation.


But what that anemic logic fails to acknowledge is that the same can be said of one who claims to believe that their faith will grant them entrance to an ethereal utopia. Sure, there are non-believers who –when faced with the proposition of their life ending– grasp at cognitive straws. Even atheists yell “Oh God” when they’re having sex. But what makes a Christian cowering in fear in the very same fox hole, and who believes they are bound for heaven, so afraid?

For if the faith is pure and the war just, and if God is truly on your side, then why not perform daring acts of heroism in his name? Why not jump from the fox hole where the Atheist is mentally juxtaposing mortality and oblivion and show your devotion to God? Your Christian options are either doing Yahweh’s earthly bidding, or being called home to paradise. Sounds like a win-win to me. So what the hell are Christians doing crapping themselves in the same fox holes as Atheists? For that matter, why dig the fox hole in the first place?

I will maintain that deep down, sane people understand how silly the entire notion is. Christians don’t want to die any more than Atheists do because on some intellectual level, we all understand that death is the end. Moreover, the “heaven” Christians describe –to quote Christopher Hitchens– is more like a “Celestial North Korea” where the inhabitants must pay constant homage to their ethereal dictator, lest they be tortured for eternity in a fiery pit of hell. The things most of us enjoy are not permitted in heaven. Unless your idea of fun is sitting in detention with your hands folded, then the Christian heaven sucks. Actually, by comparison, North Korea sounds like an improvement.

The thing is, a lot of people say they believe in “God”, but what they actually believe in is a version of a supreme being who’s interests and bigotry are eerily similar to their own, and which allows them to tap into the darker parts of their nature when they have the desire to impose their will on others. If Christians truly believed in God the way the claim to, then he will either protect you if it is not your time to die, or he will take you if it is. At least the Islamic suicide bomber puts his faith where his mouth is. So regarding atheists and foxholes, I will maintain that there are actually no Christians in foxholes, either. There are just a bunch of scared men and women fearing the end of their existence.

Impending Implosion

There is a confusion on the part of cultural, more casual Christian Americans as to why it is that Atheists, secularists and humanists even concern themselves with other people’s beliefs. The thing is, it’s not the irrationality of fundamentalist Christianity that anyone cares about per se’, but the way that they manifest themselves upon everyone in America via politics. Those of us with a historical acumen regarding the true nature of a theocracy care because we understand the socio/political implications of Christianity, and how it would affect the American legislative process if allowed to impose itself upon the state. Moreover, without the burden of irrational guilt and fear which religious faith accords, we have the ability to apply history to present day American politics objectively, rather than from the subjective perch of religious self scrutiny.

Which is to say that historically, Christianity and politics have not worked out well.

What most “conservatives” within the GOP fail to realize is that the traditional American values that they hope to propagate will be undermined if Christian Dominionists further erode the wall of separation between church and state. History has shown that if neglected, not only would Christianity –by its very nature– undermine the Constitution and dominate the sociological and legislative landscape, but would also war within itself until a singular Christian entity reigns. Political conservatism and Christianity is an unholy alliance.

Perhaps, you’re thinking that Christian infighting could, and would never happen in America. Or that Christian Americans are above such petty disputes. Well, if history is any barometer, it would be all but guaranteed. The tenets of the faith demand it.

Christian infighting within our borders is hardly unprecedented. In fact, in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists where the phrase “Separation of Church and State” was coined, the Danbury Baptists were concerned that a religious majority might “reproach their chief Magistrate… because he will not, dare not assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ,” thus establishing a state religion at the cost of the liberties of religious minorities. Jefferson’s letter was a response to a particular group of Christian Baptists being concerned that other Christian churches were becoming too politically influential. And it is the very thing that Christian fundamentalists hope to impose unto the American populace today in the form of Dominionism.

Moreover, the sixteenth century Protestant reformation led by Martin Luther (no K) and John Calvin were a direct response to church-state oppression. The ensuing Roman Catholic counter-reformation was the equal and opposite reaction of any ruling organization having their authority challenged. It was violent, bloody, and it all happened because different groups of Christians differed in their opinions as to the interpretation of the scriptures. It tore Europe apart, and we have seen this conflict play out in Northern Ireland (among other places) until this very day.

What are perceived as subtle differences in faith now, surely will manifest into a full scale conflict.

The principles are the same with what is occurring in the Middle East, with warring factions of Sunni and Shiite Muslims killing one another over whose side Allah is on. I have to be honest, I still don’t understand what the hell it is that they are killing one another over. I’ve heard reporters refer to either side as “extremists”, and “moderates”, depending on which way the political winds were blowing. But the reality is, it doesn’t matter if we Americans can understand the subtleties of Islamic interpretation. It’s only important that they do.

They do, and their killing one another over it.

So sure, Christian Americans all feel comfortable uniting under the same political banner now, but how long would it be after one particular Christian sect acquires too much political power before socio/political strife erupts within Christian Americana? How long will it be Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, and the rest of the Christian mosaic go to war with one another over discrepancies in scripture interpretation? Do Mormons really believe that they will be tolerated within the Republican party forever?

The Christian market share will only allow for short term political alliances. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. But make no mistake, this will end just as every other marriage of convenience does… loveless and destitute.

Just as the present day GOP is constantly trying to “out-conservative” one another over gun control and global warming, they are already starting to jockey for position at the right hand of Jesus. Already there are elected officials who not only want to teach the biblical story of creation in science class, but who have made overtures at writing laws based upon Mosaic principles. For instance, there is no constitutional basis for not allowing same sex marriage, but the Dominionist mindset won’t stop until homosexuality is criminalized. The justification for doing so is in the bible. As it has been with every other conservative issue, the candidate who make the most extreme proclamation will become the standard bearer for the Republican party.

Whenever a Republican primary is dependent upon Christian extremism, the crazy gets amped up.

To the objective observer, it all seems irrational. Christians vying against one another over political influence is like watching two nerds fight over whether Star Trek, or Star Wars was the superior franchise. To us it makes little sense. They’re both space shows, right? Yet the religious reflecting pool infrequently allows for similar objectivity. Christians rarely have the capacity to see themselves in either Muslims, or Science Fiction geeks.

But unlike Christians and Muslims, nerds don’t kill one another over their passion.

Which brings us to the main point behind Christian Dominionism within our political system. As it is with corporatist profiteers who exude a “hoarder-like” obsession with acquiring money –rather than collect a house full of old newspapers and pizza boxes, or even an amount of wealth that could never be spent in the lifetimes of several successive generations– The Dominionist psychosis demands that they gather unto themselves the unrestricted ability to impose their sense of self-righteous indignation, and their will upon the rest of us. And that is even more mentally deranged than your average hoarder.

Although power in itself is a corrupting force of nature, power achieved through god is never shared. It is the absolute power that corrupts absolutely. However throughout the first two hundred and fifty years of this nation’s history, we’ve been spared the oppression of church brutality. The civilizing component to Christianity in America has been church/state separation.

But here’s the thing about Christian Dominionism within our legislative process. As they push for Mosaic law to be imposed on the United States –much as Sharia has been imposed in the middle east– the larger umbrella of Christianity will surely give way to intra-faith war. Much as the Shiite and Sunni are in constant bloody battles over –what seems to outside observers to be– minor discrepancies within Islamic tenets and interpretations of the Koran, could it be long after Christian Dominionism becomes the major political influence in America before like-minded blood is shed between Catholic and Protestant? Does anyone with the slightest sense of history believe that the “Born Again” American evangelical lobby will ever capitulate to the will of the Vatican?

And as long as the axiom holds true that he who holds the keys to heaven controls the world, there will be violence committed in Christ’s name, and the keys to heaven will be coated with blood.