That being clear, read on this rant.
Talking about faith has more pitfalls than talking about race. There’s no diplomatic way to address this topic, but it’s one that can no longer be avoided. Chances are many people will be offended by this rant– if said people manage to make outside their insulated media bubble – so if you are, comment and detail why POLITUSIC is wrong. As always, there is a measure of generalization and therefore exceptions to this opinion. Here we’re talking about trends, not absolutes.
POLITUSIC believes in freedom of religion, but it also believes in separation of church and state. Watching the Republican Party’s 3-decade takeover by the hardline religious right has solidified opinion that the “vote republican or die” evangelical base of the GOP is bad for democracy, and turning parts of America into logic and cultural wastelands.
The evolution of conservative evangelicalism in America has been relatively quick, bold, and very well organized. As it has forced the Republican Party to merge religious belief with policymaking, the southern, hardline evangelical movement has chipped away at secular norms that are the foundation of a functioning democracy, and both ironically and intentionally, has decreased “religious freedom” in the United States.
Oh, and as far as I can tell, many have no moral integrity whatsoever.
Hardline Evangelicals Are Raised So That Legal Accountability Has No Meaning
Forgiveness by a deity is a nice thing. It brings comfort to billions of people. Religion is also cool, and has lots of great headliner bands these days.
I’m troubled, however, by hardline evangelicals extending the concept of divine forgiveness to cover 100% of their earthly actions. The lesson learned is they have a free pass to, for example, commit sexual assault on a 14-year old girl. When all is forgiven, there is no accountability.
That’s a big problem.
Remember the affluenza legal case? Hardline evangelicals suffer a divine version of affluenza, which is unsettling. That sort of “inherently-granted grace” brings communities of believers very close to Witch Trials territory. No matter what a believer might do in this life, they will be forgiven, and therefore, will never be held accountable for their actions… that’s not the sort of religious teaching I remember. The “total forgiveness” structure of hardline evangelicalism throws individual and socialized morality out the window.
Faith is not religion. Faith is personal. Faith is not social; religion is. Religion is a belief system, a community, a practice, a set of rules… a “thing” that is supposed to help guide people toward faith by means of ritual and holding people accountable to a collection of moral standards. Unfortunately, hardline evangelicals – particularly the American version – are not bound to anything other than that which they demand in the afterlife. There is no external force of accountability for evangelicals, because in the end, anything and everything will be forgiven.
Terrifyingly, the psychological result is a core belief that there is no law other than God’s, and as such, “true believers” do anything to force their religion into other systems. This problem is much larger than the GOP being willing to do anything to give their billionaire donors a giant tax cut. This is a mechanism of legally stacking the deck against every other religion and belief system in society.
That’s a big problem… if continued to be ignored, it’s an ethnic cleansing-level problem.
Evangelicalism Is An Impossible Mind-Bubble To Burst
The problem about faith is that it’s impossible to argue. We already know that the republican media bubble is lined with lead and surrounded by paranoia bombs. Media bubbles that add evangelical “information” are even worse.
As long as we’re grossly generalizing, let’s call them all Randy.
Not a single Randy believes the women accusing Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. Not one. When interviewed, they call Roy Moore “a good Christina man”, and even if it is true, they’ll vote for him anyway. The teaching of southern evangelicalism: tis better to die or put a pedophile into office than vote for a damn democrat.
Of course, evangelicals protect their reality with perfect Rush Limbaugh / Alex Jones style: anyone who disagrees is part of a massive, anti-christian conspiracy! I’m willing to be at peace with allowing these people to live inside their world where facts are fake and Jesus was white… but living in a world where their moral judgment is a room full of circus mirrors and Jesus is a hypocrite… that’s something I can’t accept.
Without massive intervention, hardline evangelical reality will always be fundamentally different than the reality the rest of us experience. I think the Randys of this world are forever lost down the rabbit hole of evangelicalism. Honestly, I’ve given up on a large part of the human race because no matter how I plot it – there is no path forward for them.
And the Republican Party relies on them to win elections, which means it will continue to cater to their rabid evangelical base by means of approving dozens of fundamentalist judges and sexual assaulting Senators.
Lords help us.