Tired of religious inspired war? Fasten your seat belts; It's about to get worse.
Senator Ted Cruze announced his candidacy at Liberty University on Monday, March 23, 2002. Announcing at Liberty University is a symbolic gesture that for this Tea Party fast track politician is very important. It unites a Tea Party candidate with Fundamentalist/Evangelical religion, which is part of the alliance without which the GOP would not survive.
Senator Bernie Sanders also went there later in an important step toward balancing the scales of opinion.
While I try to maintain neutrality in all religious affairs, I won't mince words on this account, because this alliance is very dangerous. Really. As students of history know, we have a barrier between government and religion for very big reasons.
On the one hand, the Tea Party, while providing a rather bland and innocuous platform statement, in their actions do everything they can to destroy everything the American people want, to the benefit of the wealthy. There isn't a single instance in their history of ever trying to do anything to improve life for Americans, unless you consider tearing down America somehow an improvement.
The only thing that can possibly benefit Americans, in this 35 year era of family economic slide into poverty, is more income. Wages have slid since 1980, and the last 15 years have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that so called "Reaganomics," the "Voodoo economics," which is Supply Side Economics, that is no longer touted by economists, is an economic failure that has simply helped raise the National Debt, and helped develop socialism by throwing more and more people into government dependence. But is there a single Tea Party candidate supporting higher wages? Nope. (Tell me if I'm incorrect.)
Economists from institutions that are highly respected by both parties, like the Brookings Institute, are beginning to see a very bleak future for the US if we continue on this economic path.
Brookings Institute: The New Challenges to Market Economies.
What is so sinister about Fundamentalists and Evangelicals is that some have the same mentality as explorers and others who came to the American Continent and killed off the native populations because that was OK, because they were already condemned to Hell.
Many of them are caught up in the religious fad of the Apocalypse and "Rapture," which is their interpretation of Biblical literature. They are convinced that the end of the world is upon us and will happen at any minute. They will be yanked out of the world, and a giant battle will occur in their absence that will hasten the arrival of Christ. Many of them are fanatical about this belief, and are eager for it to occur. They count what they consider to be the numerous daily signs that the End Times are upon us. Many live in fear of it.
While many of these churches do very good things for people, it is sometimes simply with the idea of manipulating people into their congregation (I learned in one of their more recent online seminars). Their idea of political involvement is to get the rest of the world to do things their way. Their way is nestled in religion 2000 to 3500 years ago. It can't change. They can't change with a changing world (unless, of course, it benefits them, such as divorce).
The belief tends to isolate people from others, so that they see others as some kind of pawn in a spiritual battle. They tend to be very exclusive groups, partly because they stay away from others because they believe they are evil and going to Hell. Because of these beliefs and the infighting in all churches struggling through a period of rapid change, young people tend to leave the church and attendance in all churches has been steadily declining since the 1960s. This would fit right into the Fundamentalist belief system about the world coming to an end.
In a moment I'll explain why these beliefs are dangerous.
But first, how do these beliefs differ from mainstream beliefs? Mainstream religions don't condemn other religions to hell. They generally aren't looking for a religious inspired war. They are active in their communities doing things for others, without regard for others' religious preference.
Related information: The Jewish Prophet Jeremiah said that God would write The Law in people's hearts, which Christians believe happened at what is called Pentecost, the Spirit of God within them. The Bible ceased to be a book of rules and strange laws to follow. But Fundamentalists still see it as a rule book.
Christ said that he is the way, the truth, and the life. He presented a way for us to follow, which is common in all religions - in that sense, it is "the way." Whoever follows Christ's way becomes part of the Kingdom of God, which is right now, and continuing.
Most of the Apocalyptic prophecies in the Bible are believed by many religious scholars to already have happened. The basis for the idea of "The Rapture" is very slim, but very popularized by religious books and novels, such as The Late Great Planet Earth, and The Left Behind series.
The spirit (intent) of Christianity underwent a major change because of Christ. Exclusivity became very inclusive. The reason for religion was interpreted as being here to serve man, not God. Love became the standard by which everyone should behave. The idea that God, who wants everyone to be in his kingdom, sends everyone to Hell who is not a Fundamentalist is a disservice to Christianity, and not supported by Christ's words.
Why is the Christian Fundamentalist belief dangerous? ISIS, a Muslim offshoot that has its roots in the same religion as Christianity, basically has the same belief, expecting a major religious inspired war, during which Christ will return. ISIS feels very comfortable in instigating this war, and most of them want to be martyred (killed) in order to get this done.
Another example: Religious Broadcaster Warns Christians to ‘Prepare for Martyrdom’ If Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage
So you have politicians, mostly those who call themselves neo-conservatives and Tea Party members, who either believe the same as the fundamentalists and evangelicals, or who simply court them by offering to write legislation favorable to them. Given the hawkish mentality of many politicians in the GOP, they are trying to bring us closer and closer to what many consider to be an inevitable conflict.
It's thought by some that George W. Bush, who wanted to call the campaign against Iraq a "Crusade," echoing the religious wars of the 10th. Century, may have been influenced by these beliefs, as well as other military and staff members, even though Fundamentalism is not in his religious history.
The best thing that can happen to ISIS, which is simply another Hitler type movement, is their complete defeat by their own people - other Muslims. Putting American soldiers into the mess that the Middle East is becoming would feed into their ideology and simply escalate the war they are eager to have. And too many in this country are just as eager to have it.
What will happen to the fundamentalist variety religion? The Sadducees at the time of Christ, who were mostly aristocrats (wealthy, privileged, elite ruling class) had similar beliefs to today's fundamentalists. They didn't understand the spirit (intent) of religion, and believed it was just important to follow the rules, regardless of the impact on others. They argued about things such as, "If it isn't lawful to work on Saturday [their religious day, the Sabbath], can you save the life of a drowning boy without breaking the Law?" They opposed Jesus healing people on Saturday. The Sadducee sect faded out of existence around the same time as the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD.
ISIS has to be opposed, but we don't have to fall into the trap of war just because it fits someone's idea of theology. Pick your battles. You are manipulated more than you know.
For example, did you know that your parents and grandparents were spoon-fed an unholy blend of religion, politics, and economics, by corporations, politicians, and religious leaders, from the 1930s to the present?
For more information, read: One Nation Under God, NPR radio interview with Kevin M. Kruse. Or read the book by the same name.
To understand how this quickly gets out of hand and erupts into war, read Tabernacle of Hate: Seduction into right-wing extremism by Kerry Noble.
Does the religious extremist right (including many high profile politicians) believe in separation of church and state. Clearly, No. A Decade Of Disgrace: Marking Ten Years Of The ‘Values Voter Summit’ - Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Maybe you should question everything you think you know.