Agree or Disagree: Extreme right wing ideology has damaged Christianity in North America.Guest Post Kathleen Smith


Tonight is our second Guest Posts we have for Agree or Disagree.

This post is from Kathleen Smith. She has been a regular commentator of several Agree or Disagree. She also has a heartbeat in what goes in both Edmonton and Provincial Politics. You can read her blog at kikkiplanet.com and you can follow her @kikkiplanet.com.

As a reminder, some general ground rules.

1) Opinions do not necessarily reflect mine

 2) Please do not make personal attacks

3) Take the time to thank her.

In two recent major elections Alberta’s provincial election and the re-election of Obama in the USA, we witnessed politicians and political parties invoking the name of Jesus and using Christianity as a means to gain credibility and votes.

The result has been a co-opting of theology by ideology that often results in the painting of all Christians as homophobic, misogynistic, uneducated, and anti-science – an unfair stereotyping, to say the least.

Has this co-opting of Christianity by Conservatives corrupted faith, or have the faithful corrupted Christianity and Conservatism by tying it to ideology, thereby refusing to abide by what founding father Jefferson saw as an absolutely vital aspect of democracy, the separation of church and state, as laid out in the Dansbury Letters:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

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2 responses to “Agree or Disagree: Extreme right wing ideology has damaged Christianity in North America.Guest Post Kathleen Smith

  1. If you want to get some insight into how this has happened in America, post 1970’s, starting with the advent of the self-described Moral Majority, I strongly suggest reading John W. Dean’s “Conservatives Without A Conscience” which uses some excellent research by a U of Manitoba Asst. Prof. of Psychology called “The Authoritarians”

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    This hiccup however with ultra-conservatism and evangelism goes back much further, to groups like the John Birch Society (much of their propaganda has been showing up like bad reruns in many of these discussions) and back to the beginning of the 20th century, end of the 19th century with apocalyptic movements and their many splinter groups.

    Ultra-Conservatives haven’t so much co-opted all of Christianity as they have simply been stomping their feet and waving their arms louder than their fellows who have been wondering, from the humble quiet of their closets, who the jackasses in the street were, thanking God loudly they were not as other men…

  2. This is a great musing.

    However, I would like to expand the musing.

    What version of Christianity are you inferring is the baseline version, the version that we accept as the one that which may have been co-opted or is influencing thought?

    Do we use pre-Council of Nicea definitions, definitions from any of the Councils of Nicea or any of the other ecumenical councils, including Vatican II, etc?

    Do we look at how the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc. modified Christianity?

    Assuming a “post King George V Bible” theology where we assume that everything before this has been settled, do we consider the Protestant version of Christianity, the Evangelical, the Catholic (as Santorum did with his focus on Life), the Mormon (as Romney did), etc?

    So we not only have the complexity of the separation of church and state and ideology vs. theology but we also have a question of “whose theology?” as not everyone believes that the other person’s “theology” is in fact the “right” theology.

    Example: The US strives to protect the rights of every citizen. Santorum, as a Catholic, said this includes the unborn fetus (citing Catholic beliefs). Other people said that the US is not bound to protect the unborn fetus (that it violates the rights of the mother) and that abortion is ok, thus saying by implication that Santorum and Catholics are wrong in this regard.

    So it’s a complex thing.

    Great musing and great food for thought.

    Create a great day.

    Harry

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