Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The God Who Wasn't Persecuted

Notwithstanding the fact that Jesus is everywhere (some say literally) here in the USA -- even in this blog! -- serving as a sink into which people by the tens of millions pour their existential worries, I received a typically cloying e-mail yesterday claiming, among other things, that

He is the only one that can save this country and they want him removed from the government.
Our great nation will not stand if we delete HIM from all aspects of our government as the atheists want.
Ed Brayton, commenting on a similarly self-pitying example of fabricated Christian persecution, observes that
There are tens of thousands of churches in this country, probably hundreds of thousands. There are thousands of Christian magazines and newspapers, hundreds of Christian radio and television stations, millions of Christian webpages. It is virtually impossible to be elected to public office without professing a belief in God; in a legislature of 535 people, exactly one admits to being an atheist - and he's the first one that we know of in our entire history.
Christians are doing fine here in the USA; and not only that, but they stand in the favor of the creator of the universe. But no, that doesn't seem to be enough -- this country will be on borrowed time unless and until it tosses out its god-free Constitution and replaces it with the Bible, or some or other pinched reading of the Bible.

And do note, in that connection, that the idea that the fate of the nation depends on its full embrace of god is an Old Testament idea, appropriated from tales in which Israel came to god's wrath. This bit of Old Testament theology passes muster (and just so happens to be politically expedient), while more direct and unambiguous Old Testament teachings -- don't eat grasshoppers, don't eat shellfish, don't wear mixed fabrics, kill disobedient children, kill infidels, kill those who don't honor the Sabbath -- are ignored according to no hermeneutic rule that makes any sense.

Politically speaking, I think Christians should take their own advice and pretend that "Saint" Paul spoke god's truth. In Romans 13, he said:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Clearly, if Paul is to be believed, the USA's god-free Constitution, under which Christians have thrived and prospered, was established by god. If Christians find that perplexing, they should chalk it up to god's famously mysterious ways and stop pining for outright theocracy.


Zennalathas said...


I'd love to see the look on the fat lady from Jesus Camp's face when you tell her Paul says to shut the fuck up.

That interview needs to happen!

Dale said...


The only thing left to do is to chop Romans 13 into a suitable bumper sticker and pass it out to every Christian nut you find.

You can either accept "Saint" Paul as a spokesman for god, or engage in politics. You can't do both.

Christians do, of course, but this just underscores their boundless capacity for BS and delusion. Which is, of course, what makes them so much fun.