It’s Time to Start Calling Evangelicals What They Are: The American Taliban

By J.C. Weatherby | 24 February 2017
Medium

(Photo: Ben White / Unsplash)
(Photo: Ben White / Unsplash)

The Council For National Policy” is a Conservative Think Tank, made up of a who’s who of prominent conservatives; Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Reince Priebus, Tim LaHaye, Bobby Jindal, John McCain… the list goes on…

This article, published by the Washington Post, but reported elsewhere, lays out the group’s plan to “restore education in America,” by bringing god into classrooms.

I have said for years and years, the Christian Right is really seeking to establish a theocracy in the United States — at least regionally, throughout the deep south. And this latest effort by the “Council for National Policy” lays further proof to that claim. This is an effort which — in spite of what many Christian leaders say — is NOT supported by the Constitution. The Constitution strictly prohibits the establishment of Religion, as part of the First Amendment, which also guarantees Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. The purpose of this “Separation of Church and State” is intended to do two things:

1. It protects religious freedom for everyone.
2. It prevents the tyranny of any one religion.

But this fact won’t stop many southern christians, who feel it is their duty — as christians — to make the United States “a godly nation” in their eyes. And they will cite the numerous biblical passages in which god exhorts all nations to be faithful to him and condemns those nations who are not, as the basis for this duty — which they feel is their right.

I grew up in this world, so I know what I’m talking about. As a kid, during the 1970’s, I attended churches in Atlanta with my devout grandmother. I heard Jerry Falwell speak numerous times at First Baptist on Peachtree. I was indoctrinated into the evangelical way of thinking by a fiery minister in Smyrna. I studied my “King James” bible. I feverishly read Ernest Angley’s book about the “end times” that depicted christians being boiled alive by the antichrist. I loved “The Omen” movies, wholly believing they portended something real. Trust me. I’ve been there. Fortunately, I had the sense to give it up. By age 15, at the peak of my adolescent sexual curiosity, I realized that any religion that demanded giving up my basic humanity was nuts.

Of course, not all christian evangelicals share this extreme view. Nevertheless, the extremists always give themselves away with their trademark refrain, “I’ll pray for you,” as if you are possessed by demons and in need of an exorcism. They seem completely unaware of how this statement makes them appear; that they alone understand “truth,” that everyone else is “ungodly” and in need of “redemption,” as they see it; by being “born again,” and baptized, and accepting their world view. This self-righteous arrogant presumption is at the root of all religious extremism.

Evangelicals in churches and state houses across the country support laws and political systems that brutalize and imprison MILLIONS of African Americans, that deny equal rights and protections to LGBT people and tacitly support violence toward them, and seek to deny women the right to govern their own bodies, often with threats or outright acts of physical violence. They seem hell-bent on ejecting science from education and replacing it with their own creationist ideas.

In doing these things, evangelicals are advocating a religious extremism that is no different from muslim extremism, which projects religious authority over all people in their domain, which limits the rights of women, controls and limits education, and enforces strict adherence to a moral code, which naturally rejects and punishes all forms of “decadence,” including; “deviant sexuality,” science, reason, and any questioning of authority. Christian fundamentalists, if given the power, will do the same things.

Evangelical christians in the United States condemn muslim extremism as a threat to the country and their way of life, while clearly endorsing their own form of extreme religious authoritarianism. This form of religion establishes a tribally divisive “us” versus “them” mentality, which places “our” rights and prerogatives above the needs of any other group. And it’s used repeatedly as the basis for denying other people’s rights — particularly their freedom to choose and even their right to exist. It’s worth pointing out that in the south religion buttressed this tribal mentality to force a separation between whites and blacks, who were/are seen as inferior. This tribalism is deeply embedded in white suburban christian thinking, and accepted without question. I shouldn’t have to point out that, in the end, this is not Christian at all.

Religious extremism is religious extremism. Using words like “righteousness” or “faith” or “Christ-given mission,” and hiding behind ideas like “tradition” and “heritage” and “family values” won’t cover up this fact. And it is up to every freedom-loving person, who prefers freedom of choice, freedom of worship, who cares about protecting women’s rights and equality for all, and advancing reason and scientific knowledge, to be aware and oppose it.

I do not suggest that evangelicals should give up their faith. But I strongly suggest they should not trample on other people’s religious beliefs, or insist that people should conform themselves with the evangelical worldview.

If evangelicals hate tyranny, they should be very wary of becoming tyrants. But evangelicals will never see themselves as tyrants, because they are commanded by their faith to be “missionaries for Christ.” This mandate engages them in a zero-sum game to convert the country, indeed the whole world, to their faith. And over the decades they have increasingly reached for more and more political power to achieve this goal. This is exactly what ISIS proposes, by trying to establish a global muslim caliphate. The goal of religious extremists, regardless of faith, is always the same: Dominion.

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the foul of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” ~Genesis 1:28

Evangelicals are The American Taliban. To many, that will seem a garish and inconceivable statement. The entire purpose of this article is to point out that religious extremism also exists in America as it does in other parts of the world, and that it is not just radical muslims who are extreme, it’s also radical christians … and that religious extremism can start with something as simple as, “I’ll pray for you.”

Reprinted with permission from the author.

JC Weatherby (Jan Carson Weatherby — his family and friends call him Carson) is a multi media creator, novelist and filmmaker. He is the creator of “Evocronik,” a cyberpunk animated series. Follow him on Facebook at JCWeatherby

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550 COMMENTS

  1. I am a Christian but I don’t beat people over the head with my beliefs . I also believe that gay relationships based on love were not something He ever spoke against.

  2. Christian Bible Never calls for killing others, who don't believe the way they do- Islam does! No Comparison btwn the Koran & the Bible. Sure Christians want all people to believe in Jesus as their Savior & Lord, but will never kill or persecute those who choose not to believe. Shalom!!!

    • The Koran doesn’t call for killing nonbelievers either, at least not so directly. It depends on how you interpret it. By way of comparison, I could interpret the command to slaughter the Canaanites as calling for killing Palestinians. After all, God said to kill them all, man woman and child, even the livestock, and to take the land for themselves. In fact, the brutality of the Old Testament is totally unmatched by the Koran or practically any other scripture in existence.

      What really matters of course is not what the scripture says but how people read it today. In the past, Catholics took much of the violent direction at face value and did indeed repeatedly attempt to take the “holy land.” But today, this reading is very rare. A desire among Muslims to kill non-Muslims in general is also vanishingly rare, in spite of what conservative American propaganda might claim. However, it is true that Islamic extremism in much of the world is more repressive and violent than Christian extremism, enforcing the death penalty against apostates, for instance. There are examples of violent Christian extremism gaining political power too, like in Uganda, and even in the U.S. there are people like Grayson Fritts calling for the execution of all gay, lesbian, and transgender people. But on balance, it is a less widespread issue worldwide than Islamic extremism.

      But that is not the case here. In the U.S., Islam is a tiny minority religion, and it is Christian extremism that poses the greatest threat. The point of the article is that there is no fundamental difference between intolerance in the name of Jesus or in the name of Allah, and extremism doesn’t seem extreme to those in its midst. The fact that you can honestly believe no Christians here try to persecute non-Christians demonstrates this point. The efforts to push Bible study as a mandatory class, to bar teaching of secular theories in science, to block atheists from reaching public office, to protect discrimination based on Christian principles, to explicitly favor Christian immigrants, . . . these all persecute non-Christians, and it’s time to recognize it for what it is.

    • You obviously haven’t read the Bible – Because, YES the Christian Bible does command the murder of ‘Non-believers’

      Deuteronomy 17

      If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

      Or Deuteronomy 13:

      6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

      12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in 13 that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. 16 You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt.
      Or Numbers 31, where God commands the Israelites to attack Midian and kill all the men, all the married women and all the male children but to keep the virgin females as the spoils of war and distribute them among the soldiers. The reason offered for that barbarism? Two Midianite women had allegedly “tempted” two Israelite men to worship other gods.

    • Are you kidding? The OT is full of examples. And it isn’t always what the Bible says-it’s what evangelical Christians do. Laws allowing civil discrimination against the LGBT community for one thing.

  3. In my 65 years of life experience, I 'know' Christians by their acts not their words. If they stand against all forms of tyranny, against pollution, against cruelty to animals, and fight for a healthy holistic environment; including ensuring the survival of our unique wonderful creatures of earth, then I see Christians as working for God and humanity. At this stage of our common evolution in 2019/20, these are the only things we should be using any positive energy toward so that our children & their children may have a home at all; Newton's 3rd Law is yet controlling our entire universe my friends; "For EVERY action, there IS an equal & OPPOSITE reaction.

  4. So, the author would deny that in 325 A.D., when Emperor Constantine finally approved The New Testament – which his political prisoners had finished writing for him, and he held the First Council of Nicea and The ‘Christian’ Church was created that the first act was to weaponize ‘Christianity’ in the wars to ‘Romanize Europe’ in which some 3.5 Million people were murdered? I would suspect that you would again disavow history and claim that the ‘Holy Wars were just a negotiation technique! Dogma and theology must never be allowed to trump historical fact!

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