Why Fundamentalist Christianity Hates Democracy

By ArtD48 | 20 February 2022
Daily Kos

(Credit: Dreamstime.com)

The reasons go all the way back to theology. In the theology of fundamentalist Christianity, God is a person who sits in heaven. Not necessarily an old, white man with a beard, but close enough. And just as God rules heaven, nations should be ruled by a monarch to whom God has given authority. Thus, bishops and cardinals coronated European kings in the Middle Ages, symbolizing kings received their authority from God. Thus, the “Divine Right of Kings” dogma. And just as there is no disagreement in heaven about right and wrong, on Earth right and wrong should be clearly spelled out by the dominate religion and enforced by the State. And if the king’s authority comes from God, then there’s little need to worry about what the common folk think or want, as long as the king satisfies them enough to prevent rebellion. There’s no need for elections. Maybe the rich and powerful lords are given a say in government. But certainly not the common people.

About the time of the Quakers and the Unitarian/Universalist, a new idea of God appeared. The fundamentalist’s idea of God who transcends the universe, who sits above in heaven, began to compete with the idea of God as immanent, i.e., within, (not imminent, i.e. soon). Thus, we have the basic Quaker teaching of “That of God in Every Man,” where “Man” is taken as humanity, not just men.

The new vision of God has political consequences. First, different people will experience the immanent, the God within, in their own way. So, State should support freedom of religion; there should be a separation of Church and State. Thus, rigid, fundamentalist’s black-and-white morality is replaced with a more empirical idea of morality. Something is immoral if it injures; what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their home is not the State’s business.

Fundamentalists, of course, hate the idea of the separation of Church and State, and insist (in spite of contrary evidence) that the U.S. is a Christian nation. Well, if a “Christian” nation can enslave Blacks and, in many instances, exterminate Native Americans, then what does that say about Christianity? Nothing, as long as public schools are forbidden to teach that history.

The two visions of God lead to two very different sexuality moralities. The fundamentalist believes a God who is an actual person living in heaven can see all. Thus, we can do “this” because, well, God wants humanity to continue, but we mustn’t do “that” or “that” or “that” because God is watching us. If there’s something we would be embarrassed to do in front of our parents (aside obviously from the “this” which allows humanity to continue), then we certainly shouldn’t do it before God. Further, we should do “this” in an approved way (i.e., the missionary position) and, ideally, only for procreation. Of course, God may wink at us doing “this” for other reasons, but we should take too much pleasure in the act. Conception frustrates the purpose of “this,” so it should be banned. God may wink at a “this” done for mere pleasure as long as we do it at our own risk; if conception occurs, we pay the consequences of our pleasure-seeking.

The immanent view of God leads to a different sexuality morality. If the God within says it’s OK, then it’s OK, as long as it doesn’t hurt another person. But if it hurts someone, then it’s not God, but our own lust saying it’s OK when it really isn’t because it disrespects the God within the injured person.

The immanent view of sexuality morality pisses off fundamentalists to no end. Thus, H.L. Mencken’s definition that “Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone somewhere is having a good time.” Much the same may be said of fundamentalists today.

The fundamentalist says some writings are the very Word of God. Thus, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth” means exactly what is says. But science says the Earth came into existence a few billion years after the Big Bang. So, science must be wrong. Various well-financed fundamentalists groups (ex., The Creation Institute) try time and time again to “prove” that the Earth is only about 10,000 years old. These groups are popular and rake in loads of money from believers. And science teaches evolution, which contradicts the Bible’s story with the talking serpent. So, science must be belittled and ignored. Thus, during a worldwide pandemic, it has become almost a badge of honor to ignore the science and put trust various quack remedies recommended by pastors and “the Orange One.” Until grandma can’t breathe, of course. Then, they rush grandma to the hospital, some of them insisting the hospital treat grandma with a horse dewormer.

And, so, we arrive January 6, 2021, where fundamentalist, evangelical Christians were over-represented in the attempt to violently overthrow the duly elected democratic government of the United States. What they want is old-style government where a strong man imposes their laws on the rest of the country. Thus, the attempt to portray Trump as “chosen of God.” Trump, a poster-boy for all seven of the cardinal sins, is in no way devout, holy or close to God. But if he delivers the type of government what fundamentalist want, then close enough.

It is said that the CIA covertly fanned the flames of Islamic fundamentalism to help bring down the old Soviet Union. They know if you want to bring down a democracy, inciting a country’s fundamentalists is a good place to start. I suspect Russia is behind some of what’s happening in the U.S. today.

Turnabout, after all, is fair play. And payback is a bitch.

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