Class Warfare Blog

November 18, 2012

The “Christian Nation” Power Play

Filed under: History,Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:44 am
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If you haven’t heard the claims by evangelicals that the U.S. was founded as a “Christian Nation,” you haven’t been paying attention.

This is a power play by the religious conservatives. Historically, evangelicals supported the Constitution being written without the word “God” in it. Several of the states tried to amend the Constitution to include the word “God,” even “Jesus Christ” and all of these were defeated, in most cases with evangelical support.

A lot of people who insist on their “Nth Amendment Rights” under the Constitution seem to not realize that the original framers of the Constitution (the Founding Fathers!) did not see fit to include those rights in the draft Constitution, nor were they in the Constitution as adopted and ratified. Religion’s protection from the government in the First Amendment (and vice-versa) was only added a few years after ratification.

Prior to the First Amendment being added to the Constitution, the only mention of religion was that there couldn’t be a religious test for elected federal offices, that’s it.

So why did evangelicals support the passage of the Constitution (and other separation of church and state legislation in the states)? It was because they were a small segment of the religious at the time. If the nation were to support a religion it would be one of the more powerful denominations and they would get frozen out, so they supported the “God-less” Constitution and the separation of church and state.

Realize that the Christians in late eighteenth century America were virtually all Protestants. Those Protestants brought their loathing of Catholicism with them from the Old World, but evangelicals were much fewer in number than establishment church members (Anglicans, Congregationalists, etc.). But now evangelicals are feeling their oats and/or they don’t know their own history and/or are suffering from limited intellectual horsepower (or most probably all three) and they have been proposing their Christain Nation claptrap, thinking they are now in line to benefit from that designation.

The argument then is the same as the argument now: if the state supports a particular religion and then there is a shift in popularity, that support can shift to another group and away from yours. While you are on the “outs” you could dwindle to obscurity. It has happened before.

But the evangelicals are feeling their oats, especially with their gains in outward religiosity during the Bush administration.

Apparently they don’t believe in their own doctrines. Their main doctrine is you don’t need an intermediary between you and God, the relationship is direct, hence priests (especially Catholic ones) aren’t needed. If those intermediaries aren’t needed, of what use is the government in that relationship?

There are over 23,000 sects of Christianity. If they can’t get along, how is government support going to change anything? Each of those sects believes the others are “wrong” to some degree. My list of those wrong is just one longer than theirs.

This is a flat out power play and should be seen as such. People who espouse that we are a “Christian Nation” are looking for power and I would guess that means over you and me.

June 25, 2012

It Is About Control

Filed under: History,Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:19 am
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If you have noticed a theme in my recent blog posts I hope it came through loud and clear: all of the political machinations of recent history are consistent with the past and show one overarching theme: power to control.

As we became civilized, we were given a real big hint as to what was in store for us. The normal definition of becoming civilized was that we gave up our hunter-gatherer lifestyle that we had had for, oh, two million years or so and “settled down.” This was fueled by the invention of agriculture. When we first had the idea of planting (or at least tending) crops, we had to stand by them, otherwise predation by animals would consume our crop before we could harvest it. It was a big gamble, but from much experimentation, humans learned to grow crops. The key crop turned out to be grains as they could be dried for storage and future use. Try drying vegetables or fruits just using the sun: a few successes, such as raisins and prunes are possible but most of the rest rot before they dry sufficiently to be preserved.

Stored food became a form of power. Enough stored food and job specializations became possible: occupations such as: warrior, king, priest. They didn’t have to work in the fields to make enough to eat. They just had to convince the others in their group to do that work for them. The warrior fought off predatory animals and members of other tribes intent on stealing their wealth. Kings (princes, potentates, whatever) supplied leadership and showed people paths to the future which were successful. Priests . . . priests protected people from nameless fears and various bogeymen by making sure the sun came up in the morning. Basically they were con men, living off their wits and the sweat of others brows.

But, the privileged few were just that . . . few. How can the few exercise control over the many? This is the major theme of human history over the last 10,000 years or so (since the invention of agriculture and stored food).

One need not look very far to see how this might be so. Consider Christianity. The scriptures of this religion state definitively that the central figure, Jesus, was a Jew, who preached apocalyptically to other Jews, even to forbidding his disciples from preaching to non-Jews. An educated Jew, Saul of Tarsus, who never met Jesus, changed his name to Paul and then sold his version of “Christianity” to non-Jews. His version was wildly at odds to the version held by, oh, Jesus’ surviving family and his disciples, who actually knew Jesus and also wildly different from the version held by most Christians today. This mishmash of a religion was hard to distinguish from a great many other religions but it took root at a turning point in history. Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire decided that Christianity would become a state religion of Rome. His motivation? To control a troublesome group of argumentative citizens who avoided military service amongst other obligations of the Roman public. Had Constantine not see Christianity as a means to control a population, that religion would probably have ended up on the back benches of history.

For those of you who can’t imagine Christianity as a control mechanism, consider that the Jerusalem sect of Christianity, the one led by Jesus’ brother and the rest of his family and disciples (which was pretty much broken by the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70) eschewed a hierarchical priesthood. The Romans, on the other hand, knew that a command structure was necessary, so bishops accumulated power and the Bishop of Rome, became the Bishop of Bishops, the Pope. (The word “pope” is equivalent to “papa” which is about as controlling as a patrilineal society can get.)

Consider the Inquisition, the Crusades, the power of Excommunication, and the power exercised by Christian churches over the European and American populaces throughout history and it becomes clearer. The churches are so secure and arrogant in their power that they think they can just shrug off widespread priestly pederasty.

In my next blog I will address the biggest control level that the unseen masters wield: fear.

Oh, the big hint we got when we adopted agriculture: let’s see: we had more tooth decay, had lower body weights, suffered from more diseases, we became less tall, basically we became far less robust, less healthy. The question I will continue to ask is: who benefits? Obviously it was not the working class which benefited from the invention of agriculture.

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