I would like to see more opposition to the (so-called) christian nationalism (or dominionism) movement that has such a destructive effect on the American values of liberty, justice, and freedom.
Opposition from the perspective of atheism(s) is one method:
As an “out atheist,” Collette-Van Deraa said she often feels scorned as the other – “capital O in quotes.”
“There are misconceptions that atheists hate anyone who is in organized religion, or that atheists are baby killers or old-people killers,” she said. “There is a sense that atheists to some extent can’t be sensitive to the spiritual views of others.”
Though theologically not a religious group, the courts have increasingly ruled atheism deserves the same protections.
“And it should,” said Derek H. Davis, a Baptist who has written about atheism and is dean of the college of humanities and graduate school at University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in Texas. “Nonreligion as a worldview needs to be treated like a religious worldview in terms of giving people protections to live out their conscience.”
A cyborg alliance across groups that would suffer should the ideas of dominionist movement gain further traction would be helpful. The issue of net neutrality has shown that there can be unlikely alliances between people and groups who agree on little else, but can work together on a specific issue. Right now, many decent people are being manipulated into giving up many of the central messages of christianity – compassion, forgiveness (and perhaps most importantly) kindness toward others.
I was involved with the JWs for many years; their rule-based authoritarian regime looks less and less “fringy” in American life. Just when it seemed (to me, at least) that we were actually moving toward a society of freedom and justice for all, intolerance and hate went on the upswing.
From within organized religion, spiritual leaders of various paths must raise their voices to oppose fear-hate-control religious movements – and remind their people of the ethical paths of wisdom and compassion within their diverse disciplines. You can’t force spiritual insight or affinity using the methods and ideas that are antithetical to the whole point, just as you just can’t force “democracy” at gunpoint and expect that it will be democracy.
Whether by opposition or better example, the time is now to hold the manipulation up to the light. Atheism is not the only position to take, but the rights of those who do not believe in the God of contemporary hardline right-wing-affiliated Christianity matter just as much as anyone else in America. There is plenty of ammunition to support atheism these days – especially if you actually associate dominionists and other such power-mongers with God. (We’ll leave the issues of hypocrisy and cynicism to the side for the moment. I personally believe that it’s really all about the power and the money.)
There is no “generic” atheist. There are atheists who oppose any notion of God, there are atheists who are just not interested in ideas about God, there are atheists who are more humble toward religious reality than the ones who thump their chests about it, there are atheists who believe God is dead, there are atheists who see atheism as a religious position, there are atheists who really only oppose the views of God to which they have been exposed. There is a diversity of opinion on any given issue, except that – overall – there is some agreement that agenda of the christian nationalists should be opposed on the basis of freedom of (and freedom from) religion. This is something that affects everyone (even christians!). Americans should not be forced to be christian. The particular pseudo-christianity that is being shoved into being is powerful insult upon injury.
Once when Jesus and His disciples were traveling to Jerusalem, they were refused lodging in a Samaritan village. “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village” (Luke 9:54-56).
The results of the recent election give me hope, but when you consider the wide range of Republican offenses, the numbers were still very close. Too close. It should have been a landslide in every race. Now is the time for Democrats to show what they can do – and there is a lot to do. If they are successful across many fronts, perhaps this country can begin to reorient itself, to recover and thrive. The damage to our system of government and to our citizens has been great. The next several weeks will be very dangerous as the last session of the current Congress tries to push through whatever it can while Republicans still hold the majority.
Americans shouldn’t be traveling with people who want to regulate the whole country under one theology, especially this theology of power and control. The power-hungry manipulators (of any religion) who use religion as a tool to control the masses have missed the central messages of faith. This reality resonates with people of deeper and kinder and more loving faith – in American, in the Middle East, and all over the world. If a messiah or prophet showed up, for the first or second or thousandth time, these would be the first in line to scapegoat, jail, institutionalize, behead, hang, or stone her/him to death. And in the name of God, too.
If there really is a God of Love, I say that God weeps to see what is said and done in God’s name.
“I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding”
— Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
“What is hateful unto you, do not do unto your neighbor. The rest is commentary” –Hillel the Elder