Sunday, April 5, 2009

The End of Christian America.

Joe Meacham wrote this insightful article in Newsweek concerning the fact that the number of people identifying themselves as Christian has fallen 10 points over the last two decades. He tries to soften the blow by writing, 'rumors of the death of Christianity are greatly exaggerated. Being less Christian does not necessarily mean that America is post-Christian.'.

What is on the rise is the acceptance of other religions and 'other gods'. Okay, not 'post Christian', but in the eyes of most politically minded fundamentalists, might as well be. If you are a teen growing up in this internet society, it's common place to see a few people on myspace claiming to be wiccans, pagans, or atheists. Many decades ago, you could not do this, hence it was a novelty to meet someone who claimed to be a wiccan, pagan, or atheist. Today, thanks to the internet, it's commonplace.

Reason also dominates on the internet. YOU CAN TYPE IN ALL CAPS to emphasize shouting and to manipulate your 'congregation' into a frenzy of guilt, but most will turn you off. You can type snide comments, but most will type an equally snide comment before reading the more reasonable argument and making their decisions. It's not just the beliefs, but the style in which an argument is presented, that is winning the next generation for freedom, liberty, reason and tolerance.

It has been the political involvement of fundamentalists that ultimately helped lead to the corruption we've been seeing. In the case of Trinity Baptist Church, of Jacksonville, Florida, the reason this blog came into existence, politics has been the main reason the powers that be were silent about the accusations of child molestation against Bob Gray.

Trinity was always a church married to the Republican party. When I first came to Trinity during the seventies, Anita Bryant was the guest of honor with her anti-gay crusade. A year later, Jerry Falwell was introducing his Moral Majority to the nation and the congregation of Trinity.

After Bob Gray was arrested, Tom Messer led Trinity into an even more pronounced political crusade. Perhaps he felt if he did so, people would interpret the attacks on Trinity's silence as politically motivated?

Mike Huckabee was invited to speak at Trinity. Lindsey Graham, the representative from South Carolina, also made an appearance that same day. Huckabee cancelled, probably because of the backlash started by SNAP, but gave his speech via TV monitor.

Daniel Davis was the President of the Jacksonville City Council during this period. Davis was a deacon of Trinity who issued a 'no comment' after Bob Gray's arrest, which was ironic considering the highly moralistic stances he took against adult businesses in order to protect Jacksonville's children.

Question: how many children accidently wander into adult establishments?

Answer: Nearly zero.

Question: how many children wander around churches inhabited by predators of children?

Answer: You don't want to know!

If the first amendment is the 'last refuge of the scoundrel', then politics is the last refuge for corrupt church officials. They always run to the politician when their dirty secrets are made public!

The beast, in Revelation, was always interpreted as a combination of the political and religious. We certainly saw the effects of 'The Beast', as it manifested to protect predators, enablers, and con artists in general, during the election season.

The defining point for me was when McCain attacked Obama for allegedly wanting to teach sex education to kindergarten students. The reality was the program Obama endorsed was specifically designed to warn children about sex predators and how to stand up for yourself when confronted by them.

I blogged about this, but did not notice one single Christian based, victim defending webpage, devoted to child advocacy, taking McCain to task for his exaggeration.

This told me a lot. It told me that, in many ways, Christians, fundamentalists or not, are so entwined in politics that the fear of being labelled a 'liberal' is so great they would never stand for common sense approaches to stop pedophiles.

It was the politics that motivated them to convince victims not to go public with accusations. If Trinity, one of the most politically influential churches in Jacksonville, failed to protect their children, wouldn't that give the liberal groups a Christmas present? Better to stay silent than give the liberals one more thing to laugh and brag about!

The sad thing: most of 'the liberals' are hooked into the same political machinery that Christians are in. They won't reveal their dirty secrets because of fears the right wing Christians will have a hay day with it! So, you have both groups, on polar opposites, keeping quiet, refusing to address this controversial issue, while the victims are on their own.

In the end, it just doesn't matter. Both sides are silent. Still, it's a good thing we're becoming a post-Christian society, as opposed to a post-religious,society. It means more people are thinking for themselves and not opting for easy answers.

Article: The End of Christian America.

Related Article: A Religious Right Crack Up?

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