Mass Hysteria

Fred Clark at Slacktivist found this wonderful quote from the great evangelist Billy Sunday:

Our country is filled with a Socialistic, I.W.W., Communistic, radical, lawless, anti-American, anti-church, anti-God, anti-marriage gang, and they are laying the eggs of rebellions and unrest in labor and capital and home, and we have some of them in our universities. … If this radical element could have their way, my friends, the laws of nature would be repealed, or they would reverse them; oil and water would mix; the turkey dove would marry the turkey buzzard; the sun would rise in the West and set in the East; chickens would crow and the roosters would squeal; cats would bark and dogs would mew; the least would be the greatest; a part would be greater than the whole; yesterday would be after tomorrow if that crowd were in control. (George Marsden, Fundamentalism And American Culture, p. 221)

First off, this just begs to be paired with this clip:

Second, look at the bolded portion. Sunday is inadvertently quoting scripture, Matthew 20:16. As a bad thing.

It’s remarkable how a religion started by a man who spoke of overturning the world should come to worship the status quo. Think of all the radical statements attributed to Jesus. He said that his followers would be the one who hated their fathers and mothers; probably a way of saying that his followers would have to break with their families if their families didn’t accept Jesus. He said let the dead bury the dead, that he came to bring not peace but a sword, etc. His followers did not become respected members of the synagogue, instead they formed their own commune apart from society.

That’s all pretty much what you’d expect from an apocalyptic. But today, Christianity is associated with conservatism. Many people feel that Christianity is a force necessary to hold society together rather than turn it upside down. Being Christian now means having a family rather than hating them. It means getting a haircut and a real job.