Christian zealotry is on the rise in the US – along with paranoia

Christian zealotry is on the rise in the US – along with paranoia June 17, 2019

Artwork by By Aaron Sacco.Wikimedia CC.

KATHERINE Stewart, above, is an American author and social commentator who focuses much of her attention on religious affairs. She wrote a particularly interesting piece in The New York Times at the end of 2018 about Trump and evangelicals who believe he is a King Cyrus-like figure appointed by the Almighty to return the US to its ‘Christian values’.

She concluded her article with these words:

I have attended dozens of Christian nationalist conferences and events over the past two years. And while I have heard plenty of comments casting doubt on the more questionable aspects of Mr. Trump’s character, the gist of the proceedings almost always comes down to the belief that he is a miracle sent straight from heaven to bring the nation back to the Lord. I have also learned that resistance to Mr. Trump is tantamount to resistance to God.

This isn’t the religious right we thought we knew. The Christian nationalist movement today is authoritarian, paranoid and patriarchal at its core. They aren’t fighting a culture war. They’re making a direct attack on democracy itself.

They want it all. And in Mr. Trump, they have found a man who does not merely serve their cause, but also satisfies their craving for a certain kind of political leadership.

Trump and godly Vice President Pence surrounded by religious bootlickers at the National Day of Prayer, 2017

The operative word in her piece is “paranoid”, and today I learned from The American Thinker just how deep that paranoia runs. Under the headline “Christianity is under siege in America”, Jeff Lukens wrote:

In this great country, it’s not a crime to be a Christian — at least not yet.  But the Left is working on it.  Free expression of religion is not just shunned.  It is ridiculed and mocked.  Anti-Christian bigotry is the only form of acceptable intolerance remaining in this country — to be encouraged and incited by our ‘tolerant’ liberal friends in academia, the media, and entertainment.  

Christian principles were foundational to the American Republic.  Yet what matters to the Left is silencing the Christian influence of this nation.  The battle to destroy Christianity is really the battle to destroy America.  The intolerant Left is replacing the structure of an orderly and benevolent norm with falsehoods, distortions, intimidation, and violence.  Unfortunately, traditional American Christians have been on the losing end of the culture war for a long time.  

Building up a head of steam, Lukens then asserts:

A vigorous new secularism in recent years … has propelled ridicule of Christianity into the mainstream of acceptable behavior.  It has become part of the larger pop culture.  Today, Bible-bashing and Christian-mocking are a favorite pastime on television, in movies, and on social media, complete with ugly insults and death wishes.

Christian beliefs in the sanctity of life, free will, and the flawed nature of humanity are the principal bulwarks against a descent into barbarism that progressivism promises. To the degree that Christians speak up for biblical virtue and sexual purity, and to the degree they preach the Gospel as the one true way to God, they are scorned and ridiculed.  

But it is beyond ridicule when their observance of biblical sexuality or their opposition to the reclassification of marriage gets them labeled as contemptible extremists and bigots who are not worth the air they breathe.  Much of the rhetoric on the Left is hateful and over the top and should be condemned.

There is more of this baloney – lots more:

The attack on the free exercise of religion now moves beyond prayer at football games and commencement ceremonies to legal battles over wedding cakes.  Bible-believing people are frequently likened to ISIS, charged with wanting to create a Taliban-type theocracy of haters.

Many Christians are concerned with what they perceive to be the increasing secularization of popular culture today.  They express concern that Christianity will one day become hated and persecuted in America as it is in much of the world.  That day may not be far off.

And yet:

Overall, Christians in America are handling this cultural onslaught of mockery and ridicule surprisingly well.  New research published by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington reveals that the percentage of Americans who attend church more than once a week, pray daily, and accept the Bible as meaningful to their lives has remained constant for the last 50 years or so.

So WTF are you whining about?

However, there has been a growing gulf between faithful Christians and the so-called ‘social Christians’. Mainline churches with a theologically liberal and watered down gospel message are losing congregants.  Churches who unabashedly teach the Bible with seriousness, with calls for discipleship and intimacy with God, are growing.  Americans are moving away from lukewarm and toward substantive Christianity, and this trend shows no sign of changing.

The hostility against believers is reaching a watershed, and things could get even uglier in the time ahead.  The faithful believe that God is in control, and that is a great comfort for them.  The great irony is that liberals tell them to ‘coexist’ when liberals are completely incapable of doing just that.

If leftists don’t like Christians, that is just too bad.  They’ll have to learn to be more tolerant.

See, Stewart was spot on when she said these Jesus-crazed shrimps “want it all.”

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