Back in the 1960’s my mother took an interesting stand, she said that she did not want prayer in the public school. She reasoned that the person leading the prayer might not have the same interpretation of the church she was raising her daughters in. The maverick she was/is (she’s listed in the 1963 volume of “Who’s Who of American Women”) did not want her daughters exposed to any doctrine that made them servants to men.
She was not Madalyn Murray O'Hair, heck she is a United Methodist, and this is probably the only instance that the two would ever agree. But in that instance my sister and I learned about respecting differences in religious belief. “What prayer and whose prayer?” she would ask, some what rhetorically, about prayer in schools.
While some of my cousins learned that women should not lead, the church I was raised in had female ministers. While some of my cousins learned that evolution was a lie, science was suspect and that the Bible was paramount, we learn not to take the Bible literally and that the way to understand God’s creation was through science.
I learned a very “social gospel.” take care of your brother, take care of the planet, practice random acts of kindness, never bear false witness, always do the right thing, always be a stand up person, write your own personal code, have morals, never wish harm on anyone, and to never carry your faith on your sleeve. I have always sought to do these things, be this person.
It wasn’t until I left Christianity itself (after trying on my mother’s church, my father’s church, Assemblies of God, Episcopalians etc.) that I realized that these aren’t just the directives of a Christian but those of humanity as well. Jesus was just one of many who knew these truths and not only taught them, but lived them as well. But these truths are not what I am seeing of Christianity today and it pains me to admit that I now have a knee jerk, gut level revulsion whenever I hear about the Christian faith.
The Jerry Falwell’s, Pat Robertson’s, James Dobson’s and Franklin Graham’s, etc. are not the Christianity I grew up in and respect. The effects of their onerous diatribes and open contempt for immigrants, non-Christians (and as we learned this month James Dobson doesn’t consider the church I was raise in to be Christian), gays, evolution, science, women, respect for others and their beliefs, the principals that have made this nation a great nation, etc., have created a negative association within many people, including me. I don’t even see the values I grew up with, all I see is an ugly public face that divides rather than unites, seeks war over being the peacemakers, seeks wealth over service, etc. This public Christianity seeks to undermine and eviscerate that which made this nation great, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
A few years ago I sat with my son in a synagogue while he watched his friend's Bat-mitzvah. Many of their class was there; they were Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Drus and even atheists, all invited and all witnessing and sharing their friends event. All I could think was what a wonderful country, that what divides others could unite, coexist and be celebrated here.
That is the face I want my children to see of their country. That is what I want them to know of the greatness we are capable of. But that's not what the Dobsons, Falwells, et. al. want. Sadly the shining example displayed in that synagoge is not what my children see from powerful Christians. These powerful Christians who have the microphone, the air time, who have been made all the more powerful by faith based initiatives that blur the line between separation of church and state, display a theology diametrically opposed to their grandmother's. This theology, has been made powerful by receiving the lions share of faith based initiative moneys which has so embolden them that you can ne’er escape their message.
But instead of being a message of hope, reconciliation, respect, inclusion, unity and peace, or light, it is one that uses anything, including our government to further it’s own ends. And the question that needs to be asked is; “Will our Representative Republic survive, or will it become a Dominion."
Religious Tolerance - Dominionism
Theocracy Watch - Dominionism and Dominion Theology
Wikipeadia - Christian Right , Dominionism
READ MORE in the Blogswarm - Blog Against Theocracy