So I decided to go to the State Fair this year. Among the sea of booths were the usual Christian booths. I looked at them with new eyes this time. Almost every one of them had signs and literature about … wait for it … abortion, homosexuality and evolution.
I approached a booth with a big banner that read, “Evolution is a lie.” I walked right up to the two gentlemen and said, “What if God used evolution to create us? We don’t understand God’s ways. We don’t understand God’s concept of time. I’m saved because Jesus took the blame for my sins. It doesn’t matter one little bit if the 7 day creation story is an allegory or not.”
They knew they couldn’t disagree with much of what I said except to say, “We take the Bible literally and when it says a day we accept it as meaning a day.” Of course I had to tell them that to God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. Jesus spoke in parables while on earth, who is to say, being the Word in the OT, the same doesn’t hold true before the Word was made flesh?
One guy said he was happy I stopped by to talk. The other guy wasn’t having any of it. Then we moved on to abortion and homosexuality. I didn’t bother touching the abortion topic. There’s no getting through to these folks on that one. They would have to read the whole history (with an open mind to actual learning) on how abortion was invented as a flagship, red herring political issue to begin to understand. It wasn’t always viewed the way it is by militant fundamentalists now.
I did go through the clobber verses with them on homosexuality and explained that none of them referred to sexual orientation. I explained that Jesus said God intended one man and one woman BUT, he also said in the same sentence, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way ...” I explained that eunuchs during that time were guardians of the harem. They had no desire for women. They wore makeup and jewelry and behaved and dressed in a feminine manner (a giant stereotypical generalization, I know, but I was trying to paint a picture for these two guys in a way they might understand). Born eunuchs were gay.
They brought up Sodom. I picked up one of their Bibles at the booth, turned to Ezekiel 16:49, and read them the following: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Neither one of them had ever heard that verse. All they could do was bring up the fact that some of the men of Sodom wanted to rape their visiting guests.
I asked them if either one of them ate shrimp or wore blended fabrics. One guy spoke up and said Jesus changed the eating laws. Neither had anything to say about blended fabrics.
The point of this story is this, and it’s always baffled me. These guys obviously think not taking every word of the 7 day creation story literally is a lie and a sin. They obviously think abortion and homosexuality are sins. Fine. Whatever. But why do these folks always obsess on these three perceived “sins.” Why do they set up booths, publish literature, rent spaces at public events and hang signs about these three particular subjects? It made no sense to me for a long time.
If they’re so obsessed with the topic of the sins of humankind it seems there are better booths they could set up, better signs they could hang. What about how we kill each other in the name of religion every day? What about the way we treat the weak, the poor and the sick in this country, many times branding them as “lazy freeloaders?” The list could go on and on. We could have hundreds of booths at every fair, one for each perceived sin. "Are you fat? You better lose weight. Gluttons must repent or go to hell." Just kidding but you get the picture. I'm a foodie of sorts and if that's the case I'm bound for hell.
I’ll tell you why they choose these three, whether they know it or not. It’s a little brainwashing technique called a hook. They hook people in using a small number of manufactured hot button issues and then they obsess on them endlessly, in this case for decades. They sing the siren's songs day and night. They build up entire industries around obsession with these “sins” -- books, pamphlets, sermons, TV channels, conservative political parties and platforms, radio shows, you name it. They target and villainize groups they think they can dominate and won’t fight back (liberals, women, gay people, intellectuals). They convince people that if they don’t agree with their view on these matters they’re not one of them and they are apostates. Who wants to be an apostate? Most people don’t, so they go along with it. In the process they surrender their ability to think. They accept everything else they say no matter how evil and messed up it may be. Conservative ideology is diametrically opposed to everything Jesus taught.
It’s a clever scheme and it’s worked well for a long time. It has managed to lead a majority of modern Christians down the path that is wide. You know what Jesus said about that path.
For deeper analysis of all of the above topics click here.
As we often say, “An epic deception has taken place over the last 35 years. Purveyors of deceit have managed to equate Christianity and right-wing ideology as one and the same in the majority of Christian minds. We know the history, but how this ever happened is unfathomable to us because the two things could not be more opposed. Right-wing ideology is selfish, greedy, arrogant, vengeful, loud, pushy, judgmental, exclusive, controlling, militaristic, aloof, void of empathy, hostile towards the weak and the sick, and many times racist, misogynistic, homophobic and Islamophobic. The list goes on. Does that sound like Jesus?”
This latest incarnation to push Christianity to the right is only the most recent of a long series of efforts to do so, but it has been the most successful by far.
As a Christian who takes your faith seriously you owe it to yourself to understand how this happened. We have gathered a series of articles linked in this blog which will give you a detailed overview of much of the history. After reading the articles we’re sure you will see many things with new eyes.
Each one of these articles presents information in somewhat of a chronological order if you read them one after the other. Each contains information which the others don't. Reading all of them will give you a well rounded view and a good base to start from if you wish to dig deeper.
How Corporate America Invented Christian America
This is a four page article with links to each page at the bottom of each page. It is written by Kevin M. Kruse who is a professor of history at Princeton and the author, most recently, of One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, from which this article has been adapted.
Yes, it’s true: Evangelicals used to be Christianity’s liberals
A nice overview of some of the historical facts followed up by another article listed directly below.
How the evangelical left became the religious right
A follow up to the article listed directly above. An overview of more of the facts.
The Real Origins of the Religious Right
A meticulously researched and well written four page article detailing the tactics of the last 35 years.
The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal
"In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal. Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception. That’s new. If you had asked American evangelicals that same question the year I was born you would not have gotten the same answer."
The Big Four - Agree With Us Or You're Not A Christian
"I learned a few things growing up as an evangelical Christian: that abortion is murder; homosexuality, sin; evolution, nonsense; and environmentalism, a farce. I learned to accept these ideas— the 'big four'— as part of the package deal of Christianity. In some circles, I learned that my eternal salvation hinged on it. Those who denied them were outsiders, liberals, and legitimate targets for evangelism. If they didn’t change their minds after being “witnessed to,” they became legitimate targets for hell."
The Not-So-Lofty Origins of the Evangelical Pro-Life Movement
"Given the dubious origins of the evangelical pro-life movement, and the intractable nature of the conflict, perhaps the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade should serve as an occasion for evangelicals to reconsider their commitment to criminalizing abortion."
Abortion and Judeo-Christian Religion
Yet another exhaustive and well-written article on the topic of abortion.
The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality
Matthew Vines grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where he attended an evangelical Presbyterian church with his family. Upon graduation from high school, he was accepted into Harvard, where he studied for two years during 2008-2010, focusing on philosophy. He then quit Harvard in order to pursue a full-time study of the Bible's statements on homosexuality in response to widespread belief that homosexual expression is disapproved by God - a belief held at the time by his own parents and their family church. This video and the companion transcript of his presentation is an overview of his conclusions.
Over the decades the now wealthy and politically powerful "Christian" Right has managed to crush most fledgling Christian progressive movements because they are the religion of empire. The majority of the people they’ve brainwashed support their cause. Corporations and war profiteers pour money into these false teachings to buy a base of religious people eager to support their goals. Christian progressives end up being shamed, run off and isolated in many cases.
We've spent 7 years now trying to actively expose the grand scam known as The "Christian" Right every single day. We hope our efforts are a blessing to you and if you suspected these things all along and felt alone in your sentiments those days are now over. You are not alone.
If you feel inclined to support our efforts you may do so here. We are a user supported ministry and we're willing to keep on keeping on as long as we can keep our heads above water.
The Christian Left
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.