Most Christians are normal people who happen to believe in Jesus as their savior. I've got no problem with that, though I think they're wrong about Jesus, plus the rest of their Christian dogma.
Religions can be false (all are, in my atheist opinion) but not dangerous.
However, Christian nationalists are a distinct threat to American democracy, as evidenced by Doug Mastriano winning the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania governor in last Tuesday's primary election.
A day after the election, Greg Sargent, a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote "Say it clearly: Republicans just nominated a pro-Trump insurrectionist." In his piece Sargent describes how Mastriano views himself as doing God's will by overturning election results where a Democrat wins.
This is exceedingly dangerous. Mix right-wing political fanaticism with Christian nationalist religious fanaticism, and you've got a double-dose of zealotry devoted to overturning democracy.
Here's excerpts from Sargent's column pertaining to Mastriano's twisted worldview.
For the love of democracy, please stop using the phrase “election denier.”
Now that Doug Mastriano has won the GOP nomination for governor in Pennsylvania, countless news accounts are describing him with that phrase. This is meant to convey the idea that Mastriano won’t accept Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential reelection loss.
That’s true, but it’s insufficient. Let’s state this plainly: Pennsylvania Republicans just nominated a full-blown insurrectionist who intends to use the power of the office to ensure that, as long as he is governor, no Democratic presidential candidate wins his state again.
Mastriano’s victory also highlights another story that’s bigger than this one contest: The role of Christian nationalism in fueling the growing insurrectionist streak on the right. This nexus underscores the danger this movement poses in a way that also demands more clarity about the worldview of candidates like Mastriano.
...Mastriano is running on what is functionally an open vow to use the power of the governor’s office to nullify future election losses, even if they are procedurally legitimate, and even if he knows this to be the case.
This becomes unavoidable once you look closely at Mastriano’s own conduct. And his Christian nationalist sympathies underscore the point.
...As governor, Mastriano would likely handpick a secretary of state who would resist certifying a razor-thin legitimate Democratic victory. And Mastriano would likely try to certify sham electors for Trump or another GOP candidate.
The 2024 election in Pennsylvania might not be close; either the Republican or the Democrat might win easily. Alternatively, such an effort by Mastriano might fail. But let’s be clear: He’s telegraphing a willingness to attempt such a thing, and that he’d likely see it as a righteous act as well, even if there’s little actual voter fraud, and even if he knows this.
This may seem like a leap, but to experts in Christian nationalism, it makes perfect sense. Sarah Posner, a scholar of the religious right, has extensively demonstrated that Mastriano’s efforts for Trump were infused with Christian nationalist fervor, which holds that Trump was installed in the White House by God as “restorer of America’s white Christian heritage.”
Mastriano hinted at this in his victory speech Tuesday night. “God is good,” Mastriano said. “He uses people like you and me to change history.”
The idea that Mastriano’s victory shows God using him to “change history” is a textbook Christian nationalist trope, notes Posner. As she says, this worldview holds that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, and that this is being subverted by satanic and secular forces that Christian nationalists are duty-bound to resist.
“It’s their patriotic duty as believers to fight for that Christian nation,” Posner told me. That’s been “orthodoxy” for a long time, Posner says, but the new ingredient is the eagerness to overturn elections in service of that higher end.
Mastriano is saying he’s “empowered as a believer to overturn election results to achieve God’s will,” Posner said. To prevent the subversion of the “Christian nation,” Posner added, he hopes to take “the God-given power to change election results” to the governor’s mansion.
In this telling, liberal democratic proceduralism is inherently nonbinding. Even procedurally legitimate electoral outcomes can be deemed out of step with God’s plan and subject to nullification. Vox’s Zack Beauchamp describes these tendencies as “American Orbanism,” after Hungarian leader Viktor Orban: It relies on religiously inspired culture-warring to energize and justify the curtailment or abandonment of democracy.
It should be obvious that phrases like “election denialist” and “election conspiracist” don’t do justice to what we’re really seeing here. Getting it right on what’s at stake in places like Pennsylvania is truly urgent.
"They admire Putin because they see him as promoting their own conservative views on cultural issues, like attacking LGBTQ+ rights. More insidiously, they also admire Putin because they see him as a macho white Christian man who is willing to use deadly force against his enemies — something, alarmingly, that they’d like to see in the United States as well."
Posted by: umami | May 23, 2022 at 07:12 AM
I have no problem with religious believers whose religion is about their personal beliefs and the way they conduct their lives in private. But its quite incredible that people are are getting into politics waving their religious card. Sadly, right-wing evangelical types are followed by millions.
Its amazing how a country like America still allows the fanatics of religion to take such prominent positions in politics and also sadly, to influence justice and science – where scientists feel they need to take an extreme stance to counter religious beliefs entering the classroom disguised as science.
The human race is in a sad state when conservative, right-wing populist politics take over, playing on the fears of people through championing issues such as national identity, religious beliefs, self interest, community values and protection against immigration. We have a similar situation here in the UK but instead of operating under the religious banner it is more to do with fears of being a second rate country and being taken advantage of – hence Brexit (which is not going well for many)
It seems as though, one way or another, right wing fueled, fear based beliefs and opinions are now prominent in many countries around the world. We, our countries and leaders need to be more pro-active with protecting the world against the damage we are causing to the environment (and ourselves) and less toward voting in leaders who encourage self-interest. But there, aren't our leaders just projections of our own fears and neurosis?
Posted by: Ron E. | May 24, 2022 at 03:24 AM
"The human race is in a sad state when conservative, right-wing populist politics take over"
..........Indeed. The world over, that is the tragedy that is, at best, taking us back many, many steps of the progress that we've won, step by painful step, over the last many decades; and, at worst, hurtling us towards a barbarity from where there will be no return. These are sad times indeed, and, more so, very dangerous times.
I cannot comprehend how people can countenance handing over the reins of power to these cross-eyed gibbering superstitious fools, and/or transparently hypocritical charlatans. But then I suppose when, somehow, so many of our fellow humans have themselves somehow --- despite all of the wisdom of the ages now having become so astonishingly easily accessible to us --- morphed into cross-eyed gibbering fools, and/or utterly amoral self-seeking hypocrites, that that is an inevitability. At least unless the rest of us find within us the will and the strength to stand up and fight back to reclaim the world ---- distasteful in the extreme although it might be to descend to this kind of thing, and distasteful in the extreme although it might be to even touch said half-witted reprobates, even if only to strike them down.
The time is soon approaching when we'll have no option but to get over our sensibilities, and to actually dirty our hands in the hurly burly of public life, and reclaim from these intellectual Calibans what our inaction has allowed them to take away, bit by bit by bit. It turns one's stomach to even consider the prospect of doing that, but the way things are unfolding, one may not have the option, the luxury, of keeping away from the dirt and filth of everyday politics, not for much longer.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | May 24, 2022 at 05:45 AM
Years ago I heard somebody say that when the indigenous people get beaten up the just cover their heads and receive the beatings on their backs. On day, he said, the one that beats will get so tired from beating that he let go, that we raise up and grab him.
That is what is going on AR... and it cannot be stopped.
Over the last decades the elite gave up the controle and just lived in their own welfare bubble enjoying themselves, making themselves believe they lived in paradise.
If you want to understand .. just delve into the mechanism that has been used over the centuries to created wealth for some at the cost of many ... in fact all sold "protection" as the MOB does.
Yesterday I saw a docu on TV on a wealthy, highly respected family in this country. It was about an gifted female offspring that became a respected artist. The docu as colateral information showed how her family had become so well to do by selling peet that was used as fuel up into the 20st century ... just one shot showed a family living in a peethouse. The whole family, children included had to toil hard just to keep themselves alive ... it only change after 1970.
The misery these people have gone through for generations, is deep in their DNA
Follow the money AR.
Just think how one can become rich ... if you think it can be done on ones own cost, you are wrong....
One can only survive this mechanism on the long run when does that are wealthy see to it that others that have toiled for their wealth, sleep well with a smile on their faces.
Change for the better is profounder than you think as does the missery that goes with the creating of that wealth .... wealth is power and it is always used against people that have toiled for it.
If you can hide in the country side
Posted by: um | May 24, 2022 at 07:10 AM
Several times I wrote that on looking at WWII docus I am always intrugued by the collateral information ... in those cases I do not look at what they show about Hitler but the smilling faces of the masses lining the streets when he passes by.
The same is with other people of that kind, they are always applauded by a mass.
That mass has been used, misused and neglected for centuries.
If you want to understand AR delve in the living circumstances of those that worked on plantations, in mines and factories all over the world.
Slavery is just the most ugly expression of the same use, misuse and neglect and it is still goes on. and on
Even the welfare you have, is produced at the cost of others, in this or that Asian country
The owners do whatever they can to pay the lowest wages possible, they give a shit about you, you are just an bio-mechanism for them
This lament goes on and on.
It has always been that way
and now the volcano erupts ... but ... the pressure has been build up for centuries.
Hide in the country side AR
Posted by: um | May 24, 2022 at 07:35 AM
"That is what is going on AR... and it cannot be stopped."
.....Let's hope you're wrong, um. Let's hope it will stop on its own. If it doesn't, and if those of us who thus far have kept carefully out of the filth of politics are forced to wade in, let's hope at least then it stops. There's no guarantee, not even then; but let's hope there's hope. After all, while there's no guarantee that it'll stop, there also is no guarantee that it won't.
"If you can hide in the country side"
"Hide in the country side AR"
.....Hiding in the countryside is what so many of us are doing, um, figuratively if not literally, carefully staying out of this mess ourselves. It's we who are partly to blame for what is happening: in giving in to our sensibilities and staying away from the ring, we've left it wide open for the lowlifes to take over.
I really don't have the stomach for the filth of politics, and nor do many who think like me. Maybe things will self-correct on their own, at least one hopes that. But that starts looking more and more unlikely. So that continuing to hide in the metaphorical countryside may, one day soon, no longer be an option. Let us hope that day does not come to pass, because it won't be a very pretty time. Speaking for myself, I like the (metaphorical) countryside, love it in fact, and most emphatically do *not* want to leave it, not if I can possibly help it.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | May 24, 2022 at 09:51 AM
The countryside is no haven for morality.
"Good heavens!" I cried. "Who would associate crime with these dear old homesteads?"
"They always fill me with a certain horror. It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside."
"You horrify me!"
"But the reason is very obvious. The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish. There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the thud of a drunkard's blow, does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbours, and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going, and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser."
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
Sherlock Holmes in "The Copper Beeches" (Doubleday p. 323)
Posted by: Spence Tepper | May 24, 2022 at 01:32 PM
The religious right has been growing ever so stupidly since the 1970’s.
America is the most Christian country on earth and the evangelicals are the most dangerous among them. They don’t think.
While Democrats were focused on identity politics, Republicans cashed in gaining votes from the religious right for what was actually a concern over economic issues. The poor and the rich can claim Jesus as their reason for voting for Trump. But what really motivated them was Trump’s economic politics.
The middle class is shrinking. The democrats are focused on individual rights whereas the fanatical right are really more concerned with staying above the breadline. For some, it feels better to say you’re voting for a higher cause that aligns with your so-called religious ideals than to admit you just want a president that’s going to put more money in your back pocket.
Posted by: Sonya | May 24, 2022 at 03:20 PM
The imposition of religious morality and secular laws have always been about controlling human behavior through some form of fear.
When human behavior is controlled by fear, there is no opportunity for a human being to develop authenticity that is free from the worrying mind.
I doubt that it is possible to be aware of all the customs or laws of any particular country, so at any time you could be thinking you are acting in a moral way but will be breaking laws and as a result could be punished.
It is no coincidence that the rules of religious morality and secular laws have always been created and imposed by a ruling elite that use the rules/laws to their own advantage and in doing so place themselves above such.
The mind requires no imposed morality or secular laws to maintain peace of mind. Peace of mind is developed and maintained by thinking, speaking and acting in ways that cause no physical, emotional or psychological harm to yourself, others and the world around you.
Posted by: Roger | May 25, 2022 at 12:03 PM
All one big fat lie.
Posted by: googlecash | May 29, 2022 at 01:47 PM