Friday, February 13, 2015

The Two Americas

I've come to the conclusion that there really is two Americas, but not the two Americas that former Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards talked about. He was talking about class: wealthy Americans and the rest of us who live from paycheck to paycheck.
 
The two Americas I see are these:  the secular one, that everyone sees and functions in, and a contingency of fundamental or evangelical so-called Christian soldiers who have created their own world. They truly live and operate in a different plane than the rest of us.


Thankfully, I hasten to say, not every Christian is a part of this, though I suspect they partake in the private networks that Christianity on the whole appears to have established for itself.  I have learned that churches have set up their own networks of various things that the rest of us aren't privy too. In other words, they are free to come into our world and do as they wish, but theirs is a private club. They have set up private coffee shops, for instance, and have their own forms of Christian diets and weight loss things, and even Christian products sold by companies that sell exclusively through churches and their networks. Christian bookstores, Christian books, etc. And of course its rampant on the Internet, where people can find folks of like-minded thinking and never again have their beliefs challenged.
 
Isn't it interesting that some people have segregated themselves off from the society they are supposed to be saving, to live in their own little bubble. And the only way anyone else can have access to them or to their business is to buy their dogma and become one of them. They don't do much reaching out.

My guess is most of this business takes place in the guise of non-profit religious status, and very little taxes are paid on these monies.  Some companies try to straddle both worlds; it's still mostly secular in offering but if you look closely you can see this other stuff creeping in there, particularly in books, magazines, and music. They want that money. Walmart is a good example.

This type of fundamentalism seems to appeal to people who feel like they have not won the game that America promised them when they were children. They did not grow up to be wealthy or president. To me, they come across as very angry that they have been wronged and denied something, and they don't want anyone else to have anything, either.

I find these people incredibly scary. It saddens me that many of the people who walk around with KJV tattooed on their forehead, so to speak, are among the most hateful and hate-filled people I have ever had the misfortune to run across. I have to agree with President Obama, who was recently called to task because he compared Christian deeds such as the Crusades with the amoral and animalistic behavior of Islamic extremists and terrorists. I don't really see much difference in the fundamental Christian who calls for the death of those who oppose his opinions.


While the numbers I can find on the Internet range from 20 to 40 percent of US residents attend church, nowhere in the numbers do I find a majority. And I would say that the number of fundamentalists is smaller still, because I know not every Christian falls under that moniker. Not every Christian is a Republican and not every hippie is a Democrat. It's a mixed bag world.

This is a good thing, because I personally feel that the fundamentalists are a threat to national security and public safety. These are people who would violate our laws because in their eyes they are following God's laws, not humans, and I find anyone who would take justice into their own hands to be a scary sort. These people are not my idea of a Christian at all, and apparently they read a different Bible. They also seem to have a wrong-headed worship of the U.S. Constitution, which is not something to be worshipped or idolized, but is instead a manmade document that can be changed at any given time. Unlike the Ten Commandments, the US Constitution is not set in stone.

My part of the world used to be an area that voted with the Democrats as a majority. That changed, apparently, in the 1960s, when Civil Rights came into play. That was a game changer for rural areas, which are mostly white and, I'm sorry to say, racist. After the Civil Rights movement flowed through the federal government and the world changed, rural folks out of spite began voting Republican. It has never had anything to do with political theory or political integrity. Voting blocks tend to be emotional and instinctive, not based on knowledge and understanding. Many people are single-issue voters and have no idea what they're actually voting for.

My immediate community is quite conservative. When the votes run 70 to 30 in favor of Republicans in every election, I feel certain that I am correct in my assessment. That is a very large difference. I wouldn't say it if it were even 60-40, but 70-30 is huge. I have not made it a secret that I am not a conservative, so that puts me in a very small minority here.

I am scared that we are a nation so divided, not just by political theories, not just by class, but by religious demagoguery that has the ability to turn sane people into irrational, scary gunmen. We are a nation in decline, one with enough firepower and nuclear capabilities to demolish the world. Our entire language is now one of hatred and personal animosity, with a putrid political climate that has allowed our country fall into a state of disrepair.
I say it's time we take the country back - not back to the founding fathers, but back to a state of compromise and goal-settings, a state where we can reach agreements through handshakes and polite public discourse. I don't want a nation where we have secret coffee shops for believers and Starbucks for the rest of us. That is crazy. And I don't want to live in a crazy country.

3 comments:

  1. This is not going to be a popular post. with everyone who plays Saturday 9 and Sunday Stealing. Just warning you.

    I am a Christian. I pray to Jesus and accept Him as my savior. Much of what I hear high profile, politically motivated "Christians" say, though, horrifies me. Mike Huckabee, for example, rips the Obamas for letting their daughters listen to Beyonce, while the former governor has played on stage with Ted Nugent -- who told the President of the United States to "suck his machine gun." Disrespecting the President of the United States like that, and encouraging violence, is abhorrent to me -- no matter what party the President hails from. That's an old-fashioned view in today's America, where it's easier to attach hostile labels ("fascist" or "socialist") and diminish than it is to listen.

    When I see people like Huckabee trading his Christianity for book sales and votes, I'm reminded of the famous story in Matthew, when Christ came into the Temple and drove out the buyers and sellers. I am quite sure that the way Christianity is being marketed and then mindlessly lapped up is not at all what Jesus had in mind.

    The irony of all this is that I've often found Obama to be disappointing as President, but I find myself defending him all the time because the attacks on him are so unfair, so unfounded, so hostile and so silly.

    And offensive. Of course, when it comes to faith in the public square, I agree with JFK and his famous speech to ministers in Houston. It's the speech that makes Rich Santorum "want to throw up."

    "I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish ... where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all."

    Unfortunately, then-Senator Kennedy went on to say he believed in an America where religious intolerance would someday end, with "no bloc voting of any kind." I don't think we're any closer to that Jeffersonian ideal than we were 54 years ago when Kennedy first spoke those words.

    My personal faith in God and Christ is strong enough that I can be around, listen to and learn from those who don't believe as I do. I'm patriotic enough to be proud that I have the opportunity.

    Thank you for the opportunity to say that here.

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    Replies
    1. I never said I wasn't Christian. I just don't go to church and so am not privy to all that church-going entails. There is a difference. It sounds like you agree with me. It is the noisiest sector of Christianity that is the scariest, and that is what I'm addressing. The marketing aspect also appalls me, the more I become aware of it, which is why I felt compelled to point it out. And I certainly agree with you and JFK. That is the America I believe in. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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    2. Oh, and I don't think Obama is what I want in a president, either, but I have always respected the office, even when someone I disliked more held the seat.

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