In contemporary American politics when your back is to the wall, and you have to distract voters from failed policies, play the God Card. This is what some Christian conservatives are doing when they claim that there is a war against Christianity being waged in the United States today. The idea is a scam.
First of all, given the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are Christians this “war” is at best an insurgency waged by secularists and liberals. Using the word “insurgency,” however, reminds us of Iraq, and the whole War on Christianity is supposed to distract us from Iraq, so the inventors of this conflict will conveniently forget that America is the most Christian nation in the world, and pretend that Alec Baldwin is the Anti-Christ marshalling the dark forces of Hollywood (notice the blasphemy: Holy Wood, referring to the Cross of Christ?).
Secondly, the insurgency is not against Christianity but against extreme conservative Christianity. Does anyone other than conservatives have a problem with Unitarians, or the Evangelical liberals who support Sojourners Magazine?
Thirdly, the insurgency isn’t against Christianity, the Nicene Creed, the Trinity, or even the divinity of Jesus as Christ. The insurgency, if there is one, is against the right wing conservative politics that seek to legislate a specific brand of Christian moralism.
Case in point is a letter to the editor in today’s USA TODAY by Rick Scarborough, president of Vision America, a right wing Christian organization. Here is a bit of what Mr. Scarborough sees as evidence for a war against Christianity.
1. The movie “V for Vendetta,” is set in a totalitarian Christian state, and is therefore anti-Christian. No, the movie is an attack on totalitarianism. It is only an attack on Christianity if we assume that Christianity is by its very nature totalitarian. Maybe Mr. Scarborough is revealing more than he intends.
2. An ad in the NY Times frets that the United States is becoming a narrow-minded Christian theocracy. First of all, all theocracies are narrow-minded. Secondly, the ad attacks the idea of theocracy not Christianity. This is an attack on Christianity only if you insist that Christianity is right wing and narrow-minded.
3. Robert Reich, in an article in The American Prospect magazine, calls conservative Christians “a clear and present danger to religious liberty in America.” Again the attack is on the conservative view of Christianity and not on Christianity itself.
4. Ruling against opening sessions of the Indiana House of Representatives with prayers in the Name of Jesus, U.S. District Court Judge David Hamilton’s claimed that they amounted to “an official endorsement of the Christian religion.” In commenting on this ruling Mr. Scarborough says in response to endorsing Christianity as the official religion of America, “AS IF THIS WERE A CATASTROPHE (sic).”
Yes, it is a catastrophe! And it is because the Christian right does not see it as a catastrophe that they are a danger to the very values that makes the United States the creative beacon of liberty that it is meant to be.
If there is a war on Christianity being waged in this country, it is being waged by right wing conservative Christians who reject the Sermon on the Mount in favor of an Apocalyptic agenda rooted in guns, oil, fear, and unfettered capitalism that has nothing to do with the radical and loving message of Jesus.