American religious fundamentalism and its influence on American elections has happened before. These Renaissance periods seem to coincide with troubled times.
Back in the 1930’s we experienced a period of severe economic times and with the fears that come with economic uncertainty and pain came religious fundamentalism. Religion offers people not only salvation but it offers answers and certainty when there is nothing certain about even having food on the table.
With the 30’s came the belief that we were entering into the end of times as ordained by the Bible. People held the belief that Franklin Roosevelt was the embodiment of the Anti-Christ.
Along with the feeling and belief by some that the 30’s were the beginning of the end, came the feeling that why reform anything since the end was near. From this group of right-wing religiosity came the belief that nothing that took place on earth mattered. What they believe matters is what takes place in the hereafter. Predestination comes into play here as the faithful believe that what happens in life is ordained by God and that we are all sinners.
These beliefs have fueled a mistrust of government. For these believers in the Anti-Christ coming, they see actions of Presidents as an impediment to Christ return and they have seen people like President Franklin Roosevelt and President Barrack Hussein Obama as the embodiment of being an Anti-Christ. They like to quote Luke 19:13 where the true believers are called upon to “occupy”, until he returns.
They look upon President Obama with suspicion. They see him as troubling. His alleged place of birth being Kenyan, his alleged lackluster support for Israel, the fact that a world organization gave him the Nobel Prize have all fallen in line to the notion that President Obama is the Anti-Christ. This notion, this belief that somehow this is part of some kind of world conspiracy to prevent the second coming of Christ explains the level of hate the President has received from the evangelical, fundamentalist community.
It can be argued that America’s foreign policy of recent years, those years especially during the George W. Bush years were designed to do God’s will. President Bush in a discussion with French Premier Jacque Chirac said the following in reference to the war in Iraq: “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants us to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a new age begins.”
In a friendly biography of President George W. Bush, entitled, “The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty,” a family member stated that the President, “Saw this war as a religious war.” He saw the wars in the Middle East as a New Crusade, where they are killing Christians.
John Hagee of Christians United for Israel, helps to fund new settlements in Israel and on the West Bank, fully realizing that this is part of an effort to toss out the Palestinians.
Hagee and others want to help the Rapture happen. Their efforts can lead to the end of times becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy. They believe that if we help start a war with Iran, that would bring Russia into the fray and then World War III would begin and the PROPHESY would become a reality. They believe that 9/11 was prophesied.
Religious fundamentalist, evangelicals make up a good percentage of the support the Republican Party has today. The electorate in the Deep South is especially susceptible to their influence. In contrast to prior generations when their brand of Christianity did not participate overtly in politics that is no longer true. They preach to their faithful on Sundays that President Obama does not follow God’s laws. It has been estimated that the evangelical movement now makes up about 26% of the electorate.
My beliefs in Christianity are quite different. We humans are called upon to do good works to promote and provide for a Heaven on Earth. I repudiate the notion that somehow President Obama is the Great Satan.
President Obama’s efforts for peace are not wrong. We can work to control our destiny. I believe in Gods love, and I share in the beliefs espoused by the Enlightenment that we humans must work for justice and fairness for all.
Some Christians supported slavery and supported the idea that women are inferior. But there is a totally different group of Christians who believe in equality and who honestly believe that all men and women are created equally endowed by our Creator, with rights to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We need to join with all humanists in the effort to bring peace to the world and to make sure that we do not choose religious zealots to lead us into perdition.
Any era that has had horrible times could be thought of as the beginning of the end. We now live in an era that is turbulent. We have many reasons for being fearful. Man though has been given the capacity to use his brain to overcome adversity and to fight for good.
Let us realize and turn into a reality the wisdom of the founders and keep religion out of politics. In the spirit of Christmas we need to have the attitude of charity for all and malice towards none. We humans have an obligation to treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated and that is with love. PEACE AND JOY TO ALL!!!!