No More ‘Take it, or, leave it!’

Christian Nationalism no longer allows secular society to “Take it of leave it!” There will be no retreat to a Democratic Government and Society after one has rejected Jesus as their savior. However, both sides are talking about secession. I have talked about forming a new nation in the west, or, a nation from the Louisiana Territory. I want this in order for sane secular people to own a Refuge and Sanctuary from Violent Jesus-freaks. Jesus did not bid our Founding Fathers to give women the right to vote, or, free the slaves. Jesus-freaks want a Kingdom, rather than a Democracy.

The question I put forth this morning, is, why do THE WINNERS want to secede from the Union? Why do THE WINNERS have to put up with THE SORE LOSERS – again – like they did when Obama won? The Tea Party was not a grassroots organization. It was FORMED BY CHRISTIAN LOSERS – like THE LOSERS who held a rally in front of THE WINNERS WHITE HOUSE. Christians wanted Trump to STAY in the White House and not hand it over to…..THE WINNER! How many churches should lose their tax exemption for being POOR LOSERS?

Last night I saw a report on schoolboards asking the FBI for protection FROM LOSERS. How many are Christians organized by a Christian Think Tank of some kind? Have some Christian leaders taken the platform….NO CHRISTIAN CAN BE A LOSER? If so, then other Christian leaders HAVE TO POLICE THEIR PEOPLE IN OUR DEMOCRACY! They need to be taught they have no right to disrupt the Democratic process they do not want to abide by. They have NO RIGHT to use a deadly virus as their tool of DISRUPTION&DIVIDE! I believe COVID-19 is being used to exact revenge!

John Presco

“We’re not fighting for a victory, we’re fighting from a victory! We serve a resurrected Jesus! Does anybody think America is worth fighting for? Does anybody think the Second Amendment is worth fighting for? Let the District of Communists know you’re here! Come on patriots!”

The crowd roared. And then attacked the Capitol. That “serving a resurrected Jesus” could be employed as a battle cry for a violent insurrection reveals the depth of distortion the gospel is subjected to in the hands of Christian nationalists.

California to be 1st state in nation to require COVID-19 vaccines for school children (msn.com)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that the state will require COVID-19 vaccines for all school children ages 12-17 once the FDA grants full approval, becoming the first state in the country to move forward on mandating vaccines for school children.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/15/us/qanon-religion-churches/index.html

National school board group seeks federal help with threats against public school officials – CBS News

WASHINGTON (AP) — First, some blamed the deadly Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol on left-wing antifa antagonists, a theory quickly debunked. Then came comparisons of the rioters to peaceful protesters or even tourists.

Now, allies of former President Donald Trump are calling those charged in the Capitol riot “political prisoners,” a stunning effort to revise the narrative of that deadly day.

The brazen rhetoric ahead of a rally planned for Saturday at the Capitol is the latest attempt to explain away the horrific assault and obscure what played out for all the world to see: rioters loyal to the then-president storming the building, battling police and trying to stop Congress from certifying the election of Democrat Joe Biden.

Capitol rally seeks to rewrite Jan. 6 by exalting rioters (apnews.com)

A shocking new poll from the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia reveals that over half of Trump voters polled, and 41% of Biden voters, are in favor of blue and/or red states seceding from the union. Yeah, it’s gotten that bad.

The idea that the nation’s political divide has become so toxic that we should prepare from some sort of “national divorce” has largely been left to clever thought experiments best left for dinner parties and ironically detached columns. However, we’ve now arrived at a point where more than half of Trump voters “somewhat agree” that the time for secession is nigh.

Washington — A national organization representing school board officials from around the country is appealing to President Biden for assistance from federal law enforcement to address a growing number of violent threats and intimidation against public school officials over COVID-19 restrictions and critical race theory.

The leaders of the National School Boards Association, which represents more than 90,000 school board members, told Mr. Biden in a letter Wednesday that U.S. public schools and its leaders “are under an immediate threat” that requires the attention of law enforcement across all levels of government.

“While local and state law enforcement agencies are working with public school officials in several communities to prevent further disruptions to educational services and school district operations, law enforcement officials in some jurisdictions need assistance — including help with monitoring the threat levels,” Viola Garcia, the group’s president, and Chip Slaven, its interim executive director and CEO, told Mr. Biden.

From the Center for Politics report:

Significant numbers of both Trump and Biden voters show a willingness to consider violating democratic tendencies and norms if needed to serve their priorities. Roughly 2 in 10 Trump and Biden voters strongly agree it would be better if a “President could take needed actions without being constrained by Congress or courts,” and roughly 4 in 10 (41%) of Biden and half (52%) of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that it’s time to split the country, favoring blue/red states seceding from the union.

The report continues by examining the broad political dissolution felt by members of both parties (emphasis mine.):

— On one hand, roughly 80% of Trump and Biden voters view democracy as preferable to any non-democratic kind of government.

— On the other hand, more than 6 in 10 Trump and Biden voters see America as less a representative democracy and more a system that is run by and rigged for the benefit of the wealthy.

— Overall, more than two-thirds support — and one-third strongly — emboldening and empowering strong leaders and taking the law into their own hands when it comes to dealing with people or groups they view as dangerous.

— And their willingness to consider violating democratic tendencies and norms extends beyond the hypothetical and to a dangerous and alarming finding: Roughly 2 in 10 Trump and Biden voters — or more than 31 million Americans — strongly agree it would be better if a “President could take needed actions without being constrained by Congress or courts” (as extrapolated from the results of this survey). Roughly 4 in 10 (41%) of Biden and half (52%) of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that it’s time to split the country, favoring blue/red states seceding from the union.

A shocking YouGov poll in June found that 66% of Republicans in southern states want to secede from the United States. That survey, which was done in conjunction with BrightLineWatch, looked at the current political climate in America. The most stunning question concerned support or opposition for the state in which respondents lived in “seceding from the United States to join a new union with [list of states in new union]?”

Man Who Complained Ex-Proud Boy Was Plotting to Kill Him Is Found Dead (msn.com)

Sonia Sotomayor Exposes the Lie of an ‘Apolitical’ Supreme Court | Opinion (msn.com)

We still don’t know why a Trump server has mysterious connections to a Russian bank, despite a DOJ indictment (msn.com)

They found that between May and July 2016, a server belonging to the Trump Organization had been communicating almost exclusively with a server belonging to the medical company Spectrum Health, as well as two servers belonging to Alfa Bank, the largest financial institution in Russia.

The researchers also found that a Russian-made smartphone seldom seen in the US had been used on networks that had also been used by people at the White House and Trump Tower, according to the Times.

SHOCK POLL: Majority of Trump Voters Now in Favor of Seceding from the Union (msn.com)

The Dangerous Heresy of Christian Nationalism

The Dangerous Heresy of Christian Nationalism
Brian Zahnd

The insurrectionist attack upon the Capitol on January 6 was the most disturbing American moment since 9/11. Like millions of others I watched this awful event with grief-stricken horror on live television. As an angry mob of aggrieved Trump supporters surged up the Capitol steps, I saw among the flags and banners a “Jesus Saves” sign. My first thought was, “that’s what it means to take the name of the Lord in vain.” Among the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, white supremacists, and QAnon theorists, there were Christian nationalists who honestly believed they were somehow serving Jesus by participating in a violent insurrection. On January 6 we saw the danger of Christian nationalism on full display.

Christian nationalism is the idolatrous conflation of Christian faith with American patriotism. Those under the sway of Christian nationalism essentially confuse America for the kingdom of God. The Bill of Rights is held as sacred as the Beatitudes and the Second Amendment is as revered as the Second Commandment (“Love your neighbor as yourself.”). Baptismal identity is eclipsed by national identity and rightwing politics overshadows the Sermon on the Mount.

I don’t place too much blame on rank-and-file Christians who have departed from the true faith for the idolatry of religious nationalism — they are the inevitable disciples created by forty years of evangelical nationalism. But I do blame the pastors, preachers, and false prophets who have led the sheep down this disastrous path. Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Pat Robertson, Paula White, Robert Jeffress, and all the rest share a deep culpability in the distortion of Christian faith into the heresy of religious nationalism. They should know better.

I know the world of Christian nationalism well. I was in it for a long time. One of the speakers at the “Prayer To Save America” rally just prior to the attack on the Capitol was on our pastoral staff sixteen years ago. On January 6 he stood on a platform with a worship team amidst flags festooned with slogans like, “Stop the Steal,” “Fight for Trump,” and “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms.” With the practiced cadence of a preacher this Pentecostal pastor said,

“We’re not fighting for a victory, we’re fighting from a victory! We serve a resurrected Jesus! Does anybody think America is worth fighting for? Does anybody think the Second Amendment is worth fighting for? Let the District of Communists know you’re here! Come on patriots!”

The crowd roared. And then attacked the Capitol. That “serving a resurrected Jesus” could be employed as a battle cry for a violent insurrection reveals the depth of distortion the gospel is subjected to in the hands of Christian nationalists.

As I said, I know this world well. I began to follow Jesus as a teenager during the Jesus Movement of the 1970s. But by the 1980s the Jesus Movement was over, the Religious Right was on the rise, and I went along for the ride. I went along for the ride because I had been lulled to sleep. But in my mid-forties I suddenly woke up. An alarm clock had gone off in my soul. In an astonishing way I realized I was tangled up in red, white, and blue. I thought, how did we get here? We didn’t start out as radical followers of Jesus only to end up being duped by a cadre of prosperity gospel hucksters and religious right power-mongers!

So I revolted and rediscovered (at great cost) the counterculture faith I first knew as a teenager. Though the road back home was sometimes painful, I’ve never once regretted my decision to return to the radical roots of a counterculture Christianity. It was a costly decision, but like the pearl of great price, it was worth it. And it’s why I wrote Postcards From Babylon: The Church in American Exile.

The most needed theological correction for American evangelicals at the moment is to learn to see America not as a kind of biblical Israel, but as a kind of biblical Babylon. Once we see America as a kind of Babylon — a superpower that seeks to encroach upon the sovereignty of God — then we can learn to live as faithful exiles in an idolatrous culture. This is the lesson set forth in the book of Daniel. It was also the experience of the early Christians in the Roman Empire. By virtue of their baptism they became exiles in the land of their birth. Their total fealty was pledged to Christ alone. Allegiance to empire was incompatible with their Christian confession.

Followers of Jesus have no business storming the seat of government to overturn the results of an election. We confess that Jesus is Lord and that is the reality we seek to embody. As believers we are called to the peaceable way of the Lamb — regardless of who occupies Palatine Hill or 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The kingdom of God is already among us. As followers of Jesus we persuade by love, witness, Spirit, reason, rhetoric, and if need be, by martyrdom — but never by force. The violence we saw on January 6 came about in part as the result of Christian leaders preaching religious nationalism — and nothing could be more contrary to the kingdom of Christ.

When I wrote Postcards From Babylon in 2018 I did so from a compelling sense of urgency — I felt I had to respond to the crisis of fidelity within much of the American church. But I could never have anticipated that it would be even more relevant in 2021. And that’s why I’m so enthusiastic about the documentary film Postcards From Babylon. Filmmakers David and Kathi Peters have done an outstanding job with this project. The urgent task of our current moment is to call a church being seduced by the Siren song of nationalism back to its first love. In the film we hear from noted Christian scholars, thinkers and leaders like Walter Brueggemann, Shane Claiborne, Lisa Sharon Harper, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Pete Wehner, and Scott Hancock. I’m honored to be a part of this important project. Postcards From Babylon is a beautiful way to re-evangelize Christians with the good news.

Should the Catholic Church Acknowledge the Destruction of Classical Pagan Culture?

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By Debra Macleod | 16 April 2015
Huffington Post

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(Photo: seleniamorgillo / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

I recently read an article that offered a Christian apology to Jewish people for the wrongs committed against them. The author also acknowledged the way that Christianity was “built” on Judaism. That’s great; however, there’s a glaring omission here. Christianity was also largely “built” on the destruction and desecration of Greco-Roman polytheistic culture.

To be sure, Christians suffered under the early Empire. This was partly due to their beliefs and partly due to their behaviour. The Christian cult took root in a Roman world that was remarkably tolerant of most religions and in which co-existence was the norm; however, Christians were unique in their assertiveness to position their god as the “one true god,” their willingness to renounce their family for their god and their frequent apocalyptic predictions.

It was all too strange and disruptive for the Romans who never hesitated to take harsh action against agitators or troublemakers of any kind (including pagan ones).

Nonetheless, by the late 4th century and early 5th century CE, Christianity had gained considerable political power; however, the majority of Romans of all classes were still pagan. They continued to honor the gods and goddesses that they had honored since the dawn of their civilization.

To solidify Christianity as the sole religion of the Empire, early Christian leaders legalized brutal policies that persecuted pagans. This gave Christians the legal green light to commit atrocious acts of vandalism that destroyed centuries of Classical art, history and culture.

Christian vandals smashed the heads and limbs off statues of beloved gods and goddesses that had been venerated for generations. They knocked the noses off the faces, and carved crosses into the foreheads, of deities, heroes and emperors. They burned ancient texts, obliterating centuries of knowledge, literature and heritage.

These acts of vandalism robbed our Western civilization of a beautiful and important part of our own art history and culture. We’ll never know what monuments or statuary were smashed to dust, or what masterpieces of literature or learning were turned to smoke.

Pagan temples were closed and demolished, stripped of their marble to build churches. This included the oldest temple in the Forum, the Temple of Vesta, whose order of Vestal priestesses was forcibly disbanded after having kept the sacred fire burning in the temple for 1,000 years.

To usurp the importance of the Vestals, the Catholic church eventually created its own version of priestesses — nuns. Like the Vestals who were married to Rome, the nuns would be married to their god. Like the Vestals were celibate, the nuns would be celibate. Yet where the Vestals had power and privilege, the nuns would live in poverty and subservience.

To further Christianize resisters, the church usurped indigenous pagan festivals with Christian ones, the most obvious being the Saturnalia in late December which became Christmas. They created an arsenal of saints to replace the rich diversity of pagan gods and goddesses.

Symbolism and ritual from pagan traditions were also claimed to have Christian origins. The flame of Vesta became the flame in Mary’s immaculate heart. The wafers the Vestals made for offerings became the wafers of the Eucharist. The pagan temples that were still standing had crosses placed atop them. The list goes on.

Forced conversions to Christianity were common, as was the seizure of property or assets belonging to pagans. And in an unprecedented move of religious tyranny, it became illegal – upon pain of torture or death to honor Vesta or other gods and goddesses even within the sacred privacy of one’s own home.

It isn’t pleasant to hear — especially for those who hold their religion dear — but forced conversions and cultural destruction, done on a massive scale, played a significant role in the way Christianity established itself as the dominant religion. This approach set the tone for the fear and oppression of the “Dark Ages” when anything that wasn’t Christian — including science, medicine and free thought — was deemed heretical and violently suppressed.

With the advancement of humanism and secular law, Christianity has lost most of its ability to impose its beliefs on others. And now, owing to the spiritual and intellectual freedom that exists in our society, more and more people have rediscovered Vesta and other ancient traditions, most of which have evolved to reflect 21st-century humanist values and are therefore well-suited to those who identify as spiritual but not religious.

It goes without saying that I’ve had to gloss over 2,000 years of history here (and haven’t even touched on the fact that the Romans committed their share of atrocities). The impact of this period had far-reaching effects on many faiths and cultures.

My goal has been to illustrate how one world view gained dominance through the destruction of another and how, in the process, priceless works of Classical art, knowledge and culture — so relevant to the human experience for all of us in the Western world — were lost forever.

We’ll never know how our society might have developed, especially in terms of scientific and social advancement, had one androcentric religion not held exclusive control of so many and for so long. The ancient world was brutal, but it had its forward thinkers and rays of light.

But back to the beginning: Should the Catholic church acknowledge the harms it did so long ago to Greco-Roman pagan culture? Of course, I don’t believe it will. Anti-pagan propaganda and a denial/whitewashing of history is still too prevalent for that to happen. Others have asked for this apology — pagans and Christians alike — to no meaningful avail.

Yet to me, there’s something to be said for acknowledging past harms. From the internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII to the mistreatment of First Nations children forced to endure the residential school system, an acknowledgement is as much about spreading knowledge and preventing future injustice as it is about mending fences.

For as the ancient Roman statesman Seneca the Younger tells us, errare humanum est, sed in errare perseverare diabolicum. To err is human, but to persist in error is diabolical.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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