Does anyone else remember in the 1980s when the Christian Right (think “Moral Majority”) was obsessed with sex and violence in the media? They campaigned against sex and “gratuitous violence” pretty relentlessly…remember?
So, when was the last time you heard a fundamentalist Christian decry violence in the media? Sure, they’re still going to town on the sex thing…but violence? Not so much.
In the 1990s the Christian Right’s disapproval of violence lessened to the point of almost non-existence.
And at the same time their own use of violent rhetoric increased dramatically.
As some of you know, I’ve been writing lately about Christian Dominionism – the belief that Jesus will not come again until America is ruled by Christians and has the Bible as the basis for all law. (Click here for part1 and part 2.) Well, as I’ve read more about this, I’ve noticed something really scary within this really scary theology: Many Dominionists believe that there will literally be armed, violent struggle involved in “taking back America for Jesus.”
This might sound a little paranoid…but if you want people to take up arms, they need two things. They need to have arms, and they need to feel that the use of those arms is acceptable. People have to lose their fear of and resistance to using violence.
Violence is a HUGE part of the modern Christian conservative verbiage. And get this: it’s not always about THEM being in violent struggle against their secular enemies. (Although there has been plenty of that, with the whole “culture war” with its “battle for souls” and “holy wars” and “taking back America, one battlefield at a time” and all that shit.) No, now it’s the opposite. Suddenly its the secularists who are at war with them! The gays are conducting a “war against marriage and family.” Those who advocate separation of church and state are “at war with believers.” The governor of Texas says that America has “declared war on religion.” It’s the evangelicals who are “under siege.” They are being “relentlessly and brutally attacked by the culture.”
This is very clever – you don’t advocate violence against your enemies – you just convince people that your enemies are engaged in a violent struggle against you! What follows is natural. You fight back.
The secular media never likes it when I say this, so let me say it twice. Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons! They say this rhetoric is so inciting. I came to incite a riot. I came to effect a divine disturbance in the heart and soul of the church. man your battle stations. Ready your weapons. Lock and load…”
-Rod Parsley, prominent pastor, television host, author