Cont’d The Church as State


So, how did we get to this point where the church is so involved with politics? Seriously, was there ever really a time when the two were not intertwined?

In an article in the upcoming issue of Green Egg magazine (greeneggzine.com), I discuss how Christmas traditions arose from the Holy Roman Empire assimilating the various religious traditions of people who soldiered for them and those of the lands which they conquered. There are hardly any modern holiday traditions which do not have their roots in the “Pagan” traditions of Europe.

In 1534 Henry the 8th, upset that the Catholic church would not approve the dissolution of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, conspired with bishops who were loyal to the crown to form the Anglican Church. It’s initial roots go back much farther than that and, of course, that was not the sole cause of the separation. But that was when it blossomed into the official church of England. And about 100 years later the afore-mentioned pilgrims fled to the new world to escape it.

At about the same time Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses. His main objection to what the Catholic church was doing? At the time they had “indulgence” salesman traveling around and forgiving people’s sins in exchange for money. Luther strongly disagreed with the Church’s idea that God’s forgiveness could be purchased.

Hmmm, does that maybe remind you somewhat of the way the mega-churches in the United States operate? If you’ve got the money, we’ll absolve the crime. You may notice that people like Ted Haggard have not gone away despite their self-described sins. And certain Governors and other politicians have their trespasses forgiven as long as they support the church. Say there Governor, care to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail?

And the pushing of the belief, by people like Michelle Bachman’s husband, that “Gayness can be cured through prayer” is simple another way for them to make money. And I can look to an organization headquartered just south of where I sit typing this (Focus on the Family) to find an instant example of that same type of thinking. You can bet that the Dobson family is not suffering in these hard economic times.

Organized religion’s involvement with politics, as I’ve shown, has been occurring for quite some time, and did not spontaneously arrive during President Reagan’s tenure. It has just become more open in the American system than it had been previously.

Although the Catholic church poses as a much more left-leaning organization in the U.S., it stills plays politics. Take Mother Teresa for example. Yes she dedicated her life to helping the poor and sick in Calcutta, and she was even given the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts; and rightly so. But what would you say is the main problem in that region?

I’ll go out on a not-so-fragile limb here and say that it is over-population. And yet, Mother Teresa fully supported Rome’s position on the use of contraception and abortion. She counseled turning to God for help in prayer instead of directly confronting the problem with science based solutions. Yes she did good work, and the mission founded by her continues that good work to this day.

If you think that sounds like the Evangelical’s position on the subject of over population, then you’ve hit on my point. Santorum’s statement. dovetails with the Catholic Church’s official position as well as the Evangelicals. Don’t tell an Evangelical that; according to them the “papacy” is an evil institution. They will never admit how much they actually have in common with that self-same institution.

So, why do both groups encourage turning to God over science based solutions to problems such as over-population and climate change? And why do you think the majority of “hawks” are supported by right wing churches and ministers? War seems to me to be antithetical to the teaching of Jesus.

Here is my radical, and probably unprovable, theory on the subject: Organized Religion thrives on chaos. Think about it; besides alcohol sales, what else rises sharply in time of great distress? Church attendance. While, I admit, the attendance of various new-age methods of relief such as yoga and meditation (which I teach) also rises, the churches have a virtual lock on the wallets of Americans.

The more chaos there is, the more they profit. Surely I’m not saying that there is a monetary component to what they preach? You may say “These people are basically good and holy. You are just being a demagogue.” I may indeed be a demagogue in this regard. I may be cynical as well. But I actually read various news magazines, and have for years. I pay attentions to what the politicians say, and I also pay attention to what the media says about them.

The word “patriot” is now used as a weapon against people who disagree with them. They characterize OWS as being unwashed and ignorant. They regard corporations as people, thus ensuring the flow of money to support their politics. The Evangelicals, and churches who think like them, are making money hand-over-fist. And the politicians who pay lip-service to their themes, and the themes of the monied interest who support them, are also living high on the hog. Congress now has a higher wealth per capita average than it has at any time in the past.

I must state again, as I have in the past, that I am not pointing a finger at the average Christian in America, or the practice of Christianity as it should be done. But there are good people who attend these services who need to wake up and become aware of what is happening. Follow your Messiah, not the ministers who profit outrageously from His church. Or the politicians who support them.

And don’t allow the United States to become a theocracy, or a theocratic plutocracy. Follow your brain as well as your heart.

“Now everybody’s equal, Just don’t measure it”
Don’t Pray on Me, by Bad Religion

 

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