The Church’s Need To Moralize Politically

The first of the logical fallacies in human interactions is to accuse your opponent of doing exactly what you’re doing yourselves.

The extreme right, led by the tax evaders of the Council for National Policy (CNP), is a complex, integrated, and coördinated disinformation stream of propaganda that is slowly destroying our democracy. They’re very good at what they do and very effective, because its members are all supported from the same pot and by design incapable of independent thinking. Do not be deceived. This is a top-down group with the essential message that the business community — led by many of America’s wealthiest people — is the rightful governor of all and that the lower class exists to support them before anything else. And, it uses the church to do much of its heavy lifting.

Extremist Christians in this group have so bastardized the ministry of Jesus as to render themselves fools when confronted and powerless in the realm of the spirit. God no more supports their efforts than those of the devil himself. To maintain their delusion, they require regular reminders of their fallacious enemy, what they view as sin in the culture. Keep eyes focused on that, they think, and everything falls into place.

An excellent example of this can be found in the current aggregator of “news” pages known as Google News, an article originally published by the right-wing propaganda site Western Journal. Like all of these disinformation sites, it’s run by people with deep ties in this community of unbelievers who have a “form of Christ” but are not the real deal. These people use God to oppress the less fortunate.

This article was the subject of a softball “analysis” by The Washington Times (another untrustworthy media form) under the remarkable headline “America’s new religion: Fake Christianity: Stop calling yourself a Christian if you don’t believe in Christ.” Based entirely on this Western Journal opinion piece. Here are some of the most provocative Washington Times quotes:

Writing for the Journal, Rachel Bratton said this: “American Christianity has fallen. Thanks to cultural corrosion and a lack of biblical literacy, a new ‘fake Christianity’ is now being preached within the American church.”

“This counterfeit religion is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,” stated Ms. Bratton, “a worldview that has quickly gained prominence and given many Americans a theology that looks nothing like historical Christianity, despite what they may claim.” She then goes on to cite the recent work of George Barna, whose February survey showed that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD), or — watered-down, feel-good, fake Christianity – is the most popular worldview in the United States today.

Absent reading on, this seems an intriguing perspective, but the real “enemy” is revealed as anything “progressive,” which means complaining about the political left by casting doubt in the name of the political and Christian Right. Even the phrase “writing for the journal” elevates this commentary to the mainstream. After all, who can argue with “the journal?” Read on:

“The moralistic perspective is we’re here to be good people and to try to do good…The therapeutic aspect is everything is supposed to be geared to making me feel good about myself, ultimately to make me happy. Deism is the idea that God created the world but has no direct involvement in it. Basically, according to MTD, there is a distant God who just wants everyone to be nice, and the purpose of life is to be happy. American ‘Christians’ who have adopted this philosophy have… elevate[d] personal definitions of right and wrong above any objective standard of Truth — like the Bible.”

So, this “fake” Christianity is based in what they view as the moral swamp of liberal progressivism. It gets worse:

It is rather a syncretistic amalgamation of Bobby McFerrin and Black Lives Matter, sad solipsism of “don’t worry, be happy!” as we celebrate the “queering” of all that ails us.”

Read that again. Black Lives Matter, they allege, is part of the sinful culture brought about by this “fake” Christianity. The article continues its religious bigotry:

Ms. Bratton concludes: “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism distorts the God of the Bible in an attempt to make him bless all the dissipations and vanities of the modern world.” Ms. Barna adds: “MTD is one of those models that says you gotta live in the moment. This is all you’ve got, and you’ve gotta make the most of it.”

“It makes sense,” says Ms. Bratton, “that ‘Christians’ who embrace MTD are hesitant to [salt] the culture. How can anyone pass judgment if everyone’s just trying to be happy? The only sin is getting in the way of someone’s personal ‘truth.’

“That’s why so many are siding with [neo-Marxist atheistic] groups like Black Lives Matter and the LBGT movement. They’ll listen to the loudest voice on either side. Enter the screaming woke mob; [those who] promote sin under the guise of ‘loving everyone.’”

I would suggest this is very much a part of more traditional Christianity that alway pointed its judgmental and boney fingers towards sin in the culture, usually including an image of evil personified within the framework of poverty, unemployment, race, misogyny, and especially sexual and gender relations. When those with a mind to think for themselves in their interpretation of scripture reference the resemblance of these matters with the ministry of Jesus, blank stares follow, because, well, that’s not what the church teaches.

More from the Times article:

The Christian apologist Frank Turek recently said, “Some people call themselves progressive Christians when they’re neither progressive nor Christian because they disagree with Jesus on several significant issues. They disagree with Jesus on sex. They disagree with Jesus on the Bible. They disagree with Jesus on Heaven and Hell. They disagree with Jesus on his atonement. So, why would they call themselves a Christian?”

To paraphrase — Please stop calling yourself a Christian if you don’t believe in Christianity!

“Followers of Christ have forgotten that Jesus didn’t come to tell people to be nice. His message has always been a stumbling block, and [this is] especially hard for 21st-century Americans to accept,” says Ms. Bratton.

It is my belief (and that of a great many others) that this is a part of the disinformation associated with the Right’s version of reality. Jesus called us to love one another, including and especially the poor and the afflicted. You cannot find in the red words any condemnation for cultural sin. He was vastly more concerned with the damage that religious leaders of the time inflicted on the very people he came to save. In making such a proclamation, I realize full well that these views represent an attack on the institution that is the church. Institutions, remember from Clay Shirky, will always try to maintain the problem for which they are the solution. In this case, it’s a false narrative designed to keep them in power. We should reject this and all similar attempts as corrupt and not worth saving.

It’s all heresy, and we need a modern day Council of Churches to deal with it.

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