Piety, Politics, and Prejudice

The Video Podcast of this Post

You can watch, listen, read or any combination of these. The video podcast below is of the entire post (10 minutes).

The Post

Central to our getting along with each other is our willingness to give and take, right? I mean, in all of our relationships, we compromise in an effort to give everybody something they want or need. We practice this art of compromise in our business deals, in our marriages, in most of the decisions that we make. We even have to compromise with ourselves, don’t we? For example: not many of us can afford to buy all of the things we want or sometimes even need; so, we compromise.

And if you have teenagers, well, you’re a master of the art of compromise. We work to make sure that everybody walks away with something they feel they can live with, something that feels fair to them. It’s the American way: fairness. Compromise.

Tug of War; Creative Commons: By-SA - By: toffehoff at Flickr
Creative Commons By – SA – By: toffehoff at Flickr

But there is one group for whom this doesn’t apply. They will not compromise. Period. It’s their way or no way. As my daddy would semi-jokingly say to me when I was a kid, “It’s my way or the highway.”

They don’t just refuse to compromise, they demonize, literally, the whole idea of compromise. They actually believe compromise is wicked, is evil—that’s what they say.

As you can imagine, their marriages don’t last. In fact their divorce rate is the highest in the nation by far.1 Women must do what their husbands say. That’s not open to discussion. And, perhaps as a consequence, physical and emotional abuse is high in this group.

Stop Pixabay: public domainAs they have taken over the Republican Party, that party is no longer the deal-making, all-for-the-good-of-the-nation, let’s-be-reasonable party. It’s the party of obstruction. And, if you’re not going to do it their way, they will refuse to even fund the government. They will shut it down: my way or the highway.

This is a small, fanatical group, this do-it-my-way-or-else group. And these people appear committed to destroying the game board if you don’t play by their rules. And folks, this is the group that brings us Mike Pence.

They are religious zealots, what I believe most Americans would view as religious extremists. If most Americans bought into their extremism, well, their churches would be bursting at the seems. But… They aren’t.

For about 30 years now, they have been hell-bent on making government do their agenda. No compromises. You see, 30 to 40 years ago, the “big, bad, godless” government infuriated them in a huge way. And they will have their revenge.

If you’re not a religious person and want nothing to do with religion, I can’t stress enough that you need to know about these people and their fanatical history, their special brew of piety, politics, and prejudice—their religious agenda. You need to read the 4 pieces I’ve written about the Pence political ad that put him in the Vice Presidency. You need to be vigilant to protect your personal rights to be free of religion—if you so desire.

He intends to make us all live by his religious beliefs. Mark these words, because I’m telling you, he will not compromise on that. Compromise in not in the DNA of the evangelical fundamentalists.

And if you’re a person of faith, a person deeply committed to living by the golden rule, a rule that transcends all faith traditions, you need to understand how a person of deep personal religious conviction got so far off track as to endorse the morally indefensible Donald Trump, to join him, to stand beside him.

CC By University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment DNA lab - flickr
CC By University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment DNA lab – flickr

Does his joining forces with Trump mean Mike Pence has compromised his moral standing? I’m going to suggest not. Remember compromise is not in his DNA. And I would suggest that his deep commitment is really, fundamentally, no longer to faith practice or moral standing at all. I would suggest he now uses faith and morality as the ultimate cloaking device for greed and power, just like his boss.

CC-By-SA Tazmanian Devil by HK.Colin - Flickr
Creative Commons-By-SA Tazmanian Devil by HK.Colin – Flickr

Perhaps at one time… but the good has been lured into and consumed by the bad. Some might liken it to the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Donald Trump, on the other hand, well, he’s just the wolf in wolves’ clothing. Actually, I think of him more as a Tasmanian Devil. Have you seen those things?!

In these four articles, I lay out my case. I try to do so carefully, accurately, factually. You see, I spent about the first 3 decades of my life in this evangelical movement. I saw it up close and personal. I know how these people think, what they say, what they do, and how they begin to actually believe their own deceptions.

But, more than just taking my word for it, I provide a number of important footnotes, many from the valuable work of others much more knowledgeable than I. The footnotes are essential and would greatly inform a second reading of the four posts.

POST ONE: Mike Pence’s Speech to Churches

This is a general introduction to the speech Mike Pence made that caught me so off guard because it is so masterfully written and exquisitely crafted to get good church people to do the indefensible: embrace a racist agenda that has profoundly deep roots in religion.

POST TWO: Conned By a Christian?

In this post I pull back the curtain on the truth: a look at the large segment of the church that marinated in racism for over a century. Racism and Donald Trump are not estranged. And this is the seed that brings us to the third post.

POST THREE: Still Outraged by the Big Con

This post introduces us to the true origin of today’s evangelical fundamentalist movement of which Mike Pence claims to be a part. What is that origin? Utter resistance to integration. When forced to choose between having integrated schools or tax-exemption, never compromise. It’s not in their DNA. Stand your ground and wake to the call to take over the government instead.

POST FOUR: Selling Your Soul

In the final post in the series, I write about the direct link, the straight line from the leadership of today’s evangelical fundamentalist extremist’s documented agenda to Mike Pence and Donald Trump. I also include what some folks in church will find to be a shocking historical fact: that evangelicals were, in the not too distant past, a progressive movement that fought hard and made astonishing progress for those who were on the margins of society, for the least of these. They believed deeply and worked hard to make the nation a better place for the less fortunate, the people of whom Jesus personally spoke.

Girls in stocks at Turku Medieval market 2015 - Creative Commons By-SA 3.0 Unported: By JIP
Creative Commons By-SA 3.0 Unported: By JIP

I believe that knowing the truth, the facts, is essential to inform our efforts to preserve our democracy and keep religion personal and not national policy. The religion du jour might be white, evangelical, fundamentalism today, which some could tolerate. But what will be next if theocracy is permitted today?

Or, you might completely disagree. But you won’t know until you read my series on Mike Pence’s political ad in America’s churches. Tim's Initial - T - 100 - BlackIt’s long, I know. But it’s totally worth checking out.

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Tim was born at the end of the post-world war baby boom, was a child of the ’60’s, a teenager during the Vietnam War, and a young man when economics reportedly began to trickle down. Now, six decades under the expanding belt, he lives in a post-truth world: science and truth are just a passé inconvenience studied in last-century university. He reaches for his smartphone in a dumbworld to take a stupidselfie. [Fake camera sound] Oh! Well, that will never do! What’s that app that removes wrinkles and blemishes? Never mind. He doesn’t have to remember. He just asks Siri… He’s a post-truther now! I’m just saying: he’s got questions. Real questions. And someone really needs to look into this, really look into this… That’s all I’m saying.

  1. Don’t just take my word for it. Check out these sources:

     

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