Dark Christianity
dark_christian
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May 2008
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God Assault

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]sunfell)

This AlterNet article talks about the tactics of Dominionist churches.

Calvary Chapel-style Christianity is a complex system with intricate rules. Think of it as God's game.

Because certain trees are sprouting in the Middle East, the world will soon end. Because the European Union has grown to its current size, fiery death and plagues of locusts are about to descend on the planet. Because Israel established a homeland, non-believers will, in a short while, suffer agonizing horrors before being damned to an eternity of pain.

And now a word from our sponsor -- a real estate agent helping Christians find their dream homes.

This summer, I joined the rush hour in San Bernardino. Every day, descending the final hill from Los Angeles into the fastest growing region in California, I tuned into Christian radio station K-Wave. The station broadcast lessons on Christ-sanctioned financial planning as well as sermons on faith-rooted marriages. But its mission of missions was to map out, just the way the Weather Channel describes approaching storm fronts, the end of the world now bearing down upon us.

The deep voice of Pastor Chuck Smith filled my car each morning. Founder of Calvary Chapel, a "mega-church" with a publishing company, Bible colleges, and franchises in every state, Pastor Chuck inspired two followers to write the best-selling Left Behind novels about the Apocalypse. Soon obsessed with the station, I started wishing my Democratic friends in L.A. would join me in K-Wave's freeway congregation.

Each evening I returned home to find them wringing their hands over the possibility that a born-again Christian president, who laced his speeches with secret signals to fellow worshippers and considered praying his most important action before starting an unjust war, might be re-elected -- and re-elected by religious nuts so stupid they believed Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie were lovers.

As it happened, those "nuts" won the election for the president. Ill-prepared newscasters promptly relabeled them "moral voters," showing how little they understood about the new religion practiced in Calvary Chapel.

Democrats could, of course, have turned on K-Wave (or its equivalent), but even then they might not have grasped the most basic element of Calvary Chapel: It isn't guided by the outside world's concept of the Christian right's stern and unforgiving morals code.

While Calvary Chapel encourages Christians to enjoy "fellowship" with God, the doctrine it preaches is guided not by any ordinary sense of morality but by a gruesome vision of the end of the world and a set of instructions for how to deal with it.

Listening to that doctrine each morning and evening, I felt the sensations American audiences first discovering Hong Kong action flicks must have known: a fascination with the exotic combined with awe at the extreme violence it displayed. Granted, my perspective is unusual. Unlike most of my Democratic friends, I was raised in a church that practiced New Thought Christianity just up the freeway from Pastor Chuck's compound. It offered a new agey cocktail of faith, drawing heavily from Buddhism, Hinduism, and transcendentalism. Just the type of stuff Calvary Chapel abhors.

My childhood of crystals and sunshine made Calvary Chapel-style evangelism, with its emphasis on conversion and its belief in testifying to God's power, something strange and deeply mysterious. I felt like an anthropologist investigating a new culture as I listened to its broadcasts, and what I found makes me refuse to picture the organization as an army of moral voters.


Read the rest at the site.

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