Dark Christianity
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Back April 8th, 2007 Forward
dogemperor [userpic]
the soft theocracy (x-posted from my journal by request)


Happy Easter.

Observing a roundabout thing called a "meme" in the language of metalanguage that we use here on the internet, there is one about Theocracy. It has a lovely little illustration that is supposed to go with it, and a link, but right now I'm not sure, with apologies, that I can be bothered.

The basic upshot of the thing, as I am tired of the word Meme, is that one should use the week leading up to Easter to say something about the apparently impending Theocracy which is due to take us over any day.

I am somewhat jaded and have no particular love for the prediction of disaster. Being involved in the fundamentalist movement in your 20s will do that to you. The fundamentalists love the end of the world, they love it more than Jesus himself, because it's the final thing that will prove them right. The long-awaited Big Brother (not in the 1984 sense but in the childhood playground sense) will come and the people who have been cruisin' for a bruisin' will get theirs from the sword-tongued, white-haired, glowing, unrecognizable alien Jesus that appears like a new monster in the addled book of Revelations, which every nutcase in the history of the world since it was written has interpreted as a message just for them.

But the fact remains that I lost my most recent job essentially over religion. Of course, I never should have signed on with The Religious Institution; that particular Flying Dutchman has been damned to sail forever with its cursed crew and there was no reason to let myself be shanghaied. I think that I was tempted by the simple fact of having a job, in many ways. It is best in the long run that I was thrown over the side; certainly they considered it a mercy killing, or an appropriate culling. And I have heard from no one in the Institution since then; we are essentially pretending that we never met, which is sad and hilarious simultaneously.

But being pronounced anathema and unfit to be around "decent people," simply because of words one types in the ether, has its benefits; it confirms and affirms two things. One is that I am (and I say this without ego; it is no blessed title to bear) an outlier, to use Kipling's term. There are very few packs that will have me, nor I them, if I am being truthful (and I am, for once, here in this medium). This is an essentially good thing because as one of Gurdjieff's disciples said, "If you are a difficult person, this is no impediment to the Work." In other words, I am now put in a position where I must acknowledge and validate my outlier nature. It's best to realize this now, at least, although I do wonder why I didn't catch on sooner.

The second benefit is that it reminds me to have sympathy for the outliers like (and unlike) myself. It is a truism that whoever you hang around influences you. I am seeing now that my involvement in the Religious Institution was poisoning me in many ways. Unconsciously I was being influenced by their morals and their attitudes, and even some of their beliefs were beginning to look interesting again - the same beliefs that in a different form had proved unworkable and had betrayed me before. Their world does not include people like me, I was reminded. And I am also reminded that it does not include people like you who read this.

The danger of a theocracy is not in my opinion that it will come to pass that the United States will turn into Jesusland. There will never be an overt theocracy. The danger comes from the covert theocracy. Not a conspiracy but a slow brainwashing of people. The theocracy comes in the form of reasonable people, nice folks, who talk about values and morals, and always want to seem to do the right thing. They want to help the children, they say, and they want law and order in the streets, and they want to feed the hungry and take care of the sick - but at a price, at a price. That price is that with them comes their theology.

But if they are wise they don't push their theology; they simply inculcate it a little at a time, until what was once acceptable is now not acceptable, according to the rules of the Decent People, who have somehow convinced others: well, don't you love the children? Don't you want to stop crime in the streets? Don't you think there should be hospitals? Support us and we will give them to you. And slowly you start to agree with them. Which is why, by the way, Hamas and other Islamic organizations of their type are so popular in the Middle East; they do a lot of charity work. It's how they get in the door and eventually convince young men and women to strap explosives to themselves and blow themselves up in supermarkets in Israel.

The blowhards and the obvious sign-waving screamers - they are a distraction from the real work that goes on behind the scenes. Even the scripture-spouting politicians are not as much a threat as the seemingly thoughtful, reasonable people who seem to have such good ideas, and want things to be nice for everyone. And don't you? Well, here's how it can be done. Let us lead you gently into the showers, no need for guards and fuss. One by one, not the superstars of the fundamentalist world, but the foot soldiers, the seemingly kind and gentle people who always seem ready to help. Those are the ones you have to watch out for. Not the overt theocracy; the covert theocracy of opinions and ideas and suggestions.

dogemperor [userpic]
"BattleCry": Teenage Holy War


Here is Jeff Sharlet's Rolling Stone article about Ron Luce and "Battle Cry".

An excerpt:

This is how you enlist in the Army of God: First come the fireworks and the prayers, and then 4,000 kids scream, "We won't be silent anymore!" Then the kids drop to their knees, still but for the weeping and regrets of fifteen-year-olds. The lights in the Cleveland arena fade to blue, and a man on the stage whispers to them about sin and love and the Father-God. They rise, heartened; the crowd, en masse, swears off "harlots and adultery"; the twenty-one-year-old MC twitches taut a chain across the ass of her skintight red jeans and summons the followers to show off their best dance moves for God. "Gimme what you got!" she shouts. They dance -- hip-hop, tap, toe and pelvic thrusting. Then they're ready. They're about to accept "the mark of a warrior," explains Ron Luce, commander in chief of BattleCry, the most furious youth crusade since young sinners in the hands of an angry God flogged themselves with shame in eighteenth-century New England. Nearly three centuries later, these 4,000 teens are about to become "branded by God." It's like getting your head shaved when you join the Marines, Luce says, only the kids get to keep their hair. His assistants roll out a cowhide draped over a sawhorse, and Luce presses red-hot iron into the dead flesh, projecting a close-up of sizzling cow skin on giant movie screens above the stage.

"When you enlist in the military, there's a code of honor," Luce preaches, "same as being a follower of Christ." His Christian code requires a "wartime mentality": a "survival orientation" and a readiness to face "real enemies." The queers and communists, feminists and Muslims, to be sure, but also the entire American cultural apparatus of marketing and merchandising, the "techno-terrorists" of mass media, doing to the morality of a generation what Osama bin Laden did to the Twin Towers. "Just as the events of September 11th, 2001, permanently changed our perspective on the world," Luce writes, "so we ought to be awakened to the alarming influence of today's culture terrorists. They are wealthy, they are smart, and they are real."

Ah, yes. Gather a bunch of gullible kids together- kids not old enough to really make rational decisions, then scare them stupid. When they've been scared stupid, whack 'em with screamo music and religious propoganda, turning them into christian jihadists.

Lovely. Go read the rest of the article. Here's the Nightline segment on YouTube about the movement. If you know how to 'read' people, take a look at young Charlotte. She's displaying classic signs of hypomania.

dogemperor [userpic]
Reimaging history


Here's a link to Jeff Sharlet's December Harper's article about how the religious right is attempting to rewrite history to fit their own vision for a theocratic future:

We keep trying to explain away American fundamentalism. Those of us not engaged personally or emotionally in the biggest political and cultural movement of our times—those on the sidelines of history—keep trying to come up with theories with which to discredit the evident allure of this punishing yet oddly comforting idea of a deity, this strange god. His invisible hand is everywhere, say His citizen-theologians, caressing and fixing every outcome: Little League games, job searches, test scores, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the success or failure of terrorist attacks (also known as “signs”), victory or defeat in battle, at the ballot box, in bed. Those unable to feel His soothing touch at moments such as these snort at the notion of a god with the patience or the prurience to monitor every tick and twitch of desire, a supreme being able to make a lion and a lamb cuddle but unable to abide two men kissing. A divine love that speaks through hurricanes. Who would worship such a god? His followers must be dupes, or saps, or fools, their faith illiterate, insane, or misinformed, their strength fleeting, hollow, an aberration. A burp in American history. An unpleasant odor that will pass.

We don’t like to consider the possibility that they are not newcomers to power but returnees, that the revivals that have been sweeping America with generational regularity since its inception are not flare-ups but the natural temperature of the nation. We can’t conceive of the possibility that the dupes, the saps, the fools—the believers—have been with us from the very beginning, that their story about what America once was and should be seems to some great portion of the population more compelling, more just, and more beautiful than the perfunctory processes of secular democracy. Thus we are at a loss to account for this recurring American mood.

Is “fundamentalism” too limited a word for a belief system of such scope and intimacy? Lately, some scholars prefer “maximalism,” a term meant to convey the movement’s ambition to conform every aspect of society to God. In contemporary America—from the Cold War to the Iraq War, the period of the current incarnation’s ascendancy—that means a culture born again in the image of a Jesus strong but tender, a warrior who hates the carnage he must cause, a man-god ordinary men will follow. These are days of the sword, literally; affluent members of the movement gift one another with real blades crafted to medieval standards, a fad inspired by a bestselling book called Wild at Heart. As jargon, then, “maximalism” isn’t bad, an unintended tribute to Maximus, the fighting hero of Gladiator, which is a film celebrated in Christian manhood guides as almost supplemental scripture. But I think “fundamentalism”—coined in 1920 as self-designation by those ready to do “battle royal for the fundamentals,” hushed up now as too crude for today’s chevaliers—still strikes closest to the movement’s desire for a story that never changes, a story to redeem all that seems random, a rock upon which history can rise.

It's a long, but very interesting article.

dogemperor [userpic]
Major daily asserts supernatural as fact?

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

Suppose you opened your newspaper this morning and saw this on the front page:

The Grove. Each one will be a magnet tonight for an array of neo-Pagan denominations flocking to celebrate the return of their dead ancestors.
What would your reaction be? Why?

Examine the language closely - what is it about the construction of that sentence that would give you pause?

Let me offer a hint. There's a difference between celebrating a belief that dead ancestors are returning and celebrating the return of dead ancestors. As constructed, this sentence asserts that the return of dead ancestors is a matter of journalistic fact, on a par with celebrating Florida's victory in the NCAA tournament or celebrating a national holiday. You cannot construct a technically viable sentence that has people "celebrating Ohio State's victory over Florida." If they're doing that, the sentence needs to be written differently. Very differently.

If you're with me so far - and I realize this one looks subtle at first - let me note that to the best of my knowledge that sentence didn't appear in your newspaper this morning. Or any other newspaper, this or any other morning.

This one did, however:Read more... )

Current Music: Fictional - "Burning Man"
dogemperor [userpic]
Who wrote the bible?


Who wrote the bible? Why? To control whom?
"Who wrote the bible? Why? To control whom?" on Google Video
Dr Robert Beckford went all the length to find the truth through histrorical and archaeological evidence.

Is it a religion? Is it holy? You judge it yourself from this film. Mind boggling truth!!!!!


Current Mood: contemplative
dogemperor [userpic]
Johnny Hart dead @76

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]navytron89) I seem to recall a thread posted here awhile back about how Mr. Hart's comic B.C.  was slowly drifting into the realm of Dominionist/Theocratic; well I guess he gets to meet Jesus soon.  I believe my irrevent friend James L. Grant[info]flemco  has this covered  so perfectly so I'll pass it along to you.

Johnny Hart dead at 76.

I'd love to see the look on his face when Jesus walks up and punches him in the groin for making the funnies pages annoying in his recent years.

Ah, well. He was slightly amusing back in the day. 

As the old joke goes:

Why do the elderly seem to be fascinated with the bible?

They're cramming for finals.

location: home
Current Mood: blah
Current Music: Planet Earth on Discovery Channel
Back April 8th, 2007 Forward