I observed yesterday that Hurricane Sandy initiated a rush-to-judgment on the part of Christian fundamentalists in this country. The extremist narrative is that liberalism is to blame generally; but tolerance, and pluralism, those offshoots of liberalism that are the foundations of a modern liberal democracy, are specific targets for the extremists.
Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, so obviously instrumental in having Mormonism removed from his father’s list of cults so that he could justify his support for Mitt Romney, doubled down on the judgment rhetoric today. And speaking of doubling down, God himself is saying “Mormonism is not a cult and not only that, but you had better elect him or face the fires of hell!”
God sounds desperate. And I thought only Nick Fury got that desperate.
But hey, according to Gallup, people think, 54-34, that Barack Obama will win the election. So perhaps God should be desperate.
So in an opinion piece on Charisma News, Graham (not God) melodramatically proclaimed that “this could be America’s last call.”
If you remember, Pastor John McTernan said we got our last warning back in 1998. Maybe God is saying, “But I really mean it this time!”
Graham begins by contradicting the Founding Fathers (and why not? He already contradicted his father), who wrote in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence,
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
Now let’s be clear: we find here among the founders of our country the belief that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, not, as the Church had always insisted, from God. These are diametrically opposed positions; they are not compatible.
Graham is not interested, however, in the Declaration of Independence, or in the Constitution. The Constitution, which like the former document, was written by men, established the government of the United States. At the time, nobody mentioned that it was what God wanted; it was what men wanted.
And they voted on it.
And it was good.
But according to Graham,
The Bible says that government has been ordained by God Himself.
“For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God … for [the one who is in authority] is God’s servant for your good” (Rom. 13:1, 4, ESV).
That’s great, that the Bible says that, but the Bible isn’t the, or even a, founding document. It’s a religious document. And it represents the beliefs of a bunch of late-comers to religion. And not only were there religions before Judaism, but there were governments and law-codes long before Moses.
But back to the Constitution, you know, the document that is really relevant to this discussion: The Founding Fathers believed it was perfectly permissible for mere humans to dissolve the bonds of a government supposedly ordained by God (the Divine Right of Kings) by separating the colonies from Britain and forming their own, man-given government:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Graham, oblivious to the foundations of America, asserts that “This is a crucial hour for our nation”:
Above all, this is a time for deep, intercessory prayer on behalf of our great country, which is in grave danger unless we repent of our sins and turn back to the God of our fathers. The Bible says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
I love it when fundamentalists quote Timothy, which was forged in Paul’s name. I don’t know: it’s just difficult for me to find any divine power in forged words. Do you notice that too?
“The God of our fathers.” Graham seems oblivious to the fact that not everybody shares his religious beliefs. The God of my fathers is Odin Valfather. A growing number of people can say similar things; In fact, while the numbers of fundamentalists are growing, Christianity itself is experiencing a decline.
But in fact Graham is quite aware that the fastest growing religion in the United States is non-religion: atheism. “Neo-Pagan” religions are also fast growing and have been for some years. The only religion, really, that is not growing, is Graham’s own religion. And it is questionable whether the extremists who are left are, in fact, Christians at all.
Upset that this is the case, and refusing to understand why this is the case (cognitive dissonance again), Graham instead insists that some dark government conspiracy must be behind the failure of what he thinks of as “traditional” religion:
When America’s leaders actively promote and legislate immorality, restrict the religious freedoms that our country was founded on, and are openly hostile to men and women of faith, then I believe we are ripe for God’s judgment.
So pray and then vote on Nov. 6, asking God for His mercy and grace upon our land. There’s still time to turn from our wicked ways so that He might spare us from His wrath against sin.
That’s the thing: Our country was founded on religious freedoms, not in Jesus’ name. EVERYBODY’S religious freedoms. Aberrochristians like Franklin Graham don’t get this. They think the First Amendment only applies to them.
Well, it’s never too late to save yourself. Ask any Republican politician who has been caught with his pants down and his pecker up. Flash that get out of hell free card called “repentance” and you’re suddenly golden and sitting on the side of the angels.
It’s that easy. Look how easily Mormonism became an ex-cult. I have said this many times: Christianity claims to fight against moral relativism but without moral relativism, Christianity would be long extinct. You don’t survive 2000 years without being flexible in your thinking; it’s not like homosexuality has always been a sin in the Church’s eyes.
As I mentioned yesterday, 2000+ years of threats and warnings isn’t likely to motivate the masses to fear. That’s why such things as human torches became popular among Graham’s set back in the day. That and pointy things that caused a great deal of pain to people who were disinclined to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. People like my Heathen ancestors. And, most likely, your Heathen and Pagan ancestors..
And why not? That’s how Graham’s religion was spread all over the Western World in the first place: fire and sword. Which is exactly what Graham wants to give us now.
Graham concludes that, “This could be America’s last call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, who is coming again one day very soon to save His own and to judge those who don’t know and worship Him.”
Well gosh, ya’ll have been saying that for 2,000 years! But the Bible Graham purports to read says he was going to come back in Paul’s lifetime. Later, when he didn’t show up, Christians conceded nobody knew when he’d return. Apparently, Franklin Graham has some insider information, the same insider information, most likely, that made Mitt Romney suddenly a not-cultist.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.