True Believers Continue Their Fight To Make America a ‘Christian Nation’

In 1951 Eric Hoffer authored a book, “The True Believer,” that analyzed and explained the psychological causes of fanaticism, the motives of personalities that give rise to extremist movements, and the similarities between them; whether the movements are religious, political, or reactionary. Hoffer argues that even when their stated goals or values differ, these movements attract the same type of followers and use the same tactics and rhetorical tools as fascists, Nazis, and religious fanatics such as fundamentalist Christians intent on ruling America by Christian theocracy. Hoffer’s book is as prescient today as it was in 1951, and his analysis described many Americans after the terror attacks on 9/11 and teabaggers’ racist revolt over Americans electing an African American man as President.

Hoffer explains that the technique of a fanatical movement aims to infect people with a malady and then offer the movement as a cure, and he explains that these movements begin with a widespread “desire for change” from discontented people who place their locus of control outside their power, such as in god and the bible and who hate the existing culture. Since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the religious right successfully convinced evangelical extremists that they lost their religious liberty and that their only hope was electing Republicans who are furiously passing unconstitutional religious laws as both a cure and to change America back to a Christian nation true believers are certain is the key to their redemption.

The Founding Fathers were aware that America was prone to a takeover by a religious movement filled with true believers and protected the country with a ban on religion interfering with the legislative process. It is that ban that drives Republicans and their evangelical voting bloc’s lust to abolish the Separation Clause of the Constitution. Despite the Constitution’s ban on government forcing religion down the throats of the people, another Republican-led southern state is pushing a law to force prayer on students in public schools. In January it was South Carolina that revived a year-old attempt to require mandatory teacher-led prayers in public schools, and now it is Alabama pushing legislation to force all students at all grade levels to suffer through daily mandated prayer sessions under the guise of learning about Congressional procedures.

The Alabama House Education Policy Committee advanced legislation to order state mandated and sponsored prayer in public schools that will certainly be struck down as patently unconstitutional, but the bill is being pushed by true believers with no regard for the nation’s founding document. The legislation requires that “At the commencement of the first class of each day in all grades in all public schools, the teacher in charge of the room in which such class is held shall, for a period of time not exceeding 15 minutes, instruct the class in the formal procedures followed by the United States Congress. The study shall include a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers given by the House or Senate Chaplain or a guest member of the clergy at the beginning of a meeting of the House of Representatives or the Senate.”

Now, it is unclear how a mathematics, science, or physical education teacher will afford the time to abandon the regular required curriculum in their field to spend 15 minutes instructing their classes on formal congressional procedures, but that is obviously not the point of the religious legislation. The wording of the legislation makes its purpose clear that school teachers will be forced, under fear of losing their jobs, to conduct forced prayers to all students under the guise of instruction about formal congressional procedures. Actually, it is highly likely that the United States Congress allowing prayers at the beginning of meetings is state sponsored religion, but true believers in Congress will never address the unconstitutionality of the practice. That is the problem with true believers; they have no qualms disregarding the Constitution they claim to love and forcing their beliefs on everyone and claim it is their religious freedom protected by the First Amendment.

There is a flawed belief among fanatical religious conservatives demanding the people accept domination by the religious right that America veered away from its biblical founding and needs the religious right to fight to bring the nation back under the purview of Christianity. In fact, disgraced Republican Tom DeLay explained that America lost its way when “we stopped realizing that God created this nation, that He wrote the Constitution, that it’s based on biblical principles, and we allowed those that don’t believe in those things to keep pushing us… away from the government.” DeLay’s remarks are succor to true believers who demand the nation return to its “Christian roots” and return to government by bible. DeLay continued that if more fundamentalist extremists would have opposed the Constitution’s Separation Clause and “fought for our values,” that the bible would be the “still be” the law of the land. DeLay said he beseeches his god every day “for an awakening in this country, and I think it’s coming.”

There is a tendency among most Americans to disregard the preponderance of religious edicts being passed in Republican state legislatures as harmless experiments to test the Constitution, but for the true believers passing and supporting biblical laws it is not an experiment. A couple of days ago David Harris Gershon penned a thoughtful article discussing the demise of the religious right’s impact on America due to the courts striking down bans on same-sex marriage as well as Kansas, and now Arizona, abandoning legislation legalizing discrimination borne of religious liberty. However, there are increasing reports of states passing, or proposing, laws that ban teaching science or restrict access to abortion services and they are emboldened by true believers that own corporations claiming religion gives them the right to ban contraception coverage in health plans. It is true that some Republicans support religion by government mandate to garner electoral support, but the unfortunate truth is there are as many Christian true believers in state legislatures and Congress than representatives who embrace the Constitution’s ban on religion imposing on the government.

It does not matter if it is legislating prayer in public schools, teaching the bible creation story as science, or legislating legal discrimination under the guise of religious liberty; the religious right will never stop attempting to rule by theocracy. It is noteworthy that the highest court in the land has struck down attempts to force prayer on students, teach creationism in public schools, and discriminate against gays and still, religious fanatics will not be dissuaded from their biblical mandate “to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:9) the religious right is attempting to fulfill by legislation regardless their efforts are blatantly unconstitutional.

Many Americans fail to realize that true believers, particularly religious true believers, are convinced it is their mandate from god to transform America into a religious state with forced compliance to biblical edicts. There is a strongly-held belief among evangelicals, and Republicans perpetuate the idea, that there is a war on Christianity because the religious right is prohibited by the Constitution from imposing their beliefs on the people. Americans must understand that until there is rigorous response to the religious right’s war on the Constitution, their relentless attacks will continue including passing legislation teaching creationism as science, legalizing discrimination against gays, and mandating public school teachers force Christian prayers on our children.

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15 Replies to “True Believers Continue Their Fight To Make America a ‘Christian Nation’”

  1. There’s a reason why State and Religion are separate. Look at the Constitution and you cannot tell me that the Founding Fathers didn’t know their history.

    When state and religion are on the same page, bad things happen to the people. Look at the Spanish Inquisition. Look at the Crusades.

    As part of the people, we should do everything in our power to prevent those true believers from getting what they really want: An American Inquisition.

  2. Unfortunately, these zealots will find that they are not only going to get the legal short stick, they will find that the rest of us use our 2nd Amendment rights just as forcefully as they do.

  3. As a life long Christian, I abhor what today’s right wing Talibangelicals are trying to do to our country. They completely ignore the U.S. Constitution when they keep trying to force Christianity (or their perverted idea of what Christianity is) on everyone in America. They call it freedom of religion, but it is really all about religious oppression by trying to force their beliefs on others. They call themselves Christians, but they know nothing about Christ or His teachings, or how He led His life.

  4. please don’t call these people true believers. theirs is a Christianity of convenience. they willfully ignore the ten commandments and jesus teachings whenever it suits their purposes.

    jesus himself warned of false prophets, and thet you will know them by their actions. he also said whatever you do unto the least among you you also do unto me. the ten commandments prohibit bearing false witness against others, and to love thy neighbor.

    instead we have these people wanting to discriminate against those they feel are inferior, and some are openly call for the killing of those who don’t believe as they do.

    also remember, jesus drove the moneychangers from the temple, these people are the moneychangers, of follow them.

    I do not consider these people to be true believers because if they were their behavior would be much more charitable.

  5. They have a “belief” system not a knowledge or a fact system therefore what they “believe” is all bovinal fecal matter. We atheists have a knowledge and fact system so we are they only ones that have our poop in a group. We have a Personal relationship with reality, all others have not a leg to stand on.

  6. I am sure the Taliban and other fanatical Muslims feel the exact same thing. Thankfully, our founding fathers did establish a separation and wave after wave of immigrants brought all kinds of religion to our shore.

    The current crop of mostly old white fart fanatics are being whipped and guided by the old white farts of business and the Republican party in a last ditch effort to regain control. They will fail as the younger generation, enlightened and connected to each other by social media that spans states and continents, pushes them aside and takes the reins of governments.

    The old white farts just dont get it yet, that they cannot sneakily pass their nutty legislation in the dark and get away with it. The example is Arizona and take a look at the shock of that old white fart Republican trying to scurry back from his vote when the bright white LED of media focused on their stupidity.

  7. Like really old dogs it may take more than a few whacks to their nose with the social media equivalent of a rolled up newspaper to get their attention and teach them the lesson they need to learn… religion and politics are not immune to evolution. Change or die.

  8. We are a nation of laws, man’s laws and not those of a theocracy. Simply put, did god forbid you to drive more than 20mph in a school zone, and other such laws? Most of our founding fathers were Deists who understood that we are on our own in this world and “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of (the good life)…” was up to MAN and not a (loving?) god. We need more atheists, agnostics, and humanist involved in our local, state and national government.

  9. Those of the Founding Fathers with roots in New England in many cases had grandparents who remembered the Salem witch trials, and the others surely knew of them. This informed their insistence on the separation of church and state, as well as the right to confront accusers and the privilege against self-incrimination.

    (Giles Corey: More weight!)

  10. “Look at the Constitution and you cannot tell me that the Founding Fathers didn’t know their history.”

    Or the future, so it would seem.

  11. Reynardine, many of us also have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary war for the rights and privileges now being enjoyed by all people who live in the U.S.
    As a child growing up, I did not have very much, but was very proud of my family history. It is what carried me through life. To see others, who have no history of true freedom, I hate what they wish for our country.
    My hope is, that those who want a country where you MUST, belong to what they deem is correct, I hope and pray they end up stomped in the mud from
    which they came.
    By the way the family members who fought in the war, were Corey’s three brothers who came seeking religious freedom. In 1642

  12. I would suppose you mean they were descended from them, but yes, being Coreys, they would have had the dangers of both religious and secular tyranny deeply (excuse me) impressed on them. I hope none of us are ever compelled to be in the position of Mr. Corey, but if (God forbid) it should ever arrive, I hope we might be inspired by his fortitude.

  13. These are also some of the same people who will scream to high heaven about how much they love the Constitution and stand for what it “means.”

    If they loved the Constitution and if they knew what it meant, they’d not say “this is a Christian nation” and other silly things.

  14. Jeff, they are Christian Dominionists, also known as Christian Reconstructionists. The believe it is their divine right and destiny to take over the U.S. and remake it according to their warped beliefs. They have mistaken The Handmaid’s Tale, which Margaret Atwood wrote as a cautionary novel, for an instruction manual.

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