Republican Party

The Truth is, Religious Bigots, if Islam is Not a Religion, Neither is Christianity

The forces of theocracy in America are pushing against the U.S. Constitution harder than ever at a time when the ISIL movement has renewed the Religious Right’s assault on Islam as a religion.

David Barton, voice of the idiocy that claims the anti-theocratic U.S. Constitution somehow embraces theocracy, says Christians must have a biblical worldview and vote accordingly. The Ten Commandments, he says, must be their guide because through those commandments, God tells them how he wants them to vote:

For a biblical voter, when I got vote in November, I’ve got to say out of the top ten, I’ve got to look at those four things.

Watch courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

So the Ten Commandments are a voting guide and specifically represent God’s “Top Ten” issues. Things like immigration and the economy didn’t make God’s Top Ten so they should not make yours either. The most important thing, obviously, is God’s exclusive control of the public sphere. There can be only one god, and we can’t put anything before him.

Like the planet we live on.

Or the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of gays and lesbians.

Like people who follow other gods.

Or no gods, even though Barton says atheism is a religion and somehow violates the First Amendment.

You know, people like Thomas Jefferson, who disagreed with Barton when he said,

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

It may not pick your pocket nor break your leg, Mr. Jefferson, but it by God breaks the Almighty’s leg, and sure as shooting picks his divine pockets!

Never mind, through all this nonsense, that nobody actually gets to vote in the Bible. You don’t elect kings and high priests, after all. Voting? That’s about as unbiblical as it gets.

I suppose this is all in accord with what Barton’s buddy Bryan Fischer says, that choosing a president is choosing a minister of God. Not “like” choosing a minister, but literally choosing a minister, even though the Constitution says that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

But there is a bigger problem, isn’t there? According to Rev. Jody Hice, who is now seeking to represent Georgia’s 10th U.S. House district, Islam is not afforded First Amendment protections because it’s not, strictly speaking, a religion. He wrote in his book It’s Now Or Never (2012):

Although Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology, It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.

The same – the exact same – can be said of David Barton’s Christianity. It is a complete geo-political structure. That extremely conservative brand of Christianity has always been, since Christianity got the upper hand under the emperor Constantine in the fourth century. It is Bryan Fischer who said that Muslims are parasites who must convert or die.

The non-Christian world has been literally geo-political-structured to death (ask the Native Americans how that feels).

According to Hice, Islam is not compatible with the U.S. Constitution. According to The Citizen, in 2011 he told the Coweta County Tea Party Patriots, echoing Bryan Fischer, that Islam is not a religion:

Most people think Islam is a religion, it’s not. It’s a totalitarian way of life with a religious component. But it’s much larger. It’s a geo-political system that has governmental, financial, military, legal and religious components. And it’s a totalitarian system that encompasses every aspect of life and it should not be protected (under U.S. law).

Funny he should say that since scholar Gerd Lüdemann says the exact same thing about Christianity, that it is incompatible with the pluralistic ideals of the modern liberal democracy established by the Constitution. Writing in Intolerance and the Gospel (2007), Lüdemann explains,

Intolerance seems to be an inherent, even necessary ingredients of the Christian religion. The noted theologian Karl Barth says it quite openly: “No sentence is more dangerous or revolutionary than that God is One and there is no other like Him. Let this sentence be uttered in such a way that it is heard and grasped, and at once 450 prophets of Ball are always in fear of their lives. There is no more room no for creatures or false gods, and beside faith in Him there are religions only as religions of superstition, error, and finally, irreligion.” Clearly it would be misleading to think that freedom in general and freedom of religion specifically are the consequences of the Christian message. Indeed, the religious tradition that claims as its founder the Prince of Peace has through the centuries shon an inability to endure other religious viewpoints. And this is as true today as ever, despite the protestations of church leaders ho would like to have it appear otherwise in order to retain their welcome within the institutions of power and that comprise the secular state.

In reality, neither Christian theology nor the church can champion freedom of religion without betraying a considerable degree of hypocrisy. For tolerance requires an unconditional acknowledgement of the freedom and dignity of human beings without recourse to God. Yet the jealous Yahweh of the Bible who demands unconditional obedience can never approve of such liberal affirmations.

As if to prove Lüdemann’s point, Hice tells us,

This is not a tolerant, peaceful religion even though some Muslims are peaceful. Radical Muslims believe that Sharia is required by God and must be imposed worldwide. It’s a movement to take over the world by force. A global caliphate is the objective.

What has Christianity spent the last twenty centuries doing if not trying to take over the world by force? It is still trying to take over this country by force, stripping rights away from all those who lack biblical credentials. Remember, we are all Canaanites, those of us who refuse to bow to Barton’s and Hice’s god, and we will get the same treatments the Canaanites and the prophets of Baal got if the David Bartons of the world get their theocracy.

And that will be just the beginning of the world’s problems under a nuclear-armed theocracy run by lunatic Talibangelicals.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

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, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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