God Has Left the Building …

If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.

– Thomas S. Szasz, The Second Sin

Several months ago, CNN published the results of a couple of disturbing polls about Americans and their religious beliefs. The first found that more Americans are rejecting religion and thus, according to CNN, America is becoming “less Christian.” The second, a Pew survey of only 742 mostly white evangelical Protestants, revealed that more than six in 10 of them believe that torture is often or sometimes justified.

More than six in 10? What this says about those claiming to be God’s own is that perhaps they should use their Bibles for more than “thumping.” Because not one in 10 — not one in 10 thousand — not one in 10 million — Christians believes that torture can ever be justified. Ever.

Anyone who has paid attention to the growing number of evangelical zealots over the past couple of decades must be aware that there is a growing chasm between Religion and Christianity. Today, the term, “religious Christians” is nothing if not oxymoronic. It seems when folks become apocalyptic frothing-at-the-mouth religious, they ultimately stray from the light and life of Christianity, while descending deeper into the darkness and death of Religion.

Because, all religion is politics. CNN quoted Mark Silk of Trinity College, who said, “In the 1990s, it really sunk in on the American public generally that there was a long-lasting ‘religious right’ connected to a political party, and that turned a lot of people the other way.” Silk cited the obvious link between the Republican Party and groups such as the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family.

Tony Perkins, the right-wing evangelical president of the Family Research Council, told CNN not to worry. He said people will return to their faith in droves; that soon, the decline will ease and religion will be an even greater part of people’s lives. The good news, according to Perkins, is, “As the economy goes downward, I think people are going to be driven to religion.” (emphasis added)

Yes, as more Americans lose their jobs, their homes, their very reasons for living, those like Perkins see them as Manchurian congregations — flocks driven to religion like cattle — bawling, shuffling, pushing, milling around with tags in their ears, looking for a leader. Even now, they can be seen in mammoth mega-churches, some with arms raised — fists clutching at dead air — others writhing in the aisles, moaning, begging for some “sign” from their rigidly religious God. Perhaps their panic stems from the instinctive knowledge that God, unable to get a word in edgewise, has left the building.

The conservative religious right is a frightening political force driven in its efforts to divide and conquer by greed, an insatiable lust for power, and an ideology of hate. Its members, unable to drag God down to their level, have no qualms about elevating themselves to what they perceive as His level. They succeed in controlling the flock because fear — especially fear of God — is a great motivator. They use God not only as a weapon against millions who stand between them and their goals of replacing democracy with theocracy and of controlling the worlds resources and its people — but as a divine justification for the destruction they leave in their wake.

No one was more adept at giving God credit for his killing fields than former president George W. Bush, who openly bragged that God had hired him to remove evil from the face of the earth. “I trust God speaks through me,” Bush said in 2004. “Without that, I couldn’t do my job.” And, even before that, in 2003, Bush tried to round up a “coalition of the willing” for his Iraq slaughter on God’s behalf. According to Charleston Gazette editor James A. Haught, Bush told then French President Jacques Chirac that “Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse.” Haught wrote,

Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled… This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.

But some presidents, such as Lyndon Johnson, were not so magnanimous. God got the blame, not the credit, for the Vietman atrocity. Ronnie Dugger, in his book, The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson, writes that Johnson told Austrian ambassador Ernst Lemberter in 1966 that the Holy Ghost regularly visited him… “He comes to me about 2 o’clock in the morning,” Johnson said, “when I have to give word to the boys, and I get the word from God whether to bomb or not.”

Now, you don’t have to be a Christian to reject the right-wing bull hockey that the God who appeared in a blinding flash of light and spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus has sunk to the evangelical depths where He emits not even a glimmer as He bends our presidents’ ears on who to slaughter, urges televangelist Pat Robertson to ask a woman about her sex life, and is still deciding if He wants Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin to be president.

Christians should be lauded for rejecting modern-day Religion. When the God they are taught to love is either credited — or blamed — for all hell on earth; when they search in vain for Jesus, and finally find Him, hanging out in a secretive townhouse on Washington’s C Street with the greedy, war-mongering gang who refer to themselves as “The Family,” it’s time to take a second look at the direction in which this nation is hurtling.

For years, conservative right-wingers have hidden out in the C Street “church,” where they are free to conduct all manner of fraud and to carry on adulterous affairs. People who have sold their souls; who have no sense of morality, and who use God as a Trojan Horse to hide their political manipulations to replace both Democrats and Democracy are quite mad, you know. Right-wing evangelicals and neocon operatives are consumed with religious hate, not Christian love. Their modus operandi is, as Weekly Standard operative William Kristol said, “Go for the kill.”

And, those who are familiar with Kristol know he wasn’t referring just to health care. Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition protege, the now disgraced Ralph Reed, dubbed in 1995 by Time magazine as “the right hand of God,” was a master at evangelical politics, which he said was like Viet Cong-style guerrilla warfare. Reed said, “I want to be invisible. I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag. You don’t know until election night.”

Anyone doubting the viciousness with which Reed would “go for the kill” should have a talk with Vietnam War hero and amputee Max Cleland, who not only found himself crammed into a body bag on election night 2002, thanks to Ralph Reed, but was in there with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

But Reed and others are tyros when it comes to those most likely to cause Christians to reject religion — those whom CNN failed to mention who incite violence by preaching sermons laced with politics, religion, racism — and hate. Those like Tempe, Arizona’s Steven Anderson, who has no college degree nor formal Bible training, but is qualified to preach because he “has memorized almost half of the New Testament.” Anderson started his own church — Faithful Word Baptist — in 2005 on Christmas Day. A firey right-wing preacher, he’s against homosexuality, liberalism — and President Barack Obama.

In August, Anderson gave a breathtakingly vile speech entitled, “Why I Hate Obama,” in which he said about President Obama, among many other things…

   Obama is a madman in control of this country.
   Obama is NOT my president.
   Obama mocks the Bible.
   Obama is a socialist devil murderer.
   I hope he dies and goes to hell.
   God looks down and says, “Man — I HATE that guy!”

Anderson, and those like him, epitomize the breach between Religion and Christianity. The religious believe that God belongs to them. Christians know that they belong to God. It’s that simple. Thus, CNN polls notwithstanding, America cannot become “less Christian” as a result of members of the flock jerking the tags from their ears — and rejecting modern-day religion.

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. She can be reached at: rsamples@sirinet.net. Read other articles by Sheila, or visit Sheila's website.

23 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. kalidas said on November 24th, 2009 at 9:52am #

    People say we need religion when what they really mean is we need police. — H L Mencken

  2. Don Hawkins said on November 24th, 2009 at 3:02pm #

    Yes, as more Americans lose their jobs, their homes, their very reasons for living, those like Perkins see them as Manchurian congregations — flocks driven to religion like cattle — bawling, shuffling, pushing, milling around with tags in their ears, looking for a leader. Good one Sheila Samples and the answer is so far first you must know the truth before you can lie like a dog and buy my book put that check in the mail for my campaign we can change the World. The World/Earth is about to change us in a blink of an eye in human terms. The God is money and how many humans have most of the money well it’s not really worth much anymore just debt. We could make everything as simple as possible but not simpler before the system we now have makes it very simple. The system now tells us ignorance is strength oh yes it has already happened. Use the knowledge it’s out there and so far is it fair and balanced, no no no. Tea time

  3. bozh said on November 24th, 2009 at 3:51pm #

    People believe or say they believe in god but most of them most or all of the time obey men, mostly.

    Interesting fact is that few if any pious people ever say: i know god. However, they never miss an opportunity to say they are obeying god`s word.
    But if u don`t know god; ând indeed no one can, how does one know what god wants from her-him? In fact they are obeying the most deluded and selfish among us! tnx

  4. Synic3 said on November 24th, 2009 at 4:21pm #

    “People who have sold their souls; who have no sense of morality, and who use God as a Trojan Horse to hide their political manipulations to replace both Democrats and Democracy are quite mad, you know”
    ______________________________________________________

    Ms. Samples,
    Your articls made sense and was right to the point, except this “partisan” jab.
    There is no REAL difference between the Democratic and the Republican parties. Both of them are owned and controlled by big money/business and are beholdent to it and serving its interests without any regards for the interests and wellbeing of the common folks.
    The cultural differences between the two parties are artificial and there are a lot of members of both parties who jumped the fence culturally between the two parties.

  5. Jeff White said on November 24th, 2009 at 4:30pm #

    Nice try, Sheila, but I’m not buying your attempt to rehabilitate Christianity. Christianity always has been, and remains, a Religion.

    People who believe that God “appeared in a blinding flash of light and spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus” will accept just about any nonsense they are told.

  6. Don Hawkins said on November 24th, 2009 at 6:09pm #

    “It is only a short step from exaggerating what we can find in the world to exaggerating our power to remake the world. Expecting more novelty than there is, more greatness than there is, and more strangeness than there is, we imagine ourselves masters of a plastic universe. But a world we can shape to our will is a shapeless world.”
    Daniel J. Boorstin

  7. Don Hawkins said on November 24th, 2009 at 6:21pm #

    Another look at the middle ground between light and shadow.

    “The modern American tourist now fills his experience with pseudo-events. He has come to expect both more strangeness and more familiarity than the world naturally offers. He has come to believe that he can have a lifetime of adventure in two weeks and all the thrills of risking his life without any real risk at all.”
    Daniel J. Boorstin

    than the world naturally offers

  8. Sam said on November 24th, 2009 at 7:53pm #

    War criminal Obama claims to be a “christian.” Yet after he took office he rushed to begin droning/killing of innocent people in Pakistan, for example. How “christian” is THAT? Would a real christian kill innocent people for world empire building and global domination? (see the PNAC document).

    Fairly often I read this drivel from people who write articles:

    “Obama is obviously very smart.”

    Why do people feel the need to say that? I think it’s intended to pacify the Dem kool-aid drinkers. That’s the same thing that was said about War Criminals Bush and Cheney…about how smart they supposedly were. Would a smart person drone innocent people in Pakistan? Would a smart person continue the USA Patriot Act (which shreds the US Constitution)? Would a smart person vote for FISA? Would a smart person continue torture, rendition, illegal spying, would a smart person oppose a landmine ban, and so forth? DUH.

    I wish that the sheep would stop putting these career war criminal politicians up on some damn pedestal. These scum of the Earth people are supposed to be OUR employees, not royalty, so there is no need to fawn over them and worship them, the way most sheep/people have been brainwashed to do. Just like most of the sheep were brainwashed into believing in the floating cloud being, who’s been asleep at the switch since at least 2000 in case people haven’t noticed.

  9. Danny Ray said on November 24th, 2009 at 8:07pm #

    Sam,
    You seem to be confusing smart people with people who think like you do. A smart person would do any of the things you named if they thought they needed to. A person who believed as you do would not.

    In short, I Q points have nothing to do with morality.

    Personally, I think the Bamster is way the hell over his head. He is now in a damn if you do and damn if you do not mode and is lost as hell.

    I also firmly believe you would do any or all of the above if it advanced your personal beliefs

  10. Sam said on November 25th, 2009 at 2:05am #

    Some wrote this stuff: “Personally, I think the Bamster is way the hell over his head. He is now in a damn if you do and damn if you do not mode and is lost as hell.”

    —————–

    War criminal Obama is not lost nor is he damned one way or the other. He’s doing exactly as some of us thought he would do and has been doing so since Day One. And how did we know that? Because we examined his Cheney/Bush accomplice voting record and listened to what he actually said outside of his feel-good pabulum speeches designed to dupe the sheep. He never had any intention of working for We The People. He works for the corporations, the pharmaceutical industry, the military industrial complex, et al. He was a Cheney/Bush accomplice as a senator (see his voting record, which most people refused to examine during the campaign). The marketing slogans he spewed during the campaign to dupe those gullible enough to allow themselves to be duped were just that: empty marketing slogans. He has continued nearly all of the Cheney/Bush regime under the name of the Obama regime, as some of us suspected he would. He’s certainly no christian. He just plays one when he thinks the sheep will fall for it. Many D suckers who voted for this war criminal are still grasping to make excuses, defenses and apologies for him, just because he’s from their D “team.” But when Cheney/Bush were doing the same things, these D suckers were screaming about it! The D suckers are a bunch of hypocrites. Just like the Repugs, the D suckers put party-line cheer-leading above the US Constitution. Others are coming out of their stupor and denial and realizing what this war criminal really is: a fraud. But most D suckers will likely vote for him again in 2012 simply because he has a D behind his name, and they will drag out the usual “lesser of two evils” nonsense, which is what got us to where we are to begin with. Duh. Many people refuse to learn. Reminds me of the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result (like voting for Dems/Repugs one voting cycle after the other).

  11. Michael Kenny said on November 25th, 2009 at 7:59am #

    A point to bear in mind that these extreme Protestant denominations hardly exist at all outside of the US. Indeed, the reason they exist in the US is precisely because they were booted out of Europe, with its state religions and persecution of all those who refused to be part of them. That has reinforced their extremism, their sense of “victimhood” and, by extension, their hatred of the state in general. Add to that their sense of being “God’s annointed” and its accompanying messiah complex and you have a potent brew that easily goes to people’s heads. That produces a “we’ll show’em” mentality, particularly in regard to the Europe that “rejected” them. The prodigal son doesn’t return to ask his father’s forgiveness. He barges uninvited into the house and kills the fatted calf before the old man can get a word out! Throw a match in the form of a few Jewish extremists into that mixture and the whole thing explodes!

  12. Juana Jaafar said on November 25th, 2009 at 9:56am #

    Sheila, this piece is bloody brilliant.

  13. Leslie Ann JoneS said on November 25th, 2009 at 10:24am #

    Very well put, Sam.

    Wow…

    …”The prodigal son doesn’t return to ask his father’s forgiveness. He barges uninvited into the house and kills the fatted calf before the old man can get a word out!”…

    That echoes/resonates loud and deep Michael. Most groups (or individuals) cast outdo not retuen evolved realising in context how they deserved the shunning. They return with a chip on their shoulder, asxes to grind or swing, , the diabolical ego need to prove it was wong to dismiss them in the first place and an innate, sadistic pleasure in the suffering/chaos they can cause.

    This article is definitely food for thought.

  14. Sheila Samples said on November 25th, 2009 at 11:27am #

    What a great conversation you guys are having. If there were more of you around, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in. Thanks so much for your comments.

  15. Foil said on November 25th, 2009 at 1:14pm #

    This diatribe only attacks Christianity, which is a disservice to the many other religions that have and continue to attack this great nation. Here are three of the most dangerous religions:

    Atheism. The believer sets himself as the center of the universe, and eradicates selfless expression of giving and service. Belief of nothing is based on faith that their is nothing; therefore, it is a religion.

    Liberalism. Atheism + activism = liberalism.

    Islam. The radical believers in this religion will not rest until the world converts. And their radical views allow them to kill others who do not believe the same.

    Christophobia is nothing new on the left. Be original and focus on the real religious threats to this nation.

  16. Foil said on November 25th, 2009 at 1:31pm #

    The fourth most dangerous religion in the world is anthropogenic global warming.

  17. kalidas said on November 25th, 2009 at 4:13pm #

    Only one state religion is mandatory, by law, and non-adherence is punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.
    Yep, the big “H.”
    Mandatory in eleven European nations and coming soon to a country, a town, near you.
    (or else)

  18. hmmm said on November 25th, 2009 at 4:25pm #

    i stopped reading this bs at the point when christianity was proclaimed the “good” religion. contrary to many, many blood drenched CENTURIES of evidence to the contrary. including this one. not that religion in general is much better. just smoke in the eyes of the rubes, so they can’t see they are being screwed and by whom (those behind the religion and all other societal “order”). so the fact that fewer americans are into “religion” is actually good news to me. maybe some of us have progressed beyond the stone age, after all. hooray.

  19. lichen said on November 25th, 2009 at 5:10pm #

    Yeah, christianity is a child-beating, blood-soaked, life-hating, suv-driving, burger king religion. It is scum, and I, too, am glad that less people are religous; that more people can look beyond outdated, disgusting morality and subjection.

  20. Don Hawkins said on November 26th, 2009 at 6:05am #

    The fourth most dangerous religion in the world is anthropogenic global warming and who got that thinking started could it be a few people who like control of bank’s, policy, business media our thought’s? Of course the few have there own religion and has nothing to do with a higher power they are the higher power and I think they even are starting to understand they don’t have a clue what there doing that translates into the strangeness they think is ok for us to believe in something called bullshit and pitting one side against another, hate.

  21. B99 said on November 26th, 2009 at 8:54am #

    Foil – Atheism is largely based in the idea that science has shown no indicator that there is a creator. It is not a religion. It is common sense.

  22. rosemarie jackowski said on November 26th, 2009 at 9:31am #

    People should be judged by their actions – not by their religious preference. There are too many variables that would explain how and why someone identifies with any one religion. It is like judging someone based on their preference for a particular flavor of ice cream.

    Most religions -Even Catholicism and other Christian based religions have some good points. Evangelical atheism is just another ‘religion’ based on the belief that humans know-it-all. That seems a bit arrogant to me. I am an agnostic who believes that the final answer to explain the universe is not in yet.

  23. Sheila Samples said on November 26th, 2009 at 6:19pm #

    Rosemarie…you are absolutely right. So much in this crippled world is rigid — MY way or the highway; if you’re not with me, you’re against me…and so. The same is true with belief. Please visit this website and see how the world should really be. http://www.gratefulchild.org/projects/gcweb/gc/html/audio/UltimateTruth.html
    Thanks…