Sunday, March 14, 2004

Axis of Evil

Would the title "A Call to Arms" or "United Against Heretics" sound better? Reading Peter Bronson's latest column, which calls for evangelical Catholics and evangelical Protestants to join forces, I could not help but hear the old hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" in my head. Peter's column sounds like a beer hall appeal to a rival yet similar gang of thugs fight the same culture war. I was just amaze at how Bronson pushed the framing of the culture war:
Another speaker will be Richard John Neuhaus, one of the brightest Catholic commentators on culture and religion, and editor of First Things, a monthly that aims "to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.''

That mission is hotly contested in the cultural wars. And Neuhaus is in the front lines.

Take this statement that many people intuitively "know,'' but few dare to say: "Churchgoers are, or lean toward, the Republicans, while non-churchgoers, the nonreligious and the explicitly antireligious are overwhelmingly Democrats.''

Neuhaus also lists the issues that divide America like barbed wire: "abortion, faith-based initiatives, the impossibility of same-sex marriage, parental choice in education, and the belief that God intends the world to be free, toward which end the U.S. is morally obliged to play a part, even the leading part.''
Most of what you read there is not directly from the mind of Bronson, but I think he agrees with Neuhaus completely.

What I read in this column is Bronson asking the question: "Come on conservative Christians, lets get on the same team and stamp out everyone who does not submit to our culture, our way off life, and our God." Now, does Bronson come right out and say that? Of course not. I am using some hyperbole here. I have to ask all of the conservatives out there, how can you not read that column and not think that Bronson's goal with it is to gain allies in a culture war. This is a means to paper over religious differences to further the goal of establishing a religious cultural on the society. I think what will be debatable is the means Bronson or those he quote plan on using. What I see as the means are through the use of the government, and thus by "force." Imposition of religious doctrine through government is theocracy.

I am sure I will get grief from some of my conservative and/or evangelical readers for being paranoid or over use of hyperbole, but honestly can say that Bronson?s column provides evidence to support that there is a movement out there to clamp down on people?s rights to free expression and an effort to keep homosexuals and those who don?t prescribe to an evangelical religious litmus test.

My reasons for this stem in part for the group Bronson refers to, Promise Keepers. The rhetoric from their website about their 2004 road show is either really disturbing or really over the top hyperbole:
In UPRISING: The Revolution of a Man's Soul, Promise Keepers boldly invites you to join the revolution. Find your true purpose and destiny in the pursuit of the passion and character of God. Be a part of a revolution that changes a life of imitation and mediocrity into one of passion and character...a radical revolt that will forever change the world! Register today!
I think they chose poor language in describing things as an uprising. It has notions of violence and war, something that I thought Christianity was supposed to be against.

Is this a declaration of outright war? No, it is not. Is this something that makes me nervous? Hell yes. Why would it make me nervous? Well, when people of various religions get together to denounce people for not conforming to their religion and vowing to working towards codifying their religion into law, well, that makes me just a bit nervous, especially in this town where I am sure I would be one of the first heathens locked up if Phil Burress is made Hamilton County F├╝hrer.

UPDATE: This letter to the Enquirer makes me want to scream, but also seems to point towards yet another example of a quest for theocracy:
Church-birth control ruling is profanity

Regarding the article "Court to charity: Offer birth-control coverage" (March 2), the California Supreme Court ruling that Roman Catholic charities must pay for birth-control coverage insurance for employees is sinful violation of religious freedom. It is profanity.

To claim God and religion can be separated from education philosophy, civic life or from government is not only atheistic secularism, it is blasphemy. It violates both the First and Second Commandments, along with the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution.

It would also be sinful for church officials to pay for such evil insurance.

Robert J. Conlon, Loveland
Violations of any commandments are something that I hope no government sponsored court ever worries about.

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